It was there. Hacking it off.


I had a dream in which I was electrocuted. I was talking to someone who was behind me and I reached forward and took hold of something as I was looking back. I told myself it was nothing and then I thought it was a car battery but it seemed stronger than a car battery because when the current went through me I fell onto the ground and writhed in pain and was powerless to stop it.

The next day I spent a lot of time thinking about broken things, and growth, and new life, and feelings. I imagined a ruined mud brick tower with leaves growing out of it. But I didn’t know how to make the leaves appear or to grow.

I walked home alone from an event and I looked at a big church lit up on Spadina and I wondered why I didn’t feel things more than I did. I knew that I used to feel things. But also that it seems almost too much for me now.

Sometimes I wonder when that happened or how it happened. I remember pacing the earth and writing poetry and it seems to me that I was feeling deeply then but it is possible, also, that I was barely functioning, that the feelings were coming to me in a trickle and everything I felt I put into the poems. I had nowhere else to put it.

I wasn’t ready to tell it to anyone else. I wasn’t ready to put a name to the thing.

Maybe that changed. Now I can say it without feeling and in some ways that’s a progression and in other ways it is a death. I can surprise people with my story but that’s not why I want to tell it, I say it as a matter of fact. Sometimes I feel like the man in the Kurosawa movie whose partner died or ran out on him. He lives in a shantytown where all of the other characters live. One night a woman comes to his door. She finds him handsome. She sneaks inside or peeks in the window. He’s measuring out rice and washing it. She’s planning on sleeping with him, until she sees him move in the privacy of his home.

Then she bolts.

“He’s dead,” she explains to her friends, later. A ghost story.

I feel like that sometimes. Like I have been hiding in my own carcass. I am angry about things I shouldn’t be angry about. I am paralyzed with rage. And I don’t know where it is coming from or what I should do. I feel like an animatronic doll—convincing myself that things are okay even as I neglect what’s most important to me. Just moving. I don’t know what’s most important to me anymore. Baseball. Spending money. Trinkets. Turning myself off. I shuffle through the streets with a bowl of rice in my hands, rice and water, shaking the grains to get off the dust.

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