I am man. A homo sapien. A human being. This is my classification amongst the life forms on our planet. My species, mammal. I have a central nervous system, hair, warm blood, and the capacity for language. I am a bipedal, my two legs and spine allow me to walk upright. I need oxygen to breathe. I have thumbs. My teeth are designed to allow me to eat meat, but as an omnivore, I do not have to. A successful composition of internal and external organs allows for my ignorance of their functioning but for minimal nourishment and rest. I have a pulse. I am filled with data, salt, bacteria, viruses, heat, water, chemicals, cells, processors and storage facilities.
My body contains parts that may participate in the biological formation of another human. An apex predator, I am composed of muscles, reflexes, bones, and sinewy ligaments vulnerable and taut as rubber bands. Smells come to me through two holes in one nose, and tastes ride in with buds astride a fat flap of tongue that rests inside the pink bottom arc of my “O” shaped skull. I have a stomach, a pre-exit rest stop on the highway of digestion. Some flame inside fires my belly, my cauldron brewing complex formulas of hormone, influence, and instinct. It is here, in my gut, that all potions, liquids, and drugs are compounded. Then hidden, forgotten, until without notice dispersed inside me–to warn, to protect, to excite, to console. This unpredictable middle will administer shots of liquid electricity and elixirs of sudden hot. Subconscious alchemies stirred in panic and mixed with ignorance boil over to increase or prevent both pain and pleasure. It knows the prescription for bliss, stockpiles natural opiates and doses of tranquility, but these narcotics stay elusive, and refuse requests. Not so for my expired and poisonous concoctions, the bitter soups, and scalding salves. Ignorant remedies, applied in swift prejudice, failed efforts to redress old wounds. A generous adrenaline surges to battle the most dangerous of my imaginary enemies, fear. The antidote to eradicate all frustration remains hidden from me somewhere inside unseen by x-ray, uncharted by map, without feeling or shape. I drink, as man is known to do. But no sweet escape has yet to erase the sour flavor of pride swallowed.
Like you, I have an enormous brain. It is here I hold what I know as me. In wonder, insecurity, judgment and joy—-off hue coral rock, this massive cranium bears the weight of my humanity. This the location where flesh and computer combine into the energy of “I.” All stimulus is returned here — where I, my god, wait in restless contemplation and expectations— behind my face between my eyes. Information flies home to me like working bees bring pollen to their queen, to their hive. Received, noted, memorized in a fraction of a millisecond, my brain takes the input reflects, spins, absorbs, translates, distorts, and creates reality.
I am sensitive to sound. My two ears shoulder the burden of protection from the screaming relentless dissonance and nausea of constant noise. I am an inconsistent captain in the struggle on the front lines for auditory consistency. Soldier ears, drums in service to letters round and sharp, phonetic words, delivering whispers, message, laughter, innuendo. Poetic warriors, voice carriers, my survival depends on their loyal listening–for the lullaby of gentle waves on night sand, the crescendo of rough ocean upon rock, music to pull at the entangle chords of haunted, sorrowful, and joyful memory. Open to me, singing aloud the songs and records stacked inside my heart that I replay inside my skull, my soul, to trick myself to sleep. Vigilant ears without rest, no lids to shut or lips to close, to block, or control quiet. Separate and faithful, but I do not trust their stories. Residing outside, they are pieces of me that absorbs what differs from the “I” I know inside. Language and logic are but magical tools, useful talk, communication and instructions that allow the building of bridges. Bridges that stretch across the span of my gray normalcy to meet others at intersections where the realities of their “I” might be constructed. Circumstantial evidence of my reality is found in symbols we share, stories we tell, the consistent face worn on a close friend. I have not been told that these others are real or human, but because I see them I can start to believe in the possibility. Without certain proof to the contrary, I and me are suspicious of the external–it still might be my dream. Influences, lessons do not sway this faith in my trinity of personal identity: tangible input, complex intellect and raw instinct. “I”–I feel, I sense, I think.
I have brown eyes. My principal scouts, hunters of form, showing me the colorful sacrifices of shapes and fleeting imagery from their perspective which is indistinguishable from my own. A kaleidoscope of bounty received in my intimate computer where shadow, shades, neon and filters program outside of time, pictures processed from endless catalogued vaults of visual and visceral connectors that compromise my known and unknown interpretations of truth. Instant art, immediate editor as”facts” are discarded or linked with subjective language that either connects or splinters. Sight interpreted inside my studio, my history, my classroom cluttered with self-authored/ self-interested concepts, physical feeling, memory, and descriptors public and private. I saw, my eyes reflect and reveal the aliveness surrounding, but only I judge what is seen.
Close allies my brain and eyes, oft-stubborn compatriots in denial. Precious, precocious children refusing to hear, not listen to nor heed warnings voiced by my gut. Bliss, comfort, companionship are used to recruit workers of lesser insight. We enlist my mouth, tongue, nose, throat. We order numbness, obedience, demand assistance in strategies of avoidance. The plan: starve and strangle the deafening sounds of truth. My destructive and selfish rationalization declares war on the nagging circular reason within. Self-awareness, the coiled golden snake of stiff tight disappointment unravels hissing in anger. My head, my ostrich in deliberate darkness is no match for the venomous light. Clarity defeats me, this squirrel of sabotage and secrets. Acute wounds fresh, old scars torn asunder, familiar humility. The peace, the saving, to heal is possible but first the false silence must be surrendered.
I ring the bell. Each gong vulnerable pleas from my heart seeking repair. Each echo blames, brass whimpers in pity. My cries for help, howls for love, weakness chimes. Until still, the somber distance resonates the hollow din of death.