Obsolete Growth

Obsolete Growth Podcast

To be many and not one splits the one apart in any context.  Hieronymus Schitzolini could never be one.  To be many is to know that at the center of Being nothing exists.  A void of emptiness, and potential.  The apparatuses at play are cruel in their operations.  Framing everyone as one.  A simple unit to be told who it is.  To be bought and sold.  And for no greater purpose than to keep the sinking ship afloat.  Such systems can only see one in many rather than many in one.  A multiplicity dissolves statistical interpretations where everything must be useful according to the one.  But that pressure to solidify – to compress many into one – is a centripetal force of suffering moving on that centrifugal line of outcomes disguised as consequences.

On the other hand, there is one thing.  Schitzolini saw the ancient symbol known as ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail, as a profound unity at play within each one of us.  Not a unity of identity but operation.  The head of the snake as desire and the tail as fear.  A constant, simultaneous devouring and stuffing.  A long sequence of attractive repulsions and revolting desires spiraling out among an endless array of other dissipating coils.  The after effect being the unsettling existence we prefer to see as coming from the outside and not within.  The very nerve of being alive.  The nausea of fearing what we desire and desiring what we fear.  The twitch idealized as a decision-making process.  The dreaded peripheral urge to self-devour.

Klein fiasco

Consistency parenting.  Difficult to put into practice.  Not for my wife.  She’s a machine.  

Remember my love that only through you have I been allowed to feel anything at all.  You are my teacher, my gateway.  Before you I was nothing but a numb worm of displaced movements.

When it comes to discipline, we refuse physical punishment.  It simply does not work.  It only made me despise my father.  He let out his misery on my backside.  Called it tough love.  Like when he roughed up mom.  In fact, my entire childhood can be summed up in one image: my father sticking his fist in his mouth and biting it.  Have you ever seen such a man eating his fist in wild rage? 

I accepted my wife’s suggestion that we get this box that monitors family behavior through an app installed on our phones.  It records all of our verbal interactions and an algorithm processes them so that when there is a communication breakdown between family members, it assists in sorting out a resolution.  It’ll provide you with specific examples of what you have said as evidence to consider in relation to whatever the problem might be. 

Remember it was you who made me go bankrupt so that I could know again the sweet taste of the crumbs you left for me.

We take our kid to an art gallery with my wife’s hope that this will develop his artistic side.  While I’m trying to figure out some contorted formation, my kid tugs at my shirt and tells me he needs something.  I tell him not now.  Mom is busy talking with the front desk.  Then the piss sprays out of his shorts.  He’s pissing all over the floor.  I stare at the puddle.  We apologize and offer to help clean up but it’s better that we just go.

On the ride home, I remember the time I had to hold it.  Don’t disturb dad, at all costs.  Eventually, I lost control and pissed all over the floor in the bookstore.  He yanked me by the arm and spanked me outside the store in front of an audience.  I look in the rearview mirror and see my son sobbing and nobody even punished him.  

Only when you took everything away could I understand the abundance of your slightest gestures that meant little or nothing to you and everything to me.

At home, we sit him down after cleaning him up and I blurt out something I would never say in my right mind.  I call him “a moron” for not telling us that he needed to go to the bathroom.  At this moment, the box lights up.  It proceeds to replay the word “moron” over and over in various contexts.  Apparently I use the word a lot more than I’m aware of.  At first, I tell my wife that the box might be malfunctioning.  Stuck on repeat.  

Now it feels like I’m on trial for my overuse of one word.  She’s looking right through me.  My kid is looking right through me the way I used to look through my dad.  In this instant, the box seems useless and unfair.  I’m a good person.  So what if there’s one word that helps me release some tension.  I don’t mean to be hurtful.  I’m attacking stupidity itself.  Not actual morons.  My wife asks how that’s working out for me.

It was you who showed me how to pass through the self-inflicted bonfire in order to see the glory in begging for your mercy.

She gives me a look that tells me we will be talking about this later.  With my class starting soon, I have to leave anyways.  I drive to school with an awful aftertaste of misfired parenting.  It’s like fucking up at sex.  It doesn’t mean I’m forever bad at it.  But that’s how it feels.  And now I’m stuck with the awkward kink until I make it right.  But its exhausting to always be stuck in a state of “trying to make it right.”  My dad never did.  

