The Oracle as We Burn

I can’t remember – it started after we imbued the drugs with magic – the unspooling of ourselves, skulls blooming – expanding into each other teeth first – the first time I saw us in the broken mirror – when did the halls here unravel? – how long have we splintered outside of time? – who made the first mask? –

she flicks the ash from her cigarette
she flicks the ash from her cigarette
I ask “what does that mean?”
she unseams her lips “it’s just a cigarette, it means nothing”
but then they came for her under blood and not long after they burned the witch

Out there in the woods, a tree unfurls its roots; they are nooses, its branches, bone. It claws at the clouds until sunlight spills out. Its decades aren’t carried in the rings of its trunk, but in the bodies hanged up unrevenged. How many children have hanged there? How many boogeymen have added to its collection of endings?

The sun slices itself open along the horizon and the sky curdles with its blood. That’s when they came. That’s when they always come.

we shot up in the corner beneath the unflinching gaze of digital vitreous
we fell // we fall–
today is forever and the syringe is always full

I can’t remember remembering, memories shuffle together, 52 card pickup. Out there in the woods, gnarls of knotted bark blink blackened eyes. Oh, they watch. They wait, too. Believe that. Bet. Know. Overhead, the CCTV blinks its squishy lens. Cataracts, cataracts; darkly, dimly.

When the Ragged Man comes over the cracked stones, when the skyscrapers drown, when the apocalypse pulls its punch, flip the coin. It tumbles to its zenith upward and pauses and you will know. When the Ragged Man comes over the desert, prepare.

we introduced alchemy to the manufacture of our recreational pills and powders – we studied the dust-dead languages – we stared into the squirming void and memorized the texture of its skin – s q u a m o u s — when fighting monsters, do drugs – do not become, that’s for later – when you stare into the abyss – this overdose is nothing at all, it does not count, we have only collapsed into the corner of the next room –

She shrieks with white phosphorous, a flare against the black. The last I saw the Oracle, she tumbled, sparking, into darkness, her last wails the mourning of dead gods. The skin of night is the skin of the universe.

He didn’t exist until we feared him into existence. You know who he is. The first fear, the oldest, the one with the silly name so we forget about how everywhere he could be when we grow up. We told the stories around campfires and flashlights and flickering candles and the universe heard our whispers and provided. When the first child went missing, we can’t remember. Maybe always.

there is a house at the end of the lane
go there by night, you won’t find it by day
(and when you arrive
we think that you’ll find
you ought to have just stayed away.)

strange attractors, fractal magic, loose change cointossed— observe the zenith. I see him now. We see him, we watch him lumber through tragedies licking his parched and hungry lips; life, uh, life finds a way; Jung, Feynman, Curie, Radium Girl; over a long enough time period, everything does indeed happen—

we midwifed the boogeyman by begging the universe to make us one
this is sometimes how magic works

sometime after we put the magic in the drugs, we unraveled; all memory tangled-tangles together, everything is heavy with everything else. she flicks ash and the molecules tumble like coins through the air. 52 card pickup, the Oracle burns in warcrime flare; she screams the truth and tumbles into darkness like breezecaught ash. she flicks the cigarette. they come to make her into an inferno and she goes without struggle. the sun has killed itself in grief, her last words are truth, then the night comes.

“Does it?” we ask.
”It doesn’t matter,” she told us, or tells us now, a ghost, a witch, a gaze into void.

She burns forever because every moment crystallizes into itself infinitely – our teeth are the same teeth, now, and our skin is the same skin, and we exist overlapping each other – our Venn diagram is a circle – we no longer remember – splintering outside of time, we see crystals, moments – memory serves no purpose – it all happens simultaneously, forever – how many hanged, yet? — maybe none, maybe all of them at once — my heart would break if it still could —

52 card pickup, missing children, Oracles, boogeyman, darkness, distance and time, starlight—
what is a Tulpa?
do you understand how we made the monsters? how you made them?
how they could wear you like a suit?
how they could put you on like a mask?

who first donned the mask? possessed by the whispering dark, who first vanished beneath it? who gave up their names for this? when did the first child disappear? we can’t remember – only elephants and gods remember everything — it happens, y’know?

1967 AD
1967 BC
1945, 2001, 2296 AD
666 BC, 999 AD
above//below; past//future; present//????;
the broken mirror and our reflection(s)
when you stand outside of time you do drugs, y’know?

death is nothing at all – it does not count – (we) have only slipped away into the next room – nothing has happened – everything has happened – everything happens forever – in the next room, we splinter – an overdose is nothing at all – the magic in the heroin now – we do not count – the Oracle is in the next room and we scream in phosphorous – this is nothing at all forever haha what a joke — we are the wise ones, the witches burnt – the children missing – the bodies hanged – the boogeyman himself, licking his parched and hungry lips – the truth is –

Our last memory (if “last” exists beyond its placeholder as a mere expression of referential chronogrophy, which it no longer does, not to us, but if it did, as it momentarily does for you, as long as moments possess meaning to you, and they do for a while still before they don’t, in that case then) our last memory is a flare into darkness forever, a shout of truth swallowed by night and the-thing-we-think-is-infinitude. The truth? We are stardust and memory and the boogeyman is what? We seize and decentralize and recombine into a star, time and distance, at daylight’s death. We spasm and jerk and foam around the lips and the magic turns our blood into phosphorous. We are so high forever and now our teeth chatter truth—

will we ever come down? will we know if we do? will anyone?

What she meant was that we were her and we were the ones burning her — we are the witch and witch-hunter — once you stand outside of time — we are the missing children, the hanged bodies, the unlived futures and the stories never written — when the abyss gazes back, do drugs — we are the boogeyman licking our parched and hungry lips. You’re wondering about the connection? We did too before time melted our brains.

the first child. the fifty-second child. the scary mask, the oracle, the forever scream of the dying sun. the truth is a wail into dark, a desperate flare against the void. time and distance, every star a shriek. from the shadows, the boogeyman comes. even the stars fear the dark; even stars fear the end. I remember, now, when we put the magic in the heroin. now, under the cataracted glare of the bloodshot camera, which is also then, now, we shot up. and now, then, we splinter, falling into each other teeth first. our skulls bloom and our meat sprays into rose petals. we go round the prickly pear. we fall upon a broken column. our eyes? we see, now – we are the boogeyman and we are the children he takes away. our house is at the end of the lane. we are in the next room, the room right next to you. do you hear us? we whisper the truth into you. we splinter, outside of time. you know how it is. you remember. because after we splinter, we fall together again, teeth first. we become. that’s forever.