Alas, I am a poet uninspired by a poet's muse. The rabble of mundane life breathes into me…I don’t breathe. Hmm…trickling is what it’s doing. Rain trickles down from the sky onto me. Tiny streams flow down my forearms, wrapping around this way and that way as they make their way—three ways there—to the ground. HA! Fools, my clothes will intercept you, they will soak you in, they will…is this where my joy springs forth from now? Thwarting Rain?
A grocery store stands across the street from my apartment; a rather unsightly backdrop. It's a large, foreboding building, a building wholly discarded by humanity, left to inhabit the stretches of empty pavement surrounding it in lonely abandonment. But wait; there was a woman... so suddenly she appeared. She was young. She was alone. She slinked across the parking lot and swiftly made her way into the building in a scene of remarkable grace. And then, even more amazingly, there was a man. He too was young. He too was alone. He too slinked across the parking lot. He too endeavored to scavenge the building (one would assume). I watched.
The future? Do I have one anymore? Then again, did I ever? How long have I been lying here on the ground? Let’s see now... not sure how to read this, but forty numbers have passed since I last checked. Nope. These numbers are meaningless to me, yet I continue to check as if maybe if I check over and over again it will suddenly make sense. If only I had learned to tell time, though how that information is useful eludes me. So why am I so intent on wondering about the time? Perhaps because I've been absent for quite a bit and much has changed during that absence.
In a dazzling display of ingenuity (and possibly even compassion, though this is certainly debatable), I have manufactured what I believe to be an appropriate substitution to the disposal of Mr. Finley: I have meticulously covered his entire body with various articles of clothing. Although many things elude me lately, the self-awareness of my physical limitations is, thankfully, not one of those things. Considering that he is a man of notable girth, this rickety corpse that I have the privilege of inhabiting obviously lacked the capacity to budge him even the slightest; therefore, this struck me as a reasonable alternative. Realistically, what else could I do? Drag him outside and bury him? Even if I had the theoretical brawn to do so, I am certainly not aware of any shovel lying about, nor do I intend to look for one. Besides, I've no desire to engage in superstitious ritual. I suppose he shall continue to just lie there under the laundry, nose scrunched up against the coarse carpet, motionless.
My eyes are closed, but still the light from the sun burns through my eyelids. It is uncomfortable, this sparkly, blurry, blackish-red fuzz that I see. I forgot why my eyes are closed…Ah? No, I forgot, but I do know that I’m stuck. Yes, as embarrassing as it is, I am stuck on the concrete at the foot of a small flight of stairs; three steps actually. When I stumbled upon them, literally at that, I was violently struck with unease. “Oh Uncle Sam’s uncle, I doubt I can do these”, I thought. I stood there, swaying for a moment or two, mustering up the courage to surmount them.
It's an odd sensation forgetting one's past self. Sleep: a withdrawal from reality with no consequence, an inescapable escape into the familiar unfamiliarity of being in the passenger seat of your own tempestuous psyche... I need sleep.
I can recall when it first occurred to me. It was the gray skin that caught my eye. Then it was the absence of flesh where clearly there shouldn't have been. I suppose it should have shocked me, should have made me run, scream, panic. Instead, I shuffled toward the gray, splotchy, flesh-less figure in the mirror that replicated my actions with startling precision, head tilted and mouth ajar.
I stood there holding the phone in my hand, staring at the tiny glowing screen. I suppose that is why I picked it up. It was glowing, and I hadn’t seen something glow before. At the time I didn’t know it was called a phone (where in time in my narrative am I?), and though I had never seen nor used one, somehow (providence perhaps?), I was, and still am, able to operate it. I found the owner of the phone lying sprawled out, face down on the road with a cavernous hole in his back and gnash out of his shoulder. Is that a human tooth lodged in his spine? Not far from him lay his phone. A light with no light bulb? How ignorant I was, how ignorant I still am. How... I’m self-destructive, full of digressions. Unable to stay on point... where was I?
His name is Gordon Finley. Married, no kids from what I can tell. I can't precisely pinpoint the motive of my actions, but I am storing the ID of the kitchen-man within the plastic sleeves of an old three-ring binder that I found nuzzled between some board games in a closet. It would seem that the scavengers were uninterested in tabletop strategy. It's fascinating how context can alter the ethical perception of an action: what would have otherwise been considered identity theft can now be defended as a means of preserving the humanity of the colorless cadaver in my kitchen. Could that be my motive?
I wonder if he will wake up...?
I… my first word is I? How should I start? Always the most difficult; starting. Begin right away? My mind isn’t linear, my memory is fragmented. This is difficult. Stupid hands, or is it stupid brain? I am—my fingers are incomplete, bony, literally fleshless even. Strange that. And…? I felt the sun on my skin. Felt. I hadn’t felt anything in so long that I had almost forgotten that my body could feel. Did it start with the sun on my skin? Let’s say that it was a bird. I like that. A bird landed on my shoulder. Familiar. "Did birds usually land on me?" I thought. Yes, I did think a thought, and yes, the sun was shining. "I am seeing the sunlight?" I thought, again my own. The bird hopped up to the top of my head, then chirped out into the forest. A chirp responded from somewhere within the scramble of branches that hung around my head. A whistle, tweet, chirp, then the bird was off. My beginning. Might be, but do I doubt it? Tomorrow will my beginning remain the same, or will I remember it differently? Everything is a menagerie of thoughts and sensations and memories, but now that I have written this there exists a record. My beginning is now set, truth or not.