Two asemic visual poems. “The Blue Document” (top) almost became a Carrot Poem Variation, but I feel like it evolved into something outside the series. The evolution kept going until a second piece emerged, “Another Blue Document”.
This is one of the Carrot Poem Variations, an unpublished series of GLP panels dated for the last five days of 1999.
Yost stop making new GLP comics in 1997, except for a few odd commissions. Newspapers ran previouly published GLP panels for almost 2 years after Yost disappeared while on vacation in New Zealand in November 1999. The last GLP comic in print, “The Efflorescent Humor of the Pomegranate” (originally published on July 4, 1996), appeared in newspapers on October 4 and 5, 2001.
“Thirty miles northwest of a small village named Pisinemo (or Pisin Mo’o) is an inscribed stone, overgrown in a copse of ironwood, cholla and whitethorn acacia. The inscription refers to a very popular poem in the rustic dialect, about the heroine Roya Teymu, who recoverd the use of her mutilated limbs at this sacred site.” From a pamphlet, “A Brief History of Utterance Rock’, Oracle Junction Press, 1956, 16 pages.
Anyone my age (62) or older has lived in worlds that are now gone. I wonder if worlds collapse more often in the modern era. People seem more restless, more ready to scrap old worlds and leave them behind.
Yet the carcasses of the old worlds get dragged along with the new. The ghosts follow us. For me, the two ghosts that haunt the coronavirus pandemic are the Vietnam War and the arrival of AIDS in America. I remember the United States government at those times was bumbling and callous, and full of ridiculous liars who caused thousands of unnecessary deaths. I remember during those times some Americans were cruel in their ignorance.
When I unearthed this diagram in 2018, I did not know what it represented. An imaginary pamphlet came along with it, but it was not very informative, and I found nothing more within myself, or in the outside universe. The story would not emerge until now. This is a cancer map. It is a coronavirus chart. It’s a survey of the end of the world.
“Key facts. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.” From WHO, the result of a Google search “worldwide cancer deaths in one year”.
At least 40% of the people who live in the United States will get cancer. I’m not going to compare the risks of getting cancer to the risks of getting Covid-19. I lost my two younger sisters to cancer last year. Their deaths brought my world to an end, and now I live in a new world. I don’t want this new world, I’d rather have my sisters. I don’t get that choice. Nobody gets that choice. There are a lot of circumstances in life that are not in our control. We will be forced to accept living with coronavirus like we have been forced to live with cancer. Why should we fret about it? It’s just the end of the world.
There’s a funny thing that happens when your world ends. You can look back and see that the world has come to an end many times. Before coronavirus I already knew that we were living in a post-apocalyptic world. The end of the world does not happen like it does in the movies. Tina Turner does not strut through the wreckage in a skimpy chain mail dress. Nor does it end in the way that is hoped and longed for by the preppers and the Christians; the world ended and they didn’t even notice; when it ends again, they will remain oblivious. The Jehovah Witnesses have picked several dates for the end of the world, and maybe they weren’t wrong, maybe they’re just confused about what to do in the aftermath. We have gone through Y2K and 2012, and I’m sure the year 999 was a crazy year before the end of the Millennium. And let’s not forget all the past extinctions! How ’bout the one that’s called “The Great Dying”, when 90% of all life on earth just went away? Yet there was a world after that. There had to be, for us to be here on this planet.
I recommend picking your own past end date for the world. Personally, I like October 12, 1997 as the end of the world. Welcome to the New Post-Apocalypse! You don’t have to accessorize with chain mail, leather pants and a blow torch (unless that’s your thing). You don’t have to stock a basement full of canned food and bottled water. You don’t have to mount a gun to cover every window and door. The disaster you tried to get ready for has already happened. The revolution you were planning has come and gone. There is no future.
You have this moment, now. The world is still here.
I received an e-mail last week from Yost’s former assistant, Ha Kim Ngoc. She is sheltering-in-place in the company of Henry D. T. Wadsworth, her hedgehog, Philo the Great and Terrible, her Lynx Point Siamese cat, and the assorted tenants of her salt-water aquarium, plus she usually has a very small and somewhat temporary population of poultry in the backyard. She was a heavy smoker of cigars for twenty years and is somewhat susceptible to pneumonia, which may put her in the high-risk category for the coronavirus, especially since she is no longer young. However, she is not worried, her health is good, and she is more concerned with providing care to her menagerie.
She had seen the poster where I had collected twelve of my favorite GLP comics as of April 13, 2020. She sent me list of her own current favorites, twenty-five comics from a span of eight years. A list that, I noticed, included quite a few pieces made outside the five years she worked for Yost.
She also included a list of twelve GLP comics she is convinced are ones made by Yost under the influence of az-Akordalkiermat, an alliance of Jackalopian scholars, shamans and alchemists.
There is a half-price sale on greeting card going on at Zazzle. You can get the above GLP panel, “An offering to fire, water, the moon, and the gods of the road”, on a card here. The promo code is ZAPRILOFFERS.
This is the larger work derived from the GLP comic below (title: “An individual occurrence within the indigo quinquennial”):
And here is a gif showing a series of images from the process of making it.
I’m sure a tote bag and latte mug of the same design are coming soon.
