26 Oct 2005

Original Sin 1.6 - Tommy and the Clown

Tommy doesn’t know how old he is anymore. He thinks maybe twenty-two but he’s not sure. At least four winters have passed, give or take a few. He thinks maybe he could be immortal in this forest. If he’s aged he hasn’t noticed. But it might be that his thoughts are aging. And it might be that he’s dreaming of home more often, the novelty of the memory of perverse humanity. The terrain is changing, sloping downward. The trees have turned deciduous and the forest veins are getting wider like the mouths of large rivers. They begin to resemble regular, human-beaten paths again. And Candie is away more often.

Shortly before the great change that is to come, Candie returns to offers him a prophecy that sounds like a prelude to permanent departure.

"The fairies will help you," she says.

"The fairies?"

"You may need their help in the future and if you seek it you will find it. I know because you have the manna."

"What’s that?"

"You had Scuffy, that is a mark of the manna. We now have Scuffy but you still have the manna."

A stinging cocktail of emotions pulse through him when the sprite mentions Scuffy. "Hey, do you think I could get a look at him again? It’s been a while."

"Scuffy is far away," Candie says. "And your journey is almost at an end."

"It is?" But there’s no point in questioning this, he’s sensed it for days. He might not have before starting on the forest trek but now he’s attuned to such things.

Night falls twice before Tommy finally reaches the edge of the forest. A warm summer morning. The trees have thinned. The lack of density makes Tommy uneasy but he’s driven on by his journey’s momentum. Here the ground is deep soil with sparse brush and the occasional flower patch. Brilliant sunlight streams through the edge, the EDGE! Could it really be the edge? After all this time? And what’s on the other side? Candie has accompanied him so far but she won’t leave the forest. Tommy isn’t the least bit surprised but his heart sinks anyway. He’s out of the network now.

"It is time for me to go," Candie says. "I have fulfilled my end of the bargain and you have fulfilled yours. I must spend more time with my family."

"Could you play me a song before you leave?"

"Sure," she says as if she’d been expecting the request. She grabs her pipe and plays. It turns out to be a variation on the Princess theme. She turns it into a haunting adagio and stretches it out for ten minutes as Tommy tears up. When the song is over Tommy notices that Candie’s ears and wings are twitching. It’s time. No more words are necessary, except:

"Bye Candy."

"Goodbye Tomilin," she says. "Safe journey."

Candie flies away, an abrupt exit. The edge of the forest with its streaming sunrays remains but the universe seems to have shifted. Tommy sits on a log and tries to meditate but grows restless. He wants to see what’s on the other side.


Turns out the forest empties into a valley. He’s in a meadow of tall grass with stubby mountains on either side. The sun is setting. Tommy is blown away by the scene, especially the sun. He hasn’t seen it like this in years – how did he survive direct sunlight before? It feels like it’s frying his skin. But strangely enough, it feels good. A long-forgotten word pops into his head: Sunbathe. Yes, people can bathe in the sun. It’s okay. Tommy basks in the light. Outer light, but it feels so good. Who needs inner light when the sun is so good?

There is more forest ahead but as he draws closer it appears to be a strange sort of forest. Almost a grid of trees, all similar in height. Then he sees the sign, nailed to the tops of two tall wooden poles:


Tommy stops to ponder this. The lettering is black and hand-painted. There is definitely an orchard ahead. Looks like cherry trees. Cultivation. The first human artifact encountered since the runaway rupture. Tommy looks around the valley. He sees no other sign of human habitation. He hears nothing but birds, crickets, and a soft wind. He walks directly under the sign and into the orchard.

The next sign of human habitation is a jolt: thin plastic hoses under the rows of trees on either side. Irrigation. Now it dawns on him that he is probably trespassing on private land. The grid is getting to him. He’s not in the forest anymore and there is no sprite to guide him. Vague fascist terrors roam his mind, images of helicopters and police ambush. But all is quiet. Almost hyper-serene. There are calls of bugs and birds and distant mammals but this orchard is sonically sparse compared to the forest.

The cherry orchard is vast. Tommy emerges on the other side to more valley and the next several signs of human habitation: fences stretching to either side of the valley and a house to his right, nearly buried in maples. Further ahead are more trees in grids, open land, what could be crops, and just barely visible, creeping out of the atmospheric haze, a mansion on top of the highest hill, also largely hidden in trees.

Tommy ventures onward. Both the mansion and the house have purple roofs and trim, but as he passes the house, he sees it is dilapidated and uninhabited. It’s a frail-looking two-story structure, Victorian-era. He keeps going, walking parallel to a wire fence with wooden pegs. Sometimes he catches sight of buildings but they disappear in the trees and hills before he can make out any details.

The sun is sinking under the mountains when Tommy enters the large clearing at the foot of the steepest, highest hill. The mansion stands atop it. Its architecture is zany, exaggerated proportions, tall towers and arches, strange angles. For some reason the phrase gingerbread house pops into his head. Candie, who has become a voice in his head, says: What have folk tales taught you about gingerbread houses in the forest?

But it isn’t gingerbread. It seems to be concrete, brick, and siding. It has the same aesthetic as the abandoned house he’d left behind but it doesn’t look decrepit. And now he sees another modern artifact: a single power line cutting through the trees on the far right of the hill. So the mansion is electrified – if it’s still in use. But it’s still so quiet.

Eerie calm aside, the orchard feels inviting and wholly benign like some historical sweetspot, the surreality of the modern artifacts being the secret ingredient. Well he hasn’t been shot at yet, anyway.

