[T]he numinous beginning, which contained everything, was then.
—C. G. Jung, The Red Book
P – an inability to grasp
R – subterranean time
O – culpability
the pieces of glass Motive
or mercurial Decades
have dissolved What is
lifted from ground
has only the image
constituting its sleeves.
The wind is
delayed Structures rise
from perceptive ground
laced with thin filaments
Along the familiar
route were markers
of unfamiliarity The seamless
with structures that couldn’t be
The stage is divided into tremulous chambers of plywood. Their flux mimics the parallel projection of bodies that enter and leave the space. Shadows pass through the structures; outlines that cannot be reduced to an embodied state. Within the dim flow of sensed shadows, O and P materialize. The chambers part, giving way to their movement, which is in reaction against the audience’s objectivity. As they appear to travel deeper into the divide, their dimensions remain the same, as though the surroundings are rushing outwards with their relation at the center of its movement.
[Within the stable vortex] I wanted to texture history, becoming an aspect of its incline and termination, I wanted to trace it to the moment of its birth within thought. The earth was a vast stage. Actor and spectator alike pressed into the ground, breathing it, knowing nothing outside of that moment. The soil blistered their faces. This was the place everything was to begin, though I did not know it yet.
[With the urge to elaborate] Desperate, subterranean breathing.
I couldn’t be the body, it was beyond me, or outside. All I had created lacked the core figure of the physical. Nothing real guided the continuous extension (deformation) of limbs. Every moment of perception and creation lasted an eternity—I had no way to break out of the cycle of seeing, always seeing what I was. A voice began to speak (from where, from what other body?) but the words never passed through the threshold of sound and silence. It remained only in my mind.
The beauty of it remained closed, indecipherable. It was something I couldn’t access. It was closed—though I had created the vision, I could not partake in it.
[The imprint of steps that follow O are her own, though unrecognizable as something originating from trajectory]
I wanted to say, I wanted to mean—it extracted language and severed it.
[Imitating, not unkindly, as though exploring the possibility] The meaning, I ask, I say, though the wind can’t begin…
Sprouting from the mouth are words that seed new meanings, new ambitions. Though the spoken cannot hear its own voice, the words enact the person beneath. They are what I follow when I can no longer feel her body, a body still containing the warmth of the living, a body familiar to me though I wouldn’t recognize it were I to finally see its corporeal form. While I wait for the moment to undo itself, for words to silence and for the physical to resume its force… I have little hope that this is possible, that what I wait for may be realized.
The striated space, unmoved in its state of dissolution, finally shatters into wooden shards. O and P are stunned into motionlessness. Hanging from the ceiling is a diaphanous container containing powerful gusts of wind. The wind is made visible by the motion of fabric filaments.
[A genuine tremor persists] That doesn’t contain. Despite the strength of your truest belief in it.
In a gauze partition separate from the events taking place on stage, perhaps elevated like the wind-vessel, R appears, whittling an indecipherable form out of wood. Their hair either bends over the system or refracts away from it. Though wood shavings surround, the sculpted figure does not seem to be sensitive to the reductive shaping, and in fact seems to be growing larger.
Gross sublimity! I cannot in any part of me feel that this is what you meant to say. No monologue deciphers the central profile—of what I can’t yet see—only that it is whole and this is the entirety of its impression, the oneness it imparts.
Who speaks? [A hesitancy, but within that, the pure legibility of structure]
It can be clear enough, the lit incline of an incomprehensible landscape swaying, swaying—
The wood shavings turn into water as soon as they reach the ground. These droplets accumulate rapidly, forming a grass-scented river at the stage’s center. Encompassed, miniature in sound. Think to the diorama, the one-dimensional completion of visibility. Its clarity makes everything around it have blunted edges. The river is the most complete thing in existence.
Sweet waters fold, sweet waters fold over the broad banks of tamarind and teak. What appears? Nothing left to do but bow beneath the task, the everlasting task of seeing it—and continuing on, as though such a thing were possible.
