There was more blood this morning.
There is a snap of pain and vertigo, a shuffling sound from the horizon. Above me: cacophony, the beating wings of a thousand poison angels. It is a bloodletting of insanity, and I realize I am going mad.
My eyes open.
I am in the past, walking my old neighborhood. The sun is casts a bright sky but the colors around me are muted and blurry. The houses on the street are painted in the style of the rusty 1970s. Their hues bleed into the air like gasoline fumes.
I am walking slowly, holding hands with a woman I do not recognize but it feels natural. There is the scent of hyssop in the wind.
We meet people in an empty lot down the street from where the house I grew up will be built. The house is not there yet; Cam Hinshaw will not set nail to wood, paint to wood there for five years.
They are people from my present life, in the here and now. Here is Aaron, laughing with Kristen. There is Jason, playing soccer. They are younger versions of themselves, and we will not meet for twenty years or more.
And yet, they know my name. This surprises them: I am a noun pulled from deep, forgotten memory. Or memories yet to be born. I am peripheral, a solidifying figment, a promise of fate.
As we walk, the woman and I pass a pair of addicts. They are eating oranges hungrily with bent spoons. The pulp dribbles down their junkie chins, making a mess on the sidewalk as they nod off.
Now we are in her apartment. There is an old-time phonograph player in the corner. Here is her son. His legs are twisted from a kind of bone disease. He is bright and precocious, with strawberry-blond hair. His name is Cole. I read a story to him before he goes to bed.
His mother grants him a lullaby:
Rise and shine and give God your glory-glory, give God your glory-glory, give God your glory-glory…
Existence is a mathematical illusion; it flows through my mind, water, marijuana stoned blur. It is the light reflected by the moon.
It is the beat of my heart, slowed by hydrocodone, accelerated by pseudoephedrine; my mind dis-engaged by dextromethorphan.
I feel it in my spine, a thousand fingernails, a million spider-legs. A handful of baby teeth scattered in the dust. Herein we dream, and we dream of arguments and funerals, lesser angels, blackened and burnt feathers.
You know that I love you, right?
This should not be anything in doubt. No dendrite in that wonderful brain of yours should return false with that equation.
These scents, these sounds, these tactile impressions: they are the skin of the universe and you are the succulent fruit beneath.
I do not believe in a god but if I did I would murder him for you.
Rise and shine and give God your glory-glory, give God your glory-glory, give God your glory-glory.
Give God your glory-glory.