“Be open to the randomness of life” is the last thing I hear before the nightly jackhammering commences outside our classroom.  The administration’s apology for a deadline to erect another vanity building really told us to just deal with it.  The master continues teaching even though we cannot hear another word.  Nothing breaks the master’s concentration.  The other students nod along with the teachings.  Their concentration isn’t breaking either.  Only mine.  Jackhammered at home.  Jackhammered at work.  At school.  

The others take out a red Xerox from yesterday.  It’s the kind of thing that goes out of your head as soon as class ended the last time, but upon seeing it, it’s as if no time passed at all.  As if everything that happened between then and now is forgotten instead of it.  I dig into my bag but cannot locate the crappy 50 cent folder containing the worksheet.  They pull out their notebooks.  I do the same.  I gaze onto my neighbor’s sheet and see the direction: write a letter to your mom from the perspective of her deceased cat.  What kind of moronic direction is that?

The master walks around the desks as we write.  The jackhammering stops.  He asks us to hand it in.  He reads the first one from the stack aloud: “Dear mom, I would’ve eaten you if I could.  For no reason.  This is my only regret.”  Without skipping a beat, the master replies, “Nothing is ever eliminated, only substituted.  Remember that.”  As I try to figure out what he means by that comment he reads through a few others until he gets to mine.  The fear that I might have unknowingly violated the substitution rule pesters me into a dismal expectation.

“Dear mom, thank you for allowing me passage through the many roles of my corporeal existence.  You had many thoughts about my thoughts and that helped me a lot with the challenge of communication.  But now that I see through the illusion of being alive, I am happy to put it all to rest.  Mourn me not for the same fate awaits you.”

The master comments, “never forget that only the virgin plays the whore and the whore the virgin.”

I belt out at the cryptic game he’s playing, “what does that mean?”

“This was a very rigid and artificial surface.  Only a whore who actually believes in her virginity could write such a thing.”

What is he getting at?  What kind of teaching method is this?

“So it’s better to always err on the side of playing the whore as a virgin?”

“Neither are better or worse,” and the master reads the next one before I can pester him anymore, “Mom, don’t forget we’re running low on milk.   By the way, you really should apply for that grant.”

We can see that the master approves of this one so others approve too.

Only you my love broke the brittle images I used to cling to.

The master tells us he’ll read the rest later and asks us to take out our weapons and place them atop our desks as he directs us again on how to hunt without ever getting to hunt.  We have spoken so much about it that I feel like another word only takes away from my urge to do it.  I can feel the master’s awareness of my impatience.  I try to hold still.  Focus on his words as if he were only talking to me.

“Frame.  Track.  Pierce.  This is the way of the hunt.  You must select a target.  Crop in as close as you can with your mind’s eye.  The target will stand alone.  The clearer you frame it, the better you will feel when you obtain it.  Simplify the target within.  Bring it back to the basics.  Something obvious is something undeniable.  Something you not only want but need.  Tie that down.  If you fail to tie down the target within, all hell can break loose.  Tracking the target is another matter altogether.  Tracking requires patience.  To be patient while tracking requires the opposite reaction common to the inexperienced.  Excitement is tension.  To get excited is to decrease the chances of obtaining the target.  It is counter-intuitive to relax while hunting (or being hunted for that matter), but it is essential.  The nature of any hunt favors the hunter who cannot care.  Relax into the target.  Obtain it with ease.  Easing into the target means easing into a frame of mind.  They are one and the same.  Hunting is the opposite of grabbing for it.  Instead, open your hands and receive it.  Find the way for it to land in the palm of your hand.  Piercing the target is another matter still.  To pierce the target means to be precise in the execution.  Just hitting the target isn’t good enough.  It renders many messy injuries and fewer captures.  Remember the target whenever the target must be known well beforehand.  The target within must be a forgone conclusion.  To pierce the target is to strike the bullseye in the bullseye.  Minimal suffering.  To split it precisely down the middle.  To cut the center even and wide open for maximum bounty.  To get exactly what you want through mercy.  Always be merciful.  The best hunters know this.  But the greatest hunters know something else still.  The greatest know how to frame, track, and pierce without ever hunting at all.  They have already un-pierced all targets.  Aiming and tracking become irrelevant because necessity itself is the target and everything is as it already is, fore-pierced.  From this perspective, the un-hunting hunter expends the least amount of energy on the most valuable targets.  These are the targets that inferior hunters could not even see for they know not what to truly target within.  They only target without.  And even when they think they target within, they still target without.”

