Look at the sad body in the dead end of a labyrinth. Given up. Sobbing over its trap. The kind of crying that happens in dreams. The kind everybody wants to forget. The walls sag over the sick body. No way out. This clump of flesh limps between dead ends. The desperation for control has already been written into these walls by all the other sad bodies that scrawled here as they were swallowed up by grief. Any healthy body that passes by feels the failed clutching of the stuck body’s weak hands. The sad body asks for anyone to help, but by help it means to merge into its sadness by way of that euphemism for assumption called empathy. Once the walls have melted into an ooze it becomes apparent that it is a black pond. The deeper one wades into the muck-maze, the more it drags one under.
Look at the angry body in the labyrinth. Ramming into walls. Beating its fists. Stomping back and forth. Pissing in every corner. Screaming at the dead ends. The endless corridors burn with rage. The floor cracks under its heavy foot. The angry body slaps itself in the face. Bites its fist with the hunger of anger. This labyrinth with walls of fire chars the angry body. It glows and sparks embers with every movement. The only thing the angry body wants is to annihilate whatever put it here. Friends and family of the angry body who enter the corridors of choler end up dead for their own good. Angry bodies kill what they love and call it protection. What else could exist in this swirling fire pit?
Look at the hunchbacks digging in the labyrinth. Hunched from so many years of digging. They ceaselessly dig here and there to tunnel out of the labyrinth yet every tunnel comes up against an impenetrable curtain of rock. If anyone asks them what they are doing, they will never admit to the image of escape that possesses them. Instead, they will insist upon a more noble cause, something to cover up the dreary state of their perpetual work. Anything but the fact that they are digging for the sun.
Look at the dancer dancing through the labyrinth. The choreography of the walls move with the dancer in synchronicity. As the dancing body spins, the speleothem chandelier spins above. Whenever it seems as if the labyrinth might collapse, the dancer discovers one more movement to slip away. Eventually, the maze gives up. The walls fall away. And the dancing body keeps dancing on what has become its stage, or a gestural space. And when the dancer sees a sad body trapped in the floor, it dances to encourage the sad body to dance. But the sad body slumps in its muck. And when the dancer sees the angry body throwing a tantrum, it encourages the angry body to turn it into a war-dance. But the angry body chokes on its bile. And when the dancer sees the hunchbacks digging, it encourages them to use the shovel as a prop for a dance. But the hunchbacks scoff at wasting their time.
The miser never takes a vacation. So when he found himself forced to take one by virtually everybody in his life, he goes to a destination town advertised as the place to be. He walks by the obligatory art deco building preserved for nothing but looking at. The endless rows of palm trees scream at him that he has landed in paradise and this makes him frown. The miser reads the sign “support our troops” in the patriotic zone and wonders how much more that will cost. The wealthy displays of jewelry on the necks of women and the vintage automobiles padding the asses of men make him scowl. His cost-griping, price pinching demon would devour these wasteful consumerist boobs if he let it out. The main drag that never really was doesn’t fool him. The stores try to tell him who he is but he knows their dirty little tricks to sell him cheap shit while he waxes poetic about himself. “No thanks,” he mutters.
Somebody tries to strike up a friendly conversation but soon realizes he picked the wrong chat-buddy and miffed, calls the miser a nihilistic naysayer. He thanks him for calling him something he hadn’t heard before. Finally a surprise. He was used to party poop but nihilistic naysayer feels like a badge of honor.
The miser can smell the waste disguised as fun a mile away. He knows exactly what this place isn’t, paradise. What is this place then? A labyrinth for dipsticks? What he couldn’t figure out was who all these assholes were and what factory made them to voluntarily imprison themselves here. As he checks into his hotel, he checks right out and drives back home from the desperate attempt to get him on the right side of the money-time continuum.
Meanwhile the upbeat dipstick who coined “nihilistic naysayer” is really enjoying himself. A buck tooth grin from ear to squeaky clean ear. A white line of excitement leaps around the back of his head from the haircut he just got. The palm trees and swimming pools and spas make him feel like this place exists in an age of true decadence. Plenty of everything to go around. His favorite word is abundance. Second favorite, plethora. And this place has both, an abundance of fun and a plethora of extravagance. Even the fake turf at the bar, hosed down from last night’s puke, tickles his toes.
