• Aperture: f/14
  • Focal Length: 14mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter: 1/2 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Northport, Alabama

It’s an unholy obsession. Unbidden, words drag me down twisting labyrinths, pull me under and lap at my skin. Swirling dark eddies, molten pools of hot fire, they seep into my pores, soldering id and superego in a cruel paradox. Just when I think I’m done with them, their siren song lures me back to throw myself between Scylla and Charybdis just one more time.

Summer creeps early this year. I can feel it in my bones, taste it in the saliva-slick heat of midday, smell it in the dusky dampness of a dimly lit brick lane. The words snake through my veins and ride the crest of my pulse in a wild torrent, whispering tales of love, loss, redemption, and rebirth. Even in my sleep, I can feel them muttering, simmering in a slow boil until I’m tossing the light cotton sheets from my body, pacing the floor in a fever as every nerve ending takes dictation.

It’s exhausting, this lexicological quagmire. I fall into bed early and wake late feeling as if I haven’t slept at all, every sinew tensed, breath drawn, waiting. Waiting. And still the words tease and cajole, entice and demand, rip and tear, soothe and heal.

With little to occupy it, my mind feeds upon itself, wandering back to the death-dry agony of wordless wastelands, days when the spirit lay fallow, potential unrealized. This sleepless hysteria is worth the tradeoff, nothing more than a ferryman’s token lying beneath a silver tongue.

I’m weary though. I need sleep. I need rest. I need a break. I need a drink of cool water, because I think it’s going to be a long, long summer.

[NOTE: For those who are interested, I have a story about Hurricane Katrina in today’s edition of Christian Science Monitor.

Music: Hysteria by Def Leppard (lyrics)

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