I am trapped. My head is filled with echoes of an alien voice, calling out to me in six hundred different directions. My fingers are stiff, my muscles have forgotten their choreographed routine with which I’d rhythmically tap out sentences. How can I ease out the idea that’s congealed in my knuckles? I hold the pen fractions of a lifetime away from paper. I cannot connect the two, I cannot translate the gibberish cacophony in my brain into a coherent tune. I cannot write.

I lay my head to rest on a pillow of procrastination and dream of a tomorrow where I’ve made lists and checked them twice. I pull over my head a blanket of regrets, of promises made to an eight year old friend of mine who lived in my mirror. I wake up long after the morning is over and leave my bed unmade. I have got doing nothing boiled down to a routine. I cannot write.

How can I explain to you that I cannot move because I’m weighed down by several incomplete ideas? I dream of weaving tapestries of rich variety, with intricate details of many adventures with djinns and pirates in the neighborhood where I grew up. I wake up remembering only my fall from the magic carpet. Someone else slammed the brakes but only I slowed down. Now, I cannot write.

My books gather dust, and cobwebs of unfinished poems adorn the corners of my bookshelves. I begin a sentence in a fresh notebook gifted to me by a friend whose nose I hope to describe in all its sensory glory, but my ink has been dry since she set sail to foreign shores. I’m sorry, dearest friend. Of your sniffer and its powers, I cannot write.

I cannot write of him, whose letters I’ve long since burned. I know I can reach out and hold his hand in a land locked away from time, but I have forgotten the correct way to fall down the rabbit hole. I flew second to the right and straight on till morning, but I wound up right where I began. Later, I remember that I outgrew Neverland many moons ago.

I swallow coffee to rekindle the dying fires of my creative motivations. No fuel does the trick. Must I contact higher spirits? Must I breathe in the enchanted fumes of another man’s dried up imagination? My muse is locked in a cage of my own design. I gaze at his tattered frame through the bars. The key was his smile; his laughter freed us from our handcuffs. But he lies comatose in a shadowy corner, where no light can reach him. Or me. We cannot write.

I cannot express how I feel when I hear a blaring alarm jolt me awake into another dimension. I cannot talk of the knot in my stomach, the tangle of thorns I swallowed accidentally-on-purpose. How do I begin when I cannot see where I will end? The words are trapped in my throat and I spit them out in the wrong order. I fight and fight but I cannot write. I have thoughts and ideas and dreams and images in my mind but je ne peux pas écrire!

I look down at my toolbox. I’ve got 26 different devices to mend this problem. I pick all at once. A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy God of inspiration. An existential dread creeps up my skin and tattoos itself onto my fingers. The wounds are raw and I cannot write.

Six hundred and twenty three words to tell you that I have no words to offer. Six hundred and twenty three ways to say that I have absolutely nothing to say.

I cannot write.