A Stranger in the Mirror


And my friend is morose and I am morose, so we begin lying to the errant
lexicographer of vicarious lifestyles, extraordinary crapulous fictions about the beautiful
indulgences in our delinquent behavior, spawning and shaping the future to look like the
past but without the necessary pain.
The first time I realized my heart was a delicate instrument, I wanted to hurt
someone. Fortunately, the receiving beach was guiltless and I was forced to exist
although I was filled with the absence beneath the drifting surface, as in “artificially
inflated with emptiness,” as in “full of one’s missing self,” as in a tidal mouse left open.
When I asked myself to make this terrible mistake, I said no, but it was too late.
The mistake had already been given away and it wasn’t so terrible, but the giving away
part gave it back to its willing terribleness. Right now I can’t remember what the
terribleness was, but it was something I did before I was even finished doing it.
Someday it will have to start being itself and then I will have to be there instead of here.
The details were unnecessary but pointed to by the participants.
There’s a story like this in which you tell a story like this to someone who listens
and listens past the allure of the inside story, which makes the story longer than it is and
yours. There’s an attraction to it though it doesn’t stay on the page and it doesn’t talk to
you without asking. The asking is in a bottle and wants to come out because you want it
to. It’s like a medication that doesn’t do anything to make you better but makes you
better anyway.
Just then I realized I liked the sound of anguish in my voice. My friend Me seemed
to be asking if I was dreaming. I didn’t believe I was.
It’s like the deeper meaning of a complicated experience. The moan lasts forever.
I don’t.
When the act is dead, my friend the performer, my friend the brilliant misdirected
exhibitionist, like that sea creature that expels its guts when attacked, can simply offer
more than I knew I asked for.
“That’s not mine,” he says with my voice. I can already see him telling me I’m not
there. It’s not clear whether or not I can be saved. It’s not clear which one of us is the best
person to fall for this.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.