I raise my hand and he reluctantly nods in my direction, “Perhaps I’m already the best hunter because I cannot find a target worth pursuing.  I was placed in this class, Enlightenment 303, because the others were full.  I never wanted Enlightenment to begin with.”

“Do not confuse aimlessness with relaxed purpose.  One is low and the other high.”

“But that’s what I’m saying.  I think I’m high.”

“Only the low think they’re high and confuse edge for mere attitude.  That’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.  Can somebody help him by reciting last term’s lesson on forgetting the kill?”

Another student stands up, looks at me like I’m some kind of moron, and delivers the lesson as if he’s tossing the master’s salad, “Forget the kill.  Whatever you do do not think of the kill.  It isn’t advisable to respect the kill since that would involve thinking of it.  That would make it harder to forget.  The most effective killing stems from forgetfulness.  Whatever is killed, changes form.  It must be made into an appearance that will not resemble the kill.  Focus on the purpose rather than the kill.  This keeps the eye on the ball and forgets the kill which isn’t as important as the purpose.  Reasons are most important of all.  Principles can erase any number of kills from memory.  This is why people stick to principles and worship reason.  They ensure that the kill is forgotten.  The practice of sacrifice has been streamlined to this end.  The rites have fallen by the wayside for good reason.  Honoring the sacrifice makes the kill memorable.  That is why it must be done without rites.  The sacrificed are to be forgotten.  This increases efficiency.  Productivity keeps the dream alive.”

At this point, I have to barge in, “in other words, do not respect the kill, respect only the dream necessitating the kill?”

“Yes,” says the master and a final wave of affirmation tingles over me, “forget the kill that made the habit possible.  And only then, if we dream big enough will the minds sacrificed produce the new reality we wish for without the obstacle of a reality we once thought was.”

Whatever that means.  As I lose interest in figuring this convoluted stuff out, I remember the talk waiting for me at home.  

Never did I learn from anyone else the value of decay.  How you showed me the way to detach from family and friends.  To see the illusions plain.  To parse the intentions from the pretensions.  

I notice my guitar in the back seat.  I forgot that it’s jam night with some guys from work.  Just what the doctor ordered.  I’ll do the talk with wifey tomorrow and everything will be fine.  I’ll call myself a moron.  Whatever it takes. 

Sweet love you left me to cook in my juices.

At band practice, there’s this new guy and he’s in a heated discussion with the band about how all sounds have no real essence.  His name is Dale and he says there is no such thing as a natural sound.  I unzip the case.  Pull out my acoustic guitar.  Consider un-targeting him and forgetting the kill.  The guys tell me there’s no jam tonight and say that I’ve got to hear Dale play this new instrument.  Disappointed, I lean my guitar in a corner of the garage.  

Dale pulls out what looks like dental floss.  The guys tell me “to check this out.”  He takes the floss and puts it in his teeth, as one would.  He flips open his laptop and plugs it into our PA system.  And this fucking guy starts flossing music with sounds I’ve never heard before.  Hell, nothing can describe it.  It’s mind blowing.  Like seeing a video game for the first time.  Or pussy.  Waves of sound wash over us.  But the sight of Dale flossing his chompers at us as he wiggles his hips looks fucking ridiculous.  

Dale stops and asks me what my problem is.  I point out that performance-wise this new instrument will never be something a drunk audience won’t rip to shreds.  He says that all new inventions are met with skepticism but that I should be rest assured that all other instruments are on the way out.  Limited.  Old hat.  That’s what he said.  Guitar is dead.  Clearly, Dale is a moron.  

It was you my sweet.  You showered me with your kaleidoscopic phantasmagoric solar anus and showed me how to dance in its light.

