A plaster cast drawn over the tightened skin forming a mask. A hollow place inside the head, images of death are reflected on. The end of what was known flashing by on radar screening. A patterned scream, horrific yelling. Inside the trapezoid night, waxed faces of the fetishist: limbless wax dummies cast on iron racks, toys for iron maidens, hard rock cafes on the edge of the mind, the edge of dreaming here, plugged into this visceral space. A spliced heart wired to convex mirrors, diamond pointed scrolls upon which a tabula rasa is erased. A clean slate made delirious by its lack of vision, clarity barred by text of off-centered light, of off-putting lecturing voices, each equal in inanity, in intensity: insanity a delirium tremens of the senses withdrawing into the ovoid, the electronic night.
Plugged in is a reason for living. Heaven helps those who tune in. Drop out, withdraw, or are withdrawn, out here in sub-context land, where all the wax figures are the enlivened, emboldened, with a slimiy substance like flesh, cool to the touch as a cavern wall.
Inside, a hecatomb of buzzing symbols, electric like neon birds, insects from an awakening into a world of pure sensation; cloned to death and mindless ministrations, wired your whole brain like a cathode tube ligation substituting image for the word, the text, the spinal drip of a prolegomena of pure unreason filtered directly through a drawn screen to the brain. Everything reduced to images on waxed paper, a thing that adheres to fly paper, a thing that sticks and holds but cannot retain.
Inside the image is of the clipped wings of flightless birds, leaning into nothing, an utterance, obscene as a chorale of the damned, a new year's eve of banshees wailing their greatest hits coming right at you baby: "Carpe diem, carpe diem, sing children sing well it's an old cliche but you'd better make your love today . . ."
"This way to the monkey house of hell, come see the exeunt, one way only no exit, no return, there's one born every minute baby, that's what cable TV is for get hooked up today . . ."
"Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing, Wednesday lots more nothing, Thursday for a change a little more nothing Friday once more nothing . . ."
Brains waved here, waved into another millennium, a factory for the foolhardy on the burning boats up and down the lazy rivers of hell. Loss of sensation the price you pay for going through all these things twice . . .
johnny walker wisdom from the red waters of oblivion . . .
TV junkies plugged into remote wires, cable ready, accessible as another hookup another line, sensaround inside a human head as the last unconquered space, a black hole, an event horizon of the pupil, the dying light of eyes crushed into marble, a supernova sun going out, a test pattern for the final apocalyptic glow, the test patterned end . . . "do not adjust your set, this is not a test . . ." this is reality baby, the outer limits is happneing here, in your head, and for an extra fifteen dollar a cellular minute, you too can have it all, every one of those lost horizon dreams, a mona lisaed overdrive, straight down into the old blood stream, that old glory yeah! let it wave, "at half mast for the ones who died, for the matadors who turn to the crowd, but all cheers were for the bull . . ." armchair length, extended as magic fingers reaching out into the carbolic night, the new Valhalla hall for the indentured heroes, indebted for life and afterlife, no glory in that, is there muchacho? It's too late baby, no looking back now, "forget the dead they will not follow you, the carpet too is moving under you oh it's all over now baby blue . . ." you're plugged in the world as an unstable isotope, a hallelujah, happy birthday of death hit parade, a flashman flicker of final image just before the end of broadcasting, the darkness at the end of the tunnel, the burning glitch in the programming no one has learned yet to correct, yes language really is a virus, Virginia and it's coming to a brain near you, that's what death really is here plugged in, unplugged---------------------------
Alan Catlin has published in many forms and many genres. His last collection of short stories is Death Angels (Four-Sep Press).