Be it For the Better Part of Man—

Uproot yourself.

Refuse the easy path, respectfully. You may need it later. You will. But… you do not need it now.

Close your eyes and breathe. Open them again when you are calm. Watch the spider in the open window begin to weave a web that you’ll resolve not to destroy. Do not be afraid of the spider. Exist with it.

This is going to be difficult. That is the process. The process of re-wiring your mind.

The only reason you are doing this, is because you want to do this. Otherwise you would not do it. You have learned to listen to your body. It is time to listen to your mind.

Sit mindfully with your thoughts, and observe them without judgment. Let them go.

Imagine yourself from a top-down view, pretending that there is no roof between you and the endless open sky. The sky you sit beneath envelops everything. The clouds that you may watch drift slowly from your field of view in stillness are the water and the breath of the world recirculating. This breath fills your lungs as it does everybody’s. This water will become you. And soon after it will leave, becoming something else. You will remain. Always changing. Moment to moment. This is the process.

Connect the room you’re sitting in to the rooms around you. Imagine the occupants. You know they are there. They exist. You cannot feel them, maybe. Acknowledge them. They are here. So are you.

Expand the locus of your imagined, top-down view. Place yourself within the city. Place yourself amidst the trees. Place yourself in your environment. Realize where you are, because you are there.

Stay calm.

Expand the locus of your view.

There is a whole world’s worth of this. You are in it. Alive, breathing. Right now. When you think about tomorrow, do not worry. It will be here soon, and if things go well, so will you. Do the best you can in any moment. This is the process.

Re-learn the things that make you happy.

You realized once, on acid, that the reason you were not happy was because you had ceased to do the things that make you happy. You must entertain the possibility that these things will change. You may have to learn to do something new. But you’re here because you want to. That is the process.

You are in control of it. You can do anything you want to.

And right now, you are.

Image Credit: Getty

Youtube Rabbit Hole: My first experience at Denny’s (I survived)

kill me violently with a machine gun

The following is a work of fiction. Free association. When real events are described, they are moments long past. Many things in the text did not happen. It conceals no greater urgency, and is uncomfortable to read. 

Rip me limb from limb. I deserve to be destroyed.

Kill me violently with a machine gun. Everyone deserves to be killed.

Paint the commons with my viscera. Blast my guts into the wall.

The first thing you need to focus on upon waking is your own destruction. Implore to others. Stab me violently with knives. Run me through with rusted spears and polearms. Throw me off a tall building, or a short one, onto spikes. Lay me down in dark traffic. Hold me underneath the water.

“Drowning,” the psychiatrist said to me across the desk, reading back my own words, from all those years ago. “That would be a good way to go.”

My mom was twisting awkwardly next to me, unsure of how to receive the news that her creation had spoken of its own demise quite earnestly, at some point, with the woman across the desk.

“Do you remember saying that?”

I smile, not meanly. “Yeah.” It’s the only thing that I remember, the aspect that makes the memory click. I’d forgotten I had ever been here, otherwise. I was on a lot of drugs the last time I came here. I’ve remained on drugs a lot.

These things happen. I don’t remember things. I get flashes. Vomiting wood and plant matter in the headlights of Joel Wynn’s car, somewhere. Some curb, some space of land that exists only in my memory as an island, ending at the reaches of its light source, only mystery beyond.

Kill me violently with a machine gun… everyone deserves to be killed.

My body twisting in the bed beside my mother, eyes open, half here, half out. Lights up and the lack of hurt, the pragmatism of what is to be done right now, a voice on the phone that I don’t understand, words from my mouth they can’t either. It’s all so incredibly funny.

Everyone deserves to die. Especially me.

I wake up in the king bed next to my mother, turned away from me across a barrier of blankets cold and thick. The room feels like my childhood, hermetically sealed. There is a serene chill to her bedroom. There always has been, and I wake up to it now, remembering nothing. I know that she is sad. I don’t remember anything. I don’t feel anything at all.

I won’t recall this episode until some years later, when she mentions it to me, the pills that I was eating on the floor, my disorientation on the phone call. “You didn’t even know who you were talking to.”

“What? When was this?”

Didn’t remember. She carried that for two years, I never carried it at all. I left it in the bed. To this day, I don’t remember what the phone call was about.

These are what you call your medical emergencies, these little stretches where you stick your fist inside your chest and start to pick at the walls of your heart, with chipped nails. You get somewhere beyond navel-gazing. Your hand is up inside you. Pulling. Wrenching. Kill me or come loudly. What do I want? What do I want? Am I going to goddamn find it in here?

A rising heat of anxiety attack. Look up out the window, in horror, at the trees. They live peacefully. Swaying in a gentle breeze. They are watching you die.

In the coffeeshop I avoid catching my face in a reflection and ask myself if I ever think I’m going insane. And then I sip my coffee. There’s a moment of clarity. I say “yeah”, aloud.

This sort of thing happens all the time. I am always coming back from it. Back from the bathroom floor, the precipice, the haze. Hey, you should kill yourself! No, not now, later, later, that comes later… Calm down.

You’ve got so much left to do.