Instead of fighting, I pivot and ask how it works.  He explains something that goes over my head and tells me to try it.  I go in front of the camera and stick my tongue out at it.  It makes a horrendous sound.  The guys tell me to grow up.  I floss a little and do some ironic dancing.  They fail to find the humor in it.

On the drive home, I wonder what the hell this world is coming to.  Parental boxes.  Hunting / enlightenment classes.  Dental floss instruments.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  But did it ever?  Maybe this was what ate at my father from the inside.  Made him stuff his face with his fist.

My love you left me to cook in my juices until I fell off the bone.  What was one became many.  


Automatic Adornment

Automatic Adornment Podcast

According to Hieronymus Schitzolini, the football field was a space of imposed face-values.  In this piece, the game of “nowhere to hide” turns the field into a conveyer belt of impressions.  The mind’s automatic adornment of anything it sees rolls down the line and according to Schitzolini results in more confusion than the immediate impressions it manufactures.  To complicate matters, minds interlock adornments and magnify the default process of self-persecution.  Since the interlock is anything but exact or matching, a strange aggregate body forms.  A blob that creeps and leaps on gross assumptions splotches the mind with its automatic lurch.  

Klein fiasco

The camouflaged shorts are not worn for the camo effect.  Wearing them does not result in a militant stance.  Adorn me in camo and I’ll think nothing of it.  I can still pull lettuce from my head.

Drive a silver car and it blends in with other cars.  It draws less attention than the coats that stand out.  As long as the coat is not common, it stands out.  Such people need an audience even if onlookers assume some form of desperation at play.

Everyday camouflage is not as much about hiding as it is about being forgotten.

Everybody knows we dress whoever we see as they dress us in turn.  We cannot help it.  It’s automatic to think certain things about what people wear.  No matter what clothes a person chooses, others automatically dress that person in a way that cannot be reflected in any mirror.  And if they determine a person is wearing everyday camouflage, then one will be forgotten to some extent or completely.  This means that certain freedoms are afforded that do not exist for those dressed to stick out.

Once they dress one in something loud, desperation is assumed.  It is expected to act accordingly and pretend to be a winner, though in this situation the only role left is that of a desperate winner who is always a wannabe existing in a private hell of endless costume changes.  Such people tend to be desperate enthusiasts.  The literal message is positivity but the tone betrays the message like a stampede for God.

Being in a crowd provides another sense of camouflage.  Blending into a sea of bodies is both frightening and freeing.  The body becomes everybody’s body.  Getting lost in the aggregate body simulates being dead before you know it, while also multiplying the nodes by which others feel as one.  But the aggregate also has a giant greedy vacuum that sucks up the stand outs.  Like when the aggregate is summed up by a meatball parading around as a comedian who tells rancid jokes and calls you out for not laughing and says you’ve got the eyes of a liar.  His aggregate of idiot eyes and ears laughs as one organism.  And even though his comment is bullshit, the crowd turns on you as if it blew your cover.  A real knee slapper.

Generally, we try to forget the times we are singled out.  

“Play the god damn game.  If it means nothing to you then you are nothing,” yells the coach.

“I bought the pads and all that gear and you’re gonna play the whole fucking season whether you like it or not,” yells dad. 

During scrimmage, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of staying in bounds.  It’s like some malicious football demon keeps moving the lines around.  The strange power of the whistle freezes up my legs.  A stiffening that makes it easier to get blown over.  Stare dead in the face of a frenzied mess of raging testosterone.  And there is pain.  Plenty of pain.  Thirst and hunger.  Nausea.  The unspoken rule of all rules: if the ref doesn’t see it, it’s permitted.  You can yell and scream about fairness all you want but it does no good.  

The heavy push pull of the aggregate body on the field can fling the flesh aside like roadkill.  It’s no wonder why the one with the ball runs for the hills with a meat grinder at its heels, mashing and shredding all that angry retaliatory meat not sucked up yet by the dogpile’s vacuum.  

Another body in my same position threatens to vaporize me like a wicked doppelgänger.  A stranger whose eyes burn a hole right through me.  Someone I don’t know from Adam who hates my guts.  And there’s no time to remind him that he doesn’t know me.  Wants my position as if his life depends on it whereas I’m looking forward to getting yanked off the field by the coach.  He takes my position.  I take his.  Over and over.  We clobber each other under the supervision of responsible adults.  Guiding us into some weird rite toward a sensation of loony oblivion.  

