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seasons of creature

“But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do they have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good.”

― Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1st century BC.

“Suppose someone were to say: ‘Imagine this butterfly exactly as it is, but ugly instead of beautiful’?!”

― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel, 1889-1951

We were swallowed whole and there we were, warm and inside, with the breath of that creature reaching over everything.

Our city was captured, a crash site covered in skin. 

There was no exit or escape, every echo was an earthquake about to erupt, each exhale was a heat wave waiting for us. 

The outcome was over already, we were the creature’s city now.

We woke up to stomachfuls of wrecking balls, wet food, worn debris.  One storm after another, scattering against our shingles and gathering gray hair on the ground. 

The city called it the creature’s rain, they collected it in their cellars and their stairwells, they carved their names into the cement it made.

You watched me there, collecting what remains I could, keeping myself unkilled in the creature’s cartilage.  

Your eyes were on strings, swinging from a ceiling I couldn’t see.  Your eyes were wide as white flags, watching me.

This city here, the one we’ve been left in, it’s a residual collapse, a heavy gasp.  In the distance, the shape of it seems dimly scribbled against the inside of the creature, like the sketch of a spent explosive, it sprawls and then it shivers and then it sprawls some more.

The most of us that survived stuck to the center of the city, in small rooms in short skyscrapers, we searched for shelf lives that stayed just out reach. 

Beneath the buildings, the creature’s ground was cold, coffee-colored, full of fault lines that caught fire whenever the fevers came.     

You kept matchbooks in your pockets and I copied you.  I rubbed gunpowder on my palms to get them pale like yours.  I untrapped my hands as close to you as I could.

You told me maybe there were enough fault lines here to find us again.  You said sooner or later the motion sickness might miss us both.

We spent the first season scavenging the creature for a skeleton key.

I searched in shrapnel piles and stolen terrain, I said over and over there had to be a way out of there. 

Day after day, the creature’s rain wouldn’t stop painting us the way we truly were.  

Each time I looked at you and your hair was heavier and darker.  The build-ups in your breath came and went like birds stealing bread.  

Your skin stayed sheet-white and still hid the stage whispers from me.

I was your hang-wire, your hiding place.  I was your charade of ways to count backwards from the couple we didn’t become.

Our city stayed a knot in the creature’s stomach, a choke hold you couldn’t stop choosing over me.  If there ever was a key, it couldn’t keep me from remembering it all too well.

This was what I knew about you: you grew up without a favorite cease fire.

Your mother was a pushcart, a towel rack, your father was the same.  By the time you were five, every eavesdrop knew your name. By the time your flashback fell into mine, your face was still a fitting room you were trying to find.

We were living in a summer creature, one that had emptied out its echoes long before the leftovers fell in.  The erosion was exposed, cloth wasn’t always an obstacle.

I found you in the back fields, burning bones in an old paper bag.  They looked like black candles buried in there.  

I remember your face was ragged, bruised under the eyes and bluish on the blind sides.  I remember what you told me first, “the big wars are over, and the small ones never end.”

Continue reading “seasons of creature”

rainy day in an amphibious house / letters

Nevada / 16 May to 14 June

Dear Jillison,

There are two kinds of half-life (blood loss, sentimentality) and they can both kill you quietly. 

Me?  Myself? I still suffer from a lack of generative imagery, imaginative capabilities.

An eccentric, dreamy, half-educated recluse in an out of-the-way New England village cannot with impunity set at defiance the laws of gravitation and grammar.

Oblivion lurks in the immediate neighborhood.
Said Thomas Bailey Aldrich of Emily Dickinson, 1885. 

I’ve tried to prepare an explanation for you the best I can:

Nosebleed, ear ache, stomach cramps.  Highly derivative ways of forcing back weight.  Slow. Sluggish. Already lost more than arms and legs.   

I’m pretty much just sure we both can’t keep using exhaustion as an excuse.

Julin / 15 June to 15 July

Dear Jillison,

Consider.

Most hummingbirds are continuously hours away from starving to death and consume the human equivalent of 140,000 calories per day to compensate.

They enter an mini-hibernation mode (torpor) each night just to survive the suspension of calories.

Jillison, This is how I imagine it must be to live the way you do.

Incurable, without sleep, not dead enough.  Still scrambling to write your same zero-sum diaries.  Childless too, obviously.

This how I imagine it to be at least.

Castle /  16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

OK, so what did I actually actually see? These days?  It wasn’t much.

Gray splotches, dust storms, pale clouds.  A disconnect between patchwork and puncture sites.

You told me once, every wound has to have an origin story.  Do you remember that? You said, “a cautionary tale is just culture (however you choose to to define it) designed to improve our survival rate.

Scavenger’s daughter was right.  I wasn’t going to last.  

Castle / 16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

Before proper mirrors, the ocean or lake was the looking glass, the reflective world.

