The bride was displayed in her seven dresses—and one more—to the
women, who could not take their eyes off her. At last the bridegroom was
summoned to the chamber where she sat enthroned. He rose slowly and with
dignity from his divan; but in so doing, for he was over full of meat and drink,
he let fly a great and terrible fart.
—“The Year That Abul Hasan Farted”, The Thousand and One Nights
(trans. Richard F. Burton)

They say that they date the changes that occurred
from the year that Slavoj Žižek farted.

They say that people started spending more time
staring at vortexes of different kinds
such as washing machines and sinks.

They say that foldout travel brochures
began to exert
a disproportionate influence
on the politico-cultural fabric of society:
one even became an advisor
to the government committee
on media convergence.

While riding in an elevator
to the upper floors
of an international chain hotel,
a well known political commentator
was suddenly startled
by his own appearance in the mirror
and began to gesticulate wildly.

The act of buying flowers for a friend
a lover, a relative,
became fraught with a complicated
web of consequences.

Several species of flowers
would refuse to grow to their full height
and would droop prematurely.

Vacuum cleaners developed
self-projective capabilities,
many of them becoming fascinated
with space exploration
and attempting to launch themselves
into distant intergalactic reaches.

It was discovered that they could cross
the event horizons of black holes
and remain integral—
they would emerge from the other side,
with the black hole often following behind amorously.

Food became talkative, particularly sushi:
the little fish flap on top of the rice
especially the part that overextended from the rice
would begin to gossip
sometimes incessantly
so that it was difficult
to put the sushi piece in one’s mouth
without choking.

Disembodied flat-screen TVs took to rape,
and were implicated in several high profile cases.

Re-assembled frames would talk about theory,
meeting in fashionable neo-structuralist caf s.

Some animals,
not just the ones laid out on dissection plates
or exhibited in paleoanthropological displays,
started to say “Shit!”, but nothing else—
teams of zoologists, speech therapists
and cognitive neuroscientists
would try to get them to talk in full sentences,
but to no avail.

There were people who interpreted
these events literally,
the so-called Afflato-Ontologists of the Real:
they believed that Slavoj Žižek
had in fact farted a year into being—
to be perfectly clear,
it wasn’t the year during which Slavoj Žižek farted,
but the year that Slavoj Žižek farted.

Purportedly emerging thus
from Slavoj Žižek’s nether parts,
the year had acquired
a particular dimensionality
within the Phenomenologico-
Marvelous confines of which
these events supposedly occurred.

a quasar located somewhere
near the Andromeda Galaxy
was slowly developing
political consciousness.

Author’s Bio

Babar Khan is a poet, writer, and art photographer who has grown up partly in Paris and partly in Toronto. He has been previously published in Contemporary Verse 2 and Rampike, and featured at reading series such as the Art Bar and Caffe Vivaldi, West Village, NYC. His photos have been exhibited at Month of Photography L.A.