Four Impossible Objects

Norman Lock

There is a house where only soup is served. In each soup spoon, a hole is bored. What are they if not memento mori – reminders that dignity is, in the end, the prerogative and pose of undertakers?



To slow light so that it becomes too weak to bend its beams onto the point where all vanishes required no other intervention than to resurface the inside of a spyglass barrel with a light-retardant substance comprised mainly of pitch. Now light streams in all its particles and waves onward into time, like train rails too weary to converge. And in the far distance where once sight crowded, the dead are seen to stand as if in a doorway or an opened grave.



Imagine a hinge that on its axis swings beyond what was thought to be the threshold of the possible, where the world may be moved as Archimedes dreamed as if it were no more ponderous than a pear, whose shape (divine, for some) resembles Earth’s own. When twisted, it will let go its stay against gravity to fall – pleasantly – into the palm of one’s hand.



A telegraph key such as reported the Sepoy mutiny or Wounded Knee’s disgrace or, say, Titanic’s foundering can be modified so that darkness, sudden and complete, will – with a nervous click – befall all the earth in the manner that water quenches light when a flaming ship slides down the ways to icy death.






Norman Lock is the author of story collections, novels, novellas, stage and radio plays, including A History of the Imagination (FC2), Pieces for Small Orchestra & Other Fictions (Spuyten Duyvil), and, most recently, Love Among the Particles (Bellevue Literary Press). His absurdist drama, The House of Correction (Broadway Play Publishing Co.), played in Istanbul during the 2013 season; his newest radio play, Mounting Panic, premiered this year on WDR, Germany. His installation art scenarios appear regularly at Visual Artbeat Magazine, Austria. His new novel, The Boy in His Winter will be issued by Bellevue Literary Press in May and his booklength poem, In the Time of Rat, is due shortly from Ravenna Press. Lock has received The Paris Review Aga Kahn Prize for Fiction and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2009), the New Jersey Council on the Arts (1999, 2013), and the National Endowment for the Arts (2011). The four texts published here are from Impossible Objects, published by Ravenna Press. More at