Lacking semantic or declarative memory.  Many of us, we still mistake this metaphor, we have a hard time remembering what lap we are on, we mistake denotation for connotation.  

Even when the differences are glaring at us right in the face.

The act of predation can be broken down into a maximum of four stages: Detection of prey, attack, capture and finally consumption.

What I mean is? We have been adapting to the afterlife as if it were a normal error.  Everything has slowed down. Completely.

Jillison, have you considered?  There are many that hereafters that may not belong to humans at all. 

This should come as no surprise to you by now.

Plowshare / 16 January to 12 or 13 February

Dear Jillison,

I said I was going to stop writing you these letters.  I should have.

We often fail to appreciate this critical aspect of the natural world: it’s brutal.  Even apex predators are very often constantly on the edge of starvation.

Emily Dickinson’s complete refusal to sit for a photographer.  In the end, unwilling to leave her bedroom, hiding from all visitors, even in her own home.

What is here since you left?  

Some days are like hummingbirds in plastic bags and some have some have been so long and flat they may as well have been laid out on a stretcher.  

Every one I thought of you at some point or another.  

Why are there so many myths and folklore where humans are punished for wanting better than their present lot in life?

It’s because you can’t have it.  Ultimately.

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scavenger’s daughter

It was a scar chart stacked into a skyline, it was shipwrecks of soot and shipwrecks of skin and shipwrecks of everything after.  I called it a home, I called it the shadow of a scavenger’s daughter.

The entirety was risen to scale.  A city of replaced components, perfect complements, a test of compressions to become. 

If we knew each other at all, you knew it as a torture device too.

We crashed there in halves. Shallow-breathed and splinter-limbed and salvage remaining. 

Underwater was what was left, most of us had sunk by then.

We tried to make an echo of who to remember or how. 

Every face was a capsized float, swollen closed from the vocal cords on down.  They followed as clouds of flesh, hungry ghosts, decomposing fish.

Today, the human food supply contains a plethora of fresh, farmed, cured and processed meats. But we’ve not always been the competent herdsman or capable hunter.

At dawn of the Pleistocene epoch, approximately 2.5 millions years ago, humans  practiced confrontational scavenging, a from of kleptoparasitism in which one creature drives off or distracts another predator from its kill.

As humans developed a taste for the meat of fallen vertebrates, we also discovered the taste of our own flesh.  

It is likely our ancestors turned to cannibalism due to lack of resources and competition at critical points in their ascension.

”My purpose is to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of a different kind.”  

– Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1st century AD.

Here is most of what I felt: 

I was terrified.  Completely.

Make a fraud of yourself long enough and the fault lines do what they want to you.   

Often leaving you without an afterlife to fulfill.

The economy of cannibalism speaks for itself, which is why the practice is prevalent throughout the animal kingdom, including among human and non-human primates.

A widespread presence of genes protecting against prion disease suggest that human endocannibalism was common for thousands of years.  

This practice may often take on supernatural and ritual dimensions.

They hid in small circles, with teeth behind teeth.  True predators who knew the trauma well.

Born again by drowning wrong, they were becoming natives there.  

Soon, you said, they would be hunting us on their own.

“A scavenger’s daughter does not age.  A scavenger’s daughter survives by starving a corpse in its place.”

One crushed orbital bone.  Or a couple overriding things to know.

You told me there was drowning and there was dissolving, stretching and compressing, the only difference was the distance to tell.

You told me even blind spots could be living things, and still, I wanted to believe you.

The towers of Scavenger’s Daughter were built of interlocking shipwrecks, which made the underwater city “earthquake-proof.

Using reinforced skeletons, the hulls of hundred of vessels could be notched and stacked on top of each other to create structures of enormous height and complexity.  

Together these structures form the city of Scavenger’s Daughter.  A skyline of shipwrecks rising from the ocean floor.

There are times we all fail.  We salvage ourselves just long enough to explore the wreckage of a warmer person.  We dig out the hidden teeth in each other.

By the anniversary of our attack, I was back to six bones missing again.  Two orbital, two nasal, and two made of hunger and need.

You told me there were ways to trust it would end, a scavenger may pray to surviving gods too.

Jillison, we should leave here.  Now.

Jillison. We should leave here. 

Now.  Now. Now.  Now.

Now.

The Scavenger’s Daughter worked by strapping the head of the victim to an A-frame shaped metal rack at the top point of A. The hands were then tied at the midpoint and the legs at the lower spread end of A

The body was then compressed from both sides, pushing the knees up in a sitting position and the head in the opposite direction. This resulted in blood running from the nose and ears of the victim other than damage to muscles.

The Scavenger’s Daughter was among those torture devices that were rarely used and yet relatively easy to make. 

Shipwrecker’s Paradox.

Whether a shipwreck which is restored by replacing each and every one of its wooden parts is still the same shipwreck?

And yes, I said yes.  Pick your shipwreck, any shipwreck.  Pick your carcass, any carcass. Pick your angles, pick your shape.  Pick your predators, pick your prey.

