All I can think about is a track star running in slow motion in elliptical fashion. If I become him, my I can feel my taut muscles pressing against my skin as they move. When my arms swing back and forth, my bicep presses on, begging to be included in this mass oxygenation of my body. Smelling freshly mowed grass and feeling that spark of adrenaline ignite in my brain at the excitement of moving and of winning this race. Breathing deeply, I can feel the air fill my lungs to capacity. It is sweet with spring and fresh mowed grass. As my eyes focus straight and peripherally, I see the track in front of me, the fence along side the outer edge and the families and friends in the stands cheering and calling. They are unimportant watercolor blurs. I feel wind move past me, against me as I stomp forward, feet hitting the reddish track, my white sneakers contrasting against the colors. I feel those ricochets of contact moving up my legs with each step. I taste the saliva in my mouth. It is desperate, my body getting tired and wants a drink. I also hear my own breath rumbling in my body as I try to breathe steady. It is this internal vs. external. My breath and internal heartbeat rhythm vs. this crowd, my shoes, the other runners whom of which I’m barely aware of. I am a competitor, but I am only competing with myself. Even if I don’t come in first in this race, I must come in first for myself. I strive to be better than my last race. My knees won’t stay young forever. My heartbeat thuds back in agreement. My lithe, thin body won’t support me forever. Doesn’t life have a knack for getting in the way, setting one off course? Aren’t we always transforming into something else? And there is something else underneath my Zen. And it’s fear and it’s anxiety and it’s Ego. And I try to push it down and focus on other things. Like how my back has started to sweat and has made the back of my shirt cling to me. Or the sound of my shorts rubbing against each other as I will my legs to move faster.
Jaw moves like a hinge in a shadow doorway. Squeaks like it’s unoiled, needing lubrication. Creak of the floorboards in the haunted house that is your past life, you unforgotten psyche. Crystal ball glowing purple and pink to see the electricity within. Yellow gold streaks of lightning. Cloudy outlook. Unreliable email. Clenching the mandible I feel the tension, pressing down hard gripping my teeth. Molars bearing down like a battalion with their shields up. Taste the saliva tinged with blood. Metallic warmth. Melting down shrapnel in my mouth. Balling it up to load in shotgun. Front seat to all of this. I see the skeleton through the man’s face. X-Ray vision that you can’t turn off. Radiation through the eye sockets, now glowing green like X-Men. Feel the bone and it’s surprisingly rough to touch. It’s hinges connected to so much more above it. Like an apartment or good plumbing. If I were to touch it disconnected from the rest it would feel heavy yet hollow in my hand. Turn my hand to skeletal stone. It could be ground to dust. Feeling the fine powder run through my fingers and feel it hit the Earth. Like gentle comets. Gentle laundry detergent. A callback to a different time. A clock with letters and not numbers. Timeline with no dates. I thirst for focus and non-distraction. It is trying today. One more flip of the calendar and we’re in next year again. Two pairs of glasses, which one can you see better on? X-Ray vision or normalcy? Counting down moments until we can start all over again. Renew with no regret. At least until we remember again. Mandible handlebar bicycle with streamers at the end. I will steer you down the street. Busy New York City with car horns and mortality reminders at every corner checkpoint.
Gripping ceramic handle, or forgoing it completely, instead opting for rounding my left hand around the cup itself so I may more directly feel the warm contents with in. Coffee, black. Bitter notes skate along my tongue constantly questioning, “Do I really like this?”. A 10 fluid ounce customary staple in a house or dorm or apartment or anywhere. Personal or plain. At risk of shattering everyday due to the overflow. The surface is smooth and well wrought. But it can break just as easily. Wondering about who first invented this apparatus that could hold liquid so well. Could make it portable and manageable. What an invention of it’s time. Probably some Neanderthal daydream following the discovery of mud and clay. Could it have been the Native Americans? Or Natives of another land? How they must have discovered how to dry it in the sun. I have broken many mugs. And glasses. I’m 29 years old. It would have been astonishing if I never had.
Mug as face as mugshot. Blinding flash holding my number and information. The smell of vomit and stale beer and paperwork. Freezing cold, my skin prickles and hair stands on end. I am so anxious I’m calm. Glazed over eyes. Righteous in my stance. Not defensive, just standing there. Taking direction like a trick pony as I change my angles. Cold metal bars, dirty concrete floor. Moaning of a hangover come to quick or come too late. It will be printed out on photo paper gloss and uploaded onto the Internet. It will exist forever in time, even after I am dead. A silly misunderstanding or a big thing that got caught like a fish on a pontoon in the deep sea. Heavy hooks piercing weak bait. The end of the food chain. The beginning of it. Coffee gets cold and can no longer keep its heat. Open air open mouth. Steam disappears out and drifts off take it’s heat to do die out in the open air. The mug’s use is temporary. Until the liquid grows cold, until it breaks. Until both. Having to clean up ceramic shards dreaming of gluing them back together.
