Last May (after being dapperly drunk for the previous 8 years) novelist David Von Behren endeavored to go 40 days sans sipping an alcoholic beverage...he made it 38.5 days before gloriously capitulating in craft beer defeat...this January he's giving up a lot more...
Friday, February 14, 2014
Day 33: Ajna…the day I foundered on day six Paryushana, beatifically bartering my water-fast in lieu of slurping a half-cup of 50 calorie soup and scoop of peanut butter...
a millennium or two, a seeming paradox of our civilization will be best understood
by those men versed in the methods of counter-archaeology. They will study us
not by digging into the earthbut by
climbing vast dunes of industrial rubble and mutilated steel, seeking to reach
the tops of our buildings. Here they’ll chirp lovingly at our spires, mansards,
turrets, parapets, belfries, water tanks, flower pots, pigeons lofts and
Don Dellio, Great Jones Street
On day six I failed. The drape of reality
completely disintegratingaround me, my
like an arid dried-out chamois. I entered a state
where I was tranced out all the time. I entered a very fuckable, falling on the
caps of my knees as if proposing to the void of equilibrium on Valentine ’s Day state.
I grew to loathe the liquid form of oxygen with a double-shot of hydrogen. I
grew to detest water. I grew to abhor the substance that my skin is concealing
like a Russian Babushka doll; the substance the bulk of my planet is composed of—the
substance I’ve been meditating over, astutely focusing on ameliorating higher
calibers of consciousness, sloughing myself of the emotional fetters that have
pinned me to a grade school cheaply cut Valentine’s Day bulletin board of
paralysis the last ten years, hoping to channel kindness and giving and love
into the plastic silo of liquid before chugging, monopolizing he majority of the day pacing around my apartment feeling like a perambulating water cooler, finding myself splayed leg in
the bathroom, a yellow beam shooting out
from the faucet below my torso every fifteen minutes as if all I am is a
windmill, a corporeal sieve.
It was six days of Paryushana, of intense mediating,
of digesting nothing but water, of feeling like I gorged out in glutton-pining
fashion at the local Chinese buffet only the buffet looked just like free swim
and the community pool and I still decided to open my lips and seemingly gnaw
In 2003 street magician David Blaine ensconced
himself in a diminutive Plexiglas cage above the River Thames in London and,
reenacting the rudiments of Franz Kafka’s THE HUNGER ARTIST, fasting for 44
days, living off of 4.5 liters of water per day. Blaine completed the fast
successfully shedding 54 pounds, 25 percent of his body weight. During the time
he spent the days meditating, looking out the carnivalesque atmosphere stirring
b’low, being relentlessly taunted by passerby’s who hurled food, beer cans,
laughed, ridiculed, females hoisting up their tops and flashing him, all the
while David Blaine maintained his focus, maintained his linearity, continued to
go without vital nourishments needed to maintain continuity on the life of this planet while the outside world engulfed him like pebbles to a sea.
The sixth chakra notched on our lotus ladder to
enlightenment in known as Ajna. It is located at the third eye, the frontal,
lobe, the area of the brain where choices are mediated and actuated. The
awakening of the frontal lobe has mystified the scope of our species for centuries.
Something happens when our thinking is shifted towards the periphery of
neurological consciousness. It altars our ability to intuit the world in a
different perspective—it heightens are awareness to ontologically capture the
scope of this planet in a new way.
Whether it’s the heralding a chunk of middle-eastern
stone pelting the forehead of David’ Goliath, ushering an era of Old testament
Kings,the sight of Indian maiden
adorning the center of her eyebrows with an unblinking bindi or even Harry
Potter coming to the realization that he’s some sort of unbidden wizard via the
serrated lightening slash located in the center of his brow, astute concentration on
the frontal lobe significantly connotes theharbinger of change often presaging epiphanic waves of enlightenment.
When the frontal lobe starts to jism, something monumental is about ready to come.
