Karinne Keithley Syers


  • Comedy

A Tunnel Year is a three-part book with a play at its center, built from a few years’ worth of interrupted thoughts crammed into one-line scenes voiced by animals. Germinated in the Bardo of parenthood and compelled to work in the form of the fragment, it asks: Did I escape? Or am I lost?

First part performable prose poem; second part play; third part take-home essay printed on broadsheet.

Play Sample Text

A small dog rides a luxury elevator, alone. There is a large potted fern, an armchair, and a Persian rug. The dog sighs and music plays.

It’s my exit music.

A cat shows a surrealist film that intercuts zoomed-in footage of a wildebeest stampede with an animation of a white arrow traveling through a black field. The cat pauses the film.

This film is so stupid.

A macaw is hiding in a compartment of an RV.

I climbed in when no one was looking.

A dog rides in the passenger seat of a Subaru, with the window down. Snout out.

I was always an ambitious dog. But for what?

A mouse sits in the window of a moving model of the International Space Station in a science museum.

Sunrise every ninety minutes, so I rarely feel well rested.

A cow stands beneath a large tree full of rooks, dripping milk from her udders, listening.

I was interested in taking my thinking away from the neutral, which is actually a very private, hard-to-articulate thing to do.

An escaped raccoon loiters near the fence of its just-escaped enclosure.

I have a preemptive sadness for the future state of things.

A pony floats in outer space

This is no good.