The sun filled my ears if not my eyes and I remember squinting in paradise feeling the cloying warmth. This was on the Venice Beach boardwalk, on a crisp November morn, amber and comatose; in fact so wearisome, during a brisk walk, tiresome, that I returned home and promptly fell back asleep, crepuscular in thought, a bear reclining on a chair.
Sometime that morning I bought a child’s visor, tan in color and modesty, the exact pigment of my skin, the bill no longer than an eyelash, and so tight around my vertex as to be most inconspicuous; in fact so camouflaged, during vivid dream assuaged, that when the brim flipped flat against my forehead, my memory disengaged.
The upshot, I forgot. The upshot being is that I forgot. A bottle of fine wine without a corkscrew, I am drinking only water in dirty glasses, but after I clean my bifocals, I still see my world as something equivocal, parts clear and definite, parts intangible and infinite.
Flash forward, shoreward again, tides of March, another public space, another public land, this time embarrassed over a gastric disagreement with prawns and averse to laying siege to the restaurant toilette, I find myself in search of a more secluded lavatory. The night-cooled sand cruel and impolite, an impediment to my plight, a suction on my feet, in fact, restricting progress to the point where I was on the verge of an emergency.
And me, devoid of might and brawn, oh don’t be so withdrawn, I began looking at the sea as a place to egest, my own moon pool where I could excrete, sort of speak, and into the water I waded. All those undigested crustaceans escaped out of my body unaided. The wind recoiled in protest, even the minnows swam away with a disdainful attitude, most common in Malibu, while capturing your visage in rearview mirrors and wet avenues.
The upshot, I got hot. The upshot being is that squatting there I got hot. A pint of sweat creates a gallon of blood. When I wiped my hand across my brow I felt the acrochordon on my corrugated crust, resembling an accordion, this carapace of mine so much tree bark, a scab abrading like a peel, peeling off my face like husk. I followed the attached tag, unveiled the whole circumference of my head like an incredulous Magellan chasing Venus at dusk.
Here is where I debase myself and confess. My body is no longer lithesome and svelte. My body has become cumbersome, corpulent, full of heft. When once lissome and lively, laden with dexterous ability, this agility has now left. I am now jaded, bereft. Liver spots adorn this body. An eruption of rice grains assaults my shoulders and neck, my sagging bull neck. I’m laid low by a whitlow on my index finger that won’t heal, by gout swelling my toes, by painful spurs on my heels.
My navel constantly suppurates and separates bitter fruits half-eaten, vinegar swallowed, resentments berthing down my weight. I could never handle love and now exaggerated love handles are my anchors, death by cardiac arrest, my fate. Obesity is not simply gluttony, of this I can attest. Oh I am a glutton, engorged on rancor, swelling up my smirk. And the diabetic black spot burking my anja chakra cannot be broken or shirked. Look at how the brown recluse spreads varicose legs and venomous eggs.
Perhaps this was why I ignored the leather swathe encircling my mien; in fact, encompassing more than mere countenance but dissipating my demeanor and my manners, an insidious tax lien. I moved near the beach because I thought quietus within reach. I have not the courage to eat that peach, nor wear white trousers cinched. Instead I run into the waves with the anxiety of spleen. I cringe over the frothing spume, old and hunched, cowering and mean. I despair when I hear the sirens singing lovely and unseen.