This is a bad idea. Everything is a bad idea. Don’t bad ideas make the best stories?
I’m jumping in a car that died a couple days ago outside my work and resurrected itself into new life for just one more adventure. One more itch. One more plan. One more bad idea.
I love bad ideas. Bad ideas are the adrenaline that gets my heart pumping, the ichor that sustains my soul. Long car rides and elongated thoughts. Restless feet and weary hearts. Disposable cups and the scent of generations of sweat and grease caked into the cracks of weary vinyl booths at daybreak.
My body is knit together with the sinew of bad ideas. I tell myself one more but it’s a lie, and I know it. I’m willing to believe it the way we cling to our justifications, the way we wrap ourselves in excuses like blankets and bodies on cold winter nights. Bad ideas are the fire that keeps me warm, warmer than whiskey and more flammable than gasoline.
Oh, because bad ideas burn. They burn needles in my skin and leave patterns of ink in their wake. They burn the fingerprints of lovers into my blood, leaving whorls to rival tornados. They burn like lighters and the confetti of cigarette ash flicked out the window of a car going 85 through the mountain highways.
I am made of ash and fingerprints, ink and coffee cups. I am a Jenga tower waiting to crash (but go for the one at the base and hold your breath through the teetertotter of precarious blocks struggling to stay upright).
We fit together like puzzle pieces, we bad ideas and wombs of spontaneous recklessness. We are silly tattoos with no stories except that time we were broke on Friday the 13th and could get inked for the price of a calendar date. We are the yes when we should say no. We are the one AM walks through north Philly, cigarettes and stupidity buying us out of sex work without realizing it. We touch dawn from the side of darkness; the quiet of 3 AM is anything but peaceful.
This is a bad idea. Of course it is; aren’t they all? But bad ideas are the ones that feel, and feel good, in the way that only thrill and danger can make us feel alive. And we are alive, and never still, never stagnant, and if we fear what is innocuous, then we are never truly in danger.
Except for the times we are, but never in the ways we think. It is our hearts, the bloody, pounding core of our messy, tangled selves that risks the most. It is in those late nights when filters have long put themselves to sleep and we speak with more truth than we thought our movements could hold, when we feel split seconds of strength rising up in our bones and blurt out words and instinctively move in ways that are beyond thought. When we are real, we become more than an idea. And where ideas can be bad, real people rarely are.
I’m a bad idea but a good story. This is what I tell myself, over and over, until I feel the weight of the words calcify in my bones. I wrap my heart in the ribcage of bad ideas. I strengthen my spine with the weight of stories born from the nights of what happens if…?
People like me do not exist, but ideas like me do. I am an idea, and a bad one at that, the kind that tastes sharp and sweet and smoky. Lick me from your fingertips, morsels and tastes, suck the flavor of me from your skin until there is nothing of me left.
There is nothing to destroy here. I am the idea of heat and passion, the kind that burns deep into the night (I beg you, bury yourself deep in me; I am ravenous). I am gold light until the sun reaches its apex; red light in the slow decent into darkness.
I know the taste of a bad idea like a fix, a high, euphoric and explosive. It tastes like cheap coffee and expensive cigarettes, and the scent of A&D and medicinal soap. It smells like musk and heat and sex (god, I can almost smell it now). It smells like me and tastes like you, and sounds like stories told in retrospect and feels like the vibrations of this car that is going a little too fast down a highway I have no business driving down except sometimes, sometimes, I stop moving and start being beyond thoughts and words and bones and sinew; I sink into sensations and gasp at the poignancy of seeing and feeling and thinking and being. And it is here, in the stillness, the unpeacefulness and the darkness that rises up from a slow red burn, that the quietest parts of me hold hope.
This is a bad idea, which is to say, these are the places where I risk my heart.