Star Arcade

One year on Christmas Eve, Hieronymus Schitzolini was changing the curtains in his studio apartment.  That year the space heater was on the fritz and either overheated the room or barely warmed a leg.  So he had it cranked up and moved about in the buff.  While putting up the blackout curtains, Hieronymus lost his balance and fell off the ladder.  Unfortunately, earlier that evening, he was skinning potatoes.  Unbeknownst to him, one of those skinned potatoes had rolled onto the floor and waited for him silently.  So when he fell, it so happened that upon hitting the floor with his naked flesh, the potato went right up his rump.  At the hospital, nobody believed the miracle had happened in the way he told it.  Nonetheless, while waiting in the ER with a tater up the clacker, Schitzolini penned this vision on some paper scrounged together by the helpful staff.

Klein fiasco

‘Twas the Christmas of ’92 and out on the Playa in Death Valley I stood alone on that white plane.  Like a racer on the Bonneville Salt Flats, a silver craft raced toward me.  As it got closer I saw that it had no wheels.  It was hovering fifteen feet above the ground when it stopped before me and lowered its docking bridge.  Mesmerized, I failed to notice how anything exited and got behind me but before I knew it, I had my arms held behind my back and a bag over my head.  Inside, I was put on my hands and knees in some kind of harness.  They spoke a language that sounded precise and intricate.  When one of them spoke English, I was shocked at hearing something I could understand.  “We’re going to give you back your soul.”  I didn’t know that my soul had gone missing.  Did the word “soul” mean something else to them?  A searing pain in my rear end went well beyond the proctologist’s thumb, let me tell you.  While enduring the pain, I was trying to figure out what the word “soul” meant to them and if it were the same meaning then how could it be possible to give it back and through my ass?  As they inserted it into my butt, the one informed me that the first person they gave a soul back to was the one we call Jesus Christ.  With this much rear pain, I bet Jesus didn’t ask for this gift either. 

Whatever they did inside me, at some point they hit a spot that caused me to gush into a fever dream.  I saw sand crabs flopping asunder the playa millions of years ago.  Soft paws strolling along the shallows of the lake that is no longer there.  Then I was in a hut somewhere listening to the murmur of boiling eggs while I picked up a piece of fudge and without realizing what a hard brick it was, rent my tooth and tongued it as it dangled.  The smell of sour piss emanated from a corner so I went outside to find myself on a frozen lake with fisherman tending to holes in the ice and pulling out fish already battered and fried from the water.  A wild horde of fiddlers fingered psalms as their beards crawled with eels.  Somebody scratched the odd phrase “blob warp spew fracture” into the ice.  A mint sprig fell from the sky and I caught it and chewed on it and it released a sort of truth meal that’s too difficult to explain but to make a long story short I turned into a river skulking it’s way back into the hills.

When I came to, clearly the one speaking with me was assigned to help me with the transition between my ignorant life without a soul to my new life with one.  And so I limped as my star being helped me deboard and as I needed to sit down on my side, my Star Being helped make sense of the inner realizations I was already automatically having from receiving my lost soul.  Here is what I understood with the help from its guidance.

Star Beings seek planets that have evolved enough for them to enter the vessels of consciousness and adorn a body in which the weary space traveler can sleep.  They use the planet as a womb hive until it must be abandoned due to overpopulation and its damaging effects on any planet’s environment as the technology inevitably progresses.  In the adornment process, the vessel prevents the Star Being from bringing their knowledge directly into it.  Everything they know is refracted by the fleshy gravity bound medium they call a meat frame box.  Their dream state is what we call our waking life.  And when we sleep they run their simulations – the decaying sense manipulations – to experiment with consciousness through dream logic.

Star Beings are obviously far ahead of us.  The infrastructure of our corporeal form is far more primitive than theirs, which can withstand space travel without the need for ships or suits or any of that limited container mind-frame engineering.  Eons ago did they learn how to harness the nested curves of the Sun-Father’s penis.  They only presented me with a spacecraft so that I could make sense of their appearance.  Some of us dream of other planets where our Star Beings (the ones who took on our flesh) were before.  

