Melting into Infectious Light

The sun rises early–earlier. And its razor blade blaze cuts my curtains and finds its way to my tired eyes. I missed the ever ephemeral nighttime and find myself still in yesterday, today. I trim my beard and wash my face. There’s a satisfying ritual in applying each step of a skincare routine. Rinse your face in cold water (yesterday is gone). Wash, gently, for thirty seconds (synonymous with forgiving undone tasks). Rinse, again (yesterday is surely gone). Apply your toner (notice your imperfections). Apply your serum (there is beauty in them). Apply moisturizer (set your intentions). Apply sunscreen (youth is not forever).

Blackrock is full of white-haired couples and grey-haired droves of men with bike helmets and awaiting flat whites. I am a sore thumb. Young and with stinging sun-scared eyes. I sit beyond the train station, on the water. A dog wades in, anticipating the ball that follows. Green streak on grey sky. She shakes herself off and I am dressed in droplets that catch the sun. I have recently completed an essay summarizing the applications of variational autoencoders in natural language processing. I write a poem:

There’s sand in my wallet
Between its toes
And chafing the thighs of my credit cards
200 grit
Like I could rub it between my fingers
And not notice when it finally breaks skin with its persistent caress

I could empty every sleeve
Almost throw out that Loyalty Card
With only one cup marked
From my year in Minneapolis
and the morning I roamed into Saint Paul

Reassemble it, meticulously
Punch cards into an IBM1401 machine
Marvel at how slim it has become
How much time I will save
Now that gift cards are stacked
And my Visa
with roll-over points
Sits in the most prominent spot

Then find my card declined
At a coffee shop whose wifi is noted to be:
“Off until 2PM”
Because there is still sand in my wallet

And it has eroded away the strip
And I have missed out on my points
that promised to take me to Hawaii one day
And pay with cash instead
And nature revels in Her small victory.

I don’t sleep that day. I am euphoric. I play music and take a long walk. Then, as night approaches, I push through sleep again. Awake becomes synonymous with alive. I can’t describe that night. Sorry, it escapes me.

But I become aware at the edge of Sandymount. We have sung through the nighttime/daytime/sometime streets. Hammond Song. “We’ll always love you / but that’s not the point.” We leave our shoes and carry the tired to sleep on our backs. We embrace and kiss cheeks. Why do I always sleep past noon? I am, briefly, a child again. Stomp and ask dumb questions. The tide has taken the water so far out that we can’t reach it. First, there is stiff wet sand, then sheets of shells, then sand dryer than before. There are saltwater rivers and ponds. Birds flock and mingle. They seem tired and rudely awakened by our jubilant parade.

48 hours without sleep.

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