I survived as a scavenger’s daughter, I could only keep circling yes.

seven forgetting / letters

Trinity /  16 July to 15 August


Dear Jillison,

Let’s start over.  Let’s somewhere maybe we can agree: every creation story involves water.

I miss you.  Eight blackouts in four days. 

Shipwreck’s here and sometimes the shoreline already looks like it’s been struck through, another storm of white noise in a waiting room.

But not always.  Sometimes my lungs are bent upward and blushing and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I tell myself, this time, on this continent, and just put another tomorrow away and then another tomorrow away. 

 I tell myself, it doesn’t matter the difference, all diaries are the same day.


Hurricane / 16 September to 15 October

Dear Jillison,

No one ever thinks about how you need to stop when you want to be in a place.    Deceleration is often crucially ignored or overlooked.

I wonder how your days are, what sort of materials and fabric have grown too loud, what shapes you sleep in when the sky is quieting down and the landscape is a surrendering thing.


Every object in our solar system operates/orbits on a relatively flat plane because it was all formed from the same original stellar accretion disk 4-5 billion years ago.

Maybe this just one defensive posture against peaks and valleys.  Just a deep flat line of naive enthusiasm, infected by fragments with varying levels of success.  

Nevermind the the vanishings, the empty lenses you expected me to forget.  

It may be true that the earth is flatter than we ever gave it credit for. 


Castle / 16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

Do you remember: You kept telling me how unreliable eyewitness memory could be. 

You said, don’t try to tell me you don’t know me by now.  I set my watch just to tick in time with your pulse.

It’s hard when your senses are ready for everything next, and the rest still resists, like cellophane wrapped too tightly over a windowsill.  

But still.  Things might not get worse.  We might start having to define ourselves differently. Have you considered that yet?

What then? What kind of ghost, what kind of hiding in the attic, what kind of forgiveness and future potentials?

It’s there.  Just a beginning, solutions ankle deep, birth marksmanship.

Jillison, I don’t know how to say it honestly.  I can only say it honestly.

It was real for me.  It was real for me. Is there really any point in telling someone on hormone replacement therapy, “no hard feelings.”

Come home.  Come home?



Plowshare / 16 January to 12 or 13 February

Dear Jillison,

In the men’s bathroom in the office building I’ve been working at, I listen to old men straining to shit while I do my brows in the mirror.  

I am so incredibly embarrassed by my face.

Just keep hoping, maybe by the next room, maybe by the next room.

Time then, is it always a form of anticipation? I am still slow to outgrow the tyranny of framing attention this way. 

On the unreality of time, this multiverse, etc:  

Shotgun surgery?  Consciousness causes collapse?  I keep feeling something terrible is about to happen.

I gotta get better at making fun of myself.  Do you miss me? It’s all collapsing.  

“I was doing well enough until you came along and kicked my stone over, and out I came, all moss and eyes.”

― Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, 1936.

Manhattan / 15 April to 15 May

Dear Jillison,

Here is what you told me once: There are only a very few basic parameters contribute to what makes a face attractive.

Averaging. Symmetry.  Effects of hormones. Our wounds are just geography.  

Four years on and I remain your unthought known, I remained dimly off limits, barred from the conscious minds of most people. 

Especially you?


Cupio dissolvi.  Literally, I wish to be dissolved.


The phrase has acquired more secular and profane meanings and uses, expressing such concepts as the rejection of existence and the masochistic desire for self-destruction.

Nevada / 16 May to 14 June

Jillison,

“It scares me how many things I’ve got to learn. How will I learn them?”

― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower, 1993

Julin / 15 June to 15 July

Jillison,

 There are seven types of forgetting.

annulment
repressive erasure
prescriptive forgetting
planned obsolescence
structural amnesia
formation of new identity
humiliated silence.

plague water worships / hospital 1

Some built it up as a burning thing, a combustible thing, but I knew it as a pierce through the window.  There were too many small bites to let the heat show. I lost track. The bones inside kept moving.

Jillison had a red incision and a face with various backings.  Chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these. 

The room was in linear form, the interior was cut out of dark paper.  The walls offered advice on how to distinguish between a drowning (water in the lungs) and strangulation (broken neck cartilage).  Jillison read them in front of me.

You start to hate yourself and you don’t even know it.  A crow storm at the corners of your mouth. A silhouette split open with an ice pick.  It becomes every day.  

Head wounds (zygomatic fracture, nasal fracture, orbital floor fracture) matched perfectly with a piece of wet paper they kept in their pocket.  

The room went from cold to bone level in less than an hour.  I don’t know how. 

They told me to wait, so I did.  They said it would hurt and it did.  

I tried to sleep, six blankets on top of me, it wasn’t enough.  I tried to put the skin back on. In the dark, with only my open veins.    

A cornered animal must create their own cage.

empty hell theory / hospital 2

Once, there were rumors in hell that human beings were happy. So Lucifer sent some minor demon or other up to see if these rumors were true. 

