Albert Mobilio


The organ of Language is situated in the back part of the orbitary plates, the bones which form the roof of the eyes and support the anterior lobes of the brain. A large development of Language is indicated by prominent eyes. The faculty enables the learning of arbitrary signs and the ability to learn by heart with great facility. When Language is very large and general intellect only moderate, it is surprising what volume of words can be poured forth to express a few ideas, and sometimes no idea at all. If such people write, their style is like their speaking, destitute of condensation—they scribble whole pages about nothing. This class of persons have great pleasure in hearing themselves talk, and are rendered uncomfortable if not allowed to indulge their favorite occupation.

So I drugged you. And you say it's not so nice. You say, What was that you put in there? My limbs are wax and the air is made of sun. My tongue is doubled-up with laughter I can't hear. My head is a bus station, filled with fumes and the sound of grinding gears. You say, I can't think straight. No, I mean, I really can't think at all. It's a river-run of words, bit of words. Their broken letters tangle together like flotsam in the spring flood that is bursting behind my eyes, spilling out past any possible constraint in a sentence. I can't make the words slow down. Can't make them line up. Christ, I cannot think. But I say, so what, I drugged you. I made you a Mickey, slipped you a dose. What I have always loved and envied about you is the way you walk the line, your even keel in whatever bad weather arrives. But your smooth sailing has also always been powered by a certain smugness, as if a sneer were the prow you used to slice through the swampy morass in which the rest of us slog. You spoke in paragraphs while my jumbled sentences slammed and slipped against one another. You pronounced words like they'd been minted in your mouth and you owned their shape, while dented words fell regularly from my smashed-up mouth. I said, “Don't be so damn faseedshess!” Said “Dibickel” instead of “debacle.” Said “Serotoniton” instead of “serotonin.” Said, “Circletude” instead of “certitude.” A clownshow on the tongue. Drunk-talk without a drop of liquor, just my “particular” way, that's how you put it, “my particular” vocabulary. And you wonder why your mental equilibrium, or “equeerlibrium,” as I once put it, looks to me like a spotless plate-glass window just begging for its rock.

So sad, you seem to say, with your eyes unhinged, your mouth ajar. So very sad I drugged you. A dash of salt on your feathery imperturbability. One turn too many of the balance knob. Is the treble shivering with a pearl-hard scream deep in the back of your brainpain? Or is a freefalling bass note dragging you down into a bodiless drone, burying you alive in its hum? Which out-of-kilter is yours tonight? Which way has the world, with the blocks knocked out from under it, tilted? Nether. Neither, you say. You say, Never. Never once was blacked out or blocked in. I am necessary. I am necessarily here, in a room for waiting in a hard chair, a magazine in my lap. I dig into the pages and tear out the sweet smelling ones. I fold back the page corners of the articles I wanted to read when I have the time. When my eyes have mind. Juicy titles on the contented table. “The Fruit of Immortality,” I think I've nailed this door before. “Mayhem Was Our Leverage,” and mine too, when I still could reach the levers. And “Scrubby Converts Can Repair Your Saving Skin,”this could be a knife-saver when I get my mirror back. I study all the graphs and statistics because, you know, I have a mind for figures, a eye for telling detail. I'm consonant, connected. I keep a bundle of ropes in my teeth, ready to bind up whatever get loose. I'm filmed from a great height. I'm tossed and loose-limbed. Before, I wasn't the way I am now, neck deep in neither nor. Before was whenever I was able. I was fable, then. A ladle then, and hands to stir.

Such sweet jangle you make for me. The nurse bring us water in paper cups and you spill some and look at your wet knuckles and say, “Some of these are stains.” You're doped up, your mental cage doused in sugary glue. The beast inside is unsteady on the floor, its legs splayed as its body bangs about. You were the reader the rest of us could only imitate, bent into your books, your face as still as a satellite dish drawing in a distant pulse. A studious Saint Jerome, eyes locked onto the piston drive of sentence after sentence. You read like you were built from the stuff of books, ink in your mouth and pages in your head. Your body was a printing shop. You knew too much and said too much and read too much, and too many times I heard you say, This one says and that one says, and this book tells what that book doesn't. Whatever I knew or tried to say perished in your mouthy storm. No word in edgewise, no edge in wordwise. Just sentences of yours swelling out, sucking up space. No carriage return in your head. No pause. Something had to be done to give me a break, to let me catch my breath. So I drugged you. And your hands are lost in the pages of that magazine as if you are reading Braille. And your lips are moving without a sound. Yet I still can hear you saying. Saying this and saying that.

There's a broadcast about breathing and I'm listing. No I'm listening hard. Thousands in Sahara cannot breathe. Hundreds suffering air for just a taste. Where's air when the sentencing's done. Cagney. Do they remember Cagney in White Heat? When the prison guard in the trunk complains he cannot breathe, Cagney says, You want air. I'll give you some air, and he shoots up the trunk leaving holes for the dead man to breathe. That was what efficiency was. That was how the world once made air enough for speech. They gave you something divisible and let your mind pass through. My face is wired up to something hot. And then it's wired up to something liquid. It's never one thing or the other. It's another thing that's always feeling like it felt before it felt the way it feels now. Does that make sense to you? Can you see the way it's free of me? My face is someone else. And my arm. My arm is held in her arm and she has my needle and my words. Honey, honey, she says. This won't hurt the fit. The summer was last week and this week we are fed the question that goes down easily as something that makes you feel. Feel better. Less unused. The nurse says and the nurse touches. She moves my hair from my face. And you are moving clearly into view now. Big swimming face, chicklet smile painted on. And there's a border around you. Are boxed up and ready for shipping? Are you hung upon the wall? You look you've been smoothed into something made for rulers. You've flattened out; you're what books call flatness. You are what we say is picture-perfect. Quite perfect there across the room, with so many pictures coming unwrapped and crowding in your eyes.

So I drugged you. And you sleep as if it's over. As if there's nothing but the show you gave. Your stone-rattling-in-a-cup laugh. The thumb tip chewed to a pulsing red. So I threw a stick in your spokes to slow you down and watch you sputter. But I can never take my eyes off you anyway; your compulsions compels me. Like the way you walk moving your hands busy in the air in front of you. As if your are steering an unseen wheel. Working invisible controls. It seems as if you're in the driver's seat of some incredibly complicated plane or car that requires constant supervision to stay aloft or on the road. You look like you were bravely piloting yourself, like you had taken the controls manually, while the rest of us, while people like me, whose machines were as easy as lawn mowers to operate, while we had, maybe, one or two switches to work and even that was on automatic pilot. We go were we we're told, our minds ringing round the same old grooves. But you muscle in and take the helm. You drive your own mouth. Until tonight. Until I drugged you good. Then your hands got slippery and the wheel spun loosely. I didn't want to see you crash, only to see you skid a bit. To persuade you in my faith of brokeness. So I drugged you and now I watch you sleep. One of your hands holds the other at the wrist. They lie still, as if one had struggled to stop the other and, wearied by its effort, fell out exhausted. As if you had done this to yourself. And loved me enough to let me watch and listen. To let me hear the cluttered-up sound of you, your talk breaking down to pieces.

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