Recently I’ve been falling into flatness. It may have started with a self-indulgence: a moment of dreaming through the lens of a formless version of myself—a moment that is so much of an emptying guarantee it might as well be a product, something I manufacture, advertise and sell to myself in all my naivety—or it may have started with the damaged notion that, after so long, I might be getting a bit of freedom back.
Might, may, might, may. Everything these days is so precarious, tenuous, up in the air, so high it seems it is further away than a star. Depression is both a curse and a comfort in these times—it is the only reliable thing in my life. And it may be—no, it is—the thing that is flattening me, but it is also the thing that is there for me, always, in my little studio. It is in the mirror whose silver gaze I avoid; it is in the cold lemon green tea I had forgotten about; it is in the half a can of black beans I substitute for a meal. It is everywhere, as pervasive as the air and the cold breath of the humidifier. Natural and created. I know I must feed into it, tempt it, maybe even accommodate it, like a kind-smiled guest to a lonely old lady. It is anything but kind, of course, and some of this accommodation is out of my control; it is shackled to a contract and a catastrophe.
Besides, there cannot be a par to our relative power—it would be like stepping into the ring with Muhammad Ali, a silver swarm of needles jutting out of his blood-red boxing gloves. Death by a million cuts within a thousand punches. Sometimes it seems it is better instead to succumb and let it crush you, slowly but heavily, rather than to take the beating, which is harder and requires a plane of determination fit for a giant. (You are getting smaller every day.) It is better to let it fill your head with excelsior, thoughts in infinity plus one: the hoards of happier versions; the conceived, unborn ideas; the titles upon titles. The unreliable memories, the over-reliable feelings.
I sit by the radiator and read. I sit by the radiator and watch and watch with red, square eyes. I sit by the radiator to warm myself from the cold sea I’m drowning in, and wait and wait and wait for a mae west which never comes.