They weren’t.  Yes. We can zero in on that a little bit.

Children think their imaginary friends know more than flesh and blood people do. It seems ingrained in our mental programming that a mind without a body will know more than a mind within a body.

Dreaming up gods that don’t exist yet (but maybe should soon?). This is how the afterlife comes to devour actual life.

December.  Dotted lines across the eyelids.  Hair and teeth gives the illusion that there is more body there.

A tenth less atoms.  Many times our memories are very low resolution and highly suggestible.

It would be unsettling if we didn’t have all these other identities and read throughs to fall back on.

What are the other possibilities before us? Another tired light hypothesis? The entire framework is much more fallible than we think.  Flawed. 

We humans are descended from a need.  This need. I don’t think there is any use in trying to hide it anymore.

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hopeful monster hypotheses

Hopeful monster theory suggests that major evolutionary transformations have occurred not through the gradual accretion of small steps but rather through large leaps between species.

“Biologists seem inclined to think that because they have not themselves seen a ‘large’ mutation, such a thing cannot be possible.”

― Richard Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution, 1940

Corpus linguistics is the study of language as expressed in samples (corpora) of “real world” text. 

“The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject.”

Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 1980


A cloud of opaque materials.

Macromutations.

Revenge fantasies? Yes, of course those too.


Rhapsodomancy is a form of divination in which guidance was sought through the chance selection of a passage in literature, often by opening a book and selecting the first line seen.

Parable underused: Preincarnation.

Men who do not devote their lives to pursuing wisdom will be reborn as women. Determined Plato.

There are so many ways of earning a living, and most of them are failures. Wrote Gertrude Stein.

“I know, indeed, the evil of that I purpose; but my inclination gets the better of my judgment.”

Allows Euripides, Medea, 5th century BC.

True carnivory is thought to have evolved independently nine times in five different orders of flowering plants.

Monotonous and gloomy variations of the same dismal theme.

“Each individual is separated from others by a taboo of personal isolation, a narcissism of minor differences.”

States anthropologist Ernest Crawley, Sexual Taboo: A Study of the Relations of the Sexes, 1895.

“When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathe News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.”

Admits Flannery O’Connor.

In the Middle Ages. the most important events occurred in cemeteries: local elections, trials, sermons, and theater plays. Prostitutes would also operate within cemetery grounds.

Little moon faced girl from the woods.  Picked over, pock marked.

For humans, repetition is inherently transgressive.

Predictive brain, inference generating machine.  

Many people, taking this into account, and holding that such a change of sex is against nature, have been at great pains to prove:

(1) that Orlando had always been a woman

(2) that Orlando is at this moment a man.

Let biologists and psychologists determine. It is enough for us to state the simple fact; Orlando was a man till the age of thirty; when he became a woman and has remained so ever since.

Instructs Virgina Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, 1928.

Contact metamorphism.

“Devastating birds wither everything with their breath.”

Irish myth: Cross.

Adult. Reproductive or cannibalistic.

A “parataxon” (not to be confused with parataxonomy), or “sciotaxon” (Gr. “shadow taxon”), is a classification based on incomplete data: for instance, the v larval stage of an organism that cannot be matched up with an adult.

Pretend they’re all children in adult costumes.  It gets easier.

“The shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering.”

Writes Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, 1981.

Hypothesis. That the body itself is capable of storing memories, as opposed to only the brain.

Categorical perceptions.   We’re trying as quickly as possible to fit it in within our taste.

If there were no thinking beings in the universe would numbers exist?


“Trahit sua quemque voluptas.

Everyone is dragged on by their favorite pleasure.”

― Virgil, Eclogues, 1st century BC.

“Indeed it may be only by risking the incoherence of identity that connection is possible.”

― Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter, 1993.


In classical astronomy, androgyn was a name given to planets that were sometimes warm and sometimes cold.

General structure is largely (in terms of record and filter): more potential than production.


From a 1906 psychiatric journal, The Alienist and Neurologist:

Then, there is a fear of being seen and a shamefacedness, which one sees in asylums. […] We called it scopophobia — a morbid dread of being seen.

 In minor degree, it is morbid shamefacedness, and the patient covers the face with his or her hands. In greater degree, the patient will shun the visitor and escape from his or her sight where this is possible. Scopophobia is more often manifest among women than among men.


“The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.”

Admits Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be, 1952.

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”

Admits Hector Berlioz in a letter written in November,1856.

The most common types of suicide include copycat, euthanasia, familicide, forced, honor, internet, martyrdom, ritual, attack, and cop suicides.


Corpus linguistics adherents believe that reliable language analysis best occurs on field-collected samples, in natural contexts and with minimal experimental interference.

Until the late 15th century the word ‘girl’ simply means a child of either sex. 

Boys, where they had to be differentiated, were referred to as ‘knave girls’ and girls in the female sense were called ‘gay girls’. 


