Pneumatic Pulse

Pneumatic Pulse

A Story by Christopher Kelly

Futrurist Satire


Pneumatic Pulse

By Christopher Kelly

     I once had a pneumatic pulse. I had not only three souls (as Aristotle would have me) but four. My fourth soul, my pneuma, was named Ka.

Back in the days of White Kathay, Eve, as she stepped into a snowdrift from Andree’s air balloon, and a voice said:


     And she left in those Eskimo snows the print of her naked feet (don’t you wish!) Indeed Eve would have been astonished to hear that word. But the people of Masr had heard it thousands of years before. Indeed they had. For indeed, they were right when they split up the soul into the Ra, Ka, the Hu, and the Ba. The Ra is one's self, one's ego. Hu and Ba are isomorphic to one's reputation, good or bad.

But the Ka is the soul’s shadow, its double, its envoy to the world some snoring gentleman dreams of. There are no barriers for the Ka in time; he moves from dream to dream, breaks through time, and reaches the goal posts of bronze, the bronze of time.
           He occupies the centuries as comfortably as he does a rocking chair.
Consciousness does the same thing"it brings together moments of time like chairs in a living room.
         My Ka was energetic, attractive, dark-skinned, gentle; he had huge feverish eyes, the eyes of a Byzantine god. His brow" a brow of Egypt" seemed to be made of small separate dots. Either we are savages, definitely, and the people of Masr were not"or the things Masr supplied for the soul were needful and natural, but somewhat extraneous.
     And now"something about me.
     I live in a city where signs say PUBIC BATHS
, from whence, you cannot escape the watchful eyes of sneaky savages who breed like rabbits and swarm in the trees. One savage, there, that woman" a silver fire flickers in her eyes, she walks in the plumes of a bird who was once alive, and another sneaky savage, a dead one, is already hunting it in the other world, a spear in his dead hand. Herds of fine-furred people browse the streets, and nowhere else does the thought of human stud farms come so easily to mind. "Otherwise, the human race is finished," they all think; and there I was, writing a book about human stud farms, while all around me these herds of fine-furred people moved.
I have a collection of friends"a little zoo, really, but I like them for their pedigree. I live on the third or fourth planet out, starting from the sun, and I try to think of the place as no more than, oh, a pair of gloves"something you always want handy to throw in the faces of the rabbit-people.
     Is there anything more I can tell you? I foresee huge fights over whether to spell my name with an i or an e. I have no mammae on top, no maxillae on bottom. And no antennae. Height: shorter than an elephant, taller than an ant. Eyes: two. But enough about me, no?
K, my Ka, was my friend. I loved him for his birdlike disposition, his serenity, his wit. He was as comfortable as a raincoat. He taught me words you can see with (eyewords) and words you can do with (handwords).
     And here are a few of the things he did.

     One time we met people who held themselves together with buttons. Really. Their insides were accessible through a flap of skin, buttoned down by little round hornlike protuberances. Whenever they ate, a furnace of thoughts glowed through this flap. That’s really true.
I stood on a great steel bridge and threw a coin into a river!"

     "Someone should be worried about the science of the future," I said. "I wonder if maybe someday some underwater archeologist will come along and find my sacrifice to the river?"
     And Ka introduced me to a scientist from the year 2222.
     Ah! It was only a year after the first infant cry of the Superstate ASTSU.

     "Astsu!" the scientist said, glancing at the date on the coin. Back in those days people believed in space, they didn’t think much about time. He commissioned me to write up a description of human beings. I filled in all the blanks and handed in the form.

     "Number of eyes, two," he read. "Number of hands, two; number of feet, two; fingers, ten; toes, ten. Fingers and toes combined, twenty."
     He slipped a thin, gleaming skull-ring onto his shadowy finger. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of that particular number.        

     "These figures," he said, with a piercing look from his large, intelligent eyes, "do they ever change?"
     "Those are the maximum figures," I answered. "Of course people do turn up from time to time with only one arm or one leg. And there will be a significant increase in such people every 317 years."
     "And yet," he answered, "this gives us enough information to calculate the equation of their death."

