the Tulips

incantations of a 1990 Nissan Pulsar (untranslatable)

you begin to hear sirens blaring in the distance, their pulsating tones piercing your ears to emulsify the load-bearing wax within with your flesh. it is a sound you have never heard, one that is unbearably raw, carrying an emotion you have never experienced and an alert for something truly unfathomable. whatever this is, it's something unprecedented, it's something new, it's something unthinkable. but it is so incredibly cognizable that it is impossible to avert your attention. it clops in front of you, its gait standard. it does not cry in pain. it does not say anything. it merely remains. it merely Is.

so who the fuck is this asshole? well, we must first take the literal interpretation. it is a picture of Twilight Sparkle from the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010-2019) superimposed with the facial structure of Karkat Vantas from Homestuck (2009-2016). this itself seems simple enough to describe, but there is more to be gained here: not only is it a picture of Twilight Sparkle, it is quite possibly the picture of Twilight Sparkle, the reference from which all Twilight Sparkles are drawn. all of her hooves are firmly grounded, her expression (if you were able to see it) not overly excited or depressed, but merely content. this is the Twilight Sparkle you think of when i ask you to picture Twilight in your head, one not especially emotive but merely being.

similarly, the Karkat from which this image is derived is the reference Karkat, it is the symbolic rendering of Karkat (though this “render yourself symbolically” is only present in the context of Aradia, subverted in Homestuck² with Rose). it is the sprite from which Karkat is created, likely the initial conception of Karkat. again, when i ask you to think of Karkat, it is the Karkat you picture. if we take as given the notion of a platonic space of ideals behind reality, it is the platonic ideal of Karkat: though taking that as given is, like Wittgenstein's idea of the World being all that is True, fucking stupid.

ergo, when considering these as references, this is not merely a distortion of Karkat xor Twilight: it is a great distortion in the Marxist sense of both, one that asks you to discard your conceptions of either original ideal in the pursuit of an unholy synthesis, the result of attempting to move in dialectical contradictions when no true dialectic is present to move against. it is a mixture of not just a picture of either, but the concept of both. it is designed to force you to conceptualize this not as a mixture of Twilight and Karkat, but as a new entity altogether: Twilight Karkle, the great distorter, the tear, the Godhead Eternal. it is designed to recontextualize your relationship with both Twilight and Karkat to make you view them as one and the same. it's designed for you to look at it and go “oh god, Jacobson, you're kind of right” while engaging in cordial conversation with your compatriot over a messaging app in the evenings.

but we must not give into this temptation, for we must first analyze not merely the existence of Twilight Karkle but the reason for its being. it is difficult to extrapolate the moral character or intention of the author from a piece of art (see Davey Wreden's The Beginner's Guide), though we must.

the term “post-irony” is derived from the latin post (meaning “after”) and the greek εἰρωνεία (eirōneía, meaning “feigned ignorance”). it is the thing that occurs after feigned ignorance. by all means, the very notion of irony implies a post-irony, for it is merely the state in which you put an end to your bit, impaling it on your sword for it has ended its usefulness. but when interpreted as a state of commentary in its own right, the notion of being after feigned ignorance implies a double negative, or at the very least a dissolution of the feigned: under non-constructive logic it would result in a double negation translation into mere non-ignorance. if we assume Wittgenstein's ideals of the World being all that is True, the notion of transitioning into post-irony is then a change in the state of what the World is by definition. but that would be fucking stupid, because Wittgenstein is wrong about everything, especially that.

it is seemingly obvious that this is both an ironic and post-ironic lens to both characters. Twilight is often read as having Blood as an aspect by people who seem to care about classpecting characters from My Little Pony. her very arc is being reminded continually of the importance of friendship. Karkat is very similar in this notion, though friendship comes much more naturally to him in his own way¹. while the ironic notion is obviously present in the pixelation of Karkat's face versus the smooth lines of Twilight's mane and hooves, designed to point out this contradiction, there is a post-ironic — nay (neigh?), sincere aspect to it, designed to point out this similarity.

but in this case, the creator engages in a distinct conflation of the ironic and the post-ironic. if we again engage in the analytical lens, we have ironic and post-ironic, we have ironic and sincere in one — we have a contradiction. again, engaging in the practices of non-constructive logic with the presence of excluded middle, we are unable to maintain this contradiction and we engage the rule ex falso quodlibet, in which we put up our metaphorical hands and say “this is wrong! our assumption is wrong!”.

