Bathed in Ache and Fire

Terminal ends. Not well, but it ends. Chronic goes on and on. Never ending, never stopping, never resting.

chronic /'kronik/ adj 1a said esp of an illness: marked by long duration or frequent recurrence: compare ACUTE. b suffering from a chronic disease: a chronic alcoholic. 2a always present or encountered, esp constantly troubleing: chronic financial difficulties. b habitual; persistent: a chronic grumbler. 3 Brit, informal bad; terrible: His singing is absolutely chronic. [French chronique from Greek chronikos of time, from chronos time]

Acute burst and sizzles and fizzes like fireworks--pop, pop, pop.

Chronic drags on until the days bleed into the night into the days into the weeks and afternoons and mornings and the paranoia sets in that maybe you were too busy bathing to notice the time, the day, the month, the year. Maybe you're supposed to be somewhere across town today and here tomorrow, or worse: yesterday. Maybe you aren't supposed to be in this town this year at all. Maybe that was last year.

It drags on. It bleeds on. It drags you. It bleeds you. But there is no blood or vomit or throbs or stabs or ringing in your ears. Just ache and fire. Raging. Burning. Never burning out. Never stopping. Never like fire after all. Fire is terminal. Acute. Pop. Pop. Pop.

And the sentence before your eyes blurs and twirls and inverts itself and digests itself and shits itself back out on the page like a grammar school grammar exercise and you scratch your head bald not knowing the answer. What the fuck is a semi-colon for anyway? You only deal with full colons of fire and ache. A world of fire and ache. Washed away by acid burnt eyes. Blurred over. Blurred out. Blurted out and gone away. A kind of blindness, because you can still hear the world out there, out the window. You can still hear the truckers ride their jake brakes down your tree-lined street like they are playing the piano or lead guitar in the Pixies. You're the debaser. You're debased.

It is the rejection of your body. By your body. Like a bad kidney, bad heart, bad taco.

It is bone eating flesh. Digesting flesh. Shitting flesh out as battery acid rain that bleeds, leeches, into your brain and erases sentences and structures and sense and leaves only the fire and the ache, bathing you like morning light or mid-night baths in brownish tubs full of tepid yellow water because you are out of other ideas.

And no one knows, it is the middle of the night, they are in bed. But everyone knows, or knows someone who knows. Knows that tomato juice and linkoping extract cures all. Or was it fish eyes and frog spleen oil? Or oleo and ovaltine? Isn't Linkoping a city in Sweden? Isn't denial a river in Egypt?

Burns brought on by battery acid baths of ache and forest fires smell like forgotten dinner, neglected ovens, burnt toast, today's newspaper crumpled and torn to get the whole thing started. Smells like a little long on the jake brake past King's Bridge Court. Smells like the ant on the window sill under the microscopic sun, flooding in through the open window. Where the pigeons come in. Where the pigeons go out. It smells like pigeon sex and shit too. It smells like youth and Shakespeare texts books from grammar school with the sentences all screwed up. What the fuck is a hath for anyway? And why the hell does hell have it like no woman scorned? Tattered, torn, faded, thrown away, crumpled, lit, tossed, bathing you in fire and ache. Just to get it going.

This is only the beginning.

This is the first to go.

This is it getting lost for once and for all.

This is losing.

This is losing it all. Almost. Not quite. Close to. Almost. All. Most all.

What isn't lost is revised. Is clung to for dear life. Is trifled with recklessly, unintentionally, and nearly lost, before returning at the last possible second. As though last possible second returns are something that happens, are something that is possible, are something that should even be thought off at this late hour.

It is the wisdom wrought from the British football announcer spoken to an American soccer audience and overheard by this Canadian phony pretending to be intrigued by Euro 2008 when there is nothing better to do: something to do with hope missing expectation. Something about the two not meeting, them missing, and then the next part has to be improvised, revised, regrouped and re-approached to try and glean some revised version of success from the new situation, something that looks like getting out of bed and making it back and not breaking down or having a wheel fall off in rush hour traffic. God forbid.

Later today...

How can it be understood? Life isn't pain. Some lives are painless. Some lives are. Not full of, but are. Actually are. Which might be empathized and theorized with stretches of imagination based on bursts of acute acuity. But not felt. Not felt. How can you not be and be understanding at the same time? I guess not being and not understanding are more apt partners. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I am offered Linkoping shooters. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything. I guess I am not.

But it is felt. It is felt in the places I never new had feeling, and most of the time they don't or shouldn't, yet do. These deadfall bones glowing hot orange with fire and ache.

And if you've never seen your own shin bone looking you in the eye and not blinking, you can't know. How could you? Who'd want to? This is a knowing not worth knowing. This is a being not worth being. This is a shin bone not worth seeing. It has to be felt. It has to buckle and twist and snap like dead fall under horses' hooves. It's a twisting that must be heard. A snapping that must be seen. A buckling, breaking, flooding like a slowly formed bruise, that must be lived. That must be felt.

I don't know what I can say to help bridge that gulf. My words cannot buckle, twist, snap. Not like that. I'd like for them to break glass when thrown. But they don't. They can't. They can't burn and ache; recoil in horror. I don't know what I can say. I can't say anything. It must be felt.

And in the meantime I am at a loss. I am lost. I am too busy twisting, bending, snapping, breaking. Buckling. Open yourself up, pull out your deadfall bones, light the ends and burn until hot orange, bath in battery acid ache, put them back inside you, roll over and try to go to sleep. How can I make anyone else comprehend something that I cannot? Something I bathe in and vomit and spit like dynamite from my dry mouth? Every synapse collapsing and exploding and burning and aching and screaming at the top of their lungs in tongues? What can I do? But writhe? But grimace? But sulk and moan? But dutifully take my medicine that doesn't work and drink my Linkoping extract pellets like compelling television shows and roll over and try to go to sleep?

Be sure to use the rusty can opener that doesn't open cans.

Bus X-Ray by Nick Veasey


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