Each night when I go to sleep I become a termite. I am an ugly, shiny, pale thing in a colony full of other ugly, shiny, pale things.
I do the work of other termites. I am not very high up in the chain of command. I bite and I bite and I bite at the hard wood. It feels like I will lose my teeth. The other termites bark orders. I work harder. I want to quit but I will starve if I do.
When I wake up I have splinters in my teeth and stuck in my gums. My furniture is fucked. I’ve gone through eight tables this year. The people at the furniture store know me. I’m afraid they have figured it out.
A communist philosopher storms into A psychoanalyst’s conference… Have you heard this one? He storms in Claiming divine right And claims it is The analysand Not the psychoanalyst Who is the proletarian – The worker – Of psychoanalysis He says The brain is a factory And we its workers And it’s the psychoanalyst Who is the boss He says we must democratize The process He says The workers of the world Must own the means of cognition
Althusser looks to Lacan Expecting the latter to agree. He says nothing. Althusser is rushed out of the building.
I, 15 years elder the century, weathered the broke-brawned shelter of millennia. The diamond dust which glistened the middle 20th, now micro-incisions the skin and teeth, makes rags of lungs. Colonial, they say we were better. But now post, we look at the masses, zombie-tired, broodbloods’ eternal shuffle. Nostalgia for sickly things permeates to a time when future existed. Rotary phones and VHS grain stipple YouTube longings. Feast! Feast! Ye hungry eye. Ye huddled mass! Yearning for 30 day free trials! The end of history came too soon.
What strange alchemy happens in those boiling shells that renders the soft soup of embryo to a hardened jelly? Any scientist who claims to know this process is a liar and a con artist. The mysteries contained within the walls of that brittle housing aren’t meant for our understanding. If a human were to grasp the mechanisms of a boiling egg, they would immediately reach Nirvana and transcend the material plane. I keep my boiled eggs in a plastic bag, moistened by steamy condensation from the cooking process. That way the eggs feel at home. It’s like they never left the shell. I take all the broken shells from years back and construct a great and beautiful man-sized shell. I incubate my dreams in the shell. That’s where I live.
//Lights Up. A single Spotlight illuminates an empty stage, which is framed by ornate red and gold curtains. M L Woldman is Down Center stage, wearing pajama pants, a T-shirt, and a top hat. He addresses the audience.//
Welcome to the Quarantine Theatre, located in your mind. It’s very conveniently located, surrounded by great restaurants you can go to without fear of infection. Around the corner is your favorite bar where you can grab some drinks with your friends after the show.
There are all sorts of things that I didn’t do before the quarantine that I wish I could do now. Going to the theatre is one of them. So I thought, as a public service, I could bring the theatre to you.
At first blush, this may seem like a compromise. But the imaginary theatre has benefits the real theatre doesn’t have. For example, look over here to your right. It’s your favorite painting by your favorite artist.
//Your favorite painting materializes Stage Right from thin air.//
And over to your left, your favorite musician is playing your favorite song.
//Your favorite musician materializes Stage Left from thin air.//
You can’t get this in the real theatre.
//The painting and the musician disappear.//
Your mind can fill in the gaps where reality fails. And right now there are a lot of gaps. The quarantine is a gap. The future is a gap. How humanity interacts from here on out is a gap.
And that last gap is partly why I wanted to build this theatre in your head. Because this weird little blog I’m making here is getting more attention lately, and I wanted to talk to you directly.
I really appreciate you being here. It means a lot to me. I’ve been writing poetry and plays for 20 years now, with very limited success. And suddenly I show up to WordPress and you all accepted me with open arms. It feels like I have a home now.
I started this blog because there are things I want to see in the world that don’t exist yet. I want to bring those things into being. This is why I make art. This is why I exist. I may not succeed all the time. But what I’m finding is that as a community we can find resonance even where this aim fails.
Community is powerful. And now that the entire world is sharing a single plight, it’s time to connect to each other and care for each other.
I didn’t mean for this to be so sappy. But I feel a love for the world and my fellow humans that I didn’t feel before the pandemic.
And so maybe I should end on that note. A note of harmony and solidarity with all humans. Seems like a good closer.
Thanks for coming out to the Quarantine Theatre. Please be safe on your way home.