The banana daiquiris are to die for. The only hitch has been the amount of sunblock he had to slather on. Smell that peculiar greasy plastic coconut stink. But when in Rome, right? Even the abundance of tired kitsch Marilyn Monroe holding her dress down and Elvis Presley standing like a park ranger in a Hawaiian shirt has the air of goofy freshness. In a flash, the upbeat dipstick notices this female sweat sculpture seated at the bar. Caked in raunchy makeup and draped in a flower barf moo moo, the woman reminds him of his depression-aholic mom as she slurps another Mai Tai down her grizzled gullet. A shiver jumps up his spine and jolts him down the main drag where he quickly forgets her as he exercises his curiosities in a store called “The Shiny Glitz.”
On the other side of town where there isn’t any bother about simulating paradise and where city planners circle-jerked it into a dead end after decades of failed projects, an imposter goes to a home where he has squatted for weeks. Nobody at the home seems to own it nor could anybody keep track of who lives there. The neighborhood sees it as a rat-infested trash heap, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears in this forgotten part of town. The house itself is a mad patchwork of rooms juxtaposed over time. Deranged corners twist and turn into walls assembled from any available materials. The doorways, without any doors, are so narrow that the imposter must slide through sideways. Some rooms need to be climbed into. Maybe more cubby hole than room. The imposter cannot find a comfortable place to rest. Nor can anything be easily found with the assorted scramble of things in every drawer.
The living room was destroyed by a car that ran off the road last year, so it was converted into an amphitheater. Sometimes the imposter comes home to a concert but today there is a meeting. The imposter doesn’t know anybody participating. He overhears them talking about controlling this and controlling that. One stranger gets up and goes to the stage and makes a formal complaint. Then another.
The master of ceremonies preaches to the distraught that they should not find grief but rather rejoice at the clarity of knowing what they do not want. The word rejoice makes the imposter giggle inside. Rejoice sounds so old fashioned. Stiff. Like a request to do what could only be done by force. An order to have fun. “Look at this jalopy,” says the MC as he points at the house, “look at the broken intentions. It makes a person with control issues want to tear it down. Build a perfect box. But that wouldn’t be perfect would it? It never is. Name one house you’ve lived in that didn’t have its issues. Every house has its broken intentions, no matter what. It’s only the contrast between this jalopy of broken intentions that seems to embody it, but it isn’t any different than if you were to tear it down, and build another only to discover more broken intentions. Rejoice! Rejoice at the fact that this jalopy is exactly what you do not want. It’s gift is clarity! The lack of control a gift.”
An agitator screams “bullshit” as she throws a molotov cocktail at the stage. Fire engulfs the amphitheater as the audience scrambles through any hole to get out. The imposter squeezes through the back door and watches the smoke glow orange in the night sky as it billows up with embers swirling around like a hive of fireflies. The beauty of the embers falling and catching other houses on fire is terrifying but the impostor accepts it. He accepts the idea of the neighborhood burning to ashes as something that is beyond his control. He accepts that the jalopy of a house is as good as gone now. The MC was right! The impostor feels the rush of an epiphany: rejoice! Yes!
Rejoice at what you do not want. Accept the idea of everything. No matter how any of it intersects your notion of control. See the broken intentions and let them stand as they appear to be. The jalopy house was perfect as a jalopy. And it is perfect now as a bonfire. The imposter never wanted the house in the first place. Nor did he want to live in that neighborhood. He hops on his bicycle and rides through the inferno with a calm that only the clarity of knowing what he never wanted can bring.
The impostor bicycles in the night. Goes down the middle of that empty road so many mistake as enlightenment. A car swerves past him going ninety plus and yells at him to get the fuck out of the way. The impostor smiles at the gesture of a control freak trapped in a metal box. There must be a corollary between men racing in the middle of the night and rapist tendencies. “Happy that isn’t me,” rejoices the imposter.
He passes an alleyway that draws him into circling back and exploring it. Something rubs against his tire. Another bicyclist is trying to make him eat it. A teenager bicycling with wooden clogs on. With newfound clarity about what he does not want, the impostor assumes the other bicyclist accepts the idea of everything and reacts by flicking a sharp turn. The bicyclist falls harshly on the pavement and the impostor notices that it was just a teenager whose head has swollen to the size of a balloon. The boy’s eyes and mouth appear stretched as if the head were about to burst. What a relief to know that he did not want his head to blow up like that.
