Listen to a reading of “Owl Eyes”.
Crawling on our hands and knees vomiting up life hearts which go bouncing across the floor like pennies, disgusted by the latest headline, the latest heartbreak, the latest bill, the latest bullshit.
There is an owl sitting upon the arm of our sofa. We don’t know how long it has been watching us and we are too nauseous to care. Something is scratching at the insides of our walls.
“It’s all fake and I can’t take it,” we cry from our depths with sobs of motherhood and milk. “The YouTube ads, the lonely cereal, the sitcom reruns full of dead people’s laughter. The coworker small talk painted over oceans of anguish and the maddening impulse to tongue kiss each other just to make a real connection, the skyscraper savagery, the screens full of pundits arguing which boot to lick. When I was small everything crackled and was boundless, but now I’m waiting to die on a dying world with a rectangle in my pocket that keeps trying to sell me things I don’t understand.”
“There is a deeper wisdom at work here,” says something from the blackness in the owl’s eyes. “Something watching all this unfold, something ancient, something nameless. We shall not call it god, because it doesn’t behave like any god concocted by the minds of men. It is utterly agendaless, eternally patient, entirely embracing of all that is; still the great powers of our day splat against it like a cooked spaghetti noodle tossed against the wall. Before the empire arose, it is. Before humanity’s great Fall from wisdom to cleverness, it is. It is beyond us and before us, yet closer to us than our own mitochondria.”
“But the tyrants!” we protest. “And the rainforests! And the screaming red children who won’t leave the center of my vision no matter how hard I rub my eyes! And the black tie oil orgies, and the persecution puppets, and the fentanyl boneyards and the spinmeister Slack channels and the nursing home warehouses and the Reaper drones in flock formation and the tent city police raids and the schizophrenic street wailers and the gig economy car sleepers and the microplastic metastases and and and and…”
“In school they taught you how the world works, and that it is sane and happy,” said the blackness. “Then you grew up and you learned that was all a lie, and that everything is dark and crazy. Now you’re growing up some more and learning that, underneath everything, there really is a deep sanity and happiness after all.”
And then the camera zooms out, out from our cratered heart floor, out from our living room, out from these words being read on this page, out from the eyes of the reader, out through the reader’s mind and through the flotsam and jetsam of subconscious currents, back back back as far as it can go, to that peaceful point of origin before all arisings, to your original nature, to your original self.
And from here it’s all happening just as before. The sharp-toothed bank boys, the cackling talk shows with eyeless hosts, the ballbuster billboards selling geoengineering and prosthetic contentment, the electronic escapism and the overpriced brain fog.
But it’s seen differently. Seen in a much, much larger context. And oh so clearly doomed to fail.
“Humans have built tall language castles,” says the blackness. “But the language castles are built upon the unlanguageable. The empire is built on quicksand. Human dysfunction is built on a bottomless hole.”
We struggle to our feet.