hùn wéi yī tán :: conflation to confuse matters
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
“The invisible frightened her,” Dr. Eichelberger said, on his way back from a hidden door in the wall. The door led to another small room, and all Gigi could see was a row of steel cabinets. When he shut the door, the door became the wall again. On it was a poster, another framed reproduction. It was a Piet Mondrian, nothing familiar to Gigi. The thin-lined ellipse hit the edges of the frame, as if ready to burst out from its confines. Within it were various lines, all as thin as the circumference, the lines criss-crossing each other. The lines drew pathways. There was one almost complete square near the top, divided into four small squares. There seemed an exit to this labyrinth out the bottom of the ellipse. It looked like the Empire State as well, and looking at the picture that way, the criss-crossing lines looked like old warplanes. “The title of the piece is ‘Pier and Ocean’,” Dr. Eichelberger told Gigi. “That’s not a building but the pier. But yes, the ocean looks like it’s carving out an internal territory…. What wasn’t immediately comprehensible to my wife frightened her. She was a tactile person, a person who needed to be in touch with reality. I eventually got a contractor to strip out the flooring, to redo it. Beneath it, over the original tiles was a kind of floor mural. She’d painted all over the floor. It was a thick, black paint meant for wood, not cement. From the front door, it looked like the face of a man. Or a map of a part of the world. There were islands. One seemed to be hilly. It was filled with hills. The Tree of Life was in its own circle in the middle of this. This also looked like an island in the archipelago. I’m positive she drew herself into the picture. There was an isthmus that looked like a half-open eye. That was her eye, I knew. And it was looking back at me.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor and publisher. He is the author of The Arbitrary Sign (Red Wheelbarrow Books), with I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist(Math Paper Press) forthcoming in 2014. He has edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. A former entertainment journalist with 8 Days, Desmond has traveled to Australia, France, Hong Kong and Spain for his stories, which have included features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman, culminating in the authorship of the limited edition Top Ten TCS Stars for Caldecott Publishing. Trained in publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters (world religions) from Harvard University and fine arts masters (creative writing) from the University of Notre Dame. An interdisciplinary artist, Desmond also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. He is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Notre Dame Poetry Fellowship, NAC Writer-in-the-Gardens Residency, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize.