SELF-INDULGENT INTERNET VOMIT

“They’re coming,” he whispers. 


At midnight I hear the howling. 

I can’t tell from where or how far.

It sounds like your voice. 


It wakes me from a dream.


Drifting between cycles with four-legged

Silhouettes blurred in my vision.

I close my eyes and he tells me to run. 

He says if we split up maybe we can split the pack

Maybe then we’ll have a chance.

I run, but fate's tampering hand holds me tight by the collar

And our paths converge again, back where we started.


We wait in the dark on a moonless night,

Softly he sings his requiem, tells me

How he lived with one foot in the grave 

And that dying wouldn’t change a thing.

That if we bled ourselves dry, burned our clothes and fled the city

They’d still find us.

We wait in the dark and i listen to the sound 

Of his breathing--a solemn countdown.


I tie a thread from his wrist to mine to stay tethered while he’s underground. 

He tightens the knots i made, tells me

Nothing stays buried forever.

Not really.

At midnight we hear the howling. 

It grows louder, closer.

“They’re coming,” he whispers.

We howl along with them.


Prologue


Parallel lines never meet. They exist in the same plane, always apart at the same distance. We know this to be true.


I.


i’m pretty sure i’m too unstable to enjoy any type of hallucinogenic drug so to make sure i don’t miss out on any out-of-body experiences or life-changing trips—among other things— i’ve been dabbling in alternatives.


in a publication on design and altered states of consciousness, i read that- contrary to popular belief- Salvador Dali never took psychedelics. instead he got his inspiration from self-induced dream states. he'd hold a key in his hand and keep a dish beside his bed. when he'd fall asleep the key would drop into the dish and create a disturbance just loud enough to wake him halfway and send him down the rabbit hole.


and so i pick up a book on lucid dreaming and let it dissolve on my tongue.


the first rule of lucid dreaming is to constantly be asking yourself, “am i dreaming?” even when you’re certain you’re not. you still ask to form a habit, so your dream-self will start asking too. “i know it’s strange to doubt your reality,” the author writes. i want to tell him no, it’s not as strange as you’d think.


one way to test if you’re dreaming or not is to place a finger on your opposite palm. if it doesn't pass through your hand, you’re not dreaming. i do this a few times a day to pull myself out of my own head. “what’s in front of you is real,” i tell myself. feet on the ground, feeling the weight of my own body on the earth. thumb against solid skin. it’s way too easy to get lost sometimes. which world do i really belong in?


another way to test if you’re dreaming is by jumping. if gravity immediately pulls you back down, you’re awake. if you stay on the wing for a moment- lighter than air, suspended in the atmosphere for longer than seems possible- you’re most likely dreaming.


if you told me to jump, i’d ask “how high?”


i’ve only been lucid twice so far. once by accident. once purposefully. i remember a desolate landscape, anonymous figures walking toward me, away from me. a shore covered in dense fog. the realization came almost instinctively. i didn't perform any tests. i didn't ask myself any questions. i just told myself, out of nowhere, "this is a dream." if only it were always that simple.


some other non-drug-induced ways to reach altered states of consciousness that i found in my research: meditations, transcendence, sensory deprivation tanks, sound baths, simply staring at your own face in a mirror for too long. all allow for a pause between the parallels, if only for a moment. every night i listen to a guided meditation where the direction is to imagine yourself ascending with each out-breath. you rise until you’re no longer on this planet, but somewhere else. somewhere among the stars, where nothing and no one on earth knows where you are, where nothing can touch you. everything that makes you grind your teeth in your sleep is somewhere below you. surrounded by nothingness.


"now let's go a little bit higher."


i find myself looking for the nothingness where there is nothing but everything. looking for peace in the wrong places, wondering if it only exists in altered states. even while awake i keep myself in a dream state in some capacity. a force of habit or a defense mechanism, i'm not sure. maybe a subconscious form of self-sabotage. maybe a bit of all three.


in a dim-lit room Thom Yorke falsettos through the grit and static of a turntable. All is well, as long as we keep spinning.


there are brief moments of clarity, when the spinning comes to a screeching halt, when the gut-punches i try so hard to dodge are delivered. debilitating. necessary.


i'm dreaming of a life where reality checks don't hurt as much.


II.


Parallel lines never meet unless you grab the ends of both and bend them toward each other.


the week is over and i’m so tired and in a whirlwind of self-doubt and a loosening grip on my identity i almost decide to stay home and skip the show i have a ticket for. it feels better here, i tell myself, paralyzed and thinking god damn i'm so tired of dressing up for people and god damn is it exhausting to keep up with all of this and god damn am i tired of hearing that voice in my head that constantly tells me that every move i make is inherently wrong. i spend my days putting on way too many faces, living way too many lives, i need a break, i’m so tired. i'd rather stay right here and dream. right here in the nothingness, where nothing can touch me, nothing can hurt me, nothing can disappoint me. it's easier.


dragging my body up slowly, i take the next small step. under scalding hot water i try to melt these feelings, skin turning red, peeling back the layers of buildup from the first few months of the year. i put on less makeup than usual and dress up as myself for once. i’m familiar with my reflection for the first time in a long time and i notice how easy it is to breathe when you're not trying so hard. alright. fine. i’ll go.


the room is light and then dark and then light again and i’m drinking fast and fading blissfully into the background. i prefer it that way, honestly. in rare moments you can find the nothingness where there is nothing but everything. the elliott smith lyrics i wrote on the bathroom wall around this time last year are still there. i remember exactly where my head was at, scraping lead into the paint, as if it would solve anything. a lot has changed in a year but at the same time nothing has changed at all. this is a recurring dream. i’m here at the same bar, watching the same band, writing on the same walls. aren’t i?


another REM cycle completed and we're back at square one, waiting for the next one to start, waiting to see what happens this time.



III.


Parallel lines never meet unless you melt them into liquid and pour them into each other.


have you ever had everything you think you know and understand flipped on its axis in less than 5 minutes? i’m reading a book on the concept of time. the concept of “now.” the concept of everything and how, at the same time, it’s all nothing. everything is made up of energy, the movement of atoms, creating form, creating matter. even in the stillness, in the nothingness, there is constant movement.


“now” is not universal, but relative. there is only a “now” in regard to events that are close to you. your Now isn’t the same as someone's Now who is living on another planet, lightyears away. but it can be the same as someone’s Now that is standing right in front of you. you share the same Now when you’re asking questions in your mind like what does your name sound like in your own voice and what's your favorite flavor of intimacy and what part of your body shakes when you get nervous. skin against skin, the past and future disappearing into the dark mouth of night. the act of being present.


sometimes it feels like my Now throws wrenches at me just to see how i react. it feels like some cruel being is pulling strings, sitting back and watching, entertained, as i unravel.


if there is a god, i wouldn’t blame him for having it out for me, the way i talk about him.


IV.


a seasoned lucid dreamer can control who appears in their dreams. they can summon family, friends, lovers. someone they want to reconcile with, someone they want to confront. dead relatives, their past and future selves. if i knew how, i’d summon someone to help me untangle all these threads once parallel that keep twisting into each other, the waking world and the dream world, the real and the surreal. “these knots are impossible,” i’d tell my recruit. “we might have to cut them."


"also, thanks for your help. i'm sorry you got caught up in this."


V.


the first picture of a black hole ever captured is in the headlines this morning and this is major because it confirms all we know about physics so far to be true. it confirms that we are so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe and to me that is such an incredible paradox about existing as human beings. we’re so small. we’re so impermanent. we're out here suspended in nothingness, all of us. and yet, so much matters. too much matters. we're so small. how do we carry so much?


words don’t do me justice anymore so i allow myself to feel what i’ve been feeling completely for the first time. my therapist sits across from me quietly, waiting patiently until i can collect myself. after a while she asks, “are you okay? what’s happening right now?” i say yeah. i feel lighter. i think i just need to be alone for a while. i think i need to get out of new york for a few days. i think i need a break from destroying myself.


Parallel lines never meet because if they do they're no longer parallel. if they do they become something else entirely. they are never supposed to meet, because this changes everything.


if you told me to jump, i’d say sure, but i can’t promise i’ll come back down any time soon.

in january of 2018 a professor recommended the book Meet Me in the Bathroom to me. and so the year begins.


writing is like painting. it requires every muscle in your body- your head, your heart. our brains are a series of electrical currents & chemical reactions. if you listen closely you can hear static. i’m not listening to the static now. i’m on the platform with a 12 pack of narragansett at my feet, headed to a house show, listening to You Only Live Once. inside me there’s an insatiable desire to freeze time.


what else is like painting? what else can require use of your entire being while barely moving a muscle at all? listening to music can be, if it's the right record. this doesn’t occur to me while i’m at Rough Trade, buying Room On Fire on vinyl. not yet at least.


i hear Modern Girls and Old Fashion Men for the first time. Regina Spektor's voice on the track makes me realize how much time i spend wishing i could be someone else.