It was Valentines day 1997. I was a freshman at ICC,
monopolizing the interim between classes
wading in the circuitous parabolic russetmandala of the campus (those of you familiar with the architectural
semblance of ICC are well familiar that the main East Peoria campus is
configured like the shaved bulb of a brick question mark—all the classes are
arrayed on an arched slant). Four months earlier (decades when you are all of
nineteen) I was poet and I left, spent the thousand dollars I had accumulated
from a lifetime of working menial jobs plus a 500 dollar literary scholarship
and flew to be with the woman of dreams. This was October 96 and it didn’t workout. I returned home, and, like David Blaine, locked myself in a room for two
weeks and wrote, slicing up sheaths of pages I had scribed poems of longing,
welding them via staccato taps into the pregnant monitor of my father’s 94
apple computer, saving the literary manna on a floppy that looked like a
flattened tampon, printing out the poems (40 or so) as if watching my new born
enter the planet through the fumbling slit of the printer before taking the
manuscript and stowing it in a Doc Marten shoebox in the back of my post-teenage
Four months later, close to Valentines Day, I
thought about the creature I had given it all up for months before and the
poems she had given me. I was 19, I wouldn’t be able to drink legally for
another year and half. Somehow I had gotten ahold of two 24 oz. bottles of
beer. One was the emerald esophageal neck of Rolling Rock, the other was Dundee
Honey Brown. I have no recollection I procured these two relics, only I go then
sometime in early December and that sat, burrowed in the back of my closet,
next to my manuscript for almost two months, when I drank then while watching
the original Before Sunrise thinking about her.
I was 19 and much in the similar manner in which I
have been fumbling around my house because of lack of food, fumbled around the
house of my childhood. I never would have fathomed that ten years later I would
have been drinking the equivalent of ten (plus) times the amount of beer per
day than I imbibed that night while watching Before Sunrise, trying somehow to
heal the welts of loss that still stung with hurt inside my chest using alcohol
as my gauze to sop up all the pain.
I thought about that Valentine’s Day 19 years ago as I stumbled around the kitchen and, after
almost six days, bartered my Bodhi quest for enlightenment for a 50 calorie
bowl of soup and a scoop of peanut. At first my body didn’t seem to know what
to do with the nutrients. I remember when David Blaine finished his fast it was
stated that the ‘re-feeding’ process was just as lethal as the fasting process
since his body might not know what to do with the food and have to learn how to
break down and digest nutrients all over again.
While slurping the sound and then dishing out peanut
butter like barreled ice cream I was astounded that I didn’t feel any blood
branch and stream across the lower whittled paunch of my stomach. The moment I
sipped the 50 calorie bowl of Vegan friendly tomato and squash soup all the
blood seemed to sprint, up into the pyramidal bowling-pin pinnacle of my body,
up to my frontal lobe, up to the area of chakra consciousness I was too busy to
straggling around the house to meditate over today. It seemed like my third eye
was serving as a sort of lighthouse, informing the rest of my body what to do
with the tithe it had received after being forsaken for so long.
Early Valentine’s day morning my mom was taking me
back to my apartment in West Peoria. There is always Christian radio blaring in
my mom’s house and in her vehicle. A pastor was talking about ‘idolatry’ and
mom asked me if I thought alcohol might be mine, the thing in this life I chose
to venerate and worship.
I thought about idolatry. Thought about the quote
from Don Delillo’s Great Jones Street ( a novel the writer has disowned but
which deserves to be read more) about how in a ten thousand years after sifting
through the dregs of a nuclear detritus what passes for our homo-sapien ancestors
will discover our civilization and be nonplussed by the items they find once
they scale our abodes.
“They’ll go into every house and think that
television is our God.” I tell my mom and propounded my theory, “And that we
had Gods with names like Sony and Zenith and that we communicated with them via
a flat rectangular plate adorning the center of our domicile. They will think
we worshiped that God as an idol. That we spent all day fasting in front of it,
praying, hoping it will ass meaning to our short period we find ourselves abiding
in this time and place called now.”