“Female monsters take things as personally as they really are. They study facts. Even if rejection makes them feel like the girl who’s not invited to the party, they have to understand the reasons why.

… Every question, once it’s formulated, is a paradigm, contains its own internal truth. We have to stop diverting ourselves with false questions. And I told Warren: I aim to be a female monster too.”

― Chris Kraus, I Love Dick, 1997.

“I didn’t recognize you…  from a distance. That’s supposed to be my job.”

A security guard says to me.

Equally a boy could be a ‘knave child’ and a girl a ‘maiden child’.

Hybridization is actually quite common in nature.  Equines. Elephants. Big cats.


Hopeful monster hypotheses.  The root of ‘monstrum’ is ‘monere’—which does not only mean to warn, but also to instruct, and forms the basis of the modern English “demonstrate.”

Thus, the monster is also a sign or instruction.

Repetition and deficiency.

Exaggerated intuitions for how unlikely some things are. 


“And identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself.”

Writes Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography, 1937.

Continue reading “hopeful monster hypotheses”

false martyr cartography.

“The malignant self-obsession and childish vitriol only scratches the surface of the man’s flaws. His compulsions aren’t hidden or covered up. They are broadcast for the entire country to see, for hours on end, every day, late into the night.”


Never underestimate temporary paralysis. It only takes one lifetime to forget all of human history.

The oldest burial sites and artifacts suggest such a belief in an afterlife goes back more than 50,000 years.

Can the dead talk at all?  Leave the afterlife alone. You open a door only to find a fire inside.

Petulant borderline (including negativistic features): Negativistic, impatient, restless, as well as stubborn, defiant, sullen, pessimistic, and resentful; easily feels “slighted” and quickly disillusioned.

Hollow, small, sunken, confused, jealousy. It just dominates so much of my thoughts. Intensities of abandonment or reckless abstraction. It doesn’t ever go away.

Everything was poorly communicated and treated as disposable. Identities. Aspirations. Jobs. Relationships. People, in general. We didn’t hang on to anything for very long.

Entropy was common and collective. Maybe we had more to learn from it than we think.

Days were sharp and light, and the afterlife did both things. I had shingles in my breath and a throat stacked with wood to burn. We often lit a fire just to remember what the world felt like before.

She carried bags of ash and gray air. We had good seasons and bad seasons. More choices did not necessarily make either of us happier. The afterlife highlights the lack in each.

Causality is murky and hubristic. Causality is irrelevant. Falling masonry offers little refuge.

Impulsive borderline (including histrionic or antisocial features): Captivating, capricious, superficial, flighty, distractable, frenetic, and seductive; fearing loss, the individual becomes agitated; gloomy and irritable; and potentially suicidal.

Hospitals were on their “worst case scenarios.” Every bird was made of metal and plastic. The weathervanes couldn’t tell the difference between wires and waves. There were too many angles to count. I think I was just tired.

We counted backwards from the crash site. There were few basic signifiers to indicate anything inhabitable. I used to hide survival tags in my room at night.

Chin, jawbone, brow, mouth, hairline. There wasn’t much I would choose to keep.

I wanted to cry, to feel my face wet and shallow and weak.

What kind of nightmares are the easiest to nail down? The ones that already know your name.

I was short, stumpy-bodied, big nosed. My skin looked someone was trying to kill the color pink. I had wrinkles, my teeth were cigarette yellow and crooked and disorganized.

She preferred an affectionate cloth to a wire frame.

Self-destructive borderline (including depressive or masochistic features): Inward-turning, intropunitive (self-punishing), angry; conforming, deferential, and ingratiating behaviors have deteriorated; increasingly high-strung and moody; possible suicide.

The barometer kept saying: chance of apocalypse. If only.

Big veins. Low self esteem. Not a risk taker. The center could not hold.

Peak-end rule. You pick apart the cemetery dimensions, go over the outline in your head. You make no payments to the future and repeat the same mistakes. You wear makeup and paint as if it will feel any safer. Just goes to show, the past you bleed is just the past you know.

For worse or for worse, felt like another afterlife was ready to fall.

uncanny valley (ruins) / hospital 4

Stared at me like I was missing a part of my face.  Or as if I was wearing two faces, tells on top of tells.

An uncanny valley of obvious giveaways, past lives practically in plain sight.  Canyons for shadow, cheeks covered by makeup and clay, eyes close enough to crater me.

I watched you blink deeply, roll over your irises, blanket your gaze.

I wanted to understand what scared you first (an avalanche of recency bias, a whole life spent in an empty room, feelinglessness in your face and fingertips). 

How you could forget where I left myself in that valley too?

Extinct already, first and last of no one’s kind.  There are certain things you should have known by now.

At least ask.

our holographic winter

“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
why hold onto all that?
and I said,
where do I put it down?”

― Anne Carson, Glass, Irony and God, 1995.

A tale of two entropies.