The seasons are taking their sweet time to change. Call it Fate, Call it Karma plays as it rains cold in union square, and it feels like the song was written for this exact moment in time. i’m ducking into academy records on 18th street to stay dry, thumbing blindly through the stacks, checking the “S” section, just to see. the park is empty and the lights reflect in the pavement lakes as Julian Casablancas sings in falsetto:


Can i waste all your time here on the sidewalk?

Can i stand in your light, just for a while?


home for spring break, on the floor of my childhood bedroom with my legs up the wall. Under Control playing through static on the turntable. this is when the record starts to feel like painting.


waiting outside of rough trade for five hours on record store day. it’s april but it still feels like february. the weather refuses to break, but then again, so do i. i make friends with my neighbors in line and they’re nice enough to save my spot so i can go watch bambara play at noon. they’re playing and i’m spinning a web of everything that has happened this year so far that led me here. someone i met in line comes to watch the band with me. he tells me that he loves the strokes, that in 2016 he spent is financial aid on a govball ticket and a flight to new york just to see them. “it was so worth it.”


i ask him if he's read Meet Me in the Bathroom. Three times, he tells me.


i imagine what his copy might look like. underlined passages, writing scrawled in the margins, a tattered cover. something handled, something revisited, something loved.


at the front of the line i pick up two 45’s: one by Albert Hammond Jr. and one by The Voidz. i go home in a whirlwind, lightheaded and starving, with new content for my thesis and new music for my turntable. the first listen to QYURRYUS threw me through a loop, the rest of the night feels like a dream.


The End Has No End is playing in buffalo exchange. i only sell one shirt and dump the rest in a donation bin.


i start a ritual of going to grab a coffee across the street from my school every tuesday before my 3pm class. i’m listening to Razorblade on my way over. i walk in, pause my music, but it doesn’t stop. Electricityscape is playing on the cafe radio and i’m frozen where i stand, glitch-in-the-matrix theories running wild through my mind. “oh my god i was literally just listening to this album” i want to tell the barista, but i can’t find the words, or maybe i don’t want to. sometimes it’s better to keep details to yourself. once they’re out in the world they’re easier to forget.


it’s finally starting to feel like spring as i’m heading to class, and for the rest of the week First Impressions of Earth smells like pollen and feels like the first warm days of the year..


the following week, Is This It is playing on the cafe radio. i tip the barista a little extra.


playing the strokes’ artist page to the room as i install my thesis project for my last college critique ever. a semester’s worth of high-functioning anxiety is splayed out on walls and tables before me, voices from around the world compiled into printed matter. Call it Fate, Call it Karma comes on shuffle, and something feels terribly wrong about it. it feels like a secret being screamed to the world - or, at least, to whoever’s in the room. “Not the time and place,” i’m thinking, pushing pins into the wall with shaky hands, feeling exposed. “Leave It In My Dreams.”


back at rough trade in the summer, i find Virtue by The Voidz on vinyl. the lyric book folds out into a poster and i hang it in my childhood bedroom. when the first track fades out i move the needle back and play it again.


i stumble upon Julian Casablancas’s solo project one hazy afternoon in madison square park. i hear I’ll Try Anything Once for the first time. it’s a stripped-down version of You Only Live Once with different lyrics and it makes me want to cry. i listen to it again and again for the rest of the day. everything comes full circle.


tickets go on sale for The Voidz in new york at 9am on friday november 16th 2018. the show is cancelled at 10am on friday november 16th 2018. i abandon ship and become someone else at no particular time on friday november 16th 2018.


every now and again Leave It In My Dreams and Pyramid of Bones would play, but every now and again wasn’t enough. the static in my brain was too loud to hear the music.


i dipped my fingertips in tar, then in strawberry jam, and they stuck to everything i touched. i don’t recognize my own manicured hands on an escalator railing in universal studios, but before i have a chance to lament, Under the Cover of Darkness starts playing in the parking deck. “they’re playing the strokes!” i tell my friend.


“who?”


it’s a relief to know that there’s still magic in hearing their music on the radio in public, that everything has changed but at the same time nothing has changed. it’s a relief to know that all is not lost.


the florida heat melts away the shit on my fingers and i paint with it. on the pavers in union square i write the words, What Ever Happened?


my therapist asks what i think the difference was between then and now. well not much really but idk i guess i was listening to the strokes more?


they’re headlining govball this year and it costs $115. i haven’t gotten paid yet and i'm only interested in 2 other acts on the bill. i buy a ticket.


back at rough trade for the first time in months, i grab the last copy of First Impressions of Earth. while in line to pay i’m thinking about about how every phase of my life is spent longing to return to the phase preceding it.


i’m on the platform with a bag of records at my feet, heading home, listening to You Only Live Once. inside me there’s an insatiable desire to freeze time.

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welcome!!! also, sorry