Come through the cracks  

Hell, it still      
seems these days,

is other people.

And it is not a consolation to know that in Hell – IN DARK HELL - there were stars outside.

All of these people become demons.

How easy it's been to

mistake survival for

                    l i v i n g.

GET ME OUT OF HERE.

All of these demons are in people.

Paradise,

the world,

outside,

has been lost.

We have lost our souls a wee bit too.

And with all that we’ve lost,

what can we even contemplate to regain?

There is no geography anymore. 

As there aren’t enough archivists
out there anymore documenting
what’s in the world.

Finisterre,
I have realized,
has been at my door.

All along.

("L'enfer, c'est les autres"

Huis clos,

Jean Paul Sartre)

 (Mephistos and Other Poems,

Michael McClure)

I.
audio-clip
00:00 / 00:40
I I.

This? This is Hell.       

And in here you might choose to bury

your prickly little head

in the garden

under these circumstances,

hedge something

and finally learn 

the meaning
 

of      social      distancing:

    “Neither prick others, nor get pricked.”

Pull together by

                 standing apart.

 

The new presentation of our age old solitary ways.

 

Do you miss the feeling of familiarity
you’d have being surrounded
by your friends and relatives?

 

Sure. I do as well. 

 

But more than that: I miss feeling like just another face in a crowd of strangers.

 

There is no outside. There’s only inside.

in

or

out

of the soil,

A looping circular video of the artist in 8 different positions, ticking into view like a clock.

(Volume II, Chapter XXXI, ‘Section 396’

Parerga und Paralipomena,

Arthur Schopenhauer)

I I I.

Strange new world,

this cursed gehenna.

To be put inside, static,
in order to be protected
from a pirate non-living usurper
who, if given the chance,
would use my machinery
to reproduce its progeny.

As they say, 

a human and a virus

are never alone together.

There’s always a third…

Don Mephistopheles from Hell?

They also used to say that G-d created heaven all by themselves,

         mutatis mutandis,

Hell was built by the artifice of all dæmons.

All places are under heaven,
but how many places are above Hell?

 

Only one: Our world, the case.

The case that now became our world.

Is a case a cage?

 

For some of us, it Hella is.

 

Where can you find me? 

 

At the genius loci of what’s
in between the edges of
meticulous and fastidious. 

 

Where there’s – still – a crack in everything.

 

Otherwise known as the place under all places.

Find me there, within and without “the details.”

The Hell I’ve been living in, for so long...

A looping circular video of the artist in 8 different positions, ticking into view like a clock.

(Don Juan aux enfers, Charles Baudelaire)

Like
realizing
that
this
is not
about
Y O U.

Well, better to survive at home than to die outside!

What an envy I feel, of who I was before all of this...

And better to reign in Hell than to serve in heaven!

At this point of anguish,
I’d even go to Hell

to get Lucifer
on the record
about his plans
to welcome
more dæmons
to his retinue,
before my ashes
turn and languish.

Well, better to survive at home than to die outside!

What an envy I feel, of who I was before all of this...

And better to reign in Hell than to serve in heaven!

At this point of anguish,
I’d even go to Hell

to get Lucifer
on the record


about his plans
to welcome
more dæmons
to his retinue,
before my ashes
turn and languish.

(Paradise Lost, John Milton)

(Night Film, Marisha Pessl)

Juan Francisco González writing from Bogotá, Colombia, May 2021

Nicole Garzón writing from Orlando, Florida, May 2021

Yianni Anastos Prastacos writing from Mendocino, California, May 2021

Mark Mumm writing from Leicester, NY, May 2021

Santiago Flórez writing from Bogotá, Colombia, May 2021

Luis Basurto writing from Washington, D.C., May 2021

Stephanie Decker writing from Chicago, Illinois, May 2021

Shelby McNabb writing from Los Angeles, California, May 2021

Claire Breen writing from Oakland, California, May 2021

A looping circular video of the artist in 8 different positions, ticking into view like a clock.
IV.

