out in a desert forest of tenement husks, an exile-city of thrownaway NEETS freaks and hermits eternally kill time. the human detritus of the world pools here like the blood watershed of wasted lives. salt winds blowing down empty dust streets eroding ghostly figurines, vines up sun-cracked concrete and barren electrical cables. scurrying desert rats thriving off scraps & plastic in the landfills. dying sunbeams fan through the skyline; cactus birds nest in the vents; bedroom lanterns at dusk under arid stars. circular glasses & tobacco, hanging linens untrimmed hair and pale moonlight skimming over the red desert dunes; windswept grains of sand and ochre-black nails dancing over flutes on the rooftop at night.

in decaying tower-complexes, the hermit tribe’s solitary ethnogenic rite is endlessly relived; in cramped rooms with brows sweat-slicked & pale fingers smoothing over cigarette paper and smoking hashish on hair cushions kicking anxious spasms at daylight. waking in the dark dry-mouthed; insomnia, incoherent screaming and murmured self-talk filling the great quiet. manic dancing & doom calligraphy body painting. drowning in ramen cups & plastic waste, plates piled in the sink, eating with bare hands. passing obsessions: spree killer diets & pataphysics. self-harm and black tape over the windows. rumours in the changing taste of tap water. the body and mind fusing: external = internal. numb and shapeless perception eats sleeps swallows breathes thinks. thoughts = words = speaking through hands onto keys printing ideas into space. noise exists inside and outside the skull. noise exists. the mummification of the soul takes less than three years; insensate liquid perception curdles; gold or death; bloodshot eyes seeing God; chrysopoeia. this lonely alchemy makes for recluse artisans scholars monks & proficients; isolation is self-perpetuating, festering inside the city like a parasite, crippling the host into dependence. no public houses or squares exist here; only the uniform cells of busy bored hermits singing carving writing praying & collecting.

the nocturnal labour of artisans & artists drives the city economy, immured in béton-brut studios chiselling alabaster busts of unmet LDR lovers; ornate masks & ghastly ceramic figurines of sleep paralysis apartment sprites. the crudeness of trade is mediated by dusk-eyed transmigrant hires in the opium shade of tents at the caravanseray outside the city, thronging with caravans from distant lands. haggling in the evening heat, electricity water canvas paper & canned soup, swapped for koan collections and woodblock prints.

other dull compulsions are filed perfectly sharp; obsessively sorted old-world daguerreotypes piling up in the bedroom hoards of autistic librarians: moth-bitten tomes, alembics astrolabes, antique brass geomantic instruments & akashic archives of shojo manga. from the apartment arcologies of forum & subculture admins, an online neet aristocracy projects domination over distant virtual realms; local network imageboard wars spill over into emaciated fistfights in the hallways.

God is closest in silent montane ashrams & cave walls; amidst the long ghostly desert nights, the city is half-strong with hermit-monks. in one building: a disused elevator shaft filled with discarded sex organs. a monastery tower block of androgynous mystics, exporting out eerie gods to the barbarians beyond the city. tiers of anchorite cells; sand beaten balcony stylites screaming wisdoms; on the fifth floor, a livestreamed black onyx stone has become the object of webcam idolatry. hallways stinking of cassia and sandalwood hide mystery cults behind doors and secret tunnels to bricked-off service floor mithraea: a daubed eye bleeding archil watches candlelight glinting off cracked ikons of eremite saints. bronze hands burnt from incense-sticks clasped in prayer. blindfolded meditation for twenty-two hours, taken by ecstatic visions transcending the hermitage: godly concrete pillars holding up the sky; a concentric sandstone empyrean hanging over a city of lonely rooms.

in the catacombs below, sand compacted high-rise hypogea, sun-dried bodies sleep & dream forever in boxed apartment microcosms. the desert coils around the city endlessly like hourglass sand devouring its own tail.

natto @hitobashira