raptor talon talisman

 

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges…”

― Jorge Luis Borges, “A New Refutation of Time”, Labyrinths, 1946.

“If an ox could paint a picture, his god would look like an ox.”

  ― Xenophanes of Colophon, 5th century BC.

Every day in tunnels, in the cave, I wore the talisman and swore the talon’s oath.

Seven claws hung high and sharp around my neck, each one easily reachable by either hand.  They were Jillison’s grave luck piece, an empty ornament to remember where we’d been.

Avalanche was the only calendar I had left.  It was our cold and voiceless season, more violence was unspoken than snow and ice could show.

We were alone and almost unconscious.  Children of the youngest continent, still lost enough to trust a raptor would protect us.

‘….that explains the trouble that I’m always in.”
― Alice in Wonderland, Very Good Advice

2. How does time work?  Here. A very simple setup.  A screen that flashes two dots.  Dot one appears and disappears and then dot two appears and disappears.

The brain translates this into one continuous motion.

Instead of seeing it as it is we perceive it as one dot moving back and forth between then position of the two dots.

We have evolved to see physical objects. We have adapted to the afterlife as if it were a normal error.  Another delusion, what’s the difference?

The unthought known stands for those early schema for interpreting the object world that preconsciously determine our subsequent life expectations.

3. Jillison called them savior claws and said they were enough to start us over again.

Maybe this time we could charcoal a path to a grayscale sun.  We could sharpen the talons to keep us together for good.

False positives or future imperfects, it was up to us to tell the difference. 

If animals like velociraptor were alive today our first impression would be that they were just very unusual looking birds.”

― Mark Norell, ‘Velociraptor Had Feathers’, 2007.

4. What raptors had we known before?  Anyone looking backward and forward at the same time, feathers and scales in the same place.  No need for symmetry, no reason to ask for it.

Like Jillison said, first birds of the afterlife.  Blind and incapable of sustaining their own body heat.  Hatched in caves or sinkholes, brought up by the opposites of each other.

For all we knew, they learned to leave flight behind.

5. Displaced gods or “fading gods” of older theology often appear in lower or demote status in new religions.

In the beginning, we had an agricultural god. 

Makes the seasons, the floods, forest fires, good and bad land.  There is no promise of afterlife. No rewards or punishment beyond death.  No answers are given to metaphysical queries.

Interests include agricultural input/output, little else.  This type of deity is no longer relevant to many people.

6. Could have been one of those sacraments still to come, a collapsing season, a coincidence of solar reckoning.  

Unstable weather often accompanied a raptor’s shadow, when warmer air begun to invade the caves, while glacial currents was still pushed on occasions from the poles.

Even with snow up to my neck I was still soaking wet with sweat.   I clung to serrated edges, sharpened curves, seven talons on a torn red string.  Jillison’s apology in advance, and I clung with both hands, honestly.

7. Time is dependent on an observer: It gets stranger when you add color (or gender) to the setup.  Dot one is reddish pink. Dot two is deep blue.

People claim to perceive the colors changing halfway along.

What is actually happening?  The brain is retroactively changing the contents of your present tense perception. Your brain is retroactively telling you what you are seeing right now.  

Test the latency bias.  Flashes get processed differently in the brain than moving objects.

This is your brain.  This is my brain. Formally just fault lines that fray.

Tiny differentiations in the developing egg designate major differences in the final creature.

8. OK, Jillison. Suppose we never left each other.  Suppose I could hold up those talons like they were a lantern now? How much of us depended on adaptation and how much depended on climate and chance?  How much of any of it was true?

A seventh of it. I know.

“It was a silly, silly dream, being unhappy.”

― Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925.

in the philosophy of fault lines / hospital 9

Jillison.  What contours now are clearer than what came before?

You’ve been drinking all night (and day).  Still repeating to me the same secret you can’t (won) t tell anyone else.  Plague water still your only map of nothing to say.

Latitude.  Longitude. Center of your eye like a compass screaming at me.  

Orbital floor fractures were investigated and described by MacKenzie in Paris in 1844 and the term blow out fracture was coined in 1957 by Smith & Regan,  who were investigating injuries to the orbit and resultant inferior rectus entrapment, by placing a hurling ball on cadaverous orbits and striking it with a mallet.

You just want to ignore as much as you can.  Go on and on about black me out weather, mistrust, language backing up into empty space.  Saying to me over and over, I don’t ever want this or that to be us.

I remember you Jillison.  Awake with your maps, north and blind, south and unable to breathe.  Weak and shivered thin, diet and stress interchangeable, terrified of cracks in the hide.

