o w e n    k a e l i n

Three Tales of Invasion

 

Me When Iím Waterlogged

Why People Stick Their Face into My Face

The Minus Touch































Me when Iím Waterlogged
(first tale of invasion)

 

It rose

It rose up quickly, and was soon familiar with much of my legs, the water introducing itself to me without intelligence, and selfishly. I know that to the water my body was just another stack of capillaries . . . but I wonít excuse the water for this. It should suffer for what it does to me!

We should be at war, the water and I, except that Iíve no weapons to fight it with, nor feet for the terrain. If at war, weíd be fighting one another on severed battlefields... and already the water seems to know the one that itís on; it learns me quickly as it explores; itís efficient this way. I cannot fight it.

The problem is that I do not understand the water. The water understands me, inasmuch as my image—and in fact anything at all used to describe me—describes an end for its own goals. Perhaps this is my problem: I do not want the water. The water wants me, and this is how it wins. I do not want the water, and so I cannot win.

The water creeps higher. Soon iíll be completely within its grips. Iím afraid. O, how to fight?

I cry instead.

 

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Why People Stick Their Face into My Face
(second tale of invasion)

 

It was

It was very late in the evening when the envelope broke. I did not want his face where it was! Why do people stick their face so close to my own face? They insist on it, as if my face were some sort of comforting device, a sofa for their expressions.

Iím not your sofa! I shouted. He stared into my eyes; why was he so comfortable with me? As if he were a girl, to approach me this way, as if I were one, to receive him this way? But his comfort proved itself also an effective defiance: Youíre crazy, man, he observed.

Youíre the one whoís crazy, getting into my face like this! I returned, My face isnít here to put your face into! Weíre not that familiar! He heard this and blinked. I went on, feverishly: Itís called personal space, alright? Itís called... it means youíre not supposed to come in that close to me, youíre invading ! Youíre invading! Iím not your sofa! My face is not a place for you to put your own face! I was ranting.

Instead of defending himself he walked away, shaking his head, down the street. I heard him repeat: Youíre crazy, man.

The city was dark and gentle. It welcomed the man warmly into its folds.

 

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The Minus Touch
(third tale of invasion)

 

Why do

Why do they do it, this thing, like this: with their hands? They let these hands just wander through the air like improper extensions of their brain, as if newly heightened dukes they were, in search of a receptive throne.

The problem makes me think in places I shouldnít be thinking in.

No, I conclude, theyíre not dukes, these hands, for theyíre subservient, theyíre not nobles. No, yes: they act like they represent a person, these hands, like theyíre Secretaries of somebodyís noteworthy State.

These Secretaries never wander for long, they always settle on something, and too often that settling place happens to be my arm.

Itís more than just a settling; no, itís nothing at all like a simple placement of a palm or two. These people and their impatient Secretaries seem to feel it necessary to conduct their operation in the most timidly irritating manner possible. How can a person stand it? They do it with fingertips.

And their fingertips possess powerful magic, their energies penetrate my flesh and enter my veins. They inject terrible agents into my sensitive veins. They provide me with emissaries who can and will efficiently exasperate every part of my wretched body, from my hair down to my heels and then back on up to settle in my brain, where they quickly construct their strategic offices. They collect there with terrible volume.

When I think about it: honestly, I think that they mostly get drunk up there, in their strategy quarters, considering the way they go on with things, shouting and laughing, randomly change their places and falling into things. I feel it all. Strategic they arenít, but they donít need strategy when they build themselves up in such numbers.

Even after Iíve withdrawn my arm from the personís fingers, those drunken emissaries are still there, poking about, ever vigilant, under my skin.

If only I could call on my antibodies to fight them back. I can imagine the knocks on the doors: Hey, in there: Weíre the Antibodies! And the fear in the Secretaries! The Secretaries would run away as quickly as they could work their legs... but my antibodies wouldnít recognize the Secretaries as a threat... they wouldnít even recognize their existence. Consult the Cerebellum, theyíd say.

Theyíre still there, in my arm, right under my skin... these Secretaries. I canít get rid of them. I rub and I rub...

 

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OWEN KAELIN currently lives in the Greater Boston area, and runs a literary website called the Gone Lawn Excavation Project.


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