Saturday, March 30, 2013


She sees a numeral, a 3. An upside-down triangle.
Beside it, a triangle which points towards heaven.

The sun is long past its peak. The light that now spills over the city is golden and fleeting. The walls of the many downtown buildings glow in a muted shade of orange, the sky above has turned to a pale blue that only holds a faint promise of the darkness to come. There are no clouds, just endless pale blue ever so slowly shifting to gray.

There are more symbols. She can feel them, almost hear them as if they were talking with soft words in a language she can not understand. The shapes have obscured themselves, blending into each other like colored oils. 

She has awoken on a warm bed of light green grass. She had dreamed of a closed door and two men with white horns. But as her eyes flutter open, she is surprised to find herself alone. She lays still for several minutes, tuning into the metronome of her heart, listening to the sounds of the city.

The street is wide and made of multiple lanes of traffic going in both directions. The city is a mixture of ancient and new, old edifices and architecture combined with new street lamps and signs. The street itself is covered with a fresh black layer of asphalt, but the sidewalks are old cobblestone, worn to a shiny finish from years of use. Modern buses wait patiently in traffic beside buildings hundreds of years old.

Two men with white horns. They were speaking. What did the men say? What were they saying?

"In music I will give you the mystery of the baptism of those of the Midst and the manner of invocation for reaching their regions."

A typical late afternoon, a known rhythm. She can sense it all without looking.
Though the sounds seem familiar, there is another sound that lays the foundation to all that she hears. She lays still, focusing, listening. 
It's the sound of distant bells. Earlier they lulled her to sleep here in this quiet little park. Now that same repetition has somehow called her back from the dream. 

"And in gestures I will announce unto you their ciphers and their seals. It will be a dance and the steps will change even as the music changes. You will never know what step comes next just as I never know what step comes next. The sequence will seep into your consciousness like water being absorbed by cardboard. I want your consciousness to become soggy , a formless pulp."

The street is exact and completely straight, breaking from its course only when it meets perpendicularly with another wide road at an intersection. Each lane is full of cars. They wait bumper to bumper, occasionally letting out a desperate honk that does nothing to move the cars ahead of them. 

She brings her warm pink hand to her face, slower than she would have usually moved her arm, so much slower than her habits would dictate. The hand comes towards her as though it needs attention, as though it has just been birthed from the warm folds of silk and is now taking its first breath in a new waterless world. 
Here is bright light.  Here is something that can see. Eyes and a face, a mind to comprehend.

The dainty white hand hovers a few inches above her face, just close enough for minute ripples of alarm to spread as she sees the short sequence of numbers and shapes on her index finger. This was not there when she went to sleep in the middle of the park just a few hours earlier. 

Dark exhaust streams from the back of the city buses. They wait as still as the cars. Nearly hidden inside them are scores of passengers that stare out from the tinted windows with a mixture of helplessness and resigned desperation, unable to do anything to change their fate. An occasional motorcycle weaves its way through the congestion, finding the small pockets of space within the mass of metal and exhaust and horns beeping in useless exasperation.

"And I will give you the baptism of those of the Right, our region, by letting the sun scorch your skin and the eagles eat out your eyes."

It is not just crowded streets, the sidewalks on either side of the traffic are full of pedestrians. Many of them are tourists, clinging to their maps and cameras and staring open-mouthed at the architecture. There are large baroque buildings that take up entire blocks and between them are grand cathedrals on every other corner.

She had gotten into the curious habit of studying her body in the mirror before bed, looking for such strange signs. Why did she start? What made her do it? No clear answers to be found, no clear answers to be stated.
It had turned into a compulsion. She didn’t know what she was searching for when she started. She smiled shyly at herself in the mirror  under flickering candlelight, a bit embarrassed by the nightly ritual. But she did it again and again, looking for something. Night after night, she had only found pale skin and freckles.