     "Language," remarked the scientist from the year 2222, "is the everlasting source of knowledge. What is the relationship between gravity and time? It’s perfectly clear that in your language the word vremya, which means time, and the word ves, which means weight, stand in the same relation as the word bremya, which means burden, and the word bes, which is a name for the Fiend, the Evil One. But can one who sweats beneath a burden behave like the Fiend? No. Bremya absorbs the force of bes. Where there are burdens to be borne, the Fiend is absent. In the same way, therefore, vremya absorbs the force of ves, for do we not abandon weight when we enter into time? The very soul of your language shows us that weight and time are different absorbtions of the same force."
     He thought the whole thing over solemnly, adding;

     "Yes," he said, "language contains more truths than we know."
      At which point our acquaintance was broken off.

     Swaying beneath the weight of our armor, we poke mankind with the toe of our boot, sit back in the saddle, and point out the way! Then we ram his tired flanks with the little iron wheel attached to our boot, and the tired animal gathers for the jump and takes it idly, waving his tail with satisfaction.
      We ride high in the saddle and shout: that’s the way we want to go, toward those glass sunflowers in the iron shrubbery, toward cities whose patterns are as harmonious as a fisherman’s net stretched out on the beach, cities of glass, shiny as inkwells, who compete among themselves for sunshine and a scrap of sky as if they were part of the vegetable kingdom. "Sunward" is written upon them in the terrifying alphabet of iron consonants and vowels of glass!
     And if people are the salt of the earth, shouldn’t we pass the saltcellar (the salt-solar!) sunward? We lay our massive hand upon the contemporary city and its planners and we shout: "Get rid of these rats’ nests," and the terrifying rush of our breathing changes the air. We Futurians observe with pleasure that many things shatter beneath our mailed fist. The tables of victors are already hurled down, and the victors are already drinking our Mares’ Milk, the drink of the steppe; a quiet moan comes from the vanquished.
     We will now tell you about your city, and about ours.

Characteristics of the supposedly beautiful cities of the bygoners (ancestral architecture).
1. The bird’s-eye view: at present, from directly overhead, cities look like currycombs, like hairbrushes. Will it be like that in a city of winged inhabitants? In actual fact, the hand of time will turn the axis of vision upright, carrying away with it even that piece of architectural pomposity, the right angle. People now look at a city from the side; in the future they will look from directly overhead. The roof will become the main thing, the axis of die standing structure. With swarms of flyers and the face of the street above it, the city will begin to be concerned about its roofs and not its walls. Consider the roof as a thing in itself. It basks in the blue, far from dirty clouds of dust. A roof has no desire to imitate a pavement, to sweep itself clean with a broom composed of lungs, windpipes, and teary eyes; it will not sweep up its dust with eyelashes, or use lungs to sponge the black dirt off its body. Dress up your roofs! Think of them as hairdos, add some pretty pins. People will no longer gather in the vicious streets, whose dirty desire reduces human beings to residue in a washbasin; rather they will throng upon rooftops, beautiful young rooftops, waving their handkerchiefs after a giant levitating air-cloud, sending goodbyes and farewells after their departing friends.
How are they dressed? In suits of armor made from black or white linen, greaves, breastplates, gauntlets, gorgets, all stiffened and ironed, so that they always go around in armor the color of snow or of soot, cold, hard, even though they get soaked through in the first rainfall. Suits of linen armor. Instead of plumes fastened to their helmets, some of them wear smoking pitch. Some of them exchange bold, refined glances of condescension. Which is why the walkway runs higher than the windows and gutters and downspouts. People throng the rooftops, while the ground is left for the transport of goods; the city becomes a network of intersecting bridges, whose inhabited arches connect the residential towers that serve as their supports; the residential buildings serve the bridge as piers and as walls for shaft areas. The city crowds will no longer move about on foot or on their four-legged colleagues; they will have learned to fly above the city, raining their glances upon the place below; above the city will hover a cloud that will test its builder’s work, a threat to weak roofs, like a thunderstorm or tornado. People on the rooftops will wrest from any groundling unreserved praise to the roof, and to the street that passes above the buildings. And so, behold its contours! A street high above the city, and the eye of the crowd high above the street!



