I am caught in a little blue house near the heart of this little locked-down flyover town tonight, gripped feverishly in the back-current alleyways of a solitary quarantined life barely lived. The night hits hard on the tail-end vibrations of another sickly day. A day where the counted bodies rose higher than the spring sunshine pushing back down in a fever-birth reawakening of a springing season spent socially-distanced in the green City of Wayne.
My seclusions here had a healthy head-start, beginning back in the middle of March when the order came for the bars and restaurants to close their doors to the rhythmic footsteps of a parade of patrons pandering for a little bit of distraction or maybe just a little bit of fun. When those doors swung so swiftly closed, it blocked the last avenue to the social conduit of my sanity. In the silence of their closing, I was left soberly pondering and pleading to a captive audience of one, a single soul staring back at me from the speckled creases of a mirror, rapidly aging.
It was here in that silence that I first made words, resonating raw through unfiltered air in stagnant circulation. Words that resolutely resonated to help pass the crumbling minutes and hours and days. Words that accurately define my misdirected apathy and emotional woundings, honestly earned and bleeding selflessly. Words that realistically very few people will probably ever even read, but still I push them out there into a world so understandably distracted and unprepared.
I used to make jokes; I tried over electronic platforms so fragilely unstable to brighten those around with me with ridiculous pictures and emoted smiles, using anything at my disposal for the sake of a moment stolen away from the grim reality stalking. I tried to be a locked-down-home cove from the constant storm of bad news and highlighted governmental revisions flooding into our lives, those bits of aerosolized lies and misdirections spawned from both political sides of the cancerous and infected Washington aisles. The lies spawned in dishonest selfishness to keep us infected with this apathetic solitude and fear.
Through it all, I have always held tenaciously to my belief in art, regardless of form or function. Art that is healing and art that compassionately anchors us to one another in the great universal experience of our communal humanity. We need that bond now more than ever as countries the whole world over continue to hunker down and fight for their very social existence.
But sometimes, it is nearly impossible to feel that bond.
Sometimes, there are only the empty hours and the echoing, cursed tick of a doomsday clock’s clicking cough. Sometimes, there is only the ever-fickle blank page. Sometimes, it is a scarring struggle to find words, grasping and scraping for just one paragraph more while inside the artistic ventilator clogs with corrosive introspection and a heart hungry for just one more day.
Maybe there are no grand sweeping paragraphs left on the page that can save me. Maybe there are no clever historical comparisons illustrated that can remove the sting of an isolated abandonment. Maybe there are no gracious words to fully capture the scope of our collective mercurial sufferings as we sit helplessly idle, watching as the body count still climbs stubbornly higher, leaving us as emotionally empty as the shelves that once held our glutenous collections of cheaply affordable “necessities”.
I would gladly exchange my stock of carefully rationed paper products for just a simple friendly smile. I would surrender the contents of my rapidly depleting pantry in exchange for the comforting and sustaining warmth of a genuine human embrace. I would sacrifice myself on the alter of artistic selflessness for the undeserved chance to win the heart of a girl I have yet to even meet.
But for now, there is only me. There is only another echoing and empty night in the City of Wayne, filled with consuming fear and the blank pages staring at me accusingly. Pages that demand to be filled, though I know not how to be to so flush. Pages that mirror back my blankness and the plain void of my experience. Pages that, like me, find themselves so desperately aching to be filled with somethings meaningful. Or beautiful.
And I wonder just how long it will take until I am able to find the words to finally fill them full.