Telepathy and Eye Contact.

“When eye contact between two people is initiated and maintained, an invisible energetic circuit is established between the two participants, dissolving the barriers that ordinarily separate them from each other, drawing them ever closer into a shared awareness of union.”
— Will Johnson, The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine.

“Portal sits deep within the eye.
The eye of yin’s severity
rewards understanding.”
— Mudvayne, Mercy, Severity.

In addition to my personal experiences, parapsychological research suggests that not only is eye gazing unnecessary for telepathy to occur, but distance between the subjects in question ultimately makes no difference, either. Despite this, eyes certainly hold a particular and peculiar power for me and I continue my struggle to understand why. It doesn’t help matters that aside from the alien abduction literature in general and my own experiences in particular I have only heard of experiences of “ocular telepathy” through two other sources.

Years ago, when I found Koda on the net, he had yet to write his 2004 book Instant Enlightenment: Metaphysical Fast Food, which I have since purchased. His interest in metaphysics was first sparked as a teenager in the early 1970s after experimenting with psychedelics. Since then he has explored the paranormal through conversation and tested out various techniques on his own.

His first attempt at telepathy occurred when he and a friend were alone, smoking hashish, and the technique was a rather basic one: Koda tried to focus on and “send” a letter as his friend tried to “receive” it. After visualizing a letter for about five minutes, his frustration grew and he screamed to himself mentally, at which time his friend screamed it quite verbally. They tried to repeat it several times that day and failed, but now that he had confirmed telepathy to his satisfaction he decided to see what other questions in this area he could lay to rest.

After attempting and accomplishing two other paranormal feats while alone in his bedroom that evening, as he explained it, “My ego was glowing profusely.” Upon going to the local coffee shop and telling some of his friends and classmates, however, he was met with only disbelief and ridicule. Frustrated, he was immediately set on revenge, and he stumbled upon the means some weeks later at that very coffee shop.

They often held staring contests and one girl always seemed to be better than the rest. Whenever he challenged her he would be doing fine for a short while before he cracked a grin and lost the game. He finally thought he would try thinking of a joke during their staring and telepathically “send” it to her to see if he could get her to laugh. It worked, even during the rematch she demanded. When she asked how he had done it and he told her, she confessed to using the same technique.

He then began practicing telepathy far more blatantly — and with a certain vengeance. He would begin the process using cold reading, approaching a friend, looking in their eyes and saying,”Let me see if I can read your mind.” Judging from their facial expressions he could easily determine that they thought he was full of shit, so he told them just that. They would confess it was so but maintained that it proved nothing. Then he would declare that they were now trying to think of something more specific and less obvious. Then he would tell them that they were beginning to wonder if he really could read their mind after all given his accuracy this far. At this point he began to generate fear in them, which as a consequence made them focus all the more intensely on whatever they were thinking about.

Up to this point, it was all cold reading, but it became, in this way, effective foreplay for telepathy. He slowly and systematically built up fear in them that he could read their minds and once that emotional component achieved sufficient intensity — typically when he went one step further and accused them of being terrified that he might be capable of knowing their deepest, darkest secrets — their focus became so locked on their specific, sustained thoughts that, as he put it, they essentially broadcasted their thoughts to him. He would then tell them what they were thinking, which by this point was something very specific, and they would confess that he could do it after all.

He did this daily for two weeks and got quite proficient at it before deciding he had had enough. Not only did he finally feel that he gotten even with them, he could no longer deal with the feelings of absolute terror he generated in them in the process. To make matters worse, even after making it known that he had stopped, people still avoided him for roughly two months.

It was two years before he started investigating telepathy again, this time with the intent of teaching others how to do it. In time he developed what he came to call the “Psychic Window Technique” in which two people engage in prolonged staring or mutual gazing at a short distance. According to Koda, this technique has a few effects.

In the midst of prolonged eye-gazing he would perceive strange illusions in his partner’s face: areas would often appear blurry, darker, or become more pronounced. Sometimes these distortions gave way to full-blown hallucinatory shape-shifting into the faces of strangers, animals, and even stranger things. His partner, it turned out, would see the same illusions, simultaneously and with equal intensity on his own face. He came to call this effect “visual telepathy,” and it is essentially this that first brought him to my attention. It helped explain an incident I’d had on December 15, 2001.

For some time I had been working at a particular fast food restaurant where I also often spent a considerable and embarrassing amount of my time off. A few hours before work I would come in, get my free and essentially bottomless cup of coffee, sit in my booth in the smoking section and spend my free time writing, reading, thinking and, in my idle time, people-watching. It was one of the few unofficial benefits of the job.

On the day in question a guy I had briefly worked with at another fast food job saw me, took a seat at the opposite end of my booth and we engaged in a short conversation. He was there with some guy, perhaps a brother, who had a young kid with him. After we concluded our conversation, he got up and left. I went back to my writing, lost in my own personal trance, having assumed that was the end of it. I could not have been more mistaken. As I have previously written:

“I was jolted… by the sound of something hitting the far end of my booth. Startled and curious, I looked up to find a dome of blond hair poking out from just beyond the end of the table. It was the upper hemisphere of a toddler’s head. One hand of his was grabbing a hold of the end of the table; in the other, he held his cup with the sippy-top. He was looking dead at me, and instead of meeting his eyes I just sort of laughed under my breath, turned my head back down, placed the pen to the page and continued my writing. My eyes didn’t even reach my notebook before I heard it again. Looking back up, I immediately locked eyes with the kid and found myself imprisoned there. The gateways to my mind were being held hostage.

My peripheral vision was suddenly enshrouded in this dark, blurry overcast. While the eyes at the end of the tunnel shared the shadowy opaqueness, it was also possessed with a hyper-vivid quality. This sense of pressure built in my head, as if energy from his eyes were literally pushing into my mind, as if breaking and entering the mind and scanning and downloading personal files. A virtual form of search and seizure or, in this case, a telepathic analogue.

After a moment, he seemed satisfied and strangely amused, looking at me in a creepy way, as if he knew a “dark secret,” as I had later phrased it, that somehow connected him and I. The edges of his lips then curled slowly upward to an unnatural height, almost as if this surreal Cheshire Cat grin belonged somewhere in the twilight betwixt reality and cartoon.

Soon he walked away slowly with who I presume to be my ex-coworker’s friend holding his hand, but my line of sight was still ensnared by his eyes. He held me in his ocular tractor beam until he was out of my line of sight, at which time I felt him release my mind from his psychic grip.

Sinking down into the booth, I was cold and trembling, heart pumping wildly beneath gooseflesh. My eyes felt a strange, widened sort of pain, and it felt as if I could still feel the residual feeling of him being inside my head. I tried to look intensely out into nowhere, to “stare” the feeling out of me as if I were trying to flush out the psychic lines or something.”

According to Koda, this mutuality of experience does not end with visual illusions and hallucinations of the face, either, but extends to emotional states and physical sensations. One can even play a game, he suggests, in which one takes on the role of the blind receiver as the other intentionally generates and attempts to communicate a specific emotion or sensation.

