It Sticks in Your Throat

The mist over the ocean is moving onto the beach. I’ve cut the tip of my finger doing something I cannot remember and now it throbs and stings from my drenching it in the salty sea water until it shriveled. I’d tell you something clever now like healing hurts first before it soothes but I’m not really in the mood for clever and healing is such a tricky thing to actually nail down because it is not linear. The waves are crashing and breaking in very strange ways, swelling way far out and then slamming straight down quickly, suddenly, without hardly ever standing up. They erupt one after another after another up close to the edge. I once heard these kinds of waves are called ‘dirty’ but I can’t ever be sure if I am using that term correctly. I don’t surf, I barely swim, and I spend a good portion of my time worrying obsessively about death by drowning.

I know the tides. I know the way they feel inside me because I have been studying myself my whole life. Still, your insides can surprise you if you get too arrogant, if you ignore them, or try to turn away. My heart is racing from the chill of the ocean and the hazy moisture in the air is pebbling my skin. I take a drink of ice-cold gin with lime and let the sun warm me all over. There are people on the beach tanning, splashing, little kids screaming, laughing, running. Kids are forever running on the beach, toward the ocean, away from the ocean, things need to happen and they need to happen fast. One little guy wears red sunglasses and a tee shirt which simply reads DUDE.

They say a person spends something like seventy percent of their time worried about the past or the future. That the amount of time you spend literally in the moment you are in is minuscule, fleeting. I want to feel better about death, or about life which I guess is the same thing in a certain sense, so I put on my dark sunglasses and stare meaningfully, purposefully, out into the farthest reaches of the wild blue-green sea and try to be in the place I am in. Feel the salty humid air flowing through my hair. As the horizon line blurs into a soft distant kind of turquoise imaged space, I lick my lips and remind myself that the horizon does not exist. It is always out there, unreachable, untouchable. How comical are the men who think they own the world. Think they can plant a flag. Think they know what it is to die for something when they stand for nothing. Nothing at all.

In writing, you can be anything you want but you have to know enough what it feels like to have what you want even if you don’t. You can dissect a thing but never inhabit it. You can know about something without knowing of it. Writers like to talk at you, see what sticks. I like to know if you feel anything because sometimes I can’t feel a fucking thing and I am terrified it means I am starting to disappear. Into the past. Into the future. Either way, we all just want to escape. I like to think that in the words I can escape but mostly I am only revealed. Maybe that’s why they say you need to go away to find yourself. Maybe it’s a lie. Maybe you write because you hope to Christ you will and will never be found.

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