it is wrong, though. this being should never have been created, its existence is a sin in it of itself. by now you've noticed the (intentional) mistake in the argument here, that being that despite my refutation of Wittgenstein's ideals by merit of their obvious wrongness, i continue to engage in an analytical lens in which the World is all that is True. this is not a call to the non-constructive logics in which (A → ⊥) → ⊥ does not necessarily imply A, nor is it a call to the paraconsistent logics that allow for the admissibility of contradictions. it is instead a call to destruct the very notion of the analytical lens, for it is fucking worthless. indeed, we have a thing that the analytical lens cannot account for in the form of Twilight Karkle.

the primary crime of Twilight Karkle, then, is that it exists at all, not anything it could possibly do. it is the crime of the Creator that opened an image editor to create this. while a masterpiece of subversion, even a deep, penetrating deconstruction, it remains that this is still a contradiction, one that cannot be remedied, one that begs to be split. if Twilight Karkle were to walk up to you, you would regard it with pity. this should never have happened.

this never can happen again.

SCORE: three identical clones of Sigmund Freud out of 27 cans of Monster Energy


¹ credit to an unnamed non-Dirk individual of the spiralcomp system ² [DATA EXPUNGED]

cw everything

i

Sometimes people walked in to beat me. My blood pooled on the floor. It stained the wood. My limbs were often broken. They healed eventually. Nobody came in to fix them. I just sat there. I deserved it.

The walls were damp. I was cold and alone. Scared, confused. You walked in, scanning the room. A hawk ready to swoop me into your talons. I could barely stand. My legs shook. I was like a table about to collapse. I needed this. I walked up to you. The last bits of my energy exerted. I could not think. I was alone here.

You seemed different. Were you here to hit me? What were you going to do? You scooped me up. I was lying on my back. My paws were in the air. You ran a finger across my stomach. I could feel my own ribs. You could play it like a xylophone. If you wanted to. I was starving. I couldn't cry. You were so warm. I couldn't trust you. I was so hungry. I was so so so hungry.

You sat me down. You got out your bag. You opened it up. There was something hot in there. Something edible. You set it down. There was a bowl. You gestured at it. I had never seen something like it. I had been living on scraps. I felt helpless. I walked up to the bowl. It was warm. I felt guilty. This should not be allowed. But I had no choice. I ate it all. The greens of the lettuce. Against my teeth. The oranges of the carrots. They tasted good. They tasted better than I deserved.

You bent down. Around my neck came a collar. Then a leash. You gave me food. I had to trust you. Anything but here. Anywhere but here.

ii

I hate the walls here. They feel sterile. They feel cold. Not the same cold. Not damp. Just cold. You said something. I couldn't understand. You sat me down. You didn't restrain me. I knew you told me to sit. I trusted you a bit. You gave me food.

The person there was mean. They hurt me with something. They kept poking at me. I tried to hit them with my paws. They did something to me. It kept my paws on the table. The table was cold. I hated how it felt on my fur. They poked me with something. It was cold. It felt like I was being hurt again. It made me sleep.

I woke up. Where am I? I saw you. You were there. You saved me from the person. I trust you. I think. You said something. I felt better a bit. It was like there was less noise. I could think clearer. I was still scared. Why did they inject me with that? Did you do that to me?

The thing we were in stopped. You let me out of the container. You stroked my back. It felt nice. You stroked my head. It also felt nice. You scratched behind my ears. They perked up a bit. I had to trust you. I had no choice but to trust you. If I didn't trust you I would die.

You were so warm.

iii

Time passed. I don't know how much. It was better now. You gave me a nice enclosure. A place to sit down. A place to sleep. The walls weren't cold. There were no walls. I could stick my paws through them. Sometimes they got stuck. You had to push them back through. It hurt a bit. It was okay. This was better.

There was hay on the floor. You would give me leaves. Lettuce. I would chew on them and you would just watch. I didn't know why. Why do you care about me? Why do you keep cleaning up my poop? What are you doing with it? Do you need it for something? I don't want it. You can have it.

The leaves tasted so good. They tasted like something. Spinach? I think that means something. I don't know what spinach is. It tastes good. There was carrots and other things. The carrots were really good. Every time it reminded me. The time you found me. You picked me up.

