Welcome to our 10th anniversary issue! The Brasilia Review began publication in July 2013. Check out our past issues in the Archive in the menu above.
To preserve life is to impose limitations on it. Even as they control it, our thoughts are slaves to our biology. It makes sense our bloody culture wars boil down to imposed limitation. Occasionally we make one walk the plank and call ourselves free now, not realizing a new one has put its sloth-claws in our back. We throw the new one off today, or in a thousand years. It’s going to be over before we know it, by the way. Even so maybe our children will get it right, this time, when we could not. They should show us. They really should.
Applying knowledge is a tricky bit o’business for the glandular. The ease of instant reactions makes it tough to stop and think. The most attractive things in the world aren’t what one wants to have sex with, or the apex of one’s hobbies, but rather anything the subconscious desires. It’ll gussy up a mass grave if that’s the thing it wants. It’s why the process of obtaining something is more interesting than when one finally gets ahold of it. It can’t match its image in the mind. Of course this is well understood. It matches the ease with which it’s disregarded. Let’s face it — it’s not much fun to think, which is why people spend so much energy avoiding it. Actually thinking is like anything else — it’s fun if one is good at it. If not, it’s frustrating in the main. It’s number three hundred thousand in the parsec-long list of the lamentable. Concepts have no mass but they have a crushing weight.
All kids in this state receive the same transmission. Many have the double whammy of intellectual and economic limitations. The kids act on the state transmission, everyone doing the same thing independently, which makes it appear, to the logic-less, group directed. The kids felt things, and their feelings are true, so the things must then be true. That’s as factual as they care to get. Alas they also have contrary feelings intersecting them. This leads them to joining a militia. They undergo voluntary brainwashing because it takes the contrary thoughts away. Basic training fits the definition of brainwashing. The kids prefer certainty, allow the militia to make them into machines. The militia takes away their choice. The kids don’t miss it — it only confused them. Nothing’s more bewildering to a conscious sapien than a smorgasbord of choice. It can cause neuroses. Uncertainty’s a burden to these kids. To be told what to do is mental calmness. To perform a job on autopilot quells the chatter of the mind.
The kids too have an instinctual desire to be part of a tribe. The militia gives that to them. The kids will ruin their physical health should they attempt to suppress this instinct of belonging. The militia has an answer for everything. It gives the kids a purpose. The lack of purpose ‘ere they joined had made them batty. The militia provides purpose, removes feelings, removes choice, gives certainty, and offers a tribe. A good deal! It works so well the society begins to specialize in it. Sure, the kids miss out on a lot of wisdom, two thousand years of philosophy and science, and they give up the chance to become moral and ethical beings. But under corporate totalitarianism, what does that mean anyway? Certainly not as much as making a mediocrity a dumb buck. Indeed the kids will be more equipped to both follow the dominant paradigm and profit from it. Being born free, with the capability of a free thinker, as well as a possessor of inalienable rights, including an unassailable dignity — none of this will the militia kids even miss, nor on average will they have known they even had these in the first place. They’ll only know them if they take the harder path, away from the comforts of militias. They won’t though. They’ll dis their own potential. It will make them calm and happy, doing so.
Our heroine liked to paint her nails red, and from time to time she’d dye her hair red — especially that color. For she expressed herself through paint and dye. Color was the color of her world.
She knew where she was, as did plenty of her friends. She only disappeared to him, our hero. But his point of view was the eternal POV so that made it the world’s fault. He called her enough times she finally picked up. He got the argument he wanted. It wasn’t that he intended a fight, but his subconscious had its own agenda. The list of missed calls from him on her phone told her all she needed to know about how he was in a crisis. Not that it was fair to test a heart in love. Had he understood her as she was, instead of the construct of her that he loved, he might have seen this akin to Machiavelli. Can’t call it a warning if it was what they both wanted, deeper down inside. How often they’d both choose a future partner who made them feel like the bad actors from their pasts, even as they disavowed them. They were born with senseless hearts.
The argument was quick because he hit on the right tone of hectoring and worry. If she cared at all about him, which she did, she had to respond. It was still too soon since the honeymoon period for her to cast herself as the bad guy, so she acquiesced. She told him where she was — Miami. A lie, for no good reason. There were reasons, but she did not have access to them. She had only their result — a general annoyance at him for demanding of her so insistently. He’d been making love to her for nearly a year. She’d been making love half the time and having sex with him the rest. Complications studied Aztec ceremonies for their woes.
Our heroine’s gift was surprising to our hero once he realized it years after the fact. Her failures find imagination where they land. They may not all be successful. Some are though. But none ever felt stuck, nor felt inhibiting. What acted on her at times was opposite but never equal, so she never slowed. Someone was their first ancestor to flirt with their children’s friends, but it went back further than either of them thought. She will out him as a wounded insecure wreck — he could not hide behind a tough act. Meanwhile she will be revealed as the one who hits when there is no call for it, just so she can be the one who hits first. If it were anyone but these two, pattern tracing would schedule each a deletion of their faculties. The effect was said to kill ambition and the keeping to prescribed paths. Opportunities will be passed on one way or another. Time for somebody to stand up. She would have had this life lined up for her and several afterlives to boot in her vault-like forever.
One would not think she wanted their relationship to continue, having fled, and yet she did. If he stuck around after she’d done this, her subconscious could feel he was reliable, a little. Being a child he felt charged with chivalry, to prove through this that he was worthy of her love. Thus although they came at it in different directions, they ended up inside a common place. But reality would reassert itself. It would come on punishingly, feeling it had been neglected. Reality has the biggest ego of them all.
