Out of the Blur by John W. Love, Jr.
presented – and censored – at TEDxCharlotte 2010
It was an inconsolable day.
Something gasped…and in spilled the deepest of deep yellows. To describe it as merely painful would be a disservice. Deliciously excruciating was more like it.
From a contorted crane over the edge of the bed, neck bent and peering through the blinds, I could see a sliver of sky. Billowing and undulating like ink invading a bowl of water, the horizon simply couldn’t contain itself. Everything yearned to weep. You could taste it. The impulse to have a little salt in the mouth was insuppressible.
It had been rumored for quite some time that an elegant tragedy was desperately trying to get my attention…and when the screams of a red-breasted albatross came crashing into my psyche, well, it was confirmed. Have you ever seen a bird try and peck through her own chest? Gruesome. Gorgeous.
Miracles are messy. They have a tendency to bleed around the edges.
(Gasp!) Breathe. You’re gonna need it.
Now, all that shit happened before breakfast. Mmph. And by the time I could whip up a nice velvety macchiato of prana, it was apparent that the deep yellow had rendered everything bitter. I know who the culprit is. I know who just had to dip a dirty toe in it. I’m looking at her right now.
She was a beast. She was a bottomless cup of bitter…and I hated her because everything about her just spewed ‘bitch’! But more importantly, I hated her because she was the bitch who had killed my lover.
It pains me to recall what I’ve lost of my sumptuous love. You see ours was a thick and rich affair, succulent enough to be mistaken for food. We’d devour one another until there was nothing left and then we’d start all over again as if we’d never tasted that dish before. I was a glorious addict with no desire to recover. I mean really, what would have been the point in that?
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am indeed a connoisseur in all things bitter, but the flat and faded taste of death she left in our mouths was unforgivable. Here was one of us with its essence gouged out and the other holding his psyche between his own trembling hands. You see,
for the last eternity or so, I have been in the throes of a love affair with Silence…and she destroyed it beyond recognition! Like a banshee flying in with shit on her heels and giving not a fuck about whom she disturbed or what peace she poisoned, she assassinated it! That’s what she did and that’s what she was. She was an assassin.
Every day, for the last 22, I have been awakened by a woman screaming inside my head, and since that is no place for her to be with all that goddamn noise it was clear that something needed to be done. So I watched.
I saw a woman with a voice like a rusty razor blade indelicately slice through everything within reach. I saw her utterances slit her own throat and I saw that she didn’t seem to mind. She was the only thing past a door that had been locked from both sides. She couldn’t have cared less about anyone coming in…but the ones on the other side had no intention of letting her out.
Even the air couldn’t stand to be near her. Just to get away, I saw it press itself against hard surfaces until it could go no further, thrash against ceilings and walls and trembling glass panes only to fall back and recoil into perhaps the most devastatingly beautiful death I have ever seen in my life…and still she screamed…and still I watched…and still she screamed…and still I watched…and still she screamed…
Through the wail until there was no breath left in the body, I watched. Through the wretching until vocal cords threatened to snap, I watched. All this watching and she had no intention of looking at me. So as Cujo spit gathered at the corners of her mouth I simply decided to read the latest news playing across my palm. That got her attention and with absolutely no foreplay at all she bit down into what would be the day’s most unabashed fuck.
“Hello seer. In the blink of an eye my daughter, Neequa, will run into this room and tell me that her brother, Billy, has left and that it is my fault. She will use everything I’ve taught her to further entomb me in a hellishness not of my choosing. She will look at me as if I am the abyss and she will scream in the cavernous pitch that ‘Not everyone wants to miserable’ to which I say, ‘Prove it!!! Prove it! Not everyone want to be miserable?! Prove it!!’
I called you because I need an epic and tortured telling. You seem to have a particular appetite for those. Even the wretched deserve a little justice…and a little understanding. Naming the gates of Hell can be exhausting.
I am Neema…and I’ve got some things you need to hear.
Let’s start with my children. They are cunning little creatures, brilliant even, but they are not to be trusted. Everyone talks about mothers who eat their young, but what about young who eat their mothers? My little bastards have been eating me out ass first since the day they were born. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
Even though they are horribly misguided I must admit that they are extraordinary little creatures. Out of all the offspring I’ve birthed and exterminated the twins were the only ones I couldn’t kill. At the event of their birth, Billy, with the tiniest of black lilies unfurling from his tiny little feet was cradled salaciously inside Neequa’s arms…I swear that boy will try to love/fuck anything that will allow him to get close enough to sniff their bouquet. And Neequa, ever the protector, had a splay of pins and needles running down her back from crown to crack - putting all danger on notice. I have seen that girl stitch together a staggering reality out of dust, dead flesh, a thread of truth, and memories she knows nothing of. The spiky little bitch made it hard for me to bite down and swallow when I had them both at the point of no return between jaw, tongue, fang, and certain death.
Neequa, Neequa, Neequa…too bad those gifts are now squandered on the distractions of being 14. My Billy on the other hand is a 14 year old in a body that tells a very different story. It’s the kind of package that makes stupid little white women with teaching degrees do real stupid-ass shit. When he was 10 years old he literally fucked a grown ass woman to death. And no matter how hard I tried to beat the remorse out of him he insisted on fucking her back to life…and he did. That’s when I realized – Oh fuck! I’ve got a goddamn martyr on my hands. And now the martyr wants to abandon me and spread his wings like his worthless father. Apparently calling him a little cunt and screaming that his daddy was a dickless muthafucka not worth the fuck it took to create him and his sister was not the best tactic to convince him to stay and help get me out of this fucking room. Ah, their father. It’s a miracle the charge I still get out of the simple beauty of a black feather.
