‘My head was vast’, I wrote, ‘my head was vast beyond imagining.’ I was off to a good start so I continued.
‘My head was stupendously vast, too heavy by far for my shoulders, but at the same time it was rotten, corrupted to the core, coming apart at the seams, coming apart along a thousand different fault lines…’
‘My head was unnaturally large but also hollow,’ I wrote again, after a long thoughtful pause, ‘…and full of sad and lonesome echoes.’
Then I realised that had written all of this before. I had written all of this 10,000 times before. I was treading old ground, imagining as I did so that I was breaking into new territory. I was repeating the same old stuff over and over again in the vain attempt to say something new, in the vain attempt to say something real.
Do you know that thing when something isn’t funny anymore but your friend won’t shut up and you’re thinking ‘okay you ugly fuck that isn’t funny anymore’ but your friend keeps on with it and on with it like a moron and you long more than anything else in the world to land your fist in the middle of his grinning fool’s face with as much force as you can possibly muster and see how he likes that, see what he has to say about that. Only you don’t, you keep it all bottled up inside, the way same way you always do. The same way you always do.
My head was crumbling softly – it had gotten too big. It had become like soft crumbly cheese. Like a big soft crumbly cheese. The whole world was my head and the whole world is made of cheese. That’s why they used to call me big cheesy head and then laugh at me, I realised dimly. I never realised that before. It had taken me up to now to realise it.
My arms had become like lengths of string dangling uselessly by my sides as I walked. I tried to reach out and take hold of things but I couldn’t – my arms were too weak, too feeble. They hung by my sides like twin lengths of cotton thread blown this way and that by the breeze. I’ve become so weak, I realised. My body was like smoke blowing here and there. I have become so weak, I realised. How did I become so weak? How would I let this happen to me? I was so weak that my arms and legs could only move when the wind made them move. I could only think when the wind blew my thoughts along. My thoughts were smoke too.
This story that I now relate to you is nothing but smoke. Pay heed to this little bit of smoke, if you will – notice the way in which it drifts along – a portion of it wafting this way, another portion wafting the other. Other portions fade away entirely lacking even the cohesion needed to stay bound together. This story and the one who is telling it are indistinguishable – it’s impossible to see where the one begins and the other ends. ‘I’m Smokey Joe’, I thought then, ‘just call me Smokey Joe…’
Whatever thoughts came into my head straightaway became reality for me, in a smoky sort of way. Whatever place I thought of, that was where I went. Only none these thoughts were cheerful ones. None of them were good. None of my thoughts meant anything, none of them had any joy in them. My story was a disappointment to everyone, I realized. Particularly so to me…