He scans the forested hill for some sign of entrance. A little gap at the bottom draws his eyes and feet. It is in fact the beginning of a thin dirt path that winds up the hill. Tommy follows it to another, smaller clearing. Everything above this point is landscaped. The vegetation is deliberate and bright beds of flowers dot the ground. A gravel path winds up the rest of the way, bordered by finely carved stone pillars three feet tall. Tommy’s been in the forest a long time but he remembers what they called this: luxury.

A wall of sculpted red rock towers to the left of the swank path, bracing against the face of the hill. The mansion is still far above and only the rooftops can be seen. There is a sign perpendicular to the wall, hammered into the ground, and just enough light remains for Tommy to read it:


It’s in the same hand-painted lettering as the "Twigshire Orchard" sign. A curious grin spreads across Tommy’s face. A job?

He’s always wanted a job. It’s been a repressed fantasy since his falling out with Jimmy. But he used to dream about it all the time on dull days hanging out at the construction sites with nothing to do. They’d never give him a task like he couldn’t be trusted. Meanwhile, lucky Jimmy got to do everything. Probably owns the company by now, he thinks. Tommy would try and make his own jobs but they tended towards the useless and nonsensical. Once he decided he would count the cars that passed the site. He kept a tally. He would justify it later, the work was the important thing. But it was winter and it got cold. He gave up early.

Well someone here seems to want help, he thinks. If there’s actually anyone around. He’s learned to listen to his feet which compel him onward. But his brain compels him downward. It’s getting late and the forest has taught him to sleep after sunset. Tommy blunders down into the woods a little ways. No fractal veins here. He forages for natural bedding. He’ll camp out at the edge of the clearing and decide what to do in the morning.

It’s his first night cut off from the sprites and a deep sorrow settles in. He could go back to the forest and keep wandering there. But hasn’t that played out? It seems the only thing to do is go forward, maybe check out the mansion. If it turns out the place is just a ghost orchard, he can keep going and probably survive – he knows where the mushrooms are.

But the fear starts to gnaw at him too, fear of the unknown, the X factor. There are no barchivist entries for this place. Would he dare interact with humans again? This is further complicated by a flood of loneliness and longing for pink and brown skins, North American urbanized culture – and dread that this might be a possibility. But wherever this is, it’s far away from the math room, Jim Salekin, all the bullshit. All the bullshit he knows, anyway. Confusion. The forest seems unreal. His eyes droop and he lays down his head. He feels better as he drifts off and thinks of the "help wanted" sign. And Twigshire. This could be a good place, as good as the forest was. And there is a plan. Help wanted. He doesn’t know if anything will come of it but there is hope. For some kind of life.


Tommy dreams. The setting is a composite of the forest and the orchard, a benign patchwork. There is a whole village of purple-trimmed houses but they are inhabited by wood sprites. The orchard-forest is a thriving sprite settlement. Tommy has been hired to gather mushrooms, a career well-suited to his skills. The dream is interspliced with fragments of his life before the forest. There is a video arcade in the village square where sprites play Tetris and Mario Kart. Beyond the largest hill is a construction yard where humans and heavy machines dig earth, mix concrete, haul bricks.

On a mushroom gathering trip, Tommy looks to the construction site with yearning. Luxury condominiums rise from steel frames. At the top of the building is a penthouse with the neon outline of a curvaceous female nude. A bright red sports car pulls into the just-completed parking lot. Candace and Samantha exit the vehicle dressed in skimpy attire, light reflecting off their shades. They walk purposefully into the building through a blue-tinted revolving door. Tommy stares wildly, driven mad with lust for the whole scene.

But sports cars and high rises are wrong! he thinks, they’re everything that’s wrong with the world! Then he looks back to the sprite village and a strange emotion pulls him in its direction. It’s a scene of goofy dignity – with sly paradox, it contains both extremes. Beyond Zen. A cold shiver rips through him, a shiver of delight. He sees how pathetic his niche is, picking mushrooms for the sprites, and loves it. The humility. He’s not even one of them. He isn’t even allowed at their meetings. He is a loser but he is content. Wrong but oh so righteous joy, the thrill of blaspheming the secular God, the secret method of rebellion. True rebel cool, the only cool there is any more, divinity of the anti-god which is formless and infinitely varied. Fractal hallucinations creep in from all sides, along with a feeling of dread. But the visuals are so beautiful! Dreadfully beautiful. A beckoning finger forms in the middle of them.

Suddenly Tommy is in one of the sprite homes and Candie is beckoning him to her bed. He is finally allowed, same height, he is a sprite, his birthright! But the dread swells even as Candie strips off her bark. Now that he is allowed he doesn’t feel worthy. What has he done? He’s relied on charity and Scuffy. He didn’t draw Scuffy. He’s not a creator. All he’s done is pencil in a bunch of crappy music while he was supposed to be learning algebra, a few songs, and a silly "manifesto". He gave up practicing, never honed his piano technique. Maybe one day he could have played for Candace but he didn’t even try. Never did anything of substance, charity case, basket case. Probably couldn’t even weave a basket to save his life. Candie is so beautiful and the sprite home is endearing but it’s so wrong. Even this contrition feels wrong. Stop being such a goody-goody, it’s saccharine and sick! he screams at himself. Be a natural rascal at least, be happy with something, something real! But he can’t be happy with anything, good is bad, all is wrong, all permutations of existence. This is hell, it must be! Life was a delusion for the purpose of allowing hell’s hellishness to be fully felt and now another aeon of immeasurable wrong – panic, horror, and then a voice cuts through it all: "TOMMY!"