This brings us to the 1998 book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, a biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 1983. Despite his accomplishments and credentials he is, to put it mildly, a controversial figure and an interesting character with even more interesting personal anecdotes to relate. In a chapter entitled, “Intervention on the Astral Plane,” he recounts his experience with a woman he introduces as Katherine O’Keefe who had astounding abilities — though I will focus on a single instance he cited which occurred on the day he met her “in the flesh,” in December of 1978. They met first at a Bakery and she then followed him home:

“We talked briefly about nothing much in kitchen and then made love before I knew anything more than her name. She looked deep into my eyes and did something to me with her mind that was ecstatic. It seemed to me as if a little tentacle had reached into my mid-brain and tickled my hypothalamus” (p 93).

In 2002, while I still worked at the fast food restaurant previously mentioned, I had met Angela, a beautiful girl that had some strange experiences of her own. When we worked nights together she used to get up real close to my face and stare at me in the eyes, which I always enjoyed. At one point, while staring at me in that way, she did something akin to what Mullis described. I received this intense, joyous, almost orgasmic high that reached a fever pitch, overwhelming me and causing my field of perception to ripple like the surface of a disturbed body of water.

I had experienced such perceptual distortions before, to be certain, though the emotional component had never before achieved such intensity. One of the first occasions this happened, I was attending a dance with my girlfriend at the time at her school. In passing, as I was walking behind her through a crowded room, I happened to lock eyes with a random girl and the same thing occurred: a rising high with rippling vision. And she had done it at some distance, too.

Koda also writes about telepathically transmitting and receiving emotionally-charged imagery. Having read it for the first time in the process of writing this, it made me think of two experiences of mine.

The first happened during high school sometime after the flashbacks. I was in English class and we were all in our seats working on our papers independently and the teacher was walking up and down the isles, observing us as we worked. Occasionally she would stop and talk to a student in whispered tones. She walked up to my desk, leaned down to talk to me and as I looked up I happened to look her directly in the eyes. It was as if I was sucked into the vortex of her pupils. Inside, I saw things rotting, dripping with a venomous, sewage-like substance, absolutely grotesque, ill and deprived of life. And in an instant I broke the link, looking away from her, totally confused as to what had just happened.

Years later, the same sort of thing happened to me with a kid on April 8, 2002 as I was in a booth at work talking with a Tess, a co-worker and passing romantic interest:

“As her and I spoke, I found myself a bit distracted when this family of four came in. There was a curly-haired brunette lady who I presumed to be the mother; a tall, dark-haired man who’s face I never saw, and two kids. There was a younger one who had blond hair and blue eyes and looked rather frail-looking. His head was kind of big, too. The other was older with dark hair. The mother sat down in the booth behind my friend – booth number five – with the frail boy between her and the wall. Across from her and back-to-back with my friend was the tall man. Across from the blond haired kid and tall man sat the dark-haired boy.

It was the blond that first caught my attention. He was a cute little kid with bright blue eyes, but something about him made me uneasy. Though I was quick to attribute it to paranoia, for a few moments I watched him closely just to be sure. As I was scrutinizing, both kids stood up at once, leaned towards one another from across their table and placed themselves forehead to forehead, like playful bucks locked in a duel, staring dead into one another’s eyes. The mother lightly backhanded the blond kid and told them both to stop.

My attention slipped back to Tess, who was still talking. I had absolutely no fucking clue what the hell she had been saying, and even what she was saying at present seemed to be empty words lost in a jumble. I was getting really, really uncomfortable, and I had no idea why. It all seemed very odd. Somehow, something just didn’t feel right.

Then I looked back up over her shoulder. The dark-haired kid seemed to sense my eyes on him, and he suddenly turned around and looked dead at me and have me a Cheshire Cat grin. When I meet his eyes his pupils grow large, darker-than-dark, and it suddenly it feels as if I’m violently dragged forward and right into them. It’s like we’re in this foggy bubble where we’re only eyes and mind, and only him and I exist, and the rest of the world grows blurred and distorted. It was definitely visual — he looked magnified, abstract and surreal, and I could still see that Cheshire grin, wide and cartoon-like. It certainly wasn’t limited to image, though. It was as if our eye contact had merged us mentally, fused us. I felt as though I was in his mind, or that he was in mine, or that we now shared a mind.

I looked away. It took me a few seconds or so of staring at the table in front of me to realize just what the hell had happened. I knew I wasn’t sleeping, so I couldn’t be dreaming. I wasn’t on drugs. Tess was still talking, but when she looked up at me she did a double-take and then stopped dead in her tracks. I imagine the look on my face must have been about as fucked up as I was feeling. She studied me another moment before asking what was wrong.

Looking at her, staring deep into her eyes, I found that nothing happened. If this was in my head, I wondered, wouldn’t looking into her eyes do the same thing? I looked back at the kid, thinking this might have been something I’d imagined — half hoping, as a matter of fact, that it had truly been something that I’d imagined. Then it all happened again. He goes into my head, grinning again, almost as if he’s a fucking cartoon. If I focused at all, I feared I might be locked there forever; that I might be trapped there and the rest of reality might fade away.

He looks away. While I’m sitting there pale as a ghost and freaking out, he’s sitting there amused. It’s almost as if he thought it was funny that he could do this. He leaned over the table again and whispered to the blond haired kid. Then he turns back to me and does it again, grinning that wide and freaky Cheshire cat grin, eyes as big and black as universes.”

Koda ultimately experienced something far more extreme than me in this respect, however. In the summer of 1984 he writes how he was practicing the technique with a friend of his in a coffee shop when, for roughly six seconds, they both suddenly saw the same detailed scene from the same perspective:

“I was looking directly at a very pretty blond girl about nineteen-years-old. She was perhaps six feet away, facing slightly toward my left as she sat in front of an old-fashion chest of drawers topped with a large, ornate mirror. Her dress was bright yellow, laced up the front and had a white, ruffled collar. She was brushing her long blond hair with very slow strokes, looking rather absent minded, as if she were daydreaming about some hoped-for future. To the left of the dresser was the closed bedroom door. Without knowing why, I was certain there was a hallway on the other side of the door. I knew that toward the right the hall lead to the back door and the barn area, while on the left the hall opened into the living room. On the other side of the hall from the bedroom was the kitchen. I knew where all the pots and pans and lanterns were hung, that the road came in from west in front of the house and most of the fields were in that direction. I knew everything about the place as quickly as my mind could scan the area, including the ‘fact’ that I was in a farmhouse in Southern California in the late 1800s” (p 18).

In rare instances, he says, even thoughts can be communicated — as exemplified to some degree in his initial experience with his friend on hashish and his subsequent mind-reading of his friends and classmates. It also brings us back to Mullis. In a chapter of the aforementioned book entitled, “My Evening With Harry,” Mullis recounts an experience he had in 1978 in San Francisco.

He was sitting at his kitchen table with his friend, Harry, a fellow chemist, who he had not seen in some time. They both drank some beer and Harry smoked a joint. After explaining that he wanted to show him something, he turned to Mullis with wide eyes and asked him to stare into his eyes and do his best not to blink or react if his face happened to change. As Mullis goes on to explain:

“His face did change. It was still Harry, but varieties of Harry I had not seen. Different faces appeared out of the familiar flesh, which now wasn’t so familiar. Some of them were humans I didn’t know, some were not human at all. They were animal. They were all Harry in some way I couldn’t explain. I was seeing things in him that were him but not a part of the life we had shared. It was a little scary, but Harry was somehow underneath it smiling that confident smile” (p 86).

