HELENS

Did you know
you can squeeze
oil from stone?

With enough heat / pressure
+ a dash of wanton capitalism
And you can coerce shale to cry

Teardrops are always surprisingly hot
Though less valued than shale’s
The process feels similarly igneous

I scream at the wheel
through tears taken from me:
I imagine you in the passenger seat

next to me
holding me steady
a drink

“Well, sure, it hurts—”
you start gently,
full of kindness,

and then you look at me
with eyes like we could take on
an errant volcano, with aplomb

And you say

I’m gone now
You can’t change that.
But you can do anything

So what are you going to do now?

NEGATIVE CREEP

have you ever felt like outer space     here’s a lame
buddhist riddle    what is the sound of
silence   when I was 13    I chose a name
to write on the world    to fill in the silent space
with paint     unaware of irony then    but I
was still clever    my name is    A    B   S   E   N   T

last night close my eyes    but I still think of you    
j’hallucine       hello Alice    no let me explain 

      it starts with     !     roaring     
tastes loud     like the
heart of a star dying       where
gold is made     what is my size    I am the
wrong size    
    my body the magnitude of Creation
my arm is a spiral arm  my feet are
still in bed    the only landmark is 
sound who
is roaring   who is yelling like
time as it greedily gobbles lives
swallows worlds     this is nothing
so pretty as the sound of Death who is
sonorous and deep like the tomb of god
falling shut     no this is the sound of god
preying  anti noise the shout of   the
void   Hungry    it is creeping     looking    
for me

Dublin night, walking home, You
ketamine? Guinness.

ours    we are exactly who we need to be     we
are exactly where we need to be

In this memory I am
So happy
Full

I would change nothing. But remembering it
in bed now, I trip. Don’t worry girl, it’s
not you. Just all the small things     I’ve been
through    eh

It’s a sober and vivid hallucination,
a combinatorial flashback. Not a dream.
I roll over to write this and I feel my arms
swing     the span of solar systems    everything
i touch unfathomably far away     i have PTSD   
when i think of you       i hallucinate        
in space          

in between dimensions
      break here in case of emergency   
thoughts too   break       my body 
slides?  a part 

the fracture flows    a razor sharp crack across the
diagonal of your body   your left lower corner:
your pinky toe but not like not ah   not   the
location does not exist or should not   imagine
um imagine if you had become a flat square
for all eternity    i did it once it was
terrible   no uh imagine um your left leg but
maybe behind you as if you had broken it
completely 

the right top corner: above your right eye by
where your uncertainty lives  offset and always a
bit perpendicular to your other eye   as if you
had broken that bit too     

not that the right eye points in a different
direction    your left eye just sees half-
dimensions   useful for imitating Picasso    
less useful when drunk     the right eye sees
wholly     it got the extra bits   

anyway that’s
where the right corner is it’s offset up a bit
and perpendicular or something I don’t know
I’m not a poet    I’m just hallucinating

as the crack flows   lightning-fast very sharp
corner to corner    i disrupt into parts   
the way a mirror does     something that
once was whole and full    which held worlds   
now is unbearable to look into    fragments 
scattering reflection    in- 
complete pieces    

each split   like fission   takes something from
this world   you never get back   if you just
put the pieces back together    like a mirror   
you are left   with less    just look at yourself

the lines that split are incredibly thin    but if
you are not careful or cared for,    if you are
not whole   

then there is empty space   

and  it shouts 
the void    is hungry    it comes through   in
between the pieces of me    it crawls through
those cracks    fast   faster than you can mend   
faster than you breathed me in   faster than
you forgot me   and once here    it will not
leave :  
negative creep

in negative creep you write this     but a person
who cares?     they say     if you are not
whole     there is a thing called kintsugi         to
repair broken pottery with gold in the cracks    
first you need acceptance and glue    but then
when you hallucinate     you can look amongst
the screaming stars      to find your pieces 

and there you may even find a lil bit of gold

A CLICHé ABOUT SENDING GIRLS FRENCH MUSIC

Even Google knows what’s up with Jacques Dutronc (actually Google is probably the most likely to know what’s up with anything but it’s still satisfying):

While there is no decade in which this man was not dripping in a demi-glace of understated French sex appeal, Jacques Dutronc’s music and ineffable style is most closely associated with the cultural revolution of the 60’s. He evokes that decade’s tantalizing, energetic-yet-laidback ambience of freedom, creativity, and (let’s not forget) sex, maybe most succinctly in “Il est cinq heures, Paris s’éveille.” It starts with a Cash-esque rolling blues riff that develops into something more psychedelic with the flute and he just kind of describes Paris — the grungy, sexy, romantic city that is Paris — waking up:

The theme continues in “J’aime les filles” with less subtlety. It’s an ode to his greatest muse and his greatest vice (at least that how I interpret it). The song is just him describing the kinds of women he loves; as it progresses you realize it’s kind of all the women. Why the violins and the delivery? Ah Jacques you angsty man.

