I’ve cut the word SICK, and any of its synonyms, from my vocabulary.
I skim the index of the book The Falling Sickness and find that in maroon marker, I've underlined several entries. TEMPERAMENT. Today my temperament is _____. If there is one thing I wouldn't call you it's hemmed in. Hemmed. Writing is a wonderful skill to have. The squirrel tried to get into the house. The brain malfunctioned because of writing. Or, because something was trying to get in or out. Or, I'm writing because of the brain malfunction which impacts my TEMPERAMENT. I've already forgotten that I'm not using the word SICK or any of its synonyms. I hope this will allow for a broader view of the condition.
A seizure (an event) can happen at any time. The neurologist: Your personality, your short term memory, will start to be impacted. We want you to be with us for at least five more decades.
In the above sentence, what is meant by “us” is “the world.” I could reword the sentence: We want you to be in the world for at least another five more decades. Or: We want you to be alive for the next…Or: We don’t want you to die. Even: The world doesn’t want you to die.
There is always a risk of death. It is generally assumed that when you have a disease, your risk of death is higher. Strange sounds can come out of the throat during an event (a seizure) because the throat constricts.
Galen, a philosopher and a physician, thought that there was no distinction between the mental and the physical. He believed that bleeding from the arm or thigh would help the condition. The patient should agree to live a temperate life afterwards. (No excessive eating or drinking). He died in 200 or 216 AD.
What are the hidden causes of disease? We still haven't a cure. What is at stake in the art? Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile, while I am interested in ancient healing modalities, I am declining to be bled. She walks, she rests, she takes a bath. In the evening she walks, she rests, she takes a bath. She takes vinegar and honey. She covers her body in oil. Where is my phlegmatic humor? My consistency of pronoun? Where is my stability, collection, coolness? My notes keep going like this. There are points of logic that you can follow. Then, it falls off. When to follow logic to its end? When is there an end and when/how do you know it is successful? First, define success.
If I have no more events, will I be successful? If I tend towards phlegmatic humors and rationality. If instead of taking pleasure in the dropping off of logic, I keep going with rigor and muscle? If I read The New York Times each day of the week and The Star-Ledger on the weekends when I visit my parents in New Jersey?
If my mind is less bicameral, if everyone in my family is healthy, if I create no more waste, if I never eat processed sugar again, if I check my email only from my computer and only twice a day. If I give everyone in my life equal attention. If I work harder for the people who employ me. If I self-promote.
I’ve cut the word sick, and any of its synonyms, from my vocabulary. My temperament could be described as cool. In the morning I take exercise, eat fresh foods, and bathe. In the evening I take a walk, cover my body in oil, and rest.
The word sick and its synonyms arise frequently in my everyday speech. My temperament could be described as hot. In the morning I do not exercise, eat dull foods, and rarely bathe. In the evenings I am mostly sedentary, pay little attention to my body, and only sometimes rest.
I read a study that said if you eat less, you live longer. Your digestive system does less work. Many people refute this. Or, as is the case with cleanses, your body has time and energy to do other things. There is more energy for healing and reparation. The mind never falls away from the body. And, so, the mind feels better too. The mind cools off.
Hotheaded, stormy, experiencing a fall.
Paramedics (I was told)
Lifeguard (I was told)
Ex-boyfriend, current at the time (I remember and I was told)
My mother (I was told)
A neighbor (I was told)
My roommate (I was told)
I knocked over a lamp and the glass shade shattered. Some hours later, the doctor pulled from my heel a chunk of glass the size of a dime. It felt good. An excess removed.
If the energy is spread evenly throughout the body, the breath can move easily. The comfort is greater.
A seizure, an event.
In the human, we don’t have easy access to the brain.
Hans Berger developed the electroencephalogram (EEG). A man in a lecture hall draws a side view of the brain. He describes electrodes and the surface of the brain. I won’t describe it here. The activity can be chaotic. A tracing across the surface of a piece of paper. The electrodes sit on the scalp but they record activity within the brain which is a few centimeters away.
What is the reason? What is the reason? He is now drawing, in chalk, a magnified part of the brain. Here is where the cerebral cortex is. This is obviously drawn way out of scale. The neurons have polarity. Negative and positively charged. Roughly at the same time. He says that this is a key concept. Now he is drawing the electrical activity — spikes. This represents the large groups of neurons firing together — hyper-excitable AND hyper-synchronized. An electrical event begins.
When a social event happens, I don’t want to go. I say no to the vast majority of events.
I can put it off until tomorrow. I can work from home. I can make a plan for consistency. A different kind of synchronization. The “general population.”
To end the event, press here. To prevent it, press here. To dislodge the sickness, release trauma, fear, clenching in the body-mind. The event is happening. I cry in the doctor’s office. It’s Tuesday.
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provide some answers
recorded locatable un
might you remember your name
in a few moments
hidden info grey
a current of the
of hiding and what
that might mean
for what we clear
jar filling with
the docs seem machine drawn
map of the Mississippi
map of the brain
map of the Atlantic
map of the arc of electricity
map the program
away volts occurs
even so other charges flow of
E of excess energy (+)
objects coating words
nodes larger than animals
positive very sugar
naturally electricity coating objects
wordchoices phlegm industry
and variously gentler
mass of such a brain
such waves weighing nothing
and universal law
specific deliveries o
10 Hz frequency
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | The lines do not match up. The lines are moving quickly here, now slower. The lines are high up on the screen. The lines are bold. The lines are increasing their frequency as if on their own. As if in space. As if traveling. The lines disappear as they arrive. Some brains might be happiest in transit. Some brains might be happiest in the country. I’m taking the people around me, with me, on this up-down-up-down thing. The lines keep going, the lines.
Emmalea Russo is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn. She is the author of several chapbooks, most recently in collaboration with Michael Newton, Eternal Apprentice (DoubleCross Press, 2016). She is a member of the Ugly Duckling Presse editorial collective and her book, G, is forthcoming from Futurepoem. Currently, she is in residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace program.
Photograph by Christie MacLean