This GLP comic appeared in various publications around the world on June 23, 1986. In a recent e-mail to me, Ha Kim Ngoc brought my attention to another GLP comic with the same date, a panel that was never published.
There are a few GLP panels that bear duplicate dates, and more than a few GLP comics bear a date that seems to have no relation to the day they were published. There are several theories floating around the GLP fandom for this. One theory is that time itself for Jackalopes is less linear and more malleable than it is for humans. Another theory is that the numbers Yost put in the top right-hand corners of GLP comics do not represent the date at all, even though most seem to correspond to it.
The only representation we have of the never-published comic is a damaged slide. It depicts a part of the Camelford Prosimetrum:
We can now recognize the Camelford Prosimetrum as an undeciphered kiGamnch artifact, and can guess it is some kind of document that was printed or painted on a piece of tapa cloth. The document was originally (and fancifully) named the Eidsvoll Maqamat by the second Baron Camelford, who discovered the artifact in Malacca or Sri Lanka. While the artifact was in the possession of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, it was simply identified as “ceremonial bark cloth”, 132 x 180 inches, from 19th century Fiji. The bark cloth disappeared from the museum in 1978, with not even a photograph left behind in the record of its existence. The image for this print here was recreated from a sketch made by an unknown art student from the College of the Pacific, Stockton.
Pencilled on the back of Yost’s original artwork for this panel are the words “whippoorwill all the night through”. That line and the title of this comic come from the song “Talkin’ Like You” by Connie Converse. In 1974, Connie Converse “had packed her belongings in her Volkswagen Beetle and driven away, never to be heard from again.”
I had set aside my art-making for a while. I thought about doing something else, maybe writing, maybe nothing. I have had days of doing nothing, and I’m grateful for them. So much of my life has changed in the last few years. And now strange days have found us. (Too many songs by the Doors to make a link here. Besides the obvious, “Strange Days” and “People are Strange”, there is also “When the Music’s Over”, “Touch Me” and “Break on Through to the Other Side”. My pick would be “Moonlight Drive”. Let’s swim to the moon.) I am slowly getting back to making new Geranium Lake Properties comics. I have been looking through some of my old image files, and when I feel the urge to chop them up and make something different out of the pieces, I don’t resist.
With lots of time on my hands, I have been adapting GLP comics into the designs of latte mugs. Posters and latte mugs are 50% off at Zazzle right now, so I took advantage of the cheap price.
If you would like to put your own art on a latte mug, let me say that the design tool at Zazzle takes some time to master, but you do have a bit of time before the sale ends at a minute before midnight on April 13. We’re all learning to live in a new world anyway, so yeah, let’s all learn to sew breathing masks and design latte mugs!
This panel is the one most misprinted in the history of Geranium Lake Properties color printing errors. It is accepted as common knowledge that no newspaper, out of the 17 that printed GLP in color, got it right. According to Ha Kim Ngoc, it is Yost’s least favorite misprint, an opinion she expressed to Michael Veerduer at the Strand bookstore, where they were both attending an event celebrating the 6th anniversary reprint of The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau by Gralie Bohe. A part of their conversation appeared in print in the New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010.
In the universe of Geranium Lake Properties, mild steel is the nickname for a legal psychoactive drug commonly used by the Hahnqui, the mainstream culture that exists outside of Jackalopian tradition. The culture is assumed to be modern American life, since the geography of GLP is often set within the United States. Most people have guessed that mild steel is a synonym for caffeine, but the GLP historian Michael Veerduer argues that caffeine, in the form of coffee, occupies a sacred place in Jackalopian tradition. He also points out that one of the most significant qualities of mild steel is its lethality for children. Other people have proposed mild steel as a representation of nicotine or firearms.
Pictured here is the misprint from the Toronto Star. More misprints can be viewed in this poster for sale at Zazzle.
This is a mystery. I have consulted with the usual experts (Ha Kim Ngoc, Michael Veerduer) and with the unusual ones (Algernon and Agatha Dawe-Saffery), and we still have no clue. I re-read my copy of The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau by Gralie Bohe, which is always an enlightening experience, and reviewed the bulk of my notes on Jackalopian culture. No clue in any of those archives. This is so very asemic. Feel free to exercise your asemic skills of authorship over something you have no authority to author. (Do I really need to add a winking emoji to that sentence? I think it’s very winky as it is.)
Have you noticed how asemic writing might be the perfect anti-authoritative literature?
I’ve been re-potting some of my succulents, and doing a bit of salvage. The crow, Claudia, has weathered with age, but she is as sharp-eyed and sharp-feathered as ever. Caesar sits alertly beneath her, a gift from my sister Nancy. The mug is a gift from my sister Susan; we don’t get Tim Horton’s out here in California.
Yost penciled “5CB” and “(The Silver Bodhisattva)” on the back of the original artwork for this panel. After Yost disappeared in 1999, his assistant Ha Kim Ngoc revealed to GLP historian Michael Veerduer that “5CB” was an abbreviation for “Five Carthaginian Bodhisattvas”. We know of sixteen GLP panels that are marked with this abbreviation.
There is no limit to the number of godparents for a jackalope child, but at least one of them should be a forestcousin. Jack Loki had four such creatures at his christening, invited by his Finnish grandmother. All were metsän kuninkaat with home territories near the river Kapperijoki in Finland.
For a glimpse of all four kings: Metsän Kuninkaat