Rubber Wall Meditation: My Joi De Vivre
(Previously published in INPATIENT Magazine)
Every day is a new disaster. I feel as if I am going to break, unable to stand the little things that put life together and purport to be an image I am supposed to interpret. Lamps are too bright, floors too dirty. My own body is work I revel in neglecting. I hate to keep it up in its white soft austerity. I remember, I must somehow, remember being a man too well not to leer at my own face, neck, spindly shoulders, archaic grace. No one admires me but the old and the newly born.
Letting loose is letting go of the branch and trusting that there is no earth below to hurt you despite your well-learned illusion. What could be worse than gravity? I have miles of weed to tumble on through, and there is surely nothing I do better. That which I fear is plain, is brown, is fading. I like its fade above all things, above all fruitful human activity, above all things I can force interest in, or improve on. I dangle my toe in what living should be. It is a finger-painting tattletale superiority that drags me back to my outsider thoughts from childhood, my first sharp encounters with a classroom setting: These people can’t truly mean the colors they are wearing, or the ways they are using their digits, hands, or how they’re turning their heads to watch something that cannot possibly be more interesting than what is going on outside the room. They can’t mean the way they all crash into one another, gathering words in wheelbarrow loads, and putting them back in the wrong places, in awkward piles and making a mess of soft, green places that would just as soon be left in silence. That people still tie their shoes amazes me. And I refuse to admit that anything (since I first observed a toaster and saw what electricity does to white sheets of bread and we call this morning) makes a shred of sense. If a Creator were to design a world meant to kill all pretenses of normality it would be this one…
Writing is shuffling on through madness well. I never intend to lose it. It is my shiniest blue marble, it is my favorite sock I keep pennies in. It is why I enjoy looping through the strangest childhood memories and why I pretend to enjoy getting drunk when no one is around. It is B.J. Alexander climbing impossibly tall trees while his mother is busy naming his new sister Bethanie Anne in their dusty blue kitchen. It is picking friends because you like playing in their sandboxes, and because they have that one Fischer Price doll with the jagged plastic skirt that looks like a faerie tutu, and returning to their homes because you like the soft green towels in their parents’ master bathroom. It is sitting in your bedroom and realizing you wish there was another room in your apartment you could go to than actually exists.
It’s skipping on backwards through the times that slammed down onto your years in an odd way that has since made you, allowed and encouraged you, taught you how to forget how to touch walls as you enter rooms, and lick carpets and gaze at things that clutter the farthest corner or the nearest corner of a room that is none of your business, and reversing the damage, pulling yourself back through the now. It’s wanting to be seduced because you don’t want to do any sexual work. It’s needing a parasol for the sunchild inside of your head beside whom you sit quietly in the bright, bright world in the backs of your eyes and trying to get a clearer picture this time.