The following piece was crafted and executed by Jeff Jefferson. He is our first “guest blogger.” Please welcome him to the stage.
The title of the piece is Japanese, but you’re not likely to hear it in conversation. No one speaks of unnameable dreams these days. Special Dental Team wrote a song about it and Jeff Jefferson used that song as a guiding light, as a beacon, as a sword.
by Jeff Jefferson
The cowboy won’t return.
He never brought growth without gnashing teeth and that pre-thrash moment when the neck hears warm breath about to end. Energies unlike wide trees in the forest’s plain of here and here and here, in which each are ordered not like soldier gravestones, but still ordered, don’t ignore but rather will always lack awareness of not being surrounded by tiny nibbling beasts, each the same cloned destructive suckling mouth at the stalk and the base. Grassblades do not seedle because degenerative bacteria green like the pusgreen around them and promise growth like a cold steel barrel against forehead skin.
He won’t return to this existence that’s nothing like time standing so still that it’s gone, in which a lifetime never deliberates within an instant. Quality wasn’t equal to quantity in that. Infinite regression did not analyze exponential complexity. These never existed, so he will never regress to a place among their ranks, nothing like the way a bullfrog won’t regress to her tadpole lifestyle.
He strolls through trees and mosquitoes with a huge fly buzzing and biting after him. He expects meditation to trance him away from time and death’s urgency into a mental conception of his life before it. He meditates daily, transforming his psyche to a mountain, cliff, or its trees, feeling vast, even when wind shrieks sometimes. He makes it his tool, like a teleporter.
He sits on a folded blanket with stinking cowboy hat and works toward meditation. Flies still buzz at his sweat, so swatting them becomes a calm. The sun sinks, a conception outside those nonexistent non-spirits preceding life that never threatened living material to further existence. The cowboy feels superior spiritual awareness to everyone on earth, and carries this importance with him. His brain and dreams fill with images of spirits everywhere at day: spiderlike mammals that nibble beaks at toes and roots, threatening “live or die.” He remembers himself one of them, and misses it.
Unsleeping, he calls meditation. He has no Eastern books. He’d been waiting for sleep when he found it, wired awake just after sundown and bright stars, and closed eyes with nothing in his brain. His torso sank into the dry dirt like down into the crust and its massive shelves that move the earth, gaining everything until tentative stick limbs pecked a mount up his leg. He leapt screaming at the scorpion and himself. He crushed it. He learned to practice and repeat, calming himself spiritually. When he rides, he hovers steady just above himself. He thinks he’s alone and unlike anyone, and stays alone. He’d had visions of forests that recurred, so rode here and left that ride outside. He’s sure of his existence before life.
Mosquitoes and leaves brushing like spiders tracking their tiny legs along them fail the cowboy’s meditation. As he quits, a body rushes through distant brush, and before he spots it, the creature barks alien chills through the air. The cowboy knows deer, but never heard this bark. It rattles violence through his brain, screaming with tinny reverberation like through a washboard megaphone. Archaic sonar. He jumps, and it’s dark, and the deer crows again. They stare at each other until the deer bounds away. The cowboy shivers alone like a motorhum in the dark.
Prelife spirits didn’t threaten that deer. It might’ve been a bobcat. Everything’s quiet. There’s nothing around: nothing moaning and silent, yearning for what’s come before, promising sleep, rest, and its motionless quiet. There’s nothing brushing bony fingers like anemonae along his shoulder, just as cold breath did not hush the deer to crow. The cowboy grabs his blanket and tries to return.
Nothing mattered, before, other than finding the spot. He hiked deep inside with daydreams for his divining rod, landing at a tree that looked right. This “right” was every bit as random as the word. Now he wants to escape. He’d lost his direction in this search, so rushes “back.” West seems right, so he follows after set sun.
Philosophies nothing like ghosts don’t haunt the woods, regretting their eternal stillness and quiet with palpable mourning that pulls the cowboy with suction back inside. He doesn’t fight anything as he leads himself with hunting knife; he brushes cobwebs away with it, not eyes everywhere that peel through skin to a cowardly skeleton. Nothing flashes the cowboy’s dry bones to his brain, only himself. Nothing is hunting him, especially not a bobcat. Nor forces that aren’t.
His horse waits for him, nibbling grass, tied up with the cowboy’s possessions. They’re lost from him. He won’t give up looking for them because nonexistent energies couldn’t threaten bears with starvation to hunt in this darkness.
The cowboy hears trainwhistles somewhere, and their dissonance cuts notes in half. He runs where it’s going and backtracks when brush blocks him off. He’s too slow. He can hear the train’s bulky body chugging through its tunnel, but he misses it.
Railway slats run too short or too long for his stride, so he gallops south like he’s gumpy and lanky. There’s a wide path, free from trees, around the tracks, and that’s what he takes out of the woods. The sun rises soon after. He starves all day for his horse and supplies, but they’re gone from where he tied them. He rests there until next morning, hoping the horse will return, but remains alone.
Guns would help. He wants them. He can’t kill shit with a hunting knife, but he marches through the plains. There’s nothing here remotely like ghosts threatening death, teasing him with the threat to live or die. These plains are familiar.