But this afternoon something has happened.  She searches her dreams for a clue. A door, white horns. She looks deeper, allowing her body to relax and drift, to begin the journey once again.

"I will give you the great mystery of the Treasury of the Light where all my wealth is stored."

a field with a book,
a man’s face she could not see. 

She pulls herself out of the waves and looks at the symbols once again.  She closes her eyes slowly, feeling her heart.  It is calm, there is no fear.  The ripples have faded. 

"I will give you gnosis in order that ye may be called 'children of the fullness, perfected in all the gnosis and all the mysteries."

The tourists walk in small groups, adorned with hats and water bottles. Locals weave through them like the motorcycles, finding the spaces between gawking groups of picture-happy tourists.

She has grown to expect strange things, to hope for them perhaps, though a part of her mind holds onto modesty and stable things like stones and plastic. 
But all things are possible in the labyrinth. Puppets and humans alike play, devising ways to come through the tunnels left wide open in dreams.

One of the oldest buildings in the downtown area is an old church with a long, narrow steeple made of metal. The building itself is constructed from bricks and rises five stories high. On the body of the building, close to the steeple, are open square windows. Inside the windows, within the church, she can see the silhouettes of ancient people, wide open eyes staring out. 
The church building sways softly in the wind, moving slightly to the right and left, then forwards and backwards.

"Blessed are ye beyond all men on earth, for with access to these spheres you will have room to breath. For the children of the Light are come in your time, you are they.
All that is required for an achievement of gnosis is everything.
You who have abandoned the sky father and the earth mother because I have asked it, unto you will I give all mysteries and all gnosis."

A numeral, a 3. An upside-down triangle.
Beside it, a triangle which points towards heaven.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I find myself standing inside a modern gallery. Cool bright floors, bright white walls, light breeze streaming through big open windows. At this point I vaguely remember leaving my house, I vaguely remember an afternoon of surprises, unusual circumstances, the sound of laughter, the bright sunlight on the sidewalk, the startled look in the eyes of the guy who gave me the mushrooms, the kids playing baseball, the trees in the distance, the way the clouds looked like oil paintings, the sound of the birds.
"You will laugh so much..."
But now I am inside this gallery, looking at a painting of a mountain. I can't quite remember coming here. It makes sense that I am here, but I can't remember. It just makes sense on its own terms.
I look at the painting.

I see a rocky mountainside, covered halfway up in stones the size of human heads. All the boulders are dark gray and cold and slightly wet. The mountain is wide and tall, it connects to an even larger mountain range to the north. In the distance, the mountains are brown and barren and covered only in scattered patches of dry grass. The sun is hiding somewhere behind a thick haze of clouds.
The day seems new, but somehow drained of energy, as though something very intense has just vanished and what remains is slightly diminished.
It reminds me of the light of the afternoon. This afternoon, not that afternoon. It reminds me.

At the base of the mountain range is a receding sea. The water is dark blue and choppy with white caps. It flows out towards the horizon in a hurry, as though something was waiting for it beyond the thin line of sight. The wide mountain is mostly covered in heavy rocks, but as the mound moves closer to a tip, the rocks become smaller and smaller, until they are just small pebbles hidden between blades of dried grass.

I come to the realization that the painting implies a location for me. Within it, I am inside a small cabin, looking out the window. I can see the frame of the window at the edges of the painting itself. The mountain is outside the window, bright sunlight, blue sky. But inside the cabin it is dark, musty shadows. 
Answers born from questions and questions born from answers tumble awkwardly over one another like dark suited gymnasts. What is that light there, penetrating the apparent serenity of this dark space?
Eerie and blue, it calls to me and points towards a startling terror.
I am not alone here. I am not alone.

There is a movement not far off, something that can see me, just as I can now somehow barely see it. Somewhere beyond the edge of my vision, beyond the frame, within the painting, somewhere in the in between. The nether region beyond my direct sight. Something in there. Somewhere. Something.
The age old questions arise: can this thing hurt me? Should I hurt it first? Who will eat who?

