A Test

by Robert Bradley

Dr. Feel would like you to take his test. Because Self-knowledge is a Valuable Tool. Take a moment out of your hectic day to reflect upon your Life as it unspools. You won’t Be Sorry. Don’t forget to show your Friends, let them in on the Real You:

You’ve taken to pulling the hair out of your head.
A. Because it was loose anyway.
B. Because you like it, it feels good.
C. Because you know it will grow back, at night.
D. Just to see it float, useless, weightless, indigestible, to the floor.

Boxes are piling up in your apartment.

A. Why?
B. Where do they come from?
C. Is this some sort of death you’re playing out?
D. What’s your game?

You write notes to yourself.

A. And throw them out unread.
B. They’re a call to action from some nostalgic part of your brain.
C. You never smile anymore.
D. You don’t do much of anything anymore.

You sit, sometimes, nuzzled up to your computer.

A. It sends you messages, coded, indecipherable, yet, somehow, beautiful.
B. Your pulse quickens.
C. Awash in its warm glow you grow sicker and sicker.
D. You’ve decided: no more red meat.

Whenever you leave your apartment…

A. You grow 6 inches.
B. You breathe differently.
C. You’re aware of the beauty around you.
D. Choking.

Tell us about your dreams.

A. They’re a complete replay of the previous day.
B. There’s an overhanging feeling of dread and they end abruptly in violence.
C. Unlike your waking hours which end in heavy sleep, all the violence is internal and petty.
D. You don’t sleep much.

Tell us about your thoughts.

A. They tumble over each other like clothes in a dryer.
B. They are, no doubt, dry by now.
C. Getting drier and drier.
D. You think too much.

Tell us about your balance. How do you balance yourself?
A. You suddenly become aware of your feet, neglected for so many years.
B. You balance over the heel. It has a sweet spot to the fore. Standing over it makes you tremble.
C. You try to forget everything you ever thought was true. And that seems to help.
D. But you’re shaking, now. Don’t worry. Surrender to it. There’s an animal inside you.

Tell us about the animal inside you.

A. It cries out like a mute beast.
B. Tongueless, wailing, inarticulate.
C. It must be sacrificed to some blind, mechanistic god.
D. We’re waiting.

Tell us about your pain.

A. You suffer because you don’t know any better. You suffer innocently.
B. You suffer because you’re full of bile and resentment.
C. You suffer because there’s so much pain around you and you can’t distinguish it from your own.
D. It shimmers and hums and remains hidden.

Tell us about your childhood.

A: No?
B: Are you refusing to answer, or to remember?
C: We are not without resources.
D: Take a break.

Now, about your birth…

A: Do you recall the forceps wrenching you from your mother’s womb into the cold, harsh, uncaring light? What’s changed?
B: How have you survived this long?
C: Tell us your secret.
D: Tell us.

Who are you?

A. You’re some kind of clown, is that it?
B. A joker? A fool?
C. Bozo the Clown, he was a clown. Who are you?
D. There’s pain. And there’s nothing. You don’t get to choose.

So, how did you do?

If you answered any of these questions you already know what we’re going to say. If you didn’t answer any of the questions it doesn’t matter, the result is the same. If you skipped over the questions, the result is the same, only sooner.

In every case I’m afraid the result is the same. You’re fucked. Now, send this to your friends, to those others who would know you a little better. Don’t bother about the score. I believe we already know the score. Don’t we?

Robert Bradley has confined himself to a smallish room in a beach town to think about what he’s done. You can email him for more details.

What led Dr. Feel to create a test for his patients? If, no matter what you’re fucked, what might be Dr. Feel’s motivations?

Dr. Feel may have been forwarded similar such tests (written by people claiming to be doctors) in his email by his friends and decided to write his own version and circulate it to those who sent him these tests with a note telling them to stop.

Dr. Feel would like you to Know the Truth of Your Situation so that You might be Free. Knowing that you’re Fucked, he believes, is Freeing. Once free you can Unfuck yourself. Until you Come Clean, know and accept your fuckedness, you will remain Shackled to the Weak Force, more or less Fucked. You can’t engage in a Battle against Forces that are Invisible to You. You need to Stare without flinching at the Evil that’s been done to you in the Name of the Good or, worse, the Greater Good. Evil has no Power in and of Itself. It doesn’t Exist except in the Forms that you Choose for it. This Test is a test of mettle. It’s true that you don’t get to Choose…until you are Nothing. Nothing knows no Pain. Nothing is Free. Dr. Feel would simply like to remind you of these things, in test form.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

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