Take a seat in the middle of grey room, interrogation light on, hum of pulsating energy. No windows, just walls. Solid concrete. Is it womb or incubator? Freezing cold no comfort, I must go with the latter. The chair is plain. Now it rises off the ground, transcending time in space and changes form in to a folding chair. It is now in the ring. It is WWE and it is getting WACKED against the back of a muscled man. The crowd cheers and hollers. It is painful entertainment. It is raining medical bills and cartoon stars and there goes Roadrunner, taking off. Wile E. Coyote is trapped under an Anvil in the middle of the ring, the official makes the count and declares it a KO. More cheers, the crowd goes wild for Wile E. It’s is 1930s stock footage, black and white with too fast applause. Different camera angles of the crowd, but everyone looks the same. Smell the sweat in the ring. Blinding lights from the center. It’s the poor man’s Carnegie Hall and why not? Why not? Tasting the blood from a split lip, this wrestler, this champion, this golden belt wielding masterpiece. It is iron-tasting, metallic biology. It is the frog on the dissection table. It smells of death and formaldehyde. You can never forget what that smells like. You can never forget this moments of mass hysteria. Mass barbaric enjoyment. What would the Romans say to floodlights and announcers? Peanuts and popcorn and “ice cold beer!” in the Coliseum? Neon signs and traffic after the event is over? Romans watching television? Would it have fallen faster? Are we falling? Only to land on chairs in the after life? “Welcome to the room, Sara”. Will Fleetwood Mac play in the waiting room and we twiddle our thumbs and read old magazines, waiting to meet God? Is everyone flipping out, or are we just flippant? Feeling bad on being unable to focus a thought, but isn’t this focusing? Isn’t this what we want? If I can be the judge and jury, maybe I can be the student and teacher. Was nails against chalkboard ever really that bad? Chairs and tables and Thanksgiving dinner. Four-legged friends. Mel Gibson and the rocking chair.
Grasping at straws, desperate and anxious. Trying to make something work, something fit. Figuring it out. I grasp out and your hand catches mine. Holds it close. Pulls me up. I was drowning before in a sea of people. Now I’m breathing sweet, sweet air. You are the one true stranger that saves my life. I can do the same; Grasp my own collar to pull myself out of depression. But sometimes spells are so severe, I can’t figure out where the collar of my own shirt is. Seltzer water and the ensuing carbonation. What happens when you add baking soda? Let’s make some noise. Captain Kirk and Sabotage and Beastie Boys vs. Bill Shatner. Star Trek Beyond and mediocre dinner. Candlelight by the fireplace and we hold hands to say grace. We take it for granted. Circles are holy. Grasp at ideas and past thoughts – history, really. Open the book. “Turn the page” – Jean Luc Picard, baby and I will never go back to the way I was. Stop deleting, stop correcting, stop time, stop everything. Pulling back now, away from Pensieves. Harry Potter and green light. Green light means GO. Let’s GO right now. Anywhere we can. There are no limits, just consequences.
