Snippet from ‘Celeste: Lady of Our Flowering Marvel’ — Brad Baumgartner

Why am I Celeste? Why am I, Celeste? Who is the this? What invokes the this that is this, that this is? What is that, that thing which peers at me in the mirror? It certainly cannot be me(?). (Sshhh). “Neti, Neti!” I say. I say, “Neti, Neti!” to me, to this myself, for I must forget to remember—I must remember to forget.

The sun rises as I peer into the aimless trotting powder room of divinity.

And again to the throne, as if the blistered skin of fate wyrds itself into infinity through the trickling knot wagon of my threading pee. Bemused is the bird that sings, chirping its heart out like an opera singer, but minus all a melodrama’s much doth protested affectivity.

Nearly paralyzed by the meticulously placed paroxysms of the nervous system, the left side of my neck, ancient and cedar-like, honed to its petrified-wooden brink, announces via my encumberment the mainstaying and superlative wonderment of being itself: I am so dead that I am finally and forever alive, in this, the music of Love.

These are the invisible bubbles of being that even thin air hides in secret. Shining distended vision cast out the eyes and into the world, a world that is the Self as it peers into the exemplary pulsations of witnessing itself as you.

The jouissance of that falling toad as it gesticulates its smiles into eternity.

Travails of grimaced grime are caked onto my slippers! Aha! So beautiful the snare drums of time, feet wailing together in unison. Rough the road, this dirt inside my well-travelled veins. I am the epitome of my gnomic glance towards you.

Plump, like a cherry, my brain unceasingly balloons with thoughts of God. Intellection bursts. Seven whales’ snouts shoot water into the air as I wave into the deepening abyss of what I could never know. Dolphins pull me under, harpooning me into boundless skies of merriment.

Thoroughly unable to leave my body, I decide to fully enter into it. And when I entered fully into my body, slipped into it and made it as tight as possible, as if one million staples could not fasten me to it any tighter, I, Celeste, slipped right out of it. I walked inside the outside that houses the “I” and out I went, inside the All.

I look up to see in cataract view a thousand simultaneous ripples in time while the air in the room winks at me through its hummingbirded smile. Enervated and old is the sideways arms-spreading of the king and queen who, caressing the moonlight in their naked bodies’ shells of sheepskin, say goodbye to their best friend called The Gypsy. He is the one who had their hearts at noon and fluttered away at six.

Must I move again? How odd to be forever old and a day, stonily enacting myself in a play of non-being’s total un-end, and yet needing to move. “Celeste,” they say, “Celeste,” say these nerves on my backside, “Celeste, move again and remember this Now, you Cave-Oddity.”

Nowhere squared is everywhere all the time divided by zero.

My Prayer is to be enveloped by nothing in everything and to be a fiery minx of the absolute.

I am in constant prayer.

I am a fiery minx.

I am a river without a boat that must unfasten itself from the shore. I am a boat that does not float on water but inverts the river. Think of it as a marble sitting atop a pin that hovers over a bog of apostolic metacognitions unknowing why the boat must unfasten itself from the shore, and then have no thought of it, and I am that river.

I am that boat.

Brad Baumgartner is a writer currently based in Western Pennsylvania. Recent creative work has appeared in Gobbet, PLINTH, and Black & Grey Magazine. Ongoing projects include Audens Solitudo, a collection of fragments, Celeste, a work of experimental prose, and Weird Mysticism, a scholarly monograph.