Andata Express/Excerpts

Wading through my memories feels like walking into an attic that has a roof battered by raindrops and is filled with rising spirals of dust. When I was 16 years old I fasted for four days. I was at a boarding school that was at high altitude, and I ran every day of the fast, on a winding trail that climbed through rock and pine trees and dry, oily soil. I got weaker every day of the fast. I started to feel like I was made of too much dry air-- brittle, spacey, birdlike.

The last time I was happy was around two to three years ago. I have been sick for a long time. I forget what my life was like before this. I recall things with difficulty. In moments of lucidity provoked by medication, I feel as if everything in my body is flowing. I like the pagan light that comes from the earth, that illuminates forest clearings where dryads and faeries lurk. How do mushrooms see?

I relish pain sometimes, but there are so many different kinds of pain. Pain is a blunt word that means “aversive stimuli”. There are so many ways a body can fail, that it is hard to articulate the feelings. Some kinds of dull pain are worse than sharp pains. In sickness, the body sometimes senses geological spaces, flows, and times. The body becomes desert sand, bones of giants, rock and mineral strata grinding slowly against each other. It thirsts like rock does. It is helpless like rock.

I do not like marijuana. When I smoke it I think of the book “Flatland”. Everything becomes two-dimensional; the walls scream. I like opioids, especially oxycodone. I have never used intravenous drugs. As a child, I used to say that my favorite color was blue. I don’t think I have a favorite color now, but I would like to live in a red room with a bright yellow incandescent bulb.

In the spaces in between falling asleep and dreaming, I am transported to dimly lit planes that I think are embryonic versions of different geological-spatial formations. For example, I was at a central or southern african savannah before it was formed. I was in the most northern part of the tundra where you pass through the border and everything starts to twinkle and things become green again, welcoming you to the other side. It was as if places I’ve been had a negative correspondence that wasn’t an ideal form but was nevertheless otherworldly.

I like cats and consider them my equals, or better than me. Because of this I do not like to talk to them as if they are babies, although sometimes I do raise my voice in a sing-song way when they are particularly cute. I think of Hell often. I might believe in reincarnation, but I’m not sure. Death is completely opaque to me. I have only lucid dreamed two times in my life. My memories elude me often, which is why this piece of writing is an endurance sport for me.

I feel that many women are angels. On LSD I would often feel that men had an uncomfortable energy around them, women were more cooling. One time on LSD I experienced a sort of “imprinting” in which someone who took care of me for the duration of the trip became a fixation for me, for no other reason than that. We didn’t have anything in common but for this period, she had been my mother. I am too immature to have been in love, but nevertheless I have been in love once. I do not think I have many years left to live, but telling myself this is most likely a coping mechanism. I do not know if my inability to kill myself is weakness or strength. After all, the present is very precarious, and many things could go either way for me.

I used to enjoy food far more before I got sick. As a child, all my strongest memories were associated with food, although I was never at all overweight. This is probably because I was largely friendless for most of my childhood. My relative lack of romantic relationships or serious friendships in childhood through high school may have been responsible for me developing a feeling of being constantly late for something, as well as a feeling of being orthogonal to the world.

I think human life is so frustrating because we are “not quite there yet”. I have always been an extremely messianic person, but this zeal has been mostly extinguished by events of the past year or two. The Tibetan Book of the Dead says the inability to distinguish between different types and qualities of light is a serious concern for those in the intermediate state between life and death, but I think it is also a problem for the living. I have always had a fear of not being noticed enough. This fear has been exacerbated by becoming a total hermit due to circumstance, and because of this, I use social media in fitful bursts occasionally, then retreat when the light hurts my eyes.

I turned away from religious and occult belief like a spurned lover. I am a zealot and thus I believe or oppose belief in extremes. I cannot stand to be abandoned by God, and thus I am not patient enough to be a Christian. I still like to wander into services sometimes. I like shaking the hands of the other people in the church and wishing each other peace. I find many religions and myths incredibly evocative, but the only ones that I think are really real are the impersonal metaphysics of religions that involve some form of reincarnation without a god.

I used to ski a lot, mostly alpine, but some nordic. I loved skiing through glades with deep, powdery snow. I mostly skied alone, all day, for a large portion of the winter months of my adolescence. I sometimes got lonely and frightened once the dark came right as the mountain was closing and I waited for a ride home with my parents. I used to be triumphant about being an atheist as a young child, until I realized the gravity of disbelieving in life after death, at which point I became often scared and depressed. Winter always used to be my favorite season. I have seen things in the shadows and quiet of a snow-dampened, dark wood.

The last time I was truly happy or excited must have been in September of 2016. In September of 2015, I met someone who I would fall for at a party a half-mile into the woods near my college. In September of 2016 I went to a party in the same woods, after we had broken up, and met her there again. I try aggressively to not believe in magic, or coincidence, but the repetition of this occurrence felt like closing a circle, and set the hairs on my arm on edge. That night I think some kind of threshold was crossed, and I walked into the unreal world that I reside in now.

I think that perhaps the closest one can come to the supernatural is by refusing to believe in it, but going through the motions of belief very strictly, as if one did. Trying to draw a perfect circle, chanting in monotone, are all things that do something to the fabric of things regardless of whether they are believed in or not. Only fraud requires belief for it to work.

I slowly and imperceptibly become accustomed to the unreal and terrible existence I have, but I wake up sometimes in a start; terrified of how time passes and leaves me with nothing. I remember when I was four, that I used to think the willow trees we passed on the South Carolina back roads actually turned grey at night--I didn’t realize that it was just how light works. I was comforted by them as they seemed to be benign beckoners of a soft and rich dreamtime. I would sometimes play with the other children at the houses where we went to hear bluegrass and country music. We were told to watch out for snakes and rusty metal scraps, and to not go too close to the river. Many dramas were hinted at that seemed inaccessible to me. I wanted adventure, but never really got it. I would hang out downstairs where people played music casually, offstage. The floor was unfinished concrete and the air was filled with cigarette smoke and the bathroom was lit by a red incandescent bulb.

I can’t stand the idea of useless suffering. Time passes and then congeals, in dirty glass jars in a cabinet in a small wooden house that cramps in on itself--this makes me nauseous. I hate when things are not redeemed somehow. I don’t want my hand to be forced, I would like to not have to redeem my life in a final act. I do not like anything much anymore. I am becoming immaculately boring, except for my rage, which I cannot usually express but would dignify my stupid existence.

I know that more women attempt suicide than men, but more men succeed. Women are more likely to use less lethal means, like taking pills or cutting their wrists. Men are more likely to use guns or hanging. Pills are less successful mostly because people taking them do not know much about pharmacology, generally. It is not very difficult to kill yourself with pills if you know much about pharmacology. Anti-emetics are a very important aspect of this method because many people vomit up the pills.

We were talking earlier about different types of pain. I do not mind the feeling of a needle piercing my vein, but the duller feeling of the plastic catheter sliding in bothers me. I broke my leg once, when I was about 16. I was playing an informal, or “pickup” soccer game at my high school in the mountains in California. I was not wearing shin guards because it was an informal game. I was playing goalie, and I didn’t want to let my team down, so I charged the ball. The player on the other team did not stop, and kneed my shin. There was a sickening, hard slap. I was helped off the field and then