Was a scared, stubborn baby, was a boy— stayed in Womb nine months and twenty seven years. Nine pounds going on one fifty! This womb of mine was a dark cave that rendered me senseless, but hey, ‘least it was warm— was food in tube. And it was safe— knew I would always be safe so long as I was tucked in there. I had my activities. One of my favorite things to do was pull my knees to my chest, tuck my head, and for no reason past reflex, close my eyes. Yep, that was how I slept, in a ball—could sleep that way for days, could sleep that way all winter, could sleep that way for good and I wouldn’t miss a thing. Although occasionally, I’d hear noises, would feel vibrations, some good & sweet— called those lickings cause they smoothed, like wet whispers or wind-stung chimes they were the humming of birds and the buzzing of bees, and they soothed, while the others, the loud & sudden ones, oh god, they were called thuddings because they made the tummy rock, they made the stomach fluids swell, carrying my breadbasket deeper into the ocean’s oven— took hand-clapped thunder to rock my cradle. When I couldn’t take all the so-called ‘stimulation,’ I would thrust my legs and jab never-cut nails into those padded walls of hers—take flesh of my flesh, a bone to pick unformed. ‘Let me out!’ I would scream; ‘no, no, no—not yet,’ I would moan, premature in my ways. Then I would curl up, rocking to and fro like a dead horse shoed to bowed ski boards and beat. We did the downhill rock. The ‘fetal position,’ I found out later it was called, also helped with the nightmares—
Never been in a sensory deprivation chamber before, but I get the appeal. As an over-baked loaf of being, bred with love but locked in vitro, nobody bothering to monitor the glass oven where my insides petrify like wood, then put on low till my guts return to a sticky goo, I have to be careful about who and what I surround myself with. I’m done, but yet unformed. If they get even millimeters under my skin, are able to root around my rotten core, they won’t be unable to resist playing in the mess of blood and clay I call my grounds. If they aren’t careful, and if I’m not careful as well, they will find their sticky fingers instinctively reshaping my clay organs, my soft as putty heart, in their own image—it’s what these messiah people do— and they shall use their muddy palms to seal the smooth creation in it’s former owner’s blood. I’m resilient, I truly am, but there’s only so much I can do when I keep letting them inside. Every time I convince myself I’m letting the right one in, yet somehow I always end up with these god-fearing vampires running rampant on my sacred grounds, my temple, my body, my mind, my soul, till all I have left is gone. So that would be the appeal of the sensory deprivation chamber. To have a coffin all my own. Nail me shut, drop me in the ground, cover me in earth and let me be free.
The nightmares— more and more often I was having these flashes of ‘Light World’— would come in rapid bursts, vision montages at first— had no clue what I was seeing then, but now, I can proudly describe those sights in terms you will understand. Put simply, I saw:
lions ripping hooded shoppers limb from sweatered limb at the Gap; an exposed breast, extremely close, inflating and going flat under a dictator’s cold, purple lips; swarms of black birds, crows, dive-bombing the volcano before erupting bald as eagles; a man with his big belly jiggling, mowing a lawn of carrot-orange, surly pubic hair, laughing his ass off literally, he had no butt; pig-nosed pedestrians going down on each other in the mud, queefing bubbles and snorting keys and keys and keys of blow from their golden trough; deserted banquet halls serving rotten flesh to flys; and so on runs the sacrilegious bull—
Then later, the visions presenting themselves as prolonged episodes with no clear end in sight, dancing figure eights, no arc, no story, only a middle connecting two fruitless loops. These ongoing shows were boring like unedited footage from ‘The Real World’ must be. They depicted people with blurry faces going places and doing things—some buildings were made of solid glass and displayed only their reflections, blown up larger than life, while others were graffitied in so many words and symbols that all I could make out were white-washed rainbows and billowing Golden Arches.
I called this place ‘Light World’ because even though there was an ample amount of both light and dark, the people there were obviously more interested in light, or ‘Day,’ as they said. They would say things like, ‘while it’s still light out,’ and ‘before it gets too dark’—’too dark,’ huh, is there even such a thing? Their lives seemed to revolve around this artificial notion of Day, and of Time, and around other ridiculous things like Work—which was merely an excuse, and a means, for them to partake in Play, an escapist tactic not unlike my fetal that often involved the imbibing of bitters, the choking of tabs, the setting of tiny plants on fire to inhale the fumes, and sex. And if I was going to be stuck here, as it seemed I were, then what choice did I have but to go along, to conform— I should get a job, schedule my meals not around hunger but routine, salivating like one of those Pavlov dogs when the clock struck noon, pick bits of speech off their crude tongues and spit them back out, and, if there ever came a time where I just couldn’t take it anymore, when I’d had enough, would I revolt? Would I rise up and fight? No. That was not their way. I would watch TV, or get drunk, or masturbate, or I’d do all three— ‘What the hell,’ they also liked to say.
And now that I’ve set fire to the quiet comforts of my deprived cave, will not burn to death in an apartment with non-moving walls—to emerge in New York City of all places—I find myself slapping down your outstretched demon grabs at every busy turn. How does anyone get anywhere with these five finger-lickin’ tentacles, accompanied by visible lines of hot air, steaming, wafting from the sewers to slither up the leg of your pants looking for the nearest point of entry—better watch your backside—wrapping their warm arms around your waist until you lose all feeling down below, inching their way to your neck, lacing your throat with potion from their sucking cups till you lose all desire to think for yourself, leaving your mouth ajar for easy access, ready to infringe, do bidding for you— stay back, you beast— I spend my days filtering your advances—wink once for ‘yes,’ eyed closed for ‘no’—deciding at a moment’s notice what to let in and who to keep out. The safe play is to oppose every inquisition unconsidered, but even if I had the inclination for such close-mindedness it would be impossible in a place like this with so many happenings and going-ons. Some of your harbingers will find a way, be me willing or caught unguarded, with my pants ankled, intoxicated likely, on the temptation to indulge every passing fancy— will have to spend my days looking for and slipping in and out of urban caves long enough to collect my thoughts and gather a semblance of self if ever there is to be.