[Unsure] Unilluminated estuaries are taking on the character of reminiscence. The focus exchanges, I cannot turn away. [Speaking of the same terrain, the same mountainous opacity]
In the same infinite glint of an ancient stream, her remains pass by. Though I enter the water to collect them once again, they are carried elsewhere. The fragments wreathe the stream she created (she doesn’t know she has created it). This is the meaning I have made from her absence.
There is no meaning, only her words.
Rhizomatic leaves of water embrace and fold into the sun. The river fills the stage, and all it touches assumes a reality beyond the physical. O and P are submerged, and their faces seem inaccessible, nameless, filtered.
For you, it means. All there is to know.
A voice… or nothing.
The wind has been leaking from the container. It finally breaks free with sudden impact. Heavy clouds begin to form. A sudden storm sheds artifacts instead of water: a cube made of compacted soil, pink salt blocks, shards of glass drop heavily from the clouds and recoil across the stage.
[Whose presence remains unnoticed. Perhaps this is spoken only in the mind. Perhaps spoken by the wind, now a gale, still internally confined, palpable, though the source of both storm and words are unclear] The closeness of artifice and the sheen of meaningless relics, come closer, closer—
I am aware of all you have created without me. I’ve followed you closely, leaving footsteps where nothing remains to signify your trace.
The cube crumbles. Its individual particles consist of miniature abalone tombs, which now riddle the stage like teeth.
[Said with clarity] Speaking is expected from appearance but I am not in the practice of the impossible. My presence is unbreakable, consisting of words that are neither written nor spoken but exist in constant transformation.
The body I’ve created is resonant, articulate. Though I feel I’m being repeated by what I’ve left behind, I keep moving forward, despite what follows me in my sleep, planting seeds in my dreams. If I keep trampling the sprouting flora, I will be able to remain like this, without the limitation of a body, without the rampant disease of growth, of change.
The storm continues. The storm is O’s voice speaking. She steadily renounces materiality, and the tempest increases in strength, obscuring everything except her voice. Words ravage the stage, shattering the wood planks of the shore, mixing with the fragrant river and dimming its lucidity.
[Sadly] Now before has no meaning.
[Distraught, kneeling over the remnants of the shore, finding multiple abalone tombs scattered beneath the splintered wood] Meaningless barnacles! What tempest has brought on this transformation of word into tomb?! Though the seeding occurs nightly, nothing remains except overturned soil.
Except… [Suddenly enraged] This. This. Barriers to mutation-Heralds of a deft deficiency-Dark-Dark heralds spreading me apart-Casually spearing-The involuntary bloom of fungi-Of mold on the walls-In the mouth-Having a mouth that takes into it-An eventual decay—
I-cannot-hear-within-the-deftness-I-do-not-dare-to-wait-All-sound-has-become-image-All-image-acting-The-crazed-stage-The-blind-motion-Always-Always-mutating—I CAN’T STAND IT!
O sobs while lifting the huge blocks of salt, frenetically moving them to each corner of the stage and stacking them. Muscles separate from bone, becoming exaggerated flags. O passes again and again through the river, now bloated with tombs and shattered glass, scintillating with her left-behind entrails.
[It is not clear where O’s voice originates] This fine mineral dust-Mine-Mine alone-What resonance coalesces at the edges-Serenity-or parallel momentariness-Does it mean-Or has its materiality divided-The agonizing chant originating-It rises and names me-coming closer-Closer—
Dear to me-And divided-I cause only-A ripping-Muted contact-Of pleasurable embrace-I cannot know-And yet I know-And cannot live with this—
The objects you have proposed as entity have failed, and remain objects, without distinction. The turning away from flesh has resulted only in the resurgence of the inanimate.
I can feel-body retreating into stillness-Into silica-Growth without consciousness-Progression without awareness-Dead cuticles amassing—
[Sobbing] Stop, please stop.
Will is not enough to construct an impossible landmark. If the ground were to rise and fall as you wished it, if the skies would part and bring you closer to the godless sun, if your body was to merge with hers, it still would not mean anything for you. This is your inevitable loneliness.
Would you piece together the sand? Would you embrace the entirety of the world from within the perspective of a singular gaze?
I could try. I am trying.
It’s not enough.
