Ignacio Pena_For Blitstein


  1. A comic strip in ten panels: In the first panel, there is a crescent moon. In the second, a cow. In the third, the cow spins its tail and inflates its udders. In the fourth, the cow rises and in the fifth, reaches the clouds. In the sixth, the cow appears below the moon; in the seventh, above. In the eighth the moon wrinkles; in the ninth, it pierces an inflated udder and there is an explosion. In the tenth and last, the cow is shown falling through space.
  2. The backstory: When it was a calf this cow experienced a trauma when her father was killed in the bullring. Without advice, without therapy or emotional support, this cow was left to heal as best she could; and she conceived, during this period, which lasted into adulthood, a dream of flight. Through an act of will and a special kind of genius, she discovered that she could make her tail spin like a propeller and her udders inflate with hot air. This made her rise and move low over the meadows, which gave her the serenity she lacked in her daily life. One day on one of her flights, misdirecting her heat energy away from her inflated udders, she farted and rose like a rocket into the upper atmosphere, in the vicinity of the moon in its crescent phase. To the cow’s perpetually fevered brain and inappropriately applied imagination, the moon took on the person of her father, with his horns. As traumatized creatures will, she fell into an obsessive condition which compelled her, at each crescent moon, to fly above the crescent, expressing with all manner of cow noises her love for her father. To call this a habit is to undervalue it. It was one of the great obsessions, to be memorialized in all media from Norse epic to Pixar blockbuster. At last, the cow’s pathetic history reached a newly independent Kyrgyzstan, whose formerly state-owned newspaper soon initiated a popular cartoon series in the first flush of capitalist enterprise.
  3. The Dénouement: Why, then, did the moon act in so reprehensible a manner? I believe, month after month, in all innocence, the moon, being only half-bright, came to think of itself as the cow’s father, a bull. All well and good for the cow, who doubtless sensed the moon’s empathy and bathed in its glow. But one night, the moon rose blue, and in a fit of depressive delusion, saw the cow as a matador and seized the chance to take a father’s revenge for having been lost to his daughter all those years ago.
  4. The Lesson: If you are going to jump over the moon, and you are a cow, make sure you have a cat to comfort and a fiddle to soothe a deranged crescent moon.

About the Author: Barry Blitstein began in theater (MFA); he has lived in New York, The San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles, and Berlin, Germany.  He feels very much at home wherever he is. Most recently his poems have appeared in Off The Rocks, Hartskill Review and The Inflectionist Review. His objective is to make each poem’s form and content inseparable and has no fixed ideas about either.