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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Autumn N. Hall

'Twas Brillig

"Pick up your crayons," the presenter commands, "Now, smell them."

And just like that, urged by the oily scent of paper-wrapped wax, we reawaken to some primordial form of ourselves. Hunkered down side-by-side on the cold concrete floor, vorpal crayons in hand, we eagerly await further instructions.

"Draw a torso." At once, the earnest scratch of scribbling fills the room. "Not limbs, not heads, JUST torsos."

We bite lower lips, lift our drawing hands.

"Now stand up."

Cartilage-challenged knees crack.

Like a square dance caller, the presenter shifts us, "Allemande left," to an alternate beast. "Now draw a neck."

Eyes squint. Tongues twist. Synapses fire. Free from constraint, rendered vertebrae writhe from ribs, burst from belly buttons.

"Right and left grand, mind your crayons."

Wrinkled white carpets of butcher paper cage creatures coaxed to life one body part at a time. With newly-popped ears, we begin to hear wiffling through the tulgey woods— veritable burbling!

"Now, circle to the right."

Each artist submits to the spiral, bends, flexes to the ever-altering forms. Violet wings spring forth, turquoise tails slither sideways to snake around neighboring creatures. Here an eye, ogling. There a claw, catching. Everywhere a specimen from some otherworldly zoo. Giggles gush and spread like spilled Kool-aid. We are positively beamish...

"Now, bow to your monster...and give it a name."

how like child-gods—
one whirling mandala—
we create
in collaboration
what none could apart...