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.” 

Meat-Frame Box

Meat-Frame Box Podcast

I compiled this piece from the scraps Hieronymus Schitzolini scrounged up and scrawled on during his incarceration for the crime of non-action.  Schitzolini internalized the cell he was confined to as a metaphysical space, or proto-state that he existed in already.  This took the sting off the sentence but heightened his sense of suffering. In the prison library, the impasto carcass of a slaughtered ox splattered its light onto him.  Schitzolini’s mind raced from Rembrandt to Bacon and emerged, like the miner from Graham Sutherland’s Tin Mine, to witness what he termed the meat-frame box. 

Klein fiasco

If you can jimmy the cage door, leave it slightly open to climb back in.  The sad truth is that imprisonment has its own feeling of security.  Debilitating limitations commonly get euphemized as boundaries.  Infectious habits as reality.

Let’s say you slip out of the cage and drop down onto the buoyant ground.  Feel the bounce with each step on those rolling hills.  It’s as if you were walking in a giant womb, the proto-cage.  An ancient river flows there.  Sit on the banks.  Watch inner formations seen as exterior phenomenon float merrily downstream. 

Follow along the banks down to the grassy bluffs where the river lets into a great wide sea.  It’s the softest grass you’ve ever felt.  The way it sways in the wind mesmerizes like a good song.  Take a rest here.  Look out at the ocean.  Forget about the cage.  Care not if the door closes and you cannot get back in.  This is a good place to be.  

If you look down the coastline, there is a cliff there.  Look closer at the cliff and its eroding sandstone leaves a bas-relief.  A bare chested deity grasps snakes in each hand while the others slither around her holy breasts.  As you notice the other snake rising from her crown, she crumbles into pieces.  Her breasts turn to sand.  Eventually, the whole image gives way and falls into the sea.  Whenever you return to these bluffs, the same sight will appear recomposed as before, and will erode again.      

Return to the cage and find that you are back in the world.  The strange thing is after this journey you will find yourself bumping into your meat-frame box in unexpected places.  You might be at a strip mall running errands and suddenly feel the cage’s grating through another person.  What was a wide street may suddenly appear remarkably narrow.  The sensation of confinement may overcome you while simply waiting in line to check out.  Somebody might say the simplest thing that rattles the cage.  A common reaction is to ignore it until it seems to go away.

If you do not forget the containment, its torturing dimensions magnify.  The more you see the meat-frame box you are trapped in through others, the more it can feel like you are not only caged but bound by imposters.  The sensation can feel as if you are stretched out and pinned on the floor.  Each invader stretches you more to their purpose.  Binding you with whatever they can.  If you forget entirely how to escape from the cage, then the binding may seem permanent.  If this persecuting position cannot be forgotten, then interactions with anyone else are imbued with the presence of someone who does not belong here.  

The only thing that locks you down is the idea of choice – that figment of the imagination, that receipt of a transaction extrapolated from the flow of consciousness (the inseparable separated) to fit a narrative of rationalizations in a futile effort to say “I will not be forgotten.”  You must insist that such figments do exist.  

Treat estimations as fact.  Guesses as intentions.  Internal purposes as exterior principles somehow beyond the inner origin merely because others parrot similar sounds.  Find a group, any group.  Simulate and spread out into other cages.  More cages are better than one cage.  Do not get caught alone in a single cage.  Especially since everything is being recorded somewhere, at the very least now by a Krampus of the Internet counterfeiting lists of naughty users in his sandboxes.

This might work if you could forget that you did not choose this meat-frame box in the first place.  That the bars can loosen up and slither back into the sand if you remember that choice is a figment of the imagination hardened by habit into a social cog.  That origins are nothing more than hardened markers or heavy evaluations.  Remember that nobody chooses a body to live in.  Not a single person planned to be born.  The pre-embryonic spirit did not choose from a preformed notion of how a body would develop.  No family was selected from behind the womb.  The yet-to-be-born did not pick a language, culture, or country from a menu.

