I’ve been undisciplined. I am constantly sore. I don’t fit in my bed, even when I am stretched all the way out. Is this real anymore? Is the usual corporeal discussion another one-way monitor?
Snapped back to ether with a gear in neutral, loose typically, arranging myself, I lean far under the windshield trying to gain a fresh perspective on the routes. The thing about this city is there are only so many ways to go. Today, the trees look taller. Some buildings look slantier. I drum my fingers on my forehead and watch the other drivers. I thought I had it figured, but it drains into a different form with each coming day. This is what happens when I finally decide to own a mirror. Something swirls calico as my coffee drips empty. Last nights conversation was buried in the yard when we sat down.
I drive the same way home from work. Last week, I caught a light that I’ve never caught. I stopped washing my hair. I stopped counting the crimes in the paper. Good thoughts have been acting like a glass of water poured over a taut drumhead, bouncing everywhere with a contorted gravity, the results damp and untreading.
The next day I caught the same light. I was the only car to pass through. I did not stop. This is a light I have always missed. It’s a protected left turn smack dab in the center of a three-way intersection with no shade. A strip-malled Dresden. It takes at least seven, sometimes ten minutes for the light to go back to green. I talk into my phone. I read my new address at the mailbox: it reads like a song of retribution.
Notes from a recent dream, half-real, half-other worlds, the ones I seem to be fond of visiting:
I remember seeing the moon leaving us in my rear-view mirror from the backseat, your words get lost as the train rumbles past the car. And like always, I am struck down stupid, a bow, a man, a stuttering imp.
I write a show for her seventeen months ago, and it’s already past.
She kissed me in the mornings and came to me, like a bird, but it’s already past.
I’m fifteen again, and the echoes make me shiver and it’s already past.
Like deja vu during a sweaty doze on a love-seat, like a jaw crack on an already popped jaw, like the jokes told to every lover, like the gull yapping that I squint at through cracked blinds, it’s already past.
Your once swimmers body, your once nimble mind, your once courageous spirit. It’s already past.
When I woke up today, I came to the conclusion that bored sadists have been breaking into my bedroom and pummeling me with soft bats. It explains the soreness, the tender treading of my body through the hours. Plus, I’m a deep sleeper. It would certainly explain a lot.
I hear two voices when I can hardly handle the one. I am skeptical that either have anything to say. I feel like an elephant in the circus balancing on the big ball. I feel there is a new vernacular I am not caught up on – a trudging monster along the plains, I’m riding it’s back, bored with the country and the old reminders of the new world. It needs to slow down.
The next day I caught the light for the third day in a row. I thought about this. I’ve been told to pay attention to things that come in rows of threes, that the world is trying to tell you something. It’s best to keep your antenna up, your senses alive, and your world copasetic regardless of the circumstances of the events that transpired after your accidental birth. If you give in, the world will continue. The earth will pour itself new.
I avoid driving that particular route home now. And I don’t let the pangs carve out my stomach when I see the flowers in the grocery store in the late stages of a Sunday morning. Colors, car models, a sketch pad, a photograph, the old building, a mispronunciation, all echoed in powers greater than three, in certain rows, tingling and dancing near my skin. I’m reminded. And though the world can dissipate, I am always reminded.
I avoid driving that route now.