matt pond PA

July 31, 2018

Primitive Patterns 2.

When I was four years old I grabbed the metal handle of an ungrounded chest freezer and had a fleeting encounter with the unchecked electrical current. We were swimming and I’d gone to the garage to load up with popsicles for the rest of my family, a soaked conductor in blue trunks. My hand’s muscles involuntarily contracted and I was stuck, convulsing, until my mother and sister pulled me off.

I only recall patches of my previous life but I distinctly remember the scene, looking through the garage doors, the jittery version of the dirt driveway and fields surrounding our house. Sugar maple trees billowed on the hillside, while I floated with the leaves and screamed. There is a calm that comes with intense pain.

Electricity continues to find me, snapping at me as I cross carpets, standing my hair on end for fun in the kitchen, the nine-volt battery taste test. My life in music has been punctuated with hot SM58 microphones, stinging my mouth as it helps to complete the circuit. Every few years I re-experience the full-on connection through loose wires, car batteries, frayed cables, the motionless parade of ungrounded appliances.

The current is an outpouring from the other side. Rushing to speak, flooding me with memories, certifiably anxious for us to be together. A power-driven spirit-friend that will not shut up, the desire to overtake the totality of my attention.

At night when I’m alone, I carefully flip the switch on my bedside horse lamp, hoping none of the wires have come undone. The light keeps my constant insomnia company. Controlled and easy, we share dull stories until it’s finally time to slip off into the darkness. We laugh from exhaustion, muttering about our dwindling powers, magnificently honest as we withdraw from modern consciousness.