Mean Morning.

It’s a Mean Morning, the kind where you get out of bed tired and coffee doesn’t kick, where putting on clothes is a Task To Be Completed and makeup is too much to attempt, where the idea of sitting at a desk for eight and a half hours is enough to make you double up on your Ativan, and the day’s just begun.

We have a point system at work — so many taken away for being late, many more for a sick day, despite the fact that it all comes out of our vacation time regardless. If I weren’t already on faux-bation, I’d take the day and spend it all in bed, shades drawn, laptop nearby with a handy screen for staring and a download folder filled with movies, but let’s not explore my fantasies.

I simply want to disappear.

Some people have lives with topologically normal hills and valleys, vehicles cresting smoothly over and up like a children’s roller coaster. There are maybe the faintest of screams. It feels today like some Nascar race, no comforts within the steel cage of a car and the seatbelt is malfunctioning while for hours I continually turn left with supreme concentration and almost hope for a crash so I can get out. No one would blame me for quitting the race because then the car’s on fire.

This is not a metaphor for suicide; I don’t want your messages of hope. But it’s a good day to get fired.

It’s a good day for telling my boss she’s incompetent or screaming, not from the top of my lungs, but the very bottom, somewhere near the gullet where the bile is, a roar of FuckItHelpMeSomebodyGiveMeAnAnswerBecauseI’VEGOTNOTHING.

Take your medication, Elizabeth. The fuck is that supposed to do? Well, it’s meant to stabilize you, to pat all this shit down into a pancake that you cook up and eat. I’m not hungry.

Does any of this make sense?

Today is a good day for feeling crazy, for opening the window in spite of the deep-freeze and screaming back at the swaggering dudes outside who think they’re going to be rappers. Today is a good day to kill someone else’s dreams.

It’s a good day to gather up my Little Cat, to put her on my shoulder and let her sleep because there’s a soporific gland on her belly and I want to be anesthetized. It’s a good day to get in a fight with someone on twitter who’s being a fucking dumbass, or to tell a friend she’s being a drama-queen-privileged-idiot-fuckwit, or to listen to The Used.

It’s always a bad day to pick a fight with my husband, but to hell with it — let’s throw that on the pile.

It’s a good day to get in a fight. I want to feel my fists and feet explode into someone’s body and cause pain because then it’s in them, in their bruises, and that’ll heal with time. Crazy fucking girl came out of nowhere, man, and starting wailing on me until she sat down in the street and cried. It’s a good day to feel ineffectual.

These are the days to believe in God, but in that department I’m S.O.L. I’m a Buddhist. We believe in impermanence, that eventually everything ends: you, me, this Mean Sonuvabitch Morning. But there’s no timer — no one’s telling me when and where the Demon Dogs stop chasing and humanity begins again.

It’s a good day to burn your tongue on the coffee, and a good day to stock up on more.

It’s a good day to ask for help because the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, but I’ve hit that step, and the second one is to “believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” but I already said that I’m a non-believer, so I guess I just have a Problem.

This isn’t the sort of thing that ends with “it’s a Good Day,” on that uplifting note that brings hope and closure. This isn’t the sort of thing that closes. It’s a wound that doesn’t want to heal despite the gauze and the tinctures and the antibiotics and the traction. And it doesn’t help that I keep picking at my scabs.

It’s a good day to write like I’m in high school again, glamorizing the throat pain of cigarettes, or to contemplate becoming a truck driver, or to pour a glass of wine at 8:10 in the morning, and I don’t mind if I do.

Never mind the glass — the bottle’s quicker.

It’s a good day to be soothed by vices, to skullfuck your deadlines, to eat so much Doritos-and-Cake that you get sick and take a bottle of gingerale to bed. It’s a good day for nicotine, caffeine, and benzodiazepines. It’s a good day to fawn over Sylvia Plath.

It’s not a good day to cross my path, but it’s a great day for convenient rhymes and bad cliches.

It’s a Mean Morning, and by the looks of it, the forecast is going to hold all the livelong day.

#500WED: Morning

The still of the waning darkness tiptoes across the wooden floor amidst the living room church lights and the little yowlings of the cats. So do I.

One by one, the lamps are switched, and, lazy things, yawn their light out into the space, giving shadows no shelter. I wander each of their glowing perimeters with uncertain feet dressed in slippers that shuffle and hush a mother’s lullaby: shh, shh, shh — a finger to the lips, a gentle quieting wind through crisp leaves that have long ago fallen.

The light of the street-lamps echoes against the wet rooftops, and smears across the darkened windows of the abandoned factories turned chic lofts, or, in some instances, the windows behind which there is nothing but dust and ghosts of industry.

Cars lope by like lone wolves in the night, turning back to their caves before morning. Some figures stroll or stand about in the shadows, waiting.

My next door neighbor is the city bus terminal, and it emanates a florescent glare to stave off the dark before the morn. You can see brisk legs there, if you look down — passengers with their coffee mugs and budgets; students, mothers, fathers, homeless in their precarious poverty.

Slowly the light comes and the noise, and the leisure goes. A sense of purpose billows out through the air and I feel disheveled, unready — a pulley has been clipped to my ribs and gently tugs: come now, there are things to be done.

The hour is judged by the color of the sky: black, deepest blue, lightening navy that swiftly becomes sky-colored, and the clouds show themselves once more. The passage of time is reflected in swallows of coffee: how empty the cup, what temperature the liquid.

Bells toll in their small belfry down the street; I once told you they stood for my love, every chime a call: I love ____. I love ____. You who still sleep at this time, who welcomes the coming of the dark, while I await its going, and together we take dominion over the day. You who I leave safe to wake with coffee and kisses — I will bring you bundles of new sun like fireflies, and you take in the morning this way, in my handfuls.

I take mine as it would show itself: one singular burst over the rooftops, an overblown explosion popping sparklers through the clouds, and then fading too fast, as the grey blinds come down over the sun and shield the city from golden excess. The splash of warmth roils over the brick where it will rest for a moment, reminiscent of fireplace hearths, and swims speedily on eastward, to comfort other early-wakened souls.

The smokestacks close curtain over the departure and the fading crackles of applause give way to silence. My face is primed and painted, lacquered walls ready for company. The delicious moments of night into morning have passed, and the lamps are left without work, packing their briefcases and totes until the dusk comes, and another shift begins. They rest, darkened things, and unwind their burdens.

And I pick up mine, finessed at last into accepting that the fresh fleeting seconds are gone. I arrange myself, flowers in a crystal vase, open the door, and join my fellow wanderers in daylight.