Tommy wakes up with a gasp, the voice still ringing in his head. The voice was clarity itself: strong, stern, lucid, and the only thing that could have saved him from hell. He won’t call it the blank although that’s what it sounded like. Does he still believe he was in hell? No, just a dream, thank God. It’s pitch black and there are no stars in the sky. Some clouds must have moved in. He gets up shakily from his bed of leaves. Still camped on the hill, he’s relieved to find. Post-dream orientation is hard enough in a familiar place. Sight is near impossible.


The voice again. Tommy shudders. He knows he’s not dreaming but it’s the same damn voice. The dread is back, bile rising in his throat. The voice is a sadomasochistic beacon – he wants to run toward it and away from it at once. He knows there’s no escape.


Tommy stumbles upward through the brush. A few steps and he’s in the clearing. The voice is in his head but it also seems to have a direction associated with it. The lower clearing. Tommy can just barely make out the edges of the path and shuffles down it. The dread keeps rising, higher than he thought his specs would tolerate. Maybe he is still in hell. The voice continues to call his name at regular intervals, luring him like a moth to a flame. It’s like the beckoning finger in the dream except it isn’t in the middle of a hallucinogenic mandala. And finally Tommy identifies the feeling of saccharine hell that erupted at the end of the dream, that still lingers in unspeakable antiquity. It has a taste, a medicine taste.

Tommy reaches the end of the path and homes in on the center of the gently-sloping lower clearing. All is black. Except… there is something ahead. Something white and in possession of his will. He keeps walking.


It is the source of the voice and he doesn’t want to see but he does. It is internally luminescent, the only object visible in the dark. It is the clown.

"Hello Tommy."

He walks in terrified automation. Twenty paces from the figure, the resistance of his horror levels with the pull of the beacon creating hellish equilibrium. He stands before the clown.

"Don’t you know who I am?" it asks.

"No," Tommy breathes, horrified.

"You know who I am," says the clown with a toothy grin.

"No." He can’t admit it.

"Yes you do."


"I’m God."

"Oh God no." But he knows it’s true. It’s been a long time. His mind stretches back like an elastic all the way to the cough syrup coma – eight ounces of Nyquil, the floor. The elastic snaps along with his sanity.

15 Oct 2005

The Pongo Summit (a Round Table with certain world leaders in stuff)

Pongo: Ladies and Gentlemen, things are heating up and I don't just mean the polar icecaps. The time is ripe for diplomacy.

Reverend James Christsmith: The endtimes!
Terence McKenna: Maybe it's a fractal wave of fire reflecting the transdimensional object at the end of time.

Reverend James Christsmith: Silence, disciple of Satan! You're dead, you can't be in on this discussion!

Nirvana: Didn't you read the summit agreement Reverend?

Reverend James Christsmith: I skimmed it.

Nirvana: Paragraph fifty-three, fifth clause, allows the dead to participate but explicitly bars old testament spirits.

Reverend James Christsmith: Well that's no fair.

Pongo: Please guys, let's stick to the agenda. We'll discuss some things and then I'll regale you all with my soothing techno icaros as you suck the vapours from the Detroit Syndicate Club's seven-chambered hookah and forget your fears. You will remember the beauties. You don't believe in them now, you hold them to be long-evaporated hallucinations from the naiveté of childhood. You "know" this like you know how much money's in your bank accounts.

Slobodan Milosevic: I never had a naive childhood. My mother killed herself when I was five and my father became a jester at Stalin’s court.

Pongo: Sorry Mr. Milosevic. But most here have seen their ink-rendered hallucinations in the past at least, perhaps in the benign cage of the cradle. Terence still visits them with DMT. Dilato calls them "rhomboid angels". Why I'm not sure, never understood the rhombus, like anyone could, but I did write a song about it. Anyway, be they rhombus or not, they do exist. You will find that out in the musical portion of the proceedings. You all will. Now, Mr. Under, you have the chair.

Under Mination: Howdy Ponguh. Now ya know, I don't cottin ta hesitation under m'nation. When them muslims hit me with that sucker punch ah hit 'em back, hard. They's hurtin now, fuckers. How ya like that Iraqi? Pipsqueak.

Iraqi: dirka dirka jihad!

The Sacred Chao: Prokofiev isn't revolutionary enough for this glorious on nicotine-rushing future, hydroelectric tobacco tonic packaged by Faust Incorporated, a Wal-Mart subsidiary. Chinamen on the moon, doesn't it deflate your poor sore viagra-boner? But I'm really a sad old geezer like you folks over the pond and just as corrupt.

I went through every possible Kabuki melody, now I'm remixing them to Michael Jackson's beats. Beat it beat it beat it beat it! I'm a child of the twentieth century, dropped the literati in the kamikaze sea, drank the tea that was peddled to me, caffeine-free and purged of shamanry, no interesting alkaloids. I'm ruling class, a Golgafrincham with power, statehood, that's where it's at. No one's ridding the world of me old pal, I own the space ark and I'll use it when we've used up the world, not before. Stick around, it's going to be another great season of top quality entertainment, I've got a fiery coastal war lined up, just the thing you dreamed to witness (in videogame form) when you were fourteen, napalm bright mandarin orange, olfactory simulation piping in the sweet smell of burning flesh - you've got to desensitize for the coming pre-apocalypse paroxysm!

