Peyote Pathos

Coughing metal monsters screaming their rage in howling madness, they spew filthy breath reeking of sulfur and burning ancestors at my face. Hard, hard ground, no love here. Where are the flowers? I must find shelter; a tree, a meadow, a friendly shrub. Crawling on hands and knees, black spotted pavement where gum has been spat out to rot beneath careless boot heels. Shame, for shame, the people care only for sweet sugar, the false offering that is neither juicy nor fruity, wouldn’t know a peach from a vat of red #5. Shame, shame, where is the river? White pots dipped among the reeds, woven baskets full of sweet rain, filled with the image of sky, cupped hands bringing to parched lips that succulent life. So thirsty, a desert of wind-blown sand is filling my mouth, but I will not pray to the lying prophet, that shining steel faucet like a plastic flower. I want the living water, to feel the worlds of microscopic life becoming one with my stomach acid, to quench this yearning in a cascade swollen red with silt.

Traitorous genes prompt me to rise upward, teetering in the clumsy bi-pedal fashion of my predecessors. My equilibrium is drunk with psychedelic lunacy, sends me reeling about like a leaf tossed haphazardly by the wind. I see myself standing there beside the street beneath a neon sign, hair like a mangrove thicket sheltering the furtive movements of my pupils, clothes now ragged bearing stains like road maps into the half-remembered haze of china town. I see that I have lost my shoes, filthy bare soles balancing the precarious flesh vehicle I have become and a wave of sympathy is felt for them squashed there in the muck, obediently carrying around this carcass that refuses to rot. I reach out to my spectral twin, the sad, frantic thing lost in a concrete jungle crying out for Mother Mountain. What am I? I think in my abstract fashion. If I am made of atoms and atoms are mostly empty space, than do I truly exist physically or am I just dreaming of myself? I reach out to me, this hollow echo, but find only a smooth impenetrable surface devoid of animation. I push, and resistance gives way as I am opened up before my eyes.

Behind my body I am made of rows and rows of colorful merchandise, glittering in plasticized sacrament to the Consumer Gods of Just-Came-Out-Gotta-Have-It-OMG!!! I am having a sale, and there is a man who yells at me to leave. This makes no sense, and I begin to giggle at him, the crazy bastard. He grabs my arm and begins to lead me back out the way I came and I protest, but I am speaking the language of the dingo and he does not understand me. I see the portal before me, glowing white with pure sun-kissed innocence, and I wonder if I will give birth to myself. How can you pass back through yourself? Would the first gasp of air sear my lungs, daylight sting my eyes, would I wail in helpless fury as I was cast rudely into form?

My re-birth was sudden and inglorious, thrown out like so much filthy dishwater into a gutter I shared with a plastic bag that stank of fish. I look up to see a tree; my savior, my Goddess, Lady of Emerald Song. Weeping with joy I run to her, wrap loving arms around her supple body, lavish Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare upon her peeling flesh. In rapture I sit at her feet as she whispers story when the wind blows, and I am this way for some time before darkness claims the colors of day. When I can no longer see the holy outline of my Lady I leave her with a bow on a divine mission to discover what is in-between my body.

It is dark and the street is cold on my feet. A serpent has crawled into my belly and roils in hot pangs through my gut. It is dark all around me but it does not matter, my feet do their thing, following each other autonomously through the darkness. Thoughts chasing their own tails in circuitous loops, lips muttering disjointed snippets of rhyme and lullaby from a time when I was whole. When I had a name. Before I got lost in the vast emptiness between molecules in my shell. No longer presiding over pathways of blood and nerve ending, now a quivering slave in the deep recesses of subconscious Hell.

A row of bright stars appear above me in the sky stretching off into the distance like a celestial highway made just for me. Laughing, I begin to skip along the heavenly path. A sign. It is a sign, this road, at the end I will find the Answer. Bliss, holy rapture, I sense  so near to me the culmination of my existence. Finally I will KNOW. I will be alive again, cleansed by the sacred fires of knowledge.

Ahead of me a miracle begins to coalesce from the ink spill of midnight. I can see the Milky Way surging in powerful rhythms across my path, heaving and roaring as bright planets and exploding stars pass by unbelievably fast, like a river swollen with Autumn rain. Funny, I always thought space was silent, devoid of earthen madness, a vacuum where only Zen could flourish- And maybe the odd mushroom spoor. Jupiter howled by with reckless speed, it was remarkable how much it sounded like a semi truck. I was determined to show no fear, facing my great test proudly. Spreading my arms out wide, with a song on my lips, I jumped into the awesome spiraling, churning void of the universe to receive God.

Epiphany hit me at 65 mph, and I never felt a thing.


One thought on “Peyote Pathos

  1. thanks and kudos go to Kevin, who coined the term “flesh vehicle” which was the inspiration for this piece.

    I apologize if my work seems a bit abstract and disjointed. I have an infant, and write sporadically when I get a moment here and there, which sometimes interrupts the flow and continuity of the story.


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