50 – Kaleidoscope

Owing to, y’know, all the writing, I’ve somewhat neglected to notice what a very visual thinker I am – everything’s keyed to color and shape in a way that is inconvenient when it loses things and fucking wizardry when it succeeds. I read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler at a tender age, and that’s very much the flavor of memory retrieval in the stacks of my brain. The conversation usually goes something like this: “The middle name of a friend I had in junior high school? Ah… her best friend had red hair, right? She was really into Ozomatli… Irene! Her middle name was Irene. What? Why are you looking at me like that? I’m right, aren’t I?”

My memory is often somewhat frightening in its comprehensiveness and specificity. I can recite entire conversations, word-perfect, from twenty years ago. I can step into full-sensory hallucinations of virtually any significant event and lose track of the real world entirely, at will. I can tell you the plot, in pretty exhaustive detail, of every book I’ve ever read, which I didn’t think was that weird, but my wife can reread things years later and they’ll be totally new to her. I could give you rough directions to just about any destination in Tucson, Arizona, and I haven’t lived there in over a decade.

But you’ll find that I don’t know the names of things. Any things. People, stores, songs I like. Can sing the whole song, mimicking flawlessly the inflection of the first recording I heard, but if the name isn’t in the lyrics, I still don’t know what it is. I couldn’t tell you the names of my Hunter’s skills in World of Warcraft even though I’ve played her for ten years now, but I could draw all the icons from memory, and my DPS is still good. Was never reliably number one, but you can count on me to be third DPS or better and the last person alive at the end of a fight; I’m damn good at getting out of the fire. I have a raid-leader’s eye on things: zoomed too far out to see details, just the great, abstract sweep of things, the arc, the plot, the gestalt.

That said… I’m also high all the fuckin’ time, so take it for what it’s worth.

“Bee Queen,” July 2009

I see time passing by the faces there –
mostly women’s faces, if truth be told;
yes, I’ve been gay since I was two years old –
I watch the seasons in their changing hair.

A girl like a rabbit, with hair as soft.
Laughter and a mop of platinum curls.
Straight brown curtains hanging around my world –
I know the faces, but the names are lost.

I hear a fluttering like wings and see
them riffle before me like a slideshow
as if what constitutes the best of me
stands entirely outside the time flow.
This alien out here has loved them deeply…
but the alien’s not the one they know.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets