A Game of Yes or No

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Daniel Thompson
shadowmounds@gmail.com
250 580 9403
955 Humboldt St. apt. 103
Victoria B.C.
V8V 2Z9

A Game of Yes or No
by
Daniel Thompson

Waking into a world only slightly more agreeable than a nightmare. I can’t be held responsible for the things I do—late at night/ early in the morning. Thinking… the pill or the fluid? The pill and the fluid, the pill and the fluid together drop down my throat into unknown depths of consciousness. Stripping accountability from the solitary mind, taking responsibility for the worst crimes. Crimes that for a moment I believe I have committed and am hiding in this room away from my enemies. Crimes against myself, I can’t be held responsible for the things I do…
Nodding off at the table. Candle wax drips on the paper. I watch the clock melt. Time: a nervous reaction to encountering the world through a physical body. Weighed down by pounds of flesh, worldly possessions, books, fragments of writing but ‘I’. I am a being of light. A-ha! How can the world restrain me when I am a being of light? Indifferent to the nocturnal/ diurnal alternations of the nychthemeron, day slave of night mind, doing the work of the unconscious while denying its existence; night denies the day, break on through to the other side.
My nightly mantra goes as follows: the next time I am dreaming I will remember to recognize that I am dreaming. If there’s a tool I’ll use it. If there’s writing—written on the handle of the tool—I will read it. Watching, the tool and my hand become one. I carry things, but cannot bring them back. Like the word it cannot be written. Nay it cannot even be comprehended, said, allowed; knowledge for the dead and dying. Not as easy as it sounds and it doesn’t sound easy. Impetuous sleep, thoughts; let them roam. It’s the can’t-be-pinned-down quality of dreams that I like. So much more exciting than base consciousness I was talking (that is so distracting) where was I? Not brave enough? Give me an extra life and I’ll take all the chances. There are only two possibilities: yes or no.
Awake, a wave. I’ve eluded sleep for days. Indefatigable shadows stalk me on busses, in class, at work, at home and vanish before I can focus on them. Catching sleep between the swells, keeping one eye open for land while the continents move farther apart. Usually the mariner can be sure that the land will remain in the same place. That he moves closer with every nautical mile, but for me; an island of a man, I cannot be so sure. Out of a desultory nod… the tide deposits me somewhere along the new shoreline.

I clear the table of papers, coins, plastic recyclables, remnants of food and set it again with the materials necessary to the procurement of the ritual: candle, quill, ink, rubber stamps, picture postcards from places I’ve gone, want to go, chalk, concert tickets, amber and obsidian charms, vegetables; lemon, carrot, an egg; making an inventory of everything I see, arranged and rearranged in the dark. A list of things that one wishes to leave behind when they are gone, pages from a journal or book, for what good are they besides? Hidden between covers between other books on a shelf.
Putting the past before breakfast. I recreate myself five times a day to parry the deathblow. Anticipating patterns that haven’t had time to repeat like a reader so familiar with the format of a novel—more like habit—that they only need to read a few pages to know what the story is about. How life imitates art or art perfects life; that there was no life before art, no dance before feet, no voice before speech, no drum before beat.
It’s not a complete reinvention I undergo, but a gradual building upon the old mammalian brain for a peek at what the next designation might be, after Sapiens Sapiens… as there cannot be a Sapiens Sapiens Sapiens unless we postpone our evolution. The name already suggests something post-post-modern foundering for identity, seeking a word other than post- to describe itself. Or will it drop the second -Sapiens and revert to just being Simple Sapiens. More likely it will denote a split into several different species as some already have; well on their way to becoming Habilis with ‘bad habits’, dashing naked through the streets, caveman wearing its skin like a loincloth. I fear I may be devolving. Is the caveman an omen? A recapitulation? I wander to worrying about getting hit by a car, but can’t hold onto any thought for long before another, less evolved, chases it away.

About the Author: 
Dan is a writer before a scientist, what discoveries he has made are facilitated through language. He is currently working on a book about the inception of language and how language may have developed through a gregarious fictional account.