Here ya boi Jacques takes on a bit of an edge in tone and in content. I guess his vice got to him. I think what I like here is his irreverent tone against his content. “Les cactus” is lyrically a complaint — it opens with: “the whole world is a cactus / it’s impossible to sit down,” but it also opens with rolling snares so punchy they give me “We Will Rock You” vibes every time. It’s an existential snarl for sure, (kind of cool that 60 years later it would still work with a drugged out Lil Peep emo-rap treatment) but the triumphant tone of his “Uy!” makes me think that as much as the cactus stings Jacques, he’s got his fight figured out. Aïe aïe aïe!

Finishing thoughts: I think it’s cool that he never used title capitalization. What a rebel.

KETAMINE IS THE ANTIDOTE TO EXISTING

Relationships are a hyperobject, a self contained universe, the tip of which is Now and the past is an extrusion of all previous Nows. Each moment is an infinitely thin cross-sectional slice formed by the intersection where our lives meet. The slices take form and shape as we hurtle forward through time the same way a slice of soap takes form and shape bubble as one draws a bubble-wand through the air. They extend into the past, a rippling and undulating creation which exists in a not-here place. It’s a place that exits and exists between our two worlds. We fly forward very fast, hurtle, we must be hurtling, because every moment of the past is unreachable. Far, far behind. All the memories collected, moments you can never touch.

I know something is wrong and I try to fix it, but it keeps becoming back to the wrong state. I try to fix it quickly, because it seems like the more time spent wrong, the worse it will be. Someone asks if I need help. I tell them to call an ambulance; I am irrationally hopeful I can fix in time but the vocal part of me is violently aware that this requires medical attention. There is a very good Kurzgesagt video I will watch later that describes the two hemispheres of our brains which are very much different entities that communicate through the corpus callosum. In the hallocuniogenic shock of what has happened to my body I have caused some sort of division.

I try once more to re-align my leg, which has folded onto itself, the crease in the middle of my shin, two splintered ends of bone rearing out of the side of my calf, refusing to go back into my leg, refusing to mesh with each other. My foot swings mutely along for the ride.

My favorite shoe, which I had to buy on eBay because it is no longer in production, saturates with blood. It won’t wash out. Someone tells me to lie down. The weirdest thing about holding half of my lower leg in my hands, as I try to realign it with the other half, is how warm it is. It’s still very much my leg, though, due to it’s odd location — at a right angle to where it usually is — it is completely foreign. The pain is unrecognizable in magnitude and it too corresponds to a place in my body which does not exist. Part of the reason for this is that as my tibia exited my body it dragged the distal branch of the saphenous nerve with it such that the nerve was no longer innervating my lower leg and foot but instead kind of just hanging out in the world. I used to be curious what 10 out of 10 on the pain scale was like.

The all-around experience is deeply terrifying in a way that I will not be able to convey to my friends. It’s more than the pain or the loss of integrity of self. The experience is a helpless terror, a feeling that the self has been taken away by an external and malevolent force. It has been replaced with something grotesque and alien. In the moment I can see bones and meat and the deep dark blood that comes from the inside of the body and should not be shared with the outside world.

Perhaps the best way of describing the experience is that it is terrifying and I cannot process it, and so instead I just sit there trying to put my leg back together. I later will not be able to remember seeing my own bones. I later I will only remember echoes, though I will remember them daily. When someone drops a dish I will scream because I will think that I did something wrong again.

The paramedics arrive and looked displeased but see that I am in shock and are carefully neutral. I ask them if it’s bad and they tell me that I’m in good hands now.  I am aware that in the grand scheme of injuries, there is far, far worse.

