I've taken to reciting the J-list from the Emily Dickinson Archive when I can't sleep. I share the cramped space in front of the kitchen window with my elderly cat, and I perform for the garbage bin pressed against the side of my building, sometimes for the white neighborhood cat who harbors one blue eye and one green eye. I'm interested in elaborate performance that goes undocumented, performance for the sake of centering and healing the self. My cat doesn't participate or listen. She's mastered sleeping with her eyes open this summer.
It took me a week to memorize all 74 words in the J-list. It took another few days to turn my recitation into a full-length performance (replete with costume and background music). And last night, last night I performed all 74 words in the J-list with silent Js. I discovered some beautiful marriages during last night's production. Jacob and Jamaica suddenly found themselves pruned down to Acob and Amaica. Jealousy and Jeopardy committed to a monogamous life partnership before my closed eyes: Ealousy and Eopardy laid bare, virgins again, but smarter this time. Uliet and Upiter (previously Juliet and Jupiter) departed our solar system for Erusalem (previously Jerusalem). They're never, ever coming back.
Earlier tonight, my friend Krystin gave me a maypop fruit. I'm still not sure if I'm supposed to eat its flesh or seeds (or both). I'm admittedly tired of relying on Google. Tonight's preemptive insomnia plan includes prying open this gorgeous green alien gift and plunging some part of it into my mouth and chewing, chewing in the name of rendering Emily Dickinson's J-list true. Depending on the severity of the maypop's taste, I may or may not swap out all Js for Ms.
How will Messamine (previously Jessamine) ascend then. Will Manuary (January) still Macket (Jacket) Mordan (Jordan) Moyously (Joyously). Will the wrath of which God's Mudgment (Judgment) reign a new variety of Mesus (Jesus) for me to Moin (Join) in a skin I can Mustify (Justify) as my own: the only real mustification I'm in search of anyway — why I must wear skin at all.