(p 86)

They both admitted to being inside each other’s minds (“the front room — the reception area,” Mullis explained) and then Mullis broke it off for a moment, grabbed two pens and some index cards.

“We were being scientists. We both wrote down a word and then showed each other our cards. It was the same word. Just a word, nothing cosmic, but it was the same, and we knew it would be. We did it again and again, and we knew every time it would be the same. We were watching something — always present but usually dormany — from a privileged position that we had created by putting ourselves together in some way. It was absolutely normal and yet it wasn’t” (p 87).

Recently I came upon some articles regarding eye-gazing experiments that inspired me to try researching the subject again, hoping to find something. While I found no further personal anecdotes, I did happen upon some interesting and relevant studies. In a video by The Liberators International they invited strangers to publicly engage in eye contact for one, whole, psychologically-juicy minute. After the predictable awkwardness produced at the onset, participants reported the very heights of elation. This predominantly emotional experience may have been overshadowed by some haunting hallucinatory phenomena if ocular engagement had continued for ten minutes, however, at least according to experiments conducted by Giovanni B. Caputo, a psychologist at the University of Urbino in Italy.

I was first introduced to Caputo’s work through an article regarding his studies on mirror-gazing in which he found that after perhaps no more than a minute of staring at one’s reflection subjects experienced what he called the Strange-Face-in-the-Mirror Illusion. Features would darken or become more pronounced; people would see, instead of their own faces, those of strangers, animals, or monstrous beings. In further experiments in which he explored the effects of what has been variously referred to as interpersonal, intersubjective or mutual eye-gazing, he found that the same basic manifestations emerged.

In a paper entitled, “Dissociation and hallucinations in dyads engaged through interpersonal gazing,” Caputo described an experiment in which he paired off 20 people (15 women, 5 men) and had them sit facing each other at a distance of roughly three feet in a dimly-lit room where they were instructed to gaze into one another’s eyes for ten minutes. There was also a control group of 20 placed in more or less the same conditions, though in this case they were instructed to gaze at a blank wall. Each group then completed three questionnaires relating to their experience. The initial dealt with dissociative states, the remaining two focused on their experience of the point of focus — the control group’s wall or the face of your partner. The results were astonishing:

“The participants in the eye-staring group said they’d had a compelling experience unlike anything they’d felt before. They also scored higher on all three questionnaires than the control group. On the dissociative states test, they gave the strongest ratings to items related to reduced colour intensity, sounds seeming quieter or louder than expected, becoming spaced out, and time seeming to drag on. On the strange-face questionnaire, 90 per cent of the eye-staring group agreed that they’d seen some deformed facial traits, 75 per cent said they’d seen a monster, 50 per cent said they saw aspects of their own face in their partner’s face, and 15 per cent said they’d seen a relative’s face.”

As explained elsewhere, a cocktail of neural adaptation, psychological projection and facial recognition would explain the surreal effects that can manifest during mirror-gazing; the same would appear to be true for mutual gazing. This would not, at least so obviously, explain why interpersonal gazing would constitute the more intense experience of the two — nor would it begin to explain the seemingly telepathic effects. There are, however, at least two separate studies that may offer some insight. One was conducted by psychologists from the University of Stirling involving 20 five-year-old children. It concluded that those who averted eye contact in order to consider how they would answer questions were more apt to answer correctly than those who maintained their gaze. In another study conducted at Kyoto University in Japan (the results of which were published as “When we cannot speak: Eye contact disrupts resources available to cognitive control processes during verb generation”) participants played word association games of varying complexity while looking at a variety of faces that were either staring or looking away. During eye contact, they did more poorly during the most complex questions.

In both cases, then, it was suggested that cognitive effort and eye contact interfered with one another. While neither study so much as references hypnosis, the conclusions of both appear to resonate well with hypnotist Scott Jansen’s allegation, which is that sustained eye contact generates “psychological pressure” that diminishes conscious thinking. Subliminal or unconscious thought then rushes in to compensate, heightening one’s suggestibility. In other words, eye contact could be seen as the most basic form of the most typical of induction techniques used by hypnotists both on and off the stage: what is variously known as the direct gaze, fixed gaze or fixation method of hypnotic induction. Though this can be used to refer to the subject’s fixation on nearly anything — a candle’s flame, a finger, a swinging watch — among the objects of potential focus are the hypnotist’s eyes. The issue here is that inducing hypnosis does not alone explain the seemingly telepathic effect, as there are no clearly no overt, hypnotic suggestions to follow in the midst of silent, mutual gazing — and they would prove difficult to deliver, too, perhaps, given the interference it evidently has with respect to cognition.

There may very well be nonverbal hypnotic suggestions at play here, however. Consider that eyes are essentially extensions of the brain that not only receive external signals as sense organs but can also transmit the brain’s own signals to other pairs of eyes. When you engage in eye contact with another person you pick up on the expressions on their face and, of course, the movements of their own eyes. While you can consciously perceive the eye movements known as saccades, such as when the person looks back and forth, there are various forms of subtler, involuntary movements that occur even when those eyes remain fixed on your own, and they may also communicate nonverbal information regarding their inner state. By picking up on these external, nonverbal reactions to their own minds we may instinctively decode those signals and replicate the other person’s inner state within ourselves. Hypnotic trance through silent, prolonged mutual gaze would only amplify such effects.

Those effects are certainly there, too, whatever the cause. In a 2015 study published in the journal Neuroimage, 96 volunteers were split into pairs and proceeded to engage in mutual gazing under the watchful eye of fMRIs. It was found that not only did the pairs begin blinking in unison, their brain activity synchronized in the area of the right inferior frontal gyrus. The remaining question is whether these mundane processes are enough to explain the effects of what I, perhaps lamely, have referred to for some time as ocular telepathy. To put it more plainly: if through prolonged mutual gazing you are capable of sharing or exchanging hallucinations, emotions, mental images and even thoughts with your partner, does it remain a viable hypothesis that the aforementioned normal — as opposed to paranormal — processes are the culprit?

Taken as a whole, it seems a stretch. To break it down in specific bits: being capable, in the midst of locked gaze, of reading emotional states through nonverbals and experiencing them as your own — or experiencing them as emotions from an external source, namely that of your partner — is a hypothesis that would be relatively easy for me to accept, especially given what we know regarding our inherent capacity to subliminally and automatically translate body language. When it comes to sharing hallucinations and subjective imagery, however, I am far more skeptical, and when it comes to communicating thoughts — say in the fashion of Mullis and Harry at the kitchen table exchanging those index cards — it seems absolutely absurd.

So how might one explain this?

We know that ordinary sense perception exists. Our mundane senses do not operate in isolation, however, but are in constant concert, influencing one another with the aim of delivering a seemingly seamless sensory experience to consciousness. Smell, for instance, affects taste, as anyone who has had nasal congestion can attest to. Wine tasters swirl the fluid in the glass, take a hearty whiff, and then sip, utilizing all relevant senses as they contribute to a more holistic, mindful experience of the taste.