At this point
while sheltering in place
I wonder:
Am I Mephisto?

But this place
I find myself in,
a home,
is not a prison.

Confinement is different 

than the respite found in shelter.

Or even the refuge of asylum.

And to see this as a lockdown? Come on, now.

That is now a prevalent meaning of

privilege.

Hell hath no fury like...

Like the Colombian people,
when their rights
are not being respected.

 

Like 

understanding 

one must

look within

before 

placing a 

burden 

on this 

already

shattered world.

Like being told “No,”
when you’ve ALWAYS
been told “Yes.”

 

Like the first gasp
after the surgeon's
wrong cut.

 

Like acknowledging hunger,
as there is no greater emptiness,

or vaster injustice.

This world is plentiful,
with enough to fill every mouth,

when hoarders hoard so much

to keep billions starved

 

Like the one that saved the selfish. 

And although the zeitgeist 

pushes us to only worry about us, 

it is crucial to think about 

our fellow messmates.

 

Like the American people,
when their 2nd Amendment
rights are being threatened.

 

Like those
who couldn’t
take time to mourn.


Like a person who
has just been told
to "calm down."

V.

But then you recall – thanks to a devil beating around the bush – that some angels

can’t afford the privilege of fear.

They have to go drive patients to clinics.

They have to teach and stimulate minds.

They have to deliver our mail and bring us the news.

They have to treat those with diseases and conditions.

They have to produce food and goods and bag groceries.

They have to march on the streets for their dignity and against the existential threats they face.

And here I am, in good health and fortune, complaining,
that never have I been surrounded by so many demons.

My demons, 

those fuckers,
charming as Hell.

Walpurgisnacht’s magic doesn’t even compare. 

Solomon’s lesser key doesn’t stand a chance.
 

And here, in this purgatory, known as the office,
and in Hell, known as my home,
I recognize how they are one and the same device.
 

And seven hundred years old at this point.

At the Gates of Hell
once lived a Thinker,

who after pondering
if anyone would ever come back

stopped the vice of thinking
and just decided to wait.

I’ll still be waiting...

Mark Antokolski, Méphistophéles, after 1883. Marble. Photo: shakko.

A Greek sculpture of a older man resting his chin on his hands, which rest on one knee.
V I.

(Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky)

But find me here complaining,

all over the place,
which right now
means no place at all. 

 

At my home office:

The kind of workplace
that doesn’t respect
the boundaries of defining
what is a home.

(De Caelo et Eius Mirabilibus et de inferno, ex Auditis et Visis, Emanuel Swedenborg)

Everyone must have somewhere to go. 

Since there are times
when one absolutely
must go somewhere!

These are those times. Because even a jinn needs a place to hide.

But find me here complaining,

all over the place,
which right now
means no place at all. 

 

At my home office:

The kind of workplace
that doesn’t respect
the boundaries of defining
what is a home.

But why does it feel like there’s only two false options?

 

Hell yes! Heaven’s no?

The seven sins of heaven

or the unseen and unheard wonders of Hell?

To sink or to swim.

 

An oil lamp or a vase.

 

Life or
        livelihood.

 

Are you serious? 

Premonitions, forecasts,

and all these dichotomic projections,

make me weep.

 

I gnash my teeth,
go back into my cave,

and it is now that smiles disappear.

But why does it feel like there’s only two false options?

 

Hell yes! Heaven’s no?

The seven sins of heaven

or the unseen and unheard wonders of Hell?

To sink or to swim.

 

An oil lamp or a vase.

 

Life or
        livelihood.

 

Are you serious? 

Premonitions, forecasts, and all these dichotomic projections, make me weep.

 

I gnash my teeth,
go back into my cave,

and it is now that smiles disappear.

V I I I.

Just imagine…

 

A world without you

 

A world without those that are gone now.

