A poem by Claudia Sheffner
you know you’re here now? Passed on from generation to
generation, there are only burnt manuscripts and half-finished ideas, lost to the webs of time for better or for worse. Nothing can register in the minds of people that read them, instead rejecting those ideas and taking their presence for granted as an artifact of their younger years, or as an artifact of their parents’ older years. Dissatisfied with the world, they scream on top of their lungs, turning to holistic approaches to fiction and reality, trying to weave the web that—in turn—traps within itself the thing we know as reality. Of course, this approach to the letters hidden in locked rooms and burning houses is an exquisitely specific one. What, do they care about those enough for them to try to piece them together? Truly puzzling, but in fact, it’s nothing special once you see the cracks in the mirror of what actually lies inside. Beyond academic study or reasoning, within lies the end of manuscripts, within lies the most absurd lies you could tell, within lies the world that we created and the world that we without faith destroyed. Do you understand yet? Of course, I don’t either. I’d be hard-pressed to find any meaning in the words I tell you, or for lack of a better phrase, the endless incoherent half-thought up interpretations of the texts that lie beyond the grasp of human perception.
If “God” is a thoughtform of human belief, then “humanity” as well be an afterthought in God’s book. If the absurd is unreachable, then we shall destroy the boundaries between rationality and the mind’s greatest depths. If pretentiousness is a cry for help, then honesty is acceptance. Or honesty could be a form of giving up. If God thinks highly of us, God will destroy us. If God thinks lowly of us, God will leave us be. So far it has been the latter. If humanity is an accelerator for destruction, then the gears will be left spinning for some sadistic reason beyond the perception of the common man, fed lies on a rusty spoon that he grabs onto. If disconnection is key to euphoria, then we shall interfere with the world’s inner functions and kill everyone that stands in our way. Let nature take hold, yet destroy every single natural artifact. Create a blank slate for absurdity. If being well-informed is a choice, then we shall pummel the word with information noise. If the possibility exists, we shall take measures to prevent it from being realized. That is the main goal of our existence—so to say—no human is pure. No human can be born evil, but no human can be born good either. No human can be entirely pure at birth, but no human cannot be entirely corrupted. Due to the great influence of their environments, the results of how well a child develops mentally and how healthy their development is vary greatly. But no human can be necessarily born an angelic or demonic being. If God is the source of curses, then we shall set that God aside. If God is the factor that corrupts humans and sends them into the depths of oblivious hatred, then we shall reject that God. If God is what creates us, then we shall restart our species and—losing the train of thought, I looked into a mirror. Horribly deformed and gruesome, with half of the skin missing. Then it all grows back. It covers the bare flesh, like a layer of cloth.
If we could be an alternative to the collapse bound for our future, we shall reject that future. If we’re bound by consequence to the eternal crushing doom, we shall reject that doom. Shall we die once again? Nah, perhaps it’d be easier to stay alive and bask in the glory of academy and the glorious honored high arts. It’d be easier to be an alternative to our very own selves. A “1.5” version of a human, with the margins stretched and the soul missing. Submissive and obedient, without meaning and without faith, without honor and without— without. Without what? Without when? Without why? Without without?
Without, without. Really and hopelessly without.
On the riverbanks of steel waters sit a fisherman banging his head against the hardened liquid. He screams—“without water I cannot work!”. On the riverbanks of waters without a bridge above them stands a disgruntled academic. He exclaims—“Oh, how unfortunate! Without a bridge I cannot cross!” An unknown assailant comes by and stabs him in the trachea. Without voice, he cannot scream. Non-sotto voce. Not even in half voice, no voice, zero voice, without voice. Without screaming, without pain, without explanation, without the sense of being without something. A blink, a moment, voice, voice, voice. No voice. Flicker. Blind. Pain. End. Meaning. Fucking hell.
If courage is a bastard’s quick hand, then wounds are the greatest work of human art. If words could be arranged in an order befitting of their true meaning, they’d be incomprehensible. If words could hold objective meaning, then humans would all drop dead. If the voice is the most important, personal thing someone could have, then isolating the voice or asking them to speak quieter. Shells in sunlight, I scream into the ocean’s lungs. If a will is what makes a human alive, then—then what? If anything, blindly, quietly, endlessly. Blindly, endlessly, quietly. Quietly, blindly, endlessly. That’s the order those words could go in, but they don’t. Why don’t they—why don’t they; then we shall reassemble these words and then restore them to pure meaning: the tone of the voice, the very sound of the words coming out of your goddamn throat—if anything, those words don’t necessarily mean anything without tone or intonation and without the simple intricacies of pronunciation and evocation.
