DIARY OF A DEAD MAN

 

“There’s a hole in sun,
and all that was given will fall back there someday.
The life we live here is measured it seems, by the sins from some past existence.
The closer you get to the end…
the more you remember from the very beginning, and…just before it.
It takes a lifetime to scratch away that veil of forgetting […]

[…] This morning creeps on slow and thin grey legs,
and my heart is heavy with its tyranny.
I think of Thomas More with his head in a basket for his troubles.
Failed to a kings fealty;
and now dust to it all.

Diary of a Dead Man


The Walk:

It’s 5:34 am, October 31st, 2027.
Tonight is Halloween, and I don’t know why, everyone wear mask all the time now — and there’s a ragged chem-snow falling, as white feathers out of a busted pillow. Quiet… it falls slowly, motion shaken out of its slip by an unseen hand. Grey toxic zigzag clouds, have us locked down, and caged in, and away from the sunlight, going on a month now. It is terrible how much you can miss the sun — the heart can ache for its light like a lover touch.

They will reach a decision soon, I am sure of it, and then they will come for me. I have been feeling that for a long time now. Their little bots have been crawling all over my place. I see them move across the screen as I type this; micro-drones are getting in, under the doors; the updates on my computer are happening on a daily and hourly basis now. I changed the settings on auto-update, but the bots got in and changed them all back again. I see the Internet flicker lights, on the little black box…the information going up and down the wire. Tiny little snitches running back…

I hear their frequencies.

Sometimes it is like a dripping tap, or the trickling of water in the corner of the room. Just out of ear shot, but known enough to aggravate, to frustrate and confuse me. A soft tingling, sometimes a whisper.

My sleep can be sporadic, and I am aware of the forced dreaming when I do sleep. And their attempt at placing thought. I quickly wake up from it, usually in an exhausted panic. Something of a night terror, as they try to slip quietly into my head and place thought… like a cat in the goddamn bulrushes. And change me from within…change me. Change me into what?

The morning headaches, the ache and lethargy in my bones and muscles. The metallic taste, always at the back of my mouth, as the nanos are in food. What they call them..oh yeah, flavor buds, or cleaning beads if they are in your shampoo — PEGylated molecules carrying all kinds of things from tiny little machines to mRNA to addiction chemicals.

Feels sometimes like I am pissing, ground glass — as my body tries to shed itself of all their little tiny corruptions. And in that thought, I walk over and pick up the plastic bottle on the table, and take one of Advillenol Nano-gel capsules for my headache. I choke it down.

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Harlequin – Oil/Acrylic on canvas — Michael Burns

Everyone in this town is dark, with heads down and depressed; I see them on my way to the store. They talk of the weather, as if they know… I try to get them to remember clouds, the different types of clouds. The different shapes and the heights that they would form at, and they look at me strangely, and I laugh to myself. And then I feel bad about laughing at a old stranger’s words.

“So and so, sez he read the almanac and we are in a mild sort of La Nina, and so we will get lots of rain and wet snow, cold and cloud cover, but the spring will be fine for planting…we will get a long enough growing period this year, not like last year when the spring would not end and the winter snow came so quickly without a fall.”

No one grows anymore, the toxic weeds choke everything a garden so quick, seeds are impossible to get, and what falls from the sky won’t allow it…

The older ones once knew, but can’t remember any longer, everybody short-term memory is shot from the widely available, and free of charge, Cannabiscuits. Always offered, when you enter a public place — usually with a coffee. So fucking nice of them.

I feel like throwing up, the Nano-gel is working its wonders, headache is gone, but now my gut hurts from whatever is corrupting in all that…

I fade on past it — I bid them well, leaving them in their ignorance of how and why all this happens.  I won’t stop writing. I won’t stop thinking. And why such great power wasted on one thing, one human, one man…because they can waste such resources, and because they unseen can reach across and touch and tear me down? One individual — they do slowly and with such soft and terrible power. And I know it, and they have me know that they know it. We play this game; and I have never, nor will I ever see their faces.

I have taken to backing up my writings in paper, and it is very difficult to find connections — the straight line of thought, the writing and re-writing, each generation losing a bit here and there. I sit for hours with paper and pencil and duplicate the day’s work. I have it on the backs of old envelopes and brown paper bags. Old books I find of no purpose at flea bag sales, usually happening on every street corner. Old newspaper I can find and bleach out, or white-wash out the print ink.