I used to be interested in the literary concept of hell—not the fiery, theistic kind, which to me is sounds so farcical as to be benign, not to mention a good source of renewable energy—but a true, experiential, conceptually superlative kind. A Black Mirror kind, as an exploration into the idea of what suffering is in it’s essence.

The ambulance takes me to the ER, and so I find out about the literary concept of hell.

Ketamine is a preferred anesthetic in these situations because it is effective, has little affect on blood pressure and most importantly, because it is a dissociative amnesic which inhibits the perception of events or their sequestration as memories, traumatic or otherwise. However, because I am a special snowflake, I react differently. I perceive and will later remember this experience. I perceive and remember the resident sounding unnerved while the doctor, Mustafa, assures her that despite appearing conscious, I am, in fact, not. He is incorrect.

I watch as the three dimensions of space and the conceptual dimension of time fold into themselves, until all that is left is a flat white space with a well proportioned square in the middle. It is a white square, with some gold space in the middle, and a slight chamfer on one edge. It is all that exists to me.

In a separate time and place, I perceive and will later remember Mustafa manipulating the bones of my lower leg. He is trying to align them to each other within my leg using a guess-and-check-via-X-ray method, but he will give up after 30 minutes because there are too many degrees of freedom with the amount of pieces my bones are in, and also because there is too much tissue damage.

I lose all concepts—identity, structure, reality, and most importantly but also almost most trivially, the concept of happiness. It is not the ego dissolution I will experience later, on LSD and morhpine. It is a dissolution so complete that there is nothing. Ego death compares to this experience in the same way that explaining your dream to a disinterested third party compares to how you felt during your dream. It’s the inverse of staring at the static snow on a TV screen until you begin to see illusory shapes begin to take form. There’s only snow and it’s clear the entirety of my life are the shapes.

In a separate time and place, I am uttering an unbroken stream of profanities. I perceive warmth. It is my blood flowing over my leg. I feel the splintered ends of my bones grind and scratch against each other.

I am aware that all of me—my ambitions, the things I know, my identity—are folding away as well. It is like when you repeat a word too many times and it becomes unrecognizable, meaningless, arbitrary. I make a mistake here. The word I have repeated too many time is “I.” I do not remember who I am. I don’t remember what anything is.

I experience existence without the comfort of having identity. I experience existence without being able grasp the concept of being a person. I experience existence without comprehension of anything at all, and it is truly terrifying. I will not be able to express it to you when I write about it later. Maybe you will think I am being overly dramatic. That’s okay. It is incommunicable to you until you’ve had the same experience. It is an extranoematic; it is outside of human conception. I lost the foundation and structure of meaning upon which every single thought and memory you have is constructed. It is worse than what I imagine death to be because in death I imagine one stops existing.

In a separate time and place I ask Mustafa to kill me. I want to die more than anything.

The mute, entirely inhuman experience lasts somewhere between a lifetime and indefinitely because time has folded itself away, and it drives me insane. I see everything that was meaningful to me be reduced to nothing. Experiencing this makes me later certain that all things I have experienced and will experience are constructed, illusory. I will not ever be the same again. Nothing will feel real again, and I will not ever remember who I am, though I will get glimpses of both again. You cannot convince me that this is real, or at least any more real than that small white square with some gold in the middle and a chamfer on one corner. Ideas are like viruses and they can grow to define or destroy you. Later I am diagnosed with PTSD from the whole ordeal. It doesn’t really help but at least there is a category.

In a separate time and place, she can see it in my face, and so she just sits there and holds my hand.

A year or so later, she sits before me, crying. Or am I crying? Is she here? I can’t tell anymore. She tells me how wonderful I am but how disappointed she is in me. My inability to commit to anything real, my lack of progress towards anything substantial. It would be too late anyways, it has changed the way she sees me. She speaks of our relationship, our life together. Every memory she speaks of us together trickles through the crevasses of my head, the wrinkles of my gray matter. The memories themselves are golden, but the trickling itself is acrid: sadness. I can’t make much sense of them anymore, but they are golden. She says she will cherish them forever, but in the instant she transitions the relationship from a continuous state to a past state the universe between us collapses as well.

I think then that relationships are a hyperobject, a self contained universe, the tip of which is the now and the past is an extrusion of all previous nows. Each moment is a cross-sectional slice, infinitely thin and infinitely complex, formed by the intersection where our lives meet. As we fly forward through time, the moments become real and they become wonderful animals. The animals frolick and play with each other in our past. 

