Touched With Fire: Chronicles on the Poetry of Madness - Part 2

I was sitting in my room at the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, having just gotten a job working for a film producer, not knowing that in a few minutes I would officially go insane. I lit up a joint, which I knew I wasn't supposed to do after it led to my previous mental breakdown. About half way through it with one long inhale, a sudden bolt of lighting struck my brain. My mind lit up, my eyes widened and looked around the room to see all contemporary meaning of every object around me dissolve away as layers and layers of timeless meanings that unify every mythology, religious text or poem ever written about it radiated in their place, illuminating them each to their full brilliance.

I walked out of the hotel to see more of what I was certain had to be some kind of divine vision. As I ran through the streets, my eyes darted from image to image, interweaving their meanings until they each became pieces in one elaborate masterpiece tapestry that had me repeating to God, "You're so brilliant! you're so brilliant!" I heard a faint whisper from within, which I could swear was a response from Him telling me that he hadn't abandoned me. He put me through hell as an initiation to get me to this point, when I would have to complete my rite of passage and find my place in his vision. His whisper then grew bigger and bigger and started breaking into many, taking the shape of angels and demons debating if I would fail or succeed.

I started seeking the meaning all around me, on each corner of the streets, buildings, newspaper stands. As I passed posters and billboards of reality tv, one show where porn stars play angels, and another where gangsters play demons, a movie training kids to race cars that guzzle up a ton of oil a lot faster and more furious than before, next to a video game where you're a soldier going to war on foreign soil for oil, newspaper headlines of religious turmoil in the Middle East, next to History TV's book of Revelations doomsday special.

I started picking up loose pages from newspapers and magazines littered in the streets and went to a diner, sprawled them across the table next to a copy of Aristotle's Metaphysics and The Bible, and used a pen to underline and align lines in the Bible and Newspaper headlines. When Israel is divided, the Antichrist will come in. All who buy or sell must use his number 666, the sum of the Roman Numerals on the dollar bill beneath the pyramid in the Middle East, with the eye of God on top of it, watching this whole time, "In God we trust," ironically printed on it.

As I ran outside with the lines from the Bible and mirroring newspaper headlines overlapping in my mind, I thought Society can't be blind to the signs and not see how the sex, violence, greed and gluttony of humanity is so out of alignment with nature that it can't sustain and must have its tides that rise and fall. There must be others like me who see, who God struck with this vision, they must have gathered and are secretly behind-the-scenes orchestrating this whole thing. They must have made the billboard above me with this giant red and orange apocalyptic eclipse and the words master card printed under it, subliminally saying they're the masters of the cardholders, their slaves, luring them to swipe faster and faster so each ass on each porn mag is nicer than the last girl's and each car the fastest in the world, and each star on each badge gives you a bigger pistol to twirl on the quickest trigger finger in the virtual world, as they ingrain in their brains day after day to consume consume consume, and shoot shoot shoot, till there's nothing left of the earth to consume and the only target left to shoot is you.

Suddenly the terror, the fear started to hit me. These visionaries were subliminally planting the seeds for what they would gradually stage to emerge all over the streets, on every billboard, on every tv and in reality, a full blown apocalypse. They saw through God's vision the tides of humanity had come to such a state that it needed to fall and be cleaned so that it could restore mankind to live in harmony with nature. They would tempt the sinful to bring out all the bad natures of bad seeds, and make them as gluttonous as they could be until they were ripe for the killing.

I saw the red and orange sun and moon of the apocalyptic eclipse above the MasterCard coming together, being painted and repainted to come closer and closer to each other, the closer to the day of the killing, until they would finally be overlapping as the massacre was happening. All those who they tempted into sin, would be killed off, and all those who stayed pure would remain for the rebirth.

Suddenly it occurred to me: The producer who gave me my job must be one of these few with the vision, producing these reality tv shows, and he must have given me this job because he knew I was part of God's vision and he wanted me to help them carry out the mission. Whispers repeating in my mind "there has to be a killing of the old for there to be a rebirth of the new" with flashes of the porn star angels on reality tv competing for who would be the one to give birth to the new Christ, who would lead the new pure world, and violent gangster demons on the other reality tv show being told they can kill the fallen angel losing contestants who they lured into sin, all to be aired live right at the peak of the killing.

I called my brother in a panic and told him about this conspiracy and then hung up, realizing the phone was tapped. I started screaming out to the microphones and cameras in the mirrors. "There doesn't have to be an actual killing of the old. There only has to be a spiritual killing of the old. We don't have to kill people!" I ran to the office of my boss and walked in with three sticks in my hand that symbolized the life, death, rebirth cycle. I handed them to his secretary and told her, "Tell him I know everything." In a state of panic, I walked into the front door of the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, the sign upside down, which they created to stand for humanity's upside down standards. When I went inside, behind the front desk there was a glass case where they pay cute women to hang out as ornaments. It was late so there weren't any girls in there at the moment. But I did see in the case two glasses and a bottle of champagne. In the peak of my terror, I saw my place in their vision. I was the antichrist who they would put in this glass case and make me have sex with the winning angel contestant, and then they would kill me and fill the two champagne glasses with my blood and drink it to toast to the rebirth of the Christ figure who would be reborn from me, out of her womb to lead the new world into the rebirth.

There was a steel case next to the front desk. I told the man at the front desk "I'm sorry that I have to do this," and then picked up the steel case and threw it at the glass case. A security guard tackled me to the ground. They restrained me and waited for the police to take me to the jail. I went into the jailhouse, which I still thought was being run by these visionaries who wanted me to be their sacrificial lamb so I started cursing and screaming at every single officer in the place, telling them I wasn't the antichrist, pacing the room all night until morning came at which point a couple officers took me into a police car and started driving me somewhere. They started talking in some kind of strange language that sounded like it was out of Star Wars and told me they were aliens, clearly to mess with me. They laughed and said that there are other aliens out there and started pointing them out.

I know it's probably hard for you to tell if that was a delusion or real, but they knew that it would be hard for you to tell too, so they had a blast with it. They finally brought me to a place called The Twin Towers Correctional Facility, which was ranked as one of the ten worst prisons in the United States. It was also a medical center, the go-to place for the criminally insane, which I was classified as, which means there were others who were in there who were just like me, just as misunderstood, who would be victims of the physical abuse, rape and murder, which went on in there.

The officer guided me into the doors, and with his last words of farewell, he said "Don't worry, this is all just a game." I walked in not knowing that my charge was not vandalism, as it should have been for damaging a glass case. They claimed I threw the steel case at the man at the front desk, who I had apologized to for having to throw it at the glass case, making my charge assault, which can get you prison time. My court date was set for six months from then, and until that time, I was obligated by law to remain there.

This story will continue....

Inspired by his own experience of being bipolar, Paul Dalio wrote, directed, edited and scored Touched with Fire, his feature-film debut starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby. Touched with Fire will be released theatrically on February 12, 2016. Learn more at www.touchedwithfire.com.