Jillison, consciousness causes collapse.  We are here now. Can’t make a map of anywhere else.

Still puking?  Jillison. You said it wasn’t going to be same (again).

Mapskin creased over and over.  Kept blaming it on the answer you couldn’t become.

Like writing you meant I owed you, an obligation (gesture) toward understanding, certainty, elimination of possibilities.  An identity held, at least, temporarily.

But it was all a cartography of illusion points, Jillison.  An embarrassment, in every direction. Jillison, I wanted an answer from you instead.

I wanted you tell me (just once), there’s a reason you are here.  There’s a reason we stay here.  

victory disease

“If you find this work wearisome or difficult to follow, please take pity on me for I have repeated these calculations some seventy times.”

― Johannes Kepler, The Harmony of the World, 1619.

“I don’t know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another. Perhaps some other time I’ll be able to tell another. Living souls, you will see how alike they are.”

― Samuel Beckett, The Complete Short Prose: 1929-1989.

1. By dawn, my stepfather had introduced us to a mythology of his own. He built a tower hide, attached wing tags, cast his nets over clouds and sky.

Back then, we lived under a three tiered sky of cartilage, hollow limb and common bone.

There were birds as big as bathtubs and birds with bellows in their throats. The wind was thick with them, twenty four to every eye, fits and flocks of them.

Birds of now and birds of then, he said. Both would be blacked out at the Halowell.

“Birds, by their quickness and intelligence and alertness in acting upon every thought, are a ready instrument of God, who can prompt their movements, their cries and songs, their pauses and wind-like flights, thus bidding some men check, and others pursue to the end, their course of action or ambitions.”

 ― Plutarch, 1st century AD.

2. When the cloud cover was clear, we watched him turn the anesthesia machine back on.  The sound of opposing currents came through over motorized, brackish, cold. Wind fell off course.

As if I didn’t notice, a nowhere was growing inside of me.

3. Cells stop making new rejuvenated cells.  Maintenance gets scaled back or rolled out in illogical ways. 

 Early human explanations: Our bodies over time, get worn out.  Our tools get worn out over time, artifacts etc. Shouldn’t our bodies be the same?

Evolutionary function of aging.  It has such a cost, why does it exist.  What pays for it biologically?

4. Seven weeks we waited in our pop-up trailer. Jillison was a ghost born again.  We played duck and shutter, pane and palm print, draw card and rook exchange.

We practiced disassociation strategies until we were waking strangers, until we were too young to guess what was coming again.

Hours began appearing briefly or repeatedly, as if each duplicate was undercutting into something lesser.

5. I watched my stepfather outside again, filling sacks with fallen leaves, covering echoes in rain, confirming the failed results.

I could read the swears worsening on his lips. I listened for the recoil of commas and halts of breaths, more or less single tones, pauses before the rest.  

I wondered how a face could end up looking like that. Jowls and bone and eyes bulging, barely any shapes at all.

Caught me red handed, caught me empty handed, the inevitable was never far from where I stopped following along.

“To oppose something is to maintain it… To be sure, if you turn your back on [something] and walk away from it, you are still on the [same] road…You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.”

― Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969.

6. No mental imagery.  Purely conceptual. A computer that stores information but you do not have a screen attached to the computer.  You can’t view it. But you can still access it.

1 out of 50 people don’t create pictures inside their mind like other people do. Instead they experience  blindness of the mind’s eye. Aphantasia.

Why does it take so long for anyone to tell?  A lot of conversations go unnoticed or missing in the back seat, individuals find a way to function despite it.

7. It wasn’t denial at first of course, just another way to exist further and further from myself.

Jillison wrote a reminder and left it for me. He called me the upcoming hopeless and I tried to laugh about it as long as I could.

8. My stepfather watched us with one infected orbital.  He recited another fever vision under his breath. He went back in to check on the anesthesia machine.  His eyes were controlled by corners of light.

Jillison was right when she said critical parts were missing.  Blood-soaked, empty veined, a sky made from shadows of flesh.

She was right when she said, if the afterlife ever started, it was starting then.

“Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge…”

― Paul Gauguin, 1903.

9. Rank in level of detail.

A close friend, a partner, a family member.  How well in your mind’s eye can you the contours of their face?  Just how vivid are these mental images? 

There tends to be a spectrum, from none to extreme lucidity.

“Consider incompleteness as a verb.”

― Anne Carson, Plainwater: Essays and Poetry, 1995.

10. He used both hours, like there nothing was wrong with it. Like he shouldn’t have to even worry about getting caught.

I could feel his anesthesia machine overheating, sweating heavily.

Aphantasia.  Disassociation.

