On the days you
breathe deeply enough
and maybe don't use the bright blur of the telly
you feel your thoughts churn twice as fast
(more) you see three times more clearly
each twitch softens, each look lingers with meaning and each conversation links itself to The Truth.
The world turns in your favour.
"I should do more of this"
you think to yourself,
"I should listen to my mother,
meditate more often."
Less bristling, more suppleness.
More being one with the world.
Always listen to yourself, for you are a child of the earth.
And always listen to your mother
for she is too.(less)
I leave the house when I can. Staring at those four walls, I get angry. Then self-loathing. When I leave the apartment, my world opens up and the sunshine gets in. But today I can't concentrate. There's a guy yammering in the background behind me. He owns the coffee sh(more)op I'm sitting inside right now. He speaks loudly and its rubbing me the wrong way. I think that coffee shops should be mostly quiet places, not like libraries, but still quiet enough to read without someone's voice hitting you in the back of the head. It's his place, he uses the shop as his sounding board and he walks the floor expounding his opinions in ways that try to make him look like a smart, enlightened sort of guy, but one that doesn't take any shit either.
People are winners or losers in his eyes and that's it. His name is Johnny and that's short for Gianadoulis. He's Greek and in another life he would be running a fruit stand, or organizing a numbers racket. Brash guys like him always seem to be Jewish, or Italian, or Greek, never WASP. They dominate with their words or, failing that, their fists. Johnny is cantankerous and opinionated. He doesn't consider the issues carefully. He shoots first. He likes you or get the fuck out.
He's in his fifties and married, but loves to talk to the sweet young things who come by about their lives and personal complications. He'll give them fatherly advice that may or may not include an undertone of seduction, not that he would, but that he could needs to be demonstrated for some reason, if only to himself.
Johnny's a blowhard, and his coffee is okay, but someone should tell him to just shut up.
I watched the snow falling, took in the soft bright afternoon sunlight, but I wasn't really seeing any of it. In my head, I kept replaying the events of the afternoon. I kept hearing the same words, the same question, repeated over and over, until it seemed like the(more) only thing there was in the world: what are you doing here? I didn't know how to answer.(less)
After the bombs went off, spewing gas instead of fire, sickness instead of death, there had been walls around the city. The city had a name, a name used by bureaucrats in official-looking government documents, but nobody used that name anymore. It was just the Waiting Room, now. People(more) called it that between coughs, from mouths covered in red boils, wrote it with thin hands, wheezed it on their death beds.
Broadcasts into the city were limited. Young men cried that there was no cure, that the government was trying to hide that they were all going to die. Old men whispered that the government themselves had sent the bombs, had run a test. Boys said, simply, that there was nothing on TV. Old magazines and newspapers were passed around to bide the time, both out of an ironic humor and a desperate need. All would debate their place in the Queue, giving too-precise numbers, each with their own judgments about why they, above all others, would be cured and leaving shortly. Then, sleep. Always, the fitful, necessary sleep.
Men in white-grey hazmat suits would appear rarely, like forgotten ghosts of the real world, noting symptoms on charts, taking blood work, swabbing inflamed throats. Taking one or another out beyond the walls, never to return. Alive or dead, it was better than the waiting of the undiagnosed. The sick, the ill, spewing their river of phlegm and blood and unsure of when it will stop. There has been talk lately of storming the walls. Of rushing the gates, and bringing the sickness, to make those who are healthy understand what it is to be ill and to not know how ill, or when it will end, or if it even ever will. But until then: there is only the waiting. (less)
Things had been rough for Frankenstein's Monster, ever since his Bride had decided she wasn't really in love with him anymore. Frankenstein had assured him that there was a beating heart in her chest cavity, although apparently anything involving her glands, blood, or brain was entirely up in the(more) air. Victor offered his condolences, but he had never much loved the idea, anyway. Flooding the world with a race of monsters, etc., etc. Said it was "better it didn't work out, honestly." Adam had always wanted kids. But now he would have had to split them down the middle -- which wouldn't have been good for them emotionally or physically.
She had started going by Bri, now (and he by Adam, although it hadn't really stuck the first time), and traveling. Transylvania, the Black Lagoon, even Paris (though mostly just the catacombs). Adam was just trying to get himself back together. He hadn't noticed, but he'd literally been falling apart: a finger or two strewn across forgotten piano keys, a hamstring down in the crypt where he used to work out. An eyeball -- an eyeball! -- in an old manuscript. It felt good, almost. Almost. He wasn't much good with the needle, so his stitches were less than precise. She was always the one patching their clothes. Their blankets. Their gangrenous limbs.
She's called him a monster, during their last big fight, and maybe he was. But wasn't everybody, deep down? At least, given enough time? Time, and a sequence of grave robbing, medical experimentation, serums, and lightning strikes? Not to mention heartbreak. Adam used to think passion, (love, that fire!) was something positive, something good. But now he just felt mislead. Years spent in a castle together and nothing to show. Fire? Fire bad.(less)
Toothache pain sings and rings in the ears and puts you on a different frequency than everyone else in the room. Toothache pain is instructive pain. You change your behavior according to its demands. You talk less or don't eat certain foods, or at all. The toothache takes charge.(more)
The sensation can be subtle, or a second later, sharp as an icepick. In its infirmity, an afflicted tooth seems alive in a way healthy teeth aren't. The bad tooth gains a voice. It redirects all thoughts away from the concerns of the world. It proclaims itself, vital as a beating heart.
