Starship helms are my only certainty. Though I suppose naval vessels are not far off. I see a page ripped out of a children’s book, perhaps it’s historical fiction having to do with pirates. These bandits are romanticized and glamorized because they do not exist anymore, at least, not in the living history of the western world. I imagine their world to be quite filthy and morally bankrupt, but also perhaps the best they could do with their lives at that given time. Individual tragedy and destitution can sometimes lead to less than savory opportunities falling into one’s lap, and with a low-life expectancy into old age, the offer must’ve been more appealing than undiagnosed depression. Wooden ships must creak often. They must be regarded as some work of art, at least beyond my capabilities. There at the helm, a steering wheel perhaps not as full of splinters as one might imagine. It takes great strength and fortitude to steer and direct a ship. The rudder must be operational at all times. That doesn’t seem to be a possible repair on a high sea voyage. I’d imagine the vantage point to be nice and serene, a glimpse at peace before a hellish, stormy hurricane. Shoes are worn. Beards thick and at risk of lice. The sun hot and promising sunburn. The interior cabins rank and crawling with … something better left unsaid. The brig must be a miserable place. And all for what? Gold? Humans value some kind of currency. Whether it’s paper or metal or goods in trade. There’s always something that somebody wants. The captain of this ship must have an eye patch and out of his one good eye he watches this helmsman closely so he may have the illusion of control. Peg-legs must’ve been difficult to maintain back then. Any sort of amputation. The rockiness of the seas must not have been kind. Sea air a combination of refreshing and sick. I’m not sure if I ever could have been one to gain my sea legs…Cannonballs as playthings, toys for men. Destructive and decisive with their direction and intention. How many last words never said, poems of the high seas never left the boat which the creator died on? To sink the bottom of the ocean, and to know this certainty is your fate, must be a terrifying concept to grasp.
The bathroom tile is a middleground between teal and aquamarine. I remember the day this small closet-like space was spackled white, the expert precision in which the workmen laid and cut the tile, little squares, decorative with purpose. Now there’s someone inside the bathroom with the door locked, wretching. Whispers of prayer and profanity come through the little crack of the door on the bottom. In the dark, a golden beam of light eeks out. The occupant has no strength left to reach back up and turn it off, hangovers are never kind or easy or negotiable. How could I ever forget the taste of sour bile? Acidic and cutting, helpless to stop the waves of nausea. Vomiting is surrender. Body takes over and mind shuts off. You close your eyes and wish for it to be over. Wish to forget dinner and all the decisions that led up to this moment, even if those decisions were made lifetimes ago. Shaking with a cold sweat. I recall those moments. I watch the still, wooden door and become mildly aware of the morning light beginning to lift away the clouds of night. The shades and curtains begin to show themselves again. My bare feet are embedded in the carpet. This is their home now. Afraid to move. Time to confront. Deep sighs, gasping, pleading. This is punishment now. The Bible tells us that sinners will eventually need to come to their knees, well here we are. One final spit. The light turns off. I hear the running water of the sink, cleverly masking the sobbing which only I can hear. Every Sunday morning does not need to start this way, but it does. I, sleepless and worried and numb. He, momentarily remorseful and apologetic. It will fade. It will not last. This cycle will start back up again. And I will be standing outside the door, cold with no slippers, waiting for a call for help, an opportunity to be of use that will never come. The tile on the bathroom floor must be cold and unkind.
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?
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.
There is something majestic and royal about a large, grandiose ship leaving port, casting off thick mooring rope, to trek onwards to a new destination. The horn bellows in salutation, thanks, and auf wiedersehen. Folks wave hands, blankets, teddy bears, tissues, handkerchiefs to no one and everyone. It is an exertion of excitable energy. It is a testament to the inventions of humankind; Combustion engines and steel construction. Elegance and terror and strength. You’re living in it now. The spray of salt water comes up from the ocean deep with a little naval baptism. You are blessed and now one with the water, all your land sins forgiven. You are new. Your soul blessed and renewed, to start a new life on the this months long voyage on this vessel. The halls still smell of fresh, white paint and the newness of a classroom on the first day of school; Like you are the first student to have ever entered it, no one else has been here before you. Hotel rooms too; The illusion that no one has come before you; You are the first, everything has been untouched, just kept pristine by magic and good intentions. As the dock and shoreline get closer and closer, a slow-motion zooming out of the world you once knew, before long, your only line of vision is the place where the sea meets this sky; This one, holy horizontal line. We are stuck in an infinite loop, we are stuck in an infinite loop, we are stuck in an infinite loop, we are stuck in an infinite loop – And suddenly your mind begins to become the water, and suddenly you are staying up later and waking up earlier until you no longer know what time it is, and no that clock can’t be right. And then you’re pacing in your claustrophobic cabin, afraid to eat, afraid to talk to anybody for fear you’ll be eaten. And that’s why, when you finally make your exit down the gangway, you drop to the ground and kiss the dirty earth of New York and say a prayer to God incarnate in the Statue of Liberty herself, that you’re blessed because you made it, and if you had to have gone just one more day, you’re not sure if you would’ve made it.