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.

II.

Deep inside me, a creature grows, and it waits for its moment
To enter the world,
To shine,
And it calls itself the same name as millions of people who came before me.

III.

Art served a function in rituals, then it shifted to a trade, the result of which transformed the product into a status symbol, into a sign of the intelligentsia—or It fooled people
Who reveled in delusion by thinking
Themselves members.

Artist is a creature who puts more emphasis on the power of its creations than does the ordinary person
Not possessed by such a creature.

Artist distorts its universe, as well as others, yet the untrained eye can’t or won’t experience these new
Universes,
In which they’d find any- or everything
Possible.

The joys and the sorrows, the highs and The lows, and ambivalence, the expanded universe allows the reversal of the
Impossible and possible—or the altogether extinction of rational thought:
Artist feeds on these,
And more, experiences and sensations. Without them, it’d possess nothing worth sharing, a tragedy akin to the creature’s death.

IV.

i.

The creature—faceless, shapeless, colorless—slips out of me and disappears,
Then it eventually returns and crawls back inside me,
And I become it.

The namesake of lower-case-c creativity, It jolts me, triggers my
Mania,
And I can’t read or write fast enough. I can’t read or write with the speed to match the input and output Creativity demands.

Yet the words and images flow—whether or not anyone reads them or
Listens to them or
Pays attention at all,
And the negation of the latter is almost always the case.

Yet I consume and produce as many words and images as possible.
And I study what I consume;
I analyze it; I reverse engineer it; and I try to replicate it
While figuring out how to force it to mutate
Into an altogether new creature.

That creature, when it evolves, will devour and replace me.
Art isn’t simply an activity.
It’s also a set of behaviors, a way of life,
The breath of life, the beauty of life, the awe-inspiring wonder of life,
And it will change me,
Yet I resist it.

ii.

These creatures evolve for my pleasure, to seduce or coerce me. With some creatures come confidence and creativity and a sense of self. One of these creatures may circle some people but it inhabits me.
Art, the greatest creature,
Lurks inside me.
Others come and go, but it alone never leaves.

It calls to me: —Daulton, Daulton, Daulton; I am you and you are me. I can’t leave because we’ve merged. We’re one.

While others merge with their creatures, or while their creatures circle them, entice them,
Without slithering into them,
You and I are one. We’re no longer a hybrid; we’re a single entity, a single identity.

Yet you reject me. You suppress and hide and disguise me.
You betray me. Betrayer. Betrayer of the first creature you remember, the only creature
You’ve refused to push out while rejecting it and—simultaneously!—trying to figure out how to let it run the machinery.

iii.

The creature lengthens and expands. Inside me,
It assumes my size, shape, and form. Yet it stops at my chest,
As if it can’t push upward, past my sternum, neck, head.

I close my eyes and sense it inside me: a colorless mist flowing between my skin
And muscles.
It tries to expand over my chest, but I stop it, preventing it from reaching my head.

I long for it to devour me yet I fight it! I resist it! I push and pull and call —halt! at the same time. And wonder why Anxiety won’t leave me.

iv.

Sitting on a chair in the kitchen, smoking a cigarette, I call on Anxiety to meet me face to face. Images of money and bills and work flash in my head.
Anxiety appears.

I order it to leave, I cast it into nothingness, I demand it never re-form or return.
It glides forward, toward me.
Faster and faster, faster and faster—faster, faster. Then it
Plows, and dissolves, into me.

It overpowers many creatures: Attention, Creativity, Art, even Affection. And I can neither reject nor eject it,
So I sit here, watching the peristalsis of smoke as it
Inches away from my cigarette.

I sit here—for hours—discerning many shapes and images and scenes in the smoke snaking away from cigarette after cigarette
After
Cigarette.
And I sit here.
I sit here as the creature stirs within me, refusing to leave me.

[Click here to read Part IV]

Surrealist Daulton Dickey lives with his wife, kids, and pet human-lizard hybrid in a universe he created. He’s the author of Elegiac Machinations, Bastard Virtues, Flesh Made World, and Dig the Meat Music (forthcoming from Nihilism Revised) Contact him at lostitfunhouse [at] gmail [dot] com

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