The incessant changing of my words, what is rewritten by their technology. The subtle shifts of meaning — I am being gas-lighted. Slowly Alzheimered like the rest. They steal the notebooks and I start over again. It a slow process and they are very good at it, and so very patient at it…one must embrace one’s enthrallment, and have a loving smile for our benevolent masters.

I take a lot of walks, and I found a kind of, dead zone, about ten miles out-of-town. No bots, no 9G, no EMF, a hole in the Inter-World. I walk out-of-town about three miles, to an old bicycle I have stashed in scrub bush and grasses, and then ride swiftly to that little sacred place.

Its snowing today, that will make it difficult for me…

I think they are out of range there, besides it’s no place — maybe it is an area on the far corner of the broadcast, and the many overlapping signals, a tiny place otherwise unnoticeable. I have never seen anyone there — I generally do not see many people walking like me. People don’t walk anymore, well not outside of the town. I don’t know what they do all day with themselves?

It a piece of wasteland, it has no particular value, old, corrupted land. No large trees or exceptional foliage. I am usually sore when I get there, aching and a bit tired…but it’s a miracle every time to arrive there and feel it. Sometimes I wonder, if it really is accidental. I have become so paranoid. I am not sure if they know — there are times when I am low that I feel they have allowed this place because they wish to use it, in some perverted way against me.

I enter the place as if… I have gone through an invisible door in reality, a crack opens and I pass through into a peaceful calm that falls on me instantly. As though, someone threw a warm and dry soft blanket around my shoulders upon arriving from the bitter cold. You know it’s almost sexual…

And that cold outside snowy world is a wall that surrounds that little place. But cannot penetrate it. You can feel it, it is just, there, at the end of my arms — the invisible wall. Just out of reach, felt, but yet not quite felt.

I am lighter there in this little place, I weigh less, I am sure of it and I float on my feet. I feel strength in my body and legs again. The air is different, sweet in each inhalation.
My blood stops pounding through my head. The constant headache eases. The pressure subsidies. The malaise falls away.

I have to sit down on the ground for a moment as soon as I enter. It’s not that I am tire from the ride, I am use to it now.
I have never felt so relaxed like that, entering into that place, so content. I am sure this is how I would feel all the time, if left alone with the natural world. I try to dream about that when I am not here. But they are in our heads all the time.

My breath enters and leaves my lungs as it should, effortlessly. As if it was breathed for the first time. The ringing stops and everything is quiet, so very quiet, like sleep with my eyes open. Maybe it is an illusion. The quiet; not painful quiet, or lonely or desperate quiet — that, sitting in a window nook with the sun beaming in warm and blindly quiet. And you know you are going to be there for a while. And like a lazy tom cat, feel a soft growl rise from your belly.

It’s not much of a place there, it’s not even that beautiful. I remember nature from when I was young and I saw some beautiful places, wild and woody places were life thrived forever separated from the harm of us. I have wondered if those places of youth still exist.

There is odd bits of ancient trash and garbage hanging on the edges of the trees, and the ground is full of mutated weeds — trying to pull life from that precious little piece of ground.
The trees are average trees, they seem like natural trees, poplar and tamarack. But, even they, are…relaxed. Quietly, still as if looking, watching and relaxed. The shapes of the leaves and the way they hang — they like that — the branches reaching for the light, so naturally. I swear the trees are happy. Not twisted and tormented like those growing things around the town.
There is a smell of freshness, real freshness, not the artificial kind. A humus smell reaches up to me, a fresh rotting smell of grasses and leaves and goodness, reaches up from life in the natural. It has an odor from long ago, I remember it long ago, nostalgic of the beginning of this world. I have been here a long, long time.

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                      Michael Burns – Water Color on 70lb rag paper

I saw a bird there once…I didn’t know what to do at first, I was so excited and stood so still and would not move, dare I spook the little fellow. I was shocked, and that excitement filled me for hours after I left — I could not stop smiling, I was afraid someone might guess, when I went back, or know what I saw and, I did want to tell them all. I really did! I wanted to tell every single person. I wanted to yell it all the way back home… I thought for a moment, it was a hallucination. I thought, I have become light-headed, the ride has shorten my oxygen, and I am seeing things. But I am not seeing things — I thought they were all extinct…every single one of them. I love birds.
I remember them as a child, they were everywhere I looked. Flying everywhere; living in trees and the sky, flying and singing and chirping and mating. The memory is so far back, at the edges of what I consider real now.