Now our hero faced the crossroads he didn’t know he wanted. Did he go after her or not? It would be a grand gesture. It could make their lives like a film. It would set him apart from every guy she’d ever know. It would prove something to her, to them both. But in this day and age? It could also just be stalking. If she didn’t want him there when he showed up, he wasn’t sure that he could go on.
He wheedled one of her friends, who finally exasperated admitted our heroine went home to Nebraska. It was closer to California but he still couldn’t afford a last-minute plane ticket. Maybe if he sold his console and his Strat he’d have enough for gas. He’d have to quit his job. It would take him two straight days to get there. That’s if he drove full out on caffeine pills, flop-sweating, maybe napping at a rest stop on the way. And then the confrontation, the declarations, and then–? At best they would drive back together. Maybe entice her by going the long way through Yellowstone. But, did she have a plane ticket back already, or had it only been one-way? Maybe she wanted to settle in Nebraska. Maybe she wasn’t sure when she left, but now she’s there, inertia has kicked in. Was he prepared to stay there for her? He’d have his car and not much else. But move to the Midwest, for a girl? This girl, yes… maybe. His hesitation said it all.
He couldn’t leave California, now that he’d gotten here, not already. That, along with the hardship of getting here, the uncertainty he faced in leaving, convinced him not to go through with going after her. Pain struck him and it was immense. He actually went out and sat in his car, ready to go. She was special. He’d never met one like her. What if he gave her up and then regretted it the rest of his life? She was attractive and enthusiastic about sex. Men would go to hell for such a woman.
He put the sedan in gear, and then he sat there, pressing down the brake pedal for half an hour. Finally, mentally spent, full up with frustration, having beat himself up as badly as he could, he turned the car off, slammed the door, and went back inside. He launched a digital blitz — email, text, social media, and calls, of love notes, love poems, love pics, love gifs, and puppy videos. He wrote a song, recorded it into his phone, and sent that. A virtual inundation had to prove to her she should go on with him. And if she responded, “Fly to me,” he definitely would.
Environmental collapse is already happening because we make bad decisions and BECUZ WE R 2 MENNY. But none of us would be here in 2019 if this weren’t the most populated period in history. Our very numbers (from 4 billion when this author was a child, which already seemed too much, to double that in only 40 years) made it statistically more probable that we’d get to be alive here and now. There was a real bottleneck to get into Assyria but today the neck’s chopped off, it is wide open. If there are any atmans still left out (if there are atmans) they’ll surely be invited to this party as we hopefully top out at a total population of 11 billion in this century. And what a beautiful place there’ll be for them to enjoy, drowning from seawater, building shelters from our trash, starving, migrating someplace that has not yet collapsed only to be murdered by fascists who do not want them there. Their dying thought will be the most common throughout time — that was it? Thoughts would have followed had their brain function not been abruptly terminated by a gun, thoughts like what was the point of that, and why was I even born into this shit in the first place? Writ large, it is the bread complex. One shot to the breadbasket was all it took to demarcate the end of the honeymoon from everything come after. The shooter lived one easy certainty.
There was a premonition of an unending chill regardless how many bad decisions one could make. Finally every ambiguous outcome would be of some benefit. With that everyday anxiety would dwindle. One discovers that they’re on a clear path to recovery. If it wasn’t popping up at the right time, it was popping up inside a rocking bottom. Every period of health is a wanton period. Every brush is a caress, every sound a nibble on the ear.
Make some noise for executing loops. Still entertaining decades past the point of boredom. Three cheers for the fungibility of cultural capital. It will plunder our contentment.
Rashness will be lauded. It will become naughtier and associated with rebellion.
The teens would rather sort recycling. There is so much to believe in at that age. They are unremitting moralists. And they’re right, of course. This time it will be different. Is it nigh? Or is it happening?
Witness symptoms and yet adhere to cockamamie explanations.
The outspoken have less to say than the self-reflective. It’s what makes a good employee avoid the one with the wry smile. Something’s always falling off. What a schism.
Where land rests is where they decided to build… once it was clear of Indians. Put it on — it feels scratchy to wear, the indigenous hat. The wearer’s being made to feel self-conscious.
Transportation sounds are notes on staves cohering into measures.
Stream time is cradling billions of dependent psyches.
America wants a creep store. Americans like knowing there’s a bunch of creeps warehoused nearby just in case they ever need one, like in the unlikely event an employer decides she’ll hire an all-purpose genius. Americans would like it if their new creep would self-destruct after the period of time set by the installer has passed. Aneurysm, spontaneous combustion, something like that that leaves no need for Americans to act. This should only be detectable in that which Americans live — the primary color spectrum.
There are repeating actions at hand. Break the machines to stop producing weapons, then hire an all-purpose sobber.
Glass makes weapons when it’s broke.
Men will surrender their pleasure when it gives them a new group to control, playing a game that is manipulating people. What men get from this is not being bothered in their free time.
Moving into an apartment building meant the people had to come to terms with their imminent subjugation. There’s no way to live independently in that kind of crowding.
Conform once for yes and twice for no.
The men will know they’re on the outs when their invites from men dry up.
They felt real consternation every waking moment. They been manipulating others so long that social politeness is a hard battle with uncertain victory.
Nail biters will find this a reason to stop.
Upon proper conviction, there is no argument. As it happens, we hold the proper conviction.
It’s almost turn around time.
What hazen coloranth.
The stronger hold one has on something, the easier it is to fling aside. It travels that much farther when it has a good grip.
It ain’t one for stayin put though. It’s apt to cause nine kinds’a future trouble.
Its last question will be did I do enough to slow it down as much as possible whenever I could?
The answer will be like all are — ultimately unsatisfactory.