I JUST EMAILED EROTIC FANFICTION ABOUT THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER TO MY OLD LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR BY ACCIDENT
Should I think that something is wrong?
Should I try to do a thing about it?
The past is an answer not worth pursuing,
Nothing gets done except by the doing.
The future’s a climax forever ensuing.
Love is only won by wooing.
Today is a truce between reaping and rueing.
- “Pentatina for Five Vowels” by Campbell McGrath
“Now for some people, the moment of magic is when everything is suddenly clear or explained…I think we ought to try harder for that other kind of magic, which is the moment in which everything is totally mysterious.” -Stan Brakhage, (Brilliant Corners, 1979)
Some days it rains from start to finish and you’re left feeling an eerie sense about where you are versus where you should be versus where you want to be. Then you try to go to sleep and have acute dreams about standing on a roof, surrounded by children and it isn’t until you wake up that you realize that was a memory instead of a dream.
It is the feeling that your hands get when you have them perched just outside the window while your car moves forward, swiftly over a hill. It begins as a sensation of awareness: the air moving between your lightly spread fingers while catching the frail hairs that used to serve as warnings, the pressure of your forearm sinking into the flayed rubber where the rolled down window resides, the beginning of what will become two red lines imprinted into your skin, the wind sneaking into the car. But suddenly it starts as this tingling in your fingertips, like a spider bite or being immersed in crushed ice. There is no more wind or air, just the pattern of blood and the pressure of drag releasing any hold you thought you had over a small portion of yourself.
Returning to the final stanza of “High Windows” as I’m fill out white boxes with black text about myself, my tasks and skills, my limitations day in and day out. It is an awful recognition to hold, to realize the shortcomings of freedoms even while the light is present, opportunities are abound. I have an imagined sense of freedom at this juncture, that this next decision or direction I pursue will lead to more than what I have. When in fact, it could be less or worse or nothing at all. This freedom is an illusion, my own decisions are illusive as they are wholly dependent on the actions and inactions of others. My future is sun-comprehending itself, easily detected as present but hard to prove. When I discuss what I want, it’s as difficult as explaining the concept of light. And as always, the deep blue haunts me in both literal days and dreams.
I want more images, more reminders. It’s hard not to rush and get as many as possible while I can. I have begun lining them up in price, in precision, in importance. It feels like I am underwater when I try to balance this desire between what I know is important right now when these trials seem endless and clear all at once. I also know how to escape, cleanly and easily. I’ll make a decision eventually, or soon, or I’ll throw my hands up and say yes to the first quest that comes along. I’m getting bored just waiting, planning, biding. I’m sorry to words in that I’ve been ignoring them, but images hold more for me at current repose.
I spent Saturday night sitting on an old couch cushion that is covered in red leaves and ring-necked pheasants while we watched cartoons and ate pieces of raw fish gentled tied to pats of rice. We’ve known each other for a long time and it became a night that flew back and forth from me to her. I came to her door sweaty, a first long ride on a bike that has been lonely since the cold arrived. I left warm from a conversation about fear and persistence that included more laughter than anything else. The ride home was worse, not in terms of difficulty but in how the wind settled beyond the tights, pants, and two pairs of socks I layered over my legs. I stopped on a bridge that arched over the Chicago River, wondering whose names and arms touched the material that constructed the possibility of me getting home on Belmont Avenue, wondering whose idea it was to name that street after a battle that took place in Missouri, wondering why it was only my knees that were chapped from the ride after a shower that was cloyingly hot and stung against my skin, wondering how long it would be before I could sleep without wearing socks again.