There is sufficient data in parapsychological studies to suggest that extrasensory perception exists. While we accept the community or senses as a factor for clear reception with respect to the clarity of reception provided by any singular, ordinary sense, we are for whatever reason suddenly prone to amnesia when it comes to exploring the extra-sensorium. Here, frustration and discouragement overwhelm us when we learn that, for instance, telepathy is difficult to isolate with any certainty from other senses — or potential extrasenses — in the laboratory setting. When we do manage to fashion experiments that isolate specific psi, we are frustrated and discouraged when the effect, though exceeding chance, is relatively weak. We fail to consider the fact that in their natural environment, so-to-speak, they may complement and be similarly influenced by a community of extrasenses just as ordinary senses are.

Not only that, but we should expect these two distinct sensory systems to influence one another as well, which would certainly serve to complicate matters. Assuming this is the case, it could go some way to explain what many interpret as a failure in parapsychology, which is to say that any detectable effects are prone to being relatively weak in nature. After all, when we take average individuals and subject them to parapsychological studies with rigid controls meant to remove any evidence of sensory (if not other extrasensory) influence, we are in effect removing their given extrasense (telepathy, in this case) from its natural context and placing it in an isolated, alien environment in which it is not only virgin but necessarily abandoned by its typical support system. We should be astounded that parapsychological experiments reveal any psi influence at all.

Perhaps the coupling of mutual eye-gazing, subliminal cold-reading and telepathy could better explain the phenomena experienced as ocular telepathy. It works so well, its effects are so predictable, immediate and intense in comparison to telepathy as it is ordinarily explored, simply because it utilizes the parapsychological in tandem with the psychological and biological.

No doubt a relevant form of training might help discipline our natural ability to conjure such capacities through the Psychic Window Technique, and the literature which I have referenced in quotes in this article already provide some clues as to what training might be optimal. Consider, for instance, the conversation between Mullis and O’Keefe following the incident in which she seemed, according to him, to have tickled his hypothalamus:

“I asked her what the hell she had done to me.

She replied, ‘You’ve been playing with your mind, but you don’t know anything yet. No one has ever properly taught you.’

I was excited. ‘Will you show me how to do that? What you did?’

‘You already know. You just need to practice'” (p 93).

Though Mullis reported that she did indeed teach him to practice, he gave few details, in the end only offering the reader her diagnosis of his condition. “She told me that I had abilities that I hadn’t tapped into and that I had to learn to quiet myself inside,” he wrote. “I had to learn not to think so much.” Though she never said it outright so far has Mullis himself has conveyed, it seems clear to me that she was talking about meditation — something akin to the Theravada and Tibetan Buddhist practices of samatha and vipassana, which cultivate the power of attention.

There was also a detailed practice offered by Koda, however: the aforementioned “The Psychic Window Technique.” He suggests that you and your partner sit down and face one another at a distance of perhaps two to three feet, sure to maintain “open” body language devoid of defensive barriers like crossed arms or legs in the process. Both of you then decide which mutual “side” will hold your attentions when you stare at one another: either you focus your eyes on your partner’s right eye as they focus on your left or vice versa. It is of vital importance, I think, to focus mutual attention on a mutual “side,” as it makes certain you are both focusing on the eye of the other that is focusing on you. This would also make it indistinguishable from samatha meditation.

Once the “side” is established, you both stare into one another’s eyes unwaveringly, without blinking, all the while trying to expand your field of clear perception to encapsulate the entirety of the face: then the weirdness begins…

Force, Counterforce: Revisited.

At the tail end of my former attempts to procure a new and respectable job for myself — just before acquiring the humble abode I have been in now for still under a year — I had an experience that my mind keeps coming back to.

To the chronically oversensitive, to those who live in a perpetual state of fixed overreaction, life is marked by traumas. This was my most recent major self-manufactured one, I suppose. Another mountain made out of a mole hill.

I lay in bed, painfully sober after an epic failure at job-acquiring one day and descended helplessly into this dark vortex of violent emotions, of relentless guilt and self-hatred. It was as if it were eating me alive. In retrospect, the experience was the emotional equivalent of some aggressive and uncompromising animal tearing into my skin, ripping apart my insides, but I could not sleep and even if I died I felt certain there would be no escape. I was plagued by horrible thoughts, but it all stemmed from this sense that I was fighting against some force that, however insurmountable, came from within me and refused to listen to reason.

Now I fear running up against that uncompromising force of seeming though subliminal self-sabotage again. Like an electric fence erected around the boundaries of my comfort zone, like guard dogs at the threshold of the known pond where I reside, where I can sink or swim or float through life and a land of hope, however unpredictable, ready to fight to the death to keep me within, where life is predictable, however increasingly miserable.

In retrospect, the experience itself reminds me of my experiences with Ee as a teenager. Perhaps, I think now, this is no coincidence. Maybe he, the autonomous figure who chased and tortured me in those lucid dreams or OBEs, was a manifestation of that “guard dog” force and that is why he manifests as a canine so frequently, and did so especially in the beginning.

My assumption is that this is ultimately all me, of course, it is only that a inner split is there and the other half is disturbingly autonomous. And if indeed that is the case, than I wonder just what it is that I expect of me, what I really want of me out of this life. I ask that other part of me now, officially:

Is this where you would like to die again — alone, in poverty, weighed down and torn apart by your emotions, dependent on others for survival? Is this static, infantile existence satisfactory in your eye? Isn’t this endless redundancy boring as fuck to you, murderous of any sense of meaning, useless and caging? If I am punishing myself, haven’t I endured enough at the hands of myself already?

Can’ this shit he over? Aren’t I allowed to grow — to try and live a life of meaning, to feel joy?

Neglecting the Dog-Child.

Stoned and sleep deprived, I lay in bed and listen to Michael Sealy’s “Hypnosis for Past Life Regression” on YouTube through a pair of earbuds hooked to my iPhone. As I listen to his voice, my consciousness drifts and when awareness clicks back on like a light I hear nothing. Silence. I figure that the video must be over. As I climb towards wakefulness, however, I hear his voice again, and he is in the midst of talking. Though I hear the words, they have lost their meaning. He was no longer talking in monotone, either, but speaking in styles and tones that I knew damn well he would not be using for the audio. When fully awake, though not moving and with my eyes still closed, I found that not only was his voice the usual monotone but his words were also clear and perfectly comprehensible. 

I decide to remain still and continue listening; predictably, I fall back into sleep. I awaken some time later, countless other videos having been subliminally fed into my mind given the playlist that was still going. I took out the earbuds and went back to sleep.

Upon awakening the following afternoon, after having slept through nearly all of my alarms — none of which I remember hearing, let alone turning off — I catch flashes of a dream. It had no clear relevance to past lives, however.

I was climbing in and out of various windows, entering and exiting many different rooms, some of which were similar in layout. It was like a large apartment complex with various buildings with various floors; evidently, windows had more appeal for me than doorways. In any case, the only thing I remember is that within one of these rooms I was looking after a child. Though I remembered having given the baby a bottle now and then, it suddenly struck me that I had not done so in some time and that the child, in fact, may not feed off of fluid now but require baby food. Terror flooded me upon this realization. This child may be starving and unable to fend for itself or even enlighten me to the matter of its thirst and hunger through speaking.

