Sunlight In the Studio With Wide Eyes

Every new phone is going to be the best. Sleek, dark, touchless, smart. I look at my phone now, an older model, practically obsolete. My fingerprints are dirty smudges on its protective film. There’s a hairline crack that’s either running along the protective film or maybe the crack is through the screen itself. It’s hard to tell and I’m afraid to peel off the screen to find out. It’s like that cat in the box where you don’t know if it’s dead or not.

It took me fifteen minutes to write that paragraph. In those fifteen minutes, I could instead have saved fifteen minutes on car insurance. I didn’t. I made a mistake, I missed the boat.

I bought a blood pressure cuff recently, at the recommendation of my doctor. My first home-read was just a moment ago. It wasn’t as high as the ones in the office, but it was still too high. Ice cores, volcanic ash, a barleywine that’s been recast as an Imperial Red IPA. Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

Earlier today I saw something I would describe as not quite a miracle but something approaching a miracle—a stupendous oddity. I saw a woman struggle against the side of her car in the parking lot at my local grocery store. I don’t think she was drunk. She just got hit with some strange sort of gravity. All of a sudden. It was a kind of gravity we haven’t explained because we can’t even detect it. I’m not sure anyone else knows it’s even here.

She was magnetized, stuck there to her SUV. Some guy quicker than me, one of the baggers, was trying to pry her off. He’s a pretty strong guy but she wasn’t budging. I thought this must be the way stars are collided.

I let out a sigh, time passed and the force eventually let her free. Her shopping list left its imprint on the left rear passenger door, like a reverse embossment reading ‘milk, gum, eggs, lint roller’.

Perhaps even more strange is that it wasn’t the first time I’d seen her today. I had walked to the store, as a way to get my steps in. And as I was walking down the street I had a premonition like I was reading someone’s mind. It was something like, “I’m running the lint roller over my arms. Can you see any hair? I have to go shopping, I have to go shopping.”

She was stopped at the light, running a lint roller the length of her arms, the length of her arms, the length of her arms. She chewed what I surmised was mint gum. The look on her face told me she was sad the gum had already lost its flavor.

Her windows were down. A song by that instrumental band from Grand Rapids was playing on the radio, rattling her old Explorer’s speakers.

The light turned green. She put the lint roller into the free one of two drink holder cupolas. Just before the driver in the car behind her decided he’d had enough she tossed the gum out the window and started to drive on.

LED, LED, light my world tomorrow.

I have sneezed mid-test, causing an error. So I will start over. 120-something over 70-something. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Here comes the number. Nope. But that’s after walking back from the grocery, and then from the bar. And then pacing some over the hardwood floor of this little studio apartment I’m in right now. Recent exercise can raise the number.

I’ve been having an imagined conversation with myself, a continuation really of a debate I got into with someone at the bar on the way back from the grocery. The debate was political in nature. I’m not even a political person. I’ve tried to get away from politics. I was drinking a Russian vodka, and somehow the topic of Russia came up. Some guy wanted to know why I was drinking something from an enemy state.

All I said was that Russia has a very rich history. It has a history of arts and classic novels and incredible classical music. Tolstoy? Tchaikovsky? Rachmaninoff? Ever heard of them? That’s what I said. Then I suggested we are not that far removed from a moment when Russia could have been steered toward a better future, even as a communist state. Trotsky had promise. I said that I sympathized with him, as a person. That I found the story of his exile to be a fascinating one. I wasn’t necessarily promoting his particular line of politics.

I was trying to explain that Trotsky led a pretty remarkable life and would have been a better leader than Stalin. Instead, he was forced to flee Russia, bouncing from country to country—The Netherlands, Norway—before ending up in Mexico, surviving numerous assassination attempts along the way. Ice pick, poison, machete, you name it. This stuff makes me emotional. I got waxy and uttered what are reported to be Trotsky’s final words: “Sunlight in the studio with wide eyes.”

Which is pretty poetic if you ask me. I was feeling inspired, and also a little melancholy because Stalin, after all, got what he wanted.

Ah, forget it. My muscles are breathing like a trash bag left out in very deep sun. I should’ve meditated today but I forgot—again. That’s four days in a row, which is a sort of meditation in and of itself, except it’s the exact opposite. This is probably why I can’t keep my diastolic under 80.

So I look out the window and into the sky. The kites have left, they are very much gone. The skies are not clear but they are clear of them. I did not see them leave, personally. It could’ve been when I went north, not exactly by choice, in the middle of September. They would’ve followed the River des Peres to the Mississippi, the confluence southeast of here. Form there to Louisiana for a little laissez les bon temps roulé. It’s not a bad deal, really.

The chimney swifts remain. Blue jays, flickers, house sparrows and at least one robin. I hear thunder. It’s a ways off but the atmosphere has that charged feel to it. Funny things are happening. Heat lightning, ball lightning, tremblors. Weird magnetics. The North pole is shifting, that’s been proven.

There were popup storms throughout the day and more are in the offing throughout the night. So they say.

Taffeta physics, magnets colliding, a show of force. Lost men looking for love in the raffia.

As the sun sets in Heaven, I feel tomorrow pulling me forward again. Oh, it can still be beautiful. Even if I die a little every time. What can I do but go along?