Otherworld (Rjurik Davidson)
Come with me and I’ll tell you something.
I once wandered here, on this very street, alone with eyes like black saucers, with lips bloated, my hair wild and windswept. It was night. Knowing that the lights of moving cars shone on both sides of me, like Chinese lanterns in the air, I stood out onto the road and without looking began to cross. I kept my head steady and my back straight, and when I finally reached the other side (where we are now) I felt the swish of the cars as they went past. Life, you see, can be dangerous. But you can’t afford to worry about it. You can’t afford to worry about were you’ll end up. You need to live your life, see, as a piece of art.
Instead of worrying, come with me through this door, right here where I crossed the road, into the Otherworld. I can see that you’re frightened, but look up overhead, where golden circles spin and turn like brilliant fireflies in the night. They make your heart skip, those lights, like fireworks over the river on a warm summer’s night.
The usual rules don’t apply here, in Otherworld. They don’t apply to those bulbous disembodied fish that float ethereally through the air, their eyes so like yours, bulging and wondrous. They don’t apply to the walls that shift and change, like remembered barriers in our mind. They don’t apply to the creatures that roam, biting down on concepts, swallowing them as if they were just the merest morsels of bread. They can eat you up, those creatures, and steal the very thoughts from your mind.
I can see you’re still afraid. Don’t be: I once brought a man here. He liked to slide down those half-forgotten rainbows, landing softly amongst the sunflowers and mushrooms to the east, and then, laughing like a child, he’d climb up the sky again. He liked it so much that he stayed. See that cone in the corner, with its fine patterns etched around it? There he is – that’s him. He likes it here. Don’t you?
Come closer. Oh, you’re so dry! Your skin is like parchment, like canvass almost. And your bones, just wood nailed together. Come, let me take you in my hands. Don’t run away: let me hang you beside him. Why, how light you are, as I raise you up against the wall, just so! Your crystalline leaves are so pretty there on your skin, in the evening light. And finally you’re not afraid, and you shouldn’t be. You have your place now, in Otherworld.
(Vintage artwork by Sonja Meyer)