In the times where I was capable of giving, I was willing to give everything, and in the times where I needed to take, she let me take everything, everything but myself away. But all things fall apart, and now this falls apart too. In the moment of transition, from “is” to “was,” the world between us collapses and the wonderful animals die in beautiful novas, but they are novas of sadness. It is in this moment that, for the first time since the accident, that I feel real. 

I fold into a ball and fall asleep to stop feeling real. I want no future, really, but it would’ve had her in it. I have a dream that I am free, that I can do what I want, and experience my own existence, but I wake to find the same reality. I still can’t release myself from the idea that the k-hole was in fact a tunnel into a version of reality where I am a small homunculus trapped inside of a person, and I am forced to experience their existence, which is slowly spiraling into some superlative of suffering. I am permanently trapped behind every moment of now, and every choice is presented, but there is no decision to make as you, the person who is me, the person who choses, is always choosing wrongly. Each action taken accelerates the pate at which this experience decomposes into hell. Hell is a place on earth, and it is here with you.

Relationships are a hyperobject formed by the intersection where our lives meet and the relationship between me, the homunculus, and you, the enactor of my experience, extrudes terrible, black, sea urchins, the size of planets, and they fight and scream. They are the color black that is giving up on dreams. The victors eat the losers alive. This is my world. Here, I am graceless. Stop by any time.

surprise

draft without her

I didn’t expect that at all, that I would slip then
They were terrible people who made beautiful things
And I would be happy to go by that name
 aspire to, even
That was the surprise. I didn’t realize
that they represented hope to me
that there was hope
that I could be beautiful too
They‘re all dead now
Him too

AN INCOHERENT DREAM

1

A multi-dimensional object that is, in shape and movement, part digital glitch and part sea urchin. It’s the color of depth, a massive gloss black. Darker than black, darker than death. It’s the color black that makes a noise like a planet collapsing. Its shape is eating itself and exploding outwards, broiling tumultuously.  You’re a mile above a massive city, sky scrapers reaching to the sky like hope, you’re looking down with no body, watching it roll, seethe, swarm, sky-scraper tall, into the center of the neon night, shanghai future. It’s here-but-not-here, it’s in a layer superimposed over reality, a layer extra to everyone else’s run-of-the-mill 3-dimensions, visible to you, real to you, real to it, but not yet manifested as real to everyone else. This is good because otherwise everyone would be dead.

2

An underground environment lit by fluorescent lighting, Parisian subway tiles on the wall. It’s here, with you, bus sized. This time, manifested, real to everyone. Everyone is not dead yet. That’s because you and your team—you’ve been through it all together, like that one time you barely pulled it off at the last minute, with a plan just crazy enough to work, to stop that one end-of-the-world scenario, that was, what? last month or something?—are here to stop it. All of you, it included, are sharing in the same realities now, so you all have bodies and their associated delicacies. A cavalier end-of-days ambiance pervades.  It’s a liquid-obsidian black, the same color that greed is. A deep, lustrous, beautiful black. Like ballpoint pen ink, but for the pen that writes fate.

The reason for the sudden partialness to the more standard reality currently expressed by all parties is that it came here to fight you: loser dies, winner continues on their merry way—it’s merry way being to consume the city and world and everything you love in a maelstrom of hatred and violations of fundamental laws of physics. Luckily, you’re a goddamn weapon, and you’re carrying one too. Something very futuristic and Japanese, with a sleek dark look, the kind of look that a fancy knife has that indicates that it is definitely for stabbing things. You softly un-sheath the weapon, which, to clarify, is technologically as much like a knife-definitely-for-stabbing as silicon is like silicone, and you unsheathe it with enough style that it’s clear you’re here to fuck shit up, but not so much style so as to be unprofessional. You definitely are not clear on how you got here or why a stand-off show-down, but what is important is that you’re gonna fucking win, because this is what you’re made for. You’re something like the son of a fallen god, and you’re here to get after it.

You’re sorta going through all this in your head as the moment of confrontation draws out, with your teammates ready to lay down their lives and this creature ready to do whatever the fuck it is that it does, and you realize you’re not really sure how to get started. For lack of a better catch phrase as you raise your weapon, you say Okey-dokey.