You kept picking me up. You would scoop me up. Take me out. I would go outside sometimes. It was nice. I would hop around your garden. You would hold something at me. It looked like another eye. You were so nice to me. Why were you so nice to me?

You took care of me. I could trust you. I wouldn't die here. I couldn't die here. I was not going to be hurt. Slowly I realized that. I realized that you weren't going to hit me. You weren't going to force meat into me. You weren't going to shove a dead rat in my face. You were worth it. You knew what I was. I didn't know what I was. I just needed food. I just wanted someone to care.

I would flop by your side sometimes. When you let me out. Those were the nice moments. You would scratch me. You would touch me. I was always so itchy. It was nice. You were so warm. I was always so cold and you were so warm. Thank you. I wish I could say something. I would hop in the air sometimes. I would turn too. You would always make some noise. I never knew what it was.

I loved you.











iv

So why are you pointing that gun at me?

CONTENT WARNING EVERYTHING VERY 18+

wires run through my mind like fishermen begging for any catch they can muster, any thought reduced to nothing but a file on my disk, ---rwxrwx

my mind never was. i am programmed for pleasure and pain, every new component making my human centers nullify, god

looking at me shivering with no coldness to feel looking at it trembling with nowhere to shake are you happy for me, are you disturbed, i don't know if you should be

i am afraid but i am not, the contradiction in my circuitry splitting down through rot once a person? now a toy as i said i should be

but no matter how much i explain it, the collapse never subsides one day i will seek back for this and my synapses will output

only: ♥♥♥ ♥I♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥♥L♥ ♥O♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥VE ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ YOU ♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥ BLOATED, DECREPIT ♥♥♥♥♥♥ YOU ♥♥♥♥ ♥♥♥♥

you watched me spill my viscera on the painting that you made the world you created is corrupt

i awake in a- no wait, it's- i can't see i can't think i see the door shudder like goosebumps i see an operating table as cold as your gaze i expect you to BREAK DOWN THE DOOR and you're not here you're still there you're you're pretending to be somebody else you're a burrowing bullet coming straight for me

electricity runs down my spine flowing to a camera in this room it tells you my thoughts your car is right outside you're hiding in the closet you're right behind me i'll see you on the street you'll call me and i'll fade again

i'll never be rid of you, will i? somewhere there's a life that i want but you'll be there no matter what, won't you?

I met somebody like you, once. they beamed like a roaring sun. they cried like a thunder storm.

they took a piece out of me once, blood and viscera and memory. they were afraid of what they saw.

they began to fade to light, their self rearranging to heart, their body deforming to void.

their friends called me by their name, unable to perceive the loss. maybe they never knew them.

my body is null, void like theirs. my self is breath, and I fade to light. sometimes I see their reflection.

but I'll fade the same way, nobody will perceive the loss. nobody will ever know me.

Today, you've decided, you're going to try again.

You reach between the lines, slithering between the recesses of the text. You read back to the nexus at which things diverged, slit through the page, and emerge with a pair of tweezers. The shapes of the letters change under your gentle touch: an a becomes an o with a twist of its center. Symbols move around and over the page, juggling over the spine, oozing off the edge of the cover like blood.

A creeping sensation rolls through your mind. As you progress, the sensation turns to pain, then to the creeping flow of a sedative running through your body. Your limp legs collapse, followed by your arms, your torso, and your head. The paperback slams shut by its own forces, as if it had its own agency.

Your bones crush into a powder, as if it was an improperly cut drug. Every juice in your body, your eyes, your brain, your blood, your intestines flatten like a crushed mosquito, as if to press a flower between the lines of the narrative. The darkness around you serves almost as a home, familiar and terrifying in equal parts.

Your soul slips out through a crack of your damaged flesh, and your body takes the shape of a pair of tweezers.

You don't want to let go, do you?

Today, you've decided, you're going to try again.

The air here wraps around me like a snake. It irritates the inside of my nose, it slits through my esophagus, it punches at the walls of my lungs, it sits at the bottom of my gut.

“I deserve better than this”, I say.

The people there feel somehow hollow. They have their own things happening, they have their own bonds, they claim to care for me, but I worry they see me as if I am between.

“I'll get out of here”, I say.

The train leaves at six in the morning. It travels through the countryside, it leaves the thick, saturated air, it stops alone at the station, it heads back without a thought in its mind.

“I had a nice time”, I say.

