Brad Baumgartner – prose




Unworking a Triad

The shadows of conflicted human natures, sitting in the town Square, are juxtaposed against the sordid Bay of Vasculitis. And when the honorable judge beckoned their call, they all sat and stared. A man stated that he had been eaten by a mountain goat. Another woman stated that she was a descendant of Zhang Jue. A little shadow of a nymph with a muffin top said that she wouldn’t go anywhere without her lawyer. Just then, three men in white shirts and gray pants came upon the crowd, threw black paint on them, and yelled, “Ye be He, the Ones, the Three! We shall slay you down!” Upon watching the scene, the honorable judge turned to an old man beside him, a man, in fact, that knew what he was going to say because he had seen this all happen some forty years before in a dream—and the judge said, pointing over there, “You are all free to go. But before you do, don’t forget to lift those horses out of their cages. Their legs do not work any longer.” The old man turned to the judge with his keen old set of eyes, ones that lay barren and full of silk within his decrepit body, and replied, “You, sir, are the King of Ages, and have bid us welcome into the Throne of Ambiguity. At last! We shall no longer be still, but are free to wander the Mountain of Infinite Granite.” In two days’ time the group could not lift a single horse out of its cage. They died in the Square and the judge ate their hearts.


A tragedian at heart, and caustic and ironic, the worm fatefully cut itself in half due to his fear of the plow. The worm then looked up and saw that on one side of the sky was darkness and the moon, and on the other side of the sky was the sun and light. The worm cried out, “You sons of bitches. Have I not delivered myself to you each day of my life, digging wormholes into your cosmos?” The moon held the sun’s hand and told him thus: “You are the worm of a mighty crevice, the crevice of our hive mind. Do not fear, young one. You will grow back together, backwardly.” This was the truth. The worm grew back together backwardly, with both parts of his stomach facing outward and his eyes in his ass. Yet he was never happier, never so keen in spirit and mind. For in a disjointed body, all is compelled into inversion. The worm had found serenity in the amputated and inverted Ouroboros of itself.


A laceration persisted on the man. It stretched from his navel all the way up to the crown of his head. Not deep enough to cut into the viscera, but avid enough to quell his spirit, the laceration continued to push itself into him. “Am I not yet weary enough of this wound for it to heal?” asked the man to a thing. “You are causing your wound,” replied the thing. “How is this so?” asked the man. “Because you want it so much that you cannot even contain your desire for it. You have wrongly sublimated your desire for this wound into the perception of some false reality outside yourself. That world is the world of beggars for wounds and you are their king,” replied the thing. “Well, that sounds a little too good to be true,” replied the man. “Because all this time I thought I was the cosmos itself. Now I find out I am just a man with a wound.” The thing replies: “You are and are not what you just said, are and are not a deictic lemming and immortal. YOU ARE THE COSMIC WOUND.”



Brad Baumgartner is a writer and PhD candidate currently based in western Pennsylvania. Ongoing creative projects include a cross-genre work on nigredo and a collection of aphorisms on mystical inversion.

At the edge of a great snowfield Louie Otesanek grew different shapes and shades. His palms are wide and dark and mingled with the highest sky. See more of his work here.


About gobbet

gobbet is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the very best experimental poetry and prose. Intellectual perversity and explorations of dark themes are positively encouraged. We are only interested in work that is progressively experimental. We want to see risks, and we want to see them pay. No previously published work. Prose should not be longer than 1000 words. There are always exceptions. Send 3-5 poems. Include a short bio. Send submissions to Work will be published every 5-10 days. We also intend to publish anthologies of selected work published in gobbet. We will do our best to reply promptly. Most submissions will receive a decision within a month.
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