Once my Star Being entered the vegetative consciousness of a planet and showed it to me through a dream where I had these beautiful white flowers blooming from each of my organs.  The sensation of organs blooming was like an ecstasy of endless unfolding.  All the spaces under my skin filled with these tender petals.  Then I awoke into another dream where I stroked my chest hair and found one I had to pluck.  With a tug, the sensation of fibrous rope squeezed pleasure through my pore.  Like I had plenty more where that came from.  And I pulled and pulled and discovered that it wasn’t hair at all but lettuce.  I pulled out a bed of lettuce and still there was more.  And on that bed of lettuce, my Star Being revealed himself to me as an ancient Sumerian replete with glorious regal curly hair and beard.  So much hair in fact that I had to look closer to realize that he had my face.  The only difference was a more pronounced mole or beauty mark on his left cheek.  And he told me that he had to appear as a harbinger of justice reincarnated to make an impact on my dull consciousness with a gift known to some on this planet as a vajra or a diamond-thunderbolt by which reality can be peeled open. 

Mirroring or doubling is a favorite tactic of Star Beings in our dreams.  They tend to stay hidden even when they reveal themselves to us.  Like when mine doubled as Shamash, he told me, like some genie, that I could ask him any question I wanted, but when I did, it was like I immediately knew the answer from within myself to the point that I could not discern if I was having an honest conversation with myself or if I was actually receiving his infinite wisdom through the refraction of my vessel.  I asked him about the white flowers blooming from my organs and he told me, or I told myself, that it was a plant that he had discovered on that planet where flowers bloom into consciousness in a meadow tended by a lady as light as a gossamer with filaments of light for hair and skin as tender as petals.  She would pluck one of his petals as she would with the others and wrap it in a single hair so that it would float across a bay to sentient life on the other shore whereupon receiving it, they recognized it as what they called an epiphany.  

The lady of the white flower meadow was the model on our planet upon which the Virgin Mary would be derived along with the ultimate epiphany as an immaculate conception or the impregnation of the greatest idea like the soul inserted into my bum.  She would recite a meditation for hyper-active minds bearing the burden of an overactive consciousness while plucking her epiphanies that went something like this:

“Don’t worry about what won’t work out, accept what will.  Rather than wasting precious life on worrying, start loving as a way of living instead.  Don’t worry about your partner, love your partner.  Nothing positive or unifying goes without acknowledgement.  It is a mistake to assume so.  The mind cannot be directly controlled.  The mind can only block thought or direct it.  Take care and attention to how you think.  Be as good a witness to yourself above all else.    Gather the infinite petals of truth and receive the fruit of health and shield of shelter and ultimately the emblem of unity.  Follow its warmth.  Its gentle unfolding into the void.  Its truth is its love.  

Love is only an illusion if apprehended by deception.  You get what you give.  The light of the flower only reflects your light.  Such sentient beings forget what love is and that is why they need epiphanies.  To remember that deception only gets nothing in the end.  It destroys its own purpose.  Let go of the objects of your attention.  Open your hands and they will be full of everything you need.  Step back and relax into the widest frame of your mind.  Stop fighting yourself through others by worrying about the shallow terrain of evaluations that accrue into a wasteland of clutter if they are not seen for what they are.  Do not live by such superficial restraints set at some other time in some other place.  Do not listen to the lies of comfort and safety and efficiency and any other mask that hydra-headed fear can assume.  Know that you desire what you fear and fear what you desire and neither is a cause for panic or desperation but rather contemplation.  