 

What a stark moment in time.

 

But grief can bring us back our memories with them.

 

That’s how we will keep them with us.

 

Are you going to stay?

 

Is it going to change?

 

How the Hell have you been?!

 

Wanna play telephone with me?

 

After I wash my hands I find the essential sacrifice in its creases.

And recognize Time as a valuable resource. I decide to take a walk outside, and I pass by a few of my favorite landmarks; neon purple flowers sunning themselves, and the man who sits on his porch watching videos on his phone and laughing out loud. That’s when I get a call from an unknown number. I usually don't take calls from these, but it’s probably about a job posting at that newspaper that I applied to last week and I really need some dough right now. I should really answer. I’m gonna answer. I answered. It was the doctor’s office. They told me to stop treading so lightly on the bones, and that their protests are my own projection. I guess percussion doesn't ask for forgiveness. So I heed their advice and take a deep and invigorating breath in, followed by a slow and calming breath out. A moment of peace. There ain’t no rest for the wicked, though. And just like the short life of Cherry Blossoms, that fleeting moment of peace is gone with the wind. I start walking towards the river. Although I was walking with a purpose I couldn’t arrive at my destination; I seem stuck on the same loop, over and over again. Although monoatomic, I ended up finding some tranquility in the repetition of my surroundings. A certain calm in the repetition around me. Until suddenly, there I was, standing barefoot, the cold water running through my toes. My soul had been cleansed from within but I was not fully there. Not yet. My mind kept going back to all the names. It was hard for me to fathom they were only one percent. Imagine all 100,000 names in the paper. Imagine that people are dying all around me, but here I am, fazed and unfazed at the same time. But between all the bold and the black and white, my eyes quickly found him. Sweet Elene’s “baby” brother: Gene Zahas, 78, Oakland, Calif., fierce advocate for educational opportunity.

But there is another kind of grief too.

 

A melancholia and a longing.

 

An agony for a world,                   

                     now            

                         dead and gone.

 

The pause to normalcy brings about many things.

 

Like realizing how you might not pause
as often as you thought, between words,
but do so mostly when you need to take 

                  a breath.


This spatz is about what it is about most of the time: 

the oldest dance, the one between life and death.

 

A sense of dread and a sense of life. 

A sense of happiness and a sense of angst. 

 

At the same time.

 

A world that only exists in our minds now.

 

EXQUISITE

NOTHINGNESS.

 

This real fear and unintended risk,
do not compare to the abyss.

 

A pandemic, 

my ass.

Cadavre exquis.


This feels like we all
live in the same
pandæmonium.

Stephanie Decker writing from Chicago, Illinois, May 2020

Shelby McNabb writing from Los Angeles, California, May 2020

Juan Francisco González writing from Bogotá, Colombia, May 2020

Mark Mumm from writing Washington, D.C., May 2020

Yianni Anastos Prastacos writing from Los Angeles, California, May 2020

Luis Basurto writing from Washington, D.C., May 2020

Santiago Flórez writing from Bogotá, Colombia, May 2020

Nicole Garzón writing from Miami, Florida, May 2020

Claire Breen writing from Piedmont, California, May 2020

Just imagine…

 

A world without you

 

A world without those that are gone now.

 

What a stark moment in time.

 

But grief can bring us back our memories with them.

 

That’s how we will keep them with us.

 

Are you going to stay?

 

Is it going to change?

 

How the Hell have you been?!

 

Wanna play telephone with me?

 

After I wash my hands I find the essential sacrifice in its creases.

