09/24/2021

Schuyler Dickson ~ Regis, Can You Hear Me When I Call?

I am the voice in the woods call­ing, all night call­ing as the dogs, cow­ards most­ly, foot­ed up to the fence line and warned. I am warn­ing, too. Go get a bet­ter job, I call. Buy a new car, I call.

You looked good in a blaz­er, etc.

During the day, I go home and sleep with the TV on. I dream in day-time talk shows. I imag­ine the world work­ing. In my dreams, I am Kelly Rippa. I sit on a stool before a mir­ror and con­sid­er my make­up. I con­sid­er myself.

At night, I stand in the woods and holler. You should start a YouTube chan­nel. You should start a podcast.

Nothing lives between dream and holler. I am in love with emp­ty spaces only.

At night, I scream, you should con­sid­er med­i­tat­ing. I scream, watch more self-improve­ment videos on YouTube. I scream, have you con­sid­ered a three-hour morn­ing rou­tine that pri­or­i­tizes your own self-care? I scream, if you are not improv­ing, what are you doing? What is the impli­ca­tion? What is not improving?

The answer is the uni­verse. I see it some­times in my dreams, in Kelly Rippa’s end­less pupils. The round lights burn­ing. All the cold­ness and all the warmth.

How often does she think about Regis?

How often do I think about my father?

My father built these woods. He want­ed to hear him­self echoed. Had he known, he could have stayed home. I would have been his screaming.

Your lack of income is going to ruin your fam­i­ly, I scream.

Why do I go on, I some­times think, until late one night I see you on your porch swing. To be tired and nev­er sleep is a gift. To be alone but for your own voice in the trees. The dogs have stopped bark­ing. Regis glows from above.

~

Schuyler Dickson is a farmer and writer in Mississippi. He has an MFA in cre­ative writ­ing from Northwestern and a BA in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. Recent or forth­com­ing fic­tion can be found in JMWW, Pithead Chapel, and oth­er places. His most recent book is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the late self-help guru Andy Evans. His web home is schuylerdickson.com.