I dreamt of a small gelatinous cube, similar to what is found during the winter simmering beside the register in a Japanese convenience store. I recognized that cube at once. "That's my heart," I said.
Now's as good a time as any to share a few helpful hints about the management of despair:
Don't try to save your life. Aren't you the one who fails at everything? The hopeless one? Therefore, this attempt, too, is doomed. Aiming to save your life, you scratch for reasons. Not finding them, self-loathing grows. Therefore.
Do not try to save your life, but merely to postpone fatal acts. Keep it in the attic. No need to act like it's some great gushing treasure, like it'd really turn out to be worth something, if you could just get it onto Antique Road Show. By all means, let the dog sleep on it. Just don't puncture or burn it. Leave it in the rain. Don't toss it out.
Save your life by accident. That old thing you just happen to have around. Kept out of basic respect for its materials and, even more, from simple thrift. Some use may yet be found. And then there will be your life, which, it just so happens, you never quite got around to destroying. Saved, as lives so often are, by simply being overlooked.
No brightness, no optimism. It just so happens you never get as far as whiskey in the morning, or the sling at the baths. With zero enthusiasm and no fatal acts.
Thus life is saved silently. By means of neglect.
What comforts me? The image of meat cleaver. With a red handle. Falling through space. Nothing to impede it. Nothing to interfere with it. No tears and no complaints. The cleaver is simply falling. And I am letting it fall.
Tameikesanno station, which is so immense that even once you arrive underground, your train may still be a kilometer away, down a vast white corridor with neither benches nor signs, nothing but a single green public phone, which you could use to call someone and announce, “I seem to have arrived in some peculiar alternate world. So far all I can say for certain is that everything is tiled.”
In New Hampshire, in the early Eighties, my pet mouse was resurrected. Please keep this is mind. It was much too cold for the mouse, in a cage on the porch during the winter, but my Dad wouldn’t let the mouse live inside. It was a male mouse and it stank. Also I admit I wasn’t so interested in my mouse, prior to my mouse’s resurrection.
In preparation for burial, I wrapped my mouse in a Woody Woodpecker washcloth. Then I went upstairs and read the entire book of Genesis. I must have been 10. My mother was dead. I suffered from horrendous nightmares. I believed reading the Bible protected me from monsters. After Genesis, I returned for the burial and found my mouse resurrected, gnawing through his Woody Woodpecker burial shroud.
Please keep this in mind. I think it explains a lot.
QB House. 10 minutes, just cut. One of those places where there is a rule on every flat surface. Family and friends may need to wait outside. Danger, please don’t lean. The four digit number on your ticket has no relevance. Seeking to ward off or control the sociable, the lazy and those obsessed with numerology.
1000 yen. No coins or bills of higher denomination accepted. Hair is cut and that is all. Beard trimming and conversation are both verboten.
They did, however, take time to remove the hair from my ears. Proving that human sympathy is not yet extinct.
Looking across the river at Laos, I am accosted by and old American with long gray hair turned yellow by the sun. He is drunk and charming and resembles a cancer-stricken walnut.
“I’m Mister Blue!” he says. “I’ve fought in all the wars! Vietnam! Grenada! Afghanistan! I killed plenty of people in Vietnam. Bangbangbangbangbang please pleasesir baby my baby bangbangbang. I can’t go back to Vietnam but I can come here this is my home my heart is here. You ask anybody in Udon, Where is Mister Blue? Everybody knows me. My brother’s dying but he won’t come. I ain’t got no passports he says. I got two sons they never come. If you’re here to do business maybe I can give you advice. I’m Mister Blue. I’ve fought in all the wars but now I’m home I’m home I’m home.”
Roppongi at half-past noon: the sidewalks packed with businessmen on lunch break. Arriving at the crossing, I see a man, sprawled out on the shoulder of the street, his hat nearly in traffic. My first thought was that I was hallucinating. No one else saw him. His long gray hair spilled across his face. He clutched a plastic bag. His eyes were open: he was muttering at the sky.
I was very sorry that I am not one of those people who always know what to do. The man’s hands jerked open and closed. His face was angry. I’ll stand beside his head, I thought. The cars will see and hopefully not run either of us over.
I’m standing in the street almost, looking back at the crowds on the sidewalk. Is this the afterlife? I‘m thinking. The man looks enraged and totally out of his head. Cars honk at me. We’re real, evidently.
Eventually a policewoman arrives, stands there her head tilted down, arguing with the man. I continue on to the gym. I wonder if the man ever comes around, is lucid for awhile. I would like to leave a note in his pocket. A note which reads: I am going to get the hell out of here. I suggest you do the same.
In order to sleep I imagine a man’s arm around me. Not my husband’s arm, I am ashamed to say. This man has been around since long before my husband. Although I must also admit that I’ve never met him. Still, I’ve learned a few things about him, sleeping with him all these years.
He is lithe and has brown skin. A little shorter than I am. South American, I think. His arms are quite smooth. He works everyday outside. I don’t think he would say he is gay if you asked him.
How is it that I’ve slept with this man all my life and never investigated him? I never thought about him. He is just there, with his arm around me, as I fall asleep. He is naked and sleeps tucked against me, his arm over mine. His cock is big, just regular big, and often gets hard during the night. He sleeps like a log.
I have slept with this man as long as I can remember. I am sorry to say I don’t think of him much, aside from the moment I must think of him, in order to fall asleep. Only now does it seem strange that I have always slept with this man and never thought anything about it. Perhaps everyone has such a person. An invisible sleeping companion. Perhaps we are always accompanied. And perhaps not.