And recognize Time as a valuable resource. I decide to take a walk outside, and I pass by a few of my favorite landmarks; neon purple flowers sunning themselves, and the man who sits on his porch watching videos on his phone and laughing out loud. That’s when I get a call from an unknown number. I usually don't take calls from these, but it’s probably about a job posting at that newspaper that I applied to last week and I really need some dough right now. I should really answer. I’m gonna answer. I answered. It was the doctor’s office. They told me to stop treading so lightly on the bones, and that their protests are my own projection. I guess percussion doesn't ask for forgiveness. So I heed their advice and take a deep and invigorating breath in, followed by a slow and calming breath out. A moment of peace. There ain’t no rest for the wicked, though. And just like the short life of Cherry Blossoms, that fleeting moment of peace is gone with the wind. I start walking towards the river. Although I was walking with a purpose I couldn’t arrive at my destination; I seem stuck on the same loop, over and over again. Although monoatomic, I ended up finding some tranquility in the repetition of my surroundings. A certain calm in the repetition around me. Until suddenly, there I was, standing barefoot, the cold water running through my toes. My soul had been cleansed from within but I was not fully there. Not yet. My mind kept going back to all the names. It was hard for me to fathom they were only one percent. Imagine all 100,000 names in the paper. Imagine that people are dying all around me, but here I am, fazed and unfazed at the same time. But between all the bold and the black and white, my eyes quickly found him. Sweet Elene’s “baby” brother: Gene Zahas, 78, Oakland, Calif., fierce advocate for educational opportunity.

But there is another kind of grief too.

 

A melancholia and a longing.

 

An agony for a world,                             now    

dead and gone.

 

The pause to normalcy brings about many things.

 

Like realizing how you might not pause
as often as you thought, between words,
but do so mostly when you need to take

                   a breath.


This spatz is about what it is about most of the time: 

the oldest dance, the one between life and death.

 

A sense of dread and a sense of life. 

A sense of happiness and a sense of angst. 

 

At the same time.

 

A world that only exists in our minds now.

 

EXQUISITE

NOTHINGNESS.

 

This real fear and unintended risk,
do not compare to the abyss.

 

A pandemic, 

my ass.

Cadavre exquis.


This feels like we all
live in the same
pandæmonium.

IX.

There’s accidents of the mind,
like the ones found when one’s concerned

with nature’s call,

and by doing so

​one develops an interest in scatology.

Let the demons
              out, 

to come in through the c a k
                        r c s.

 

Yes, there’s smiling faded faces
inside of coarse video rectangles. 

 

And from the digits,
I am summoned to appear
with my true form.


Nuanced. Liminal.
Hybrid. Cyclical.
Hyphenated. Criminal.

While you see me appear, I do so half mesmerizing,
but you don’t know about that other half that is hygge,
rest assured I am         

                  a full       c y b
                                      o r g.

 

Anyways… everything will end, one day…

 

But will this ever end? 

There’s accidents of the mind,
like the ones found when one’s concerned

with nature’s call,

and by doing so

​one develops an interest in scatology.

Let the demons
              out, 

to come in through the c a k
                        r c s.

 

Yes, there’s smiling faded faces
inside of coarse video rectangles. 

 

And from the digits,
I am summoned to appear
with my true form.


Nuanced. Liminal.
Hybrid. Cyclical.
Hyphenated. Criminal.

While you see me appear, I do so half mesmerizing,
but you don’t know about that other half that is hygge,
rest assured I am

          a full   c y b
                         o r g.

 

Anyways… everything will end, one day…

 

But will this ever end? 

 (‘Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way,’

Girl With Curious Hair,

David Foster Wallace)

XI I I.

The urgency doesn’t encompass the importance.

 

You cannot control this any longer. Nuh-UH. 

 

Especially when seeing productivity and its guises becoming uncovered.

 

No time to be stressed with such a busy schedule, am I right?!

 

What about your self value and self worth
being dependent on your day’s work
and the appearance of being busy?

 

So glad we can choose to see beyond that now. Or not?

 

What about those whose work is so tied to who they are?

What about your performance reviews? How’s this sprint looking?

What about these KPIs, page views, goals, and numbers?

And what day is it anyway?

 

Everyday is fucking Blursday.