Brief Descriptive Passage – Eric Basso, “Equus Caballus”

The Isolated Quirk, The Uncharted Island’s Blind Lighthouse, The Disembodied Excerpt With Telepathic Legs…

…that transmit messages to invisible arms that pulls us up out from under ground. As readers, especially those of fiction, you occasionally run across a brief description that galvanizes your imagination and further wakes you up to the genius of that particular artist. The passage which immediately follows this introduction has that effect on me. It’s my pleasure to savor it time and again.

The exquisite short story “Equus Caballus (here included in the Asylum Arts/Leaping Dog Press edition of The Beak Doctor) is typical of Basso’s resplendent prose, full of spellbindingly meticulous details informed by le mot juste (or just choosing the right fucking word). There’s really no reason to waste your time supplying background for the story because I’m isolating this passage for its strange beauty and economy. However, in order to just slightly satisfy (or tease) you compulsives out there, here’a a wisp of background.

Asylum Arts/Leaping Dog Press Basso

The Beak Doctor: Short Fiction 1972-1976

From Goodreads:

“Horses, portraits, underground machinery coalesce into a subterranean mystery of strange import.”

“Equus Caballus first appeared in the West Coast review Asylum in 1975, this is its first appearance in the UK.”

The Passage

Trapped, Losing Sense

From Equus Caballus, Eric Basso, 1975

Living in relative isolation as I do, I frequently think about the function of this webzine. Obviously, any media is an attempt to communicate. From my personal point of view, this `zine, along with other tiny, independent, passionate and/or knowledgeable blogs and websites (speaking here only of electronic media) provide me with a remote network of [unseen] breathing pores, a complex means for me to remain engaged with the world.

In “Equus Caballus,” Basso creates a world where the characters maneuver subterranean territory to dig up a central mystery. Not that it’s a 1:1 analogy, but this and other rags (is that term still valid?) kind of do the same graveyard shift labor. We seek out something vital and anathema to the dominant prefab paradigm, whatever that might be, finding all sorts of humanity buried alive and help reorient them…here.

DECAYKE is a last ditch effort to remain engaged with a world on a maddening downward spiral…or so it would seem. I aim to continue to flash light, however dim, on artists and thinkers wh0 force light through to the puzzlingly vapid controlling class. You know, the one that guides us on our package deal to Hell, and thanks to Groupon, we can enjoy half off crossing Styx. Or that’s what they told me. But listen up: too much is almost always never enough, especially when you need ample ambulatory encryption on which to rely because Hell is a hellhole and a real bitch to navigate. You never know when you’re gonna need that leg up.

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