Miley Cyrus sits cross-legged on the floor of her hotel bedroom, hands resting loosely in her lap, eyes shut to the pulsating exterior world. She is breathing in only with her nostrils, focusing intently on deeper work within.
Miley Cyrus is meditating on a dead body — herself as a dead body that’s deteriorating, a body becoming dead. She is a pile of white bones outlined by endless black sand. Each bone has a distinct shape that she traces with her mind, beginning at the top of her skull, and moving all the way to the very tips of her toes, and back up, and down again, until all the bones are equally measured, until all of her, at once, is dead.
It is only in this place where she can find stillness, find what is literature, find a sense of self-connection that has been lost by her own image.
[bling] [sparkle] [sparkle] [sparkle] [bling]
[glitter] M I L E Y C Y R U S [glitter]
[bling] [sparkle] [sparkle] [sparkle] [bling]
I do a lot of tongue exercises, She tells the interviewer.
First you have to get down the strengthening — then you move onto maneuvering. My choreographer and I spent months in training, staring at each other for days contorting our mouths in unison. Now I stare at myself in the mirror for hours practicing how to look attractive with a wet organ bulging from my face. This is what talent is: awareness in every movement, every action. Like total presence twenty-four seven. The whole world’s a stage, you know, etcetera.
Miley Cyrus prances onstage in a furry jumpsuit barely covering her nipples, her frail body. Her lips are crimson, her eyes glowing sapphires in the spinning golden lights. Teeth bling bling silver, hair spiked rigid shaved on sides like Sinead O’ Connor trying to be attractive, ebony platform Chucks, everything sparkling.
I know a lot of you are looking at me and seeing an imposter, She is screaming (although no one can hear her above the noise).
But there are things going on beneath the surface, She says. There are things going on inside of me that you cannot see.
There is a quality of the camera, which is to be obscene. Penetrating angles from all angles from every direction, every space unseen. The unseen becomes totalizing, seen:
[SEX, ORGANS, BONE, BLOOD, GUTS, ETCETERA.]
Long shot, wide shot, medium shot, close-up, extreme close-up, low angle, high angle, point of view, interior, exterior, tracking, dolly, pan, tilt, zoom, boom.
It might surprise you to know that Miley Cyrus is actually disgusted by the physical act of sex. That the first time she had sex was on her 18th birthday with an older gentleman she’d been trading emails with for almost that entire previous year, after meeting once in a park on a clear morning when she’d thought nobody else was around (she’d been on tour — had escaped for the morning, went off to explore). For hours they lay together on the grass, facing the sky, talking about their hopes and dreams, the shadows of the trees, what freedom must feel like to not have it — when life right then and there felt so suffocating, so constrained. Their lives were constructed out of endless possibilities; they didn’t have to believe in any certain thing or world. She asked him if he knew who she was and he said it was as if he knew intimately her face but until that day he did not know her, and her heart was filled with wonder. A year later, as he fucked her tight pussy, clenched her wrists above her head, his face was a gray, hollow, ovular orifice, his body stark and unfamiliar, writhing with sensation above her, with a violence she couldn’t match.
THERE IS NO SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP, said Freud. THERE IS ONLY FANTASY.
Miley Cyrus sitting crossed-legged on the floor of her hotel bedroom. Lie on a bed, or on a mat or on the grass, in a position in which you are comfortable. She begins to take hold of her breath. Don’t use a pillow. Maintain the half smile and continue to follow your breath.
The first time Miley Cyrus ever ate an edible was at a VMA after-party, where she puked all over the executive producer of Cube II. The second time she locked herself in her childhood bedroom, draped herself upside-down from her bed, and cried for hours at how lucky she was to not have been born as a young woman in Afghanistan.
Just the idea of it — the sheer, impossible and possible chance of Afghanistan — to her was terrifying.
There was so much terror.
Miley Cyrus prances onstage in a furry jumpsuit barely covering her nipples, her waifish human body, so thin it’s like she’s disappearing. Her garish garments clinch tightly to her skin skin visible skin.
It’s as if you’ve fucked her numerous times, a viral amount of times, seen her splayed out in front of you, pulsating, panting, lips puckering, drawing you to her as she devours you with her face exaggerated to the proportions of the screen, her eyes like living crystals, burning with intensity.
Terrorists do not occupy territory. They de-territorialize violence, making it possible for it to strike anywhere.
The artist is always suffering — blah blah blah, She says to the interviewer.
Yesterday I watched a YouTube video of a blind girl in the Philippines singing my song Wrecking Ball into a portable microphone. She was reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper with her fingers.