Pepper Ann. Saturday morning cartoons in the 90s. A certain aesthetic that will never exist again. Bell Pepper, Jalepeno, Chipotle, Ghost. Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore daring each other to eat the seeds of a Poblano. Chicken Mole; a recipe I’ve been meaning to try, yet will not make the time for. Cowboy Caviar from Trader Joe’s; One of their finer products. Mexican cooking; Steam rises from a hot pot, engulfing my chilled face, bringing light back into my body after a tiring afternoon shoveling snow. Frosty the snowman dances on the TV (back to 90s cartoons). That was a classic. Amazing fun. Fun Time Junction in Fairfield and my Pocahontas Birthday Party. I had turned 4 years old and invited my class and I cannot imagine for the life of me now why and how that place was so much fun. Diving in plastic balls and crawling in tight spaces. I remember having fun, but I also remember extreme anxiety sometimes feeling lost or fearing I’d get stuck. There was a sand art station there too. Multicolored sands in plastic bottles. An arcade with a Spider Stomp game. It was fun and scary. Funny how those two things are linked. Ice cream cake and pizza and goody bags. Me without glasses. Did I even exist? Pepperoni pizza, steaming hot. A delicacy I will never be able to eat anymore it it’s pure form. My body does not like cheese. Although, it has recently taken an acceptance to 100% sheep’s milk feta. Pepperoncini and giardinera. I could live off the salt. Spinach pies and stuffed grape leaves. Olive oil and the simple life. I am my most Sicilian in these moments. And moments of love, falling in love, and experiencing betrayal. In moments of full-fledged emotion, I become my true, realized form. “Who are we, but the eyes of the Earth?” Joseph Campbell and Carl Sagan make for spicy food for thought. Painful, delicious, coming-back-for-more experience. Thoughts slice open our mind like knives. Bell peppers or cauliflowers – la cabeza. The blueprint is there. Nature and our bodies are the same. Nature imitates nature. A nesting doll of discovery. Counter to salt, pepper balances it all out. Life is about balance. As I descend into darkened caves (which there will never be a shortage of), I feel along the walls for signs and direction so I may find the way I need to go, to live in the world. It’s these true life ancient quests we must all undergo. Armor or not. Ready or not. Here we go. How.
“Please come dive in puddles with me” – It seems every word leads to a Saves The Day song. London raindrops hitting cobblestones and washing away chalk pavement pictures in some Mary Poppins alternate reality. It could be happening right now. Puddle as in, a small shallow pool of water. But it could be more than water. It could be blood. It could be orange juice. Breakfast table set with eggs and bacon and fresh fruit. Maybe oranges that I will not eat and keep to the side. “Order up!” bell goes off in an old fashioned diner on this Black Friday morning. Black Friday, which I once wrote a song about 5 years ago. I first attempt into my 24/7 project. Galoshes splash. Waking up from a thought. Bringing one back to reality. The sky is overcast and grey and I feel a chill in the air. Dampness pervades even the thickest of layers. Why go outside if you don’t have to? The world looks like a black and white movie, devoid of color. The smell of damp earth and the pores of the world open up to receive a big, long drink. The drops of rain hit my glasses and I leave them there, my vision blurred, it’s useless. I probably don’t have an umbrella. It’s too much to carry around. Too much to think about. I’d rather just get wet – The feeling when you step into a puddle and it’s deeper than you thought. Or maybe there was no choice, no way around it. Both sneaker and sock completely saturated. First there is surprise and disbelief. Then, there is resigned acceptance of what just occurred. Knowing you can’t do anything unless you have an extra pair of socks and shoes with you. Oh, but that “splooshy” sound every time you walk. It can get so annoying. The damp foot, now growing cold, gets so uncomfortable. Coldness mixed with wetness is one of the worst feelings. The “moat” that forms on Broadway and 66th street. What a mess. The times I’ve gotten splashed by passing cars on the side of the curb on a rainy day.
Fall as in season. A mess of broken bones, slipping on leaves. “Don’t you wish the orange stayed forever?” Reds, greens, and golds. Autumn is the best season. X-rays though. Those are falls too. Climbing trees again. Falling off the bed dreams, falling in space…maybe floating. Those are the best dreams. Terrifying, but how do you compare space travel to anything you’ve ever done in your life? Raking those leaves. But maybe just leave them in their mess. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Pumpkin spice. Warm delicious drinks to take your damp soul and give it life again. Mulled cider. What even is bar culture? Where do I fit? Learning to fall. Down the stairs. Just accept it in the nanosecond it happens and relinquish control. You get less injured that way. Karate taught me that. Among other things, I guess. I wonder who I would be if I never took karate for all those childhood years? I’d love to take up boxing now. I just want to punch something in those big gloves sometimes. It would feel good. It would feel powerful. Princeton in fall would probably be magical. Falls lead to breaks. Bone or winter. Ha! Fall means the start of school.