//by Keith Warren//
I haven’t really seen myself since New Year’s Day, twenty-thirteen.
I’ve been in love with a different mirror since then.
Sure I looked in my bathroom mirror in that time, but only ever with the vainest intentions. Beholden, in a culture of images, to the images of cultures arranged in pixels on the screens.
One held in hand, one in the next room. Another in earshot.
Anxious concern of how will I be perceived?
Situation A… Situation B… Situation C…
Not much concern for the future and more a concern for some other place, but that’s not here.
Some other place ISN’T. HERE.
I guess you might say it’s just the landscape, now, but that’s still so vague because what it is is all the tools we, the animal, are wielding while inhabiting space in our fields of being.
The tech is now an ever-present plasma display screen, mainlined into our psychical heads-up display. Big stuck pixels swiss cheesing mental faculties.
It’s somehow, now, pushing toward total saturation. The external world crashing in on us. A solid white tsunami noise wall of data. All the wall space is getting colonized by the empire of the screen.
I mean that both metaphorically and physically, by which I mean of course mental walls and walls as in brick walls. Walls of city buses painted with HBO shows and sexy new night club nights, because night clubs rent out space between time walls too. Medium-rise buildings rent entire facades to toilet paper campaigns, do Charmin bears shit on cinderblocks? Seemingly yes.
Inside a loud world, clamp hands over ears. Shield the searing brightness, clamp them over eyes and isolate, inward.
Don’t think of true self, persistent self. Think instead of instances of personae, slides or stills, that flash across mind’s eye.
Overestimate how much better are some times, underestimate other times. Would so much rather be doing [other thing] right now(!), also sprach the novelty license plate frame.
Then feel defeat because here and now isn’t there and now. Somewhere else isn’t here.
Imagine the alternative and picture life otherwise. Keep the journey to or from that point outside the frame. Reduce it out of the equation entirely. The hypothetically simultaneous ‘other’ self is far more exciting––the mysterious other path but implied.
A separate simultaneous world disappoints by design. We cannot possibly achieve it. We cannot be both here and there, and now.
But still I only looked at myself vainly, jealous of other instances of myself. And never once, it doesn’t feel like, did I stare down the barrel of my own life, straight into my own eyes. I saw gaunt eyes in an otherwise healthy face. I see that I’ve changed my posture for the stronger; my whole attitude and energy more natural. Fluid. But not advancing.
Sometimes you trick yourself into having someone else look at you so you don’t have to. You can see it all already anyway.