I once knew a woman who fucked up her legs mountain climbing (well, more precisely, a woman who got drunk at a grad party and said “hey! let’s go climb the rocks!”) and has since learned to walk again and can cover short spaces fairly easily but cannot dance. One weekend, all wigged out, she installed a series of ring-ended ropes into the ceiling of her apartment (to her landlord’s displeasure, but fuck, what’s he gonna say?) and has learned how to dance, hanging and swinging from ring to ring like a little kid. It’s actually quite nice, once you get used to the notion of your partner’s arms being straight up instead of around you, the muscles in her arms growing more defined each time you dance.
I once knew a kid who gave me money for milk on a day I had lost mine, a kid I had never really known outside of hallway-nods and shared laughs at class-jokes, no reason to be kind at all. The next day he had moved away. Where did you go?
I once knew a man who could fake his own death. He moved into an apartment across the street from the hospital and instead of calling a cab home he’d just call a 911 on himself. He’s a millionaire now.
I once knew a baby who smelled like amethyst and blackberries. This was no dietary fluke, no scented diapers, it was just a natural smell, just as I once knew a boy who smelled of chocolate and feces, just as I once knew a girl whose cunt smelled of chicken soup. As the baby grew out of babydom, the scent faded but remained, like a polio scar or an infantile shame, and the children tried to find nicknames for the scented kid, but nothing ever came to mind, all aukward and apologetic, and the kid grew older, until the scent was just barely detectable, the nose against damp skin, the tongue in all the sour places, and no one would ever truly believe, confused, so certain it was a soap, so afraid to believe in small things.
I once knew a woman who spent a year in a containment camp. This camp aspired to all the trappings of culture and thus needed a symphony. Members of the camp who had musical training were auditioned and assigned instruments, the finest instruments available in wartime conditions. The symphony was allowed to stay in special barracks and eat better food to insure their health: dignitaries and high-ranking military brass regularly visited the camp and half the symphony out with dysentery simply wouldn’t be acceptable. Over time, the members of the symphony were allowed to play pieces they had written themselves, so as to further show off the abilities inherent in the lesser peoples once exposed to a true culture. These pieces were lullabies, and were honed over time to a narcotic efficiency. The members of the camp fell asleep midway through the performances, sleeping longer and longer as the band’s talents improved, until whole days passed in a stupor. Other prisoners began using these lulls as escape potentials, and by the time the camp was “liberated” at war’s end, half the population of the camp had vanished into the surrounding area, coming out and laughing with the freed prisoners as a shared joke the liberating army couldn’t understand.
I once knew a man who went out into the woods and dug himself a grave in the soft earth by the lake. On days when the notion of dying came to him, gathered at his door, he’d get in his car and drive out along the abandoned highway, walk through the fields and lay for a while in his grave, staring at the light-patterns in the trees.
I once knew two theives who did not know they were theives. I didn’t have a place to stay after everything had gone wrong up north, so for a while i slept in my friend Yusef’s van while he was at work, during the day, eating quarter-loaves of bread and rice i’d make in the Quik Trip microwave (I think the girl who was working there had a thing for me, or (more likely) just didn’t care). While I was sleeping in Yusef’s van the van was broken into. Two young men started removing the stereo. I kept thinking I shouldn’t move, but I was scooting on my back down closer to them, legs first. I kicked one in the back of the head, which fractured the windshield, while grabbing the other, who began screaming, dropping tools. “The fuck is wrong with you, man?” said the first, dabbing blood from his forehead with his shirt sleeve. “You’re stealing the radio! Fucking theives!” “Stealing? No, no, we’re recall technicians. You know how when you go in tunnels or under bridges the reciever goes out? That’s our fault. And the company won’t spring for replacements, so we’ve been going around ourselves and fixing it. Doesn’t take more than five minutes.” “So why you breaking in, then? Crook! Claimer of false integrity!” “Because we don’t want anyone to know, right?” said the other, after I let go of his throat. “Like maybe it was a fluke or something like that. We take pride in our work. I mean, if you’re dead-set on not getting it done, we’ll just go.” Figuring Yusef would want such a thing done, I let them finish up, watching them closely, until after a couple minutes they were done and left. I told Yusef, but he didn’t believe me. Nobody ever believes me.
I once knew the scavengers who lived at the far end of the field of abandoned carriages, who often died suddenly, before old age could claim them. Those closest to the corpse at the moment of death were obligated to strip and clean the corpse, getting first claim on pieces of the body, which they would cut and pull from their own bodies, replacing the corpse’s parts with root-grafts and mud, until the scars were barely visible. Thus, the loved ones of the corpse could see pieces of them continue on, see the hands on other arms, hear the heart beat beneath someone else’s skin, stare into swirling and confused eyes shoved in someone else’s skull.
