Monday, November 16, 2009

My Bloody Old Innards

Have you ever stopped to think about what you really are?

I mean – really really are.

Is not the human torso essentially an upright basket of bones, the puffing chest of Charles Atlas and The Tasmanian Devil alike, cradling approximately fifty pounds of gelatin mass, the litany of vitals to which we ascribe so much import – the heart, the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, the pancreas, the stomach, the intestines, the colon – the fruits grown from the stem cell, the living goods we carry with us throughout our days?

Have you ever consider what happens to this jumble of organs, when you are running, or jumping in place, or standing on your head?
     It doesn’t just stay in place, packed as tightly as expensive china, rather it must move. And as it moves it must settle, bits and parts shoving and pushing into one another, the glob rocking as one, wet and sticky within its vitality, the god of the human cavity, the assembled mystery of life, the center of the machine – the bottom bracket, the pedals, the cranks, the down tube – the primary source of motion, the very cycle of life.

It’s surprising we can’t hear it, that regular sloshing and squelching, the bushel of soft tomatoes carried down the road, singing its working song, that old tale of the liver drinking himself away, of arteries running blue, of the lung who fell in love with the heart, of the kidneys boasting in the drawing room – the stomach calling it quits, a rupture in the quiet – the Michelin Man blowing a tire.

Too I wonder what transpires down there in the great unacquainted, when we pour in the hot sauce and the chili and the peppers. What violent encounter sends pain climbing, to the very tip of our tongue? What intestinal fury sheds tears, breaks blood vessels – leaving a red face hanging in the air, the arms and legs beneath it going mad like broken pendulums, setting the shadow of a dancing spider on the kitchen floor – Freddie Kreuger drying his nails?

To this constant companion I raise a toast, this damp autumn night, my bare feet caressing the wooden floor, my eyes growing heavy with a longing to dream, my skin as delicate as rice paper, stroked by the soft breath of an overhead fan.

God bless my bloody old innards, I must think, each and every one!