Released from the non-binding demands of others gets the invaders out of the cage.  The invasion was nothing more than them binding themselves and fooling you into binding yourself.   And only if you allow them to bind you then you will be bound.  It takes courage to commit to remaining tender and vulnerable.  To resist reactions beyond the necessary is strength.  The only other option is to be bound in your meat-frame box and shake it at others to get them to shake theirs and bind themselves.  And that is what people call power.  Though it seems as if they bound you, you bound yourself.   

Release yourself from what was built unwittingly.  Those lifelong reactions overstuffing the box.  The clutter that insists it is you but is the junkyard of short term-evaluations.  An imposter saying its you by assembling your double out of detritus.  If only we could simply kick the clutter out of the can.      

Let us slip out of the cage again.  Return to that river.  Become as flat as the rocks.  Let the ancient flow wash over us.  Let the water spill across our plates and cleanse them with forgetting.  Be absolved of all the foolish things we assumed as our own.

Absolve us from being poor.  How could we ever have been convinced that it was our fault?  Why did we bind ourselves with feeling inadequate?  Why did we blame ourselves for what was out of our control?  Think of all the energy wasted on apologizing for not being successful.  

Absolve us from not being smart enough.  We fooled ourselves into feeling guilty for not knowing the answer another caged-mind wanted to hear.  Years wasted on hiding our ignorance of caged sound-sequences.  Binding ourselves with the shame of failing to imprint the references another meat-frame box deemed imperative.  

Absolve us from not being the children our parents wanted.  How foolish of us to blame ourselves for their sake.  Let their expectations of us wash back onto them.  Let them feel disappointed in themselves and confuse it as us if that is the only way they know to be bound.  Let them say “no regrets” and have no apologies.  How many generations must pass on the strange habits of self-hatred and false pride in order to construct a family’s sense of its irreality?

Absolve us from others telling us exactly who we are.  Let others scream at the top of their lungs about who they think we are.  How could they know when we never felt certain ourselves?  How do the self-caging know the quality of anyone else’s suffering?

Absolve us from not wanting what others want.  The worst thing we ever did was bind ourselves with what others told us to want.  What we want has never been as clear to us as what we do not want.  Let us be free of the self-imposed mandatory targets and obligatory chases.

Absolve us from being sacrificed.  Those meat-framed boxes sacrifice others by getting them to self-cage.  Reacting to them in the way they want produces the image they want to make from the material they call “us” but is actually them.  And we have bound ourselves through such reactions and been fooled into owning what was not ours.  And we too bound others in this quick and dishonest way and for that feel the shame of mindlessness passing on its errors without any concern for what might actually be the case because it might disrupt the way things are.

If we can do this, if I can absolve you and you me, then could we not cease this habit of self-caging with bars wrought by fear?  Could we not return the cage to its antecedent form and allow the mind-womb to exist in its glory?  Or would we rather ignore consciousness as a womb and treat it as something best caged within other cages like that of the city we think we live in? 

The city-cage that sees its citizens as inmates, displaces people for stadiums, serves tourists before locals, promotes and uses provincialism between its communities to divide them while bull horning empty messages about community, leaves the homeless to live in underpasses while pretending it is their choice, lets citizens fight meaningless conflicts as if the caged-city didn’t produce it, and passes the buck on violence as just a hopeless part of human nature rather than a product of its containment.

The city-cage makes you pay and pay some more for every single thing that it can.  It tells you who you should be and how you should react.  It moves from one failure to another by promoting its next vision while never accepting any blame for the previous defunct developments.  It scapegoats its members who it pushes into impossible circumstances.  Gotcha!  You reacted!  Look at you!  All the while pretending to really care and promote compassion.  It’s hard ball backstage and soft ball front and center.  Cynical ambition cloaked as community.  As if everyone doesn’t see through it, but we do.  We see how we self-caged this projection before realizing it.       

Every country knows that we’ve got nowhere else to go on the face of this planet.  To move from one to another would only be an exchange of cages.  Another mass event of self-caging where audiences swallow irony whole and turn it into the shit of Being.  Sarcastic parody becomes the voice of truth.  Nationwide cage-plans of “I know you are but what am I?”  Do not acknowledge the cage.  Call your imprisonment duty.  Play the game called wait for the savior who never comes.  Join the next doom-cult of personality.  Add more bars to the cage so that no light gets in.  Welcome to the dark sweat box of self-isolation.  

