“The Spider Does Not Know Love”

I’m not quite sure why all my recent posts have involved animals either dead, alive or escaping, but they have. I’m working on a more substantial essay on the recent furore surrounding Monsanto’s Mon810 crop and issues of national sovereignty at the moment, but in the meantime, this whimsical, bitter, metaphorically rich and expletive-ridden riff of a prose poem by Aaron Fortkamp struck me as original and strange enough to want to share. A snippet here; follow the link at the bottom for the full piece: it’s worth it. 

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Earthworms have a circulatory system consisting of just a couple main blood vessels, with periodic aortic arches, or “hearts,” numbering up to nine. Being blind hermaphrodites, earthworms are often unaware that other earthworms exist and thus fall in love with themselves. Sometimes it works out, and the earthworm raises a nice family with itself in the suburbs, but just as often it breaks its own heart (literally—and so it needs a lot of them). It is a lion’s business to break hearts. It is an elephant’s business to have its heart broken. This dictates the lifespan of these two species as well—but with only one heart in a body, things work a little differently. Biologically, each should live about twenty years; lions burn through their allotment of life and rarely make it to fifteen. But when the young elephant’s heart breaks, it breaks in half, and thus can only use up life half as fast. A “half-life” state sets in, behaviorally manifested in long, solitary walks, decreased appetite, and an unwillingness to return phone calls. This halving can occur multiple times; some elephants on record have lived more than eighty years. But most are too smart to experience this (intentionally) more than once. Earthworms are not too smart. They fall in love with themselves often and die a little each time. And they only get nine… Rhinoceroses are too heavy to have sex in the conventional animal fashion (doggie-style), as the belly of the rhinoceros is not strong enough to withstand the stout rump-bone of the female. Thus, they perform the act by backing up into one another, quite literally “bumping uglies” until by sheer chance the rhino penis finds its way into the rhine-gina. The rhino also blows his load faster than any other known species in the animal kingdom, which is necessary due to the brevity and uncertainty of the copulative act. This is the real reason why rhinos are going extinct. Because they fucking deserve it.

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Offended? Puzzled? Read it to the bitter end at Blood Orange Review.

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