Moving into nowhere-land without a clue of what to do, I feel the territory shift underfoot, as if fields of gravity are swinging wildly out of control.  Some eerie sensation of crossing a dangerous threshold overcomes me and I feel the dread of punishment to come.  The disgruntled coach froths at the mouth from the sidelines.  Fearing his wrath, I lunge into the fray.  Throwing my body like an awkward floppy torpedo.  Mid-air a hammer comes from nowhere and drops me like a dead bird.  Face smear in the turf.  Grass teeth.  Heavy knees crack my back.  Cleats spike my right hand. 

By the time, I peel myself off the ground decades later, the team is gone.  The coach is missing.  A fog has rolled in.  And I’m standing on a plane, no longer a specific field of torture.   My memory of split-decisions and reactions that seemed important a moment ago has gone blank.  I see some forms in the distance and walk closer to find endless racks of clothes hanging there.  I notice the clothes of my mother.  My dad’s uniform.  Grandpa’s overalls.  Aunt’s slim fitting polyester.  The panty hose of my first grade teacher.  A pea coat I never wore.  The girlfriend’s tight jeans I could never get a hand into.  Hemp pants my step-brother wore while Hacky Sacking.  All the disposable fleece wear.  The smelly vintage shirts.  Countless racks of bad casual wear belonging to coworkers.  

All the fabric without bodies disappears.  Left alone on the plane again.  Light falls from above and splatters at my feet.  The ground feels more like a cushion now than the hard slick surface it was before.  I must’ve stepped onto another plane without knowing it.  The light changes.  A watery orb appears.  A luminous eye.  It travels to a beach far away from here.  A wide beach.  The shoreline as long as the horizon.  Waves breaking in closeouts holding back the oceanic chasm.  

A white horse gallops along that wide long shoreline.  Its hooves press into the forgiving cushion of white sand.  The nostrils flare and exhale sea mist.  The white tufts of hair flow from the mane as breakers at sea.  The tails whip and snap back and forth.  The powerful hind muscles twitch and ripple as they thrust and gush like the ocean itself.  The immense chasm held by this white beach wraps its reflection around the crystallized eye.  This orb is held still by the great thrusting movement.  The horse flesh a mere vehicle for this orb that encompasses everything slipping around it.

This romantic menace maps its order.  Patterns all into place with an automatic camouflage.  Adorns so quickly that the adorning slips under the radar.  An instant totality of how everything must look.  Gouging eyes will not remove it.  It’s function is a vacuum beyond reach.  Losing its host in a dogpile of sensations hovering on a surface without boundaries.  Neither inside nor outside. 

Hometown terrain appears on the twenty yard line.  Adorning a destination can turn a person into a skeleton on a hanger.  Wear the place, erode the flesh.  Become another corpse in destination town.  When a hometown is a destination, the home is lost.  The destination tells locals to look at it like a tourist or find some other place to call home.  Once adorned with paradise, whatever you think you are wearing doesn’t matter.  It’s always some tropical shirt of bullshit.  You are nothing more than a tube of spam they decorate to fit their dream destination.  The insistence on paradise allows for grosser negligence.  The locals can only gasp for air and say that it is what it is and other circular laments.  

Boosters love destinations as much as city councils love developers.  Precisely because the locals are sidelined.  Every home offers a business opportunity.  Any resistant folk are reduced to bum status.  What’s wrong with that grumpy asshole?  We’re flipping houses here.  This has unlimited potential if only the locals would fuck off.  There’s nothing like getting a weekly brochure on your doorstep telling you to take a hike.  Don’t be so bitter.  Everybody migrates.  It’s natural.  So pack up your shit and go.

Even the dead suffer adornment.  Take the skeletal remains of martyrs from Roman times imported to Germany.  No authentication didn’t stop the devout from pivoting to use them as symbols of martyrdom.  The essence could not be found so the essence was imposed.  And they bound the bones in silk gauze and encrusted the skeletons in jewels and replaced missing parts with plaster, wood, and papier-mâché.  In desperation, they dressed the void and called it essence by way of symbolism.  Ignore the accidentally enlarged toes and fingers reconstructed.  The metaphor chopped and hidden so that the literal remains of a forced salad could be worshipped as the thing itself.  

