We used to press our faces up against the TV screen. With the cables unplugged, we inhaled the static and the noise, and, with our eyelids forced open and our pupils forgetting to contract, we would wander through the desert landscape with the volume completely overdriven. With the volume complete and an overdriven mass filling our black passageways, we let go of the wheel and watched the asphalt ribbon come and come and come.
The searcher laid out his recent aquisitions on the blanket. "Try this and try this and try this," he said. I'm really keen on this amplified breathing instrument they got hooked up at the bottom of Bardo Pond out in Philadelphia. These technical seargents J & M Gibbons swim down into the shimmering blue and black and hook up rows and rows of heavy metal transformers. These in turn are linked by fathoms deep steel cables to the iron floatmasters Captain J. Culver and Bombadier C. Takeda who with their aqualungs contract and expand the total volume at the breaking surface. They all wait for the blue velvet Leutenant I. Sternberger to light her fluted pipe:
"Detonation," she whispers and exhales the nuclear wind from the Bufo alvarius.
Well it's been three years and out here on the back porch we have Lapsed. Rocking back and forth in our chairs, "Listen." The static and the noise slowly rising from the horizon. Our favorite specialists have returned from their conquest in Amanita. For the third time in three years, "Listen. The bombs." When the fallout reaches us we breathe it in with a delicious satisfaction. Total volume. Our synapses flooded. Our lungs stay saturated for forty seven minutes and forty one seconds at a time. It feels so good we hit it over and over again. For days on end, traversing this eternal desert, we live on harmonic noise alone. For the third time in three years we are glad to have our black passages filled with their amplified breath.
[Written by Carl Ehrhardt for The Yale Herald, October 17, 1997. The review used to be available online, but The Herald's archives no longer go back that far. Reprinted without permission.]