4/14/14

Art by Bob Schofield & Words by Chris Dankland

Pseudanthium

The normal process is to think ‘I should do [something]’ but when you’re on crystal, you skip the thinking-about part and just do it.  Whatever activity you’re occupied with becomes intensely meaningful and beautiful and righteous.  Cleaning your room can feel like going to church and getting saved.  Talking to someone can feel like jumping off a diving board into the sky.  You find yourself thinking about how happy fires must be while they burn.  Time warps and gains a profound urgency.  The world shines with an incandescent holiness.  Sammy had been working on his flower drawings for the last 9 hours.

Hunched over his sketchbook with a pencil in his hand, he looked like a vulture patiently shredding a dead body.   His amphetamine heart hummed inside his chest like an electric transformer.  He’d been up long enough to start seeing dark shadows in his peripheral vision darting around the room, but he ignored them.   

On the floor next to Sammy’s mattress were twenty ripped out sketchbook papers, each one marked with pencils drawing of a single flower.  The first drawing he did had started out as a long stalk with a few leaves sticking out.  He drew a loose ‘U’ shape on top, sketching out some flower petals.  But each time he took his pencil away and looked at the drawing, he always felt like there should be more.  He thought about how roses seem to have a lot of petals, all folded into each other.  He google searched ‘how many petals’ and the autocomplete added ‘are on a rose.’  One website said 32 or 33 petals.  One website said between 5 and 50 petals.  One website said 5 petals.  But he wasn’t sure that he was trying to draw a rose anyway, just a flower with a lot of petals. 

With each successive drawing he added more and more petals until they were soon taking up 90% of the page.  Hundreds of flower petals grew out of each other like multiplying cells.  Then he worked on filling in the flower petals, making them look textured.  Sammy’s boss called, but he let it ring.  He was tired of washing dishes.  He spent hours filling in the gigantic petals with geometric shapes and designs that grew so dense you could hardly tell one petal from another – the entire page bled together into one rectangular derangement.  Sammy lit a cigarette, laid the picture on his pillow, and stared at his work with teary eyes.

‘That shit’s so beautiful,’ he said.  It was the first time he’d spoken out loud all day.

He felt like crying.  There was that one time he was in bed with Tracy, and she started talking about how fractals are infinite.  That was a good memory.  Sammy laid down on the floor with his other twenty drawings and rolled around in them for awhile.  He closed his eyes and fell asleep. 

He had a dream that he found a little bean on the ground and he took a long tree stick and pushed the bean up his nose as far as it could go, into his brain.  A flower started to grow from his face.  A thin green stem stretched out, and a head with many petals opened.  When Sammy closed his eyes, he could feel the world as the flower felt it.  The flower couldn’t see or hear in a human sense, but it was very sensitive to light and temperature.  The flower could speak to other things, but it did so in a strange chemical voice of odors and oils.  When Sammy closed his eyes, he saw everything through the flower and he didn’t want to move anymore.  Everything was so peaceful.  He wanted to stay on the ground forever.  He could worry about money tomorrow.

Bob Schofield lives in Philadelphia, PA  Chris Dankland lives in Houston, TX

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