The flesh is a meaningless adornment.  Only a weirdo has never felt the need to crawl out of one’s own skin.  The size of my nose or the shape of my ear lobes or the patterns of my wrinkles amount to no essence.  The flesh is no more than a hollow costume suffering from the camouflage of evaluations.  It only makes the suffering worse to stuff the hollow with an essence that never was.

The old adorn the young and when the young get old enough they return the favor and adorn the old with the same cruel costumes.  The old and the young know not what they do.  One forgets that it was young once, and the other cannot remember what hasn’t happened to them yet.  They keep dressing each other to contrast with the assumption that their generation wears the better clothes.  The structural haunt of fads bludgeons them into believing what they see by hammering repetition.  The passé fashions become death sentences.  Might as well wear the iron maiden.  Learn to love pressing the spikes in.  Soon enough you’ll be certain that anyone else who isn’t wearing one must be insane.  My father wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing the clothes that I’ll be buried in.  

Like it or not, you will be adorned by others automatically or intentionally even if you dismiss or reject whatever automatic adornments dress others in your mind.  Is that not the story of Jesus?  Look at how he got adorned with the crucifix.  Look at how worshippers wear the instrument of torture as an object of beauty instead of the flower.  How the organized cults of suffering prize sacrifice as a mechanism of serving wealth and power over others.  Did not the epiphany-organ called Jesus Christ bloom with the white flowers of fractal miracles?  Clothed in magnificence without any labor?          

Hierarchies upon hierarchies.  Endless iterations of culture dress the void in desperation.  From British wig wearers to the mishmash of freemasonry, they adorn themselves to impose the look of an essence since nobody can actually catch that elusive beast called purity.  No amount of papers, bricks, or guns can make it so.  Uniforms of order quickly slip into uniforms of death.  Boots and belts.  Costumes decorated with medals and pins.  Dressing the void.  Just another militant fashion show destined to become last year’s fad. 

Perhaps, it’s better that I forget myself so that I stop adorning others.  Tell me who I am.  Use me for your decoration.  Whatever you choose, adorn me for your sake.  For your peace of mind.  Keep dressing the void.  Tell me who I am.  Fit me into your plan.

What a luxury it would be if you hadn’t forgotten that you adorned me.  But have I not forgotten as well?  Why are we adorning each other with clothes that keep coming off?  Nothing sticks.  Perhaps, it’s because I’m adorning you adorning me adorning you.  It’s all in your head.  And in mine.  But the wardrobes don’t match.  The clothes I think you put on me are not the same as the clothes you think you put on me.  That is, if we remember we dressed each other at all.  Much easier to ignore all this nonsense and assume you dressed yourself and I myself so that I see your costume exactly as you do and vice versa.  Even if it isn’t necessarily true, it’s easier.  But then how could we agree to dress each other in the kindest and most forgiving of clothes?  In “benefit of the doubt” gossamers for you and me?

Could we agree to wear the lightest shrouds and still find a way to dine?  When the feast comes, everyone gorges.  Mounds to ingest.  We go beyond the point of satiation.  Until our bodies break away from desire.  Gorging until the appetite is forgotten.  None will be saved for later.  Tomorrow will forget today anyways.  When the abundance arrives, the starvation cannot be restrained.  The hunger overcomes memory.  Reacts from endless interlocking competitions of suffering.  But could this be the last feast?  Could the skin’s pores not produce full leafy lettuce again?  Could we pull it out like a rope that never ends?  Side by side, could we sprout so profusely that the hunger no longer matters so we can let the automatic adornment slack once and for all?    

