THE CHILD DEPRIVED

The child sees the back of her moving away from him across the room, for no reason to him, the door opens and she disappears. She is no more. But he remains on his hands and knees handling the glittering objects on the floor, which lay scattered about and draw him in; but soon somewhat less so, and the space around him turns white. A knot inside of him tightens, and a groan explodes at his chest, lengthening upward and eventually escaping his throat. It is a burst of yearning that is immediately relieved with tears, which spill until he tires. Worlds pass, and nothing. There once was a giantess that loomed and encompassed him with her soft folds. Everything was absorbed into her. She danced and the movement pleased him. He was not alone. He is alone now. This realization sends a swarm of black-winged creatures fluttering through him that bend his vision outward. The outside smiles crookedly back at him. Nowhere is safe. The child will continue. He may survive, though most likely, only part of him.

THE OUTSIDE

The bleeding words of our fathers intersect the exigencies of the moment, as we keep tripping over ourselves in the seasickness world of every day. The great going forward into the outside, the dust of light, chimera and the arid spaces, the distant mirages, meetings and misunderstandings, missteps and footprints, reverberations and regrets, glancing against our will into rear-view mirrors, the images fading though not quite disappearing completely. Everything is outside, separate, set against us, a cause for mastery or evasion, the clock ticking constantly in our sleep, while what arises unbidden from the seabed is no more than random explosions, the ramblings of a lunatic machine. Questions? We do not even know what to ask anymore. All of the wrong questions have been answered wrongly, all of the right questions have never been answered. And nobody wants to be the last person standing. There is no inner world anymore, nowhere to get lost, to hide, only surfaces on screens that blip endlessly, idiotically, providing false information and dangerous messages. We may well all end up, just go out muttering inanities to our pretend friends. All this is played out against the canvas of the new normal, just another day in a fresh century, which is billed as for the best and guaranteed to please. Of course, the past still has its sway. The primitive appetites and ferocious outcries, DNA that rings sharply from its origins. The ape and the robot have been caught in an embrace. We can all live this, grotesquely replacing defective organs, staying young and void separately. This is the dream. This is the end game in the nightmare that won’t end. The truth is nobody really thinks it will come to this. It is too much for the brain to fathom. Thus it is denied as we fall deeper into darkness. In fact, it is only in the darkness where it can be tolerated at all. Nobody wants to spotlight the monstrosity, the gigantic elephant in the room, who may one day remember who he is. When one does not recognize inner space, all things become a commodity and all beings become possessions, alien to one another. It is not important to even try to understand. And if this leaves a vacuum, it is filled with pieces of death, so that we are stiffened in frozen blood and indigestible ideologies. To conquer death we must first die inside. In order to survive the prevalent mindscape, we must first turn ourselves into mobile corpses in lockstep toward the vague horizon.

I SEE ME YOU SEE ME

I am this to me. I am that to you. This is the real me because I know myself better than you know me. I have spent longer with myself than you have spent with me and I know me at a deeper level than you know me. This this is me, this I is not. This I is merely an observer, just as you are an observer of that. When you tell I that this is that, I don’t understand you because I never see that when I am looking at me. I only see this. It is not that I don’t want to see that. It is not that my mirror is broken, it is only that I don’t see it. Don’t you see this? How can you show me that that is me? You define that and then expect I to see it but you see me thru eyes that are not innocent. Your eyes want to see me like that, they need  that. You see me with eyes that are less than honest, at least less honest than my eyes because I don’t need to see me like this. I don’t have a problem with it. At least I don’t have as much of a problem with it as you do. I could easily see me as that if I could see it. But you could not see me as this even if you could see it. Why I say that is because you have more to lose by seeing me like this than I have to lose by seeing me like that. I may have something to lose as well but I don’t mind losing as much as you do. It wouldn’t bother me to lose if I could see it your way. But I can’t so I won’t. What I want is for you to see me like I see me. That would make I happy. Then I would feel good about me and about you. Understand me. See me correctly. Don’t lie. Be honest. I don’t want you to see it my way just to please I. It would please I only if you could really see me this way.