The storm continues, multiplying in scale, veiling everything on the stage. O’s voice is the storm, or the storm is O. Her body is the flux of motive fragments, colliding with P, with R, with the stage. The river rises into the colloidal tempest, becoming a part of its swelling.
[Pleading] O, there is no place from which I can see you. Close to you, your image refracts. Distance causes you to appear with a clarity whose edges are too sharp to perceive. I cannot approach you, nor can I move away.
Nothing catches on my expectation of reality. Though I create all I know, as I create everything around me, there are still the things I can’t control and these things channel within me. I can feel them subsisting on the involuntariness of my continued life, given life by my continuing on.
Will I understand? The unformed consciousness that surrounds me overwhelms with its scale, with its volume. I cannot depart from it. Perhaps this is what they want, those who watch, those who move as I do. Though who can say if this moment exists in the realm of the real.
My head burns, and yet the completion is so near. I can’t remember who I was supposed to be. There is an image in my place, an image I cannot recognize as being me… But I feel as she feels, and my intended movements move her and I sense this movement somewhere in what I am.
She searches for answers having no language that can be understood, having no set of rules that can be integrated into knowing. The expectation of meaning articulates the present, but excludes the coming moment.
She does not know limit. She exists in the moment we are in, always, always unable to see beyond the sensations of the present. This is why she suffers so greatly. This is why I cannot reach her.
The center will bloom, its leaves pointing to a direction both implicit and repulsive. I will wait for this. It will be preceded either by our meeting, or by the impossibility of us ever meeting again in this life.
I have not yet failed her like you have.
The storm is a trembling body that contains everything around it. The body belongs to O. Visible within her are P and R, visible within her is the grass-scented river, now tinted ochre from her blood, still vibrant with shattered glass.
becoming what it is
snarled and tinted
It moves out
from the center Transit
contained by the tedium
of created things
a vista passes
could be seen with distinction, an embodied flag
could be a recognition
could not have been
A discordant sound resonates from within unseen depths. The material span of that depth is felt through the sound’s fullness, articulating distance with a physical intensity. The storm has solidified into a webbed sheet. O descends in this form from the stage’s ceiling. She is dyed icy-blue from the hallucinations of very real icy-blue lights projecting from behind the curtains. R is seated in the middle of the stage, still bending over their carving, visible as a sacred object, now a tool, now an ornament. The stage is otherwise empty.
[Whose physical presence remains a gauzy sheet of webbing. This inhuman form projects O’s voice, which does not originate from a single point but reverberates throughout the web, causing it to pulse rhythmically] I am shielded by the imperfect form of all that is beautiful. In this way I can view the world without having its touch perforate intention. If I were to care for all I moved, I would, in turn be moved. This unbearable position would weld me to the world in a way I could not bear.
The nightmare does not begin at a certain point. What is beautiful can have no form—it is not the form that marks its splendor. When I woke to the river brimming with edges, when I cupped my palm to sip, I sipped not water but my own blood in turmoil, cresting and foaming like the sea. I am weighted within this tiny pond, this rare, carmine pool.
The imperfect outline is all I can perceive. I can see myself in its momentariness. It does not need what gives it shape to be entire.
The web chirps a tremulous scale and is funneled into a cone by a sudden onslaught of snow drifting upwards from the ground.
All the parts cohere into the whole—there is no point of beauty that exists on its own. In this way I can be an element of another’s appreciation, without being tied to it. I am the perfect example of where your thoughts have led you. I can become that, and that. The glass is knocked over by accident, but it has not moved, it has not fallen nor spilled its contents. Years have passed since you last saw me but I have not changed, at least not visually. The world exists outside of the world, is maintained, untouchable, by all we think it contains. I am the substance of this thought.
A single word is all it will take for you to realize your remove from substance. Though you have renounced your body, you remain miniscule, caught in the vibrations of your own enclosed pacing.
The dim bells call out to you, but you are always in motion away. There is a hill lit with lanterns to mark its incline. There is a gate you must pass through.
Again, the unreachable.
[Whispered] Become that difference. Transform your inability to retreat into the sureness by which a river follows the unrest of gravity.
