Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Harold and the Overlord Brain
Outside it's hot and damp with a rain surely coming up this afternoon while inside I alternately strip off my shirt or shudder from the air conditioning, the variation in temperature caused not only by the wonky HVAC system, but also by the freaked out feeling of writing, pounding things out, dipping in for short attacks on my memory that is part of this week-long writing intensive.
But I can't write or recall shit, my memory is bland sandy beige like the land where Luke Skywalker grew up. Rich things happening underneath with miles of dry camouflage on top.
This is painful but helpful in its own way because every time I begin down a trail, my overlord brain smacks it down. I can't write things down that somebody else might see. I can't write things down that may hurt another person's heart. I can't just let it out, so instead I scribble furiously about how my brain is seizing up, how moments of clarity about my life are opening up in this fight. It's not writing, but therapy underlined boldly so that it will burn into my mind. I begin labeling things: that was a birth canal, this is a life raft, the other is a black hole. All of the images make sense of the past few months of my life, of my fears of the future, of the worry of unmapped space. My overlord brain is scanning for ways to discount and deny everything good that has brought me to this place, digging deep to unearth the reasons why people and situations cannot be trusted. But I know my brain, and like Harold with his creepy-ass crayon, I run in front of overlord brain. I map it all out, the memories, the people, the stories, in order to let it go, these phantom limbs and unclosed circles. And god, does it feel good to just let it be.
Because the truth is that you will never make sense of it all, because that requires a type of honesty with yourself and others that exists in a special state of grace. Sometimes others are capable of that space, most are not. Sometimes they are already gone and not able to respond, sometimes your brain is just searching memory for clues to make it all make sense.
Antilamentation -Dorianne Lau
Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering any of it.
Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.