I come to you from a darkened space as a mannequin in the dark of 1950s department store. A time-traveling mannequin. That’s explains my acute awareness of the year. The quiet, so deafening and distracting in its loudness. Perhaps a creak or two from the ventilation system – or a ghost. Dust motes swim silently in the air, gliding by unrefracted light. I am a jet ski laser focused on monuments, schilling sipping psilocybin, crying out, “Lord, please!”. It’s all too much. Rock-a-bye tumbling class, long legal sheet, pink pieces of paper. Christmas tree decorations and ornaments hang. There are rugs that cover large stretches of cold, concrete floor and on each end, a wrinkled tassel sewn in gold-hued thread. Pleasure pointers, pier-pushers. In to the dirty water I go. The Third River. Staples and tape and hot glue guns do not wash away sin, but stick to what needs to be stuck. Grinning at the mere thought of spinach-speckled teeth. Warmed unique Eunice after a cold spring day. Marching orders from high command. The greens and browns and camouflage to where it doesn’t blend in anymore. Riot city makes it rain and wait. Flowing, flowering, gasping, fawning. Paper hats at a fast food restaurants; The crinkles they make. Hand-cut fries. Steak frites. Marshland, traversing through with heavy boots. Dizzy spells. Unwell. Little bells ring on the sides of the rug and are disturbed when stepped on. Not wanting to forfeit or fear. Making me believe. 2010 iPod mini. The ones with all the different colors. Concepts change and evolve. I want a hammer. Reaching through dollhouse garage like a giant Godzilla dressed in pink, not understanding that I am terrorizing Barbie and all her friends and kids and her kids’ friends. Creamed corn served up slow. Piece the memories together like scrapbooked photographs; After school kitchen clubs where the atmosphere felt mildly jovial, but still annoyingly repressed. Pitcher filled with lemonade, skirting the table cloth, the waitress makes a fast recovery and pours expertly. Her nametag says “Tina” and she has curled, light-red hair and is wearing lipstick. The journey here was long.
Shopping mall consequence. A deluge of Christmas shoppers rush on by; A too-congested Frogger – pre-COVID. Dancing, pirouetting stoned and stone-faced. Shouting, but unheard above the din. No one will remember these Nike shoes in 20 years, and no one should. The white and black with the swoosh is just something that’s normal; expected to be there. Food court teenage drama happens to be the least important thing to everyone except the people experiencing it. Fountain coins and tears over flip-phones and text messages where you have the click one button multiple times to get the letter you want. We can train our minds to do anything. Necessity is the mother, first and foremost. Annoyance at bangs that won’t get out of your eyes, when Hot Topic plays really shitty music that is like the goth bedroom of the whole entire establishment. It’s a culmination of cliques and high-school social group categories, scattered among pristine real-estate space, grey and silver with bathrooms that have automatic flush and motion-detection soap dispensers. Malls seem to me like failures. Like, “here we are the human race and this is all we got”. This is our strongsuit. These temples built to praise and cultivate capitalism. New churches that center around a temperamental and ever-changing God. A sea of cars. Coming back out of the fantasy. Trying to remember where you parked.
Charcoal etches a fine design. Like wisps of carbon and ash and coal, whispering shapes to live, to life. Lines drawn and coaxed so that their edges are relaxed. All rounded bends and no sharp corners. It tastes bitter in my mouth remembering the remembrance of you. Saintly slips of the tongue usher in new awakenings and new boundaries. Rocketships take flight, acknowledging the first pang of love. The pre-flight checklist in confirming its certainty. Sweets seem bittersweet; Bougie chocolate chips, gripping my wallet and sucking my teeth begrudgingly paying, on line at the grocery storm, store, story. Simplest of feet shuffles. Red converse and the scuffed toe that tells a non-eventful story of not picking up my feet enough. Depression from the head down. It falls like cold, frigid air. An open window above my bed in February. A month known for its dreary frost. Where one has thoughts about, “will winter ever truly end?” So much for sailboats and warm winters in coastal southern cities. A 70 degree Christmas. Art museum excursions. Hallucinating sounds of seagulls, circling. Pavlov effect where I can hear the ocean and taste saltwater in my mouth. Where my mind is about to breach with summertime manifestations, hopes and dreams and memories. All signals point. Granted, it’s whatever I say it will be. Major investments in law and banking. Snarky grumbles and grimaces of men sitting in teak rooms; They are wide and their faces are large and pig-like. I cannot find commonalities with them. Gentrified neighborhoods suffering their own fleeting deaths. Marble countertop monthly installments. Getting a grip. Baseball bat, choking up. Same marginal difference. Rutland. Wetland. Christ for Christmas. Lederhosen antiquities. Time and place. Rushing the eventualities. Needing a pause. Questioning none. Roots dig into fertile ground and rustle the soil in slow motion. Sometimes the ground can get really stubborn. I am wanting and wishing forever. Putting on airs and glancing at troubadours past. Unnecessary homework. Grimace and shake. McDonald’s drive-thru convenience. Coming up crisply, Crispix cereal. Halloween, nighttime. Glance at pumpkin. Razorblade sharp. Billow and bend. Creating cracklings around.