NAUSEA

I felt dizzy today. I never get dizzy, I get nauseous, quite often, in fact. It comes from a place beyond my body, I won’t say my spirit but in that vicinity, and it travels inward and out at the same time. It tells me I might not be living, that part of me, a large part of me, is dead. And I walk around as this semi-corpse as if nothing is wrong and I say all the appropriate things and do all the necessary things even as I feel the need to vomit out disgust, (not despair) closer to rarefied revulsion, on my fellow passengers in our postcard voyage toward doomsday. And then I say why bother, it would just be a waste of fluids. Then I might eat a peach or tickle myself, or get to bed and steel myself against the impending darkness. I don’t have actual nightmares, but instead the dullest dreams imaginable that make me believe hell must be elongated boredom, an eternity of waste, a state of  neither pain nor pleasure nor feelings, and I must in the dream scream to get me out of this place. Of course, nobody hears me, mainly because everyone else is screaming the same thing, all silently in an orchestra of futility. The bars in my dreams are made of paper, yet I can’t leave, for some reason, I cannot relieve my sickness, my nausea. It is as if I were born to it, and I must survive. And always coiled in an anger that I do not discharge. I should have been…I think…I always thought I should have been a killer, maybe for profit, a gangster. a hitman that everyone admired for his smooth delivery. I imagine there must be a sweet cessation of pain at the point of murder for the giver as well as the getter and I could have taken either side enthusiastically. Kill or be killed. I would be comfortable in. Alas, it is too late for that! I am too old to whack anyone. And what follows in this confession? (It is bad form, after all, to inform that one hides a killer’s heart.) Let me add that I could blow away the human race in one breath if incited. I am a human atomic bomb. I should not be trusted with the Nuclear Code. As for this prevailing spiritual desolation, it is apt to inquire into a remedy, no? Is there one? People live with incurable illness all the time and do not resort to violence. It is perhaps a test of machismo that makes me think I can do the same. All manner of disturbance can be regulated to the degree that it is bearable. Most of us inhabit a frontier space between sickness and health. anyway. I might just be entertaining a mild cold as far as spiritual sickness is concerned. I might just get over it, in some future life, perhaps. Suck it up. As they admonish in the military. Am I that weak that I can’t take a spell of spiritual desolation?  Do I have the right to whine as a civilian? Yes, the questions, yes, the recriminations that go on, that never end, that latch onto each other like train cars, with no answers, no solutions, no sense. Until I realize the absurdity, that nothing is answerable, that our lives are made up of only question marks, not even periods, other than death, and the realization makes me laugh and laugh and laugh, and I am still laughing when I have my fatal heart attack.

CHARLIE ROSE INTERVIEWS JULIAN SCHNABEL AND DAVID BOWIE

https://charlierose.com/videos/12092

A man appears at a round table. He is long and wears a jacket tie and shirt. The collar is not the same color as the rest of his shirt, which makes him seem somewhat special. His face reminds one of a horse. He could be a supreme recluse. Another man sits facing him with a bushy head and beard. He is wearing a white shirt open at the neck, revealing a profusion of chest hair. It seems like there is a sad beginning between the two men. It could be dead time because neither of them shows emotion on their face. The man with the bushy chest says that he lives in a pink stable in Manhattan. He tells the other man that he is a painter and filmmaker and just finished a movie about a dead painter. They engage eye to eye seriously. A lot of information seems to pass between them. Their mouths move all the time. Who knows if they like each other or love each other. They don’t seem to be of the same tribe. Next a pop tart appears on the scene. He has hair the color of a carot that sticks up straight as if he is angry. He is very thin and would make a woman worry about him. He smokes a cigarette , but we never know where the ashes are going to land. Nobody seems to worry about it. Everybody takes on happy faces now and chatter abounds. Some important things are said by the thin man, which makes the burly fellow want to fight him. We wonder if burly man will sit on carrot boy and squash him. We don’t want him to because that would stop their conversation, and everybody would become unhappy. It doesn’t happen. Phew! I don’t know if I like these humans or I don’t. Does that make me bad, I wonder.  Will I have to go away and pray. It is not as if I should be called bad. They appeared like a vision on my screen and I looked. Will my eyes be taken from me? Everything went black at the end and disappeared.  I was left shaking my head.