Ahhhh, their faaaaatherrrrr…
The sky was my favorite color. Depression. And I wore it like a full-length chinchilla. A scent of angelica root and black pepper stung my eyes and somewhere between an ill wind and the mouth of a cave I snatched something by the throat. My children’s father was a Goliath of a man simply walking through a day in which all circumstances were unfortunate. My children’s father was a lover I turned into a bird every time he threatened
to leave…me. However he was a little stronger than even I had imagined. I hear the shattering of tiny bones in my ears every time I recall the first time he refused me, the first time he refused to turn back to his manly form. Which begs the question whether he was merely a man at all. Which begs the question whether he came knowing spells.
He knew spells. Why didn’t anyone tell me he knew spells?
He is the real reason I am in this room. Furious he wouldn’t return to the succulent lover I so desperately craved, I ripped out his wings and cut off his feet. “Fine! Try flying without those.” It worked for a while. He lay at the back of his cage…defeated, unraveled in blood and feces. Beautifully eviscerated. Wonderfully controlled…with all the best parts still intact. It worked until he lay in wait for me to press my yearning against his cage and coo his passions into betraying him once again. It worked until he jammed a mangled talon through my chest…and straight and out my back…taking chunks of heart and spine along with it…all the while speaking words I could not decipher. He knew spells. Why didn’t anyone tell me he knew spells! “Go on! Turn the screw!”
I screamed. “I’ve been needing a good tup you stubbling nutted, pathetic excuse for a man! I should have just pulled out my dick and fucked you like the pussy you’ve turned out to be! Go on! You can’t kill me you fool. You can’t erase me you silly bird!” To which he replied, “Oh, I don’t want you to die. I wish you eternal life. In all the hells you have so painstakingly created, I wish you nothing but rot, Neema. Rot in the annals of your formidable perfection. In a word, go to hell, bitch.” Then with a viciousness even I didn’t see coming, he pecked my eye out! Mumbling some drivel about always watching, that muthafucka sprouted a full set of wings elusive to the naked gaze and flew through my goddamn ceiling. So there you have it. Dat’s my baby daddy!
So, Billy has gone with a twisted logic to save the world, and a secret hope to find his father. And Neequa, as usual, is in hot pursuit to clean up messes that don’t have a fucking thing to do with her. What a waste. So much for not everyone wanting to be miserable. She has no idea what awaits her.
So seer, have you seen enough? Are you still angry with Neema? Let me tell you something. You are just as clueless as my muthafuckin’ kids. You love to tell people that for the last 22 days you have awakened with a crazy woman screaming inside your head. Like I don’t have anything better to do than torture little psychic Peeping Toms. Bullshit! I didn’t assassinate your Silence as you are so fond of saying. You killed it because of your obsession with me!
So if not everyone wants to be miserable, prove it! Stop feeding me! Stop cultivating that which sustains me! Have you not figured out who the fuck I am yet? I am the Queen of Misery!
If not everyone wants to be miserable, then stop creating so much fucking misery! If not everyone wants to be miserable, please, kill me. Be happy. Ah, but you won’t. You like the pain too much.”
It was at that point when I did the only thing left to do. I stopped watching and turned towards an unfathomably gorgeous thought…and then another…and then another… and another…and… Somewhere in that stream of succulence I just had to turn back and look one last time. Then I saw it. In my shift from the horrific to the gorgeous, I realize that I had inadvertently gutted Neema. With a curious smile on her face she had immediately called him in. He was an old, dear friend. With a curious smile on her face she had immediately begun to suckle at the nipple of Death…and I threw up the last of the deep yellow.
Miracles are messy. They have a tendency to bleed around the edges.
How much do you know about your yearning? Do you realize that when you are not looking your unattended desires are living a life all their own? Do you understand when you are entertaining all that shit you don’t really give a fuck about your deepest of urges have ceased to seek your permission, and they have invited all sorts of characters to come in and play? I am the entity who lives in a place known as the blur…the bleed, the run, the intermingle…and I am the holder of all those irreverent fantasies lurking in the corners of your corners. Today, for you, I have literally stepped out of the blur. You see dearests, your dreams are my dreams whether I like it or not. No offense. It’s simply the way I’m made.
Oh, and this…well, when I finally decided to stop aborting my dreams I discovered that I was perpetually pregnant. Big ideas, huh. Well, do with that one what you will…
Addressing the theme of “big ideas,” Out of the Blur exists as a special cutting for the finale of the inaugural 2010 TEDxCharlotte event. It found its beginnings within a series of pieces about the character Black Lily Billy and is now part of Love’s larger performance work The Diaries of Neequa or She Who Would Be King which is the performance component of his forthcoming interdisciplinary event FECUND due to launch in Spring 2013. In July 2011, Love was distinguished as the first individual to receive the prestigious ASC McColl Award, a $25,000 award dedicated to the creation of new works.
The live video feed from TEDxCharlotte was cut because the organizer of the event freaked out at some of the language. The performance itself went on, and was videotaped in its entirety: watch Out of the Blur part 1 and part 2.
Read John's comment on the censorship and some of the responses here.
Or see what he had to say back in the day on weirdcharlotte.com.