Chemical Head

My head is a chemical soup. The removal of one ingredient sends everything sloshing, smashing the inside of my skull, the gyroscope erratic. I crash flat on my back. By not using drugs, I unlock the many, many stories swirling and clashing against each other inside my brain. In dreams are infinite worlds, and last night I got no sleep because too many of them were showing themselves to me.

I awoke in the night many times and recounted to myself the stories, playing them back over and over to save the file from short term to long term, but already by morning they’re almost gone. Images remain.

Floods and water flowing, residents evacuated from basement flats, washed on tidal waves as rivers overflowed their banks, riding the current in an RV, tipping over the edge. The flying feeling always woke me up.

Tigers !

Tigers ! (Photo credit: Phil_Parker)

A Jungle Book scene in my grandmother’s backyard, where there’s a tiger with high shoulders prowling the forest. I forgot there was a tiger in that story. I was afraid to let the cats out because of the danger, afraid to move, afraid to stay still. So I woke up and moved myself to another bed.

A gathering of people clustered around a coffee table, waiting out the floods, waiting out the tiger, waiting out the layoffs. A friend who had gone before and is still coming after, everyone watching through the windows while she has her exit interview. Needing comfort. I hugged across the table. But I’m lying on the couch with a bad back. Grinding.

“This could be the longest night in recorded history.
And as for sleep, you might as well just cross it off the list of possibilities.”

An airplane coming in for a landing in a storm, rain outside the windows, and in the back, passengers dying from mosquito bites. The captain has illuminated the fasten seat belts sign, please return your seat backs to the full upright position and stow your tray tables. They bring the bodies of the dead forward and place them in empty seats, next to me. Questions are asked about where those travelers had come from, where they might have encountered the mosquitoes—in Vail or Aspen. We landed in Denver. It’s still raining.

I wake in the morning later than usual. It’s raining outside, dark and misty-moisty. Most of the stories are gone. I lie on my back and shout the remaining pictures into the air so they land on a screen in words. Technology is a wonderful thing. My chemical brain might even agree if it could think clearly about such things.

See, this is why it’s important to remember to take your pills.

Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins


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