The Crazy

I wrote this yesterday.  I couldn’t really tell you what it was about. First part is from Duran Duran’s Come Undone. All I can say is that we’ll never know what happened to Kubla Khan’s beguiling pleasure-dome in Xanadu, after the chemically inspired Coleridge was so rudely interrupted. And the moral of this story is, never let anyone interrupt your opium fantasies.

*     *     *

Words, playing me deja vu
Like a radio tune I swear I’ve heard before
Chill, is it something real
Or the magic I’m feeding off your fingers?

I am sure there are medical, scientific, even philosophical explanations for this thing I call “The Crazy.” No doubt Freud himself has extrapolated the dreams of a thousand people inflicted with it and come to the conclusion it smacks of penises, or if not that, then some word I was trying to think of but couldn’t for fear of all the penises. Whether it’s perverse or asexual as a rose, it’s haunted me for as long as I can remember, like the same startling rose growing slowly but persistently out of a cold, grotesque gutter. I’m drawn to it, but it terrifies me in its unnatural state. Is it a vibrant prize serendipitously discovered in an unexpected blackness, or is it beauty trapped in some horrid place from which it needs to be rescued?

In its purest, most vital form, it’s harnessed, but I can still barely write to keep up with it. It’s what I imagine Romantic poets describing as their “Muse,” a creative energy that floats somewhere up and to the left of your shoulder, urging you to record both its fancies and its fears. At its most unkempt, however, it’s an invisible predator, but one with a sick sense of humor that sometimes pursues and sometimes sits to smoke a cigar and laugh while you grab onto the doorframe, panting, a thin string of snot reaching from the tip of your nose towards the ground. At its worst, I can’t listen to music, can’t follow conversations, and can only mechanically perform rote procedures I already know, like climbing the stairs or turning the ignition in my car. The cacophony in my head is like the yellow bus in elementary school on a field trip, full of shouting, crying, laughing, sneezing, fists and paper airplanes whizzing close enough to your head that you can hear their sharply folded wings gliding above the din of the juvenile circus.

What the hell is the Crazy, and why does it follow me everywhere I go?

In my mind, on the train, I hold my hands over my ears. The passenger across from me turns the volume up on his headphones so he can drown out the Crazy coming from my head. I realize I’m not actually holding my ears. I’m standing on the spiral staircase, bobbing back and forth aimlessly as the train lurches and lumbers, and all I can hear is the racing discourse of billions and billions of thoughts, the sheer magnitude of which would dwarf any galaxy in Carl Sagan’s cosmos.

The train door closes between cars and I’m stricken with a sudden claustrophobia, that the car is very small inside, the ceiling very high, there is not enough air and I can’t get out, but then I recognize that I am actually describing the inside of my skull. I stare at the guy on the staircase across from me but he’s entranced by his phone and music, leaning idly on the cold, silver steel of the car. Do you hear it? I want to lean forward and shout, because the Crazy is so loud even over the rumble of train tracks and the treble whine of his music that I think I need to scream to get him to respond. He doesn’t of course, because only I can hear it, and I haven’t actually opened my mouth, just kept my eyes riveted on his headphones and his downward gaze, a thin vein of sweat running between the corner of my eye and nose, branching out as it touches my lip.

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