Sit like these flowers in the meadow on the banks of the ancient river.  Observe what floats by.  Force nothing.  Know that any action is merely a bolder reaction.  Let the reactions float down river.  Let them assimilate with the rest of the reactions.  Relax.  Nothing is new under any sun.  Everything issues forth from the same place.  Have courage in unfolding your tenderness and watch worry crumble away.  Abandon enforcement and choose to radiate like the white flower.  Nothing will ever be the same again.  All the pointless battles and pyrrhic victories will dissipate.  And the emptiness of the void will reveal itself as the positive force it also is.  That of full potentiality.  This is what it means to possess the diamond thunderbolt.”

In that meadow, my Star Being met his soulmate.  She sprouted and blossomed right beside him.  He could not believe how remarkably easy it was.  They knew it right away.  And the mother of that garden knew love at first sight (the randomness of destiny) when it appeared in her garden.  And when their time had come to leave that corporeal form, she plucked them at the same time so that they could journey across space together.  They traveled across the void but their form of traveling is something the Star Being referred to as “growing” across the void and they came to this planet and adorned the forms of myself and my love.  

At this point, I realized what he meant by saying I needed to have my soul reinserted.  My Star Being was in fact already me without me knowing it.  Seeing it as another body was the only way my dim consciousness could make sense of the impossibility.  Since my mind became too cluttered with what I mistook as me, they intervened to make me whole again.  The flesh had to be bent back to serve its true host and fulfill the rejoining of these star-crossed lovers by lodging the diamond-thunderbolt right up my keister.

We were born into bodies on separate continents but still found each other and repeated the first sight of love we had experienced on that other planet as flowers but had forgotten in this life, though buried somewhere deep in our refracted consciousness.  

Stranger still, we sometimes have the same dream.   I mean I’m in hers and she’s in mine.  In one dream, my tooth fell out or was kicked out by a spider who dangled from its thread so my partner took a pair of scissors and cut it and removed the spider from my mouth.  That is love.  

We were sitting at a park where a chartreuse haze clung to the grass as people sunbathed and used tombstones for backrests.  The sky flashed silver and stayed that way like a sustained camera flash as the clouds rotted purple.  We ran to an abandoned houseboat with an indoor pool where a fluffy white Persian cat floated on a satin pillow.  The cat picked up a miniature guitar and strummed a few chords that compromised the hull and the house boat began to sink.  We escaped through the indoor pool.

Whenever I’m unkind to my partner now, when I harp on things that cannot be, my Star Being reminds me of what a ridiculous man I am.  He calls me a real clinger since I persist in his consciousness when on other planets usually his host subsides and accepts his rule.  Once I had a real fit about family matters and a flaccid dong flopped out of my mouth.  My mustache turned into a pubic bush.  I scrambled to stuff the floppy thing back in to hide it but it flopped out all the more.  As soon as I figured out how to stop being a dickhead, the swollen sponge disappeared and I could talk and eat normally again.  

I asked my Star Being why I keep forgetting myself and turn unkind.  He explained:

“Human flesh is governed by its source, the same source we grow across.  We call it the void of emptiness and full potential.  Sentient beings are all run by the ouroboros of the will.  A unity of desire and fear.  One and the same.  Thus, remembering is made of forgetting and vice versa.  It is as natural to forget as it is to remember.  And good too.  But also not.  It’s an eternal flipping and flopping full of contradiction to anyone who only tries to hold on to desire and deny fear.  To hold on to memory and forget forgetting.  Such is the way of error.  There is another place where I have been and you have too, even though you cannot remember it.  A place where a crescent silver moon touches the zenith of a mountain.  We would cross that bridge and traverse the terrain as particles of reflected light and touch everything with our indirect worship of that sun.”