Taiwan is going to throw you aghast international onlookers for a loop when I move militarily, I don't wage forty wars a century like that Texaco Mafia man, I pick my battles. Tibet is all spiritual and the Hollywood people love that, they come all over their Buddhist belt buckles. The lesser lights, the datura delirium village, it's never what you think but there's a reason it metabolizes legend like energy through Verezzi, the madman's loop, his trip back to sanity. But they'll be no weepy string-heavy Spielberg movie about the invasion of Taiwan, it's my industrial island to yoke as I please and if you haven't noticed it's my ugly-as-a-slug asian cousin, even in ancient times she wazn't too bright, they stuck her with the struldbrugs until we found out how to kill them good and proper: 9mm slugs - the magic bullet!

Yes, it wasn't just Swift who knew of the struldbrugs, I know of them too, I read history, that's why I'm the only person in this market not being actively exploited by the pyramid scheme, pulling Pharaoh’s bricks up the eight-hundredth step to an unaffordable level I'll never attain. Like fossil fuels, I'm past peak. But we've got moon men to make. One per couple. I know the value of people. 0.17 American dollars. People is a weak currency. The Yuan dominates it easily.

I must thin the herds, reduce to 17%. I have nukes in the garage so you must take me seriously. And I am serious, this isn't one of Kim's silly movies.

Johnny Canuck: The Canadian conspiracy didn't get too far. But Pierre Trudeau is still impaled on that stake in hell (E3M7) so we can keep the forty ninth parallel. I hope you appreciate that citizens.

He's the Prometheus of our land.

El Moriscavo di Santahuasca: Hey, we got oil too and we don't need your fucking infrastructure, we'll build our own. But we'll do it differently. The continent has finally scrubbed those scabby spaniard souls off us, we are no longer latino, we were never indian, and on the mountaintop we are pure light. Up there, you've never seen things so bright!

The only thing we took from Europe was Marx. If we're going to have factories we're going to have Marx. El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! We can't have Che anymore, you ruined Che for us you pandehos of Madison Avenue, you put him in a bottle, Revolution Soda!

But Moctezuma never told you where his gold was Cortez because the gold was in the tea you never drank, the poison you said, the devil you said, the irony we said, we died laughing!

Fuck of the Mountain: I've been to the mountaintop. I make my home in the valley. I ran away from town after a pathetique incident in a barber shop. I haven’t cut my hair since. I’m grizzlier than thou! I salute the peak every morning.

Cortez: Ah, everything I touch turns to gold. Poxy gold. A pox on your gold. I lick the pox off your gold. Ah, sweet pox. We loved a good old pox back in the civilized world, it was a golden age for poxes. We fermented them, Pox-ale, we drank it and loved it. We sold it to you for your fine tobacco products. But this is a place for exorcizing demons.

This Poem is Indistinguishable's bastard child: There is no truth, just opinion. There is no good, only morals. There will never be an answer to whether it was right to invade that country. Reality is what you can get away with.

The Manhattan Hillbilly: Damnit, I FOUND that oil! I started an oil company and I ran that company successfully! I fueled the world!

Fuck of the Mountain: I know, Manhatty, I know. Believe me, I respect that. Your penis is very large, I'm awed by the size. Use it to impress large-titted women wearing thousands of dollars of cosmetic care. I think you deserve a good salary. You should be set for life. Have a big house in the country. Long Island, is there any country left there? Have that. And your family - let's give you enough money to provide well for your family and their families. But let's not stretch that too far okay? Two family extension is reasonable, I think the Tic Tac Regime has been generous with its offer. They'll give you a nice chunk of change to throw around. You can walk into your local bars and be the big spender. People will suck up to you because of your wealth. Your friends will let your rude comments slide because they shamefully know that if they're ever in financial trouble, you'll bail them out, smug in faux grudge because the stench of desperation is your favourite intoxicant.

The Manhattan Hillbilly: But why should there be any limit to the amount of money I can make? REALITY IS WHAT YOU CAN GET AWAY with, remember? And I can get away with this! You mountain types are the people who want all us elites, all those who have succeeded in something, to handicap ourselves. Your vision is a gray commie future. I'll have none of that. And what are you going to do about it? The Cayman Islands, that's my tax revolt. Under Mination was the great tax revolter, he founded a country on it. I mold myself after him.

Henry Ford: Manhattan, you ain't all that. I built cars motherfucker. What can you do with oil when there are no cars?

The Manhattan Hillbilly: Well uh... um, well you can make PLASTIC out of it and you can heat your home and - YOU CAN DO TONS OF STUFF YOU ASSHOLE! SHUT UP!

PONGO: Your comment was unwarranted Henry and will be stricken from the record.

Fuck of the Mountain: Manhatty, please co-operate. I've talked to higher ups in the Tic Tac regime (well they don't really have a hierarchy but they think they're high ups, anyway). They're good people I promise you. I swear it on the Holy Mountain. I invoke the Holy Word. I say FUCKING-A RIGHT, they're forces for good. They want to give you a good life. But they want the excess - and it is excess, let's be real - for the poor, some of whom work long hours for low pay to keep your oily infrastructure running. But the more important matter is scaling back this runaway structure that's dragged society along with it to make room for a sustainable future. If we do nothing it'll drag us right off a damn cliff.

The Manhattan Hillbilly: Now don't get all hasty, we've got a good twenty years left for silicon chips, plastic utensils, Hollywood Magic, and sweet sweet petroleum.

