A mangled arm.
A crumbling body.
A deep American voice. Male:
Sunlight and dust stuck to the television screen.
On the carpet. Watching cartoons.
I missed the pitch.
The voice yelled about ‘JAPAN’ – A cascade of animation.
Blood. Rage. Sex.
I wanted it.
No idea what it was.
I wanted it.
I stare at my hands. I try to memorize every detail.
Japan is indecipherable.
No internet and too young to know what importing means.
It’s where games and karate come from.
It’s where Nintendo throbs.
This third-rate grime of an infomercial is my introduction to anime.
It is my introduction to American fetishization of Japanese aesthetics wrapped in the hype of 90’s ‘extreme’ marketing.
A message broadcast to the era of children huddling in murky playground corners discussing rumors on how to maximize gore in Mortal Kombat.
I see the commercial two more times before it goes away.
Each time I am unprepared.
The enduring image: A half-naked woman in a dark laboratory smiling.
Her black lips.
A victorious smile.
I think about those flashes for years.
Indifferent to the body.
They capture the whispered filth of being.
Standing on the asphalt.
Behind me a single, endless row of white garages.
A pure blue sky.
My mother beside me in her work clothes.
I stare down the shore. Across the ocean.
I step onto the sand. I walk toward the water.
I stand in the waves. I look behind me.
There is no one. No cars. No people.
Garages and my mother, frozen.
A caress. I am pulled into the ocean.
A giant tentacle wrapped around my leg.
I try to scream.
An enormous octopus emerges.
I stare into its abyss of an eye.
It pulls me closer. It will devour me.
A shark appears.
It drills into the octopus’ brain.
The water is clouded with blood.
I try to swim to the surface.
A mermaid grabs my arm. She turns me around.
‘What are you so afraid of?’, She smiles.
I see the glowing coral. I watch the octopus implode.
‘We just want to eat you…’ She laughs.
I wrench her off my arm.
I push to the surface. I swim to the shore.
The sun hasn’t moved. My mother is waiting on the sand.
I run to her. I try to tell her what happened.
She is a statue.
I look around. I am alone.
I sit down and weep.
I wake up.
With the PlayStation, I reattach to games.
Characters have weight.
Worlds have history.
There is new meaning.
I swallow games whole. Digest their marrow.
There isn’t enough.
The internet becomes my supplement.
Fanart. Plot rumors. Region differences.
I wander its ripe heart.
I fall in:
Characters ripped open by lust.
Destroyed bodies of things I spent lifetimes with.
Viscous litter floating in the sewage of electric sex.
For months I wade through it all.
A witness to the violence of obsession.
The lurid horror that lingers between what we want and what we say we want:
Hentai as organic glitch.
Hentai as the warm cancer of the mind.
Hostages wrapped in black and gold.
A deep American voice. Male:
We are sitting in my car. Parked behind a cafe.
A pipe full of Salvia.
This is my second attempt.
I set the pipe down.
I take a few deep breaths.
Sunlight and dust stuck to the dash.
I take the pipe. I hold it to my mouth.
I inhale. It’s not easy.
A billion needles down my throat. I hold it.
I hand it to my friend.
I don’t remember exhaling.
I stumble out of the car.
Night. Fire on the horizon.
I stand. A snake god emerges, towering above everything.
It is long, thick, and blacker than the night around it.
It stares at me. It lunges.
I am devoured in one bite. I slide down its soft, pink throat.
I catch myself. I try to climb back up.
A white light blasts the snake open. I emerge.
I am sitting on a revolving, holy wheel.
The white light. A female voice:
‘And now, Wasim, I am going to show you what you really are…’
The voice drifts off. The world changes.
I am lifted off the wheel.
I am reincarnated as an atom, of a brick, in a wall, enclosing a park.
I scream. My body is rigid.
I welcome reality.
The sun settles back in.
I am covered in sweat.
Lying on the asphalt.
I stare at my friend.
‘Holy shit! Man!! What happened to you!?? Are you ok??’
‘Yeah. FUCK. It was horrible!!’
I am shaking. I can’t catch my breath.
We go to the cafe.
I explain to him what I saw.
‘Yeah, I got nothing from it…’
I look at him.
‘I don’t think I want to do this ever again…’
My body feels different.
It feels bigger:
Opened by force of terror.
Burned by light.
Reading the Hagakure.
My third time through.
A balcony. Beirut. Night.
I look over the railing. I watch the city flicker.
I love the bright red colors of the UNESCO sign.
My wife steps out. I close the book.
We talk awhile. We know all the bridges we’ll have to burn to be together.
We go in. Some of her family sitting around.
They start talking. I take out my 3DS.
Her brother asks me about it.
‘Game system. It does 3D without the glasses.’
He nods. I explain to him that it has two lenses to take 3D pictures.
‘Yeah.’ I open up the camera app. I hand it to him.
He looks around. He stands up.
He pulls the waistband of his shorts out.
He slowly brings the 3DS down with a supreme focus.
He takes a 3D picture of his testicles.
He looks at it.
‘HAH! My BALLS in 3D!’
‘Your body is the controller.’
The founding principle of the Kinect.
It did not go well.
Organic movement wasn’t a matter of simple interpretation.
It fell apart. Whole body movement was too much.
The Wii and the Move picked bodies apart.
Arms. Legs. A shifting weight.
All thrown off the same precipice.
Someone realized it was all about the head.
No arms. No legs. No Weight.
Just eyes. Vision.
Someone decided that’s what games are about.
The body is a throwaway gimmick until it’s figured.
Hololens. Augmented Reality.
Finding ways to bring the body back into this.
To bring heat into these new Roman worlds.
Caesar’s Palace. Vegas.
My brother and I walk past a fake statue of David.
We stop. I take out my phone.
I frame the picture with his face next to David’s ass.
A pile of human.
I send it to him.
Everything is a cold kind of stupid.
The body is a garbage bag of rotten jokes.
Games are free.
Pornography is free.
I am driving through the Great Canadian Nothing.
We are driving to a funeral. My wife is asleep.
I grab my phone. I look for music.
Chipzel – Spectra – Tokyo Skies.
The music starts.
I am moved by its sad, aggressive futurism.
I am sad about games.
I am sad about games culture.
I watch the red lights at the top of radio towers blink in the dark.
I look at my wife. I watch her sleep. She is curled up in the passenger seat.
I reach out. I touch her shoulder. She’s warm.
I love her.
The car hits a bump. She wakes up. She straightens.
She looks ahead for a while. She turns the music off.
One year later: I am at my computer.
I look out the window. Sunset. The city is empty.
I look at my phone. I look at the television.
I reach over and caress my roommate. He slaps my hand away.
It shoots across the room.
My flesh is elastic.
My body is broken.
I wind my arm back up. I take off his shoe.
I caress his face. He looks away from the television.
He turns to me, blushing. He floats closer to me.
His eyes slowly merge into one: A black void.
I am sucked in.
I am blue and headless.
I am running on a narrow, elevated plane.
I have won the game.
I have gone too far.
I am consumed at last.