Epic of the Uncreature
and The Original Gasoline Totem

by Daniel Y. Harris

Epic of the Uncreature

On the Ile of Mortificatio, in a cluster east of the Galapagos Islands, an uncreature named Bozina di Kardinuta waits to unname himself in effigy. Addressing a delegate of Mortification Culture Ministers, di Kardinuta begins with an eloquent act of negation.

"I am not a beast. My name is not derived from a bestiary, translated into Latin and later supplemented by the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville in 636 CE. I am neither sow, hare, yale nor tragelaphus, nor can I be found in Gerald of Wales' Topography of Ireland. Name me neither badger, barnacle, goose, osprey nor water ouzel. My name is not among the bestial dignitaries of the 12th century Bestiarum Vocabulum. Name me neither Panthera, Bonnacon, Ericius, Griffin, Manticore, Cinomolgus, Caladrius, Basilisk, Amphivena nor Ydrus."

Bozina di Kardinuta pauses to stare at his audience and wrap his red tail around regional fauna.

"A letter from your secretary, Prebus J. Vaud, has alarmed me. Its reliance on alchemical tropes captured by suffering matter, dragons, peacock’s tail, salamanders and hermaphrodites, exhumes my distrust. Were alembics, anthanors, distillations and coagulations part of my chthonic identity, I would have appeared to each of you as a fiend in a dream. No sleep for the guilty would have preempted my 'I am not a beast' speech. I am no alchemist and seek no transformation — neither my own, nor for that matter, yours. In fact, I take orgiastic pleasure from pure stasis."

Di Kardinuta readjusts his red, globular seating position, if that is what one calls it, and directs some semblance of an appendage at the audience.

"I have a name. I am not coy. This is not elaborate subterfuge to quell the Ministry’s concern for my allegiance. I want to interrupt eternity, to curtail the temporal, that is, to stop time at this moment. I want to witness your louring smiles frozen on your faces. I speak neither of poisoning, torture, killing, decomposition, rotting nor bleeding to death on bits of colored glass. I speak of pure stasis, not as prophylaxis, but as blank. Stillness, forever. I have suffered shame ordering an Espresso just a block from Mortificatio Square. Now, perched before you as a meld of leaking organs, I speak my name and all stops. B-O-Z-I-N-A D-I K-A-R-D-I-N-U-T-A."

The Original Gasoline Totem


Petrolus of the Gasoline Totem speaks to his disciple, Saint Hydrocarbon:

"You among the chemical seraphs of this celestial refinery speak the speech the way I pronounced it to you, gasingly on the tongue. Your crude oiled tongue bears conversational daft. Fumes, all fumes."

Saint Hydrocarbon divides and conquers his disparate parts. Benzene, Toluene, Naphthalene and Trimethylbenzene are sainted. Saint Benzene leads the procession to Saint Toluene’s dismay. Saints Naphthalene and Trimethylbenzene carry pump handles. From this day forth, Saint Hydrocarbon is known as the Catalytic Reformer.

Petrolus of the Gasoline Totem speaks to his disciple, Saint Hydrocarbon:

"You among your Crude Saints, raise your Octane Level and Sacrifice the Anode, I, Petrolus of the Gasoline Totem, name ZOROGASTRIAN."

Saint Hydrocarbon sanctifies Zorogastrian and the earth burns for two thousand years.

The Discovery

Digital archeologists, excavating a remote region of the Internet, burrowing through layers of volcanic html, uncover, to their dismay, an ancient Totem with an inscription entitled The Sayings of Petrolus. It is surmised that this totemic remnant, important as the discovery of the so-called "Copper Scrolls"containing fragments of Essene Wisdom in 1947, is the sole remnant of an ancient people called the "Petrolites." The aforementioned text was written in Petrolan, an Indo-European amalgam of the Demotic, Phoenician and Hebrew languages, by Petrolus, circa 2nd CE.

"The Sayings of Petrolus were discovered inscribed on the pump handle,"said the lead archeologist. "We’re lucky, plain lucky," he added, sensing a Nobel Prize. The ethos of Petrolite civilization, its socio-politics, relations to its surroundings and advanced knowledge of fossil fuels, are now being debated by teams of scholars and oil company executives.


Daniel Y. Harris, M.Div, (University of Chicago) is the author of the two poetry chapbooks: Unio Mystica (Cross-Cultural Communications Press, 2009), Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Pudding House Press, 2009) and the co-author, with Adam Shechter, of the experimental chapbook, Paul Celan and the Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue (Cervena Barva Press, 2009). Among his credits are: The Pedestal Magazine, Exquisite Corpse, In Posse Review, European Judaism, Poetry Magazine.com, Denver Quarterly, Convergence and The Other Voices International Project. Among his art exhibitions credits are: The Jewish Community Library of San Francisco, Market Street Gallery, The Euphrat Museum and The Center for Visual Arts. He earns his living as Northwest Regional Director of Development for Canine Companions for Independence.