Underwater keepsakes. Hunting, diving, fishing, looking for shells, for stones, for sand. The water is murky and not clear. Influx of sodium abound and packs a punch to my already stimulated senses. It generates saliva. It makes me spit. Ocean water, salty and sure of itself for what it is. “Whale piss”. But salt is good for you – as long as you don’t overdo it long term.
At first the waves feel cool and cold against overheated, SPF’d skin. There is a tenseness, a trepidation at first. Hair follicles contract. Feet tell the brain: “Icy!” But after a toe comes a foot, and after a foot comes an ankle, and after an ankle comes a calf, which leads to a knee, which leads to the mid-thigh. But then it’s, “Okay, stop!” And now you’re feeling good, but what became bearable to your legs seems a little more unbearable to your upper self. Shuffling forward, your feet sink into course sand. The waves are at your belly now. The seagulls are calling. The lifeguard is watching. There is a din of kids about, splashing and playing and crying and calling out to one another. Goggles protect their eyes from sunscreen, from the irritating salty water of the deep. So that they can see for themselves how murky it is.
I remember once going to Point Pleasant with my dad when I was six. A wave knocked me down so hard and I could not get up. Seconds felt like agonizing eternities as I spun about, unable to resurface. My dad pulled me, my mouth full of seawater and tears, the taste of which I could not tell the difference. I cried and cried. We packed up our stuff. I recall a boardwalk ride that was like a school bus, 2D but going round and round. I think that was Point Pleasant and not Rehoboth in Delaware, where we did spend a few family vacations. These little pinpricks of trauma dot my existence and for better or worse shaped me into the adult I am today. I can still see the murky water, eyes open in fear taking in all around me. “Respect the ocean”, a past high school principal said on the eve of Prom. Chuckling abound in the auditorium as we were all immortal then, and knew no fear. Invincible teenage emotion is a pretty potent drug, it’s a pretty potent state of mind. I’m reminded of those of our graduating class who are no longer with us…Waterfronts and unwelcome sunrises that beam lights onto truth.
Sphere found in the tongue of a clam singing taps because it doesn’t know how to play trumpet. Un-reined talent bubbling to the surface. It is Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s hair is so, so red; so outrageous and outstanding that I want hair like that. I want it to billow fully in the ocean underwater. A necklace and earrings and bracelet that makes a statement about class, about worth, about being worth your salt. These captured rarities sent for sale and made for purchase, on display in windows and on hand mannequins and busts with no head or remaining torso. It is neutral and functional. A shopkeeper comes to the front of his store as the bell rings, signaling entry. Footsteps clack and click in both light and heavy percussive tones. Dirt trails. Camera follows up vertically to the face of a man with a five o’clock shadow smoking a cigar. He is a cartoon. He has no lines; His only direction is to look menacing, which he does, chewing the stogie so roughly that it’s mildly amazing how he does not actually eat it. Next to him stands a terrified Barbizon past-model with black hair. She is also a cartoon. Somewhere between Futurama and Arthur her skin is a pale yellow, her lipstick, fuchsia.
Launching upwards at the opal sky, aliens watch and wait, indecisive and twiddling their many opposable thumbs. The androgyny of the astronaut suit or costume; Genderless. Bulky and broad in shape. So much risk involved to launch oneself quite literally out of this world. There is no sound or smell or breeze in space. It is nothingness where stars go to die. And it is in this graveyard where the stars know and have forgotten everybody’s name. Because it doesn’t matter. Because all there is is this upward void, beautiful as it is.
I think of Tang juice pouches and their powdered predecessors. I think of the dehydrated ice cream at the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. I think of the future, the sour/sweet of it all. The unexpected textures love and loss will bring. Experiencing hues throughout Life’s journey.
If I were an astronaut, my heart would beat out of my chest. How could you ever sleep before, during, or after launch? The future forever changed. Time-release LSD. No sunlight, too many buttons, pristine metal fixtures. Are there bunks and cots? Do you sleep standing up connected to some wire? All the science must swim strong in your brain; You gotta think up there; It’s not just about living the day-to-day. There are no creature comforts in orbit. Mind melts at the thought.
Ah, but to see Earth from a circular window, perfectly ensconced in the sun’s glow; Perhaps that would all be worth it. To live with that rise and set, that constant companionship. I think of blue whales, friendly and comforting. I think of partnership and thanks. Regulars don’t get or understand just how special this amazing thing is. Marvelous design. I hope I don’t put it to shame.
Creaks on the hull. Ship in danger. Parachuting falls millions of miles. A terrifying colorful scheme. Too high, too high, too high. Stomach does somersaults on the descent. You do your own confession, make your peace with God, willingly watch the Kodak slides of your life, praying you’re not skipping over the good parts, and tell the little voice wondering quietly aloud, “What might it be like to die?”, to please be quiet.
A cell turned inside out gravitates towards the inner walls of the body in which in inhabits, turning tricks at us all, mocking the viewer, eyeball agape and wide, glaring down the huge magnification apparatus that we call a microscope. But to the cell its macro. Recent developments have led us to believe that we must now rewrite all that’s been written, cast aside all that we know, and let this be demonstrated in real-time, avant-garde, on a stage, nude, carrying buckets of eggshells because how could we possibly know which one came first? Regimented regulation, siamese consciousness, the parallel universe from which it all unfolds, like a book, like a piece of laundry – symmetry and aesthetic duress. Razorblade sharp and razorblade thin, skating on the wings on ice queens that have never eaten a hamburger before. And just when you think it’s all over, just when you think you can’t take anymore, there you are again – Siphoning the DMT from the rock, struggling and wracking your brain, trying to crack it, trying to open it and it’s the Big Bang All Over Again. Not nice anthems tell you to suck it up and keep trying, but you’re worthless and will never succeed. Plush peace sign pillows as carnival prizes. Stamps are adhesive and stick to the things we stick them to. First class mail is a lie. Peddling puppetry on a stage cast by those we obscenely trust, turn the other way and suck our thumb. Pacifist pacifier.