“Free Will for Free”

Giordano Meacci, Trans. by J. Bishop

June 7, 2018 
"Free Will for Free" is a story by Giordano Meacci from the latest issue of The Florentine Literary Review, a bilingual magazine with English and Italian translations. Giordano Meacci is an author and screenwriter from Rome. His short story collection is Tutto quello che posso.

God is a Woman
(Sintesi di una chiacchierata tra Albino Luciani e Patti Smith)

P.S. We sincerely apologize to all Platypus enthusiasts out there who are offended by that thoughtless comment about the Platypi.

We at View Askew respect the noble Platypus, and it is not our intention to slight these stupid creatures in any way.

Thank you again and enjoy the show.

(Kevin, Smith)


For Her it was no small problem, to respond to his wish in light of what she could fathom of it: to understand the request without even being clear on what a “man of her life” might be.

But then how could it be otherwise, God tells himself, floating midway between the Constellation of Pegasus and the fictitious equator of the Hidden Galaxy of Althazar. He kicks his feet in the sandals designed for a hypothetical Son somewhere far off, beyond coils and coils of fixed stars that—by lunges and bounds that subvert the complicity of quantum insights—plummet into passing black holes to be swallowed up, exhausted, after racing along blindly for billions of years.

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Too vague in his terms, probably. Man, life. It piqued her curiosity, at first, carried away by that foolish frenzy of predictions and durations, unfaltering certainty about the future and—meanwhile—the sum of scattered moments that kept rising out of the gummy crevices of Eternity in the form of dusty phosphenes; as if a new dictionary full of words had come to light upon lifting the creaking lid of a desk the size of the Milky Way; a wooden desk that gapes open, revealing pages and pages crammed with prophecies. And—meanwhile—he breaks the lid in two, dealing it a loud crack that yawns onto the abyss. And splits open; taking heart with a creaky burst of laughter in the form of an event horizon.

Too many words. Too many. This obsessive notion that the beginning, hence everything, stems from a series of words that string along one after the other without peace or repose. When in fact, everything had already been said prior to speaking.

He focuses on an a radiant explosion of helium that catches in his throat and voice. The last time he talked to himself, it ruptured the eardrum of his auris sinister (the one that listens to the eternal laments of his dark side); he’d forgotten how unbearably absolute the Voice of God could be: so full of Itself, and jarring, that it could sweep away constellations and solar systems with just the harsh rasp of a guttural.

The explosion, absolute and airy, of the first labial. One letter; and the deafening, wondrous inception of every Universe.

His own words have left him deaf in one ear. He’s counting on the reconcilable possibilities of his recovery, to re-engage finally as a keen listener to her words: the ones She left there with him to fade away and revive—in the space of an hour, perhaps; or of a minute as eternal as the whole present—full of doubts and fears that floated, numbly, on the glowing ice-edge of that choice.

To avoid thinking, God tells himself, I should focus on my Work. So he decides to create an additional Universe based on the laws of entropy. His third, in the past six months. The one before this kept him busy for as long as it takes to travel from the YH of the first Universe to the YHV of the quinthing of the previous Universe. Sooner or later he ought to standardize the units of measurement used to calculate the Universes under fabrication. Nothing can be catalogued without a uniform numerical system. He realizes this every time he tries to sort out the chain of events created link by link.

Lonely, is how he feels. Too lonely not to keep manifesting his godhood.

Avoid thinking, that was it: so he sets to work, with meticulous care, on his latest project, promptly edified within a tiny, fictitious subsection of eternity. He lets himself get distracted, for a few blissful seconds, by the new scale of reds he’s just thought up. A stippled fluctuation from crimson to scarlet; and then, fresh swells of pink that fall away towards an unexpected form of indigo: and back again to stir up shimmering rainbows that, in the full flush of distraction, bring him back to her lips every time he can remember them.

When God stumbles—ever since the ear episode—he tries not to take his own name in vain.

So he stops and takes a few deep breaths, involuntarily generating three or four hidden dimensions. He gathers his Thoughts—unexpectedly creating a fifth—and tries not to think.

That’s how the most recent Unconscious Chasms of the GD section of the Black Band beyond the Qhb’nhm’b quasars came into being.

When God doesn’t think, the Universes rest.

Now he’s decided to turn his mind away from the Images of Her that throng the most private, secret point he can see inside himself—if there were an inside—and around himself (if there were an around). But the Vision—the Visions—of Her creep into the rationed dreaming he indulges in when particularly tired. He wears himself out on purpose—polishing a Nebula, fixing up the nitrogen and hydrogen fences around the less successful Explosions of the last eleven big bangs—but it’s never enough. There’s always some eternal moment of lucidity—“How long does a moment last?” anyway—that gets the upper hand: confronting him with all the words, all the intangible fears (even he has a hard time defining intangibility) that have assailed him.

If God is afraid, Fear becomes God.

And when God forgets that, the shit hits the fan.

(An expression God learned in a Somewhen that appears to him, green and sparkling, in Dreams of when he recreates himself before time as he creates it.)

“To avoid thinking, God tells himself, I should focus on my Work.”

