Monday, February 1, 2016

It all comes out wrong, unless I put it in a song

Thanks to a dream I had recently, I've been thinking about my heart*. In the dream I was getting a chest x-ray while simultaneously watching myself from just outside the room. Only, when the doctor illuminated the machine, the room was filled with fading yellow light, the x-ray machine transformed into a sepia drenched film and my heart did not appear suspended in the middle of my body, a dayglo technological centerpiece the way it does in an x-ray but rather it was held in place by vintage looking, worn leather straps and belts with buckles. These straps were wrapped several times around my heart squeezing small droplets from various points on the quivering muscle.

Like this, but strangled.

In the dream this didn't alarm me, it just made me strangely sad. Whether this was because my subconscious cannot help but be very obvious and heavy handed with metaphors or because I had some killer heartburn, I cannot be sure. I wish I had any drawing talent whatsoever or any ability to communicate things visually because it would have made a great animation, that heartburn dream of mine.

Which leads me to that word: heartburn. I hate that we use it to mean indigestion. The words that make up the compound are so good on their own. I think it would be better and more poetic to describe infatuation as having heartburn. To wit:

"Allison is acting all annoying and constantly talking about that dude."
"I know, right? She's got serious heartburn. Her heart is burning."

My infatuations are usually uncomfortable and cause me to stay awake too late into the night, retracing my steps to find out why every nerve ending feels aflame, being hyper aware of every detail of one particular thing, wondering what exactly I read or saw or said or heard...ingested that's keeping me awake, wanting me to sit upright in my bed, unable to swallow, wondering if I should talk to a doctor, half expecting it to be serious but knowing it is as common as a head cold. A case of a burning heart. Same thing.

I don't actually think I've experienced what we dub heartburn more than once in my life. I've not been saddled with gastro-intestinal issues so far in life, for which I'm grateful. In fact, if my physical heart has any problems, it will end up being one of those silent problems that will one day knock me over for no apparent reason, a cruel type of birth abnormality that is stealthy and random and insidious.

On the other hand I remember watching that film The Aviator during which Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes catastrophically crashes his plane, the result of which (among many other things) was that his heart shifted to the opposite side of his chest. I repeat: his heart fucking moved to the other side of his chest. And he survived. I suppose the heart can be indomitable sometimes.

I've contemplated getting an anatomical heart tattooed somewhere on me, maybe atop where my actual heart is in a stupid meta reference. Then I realized that a lot of people have that tattoo on different parts of themselves, most trendily on their sleeves. My subconscious may send me precious, unoriginal and obvious metaphors...but my tattoos will not.

Remember that Don Henley song, The Heart of the Matter? I cannot explain it, nor do I especially want to but I love that song. It is easy listening but it reminds me of a time in my life when grown up heart things unraveled to an easy listening soundtrack. Then I grew up and heard Stephen Merritt sing the lyrics: I always say I love you when I mean turn out the light. And I say let's run away when I just mean stay the night. Which was way closer to my own personal grown up heart things. And frankly, that's one of the best songs to end on.

*In preparation for this one blog post, I lightly cracked my heart about 20 times starting in October, 1988. It kept falling into muddy puddles for awhile, the occasional bar toilet on occasional drunken nights. Then, a few years ago I dropped it really hard, slammed it to the ground, actually and it shattered into jagged shards all over Long Island but I was able to find 95% of it half of which I taped back together using only my teeth and electrical tape. The other half I secured with vintage looking leather straps and belts with buckles. All for the glory of the blog.

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