Alexis Allen

There is a point where the words don't quite freeze in your throat, but they sputter and lurch and come out foul, like I have aged and rusted and can no longer even start without paying a tax. Nothing is wrong, aside from everything. Just the usual, portents and nightmares on the news, the Earth turning on us, the depravity of desperate men, the invisible plague. In the beginning, I was useful, because I had words that gave comfort, and words that gave form. When did the beginning end? I'm not sure.

As someone who spent much of her life seeking out history as recreation, the experience of living it is as bad as I thought. I didn't realize how surreal it would be. I dreamt last night of having a conversation with my boss, where I asked him: "what is the kind of problem that I would be best at solving?" He didn't answer, though, largely because I was stunned by the question. I put the dream on pause, I think. He continued to gaze at me, real, placid, while I admired the hell out of that problem: the asking, the ambiguity of an unknown answer. Who would ask themselves what they're for? Did I think I'd know? Hindus say that a person is but an eye watching an eye.

How long can you stay paused before the tape breaks. I daydream about the Grand Canyon, where I have never been. I imagine it is hot and blindingly bright, with strange birds and lizards instead of squirrels. I read that there are stones there formed before life existed on the earth. I dream about the hot sun on my arm resting on the open window of my driver's seat, the strange comfort of moving hot air (it's a dry heat, y'know) and boring road with insipid and often offensive billboards. Stopping at a campy "general store" full of plastic ram skulls and crappy t-shirts that say "Arizona" and knock off native textiles. Arriving at a soulless, carefully refrigerated hotel with an included cardboard breakfast buffet. Meeting a group of strangers in the lobby to venture like a pack of lemmings behind a tour guide who points out where something happened in 1903. Reading a plaque about what Teddy Roosevelt famously said, keeping a wary eye on the unmasked, a wary eye on the cliff's edge.

I'm just a hedgehog, standing in front of a hedgehog, wanting to be loved.

This is the life of Alexis Allen. Hello. © 2021, please get your god damned hands off me.