Volume 1. Chapter 20. Synthesis

History of weapons

Its prehistory is replicated in the hands of a boy beginning with the cudgel and continuing with stone, slingshot, bow and arrow, crossbow, and blowpipe increasing his reach and force while decreasing his effort.


Among the cities in which you get lost is the city of yearning. You are in a dream from which you can’t awaken where you have no compass. Every direction is a terrible choice; any direction is the right one.

Bird at the window of a cell

A wren alights at the window of a jail cell. She can fly in and out through the bars. You are both the bird and the prisoner who feeds her.


With your shaft from a tree and your feathers from a bird, you are a creature neither of air nor ground. You are propelled by the string you fly from and are compelled by gravity to return.


A viewer intuitively understands the forces of physics— gravity, momentum, mass, and distance. An image may or may not be analogous.


He’s wound in a spiral of disappointment. His gut is coiled like a snake, his face caught in a vortex of pain.

Fleeing woman looks back

Her demise is her escape. As she runs, she looks back without panic.


He can’t hide his anger. His switch has been thrown. Involuntarily, his face contorts and reddens.

Shattered key

An English speaker can easily read a sentence if all the letters of each word except for the first and last are rearranged. The meaning survives even when the machine is broken into pieces.