Michael Boyko

Hello Mantra

Mantra Type A:
Acquired Environmental Mantra

Function: Attention Deficit Disorder's defense against itself using short repeated bursts of already absorbed sensory material to prevent the absorption of new material. In other words, psychosensory bombardment preventing actual sensory bombardment. Most common type of mantra.

Manifestation: 1.Popular Radio Songs (ex. Donna by Richie Valens, that awful Superman Song by Five for Fighting, anything by Depeche Mode), 2.Songs from Personal Music Collection (ex. Elvis Costello "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused," Bright Eyes "Saturday as usual," or Belle and Sebastian "Get me away from here I'm dyin'." 3.Movie Quotes (ex. The way Audrey Hepburn says "Stuck?" to Humphrey Bogart while seated atop a tennis officials chair wearing a Parisian evening gown in the original version of Sabrina, or Kyle Mclachlan's own Mantra from Dune, "I will not fear, fear is the mind killer."), 4.Book Titles in Spanish (ex. Manana en la Battalia Piensa Mei, Residencia en la tierra, Poeta en Neuva York), and, in extreme cases, 5.Christmas Music and Commercial Jingles (ex. an unhealthy Amalgamation of Here Comes Santa Claus and Ain't We Got Fun.)

Mantra Type B:
Intuitive Environmental Mantra

Function: Learned Material that seemingly comes from nowhere, the source forgotten or confused. Causes or is concurrent with either a peaceful or manic state. Arises out of necessity for detachment or focus.

Manifestation: Depends on individual. ex. Children's songs, Frere Jacques, Three Blind Mice, or Pop Goes the Weasel, as if sung by a distant public school children's choir for some unknown holiday celebration. ex. The circus song, musical theme to the Greatest Show on Earth, being whistled in an empty big top by a very adept whistler and in a big band swing style. ex. Strange, ephemeral music of an unknown instrumentation, composed possibly by Philip Glass on Valium, consisting of long open chords that change by nuance only and wash over you like currents felt while underwater with your eyes closed.

Mantra Type C:
Forced Environmental Mantra

Function: To force oneself out of a less pleasant or more distracting mantra, and to make oneself feel and appear more self-confident, intelligent, or at ease, esp. in situations involving crowds or social anxiety in one of its many contemporary forms.

Manifestation: Classical Music (ex. opening theme of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #3, Debussy's Syrinx in its entirety) or Spiritual Music (ex. I'll Fly Away, Amazing Grace, or Shut the Door—Keep out the Devil)

Mantra Type D:
Acquired Personal Mantra

Function: Reinforcement of faith in others without their knowledge. Concurrent with epiphany or realization that hope lies without.

Manifestation: Phrase someone else, usually a child, utters, that is repeated and transformed into something meaningful by the subject listening. (ex. Una at age four, "Our shadows make us tall," and any variation on this phrase the mind of the listener makes through repetition of mantra. If the subject is high, it may be followed by constant nodding and affirmational utterances, such as "yeah," or "right on.")

Mantra Type E:
Intuitive Personal Mantra

Function: Unknown. Similar to a trance in nature, this wordless mantra is often forgotten once it has finished its cycle. Sort of an acutely focused daydream. Least common type of mantra.

Manifestation: Wanting to comment on something over and over in your head without remembering how to say it or even how to deal with thinking it. (ex. Subject usually ends up staring at someone or something, and so, is often stared at by others who are wondering what is so wrong with the world that someone would need to stare in such a rude, violating manner at something they did not own or lay claim to in some sense.)

Mantra Type F:
Forced Personal Mantra

Function: To force an unnatural action or reaction to become routine. Second most common type of mantra.

Manifestation: Often a short, curt order to the self (ex. "Don't Look," used when the natural action of looking at others while, say, walking down the street in your hometown, is met with contempt or rejection. The users of the mantra remind themselves forcefully to keep their eyes to themselves, convincing themselves that their natural action was the wrong one, and slowly replacing it with the "correct" unnatural action).

Michael Boyko lives in New Hampshire. He is currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College and works at a record store.