       The fate of a river may serve as a lesson for the study of destiny. On the eve a riverbed was sounded was the day of its subjugation, its conquest by the powers of sail and oar, the surrender of the riverbed to mannkind.

      The sounding of Destiny and a thorough study of its dangerous should places make its navigation a calm and easy matter, just as sailing the riverbed became safe and easy once buoys with red and green lights marked the danger spots"the rocks, shoals, and sandbars of the river bottom. In the same way we can study the fissures and shifting shoals of Time.
     Analogous soundings may be made in the stream of Time,establishing the laws of time past, and studying the channel of time to come; by sounding Destiny we proceed from the lessons of past centuries in order to arm the mind with new eyes, eyes of the intellect, that can make out events still in the distant future.
     It has long been a commonplace that knowledge is a kind of power, and to foresee events is to be able to control them.
      Here are two equations: one concerns and outlines the destiny of England; the other provides a basic time outline of India.
It is important to remember that in general opposed events"victory and defeat, beginning and end"are united in terms of powers of three (3
n). The number three is the wheel of death, as it were, for the initial event.

     If indeed the pure Laws of Time exist, then they must govern without distinction everything that is subject to the flow of time, the planets of the solar system, shifts in the earth’s crust, the terrible change from the kingdom of reptiles to the kingdom of men, from the Devonian era to an era marked by the interference of man in the life and structure of Planet Earth.
     In fact, in the equation x = 3 n + 3 n, the interval of time for negative shifts, if we make n = 11, then x will equal the time between the destruction of Rome in 410 by peoples from the East, and the battle of Kulikovo Field, which put an end to the advance of those same peoples, a rebuff to the East. If we let n = 18, we get the time between the Tertiary age and our own. And, finally, if n = 23, then x = 369, 697, 770 years, or the interval between the earth’s Devonian age when reptiles were the lords of creation and the present day, when the Earth is a book with the shrieking title "Man." And does not this secret language based on three serve to explain the superstitious terror that man feels for reptiles, our frequently inoffensive enemies?
     Between the Devonian age and our own, according to the determinations of Professor Holmes, there has elapsed a period of 3 3 3 -2 2 + 3 3 3 -2 2 days or 3 23 + 3 23 days.
     That period of time marks the change from the domination of glitter-scaled reptiles to the domination of naked man in his soft envelope of skin. Only the hair on his head, like a wind blowing from centuries gone by, recalls his past. Considered from this perspective, people can be thought of as anti-reptiles. The crawlers on the ground were replaced by human beings, who fall and rebound constantly, like a ball. According to the pure laws of time, whose herald and trumpeter I hereby announce myself, both the life of the earth’s crust and shifts in the structure of human society are equally subject to the very same equations.
     Here is the law of English sea power: x = k + 3 9 + 3 9 n + (n " 1) (n " 2)2 16 " 3 9n-2, where k = the day in 1066 when the island was conquered by the Danes at the Battle of Hastings. If n = 1, then x falls on the year 1174, the year of the struggle with France; if n = 2, then x comes out as 1227, the year of the struggle with Denmark; if n = 3, then x comes out as 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada.
     All these wars guaranteed to Albion domination of the seas. And this was indeed to have been expected, because the equation is built on the base of three, and its initial point was an English defeat.


Plane One
I have come like a butterfly
Into the hall of human life,
And must spatter my dusty coat
As signature across its bleak windows,
As a prisoner scratches his name
On fate’s unyielding windowpane.
Human life is papered thick
With grayness and boredom!
The transparent NO of its windows!
Already I have worn away
My bright blue glow, my pointillated patterns,
My wing’s blue windstorm. The bright motes
Of my first freshness are gone, my wings waver,
Colorless and stiff. I droop despairing
At the windows of the human world.
Numbers, eternal numbers, sound in the beyond;
I hear their distant conversation. Number
Calls to number; number calls me home.

First Passerby

He wants to be a butterfly, he thinks he’s so smart, that’s what he wants to be.
Second Passerby

A pretty poor prophet, if you ask me. A butterfly? He looks more like an old lady!

