And You a Surface Lie Flat – Derek Maine
December 19, 2020
I drive alone at night. The cursor blinks in rhythm with the throbbing inside my head every second I stare at this white space – my urge is to fill this blankness with thought, to release thought. My urge is deviant. I have nothing of any particular momentum to give. My urge is selfish. The juice of your acceptance, I’ll drink. The marrow of your adoration, I’ll suck dry. My urge is sexual. Above all, my urge is practical. How long could a floating thought head sustain itself — that is, not injure or erase itself — with its contents crammed in, and more and more arriving every second, claustrophobic and frightened? It demands release. Release demands a surface. You are the surface. Acknowledge my release. I am a hoarder of terrible feelings. I drive alone at night. I follow the vehicle in front of me very closely, too close. I tap the bumper I am following so close. I do all of this and flash high beams, honk, give the finger, yell ‘fuck you’ with windows down at stoplights. I only want you to get out of your vehicle and pull me out of mine and kick my ass. I want to feel your knuckles scrape my skin. I want to smell you on top of me. I want my sticky blood to matte to you, to us. Call me all of the names. I have not felt anything in years, call them decades. Make me feel it. Show me what you’ll do to the ruffians causing trouble in these streets, upsetting the arrangements. Fucking hit me like you mean it. I drive alone at night. I am not looking for my father down these unlit country roads. They won’t tell you this. No one will tell you this. I am going to tell you this: years & years later, you will miss the physical pain he bestowed on you. It was a gift, his rage. You were his surface. Acknowledge his release, cry. Acknowledge his release, stutter. Acknowledge his release, beg. Beg for him to come crashing through the house once more, see his silhouette through the screen door at night, lit up by the porch light and its army of necessitous moths, and brace yourself for the love he metes. When this material present folds itself into memory, you will drive recklessly at night, in the hopes of getting your ass kicked, because you miss your father. I drive alone at night. The very first time I disassociated I was driving alone at night, I was sixteen. I tell this story in all of my stories; it’s the only story I know. And the very first time I disassociated I was driving alone at night and I felt something. You looked so beautiful, sitting cross-legged on the floor, next to our mattress, gently packing up your books — those sacred bits of literature we would read each other aloud — and here you are in my divination packing up those books once again as you prepare to move to another apartment in your late 30’s, I only hit you once. But it was the very first time I disassociated, I was driving alone at night, when I felt close to understanding something. Something valuable. Something critical. Something I would need on this journey. I tasted it: morning dew. I tasted it: crisp, brittle air. I tasted it on my lips and in my bones and it tasted like the rough wind slapping my cheeks ruddy and raw. I didn’t taste it at all. I almost tasted it, which is why I lift all of my descriptions from poets and maniacs. I drive alone at night. I am bounding toward something. I am not a runaway. I drive alone at night. I want to taste it for real. I want to disassociate again and my body go numb again, all over godbless, and the sounds of just incessant ringing, tinnitus the doctor said — the doctor said you must be suffering from tinnitus, and feed myself so close to the edge that I will and I must understand what the night was trying to tell me when I was sixteen. I was about to become a new self. I was almost there. I got scared. I am older now. I am no longer afraid. Please show me. Please take me there. I will be whatever I need to be. I will be whatever you need me to be. I will be whatever you desire. If I fill the empty space with thought pains, and you a surface lie flat to receive them, my loneliness will subside. I will feel connected to your loneliness. Our loneliness will go out for ice cream and giggle at each other’s jokes, jokes which are sad things told whilst winking. I drive alone at night to feel something lost which I know you are hiding from me to keep me in pain, to keep me embedded to you, to keep me wanting, to keep me desirous, to keep me illustrious, to keep me. Be it the fists of my father, the promise of a new, eternal self, the picture of you sobbing, cross-legged, clutching our shared literature – I will cross any boundary, may it be filled with spikes, hot coals, shame, to reach you. I drive alone at night and listen to New Order and miss things but not the things you’d imagine. When the barren page is filled, black text on white surface, a texture of love & grace, my mind is at rest and I release you.