Photo Credit: Weapons Man

There’s a Sarahsze.com

And in keeping with tradition, she strikes me as very creative. Also very successful. I need to give her a call. It sorta goes against the literal truth of the modus operandi of the Same Name Squad, but in spirit, it is a-OK. We can always use some help with the visual aesthetics around here.

I mean, look at this. I can’t do this. There’s so much care and precision, here. Some of the best art I’ve ever produced is basically a story about me throwing up with the word “fuck” used fifty times. When it comes to me, y’know, it’s like, art? More like “fart.” You can use that one. Pull-quote. Right above the title of a book jacket. “More like fart.”—Stephen King. And then SARAH SZABO: Haunted Contemplations.

Speaking of book jackets, I was named writer of the month for the current issue of California-based literary magazine Drunk Monkeys! Issue number 4. Free stories at the link! One is called “Beer Mile,” and it’s a comedy. It’s kind of funny! The main characters are real dopey assholes, I love ’em. The other is called “Fit of Inspiration”, and it’s short. Short and strange. So, yo dawg, are you bored as fuck? You want me to weave something for you? You wanna get swept away by our shared imaginations to the far-off place where wings take dream? Then please, get up on this dick.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: The atmospheric loops and jams of Lee Bannon
Photo Credit: Sarah Sze

entr’acte, exeunt, intracting

I am beginning to cocoon myself. Alone beneath the open sky I pull and pluck at disparate strings, thin to the point of nonexistence, barely matter, from the air, twining them between my fingers into thread. Unlike spider’s silk, my threads are coarse, peppered in color, irregularly shaped. The patterns of my weaving are rough to the eye and jagged to the touch. There is no elegance to my construction. It is miraculous, but that is all.

I begin with my torso, twining the threads about me upward and downward in turn, thickening the center of what will become my cocoon. I am protecting my most vital points; tight, but not uncomfortable, my chest and stomach press firm against the weaving when I breathe. I am beginning to imagine how the next few years will be.

I twine new threads down my left leg, straining against the bulk of what I’ve already created. Over hours I cover the limb, beginning with the fat part of my thigh. It feels less imperfect, more secure, inside the casing I’m creating. I resist the urge to tighten it; there must be room for bloodflow. I hope that time will make me smaller.

I wrap my second leg in thread and marvel at the reality of my creation. It is beginning to be difficult to imagine an alternate, prior existence. I am encased, I am myself. I must internalize the new reality, a mental readjustment proving easier, more automatic, than one might initially expect.

I begin my arms with apprehension; the more that I continue, the more difficult the work becomes to undo. There is a point that I will lose my ability to escape what I’m creating. This I consider, as I twine the tendrils down my forearm, asphalt gray and hardening.

In order to ensure that my cocoon will be impermeable, I now begin to wrap my head. I will finish the construction blind. It is the only way to ensure that my head will be protected; to secure the webs around my nostrils, ears, the fine contours of my face, I will need dexterity. It is difficult to decide what last to cover—my nose, my eyes. I seal my mouth without concern. There is nothing left for me to say.

Now I have become as like a being otherworldly, my shape wide and irregular, save for the flesh of my hands and feet, protruding from my stiffening sleeves as I commence the final step. This is the point of no return. I lay myself upon the ground and begin to bind my legs together, lashing them into a rigid plank, inarticulate. I wrap my feet to one another til they form a rounded tip. I wiggle my toes, and tighten.

The work grows harder as my body fatigues, but soon, it will all be over. I lash my left arm to my chest, and bind my fingers flat against my body. I place my right hand on my heart, using what little space remains between my other arm and chest to squeeze in my uncovered digits, these last five fingers of bare skin. The web will seal my hand, in time, inside the space beneath my other arm. The key to making it secure at all is to stay as still as I can be. The inexactness of the seal creates the weakest point of my cocoon, but is not so due to oversight. I stretch my fingers, and try to feel my heartbeat as it slows. In years’ time, I will need the space around my fingers slack, when I use my unbound hand, finally, to break free.

Photo credit: Zdzisław Beksiński

thunder clack

Low rumble overhead from clouds colliding in the night. Inside the cloud a woman hovers, naked, soaked, and screaming. She does not want to fall.

More swollen clouds butt heads adjacent to her porous vessel. The wind is swirling. The membrane tears with a great rising roar of release. She is falling down.

Bolts of lightning tear through space between the earth and sky, blasting down into barren rocks. Flashes of electric light illuminate her silhouette. She does not seem to be in motion, but each new image sees her lower still, drawing ever closer to the earth. Her hair wraps around her face and reaches for the disappearing sky. In the distance it looks peaceful; in her ears is wailing wind.

The night is cold and dark without the moonlight. Between the white-hot bolts, a plaintive rest. It’s almost not unusual, tonight, scored by rain falling in sheets dispersed.

There is no impact in evidence. No echo. Eventually assumed it must have happened. The rain continues. It becomes a violent storm. There is no body in the morning. No new pond or crater. No real witness to the end. No story to tell. Nobody clamoring to hear one. So this almost never happened. No storm. No clouds. No fall. The ripples of the impact touching no one that you know, at least. And in the morning, after all of this, the teardrops on the blades of grass that sparkle in the day’s first light are indistinguishable from dew.

Photo credit: Uh, this iPad mini case.