night knife life

It is night. I walking around with my brother Bobby and former housemate Michelle. We are in one of those uncomfortable American hybrid urban/suburban environments. I don’t know how late it is, but there is no one in the streets, and only white vans are parked all around. Michelle asks us to accompany her to a dodgy fast food place a few blocks away. She wants a burger. We agree and follow her. As we approach the yellow glowing “Burger Chase” a nervousness creeps up my spine.
I’m barefoot, and before we enter I see the floors are grimy and wet, as well as one of those “no shirt, no shoes, no service” decals on the door. I hesitate entering at first, but do anyway thinking the employees won’t really give a shit about my feet, and that I will just wash them soon after. When we go in I see to my right a row of booths, each closed in by waist high glass doors and filled with water reaching just above ankle height. People are sloshing around in the water and eating. I find it strange and gross, but try not to stare.  The ordering counter runs the full length of the place and red crudely handwritten signs are taped the whole way down. There is a door at the opposite end. As we walk down the counter I read the signs. They say, “Put all of your belongings on the counter. You will be cut by a large knife if you don’t. If you try to escape or look panicked you will be cut”.
I’m pissed. How did we walk into this trap? The people behind the counter are freakishly tall, but don’t necessarily look mean, they almost seem as if they too are following silent orders. A person who was eating in one of the nasty water booths walks out the door I’m standing next too. I step out and motion to my brother to come. He hesitates but my persistent looks get him to leave. I think about Michelle for a moment, but knew that if I tried to get her to come we all would definitely be caught. I console my selfish action saying to myself that I will send help.
Bobby and I are running full speed through the darkness. The lights of a parked white van turn on, and its engine kicks on. We keep running, and don’t seem to be followed. When we get to my parents’ neighborhood Bobby begins knocking on all of the doors and telling them about the place. When no one seems to care, I wake up. ♨

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the conjuring bells

Something is coming for me from the inside. It began one day when I was walking home alone through an autumn forest on a cloudy afternoon. Out of nowhere I heard the melodic ringing of bells. I sat down against a tree and listened. A strange high started coming over me, and I soon realized that the sound was coming from within. That first time I welcomed it, and allowed the ringing (and the high) to build — its song filled my head and all my thoughts vanished. It felt as though my skull melted and then murmured voices began to speak — but they were too hushed for me to make out any meaning from their words (nor to know if they were speaking English). I had a sense that questions were being asked, fairly banal questions.

The ringing bells starting coming for me multiple times a day, and every time I ran away to be alone and steady myself. The high lifts me out of time and space, and I am swept up into a pulsating and rhythmic tornado while still sensing my feet firmly planted on the ground. Every time feels as if I am being turned inside out — my inner life exposed for all to see, but with no one there to bear witness.

I lived in a roofless house in the middle of a forest. Helen would visited me there, and I would often find her sleeping soundly on my bed. One particularly disorienting afternoon, I was handed a typed letter by a tall, gaunt, faceless man. It was from my brother Bobby. It read:

                I’m dying.    I’m dyinG. 
  I’m dying.    I’m dYing.                     I’m dyiNg.
       Everything is made of Green.
   There is a GUN ship in Hanoi.
…it was used by ghosts to shoot down US Bombers.
                        I’m not ready to see you.            But soon. 

The paper was a work of art. It was stained in colors I had never seen before, and the ink from the typewriter seemed to endless drip off of the paper but leave no marks. I wanted him to know how beautiful it was — but I knew he wouldn’t believe me.

I raced home with the letter when the ringing came for me again. I grabbed a tree and rode the high out. I was tired of this unexpected visitor (or visitors), and I hoped Helen was at my house so I could hug her. I went in and, thankfully, she was there and held me as I wept frustrated tears. Whalen was sitting at my desk. He mentioned the ghosts — he said he spent 8 hours one day teaching them the alphabet.

In Helen’s arms the ringing came for me again. I ran out of the house into the dense forest — the melody became more insistent and began drowning out my vision. I started sliding between two separate worlds…. My eyes would open and I would be in my bedroom (in Hanoi) in a trance, motionless, staring at the ceiling . . . then my eyes would close and I would be back in the forest, stoned, the bells ringing louder and louder. This happened about three times, and on the last time I willed myself to stay in my bedroom — in this world, from where I type this entry. ♨

skinless legs

I am living in an old house with my friend Michelle. The place is a disaster. The only places that have any cohesion are our individual bedrooms. The house is windowless, and creepy art is everywhere. My brother and a mutual friend are coming.  I am waiting for them, nervously for some reason. When they finally arrive I give them drinks and go upstairs in search of Michelle. She is working on a project in the corner with multiple sets of bird wings. In her room I also have a collection of human legs. They line one of the walls. They are my legs, and I can still sense and move them. I have a habit of skinning them with what resembles a large fruit peeler. I do this a lot — and though the inner sensation is not comfortable, the visual and textural experience is exquisite. Michelle thinks my habit is gross. I also carve fine lines into them. On the lower calf of the legs I have made a series of six uniform horizontal lines about one inch in depth. I am skinning the thighs now, preparing them for individual carvings.   ♨

a hungry owl

I’m in the forest behind my parents’ house, it is much thinker and more tropical than I remember. My friend, Florian, is back there with me. A beautiful owl is flying around catching game in her mouth. She is mesmerizing to watch. The owl ends up catching a white cat. She’s proud of it, and lands on a branch less than a meter away from us. Her eyes are huge and gleaming. She swallows the cats tail, and stares at us. I debate whether or not to go fetch my camera. It’s in the house, not too far away. I go for it, hoping I don’t miss much. When I get back Florian explains that the feast is over, and that it wasn’t very pleasant to witness. His description makes it seem as if I have been gone for much longer than what I sensed was under a minute. Apparently the owl started by carefully removing the cat’s spinal cord and then, after eating it bit by bit, swallowed the rest of the little creature in an unnatural fashion. I’m disappointed that I didn’t see this happen nor get any photos of the act.
– – –
I’m in a gorgeous lagoon of turquoise blue water with giant jagged boulders surrounding it. There’s a performance happening. My friend, Alice, is about to go on. Moments after she starts, she swims over to me and my brother, Bobby. She drags us into her show; in what appears to everyone else as a very rehearsed act — but it isn’t. We have no control over our movements, yet we are swimming in unison and weaving in and out of symmetrical patterns. It’s not frightening, in fact, it’s rather pleasant. This lasts about 15 minutes and we are greeted with some cheering when we are finished. ♨

black snow

It’s a red night, and the city’s narrow streets are full of a gritty blackish slush, 3 sloppy inches thick. My feet are getting wet and spirits low. I’m looking for someone — for my brother, Joseph. We were doing a photo shoot of a fucked up version of the “Alice in Wonderland” tea party. Everyone involved is getting anxious, and I am worried that they will turn violent soon. Their teeth have been removed for the shoot, and they look terrified and resentful. Where is my damn brother! If I don’t find him soon these toothless freaks will rip me apart with their wooden hands and black gums. ♨