Yo, scruffy bar dude. I’m gonna saddle up on this stool next to you. Sip a whiskey. Don’t get too close though. I’m getting real poor at faking this being a human thing and I sound all sorts of off. Sing some St. Lucia with me to mask the sound of thumping below my sternum. My heart beats to the rhythm of running shoes. And heartbeats make a human. No, really. One sound holds all us homo sapiens in line. Atrial, ventricular rhythms rising, hemming and humming are shorthand serene shouts for our heads to hear ‘hello’ hollering out every human a hundred yards ahead. We think these awkward half moons half an inch below our forehead are experts in epistemology. Wise, wise all that jazz.
Heh. Heartbeats are all we know to be true. I can hear you hark your humanness even when you hold your lips tight. Everyone can hear the human hum. It’s why we hold hands, dance not heave axes, hope you’re our dinner. I can hear you. You can hear me. I can. You can. Don’t have a go at me, asshole. It’s all I have to go on, even though I don’t have a heart to hear.
Not looking to hug humanity. I ran hell out the hemisphere I had as a home half a decade ago. But halfway across the world, even as my hope hushed to barely half a whisper, I had an idea. Was gonna hold my ear to the air, strap on my high-tops and run, run, run eschewing home until I could hear half a hymnal along some highway that made me not to want to hurl hands at all the humans who let me down.
Thought I was living, living undercover
Now I’m a child, child without a mother
Who was a stranger to the American way
Didn’t always want to run. The first 700,000 seconds, wanted to punch my way through the walls shooting up in my head. But every time I went to throw a punch I’d shake, say to myself ‘No, Kavi.’ See, I knew if I combined my body awkwardness with my B- physics knowledge and tried to swing all the skin that seethed below my shoulder back in one straight line, my arm’d come back in a sine wave on mescalin. And it’d land square in the seven inch hole one inch to the right of my sternum, wave to my spine on the way out. See, my home humans, yeah they decimated me. No, dude. I don’t know how I lived with the hole. I just did. That’s what’s you do. The whole wasn’t even the worst part. It’s when I tried to leave.
Like, look, I know there’s not a whole lotta love here but do you have to tie my shoelaces around my aorta? It constricts all my breathing, I trip every half-step. How’d I get here then? It’s not impossible, fuckface. Got here by you, barboy. Or half a dozen human avatars like you I knocked back single malt with along the way. Here, have a whiskey on the rocks. On me. No, no, no, it’s my honor.
Pulled me out of the shadow
Pushed me up against tomorrow
Dressed me up in your sorrow
And I don’t want to ruin your paradise
Screaming through your tunnels
In the dead of night
See, you help me run away. Loosening the ties on my blood vessels just by listening, being able to listen. And I can run, degrees of easier. You rebuild my atrial walls by letting my blood flow again. Don’t mock me. Damn, dude, ditch the hegemony of your humanity for half a sec and think like me. I saw your hands in your pockets, mouth making small talk. I made eyes with the4 sexy curves of you outer ear the moment I walked in here. Want to nibble them, talked them off instead. Sorry. I know you have the potential to hear. Now will you, or can you is the real question.
When I got this hole I lost my heartbeat, human card. And people could hear the difference in the hue of my vocal chords. Not that they painted the awkward silence between us with sadness. But that they made no sound at all. Couldn’t even piece together huffs of air, hate me for being huffy. And people, they’d place their head on my chest to see if I was alive. Yeah, not there. But I wouldn’t have the heart to tell these heartless heaps of hair and holey teeth having a laugh trying to figure what’s wrong with half hearted Hallmark card level psychology even if I had seventy hearts and could throw them out like candy. You saw me. No not you, they. One day me. Next a tenth of one percent of who I was. Empathy, y’all. You have a heart. I know you do because you can hear each other, but no longer me.
I’m running, I’m running to the light of day
I said help me run away, I said help me run away
And I sat on this couch. One day 5 years ago. And realized that I couldn’t be heard. And that was dangerous because they weren’t going to stop listening for my heartbeat. Not that they cared; but if they knew, if they really knew, how disassociated I felt. They’d think it’d too much. They’d pack me up and leave me on the side of a highway at midnight, only their tailights in the distance a reminder that I used to belong with them. And I knew I’d have to fake a facsimile of a heartbeat and I really just couldn’t. I didn’t want to. It was so much work when my jugular was lying jagged out my ribcage.
And so I left. And I ran. And I ran for so long that running shoes became my heartbeat. And now, I can fake it. It’s a thump. thump. thump. But just don’t get too close. I’m not done running out all these feelings. And I hope, when I do, I hear my human hum. So help me run away from the torches in my head.