Several ripe yellow bananas with a large knife blade

Banana Cutting Shirt

The biggest life in the room is polishing a set of switchblades. I polish and repolish my thoughts until they grow pulpy and clustered. I tap myself on the wrist and point my eyes in any direction through impulse or command. I am drawn to motion. The man in the house has made all sorts of arrangements. Neatly in his line of sight, he has lined up the required objects—very soft, square rags (folded), a tube of oil with a long, skinny neck, something like a balm or glaze in a flat, round container, a few cotton swabs with intentionally frizzled tips, and a pile of scrap paper (for testing cuts). I slice a banana on the bias on a piece of cardboard that used to be a pizza box. The man is at the table jammed in the corner of the kitchen with his back to me. He is either all gruff and blue or messy and plaid. He is a display of dirty, stretched cotton. I breathe approximately three breaths to his seven, which is a cause for concern. He is always inside of something else—a televised projection, a work uniform, a vice, a growl—which are all symbols of indentured servitude. The smell of over-ripe banana clings to my elbows and brows. I eye the man occasionally. I glance over him each time his objects make sounds. I mentally mark the progressive movement of his body on its path to nothingness. I am covered in banana slime or the banana slime is covering a body that is distinctly mine. The hair on the man’s shoulders bursts through the thin, dull fabric he has been wearing the length of the weekend, this weekend or any weekend. The material was once white, but is now yellowed around the armpit region and strewn with tiny, curiously perfect holes that vaguely resemble zodiac signs. I swallow breath as if it were poison. I feel a pit or a I am a pit. If I zoom in enough, everything is certainly full of holes and gaps, emptiness and nothingness. I imagine the man’s body as a long sidewalk full of unkempt hedges. I imagine the hedges would rather break free than grow into forever along the same, crumbling sidewalk. I contemplate the possible complications and pleasures of being a sidewalk. I could crumble or be covered in speckles of old, black gum. I could be sun-warmed for an eternity, overlooked. I am a creature who deals with all kinds of hunger. I carefully lay the severed banana in a circle around a thin paper plate. I fill the gap in the middle of the arrangement with a fistful of chocolate puff cereal (heart healthy, no high fructose corn syrup). The cereal moves around the paper making a kind of soft scratching noise. The milk (2%, generic) and yogurt (creamy vanilla, artificially flavored) have vanished or never appeared. Cheese and bread are merely the absence of cheese and bread. I squish the circle, moving the banana pieces closer together. It is a kind of edible Stonehenge. I think of a calendar which forces me to imagine time. I tick and I tock my way into it. I squish the banana ever closer. Height is a wonderful trick on perception, so is drama, and a lack of an opposing or negating perception. I am like a meaningless bird or a tiny Christmas bell. I call through the walls. The method is easy; I turn my head towards the direction of my target and, using the biologically relevant deepness of my lungs, I yell, and words like come, or, now, get, and else emerge from somewhere useful but unseeable. I can fill in any other sound designated to a person. The body whose name is uttered tends to appear within the span of a dozen seconds and is typically breathless and operating on a slight pulse or subconsciously heightened corporal tempo. It is culturally engrained to do things quickly, in such a way as to never miss a potential potential. In order to develop properly, this mode of urgency has to be instilled from a young age, strictly and without loophole or relent. Proper development is an essential component of long term survival. I groom this idea like every idea, with intent to reshape it into a useful tool, a metaphysical nail or a symbolic sledgehammer. I play with the steak knife in my hand, its sticky black handle is pressed tightly between my palm and fingers, which are, at times, unlovingly referred to as my claws or clams or paws. I point the tip of the blade towards my belly for a laugh. I claw, claw, claw. I accidentally snag a tuft of frayed cotton on my T-shirt. I have made a hole the size of a pinprick just above my bellybutton. In some new way, I am open to the world, which means in some other way, I am closed off to it. I can feel a piece of corn between two tight teeth. I think from now on, this will be my banana cutting shirt. I hunger for resolution, and it is just another way of admitting I am a ghost of myself. Most days unfold into three primary functions: obtaining means for momentary sustenance, obtaining means for momentary shelter, and plotting ways in which to spread the momentary into tomorrow. I have recently made my way to the theory that what I consider myself—my body, my designated sound, and my ability to generate and receive ideas—could simply be a silhouette of something else, something impossible to grasp or describe at present. Though a silhouette is not entirely bound by social etiquette, human morals, or any style of governance, it should appear to be operating under such conditions because it is (theoretically) attached to an entity that benefits from adhering to society’s rules. I swallow and spit. I climb and I fall. The days go or come quite similarly. The man in the room rolls his weight from one side of the chair to the other. Legs buckle. It is one long day or it is one short day. A shiny blot of blood emerges seemingly out of nowhere. The flat bead of its existence refuses to soak into the laminate countertop. I think I understand this blot of blood (a curiously self-contained silhouette), how, defined by the physical mechanisms of the world, it becomes absolutely itself—a small pool of blood on the counter, just blood. Blood. I shift into a purely corporal mode. I chew the inside of my cheek as if it were a piece of freshly pulled taffy—cherry or watermelon, overly salted. I watch part of an infomercial and move to buy nothing. I am not convinced to trade the act of chopping onions for more time. I rattle a box. We are out of bandages. I wrap my finger in a strip of thin toilet paper and secure it with a thick, green rubber band left over from a bundle of wilted broccoli. I am not convinced I should buy a set of magnetic eyelashes. I rub old lotion onto my elbows and the moon turns on its barely shiny lights. The night rings against my clavicle and cheekbones in such a way that I am shivering to be born. The night breezes tinny against the aluminum lining. I hide like a scared clam or an unresponsive piece of meat. I lay in bed inundated with the urge to create a pragmatic pocket of space for the word albeit in regular speech. I am currently very anthemic and somewhat powerful, but the moment quickly hits a hard surface. It flees like a terrified cicada. I shake and shake. The sheets are pilled and itchy. I run my fingernails over my stomach. I give myself chills. A strange life croaks. I shift and unwrap myself. The man in the room sounds like an old dog. He is hot and breathing with a raspy, hard force. I mouth the word albeit. I look not through, but beyond the window. The moon is losing more and more mass. I whisper it aloud albeit, albeit, albeit. I start saying it with increasing loudness until the man in the room rolls over into wakefulness. He pauses to give his brain time to find full consciousness, then says words like what, damn, woman, and, hell. I say things like sorry, baby, go, back, and now. Within seconds, minutes, or hours, I render it down to three best choices. These options then unfold and open to reveal every known and unknown potential. I am left with a body made of dead stars. I am left with a body made of future dead stars.