This Morning, in Particular
This. This is the type of thing you write when the sink backs up and the pipes start dripping and the phone won't answer and the maintenance man can't. Not even an appointment. I don't have "writer's block" because I am not a writer because I haven't written anything because I have some sort of... well you can see where this kind of foolishness might lead. Let's just say I woke up this morning. Here. In this apartment.
Everything has seams and is quietly falling apart at them. I put two and two together and still there are not enough words to piece it all together. The time for summer nights and soft lanterns is broken, divvied out into the time for all things. What comes next is the expectation of something different. What actually comes is another story. Endless, it seems. I woke up alone today and hardly knew it, except for the dull ache. But hey, that could have been from sleeping funny or something. I hear the voices outside and hardly can turn to look. Nothing passes by that you don't see again and again. Certain reruns are longer than others. And Flannery O'Connor can't do a thing about it.
This is the type of morning that folds itself into fortune cookies and origami cranes. This is the type of morning when the steam rises, smelling like something other than old coffee and crusty dishes. This is one of those mornings that I usually miss because I like to sleep. I like to feel my muscles stretch against themselves and I yawn like fourteen jaded lions at the San Diego Zoo. I want a toothpick and a shovel. I need an hourglass and a washtub. I looked for the Chapstick but my lips went dry without me. No telling where the next shoe will drop. The big stick carries us around and speaks not at all. It has us in its hip pocket. Carries us like a wad of chewing gum. Loosens us up by the Adam’s apple like a monkey wrench. No one really knows how big sticks chew. It must be disgusting. And involves splinters in all the wrong places.
I lost the only roll of toilet paper in the whole building. I slipped it into my backpack for further review and the next thing you know the damn thing was gone. No remedy for that. No solution diluted enough. No water too weak to leak from that faucet. The situation is dire, and likely up for departmental review. I'll stand convicted of incompetent embezzlement. Losing rolls on the way home from the Literature department. Justice is poetic, if not swift, or impartial, or just.
I steamed up the mirror with my breath and watched it race away from the edges. All silver and cloud-grey. But no vision came. And I couldn't just obliterate all traces of something that was so willing and compliant in going. I couldn't coax it to do any more self-sacrifice than it was already willing to do, unasked. So I was just left staring at myself expectantly. All for art, he says. Poor bastard had a future in front of him but couldn't recognize a thing past the two blurred sides of his nose. He could've fogged up all manner of windowpanes, or glass houses where inhabitants throw judgments like rocks. Nothing speaks in so fine a tongue as a receding section of undivided time. My lawn suffers from the want of a blade. Cuts both ways. Grows as haphazard as he who forgets to cultivate it. We share a five o'clock shadow.
I watched the people rise today. I had no clear view of the sun, so I had to settle for watching the people outside my window scamper-clambering into wakefulness. Their actions getting ever more clear as the dew on the window pane evaporated under the breath of an unseen sun.
I awoke with a bellyache. Which, of course, makes me think of S.J. Perelman: belly acre. Miles of intestines wound up around themselves like twine, griping about something small. Friction, perhaps. I awoke to the kind of scents that a Dust-Owl perches over on the dust fields, searching for dust bunnies. I swirled the morning in my mouth like a fine wine and spat it out in the clogged sink like second-hand saliva and mouthwash. I go over and over the simplest things and yet the morning still looks back at me the same. Cockeyed through a five o'clock bit of shade.
I wonder when the drains will unclog and the water flow. No other forces are at work in drains but gravity and obstruction. You can split hairs all you want after that, but no passageways will be cleared. No new territories discovered. It always leads inexorably to the same point, it’s just that sometimes something gets in the way.