This is a new passage, mostly stairs, moving endlessly in any direction. I take the underside of the stairs that lead up to a further unknown, dark and at once foreboding and alluring. I make my way along this upside-down, winding staircase, and I suddenly find myself, not in a room, but another corridor, startlingly strait and though probably a normal size, very wide in comparison to what I had previously been proceeding through. The stairs disappear behind me, and this new corridor stretches out infinitely into the darkness before me. The walls on either side are lined with doors, and each one presents me with multi-verses of opportunities, and I find myself unable to move forward. I’m perplexed and at a loss, for any sense of purpose I had has now lost itself somewhere behind one of these doors. I stand dumbstruck, and the existential dread begins to creep through the shadows, sending tendrils into my body that make their way through my being, suffocating gently. This dread consumes me with new thoughts and feelings of stagnancy. I lose myself to it, and leave this world, leaving a husk, which I may someday find my way back to.
I circle and observe the people, and take note of the interesting social customs as well as the true natures of those who are left to themselves or their respective partners. I make my way, finally, into a side door to a kitchen, lit and welcoming, warm from the crisp, misty chill outside. There are about five or six people, toasting to each other silently, laughing and eating their cakes in a far away world from my own. I take a bit of cake for myself, and savour it as I continue on into the darker corridor of the few I could choose. It snakes labyrinthine through impossible turns seemingly between the walls of other rooms.
I then find myself in a small, personal library, a number of bookshelves lining the walls with old leather binding and gold leaf gilding. It smells of ancient paper and timeless ink, of hot brandy and heavy tobacco, and of leather and wool. I take a moment to just appreciate what I have found here. This is someone’s heart, manifest in a room, hidden away from those who lack the knowledge to find it. It is a sanctuary, as sacred to this person as the old stones in the fields or the small shrines in the woods. This is hallowed ground, and I stand in awe and respect for what to some might just seem like some dusty old room, decaying, cobwebbed, and pointless. After my moment of silent respect and prayer, I move on through one of the bookshelves that swings open slowly to accept me further into this houses depths.
This house was old, grand, and had the air of an ancient aristocracy, attractive and yet wholly and totally debased. It was a house of many secrets; it almost seemed to hold more corridors and rooms than the outside looked like it could contain.
I wandered the grounds first, invisible to the fancy dress party-goers, the men in old smoking jackets, the women in gallant yet modest dresses, treading lightly over the gravel pathways between old beds of rose thorns and beautifully overgrown wild shrubs. The moonlight’s pale blue aura is pierced in some places by the warm golden light spilling out from most of the windows, playing dancing shadows out over the thick grasses on the lawns. I eye each of the windows, curious as to what could be in the spotted few that remained unlit. There isn’t another building for miles, and the grounds stretch on for forever, out into the dark and inviting forest. I don’t think I could cover all that, though I do want to. Still, my focus remains on the house, looming into the night sky, its silhouette shaggy with ivy.
“Let me tell you somethin chummy. When your spirit is floating down that tunnel towards the light, you know what’s behind the light? It’s not God. It’s me. and I’m gonna kick your poncy soul all the way back down the tunnel ‘til you choke on your own fucked up ribs. Now, wake the fuck up!”—Bricktop
n. a relationship or friendship that you can’t get out of your head, which you thought had faded long ago but is still somehow alive and unfinished, like an abandoned campsite whose smoldering embers still have the power to start a forest fire.
Stay in one place your whole life. Always order vanilla even though the menu is four pages long. Become the type of person who sends back lattes. Save up your money for a plasma TV instead of a plane ticket. Talk a lot about things you know nothing about. Have an affair with someone you don’t…
“Dreaming of that face again. It’s bright and blue and shimmering, and grinning wide and comforting me with its three warm and wild eyes. On my back and tumbling down the hole and back again, and rising up and wiping the webs and the dew from my withered eyes.”—
The darkening forest passed him in more stills until he broke the treeline and found himself in a great field. This field was strange, and yet somehow familiar, like a place he’d perhaps been to as a very young child, but lost in the chaos of growing up and the oblivion of learning anew. There was a palpable innocence to this place. Nothing bad could happen here. This was a place for children and young lovers, a place of enlightenment restricted to the pure of heart. There was no room for sorrow or shame, no room for dishonesty or deception, for anger or anguish.
He ran in this field of previously lost innocence, spinning and tumbling joyfully, with just the moment. He collapsed and rolled a couple of times in the cool, purple grass. As he lay there, he looked up at the new night sky, orange at its edges fading into violet then to black. The moon looked down on him with maternal love, kind and compassionate. He was his childish self again, freed from all of his worries and hopes and concerns, and simply there. Nothing else mattered, or even was, because he was there now, truly enjoying himself. It had been many years since he felt that.
He pulled himself up into his body laying there in the dirt and leaves and he rolled over to look again at the darkening sky. The twilight was nearly gone now, but with what light there was, he could make out the silhouettes of the trees bending down at him, away from the sky they had always reached for, and toward him.
Michael brought himself to his feet and started to run. At first, panicked and terrified, but as he ran through the blurred still images of the forest around him, he lost all fear, and then there was nothing else. Just the drive to run. He didn’t get tired or winded. He just ran.
He jumped to glide over the treetops again, to fall across the sky again, to float briefly in perfection until the delightful terror of falling gripped him again, and the earth gently took his feet away from him to tumble underneath him until he came to rest.
