qīng huáng bù jiē :: scarcity
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
“And there was the matter of a possible eclipse at the crucifixion, which would have accounted for the darkness of that afternoon. There’s that. From here, the whorl of light around the sun looks a bit like a halo, don’t you think? Always look for the angel in the room, a Caravaggio expert once told me. He said you’ll always find an angel in the room, especially in pieces from this era.” Dr. Eichelberger turned to point to the small Caravaggio at the other end of the sideboard. He swung his torso so violently, nearly tipping over. Gigi took his glass from his hand, bending down to place it on the carpet. She sat him down, to sit as upright as he could in this state. He sank into the footrest. Then, she found a comfortable seat for herself, close enough to catch him if he fell. “The art critic was a good friend. We met at an auction, neither of us bought anything. We were there for the free canapés and booze, and for the business of meeting people.” This was before marriage, this was before his practice, before Dr. Eichelberger even knew he’d take up psychology seriously. There were several art events, planned meetings that ended up at the critic’s loft, or Dr. Eichelberger’s house. “I lived in a bad part of town, on the outskirts. The streetlamps were horribly dim, some broken. The streets were emptied out by nightfall. There, I said “fall” again. I hate that word. I loathe the word with my entire being.” Was it love? Was it his first love, was it love at first sight? Even true love? Gigi pulled the bottle of whiskey away from Dr. Eichelberger, then decided to pour herself a drink. Her therapist looked older, his grey hair backlit by the table lamp. He didn’t look as massive or intimidating. “Love? It was love, the closest to what could be true about it. It lasted two summers. Oh, the intensity of that sort of love. If that isn’t the feeling of love….” Dr. Eichelberger pulled his sweater closer to his body. He let the sentence go, as if nothing more needed to be said.
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.