Axis of Combination By Mark Crimmins

November 30, 2015 Comments Off on Axis of Combination By Mark Crimmins

Heading west along Bloor Street, I try to walk off my troubles. Over the entrance to Tiffany’s a relief sculpture of Atlas holds up the world. The man-god struggles to balance on his hunched shoulders a stone beach ball, which also conveniently tells the time. As I near the Colonnade, a young boy veers out of Chapters Bookstore and runs across the street, forcing a motorist in a Lamborghini Espada to slam on his brakes. Another boy chases the first, yelling after him: “Hassim! The keys! The keys! Hassim!” Their cries sink from the peripheral to the anterior, and soon Christ is preaching to me across the traffic from the Wayside Pulpit of the Church of the Redeemer. I am the way, the truth, and the life. Across Avenue Road, the Ming Dynasty lions of the Royal Ontario Museum sit resolute beneath the tangled scaffolding of Libeskind’s deconstructivist crystal. Philosopher’s Walk wriggles away from me and disappears beneath a canopy of leaves. Through the Music Conservatory windows, I hear a madrigal by Palestrina. Beside the old dome-decapitated Meteorological Station, a huge raccoon shimmies down one of the observatory trees and lopes across the grass, its head swinging left and right. For a moment, it pauses and pans me with a glance. Then it resumes its raccooning. At Saint George, the new student residence rises before me. A crane’s yellow claw dangles over its roof. The sharp angles and tilted glass planes of the Bata Shoe Museum edge towards me like an iceberg in a deep current. Across the street, the Art Deco façade of the Medical Arts Building bathes in sunlight. Above its Doric columns, Plato speaks in stone. The ideal journey is the mind’s ascent to truth. I pass the sculptured granite dominos at Spadina. The delicate horizontal bands of the Jewish Community Centre. I pause at Book City and read the spines of the sidewalk table books. Cyphers. Glyphs. Markings on trees. I continue west. At Bathurst, the Vegas neon overload of Honest Ed’s Discount Store tears a hole in my head. I stop to admire a graffiti mural in an alleyway just past Markham. I walk on. Roman letters become Hangul characters. Koreatown. There’s no end to the city of signs. After Euclid, I realize I will never stop walking. From Palmerston I can see along Bloor Street until it reaches the sky. Another hour and it will be a pathway to the sun.

© 2015 Mark Crimmins

Mark Crimmins’ fiction has been nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize, a 2015 Best of the Net Award, and a 2015 Silver Pen Association Write Well Award. His flash fictions have been published in Happy, theneweryork, White Rabbit, Flash Frontier, Columbia online, Tampa Review Online, Pif, Portland Review, Eunoia Review, Gravel, and Kyoto Journal. He has been teaching experimental fiction at the University of Toronto since 1999. He can be followed at

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