Synaptic ripple and retreat.

Left my eyelids there, left my pulse there, left my body as an echo chamber. My throat was numb from vomit and spit swallowed back and spit up and swallowed back.

Jillison told me it didn’t matter now. She made it simple: Hide the knives under our pillow. Wait until he comes the right night.

Kill the bastard already.

“I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.”

― Simone de Beauvoir, in a letter to Nelson Algren

outline tectonic / topics of concern / letters

Grable / 16 October to 15 November

Dear Jillison,

I want to be vulnerable with you. 

Most interactions are either transactional or performative. We’re too self-conscious to listen. We’re thinking about what we’ll say next or how we’re being perceived.

All the posturing destroys any chance for a genuine connection.

A question worth asking: If you looked into the world’s most honest mirror, what would you see?

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Mother Night, 1962

Maybe I should stop going into the men’s bathroom.  

Castle / 16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

Causality is a common lie.   We only believe in it because our brains evolved for it:   Tool making implies a world of causality. This action leads to this result: a very direct illusion.

You used to repeat yourself.  You told me over and over.

This weeks theme is garbage gray.  The goal is to pay attention to the illusions, knowing full well your brain is complicit in constructing them. 

Possible theme: fragments are existentially valuable.  Inherently valuable.

The movement of animals closely resembles in many ways the random walks of dust particles in a fluid.”

Plowshare / 16 January to 12 or 13 February

Dear Jillison,

Now the loneliness was evenly mixed with the air.  Settled like pollen and dust on table chair and dishes. Thin little lines lay under your eyelids.

When you were a child, what did you think happened after you die? When did you start thinking about death at all? 

I tried to remember the phantom limb of where we’ve been.  Maybe there once was a room where I knew what to do with months like these.

Prime / 16 March to 14 April

Dear Jillison,

Do laundry.  Go to work. Order/pickup medication.  Pack what you own. Find a temporary place to live

No money for concealer or caffeine. Reschedule face hair removal appointment for when you might have money.  Read an old story. 

Move?  Publish a book?  Get arrested? Maybe throw up again?

Be kind to yourself. Talk to friends.   Fuck dissociation. Wear what you have. No makeup necessary.  Fuck dysphoria, Go into world. Listen. Laugh at yourself. Actually make the trip to get your pills.  Be kind. Get a good night sleep. Write.

Confession: I have noticed this violent masculinity to our writing.  Short clipped sentences Too much force put on the period and line break.

The only form I trust are fragments.  What possible problems could this cause in our relationship?  In all relationships?

There’s got to be a lot more change in my life.  Let’s start with the way I write / think / collect / obliterate information.

continuous omissions / distortions

copying always / scavenging others 

entirely broken as a generative machine

trash collector / plagiarist

Shortcuts, cheats, so many breaks.  I collect scraps all week, just to leave them out.

Nevada / 16 May to 14 June

Dear Jillison,

“The map is not the territory…”  

Positive shame versus problematic shame.  I tend toward the latter. Internalize. Over-personalize.  Ignore external conditions and chance and circumstance. I catastrophize. I feel like I can’t change things, I lock in a spiral, I withdraw myself from others. 

Habit loops contain three parts. Queue (Trigger). Behavior. Reward.

A lot of addictive and destructive behavior may be caused by unacknowledged shame.  Concentric circles of denial and absence. 

We are so reliant upon the human face to read/understand intention and motivation, the face is a communication array.

A lot of gimmicks, too many gimmicks. The mask is an ancient performative tool.

It is easy to become sentimental.  It is easy to make poetic promises.  You are right to see these tendencies for what they are: flawed, human.

“I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding, they learn by some other way — by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!”

― Richard Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, 1985.

great zodiacal wars / afterlife 1

Abnormal bleeding, a prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss.

As a result of coordinated attacks, water triplicity was also a concern.  

Constellations infected your reflection in unpredictable ways.  Cloud reservoirs were polluted to a point where neither of us could drink from them anymore.

Heavensick, if you wanted to call it that. 

They tried an asymmetrical insurgency, using magnetism and electrolysis.

You prayed for recovery to calculate a more accurate afterlife.  One with appropriate tectonic and volcanic activity, occasional softness as a twofold surrender.  

The myth had many variations: the creator and the raven, collaborating in a coequal way; or the creator alone, using the birds only as interventional assistants.

They took over a table of dates, described a location and an ability to view the damage by land.

Dissection was doubtful, blood flowed from the right ventricle to the left ventricle.

Undeclared symptoms may manifest themselves in fatigue cases, confusional states, conversion hysteria, anxiety, obsessional and compulsive states, and character disorders.

