July 26, 2016 | Rome, Italy | Sunny 31°C

20/100

By Christopher P. Winner
Published: 2016-07-23

Eye drop bottles don't look much like themselves.
E

yes are the windows to the soul until the latches age and rust. At which point nothing opens.

My eyes turned subversive about a year ago, as if seeking a break from so much picture taking — since eyes are little but cameras. Nerves rebelled and withered. A disease was diagnosed. Lasers were used. Beams of light were inserted into my dim caves as if to reinvent fire. So far they haven't worked.

In dreams, I remind myself of the Hubble Telescope, launched with a defective mirror that would later take a decade to fix in a less-than-pithy project called the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement.

Remarkably, Hubble took to its new lens and again began taking loquacious images of deep space dances. The great roving eye was saved.

The human eye is less robotic and far more fickle. It comes with mucous and layers and poltergeist and membranes.

It's a cowl of colored jelly with nerves, liquids and drainpipes that together regulate the ebb and flow of inner photographic tides. The eye is perhaps the body's most faithful servant, easily corrected when amiss, until it suddenly buckles from that servitude and serves at the behest of cloudy shamans.

Blurring itself is a form of magic, a language of its own, a perfect gibberish of accretions the wandering eye tries to sell its bewildered owner as a new if indistinct reality.

My revised inner landscape presents glowing scythe-shaped hourglasses and sizzling strands of medusa hair. Lit nooks have ink stains with wings and the veins of skeletal animals light up all manner of reptilian kin. My central and peripheral vision is a pastoral of surrealism. At night, trees double, then triple their branches. The woman I see on the screen, if she's a woman, melts until she has upper and lower halves. I try taking notes but I can't see the script my pencil makes, let alone its tip.

This state, this situation, this impairment — all of it will pass, or so I'm told. Though I may never entirely heal my two confused orbs will regain a sense of empirical purpose. They'll come back from their bender. They'll take a cue from the drugs and the drops and the allegedly helpful laser beams that have been melted and scorched into their essence. They'll stop being prima donna marbles made from goo and recover their more adroit photographic function — to please the court of medicine.

Maybe.

For now I live among the outlines of zigzagging antelope pushed uphill by floating ball bearings, a twist on Sisyphus, until the floating bearings melt into the mist and the antelope vanish, before the next picture show begins, my eyes entertaining an audience of one.

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AREA 51

Christopher P. Winner

Christopher P. Winner is editor and publisher of The American. His column appears weekly.

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