Lioness in a Vacant Lot

(1) Blue cardigan over lioness of fire, heeding the call towards the empire. “I contain multitudes,” she thought, “I am the prince who is to come, I am a floating lifeform hearing colours, I am a blackness whose organs are nebulae and stars.” With a quick jump and an outdated mannerism, she was standing back on her four feet. Golden kinky fur, holding wooden trestles and a blue plastic bag, she took in the view: a traditional landscape of empty office buildings growing out of sticky tar puddles. It was the long, painful moment between morning and evening and she would have liked to ask for an ounce of understanding but suspected no one would ever reply. If she roared anyhow, without minding whether anyone would hear her, read paragraph (2); if she clawed a new kingdom into being in the parking lot, read paragraph (3); if she simply gave up, read paragraph (4).

(2) Her hand itched: a plump tick was attached to her middle fingers. She ripped it out with her tongue, remembering the slimy sensation of those sad spartan rooms where she once used to sing. She recalled the smell of males and females and the others; also the perfume of an unused bed made out of sticks and gravel – she recalled the emptiness of a night that never began. “But at least I have the stars,” she thought. And she screamed, begging the stars for help, hoping that in their eternal existence these astral entities could spare her loneliness a thought and a whisper. She did not know that the stars would eventually disappear, that the wildness of the abyss above would fade into such an utterly unmitigated completeness that her cry would be the last cenotaph, the definitive monument for a moment of post-thingness. The sky was her screen; she yelled a voice message into it.

(3) There was a trauma there, embedded deep within the air that surrounded the office buildings and their parking lots. Above all, there was something personal about it: the lioness could not tell exactly what. IT WAS A SHORT, QUIET WHISPER THAT SMELLED OF BLUEBERRIES, MYRTLE AND ASH. The trauma had been built to scratch at the surface of things, but never dig deep: that was its curse, and that was her nature. THIS WAS WHERE HER KINGDOM WOULD RISE. The beginnings of an empire that eschewed all purity to rule over geological eras and its encrusted strata of silver knives and white plastic sporks. THIS WAS THE PLACE FOR NATURAL-BORN LEPER-DREAMERS WHOSE FALLEN EYES TWISTED YOUR TONGUE IN NON-EUCLIDEAN SHAPES. This is where she would fall to her knees and beg for someone’s forgiveness. But that would come later. NOW SHE WAS QUEEN, JUDGE AND SLAVE.

(4) She considered heinous crimes, stealing a mind and a life, forcefully becoming an alien lifeform. Like the man she used to know, she hit the water womanfully, claws first, floating mantle of thoughts second, the dejection of a betrayal allowed and permitted and legitimate but nevertheless painful last. She forced herself to say yes, then. She acted like she should, she went along with it and pleasured others and pleasured herself, hiding her boredom, thinking about what she would lose if she stopped pretending, thinking what her partners and co-partners would lose if she stopped pretending. An atrocity exhibition, a distant egg that would fall to the ground and into the abyss above, never to see the sound, never to see her again.


  • Fisher, Mark, Darren Ambrose, and Simon Reynolds. 2018. K-Punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004-2016).
  • Tiptree, James. 1978. Up the Walls of the World. London: Gollancz.
  • Tiptree, James, and Harry Harrison. 1975. Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home. London: Eyre Methuen.