There is a world, antithetical to this one. More dangerous. Not just its opposite, its destruction. Its end. Were I to knock off the the spigot of reality, as Aldous Huxley recommended, this other world would flood in. Indeed, it shares our space and our time. And since time, we have glimpsed it. Music, image, dance, words. The physicists are just now nudging into it.
I wake in the morning connected to no thing, and feel first the weight of the blanket on top of me. Cotton, down, foam filling. I push them off and in doing so tie myself to plants, those that manufacture and the ones that grow. I tie myself to engineers, designers, line workers who keep the sheets coming. I am not yet awake. I put on my glasses, assigned and prescribed by an ophthalmologist, cut from plastic, derived from oil, descended from dinosaurs, hundreds of millions of years old.
The weight of my physical body succumbs to gravity. I am tied to this, here, earth. The rockers are right when they tell you that music can set you free. The censors are right when they lament that the music is deadly. It is this other world, this world without gravity, without limitations of arms and proper prescriptions. The right paintings, like anti-protons, tear down here, reality.
Some people are doing well. They read through the rules on the inside of the box and figured out how to fail, how to succeed, and how to measure, theirs and others, success. They buy shares. They win elections. The own a swath of land and a mode of transportation.
I haven’t added soap yet but the water feels good. I choose a temperature that peaks the interests of my nerves but does not overwhelm, allows my mind to wander. On a good day it lands on a song. The sound of a splattered yoke hitting hot grease. Call those who pass between worlds what you will, artist, shaman, inmate, hoodlum. The people for whom this world works seem like poor candidates.
The priests are correct. Another life awaits. As are the playwrights. As is the mortician. This other world only brings death, meaning that which cannot survive here. I see them, bohemians, soaked in alcohol, mired in prison, hidden on mountains, sleeping in alleys.
I am not yet awake, and already have moored myself to chickens, to China, to great cables of data spanning the Atlantic, to cocked triggers of guns, to weeds in the yard, to scientist-researchers trying to relieve suffering. Suffering. Living in one world and being pulled by the other. A word comes. A whisper. A song. An urge to move the body inefficiently. A draw. To tag the side of a building.
All their productivity happens like clock-work, at prescribed times, in certain locales. But I am in a cave scratching at the walls. I’ll be late. Trying to take notes on a melody. It’s calling. It has always been calling. No act of arousal, nor investment, nor well-cooked recipe has slowed it. My death is imminent. Every time I stop to listen, I am trying to die.