Mar 13, 2008

Poetry Friday Challenge: Fever

Seems the dis-ease is creeping round, making it's Captain Tripp's route around the blogosphere. I finally kicked mine with a trip to the doctor for a megadose of Azithromycin antibiotics and a really kick-ass 12-hour cough suppressant with hydrocodone that tastes like liquid Lemon Heads and works like being hit with a sledgehammer wrapped with a pillow. Now Mona's wee chillin' got it, have mercy on their little spirits and hers, so she'll be enduring the grief indirectly.

Hence the PFC word: Fever.

Fever. I had it. The first day, the last day, all the days inbetween. The chills, the unaccountable craving for warmth that simply wouldn't come, wouldn't last. The one thing I didn't have, the thing I don't miss, is fever dreams.

When I was a kid and fever would come visiting it's plague upon my temple I'd spike some pretty impressive temperatures in that way that only small children can. One moment I'd feel fine, perhaps a little scratchy in the throat, but the next moment I'd be reeling, trembling violently, temperature racing for those relegated to "at the bone" levels of readiness in meat and I'd be reclined on the couch, a cup of crushed ice at my side, wrapped in blankets to fend off the chills.

Invariably, it seemed, my mind would begin to play tricks, would warp reality around me like waves of heat coming off a distant road. There is a specific image that used to come back time and again, an image that so disturbed me that it would make my stomach turn. I've tried time and again in the past to draw that image with words, tried to make my mind call it back to full, sickening life in the confines of my mind's theater but I can never make it live, can never seem to shape it to that fever-sick sharpness. Every time I whip the curtains back on that small stage and throw the blinding lights of my attention on it, it is lessened, it is small and insignificant and powerless, struck dumb.

I wonder, when I lie in bed sick, trembling with the fever, what it would take to bring that image back to it's height of power? What dizzy pinnacle of fever would my brain require to reforge that stomach-turning image? If I could reach that point, if I saw that hell-spawned image in my mind again, if I could reach out with trembling fingers and touch the thing, cringe at the sensation I found there, what would I think of it, now that I am a man? Would it still have it's power over me, or would my adult mind see it for what it is, a shadow-play of sickness and fever, a puppet formed of smoke and mirror? Would I simply dismiss it, even though I labour in my state of dis-ease, or would I fall into it, head-first, revolted and shivering as always, powerless to look away, wanting to retch out the few teaspoonfuls of liquid left in my stomach?

I long to see it again, to vivisect it with all the strength of my adult's mind, with all the sharp tools that a love of surrealism has given me, for it is the most surreal thing in all my mind, but it hides now, seemingly for good. It lurks in my memories, a wasted shadow of itself, a pale and sickly child wandering the empty hospital halls of my memory, and my body heals it's ills and carries me back out into the sunshine.


Nancy Dancehall said...

Ga! What's the image, you tease!??!? Cthulu? The Color out of Space? What?? WHAT!?!?!?

Irrelephant said...

Why Nancy, did I leave something out? *blink blink*

Clowncar said...

First Dancehall leaves me hangin by not saying what's in the letter, and now you won't describe the monster! If I wanted vauge, unsatisfying endings I'd go read the New Yorker. :)

"my mind...would warp reality around me like waves of heat coming off a distant road" is a wonderful image.

Merelyme said...

you are a wonderful writer...i can feel your fever...i think it's catching. tell me more about your poetry friday does it work?

Irrelephant said...

CC, I PROMISE we didn't plan this together. There were no long nights at the coffee shop trying to decide how best to varnish the Poetry Friday world, and no furiously-torn-up bits of napkin with ideas on them.


I'm glad you liked that image--it's one that's been creeping up on me here of late with the promise of heat to come in the southlands. It's barely Spring and it's already in the low 80's. I turned a corner outside at work and felt a wall of hot wind rushing up upon me, a huge playful cat with heat in each paw.

Merelyme, I'm but a pawn in Mona's game! Every Thursday, usually by late afternoon Mona has posted The Word for us, and all we have to do is take up the gauntlet and write. Poetry isn't required, which is fortunate because I'm very far indeed from a poet but I CAN spin out quite a fair bit of doggrel, which I usually do. Others across the blogoverse do the same, each of us in tune to Mona's drum majoretting. *G* Do join us, please? It's an utter blast, it is!

Maggie said...

Ooh I loved this one. I would get fever dreams when I was little about things that were incredibly huge and/or extremely miniscule. Somehow it seemed so troubling at the time but sounds so silly now. As an adult I've had fever dreams that are more like nightmares from hell. But then I'm pretty good at nightmares.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I still have those fever dreams...while I'm awake. Maybe it's just the craziness?

As usual, m'dear, your words sing with this post!