Birds have been gone for a number of years, viruses and diseases, they said; and then the government extermination programs that killed billions of them because of the bird flu, they said they carried the bird flu — a fading dream of an old fresh world. There are not many left alive that remember birds. Maybe they have been gone longer than I think. Maybe I am not remembering correctly. Maybe I am older than I think.

Off course they have them in the government zoos. Or they are those factory farm bred chicken for food, genetically modified, featherless, unable to walk. But no wild birds exist anymore. In fact, there are no insects or frogs, or little small creatures at all. Why did I forget that… I wonder what that bird eats?

I watched that bird. It was one of those little Junco’s. A tiny fellow with light-colored beak and charcoal coat of fluffy feathers. He was a bit chubby and very quick. I enjoyed watching birds as a kid. It was a hobby, I use to know all their names, and their habitats — he wasn’t afraid of me. He would bounce onto the ground pick something up, a seed or something, and then flit back up into the trees. He seemed healthy enough.
Time slowed as I watched him, I think it stopped, stopped dead and I felt as if years were falling away — and the bird and the quiet, and a slow heartbeat, and no wind and the cool…and my warm blanket around my shoulders. This little place. This is clear…this is clarity, and pure. And so very, very slow.

I can usually only stay there about twenty minutes to a hour, I never measure the time, and then I have to leave. I have a notebook and pencil there that I love to write in, and leave it hidden behind a tree, at the base in a plastic bag. I write my clear thoughts, observations, and try to sketch what I see — it is about none other than that little place and that bird if I see him.

I take my long ride back, and gradually the grey curtain grows in intensity as I gain distance, closing to town. It is a hard leaving…I force myself to leave. Breaks a piece of me every time. All the crap flows back inside of me, like my visit has acted as a dam inside my head, holding back all that weird and crazy. I start to worry if they know. I am walking there so many times a week. I fear they are watching, and probably have been since I left the re-orientation complex six months back.

Will they find this little place and destroy it, do they already know about it, and so are waiting to use it at the right time against me. I shake these thoughts loose, and persevere on I go into the town. Lost in a fretting for while, home-sickness jumps me as I arrive into town. Not wanting to enter that place, or to live there…lost. Completely lost.

One day, I am going to go that place, enter that crack in reality, and stay there..stay there forever.

I enter the edge of town and I am greeted by a usual stranger. As usual he pulls his head out from under the hood of an old car he works on — he’ll never get it on the road, they won’t allow it.

“How was your walk Mike!”

Leroy, the first face I see on entering main street, past the cemetery and leading on to my house. I stop and talk, as in need of some connection back into this…a buffer between me and my little place. It’s the same every time.

“It was good Leroy, I like walking. What are your fixing today?”

“Ah brakes, and I can’t get the engine light to go out, dam sensors make the brakes stick on…more trouble than their worth. Where do you walk to Mike?”

I get irritated by his same question of where I go.

“Aw… I just walk Leroy — no real direction — where ever my feet take me. It’s just a time alone with myself. I think some stupid thoughts and sort myself out…ya know!”

“Yeah, I could use some of that myself, I’m gettin fat. You’re ah…not wearing your mask Mike, you know you have to wear your mask man, otherwise… Not so good today, snow and wet, huh Mike.”

“Yeah… I don’t let it bother me Leroy, listen ah I was out there alone so my mask, I take it off, it’s in my pocket… I gotta go, Talk to ya later huh.”

Leroy turned his head always towards his front door and speaking, “Yeah sure, take it easy.”

The conversation is always ended by Leroy’s wife Jill as she stepped out the door and yells at her husband. Today is no different.

“Leeeroyy, how longgg … Oh hi Mike, where’s your mask Michael! “

I looked back at the door, and she smiled that smile that seems to irritate her husband so much.

“Hi Jill, listen.. gotta go, haven’t got time to talk today. I am wet from the snow, ya know, and it’s a bit cold today. Don’t want to get a chill, my mask is in my my pocket, it got really wet ya know. I should get home and get a fresh one”

“Okay Mike, bye…you take care, don’t catch it? And get the sickness, listen, I make masks ya know, we could trade for something.”

All images and writing are the copyright of Michael Burns.