Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Life Kinesthetic

I am paralyzed. I am paralyzed. The first few times I spoke the words out loud they stuck in my throat, refusing to come out. The thought came with a shudder. I hardly even knew what they meant at the time. Even so, there is a visceral fear that comes along with the words. Some instinct buried deep down lets us know that it is a terrible thing. A loss unlike any other. Take my nose. Take my ears. Take my tongue. Take my eyes. Anything but this. What is this?

I wonder:

Up above, the sky is a dark canvas stretched taut from horizon to horizon. Thousands upon thousands of reluctant stars have been coaxed into the painting. Their tiny points of light join into great swathes, pure white, radiant, delicate. The thinnest of yellow lines streaks across the edge of vision, foretelling the coming goliath. Crashing waves of golden oblivion will soon sweep this moment into the past. In a word, in the only word, beautiful.

When we think of something beautiful, it is usually an image that comes to mind. If further pushed it may be a song. One that stirs our hearts. Even a smell or a taste can take us back to a beautiful memory. When I lost the ability to play my guitar, I knew I lost something beautiful. It was not the sounds that were made, lovely as they were. It was not the strings beneath my fingers. Are there even beautiful feelings? I walk back through my memories in search. Blades of grass pass under my feet. A warm summer rain comes down, the drops of water splashing against my body, soaking me to the bone. Soft lips brush against my own. They are all just sensations. It seems that beauty is a feeling to be invoked within us. What then have I lost? What is this hole in me?

Touch. I have lost touch. I have lost connection. We all want to touch and be touched. We all want to move, and create, and destroy. The world goes by in front of me, just behind the glass. I am the fish in the fish bowl.

I am paralyzed.

There are times when I look into the future. I see that I will never feel, beneath my fingers, the warmth of the woman that I love. In those moments, I feel so very lonely.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A note to the reader

Dear reader,
It has been nearly three months since my accident, and I have now moved out of the hospital. It has often been difficult to find moments where I have both the time and energy to blog. As a result, my blogs are still largely an expression of my first few weeks in rehab. Fear not, things do improve, moods and outlooks in particular.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Day The Music Died

The first reality I faced following my paralysis was the loss of mobility, the inability to rise from my bed, the steps I could not take, the lifeless body set in place of my own. I stumbled through the first week after being moved from the ICU to the rehab unit. As the initial shell shock subsided, my black world began to take on tones of blue. It is one thing to find yourself suddenly helpless and still, but it is quite another to realize that you can no longer do the things you love.

Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have played one instrument or another for 20 years now. First the piano, then the trumpet, and then finally the guitar. I enjoyed the first two, but in the last I found love, an instrument worth marrying after flirting with others that just did not make the cut. The courtship was tentative at first. I was inspired by a friend who played beautifully, and I wondered if I to could have a musical relationship capable of producing such results. Before I drive the metaphor any further, let's just say that the last six years have been fruitful. By the end I had gotten quite good, and was finally writing songs I was proud of. Although I have always sung to myself while playing, it was only recently that I gained the confidence to sing in front of other people. Somehow having my grandmother tell me I had a good voice had just not been enough, but a few drinks and a very encouraging karaoke crowd did the trick.

Over the weeks I have been watching my calluses fade. Long hours spent enthralled had toughened my fingertips, but now they are soft again. Writing songs has been an intimate experience for me. It starts as a primordial emotion, half formed and waiting. With fingers sliding smoothly over the strings, I search, I long, for the one note that will resonate within me. I am struck like a bell. A sigh carries the first words past my lips. Springing forth, music and lyrics emerge intertwined. Each is shaped by the other. It is a unique expression formed by the joining of a person and an instrument. It is an image of myself crystallized in song. I sink back into my chair, and my guitar slips from my fingers. We are spent, but the lines on the page tell the tale of our union.

In the rehab unit, I watch my calluses fade. In my room at home, my guitar gently weeps. Though we are apart, the words spill from me, a song half formed.

Such As It Is:

Pitiful thing, bent and broken
With last words already spoken
In your arms cradle my head
Love me, and put me to bed

Lived all the ways I know to live
I burned the candle at both ends
Can't breath through the pain, I suffocate
Love me, let me slip away

Sleep now sleep
Don't begrudge me
Sleep now sleep
And dream that I am whole

Sleep now sleep
No don't begrudge me
Sleep now sleep
Dream that I am whole

We were never meant to live this way
I need you now to be my strength
A man can't live in a cage
Love me, send me on my way

Can't even hold you in my arms
Can't play for you on my guitar
Can't put music to my words
Love me, I'll fly as a bird

Sleep now sleep
Don't begrudge me
Sleep now sleep
And dream that I am whole

Sleep now sleep
No don't begrudge me
Sleep now sleep
Dream that I am whole