But we did it to ourselves, didn’t we?  Not intentionally, of course, but as part of an apparatus.  An automatic function self-replicates on lines neither inside nor outside the containers it produces.  The outermost exteriorization of the meat-frame box is seen ironically as constructed solely by others.  The stories are swallowed as if they were our own.  Instead of acknowledging what our minds have constructed, we scream at not being heard.   Screaming in the negative space left behind by that maniac deranger with a bullhorn called advertising.    

The world’s greatest circuses may have disappeared after reaching their zenith over a century ago.  But they did not vanish for good.  Rather, they went subterranean until they could reformulate into the largest circus anyone could ever imagine in that place that used to be romantically dubbed the information superhighway.  An omnipresent tent accessible to anyone, anywhere at any moment its application is needed.  Hundreds of thousands of Big Tops.  Millions of rides.  Menageries of every necessary fancy.  A place where of course any visitor buys a ticket by exchanging their information and enters by choice.  Willing captive audiences worldwide gorge on what they’re fed. 

Overton carousels rotate wedge issues across multiple platforms to keep the audience separated.  Wheels of fortune demarcate the allotted identity-values to land on.  Dunk tank forums submerge one scapegoat after another.  Mega-Gravitrons of blame stick millions to the walls at once.  Human projectiles stuff themselves in cannons for that brief moment where millions of viewers see them flailing in the air as they confuse a self-demeaning act for empowerment.  Remember, it’s permissible and thereby suitable for spectacle if the person chooses it.

There’s good clean fun for the family in the Big Tops.  Let the circus uplift caged spirits in accordance with sanctioned messaging where controversy is taken as thought provoking news.  It’s the old sales tactic of scandal and outrage, sure, sensationalism always finds new names to hide behind, but any bona fide ringmaster is committed to dressing it with narratives any family can swallow.  Somebody always plays the pseudo-sacred cow.  Someone else, the fake savage.  The bumper lanes of thought known as ideology are put in place so that as a self-caging audience, they will feel comfortable in how they take the message in addition to being supplied with the vocabulary to use when posting about it.  They’ve heard it all before.  It’s predigested so that they know how to consume it.  Simply lock into the flying cages of an app and swing away!   

Somersaulting baby acrobats of Twitter, posers of Instagram making it rain while doing the layback on rearing motorcycles, synchronized Elephants dancing on Tik Tok, and the endless parade of wannabe ringmasters on Facebook are all grabbing for the user’s bored attention.  As they wander through the YouTube menageries of boxing kangaroos and chimpanzees on bicycles, banners direct the flow toward the sideshows.  The hot tents where the forbidden can be tasted.   

The tattooed fire-breathing sword-swallowing human pincushion DMs consumers to their fetish.  A snake-charming strongwoman throws a man like a biscuit before choking him into bliss with her displaced phallus.  The backstage glimpsed or maybe joined for a quick game of shame or shameless.  After satiating a newfound peculiar desire, they exit into the pseudo-bazaar complete with a town square simulating those that never really existed decades ago.  Also, there are plenty of wealth-worship centers that have their glass coffins at the ready for imagining what it would be like to be in a royal cage. 

However, this circus is located nowhere.  That is why its performers and users insist so hard on taking it so seriously.  Once I went to the place where it was supposed to be, but I did not find the big top promised.  Instead I came upon a desolate shore and a bridge.  So I walked onto the bridge saddled with billboards promising a better future until I soon found myself over a void in the form of a sea.  Like another failed infrastructure project, the superhighway bridge abruptly ended.  The boundary of the internet-cage overlapped the city-cage.  The outermost exteriorizations of my own cage became the inner horizon displaced onto the outer line cut by the dead bridge.  The bars of the meat-frame box were doubled by its phantoms.  This inmate’s fingers, hundreds of digits now, ran over ghostly sets of rib cages.  And my imprisoned eyes stared out at the sun that never set.