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

ii.

Sometimes I like to stare at objects until my eyes relax and lose focus. In those moments, whichever object I’m looking at splits into two distinct images. A cup, for example, breaks apart like splitting amoeba, and I can see each image transmitted from each eye.

A kaleidoscopic image consisting of two intersecting concentric circles: each circle contains everything in my field of vision.

Depth drops out. The cup and the table on which it sits, the angle between the highest point vertically and the widest point horizontally, seem to vanish; in each eye, I only see two-dimensions. But when my eyes rack focus, the colliding images restore depth.

During the split, when I perceive the world as doubled, I refrain from moving my eyes, from shifting my attention, so I can study the imagery. One glass leans into another glass; their back half fades out and they resemble a hinged glass open for display.

The table beneath it and it’s duplicated image merge unevenly—one image sits lower and at a slight angle to the other.

Taken literally, the images represent a universe in which dimensions shift and objects defy stability. Such an interpretation of an easily explained phenomenon allows for limitless creation.

I’ve always done this—perhaps my hyperopia allows for it. Yet I decided, more or less on a whim, to image this doubled world as a physical universe. It’s influenced everything I’ve done over the past six months.

iii.

Everything changes when I open my eyes. One thought begets another, which alters the colors, the sights and sounds of the world—even the world itself. Minutes earlier, while meditating, I had observed myself.

Imagine a mask resting beneath your face; it shapes and molds you; then imagine watching it slip away, spin, and evaporate. You see yourself observing the world. Then, if you can hold your focus, you’ll watch the observer follow the mask into your imagination. And you’ll perceive the world outside your consciousness.

I treated the experience as a novelty when it first occurred. It lasted a fraction of a second. But with practice I experienced it longer and I understood the profundity of what I had accomplished.

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, and Flesh Made World, Contact him at lostitfunhouse [at] gmail [dot] com

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