Wednesday, 3 November 2010

One eye opens, and shuts rapidly. As faces and settings known and unknown fade forever, along with your contented avatar, you both curse. His image and face dapple dark and dissolve as your curse grows instantly louder and reverberates around the now empty skull.  For a half second it seems possible to engage again with the slippery figments of the dream, but inevitably it is too late. Liquid white light has found a way through the traitorous socket, and is now oiling the cogs of the brain-machine necessary for movement, sensation and memory. So it is done, the barricade is breached. Both eyes open in a feeble squint, eyelashes offer a last hopeless plea to the unforgiving winter sun but to no avail and the horde of light pours through and instantly gets to work. Pulling the duvet over your head it is possible to give the impression of night and oblivion, but it is an illusion. The brain, once a loyal somnolent ally, proves itself fickle. The garrison only a moment ago dedicated to serene fantasy is manned by turncoats it seems, bought by the merest glimpse of golden day and now enthusiastically serving their new master. Day rapidly inaugurates consciousness as dictator-king, whose first task is persecution of the body, which the brain sets about with ruthless enthusiasm. The tongue is subjected to drought, to which it responds with a rasping demand of action from the arms and hands. One is dead as stone, yet to be slowly repopulated with prickles and heat, the other hangs limply off the sofa, poking out from the useless sanctuary of the quilt. It half answers the desperate cry of the mouth, sweeping the floor around for liquid of any kind. This task is frustrated by the nervous system, which, revelling in the turmoil and still imbued with the previous nights alcoholic excess, toys with the submissive arm, jerking it erratically. The bladder begins a dull moan, disputing the mouths demands and siding with the retinas to form coalition intent on remaining under the awful sanctuary of the covers. Sensing dissent, the alert and increasingly brutal brain sends paramilitary messengers to the joints, where chemicals inflame each helpless bend, already crippled from the care free contortions of the night’s blissful hibernation. The legs, ankles and feet respond, waking up later than the rest of the body, squirming with horror at the civil war now unfolding. In the body’s hinterland, the toes are brought out of their stupor by capricious, feral muscles pulling each back with cramp spasms, as if to slit ten individual necks. Despite the agonies being inflicted by the conscious mind on every organ and extremity, there are still dissident elements harboured deep within the cerebrum, calling for unconsciousness and the return to dreamscapes, if only now to abate the torture of wakefulness. Realising this, the brain plays its last card, turning on itself. A flurry of explosions blossom at once through it billions of winding streets, combining and amplifying to an unbearable stabbing crescendo. The legs, with enough trouble of their own to contend with, resign and begin the slow slide towards the carpet and the morning. The stomach turns and begins to ready itself for the first unwelcome guest, shuddering at the memory of a thousand other acidic first contacts with water. The eyes lament and prepare for the suns terrible brilliance. The same eye that began this awful conflict is quite rightly forced to the fore. Tentatively, it opens for the second time in as many minutes. After the retinas have shaken themselves into action and the suns resplendent shock troops have dissipated in a bright orderly ring, it surveys the scene around it. Devastation to equal or surpass the body’s internal tumult surrounds: Screwed paper, ash, black tinfoil, filthy cups and glasses, wax, something resembling soup or vomit. The nose, strangely dormant in the first ghastly moments of this new day, awakens with revulsion finding partner smells for each of the eyes visual aids. The majority of the body in motion and wakefulness seeming inevitable, the nose, fresh into the fray, picks up something sweet and alluring through the stench. Rapidly it coerces both eyes into usefulness, and the initial blur is rewarded by a black banner sharply snapping into focus. A charcoal pennant, embossed with white insignia reads Jack Daniels. Surrounding it, eternally welcome auburn reinforcements, their crystal vehicle taking the hurtful rays of the sun and throwing it with distain in a beautiful amber arc against the wall. The last rebellious partisans in the brain cry out ecstatically! The second hand, presumed deceased, leaps to life under the eyes guidance. Before shaky nerves or spitefull consciousness have chance to object or sabotage, it has leapt from its slumber and grasped sleeps new collaborator. All parts of the self now crave to meet this unexpected but welcome guest, save stubborn, reasonable king consciousness, afraid more than anything of being deposed. His position is useless. The mouth craves moisture, the stomach yearns for warmth, the nerves demand rest, the limbs implore haste so as to be soothed and calmed. Most of all, the eyes, the gate keepers, long to close the citadel to the day. After the first draught, they allow themselves to relax slightly. By the third, they have composed themselves and relaxed entirely, perishing all thoughts of light and the things it illuminates. The fourth and final turns the gates twin keys conclusively, and sensing the minds haven truly secured again, the serene dream creatures pull the thick velvet covers from their halcyon orchards. The body sighs then rests. Beautiful order is restored.

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