“But why come here and play this game on Earth?”  I asked.  And my Star Being moved my mouth to answer my own question:

“The shapeshifter inside plays at the center-less ghost arcade.  We impersonate ourselves and pretend they are the people we meet.  Intentions are the assumptions of ghosts.  Our principles are the desires of these apparitions.  We mash the buttons to escape the disappearing scroll.  The dead renderings pit us against bosses from our own forgotten scripts.  The forms assumed are remembered not as assumed but as strange finalities to be erased.  Play the lucid dream game with its soft joystick breaking intentions on every counter gesture.  Listen to the disembodied voice impersonating you.  Dead soul marionettes dance the death jig for empty points.  Ghosts run errands in this looping sand box.  They simulate text messages about how many friends they’ve lost.  Whoever plays the game forgets the years trapped in this ghostly architecture.  Even Star Beings are entranced by the flickering finalities of a captive yet dying light before they can grow across space to enter another game.” 

Hearth Cavity

Hearth Cavity Podcast

Hieronymus Schitzolini descended as a ghost-Slinky to visit his deceased father, the man he never really knew, in the ludicrous underworld.  There, Hieronymus witnessed a transcendental pyramid-head decapitated and hovering above its base that had capsized and involuted into a black hole.  Between the suck-force of the base and the stretch-pull of the head, his father was suspended in mid-air agony.  It reminded Hieronymus Schitzolini of the time he became a human Tootsie Roll in a swimming pool as a child.  Recognizing this as an undesirable position common to many other American males, Hieronymus penned this story about what he used to call an anchor baby, not in the foul political sense, but as a particularly tricky parasitic formation in the mental terrain of an adult stuck using its Play-Doh figurines.  

Klein fiasco

When I saw my father in handcuffs on the news, it felt like I was the last person to know.  It fit perfectly with his way of being.  Even though he had never broken any serious laws, the image made him seem automatically guilty.  Perfectly believable.  Through the shock came a sense of vindication.  Truth will out.  See what bullshit I’ve been putting up with everybody?  And now he’d have to answer for his behavior.  Then I found out what he did.

Artifact daddy.  Old Bunker Head.  Bartholomew Schtizolini.  Not made for this era.  Great Depression scars.  “Never trust a bank” attitude.  Always acted like a criminal even though he never was one.  A guilty conscience for no reason.  American tough guy syndrome.  Trust nobody.  Go it alone.  Don’t reveal anything you don’t have to.  Guard your privacy.  Protect your property.  See something?  Look the other way.

Bunker head would talk to me as if we were going to commit a crime someday.  If you ever have to do something, never tell anybody about it.  That’s how you get caught.  Do what you have to do and then get the hell out.  Prohibition era mafia fantasies. 

Maybe all this imagined crime made the metaphors easier to remember.  Brighter colors and more contrast for him to follow.  The paranoia baked in.

I have tried in my own way to be free.  But no matter how hard I try to forget what sticks, it keeps coming back.  No matter how many times I black out, the memories resurface.  All the therapy.  All the reevaluating.  None of it erases them.  No drug works.  

Waiting for decades, the childhood memories do not naturally disintegrate. It’s disheartening to see the crude images constructed by a child’s mind rematerializing as if it were the absolute truth.  How these Play-Doh memories lie when they say they encompass me or tell me who I am.  It’s ridiculous that an adult has to fall into this trap.  Looking through that child’s eyes – the formations lacking the context of what the adult knows now. 

The things I cannot forget have already been forgotten by my father.  Sometimes I prefer to think he didn’t know what he was doing.  Unaware of how he scared a child shitless.  And for no purpose that benefits me now.  As an adult, I can imagine that he acted out against his own bad memories.  That the ones that stick haunted him too.

Listen, through the wall, to Bunker Head blasting war movies in the next room.  Not the obligatory ones about how shameful war is.  Not the ones about the most powerful militaries that are useless against those who know how to run and hide.  Hitting soft targets when possible.  Showing them what they want to see.  Saying what they want to hear.  Waiting them out until they tire.  Until the machine overextends itself in other quagmires.  No country has unlimited resources.  Time wins every time.  