“All human beings have bodies. All bodies are mortal. Yours, too, is one of these bodies.”

According to Thomas Browne, the physician and author of Religio Medici, “The long habit of living indisposeth us to dying.

A failed supernova is an astronomical event 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, sometimes misleadingly been called unnovae.

Initially, the rope broke when the Russian revolutionary Bestoujeff was hanged; “Nothing succeeds with me,” he said. “Even here I meet with disappointment.

Iceblink is a white light seen near the horizon, especially on the underside of low clouds,, resulting from reflection of light off an ice field immediately beyond.

The fear of returning to one`s childhood home is nostophobia (the opposite state of nostalgia) combined with its comorbidity ecophobia: fear of the house.

Moral conversion is a relatively rare event in a person’s normal development.

Adam Rainer, the only person known to have both dwarfism and gigantism.

At 19 years old he was 4 feet 8 inches tall, by the time he was in his 30’s he was 7 feet tall.

Looking at a lamp that flared at his bedside, Voltaire said, “The flames already?

Castration—believed to extend the life span a few years—was popular in the Middle Ages. Eunuchs do live longer than uncastrated men. A sterilized dog or cat, male or female, will live, on average, two years longer than unsterilized dogs and cats.

Emerson said, “After thirty, a man wakes up sad every morning, excepting perhaps five or six, until the day of his death.”

A rare first-person account of Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you’re dead – is by writer Esmé Weijun Wang who describes her own episode of psychosis and how she came to believe, and later unbelieve, that she was dead.

“Somatic details figure heavily in these recollections: what I wore, what I looked like. I told myself, through mirrors and dressing-up and Polaroids and weighing myself, You have a body. The body is alive.

But the more that I tried to remind myself of the various ways in which I did, in fact, seem to have a body that was moving, with a heart that pumped blood, the more agitated I became.

Being dead butted up against the so-called evidence of being alive, and so I grew to avoid that evidence because proof was not a comfort; instead, it pointed to my insanity.”

James Baldwin explained why black people don’t have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children.

By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs.

That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.

Everybody inside the afterlife is packed together. All at one point.

The 16th-century Utopians, Thomas More and Antonio de Guevara, allowed no decrepit old people in their fictional lands.

“Old people are miserly; they do not acknowledge disinterested friendship; only seeking for what can satisfy their selfish needs.”

States Aristotle’s Ethics.

Three unique markers of frailty have been proposed:

(a) loss of any notion of invincibility
(b) loss of ability to do things essential to one’s care
(c) loss of possibility for a subsequent life stage.

The Greek philosopher Anaxarchus, pounded to death with pestles in the fourth century B.C., said, “Pound, pound the pouch containing Anaxarchus. You pound not Anaxarchus.”

The moon is 1/400th the size of the sun but also 1/400th the distance from earth which results in the moon and the sun being the same size in the sky, a coincidence not shared by any other known planet-moon combination

Cross-entropy method. The pineal gland is your internal clock.

The world of the happy is quite different from the world of the unhappy.

States Wittgenstein.

Babies born prematurely—who often have falsely mature faces—are imagined to be difficult and irritable, and people are less willing to volunteer to take care of them.

So, too, a study of abused children under court protection in California and Massachusetts found that a disproportionate number of them were “unattractive.”

Classical notions about the status of humanity may be inferred by the etymology of ancient words for man.

Latin homo means “of the earth, earthling”, probably in opposition to “celestial” beings.

Greek anthropos means “low-eyed”, again probably contrasting with a divine perspective.

An Indian Proverb states, “The eyeless ant asked God: Give me eye-lashes.”

Continue reading “our holographic winter”

once upon a meteor riot / letters

Prime / 16 March to 14 April

Dear Jillison,

Have I given you my reasons yet? I wanted to tell you, no one else has to know.

A meteor riot may last as long as there are still mistakes for us to learn.

When we I started sending you these letters, I should have warned you:  Sutures. Yes. Always hungry.  Yes. Never, ever, ever, ever, going home.

You can collapse a sky by coming too close to it.  Even if the past has yet to make its impact, even if you wait there, waiting for it to crash.

I should have told you, “OK, you know all of this about me already.”

Mostly melodramatic, maudlin, under-imaginative.  

-Pock marks on top of pock marks.   

-Track marks on top of track marks. 

-Craters of cartilage, itching or missing or mostly gone.

Nevada / 16 May to 14 June

Dear Jillison,

The assumption is you’re drunk… When you drop things like that, when you walk like that, when you act like that.

Oh.”

It is an act though, right?

I know you don’t remember.  I’ll tell you again. This is exactly what you told me:

Stubborn. Engages almost exclusively in all or nothing thinking, delusional, frequently “injured.”  Anti-patterns in each pulse. Irises sinking like sacks in a lake. Black eye permanent. 

Voice like this.

You said, “That’s how you know it’s me.”

Is there a lesson here? A moral? A point? 