El Moriscavo di Santahuasca: Our staticians say ten years. That is if we assume that our oil is ours and not yours. I'm looking at you, Under.

The Sacred Chao: Gentlemen, it offends me deeply that you suggest there is something "wrong" with the chaotic unfolding of natural laws that have led us to a rapid increase in technology and resource extraction. Humanity is a part of nature and this is a natural process that we should not exhibit the arrogance to counter. I am the man that nature has chosen to be at the forefront of human leadership in the unfolding of that process at this time. Nature loves courage, I think Terence would agree with me. All your base are belong to us.

Johnny Canuck: so what are you planning on doing when we've sucked the planet dry?

The Sacred Chao: Space Ark, didn't I tell you? NASA sold off their rockets, we bought at bargain prices because Under Mination needed to pawn off supplies to fund his wars. And I didn't build them for nothing either. I built them for elites who have earned their privilege. There is room for one seventeenth of one seventeenth of one seventeenth percent - exactly the number our Calculatron arrived at when asked how much of Earth's projected population would be worthy, factoring into the equations the graph of every relevant global trend for the next three decades. This is the final act, don't you know?

King Arthur: You tycoons make me laugh. I am a king, God be praised, and I never needed a drop of oil. You talk like your modern lives are essential. You cannot IMAGINE living any other way. Well failure of imagination will not prevent reality. Reality was so ubiquitous in our day we hadn't even a word for it.

Johnny Canuck: Arthur you really need to watch this Monty Python movie. I mean seriously.

King Arthur: We had no need of movies. We had reality. The thing for which we had no name.

The Sacred Chao: You know, for a guy who says he had no word for reality, you've certainly talked about it enough.

Terence McKenna: Robert Anton Wilson said that reality's what you can get away with. I got away with some doozies. Ever heard of the Elf Dome?

Reverend James Christsmith: Heathen!

Terence McKenna: Hey, who knows? The best thing about your core mystery being a hallucination is that nobody can check the source.

PONGO: Hey, I checked the source. I did FOUR hits of DMT, I slammed it. And all I got was a void. Not that it was a bad void or anything. It was a luminous void, pretty cool as far as voids go. But I didn't get no elves. But fuck that "lesser light" bullshit, it WAS light, pure light, all light, all night, ALRIGHT! I guess that's what you get if you're not a Buddhist. I guess that's better than elves really. It's hard to remember though.

Terence McKenna: Well you can't verify MY source. My source was my brain and I've come to realize that I'm wired for those alien visuals. They don't tell me about the universe so much as they explain my wires. And some wondrous wires they are. "The Invisible Landscape" was a beautiful description of their parameters and how they perturb the pastiche of conventional hallucination we call western culture, with some of Dennis's theories worked in at appropriate alchemical junctures. But Pongo, tell me more about that void, I'm curious.

Pongo: Terence McKenna ASKING about MY experience rather than TELLING me about HIS? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

Terence McKenna: Well, I had to have a career you know. You’ve got to make your way in the world. Sometimes it takes everything you've got. Getting a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you've gotta go...

Pongo: Where everybody knows your name! That's the void man, you nailed it you oblique bastard. But the void had a sound too! It was musical but it was every melody ever played. Hearing the sum was too much but I succumbed, crumpled into that sonic singularity, an implosion of audible possibility. I can't describe it really.

King Arthur: So Pongo, as chairwoman of the Tic Tac Regime, how did you launder the word "welfare"?

Pongo: That was all due to the success of my welfare for CEOs plan. Bill Gates was an early adopter. That was in his senile years of course. He was a delight. A true boddhisatva, even funnier than the bums. He woke up and remembered where he came from. Became Ambassador to Nirvana, proprietor of a buggy operating system, and richest man on the planet, crying tears from the compound eye. He knew where the music was. Which reminds me - it's time for an improv break.

5 Oct 2005


Atomic Armstrong
kills another ant, for poetry this time
cause he’s a sellout poet
and he has to keep the counter clean
okay, he wants to keep the counter clean
infestation's a state of mind

Atomic Armstrong
crushes an ant under a kleenex
because he doesn’t want ant goo staining his finger
wonders if the guilt is
bleeding heart bullshit?

or has he failed to come to terms
with the point he’s come to
that is, such detachment from life
the basic breathing bleeding baseline
that the ant must die
not for survival
but to calm the shivers
of imagined infestation
that state of mind
such a solipsistic
sell out

that’s what sellout is
just your standard synthetic human sellout
clean counters, commerce, bottom line

how can you not buy in?
you’d have to be as bonkers as Buddha

so easy to kill ants, so sadly easy
they’re at his mercy but he can’t hear them beg

and after twenty two dead ants, crushed under kleenex
a spider crawls along the killing counter

Atomic Armstrong lets the spider live
it’s bigger, messier, not quite faceless enough
he goes back to packing bread

1 Oct 2005

It’s probably 5meo

My business, that stinks of zen, is to describe and integrate, as soon as I can. Aftershocks still buffet me as I write this, jostled, stunned. The flash I've been looking for has happened. I finally broke through and am now in rapid retrograde, reverie de-telescoping, trying to polish a vanishing trophy marked "enlightenment". Tagging words to the experience feels futile, but I'm compelled to try. Do I use words like good and bad? Do I impose values? Somehow that doesn't seem right. I should be as abstract as possible, concrete as possible. I keep wanting to do opposing things at once.

