Written between Maine and Washington in November, 2017.
In Maine there are places that expand and contrast like pulled fabric. As I step through them, the locations like weaves, I can’t help but feel the coarse resonance, dissonance even, of tripping. The textures become profoundly challenging. They pull and prod, push and tear. They mix with light. They create and collapse shadows. There is a dryness within the mouth, and a pressure within the lungs. I dream of every other place I could be, but in the chaos everything that could be is: and thus, there is no highlighting, there is nothing that stands out. It is like a pit, and it is entirely suffocating.
Greetings, Jennifer, who in the past told me about the benefits of the mystery of the plane poem. And so I give it a try, thinking about the vastness below, above, around, and even within this cylindrical specialness, this spacious beckon. The airplane as a tome, or as a tone, that can be memorized, salivation. The dogs at the ring of the bell. The lolling of the tongue. The extraordinary instances of being up here, soaring through all and nothing at the same time. These challenges repeat themselves. The language of crisis of existence as a vague, but unforgettable image. It is both pattern and static singular at the same time, isn’t it? Jennifer, perhaps this is the language that you were thinking about. Or at the least, a comely spirit that emerges and shatters the same.
Within the gray pores of the dead skin that compose my face, there is the essence of itch, and the essence of itch reminds me of things like Steven, and like that website that someone even noticeably recommended to me recently. There is the light that shines down upon my body and my fingers and my dreadful face like an all-encompassing desert sun. There is the heat within that lamp displaced ever the slightest by the fan that’s on. I listen to Isaac Hayes, his originals and a variety of covers. Arguably it’s been a journey listening to this album. Arguably it’s been a momentum of significance. There has been endurance much like with my face, which I want to scratch off, like the remnants of a sticker on a piece of furniture, or that old laptop I’m trying to sell as “like new.” If I could only be “like new” in my own self, my own physiology. Physiognomy? Not even the definitions and meanings are clear to me, now or ever.
I think of Maine’s sequence of portraits. I think of the life as something that can be imagined but clashing. Time, sure, may be constructed, but it is also projected. I think of my own sense of time as I think to describe the lives of those people who are there and who are moving about those slow-moving roads, those archaically-aging municipalities. Those places. Those meanings. Those containers for time. And the anger grows, like weeds through a garbage-torn ground, like the wind that pushes off the Atlantic coast. This reminds me: are there reefs out there, beyond the coastline? And what do they look like? I imagine thousands upon thousands of lobsters celebrating the abyss communally, while obstacle courses (survival courses, really) made of netting and traps grow denser and denser with each revolving of the sun.
In Seattle there is going to be something, isn’t there, something awaiting me? My life, perhaps, or at least my kitchen and the supplies I’ve kept within it. The blankets I call mine. The chairs I am used to using on a daily basis. The blinds that overlook the neighborhood I am, strangely enough, residing in. There are the shades of color that are born of, given way through, that particular type of light that exists in Seattle. When I go “home” to Maine, I am startled by the light, and how it doesn’t fit me anymore. The light as a sequence of bursts, as a series of ruptures or eruptions, and how shockingly presence it is to simply be out in the world. Whereas, Seattle, my friend, we can just slip in with each other, no pressure. Of course, this idealism won’t do any thorough goodness to either of us over time. Perception ranges in the extreme. We see it on the lack of smiling. On the ability to disappear, and the qualities of that disappearance.
I sit here in the airplane with shoulders that collapse like mannequins. I could be stuffed into a closet. If there was a forward thinking possessive type, I could hide in the shadows. Imagine, thus, stumbling upon me in such form and formulation, of the body and the mind and the spirit too, and how you might interact with me, completely condensed, completely funneled into what might be the best option for finding potential. Is there such thing as an inverted potential? Is this why the greatest and most productive skip sleep to come to conclusion? I yawn as I type statements as silly-sounding as this one, and think about the void that could just suck me into it. How many of the greatest artists, greatest creators, had skin rashes to deal with on a regular basis, found complete and honest revulsion and repulsion in the experience of being alive?
I am exhausted but I am glad, so glad, that I know one thing I can recognize my suitcase by. It is an empty green tag bound to the top of it. I will look for that mark when I stand next to the baggage claim carousel, before I drag the luggage to the light rail, feeling defeated and done, and make my way closer and closer to my homeland. I will get off at the Columbia City stop, think about those who are getting off there as well, those who get off at other stops, those who had the fortunate of being picked up by family, friends, partners, etc., and those who simply passed out at the airport (as I have gladly, proudly, done in the past). I will then walk the 5 blocks to my building, where I will secretly hope that Jason and Arielle are asleep, so I can do what I need to do to fix my face, and when they ask how Maine was, I will say, “Exhausting but responsible,” thinking about why I go at all, ever, to that place, and what it really means to maintain a bond and connection, familial and otherwise, with such distance landscapes.
The lines we cross to get to and from new spaces. Territories are cords pulled or chords played. I would like to not be so discomforted by myself going forward. I would like to learn though, how to make that possible. I would like to calm my deepest issues, if possible. I would like to sleep without being worried about sleep. I would love to have a plan that can reduce even further the deepest cuts of regret, doubt, lack of satisfaction, anxiety, disharmony, confusion, hesitancy, unknowing, and so on. I would love it to be bound to words. I would love it to be liberated from language. The mind wants more than one stability at all times. Like the cat who needs multiple escape routes at any given time–and won’t sit still if such routes are unavailable. Beyond the surplus of silence of my headphones, the roar of this pressurized tube facilitates are final moments. We will, if all goes well, land in SeaTac in one hour. It will have been a day-length of travel (having started at 1230pm East Coast time). Does that make it, technically, 12 hours of travel? I think it does. Perhaps 14 hours of travel if you include the drive to the first airport and the train ride home from the final one.
Thinking about what Seattle’s green shadows will offer tonight and tomorrow. Still isn’t the solstice, so the days continue to shrink their light. That will be noticeable. The heatwave most likely will be gone. So it goes. We don’t need heat where we’re going, though it would have been fantastic experiencing heat, or any degree of comfort, in the climate. I suppose these things will wait for next time, then. I suppose, I suppose, I suppose. I stare off into the distance and suppose some more. My supposing an afforded entitlement that also provides significant mental health support.
I am exhausted with blueness
and it speaks out to this autumn ecology
with the sounds of weeping.
Through the touch of water we reconfigure breaths
and walk these American days off like slaps.
I was slapped several times in my life.
This world as a machine is designed to hurt.
To sting and to stun will keep us moving,
will keep us moving toward some hope,
which may or may not exist when tired like this.
I have to beg my consciousness to keep up without an answer.