Opening the fridge, I was unable to find anything that would even pass for baby food, and the lack of any milk or formula inside frightened me all the more, as it suggested that the child had not even gotten that in some time. I really was a negligent asshole. I was mortified.

It was about three in the afternoon, an hour before work, when I awoke. Though I recalled only that small portion of the dream, it carried a familiar theme, one that I have picked up on in the past and has finally, successfully nagged me into focusing in on it. Consistently I have had dreams of forgetting to give food and water to a child or animal in my care, often after suddenly remembering they exist after a long period of having forgotten them. If a child, they may be a boy, a girl, or ambiguous for all practical purposes, and while in the case of an animal it is typically a dog, it has occasionally been something else, most recently a cat, and that was just a few fucking days ago. This theme is sort of a subcategory, however; the child and dog theme carries beyond this recurring neglegence. In this broader category the animal in question has also sometimes been a snake or, in at least one instance, a goat. Even this grander theme reveals that the deepest associations are between the child and the dog, however.

In dream interpretation it is often believed that animals in general represent aspects of our psyche that are instinctual in nature. Domesticated ones such as cats and dogs would suggest that these aspects of ourselves are partially integrated or developed in our lives; what these aspects are is revealed in the specifical animal and our relationship with it.

Dogs share particular qualities with human beings. Both are social species, traveling in groups with a minority in power over the majority. Both are often considered neotenous species — dogs look like young wolves; humans look like young apes. When it comes to dogs and human children, both may represent mind as it was before language and social conditioning, perhaps accounting for their shameless desire to explore, experiment and play. Both are governed largely by instinct and driven by basic needs. While they are both granted liberties rare to the adult human, both are also helpless, vulnerable and dependent upon mature caretakers to have their needs met. If not provided with sufficient biological and psychological sustenance, they may become sick and their development may be stunted. In essence, then, it would appear that this relatively new application of the dog-child theme would suggest that there are largely undeveloped aspects of myself that I am neglecting to acknowledge, actualize and cultivate.

The reason my mind elected the child specifically in last night’s dream likely has to do with me attending my niece’s first birthday party the previous night. I had struggled finding a good gift for her, eventually settling on a cute plush dog and a card that amused me. I had been afraid of sleeping in, or a tire blowing out or something else going wrong and preventing me from attending the party; as a result, I got no sleep and left in the late morning for my parent’s house. From there we went to the residence of my youngest sister, Linda, and her husband, Joey.

I grabbed my work hat before leaving my apartment that morning to conceal my balding, peach-fuzz scalp, advertising to everyone who cared to notice that I had my fast food shit job. In conversation, I referenced my hole-ridden shoes; my father commented on my jeans, torn at the bottom. This only amplified the typical feeling of being out of place.

One of my fathers friends asked what I had been doing, what was new. Still in the same job I’ve been in for over a decade, I told him. Reading, writing, doing artwork. He asked me if I had tried sending in my writing somewhere, if I had tried getting it published. Shamefully, I confessed I had not, but offered none of my usual excuses. He tells me I should give it a try. That you never know.

When it was time for Ella to open her gifts, I saw all the big presents all around her, expensive gifts, and felt bad about it. This is just like every Christmas. The guilt. When my gift got opened, though, she said, “dog,” grabbed a hold of it and put her mouth on its nose. It made me smile.

Also interesting: “dog” is her first word, as I learned that day, and she had been saying it quite often. A new reinforcement for the child-dog association if not constituting a synchronicity in and of itself.

As we were leaving, my sister Eve and I spoke a bit in the parking lot. She told me how she was on some online dating site, how she was talking to some guy now but was about to cut it off. She tells me how it would be nice to have kids someday, but the young boys at the party really made her want to have a girl. She asked me about myself, and I confessed that I felt torn between wanting a child and knowing I should not have one. I have no significant other, though, so the likelihood isn’t great.

Perhaps that helped inspire the specific dream I had when I arrived home. How the hell could I ever be a parent? Aside from a shot job, there is the way I live. My inner child needs me to be a responsible outer parent and evidently I have failed.

Integrity.

It bothers me that I care so much about what other people think of me and how they feel towards me. A catchy suggestion I came across some time ago — that one should aim for “expression, not impression” — defines the nature of my anger towards myself and my frustration with this situation. Too much energy seems invested in (unconsciously; semiconsciously) attempting to manipulate the perceptions of others with respect to me and honest, sincere self-expression suffers as a result.

So what if they might think me insane, picking up on the fact that I have strange memories and experiences? So what if they think I am unscientific and irrational, even hypocritical in my support for the extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFOs and my view that sufficient evidence exists for reincarnation and parapsychology?

Fuck them. I’ve done the research. I’ve struggled with these questions since I was sixteen, trying to make sense out of my experiences and the eerily similar ones of others. It is not inconsistent to announce that I side with science and reason — faith plays no role in the worldview that is emerging in me; I have been wracked with often terrifying degrees of doubt since the very beginning. I check and recheck; regurgitate and rearrange, take it all from as many different angles as I can, and yet I am made to feel like the crazy one, not those who come to conclusions and engage in ridicule without the feeblest attempt to explore the subjects in question.

I believe in science and reason as methods — what we have collectively determined to be true through use of those methods at the present time are always open to revision or expansion, however, and to dismiss ideas without consideration is foolish.

Are we incorrect in our presumptions of what is possible and what “is”? Almost certainly. Historically we have felt secure in notions we later found to be utter hogwash, no matter how supported by observation, experiment and reason. Ideas evolve with more information, they adapt or suffer extinction, as they should.

I considered monotheism and found it to be bullshit. I considered the ETH and reincarnation and found that both have merit. Have I been led astray? Perhaps — I feel confident time will tell in any case.

If I’m insane or just plain wrong, it won’t be for lack of trying. I hope that’s good enough for me in the end, whichever way it falls.

Phone Sex & Life Lessons.

After the doors close at eleven, we aren’t supposed to go outside. We aren’t supposed to smoke inside. My way around this dilemma was to ascend to the roof of the building when I needed to torch a tobacco twig, and that was precisely what I was doing that night, July 8th, perhaps a half an hour before my shift ended.

As I blackened my lungs, I glanced at my iPhone and saw that I had a voicemail from Claire. Her voice suggested this was another one of her “Ambien dials,” which I always found to make for particularly interesting conversations. She said I should call her right away, even if only for a few minutes. Out of character for me, I actually called her back then and there.

Immediately I was reminded of the strange, timeless nature of our relationship. With other friends of mine, who I go without talking to for enduring periods, I always have to hear shit about how I’ve been a such a stranger and so on. As justified as it may be, it stands as something that dissuades me from calling people back when I otherwise want to. When it came to Claire, though, things were always different. We could just pick up right where we left off. Never more than a sentence or two of playful scolding for how many times I had not called back or taken the lead to call her out of the blue and out of character. Forever and always she seemed just satisfied with hearing my voice again. As always, it was a breath of fresh air to hear her again as well.

“I took an Ambien,” she confessed a few sentences in.

