Mnemonics: Drunken Thoughts on My 31st
by Ryan Johann Perry
One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel. Thirty-one. In the larger picture it's high noon and I have just woken up. The planes of youth are airborne, parachutes of unrecognizable versions of myself are raining down. I have overslept, operating on autopilot through the big numb cloud of time. I remember when I was younger a sad, happy, or miserable person was few and far between, persons in my life seemed to vacillate. Now as I grow older, like noticing your car after it becomes yours, I can see them more often, they have begun to carry weights. Jesus, Buddha, and the Devil have multiplied as the world expands and I have multiplied as many times.
There is a paradigm that shifts, and the illusions that I have psychologically created slowly begin to shed. In the naked loneliness of this life, we can begin to see that the illusions that serve as mile markers of age, when they die, explode into some supernova that gives us an intimate conversation with truth, for lack of a better word.
I can see myself now, a college student philanthropist, funding vacations for professors who should probably stay there, as they can phone it in just the same, only now less figuratively. Sometimes a cigar is a just a cigar. Another wage slave carrot led into the American Dream.
The conditioning is interesting, as I remember that it was through pure reason we could ostensibly understand life, but this pure reason seems like nothing short of a great dissociating from what was surrounding me, a solipsism seen in the foodie, selfie photos, the cheap double entendre's and quips, the bitterness costumed in platitudes, quotes, and debates. The larger picture is condensed to memes, and this condensation eliminates the passage of time, makes all small dramas infinite and all moments historic and the key players in it all, ourselves, of the utmost concern. This in turn dissociates us from ourselves, our failings, our probabilities and much like a dream, makes choices always predestined for three acts.
It is not until the movie, flowing on electro current VHS tape in our mind, begins to fade, erode that we begin to see that these movies were always our illusions, and that when the illusions fade to magnetic fields we never recognized, we see all incarnations of ourselves, stacked like soccer teams, future vs past “I,” play their mutually assured destruction game until we are left with our self. Me, thirty one.
And it is most interesting that seeing me I can begin to analyze myself, like analyzing a musical composition before playing, seeing the rhythms and densities of the chords, the time signatures, the presupposed difficulty, that I begin to see how time is much the same, that the composition was hidden before us the whole time and we simply play the notes linearly. Because we are moved by symbols, and therefore visual, and therefore successive and linear.
This analysis of myself makes those moments trans-formative, makes myself I to the second power and this is how you begin to change, by devouring the leaf of time that you believed yourself to have stayed on, and form whatever cocoon will best protect you for the transmission from the symbol behind living, to the symbol behind dying.
It is this linearity that occludes the prismatic future, that occludes the role of magnetism and our CNS. We cannot write these symbols unless we stop and pull out something that will mark, ink, kill, or continue. This is the static heard in the great numb, the reading of the symbols, the wall paper tear sound of us trying to peel past them. This static is the hum behind everything you devote your attention to, the dog whistle of distraction, Tinnitus of experience.
Maybe there are ways out of this all. Maybe building ones cardio, learning to swim. Maybe lying and noticing the gears work the same, that there needs not be a moral clutch. Maybe study psychology with serious intent, as if it could ever possibly be a map to yourself before you ever had conscious intent.
Maybe it is to fight? Maybe it is to find that fight or flight are binary, in a prismatic world where we cannot see out of our subjectivity and that the great leap sideways, the great guess, are other colors in the prism. Maybe these anomalies are a foreign blooming we cannot define. Fighting is something religious as it attempts to be a catalyst for something slouching towards objectivity. Fighting, like dancing, like having sex is the language of movement, an untranslatable conversation that cannot be recorded, only ever scripted - and it will be, when we stop, when we build empires and families, when we write our name.
Maybe it is to call out the cowards in our lives, the charlatans, the ones who make the world their audience. We can scream at them and after the articulation, see the psychic feedback how on their faces and note how similarly we react.
Sometimes there is no need for mirrors. Mirrors are simply questions. Questions are the way we sculpt our reality into our desired orbit via language, how we make the prism binary and photographically pleasing and well composed. But there are many questions. One could venture to say there are as many questions as there were beings with lungs past, present and future. The mirrors in our bathroom are simply peek holes, which like facts, offer a glimpse, but one that in the condensation lasts long enough to become definitive, to be written in books, newspapers and synapses. Each successive look through the peek hole contributes to the collage, and the collage will always be abstract.
There are abstractions with clues, puzzles that we try to complete over the course of our lives. These give us a chance, put meaning in the flip of the coin. These abstractions are people and these people outline possibilities. Yes, this is a love poem. What these abstractions require is that one takes the daily guess towards something outside themselves, towards something that may not even know it is loved, perhaps they love something, someone, somewhere else. It does not matter, “You are what you love, not what loves you.”
What this does is make the future something you can never be king of and the past an endless stream of revolutions. This makes the future something that you may not even be a participant in, but can still be a voyeur. What this does is make the future more prismatic. The crest of the wave becomes something which you can ride, not something inside your mind that can alter your compass, give you the adolescent sea legs again, or the younger man stutter step.
Myself to the second power is sketched through language and moves through action against my illusions. It is through these tiny revolutions that the world tethered to yourself can move forward.
I move forward, I rewind. Age: 31 Illusions
Zero Fucks Given,
Ryan Johann Perry