My third experience resulted in about the same effects as the second, even though I tried to add more powder. The next time I was even more liberal with the powder. I was determined to get to the next level.


I sit down. Then I take a big toke. I hold it. For fifteen seconds. Start feeling it, early on, strong, definite. I take another toke and hold. The rush overtakes me. I know it's escalating toward some novel perturbation of consciousness, something I haven't yet experienced.

Do I take a third toke or am I too fargone? Before I can decide, the physical rush becomes a psychological spaghettification, a shocking sickening mindwrench. I'm phasing out of the universe where smoking powder makes any sense and being pulled into something that can't be described. My body-mind-self swirls into some seething adjacent dimension. New rules, too different-intense. My frail compromised consciousness, sick with human hangups, spills into a chaos short-circuiting design parameters. Panic, struggling to remain calm, losing it, shackled to the ride, petrified, dread grimace. My field of vision distorts as a field, like what I see is a flat texture peeling off a larger geometric structure. Is there something beyond space-time? The living room window swims down below me in a smear~where is the ceiling?~i'm a thousand miles tall~or an inch high? Holy spatial relation warp!

Can't handle the vertigo-have to do something-move!

Desperate for some human gesture to cling to, I get up from the chair and fall onto the couch in front of me. I lie there, overwhelmed, terrified my mind has been taken too far to ever return to sanity, that quaint predictable state I used to know. This is beyond anything I've ever encountered. I'd give anything to return to normal. I'm ready to renounce all drugs for the rest of my life. I feel the horror of a lucid dreamer trapped in a nightmare. Anything can happen. There's no logic or convention I can count on any more.

ego edifice crumbles, bringing down with it life, meaning-so much attached to self, so many supports falling-there never was a “normal”-spontaneous manifestations of unknown OTHER fill gaps in luminous voids opening every nook and cranny, flipping hidden corners of mind-the void looks into-_-physical pain pedestrian compared to this-awesome, terrible sanctity, maximum crisis, bullseye in mandala of meaning-don't know what to do with it-thousand eyes gawking-newborn lids, appalled to wake up outside the womb

“HOW CAN IT GET ANY MORE PROFOUND THAN THIS?” the rhetorical question howls. Nonsense echo answers from mad chasms, gibbering abyss. This is the state where anything can be known if the knowledge is sought, any perspective understood, but for want of a shaman. So this is transcendence, a whole life universe and everything in preparation for this moment, a science of con, jumped ahead of the game, and now the raw material accumulation spent, test-fired, incendiary conclusion to the drama. Fling into maw or cling to whatever? Ready for the END? This is what I've come for but now can't face it, which is absurd, launched into fuckedup flyin' freakout land but fuckedup flyin' freakout land doesn't have to be fuckedup flyin' freakout land, it can be anything the universe wants and the universe is me, so it can be anything I want but I don't have the nerve to take the reins, but I also don't have the nerve to let it take my reins, which would be just as amazing, so I thrash and twist and don't know what to do, but I must do something to get through this so the entire universe locks down the entire universe and denies the true reality to the true reality. Here, where the light is brightest, my face is turned farthest away, a whole 180, eclipse. I'm gripping myself, trying to "get a grip", not acknowledging that this isn't the way to play, to make my way to the fullest wisest endiest omega point. I don't know how to lose. Do I have something to "gain"? I hash through this horrible crisis of meaning as a sideshow to the incineration of all concepts.

My mind wants to crack into a million shards but my ego wants to hold it together. I contort into a knot of unbearable tension, split into warring factions clawing at each other in the maelstrom. Somehow the tearing of the mind is tightening knots, interweaving anxieties and confusion. "Just let it end/LET IT CULMINATE/let me LIVE/LETMEDIE!" Respect this respect this respect this state! This is eternal and I am naked in the dark unable to accept the infinite. I say let there be yin and let there be yang and where is god when I edit? I will abandon myself to your sanitariums - your fathers - your masters - anything to stop the terror - terror of an impending obliteration in a cold eggshell-cracking suicide, fetal abortion, unholy drug-induced psycheshredding folly. I'll never be the same again, no you can't come back from this you permanent basket-case-crazed spaceman spiffy fruitloose footcake 99.9 percent wake-riding cranked-out tweakhead. I'll be a lonely looney forever and they'll have to lobotomize me to put me out of my misery. I'm not sure what is being obliterated but I know this is too big for me. This universe will not allow me and it both.

A loss for ego.

I'm pulled like taffy between skewedangle-opposing forces: ecstasy and agonized contemplation (OH GOD, WHAT DOES THIS MEEEEAAAAN???!!!). I could give in to the ecstasy and say "who cares?" and more totally transcended but I'm not ready so I writhe around on the floor squeaking and squealing in waves of hilarity and flickering gnosis and befuddlement and purpose and plans and openness and cloisteredness and infinite expanse and agoraclaustrophobia. Cognitive dissonance being smack dab in the sticky fiery molten molasses center of the mystery and not knowing how to come to grips with it, but perversely wanting to, like I'm fondling the enticing but unwilling daughter of the grand noble universe of the potentate of Celesta incarnate in myself.

Then a cerebral/celestial filter sweeps through. A cleansing. Cleansed of self. It's not a void but a transmutation. Self slips away completely leaving a bizarre vacuum in the psyche that is now just a component of the universe - a yin regarded from outside, a groove in a granular texture of infinite expanse and everything sensed is a component of this, from the living room bookshelf to Jonathan's history to Jonathan's future to the cartographed corners of the planet. I think of Dez and I know she's just a component of myself down the cycle, connecting at a host of nodes, verticular algorithm, categorically arbitrary. Our points of intersection are all the more brilliant in this light. My love dissolves in her love dissolves in the love, holy matrimony in the catalyst chrysalis butterflight of the universe as a spiky furball of chronospherical bubbling bliss!

