To Draw the Flow of Time

Henri Michaux, 1957

. . . I was myself to discover what an awful, convulsive experience it is to change one's tempo, to lose it suddenly, to find another in its place, an unknown terribly fast tempo  that one does not know how to handle, thank makes everything different, unrecognizable, insane, that causes everything to overshoot itself and flash by, that cannot be followed, that must be followed, where thoughts and feelings now proceed like projectiles, where inner images, as much as accentuated as accelerated, bore and drill with violent, unbearable insistence, objects of an inner vision from which it is no longer possible to detach oneself, luminous like burning magnesium, agitated by a to-and-fro movement like the slide of a machine too, infinitesimal, and which vibrate, shudder and zig-zag, caught up in in an incessant Brownian motion, images where the straight lines invested with an upward momentum are naturally vertical, cathedral lines, that have no upper limit but go on mounting indefinitely, where the broken lines in a continual seism crack, divide, crumble and shred, where the curved lines get lost in extravagant loops, twists and twirls, infinitely intricate lacework patternings, where objects seem set in tiny, dashing, troughs of boiling iron, where parallel lines and parallel objects indefinitely repeated all the more forceful the more one observes it, shatter the mind of whim who vainly wishes to get back to himself in the general pullulation. 

Images marked by streaming, sparking, extreme seething, in which all remains ambiguous and, although glaringly evident, escapes being determined once and for all, and in which, although the frolics remain circumvented within the visual field, one knows that one is under the sway of berserk trills, piercing whistles, grotesque cacophonies and scales run amok as though berserk. 

Torn from one's tempo, in the storm of infinitesimal frenzied waves, or in the hell of equally sudden, smasmodic and insane impulses, one cannot imagine the inhuman speed of ever ceasing . . . 

(writing about being on psychedelics)