A sound, a voice, or just the wind sifted with ice, shards that continue to rend solidity. Disconsolate shards. I am that, and everything besides. The sound doesn’t change, but the stilled beauty reforms around me. The stillness of the sound, so large it could be its own force.
P becomes visible as the accumulation of ice on the web. Their closeness to O does not go unnoticed by R, who feigns discouragement. Pillars of ice fall to the ground, immediately superseded by fully formed icicles. Snow begins to rise from the stage, filtering through O’s web.
As O speaks from within the gauze, P takes her words and integrates them into the ice, causing there to be a profusion of dark bubbles within the translucence.
[An echo, originating from the web. Before any conception of what is being said becomes clear, each word is drawn, unresisting, into the ice. The voice, transformed and contained in ice is tinny, inflexible, as though being reiterated by a mechanical recording] I am closed, though that door remains open. Something enters, becoming the space I have occupied but never fully enough, never with the awareness that the space I moved through was viscous and not meant to be navigated.
I have only one part of my soul remaining to me, and I speak through this soul. However, it too threatens to leave.
Now, I express the sensation of dimension. With a sudden terror I realize that I am what entered the room, it is I, peering out through the closed boundary. I am there. I am not the person that perceives, I am that perceiving. It isn’t my own…
[Disconsolate] The involuntary sound is not that of a voice speaking.
[To O] Who must I be that you might know my presence is only after you, following you? My presence exists as you do. I have followed in silence, I have been mirror to the birds that have fallen to their knees, unable to pass before you in the sky. Only you…
Sound did not precede the silence. Only the visually singed images of mind that flicker like projections of light.
I cannot persist within this rhythm, this origination, this primal reformation… there is a single body I familiarize myself with, pausing to enter and leave each moment. Only this. It’s what I made myself to be.
If you cannot integrate the sky into your conception of the universe, I will erase it from behind you. If you can no longer fly, I will take your wings. It is simple for me. I feel that the day your suffering finally ends, you will look around to see what remains, and there will only be me.
[Revelatory] The involuntary sound is not that of a voice speaking.
The ice on the web melts completely, streaming from the netting and pooling onto the ground. The web (was it a membrane, a diffusion?) begins to sag, and it is clear that O’s presence has gone from it. It eventually falls and disintegrates in the meltwater, fertilizing the ground. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the landscape begins to relax into its previous state.
Rolling hills accumulate. Their shape breathes. The river has reformed, fed by the blue meltwater, and continually flexes itself at the lower altitudes, splashing against incline, eroding it with imperceptible force. A light breeze imbues small grasses, clouds, dust with tranquil effort. The characters are not visible on stage, but the setting seems to be an expression of their presence. As though they are directing its evolution, the hills seem to be filled with mortal intent, the river, with a reactive passivity. The clouds view all of this impartially. Each element of the landscape is not of the natural world, but of a world created out of flesh, a world imagined and enacted day to day.
Centuries pass. The setting has filled and waned. Soon, all that remains of the landscape is its thin charcoal outline. The charcoal eventually sifts down to the ground, forming dunes of ash. All that remains of the river is a traced figure in the charred matter.
R enters from stage left. Their movement creates a wake of ash which does not settle back into uniformity after they pass but grows in size, turning into rhythmic, dark waves. O enters from stage right. She has resumed human form, yet her face is oddly empty, much like a mask after the paint has been pared away. As she turns towards the audience, it becomes clear that her face aligns with the form R had been whittling out of wood. R and O speak past one another, as if only partially aware of each other’s presence.
Here is the clarity of the textual, the shadows ruled by print, which can be read only after a trace remains. Could I be so fragile, unexpressed, whole in the frigidity of a breakable frame? I deceive no one by continuing to follow that essence, the archaic core. I listen to the desperate passing of connection. I reach out and cradle its hopeless luminance as though it were my own.
Time seals, the firmament becomes overfull. Freshwater pearls replace the stars, and liquid turquoise fills the streams and ponds. Its thick pigment washes over the ash, reviving impossible forms.
Yet nothing appears changed from what it was.
