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.

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.

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.