Chaos Forms combines thoughts on the purpose of existence with myth and some of the semi-coherent confessions said by a guy that I met at a mental hospital. I would like to say I checked into this place simply to investigate. It is true that I had better options at the time, but I also had a debt and a death wish. I can't sell this:
Consider the man who finds his way into warm hospital beds and/or jail cells every winter by being a danger to himself and others. His psychiatrist calls his incoherent outbursts, misdemeanors and refusal to take his insulin an elaborate con.
"He knows what he's doing," She says. "He's taking advantage of the system. If he keeps refusing insulin, we're going to have to cut off his leg. And that is exactly what he wants."
This piano man, who calls his wife a prostitute, wants a physical disability. He says he is tremendously used by many people, sometimes maliciously but he's no saint. He once helped a guy jack a motorcycle, he says. He felt aggrieved by that whole situation, which he initiated.
Chaos Forms is about communication, the images we use for signaling, and how language is manipulated to odd purposes. It loses some meaning read aloud.
Transcribing phrases that the piano man said for about a week, I formed bits of his language into vague silhouettes. He describes a painfully poetic life working the street as a pianist for sympathy tips in the summer, living in public spaces or with his relatives, crying loudly at night in the psych unit, disrupting everyone's sanity and peace, casting troubled shadows across the social order of city living.
In form this poem demands to be read in a certain order, line by line, as it organizes a man's disjointed thoughts and half truths to suggest his story. These words bare a testament to the chaotic nature of society, celebrating myths and egos, rewarding guile and greed.
The saddest class war is fought between the disabled who transparently rely on social subsidies and day wage workers who idealize excess and moralize about work ethics to make just a smidge more.
In general, it's worth remembering how signals come at us from all directions, rarely initiated with conscious plans prepared. How we play against those ideas, how we propel, target and anchor our beliefs, how we react when our visions get blurred and disturbed by stories and emotions that have literally nothing to do with our actual lived experiences, makes up our character.
Sometimes ideas can slosh like wave stew, like five motorboats circling, blocking our view and we're swimming (maybe it seems to no end). In these moments, remember we can float. And those motorboats circling are driven by people just like us, sitting in the privileged comfort of their investment and faith in buoyancy, with their gauges and a plush perch.
At a disadvantage, relax. Observe. We’re all blowing bubbles, trying to breath, bouncing off each other. We float in our bubbles, made up of our words and ideas. Watch out for sharks. Gather strength. Take a Holy Dive for some deep perspective, or enjoy the splash of chaos.
The image on the cover of this post is from the video for Chinese Translation by M. Ward from the album Post War.