When you reached a passing condition, the ascendant and vertex started switching hands.

Several factors may have contributed to a body being accidentally debilitated, including the cancer being: faster than its average speed, retrograde, combust or aspecting a malefic planet or fixed star.

End it there, and it only had to be our half of the horoscope alone.  A slip away, structurally and socially invisible. They probably wouldn’t even be able to tell.

Like a sketch of sunspots from a start over sky.  A zodiac trial easily lost, or won.

It would become another targeted tumor treatment, another unequal treaty and the nearest we had to get to zero was zero.

You told me the Hereafter was a form of far away and only once before.  I always hoped that was right.

A failed supernova is an event in time domain astronomy in which a star suddenly brightens as in the early stage of a supernova, but then does not increase to the massive flux of a supernova.

They could be counted as a subcategory of supernova imposters. They have sometimes misleadingly been called unnovae.

a constellation of knives / afterlife 2

And medical knives in Midheaven too, even if Jillison said it was all still preventable.

It only had to be a reminder some form of surgery coming.  An equivalent guilt. They told us possible risks, radiation therapy, more possible risks and a third of the horoscope alone. 

They said accidental catastrophe, including carcinoma, faster than average speed.

Another puncture passed through the undercurrent of your face.  A pain exhibit. Like a constellation killed in slow motion. Almost even carelessly.

You said you would use whatever your had left.  Lost comets, lines of advantage, sympathetic or contagious magic. 

The discussion was over before it began. Just another reminder of all the things I never learned how to talk about with you.

the impalement arts / afterlife 3

At last, another Heaven.  Pins and needles the size of skyscrapers, a yolky aftertaste, a bed spilled on granite.  Vowels with their veils in disguise. Blue ribbons in my hair. Home.

Outside, Jillison whittles fingerholes into cork.  He scripts static defense into star charts. Scratches bruises shaped like trapezoids.  He spends his nights nailing frog legs to the leftover planks of wood. Anything else feels too much like starting over again.

He sheds and shivers and I balance him.  He is nervous. I brace his circumference with warm temperatures.  I brush poison sumac off this truth and that.

Syllables blink and I hide him.    I know my words are like ticker tape.  Thin. Flimsy. Tasteless. Jillison could rip them to their filaments and stomp them out.  But now, he won’t even look at me. 

That’s when maybe I knew the distance that exceptions make.  You can travel your whole life just to remember the absence they left in your place.

emergency atlas strategy.

“If I remember correctly writers usually find some excuse for their books, although why one should excuse oneself for having such a quiet and peaceful occupation I really don’t know. Military people never seem to apologize for killing each other yet novelists feel ashamed for writing some nice inert paper book that is not certain to be read by anybody.”
― Leonora Carrington, The Hearing Trumpet

“Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us.”
— Jean Baudrillard

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”
— Louisa May Alcott, (Work: A Story of Experience)

“An invisible landscape conditions the visible one”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“A very small part of this great system, during a very short time, is very imperfectly discovered to us; and do we thence pronounce decisively concerning the origin of the whole?”
— David Hume, Dialogues, 1779.

It’s the same old story as before, a beam of light from before.

Pooh: “Christopher Robin, what exactly is “doing nothing”?
Christopher Robin: “Well, I’m told it means, “Going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

The point is although we think there’s a very solid distinction between where our bodies end and the world begins, in fact the brain has to work quite hard to produce this kind of consistency of experience.

And, of course, clearly it can go wrong.

Continue reading “emergency atlas strategy.”

cryosphere ultima

“Near limitless energy is to be found by effectively cannibalizing dead galaxies from other dead universes.”

“See the moon? it hates us.”
―Donald Barthelme, 60 Stories, 1966.

I was living topside when we met. I was covering my organs in gray cloth and hoping no one noticed.

I wasn’t following fault lines or fractured terrain. My silhouette was stitched thin already.

I knew it could all go wrong.

The cryosphere is an all-encompassing term for those portions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground (which includes permafrost).

Benign envy versus hostile envy. We reserve this malicious envy for our peers. Relevant comparison standards. Relative dimensions.

The Icelandic word for “drift whale” translates as “windfall“, since the washed-up carcass provides meat, blubber, fat, and other benefits to the finder.

In Chile, the caldera of the volcano, Sollipulli is filled with ice.

A glacier erupts.

During the Renaissance and by early modern times the voices in favor of actual infinity were rather rare.

“The continuum actually consists of infinitely many indivisibles…”
Argues Galileo.

But Plato has two infinities, the great and the small.

