Headphones cushion my face my wishful antennae into those planets that swirl beneath gods unreachable chin. Cushion. The bufferzone and noise canceller. My headphones are cracking, the padding’s been battered around in my bag because I am not to be without them. Giant things that strangle me if I rest them around my neck.
My headphones give the shape and weight to my worlds. I’ve begun to notice the chickenskin wrinkling of my hands and I am still sporting my giant DJ headphones. My knees creak in the morning, my back a cratered lava mass, a hot throb, my eyes loom large within the folds of my leaf-veins. I wear headphones: grocery store, library, bus, bus stops, Peet’s before my shift starts–thank Goddess that rigamarole is now extinct and good riddance–anytime I’m bothered by the noise I flip them out, like spy gear, the long fat cord gets elastic tangled in books, water bottle, whatever else is lurking in my bag. The loop of the cord sometimes snags on bus seats and stretches rubberband-like before snapping back like the switches of saplings that pinked my childhood thighs.
Headphones: we block each other out, other out, other out of my face! My space! My head! Creating boundaries of sound barrier, the Puget Sound or barrier reef, who is the thief, who is the thief. We walk in silent shuffle, cancelling the need for headphones, programming our environments, our INDIVIDUAL environments, shutting one another out, this is sauerkraut, bitter cabbage, the rabbits twitch ears in the fields, the news is spreading.
I am afraid of the degree of disconnect. I have been growing in sensitivity: smells, sounds, textures. Saw my healer she said it’s fine to use headphones to shield but I feel guilty. Isn’t that blocking out the world, feeding the disconnect. Shaken by what I see parents and children with their own sets of headphones, their own cellphones, together but separate, everyone otherwise engaged, everyone separate together now pull apart the strands clinical, sterilize.
How can I talk on the bus and street when I’m barricading myself. The quarantine of machinery, gadgets get smaller and more compact while grander and farther-reaching and these things worry me.