Secret Pop

Mar 22, 2002

"Even when you're feeling warm, the temperature could drop away..."

Climates have been unpredictable. I have been caught off-guard by sudden chills. I have been dismayed to be wearing wool when the mercury begins rising. I have felt the cells in me being flooded with rhythm. I have felt them go flat and sedentary. From second to second.

"You can tell a man from what he has to say..."

I am a creature in conflict. I seek out obligations and then loathe that they lie in wait for me. I crave company and cherish solitude. I drink both red wines and white. I watch cartoons and science fiction and I read literary criticism. I write poetry and eat Mars Bars. I can open a bag of potato chips and eat just one. I love the warmth of sun and the smell of rain. I cook with garlic.

"It doesn't pay to make predictions..."

It's easy to see how sinus congestion can be mistaken for dissatisfaction with life. When I feel the pain behind my eyes and have that burning scent in my nostrils, I tell myself there is no value in anything. And then I take a pretty-colored liqui-cap and wait for the onset of the high. It feels like taking a bath in 7-Up. Which doesn't sound like a bad idea.

"Finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain..."

I need to hang things on the walls. Make this place mine. Open windows where there are none. Stimulate. Inspire. Remind. Relive. I need to spend more time in the parts of my mind that are dimly lit and unwelcoming. I have a feeling I have left a lot of important things there. As with moving, I expect to unearth surprises and reminiscences. When you move, you lose things. You find things. You let go of things. You hang on to things. You make choices about what's important. And sometimes you regret the things you threw away in previous moves. Sentiment is enigmatic. It needn't reside in a corrugated box. But it often does.

"Only one step away..."

Stormy weather and unbearable calm. I have seen little of March's lion. Even less of her lamb. I have seen the spoiling effects of Southern California living. Days that seem to fold into each other because of persistent beauty that goes unnoticed and unmeasured. Impossibly beautiful moments that don't linger because they are indistinguishable from those that follow. It is beautiful here much of the time. So beautiful that I have to look at ugliness every now and then just to remind myself of the contrast. When I lived in Guam, I once played the part of a preening princess whose selfish ways could only be softened by the humanizing effects of candy. Today, I'm eating Cadbury Mini Eggs and wondering whether they're changing me in some fashion. They don't seem to be. But such changes are likely to be subtle. After all, everything is chemistry. We are just electromagnetic energy sparking in an organic soup. It is entirely possible that chocolate might be capable of effecting powerful changes in my soul. How does memory persist anyway? Some physiological imprint? A groove? A whorl? A mark on the surface of a moment. I haven't eaten enough madeleines to follow after Proust. But I imagine a key awaits me. Something that will unlock the vault of memory and engulf me in electricity and impulse and energy.

I used to wait my turn to swing on the monkey bars. I used to check out a tetherball and curse the sound of the bell. I used to play just like all the other kids.

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