I wait for the walls to define themselves in the darkness. When my pupils complete their dilation, I am disappointed. . . . My glass box still surrounds me. I fumble for a wall switch, and for my balance, wondering why this dizziness strikes me. Airplanes and elevators have done a number on my sense of space. Now I feel them moving when I am on solid ground. Is there something wrong in my head, or does this happen because time took a vacation at the same time I did?
Space has gone away to make love to the hours, abandoning all its responsibilities to keep my world in order. . . . Uncaring, it leaves my head spinning. And I spin; this time, for once, I am trying to stop the dizziness. I have no concept of when or where I am, and I'm starting to have trouble with the "who" question.
I switched on a couple of lights tonight before I turned on the room's light. I turn on lamps in skulls with the same old stories. They sound so suave and slick, because I've had occasion to say them so many times and perfect them.
I can't remember any of their names, but none of them could decide if I was fifteen or twenty. All seek to serve me when the shock takes them over. They don't know why or what to do, but they want to do something. . . . And I wait for the ground to stop moving, steadying myself against the wall. . . . I can't remember any of their names, probably will never see them again, never know them. . . . Why does this bother me more than the fact that next time I see my grandfather it will be in a coffin?
Perhaps it is because I know that my grandfather's name is Herb.
I finally find the light switch and my fingers grasp it, flip it. . . . I stand in the lamplight waiting for the serial killer to burst through my door, for the 2 AM window-washer to peer in the fifth floor window at my ass. And nobody notices, or cares. . . . Not even the maniacs. Even they don't know I'm here.
Nobody knows where I am except me, and I don't know where "here" is.
My irises complete their painful tightening and I see the room clearly again: same box. The thought that no one knows or cares where I am right now hits me hard, and the idea for a poem dawns in my head, perhaps a reaction to the artificial light.
I begin to write, because then I will be assured that someone will know where I was. And more importantly, they might be able to tell me where "here" was. I think everyone has a "here" they carry with them, and it only comes out when the other givens of life are somehow untied. When you don't know where you are or if you can keep standing up, you go to this place you carry with you into every elevator, hotel room, and mindset. . . . And you sink slowly into it, knowing it's the only thing in you that's real at the moment, even more real than the silly-putty ground and the illusion of light.
I think we've all been here before.