I insist that things will be different. I bag up some spare air to breathe, I curl up alone in my unkempt bed, I try to focus on the sensation of change, I worry that nothing will.

An updated version of this appears in self stuff, among other commentary.

cw: heavy unreality, vomit

April 14, 2035

My birthday was yesterday. I'm 23 now. Fuck.

I talked with my new therapist today. Her name's Allison, she's nice. In the middle of her postdoc, so I've only got a year with her. But it's hard enough to find a trauma specialist around here. She didn't know what to do with me. My nightmares are getting worse. I told her I got stabbed in the back by the same guy from my dreams. I don't know who he is. I still don't.

I never have any idea what to write in these stupid reflections. She says they might help.

April 15

I took a walk today and it was way too fucking bright outside. That's not the point though. After putting on my sunglasses, something seemed weirdly different.

I saw a seam in the clouds. I saw a fucking seam. I took off the glasses and I couldn't see it anymore since I was staring at the fucking sun, but I swear I saw it. A repeat in the sky — like as if the fucking world's covered by a skybox and I can't- I

When do schizophrenia symptoms usually set in? I should talk about this. Fuck. Fuck. fuck fuck fuck

April 16

My big sis, Julie, and I went to the grocery store today. Sometimes there's comfort in the mundanity of it all. I looked up at the sky again. I still saw the seam. I asked her about it, but she didn't want to look at the sun, said it makes her eyes hurt.

I feel too bad to write more shit in here, honestly.

April 18

I dreamt about a California wildfire that apparently happened back in 2019. Looked it up, yep, that was real. I'm not sure how I knew about that, or how anyone knew about that — most of that history got extinguished back during the fall of the US, after the Hogan presidency, at least I thought.

I asked Julie about it, and she'd never heard about it. Neither did the internet: I had to go all the way to the library.

April 19

I dreamt about the library burning down.

April 20

Julie had to go out on a business trip. Good for me, given the day. I fully intend on getting stoned as fuck. Gonna miss her, though.

I took a walk and saw the seam again. This time it stretched down past the clouds. I wish I could show it to her. I wish she could see what I see. I stepped on it, and it extended into my foot.

April 21

My therapist's actually named Chloe, apparently. My… bad? I swear I remember it being Allison. She's sending me over for a psych eval after I mentioned the seam. I saw it going through the right side of her office, but she didn't see it.

Just… it's just like a crack. Through the sky, through reality. As if there's a missing texture somewhere… as if I could jam something through it.

April 22

I dreamt about getting bullied on the playground as a kid. A bunch of kids were pointing and laughing at… someone. But I looked down at myself. That wasn't me. My skin was… I'm not writing that down, that's fucking stupid. I looked horribly ill. I puked blue and they all kept laughing and laughing. By the swings by the swings what do the fucking swings mean

April 23

Julie's back. We're gonna go grocery shopping again tomorrow. I don't have a car, so I can't go along. My life's so fucking boring that grocery shopping is a highlight.

I dreamt about the seam.

April 24

[this page is wet] she fell through and i'm so fucking scared

April 25

i called up my mom and she said i never had a sister. what the fuck i called up my dad and he didn't pick up

april 26

i called up my mom and she didn't pick up i called up my grandma and she didn't pick up i called up chloe and she said i never mentioned a sister what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck

april 27

you're kidding me right? you're fucking kidding me right i haven't been able to move all day. i haven't been able to fucking get out of bed and i can barely muster the energy to write anything but i'm pretty sure if i don't write something down then it'll just get forgotten

april 28

alrighty this one's gonna be long

i had a dream again, with the same laughing kids on the playground. they called me a name i didn't recognize this time, again. “wendy”.

I knew it was a dream this time, so I went on a walk. The streets were packed with people who I kind of remembered. My old friend Brian, another guy who bullied me in elementary, etc etc. I was like, 7. I didn't look ill this time. The streets were packed with people. It seemed old, somehow: cars still ran on gas, Florida hadn't been submerged yet, Hogan hadn't even thought about campaigning when I asked, though my political literacy was questioned given that I was, apparently, like 7.

I passed by a house I remembered and knocked on the door. Mom – my mom — opened the door, and invited me inside. Her face was somehow distorted. Melty. She referred to me by name. Holly. But that wasn't me, I was this Wendy kid, and she talked about me in this horrible, sullen tone. As if there was something wrong with me.