The spackled uniformity of what cannot be predicted. The symmetrical face that cannot maintain the simplicity of a fixed visage. The heat given off from something that loses what it has to fill an empty space with what does not need it. Diseases we fend off only to gorge on them as we die.
That descent into the reachable. It is how I can contain them in me—they are not the infinite symbols they seem, but rather common objects which could be known by anyone. This does not make me someone who encompasses a vastness. This does not make me someone.
[tracing figure 8s on the stage, subsumed by waves which do not fade, growing in size, passing through one another, filling the stage with ash. R’s voice remains clear] An interior sequence of purpose has formed the brass filigree through which you see through to the other self, the other possibility. Which is not that of a singularity, but of a multitudinous totality. It’s something that figures, that is manifested before its physical form has a chance to appear. It’s an inevitability that is not controlled by fate nor chance. Will you recognize it, as the wake fades into solid ground, as your disseminated remains begin to cohere?
Colour has intensified. I cannot tell whether objects or my gaze have become saturated. Points of light surround me at all times; it is dizzying and gratifying but also devastating, to be subject to daylight’s impasse at all times. Beauty appears in overwhelming force, and it is stained with a sense of the unstoppable, as though I wouldn’t be able to look away if I were to try. But there is no desire in me to bring this to an end. It is too complete and vibrant, too entire to reduce in size. It’s the possible, and it’s painting the world, vibrating with an intense delight that is too much to perceive—
It must end. It is only a screen she looks through into a world that has no form outside of what she carries inside her.
The stone that casts, the stone that delivers. No direction to mark the past. Only the continuation of a sound that has no source but occupies all space, enveloping the body. The body… I remember this. I remember something…
Will her gaze reach me?
No. What is, has always been. This is the only truth. Nothing can be taken away from the whole thing, because there has never been a whole thing, only an immaterial mass that flexes to consume all that comes into being, simultaneously absorbing all that ceases to exist.
O, R and P materialize within the body of an animal. Ashes are layered over every surface. The animal’s movement translates into a murky wavelength that ripples across the stage. O, R and P’s features slowly begin to dissolve into their skin, until a fluidity is left where awareness had been. Slowly, their bodies lose form, settling down into the ash, mixing with it, causing a viscous, black paste to form. Soon, nothing remains of them but a fluid, inky mass. The dark fluid moves passively between immaterial tendons, wreathing them. Voices extend from within the body, whose exterior cannot be seen. Each speaker’s voice seems to lack resolution, as though their source is being sent outwards from behind a great distance.
It takes the ideal—
And mixes it into the mercurial body.
The cost of extravagance—
It is the simplicity
Of unadorned expectation.
A small being is woken.
A small being is made to persist.
Any more than this.
A mouth through the dark is a gathering of animals. The mouth of the dark is a furred intersection. The density moves, it follows a path, it follows what is sensed by a physical frame. They sense that they can overcome what comes near. Though you do not know it, you are nearing their warmth. You are nearing a closure. You are without warmth—you are what nears, you are what the night’s viscosity projects, you are what is to be overcome.
Of their furs.
The errant word does not attend.
The material advance. Communicated with. Though words cannot be used to cohere with experience. The listening breath, one that does not allow entry. Outside a window, there are the animals which have advanced. Outside the window, there is finality.
The mind cannot
trouble itself to think
a thickness like winter
settles into thought, into
the source of thinking
an inability to perceive.
only to be
as the instant passes.
The stage begins to lurch and roll, collapsing on itself. It suddenly resolves, forming a lattice of identical windows portraying the events on stage in minute clarity. The atmosphere is darkened by an odorless pigment which subsumes all that is like it.
O and R have cohered into a unified being. Their images appear to overlap. The conjunction gives off the impression of a tenuous history, a completion that existed before either one came into being. Their body lacks substance, and the space seen through them appears with even greater detail and beauty. One can see a dark, leafless tree in the distance of their shadow, lost in the indifference of a barren landscape. Their voice is the intersection between two disparate beings, a voice that is tied to another’s by what force? What intensity? Though they move as one person, their differences cause a discontinuity within the visage.
P is an indigo tincture falling lightly across the darkness.
