Infinite Landscape, or Where Did I Go? by Luke Kokoszka

I hadn’t anticipated my past, the ebb and flow of discombobulated philosophies I’d surrender myself to; mind you I hadn’t anticipated my future, either. The reason I ran exposed through the forest of existentialism has less to do with now and more to do with then. I thought we’d all be dead by now. It has been so long.

The middle class is a dangerous place to be. It detached me and it’s only a matter of time before it’ll get you too.

There’s usually a girl in something like this to serve as a reason or a motive for waking up in the morning. You’ll need to look in the back pages of the newspaper for one of them, cause they aren’t here.

You see, it was my body that found my brain here. It had been indeterminately absent. And my body began the sort of schizophrenic habit of looking for it, walking into rooms but finding nothing. It went on for days, weeks. I was away – here – outside myself in a manner of speaking. But the rest of me was walking through doors only to turn around and walk back out.

There’s a window looking to the north. From my little room I can mystify the expanse of trees blanketed by snow. The isolation is peaceful, most of the time.

I used to weigh my days on a scale, searching for meaning. I’d note the sorrow a dying pet made me feel, the feverish symptoms of a skipping record, the intoxicating aroma of Datura blooming in spring, the consumption of a tall glass of glacial water after a long day in August; concluding God is certainly dead.

Maybe that’s got something to do with the seemingly infinite landscape and why I was placed in the middle of it.

Paintings depicted what would happen but you, me and the rest of society regarded the artists as insane, mentally unfit for public. I lived in a time of no Oracles. Rasputin had been dead for nearly a century. We completely lost touch with our planet and ourselves.

I had an answer for everything until my mind and body detached. Other people would get into arguments with me at the grocery, the bank, the park - anywhere bursting with people - over indifferent points of view.

Soon I won’t be able to walk, my legs have become frail in the freezing temperatures.

The last memory I have is driving down the highway on a densely foggy night. I could barely see ten feet in front of me. Streetlights lined the road, eventually arcing along exits and webbing off into the ether. There was a door, unfathomably large and shrouded in fog. The streetlights had disappeared and no cars were driving in any direction.

Where did I go?

Inside my hollowed out head something else was forming. A blue heat, gaseous in form. There was a needle plunging through my skull and sucking up tiny molecules undulating without respect for gravity, painless as it was. Nothing was familiar.

In my little room there is a large varnished door heading south. And as terrified as I am to open it, I built up my courage and opened it a crack, just enough to peek my head out. My pale face burnt instantly under the malicious sunrays, boils littering my face indefinitely. I slammed the door and leaned up against it, supporting myself as weakness overcame my fragile legs. A sinister feeling overcame me upon realizing what I saw beyond the blinding sun. The wicked slope where the trees appeared to disappear under the disorienting waves of heat, the rich greens and pale yellows, browns, reds spread across the forest floor, the scorpions and snakes scurrying with haste underneath the leaves.

Pieces of hair started growing from the floorboards in my room, popping up like bamboo torture as I walked along them in bare feet week after week. A similar thing had happened to me when I became detached, except reversed. I’d walk around my house and fall through the floor, in a manner of speaking. My wife would find me standing in the basement when I was in the kitchen a moment before, cooking. I never knew how I got there. I’d be in our bedroom upstairs, getting dressed, and suddenly I’d be in the kitchen beside my wife wearing a sweater and one sock, nothing else.

Everywhere around me, no matter where I stand in my little room, is the sound of an accordion playing mismatched and wrong notes. The reeds sound loose and the notes create a terrible vibrating of tiny metal pieces sometimes louder than the notes of the accordion itself.

I’m thankful for the walls blocking the view to the east and west. I don’t want to see what horror lies in those directions.

That night I was driving in the dense fog, John Coltrane playing Impressions over the stereo, my view gradually becoming more disorienting, I remember a light, not quite florescent, but more like LED, an almost surreal glow you could say, shot down from the sky and surrounded my vehicle before I drove through the colossal door in the blurry distance.

There are things I miss: The taste of food, the sounds of birds chirping, the musty smell of old books, the sounds of jazz, the touch of a woman.

They visit me, but I can never remember them coming or going. I remember nothing more of them except them being here, in this room with me. The furniture is always upside down when they leave, the light bulbs in the lamps are burnt out, it’s freezing cold, the radio is nothing but static on every channel.

Decades passed while I contemplated the origin of the world, how humans found themselves walking on earth, speaking a language other humans, almost all of them in fact, understand. Mathematics, chemistry, what we perceive to be morals and ethics, a variety of complicated notions we thrive to understand but cannot comprehend. I experimented with altered states of consciousness, meditated to the fringes of nirvana, read sacred texts from ages past. Nothing could prepare me for what I’ve found myself part of.

You see, I had a comfortable life. I had money, not a lot, but enough to live without worry and pressure. I had a beautiful wife and a daughter, a two-story house in the suburbs, a Great Dane and a Ragdoll Himalayan cat. People looking in the window on their nighttime strolls would be overcome by envy. I had the means to participate in whatever I wanted, freedom.

I had the means to do everything but nothing ever pieced together. My wife was always doing her own thing, seeing me 10 minutes before bed and nothing more. My daughter was enrolled in a prestigious school, which occupied all her time. My dog and cat didn’t acknowledge me. I envied the people walking outside my window more than they envied me.

I wonder if they know I’m gone.

The pieces of hair sprouting between the floorboards are growing faster now. The seasons must be changing; it must be spring, if that still applies here. They burrow into my skin, through the calluses on my feet and lodge deep into muscle tissue. I don’t want to know where they go once they’re through my muscle tissue. My blood stream? I can only imagine what moribund infections they’ll inflict upon me.

Nefarious vibrations are in the air. I can sense them. Something is about to go wrong. I remember this feeling from when my mind detached from my body. Like someone stole one of the strands of my DNA.

I’ve left this, call it what you will, something to remember, maybe. If it ever reaches into the hands of another human being, I hope they should take the necessary precautions.

They visit last night.

They walk door, right through. Stand there stare.

Cold. The air cold.

They leave. They visit. They leave. They visit.

Do they stole from me?

I can’t breathe.

They coming. I listen white noise. Ringing ear.


I                    c   a        n   ‘      t                  s      e            e      .



Luke Kokoszka is somewhere decent, writing and exploring the realm of tones. You can listen to his band here.