The OF Blog: Fractured prismic recollections

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fractured prismic recollections

Woke up with a pressure headache early this morning, after sleeping only five hours (and before that, only 2.5 hours over nearly 36 hours).  Began a re-read of William S. Burroughs' My Education:  A Book of Dreams.  Reading led to strange recollections:

Memories of the dry August of 1983 (less than an inch of rain), spending an hour or two a day out in the nearly 100° temperature taking water from a faucet and taking the dusty dirt of the driveway and mixing it into a fine mud in which I would cover my GI Joe figurines, watching them dry and crack, desperately trying to figure out how to have a perfect coat that would have no cracks in them.

Frustrated, or perhaps just bored, I would scoop up more of the extremely dry dirt and toss it up, just to see a floating dust cloud.  Wanted more and larger clouds, but only so much could be done with my hands, plastic cups, or anything else I could place the dirt in for throwing.  Hours each month spent in such activities, trying to create some sort of novelty with which I could be amused.

Recollections of watching a candle flame for several minutes at a time.  Time dilating, stretching out toward infinity and yet compressed into a singular moment that lasted indefinitely.  The wavering, flickering flame, the intense heat about 3-4 inches above the flame.  Setting paper at that height, seeing it slowly brown and threaten to burst into flame.  Sticking fingers into the pooling molten wax, embracing the brief pain and the exquisite pleasure of the cooling wax creating impressions of my fingerprints, tugging at my skin, drawing it up as it cooled, until the mold had to be broken and the process repeated again.  Experiments with taking quartz or pennies and dropping them in, wanting to see if an amber-like clarity could be achieved if the wax were "clear" instead of dyed red or blue.  It didn't ever get old until I got old.

Snatches of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" float through my mind.  "I see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked," and I recall the drifters, wanderers, and vagabonds of my college days.  I envied them their inability to stay rooted to any place or ideal.  The thought of ruts terrify me even now.  I don't believe in escapism but instead in the escape of destructive change.  Recalled dreams of colors representing change and emotion, no words spoken, no images moving, but instead flashing patterns of colors shifting and twisting and transmogrifying thoughts into something insubstantial yet no less "real" than the tactile pressure of fingers on keys. 

There's some quasi-mystical about this.  Time's dissolution and the warping of perspective until thoughts themselves collapse into an anti-liturgy of senses that refuse to collapse into discernible patterns.  Words here begin to lose their associations, falling finally back on phoneme recognition and then even consciousness has to flee away from the concrete and toward such a total abstraction that even feelings do not suffice to convey meanings that have unmoored themselves from the unsatisfactory tyranny of structured life.

In re-reading Burroughs, these come flooding back to me, forcing me to recall what I had suppressed, yet now I feel some eagerness to (re)claim this anarchy of sensation, to develop something more pleasing than the activities of my youth, something that might sustain the creation of a new narrative to take the place of the crumbling world around me.  Yet dreams transform upon self-consciousness; the conscience denies us full access to the maelstrom of sensations that boil and churn within us.  And even still, we reach out to shape it, to mold it, to cast it into a suitable form that then can be digested.  Such consumptions are not devoutly to be wished, however.  Time flies, reason falters.  What is left is perhaps the essence of ecstasy and mysticism.

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