https://charlierose.com/videos/12092

LATE SUMMER

The feeling of drowning in morning light, cloud power and the dreamy skull, the promise of the blues gone forever. In the blonde blondness of the day, the caramel coated summer passing in a slow motion mirror, the trees cheerful as they sink into a yawn. It is a famous present, whispering seasonal traffic, the angle of a sun-splashed brick wall. A cityscape delirium. I exit my closet, blink orange, and I’m there, Sunday Morning by Lou Reed, and I don’t know what to bring to this last gasp of summer. It is a little like being invited to a beheading. How long will it take, will there be neck tightness, bleeding colours? I don’t know. Nobody knows when it comes to transitions, nobody’s an expert. And I don’t want to know. I prefer my windowpanes vague. I hope we can cut to the chase with a sharp blade, avoiding the tangled up telephones, the exhausting positions, the gum ache. I might be doing something wrong. I wish it were not so.

A WINTER MIND

In frozen light there is nowhere to go. You have stopped and everything around you is static and distant. In this glacial landscape, you have been severed from all rivers of possibility,  from blood communion with the living, from breath itself, and there is the overriding sense that it has always been this way and probably always will be. It may be that you are already dead and that you possess only the critical awareness to monitor your state. You obviously cannot change anything about it. Your body still functions as always: you eat, sleep, defecate.  You speak, listen, and move from place to place, or rather you watch yourself doing these actions as if you were watching an actor on a screen , that the agent is someone else, someone you  hardly recognize. You feel nothing, except for the occasional stab of disgust, which is not even unpleasant because it fortifies you against any emotions. If there is desire, it is for oblivion. If there is a will, it is untouchable. There is nothing out there that beckons . And there is no inside. What becomes of a surviving corpse, you may wonder. This will one day be determined.

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UNEMPLOYMENT

Powder sky framing softly exploding bursts of whiteness and the cinnamon brickwork and the murmuring, grumbling city machinery and the empty stomachs and heart that cannot be sated and pains that have become housebroken and the boredom factor at high- grade fuel and the ever-present hunger for work, the peace that work may bring.      

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STAIN

You were so colorless before the event, so perfect that you passed through our field of vision unnoticed. You would always be there, though left unappreciated for the many functions and movements you performed in the world. Then the fire, then the blemish as an aftermath that put you on the map. You are now marked, dignified in your ugliness. You have acquired history, a sense of having lived and suffered, which we will exploit as an added feather in our cap.

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SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

The package wears a bow-tie. He smiles at the clock. He can’t go anywhere or do anything because packages don’t move on their own and there is nothing that moves him. Being self-aware, He observes himself as weight. Gravity is the rule that owns him. Repetition is the game that plays him in a slow, evenly paced drip that marks time. More accurately, it is the clock that changes position, and the smile indicates nothing because it has been pasted on, it signifies no particular emotion. It remains perhaps because it relaxes his face and has become a habit and habit is what keeps him. He notices his chest, a block heaving, and sometimes gets lost in its momentum. In moments like this he goes away and then returns . He returns to the same place, to his body, to the repetition, to the arena of pain. Everything is old, solid, unchanged. He listens to his body, to the noises that wash over it in a functional , predictable sequence- the passages, the objections, the causes and effects, the tedium. He tries to listen for something different and then concludes that it has all been done just the same as it always has, in eternal, concentric stasis . He remembers, he still can remember, the sun, the moon, their dance in light and darkness. The clock moves once again and the past spins out as well with all the unreality of soap bubbles. It could be another mind that invented it. The mind means nothing, can’t be trusted to produce anything reliable. He is his body: Limited. Immobile. Circumscribed, as if spirit has been extricated leaving a corpse that is watching itself. A stone watching a stone, watching the clock move over frozen time.

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