Arid sepia landscape. All the air sucked out of a deflated balloon left to melt in an unair-conditioned back room in a business that’s closed for the summer. What’s left is fair game to the elements once it gets cleared out. A brick face building on all four sides with no way to breathe or get air. Above water submarine baking in the heat. Thirst is essential, quintessential even. A backbeat torture chamber where you can hear the trickles of sweat pouring down, even in the deadest of silences. It’s the ricocheting reverberations of your own body with the sole intent to rattle your mind. A padded space, printed in greyscale. Delirium in 0 to 60. Adequate resources for a mind gone dull. Especially when in certain seasons it becomes too cold to think or crawl, but just stand and shake and wait for the bus to come. Laissez-faire tactics long forgotten. Simply squeezed orange juice waits unpulped in a glass because we have forgotten how to fend for ourselves. Could we even build the cardboard container than holds this liquid morning gold (to some)? This sugar cane god we now bow down to, in spite of all the things good Catholics know yet choose to purposefully ignore. This isn’t garbage, this is crisis. Blinding reaching for anything resembling eloquence in body or speech.
Wash and rinse. Shampoo, blow-dry. A thorough baptism in the beauty salon. Weighted in the chair, feeling heavy with the smock over my body and the towel momentarily over my eyes. Mouthwash routine. Getting the plaque out, getting the germs out. I will do this for the rest of my life, morning and night. Stumped about a question I cannot answer. Rinse my brain with beverage. Carbonated and frothy and will at least get me to bed. Not that I’ll sleep well, but it’ll at least get me there; Make me agreeable. A cold frosted glass versus a room temperature piece of plastic. A good versus evil of sorts. Socks spit out of the sock drawer. It’s a paranormal event where a ghost is not sure when he should wear to his first day of school. All I can see is a multi-color hurricane avalanche. It’s time to tuck your chin under and roll. It is multi-color gymnastics. Not only costumes and outfits, but equipment. It’s the 90s. That gym seemed so big when I was 5 years old. Swishing around the memory and spitting it out. The reverberation of the room, staying put before moving on. A pitchfork in a bale of hay near a trough where horses lackadaisically drink. Droughts bring conundrums. Old West. Oregon Trail again. September leaves are calling in the wind, whipping them up into a tailspin frenzy. Rockets take off from the Cape without a sound I bet; Some future distant daydream (again). Hard to pinpoint the silence. Could be you’ve just gone deaf. Magic happens when we least expect it. It sometimes happens with our eyes closed in the dark. Deplaning all doubt, registering what comes next. A flow chart and each potential possibility. The mouthwash goes from one cheek to another as I may awkward eye contact with myself in the mirror. Having a laugh, taking it easy, spitting out the foam. Fake rabid dog at play. Old Yeller. A movie that felt like a previously recorded national event. “Will you please rise for the national anthem?” Uniformity in nationalism; The deviation of black keys from white keys but the piano still plays. Marvelous milling about outside a ball game. The smell of Premio sausage getting toasty on the grill. Overpriced everything, go into the debt and leave that game wishing you could just beam right out. “Scotty, where are you?” – Instead of taking the B train (by total accident), all local stops, back to Penn Station from Yankee Stadium. God, I long to do it again. It’s been lonely without a ballgame that means something, that counts for something. Dusty feet bathing in dirty water. A washbasin made of worn plastic. A copper wire.