I laughed. “Yeah, I kind of figured.”

For some time had been seeing two doctors, both of them prescribing her Ambien. Her husband at the time knew but never complained, she had told me, as she tended to “put out” more often when under its influence. As we spoke about it, she told me she was only seeing one doctor now. I brought up how I had been thinking of getting on something for sleeping, as none of the over-the-counter stuff had been working particularly well for me, and just today I had considered Ambien. She told me the high off Ambien was in some way sort of like the pot high and, laughing under my breath, I told her I’d be doing that upon getting home. I confessed that I was worried that I had become a pothead. Before I had to end the conversation, she made me promise to call her when I got home.

Home had become a nightmare. Though I had announced to Nick a few months back that I thought we should leave this town and go our separate ways, he was the one that took the initiative. I began looking for not only a new apartment, but a new job, and outside the area. He was the first to find an apartment, however, and left halfway through June. Initially I gave a month’s notice that I was leaving the apartment, but due to my failed efforts at both finding a new job and a place to live I had to go back to the office and ask for an extension until August.

Things had never looked so grim, so daunting. I was 35, I had worked in the same fast food joint for the last decade, I was in debt up to my third eye and didn’t know where I might be living in the next month. I was looking for places, and jobs, in two areas about an hour apart. There was no firm ground to stand on, not anywhere. My entire universe was one of flux. Everything was up in the air.

Upon my arrival home, after dead-bolting the door like a paranoid freak, I kicked off my work-pants and decided to just sit in my boxers and call her. This is a two bedroom apartment that I have all to myself, after all, so why rush the whole pants thing? Too lazy to dial her number or look it up in contacts, I clicked on her number in my list of previous calls. It took a few rings by the time she answered — I had almost hung up, thinking she might have actually fallen asleep. She picked up, though, and she was clearly more high than she had been roughly an hour ago. It surprised me when she told me why, though. Not merely on Ambien, she was now smoking pot.

“How long has this been going on?” I asked her.

“A few months.”

I proceeded to ask her questions to try to get a feel for her current circumstances, as there is always something exciting going on. How about that married guy at the office who she had hooked up with — the guy put on her panties, asked her if she would pee on him and then began putting down the plastic when she complied? Yes, she said, but there are problems. He was still married. That confused me, as when she spoke of him before she seemed to treat this as a mere fling, a fuckbuddy situation, and had no real interest in pursuing something deeper with her piddle-seeking office mate.

Suddenly our conversation turned toward sex in general, however, which is where I began to sense she was driving towards something she had planned on talking about specifically. When she mentioned — tellingly while speaking in second person; a common technique of distancing — that during sex “your thoughts aren’t always on the one you’re with,” I knew we had arrived at a predetermined location.

If I remember correctly, I had thought of a porn star once or twice while fucking an ex-girlfriend because I was tired and feared my enthusiasm was waning. Even those occasions felt wrong to me, however, and I sensed that her meaning was a more extreme form of this. In other words, having sex with someone you aren’t attracted to. I had this same difference in perspective when so many of the guys I have known have announced that “a vagina is just a vagina.” It just has never worked that way for me. It seems too much like turning a subject into an object, reducing the girl in question into a sex toy. A masturbatory prop.

She tells me about Blue Bunny, her dildo. I find myself amused that she had named her phony-bonie, in so doing turning an object into a subject in a way.

My reciprocation? I tell her how I used to have a silicone vagina but ultimately destroyed it. There were two shafts, one of which was, of course provided for your meat-missile. The other was the home of a series of pearly beads that, through the silicone skin felt by the base of your penis, allegedly enhances the experience and more suitably mimics the sensations of a real vagina.

It doesn’t. Yet when the heights of arousal exceed the dam of shame, as is required for me to consider ramming my dick in an inanimate object — I have by that time lost all sense of standard and the damn thing is around, so when I had it, I used it.

Regardless, in the midst of my jerky roughhousing one evening I somehow manage to puncture the interior wall of my pseudo-pussy, drill into the parallel pearl shaft and push it and its neighbors so hard they collectively assisted me in creating a sort of wormhole shaft out of the vaginally-shaped silicone universe and, consequently, a route for them to burst free into the dark, smoky world of my apartment. I had turned my pocketpussy into a dick-hammered pearl cannon.

It was like a small-scale Easter egg hunt afterwards. With the interconnecting shaft, the thing was difficult to clean, so I soon just threw it away. I can only hope its buried in a landfill somewhere, for the thought of it being used secondhand by some lonely and pent-up vagrant, thrusting in a shaft well-worn by yours truly and no doubt caked in my dead and crusty cum — well, it is by no means a pleasant thought.

I should probably add that I have her a much shorter version of that story. Not out of a desire to censor myself so much as not murder the mood in an unnecessary bloodbath.

Anyway, during masturbation or imaginary meandering during sex Claire would have a “go-to guy” in an ever-ready fantasy in her “back pocket.” If she wanted to get off, she could always have that go-to if she needed it. For her, at least for the moment, it was this ugly, balding guy at work, who she imagined had a particularly small penis. It dealt with her dominating him. This was a fantasy, she added, that she would never actually pursue in real life, and I of course asked her why. She returned my question with a question.

“What if it didn’t live up to the fantasy?”

It would ruin the fantasy. Disempower it. So she keeps it safe and secure and untouchable.

Though I shared the taste for domination and submission she had in her fantasy, the dick-insulting she exemplified when talking down to him was as contrary to my tastes as the golden showers. Talking down to in general, though, was a thought that turned me on.

She asked me if she had ever played with herself while talking with me. Never did I recall her making such a confession and I refuse to believe I could have forgotten had she done so, and I told her as much.

I told her I had never had phone sex, either, though in retrospect that statement was not entirely true. When I was still living in the trailer with Nick and Rena and still dating Annie, I had used both my cell phone and ancient computer to have webcam sex with her. I put my phone down and turned up the volume as I watched choppy, delayed, ever-buffering imagery on my computer screen. I also had two separate girls I had sexted with, though I’m not sure if that counts.

Upon Claire’s request, I got high. This was easy enough, as I had been packing my bowl as we spoke. As I got high she asked me what I would do if we were alone in a room and she was sitting on the bed before me. I could do anything, she said.

No worry. No guilt. No shame.

Lounging at her, I grab her by the wrist and pin her down to the bed, lifting her wrists above her head as I close in on her, atop her. Grabbing for bungee-cord-like rope and a blindfold that appear out of the imaginal ether, I soon have her bound and blindfolded, unable to reciprocate, resist, or anticipate anything. It has been a long while for me, I tell her — over two years now — so I don’t go easy on her, either, pounding into her long, deep and hard.

“What else would you do?”

I didn’t answer, but I saw myself lightly choking her. In a cautiously phrased manner, I tell her how I then proceed to lightly slap her across the face, just to ensure I had her complete attention, that she wasn’t wandering away to her go-to, piggly-wiggly man. Eventually I let one arm loose so she could slap me on the ass, then the other so that she could pull my hair at the same time.

As the fantasy went on, I was telling her less and less of it. I was getting absorbed, but I was also embarrassed enough to censor myself at this point. I feared offending her, coming across as a turn-off.