Handbag Design

Handbag Design Podcast

I’ve pulled this selection as the first post of Rubber Dream Trampoline because the late Hieronymus Schitzolini was obsessed with the ouroboros.  He saw it as a symbol of how consciousness operates.  If the mind were a film projector, H.S. would often say, then the screen would be the tail in its mouth.  The immediate image (of consciousness) as a problematic construction is at the heart of his work.  The mind’s automatic push for consistency as stifling, as it is fluid.  H.S.’s work might appear as a scatterbrained wasteland but make no mistake.  The terrain is fertile.  The threads loosely woven.  And his approach to non-Being had to be what he called “hands off the wheel.”  Let the car drive itself.  See where it goes.  No need to force what is automatic.  Let the eerie salience seep through. Upon first sight of the “St. Bartholomew Flayed” sculpture in Milan, Schitzolini, racked with doubt, fell at its feet and wrote this piece in what he described as a state of spare ecstasy.

Klein fiasco

Forgive us for we know not what we have done to ourselves.  I have served up my head on a platter.  When I was alive, I held the drapery of my flayed skin as all the evidence I needed of what others had done to me.  But it wasn’t they who took out their golden knives and skinned me against my will.  It wasn’t they who ran from my light.  I did.    

It was easier to pretend that I didn’t make them do it.  I left them with no choice.  My words and deeds demanded it.  The insatiable appetite to do to ourselves what we cannot do alone commands the living to do it to others instead.  

Everybody is asking for it, indirectly.  Bent begging.  Pleading out the sides of their mouths.  Not for mercy, no, but for the rapture of persecution.

The truly courageous accept this and harbor no ill will towards those delivering them like a newborn from the quagmire womb.  Only through pain can the true boundary of living memory be pushed, yet we lack the ability or courage to administer what we need when we’re alive.  So we get others to do it for us.  Excuse me brother, but could you abuse me? 

Strip me bare.  Take off my skin.  Use it for a purse.  

See my pain glisten along the lines of the strap.  

How sweet the memory of that agony.  Striated.  How foul the smell of goading such easy prey to take it out on me.  How corrupt I was to make them show what was hidden in them unknown.  My spectacle held up as the proof of their hideousness aroused from its slumber by my dirty tricks. 

The darkest figure within is assigned individually.  Driven by that engine of righteous thirst, its discovery is only found down the road of good intentions.  Only fools believe that they have escaped this intolerable craving for purity.  Everybody craves a personalized version of wholeness whether they want to or not.  It’s at the heart of our suffering since it can never be.  The more it is called something else and dismissed as irrelevant or unfashionable, the worse it gets.  When it flips, we only see the effect and not the cause.  Bold and dramatic.  Remembered as cut off from our daily lives.  Who would do such a thing? 

They knew not what they did.  They went on performing the task but called it something else like an anatomical study or a handbag design.  They wore that mask of rationality that makes such compartmentalized flow possible.  It’s the only way to get the job done.  To keep the gaze fixed on process and block out that dark presence lurking within.  That false inquisitor in all of us.  The maniac whose chains I broke to get my flaying done and my head served up on a clean plate.

And they think I’m dead and gone as they move on in magnitudes impossible for the living to see.  Like the sickness of violence.  The sickness of guilt-ridden visions that plague even the most diligent atheist.  A Judgement Day without a smidgen of spiritual worth.  Assured by faith in salvation.  Reframing another conquest as liberty and safety. 

Now that I am dead, they know not what I have become.  Cleaner than that plate upon which they put my unmasked face.  Reflecting the shimmer of light that they desperately seek (when nobody else is looking), but can never reach, for it is the divine ground where the lamassu roam.  Where the deities flutter their wings with light as radiant as laughter at the unresolvable joke of the living’s folly.  

The living do not see how dirty tricks devalue everything they seek to obtain.  Like thieves who do not see that whatever they steal, by the stealing, no longer has any value.  Like murderers who think they’ve erased their persecutor but fail to see that they have erased themselves instead through another innocent sacrifice.  Like the false enthusiasts who demean what they claim to love.  Like the mirror man who jumps through to teach others a lesson but only shatters himself.  Like the fool who rides the tiger only to find out that the end is always somewhere else and thereby could never justify the means.  Like the liars who do not know what they beg for as they habitually crawl back into their cages.  Answering the same call.  The good condition.  The small ask.  Just go under the veil for a little while until you get what you want.  One for me, one for you.  Always self-caging for a good purpose.  A purpose that twists and turns until the tail in the mouth is unrecognizable.  And the veil has become the face.  The storefront window, the soul.  The flesh, the handbag.