David Carradine

I need to buy some time.


Two weeks ago, it was mania. Felt good to be cleaning again. Calculation is better than thought.

Last week, I could feel the machine starting to wind down. The things that needing cleaning kept multiplying. Every face and surface was blurry. Looking away evokes shame, an interesting sensation.

My big sister called and begged me to come home. She doesn’t understand germs, or the concept of social distancing, or why it is that I can’t come take care of her. All I could think to say is that the planes don’t work right now. Promise you’ll never forget me, she said. She cried because promises aren’t good enough. People think she doesn’t know anything but she knows that.

My younger sister, who is taking care of our big sister, called and explained to me the plot of the post-apocalyptic video game Death Stranding, in which people can’t go outside without risking fatal rain. Isolated and trapped indoors, they crave human touch (Dahlia taught me the term “skin hunger,” back in Oakland) as much as they fear it.

This week feels like being stuffed in a shoebox with cotton balls and packing peanuts, or like a sweaty, interminable afternoon nap. I talk to my sisters every day. My big sister needs promises. I worry about the hell of not understanding time—a day and a week and a year are the same to her. I worry about her health. I think about when we were in a car accident and the firefighters thought that her behavior meant she was in shock, had a spinal injury. They wanted to take her away, I didn’t know where. No, I said. No, she’s disabled, she’s just like that. They advanced, not listening. No, it’s okay, that’s normal for her. They held out the neck brace. She’s r*******, okay? I screamed. They backed off.

This week, dreams went away. I don’t like being angry, but who does? The West Wing has gone back all the way through nostalgia and become something else, a useless referent. Now it’s just smug. We watch Tiger King instead.

One time, someone told me that David Carradine, who I know almost nothing about, said that those who can't write poems should become them. I can’t decide if that’s the corniest thing I’ve ever heard or if it’s kind of cool.