The itsy-bitsy spider crawled up my amygdala. It rooted around, shooting things up at random with venom, making a real goddam scene.
The storms are always coming. It is a function of the climate. No longer the dominant feature, they are still a major player. Still required reading.
The spider flicks one of its specially adapted fanged forelimbs and nothing I’ve ever done has meaning anymore. I’m swept at the speed of sound across a whooshing vacuum of all my failures, the ways I am inadequate and insignificant.
Yes, the spider thinks, let it all fall in. She holds out her web and your face, ages 4-17 falls in. She shakes out the way you felt when your dad said not to bother coming to the funeral. She’s already holding so many things.
But you can’t have this, you think, and then she takes it. You’re not in a happy relationship, you just told me about it, she says. She spins a thousand yards of silk around it, never breaking contact between you and any of her eyes. But you can’t – stupid, stupid, she thinks.
You cannot call an exterminator. Your best bet is to try and starve her out. You can do this by remaining completely motionless and thinking of nothing, nothing at all.
Thinking at all is the most dangerous thing. Or narrating, perhaps we should say. If she can hear what you’re thinking, then she can take it. She can take it off with her and leave it forever unclean.
For there is the uncanny knowing. That she has been everywhere. If you can touch it with your tongue or brush up against it in the past, she has been there. She has shed little barbs to scare off her inferiors. They catch and snag and drag you as you go.
Sometimes she is your pet, and sometimes you hers. No. That’s not the case. It is an elegant thought, but it is untrue. It involves willfully misreading her motivations. She is never acting on your behalf or in your best interest.
Hold. Just grab onto something and don’t look her in the eyessss. Do not stop to ponder her manner of dress, or the gown that she is stoning. Do not reflect in perfect stillness on the nature of the emeralds that catch the light of her working fires in your bloodshot, jagged eyes. Do not consider the rubies, each still warm, trailing from your neck to her chelicerae. You are not safe. She is never not eating you.
That’s it. Remain completely still and think of nothing, absolutely nothing. She can hear the proto-thought just starting to form shining back from the clock face like twinkling lights, just starting to warm up your spine.
You’ve got to give it up. I’m sorry, you do. You can’t hold the thought and fight her, too. You have to let it go. And that one. And that one.
No, you cannot think of your favorite song. You cannot think about how good you feel. Idem prom, jacking off, black-hole geometry, books you haven’t finished, your own mother, boss, or friends. Each in turn at any time spontaneously becomes a red-hot slash, a glowing illicit streak of fire blowing out your neck.
Remain perfectly still and think of nothing. Remain perfectly still and think of nothing. When you are done reading this, forever more, remain perfectly still and think of nothing.
You can look at spiders, though. The real ones, on the walls. You’re not…scared of them anymore. But you don’t want to fuck with them. You respect them in a standoffish kind of way. And sometimes just thinking about how you’re not killing them gives you a little respite.