Die a horrible death, and then claim you’ve made it out alive. Die a horrible death and then claim you’ve gone and done it. Die a horrible death and then intricately destroy your own records of death.
If anything, it is endlessly hollow meaningless meandering guessing that requires the human brain to function properly and intake information. With eyes of the infinite—and perhaps finite—if only there could be a solid definition, I walk through dead space—that is to say—I am flickering in and out of existence, being consumed by a void.
Echo, echo, echo! oh dear echo.
What do you desire?
The requirements for me disappearing have been fulfilled, yet I stand here still, without anything happening. Disappearing without a doubt, my hands—and the skin on them for that matter—remained, clear as day. The salt of it, the sensation of touch. All of it was completely intact. I could not say I am not what I used to be, because I’ve never changed in the first place.
Echo, echo! oh dear echo! why do you leave me here? oh dear echo! why do you tell me to veer into the depths of the soul? why do you make it clear that I’m alone?
Still—standing in place. Without anything to grab onto, I go on. Crawling, screaming, crying in pain. The end of “that world” and the beginning of “this” world. Where do the boundaries blur—and if they do at all, why do they blur? If there’s a primal need to be human, then we shall exterminate that need. If it burns, if it hurts, if you scream in pain. Emptiness of emptiness, hollowness of hollowness, echo of an echo of an echo of an echo—that is to say, there is nothing to consider “concrete” or “real” for that matter—that is to say, everything can only be concrete, everything can only be real—that is to say, nothing can be concrete and nothing can be real—sotto voce (in half voice), barely any voice, zero voice. Those are words that rotate like spinning plates in my head, veering in all directions and directions beyond what the brain can comprehend. Directions between directions, up-left-right-down-rightleft-right-left-up-down in a split second. As if teleporting—that is to say, in a beautiful rose garden I died twice, in a decaying, withered rose garden I died thrice, in your eyes, in my own eyes, like ice. No one, no one here. No one here, no one there—that is to say, I cry like the endless prayer of the prey of the infinitely expanding rooms and that which consumes everything—if anything, that is correct, yet it is not. The world consumes itself, becoming a specter, a formless idealistic harmless eccentric oversimplified amplified transparent docile shithole.
Snow, snow, sow, row, ohw. Like clockwork, I spin, I rotate, I go around the hands of the clock. Everything accelerates, everything decelerates, everything accelerates to the point of misunderstanding beyond condescending and utterly meaningless matters, beyond the flickering and beyond the endless and beyond the roundabout and rather flowery way the world can be described. Of course, this causes quite a bit of disagreement across academic and non-academic and precisely parataxic and ataxic and dyslexic and partially complete communities of disintegrating marinating far-fetched scheming intentionally left blank.
In the words of a song, there are many songs an infinitely many other songs that could be a form of new verse and a form of completely othered and obsolete and utterly meaningless and perhaps desolate ends to a means. In a form of denied landslide-worthy rejected reflected ejected accelerated and dynamic—that is to say, utterly incomplete. To scream is to let out a sound, and that sound will resonate with many to the point of utmost destruction and utter decimation.
In a flower’s hand lands a key, the key opens silver doors which lead elsewhere—which is not here, but is not “there” either. Stars shine brightly, utterly and utterly and uttered and quiet and cold and freezing and poetic and lonely and concrete—and and, and and. The future is uncertain and the world burns brightly. 20th edition repress of a book you read once—centuries have passed since the book has been released—yet its golden 20th edition is released and overreleased and over-over-over-over-over and over and spinning and nice and clean. In disorientation, there is beauty. In disorientation, there is infinity.
Over—over—dover—glover—glove®. Poetic justice—and the middle man’s bright scream—seventeen and eighteen, thirteen and ninety-six. 9th, 5th—aquamarine, serene, feline, divine, segregated and separated—and gated (community)—no sense thereof however—bright little world—that’s nice—in beige, in blue, in green—all these colors that I have seen—in vein, in pain, in rain—in cane’s hands, in the crane’s wings and in the bird’s signs—sings—and wings, and kings, and rings and the personal opinion of thereof and the complete absurdity of this situation and well—without fail, I fall and set sail.
