Polishing Ajna.

Jonas and Elizabeth come over between eight and nine in the evening. I had woken up from my post-third-shift slumber a few hours before, drank some coffee, relaxed, taken a shit and a shower and waited while trying not to think, think, think.

Elizabeth was wearing all black save for her tie-dye hippie socks. It had been awhile since I had seen Jonas, and his hair had grown and taken on a look that reminded me of the traditional style of the eighties. Kind of like Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope. I met them at the side entrance to my building and Elizabeth led the way up three flights of stairs and along the short stroll to the door to my one-bedroom apartment, where we all sat down in the front room in front of my laptop monitor. I had set up the papasan by the computer for myself, as I knew it would be the most comfortable thing for me to sit on during the experience.

Jonas has some initial difficulties cutting one of the tabs in two, finally succeeding by use of the X-Acto knife I typically use to clean out my bowl. Using their tweezers, he then places a whole tab on her tongue, one of the halves on his own.

This was happening. I felt wary. Did I want to do this? Me, I always said I’d never do this. Then he picks up the other half with the tweezers and extends it towards me.

Shit. This is the moment of truth.

I’m nervous, not entirely ready, and in my hesitation he accidentally drops it. Though this would be unfortunate in the event it could not be found, I was thankful for the moment of reflection it permitted me. We look around for it on the carpet between us all as I try and build up some courage. Eventually one of them finds that it had fallen into my shoe. With the tweezers, he plucks it from my sole and places it on my open sketch pad. With diminishing reluctance I go for the tweezers but Elizabeth says it would probably be easier to just lick it off my sketch pad. It seems a weird way to go and that typically works for me, so I do it. I feel mildly apprehensive after doing so, but curiosity of what may be to come quickly takes dominance.

We smoke a bowl, a cigarette each, and I try to keep it under my tongue, eventually realizing that it is gone. That I must have swallowed it. They tell me not to worry.

As I did not take notes during the experience, I cannot be sure of the exact sequence of all events, though particular events in and of themselves are certainly vivid. It began while we were watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

If I were to do this, I had decided some time ago, I had to watch Cosmos, most of all episode 13, “Unafraid of the Dark,” which was particularly visually stunning in its depiction of supernovas. Elizabeth also insisted we watch episode 5, “Hiding in the Light,” mainly due to the portion regarding soundwaves. It was still on Netflix, thankfully, and so we watched “Hiding in the Light” first.

At some point as we were watching it I suddenly feel as if certain parts of my brain light up, blasting me into this heightened awareness. My vision was crisp. I felt this intensity in my body. I felt a sense of euphoria with a side of anxiety.

As time went on I experienced periods of sudden, incredible and sturdy focus — which would be strange enough if it did not seem as if I could focus on several points simultaneously. Psychological absorption was at an all-time high. Fantasy seemed more like a parallel world I had equal access to alongside sensory reality; shifting between them was akin to changing channels or switching stations. In time I came to be very, very absorbed in what we were watching on my laptop.For other, brief periods — at least once, to be sure — I became tangled in a web of divergent attention and high-speed thoughts, achieving a height of frustrating confusion before wriggling myself out of it and coming back into focus.

To my left I could see my bedroom door, opened just a crack, and the light bleeding through kept catching my attention, fucking with me. I finally had to get up and open the door. Then I kept thinking I was seeing the lights and shadows from the bathroom, accessible through my bedroom, move as if something was there. At one point, I thought I saw something small and white run from the bathroom into the darkness at the other side of my room. None of it frightened me for more than a second, after which I realized it was just my imagination and laughed at myself in response.

When I was talking with Elizabeth and Jonas sometimes I would catch the laptop monitor out of the corner of my eye, convinced for a moment that something was playing on it, like a movie or something, but there was merely a motionless visual on the screen. It kept fucking with me in a fashion similar to crack in bedroom doorway.

In our conversation before taking the acid, they told me I should eat first and if I needed to poop, I should do it beforehand, because it was rather disconcerting under the influence of this chemical. They also told me that pissing was kind of strange, but I knew I would be unable to avoid that one — in general, I tend to take in a lot of fluid: water, coffee, iced tea, booze. This equals pissing like a race horse.

When I inevitably had to get up to pee, Elizabeth suggested I look at myself in the mirror. Piddling itself was a perplexing experience indeed. I felt high up, incredibly tall and skinny, and it seemed as though my dick way, way down there was pissing into a teeny-tiny toilet. After I went to the sink and washed and dried my hands, I looked up, into the mirror, focusing on my eyes. My face seemed to morph around my point of focus, though not into anything discernible. My vision brightened, everything seemed white and yellow. I was transfixed for a while, but eventually returned to the front room and sat in my comfy nest.

Over the entire course of the evening, I had only one fully-scale visual hallucination. As I was watching the bedroom door (which I had absentmindedly closed again when returning from pissing and skrying) this little transparent ball with a long, tadpole tail swam in a slow, wavelike fashion across my field of vision. It was like an oversize, slow-mo air-sperm.

Getting up, I opened the door again.

More subjective strangeness took place than sensory, hallucinatory phenomena. For instance, at times I felt that while I was inside my body I was not entirely attached to it. I often felt as if I was residing in my body in positions that I ordinarily did not. Typically I feel as though my consciousness resides inside my head, for instance, but for a period I felt as though I was hanging out in the chest area.