Blowing shit up.  Those action movies.  The ones that make shoot’em up governors and even a president.  The ones that get good little boys and girls to enlist.  The underdog fantasies.  Amidst the mindless drones, the trooper as hero in disguise.  Even while burning a village to the ground.  Eliminate the right threats.  Omitting the innocent killed irl, of course.  Forgetting the friendly fire, naturally.  Inebriated on war fantasies where humanity will be saved by the superior violence of technology.

Omitting the fact that technology is and will be used against us.  The bomb returned to us as a “dirty” thing.  Our real guns, in the hands of kids.  The drones redirected to attack us.  And the nukes we’ve all forgotten about to return someday.  Kill or be killed morphs into sooner or later suicide.  The survivors will blame the other.  We can never say we brought the destructive idiocy on ourselves.  The evil is always out there because we always do what we could.  How desperate we are to believe in our innocence.  Our purity.  It protects us from feeling guilty over our short-sightedness.  We cannot accept it.  We refuse to acknowledge that to be human is to not see what’s right around the corner.  That any war is self-destructive.

Maybe the action movies blanked dad’s memory.  He talks of his childhood.  But never mine.  He doesn’t remember that he made his child hate himself.  That the child stupidly tried to take control over what could never be controlled.  That his problems became his child’s guilt.  My suffering was always insignificant compared to his.  I had no right to complain.  That Old Bunker Head had given me everything, in his eyes.  Spoiled rotten by disturbing, desperate acts of violence.  He always said he had no regrets. 

But that was then, and now he’s just an old feeble man.  In cuffs on the news.  He had broken into homes and sledgehammered fireplaces.  Demolishing them into cavities.  The images of those smashed holes were somehow sad.  Why the hell was he doing this?  In typical news fashion, none of the reporters could say why.  Instead they played naive and just said it was crazy.  

I fought with myself to hold off contacting him.  He should call me.  But weeks passed and nothing.  It was normal for us not to be in regular contact.  But this left me wondering if Old Bunker Head was planning on it blowing over or just doing the time without letting me know.  For weeks, my mind fixated on those caved in fireplaces.  I saw him in my mind’s eye frantically wailing away with the sledgehammer.  Putting holes in the hearths perfectly fit as an image encapsulating his entire life.

By not reaching out, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t felt before.  I knew where he was coming from.  Old Bunker Head was also the king of compartmentalization.  A royal lockbox.  If kept separated, the error goes, mental conflicts magically just go away.  It’s called discipline.  Train the mind by practicing the discipline of appearances.  That is what puts boots on the road to victory.  Dirty boots signify a cluttered mind.  Wrinkled pants and untucked shirts means that there are multiple toilet paper rolls in use at one given time and the toothpaste tubes have not been rolled up and some lights have been left on in the house.  Insanity.  Any soldier worth his salt must know this.  Any real father knows he must be a drill sergeant to his kid.  Any mother, a general at war.  Consistency wins the battle, tactics the war.  What war is irrelevant.  What fruits, a vague afterthought.  

When I couldn’t stand waiting for dad’s phone call anymore, I drove to visit him.  Right off the bat, he asked why I had bothered to come and see him that way.  He said he was finished with his life.  It felt like I was in a confessional box emptied of its religious promises.  His appearance had changed.  His body was caving in on itself.  His eyes receded far back into his head.  Sourly he spoke about his step-father as if he were still alive.  The cheap husband.  He knew he had the money just not exactly where.  Then I remembered that his step-father, long dead, had a severe mistrust of banks and hid his cash in all sorts of places in his house.  And when he died, my dad went to the house and in fact found the money in the fireplace.  Old senile Bunker Head had completely forgotten that.  And here he was in jail utterly confused.

This near innocence pissed me off.  I didn’t come here to feel sorry for this tight wad but the whole thing started to smell of our long rotted sad life.  It would be too easy for me to say he did it to himself.  Too cruel even if it were true.  And maybe that was what I thought I wanted.  The meaning of what he had done seemed overblown.  He had only destroyed some bricks.  And in the befuddlement of old age.  It’s not like he hit the gas instead of a brake and plowed into a farmer’s market.  If he had done that, I could abandon him.  But this was hardly an unforgivable crime.  