A toothache reduces everything to its level. How many invasions have been thwarted, how many schemes foiled, how many fateful rendezvous never taken place because of a pebble-sized spoiler stopping everything in its tracks?
The toothache takes on the character of a watch or metronome. Your thoughts can never wander too far before the ticking agony of a bad tooth calls them home.
People who are depressed sometimes cut themselves. They say it helps focus their attention away from the deeper hurt. A toothache is like this. A chronic worrier can lay his or her troubles entirely on the white spiral of pain in their mouth as if it were a hole absorbing everything around it. From its pain comes a useful diversion.
But toothaches untreated only get worse. The waves of agony become debilitating. In this grevious pain, a person considers suicide. Once, a mother with an incurable toothache jumped from a parking deck. Another man flung himself from he Golden Gate Bridge leaving a note blaming it all on a cavity.
I asked my dentist why teeth have nerves at all. She smiled and shrugged at the question people have asked since questions and toothaches began.(less)
three hours of belt whipping and bruise-ups and there i would be, knobby knees pushed rough into the earth beneath the stalks of green corn and my mottled, faith-beaten skin shining red and purple under the light of the moon. (more)i used to cry-- before, when i was a kid --but now nothing would come, just a little crippled whimper as i stretched out the rippled surface of my back to lie prostrate under the corn.
"jesus," i whispered into the softness of the dirt. "jesus make me disappear."
bang. screen door slamming shut, and i shrieked at the sudden clench of fear in my shoulders, pain licking clean and hot up my spine. i expected the rough clutch of my father's hand at the scruff of my neck, but instead, my brother, lean and gentle against the slope of my shoulder and his mouth, warm and seeking the bruised point of my cheekbone.
"come inside, he's gone quiet."
i was shivering. clenching another breath between my teeth, i curled in tighter, focusing on the bloodless ease of my numbing fingers and toes.
"come inside," he kissed the corner of my eye. "he's gone now."
Aware. That's the only thing she can make out right now. Awareness... There isn't a form to recognize, an edge to see or anything that lends itself to some sort of orientation. There is just awareness.
It's hard for her to tell how long she's been in this(more) state, all she knows is she's _here_ and she isn't bored. From time to time she can feel reverberations - but can't quite make out what they are. There are times when she's sure one rumbling felt different than the last - but the moment after that thought crests her consciousness, the second-guessing starts and she can't be sure of anything.
Time isn't something she's aware of, but there is an accumulation of thoughts and moments that serves as its proxy. The layers of cognition have been gobbed on, over and over again - but what are they sticking to? There is no framework, no form, no mold no _air_. Nothing is actually changing but everything feels different than it did just a moment ago.
THERE. This one. This one is different. She's never felt this kind of rumbling before. She can feel the intentionality and it's building. The pace doesn't quicken, but each new sensation is deeper than the last. There is no denying it, no confliction of consciousness, no other point of view to take and no arguing with what she and her consciousness is experiencing. Something _different_ is happening to her. It's fear without being afraid. It's something without being anything. It's her life changing without any happening.
There were so many different rhythms, pulses, angles, weights, sensations, ripples and drips - then it all just stopped. She can feel a tightening sensation at first, but fades as rapidly as it began.
"I hope you look at us differently, Jaehee," MC said, looking away as the wind whipped her hair into her face. "It's not blind love-well, it's not really love yet, either. But it's definitely not naive." She shrugged. "It's just us."
Jaehee didn't move from her spot by the(more) sidewalk. "And...it hurts my feelings when you say things like that."
Jaehee swallowed nervously. "I don't mean it offensively. It's just that-"
"Zen worries about his popularity," MC cut off. "But he worries more about not being true to himself. And if he has to hide a part of himself from his fans, how do you think he feels?"
Jaehee didn't speak. After a minute MC turned, trying the door and letting her shoulders slump in relief when it opened. "Uhm-MC, he'll drop you off-"
"I know where I'll be taken. Thank you for telling me."
Jaehee was left standing awkwardly on the sidewalk, watching as the car drove away. A few minutes later, she pulled out her phone and dialed the number of a certain actor.
"MC!" Zen raced towards her without pause, stopping only when he reached her to scoop her up into his arms and squeeze her tightly. "I've got really good news," he said, grinning down at her.
"Jaehee gave us her blessing!"
"She called yesterday and said that if it truly mattered to me-to us, I think-that I should chase this opportunity."
MC smiled up at him, though she hesitated.
"Are you sure Jaehee is okay? Was she...what was she like?"
"Um...well, when she called I thought she was just tired. Why?"
MC was silent, looking down at their hands. "It's nothing for now. I'll have to call back myself."
Though slightly confused, Zen nodded and squeezed her hand. "Okay."