I unveil the veil of the rail’s end and the preacher’s dying screams. Peaches and kites, the world is micro (tonic, sonic). Opening of the grand delusion, the мороз of diffusion—réveiller of the moon’s edge—for parity and con—clarity, gravity’s utmost center and the world’s revolving dead in the night—vulgaire and born deaf and born blind and born quite refined—in the schemes of the devil’s hand, you look upon the serpent’s head—ground zero, fierce retribution of the God that we represent—the order of the events has been twisted into a web—the world’s few strains have gone adept, adequate and rough around the edges, captain’s will with sharpest edges.
The personal and the impersonal, the revolution of the disoriented and the amended. The sharpest edge of the old and true, the ending of that world and the beginning of this world. Repeated motifs, without meaning and thus absurd—insofar I’d speak and the 7th of April would be bleak—that is to say, the old king’s gone, off with his crown and the madame le Dion. Hail those who do not belong.
Isn’t it wonderful that you can be the sharpest liar, with the world’s most beautiful, eloquently put together and utterly deceptive paint strokes of half-thought out yet beautifully over—o’er—devilish—o’er, o’er—over the skies, over the lakes—you tell white lies. You tell the most beautiful of lies, with the world revolving around the words you tell the adoring public—the white cloth draped with blood, the black cloth draped with tears, the red cloth draped with sickeningly white—sickeningly trite—sickeningly sickening and utterly and uttered and quiet and rosy and gold—perhaps, complex and perhaps utterly meaningless.
With words so beautiful you could scream, you become a cog in this machine that eats away at your bones—the very foundation of your body, the very world that you construct, the very—o’er the skies, over the lakes—you in a two-seater heating down the highway of death. “The best minds of our time” screaming out loud for you not go—for you to be here and for you to be there—for you to be nowhere and everywhere—for you to become the world’s most incongruent human abomination known to man—yet you’ll remain beautiful, one of the beautiful ones in fact, first and last of them—God will bless your bare remains, as we descend down Heaven’s stairs, the aqueducts in their quartz-lit glory, in their eternal head-over-heels state of the moonlit shining reflection—draped cloth in moonlight, red cloth in daylight.
In the midnight light, of the skies that scream love at the end of the world, of “that” world and your world, of the Channeled and the Represented, of the Lied and the Linear, of the holy! all the holy1 Oh beauty, why do you hold me so dear? Oh beauty, why must I suffer for your sake—o’er the skies, over the lakes, I made my last mistake. As if Saturn had devoured his son, you fall for the obvious lie that I had planted eons ago when you were a star in the sky—o’er the skies, over the lakes—I made sure to balance your intake of dust, in clusters of rust. I created you—and I was God—until you came along—until you made a fool of me—o’er the skies, over the lakes, I made my last mistake. Over you and over I, over the Lie and the over the Skies, over the Lakes, I made sure to be your last and you to be my first and the world that ties us together draped in white light, with the drying process of the marinated and complicated stillbirth of the heavenly light.
In the end, you cry. Why do you cry? Did your shepherd die? If he carried you to the fields of green, then why must you see those cruel words? In the port of the great sky—over the skies, over the lakes, I told you I’d be dead soon.
Of course, that’s a lie—over the skies, over the lakes, make no mistakes. Intakes of oxygen and parataxic semblance of none, commissioned to be a lack of form. A devouring of what we deserve, a lack of meaning and the dissolution of the norm, yet perfectly concrete and crystal clear, in the gravity of the situation I find a coronation—of the seventh king and the trouble his word brings.
