Does the weight of your multiple existences ever seem likely to crush you? I've lived in enough small towns across the country to know I can't be the only person grappling with this problem.
In one world, where Death perches on the moon and ravens whisper secret(more)s to her, I am a robot with carefully modulated voice and emotions, and software in place of a soul. It's not a bad life, but it's a little weird.
In another plane of existence, I'm a character in a fantasy world, eating and drinking mysterious things that send me shooting up to bang my head on the rafters, then shrinking to the size of a windblown dandelion leaf, searching through endless keys to unlock a door that might never open.
And here, right here in this square little universe, I'm lost in the woods with a slavering wolf. See? Just hover your cursor up there at the top right. And that's all that needs to be said about that.
If a soul can stretch through three universes, can it stretch through more? Boundless, eternal - so they say. But where is the brick wall? Where do we run out of room and find ourselves pulling a U-y? What's at the end of the universe(s) anyway?
Is there a border? Is there anywhere we can stand and say "This is where I am right now. In this spot, I am not torn into a million pieces. Here, I know who I am."
I don't know. When I disentangle from the three little universes I juggle like a goddess in motley, I walk out into a much bigger universe, where my identity fractures further, into large wicked shards and grains of gritty dust that drift away on winds blowing from the other side of forever. (less)
Despite Freya's command, I froze, dropping to the rumbling ground and burying my face in my hands. The world tilted and lurched beneath me. Frantic screams and whooshing, scorching flame shut out thought. Silence and darkness fell a heartbeat later, and I lifte(more)d my eyes.
Freya stood over me, triumphant, both my demons impaled on her now-smoldering sword. Atlas towered above, his shadow stretching for leagues. Freya laughed hugely, and Atlas clasped his now-empty hands behind his back, his mouth creasing into a gentle smile.
"It's over?" I asked.
"Mostly." They said together, one giggling, one rumbling.
"Thank you. I couldn't...I wouldn't have..." I snatched up a corner of my filthy party dress and rubbed at my eyes.
"It's not quite over." Freya said gently.
"Look here. At their faces." She jiggled the sword. The faces of my demons were changing, becoming softer, more familiar.
"No," I said, watching Asmodeus's face change, slowly but without question, into one I'd seen too many times in dreams. "I won't live that again."
"Look at Disease." Freya prompted.
My eyes found Disease's face. It was my own.
"All this time...?" I looked to Freya. She nodded.
I stood up, legs shaking. "I understand."
"Good!" She tossed the sword down and clapped her hands. "Now, we need a new dream. Atlas? Help please."
Atlas nodded, and in an instant his nightmare-black robes shimmered into the colors of a summer twilight. The fabric fluttered across my eyes, and the scene of voided sky, destruction, and carnage fell out of being, to be replaced by a quiet meadow in which a long table stretched, laden with food and seating every imaginary creature my friends and I had conjured up.
"Let's eat." Freya said. "I know you're hungry."
"Yes, and let's talk."
Borderline is a Madonna song from her first album. I had this album on cassette. It was one of the first albums I owned--I bought it through BMG Music Club. The other albums I got for "free" were Madonna--Like a Virgin, Tears for Fears--Songs from the Big Chair, and(more) the Vision Quest soundtrack (which has two Madonna songs on it! "Gambler," and "Crazy for You"). I was in maybe fourth grade. I never bought a tape from BMG, and my father ended up writing them a letter saying that they shouldn't be allowing fourth-graders to join. Or maybe my father never found out I joined that time, and wrote a letter the next time, or the next time.
BMG and Columbia were my main sources of music until high school, really.(less)
paranoia was never clearer
Oh momma please forgive me I’ve strived so hard see? Do you see what I’ve done? And it isn’t done for myself I do it all for me. You wonder why I do it, everybody, they wonder. They think:
What could have triggered this (more) And/or
What drives people to this
Why oh why
They don’t get it. They don’t see. They’ll never…see. You either get it, or you JUST DON’T. But oh momma please. Please. Give me approval, give me attention, I want a smell to remember in case they take my eyes too—oh, don’t be shocked for God’s sake, these goats will take whatever they get their claws in.
Come on. Just a nod will do anything will do some sort of acknowledgment???
It’s all I ever asked all I ever wanted all I ever…just…grant me this one boon…humor me this one last time
It’s what you’re supposed to do, you approve of my actions just DO IT ALREADY. God just please. I really I really need this oh hell everybody needs it at this point come on. Just a word or two. Ain’t that hard. You’ve had words for everything else but now you’re so dry.
You could just break couldn’t you. Then again we all could. Part of being human and
I think this is the ultimate joke. We’re the funny ones get it? Ha-ha. Let’s laugh come on guys, it’s okay to laugh see? Hahahahahaha.
She's in bed (not alone) when Claudia comes to herself. When she notices herself at all, it is as a character she can steer doll-ishly - like a woman from one of her own stories. Someone she is responsible for in only the most abstract sort of way. Long(more) ago she stopped being of very much personal interest to herself. As a result, she occasionally finds herself in these sorts of messes.
She can feel the metal on his ring finger, on the hand twined in hers.
This 60 year old man (his hair presses against her lips, warm and grey). He has the fingers of his other hand prodding at her vagina. There is shame in this. Tediousness. But mixed in there is a chemical taste on her tongue of excitement that is not strictly sexual. She is curious, reluctant, and - at the same time - barely patient. She knows this sort of thing (two people smart and careworn and who should know better, grappling in a strange bed) is as close as she get to something greater and more mysterious. The thing she is always looking for, and knows that someone else will be the last place she can find it.
An old man's kisses and whispers. Yet she has to acknowledge that this is the proper context now: old men in her bed, offering her a residual of whatever once burned hotter. She herself is now more than 40. No longer an ingenue; just a nothing really. Not the young girl she once was, taking favours in exchange for this sort of escapade because of the closeness she'd feel to something rare and inaccessible. She'd always believed that hope would occur to her like a forgotten religion. Nowadays, some would say she should consider herself lucky.(less)