Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nocturnal Voices

The bastards never shut up. The ghosts of the past have lousy voices: shrill, nagging, like a spouse who really doesn't like you and can't wait for you to make a small mistake so they can tell you everything you've done wrong in the history of your life.

These voices come to me most loudly late at night, when alone, especially after drinking a little too much (why I drink of course was to shut them up in the first place). They invariably gain control over the conversation.

Initially they pretend to be my friends; Casper the Friendly Ghost. The pudgy, sweet guy is going to help me solve some of my little problems of the day: my writing, my teaching work, paying the bills, etc.

I will research your brain, he says, to find a solution. So start thinking.

So I think...and eventually the Trojan horse emerges. The voices take over the entire process of helpful rumination. Casper becomes Caligula. The inquiries go beyond their original charter; they venture into my past. But...and this is the devious, cruel, reality of these voices...they never never research my good past, the successes, the completions, the happiness. Instead they dredge up from the 'lower depths' of my horrific soul all the uncompleted stuff: the French course I never finished, the girl I loved but never she went off and married someone else. The voices chatter about the mother I didn't call for a month before she died, the father I had cursed for twenty years and died with my tear-stained name on his lips...

The voices discuss these events over and over in my mind, at first seducing me into thinking that the nocturnal review will change my past, the alchemy of memory will turn the unfulfilled shit of my life into new gold: I will take a new French course starting tomorrow, the girl who married someone else is now a widow and looking for me and my forgiving Dad died knowing I always loved him in spite of my asshole treatment.

But these dreams--hopes, aspirations, life course corrections--never FULLY play out; not even in my dreams. They are stories of beginning and middle without end. The voices of recall simply mock me with their false seduction. Completion never ever occurs. Dream stories become perpetual loops, repeating over and over again the key I cannot find no matter how rigorously I scour the room, the hallway that never reaches the distant door, the face that will only show me one eye, one ear, and refuse to speak.

Only more drink shuts them up, or a double sleeping pill, or blessed morning and the start of a new, bright--and hopeful--day.


Post a Comment

<< Home