The Seven Stages of Purification

by dschapman

1. I straightened my back and I trimmed my hair to within one half-inch of my head. I cleaned my face and washed it in acid to keep out the grease.

2. “You? You are a disgrace! You are sinister! You’re a freak! You’re mutinous! It’s just a pulse – it’s almost comical! Plain farce! A soul without a pace, it’s no more than hormonal imbalance – perpetual imbalance!”

3. And too the clarinet, sweetly, full of praise, fell upon me, like feathered down, and drained the tension from my back, soaked the bile from my veins. Why? Why was I born such an obscene child? Why was I so out of league? I miss the Prussian way of things.

4. To go beyond doubt requires a fetishization of doubt. I devote myself to holy doubt. I send my family cashier’s checks and conquer the wharf on my own time. I am an amber old man and incontinent. My vessels are ruptured and my synapses worn totally flat. Brush me, bathe me, powder my hair; I’m a whore for you!

5. Death came dark as a dream, and soundless. The door creaked and the lanterns fell. I was alone, mute in the cavern, totally blind. Nobody to hear me cry but myself, so I cried. And I cried. Why did I press those desires? It was a horrible lust. It was utter denial. “Buy me a peanut butter cup,” I sobbed, “Come on, ma, buy me a peanut butter cup, ma, please.”

6. Is it true what they say about the new performance? They say he vandalized the entire set in a drunken fit. They say he climbed on stage and picked a fight with the lousy musicians, until he was thrown off the set. They spin stories of him, he’s a legend in his sheltered way… I don’t know how they met. I don’t know how they came to be so close? I am jealous. “Beat me, hold me, kill me,” with a necklace made of gold and an idolized prince at the fairground, under the fireworks, in awe of the dawn of the century. I never slept with her, though, I could’ve, I could’ve…

7. White sand, speckled star sand, purple sand from somewhere in South America. “Are you interested in the color, texture, and mineralogy of sand? Or are you just here for the shore?” The seas are full of poisonous jellyfish and they, like snakes, are beautiful, though wholly disturbing. And there, in the deep of the sea, is the whale shark, strong, at peace, and resonant. The first girl that I thought I loved was a girl that I met in a manatee spring, and we swam with the manatees. But I did not really love that girl. The girl that I love is not wholly in love with me. We have not swam together, as my first love and I might have swam, hot and naked. This new love is a cool love, an airy love, and it floats in tender precision through the currents of the air, powered by the movement of the moon around the earth. I am in love and I’m very encouraged. I have the fire of ambition in my blood again and am ready to ascend to happiness. Full-bodied, hylomorphic happiness.

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