matt pond PA

December 22, 2017

Shadowboxing With The Hoaxes 1.

Drifting away, I initially paint the lies to calm my mind.

First, there’s an easy, sloping porch and a hilly field expanding out in front of it. The landscape is a watercolor cocktail of upstate New York and the rolling California contours outside San Francisco, now and forever green. I try to remain, where the only music is light wind on bent grass.

There is no needless noise, no cluck and clatter of the modern grind — the slapstick velocity of an algorithmic race. Just soil, muscle and breeze.

Deeper, down past the semi-conscious notions, beyond my cerebral controls, falling, floating into a hospital bed — a dream.

Nobody speaks english and my french is too feeble to test. Translucent, pale curtains absorb light and hide the artificial reality. Nurses bring me pleasantly bland food and pretend to love me. Just enough, just enough.

I’m sick, but nothing seems wrong with me. From the straps on my legs and wrists, I realize I’m stuck in an outtake from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Pulling, tearing, I break free, escaping to an amusement park, hiding in the attic of a medieval castle. A tour bus pulls in. A tractor behind it. As I peek out, the tractor driver sees me and becomes enraged. He rams the building until it starts to topple, the floor breaks and I black out inside my vision.

When I reawaken — still asleep — it’s almost impossible to see or move. Two doctors are carefully looking me over with gentle voices. They tell me I’ve fallen four stories and that I’m lucky to be alive. Another medic appears with a larger-than-lifesize reproduction of a throat. She loudly points out that my neck is broken and that it’s my fault.

Unable to move off my stomach, I flail and scream. The medic is escorted away. The initial two tell me not to worry. Yet they’re furrowed with concern.

They send me to an animal safari, load me up on a chairlift to see the wildlife. They want to observe me in nature. They think that I might learn how to move by interacting with the animals.

There’s a dog playing with a horse, some raggedy lions, a few giraffes. The ride seems to take forever, the animals are mostly hiding. At the end, I’m forced to crawl off the chairlift and out the exit. The doctors are pleased, while I am in pain and exhausted.

I wake up into the real world, soaked in sweat. (When I fall back asleep, I’m in a boarding house where everyone must adopt a baby seal with small sweater.) I wake up again.

A life of sleeplessness spent shadowboxing with the hoaxes, hoping for one strong showing. Someday. Throwing gray punches for the breath to breathe, the breath to breathe.