Does this mean anything to you? Does it seem like an insane query?
I’ve loved and suffered enough beauty and brutality, been stripped bare enough, been far enough out in wild country, to feel the howl living in me.
But I live in a basement with a thin ceiling that is the floor of the house for two studious, sensitive girls. I acquire food in a grocery store. I work out in a gym.
When I’m home and reading about things like this, or that, or the other thing; when I’m sitting there writing about pain and hope; when I drain the glass and remember the wonder and terror, I feel the howl living in me. It stirs in my belly, it reaches a paw up into my throat, my mouth longs to open. But there is a stentorian guard controlling the drawbridge and he locks the jaw down tight. What are you thinking, man, he asks, and visions of terrified over dwellers calling the police are played out, and the animal stills.
I remember a time when food was wild first. When to feed meant to search, to listen, to smell, to run, to take aim and let want and gratitude merge and fly, to kneel on ground with hands of dirt, hands of blood, giving prayers of thanks to a deity that lived in the dying form of animal or plant.
I push my cart, I jostle with crowds, I stare at rows of boxes, I pick up plastic containers and my fingers curl, I imagine fingernails growing, and again that animal stirs. But the guard is ever vigilant and shows a film of a man gone insane on Aisle 3, ripping open boxes, Lucky Charms stuck to his face, the floor a mess of high fiber and sugary goodness. So I plod on, standing in line, sliding plastic, beeps and bells and I join the dull throng carrying these dead morsels home.
I’m curling iron! I stand in front of a mirror, sweating, flushed, my muscles bulging. I drank a protein shake before I came, I’m going to drink Creatine Surge afterward. There are sexy people all over the place. My muscles bulging, I want to howl and throw down the iron and pound my chest in a display of virility. But instead I count silently to twelve, put the weight back in the right spot on the rack, and go sit in the sauna with the old men reading the paper.