Written and recorded for radio.
This is How the Worlds Were Built
13 minutes in.
A room with no visible color. I'm wearing clothes I've never owned. My feet are hot. I look down and see that I'm standing on asphalt in the middle of the street. There's a time lapse and I'm wearing nothing at all now. My feet are wet. I look down and there's a concrete puddle in place of the asphalt. A crowd is developing around me, and they all look the same. They are clones of one another, but they're approaching me by walking backwards. They all stop, as if their movements are choreographed. I can't tell who they are. I cannot recognize them. My skin starts to shiver and I go into shock. I make myself still, as if I'm giving myself over to something else. Something dark yet familiar. The crowd turns toward me but their faces are mirrors. My skin starts pulling near my forehead, around the edges of my nose, and soon after I feel a tear manifesting down the center of my entire body. It's pulling and pulling until my body is held together by mere threads of skin. Piece by piece, the skin separates and it falls to the sides of my frame. I think I'm lying draped on the concrete, yet I can still sense my "self" in another place separate from this. There's another body beneath the first. I can see the pile of skin on the concrete from a vantage point that I don't recognize. I see the pile of skin and I see the new body in front of me. It's larger, but not in size. As the new body frees its feet from the concrete, it stomps on the torn flesh at its side and with one fell swoop, shatters the mirrors and erases my memory.
27 minutes in.
A green room. I step into the room, but the floor vanishes beneath me. I'm falling in slow motion, like a drifting feather. My fall is a graceful one, like I'm misinformed of time and gravity. I'm falling, but I am stopped by a thread which extends from one of the walls. The walls are changing. The angles of the walls curve around me and I find myself balancing on a tightrope in the middle of a green sphere. The green walls around me are changing once again. Holographic images begin to appear. I am standing on a tightrope in the center of a holographic sphere. The first sweep of images coat the sphere with lines which quickly become architecture. The architecture defies our natural laws. At once, all of the buildings topple over into the center of the sphere. As they fall into the abyss, the walls are repaired, coated with another image, a clone of the first new world. This time, a cat is poised on a steeple. It jumps onto the adjacent roof, causing all of the architecture to topple, once again, into the center of the sphere. This happens over and over again. But I walk the tightrope...one foot in front of the other. Yet somehow I manage to stay in one place, never advancing. I walk and walk and walk until the dust from the toppled civilizations below my feet, rise to meet me and turn me into stone.
38 minutes in.
A yellow room. It stands across from me. One continuous sheet of flesh. But its flesh isn't flesh as I know it. When I begin speaking, its angles, curves and seams become visible. And language appears to be crawling across its skin. Lines upon lines of symbols and words, written into its crevices, defining its musculature. Crawling until they no longer fit on the outside, but rather find their way inside. Crawling into a hole that sits in place of a mouth. Crawling until they've no where to go. The ingested language and data push on the walls of its skin until its ears are formed. Its lips, nostrils, fingers, toes and muscles are formed. Finally, from its eyes, still closed, concave bulbs are pushed from the inside. And I freeze. It did too. But I hadn't spoken in proportion to this reaction. I hadn't provided this much data. I waited for the lids of its eyes to part. Nothing. I waited. And I felt a connection in our stillness. I could not remember what I had spoken of before. I felt a slight shift in my emotion. And just like that, its eyes did in fact part, displaying pools of colorlessness until the language scrawled across them, marbling them until its eyes became pools of data. And IT became pure data. Data in perpetual motion. In perpetual transit. A perpetually shifting informant. But what was I to know of this? Because I did not feel any additional weight - no responsibility. It was enough just to witness and wonder. I wondered if it was going to visit for much longer. I wondered if it missed out on the demands of interpretation. I wondered if its reaction was a burden to itself, or if it had time to decide. I wondered why they didn't tell me this is what they would be like. Why no one ever mentioned who would meet us here in the in-between. This wasn't in the text we were given. And yet I don't feel unprepared. I feel privileged. And I wondered how much communion was allowed. Can anyone else see it? Can anyone else see us here?