Replacement for the longing and dying, I find myself long crying. A world of empathy—a world of a lack of it—and then, and then? Then what? Really, really—what a pity that I must find myself in a situation that I cannot comprehend—over the skies, over the lakes—make no mistakes—yet I’ve made plenty—in that emptiness of emptiness—in that hollowness of hollowness—everything blurs, everything swirls— everything goes a merry go round, everything in absolute clarity, everything accelerates—in a world that lacks deceleration, we lack the sense of a nation—and I think that’s for the better—well, no matter—in the end, there are many challenges to overcome for me and you—like bugs crushed under our feet, we rule this world with our hollow wisdom— like the eyes of a serpent—like the claws of a bear—like the hands of a human—like the blood of a human—like the spill of an oil lake—like the world that revolves around the Moon and the Moon that revolves around the Sun and the Sun that revolves around the Liar’s World and the Liar’s World that revolves around Infinity and Infinity that revolves around the Finite Repetition—endless concepts that exist in complete harmony with each other, a slow descent begins—an utterly bizarre, truly incomprehensible—over the skies, over the lakes—make no mistakes. If you scream “dear god!” at the top of your lungs—something will be flung in your face—like the ace and a card—like the fault in a tennis game— like “the fault in our stars”—like the disregard of fiction that does not appeal to an elitist audience—like the joke that’s been told a thousand times—like the—o’er, o’er—clock, clock, tick, tick, revolve, revolve— around the world there is multiple ideas you could have that all smudge together into one—emptiness of emptiness, joylessness of joy— everything, everything, I want everything!—everything to be green, everything to be red, everything to beautiful and everything to burn— everything goes, everything goes—nothing goes, nothing goes—wait, wait, wait—the chorus and the refrain of this world—the beautiful angels’ choir that disrupts the flow of the human voice.
Like crushed bugs.
Like—the partial reconstruction of an idea.
Everything over the sea, everything over the sky—everything went over fine, yet I dine in the finest restaurants of Hell—everything in ecstasy dies a painful death—everything revolves, everything is clockwork— everything is a dying wish—everything is rotating, everything is accelerating—everything over the sky, over the lakes, over the painted and the disgruntled, over the fantastic and the loyal and the royal and the charcoal-painted and the stringed-together—the fate that awaits. Everything is fine—that’s the words I utter, the words I utter in half voice, zero voice, no voice.
Everything that ends is run-on—everything that ends is completely beyond our perception—everything that ends is mine—everything that ends is yours—everything that screams in pain and writhes and cries as it disappears is ours—everything that we claim is our future, everything that we claim is our world—everything that we claim is the values we represent—everything we claim is the world we created. Everything we claim is the stars we live on—everything that we claim is that “thing” that must be granted as a wish—everything that exists and everything is cheap—everything in half voice, in blood drawn, in blades drawn, at dawn we stand, clearly seeing the beginning and the end.
Everything that is the emptiness of the emptiness—over the skies and the lakes, I make no mistakes. Everything that is perfect—everything that is ours—o’er, o’er—the horrifying excess and the wretchedness—the world that we created—the world that we desecrated—the world that we kept secret—the world that we destroyed—the world that we disconnected from—the world that we—left blank.
Everything that connects, everything that utters its words, everything that wants to feel—in silver plates we stand, in the hands of the clock we revolve—in this world that we created—in tone, in sleep, in pain and in death, we hold an oath—everything must be as green as it was “that day” that will soon be overwritten.
Everything that is you.
Everything that is me.
Everything that connects—everything that has ever been in doubt, everything that is left blank—everything that must be and everything that shouldn’t—advance!—advance endlessly towards!—in hell’s construction site, we stand—everything that must be is—the high tower rises to the pits of Heaven—the holes that we had dug for ourselves to comfortably live in—if God is a thoughtform, then so am I—why? If we connect—why do we connect? If we disconnect—why do we disconnect?
If anything, that isn’t it.
If anything, that should be it.
If anything, anything goes.
If anything, there is no if.
Close your eyes and picture the end.
That is you, that is me.
Caught by the tail of idiocy—that world we created collapses on itself—that blue sky we devoured like the birds of a wing—the wing of the birds—the wing of the bird—the eternal peace and the eternal vengeance—everything happens today, everything happens right now— everything connects—everything disconnects—everything does not exist—everything is true—everything is a golden mirror that glares upon itself—everything is a silver key that opens all doors—everything is a diamond eye that sees everything—everything is a quartz statue of the God that we hold dear.
And that is you.
And that is us.
And we are nothing.
If we kill, we survive—if we survive, we kill—if the hands that took us by the throat were true—if the world that took us aflame and sent us spinning—and that person who shot you in the head—and that guy who dropped dead in the silver pond—and the endlessness of hollowness of emptiness of emptiness of emptiness of emptiness—and that refrain of unbearable noise that we evoke, and that golden horse we set as our Trojan’s Beauty—and the world that we created—and the pillars of which we built upon—and the words that I spit—and the words that you hold so dear—and the lies that are beautiful—and the lies that are fake—and the corrections and overhauls that must be made---and the “aleph null’ and beyond—and if Euler’s identity isn’t even Euler’s own creation, then who is Euler?—misattributed, only a word of urban legend—climb the ladder to infamy—climb the world’s edge—climb the partial and climb the full—climb the endlessness and climb the emptiness—if anything, we are nothing—and if we care, we don’t care enough—everything is a looking glass.