She doesn’t want him. She doesn’t love him. That’s what he keeps reciting to himself, his thoughts seesawing from one moment of Desperation to the next—when God despairs, the Universes come to a swooshing halt—and meanwhile he imagines how—because there is some way, he just has to grasp it and synchronize the fluctuating forms of love—how he can arrive at her side and put an end to words. Find that natural way—after all, He was the first to discover the nature of the Universes that relate to them—that ease with which He and She found Each Other, Each within the Other: as if the Universe were liquid fire waiting to meld them together into a distinct Eternity of differences that enhance Each Other, Each within the Other.

When God uses too many words, the words lose God.

I’m ruminating too much, probably, He tells himself. Using an expression he seems to remember picking up from some black-and-white universe that’s already formed.

He can’t force Her to love him the way he’d like. And by trying, He’s momentarily—“Sure, but how long is a moment?”—prevented them from being able to love each other, the Two of them, in a way that would make them forever happy. Would make them happy. Will make them happy. Happy.

Did he really think that word? The straggly absurdity of the Truth, scratching the outline of the eternal present that overwhelms him.

(When God thinks too much, the words may take on too much weight.)

How reductive it is, he tells himself, to entrust a handful of sounds—plosive or liquid, whichever—with Reality when we believe in it.

Silence, he tells himself. Like the Extreme Silence of the Days when the Two of them simply found each other (for when Silence unites the Two of them amid all the Universes and words are neither necessary, nor enough, all there can be is a finding: as if Times and Time were just a circular, eternal dance, in which the profane spark of their magical harmony, the crimson laughter that captures Him, and Her, within a shared time and a single biunivocal pulse, a shifting algorithm, become the repeated discovery of being a Him, and a Her).

Sometimes God tells himself to stop acting like he’s God, then remembers he is God.

So it goes.

Today God has decided to tend his garden. A brilliant idea She suggested to him one day, and which he instantly embraced as the only sensible thing to do. He concentrates on the Tree at the center, modifying it with every thought; a knotty, mobile trunk that at first lets itself be thrashed dizzy by the galactic wind whistling around it, then changes form, fades away, is recreated, boxing itself into chiaroscuros that delineate and delimit it, standing out against the porous clarity of the gelid light from the Universes around it (if there were such a thing as around).

God toils over the flowerbed that crumbles away into smoke beneath his feet and hands. He likes the sense of fatigue, the close attention involved in making water drip from his hands onto the plants. The tree is transformed by every blast of pneuma from his lungs; now it’s more of a rosebush, with mottled petals that gradually turn red, then pink, reshaping the future of the species. With neverformed colors that reveal themselves just as they deliquesce, dazed, forgetful, into new hues.

Every time he works this way, God wonders whether he’s responsible for the smell that’s hung around him for light-centuries, and those primitive helium cloud formations; whether that’s his sweat or not; he wonders if maybe instead there’s some polytonal buildup of underpaid labor, poverty, absurd hopes, renovation projects, forgotten eons turned to dust, lost loves like seashells, or starfish, made of calcium carbonate and carbon monoxide. All categories he’ll have to get around to inventing, sooner or later, if he has enough time left to do it.

God just can’t get used to pain. It seems to him like an affront that doesn’t do him Justice.

As he works, hands soiled with some unknown earth, water streaming in torrents like oil from Aaron’s head—though he hasn’t decided who Aaron is yet—and pooling from his fingers, with sweltering wizardry, among the roots and flowers: as he works, he wonders whether it might help to let it stream from his eyes too, that same water he’s using to tend the flowers, and shrubs, in this Garden at the center of the Universe, hanging like a little mezzanine over a carless garage; as big as the memory of all the humankinds that will continue It, if things can be managed Solo. Water from Eyes that open wide as liquid walls and let all the pain flee its prison, the far-off promised land of some salvation from the pain that not even God can escape, if She won’t have him.

His fingers skim over four-o’clocks, snapdragons. Luminous, beautiful flowers that the future will turn into fruit. Figs, to start with, that reticent absurdity of the fear of nakedness, then apples: the flesh of the apple sloughing off the primitive legacy of the flowers he lovingly tends to, while She is so far away, and now not even God could say where—“How long is a moment?”—at this very moment.

How absurd, He tells himself, to prefer any fruit to the momentary, everyday Beauty of these flowers. They’ll choose to remember a sin, He tells himself. Whereas here and now—as if even He really knew what here and now were—there’s only the light, and the grace, of these flowers leaning out into time like the most fragile, and beautiful, challenge he could possibly face.

In these flowers I’ve seen myself, he thinks. And they’ll call it sin.

Sin. They won’t understand, they’ll get it all wrong. They’ll thoughtlessly twist the thing into its aspect of waste; but that’s what he’s talking about, God, with tears finally in his eyes, the eyes he’s thought up for the occasion: the occasion to not leave tears without power.

What a waste he thinks. What a sin.

And how ridiculous, the tears, each time, every time. As ridiculous as human beings, He tells himself.

Or worse.

As ridiculous as Me.

He can’t go on. He will go on.

As somegod he only blurrily remembers once explained to him. You still have the Time it takes, He tells himself.

Now that we leave him alone for a moment, God is thinking about his flowers.


From the latest issue of Florentine ReviewUsed with permission of Florentine Review. Copyright © 2018 by Giordano Meacci.

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