Did you know a specific area of your brain determines your desire for liquids? Regulates your thirst? I did, but didn't if you know what I mean. To be more accurate I assumed that it was controlled by some mechanism, some innate bodily function that couldn't be seen unless the coverings of a live human brain were peeled back or a human body given to science was dissected.
one day I stopped and gave it some serious thought.
was a phrenology head that did it: a porcelain bust with bold words
printed on it, whose appearance seemed both solid and delusory so
that I instantly reached out to cup its smooth temples with my warmer
palms and traced the slight rise of each localised function with my
investigative fingers. In doing so my fingertips tripped across those
three bumpy words just in front of the left ear: Desire
What did I desire? Not liquids. At times I feel I've negated it;
become unable to feel normal thirst, switched off that programmed
response: the one that keeps you alive. Other times, my throat feels
so dry nothing will quench it, not even if I swallow the equivalent
of a small stream or river. I could drink a substantial portion of
the Thames and report no difference; my throat would still be a
funnel of sand-paper. But should water, a natural source be sipped or
gulped? Savoured like a fine wine or rapidly quaffed as if you were
putting out a fierce fire? With me, it always seem to slosh around.
Makes my insides loudly gurgle and visibly move like a human lying on
a water bed. I am that bed – I wobble jelly-like. Wibble-wobble.
tummy talks as if a plug's been pulled and the water's disappearing
down a drain. Where it goes I know not for I don't seem to pee an
awful lot. Where does it go to? I wonder. What kind of fire is it
putting out? The liquid inside squelches and squishes, belches and
bubbles like an internal tide or roiling water in a cooking pot. I
sometimes wonder if there's a lifeboat surveying this tempestuous
tide to aid any skiffs should trouble arise, or if there's a guide as
to when to add solids to the frothy mix. Nourishment plunges down the
narrow canal like rocks crumbling off a cliff and adheres to my
stomach lining, eddying the current, but if lighter they float like
an iceberg, their true size and shape concealed beneath the tumbling
a churning might commence as if a storm's whipping up and or as if a
cradle's being pushed to and fro. A seasick lullaby. One belligerent,
the other with a more placid rage. The wash of this internal sea
shifting debris and killing desire.
the cavern of my mouth remains inflamed, the moisture sucked out as
if it has been dried under a hot baking sun. My tongue, a shrivelled
island, curiously prods this sore, rippled roof and in the surrounds
tries to find a tooth-pool. Tightly compact, there are no fissures;
no undiscovered place to dip my tongue. The sides of my jaw contract
in a desperate attempt to reason with my shrunken gums: Secrete
saliva! There is none.
caused this outcome? Confused the trigger that tells me when to drink
and when to abstain? Somehow suppressed the natural urge, concerned
that it would lead to sugary pop and hard liquor; only allowed its
voice to be heard if it cries for herbal tea for that shows no sign
of abating. Rehydration lower in my estimation than the soothing
pleasure of tea.
in hot weather I guzzle lime and soda being quite unable to police
the sudden craving; finding the syrupy lime as intoxicating as nectar
but the refreshment fleeting. Still, it's a steep ascent to a place
where I'm ruled by effervescent sweetness, and the come-down can be
should my liquid state concern me or you for that matter? Because if
you think long and hard enough, it opens up a whole other debate
about desire: how to gage when it's safe to give in and when to
Picture Credit: Breakfast at Malibu, Wednesday 1989 by David Hockney