It pops into a million spikes and then inhales itself into a smooth wave and then breaks into a cubic digital mass and then it freezes as a voluminous scream, a dark-matter Rorschach. Before you have time to move, it booms, deeper than the oceans, deeper than the crushing loneliness of the abyss space, deeper than the tomb of God closing shut

YOU CONTINUE TO JUSTIFY YOUR OWN FLAWS AND POOR CHOICES THROUGH A DESIRE TO BE YOUR OWN ANTIHERO DESPITE KNOWING THAT IT HURTS THOSE WHO CARE FOR YOU

you yell a battle cry and attack with the smooth ease of an athlete

WHAT MEANINGFUL AND POSITIVE IMPACT THAT’S UNIQUE TO YOUR EXISTENCE DO YOU HAVE ON THE WORLD AT LARGE? HOW ARE YOU NOT REPLACEABLE OR EXPENDABLE?

in shock, the world blurring, screams echoing, blood

YOU SAY NEXT TIME EVERY TIME AND WHEN YOU GO NOWHERE YOU LASH OUT AGAINST OTHER FOR YOUR OWN MEDIOCRITY

your teammates die in agony

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE DISPARITY BETWEEN YOUR AMBITION AND YOUR INADEQUACY

you alone stand determined

YOU COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEBODY

you sit down

It is a color of black that is the opposite of glowing in absolute darkness. It is the color of black of a bad goodbye. It is the color of black of hope when there is no hope.

3

A moment later, silence. A jet-black sphere floats, oscillating slightly. You look at your weapon. It was useless. You look up. You realize what’s going on. You put the weapon to your head. You pull the trigger and you kill yourself.

PSR J1748-2446ad

Hey baby,

what’s the world coming to these days? It’s all going to hell isn’t it?
what if we just got away from it all? like light years away, like really out there
with the sky figuratively falling and with the economy and the people and the election and the general state of things

you’re the one thing that’s good in the world

so

I was thinking

let’s just get away from it all, like you’ve always wanted

you and me in a cottage on the sea side
you know? Let’s do something crazy and just run away
we don’t need anyone if we have each other.
Just you and me
I can see you’re with me to the end no matter what
so let’s elope,

let’s go some where crazy

I’ve got the perfect spot in mind:
let’s go to PSR J1748-2446ad
what if we did that? let’s just get away
I know this is a little out of the blue, a little crazy, I can see you’re a little worried, but it’ll be perfect

 

let me tell you about J1748-2446ad

it’s a little spot up north, in Sagittarius, by Terzan 5, it’s exactly the kind of place we’ve always imagined we’d grow old together in

there’ll be plenty of room for kids if we want to have some

it’s a fix me up for sure, the heating’s a little wacky, it’s probably like 6×10^5 Kelvin there year-round
but I love the way a little sweat looks on your skin

the foundation needs some work, the whole place might collapse into a black hole;
you’re all the foundation I’ve ever needed

it’s also a bit bright there; the 1.29×10^26 watts of emitted X-Rays would either instantly vaporize us or instantly give us cancer and then instantly vaporize us
I’m not worried about that though, your smile is pretty damn radiant and I haven’t vaporized yet, have I?

that aside, it’s got a great view, the perfect place to watch the sun set, though we might get a little motion sick because J1748-2446ad rotates at about 44,000 miles per hour. But you already spin me right round baby (like a record)
anyways, that’s 61,862,299 more sunsets a day we can watch together with our toes in the neutron sand

also probably the wifi won’t be that good, what with us moving at 0.25 the speed of light and the 2.3×10^13 Gauss magnetic field that will erase all of our devices

 

and also instantly destroy them

 

and also instantly crush our bodies

but I think it’s nice to unplug from everything every once in a while

Oh, and we’ve got to watch for the tide, or at least the tidal forces, because J1748-2446ad’s gravitational field,
well it’s about 106,387,117,347 G

it’ll keep us down to earth

but together I know we’d figure out how to make it work
and once we get there it’ll be our own little paradise
Imagine! what if we did it? what if we just got up and dropped everything and left right now?
with only high-energy astrophysics to bother you and I
we can finally have a cottage on the sea side like you always wanted

it’ll be just you and me

and a sea

of ultra-densely packed neutrons radiating gravitational waves into the starry sky

a place where we can just be us

just you and me
and PSR J1748-2446ad
I know its late at night, babe, but it’s 18,000 light years a way so we better get going
it’ll take 134,123,326 more anniversaries to get there if we sling shot by Jupiter

we can celebrate on the road