Why do I keep counting all the ways you might not count on me, says the mouse inside, all the ways this “I” might fail, stuck on gelastic fantasies drawn off sheer fear and memorial disquiet of the sort that blood breeds, cut through with equal parts darkness and light, one might say in a nod toward fairness, or something like it, something balanced and even, even
darkness and light, even understanding and uncertainty—whatever poles you choose so long as the central action is vacillation swinging swaying in a fine dialectical tangle to encircle the central impression that memories and dreams of any scope or variety add up to anything, let alone the present,
let alone the precise number of years and thoughts and mistakes and misperceptions and lessons and attempts and fuck ups and small fucking nothing victories it takes a mouse to grow into something other than the man he tried to make anyone believe he was all along, almost anyone, really, someone more than greater than, though just other than would’ve sufficed, just so long as he lost the tail they all stepped on as he tried to flee,
because it seems that’s how the best laid plans tend when you’ve been borrowing troubles from pasts and futures imagined as tales and real as genes, finally coming to understand how the present is made from knowing but not just any knowing, not just the KNOWING they all talk about as though it’s self-explanatory, but knowing which things to remember and which to forget, knowing that not all thoughts are feelings and the biggest feelings aren’t even thoughts at all
and yet there she is as she’s always been, thought and felt, the sweet antagonist in the fable the man will later write from the mouse’s point of view of the most beautiful girl in the village, just village, not city, not world, because those don’t matter and can’t, the same way before and after don’t matter compared to now, a lesson in scale and uniqueness, that’s what it’ll be,
this man’s tale of scale and uniqueness with an oblique moral fresh-squeezed from the notion of the universal’s small town locality, squeezed into a puddle pool reflecting all the ways the large evens out and trivializes, how it eschews our propensity to compare unknowns, how we see the world in what’s within reach, a moral of presence inverted with the mouse by the puddle pool’s edge looking in and wondering how deep and if he’ll be as upside down as the sky and horizon he sees if he wades in to catch the one and only girl he sees there standing on the other side—or falls,
but that’s all as yet unwritten, though it might’ve by now been said as many times as it takes this fablemouse to see singularity in his multitudes, here-ness in the midst of his preternatural orbits, dreaming expecting each nightmare to be different when it’s all the fucking same
till one day it’s ok, till one day he wakes up and learns to swim from watching the birds fly through a sky shone on the water’s surface and for the first time thinks if they can so can “I,” right here, and so will the story go, a simple tale with convenient anthropomorphism and elementary principle, ending but just beginning with the man the teller within his own tale dreaming
for the first time that night of the story’s completion of laughing all the way to the bank or the stratosphere or the grave—or wherever a man might go—at the thought of all this self-construction, at the mouse he had to create in order to destroy, trusting in a buoyancy he had only to acknowledge as simply and easily and presently as her beauty.
Originally published on Hijacked Amygdala here.