Selfgone, unity, one with everything. Of course. The self was never real and life is but a dream, been awakened, shaken out of the hypnosis of a programmed reality.

All vision sound touch taste and smell pulses and swells in a fusion of feeling, any one bit of stimuli describing another beyond metaphor to the superstructure of information, bright/hot/loud intensity ebbing to quiet dissociated seclusion, screaming back to supersaturation of sensation. The flowers on the couch fabric are growing out of their place in the pattern and covering the spherical roiling room, shrinking back into an ecological niche unhinged from a two dimensional pillow-covering. What was me is somewhere in this storm of raging data processed by the celestial precursor to organic impulse. No longer moving forward through time but flickering in and out of existence like an electron in a cloud of probability, scattered through the temporal vicinity in a complex web of nonlinear being/happening, sometimes seeming to move back and forth at once, regarding this symmetrical motion from outside the temporal dimension where it looks like an explosion, three dimensional time expanding outward leaving fiery wakes forward and backward, adornments, prepositions, words, illusions - the reality is unspeakable.

The difference between open-eye, closed-eye, and mind's eye visuals disappears, hallucinogenic possibilities appear. Thousands of strange metaphors and artistic views of the situation present themselves, each melting and morphing-perverse cartoonish synesthesia-into each other's texture before I can pin one down, polyshed skins, the grotesque quilted flesh of a labial beast. The notions of art and metaphor themselves dissolve, morph into some slimy and hallucinogenically alive river of nonmeaning which flows down a sluice of red radioactive decaying fetid fruit-mold that is spoiled thoughts notions and models, concepts shattered by the force of this current of alternating energy coursing through me, shockwave, tidal gale of multipolyomni fusing fission, exploding, bursting all that is solid into particles and binding the shower of particles into a singular tone of the sound of the number 1, a red Jovian tone of topo hierarchical health and fatty fitness - the purest brightest sanity I've ever seen as a stream of mind's-eye-vision before me, soul externalized. The explosions and recrystallization of meaning-self-reality happen in strange loops, imploding and shattering at once, fusing as they blow apart and creating their origins in time feeding back in on itself, each event nullifying and enabling the other. Every thought, action, and perception is a paradox of this nature. Par for the course.

Familiar surroundings, objects, room is now the same superficially but entirely different on a deeper level. Everything means something I could never have conceived of before, like I've never truly seen it before, like I've never SEEN THE POINT OF IT BEFORE, like it was always an object without a purpose. Now I see it excelling at being itself, the absolute divinity of the furniture, how it's been waiting mundane decades to blow my mind with its rightness, how the unlikely conjunction of its arrangement, years of strange familial transactions, adding and subtracting of odds and ends created the perfect state of the room through time. Language is a glossolalic gloss on the infinite, no words for this unfiltered essence, seeing beyond the grid of imperfections to the organic functioning of the most oblique of nature's expression, through the human filter to synthetic grace, and this place the perfect setting to a clear-light-bathed re-orientation of my life/life itself, suddenly okay with it clicking into place, living a historic moment, a culmination.

Boundless joy, infinite joy. Having reached this pinnacle of perception is an ecstasy. A triumph. Nothing can touch me because any conceivable thing fits perfectly into my gestalted consciousness, the god's eye view. Every question is answered, made manifest beyond meaning, isness, no need for reasoning out, rationality being the pale mechanistic disfigurement of the smooth-running-humming-cycling-flowing-strumming-singing organism/entity/device/symphony that is reality, the thing that can't be deconstructed, that subverts atomic splicing, that will fit only partially into the physicist's theories, comprising everything I've seen and done and will do and everything that could be and has been in some other self(electron's) experience, the overmind that is obviously alive and obviously the macro body and obviously beyond what any of us can know, even now, and obviously making a mockery of our hangups about mortality, being a state of connection beyond confinement to a body and brain, suggesting that the confining periods are for a purpose, serving the yin of individuality to the yang of overmind, serving the creation of a sense as black enables white and hard enables soft, seeing this in the halfway state of being outside the node of onemind, adrift in the flowing river of interversal plurality and acausality, seeing the place of the self's inscrutable purpose in the chaotic flux of hyperorder that we may figure out if the pattern allows such self-reflecting folds, reverb, echo.

I'm immortal and eternal. Why? Can't say, but I feel it. Bafflement beyond words gives way to a super-understanding and supreme confidence in accepting my place as detritus awash in the great ordered mystery, towering over levels below me and sensing stories above me, hinting at the fractal resonance pervading the interface, as above so below, discordant chords resonating strings of surreal synchronicities, alien jazz too complicated to appreciate.

I'm on a profound positive plateau, stretched as a pretzelian figure-8 paradox, strange loop, mystic and realistic. Relief of nirvana floods into the laughing writhing thing on the floor that smoked a powder to conjure up this vantage that regards its self-transforming vapour, gazing at the navel of an adolescent druggie on the white writhing rug, a snug bug on the rug in silly spills of wrapped up to the gills flipflop failure, collapse of all automatic pragmatic directives, misfit on society's shitlist where the misfits fit, chromatic, sublimely assonant dissonance striking the chord to counterpoint convention! This misfit can go back and play the game because that is how gravity works in the node he came from, but the beautiful punchline to those 20 tense years of losing human games in domestic primate hierarchies is seeing the little automaton figuring out how to do something that blasts himself beyond his programming to see the program and know there is something beyond the program even if he must return to the script at some point in the "future" as if time has any meaning anyway.

