I wrote this sort of stream of consciousness a few months ago and decided to share it:
Are lymphocytes indigo, bearing the last-minute label of the Anti-Trinitarian’s spectrum? Magnified a thousand times, I can see them pulsing with new wrinkles and shades within their organic jackets, colored by those dark dyes once imported from India, previously a swollen node of empire and a sliver on a map crisscrossed by the All Red Line, its global arteries circulating opium highs and more silent ailments on a worldwide web of charter documents and exported gunfire and germs.
I’m almost sick but the past, some piece of social construction paper tearing too quickly in my digital memory for its features to be discernible (my mind “processing” and digitizing its shredded text, “encoding” its fake-recollected – from the free self-funded encyclopedia – descriptions of tiny bayonets and gunships and extinct maladies I don’t recall but definitely fondly remember, “storing” those thoughts of mine with the energy sapped from my brain-battery, in a terrible loop of exhaustion) props me up with its forearms that feel like Hercules but look like a skinny Spartan recruit performing rapid jumping jacks – even my microscope here can’t tell which, so who’s to say?
The effect is the same: Asleep-awake, I’m scrambling to know why I can’t will myself back to productivity. Maybe history-travel will help, or at least consume the present time by reactivating my legacy circuitry to separate my thoughts and my thinking process. The circuits around that old world survive on in a pen’s rituals of violence, demarcating an old scramble here and a rush there, with inky paths no wider than the arm hairs of a colonizing expert in short sleeves. Syria is blocky and burgundy; I could redraw it, pinching to zoom-in and see where local storage and remote cloud resources might intersect, creating a flexible hybrid environment gripped by legacy infections – Sykes-Picot, 2.0.
The steady bomb production lines don’t dot this map, though their linear progress – like a flurry of pen strokes endlessly circling a globe – is unerring, with a pulse that only becomes harsher with time. I decide to stamp locations with explosion marks up-close, none of them close to my imagined safety here, in the seeming-immunity of blurry work that’s just productivity-enhancing oblivion: A march of mouse-clicks, for redrawing boundaries and turning a labeled rectangle or trapezoid into an open-air, open-source project.
That way, it can be squeezed by every hand in the wilderness, milled like cotton into purplish strands for faraway stragglers, passing by, to wear as magnets for the day’s ultraviolet heat. I had protection, but the pen-drawn empire pricks through my private cell-mediated immunity, redrawing itself 24/7 to carry new extractions and fresh armies to wear down fatigued defenses.
The battle is coming home, and I’m poorly equipped in my ragged clothes, unable to stop wearing the progressive weight of the past, even under these palm trees and among the seashells at map’s edge. The sun above – unlike the North Wind or Zeus’ bolt-throwing countenance – should liberate me from these heavy garments, yet its hot persuasion is always minutes-old and it leaves behind a burnt-out impression – a side effect that I fret won’t go away, such that my sweat-tingly hair becomes a meta-anxiety, a disease of its own hemming me in a war with imported generic prescription meds. I go out one day to get more Vitamin D, stay in the next to avoid sunburn, and stew over the weekend thinking about cancer’s relationship with the stars.
If I throw off the future-laundry, there’s sweat welled-up to steal back the cool from when it was first heated on faraway plantations behind map lines, by bloody hands and warm winds blowing seed, by humid quarters and textile-mills, endlessly remanufacturing the bad old days. Here’s the 19th century, refurbished. Lit by Olympian lightning and sweated dry by its heat, the hands are transparent: You might, if populating this yarn, see through to their veins’ violet residue, nearly indigo, or is it blue as blood itself, back into the sweatshops of their bodies to fuel fresh anxieties bound to exit therefrom, at the other end of the spectrum.