A year ago, I was living in a home for boys suffering from body dysmorphia.
We could barely make it outside. We cut our nails outside. It became impossible to keep from stealing. Our hands were clumsy and awkward. Terrible words ran through our heads. Our voices left us, changed, even when we didn’t have colds, even if we had nothing to say.
We never had anything to say.
We gossiped. We heard things so well it bothered us. We played with our hair. We masturbated. We masturbated each other. We vegetated. We had stomach pains from anxiety disorders. We played sick to get out of things. We played plenty of basketball, table tennis, and video games.
We talked about girls, sometimes women. We criticized them. We cracked our jokes wide open, like supermarket eggs, all over the panicky heads and bodies of our victims. We were trying to be men: playing around, edging up against the law, getting under your skin, and staying there.
The infinite value
can no longer stand its burden of rancour.
Ultra-paranoid, it lacks all perspective
in the shifting perception of nuances:
Of circles that decay in the ulcerated prisms of the eye
of pixelated landscapes, melting and verging on constant obsolescence
still running like lava through the retina’s walls
taking into its gelid, vitreous reserve an infinite number of gems
already parabolic, conveying the form
of ivy-leaf latticework, all aglow, but oh, so fragile in the moment.
I never used the bike until I was made aware of the enhancement program. I never knew fitness could be so addicting, so fulfilling, so spiritual. Now my orgasms propelled my feet through another rotation toward total enlightenment and though I could never leave the bike to visit family and friends, the calories burned and pornography consumed euthanized inconsequential relationships with people who didn’t support my new lifestyle.
I didn’t need family when I had community. I didn’t need conversation when I had weight loss. I didn’t need hobbies when I had the bloodlust frenzy of holes being clogged and aimless forward momentum.
Marcus was a patient man. He had learned patience in Otisville Correctional, where he had spent five years of his twenties. He was 40 now. He wasn’t shy about it, and would often joke that he had been a Jew only by name until he went to Otisville, where he learned to eat gefilte fish and intersperse his conversation with bits of yiddish. It was really a strike of luck, he said when he talked about it now. Had his surname been different, or had he burned down an apartment building outside of Williamsburg, he could have been sent to a real prison instead of a federal sleepaway camp. No matter how much he underplayed it, five years is a long time, and his habits still bore the mark of his time upstate. In fact, all of his hobbies seemed to be a product of what he called his “long walk in the country.” He read constantly, played tennis twice a week, and took classes at a community college downtown. He had never gone to college, but discovered in Otisville that he enjoyed the ceremony of sitting in a classroom. He figured out that he liked being the class clown, and had passed the time mastering a range of sleight-of-hand tricks. This was how he met Mary.
You drive to Baltimore late at night. This is the only exciting part: the moment of anticipation/this could be anything. Once it is some thing we’ll all be very disappointed. You drive to Baltimore late at night from Chevy Chase. You are headed somewhere.
He eats his cigarettes on his way to Baltimore. The filter papers get stuck in his teeth. His gums are bleeding. When he devours the last of the pack he bites down hard on the steering wheel, fresh indentations on exposed rubber, and tries to hold on fucking tight. He is getting married in three days.
I am rushing senses seeing yellow lines all blurred and fast-coming-on all of a sudden listening to the air suck new holes in my ear cavities, creating new drums and busting old ones + smelling autumn and its burning. I am driving to Baltimore this very instant at the cusp of a new day heat seeking coke missile fully erect body cocked and ready.