In 1909, one filmmaker, Władysław Starewicz, found that when filming live stag beetles, they tended to stop moving under the hot lights.

To solve this problem, he killed his film subjects and attached wires to their bodies in order to puppeteer them. Dead insects and other animals were frequently used as protagonists in his films. 

Discussion of Warm Diseases published in 1746, divided the manifestations of diseases into four stages.

Parrondo’s paradox: it is possible to play two losing games alternately to eventually win.

It’s vehement, it’s mean-spirited, it’s hateful. It’s like a rattlesnake was kissing it almost.

Prose itself reads like a rant. Basically just primer material. Hard to understand. Bombards you with information that is no way persuasive. Again. Childish. Babbling.

Most virulent forms of jealousy reserved for those who are in same boat as us. Hostile envy gnaws at you, schadenfreude soothes the pain.

Envy feeds on the living. It ceases when they are dead.
― Ovid, Amorum, 16 BC

“Beware the fury of a patient man.”
―John Dryden. Absalom and Achitophel, 1681.

Ice sheets are the greatest potential source of freshwater, holding approximately 77% of the global total.

“Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.”
―Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the use of the Young, 1894.

“It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others, and to forget his own…”
―Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, 45 BC.

transfinite rift theory / letters

Hurricane / 16 September to 15 October

Dear Jillison,

You’ve fallen for this word “afterlife” how many times now?  I’m not sure what it is supposed to mean? What do you think you’re giving a name or order to?  I knew who you were from fault line’s first lie.

Hollow born.  Dead end new daughter.  Do you remember what I told you when we met?  Hangwire. Hiding place.  

Ignore the rest of them, Jillison.  Erasures scratched aside until there was only one left to spell.

Hypothesis over. After all that empty digging, numberless and unnameable.  Fault line fractured open and filled to close again. On and on, repetition like a map of mistakes and regret.

Should I just have left you to chance?  Left us to chance? Like another decade of disassociation would have allowed us to dissolve together, like these continents would always just be cloudforms you sketched on a page.  Jillison, no.

Jillison, if I had told you the truth back then. What I wanted was simple.

Jillison, I wanted us to die there as long as it took.  Hangwire. Hiding place. 

What I wanted from you was simple: same body, shape of a void.  

I’ve told you I’ve been working toward an afterlife to begin.  Have you ever belonged to one before? I’ve been to one, just one.   You know you don’t have to leave them quietly or all at once Jillison.   Let them stare. Let them.

If it all went nowhere, if a rift opened without anyone knowing you well.  

Jillison. I remember knives and knives under the bed, I remember hiding as dead as I could.  It was another fucking excuse and then another one and I’m tired of them. How can’t you tell they are too?

Listen to me.  Afterlife is only once.  It is not a trauma management strategy.   Symptoms are transfinite: total body deafness, desks empty and covered in skin, senses no longer separated by crash site and wreckage and cost of remains.The outcome is an obvious one, Jillison.  

What’s left for us now then?  An explanation won’t really help me.  It certainly won’t help you.

“You can go home again, the General Temporal Theory asserts, so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, 1974..

Trinity / 16 July to 15 August

Dear Jillison,

Listen.  Seven continents and seventy attempts.   Crashed so many times, I hope you remember that past too.  If you think you have an afterlife now? Prove it.

Yes.  Jillison.  I told you from fault lines first lie. Make it simple. Almost childish, unbalanced, a diary of a missing body (story, plot, character) and the limits of disassociation in its place.

Do you need a list of leftover content?  An entire encyclopedia of dysphoria? How much needs to be lyrical, blind to which outlines? Jillison, none of what you’re doing is remotely new.

Confused.  Overwhelmed.  Scared. Avoiding intimacy. Embarrassed.  Distant. Cold. I know you don’t want me to say your name here: (want versus want).  You won’t.

Do you understand what that means Jiillison, we are kept together or not all, either way.  There is no pretense left for you to repeat. Keep your eyes on us instead. 

Called yourself a scavenger’s daughter, dressed your hands in fossils and scales and feathers and skin, like there was such a thing as evolution at an evacuation site, like shrinking yourself into a smaller grave and then a smaller grave would help them see you honestly.

Mapped the same afterlife forwards and backwards, always as if our fault lines would fracture together at the end. As if, as if, as if.

Fearful, that is how I would describe you.  That would be my word for you.

Jillison, I wanted to write these letters even plainer you know.  Like all that mattered was a repetition of simple pieces (pitch-blind and against meaning).  As if language wasn’t there at all. As if it wasn’t always a form of violence replaced.  

Tell the story of where I found you last.  Afterlife wasn’t ever supposed to mean anything more than that.