Fiction
12.1 / FALL / WINTER 2016

THE SHIFTING OF A MIND IN HEAT

Somewhere field workers collect body parts on the border between the U.S. and Mexico while I lay in bed with my hand between my legs, comforting myself and wondering if I will have more motivation to achieve my dreams tomorrow. It’s as if we are waiting for that next thing to pop into our minds and save us from ourselves. Save us from a bed of regret and a hand collecting us as evidence. I often wonder about the sea. The depth of it. The language within. The dreams dropped off there. This morning there was a group of seals dried up, shriveled too far from the ocean to get back. It’s representative I guess – the dried up shriveled part, the eyes that turn the other way, the not knowing what to do or when to do it. My mind shifts.

I imagine a husband with a woman that was me – us both becoming a dream, traveling the globe together and then it ending with a different me – a me stuck in bed with my hand between my legs wondering if the next day will bring a new life. I guess that is the whole point.? We are trained to regret our hours spent until we learn to revel in them, we are minions to a larger plan that includes never feeling powerful enough to do more. Create more. See more. Love more. Build more. But then, the next day comes. My mind shifts.

On this day all I do is create. I think of myself as a mermaid fighting to bring the dying seals moisture again, changing the colors of sea enema, inspiring the blooming of coral reefs as I glide through – hair behind me – open water in front. The husband I imagined is no longer mine but instead someone I see from a distance between fulfilling dreams, between living silence. He will always be there in some form or another – holding a woman’s hand walking down the street in front of me -? my fins will glow as they slip through the air detached from what was, attached to what is.? The fins fall off and I am back in a bed again holding my breasts this time, naked beneath a sheath of feathers. My mind shifts.

I think about the next story – the boy with the green eyes and scarred head who passersby can’t ignore. His “brother” swings in a hammock? between two trees – seeds falling from? branches, water for ideas – until it comes to him. The woman he loves is gone. Not the one he puts himself inside of but the one he slid out of, the one who held him first, the one he looks for on the periphery of everything he does. The little boy with the green eyes and scarred head gets in the hammock next to him and from the trees all that can be seen is the side of his head without the scar, the side of his head where hair grows like an untamed field in summer. For just a moment he looks like a mere boy without the experience of drowning in the river or hallucinations of yellow scarves and compasses. Virginia Woolf once removed with a second chance and a new language – Español. What if she didn’t have a British accent, if she spoke in Haitian Patois and ate long dinners with Frida and Simone De Beauvior? Would she have drowned herself then? Walked into the water with voices in her head writing the last scene until those voices had to float to the top to save themselves. Find a bird to carry them to another. Maybe they will land in my ears today and follow me barefoot along the dirt path to El Mercado where music plays and flowers rise through vocal chords. The feathers started floating out making a myriad of waves around the room – my imitation of an ocean too far. A man pops into my head again but this time holding an instrument in one hand and a pen in another – asking me to choose.? My hand goes between my legs again looking for a visual that says otherwise but nothing comes – I attempt to fall asleep. My mind shifts.

I open the pages and another man comes to the surface, the one who is always there whispering in my ear – you will never be as good as I was, you are merely a woman. Diego said it, Sarte said it but Woolf’s husband never did and maybe that is why he lost her. There was nothing left to work for, no one left to sell. She had come into existence before his eyes. A figment of an imagination unlike hers, one with filters and finesse. She went back to her bedroom. She planned it out. When I woke I made brussel sprouts and called the woman I dreamt of. La Abuela. Her voice sultry and poetic. Because of these sounds I would be focused for the next few days until once again the thoughts began and that’s when I would see her. Walking into the water with a long dress on – the bloom of her skirt eating her up like walnuts drive the imagination and oysters sing cliche. Somewhere in the Brazilian Amazon a man sits and watches a flower eat a rabbit – gulp its hop up like a skirt envelopes a woman but we only hear about the snakes. The long, slender, devilish snakes who eat children whole and never worry about the flowers. My mind shifts.

At the bottom of my bed lay a Mexican serape – magenta, turquoise and emerald greens splattered over my body. The self portrait hanging in front of me seems inspired by Frida but yet has nothing to do with her at all. I had been there. The same place the field workers were, the same place Charles Bowden wrote about all his life – he turned monsters into metaphor and metaphor into monsters and the masses don’t know him because the juxtaposition between beautiful and revolting was truth. The seals did shrivel up, the human beings crossing the border did die. The bones were real on both accounts and they would lay there – like I am now – until they were found.

 

 

Melissa Hunter Gurney is a Brooklyn based independent writer as well as the founder of GAMBA Magazine and GAMBA Z’s Artist Residency. She is connected to the artist life as seen throughout South America and writes for La Gente Descalza (The Barefoot People). Her work can be seen in various independent magazines including The Opiate, Those That This and Across the Margin.


12.1 / FALL / WINTER 2016

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE