Dictante Dolore

Which basically means
written (or dictated or said)
while dying or sick
or most definitely under the weather.

It was Sunday night
and The Red Hot Chili Peppers
were playing loudly outside my window.
I mean this in a literal way.

It was Sunday night
and The Red Hot Chili Peppers
were playing a concert at Zilker Park,
here in Austin, which is outside my window.

I had a headache. The obvious connections
between the external noise sources
and the pain were nothing to write home about,
especially being here at home already.

I considered calling the police,
who may have been previously engaged,
but decided against it as the noise, while annoying,
was the not the central cause of the head pain.

Sometimes I get migraines,
not the sort that the woman from work mentions.
They come from nowhere known to me,
although afterwards their appearance seems obvious.

My left eye begins to rotate or a light,
or a series of lights or a constellation, an explosion of lights,
begins to flash around my orbital bone,
orbiting irregularly.

This has happened many times,
hundreds perhaps, and lasts about twenty minutes
before I get the headache you’ve heard about
and it hurts, but by then I don’t care.

The pain is unpleasant, but to be expected,
experienced by the man who has now come back.
He looks at it and recognizes it as that which comes after
and is grateful for this normalcy of discomfort.

And all of this is nothing much out of my own ordinary
or wasn’t until a few years ago and in New Jersey
when I had a brain seizure which turned into a little more
than the usual two pills of inconvenience.

Let’s cut to it; there are both kinds of brain seizure,
the dead and the not, but after that has been sorted out,
and you’re still living, there are other matters
and in each in need of clarification.

Some are central, in the front of the mind (as it were):
Do you recognize your own face?
Can you eat scrambled eggs?
Can you separate your regret from your guilt?

After that come the others, many are their names,
and each with a distinctive shadow,
but what we’re to talk of now are the thoughts
that will occur as to re-occurrence .

Once anything, a person, a brain, the fifth step of a ladder,
has proven to be in any way unreliable,
fear and wondering attend their presence
like death to a corpse. I know, poor choice.

Migraines aren’t brain seizures,
or not in the way that my personal dataset
reveals them to be, but still. But still they scare me now
in a way they never did.

It all went black and I fell into an inky pool,
just like Dick Powell said he did
having been hit by an object they used to call a cosh
and still do if your literature is hard-boiled.

And then after they’d ripped my tongue
half out to save it (so they said)
and got me into an ambulance eventually (apparently)
I woke up slowly in the loneliness of a hospital bed.

There are two large porches,
front and back of the house I live now.
On the front porch there is a white china dish
it is completely empty apart from a hundred insects.

They are very small, not even smudges.
Imagine living creatures
half the size of the dot
you can see on the i in the word this.

They move quickly. Ice skaters seen
from a mile high. Their pond once a place
full of cat food, but no longer.
There is no pattern discernible, just chaotic traffic.

It is dark. Night. I am coming in.
I bend to pick up the bowl.
I carry it through the front door, along the hallway,
across the living room and into the kitchen.

Their world is on the move but they do not stop.
I hold the bowl in my left hand and with my right
I reach across and turn on the electric kettle
as we all stand at the sink.

There is good water pressure in this house.
I turn the tap on by lifting the lever.
I move the bowl across in front of me,
careful that my fingers don’t touch.

In an almost practiced or choreographed circular motion
I swill running water around the entire bowl,
wondering all the while if the force is enough
to kill or break things on contact.

And then off and away
and down into the hole.
The inky blackness opening up
a new ride.

Are they swimmers or floaters?
Do they have lungs to drown with?
A sense of light or dark,
wrong or right?

I examine myself and feel nothing
as if a psychopath before bodies.
I put the bowl into the dishwasher,
evidence into a sterilization machine.

One of these days
this head is going to stop
and dead, just matter then,
I will, in some form, be eaten.

The stuff of me will disintegrate or burn,
but I believe there is no caring without consciousness
and even then, often, precious little.
My head aches.

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