The Panther and the Hawk

by

Daulton Dickey

A panther stalked through a clearing, surveying its surroundings. It glanced at the sky as it sauntered forward. What joys a bird must experience. The beauty must dazzle it.

Ahead, lightning speared a tree. Branches and embers blasted to the ground as fires glowed around the trunk. Millions of tiny people—hued in a variety of colors—darted around, punching the air, consuming nearby oxygen. (more…)

THE METAMORPHOSIS: SNAPSHOTS OF THE ARTIST AS A CREATURE OF CHANGE

by
Daulton Dickey

Part V

[Click here to read Part I, here for Part II, here for Part III, and here for Part IV]

i.

The world inverts, reconfigures itself
People split in two and merge with other halves—and transform into a newer, better people

Then the universe shifts and everyone splits in two
Their other halves morph into viruses and leap from person to person,
Controlling their hosts while persuading them they’re in charge

Viruses mingle with my shadow while I smoke a cigarette
They slither through the darkness and crouch at my feet
A concept forms in my mind,
Which forces an opening,
And the viruses leap into my head and take control

Life’s mysteries blur and vanish,
Everything fades
All questions expose their inherent irrelevance
But no— I can see the mysteries,
I can distinguish them
Or,
I could
Now they’re blurry and faded,
Possibly lost

Having regained control, I kill the virus, thus denying its only purpose: to reproduce (more…)

THE METAMORPHOSIS: SNAPSHOTS OF THE ARTIST AS A CREATURE OF CHANGE

by

Daulton Dickey

Part IV

[Click here to read Part I, here for Part II, and here for Part III]

I.

My stomach cramps and I drop to my knees. Pain tears through me. It won’t stop. Stop. It won’t stop. Tearing through me: pain. The sounds around me oscillate from one ear to the other. My stomach contracts like a beating heart, my legs tremble, and everything feels as if someone has tilted the world. Everything shifts.

A phantom—of black and various blue hues—lurks between my skin and muscles. It assumes the shape of my body. But I fight it. I won’t lower my guard. You mastered me for too long. I won’t let it happen again. Again.

(more…)

Derangement of the Senses: Arthur Rimbaud and his Quest for Poetic Vision

by
Daulton Dickey.

One of the archetypes of les enfants terribles of the arts, seemingly devoid of impulse control, young Arthur Rimbaud exhibited vice, vileness, debauchery, and madness. All for his art: like the greatest artists, he defined his persona and translated it into his work.

An intelligent child, he turned his attention to poetry, trying to inhabit it, to re-create the world. He seemingly wanted to reify a form of art in the shape of a person, who could, in turn, reproduce the experience of his inhabitation in the form of poetry. (more…)

The Chaos in the Aftermath

by
Daulton Dickey

I’ve vilified the space between my eyes and my face
The soft-boiled sky sheds purple hues on the city,
On two clowns with pool-cue eyes rubbing through crowds clotting the streets below;
They carry a crucifix, lying horizontally,
Over their heads
And cackle the robbery of dissent

People howl
Pebbles, stones, twigs, glow and greet the opportunity to eagle through the air,
Perched on a path to the clowns,
Who ignore the pain, and the crispness of the crowd,
As they reach the city center and plant the crucifix in a pyramid of dirt erected in an intersection,
They stand nose to nose at the base of the pyramid
And ricochet thoughts snaking between their pupils (more…)

THE METAMORPHOSIS: SNAPSHOTS OF THE ARTIST AS A CREATURE OF CHANGE, III

by
Daulton Dickey

Part III

[Click here to read Part I and here for Part II]

I.

Creatures stalk everyone. Always. They haunt and infect us.

My creature, an amorphous mist,

Slithers near the ground. It merges with my shadow and crawls up my legs—and my pores absorb it. I decay in real time: my physiology weakens, my ego implodes. A supernova blasts through my skull, re-wiring me.

Every moment this creature inhabits me I lose the will to separate from it. Its lucidity comforts me. But it also breaks me, and the worlds flashing before my eyes dissolve before I can muster the energy to record them.

A creature, Frustration, consumes me. It spawns Disorientation and Confusion.

I reify these emotions the way our ancestors anthropomorphized physics. Having superimposed it on the world, I now feed on it,

And it feeds on itself. (more…)

Empire of Dirt

by
Daulton Dickey.

I can’t escape low-paying jobs. No matter how long I stare at the horizon, I don’t see mountains protruding and growing and replacing clusters of trees.

My name fades in the minds of people who’ve already forgotten my face.

The planet, a sphere of rotting flesh, drowns us in the bile of the used and forgotten—and none of us can escape it. (more…)

Patriōtēs

by
Daulton Dickey

You, to whom I’m speaking: ants and maggots writhe on a rectangle made from bones. Blood fills the gaps between them, and a square filled with bile sits in the uppermost corner of the rectangle. Each part on its own devolves into abstraction, but they evolve life when combined in this form.

This creature enchants and controls you.
It embeds itself into you and, like a virus, travels at breathtaking speak. Whether you work or don’t work, watch movies or don’t watch movies, read books or don’t read books, do drugs or don’t do drugs, and so on—you fall prey to this virus.
Then it assumes control of the host and forces it to worship the creature. (more…)

Metamorphoses

For Ovid

by
Daulton Dickey.

After the clouds parted and dried up, the sky pointed its bluish mirror at the ground,
At two people—a man and a woman—tossing rocks behind them.

They each had picked up a rock from the muddy earth near their feet and tossed it over their shoulder. The rocks arched and hit the ground, bottoms buried in mud. (more…)

THE METAMORPHOSIS: SNAPSHOTS OF THE ARTIST AS A CREATURE OF CHANGE

by
Daulton Dickey

[Click here to read Part I]

Part II 

1.

An egg stands on the counter beside a sheathed blade. It topples over without rolling and falls next to the blade, leaning against its sheath.

I grab the egg and stuff it into a carton in the refrigerator.

—Not yet, but when the time comes, we’ll use it.

I shove the blade into a drawer and fall into a lake, which has replaced the kitchen floor.

Unable to swim, I flounder and sink to the bottom.

I can’t hold my breath, so I clench my eyes and wait for death.

My concentration, in that moment, establishes silence, darkness.

“I” disappear as pure consciousness takes hold:

Not darkness, but grayness—the end of a gradient cast by a powerful and all-consuming light.

I sense it but I can’t fall into it, so I try, and I break my concentration and open my eyes.

Sitting half-lotus on my bed, I glance around the room.

I amble into the kitchen and open the fridge and the egg pops out of the carton and rolls and shatters, spilling a fetus resembling me onto the floor. (more…)