Extended Reality

So. Someone drunk told me to write something real. Real, huh? Real like the oranges sagging in my backyard? Are those oranges real enough? No. I’m sure they’re not. Not even drunk, will you give me an orange.

So I’ll move us into Christmas. I’ll tell you about a tree that my mother covered with broken bulbs and construction paper angels. The angels are quite fragile. It’s difficult to preserve something so worthless. Oh—but no—what I meant to say is that our tree smells like beer. After Christmas, we dump the tree into the lake because it makes a great fish-house. Merry Christmas—you drink like a fish. Another joke—going back to the angels—how fragile and worthless we both are.

So I can’t concentrate. I’m glad to be back here, sipping coffee, turning over the past, stretching it out like taffy. So I called my lover and said some stupid things. To get even, he said stupider things back to me.

So what am I thinking about? What am I REALLY thinking about? Well. I’m bouncing between two extremes.

On one hand, there’s Arizona. There’s writing. A small house with a large open room. It’s very quiet. There’s a pool in my bed—a small pool that I don’t clean out often enough—but I still swim in it. There’s a warm winter. A small task to complete. A bookcase full of journals. A bunch of art projects on the coffee table. There’s a good deal of beautiful things in that hand.

On the other hand, there’s conversation. It’s difficult and loud. There’s a way of speaking that scares me. There’s coffee, long hours, lots of head-scratching. Problems, arguments, mistakes, false conclusions, reconciliations. There’s a collapse of time. There’s lots of people involved—two people turn into three, three into four, until finally, it’s crowded. Everyone’s talking. We want something we can’t have. And since we’re speaking, the things we say start digging into us, our words root themselves. We say things and they become real whether we like it or not. We plant what we said in our backyard. We watch it grow. And it does grow, excruciatingly slow. We count days like seeds until everything’s covered with dust. Then we piss on it.

But oh, there I go again. How about this? I’ll offer an explanation. First. I know the hands are fantasies. I know dichotomies aren’t good—but it’s fun to pretend (1) that I have a choice about how my shit hits the fan (2) that the good and bad exist—that the good stuff is good luck and the bad stuff is my fault (3) that I know enough to say anything about anything.

So having confessed, I’ll say this. I’m not a rhetorical poet. It’s not that I don’t think clearly, I simply don’t trust my clear thoughts. The clear ones are like windows. And I don’t think holding a window up to nature is going to change the way we charge into the red cape, nostrils smoking. I don’t see anything in my window and honestly, I don’t want you to see anything either. We’ll just go on, gouged in the eyes, not-seeing for as long as we can stand it, ramming into whatever they hold in front of us, complaining afterward about writers block.

But back to reality. I’m wearing this shirt today that has the word “Douglas” printed on the back. It’s a good shirt and I take pleasure in putting it on. I take pleasure in putting most of my clothes on.

In reality, I had this dream last night. All I can remember is a deep blue sky and the relief I felt when I looked at it. I know the sky of a dream doesn’t mean anything, but when I woke up there were clouds everywhere.

And while I’d like to end this entry on the lyrical moment in which real-clouds start taking over a dream-sky, that wouldn’t be real. It’s not cloudy. It’s dark. And I’m scared.

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