The designs of this rug under my feet. Ornate, intricate, baroque patterns stitched in ivory with a black background. It adds warmth to this room to my feet perhaps to the coloring in this room. Ivory fringe tickles the sides. My feet rest comfortably, lightly on top of it. It does not fly. It is not magic. Though I’m not sure where it’s from. Fringe only tickles two sides, the shorter sides of the rectangle. I am not sure where it has come from. Possibly from my Nonna’s house before she died. Or after she died. Probably after. There was such a mass cleanout of her house when she was both alive and dead. Many items were salvaged under our room. Under our roof. I feel old, depressed. I never thought time could do this to me. I thought I could be impervious. And maybe it isn’t time. It’s just me and I can’t fix it through sheer will. This rug stretches across about 3 or 4 feet long. I think. Estimating lengths was never my forte. I never worked in construction. There is actually another rug in front of this on. I floormat/doormat which I believe is really a small cutout of carpet that used to be in this room before we got hardwood floors. I think my Nonna was still alive when we did that. But our first dog Coco was not. He had died at least a month or two before. It is smaller than this larger rug. It looks like a good rug to wipe your shoes on. But the dog lays on it mostly. It gives him another surface to rest his laurels. Laurel was the name of a dorm at Ramapo that I never got to stay in. It was the Junior dorm. And it was nice. And I would have loved to stay there if my roommate situation didn’t fall apart sophomore year. But Nonna had just moved in with us and I found myself wanting to live back home. In those two years I dormed, I feel like I missed so much of my family’s life. Especially my brother’s life. There’s a lot that I just wasn’t around for. When I found out about it later it made me sad. Stormy ocean water roll wave. Lost boat at sea. Lantern violently swaying. What to do when you can’t call for help. Bell rings to nowhere. Only God can hear your plea, that is, if you can scream loud enough and the strong gales of wind don’t get caught in your throat.
Flipping colors. Two colors in square patterns rippling across a square pond. Counting sheep, Dumbo dreams. Things like that. Feel and smell the grain of cheap wood. Functional, absolutely. But cheap. There is finish and varnish to maximize appearances. Or it could be cheap paper cardboard. As long as there are enough squares and the colors differ from one to the next. Flat smooth checker pieces with jagged edges. The board could also house chess. All different types of pieces for that one. Communism vs. Monarchy. Butterflies flap and fly away down misty streams of abandoned billboards and advertisements. Flipping channels but can’t. Flipping the English Channel but can only swim it. Can only boat it. Dip my toe in. Row in. And out. That time in childhood when checkers was way more preferable and less complicated than chess. Those years wracking your own brain, my own brain trying to understand that game. Checkers was so much more simpler. Fun, faster. Easier. Now it’s not fun because it’s too quick, it’s too easy. It’s tic-tac-toe, essentially. There is something warm and fuzzy inside though about playing a board game. Usually with my Dad. Time always well spent. Maybe with a little music on. Maybe not. It can get so easy to get distracted. Maybe while eating something, maybe while drinking tea or espresso. It’s a day spent introverted and indoors, which I find is how I prefer to spend my days.
When we were shopping for a new board, in this instance, a chess board. My mom was convinced that she wanted a large, wooden stand-alone table that had a board painted on it. It took weeks, if not months of convincing and painstakingly telling her that that was so unnecessary. Not only was there no room in the house for it, but it wasn’t mobile. We couldn’t just pick up and play where we wanted. I’m so glad she never bought it because it would have been a waste and no one would have been happy. She actually doesn’t play, but my dad and brother do. It’s one of all our favorite things to do I think.
Checkerboard patterns are interesting. They can morph and duplicate. Stretch out forever or shrink down small like in Alice in Wonderland, which I never cared for the Disney cartoon version. I think it scared me too much. I didn’t understand. Not sure if I ever read the book either. It all seemed terrifying. These days I think there’s just better things to read. The acid trip scene in Dumbo is great though. In college (part 1) I would like to get very very stoned and halfway into munchies go to youtube and find that scene and watch it. It was constantly enjoyable and hilarious! I haven’t done that in awhile.