In the bright white sky, I “know”.
In the dark blue sky, I “reject”.
On the light green grass, I “accept”.
On the road to happiness, I “deny”.
On the wing of the Phoenix, I “die”. And glaring upon my own face, I “disgrace”.
That human that accepts—the human that rejects—the human that denies—that human that could not exist “properly” and thus was rejected—that human that rejected himself and that human that went over the skies and the lakes to achieve his bizarre dreams—and the human that was and the human that has been—and that world that we created—and that idea we had—and that bizarre set of circumstances.
It’s over now.
I’ve rejected you.
I’ve rejected me.
I’ve rejected “us”.
On that golden wing, I found nothing.
The end of beauty.
And the death of mystery.
And that world that could not be.
And that all could have been.
And everyone that understands.
And everyone that does not understand.
And everyone that will not understand, or try to.
And everyone that rejects, and everyone that denies.
And everyone that might be here and everyone that might disappear, sooner or later.
Everyone is here.
And I am them.
Everything is fine.
Everything has ceased.
Everything is perfectly clear.
Everything is beautiful.
Everything is a perfect wound.
Everyone is wounded.
Everyone bears silver scars.
Everyone sees with ruby eyes.
Everyone sees that which cannot be.
Everyone sees that which could not have been.
Everyone sees that wound on your neck.
Everyone sees that torn out trachea.
In a dark—dark, dark—indeed dark—perhaps dark—well, really maybe it’s automatically dark—without light—but maybe the absence is unintentional—if it has any intention or any non-intention behind it in the first place—in that place, there is a ton of places compressed into one synchronized (maybe desynced) value—if something is challenging and hard to grasp—oh grasp, that’s a fun word—really, grasp, o’grasp—ole grasp—madam le Dion’s final words were exactly: “I cannot grasp the meaning of death.”
If the value is consistent, there is plenty of gateways—(ways, ways)—exits and entrances—bridges and non-bridges—disconnections or connections—syntax and lack thereof—finishing ahead of time (time, time), echo of an echo of an echo—all repeats, all conflicts—all accelerates, all decelerates—if the value of an echo is more than the value of two echoes, then what does three echoes cost?—if anything, there is plenty of questions to be asked, but none to be answered. Circulate— recirculate (uncircle, une circle)—your circle indeed, the final reveal being that—echo, echo, echo—glow, glow (glow, glow)—slowly, slowly, in the night there was—an elaborate, rather obtuse, perhaps out of place—quite interesting, quite captivating—quite archaic—quite arched—a shortcut to—exactly the same location that you were at before—in the night mirror’s cradle—you sat, steady, steady (in a way, you did not sit there just yet)—in a a. (rather interesting) b. (rather annoying) c. (rather ignorant) d. (rather arrogant) aquamarine way—if the colors permit it. The exit is permanent—there are no permanent exits—only the suspension—death is a suspension—if anything—glow, glow, dear echo! grow, grow, dear echo! reflect, reflect, dear echo! the ninety nines world that must be granted and the one that can be done without—in the absence—in the distance—in the clearance—in the severance—in the interference—in the severe, Amir Calier. The name of a man I met once— walking down the street—not walking, probably running—head shaped like a semicircle—une circle, un-circle, re-circle, tie-circle. Re-re-re-recircle—non-circle—ulti-circle—utility circle—refility (futility)—dignity circle.
Refile—a report which the skies reach.
A tree that grows so high.
It knows no boundaries.
—And thus it knows no limits. It ends a cycle, yet it begins anew.— Reach around, put your hands up to the sky, dear echo. Dear echo, you’re here now. And you’re free now—dear echo, you’re here now—dear echo, you’re free now—dear echo, you’re me now—dear echo, you’re no one now—dear echo, you’re free now—dear echo, you’ve gone and done it now. You’re free now, my friend. You’re gone now, my friend—recursive, decursive, percussive, congestive—rejective—monolocomotive—based on intuition and based on spirit.
And then we reach back to madam le Dion, and she screams: “If echo could only accuse me!”—of course, these charges were dropped— but yet they were integrated into her sentence—who was madam le Dion?—an archetype, an echo—a decelerator—an accelerator—a refiltrator—a consequence—a dire strait-or.