Can you sense me from beneath your transcendent uniformity? I speak as the afterthought of a being that has ceased to understand sublimity, having fallen back into the bodily, back into the limits of perception. Though I thought I wanted your coherence, I was not made to expect that wholeness would cause you to begin again, again from the primordial ambiguity that made you. That wholeness will have made you a stranger to me. Strange and umbilical, the birth of this stranger, crossing unfamiliar paths to arrive at a single certainty. What I have known of you is now hidden, invisible within processes that I can no longer access.
Silence. The blue pigment begins to rise, reassembling, liquefying into a dazzling cerulean dye as P’s features begin to cohere. Their physical image is to vivid to view. The eye must look away.
I have known that this moment would arrive, that I would be a part of its formation. I did not expect to feel so alone. I don’t know what it means that you have become this way. Will you find me, and differentiate once again? I can’t know. But I will wait.
I have always been waiting.
Your beauty is momentary and unreal. So momentary that there is no one existing that can perceive it. Were it to persist beyond your own being, there still would be nothing to witness its finality. This is what it truly means to be alone.
I realize I have not known it as you have. I have followed you through the rivers you didn’t know you created, through your destruction of worlds and the remains you left in your wake. My loneliness was the loneliness of expectation, of living in a future where you might have been. I know now. You were not waiting for me in that future.
The instant passes. This world, consisting of light so dense that it no longer illumines. I know you have gone.
The stars are stars, regardless of who sees them or where they are situated, in ground or in sky. Completion is the gaze of someone looking back on the past, seeing what no longer has meaning, no matter how it lingers. My eyes follow the object of this gaze. I see footprints, ocean, smell the salt, feel the density of sand in my mouth. I breathe forests, directly, scale a landscape that does not exist for anyone else. The world framed by vision that is the expectation of perceptible truth.
You must understand what comes from the corners of what extends so far abstractly and physically that it is said to have no beginning. The journey you must take is much like this endless plane—it never begins, but exists in all places at all times. There is only one thing that can bring it to an end. And it is coming.
This law in lieu of the soul. I can feel it. The sound contracting space, assuming a vastness without seeming to consist of matter. Perhaps this is its nature, its ability to turn everything into emptiness.
The stage grows indistinct. A nameless affect slowly enters awareness, the gaze becoming fixated on the stage. Everything seems to consist of blurred outlines and incoherent combinations of matter. Gradually a sonic distortion becomes perceptible. This tremor causes all physicality to recede into a motive landscape lacking boundaries. In this way, a deep, encompassing sound is felt before it is heard, gradually increasing in volume, causing both matter and air to scatter.
The visible quality of the sound portends the dispersal of perception that is to follow. Vision becomes unable to settle upon any solid point, so much are the surrounding objects and the body itself being sublimated by the intensity of indiscriminate sound. It penetrates matter and levels it, destroying the margins that keeps matter separate. One finds themselves becoming an aspect of the sound, apart from the experiencing body, integrating themselves into the tone that eradicates difference. It takes into it the flux of individuality, churning it into an unrecognizable persistence. The sound is a continual present moment, integrating both separation and identity.
A light gradually begins to illuminate the stage, advancing so slowly that it seems to be a hallucination caused by the overwhelming sound. The ash on the stage steadily takes on an incinerated sharpness, glinting and shadowing its dunes. The light is a fluorescent. It lacks dimension, and casts an indifferent glaze upon the surroundings. Its quality of erasure increases the mental confusion resulting from the leveling sound. The surroundings lose their physicality as each individual is integrated into a single undifferentiated plane.
P appears to be struggling to maintain their form, with particles of pigment separating from their body and frenetically circling them like electrons. They no longer appear to have a human shape, instead disintegrating back into a light dusting of pigment that is drawn to itself but cannot cohere. The advancing light illuminates the outlines of two charred bodies on the ground.
The light intensifies beyond possibility. Much like the sound, it defies the body’s ability to function. It is an illumination that rescinds vision, it is the inchoate white light of soldering.
