i wake with sickness in my veins


I wonder what it is that has riled up the dogs of this city. I could swear every last one of them is baying madly outside- I briefly wonder, if I had a dog, if it would join in that infernal chorus, and am briefly thankful this is not the case.

Utter silence greets me as I step out for a cigarette. I do not ponder this long; my cigarette’s scarcely lit before the dogs distantly protest- something.

I don’t know if it’s the nicotine or the sleep deprivation, but I am pulled from physical form. Drawn forth.

I lean against the brick wall for support, but just for a moment. Something flickering in the corners of my vision. At first I think I’m gonna pass out, but the flickering isn’t in my eyes. It’s the brick wall in front of me. I take another drag on my cigarette, and the flickering intensifies. I’m fascinated- I don’t feel like I’m hallucinating. It’s like when you’re driving past a wooden fence and you can almost see what’s on the other side through the cracks.

Four cigarettes later, the wall is gone. Without a second thought-

Look. It’s us, a year ago? Two? It’s the one time you came back to me, instead of the other way ’round.

Look at me touching your face. I’m telling you that things have been going so well with our unspoken relationship that I’m afraid to make it official. I’m afraid it’s like a soap bubble ready to pop.

And I remember my phone’s vibrating but I don’t answer it. I remember how troubled you were that day. Am I remembering it or living it?

I didn’t smoke back then. Or is it now?

Screw this. If this is my hallucination, I’ll call the shots. If it isn’t, I’ll still call the shots. I offer her a cigarette.


There’s a glimmer in her eyes that defines the direction I want to take this story. Or the point of it, if you believe in such a thing. It’s that moment of indecision, not of a person or a time or a place- but the whole. The universe is deciding whether I’m dreaming. My subconscious is deciding whether I deserve this. The universe is flipping a coin.

She takes the cigarette.

She slaps me.

She kisses me fiercely.

She bursts into tears.

Crosswhen, Ellison said. Total paradise. All-knowing utopia. The moment before the poison reaches the part of your brain you were hiding in. Laughing at the crowd as they scream for your blood. You were dead the second you stepped out the door. You’re not alive unless you’re dying.

Elsewhen. Everywhen. Neverwhere. Tingling blood flowing in shattered veins, icy brains.

Rhyme without reason’s the season for a rhyme. Elementary treason, I’m wheezin’ for a dime.

Dear Watson,

Send cocaine.




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