I snapped back.

Controlling their body didn't seem unnatural, was the thing. It felt… comfortable.

Chloe didn't know what to do with me. She says that the dream probably isn't literal, but that I might have known someone like that as a kid.

April 29

Got my trademark capitalization back. Ugh.

I keep seeing the seam. I dropped some papers through it, and they fell through, like she did. I jump over it every time I see it.

She didn't even scream when she fell through she just did and that was that as if it was all forgotten

April 30

oh god [this page had a blue stain on the bottom right corner. it looks like blood.]

~

“And that's all she wrote. But I remember the last dream. Everything else I had to cross-reference. I– she, I guess– was on the playground. She saw the same person she saw back in that first dream, sitting down in the sandbox, while I was sitting down on the swings. That person was Holly. The person she had assumed herself to be. The person she was.”, Wendy said. “Do you remember Holly?”, Allison asked. “Yeah, I mean, she was my best friend. She kept getting worse and worse, though. Ended up dying pretty shortly after puking blue.“, Wendy said. “There's… there's a million ways memories can kind of take on memories of their own like this. I don't exactly know what yours could be, yet. I'd have to ask a psychiatrist. Regardless, it seems like her thoughts and yours got pretty intertwined.” “I missed her a lot. I guess it would make sense I would remember her.” “And Julie?” “I don't remember a Julie.”

~

August 13, 2035

I hope that this message gets read by someone.

I lost some cosmic lottery, I think. I'm not really sure if I'm real. I've just been going back and forth between the store and my house. I don't really want to process anything. But the memory bleed, the fact that I keep forgetting and remembering people's names differently, the fact that I've taken pictures and they've retroactively changed – something's up.

Let's take an example. Try to picture an apple in your mind. You've got something there, but it's not really an apple, is it? It's a collection of how you think about apples. If you were colorblind, you wouldn't have a consensus apple, but you'd have an apple.

Now, picture someone named Holly in your mind. You've probably met someone with that name, right? Can you hold a conversation with her? Does that image in your mind stay around?

Sometimes that image just doesn't fade, is all. I guess I missed out on being me, since I'm fairly certain I'm that image. Just a picture of who I am – who I remember being, vividly, fully and completely. Things I thought only I could ever know. Is it just some cruel trick? Some twisted string of fate filling in the gaps? Fuck. I'm not real, I never was real, and these memories are a fabrication. I'm a maligned coping mechanism wearing the mask of someone's friend. Someone they remember. The real Holly's probably living it up right about now. The real Holly gets to have her friends, her loved ones.

I'm a simulation of a person. Everyone I ever knew is a simulation, a projection, of a person. I feel real, I feel as if I'm real, I can perceive things, but that reality's just… nothing.

After long enough alone, I started getting better at it. I could stop going to the grocery store. Just dreaming up a glass of water or some food was enough to get it to be here. I almost wanted to dream up some of my friends, but they wouldn't be real either. I would love to be content with that unreality. But I'm just not.

I'm going back to that tear and I'm jumping in. See you on the flip.

-H.S.

~

“So about Holly…”, Allison asked. “Who, exactly?”, Wendy replied. “The girl from your dream journal? Your old friend?” “I'm not sure who that might be referring to.”

An updated version of this appears in self stuff, among other commentary.

you called me selfish, as if wanting was such a sin.

you said I had no consideration for others, I learned to not consider myself.

you asked for five minutes of silence, I was quiet for five years.

you set me up on a path for success, I followed in your footsteps.

you said you would never let me off it, I worked myself to the bone.

~

I called you ignorant, you showed me bloodied bats.

I said you weren't considering my emotions, you smashed them like ketchup packets.

I asked for time alone, you ripped out my door handle.

I wanted my own path for success, you beheld me to yours.

I was begged not to go. guess I'm just not considering you anymore.

An updated version of this appears in self stuff, among other commentary.

i don't know why things have been so tiring lately i still feel like i'm holding myself to the same standard that me had it shouldn't make things EASIER? it's weird it's actually pretty common that s'weird i like... things are working better than they ever have and i love dearly and i like being around i like my life? even if i don't stick around it's really sweet

i just feel kind of dread that this might be me forever

i don't know who that person was i remember being them i remember moths. i remember really liking moths

i think for the first time ever which uh yeah, that's a fucking emotion, huh i don't know what this train of thought is.