It was a long drive back home.  I couldn’t justify or figure out how to post bail.  It was a ridiculous sum commensurate with murder.  Besides, Old Bunker Head had said suicidal things as long as I could remember.  He had this weird insistence on the hypothetical hospital scenario where I would have to pull the plug rather than let him become a vegetable.  He also said over and over that he’d pull the trigger on himself before he got too old and lost his marbles.  But now that the mind-marbles were scattered, he had already gone past that point.  What if I managed to post bail and he killed himself?  Would I get a refund?

He left me teetering between self-preservation and heartlessness.  The bitterness of his no mercy attitude somehow begged for mercy even though he always ran from the stench of his own futility.  And look at him now.  Too old to remember.  Too old to care.  His parents didn’t understand him.  Neither do I.  Clearly.  

Worse, it was always me who apologized to him.  And how I apologized in earnest to him until the day I realized in middle age that he just didn’t seem to care.  That everything had slipped away from him long ago and he had no way of getting it back.  

Since I cannot forget him, I have distanced myself.  Avoided his desperate confusion.  The kind of real American family rotted to the core by an abusive stupidity.  Traumatizing each and every good little boy and girl.  Scaring them shitless into a subservient guilt-ridden worker, ready for orders.  Aimed at simulating movement only forgetting affords and fabricating wombs that always turn rancid.  To hide in some work one is supposed to love more than family.  He better tell himself he doesn’t really work a day in his life.  Use the job to steer clear of the shitstorm of the memory called home.  Consume more to forget.  Focus on possessions when the shit inside starts to come out. 

And here I am wanting to forget by hitting the road.  Driving anywhere.  Up the coast.  Wherever the road leads.  Away from prison.  Away from Old Bunker Head.  A sign reads Old Rosebud Palace ahead.  Where tourists go to forget the point of Citizen Kane.  Alongside a ragged fence somewhere, a pack of zebras gallop.  Flashing the black and white zig-zag at the side of my eye like a strange memory approaching from out of the blue.  The memory of something I had never done flashing between the memories I believe.  The rest of the trip a blur.  The road an instrument of forgetting.  Each and every marker blurred except for the zebra interruption.  Flashing a schism.

I pull over.  A stupid “No Trespassing” sign dangles from a nail on a broken fence.  I kick the dumb post.  It loosens.  I kick it again.  Grab the sign.  Yank it off.  The post won’t budge when I try to pull it out of the ground.  I slump with my back against it and see that the damn sign scratched my car when I threw it.

A warped template was my dad’s true gift.  A sanctified illusion convincing enough to give me the wherewithal to play with what sticks since it insists on being remembered.  So what if he has forgotten my childhood?  It was never me anyways who he saw in his head.  That was his idea of me.  

My child-mind sculpted forms automatically from a material that still surpasses my comprehension of it.  Transmitting its bullshit diorama to the adult-self decades later.  Laughing at the meaninglessness of it all.  The little trickster baby fools this sad old child stumbling toward a terrain he fears for what its surface will remember to forget and forget to remember.  Will I get stuck like a broken record on whatever the little shit decides to send my way? 

On the side of the road, I’m back in the empty confessional not knowing who it is that I hope hears me.  Forgive me for not letting go.  Forgive my bullshit.  If I can forgive my confusion, why not his?  Forgive me for what I remember.  Forgive that child for what he thought he saw.  Forgive me for what I forgot.  Forgive me blotting out the good memories with the bad.  Forgive me for carving out my own hearth without knowing what I was doing.  Forgive the confused and troubled baby that must be anchored inside him too.  Forgive me for succumbing to this fragmented senselessness.    

Hearth Cavity Photo by Klein Fiasco


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.