I can’t. My body feels like dead weight in a fishmonger’s bad dream where all the talapia go on strike.
Concentrate on an image.
I was driving down the interstate this morning in the middle of nowhere, Texas. It seemed like a good place to have an epiphany. Or sex. Or both.
You’re being difficult.
Yeah, well, my body feels like dead weight.
You know, like the joints aint working properly, the sun isn’t glistening off the chest, just kind of hanging there, knocking about. The heart isn’t pleased. It gathers all its energy into a point, tries to push through.
No, not like heartache you dumb ass. Like shell-shock. Like you’ve just run a hundred miles and it’s about ready to give up, throw itself over that bobbed wire fence and into the cow pasture, hoping some dolly will come along and step on it.
How about a more positive line of thought?
I tried my breathing exercises today.
Yeah, I guess. But they didn’t work. I kept thinking about how bad my chest felt.
Did you try and silence your thoughts?
Yes. But my thoughts are like birds. They will not be silenced or slowed down. And if you try to observe the fuckers, they just fly about the room and cock their heads to the side and roll their eyes to the ceiling, as if to tell you there are better things they could be doing, better sites they could be seeing, you know, the kind you’ll never get to see.
Did anything good happen today?
I almost allowed myself to feel something for one split-second. And dancing on the edge of that cliff, though dangerous, is still exhilarating.
What feeling was that?
I’d rather not disclose that information with you.
I think you do want to share it, but are afraid.
Well, the cliff is nice. It’s got a bit of mud to it. Kind of like mouths, you know what I mean? And perhaps getting closer to the geology of the cliff is as good as the feeling.
What made you resist, other than fear?
Well, I was in the bathtub, first of all. Secondly, it’s less about resisting and more about ability. One time I tried to wind-surf but ended up splitting my head open on a rock.
Just because one bad experience came from risk, doesn’t mean that will always be the outcome.
No. Of course not. There have been mornings I’ve woken up feeling as if I lived an entirely different life in a dream. But I was still me. And God, or Morpheus or someone decided to allow me to keep that life, tucked away. I carried it around all day, but it slowly faded and I forgot everything I did, every word I said.
Tell me more about the scene from today, while driving down the highway.
Oh that felt very much like that kind of dream I was just explaining. Like, if I pulled the car over and stepped out onto the clean landscape, I could start fresh. A whole new life risen up out of tumbleweeds and mesquite thorns. That’s what I love about driving. Your mind settles down into the hum of the road, curls up there like a dog, and begins to think about God or other possibilities. The windows like movie frames. Abandoned houses on the side of the road are shells of old lover’s, waiting to be explored. Dusted off.
Where do your thoughts usually drift?
Can’t say. It’s different, you know. Sometimes there’s music playing, sometimes there isn’t. And that puts chains on the moods that would otherwise float to the surface. Today, there was that song, you know: “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you, honey, and everything will bring a chain of love.” Well, that sort of lifted me somewhere. Because there was this old Texaco station passing by, waving its arms in the blue like it was trying to catch flies. And I wondered about the families used to buy their gas there, where they were going. Who was driving. What kind of stories they constructed for their lives. Things double up.
What about the cliff?
It’s not like I didn’t knock. You wanna try? Perhaps I just don’t have the key. But I still have my fun. Just because I don’t have your hands, doesn’t mean I can’t balance myself. Words have their own deliciousness, even if you didn’t write them. Jesus, it’s so hot in here. Is it possible to go through menopause in your twenties?
I think you’re probably just experiencing anxiety.
No. This heat is something different. Like a fishmonger who can’t catch any talapia, but that’s the only thing that sells these days. No one can afford the lobster. I think they are words that just can’t feel their way out.