We are like all constantly suffering, Miley says.
A true Pop Star is a majestic creature. The ultimate object of fixation. The Pop Star is transformational. Her body is not just her main source of income — it is her medium, her glory, her religion. One body that is ever-changing. One face that the camera never leaves.
To be reduced to the physical thus implies a one-walled surface, a literal configuration of the body into a series of patterns, symbols, signs.
The camera forces you, coerces you into action.
What’s disturbing to a lot of people about my videos, She tells the interviewer, is that there’s no clear or indicated purpose to their explicitness.
Unlike watching for instance a porno or something, where there’s like a clear motive for sexual subject matter, the images in my videos are violating simply because the audience doesn’t know what to do with them.
Miley Cyrus raving in black-blue pulsating light, sweaty bodies everywhere, hands in the air like they don’t care.
I dabble with Molly, She says to a shadow on the dance floor.
Coke, Ketamine, E when there’s no Molly. The goal is o b l i t e r a t i o n.
The Reflection on the Repulsiveness of the Body: “There are in this body hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, midriff, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, nasal mucus, synovial fluid, urine.”
I’m just so bored, She says, flailing. Everybody’s just so bored.
P A R A D I S E: Miley Cyrus sits on the edge of her bed, fully clothed, holding a vibrating dildo against her clit. She remembers to take in a deep breath. She is always forgetting to breathe.
FREEDOM is a no-place or a place with a self-created, self-designed meaning to be ANYWHERE BUT HERE.
What you all have to realize, She tells the shadows, is that nothing behind the camera actually exists. Miley snorts another bump of Molly off the car key of a sweating shadow grasping a sloshing red plastic cup.
And I want to exist, She says.
I take a role, Barthes said. I am the one who is going to cry; and I play this role for myself, and it makes me cry. I am my own theater.
Miley stares at herself in the mirror. She says MileyMileyMileyMileyMileyMileyMiley. She screams MILEYMILEYMILEYMILEYMILEYMILEYMILEY until it becomes just consonants and vowels, throat and vocals, larynx and lungs. Miley is a smiley is a spatula is a spoon. She breathes in air and the air is everywhere. The sound is everywhere. The sound is nowhere.
MY NAME IS MILEY CYRUS AND I HAVE AN IDENTITY. I AM YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU.
INDIVIDUALISM. The current ARTIST MODEL protests with HIS or HER BODY against the HOMOGENIZED MARKET.
I WANT ALL OF YOU OUT THERE TO SHUT UP. I’M GOING TO LIVE THE WAYS WE WANT TO LIVE.
[She can do say see love kiss think fuck smother wipe kick kill trust be lick hurt beat win snort have whom and whatever she wants.]
WHAT DO YOU WANT OF ME NOW? LIVER, BLOOD, GUTS? THE ONLY THING LEFT IS MADNESS.
We all imagine ourselves as a screen. Imagine all that is left of your body is a white skeleton lying on the face of the earth. Imagine that all your flesh has decomposed and is gone, that your skeleton is now lying in the earth 80 years after burial.
We see ourselves from the outside. See clearly the bones of your head, back, your ribs, your hip bones, leg and arm bones, finger bones.
We form images in our minds. Maintain the half smile, breathe very lightly, your heart and mind serene.
First there is one thing happening, and then another. See that your skeleton is not you. Your bodily form is not you.
Simultaneous worlds build repeatedly. Be at one with life. Live eternally in the trees and grass, in other people, in the birds and other beasts, in the sky, in the ocean waves.
The mirror duplicates. Your skeleton is only one part of you. You are present everywhere and in every moment.
The mirror is everywhere. You are not only a bodily form, or even feelings, thoughts, actions, and knowledge.
MY FACE IN THE CAMERA IS A REFLECTION OF YOURSELF. I AM NOTHING WITHOUT YOU.
Continue for 20 to 30 minutes.
Rachel Nagelberg writes fiction that investigates the boundaries between art, technology, terrorism, and romantic love. Constantly floundering between the spiritual and the nihilistic, Rachel’s prose often experiments with form and appropriation, while still utilizing a formalist texture and tone. She has works published in Specs Journal of Arts and Culture, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Pif Magazine, and Collision Literary Magazine, and is the illustrator of a children’s book entitled I Remember Mommy’s Smile by Dina Baker. A native of Philadelphia, Rachel now lives in San Francisco, where she is the Web Content Manager and Senior Staff Writer for the O+ Festival Bay Area, a growing national nonprofit arts organization in the Bay Area, and is currently at work on a novel.