Self Portrait As Naked Man Taking A Bath

It’s pissing down outside, and I’m soaking wet. Drenched, my clothes are sticking to my flesh; it’s the worst feeling outside of having pissed myself, but I’ve no energy to do anything about it. Instead, I spend several minutes looking at droplets of rain winding down the window in their abstract manner. Deciding to run a bath, I strip naked and go into the bathroom. Turning on the taps, I weigh myself and am pleased to find I’ve put on some weight. My beard makes me look a bit fuller too. It also makes me look like a tramp, but I’m refraining from shaving it off. It marks a turn in attitude for me. Whenever I grow my beard, it signals that I’m achieving a certain amount of pleasure in my artistic endeavors. Writing and daydreaming offer me little time to waste on the act of shaving. People who are regularly clean shaven should be regarded with suspicion. As should vegetarians and people who don’t drink. While the bath’s running, I scoop up my wet clothes and throw them in the linen basket. Moving into the back room, I stand there looking out into the garden. Underneath the birdbath are the remains of my old dog Monty. A best friend for over twelve childhood years, it saddens me to think he’s been dead for just as long now. Feeling weary as I picture the times we had together, I move away from the window and into the bathroom again. Submerging myself, I lay there boiling like a lobster with my eyes closed listening to the rain. There are so many things that need to be said, but I find it’s better off just keeping quiet. To try is to incur hassle and bother, and I’m too old for such things. I should let all my worries dissolve, like the dulling ache in my bones, but then I remember the time I found a lump on my testicle and the subsequent events that followed. Cursing such obtrusive thoughts, I get out and dry myself. Sat on the bed a few minutes later, I think of how nice it would be to have a smoke and a glass of beer. To get drunk and forget about stuff, to lose myself in the night. Closing my eyes, I see the flashing lights of town; of streets alive with cheap dreams and insects. Smiling as memories of drunken sex flicker from far away, I succumb to carnal desires, but all it does is leave me feeling empty. On the verge of falling asleep, I think of the one I’ve tried blocking out. She brings me pain, but when I’m between states, her eyes take me to a place beyond the realms of what I know. Only that’s not true. I know the place all too well.

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