Fragile as ash fall and anyone could be just like you. Anyone could be just like me.  

Hurricane / 16 September to 15 October

Dear Jillison,

What is the opposite of wisdom?  Folly? Ignorance? Fatalism? A type of tooth?  Should I know by now?  

When it comes to the mortality, it seems we are not often encouraged to look at the details.

What a difference a couple months make.  I had a very different story I was trying to write before.  The thing I’m afraid of, is change. The thing I want, is stagnation.

When it comes to the mortality we are not often encouraged to look at the details.  

“Blushing.  The most peculiar and most human of all the emotions.

― Charles Darwin, Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, 1871.

Transcendental anatomists in the 19th century theorized that the bones of the skull were “cranial vertebra“, or modified bones from the vertebrae. 

The theory has since been discredited.

Grable/ 16 October to 15 November

Dear Jillison,

Firecracker’s dilemma.

Honestly, Jillison.  A lot of the time when you dare someone to leave… they will.  That has to be scary to know. What if you turn into the things you hated all along?

Most of the time, when you dare someone to leave…they will.   That has to be comforting to know? An explicit reinforcement of causality.  At least on a larger level the classical laws of physics still hold? General relativity has not caught up yet?

 I tried covering my throat in cut black cloth.  I tried to forget how easy it is for an afterlife finds its mark.

“I brought up lonesomeness again, and not being understood at all except by some women everybody hated.’’ 

― Grace Paley, The Loudest Voice, 1959.

Castle / 16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

Do I ever look like a girl to you? Do you ever think of me as one? Kind of? Not at all? I never ever know.

She has this complete and rigid dedication to this spiteful creation, this spiteful self-conception.

Very stubborn, obscure, confrontational in her own overindulgent way.  And aesthetically, still quite pedestrian.

Don’t forget Jillison, I get letters from you too.  I’ve taken what you said as truth.

There is a time we all fail.  We pause our own disintegration just long enough to explore the wreckage of a warmer person.  We dig out the hidden teeth in each other.

Jillison, if you still think you don’t know me like that?  Trust me, you know me like that.

Plowshare / 16 January to 12 or 13 February

Dear Jillison,

Here is what you taught me to remember.

Atoms against atoms, all light is the afterlife of mass.  No impact left to tell, we are hardly here at all.

Suns out of socket, sky out of socket

Skin separated by serrated angles

Spine like a torn white string.

It was a makeup year.  A mechanical year.

The oldest recorded love poetry is 4,000 years old and describes it exactly the same as we do now.

Melodramatic, maudlin, under imaginative. 

We were twin signs, kept making the same mistakes.  But if we’re this close, call it a miracle, call it a mirror kill.

Call it every meteor riot couldn’t we couldn’t run away from in the end.

sutures and tells / hospital 5

It was another way to keep track of obvious tells.  A lump of fog in the lungs and throat. Three weeks of missing capillaries. Scar tissue collected like it was the only way home. 

Half the afterlife gone already.  You say you will, but you don’t.

You don’t have to make up your mind anymore.  I’ll make it easy for you. 

Silhouette lit with matches and hidden underground. Representative features:

Both human and non human. Reacts with hostility when see their own reflection in the mirror.  Slumped posture. Shreds of water. That worn down feeling of it.

By some estimates a headless, allegedly feminine figure.   Always not very far from the edge of starvation. Exaggerated signs of infertility.   You hesitate to correct the self image.

You look to the topsoil.  Is it possible to have distance without delay? Ever decaying evolutions of language.  Speech patterns may be altered underground, as sound may travel very differently without air.

Breakdown of a map.   Handicapped by past experiences, strong priors.

Scooped an eyeball out, split in half, dipped it in chemicals to see any escape from here.

Scraping at it with a knife.   Infrared used to see the ink under all the layers.   A six hour lifespan and then lost.

Moving a page could destroy the whole book. I came out of my coma inhabiting this character.   It bleeds over. Yes. An actual life, it’s just as brittle, just as delicate.

Said I was going to move there by springtime.  Still tied to our predatory past. I guess you’d tell me that was it.

The Earliest written record of tears comes from Canaanite tablets from the 14th century BC.

Sequencing a blank sky.   Eyelids sinking like sacks in a lake.  Massive details may be missing or incomplete. 

dark swan astronomy / hospital 6

We slept back to back, with sixteen windows along each spine.  

Jillison understood the curvature of carrying nothing, back starting to bleed, another accuracy of the dark.   

The present often meaning a single event being considered, infinity is not that which has nothing beyond itself, but that which always has something beyond itself.  

Time becomes ambush and ambush becomes time.

murder the wren days / letters

Castle / 16 November to 15 December

Dear Jillison,

When I was little, still in the nowhere farmhouse, I used to press my palms of my hands against my closed eyes as hard as I could. 

I pressed and pressed until the discolored splotches and fractals showed up on the inside of my eyelids. 

