35. Read Aloud

10 January 2022, 20:08

Stop the clock. What do I want? Where am I going? I turn thirty in three-and-a-half years. Bang, I’m living on and on into eternal life. Age is just a number. I feel old and gray; I’m bald, and I want a girl to have and hold. Made the standard profiles: a few pictures and a boring biography that means nothing to nobody. You gotta pay to see the matches. You gotta show a little something to get the swipe. Bummer. Can one be sexy and modest at the same time? Is that a real place, where I want you, but I’m willing to wait and see? Clap, clap clap, clap, clap clap—this is the life.

No more typing till my fingers bleed. Never have bled that way. My father pushes my buggy frame through the single door. He could have opened the double, and I would have scampered in without a fight. I cannot walk backward. More random words inspired by my real life that no one will understand because they do not live in my skin. Wear it, please. See inside of me. No more you, only me. Me! ME! MEEEE! On a bed in a “luxury” apartment built in 2016 (I was 21, then, and recently able to imbibe but not wanting to except after the only breakup—if you can call it that—I’ve ever had) is where I sleep. The mattress is cramped, but my feet do not hang off the end. Lay with me. Sleep deep and reap the grapes of fortune. I cannot decide.

How many more songs? How many more minutes are in this album? On the twelfth day of Christmas, it was a Sunday. I was a fool. I sit here, writing, to tell you of my foolishness. I went to school and read what they said. Now, I am the say-er. I walk through Times Square, playing games on my knuckles. I wanna punch and break my bones. Wanna feel something, one time. One more time. Again, why do I care? What do I want? Who am I becoming? I feel bad about what I said, you know; I take it all back. I should never have revealed my thoughts. I should have wrapped them up in burlap and burned them with the other burdens I laid on you. Fool! Rhaka (ῥακά) upon myself—there is nothing in my head. Empty.

Let’s go swimming. If I had hair, I would wear a cap. My spine twists and rants at the dying of the light. At close of day, I will pray. When I am about to breathe my last, I will ask God for mercy and plead for heaven. Until then, my way. I am underground already; I cannot be found. I have removed all the hair from my body, except the eyebrows. Without the eyebrows, it might as well be AIDS. Need those eyebrows. Need ‘em… give them to me! I met a man who lived on cocktails. Without them, he would have died twenty years ago. Thank the Lord for modern medicine, he says. I’m living on borrowed time.

To know what I mean, one must understand the difference between literal and figurative language. One already knows, I assume. Without proper evidence, I have formed a conclusion about the reader: she is uninterested in me. Is this real life? We three thieves of orient are on our way to a clown show. I have seen my face in the curved brass of the trombone. My forehead and eyes are racing into the distance. My nose is like an ornament on the tree I had to imagine having because I live in Brooklyn, and it is cold outside. My chin is fashioned to a point, like the icicles growing up from the ground. Daisy Mae, when will the daisies arrive?

Hey, what a way to spend an evening? Tomorrow, I will bash my brains against the torrent of dislocated ninth graders, the zombies, the late arrivals, the absentees, the jumped and afraid to come to school, the violently beautiful whiteys and brownies with fake smiles, the real ones, the dope-sellers who make more money than me, the materialistic sons-of-single-mothers, the residents of Flatbush, Crown Heights, &c. They will interrupt me again and again. They will refuse to hear because I am not like them, and they are not like me. What is the point?

I prefer the cage. Fight me. Muscle your way up into the sky. Fly with no wings, human. God did not mean for us to join him in the air. There is a shortage of air. Breathe easy, leave some for the rest of us. Actions speak loudly, but her lack of words is even more compelling. If we’re so free, why am I afraid? Why will my life never amount to more than spent cosmic energy? All these atoms rubbing against each other, causing miniature explosions. I will diminish. Come to your senses, child, and go to sleep. Rest easy in the bed with room enough for your short legs. It is likely we will never cross paths again. When you see me, I will pretend not to see you. Endure in the face of wild men who hiss at their sons and stomp the ground out of fear. That is not my son. That is ungeheuren Ungeziefer—a monstrous vermin. An ambiguous translation. Get me out of here. Banish me to the end credits. Put on your green dress, baby, and dance for me. Make me remember why I am here and where I am going. I’ll do anything you don’t say.

This hasn’t been your day. He never touched me, either. Not that I wanted him to, one knows. I’ll be thirty, thin, neat, and alone. People will assume things about me, but I’ll lay the pistol down. Go ahead; you are not the one about which I am thinking. Her name is Daisy Mae, and she is dying. She has the perfect form. She is the Platonic ideal. I have seen her; she lays with me. We live and die together, into eternal death. Until Jesus comes again. Baby, I am bound by his love. He is the only one who knows me. He wears my skin. He is not in my heart. He did not sacrifice himself for my sins. It is so much bigger than that. He is not in control; no one is. There are no levers left to pull. I cannot move the world, so why bother? The world moves me, baby. And I will come back to this, years from now; I will decide whether to hang onto the file. Or I will sweep it into the recycling bin with the rest of my crumpled-up dreams, never seen, never lived, never made into movies or musicals. Tik Tok goes the clock—dot, dot, dot, BOOM! Such a bad ending. They could have resolved it better. I AM UNSATISFIED.

Do you mean to say he died the morning of its first preview performance? Do you mean he never got to see what he accomplished? Better dead, I guess, than to live on and be famous. I want no one to know my name. I want to be left alone. I am Outis (Οὖτις). Call me by your name, Nemo. Denounce me, Poe, like you denounced H. W. Longfellow in the Evening Mirror. I only had one eye, but the raging lunatic poured the wine, and I kept drinking. Then, his men pierced me with the red-hot timber, and now I cannot see. My father will avenge this evil deed if only he ceases his hissing and stomping. Read this aloud. Whisper and shout. Go to bed, baby, and wake me in the morning.

Inverted, again

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