I turn away from the painting. The guy who gave me the mushrooms is looking for a general manager. He is asking questions in rapid fire succession. His hands move up and down. I can't see who he is talking to. Someone else is here. Someone. Somewhere.
I have questions of my own. Where did I meet him? How long ago? Were we good friends at some point in the past? Did we spend many afternoons together, drinking, talking, asking questions, laughing? Did we laugh so much that we came to know each other through our laugher? Have I temporarily forgotten?
His girlfriend is with him. She must be with him. I can't see her. I just see him walking around, moving his hands up and down.
Was I his girlfriend before? Was I someone else? Did I know him at all? Have I ever met him?
There are no clear answers in the gallery. No clear answers here. He is too far away to ask. Too far away to focus. Too far away to listen. Too far away.
I turn back to the painting.

I feel this thing again. Something beside me. In the painting, outside the frame, not in the gallery, not on the surface. And yet right here. Right there. Next to me. Some thing.
This is too close.
It can't be a friend. A friend knocks at the door, a friend calls to you, announces their presence from some distance before coming so near. This can't be a game.
Or are there other ways to play? Ways that belong to creatures far beyond the fear of safety and borders of individuality? Does one thought in my mind announce itself to another before it takes over? Does it knock? Does it ask for permission? Or does it just come in when I'm not looking? When I'm looking elsewhere?

Fear is such an insistent mistress, always calling for my attention, always making bold claims.
Such as this announcement, this sudden claim that this is a matter of life and death. This, right now. 
How can it be? I am standing in a gallery, looking at a painting, sunlight outside, the sound of voices, a guy I may or may not know asking for a manager, cars passing by outside. Safety. The world.
Leap up and attack! Run! Act! Quickly!
Or tell yourself that it isn’t real. It's only your imagination, it's the mushrooms I ate, not too long ago.
It couldn't have been that long ago, it must have been today, earlier today, how long is today? How long does the sun stay up in the sky? What does it mean to ask how long when I can't feel time passing?
There is nothing there. Walk away.

I close my eyes. If I can’t see it, then it can’t see me…so goes the ostrich logic. Leave the hidden things to feast over my reposed form. What do they do while I hide behind closed lids? What do they want?

I turn to another painting. Right next to the first one.
I am now looking into a warehouse. I sense that they would want me to be the manager here. Who are they? How could I know what they want?
They need help keeping track of things, maybe someone is looking for me, just beyond the edge of the painting, looking for the manager, for someone that could be the manager, me. I'm the one they're looking for, I'm the one he's looking for. I can be the manager. I am the manager.   
There is grass on the floor of the warehouse. There are lots of people inside, some of them are watching TV.  A large screen TV in the middle of the room.
I think that it could be relaxing to sit in the middle of a crowd and watch the images flashing on the screen. But the air is stifling, it's too crowded, I need to breathe. I can't sit here the way I'm feeling right now. I can't sit among so many people, I can't.
I look into the TV screen, the one inside this second painting, inside the warehouse that is inside the second painting.
I see the dead horse. His dead eyes stare at me through the screen. Stare at me. Dead horse. Inside.

I am back in the cabin. I don't remember turning back. I must have blacked out, I must have closed my eyes, I vaguely remember closing my eyes before, maybe I've done it more than once, maybe I've been doing it over and over.
Has this happened before? Have I asked these questions already? How long have I been here? 
I'm simply back here. Back in the cabin. And someone, something, is still here with me.

This is that thing, so familiar, so incredibly strange. I know it. That thing that they told me didn’t exist. The thing that was not in my closet, not under the bed, not at my window. The thing that was not.
Sleep they told me, go to sleep. So I did.
But now I can feel it. I am startled by this presence, this “should not be here” that disturbs the peace like a spider falling from the ceiling onto your cheek, a hand where there should be empty space, a pair of eyes in the raw darkness of a garden. Flashing eyes, glowing eyes.
Just inside the cabin, inside the painting, outside the frame, not here where I am, there, not here.
Now I know that it has always been here. It was always in the closet, under the bed, and at my window, then just as now. Now. Here.

