I awake to the smell of maize and the itchy hot of the sun pricking my eyelids. The malleable flesh on the thickest parts of my thighs and buttocks has taken on the valleys and plateaus of the bench’s red planks on which they’ve rested for these last few hours. Startled by my dreams, head reeling, I rise and place my dusty bare feet onto the splintered floor of the neglected porch. The world is glowing blue and buzzing from every tree. the vibration of the air breaks through the barrier of my skin and spills me across the fields and pastures and pulsating pines. i am buzzing blue. i see my father in the pasture piling the scraps and trash, waste and rubbish; engineering a bonfire to rid us of the filth. stepping down from the porch my toes shake hands with the moss and curl into the sandy earth. i walk this way towards the gasoline scented tower of debris, purposefully lifting feet only high enough to scrape the tops of my toes on the grasses and ground-covering. i reach the heap as it ignites. we stand in silence, father and i, on opposite borders of the inferno. my eyes lose focus as the fingers of flame turn into hands and then into dancers. cadmium and crimson dresses leaping and laughing, dropping into an old dresser drawer and appearing moments later atop a charred tin can. my hands and face burn hot to the touch, if anyone were to touch. ants crawl over my feet to escape the incinerator. i don’t notice. my light cotton dress lifts and sighs from the breath created by the fire. the breath kisses my cheek and whispers in my ear. soothing, hushed whispers spoken with held inhale into the hair of lovers. quiet pleas of unyielding temptation.
“Let me erase the dirt from your hands. let me melt the skin you despise. let me kiss your fractured bones. let me dissolve the brain holding you here.”
my feet leave the earth with conviction as i join the fiery ballet with a smile and call out my impassioned reply- “yes. yes. yes.yes.”
without fear i stepped into the darkness, saw the bodies crumpled, lying on the snow, and knew this life for one last time. the moment of death is one of anticipation, omniscience before words can be assigned. feeling the whistle of the tea kettle before the water begins to boil. it’s the instant before climax extended forever; pressure mounting behind the ears with breath held and toes curled. there is no release. i am eternally held, suspended in time, poured out into the snow, head broken, body folded, incarnadine staining the virgin white. i have a hundred bodies and a hundred deaths. i am lying atop the dampened grass beside a muddy pond, in the warmth of the womb, curled beneath dozens of blankets in a panoply of beds, in a hospital, a bathroom floor, from a bridge, a roof, bathtub, river. where one life ends another continues without interruption, nearly seamlessly, unnoticed if it weren’t for the haunting incongruities in the mirror; the missing freckle, the added scar and the expectation of a bruise not visible. i relearn this face and step into these temporary hands, and relish how the world looks through second-hand eyes.
bumblebees are solar-powered. i villainized you to ease my guilted suffering. some people chose to create martyrs, saints, and angels. but i found a portrait of a wicked drunk and painted you inside. i gave you a hammer and i gave you the bottle. you were but a sad little boy, kneeling lachrymose in your piss-puddle and vomit and i promised salvation. spread my wings and beckoned you to come inside my warmth. but once in the sunlight i saw your shape for what it was. far above on stilted legs i left you lying quiescent on the saturated grass. frozen stiff with bulging eyes and engorged tongue. i painted you a monster and cursed you to Hell. let this be your solemn dirge, and know your noisome vestiges are not the reason i wake screaming in the night; it is my own reflection in the pond looking up from beneath the stagnant waters, beckoning me to fall into it’s inky depths to join the other demons below.
i would like to have an orange crush soda. the kind that come in glass bottles. thick old glass formed to resemble a woman’s curves. curves i wish i had grown. glass bottles that come out of old refrigerators kept humming along on the splintered and sagging back porch. the refrigerator smells musty when you open the door, frost growing stalagmites. it’s an odd smell; it smells like old wooden floors and kids running around without shoes, never-been-washed dogs chasing their heels. opening the refrigerator i find myself walking through the door and into a large unmowed pine-backed field. cows in the distance held back by a remnant of fence. shit and grass perfume the air like some sweaty rodeo whore. the sun has decided to drop behind the tops of the pines. it’s july, and the ground and air still feel warm and wet. fireflies tease the darkness in the distance as they climb sprial staircases in the trees. everything alive singing and buzzing. three steps down from the large back porch. the planks squeak and rock when bare feet dare to apply any amount of weight. clothes hung out to dry in the yard, obstructing the view of the barn only just partially. over the stack of old newspapers and crate of empty bottles on the left of the door an old rusted bottle-opener is nailed christ-like to the wall. i think there was once an “RC” logo painted in the center. i can still imagine a faint crown proclaiming the steel’s royal ancestry. the locusts begin to sing.
i had forgotten.
smell like locust
days draw into one, weeks go by in an hour, and a year falls between your fingers without realizing you had ever held it. is it lack of sleep, vitamins, over-abundance of stress, work, fun. i dont know. i seem to lack the ability to pause life long enough to figure out where it’s going in such a hurry. doubtful understanding the source of such furious speed would aid in its undoing. i do not know where my life has been. the memories even from yesterday seem too distant. seven years have passed since i began writing this thought. and all my life is a jumbled blur of memories rushing in front of my eyes as though i were a passenger in a car speeding down an old mill road. rusted mailboxes and trees and tall grasses and clouds all blur together. in the end merely stripes of color smear where once an object stood. is the memory of the mailbox truth, or did i notice the stripe of color after it had passed and imagine it must have looked like a mailbox. the mailbox and the cloud, the painful and the sublime, all are mixed together as one. impossible to distinguish from the others. does this taint the good in my life, to allow the unpleasant weeds to permeate, forever distorting the long even lines of black and yellow and red. the sunflowers and butterflies of youth. or does the chaotic rush to the end soften all the nightmares and monsters i might see standing on the road.