My reservations gave her the wheel. It was what I intended, and she took it without complaint.

Its not only with her, and its not only here. I am always far more confident that I will be willing to accept who another person is than I am that they will be able to accept me for who I am. Even with Claire, the closest I could ever come to a soulmate, I am more eager to take the passenger seat and let her drive me than for me to take the wheel and assume responsibility for the both of us.

Both of us are on the bed. She is on all fours and I am on top of her, gazing down at the tattoo of the sun of Sublime on her back. I grab her hands and pin them against the headboard, interlocking our fingers as we both slam into one another in time. One hand of mine bursts free, slapping her ass; then the other hand to grab her ass, then hold her by her thighs as I proceed with my jackhammering.

I liked her imagery.

Regardless a to which one of us took the role of narrator, I noticed, my insecurities bled on through. I would get excited, go rock hard, feel embarrassed and nervous, go dead and droopy, and then I got rock hard again as the excitement built back up twice as fast. With the oscillation the energy build to such a degree that I was convinced that if I could only get myself horny enough, anything might be possible.

“You think you can cum on the phone?”

Immediately the visual blossomed into my mind in all its gory glory: a cell phone covered in a sticky, milky-white substance. Like a Slimer from Ghostbusters made entirely of sausage snot had just subjected the receiver to a drive-by ravaging.

I was clearly high.

It dripped there in my mind for a moment before I realized she meant to ask whether or not I thought I would orgasm on the phone. I was fairly certain this would not happen.

“I think you can.”

Indeed I did.

The post tele-coital pillow talk was a bit awkward. You hold off on the impulse to say “how was it for you?” because its so damn typical; it doesn’t matter than the question cannot be drawn from the plethora of cues available in the context of physical sex and is therefore more justified in this case. You just do not taint a landmark like this with a question like that. I could think of nothing to say yet again, so she took the mic.

“Did you cum?”

I laugh. “Yes,” I tell her. “Yes, I most certainly did.”

She tells me how good of an artist I am. When she had convinced me to draw something alongside my pastel works of strange faces, sketches and cartoons and draw some finches, she told me, she was convinced of my talent. She didn’t understand why I failed to use it to pursue a career.

It was the same reason I failed to pursue anything in my life. I had no sense of direction and no ambition, I have had the desire to do something important, the burning impulse has been haunting me my whole life and perhaps longer, but there is a hand that holds me back. I know it is within me, but I cannot get it out of my way.

I have had opportunities to do something with my art. One friend wanted to jointly make a children’s book. Another wanted to team up to make a video game using a story, given I could come up with a good enough one. Why did I avoid it all, let it fade, let it pass me by?

“Maybe you just need to be forced into decisions,” she offered.

That wasn’t it. “Then I feel weak for not making them myself,” I told her.

As stupid as it all is, I feel the need to do things myself, though find myself overwhelmed and incapable in my attempts to do so and fall back onto reliance, back to being a beggar and so into an ever-growing sea of shame, frustration, outright rage. After while, well-established patterns, stagnation, feels like the safest place for me. For the record I do realize this is not a personal philosophy highly conductive to evolution.

Be the memories false or true, it is all too easy to see how I could have actually been the bum or hobo I recall being in a past life. I could just as easily be one in this life if not for my friends and family. I was and am a child, typically waiting for things to just fall in my lap, too incapable to pick up the things that fall in my lap when they slide off onto the floor. All out of fear for the reactions I would surely have if I tried and failed.

I’m sensitive, I know that. My emotional reactions to things carry an often overwhelming emotional intensity for me. If I tried and failed, how would I feel? That the universe tricked me into letting it lift me upward just so that it would be able to drop me from a greater height. After awhile, it feels imperative to play it safe and keep close to the ground. You couldn’t be dropped or fall on your own if you remained close to the ground. So instead, I kept my dreams close to me, where reality couldn’t render them stillbirth or crib death.

Then something in my head clicked. A typical “aha!” moment. While she didn’t state it explicitly and I was indeed fairly fucking high, it suddenly struck me that, whether she meant to indicate it or not, the suggestion here was that my hopes and dreams of being an artist or writer is my “go-to” that I keep in my back pocket. My dreams of success were like her Piggy-Wiggy Man. After all, what if I tried to write that children’s book, write that story or do some art for that video game, make that logo for that band and no one liked it, it went nowhere, I failed?

I would have ruined the fantasy and reality in one single, foul swoop. Killed a dream and a waking hope. Two ephemeral birds with one ambitious stone. A seductive fantasy and hopeful reality broken, resting in jagged shards that will continue to slice your soles you as you tread across them for perhaps years to come.

May my most sacred
of seeds be preserved
so to spare them the potential ills
of breaking fertile ground.

All their options open,
their lives ahead of them
all kept at a safe distance to which
they shall remain bound.

No seedlings to be scorched
by drought or floods
that drown away,
no sprouts taken out by parasites:
all saved from the slaughter
of harvest day…

In part, perhaps I hold off on making a choice, preferring to keep all my options open. It may also serve as a strategy aimed at keeping my dreams alive and my fragile hopes away from the world of gravity and the hard, solid ground that would inevitably shatter those hopes to pieces.

Anything else?

Suddenly I remember a girl at a former job suddenly just turned to me and said out of nowhere one day, “are you afraid of success?” It caught me off guard, and maybe it didn’t really make sense until now. As much as we fear losing the go-to dream in our back pockets through failure, we might fear the opposite extreme: success. Perhaps part of the fear stems from the fear that if you get what you hope for you will have nothing left to hope for; that it would be the end of the road.

Failure is our weapon in our war against boredom. Echoes of and answers to a Nietzsche concept: “Against boredom, even the gods struggle in vain.”

So does this mean certain doom, or could we learn to live with contentment? Without the tension between what is and what could be? Is being perpetually dissatisfied truly some strategic means of generating meaning out of our lives? Do we fear achieving for we believe there would be nothing left to reach for?

Maybe Agent Smith was onto something in the original Matrix when he spoke about previous Matrix versions where everything was perfect: humans could not take it. This world we live in is not necessarily an illusion perpetuated by artificial intelligence but the world in which we save ourselves from the infinite boredom inherent in perfection. Heaven and hell are synonymous, so bear the frustrations of failure and try as infrequently as possible, relying instead on your capacity to dream your little dreams: they are Novacaine for reality…

Now all hope is gone,
as I have gotten all
that I could have asked for
and then some,

If only I had lacked ambition,
I might have been spared this
infinite boredom.

Of Parallel Lives & Points of Divergence.

Sometimes I imagine there is some parallel universe in which I am a successful writer and artist, financially stable, emotionally stable, entirely independent, confident and looked up to by others whom I frequently help and surrounded by people who’s friendships I take the time to nurture — free from the fear that rules my life here and by default necessitating my seemingly diametrically-opposing fate in this life. As if there is some pool of potential him and I both share and what one of us manifests, the other cannot; what one does not, the other must.

Yet if we met one another and both compared our lives in minute detail, what would we discover — what, ultimately, would be the departure point? When, where, how and why did our paths diverge?

In short: why am I so fucked up?

Rebel Without a Way.

So long, yet still struggling
with the world
around me, with myself.

