You know that you're still human because you've just read a book and clutched its finished remains and said 'yes! like that, like that!'. You also know that you're sad when you realize that you formulate lives like that and worlds like that in the bathroom but forgot to remember to save what you had and instead flushed it all down the toilet. Washed your hands. Dried them off.
Usually fishing things out doesn't work. I had a cellphone that I almost flushed down the toilet once. 'Couldn't hurt', we figured, so we washed it in water and dried it on my white polo shirt. She gave me a blue one instead. L, preshrunk, full of foreign sweat and foreign excitement to be in a foreign country. This tall dark athelete from Istanbul had wrestled it off and gave it to her as a thanks for her help, she said. I really like the shirt, she said. You should try it on, she said.
It turned on later, in the subway. There and back, I thought; what will electrocution feel like to androids? She called me and it rang and we joked and afterwards going back I listened to gypsy and vapour trail and the rest of the songs in the soundtrack.
And then you're somewhere else, sitting crosslegged or straight (cross-legh-ed, not cross-legd. I remember when I used to say that. Rancid halls and dewy mornings and 10pm takeout and sunsets riding in buses and house parties and lamps given as presents and frisbee played. I remember everything perfectly like it wasn't meant to be remembered. Unblemished marks of imperfect memory imperfectly editing things out. In. Walking and running and finding the meaning of 'moonlight' at night walking back from scalded hands and vacuumed floors. Kicking pieces of ice in the winter and watching them shrink; learning things and eating chicken nuggets that make her allergic but didn't. By Q. feeding ducks. In G. watching people trickle by. I remember remembering to reminesce. Looking back on looking back.) listening to music. Guitar music. Perhaps in Harvard Square.
Afterwards reading what you wrote again you might realize that things don't work like that; that you can't explain things in tight paragraphs; things need to be double spaced both up and down but also sideways so you can chew each sentence carefully and separate each word delicately and taste each letter individually. Feel them tumble around in your mouth slowly. Tilt your head back and perhaps swallow it all in a large culmination of understanding. Or misunderstanding. Too many points to miss in a novel. Too much subtlety that's cruel in a poem. Could you pore over a paragraph forever? Analyze it to bits. Skim over it and miss the troughs of the wave. When do you stop? How do you know when to stop? How do you stop from flushing things down?