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Inhabitants of the Past
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In my wheelchair , and sitting, listening, hoping to be invisible, silent. Hoping to be able to write or make art, or even read without having to dodge all the well intentioned people trying to “help”, trying to offer advice. Wanting me to be inspirational, to persevere. Taking the energy and time I have squirreled away and squandering it.
I am watching my coffee congeal as I listen to my phone cheerfully bleating to let me know that another sales offer, suspicious politician, or debt collector is calling. More unsolicited help. I am thinking of a caterpillar or some kind of insect in a larval state, bound constrained, condensed inside a hard exoskeleton. A crusty inelegant cacoon encasing its body. Ugly. This insect is shut off from the world, from shapes and colors, from fleeting movement . It can no longer roam, as its world shrinks both in size and possibility. It can no longer feel it’s legs. It sits soaking in some kind of oozing liquid. I can’t help but think of this insect saturated in this blinding gritty juice, dissolving the skin, melting body being digested. Again, I don’t know about how caterpillars or even insects work, and probably liberally mixing tropes from “body horror” movies like “The Fly” into it. I am thinking of the skin of the caterpillar sliding off, it’s muscles exposed, it’s bones liquifing. It’s body rendered a stain, and yet it somehow still feels. It still thinks back to its youthful days of mobility of vigor while sludge like, a milky paste.
A collector of mine sent me an email about turning some of my paintings into NFTs. It makes sense, as I have transitioned into making mostly digital art. It is way to keep my hands moving , to keep making things. My initial reaction to NFTs is to associate them with those vampiric Silicon Valley bros. They’re for people who like the idea of collecting art, but don’t like art. It seems like the idea of “valuable” . It replaces the messiness of art with the idea that scarcity = value. I may be wrong. I was wrong about zoom and FaceTime. I always thought of keeping in touch with people on the internet as a sad thing. Those AOL chat rooms taught me that internet friends were often imaginary. A crutch to trick yourself into thinking you have a real relationship – that these digital ghosts are friends. The last three years if nothing else has made me think different. I miss going places, I miss seeing or meeting people, but at least zoom and internet messaging is available. At least it offers the possibility of contact, without demanding anyone to go out of their way to create accessible spaces.
I remember reading Sci Fi stories about people addicted to virtual reality. How their bodies atrophy as they in their pods, dreaming of being a person. Those stories made it seem like a horrible fate to be avoided. But now, it seems like something we should embrace, especially as the outside world continues apace towards a climate hell scape. The fires, the floods, the storms, the air conditioners melting, the supply lines collapsing, the plagues, the gun toting weirdos. All the stuff Good Morning America likes to not dwell on to much. I am sure the economy is doing great though. Stocks doing well. There is a reason why “crypto” currency is preferable to paper – every dollar is probably bejeweled with more germs that a saliva soaked teddybear loitering at a thrift store.
Most of my finances are direct deposit, are just numbers being transmitted instead of being mired in the world. I no longer memorize phone numbers, my phone does that. I use instagram filters to patch up the horror of my body. Like a snake shedding its skin. We are slowly dropping the parts of us we no longer need. We are dropping things that are holding us back. We are dropping the dead parts of us. Electronic connections seem impossible fast, the idea of distance and location are falling away. What is the caterpillar doing in its cocoon but shedding its worst parts. My witchy friend Mia made me appreciate that the trees were living beings. Elder. Just very very slow. The way trees see the world, experience the world has got to be completely alien to us. If they could communicate with us, we would not be able to interpret what they were saying. I imagine in the future when we shed our filthy bodies, and become electricity we will exist so fast as to be unintelligible. The We of Today, would be seem like elder trees to We of Tomorrow. slow, easy to mistake as not alive.

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