the color red
if there is a way to find a level swing to my attitude that would be wonderful. a way to operate on the daily at a consistent and neutral pace. sometimes i wonder if i have a tumor but probably everyone wonders that. there are times when i walk off the bus, or onto the bus and without trying, i imagine seeing a landscape for the very first time. what if this part of me that sees, the part people call the soul, the mind, the personality, what if this part of me was different? or suddenly changed? or there were multiple pieces to the part and one piece of it had maybe never seen this scene before? mostly i’m sure what happens is a change in the depth of field. my brain zooms out a bit, surveys the landscape on a north/south axis, takes in where the water is most likely to be, whereas the self that has seen before operates on a 2 dimensional grid of what lays out before them. laundromat. food. car in bike lane.
these new, non-anatomical eyes open on a foreign landscape. once i saw a solid black mountain lion. this is true. the fires had come closer to town than i had ever seen. parked around the corner from the mechanics, i walked through the smoke. on the phone with my mother, i remember because i told her. i told her i was following it and hearing myself say that sentence out loud was how i realized what a stupid idea following a mountain lion into the trees was. it was a cat. it was huge. that cat tail curled coyly upright before hitting the dirt. nothing walks like a cat. bigger than my german shepherd and long. and solid fucking black.
in this universe of multiple lives, shadow selves, pieces and particles that divide in time, smaller and beneath anything we see but maybe in a parallelity dogs and monarch butterflies can see, maybe i became divided in that moment. one of me followed those 120 pounds of black cat, also divided in time and walking the same path inside and next to its self. up through the oaks. through the brown, milky day that is a low valley beneath august forest fires. both lips chapped. both sets of eyes red. would there be brown grass and maybe a cave that doesn’t exist in the place where i stayed, got in my truck and drove away? was the color red everywhere? could we speak? the lion and I?
in this universe all is forgiven. at least mostly because people are fallible and memory is a flawed system. out with the dewey decimal but the color red remains. it feels nice to not drink. the last time i drank i imagined driving the car off the road with both of us in it. except the dogs were in the back and maybe i wouldn’t have had the courage anyways. it is hard to feel my imagination inside of me anymore. what used to be a clear cut part of my personality, a box that held shape and color, one i could pick up and open, is now either completely gone or a part of the hole. snaking out with tentacles like a cancer or parasite to dig into the flesh that controls motor skills, speech, and thought. is it real that i can feel heat inside of my brain? is it real that my vision goes blurry with certain conversations or happenings? is it real this itch directly on top of my toes that comes with stress and hormonal changes and wearing shoes too many hours of the day?
i look around and see all of the changes i have enacted in their lives. the dog with his balls cut off and the man who claims his balls are being cut off. and what does it mean to let them run and be themselves? there was that story about a man who worked towards the most efficient sleep schedule imaginable. he was so productive and slept so little that eventually it drove him mad to witness the inefficiencies of those around him. did he kill himself? is that how the story went? i don’t recall now. that makes the most sense i suppose. if you are sleeping in increments of single digit minutes then it seems impossible that your brain could be getting enough downtime. downtime being the difference between an individual committing heinous crimes like mass homicide and leading a relatively normal life possessing the ability to regularly interact with other beings, namely the general public and family.
really though has there ever been a love story that did not begin in a lack of sleep? the direct link, as effective and important as the umbilical cord, between sleeplessness (and even insomnia in extreme cases) and matters of the heart is so strong it is nearly visible. quite close to tangible and could potentially be chewed through with good sturdy teeth if the need was there. if we were in south america, the story would go that i followed the cat into the woods and there we lived in nearness for a time until he spoke to me and i listened. sitting here in north america i have yet to see any evidence that this did not in fact happen. in real life. real life: the uncertainty between the dream world and what used to be called the real world. this place where we are no longer given to assurance, reliance, confidence in a promise that we have not yet entered into the virtual.
without that promise, reality is left only a word no one will guarantee with stamp, or handshake, or signature, and has stretched a tentacle of its own throughout the tissue of my brain and what i call mind. i possess no certainty. a guarantee is a skit. a sketch. a comedy from the age of comedic titans and nothing that holds itself up by concrete, wood or metal. in a material age the only promise left us is the security of more material. we will continue to righteously excavate and extract more material. just add water and pin the tail on the periodic table of elements and still i cant believe any of this is actually happening before my eyes. to admit we have no control is to admit a desire to be brainwashed. in this universe, fractured here, and here, and there i did not follow the lion, though i can still see him. him and a society made up of seekers for blamelessness.
I too wish to be blameless.