An ignition. The light’s source enters the stage: a molten mass speaking an indecipherable language, so heavy with the weight of its light that it seems to contain the dusk of infinitely compressed matter. As the sun enters the stage, the sound takes on the impression of articulation. Though individual words cannot be deciphered, the crazed speech enters the body at every point. It extends and contracts. It cannot be named or surpassed. It is the final point, the solidification of both presence and emptiness.
The wideness obliterates.
There is no stage. The character’s voices permeate the space, touching everything but originating from nowhere.
I could perceive, in that landscape, no central point, no source from which everything extended. Colour had faded from that world, and as I walked through the undifferentiated space, nothing would appear. I was adrift in a monadic creation, with no point from which I could proceed.
One night, I dreamed of a leafless tree with round pustules attached where there ought to have been blossoms. As I came closer, the pustules became loose and fell to the ground like overripe fruit, causing sapphire shoots to immediately spring up. Upon seeing this flora, the surroundings reformed around me with perfect relation, mirroring itself immaculately. Disoriented, I began to move away from the tree, only to see it appear again before me. No matter where I went, or how far I travelled, it would appear and the world around me would change, with myself and the tree at its center.
I would have this dream night after night, waking abruptly to the desolate world in which I was the sole living thing. I would walk all day, following the course of the sun, until the moment I fell into slumber, and have this dream once more. Dream and waking eventually became entwined, and it became unclear whether I was dreaming the tree, or the emptiness. The ground, previously barren, became rich with phosphate, giving off a distinct scent.
I realized that it had always been this way.
Casting away what bore me between dream and consciousness, I fell to the soil, blistering my face with it.
The disassembled symbol is found within the remains of the physical. That is how it should have been. Instead, as I felt the earth shake, felt something arising in me, the physical itself was pared away to reveal nothing inside. Gradually overcome, I let myself join that collection of meaningless objects. I thought, once, that I could be the seed for everything, that my vision of the world was a radiating presence. To let this illusion go was to let myself fall from awareness.
Yet, after casting myself away, I still remained.
There is no way to describe what I was, whether ‘I’ was in a state of life or outside of it completely. ‘I’ was more of a momentariness than a process. At that moment, I could feel, simultaneously, the sharp lance of a cacti perforate skin; the floral taste of black tea; the tension of hair being brushed; a caffeinated terror; mouth parting in exhalation; a stone pressed at a vague point in my back; an instant of touch, my hands grazing a body (I can’t tell who the body belongs to); the sexual mouth of the lake; the body that I accompanied at one time, touching but not touching, aware yet unaware of what was to come; the expansiveness of gazing upwards at a night pierced with the visual contraction of light, light so withdrawn it has already faded from my vision; an ache in the body that festers and spreads. In that moment I was aware of having left behind an unrepeatable series.
A clear pillar held up the sky. The stars could be seen through it. The letters she left behind began to rot, punctuated by dark vines and emerald leaves. Scarabs were drawn to the scent of decay, and swarmed around the inscription, now scarcely legible. The sun was only a one-dimensional symbol, filled in with watercolour paint. Yet its brightness coated the scene with a vividness that seemed familiar to me.
It could only matter if it was without substance. The real was not enough, it alluded to nothing more than your transience. I understand that it could not be enough. I don’t understand why you chose what you did.
It was there, in the ground. I had been passing over it repeatedly, making my way through dramatized ground, causing new pathways to be formed. As my face reacted to the phosphate in the ground, my tears diluted it and caused new seedlings to sprout. The seedlings had the same sapphire leaves as the tree of my dream. And in this way I came to realize that what needed to be created was already whole. I only needed to assemble it with parts of the world.
I had seen rivers form before, but for the first time, they formed because of me. I willed them to exist and their force shed the landscape, becoming the land’s innate flow. The skies of daylight parted, baring the moon and stars, the black surround indicative of night. I called forth a mountain, and it bore me upwards, until I was above atmosphere and could witness the unrest of cumulus clouds, their scattered flights of inanimacy. I saw the river growing wider, and its scent reached me from far above the earth. The sun became aware of me, and drew closer, causing the earth to seethe. However closer the sun came to me, it still could not illume the empty space around me, which integrated the light into its vast belly.
It left itself there. It was only a moment.
The instant passes.
Memory, or, the infinite, is a kind of despair.