Mireille had grown weary of feeling that our experience of existence had unavoidably resulted in a tape delay.
“We are held hostage in someone else’s head…and in the end…and in our own. Regret will only get you ugly in the end.”
She considered the device currently slipped within a little zippered pocket inside her purse: plastic, glass, semiconductor chips of silicon, and rare earth minerals molded and arranged into a slim rectangle of circuit boards and a touchscreen with a friendly graphic user interface. Contemplating all it was capable of—all of its known, numerous applications, the ones she hasn’t figured out yet and the ones she didn’t care to—she asked herself:
“We’re already living in the future…aren’t we? …Or as far as this future is gonna go, really. From here-on-out and for awhile now it’s all just restatements of a theme, sure with a few innovative variations and tempo changes thrown in to keep us back-slap-smiling, ‘gee–whiz, how neat, this cutting-edge changes everything! Science will save us!’ But, shouldn’t we be somewhere else?
“Shouldn’t we be somewhere else and doing something other by now?”
A sudden nudge—Mireille felt a petite twitch of an impulse to check for updates and status changes. She rolled back the teeth of a zipper, then another, and pulled the phone from her bag. After a swipe, tap, tap, tap, tap of an index finger, another tap brought her to her home page. Lately, every time she logged in to her YouLoop account, over the remote din of row upon row of massive servers roaring away at some installation on a rural sprawl, an advert for an apparel company would pop-up with polished photos of professional mannequins—all so slender and young, all so pale-pink and fair-peach in skin tone, some sullen in denim, others with open mouths in graphic tees cavorting across the afternoon gloss of an open field—all asking in a bold white font atop a black background:
“How the hell should I know?” Mireille said to herself. “How could anyone, when we don’t even know what these bundles of qualities we carry and call the self is right now at this moment?” After a distracted scroll down her digital profile’s wall, she logged off. Her phone was returned to its place.
Mireille had grown weary of feeling that our experience of existence had unavoidably resulted in a tape delay. Her suspicion was one of a procession of intervals. Each arriving on the heels of the other, there was enough space for our consciousness to spill a portion of its contents until they coil up to that moment’s capacity. Consciousness, that capo di tutti capi, with its arrogant tap to its bucket snout, yet so unaware of the sway on our days held by flora in the gut and all that other bacteria.
Once full we move on to the next container, but not before an often-inarticulate logging of our impressions on each repetitive step and making a remark or two about every noticeable variable. These recorded findings then color our notes on the subsequent one. Was that our allotted life, spinning on a color wheel? It is as if all our moments were truly only and always movements—some busy derivation from the game of hopscotch.
We scratch symmetry across the surface. We toss the little wet stone of our mind out into an interspersed series of linear and lateral blocks. We dance to retrieve it. We repeat the pattern.
However, here each lope and lollop to another square necessitates the player to perform a change of clothes to correspond with the color assigned to that box, while still taking into account the hue and tint from which they came. We amend our raiment—through Primary to Secondary to Tertiary—and every which way shade between. We slip on robust costumes and strut our feathers. Sometimes we are caught by the garish contrast of a complimentary pair and are required to dress in all white or all black. At other times our skitter through the squares causes us to consider too many pigments and we are left to squirm under attires like mud or wet cinder. But another hop could change all that: just a footstep away from that soot. One is almost certain that if they were to continue to play the game through they’d eventually land upon a true hue of you.
In our gambol across the grid we create relationships. We celebrate. We snicker. We share secrets.
In addition to this facet of the game, where catwalk runway and dressing room coalesce, we mustn’t forget the squares’ designated numbers and verse from their attendant Magpie Rhymes:
Zero for Earth;
One for sorrow,
Two for mirth;
Three for a wedding,
Four for birth;
Five for wealthy,
Six for poor;
Seven for some secret,
Eight for a wish of Heaven,
Nine for a kiss of Hell;
And Ten a surprise for the Devils,
Who pray you get well!
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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: DENDRITES (Vol. 2)
- Intro – Martina Topley-Bird
- Oh Yeah – Foxygen
- Every Boy and Girl – Lee Moses
- Needles & Pins [alt. take] – Ramones
- Let It Kill You – Imani Coppola
- Looks Good With Trouble – Solange
- Time 2 – Pharoahe Monch
- Battling the City – Lilacs & Champagne
- Your Brain Is Made of Candy – Mourn
- Water – Juan Wauters
- Clean [snippet] – Taylor Swift
- New Mutation Boogie – Invisible Familiars
- Gamma Ray (Acoustic) – Beck
- Someone Like You – David Vandervelde
- Sadder Day – Stephanie McKay
- Fade Away And Radiate – Blondie
- Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood – St. Vincent
- Trouble Blues – Sam Cooke
- U Looz – PRhyme (Royce da 5’9″ and DJ Premier)
- Gimme A Chance – Azealia Banks
- I Retired – Hamilton Leithauser
- Poison – Martina Topley-Bird
- Call The Law – Outkast (ft. Janelle Monáe)
- Corner Pocket – Count Basie & His Orchestra
- Biting My Nails – Genevieve Waite
- Parakeet – Damon Albarn
- Naked We Come – (by Jim Morrison – read by Johnny Depp)