The Journey

October 15, 2008
By Ryan Warwick, Chapel Hill, NC

My friends have always thought of me as a dreamer, a psychedelic idealist. I've always wanted to be thought of as one. The truth is that I'm just as innocuous as everyone else. I hide it well but I'm just like you. I'm hoping tonight will change that.

Pushing through the glass doors of the movie theater, I gently regard the clerk with the black nail polish. I buy licorice rope; she looks at me as a fly regards a piece of moldy bread.

I sit down on a park bench outside, facing the posters. I take a bite of licorice rope. The waxy texture is like nothing in nature, neon fingerpaints and latex gloves. I check my watch, 4:30, nothing's changed.

I wait on this bench. Watching the people walk idly by, oblivious and self-satisfied.

On a bench waiting. Chewing on artificial rope. I can't take in the people anymore. My eyes won't focus. I sit on the bench and wait.

I look at licorice and it hits me. Someone made this. If someone made this then someone makes everything. Out of horsehair and magic markers. We're Breathing half-life into new objects every day; our perverse mockery of evolution created this thing in my hand. Does it have a soul like the root it's supposed to mimic?

I throw the rope to the cold stone. I shiver in my short sleeves. It's already getting dark. A quivering lump in my throat. I look at the glowing movie times. I hear the clock tower. The sound bends, becoming deep and throaty, a sound whispered like an infernal dial tone. The mass of brick juts from the earth, unwieldy corkscrews to the sky. I need an apple. Something natural to bring me back.

The people that I pass seem disfigured in some way, I can't tell how. At the entrance to the grocery store, I contemplate the gnashing metal teeth, snapping after each man walks inside. Unfeeling, simple. It's as if it's eating them whole, their bodies, minds, and souls. It's all a trap. I start to run.

Down main street. Buildings with jagged teeth.

They repeat themselves.
They repeat themselves. I pass windows.
They repeat themselves. A girl made of plastic, articulated joints and a lazy glass
They repeat themselves. eye. The entrails of animals mixed, thankless,
They repeat themselves. on display; fat, white and sparkling in the refracted moon.
They repeat themselves. There are flies pressed against the window, threatening the They repeat themselves. only way they know how.

I keep running.

The buildings are forgotten; the world ever mutable. Rolling metal grinds over concrete, excreting toxic waste. I run on the side of the freeway, watching these fantastic beasts, thinking of their deadliness. I thrust sideways through the brush.

Inhale, a sharp rush of breath. Stinging nettle; I stumble through with new legs.

Exhale. A wind blows. The energy melting from inbetween my eyes.

Inhale. Leaves whispering along with my ragged breathing.

Exhale. Verdant life-force flashes and dies along with my breath.

Inhale. My head rolls back, each star refracts the others and becomes a cosmic lattice. Sky drinks the energy of the trees with green auroras.

Exhale. My head rolls downward as light releases itself and burns out. Black earth. The smell of wet clay, death, bitter and intoxicating.

I finally see the creatures. Worms , maggots, grubs, all radiant. Surging, curling, from In between my toes. Glowing points of white wriggling from black. Small legs like warm electricity slowly consuming first my feet, then ankles, then shins, coaxing the muscles to let go. The sun pokes its dappled fingers through the branches and I raise my arms. Bugs fall back to the black earth from the tips of stiff fingers and surge up from my roots, a self fufilling circle.

Inhale. My branches quiver with our breath

I remain.

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This article has 1 comment.

GodwinAustin said...
on Nov. 14 2008 at 5:18 pm


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