He lay on the ground again, fetal, breathing slow. The earth began to accept him into her darkness, and he was swallowed with softening soil. This new dark womb was pleasantly cool and quiet. The soothing black enveloped him and filled him with a sense of security. He was safe here. Nothing else had to exist, because everything was alright here. Pitch dark. Silent. Complete.
But something wasn’t right. He felt he was being pulled too far into this void, he felt he was being devoured, that he had to escape before he lost all hope of return to the light. He still needed that light. It wasn’t time for him to return to the darkness between death and re-birth. It wasn’t his time.
As he stood there, breathing in the fading colours, he felt the way he did in his dreams. Like what he experienced now was somehow more real than the normal world. Every other part of him perceived the surreality of his experiences, the trees bending inward, the extension of his body from itself, but somewhere inside him was a home-like sense of comfort. A sense that things were okay for now.
Here, the connectedness was so obvious. Everything in space and time was connected in an almost visible network, circular and frenetic, without obvious pattern, but with inherent cohesion. All of the events in his life and the lives of everyone else weren’t linear at all, but spiraled out in this infinite web that merged and wove and separated indefinitely into oblivion.
He always felt so confused before, one step behind things, inhibited, foggy. He felt the ever present melancholia of life; he knew the tears of things. He’d be volatile and vehement and despondent and disaffected. Everything was deeper. Even his apathy was deep-seated. But now, he was perfectly calm, contented, not happy, but not sad either. All of his rage and sorrow was stripped away from him, leaving behind only tranquility. Things just were now.
With difficulty, he got up, struggling against his equilibrium, disoriented but so serene. He stood, breathing heavily to make sure he could. He checked himself for any pain, for signs of living. He felt nothing but his heightened sense of self and of being. Perhaps he was beyond life, beyond the living, somewhere between death and enlightenment.
But probably not. Nope. He was still just a boy. Just another young man who couldn’t help but feel that this world that spun and blurred out of control without regard to anything else just wasn’t quite right. Things always seemed false. Fake. Fabricated. Everything that was close repelled itself away like quicksilver into an endless expanse of unreal existence. Nothing ever touched.
Michael saw the world around him in fewer colours than usual, tinged more with greys and browns, as his vision flanged in and out, creating sequential sepia stills of the earth rising up to take him. He lay, still, forward on the ground, senses a little more focused from the jolt of his fall. The forest floor smelled rich, of fungus and moss, of the life-giving, decomposing dead. His head was turned to the side, his cheek on the pillow of soft, decaying leaves. The colours vivified again to a vibrant glow in the twilight of his vertical horizon, and for just a moment, nothing moved. He inhaled and let existence fade away again. Blink. Black. Break. Breather. Exhale to existence’s return.
n. a feeling of resonant connection with an author or artist you’ll never meet, who may have lived centuries ago and thousands of miles away but can still get inside your head and leave behind morsels of their experience, like the little piles of stones left by hikers that mark a hidden path through unfamiliar territory.
“‘The secret to making love last is independence and indifference, infused with affection and generosity.’ The voice answered, each syllable like harmonic vibrations in a set of train tracks that ran straight and unbroken to infinity. Then it kicked me in the face with a foot of pure glory, and I spiraled back downward into the muffled dusk.”—Robert Brockway
n. frustration that you’re not enjoying an experience as much as you should, even something you’ve worked for years to attain, which prompts you to plug in various thought combinations to try for anything more than static emotional blankness, as if your heart had been accidentally demagnetized by a surge of expectations.
[I started this piece in the middle of one of my classes while I was probably supposed to be doing something else, but I don’t remember.]
She was playfully capricious in a way that was warmly mysterious. She waltzed through golden days in vibrant summer dresses, beautiful and simple, stepping lightly with the innocent excitement of a playful breeze. Endlessly she sought new experiences and everything she took her soft, lightly weathered hands to took on her vital beauty, as if to bloom like painted flowers. She endeared herself to everyone with passionate kindness, leaving a wake of cheer, and she was adored by each and every living thing she met, whether they be man or woman, old or young, cat or dog, but none felt the endlessly deep love that at once filled and consumed me.
…so it’s a little flowery, but so was Oscar Wilde, so bite me.
I guess there’s no day to make your first post like your birthday. I’m kind of amused by how quiet a birthday can be, if you just don’t remind or tell anyone. I’m not upset by people not knowing. That’d be silly. I barely remember my own as it is. But, it is true that it’s something of an expectation on one’s birthday to be inundated with people cheering and singing and giving you food and stuff, or at least to have a few more conversations than you might on any other day. It seems that these days it’s also something of a tradition for your facebook to be spammed with activity, and generally speaking, it’s the one day a year that you’re almost guaranteed some heightened level of recognition in some way or another, but not necessarily, apparently. I had about as many conversations as usual, I had one family member send me a wall post, and I had a couple family members and my recent ex-girlfriend of many years approach me or otherwise go out of their way to acknowledge the occasion. Aside from that, and a class where my teacher told the class it was my birthday, my day was fairly ordinary, if more tolerable than usual. Again, it’s nothing I’m bitter about, but it’s interesting to me. And so, with one more day, and one more year behind me, I move into the next day, and start again. Day by day. It’s all only day by day.