Put in Earplugs / 10.10.16 / 8:18-8:38

When I can’t sleep and it’s too late for pills and too early for coffee and the initial financial panic has subsided and I’ve rattled through the sadness of trying to remember my name and SSN, birthday and address, etc. etc. just to prove I’m not lost to the wilderness just yet and convinced myself of my place and time by reminding myself that M. exists and she’s mine and we have dogs and all three of them are in the next room and when I can’t be so sure that my mind is right even though I know – for shit sure – it is mine (or, at least, as sure as I can be without knowing anything to the contrary) I close my eyes tight as I can, so tight the blackness becomes kaleidoscopic and I listen hard past the murmur of the street and the constricting scree in my eardrums (too many shows and too little sense, it seems) and my own heart pounding for reason and breath for the sound of one or more of them breathing or coughing or snoring or rustling or something, anything to settle this moment among the money I’ve built up to be present and I know that I could just get up and look but my eyes are shit in the dark and besides, that would be conceding too much to the disorientation, conceding too willingly to the crazy. No, no. Actions are not allowed when the mind is a rustle of leaves on the creek and so I listen for as long as it takes and when I hear I can shape and remember and be at peace that, at least, I haven’t invented everything.

That I’m not alone in the universe.

That I’m loved or, at least, accompanied.

Not that that sense me to rest. Not that gives me much of anything more than a sense that when I open my eyes, today, I will not find myself in completely unfamiliar surroundings.

So I try and think of words. New words. Good words. Long words. Words of the day. Words of the year. I try and think of sniglets or portmanteaus or onomatopoeias – well, not onomatopoeias but the word onomatopoeia which I tend to forget from years of murmuring crude in the trenches. I try to think of words that would impress college girls back when I could impress college girls at all and mostly without being a middle-aging creep yearning for the kind of sex a young man could have if he could only get over his whole love, love, love bullshit and get on with doe-eyes and palimpsest because he was thin and smart and (literally) scarred.

Mostly, I try to think of polysyllabics but, mostly, I only ever end up seeing the word “salad” over and over much like I did this morning and I know or I think or I hope it’s a sign that I’ve grown too soft for my own good and with a little bit of greens thrown in over Budweisers and fries I might get back to my working stiff frame but it doesn’t read that way in the slightest.

It reads like stupidity and panic and stroke and emptiness raised up from the void to swallow the young hope I still reserve – when no one’s looking – whole.

Salad.

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