Recite us some of your self-sounding poems! Tell us the story of L!
Speak to us in that beyonsense language of yours! Describe the horrors of our age in the words of Alphabet! So that never again will we have to see war between peoples, the sabres of Alphabet; instead let us hear the crash of Alphabet’s long spears, the fight of the hostile forces R and L, K and P!
The terror of the plumes in their helmets! The terror of their spears! The awful outlines of their faces: wild and wistful, full of sunburnt space! In those days the very skin of nations was eaten by the moths of civil war, and capital cities crumbled like stale bread.

The dew of human kindness had vanished into air

We have heard of L. We know it is the sudden halt of a falling point upon a broad transverse plane. We know about R; we know it is the point that penetrates, that cuts like a razor through the transverse plane. R rips and resonates, ravages boundaries, forms rivers and ravines.
Alphabet is the echo of space.
Tell us!


Plane Two

Back, Bog! Move, Mog!
March, Manmuscle!
I am Maker, and might!
I am Mover, and may! I am Matter, and might!
I am the Mighty Mower! Moving, improving! Mow might, Michman!
Magnet-eyed magus! Moving! Improving!
March, Michman! Hands! Arms!
Mammering, mowering force-face, full of muchness!
Matchering eyes, michering thoughts, muchering brows!
See my face, my mighthead! My arms, my mighthood!
"My hands, my arms!
Might-maker, main-mantle, motor-matter,
Motivated power-mower! Mogre!
My force-face mamogrified!
Many-mastering, Mog-mating muscle,
You shake your hair like a mountain-mogre,
A manifold maze, a nest of moglings, of muchlets and mainlings,
Of mightlings and masterkins, muchable mightlemames,
Where one miggle madlet still writhes
In a mowering moggle of magistry, a mag of might,
A breeding herd of mightlings and muchlets.
The raven beats her wings, brings water in her beak.
I must hurry so I will not be late!
See my face, Manmuscle! Magus of magnitudes!
Master of muchness!
Mickle miches! Major motion picture!
I move like fire-power, mogeyman, monster of men’s magination.
Mickle miches in a little magoom.
Move, Manmuscle!
Mog’s overmowering muchness! Mammering Mog!
Man’s-marrow! Power-mirror!
Magnify, mind, my magnimind! Hands, magnify!
Arms, mogrify!
Mutcher, Michman, magic Mogasm!
Magus of magnitudes! Master of muchness!
Moogle-eyes! Mog-mouth!
Michness of muchnesses!

Now M has invaded the lands and the holdings of Bog, destroying the fear of Him, achieving our necessary victory. Now the infantry army of M has ground down the rock of the impossible impassible, the stone age savage! Ground it into meal, into minute particles, matter for mites. They reduce a tree to moss and meadowgrass, an eagle to a moth, an elephant to a mouse and a mosquito. The one whole becomes the many, a mass of minute elements.
Now is the coming of M, mallet that mauls the great; omnivorous moth to mange the fur coats of centuries.
Now let us wake the sleeping gods of speech.
Shake the b******s by the beard! Wake up, you old ones! I am the Mogogur, the guru who gospels the name of M! Might-maker of Might-makers! Our course lies toward M, humanity’s North Star, our polar point, the pole that supports the haystacks of our beliefs. Toward M the barque of the centuries sails, toward M the dugout of humanity sails, a proud breath filling the sails of governments and states.
We have come from the land of the mind to the mighty domain of MOG .

A Thousand Voices (muffled) MOG! (pause) MOG! (pause) MOG! We are here! We are we!
The Distant Mountains MOGOOOO! MOGOOOO!
Zangezi Listen, the mountains acknowledge your declaration. Can you hear that proud flourish? "MOGOOOO", the mountains reply to your claim of possession! A thousand voices repeat it in the clamoring canyons! Can you hear the gods beating their wings, startled up by our shouting?
The Crowd The gods are flying away! The gods are flying away!

