I wrote this just about 2 years ago after watching Dawn of an Evil Millennium, Damon Packard's amazing cerebral ganglia-fuck. It's available on "Experiments in Terror" along with some other incredible shorts including the one and only Virgin Sacrifice by JX Williams. It's available here.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a reoccurring vision of a massive fleshy toxic bag floating above my bed, just lightly tracing a path along the ceiling. It's covered in patches of hair and teeth, fingernails, and goose-bumps. I wonder if it's inspired by one of those giant tumors that a team of tele-visionary surgeons might remove from a desperate Croatian village-woman who has no other option. That parasitic tumor is eating her alive. Her DNA is out of control, the sack writhes and twists, vestigial lips and crooked teeth part to silently scream out as the scalpels begin to carve away at it's mutant sovereignty.
Maybe it's the same big beast that bobs above my bed breathing and inhaling any of the goodness that my heart has. If I lay there for too long looking up at it as it fills itself and expands, my heart will calcify in my chest, my pulse will die, and all that will remain will be the microscopic echoing snaps within a crispy crustacean beneath my breastbone. I don't want to be one of those lonely heartless men. Those guys used to come into the bookstore where I worked and we'd talk about James Joyce, Gurdjieff, and 1970's pop psychology. They lost it sometime long ago.
These days they might be living in a subsidized apartment or if they're lucky maybe an old friend might lend them a room in their basement. Each day they will come out of their caves to get coffee and shamble around the used book store. They'll talk to me about an old medieval text that I've got to check out because the world we're living in today is just history repeating itself. Then, they'll start talking about porno. At night they will travel in packs and scatter like a gang of scared teenagers outside the movie theatre when the cops tell them they can't hang out there.
They've still got a ember of their dignity though, when you press the rewind button on their life, you'll see it in incredible flames scorching anything that touches their restless curiosity. But where are they now? They'll tell you that time passes by so quickly, that they used to be handsome, and that you can be as idiosyncratic as you want to be when you have your youth, but by the time you're old and ugly, no one wants to hear a word that you say.
You're self-aware coughing dusty gray-haired animals and really there's only one thing I want to know from you– when did your home disappear? I just want to know when it was that your seas dried up or when your forests burned down.
So I wake up these mornings in the new room that I'm staying in on a mattress salvaged from an old pull out couch. My lower back always hurts. This morning I escaped the beast again. I always do, but some days I can feel my heart still crystalizing when it sends those cold poisons into my guts. I have to admit these days have been bad. I'm anxious and feel wasted. I'm trying combat it by lifting weights again, maybe get the 25lbs back that slipped off me when I was too stressed out to eat over the past 6 months. I go to the shop and I draw, or I work on the computer. I talk to Jane as much as I can and just wish I was back in Dublin with her. At night I go back to the room and I draw some more. I try to develop new inking techniques, I read books while I'm sketching, I think about colors. I have no idea how to relax, its a state of existence that I've completely lost.
I don't have much food in the new place. I'm still not used to gathering supplies or other simple things like doing laundry regularly. I can pump my own gas, but there's a variety of simple skills that I've realized are fairly beyond me until I get my shit together. Last night instead of going grocery shopping when I was done at the shop, I called Frank and went to Julians for something relatively cheap to eat. Afterwards we went back to his apartment where I often find myself easing out of consciousness in a smokey haze while trying to digest some sort of obscure cinematic treat on his tv. In the spirit of Halloween, we decided to watch Experiments in Terror. It is nearly Halloween, it was perfect for the season. In the midst of several amazing short films was a piece by a filmmaker named Damon Packard. The 1988 short film is called,
DAWN OF AN EVIL MILLENNIUM
I lied there on the couch, shoes still on, barely breathing even and when that film came on. I couldn't move, I didn't want to blink. What I saw were the manifestations of that big morning beast's own thoughts vomiting, slurping and gurgling, tripping, falling, destroying. It was a purity of thought, ingenious chaos, nothing missed, every piece of time fully contracting and pulsing like a slippery disembodied sphincter. Packard's film was it's own language, it made absolute sense to me. I didn't feel inspired by it, I felt validated and isolated and scared. I saw that big beast rising up from behind the TV. It hovered above me as I stared into it's countless maws. I felt nothing. My heart didn't hurt. This film was made by someone who was able to survive some sort of cataclysm and actually build a structure out of the ashes. It was so goddamn smart and gross and funny. This guy let his beast overtake him. It's obvious. You could see straight into the brain of Damon Packard. That is the purity of art.
I woke up in my bed early before dawn. I was confused that I may have still been on Frank's couch, but there I was and like the morning before there was the big beast hovering and I was just laying there staring up at it.
When did my forest burn down and when did I start running away from this thing? I don't want to be obsessed or possessed. Packard's work scared the shit out of me. I saw that beast's mind on the screen. How the fuck can you walk the line? How is it possible? Is there anyone who has ever been able to do it?
When I was a kid, I got nosebleeds. I loved dripping into a cup and watching the red blood separate from the plasm. It was so dark and thick, concentrated pure powerful blood. Now I'm older and everything all fast-forwarded to some point in my life where I find myself in a battle with a deformed perception of reality left over from an unrealized adolescence. These days I sit in a room surrounded by things that are just left over, the things that I've kept over the years, the common denominators. It's all concentrated, boiled down, purity, but it's not comforting. I know why I put the things into the work that I do. I understand it's existence. I'm not trying to shock anyone, I know what I do can be gross, but if I want to, I can tell you exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing and I don't care if I sound like a complete idiot. To tell you the truth, I think I can art-speak the shit out of my work.
This short-term world that everyone is so excited about, the luxury of our existence, the luxury of being able to even produce art, so dangerous in it's entropic power. I know what I am but I don't want to evolve into a toothless disheveled mess because the life has been sucked out of me by my own work. I have no clue how to battle the beast, it's there every day. It's feeding off my obsessions, off of the concentrated powerful purity that depending on how you look at it– is the product of either my evolution or devolution. It's there and I can only imagine that all I can do to fight it is to overfeed it until it bursts. It can't grow infinitely. I hope not.
I don't know if Damon Packard would agree, but I think that he's feeding that beast. I don't know how it's working out for him. I don't know how it's working out for me either.