I once knew the weaving-machines which had been liberated from the automated assembly station out by the radio towers, up in the trees, binding strands of plastic-wrap and newspaper to the leafless branches. Sometimes two of the weaving-machines would come across each other, grasping at each other with servo-arms, falling from the trees, stripping parts from each other to weave packaging out of ribbon-wire and insulation.
I once knew a woman who served as an assistant baker in a bakery where I used to work. I am certain that she has a story, but I have yet to figure out what it is.
“The whisper of the inter-voice to wrap you in the mantle of marvelous power, with the secret protection of the forest that falls asleep in fire whose ores become transmined only for love - all your steps will lead to the inner sanctum none but you behold, your shadow putting on the body of metaphoric light.”—Philip Lamantia, from Romantic Movement (via frenchtwist)
“Come and see: All the prophets of the world were nurtured from a single aspect through two well-known levels. Those levels appeared in the mirror that does not shine, as it is written: ‘I make Myself known to him in a vision, mar’ah.’ What is this mar’ah? It has been explained: a mirror in which all colors appear. This is the mirror that does not shine.”—"Joseph’s Dream", from the Zohar
Here’s an example of me using the Gizmotron on modified banjo (along with pump organ and corrupted sampler) for I Can’t Hear You Any More, from the album Mar’ah. Vocals by Deborah Siegel, cover art by April Larson. LINK FIXED (remembering why I don’t use Myspace any more). The Zohar is so great: you don’t need to be familiar with the Torah at all to enjoy it: anybody who likes narrative weirdness like Tritstam Shandy or Gargantua and Pantagruel will dig it. There’s a *lot* of hidden symbolism in my album Mar’ah, and I don’t want to over-explain it, but I will say that the entire album is a palindrome. I was having surgery done on my jaw and spine at the time and obsessed with Jewish mysticism, Sly Stone and opiates. “Mar’ah is a warm coat that you’ve had for years with notes in the pockets from friends you don’t know anymore, it’s a rainy day at the airport watching people waiting for their lives to resume, it’s Hebrew for mirror and for vision (as in to have a), it’s a pillow heavy with old dreams, it’s Joe Hicks singing if it feels good it’s alright, it’s sunlight through the window across a slow afternoon, it’s Arabic for the woman, it’s threadbare tape hiss florescent hum and jackdaws in leafless trees, it’s a half-remembered song bound to something she once whispered, it’s a sullen Sunday morning with your headphones on and your quilt around your shoulders, it’s frost on the window and the blood like black syrup in the chest and it feels so good inside yourself don’t wanna move.”
“We stepped into a gentle spring, a warm night, the light of its young, violet, and newly risen moon shimmering on the mud. That late-winter night had sped on apace, feverishly anticipating its late phases. The air, seasoned but a moment ago with the usual pungency of that month, had become sweet and sickly, filled with the scent of rainwater, moist loam, and the first of the night’s snowdrops, blossoming out somnambulistically in a magical white light. It is a wonder that, beneath that muneficent moon, that night did not swarm with frogspawn on that silver swamp, proliferate with progeny, become garrulous with thousands of babbling proboscides on those riverside gravel heaps, leaking incessantly from their glistening, freshwater netting. And some inventiveness was needed, a little guesswork, to catch the sound of that croaking in the grumbling and spring-watered night, filled with subcutaneous shudders; suspended for only a moment, only to move on again as the moon reached its zenith, white and whiter as if pouring its whiteness from goblet to goblet, higher and higher, ever more radiant, ever more magical and transcendent.”—BRUNO SCHULZ, excerpt from Spring (via azorica)
1960stechnicolor replied to your photo: I knew I was saving that last Night Gallery disc…
Ugh I miss Night Gallery so much. I hum the theme song every now and then.
I’ve been pretty migratory the past few years, and there’s only a few series I’m willing to lug around with me on dvd, and Night Gallery is one of ‘em. Total inspiration every time I turn it on: the paintings, the audio work, the wigged-out recursive plots, it’s like candy to me. It’s that sullen psychedelic quality that makes me choose it over Twilight Zone (if I *had* to choose).
On Wednesday, March 9th, 2011, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, The Spectacle Theater screened Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining forwards and backwards simultaneously, superimposed. This experiment in projection was inspired by the analysis of The Shining by MSTRMND, and one line in particular:
This is some heavy-duty work, folks. Worth an investigation.