An Empty Hangar

The inside of the skull is a weathered cave, waterlogged and echoing with your footsteps. You sloshed in through my mouth, stepping on my teeth like a tiny Giant’s Causeway, feeling them lurch and rattle underfoot. Inside my skull, where the waters have worn out gouges in the bone, you move around cautiously at first, but then you stop thinking so much about your feet and walk easily from stone to stone, over grooves and troughs worn smooth by flowing dopamine and made rough again by calcified gore. You wave your torch around, hearing it whoosh and sputter as you do, catching sight of the stylized figures painted on the walls, hunters here, cowards there, farmers in between. They were painted wither fingertips and palms and heels of hands, with colors drawn from dyes drawn from the brain that once filled this cave. The painted figures, who have rectangles for bodies and smaller rectangles for heads, hunt hulking creatures, toil in the fields beneath them circling in the sky, and run from them in fear. That one might be a manticore. Lots of them are chimeras, made up of animal parts and misunderstandings.

The place feels like an empty hangar now, dark and high. The brain, sagging like a half-full, twin-bodied zeppelin, was pulled out long ago—perhaps by rectangle-bodied men with skinny triangles for limbs hoisting on mooring lines—and vanished into time. This place has been empty a long time. Except for the cold, stagnant pool that hides the top of the spine, which once sparked like a wire, the place is dried up. Swirls and whorls and spirals are etched in the bone ceiling high above, visible now only as darker shadows at the edge of the torchlight, flickering clouds cut into the bone, cut through the bone maybe, and revealing the stars beyond.

Your trip unspooled, your interest laying limp on the floor like a slack rope behind you, trailing where you moved about, you head back to the teeth and the fresh air beyond and you look back once more and blow out the torch and the cave becomes just a black suggestion of space.

(This is a stream-of-consciousness exercise I did this morning to get me writing. Emo!)

(Noise: Zoe Keating, “Tetrishead”)

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