1st Place - Oct 2011

"i have returned from peru a changed soul"

the jungle loomed over us in a very old way
and vines hung from everywhere. they reminded us of
punishment and chastised us as we walked beneath them, but i
don't think they meant to come across that way.
i'd been reading a lot of burroughs at the time, and
considered myself something of a lost species. there were few of us
left in the world who knew real things, and who were able to
pull the tinsel off our eyelashes and see past the misleading
brilliance of a place that was going very fast in the wrong direction.
and i guess it wasn't just one place, but all places. everywhere
seemed sick and dying.
so we climbed around a lot and our legs burned from it.
i'd always thought 'escape' meant going from a very dense place, thick
with danger and fear, to a more open space where it's easier to breathe.
but this was nothing like that. this was like piling heavy things
on top of yourself and heading right into the middle of it, because the
density of the jungle was like skin and the more skin we wore, the
safer we were.
i had it in my head that we would
transform ourselves with yage and it would be like ascending somewhere
spectacular. no more of this junk-struck hopelessness, only
blown-open awareness that clawed its way up our throats and
out our mouths and made everything we said profound and
very, very beautiful.

~Chelsea Comeau