Reaching for the stars,
quicksand at the kneecaps.
Head full, pockets empty.
with holes inside,
little graves in malnourished fabric
dug by stubbornly hopeful fingers.

It makes no sense,
how money is everything.
It makes no sense
how I can’t seem to fucking
make any.

Dreams aplenty,
intermittent ambition,
a short time that shines bright
just to give definition
to the darkness surrounding,
consuming.

This cage we created is filthy.
This game we play, a contract born into,
is unethical, unsustainable.
It kills me, needing to adapt,
shames me that try as I might,
I can’t.

I feel filthy.

Screaming, Bleeding.

“I can’t stop screaming!
It hurts too much.
My ears are bleeding
from all my screaming.”

“Then stop screaming!”

“I can’t stop screaming,”
he screamed again,
and on it went,

this perpetual motion
scheme of pain,

dialogue betwixt
inflicter and inflicted
one and the same,

a sort of
sadomasochistic
communion
with oneself.

Fears foolishly
fed inside.
Perpetual
unintentional
suicide.

Always screaming,
always bleeding…

Undercover Differences.

Agateophobia is at once the fear of the insane and of becoming a card-carrying member of the tribe oneself.

As with homophobia, here the fear is emphasized rather than the hate and anger, as highlighted through the use of the words racism and sexism, for instance. Why the difference?

You can visually detect the race or sex of someone, and to direct anger at the Other in question is as easy as glancing their way. Not necessarily so in the case of homosexuality or “insanity.”

Crazy people and gay people come in all colors, sexes, gender identities, sexual persuasions, political affiliations. They don’t always have an easily-identifiable marker.

After all, the guy arguing in the stall beside the urinal into which you piss in this hypothetical public restroom may be arguing with someone on his cell phone between the squirts and watery plops, which is just gross. Then again, he could be alone in that stall arguing with someone no one else can see.

If you saw him on the street you might not even know he’s insane. No more than his sexual persuasion. Only that he is a well-manicured white male with blond hair.

To call him crazy, though, would be to lump him into a broad and ambiguous category. To call someone insane or crazy is not only dismissive, it doesn’t really say anything at all. It isn’t even typical prejudice, which involves assigning someone to a category and then mistaking them for the category to which you have assigned them. No, it goes farther with the ambiguous nature of the label, the lack of definition behind the category that they use to replace a person.

It is someone who operates differently — against himself, perhaps, wherein lies the problem — but we don’t see that part. What we pick up is the distinction, the foreign nature of his evident thoughts, behaviors, perceptions.

In the end, to dismiss someone as insane only suggests that they have no regard for the reality and values others share, and the resulting unpredictability of their behavior or incapacity to comprehend what they express inspires an abject fear and revulsion in us.

What we fear
we lock away
to remould,
reeducate,

to hide away,
ultimately burn
at the stake,

buried in any one
of those waiting
graves

unless
they embrace the prescribed
flavor of faith.

Of Grudge and Fear (Dream: 3/9/02).

In the dream I had on March 9, 2002, my family and I were living in a house surrounded by thick woods. Though we had not seen them in some fourteen years, Jimmy and his parents were paying us a visit.

For awhile I only watch through the windows as my parents walk alongside them in the front yard. I do not want to see them, not at all, but at the same time within me I know that I must. When they are in the living room, I walk in and sit between Jimmy and his youngest brother. I note both that Jimmy looks exactly the same, adding on the years, and that despite the fact that I am next to him he shows absolutely no signs of being so much as casually aware of my existence.

My suspicion is that he is angry or wary of me due to the calls and emails I sent him (in teal life) in May of 1999, to which he never responded.

His older and younger brother I don’t see anywhere. I sense that his mother is there, but do not recall seeing her specifically. The case was even more extreme with respect to Jimmy’s young sister, Jane, who I kept thinking I was seeing out of the corner of my eye. I avoided looking to confirm, however, as if afraid to see her.

Suddenly, he steps into view: the father, Danny, the man I needed to confront ever since my memories of that household burst to the surface; ever since I remembered him beating all the kids right in front of me, evidently more often than the single episode I had consciously recalled. He stands before me abnormally tall with blonde hair. Looking down, he asks, “Do you remember me?”

“Uh, yeah,” I say to him in a tone I felt confident conveyed both a sense of sarcasm and a less-than-subtle threat.

Strangely, despite his size I find I have no fear of him, only hate for him — only a wish to utterly destroy him despite my clear physical limitations. Later on, I watch him chatting with friends of his outside, all as monstrously tall as himself.

As evening fell and everyone appeared to be inside and asleep or otherwise preoccupied, I went out on the back porch to have a cigarette. Danny suddenly walks by the open door to the porch with a guilty look on his face. I glare at him. He had been heading out of one of the children’s bedrooms, I felt sure of it, and who knew what he had been doing in there.

With an eon’s worth of hatred swelling in my soul I look dead at him, flick him off and say in a barking tone, “I’ll never forgive you for what you did.”

He keeps walking passed me, and does so in the style of the Sasquatch from the popular alleged film of the creature.

My good friend Channing is suddenly there with me, and we’re walking and talking off to the side of the house as I continue smoking my cigarette. As we are talking, a girl I know walks by — a girl that is convenient to vent my sexual aggressions on rather than a girl I truly want. Kissing her, I then proceed to explain that I had just saw someone horrible that I had not seen in a long time. All I really want to do is go to the bar with Channing, have some drinks and try to talk all of this out.

She leaves, and suddenly Channing is gone as well. A van pulls up to the side of the house and I see another girl I know, and she is a girl I truly do want. Her hair is back to its natural dark brown, no longer the bleach-blonde she had had last time I had seen her. Surprised at her arrival, I walk up to her and greet her. Desperately I want physical contact, in the very least to hug her, but I am far too afraid it would be out of line and make her feel uncomfortable.

As I’m close to her she closes her eyes, and in a smooth, sweet voice she says, “It’s okay.” The words make me feel comfortable, secure, happy. I feel as if I can just let go. Kissing her feels wonderful, and she had been waiting for me to do so all along.

Upon awakening and writing down the dream, a memory surfaces regarding Ellie. She leans down to look at me and I tell her why I do not want to come over here ever again.

“You know we would never hurt you like that,” she said. “Is that what you’re afraid of?”

She just did not get it, did not understand that this wasn’t just about me. She failed to comprehend how by watching something like that, feeling all those hellish emotions, could do such violent things to your soul.

I sense someone walking away from my bed as I’m writing. My immediate sense is that this entity had given me the dream somehow, and I openly gave thanks. I also felt, however, that the entity was disappointed that I had missed the message that was meant to be conveyed.

I did not want to come back over as I did not wish to feel my friend and his siblings feel that pain. My fear of intimacy partly stems from my terror of making anyone feel violated.

In real life, Danny was tall, but certainly not the monstrous form he was in the dream. It may suggest my perception of him being a powerful man who looks down upon me; in addition, there was the Sasquatch walk, which seems to convey the sense that he is some elusive monster. Despite all this, he actually seemed quite mundane and his behavior, throughout the dream, was entirely nonthreatening. This exaggerated mismatch been how he seemed and how I reacted to him would seem to imply projection on my part.