A man in an oversized, deep trenchcoat with matching fedora fabric beckons slyly, his bulging eyes moving his menacing eyebrows side to side as he glances to ensure he is not noticed. His face is ugly, like a knot on an old tree that is disfigured and stuck there. The trenchcoat is open and he is dressed in black. His large, arthritic hands suffer the same fate as his face, disfigured and large, looking painful in their oversized, swollen form. He breathes heavy and erratic. One step away from a cardiac event that never comes. One step between purgatory and hell. His breath smells overpoweringly of cigarettes and coffee, the van door is open and he again, hurriedly motions to her to step inside. The girl is scared, uncertain. She wants to run, but is frozen to the spot. The fall, after-school wind sways her dress side-to-side. He takes a step forward and girl flinches, turns her face away, afraid. Suddenly a siren, and the evil spell is broken. He bolts back to the van, frantically looking around before shutting the door. The gas pedal pressure is a frantic acceleration, steering wheel making waves like it’s being held from the tip of a crayon.
Paranoid Canal Street traffic. Lower East Side Holland Tunnel mistake. Exits and roundabouts that don’t make sense as I’ve found my way drunken, stumbling through Chinatown and the one textile square that is Little Italy. Horns honk and voices buzz and fizzle and carbonate. We have grown to normalize trauma so that when someone gets mugged in front of us, we will freeze up and step aside. And then maybe at last minute trip the bastard and make him fall and eat cement.
Venetian canals that must be so empty in these strange times in our lives. I want to go back on the boat and drink champagne this time, and really capture what it’s like to be a buoy on that water. I want to go and stay. Hear the bells ringing from St. Mark’s Square before it all goes underwater. Some Assassin’s Creed Atlantis game where who knows where the heck we’ll be in 300 years.
Ear canal, cochlea, Human Phys diagram. Extra credit, A-, non-exempt final. High school, honors student, science wing – A bird taking flight. I taste the protein bars I used to pack back when I did not have a lunch, but no 8th period. Those were nice, strange, interesting days. The protein bars grew tiresome and would often sit in my bag, smushed in their wrappers, saving my appetite for when I got home. This chocolate covered protein bars were chalky, chewy, and always seemed to taste the same no matter the flavor. Synthesized plant protein – with whey of course because whey is the destroyer of all things. Somebody call the Romulans.
Little curled embrace, womb-like in the way the blankets cradle my warm body. Heartbeats eagerly. Strawberry red cheeks, Peppermint Pattie. Cartoon comic strip, voices overlaying each other. I do not understand the joke, nor have the patience to read. If all is forgiven, why do I still feel remorse when I wake up in the morning?
Right as rain – This table can withstand even the heaviest of weights. Three ton barbells being held by a sumo wrestler who just ate his weight in sushi. If you shake it, it will not budge; Push it, it will not move. Pull it, and you will pull your fingers from their joints and it will leave you writhing on the floor sucking and kissing the now black and blue flesh. Callouses protect like noble knights, noble warriors in steel armor, grasping to their spears, sitting atop white horses, urging their sides to move forward at once, post-haste! There is a level inside, that I wake every morning and hope it evens out. It’s why sometimes I feel off balance. What warped wood warrants this feeling within my soul? I’m thinking of ships in bottle broken free, early sailboats on the high seas, perhaps with mast half-eaten and sail non-existent or eroded in tatters. Here I am now, holding fast and holding still. Digging in my heels. No wind or tornado can blow me down. Stiff upper lip in the face of madness, sadness, tears, adversity. I stand like the statue of the little girl on Wall Street.
Scottish funeral on a grassy knoll. Sips (and gulps) of whiskey all around. Drone tones abound, as bagpipes play to send off the man that once meant so much to everyone. I think we should live in worlds where skirts can look good on a man, and embrace the moments and times where he is encouraged to “show a little leg”. The morning dew of the grass has soaked through my shoe and has thoroughly saturated my socks. My toes are cold, frigid – uncomfortable. I find my buzzed mind drifting to clothes dryers, and fireplaces in winter where it’s the warmest. I think about times before modern medicine and where someone might find that little piece of paper I crumpled up, in my handwritten admission of the fact that yes, I do have a crush on you. I can taste the barrels where this whiskey was aged. I suck on my tongue to absorb all possible flavor, but also because I’m nervous and and its cold and I don’t know what else to do to increase my own body heat. I look out upon misty mountains and here a bird cry out; It is in awe at its own freedom and location, privilege. He could’ve cracked his egg opened anywhere, but it was here, in these mountains where he was born. Here there are no noisy honkings of car horns, the mountains are not piles of garbage, the ground is not pavement, but sweet, moist earth where worms are plenty. Nostrils clear from the whiskey and mountain air. The bagpipes play and rip through my soul. I find myself sitting down, then succumbing to my back, arms spread in Eagle-like fashion and formation. And my eyes are bleary and now my back and bottom are soaked. But I don’t care anymore. Leave me like this, in mourning, blissed defeat. Carve down deep the outline of my body. Bury me here too. I won’t make it down the mountain. Cannot summon the strength or will. I will toss in turn in bed forever, knowing that open ends like this exist. The melody line hovers over my third eye and coaxes out a bolt of lightning made from a tesseract. I just want to know what it means to feel this way, and if this is a low or a high. And if I will ever feel any other way again. I don’t care, but they say that I got to.
Drawing a golden shape Oval because I’m playing The Sims as God, the narrator, unnamed character, the woman in the Hitchcock film with no name, no face. Clever clementine branding, Charlie Christmas nuisance. Thin rinds hit the ground soundlessly like the flight of tissue paper doves. Very low in the mix can you hear the peel and soft landing onto the warped wood of the backyard deck. It smells like allergies, New Jersey pollen where church membership dwindles as politicians get rich. Slow moving Dementor’s Kiss, smooching everywhere under fake Invisibility Cloaks. Smiling angel, sonnets cast toward the wind, upwards: “Take me, O Gracious One”. Flaming hoops into which we jump into because we are told, and also because maybe there is no choice. Head or feet first makes no difference. This here is the Circus birth canal. Through the flaming hoop, past the Lion’s mouth. It’s breath is awful. Calliope music winds up and plays until I find myself on the other side of that hoop, and on the purple pedestal where trumpets sound and cymbals lightly crash. The crowd roars and then I cry out in surprise and discomfort. And suddenly the whole vision goes tunnel, and I am falling backwards.