"Prison Existence" - Connor Stevens

"Prison Existence"

 Writhing between cinder block, with nowhere to run but into self.

 What is it like, being in prison?
 No alcohol or drugs (for me -- others enjoy them copiously); excuses quickly exhaust themselves; tv and worthless entertainment cannot answer the hunger of my soul. In the street, i could flee -- or pretend. Now there is no more denial. Nowhere to run. i must change my life.

 Pain. This is the medium through which i move, the incessant call to action, the catalyst to transformation. Here, i do not attempt to dull it. My flight is limited to forcing memories -- of the past as well as the future -- from mind, and burying myself in 10,000 intellectual pursuits and sexual fantasies.
 What do we gain by making it all work, if we lack purpose, and the knowledge of purpose?
 Take your already outdated toys and your space colonies -- they mean nothing by themselves. You will be just as miserable on Mars as you will be in Maryland.
 What was it those unwitting accomplices uttered?
 "Marvelous desolation."
 You are the marvel, you are the desolation.
 First we must drink pain, and move through it like a child through water. Learn our lessons in suffering. All of civilization has been a great denial. There is no easy way, no painless panacea. Honor this overflowing pain.
 The present changes the past. All my memories have been recast. Even the best of them -- especially the best of them! -- illicit pain. But slowly i learn not to flee. A child, at last, soaking his toes in the frigid waters.
 What was once a dull uncertainty, roaming the borderlands of the subconscious, becomes illuminated by these flames -- from where do these flames spring? They no longer flow from my head, and the once all-consuming fire in my chest has, for now, been reduced to smoldering embers. It is my flesh that is on fire! Or, rather, the flesh i have already shed -- all those foregone yesterdays i cannot help but be held captive by, all the way to the womb...
 For instance, i have many memories, as a child, of riding through Ohio country. Now i become consciously aware of these being some of my first lessons in the ubiquitous tendency of humanity to squander its potential.

 We cannot, it seems, learn from the experiences of others.
 But allow me to share the pain of death.
 A person can get drunk on death. In truth, it seems there is little else worth doing with death. Hence the immense celebrations in so many cultures when faced with death. To be swept up in ecstatic bliss, in this wretched, sacred dance, hurling through some sublime abyss. This seems to be the most sensible, and sensuous, alternative to all that weeping and gnashing of the teeth.
 But here in prison i no longer embody ecstacy (there was a time, likely never to return), and i am reduced to weeping only. A solitary, silent weeping. And a total condemnation of this reality we have been born into.
 i often pull away from touch -- human touch is no longer sacred or even necessary to me, unless it's sexual. Ah, but i still enjoy embraces...
 Who can i mourn this, in the maddening absence of ecstacy?
 And so my slow death progresses -- perhaps the only progress i truly know.
 Take your gadgets, your stars, your suffocation and your arrogance. All this talk of cradle-to-the-grave -- well i was designed in such a way. And it is along that arc that i now progress. But there are many deaths before the end.
 Nothing i write can tell what i know. You cannot know what it has been like, unless you have passed this way before. i will not let this stop me, for now i am compelled to write. The dead circle 'round me, refusing to quite depart, and in my humble efforts i will flood these pages with this black blood, borne through suffering, a total rejection. What else could really issue forth but blood and flames and misery? i learn to eat it.

 Everything happens to me now. i am powerless against the world. Yes, i weep, i run, i sweat, i love, i orgasm, i disintegrate. But it is all as though it is happening to another. And it is.

 Suddenly i realize -- or remember -- that i am not only writing for the dead, but also for the dying. They envelope me. i hate them and i love them and i wish more than anything to seek repose in the mountains.
 Why... No, nevermind the why. (i am already blind enough)
 For what purpose... Same question, i suppose...
 For what purpose am i held here, under such massive pincers, in a cinderblock, squirming to be anywhere but here...
 To transform my self. But this furnace necessarily produces mutilated men. It is not that i fear i am too weak (frail, obscure, dwarfed, yes). Rather, i am no longer so naive. i have only seen the servants of evil, never the master, if such a master exists. But i have been placed in a furnace which warps souls and mass produces mutilated shadows. i have seen men be destroyed. i have felt my own sanity slip -- although i cannot be sure what is slipping, or if i was ever really "sane."
 So enough of the foolishness. The reformers, the technofetishists, the futurists, the leftists, the commentators, the eulogizers, the nostalgists, the luddites and the noble scientists forever at the disposal of the defense industry...

 i am tired of all this.