??Where the winking waxwings whistle
in the shadows of the cedars,
where the branches shake and shiver
the mockingbird minutes fly away;

In the shadows of the cedars
a flock of flickers flutter,
where the branches shake and shiver
the swallows turn to seasons
as they fly away.

In the tatters of the shadows,
in the darkest deep of day,
there they wheel above and whistle
like a flock of floating hours
that, fleeting, fly away.

You are sun and song and siren
and you touch our souls with sound,
make our hearts a wave of wonder,
little singers of all seasons,
and you fly away.

??Winganging with golden writing
Of the thinnest veins,
The grasshopper put inside of his body sails
Many stems of riverside grass.
Pin-pin-pin! " a magpie’s blast.
Oh, swanarvel!
Oh, raise up!

??Cloudarias floated all folorn
over the far high hills away,
Cloudarias cast their canopied shadows
over the desolate far away.
Cloudarias tumbled their canopied shadows
over the desolate far away…
Cloudarias floated all folorn
over the high far hills away.

??Goum. Goum.
Oum. Oum.
Uum. Uum.
Paum. Paum.
Soum of me Soum menh
And of those I don't know I tex, kogo ne zna]
Moum. Moum.
Boum. Boum.
Laum. Laum.
Cheum. Ceum.

Vital and vigorous but vain and vicious.

     Vitality is in words which relate to the Latin vita (life), vis (force) and vigor. In English are vim and vigour, vitality and velocity. The effect of V can be described as very vivacious. Like several other sounds V has a second, opposite meaning. In accordance with its relationship to the sounds W and F it is sometimes weak and flustured (German verwirrt), as in the words vain, vacuous, vapid, vague, vacillate, vagrant, vaporous, vertigo, veer, and vary.

Tantrism plays with language much like it plays with the social conventions and the ethical structures which it subverts. It employs an enigmatic language which is said to project the yogin into the "paradoxical situation" which is "indispensable to his training.

     Each consonant and vowel in a language has a meaning, in the sense that every word containing that sound has an element of meaning which words not containing that sound do not have. What underlies this sound-meaning is the form of the sound, i.e. its pronunciation - a sound means what it is. For example, to pronounce a stopped consonant [b, d, g, p, t, k], you completely block the flow of air through the mouth. Consequently all stopped sounds involve a barrier of some kind. The nature of that barrier varies depending on whether the sound is voiced [b, d, g] or unvoiced [p, t, k], whether it is labial [b, p], dental [d, t] or velar [g, k], and so forth. This meaning is different from the referent, which is what we normally think of as the meaning of a word. Reference is a separate process from sound-meaning, and is layered on top of it. Reference is less central to word semantics than sound-meaning, although it is much more obvious to the casual observer. This aspect of meaning which is determined by sound lies much closer to what we call the connotation than the denotation. Sound meaning does tend to predispose referents, but does not largely determine them. That is, you can't predict what a word will refer to based on its sound, but you can predict that a high percentage of words beginning with /b/ in every language will involve explosions, birth and loud noises. You can also predict that if a word referring to a sound begins with /b/, the sound will either begin abruptly or be very loud or usually both. Sound affects meaning in every word in every language. However, because of the way reference interacts with sound-meaning, its effect is not as obvious at first glance in concrete nouns and other words with very inflexible referents. What all the various referents or senses of a word have in common is their sound-meaning. Thus by virtue of its sound, the 'get' in 'get up' is the very same word to the English-speaking ear as the 'get' in 'get away', 'get involved', 'get through', 'get fat', 'get a Lamborghini'. The glue that holds all these senses together is the meaning of the /g/ followed by the meaning of the /e/ followed by the meaning of the /t/. Thus, all of this can be and has been verified empirically by simply cataloguing the relationship between sound and referent and taking statistics.

© 2010 Christopher Kelly

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Hello. dear Chris. I really liked this story, there is nothing wrong with it. it is beautiful. no wonder you got 206 views.

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Added on June 27, 2010
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Christopher Kelly
Christopher Kelly

Long Island, NY

I spend most of my time (when not staring at the heaventree of stars hung in humid nightblue fruit!) writing my 800+ page novel which after seven years of research, revision, and writing, is now, alas.. more..