So we watched the two episodes of Cosmos. The segment on sound waves was astounding, though I got the feeling that it was not the “full experience” Elizabeth had experienced herself when she watched it on acid. When we got to the episode on supernovas, I must have been at or near my peak. More than just the beautiful explosions of dying stars, there was the journey through space in general that drug me in, embraced me. I even said to them, “Twelve hours of just that. Just journeying through the stars. I would love it.” In retrospect it reminded me of those dreams I had as a kid, just soaring through the stars at fantastic speed, alone in the vast, silent beauty of space.

At some point the journey ended as the camera pulled out from space into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s star-spore, dandelion-seed-shaped Spaceship of the Imagination through one of the windows — which initially looked to me like the gigantic, slanted, almond eye of your typical Gray alien. No one else seemed to make that connection. I don’t know if I felt sad to be alone or thankful for my isolated association.

After the two episodes, we watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, where I came to confront the Cheshire Cat, another symbol from my past. After we began coming down and had tired of conversation, we turned back to Netflix and watched the first two or three episodes of American Dad, which I had never seen before. I noticed that I was more prone to laughter, at times ridiculous laughter. While I felt in most cases the laughter was appropriate, it was far, far more amusing than it would have been had I been sober, or even stoned out of my mind on Mary Jane. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

It was morning when we finally came entirely down. They slept on the couch in the living room and I closed my bedroom door and lay in my bed. My body was so comfortable. There was no tossing, no turning. My body was relaxed, vibrating, though my mind was still acute. They had given me half a pill of a muscle relaxer, and it finally kicked in.

When I awoke, to my disappointment, I didn’t remember any dreams, though I did recall that I had some that I would have found interesting.

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Of Dan and Abra.

Reading words bled
by the dark and prolific,
securely encased

in fiction, resonating
with a connection
I desire, secrets shared,
minds entangled.

Here there is no hiding.
Mutual transparency, extreme.
Naked beyond skin and bones.

Intimacy of consciousness.
Community through commonality.
Psionic bonding.
My secret family.

Halfway between covers,
envious of their secret tie.

Lady of the Trees.

I stop the gondola full of trash bags by the side of the building, waiting for the cars to leave me an opening so I can make it to the corral, where we have the dumpster. Suddenly the old woman in the car just in front of me starts talking to me through her open window. She tells me how pretty the shrub to the side of me is and I find myself nodding, explaining sadly how before we know it, it will be buried in snow. She seems to detest the Ohioan Winternity the same way I do. She reacts inside in the same way I do when people say the “s” word to me, anyway, though considerably less violently.

She then explains how she can feel the change in energy when the leaves fall, interrupting herself mid-sentence to explain how she thinks she used to be a tree.

“Or a Druid,” she says. “They worshipped trees.”

She then began talking about the soaring death rates in the cold season. The drive-thru line started moving, however. She then bid me farewell, telling me that it was nice chatting with me and I returned her kind goodbye with equal sincerity.

As I made it back to the dumpsters, where I sat and had my small coffee and cigarette, I noted how warm I felt — not the physical kind of warmth either, but like a soothing, energetic, nice, buzzing kind of feeling beyond the skin. I felt charged somehow.

A short time later, I’m outside smoking again, people-watching as covertly as I was able. This one kid approached the nearby door and I felt as though my energy sort of shot to him and “felt” him from the mind out. It was brief, full of emotions, moods and a jumble of high-speed imagery. I didn’t immediately make the connection between this experience and the incident with the Lady of the Trees that had just happened a short time ago, but I did find it remarkable that the experience, however typical for me, was so much more intense, so much deeper than usual.

Looking over how I explained it to myself in my head, I felt the use of words such as “feel” and referencing imagery was somehow inaccurate, but it was the best I could do with the words I had at my disposal.

Am I insane? Maybe.

I put out my smoke, went inside and one of the managers, a happily crazy cat lady, starts rambling to me at high speed, confessing away her thoughts and feelings in a verbal waterfall. The other manager, who I’ll call Fester, stands beside me. I know he doesn’t like her and he had just made a comment earlier how she was irritating him so much he wanted to punch her in the face. Though he played it cool on the outside from what I could see, as he stood before me and Cat Lady ranted to me I could feel his irritation, feel his anger at her — like his energy was spiky and flaring up around his body. I made the mistake of laughing aloud, looking at him and saying. “Holy shit, man — I can FEEL that.”

He seemed weirded out by that, perhaps thinking me to be crazy.

Maybe the Lady of the Trees unknowingly subliminally suggested the energy thing to me and that was why I was again feeling it to this amazing intensity — or perhaps it was the paranormal afterglow, as I call it. In the wake of being around the strange creature I have seen all my life or other people who experience weird things like I do, this seem to amp up. It’s like we energize each other in general and specifically increase the likelihood of weird things happening between us.

Life is endlessly weird.

In a Space of Body-Light.

Like clouds
of vibrating energy
surrounding, permeating us,
charging or draining me,
all too often
infecting me,

resonating, reverberating,
pulling me into vortices,
a land pockmarked
with rabbit holes to fall down,
drowning me out,

leaving me
mistaking their e-motions
for my own, mind blinded
by the body-light.

Always losing my sense
of boundaries.

Fighting my way
to the surface of
solidarity, stability.
Still it remains a not-so-faint
background,
never too far out of reach,
seductive, electrifying.