A forgotten friend, a con man of error takes in the impostor. The con man’s home feels like home. It has the makeshift steps leading to rooms of odd dimensions and peculiar window choices overlooking peak and valley rooftops. The impostor asks the con man about his recent errors and the con man tells him that he wasted the last month casing a house on a tip that an old lady was harboring some expensive jewelry in her fireplace. When he finally figured out the right moment and retrieved the goods, a fence broke it to him that the jewels were nothing more than colored glass. He dumps them on the table and the way the glass jewels scatter reminds the impostor of an idea he had once about the creation of the universe.
A great giant bear as dark as the night lumbers through the void. The blackness of the void and the bear’s coat intermingle to the point that it is impossible to tell which is which. In fact, the idea of a void always makes the impostor think of its fur and running his fingers through it. And this great dark bear breathes in the void until it becomes so full that what comes out of its mouth is a cosmic barf of stars and planets. All of creation that we know spewing out of this big black bear. Now the fuzzy void machine can rejoice at ejecting all that it never wanted.
Over coffee and toast the next morning, the impostor reads in the newspaper that the neighborhood burned down. But that did not disturb him since he had not only accepted it but rejoiced that he had never really wanted it. Of course, they managed to save the few blocks of simulated paradise. What did bother him though is the article about a boy who died in a bicycle accident. The picture shows a balloon with a face painted on it to represent what his head looked like. The picture is a grotesque parody. The news is so sensational about things. Always amplifying and making matters worse and more silly than they are. The imposter rejoiced that he no longer wanted to read the news.
At the funeral, the impostor parks his bicycle behind the church on a hill overlooking its courtyard. From there, he can see the boy whose head has deflated. Orchids and Cala Lillies and a swirling assortment of flowers swaddle the boy into what appears as some image of divinity but also something vaguely resembling an ice cream cone. The impostor takes out his phone but as he holds it up to take a picture, the preacher yells at him to stop what he is doing. The impostor recognizes the preacher as the MC from yesterday and hollers back at him “why aren’t you rejoicing?” Has he forgotten his message from yesterday or is he just another hypocrite, wonders the impostor. This whole funeral scene seems to suggest by its solemnity that everyone present wants to be swaddled in floral ice cream cones themselves.
Jelly sparkling with seeds as bright as stars oozes through the cracks in the ground. The bear was here. The walls of the ice cream labyrinth are melting short-term evaluations under the hot sun. The sacrificial chimeras are still smoldering. The derangement of sales and bare bones gratitude materialize into ether. The theater of fate has collapsed under the weight of necessity. The despair of the empty hollow is left to those who cannot rejoice at the clarity of what they do not want and find it impossible to accept the idea of everything. The weird sponge sups on the tragic glory of acceptance as snow falls on the drought stricken oak-laden hills where it never snowed before.
The dead boy rises from his funeral stage and asks the attendees why they have fallen so quiet inside themselves. Where have they hidden their inner worshipper? The boy is happy to be dead rather than listen to the silence of their living souls. To witness their refusal to believe in what is good enough and true enough. They say they cry for him but he knows they cry for themselves. The din of self-pity causes the dead boy to rejoice. He accepts that the living cannot find the way to open up and see more. He flies over the impostor whose mind he looks through at a glance and sees what the impostor cannot see. He telepathically tells the impostor for his own good that every mind has a door inside it which can only be found after decades of scanning over the infrastructure fraught with error. The boy is too young to know this, but knows it now that he is dead And only if one knows how to read strange mirror images, might one discover the secret door and then the question is whether or not to open it. To even crack it open means to be hurled through it. So the decision must be made beforehand. If it is decided that the door should be opened, once one is hurled through, one immediately will want to crawl back to tell everyone about it. Most, however, never make it back over the threshold. And the few who do, speak in ways barely intelligible to others. All common conversations will be ruined and unbearable. Chatting will be an insult to time itself.
The dead boy hovers over the city out to the land where the snow drifts for the first time and relishes the cold snow blanketing his dead skin. Out there in the snow covered drought stricken hills, the dead boy comes upon a tent the size of a banquet hall fit for the gods. A small forest could fit under its brown tarp big top. From the far corner comes a group of floating cosmic bear cubs. Slowly bouncing off each other like a game of slow motion billiards. Full of joyful flight, they hover around the dead boy. He pets them and the fur feels like stroking the void. They smile and coo at their new dead friend. His clogs begin to dance a dance he never knew he had in him. A pure expression pours out through him as if he were a simple and happy marionette. What is better than a pack of flying cosmic cubs, the boy wonders as he forgets that he is dead and smiles at all he has left behind.