Am I Dried Up?

I poured this glass of water for myself. The cat is graciously helping himself. He hunkers down next to the orange mug and begins lapping it up. Each sip makes a slight tinkle against the side of the ceramic and I am already contemplating whether or not I will be able to summon the courage to drink my share once he is finished.

The cat rules. The cats rule, I should say. Another perches a few feet from me on a high-backed chair trying not to make eye contact. There is a third, but she’s sleeping-in this morning.

To the left of me is a wall of books. Several of these I will never read and most I already have. The toy piano looks down, spotlighted and shiny-keyed. If I shift my focus to the foreground, a microphone sits atop a stand a foot in front of the bookcase. It strikes me just now that the grille has not been cleaned since its purchase ten years ago. I can smell the stale odor of a damaged SM58. A mixture of beer and cigarettes. This mic is not an SM58. I can recall the motion of zipping it up in its case and tossing it into a gig bag before a show. THUD. It lands in between the egg shakers and the thrash pedal.

My legs bounce. Cold. Fear. They alternate one after the other until the beat is too fast to continue and it becomes a stutter step. The gleam of pearl on wood. Tuned last night, but when will I play it again? My calluses are all but gone. Continue on. Don’t stop now. “Move. Once you stop, you never start again,” says le Carré’s Guillam, rifling through papers behind closed doors.

JK says this is not creative. My mouth is moving silently, just before the fingers clamp down on their destinations and there is no line, no waiting. But don’t let me fool you, I have already removed plenty. It’s a formality, really, to be sure I am as clear as I would like to be. And that’s about enough meta. Surely he will tell me that.

High hum. Airplane passes by overhead. Rhythm in the legs begins once again. Fear. Cold. I am actually wearing long underwear and it is not helping the fear.

Dry eyes continue to look over at the orange mug. The shiny, pearl surface makes my mouth water. My lips are dry and cracked, my eyes are a swallowed up desert.

Cautiously, desperately, I place my chapped mouth to the rim. It smells like fresh pottery. White and black hairs dance about in the spittle.

I drink.


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