Jeff Phillips: Invitation to a Dissipation


Close your eyes. Better yet, have someone blindfold you. Adjust to the darkness. The sights that previously offended, the styles and semblances, eyesores of appearance; those will dissolve into the blank spread before you, once memory stops pushing their apparitions.

With your free hands, stuff malleable clumps of wax deep into your ears, until murmurs are snuffed. The accents and peculiar phrasing that used to get under your skin and make it difficult for you not to bark a retort so biting it belittles, settle into inaudible static once the echoes lose their momentum.

Get on your hands and knees and lean down, feel around for the lines of fine, loose chalk. Align it with a nostril and snort until it’s gone. Feel it cut the inside lining of your nose. Pivot your head so your other nostril can do the same. The raw burning is now amplified, but the foul odors of a strange neighbor’s cooking has become undetectable. The nasal irritation soon also subsides; all you will sense then is a mild blockage.

The steel cup, filled to the brim with boiled water is off to your side, and should be so hot even the rim is scalding, so the precision of your aim doesn’t matter. Push out your tongue and seek contact. You should resolve yourself to dip it deep within the blistering contents, until the nerves are singed and the taste of the drifting dandruff of those you’ve deemed inferior, or unkempt, the bitter and sickly sweet saturation of their perspiration you so detest, has been completely cleared from your palette.

The final step is to chew on the plant to the other side of you. You won’t be able to taste the astringent oils coating the leaf, and soon the gritty, gummy texture will be masked once its substance circulates, numbs, and quiets the mind of any lingering notions. Within minutes, you are paralyzed as you slump back, or maybe tilt to the side. It won’t matter if you bang into the cup, though it should have cooled somewhat by now, because you won’t feel a thing. Pain will be veiled, and so will your sense of where you are, what you are.

Things have been getting you riled up and this is the perfect antidote. The behaviors of others will no longer exist to you at this point. The races and ethnicities can’t bother you, for their colors, their commotion, the funk of their cuisine, will be completely cutoff, and can no longer distract you. You achieved peace of mind, you’ve declined all channels that allow the perception of such things that are inflammatory.

But after awhile, being curled up in such a bubble, as you metabolize what you swallowed, you begin to miss the vibrancy and potency of what could also be let in when your senses are engaged as a functioning aperture. The mannerisms that were once in your periphery, the loud colloquialisms, the texture and hue of a continental transplant’s skin, even conjures an inexplicable nostalgia. And it’s at this point when you realize a sterile nothingness is another sort of nuisance, and you begin to think, if you can reactivate those avenues for physical awareness, you may even be able to tolerate, and appreciate, the distinctions of your illusory enemy.

invitation to a dissipation copy



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