I asked my parents if that’s what dreaming was.  Now I know the phenomena is called “prisoner’s cinema.”

Somehow I’m not surprised. 

The myth most commonly told to explain the festival is as follows; God wished to know who was the king of all birds so he set a challenge. The bird who flew highest and furthest would win. 

The birds all began together but they dropped out one by one until none were left but the great eagle. The eagle eventually grew tired and began to drop lower in the sky. 

At this point, the treacherous wren emerged from beneath the eagle’s wing to soar higher and further than all the others.

Prime / 16 March to 14 April

Dear Jillison,

You told me a few times, storms provide anonymity.  Provide distraction. 

I never liked it when you would talk like that.

It was the day to commemorate the first killing of the winter king by the orphan children.  Capture’s Day. Hollow Born Day.  First Martyr’s Day.

We wore scars around our necks and short robes and women’s clothes, just trying to keep the wind from breaking us.


Mutatis mutandis is a Medieval Latin phrase meaning “the necessary changes having been made” or “once the necessary changes have been made.

It is used in many countries to acknowledge that a comparison being made requires certain obvious alterations, which are left unstated.

The tradition may also have been influenced by Scandinavian settlers during the Viking invasions of the 8th to 10th century.

Various associated legends exist, such as a wren being responsible for betraying soldiers who fought the Viking invaders by beating its wings on their shields, in the late 1st and early 2nd millennia, and for betraying the Christian martyr Saint Stephen, after whom the day is named.

This mythological association with treachery is a possible reason the bird was hunted by wrenboys on St. Stephen’s Day, or why a pagan sacrificial tradition was continued into Christian times.

insect century / hospital 7

You worked at the church, waited for the animals of your family to die.  Hundreds of acres of skin and stitches and still no surprises.   

They disgust us because they show us what we are, always, eventually.  Small, scattered. Confused. They make a mockery of our pretense of “progress”.

Legs moved like a hydraulic system, unnatural, mathematical, controlled by blood pressure, judgements of lesser parts, meaningless never ending methodical action.

—  

Insects have their own scenery of denial.

I remember a lot of movement without momentum. Angular.  Divided. I remember they came out like an ink storm on the sheets and the bedspread.   

We took out the mattress and then we took out the whole room.

Jillison.  Listen to me.

Don’t ever mistake activity for achievement. They already had a name for that, they called it the insect century.

Do you still not understand what the problem is?  I don’t understand the entomology, that’s what you said.

Jillison.  Listen to me.  This is the truth.  Your past comes with you.  If you have any insects, you have all of them.

our nowhere ocean

Used to scrape off my skin with fingernails and rough fabric. Carved out circles of cheek, jaw, forehead, chin, jaw again.

I was trying to rip the reflection off. I wanted a topsoil of scar tissue, a surface level of red and violent and bleeding through. Raw and bruised.

Am I still angry?  Am I still confused?  Look at all this sweat and syntax emptied out for you. Another nowhere ocean I knew by heart. Another face buried without a name.

Coincidences of sand. Echo sounders. Ocean worshipers. A connected body of lack and loss.

“All poetry is misrepresentation.”
— Jeremy Bentham, An Aphorism attributed to him according to John Stuart Mill

Human emotions are an unconscious bio-psycho-social reaction that derives from the amygdala and they typically last 0.5–4.0 seconds, although a microexpression will typically last less than 1/2 of a second.

Look at the undertow. You find the prognosis for causality.        

I think of you often.  I go over things I could have done differently.  I try to remember it’s not always about what I could or couldn’t do.  

I know what nostalgia is, it’s a camouflage people cover themselves in when the present tense has become a trap.  

I know it’s a form of depression.  I know we didn’t get here by accident.

“Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.”
– Alan Turing, 1954.

Hedgehog’s dilemma / Lover’s paradox: Despite goodwill, human intimacy cannot occur without substantial mutual harm.

A parasocial breakup. Illusionary experience. Interacting with personas, fictional characters. Scarcity becomes social stress.

Negative consequences: Body image. Aggression. Wishful identification.

Stagnation pressure is the pressure a fluid exerts when it is forced to stop moving.

Synesthesia as pathology.

Electronarcosis is one of the methods used to render animals unconscious before slaughter and unable to feel pain. Electronarcosis may be followed immediately by electrocution or by bleeding.

Prohibition against slaughtering an animal and its offspring on the same day.

Uncertainty over insect sentience. Welfare of farmed insects.

Trade-offs between stimulus avoidance and other motivational requirements.

Darwin described complex behaviors by worms when plugging their burrows. He suggested that worms appear to “have the power of acquiring some notion, however crude, of the shape of an object and of their burrows” and if so, “they deserve to be called intelligent; for they then act in nearly the same manner as would a man under similar circumstances.”

Thought-Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation

Animals that have failed: sea lions, giant panda, gibbon, macaque, parrot, crow, fish, octopi.

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

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.

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.