It’s hard to believe another day could end this way. That we won’t finally, after all, wake up. “Just a dream,” and all that.
Honestly, I never imagined it would come so — not sudden, there was a kind of sequence of degeneracies, noticeable in sum, but hard to detect from within the slow slide down – never imagined it would come so run-of-the-mill. The process, I mean. Not the thing itself. Which is, which cannot possibly exist. You can be living, you can’t be dead. Well, relative to others around you, sure, you can be dead, as in “he was alive, now he is dead.” But after an eon or two, when it’s all underground stone-fragments and dust, and no one is around, except the Walt Disney-type freaks who had themselves frozen or mummified or freeze-dried or what-not, no one is really dead, not to the living. They simply do not exist, and never existed at all, unless referenced in some fossil text. Of course, if they did thaw old Walt and zap another few years of life into him, he would be alive, not dead. Death is an end of being, not a state of it. Or so I hope. I hate being dead. This, all this, but it was not all that different before the process, before the crumbling, when I was out there living the “good life,” is not death, it’s being dead. Most of it, the long Before, and the all-too-sudden After, the beginning of descent, was being dead, among others who were, like my room-mates, the processed, also, for the most part, being dead.
Half naked, damn gown won’t tie.
Cold, steel invasions; tubes, catheters, embarrassing sponge-baths, over-head television 24/7 (and this is the “good” nightmare, the one with health insurance).
Still believe in Future as a pretense, like “Humanity” or “Democrats,” belief for belief ’s sake, so they don’t call you “nihilist” or Gloomy Gus. So “iffy,” really; unreliable; so not like we were taught…
It’s all conducted, the process – as we the processed lay listless, bored, humorless – with Middle-Management-indifference.
Regardless of despair (bottomless), or faith (half-assed), or false good cheer; regardless of the utter fictions we lose ourselves to between pills and nurses’ “war stories” of meaningless suffering, we cling to that old fairy tale, drummed into us, all of us, by Mama or Grandma or Sister Sue, that we are special, unique, special as all life wonderful, miraculous, and all that.
“We’re good people,” we tell ourselves. “We’re worthy of life because we were born…alive!”
And of course the “girls” who clean our pans and ride the bus, alone, past midnight, really do love us and think about us (alone, past midnight) and want us to get well. Of course.
Even when we cover our eyes, put our hands to our ears, scream “Yonk! Yonk! Yonk!” it comes, it comes, regardless of our fear, the process comes when we are forced awake from three, maximum four hours of sleep by whatever intern or aide on duty demands blood or piss or scrapes with a tongue depressor for cells; it persists, and will persist, until we end.