I turn away and walk out the back door. I see the mountain once again. Maybe if I leave the cabin behind, the darkness, maybe the thing can't follow.
I step outside, into the fresh air. I breathe deeply. So much better out here. Leave the cabin behind. Finally, I can breathe. This is what I needed. This is what I need.

There is one four foot trail that travels the length of earth from peak to ocean. There are other scattered trails that are much thinner, only wide enough for one person at a time. Close to the shore is a thicket of trees beside a clearing thirty feet wide. They are as tall and thin as eucalyptus, only they have darker and wider leaves and more full reaching boughs that create a wide canopy.

Something is still moving behind me. I would not usually be here, walking on this mountain path. Usually I wouldn't be here. Usually. 
I would not usually perceive that strange glow, should not. I would not hear the rustling, should not. I would not feel my pulse quicken and my eyes snap open.
Keep walking. Keep going. Don't look back.

The clearing is smooth and flat and free of all rocks. Because of the trees, it is covered in a nearly green-black shade. The earth here is damp and smells of wet bark.
To the left of the clearing and the trees is a grouping of dark wood condominiums. The singular structure is angular and modern. It would give off a very cold emotion if not for the wood used to construct it. The collection of two-story houses each have double pane windows and wide sliding glass doorways that face the seashore and the thicket of trees.

These things are ephemeral.
Yes, I have now decided, it is more than one. It is multiplicity itself, it is always many and now more than ever.  Many and I am one. They continue their advance. They.
Why should they worry? I don’t believe that they exist. I have left the cabin, there can't be any thing here, no further thing, no further.
Reason should prevent me from rising to stop them. Why should I try to stop that which doesn't exist?

On the lower floor, beside a sliding glass door, is a dead white horse laying on the ground. Its legs are curled close to its body in the fetal position.

Sleep they told me, go to sleep. So I did. That has always been the way. Where there is nothing, sleep will brush it away. Gentle sleep, calming sleep.
Tell yourself that it isn’t real. It is only your imagination, there is nothing here. Mushroom, light, painting. Nothing there.
I am looking at a painting. This guy I know. He gave me some mushrooms. This is the mushrooms. This is what happens when you eat mushrooms. (Except mushrooms have never been quite like this. Except I can no longer see a gallery or a frame or a painting.)

The glass doors reveal the occupants of the houses. There are people inside. They are swollen and pale and laying on their backs on the damp linoleum of their kitchens. Their bodies are moist, as are the T-shirts and shorts which clothe their bloated bodies. They are not moving but I can see their chests moving up and down. Alive. Moist. Bloated. Inside.

These things are still behind me. I can't think of any other noun to describe them. Things. What do they want from me? What do they want?
Answers born from questions and questions born from answers tumble awkwardly over one another like dark suited gymnasts. I descend into the dark depth blotting them from my mind. Forget that light there disturbing the womb of darkness and retreat into slumber and the comforting illusion of solitude.

There is a rocky mountainside, covered halfway up in stones the size of human heads. All the boulders are dark gray and cold and slightly wet. The mountain is wide and tall, but it connects to an even larger mountain range to the north. In the distance, the mountains are brown and barren and covered only in scattered patches of dry grass. The sun is hiding somewhere behind a thick haze of clouds. The light is still very bright, the kind of light that requires squinting. The day seems new, but slightly drained of energy, as though something very intense has just vanished and what remains is slightly diminished.

I see a woman lying down. She's laying on the ground. Her legs are curled close to her body in the fetal position. Her face is towards me. She looks strangely like me.

There are no things. There is no gallery. There is no painting. There is no horse. Nobody. Nowhere. No.