Profound profane hilarity. Cackles, giggles, coming back to a sense of time but an altered sense, outside the tug of timelocked grooves, moving to my own natural skittish rhythm like time is perturbed by this hole I've blown in the mind-space continuum, rippling my reality, slipping into the future a few seconds/minutes here, flanging back to the past two seconds/minutes ago, feeling two time periods move at different rates and laughing at the absurdity of perceiving ten seconds ahead yet having a frame of reference that is now, in the past or is it present, and which is the real time? But the time distortion's gap is closing, fluid solidifying, snapping me back to the needlessly rigid order I used to know, take for granted. The boundaries of my self are shrinking as words for things creep back into my ken and the wallhand happening I'm regarding from eyes set in the breathing blur of bright-colored impressionist space separates back into categories and now there is me and the room again, me in the room again, confined, still altered, window closing.

I stumble to my bedroom through a bubbling twisting warping hallway, get on my computer and TYPE TYPE TYPE. For a minute I'm ready to anoint EVERYONE ENLIGHTENED! Those divine lords of creation, co-creating the shared hallucination with me, inner/outerspace cadet - I must make them aware, why can't they see? I verbalize my ecstasy which starts to dissolve into skepticism, revelations fleeing, fleeting like nitrous oxide axioms. The desk in my room, now being a "desk" with all the confined meaning that implies, still reminds me of that alpinesque vantage where it would be the transdimensional object cycling through everything else in the universe. William James' famous note rings in my head: "Everything in this universe is the smell of burnt almonds." Might as well have been. Is. Was.

I am still more than myself and yet less than myself, filtered into meta-self, shaken from self, loose, drifting, free... but with nagging skepticism as the edges return and the possibilities wink out of imagination and the senses separate into distinct varieties, and the whole trypout seems an impossibility. I mean really. Was it real? What does it mean? Should I care what it means? Why am I asking this?

It's jarring, jolting coming back so quickly from the other world. Hard. Mundanities sweep in, window closes. What do I make of it? Pressure to make something of it. Strain. Knowledge that I'll forget what it was like. I'll have to forget, right? How could this "person" retain it? That would subvert the whole process of going beyond. I'll forget, and what's worse, I won't believe! I'll believe I was hyperbolizing, souping up the description. The magic powder only performs miracles on the miraculous me, snake swallows its tail and shits out a report of stale oxymoronic text sans context. Welcome back to the reality fractal, a strained refrain/reverb of what's really going on, out there, in here, INside/OUTside the sphere of ordinary awareness.

Well, I don’t know. That was then and this is now. And I've caught up to the post-peak present in this narrative. And time keeps on slipping - slipping away. What was once a dilated near-infinite moment is now an afternoon going by much too quickly. A trip fading. It feels absurd and filthy going back into my body, monolithic reality, meaning, self, and all the malarkey that comes with these planes, paperweights... What do we do with this me I've sunk into? Allowing myself to indulge in the banality of “spell-check” indicates I’m down for good.

Why did I type? I shouldn't have tried to English it so soon. I should have experienced, not recorded. This is all lies though - language, penned up in the cut-throat ghetto of meaning. Enlightenment, put up in a trophy cabinet behind closed doors, left to collect dust.


Whatever Big Thoughts you've been thinking, whatever is really on your mind that is important to you, it will be there, and you'll have to deal with it - but you may get a solution, a way out you never expected - or you may find this issue just explodes into a chaos of meaning never to be assembled - a hyperorder thousands of dimensions beyond your current, albeit highly expanded cognition. It's like a bacterium, suddenly granted human-level perception, trying to solve a trigonometry problem. We come back stuttering and drooling, then try to explain it (even mathematically as Terence did, that wacky guy) but Christ what pretense to think this is any real indication of what is there.

Maybe this time, enough was taken of me in the void and now I'm bleeding into there, wounded in this world, being born into the next one, cell by cell, flowing into their vast bloody river network of synesthetic tissuestreams, back in that wonderful hallucination. Sobriety is nice but just one spice, one slice of reality - there is something out there. A fucking ocean of somethings.

There is some column of being, some current of seeing, some art of ontology, which unites all of us, horizontally (as a human species in kinship with each other's troubled view of existence) and vertically, with all higher dimensional entities, or collective entities (like Gaia, and Celesta, and those turtles, all the way down, every one of them). Perhaps entities trippers have met during psychedelic sessions are in fact the Gaian mind or something even greater, vast up-level conscious collectives or unconscious systems. Perhaps consciousness is for humans, and those up level have different states of awareness - higher, insofar as there is a reality to the hierarchy - yet states we can't see as higher or even there at all. Gaia hears us in her dreams, as we have some deep dark connection to our inner entities, our bacterium colonies. Hello in there. How are you doing, guys? 


Save her grace
purpose in this life
but i make a horrible sickly martyr
and she makes a better one, pretty hair
sunk in january, and who am i
to save anyone, while on that collision course
this apocalypse
first against the wall
first against the wall

now i could lie
maybe convince myself
maybe make it a reality
that's how optimisim works
and i'm too busy being in love
not mining it for poetry
the real thing is better than anything
written about it