Complaint 44.9

Song For Manufacturing 2
by Lucas Restivo

As a kid I would try to guess the exact moment the film blurring a Claritin commercial would peel, energizing the brief protagonist with a lonely neighbor’s zest, noticing open windows on a rainy day. On his way to get coffee, like a deforested forest wizard of flood insurance. He’s two steps towards a woman boasting about Veteran Acquisitions on the phone for hours. Wearing the loose branding of, “generally used,” he says, “it’s good to be alone,” having already forgotten the night before. In the apartment, he fills his water bottle at the sink, and when someone enters the kitchen for granola, he accidentally distances the closest person in his life with the unfocused tone of his voice. This shifts the urgency of finding purpose to making purpose, which he supposes is one form of growth.

* * *

The mind’s eye, grown as reliable as a weatherman when it really counts, pictures “public” as a rich ecology, like a tidepool. But out in the world like a popped blister, it’s hardly perceptible behind the schools of Leonardo DiCaprio misreadings, which still plague internal compasses by primetime with the hyper-matchmaking of a reliced game show host. The highway dreams of perpetual twenty-four year old girlfriends fork, and roadrashes only remind you who owns all the band-aid factories. Where the means cause the ends and the ends recause the means, ad infinitum. Loneliness as the first second tongue. The kind of host who kisses the contestants during introductions. The A+B=C of the soul. Fertilized to be impregnated by a fart.

* * *

This particular malignant birthmark appears as a tiny fourteen dollar vodka soda in the hand of every person you went to high school with in the same gastropub’s sponsored post. Eager brand signifiers, loud talkers, bashful sadists, basement dwellers who’ve molded into the walls, sidewalk salesmen, those who indict “promoter” / “fast-paced” / “team” / “family” / “self-starter” / “growth” into job descriptions, the pharmaceutical jesters, the box-truck drivers.

* * *

I read somewhere that the tragedy of our time is that any action or inaction can be understood with equal reprehension. So who is anyone to judge how loneliness oozes to the surface. And in the lime green dusk at the end of History, logic says responsibility is a scar on an old tailor’s hand. That if it’s strange to feel close and far from others, then you might as well do both and neither. And in Gary Vee’s downtown crystal castle, you can still find a deconstructed punk house on forever-Halloween. So he thinks he’d fall in love if he met anyone who claimed nothing, but in reality, he probably wouldn’t trust them. If he could only stop his heart and the whole world wasn’t the runoff of the world into the open mouth of what you shouldn’t detest. And if his jaw locks, he’ll have no choice but to eat. And if it’s finger-lickin’ good. And if it’s finger-lickin’ good—

Lucas Restivo is a writer from Massachusetts. His Instagram is not_lou_ and his Twitter is _Mr_Lou_.