Friday, October 22, 2010

baby blue sedan

I’ve been (barely) living, slow like clock hands during the final stretch; a hiccup in time. Currently spending all of my time staring at maps, measuring the distance, the difference, praying my feet will find solid ground before momentum knocks me completely down, writing, you, writing you. West coast weather, southern boys, yawning, staying awake all night. Forgetting what it’s like to not be anxious or to not miss someone or to not be so tired all of the time. Life is pretty funny sometimes. More often than most people want to realize, I think. Some people just don’t get its sense of humor, that’s how I see it. Because it’s not always “haha” funny, it’s not always “keeling over on the bookstore floor ‘til your eyelashes are glistening with tears” funny. Sometimes it’s “walking all night in the rain with a broken flashlight and a broken heart and sleeping on the front porch till the morning comes to wake you up” funny. Sometimes it’s a series of ironic somethings that have you feeling like the universe is playing pranks on you. Currently wishing I was doing anything but wasting all of this time wondering. Currently letting my tongue roll the ‘r’ in risky like it doesn’t terrify me. Currently, Baby Blue Sedan, I am doing the best that I can.

hot and cold ghosts

all of the things i’ve got aren’t quite what they once were. have you ever swam in the mississippi before? have you ever bought strawberry preserves from a great white porch off the side of the road? have you ever counted the stars that make up the little dipper on the shore of the gulf of mexico? have you ever stolen walnuts from your neighbors tree in november when the leaves are warm and gold? sometimes i opened my eyes to yours being full of smoke, to fevers and rivers and secrets i’ve never told. i used to know a boy that called me darlin. we ate sweet potato fries in the back of your pick-up with all of the dreamy static stuck between us and a cigarette pressed against your lips when you told me “c’mere baby.” and i kept thinking “bury me here in your backseat, bury me here in the sweet tasting autumn heat, bury me in the backyard underneath the leaves and let the stars build a grave out of me, bury me in a place where it’s safe to stay for a little while longer and no one will ever have to know” i forget most of it now. i forget a lot of things. but sometimes i can still hear your always slightly out of tune guitar strings. the way your wild blue eyes cut everything they saw into quarters. i figured one day i’d be replaced by a pack of cigarettes, a fifth of vodka, another girl in your passenger seat, and those nights that’ll keep secrets better than any of your friends. but you caught me sunstruck and right where you wanted me. you caught me watching from the cracks of your broken windows, you caught me hiding where i was smiling into your sheets when you told me stories about achilles regretting everything and how you used to think that the red spots you saw when you closed your eyes were souls trapped between this life and whatever was waiting for us on the other side. remember that tuesday in summer when a boy died driving home one night? i was quiet for days. i kept wondering what he saw right before he passed. i always think about those kind of things. about how maybe the end is just across the bed spread. i forget what day it was or what shirt you were wearing or what i had said. but i remember it was four in the afternoon and i loved you. that’s when you asked me if i was ready to leave and never look back. “alls you gotta do is get in the truck, darlin.”

I'm just a vessel waiting to be filled

All quotes from Story People

Whatever you do, she said, don't wait too long or you'll have to start from the very beginning & those new bodies are always kind of a crapshoot.

I've read a lot of books, so I know bunches of stuff that sounds like it could be true.

The surprising thing is that a beehive hairdo in marble is not that much heavier than the real thing.

I'm just a vessel waiting to be filled, she said as long as it mixes well with the stuff already in here

He wouldn't eat lobster the first time. He said it looked too dangerous & he couldn't be sure it wasn't watching from the astral plane or wherever lobsters went when they tired of being food items.

I can imagine it working out perfectly, I said. I can't, she said & I said no wonder you're so stressed.

I will stop complaining when I'm dead, she said, so I got out my day planner & told her I'd love to pencil that in

Getting as comfortable as possible in the moments before she has to be anxious again

This is a story that usually I write in white ink, but most people miss it & start to read too much into it & think it says something about life they couldn't figure out themselves. So, now I write only with stuff people can read & say things as clearly as I can. Like this: don't believe anyone who writes with white ink on white paper. They have too much to hide.

frustrated because it's going too fast to see but if you could see it, it wouldn't make any sense because you'd be looking too close

I know I don't go to church as often as I should, she said, but I still wear pantyhose & that should count for something.

secure in the knowledge that it's hard to ruin mashed potatoes

How do you know? she said & the answers fell like feathers, or the first snowflakes of November, Light & without words I looked in her eyes & smiled. You just know, I said.

I was going to live simply & give away all my money to the poor, she said, until I figured out then I'd be poor, so the simple thing was just to keep it. I like it when things make sense like that, she added.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

white noise

you are fucking up. there are rules to this. you do not get caught up. you do not knot things around yourself. this is what happens when you do. don’t ever fucking do this again. you have to keep yourself at a safe distance. because there are no priorities, there are only options. you do not open these kinds of doors because they will always close behind you. that means that both the danger and the excitement exist on the peripheral. that makes the doses small, but it also keeps the ball in your court. this is the only way the game can be played. you have to cut out all of the factors which could gather between you and what you want. this is the way these things work. and what you want can never, at any time, be more valuable to you than what you already have. it can only be some glimmering possibility on the side that you will either take without ever needing or easily shrug off without ever regretting. this is the way it works. these are the rules. and nobody else will ever understand them the same way as you. but this is the only way.

on letting go.

Winter found my bones early this year. I’ve been shivering for a week straight, standing on my front porch wishing the sun would light a fire under my skin and make me warm again. I didn’t think I would cry this much, but every morning the salt clinging to my eyelashes greets the day, and I am trying so hard to just wipe it away. We agreed on this: goodbye. But my body’s got a memory that my muscles keep and there are places where you plucked the rocks out of me. They found their way back and now I’m heavy with all the weight I learned to love without. My fingers don’t want to uncurl themselves from the promises we tucked under each other’s loose edges, the places I let you pick apart with your quiet Latin fire—the parts of me you pried upwards. I wanted to keep us safe, close at hand and unchanging, but you’re not mine. I wrapped my winter heart up inside your summer bones and found a home; now I’m cold. Crying into the bend of my elbow like the world won’t know and I can trick sleep into finding me, I was wrong. You were wronged. And I will miss you at my right hand, the gaps you filled, the months you spent, the parts of me I let you keep. I said “my heart is breaking, Bird” and you stuttered something chaotic but beautiful, like bird wings, fluttering.

Gravity was a form of nostalgia.

All quotes by author Lorrie Moore

"I count too heavily on birthdays, though I know I shouldn't. Inevitably I begin to assess my life by them, figure out how I'm doing by how many people remember; it's like the old fantasy of attending your own funeral: You get to see who your friends are, get to see who shows up."

"I missed him. Love, I realized, was something your spine memorized. There was nothing you could do about that."

"When she packed up to leave, she knew that she was saying goodbye to something important, which was not that bad, in a way, because it meant that at least you had said hello to it to begin with..."
--'Birds of America: Stories'

"She was not good on the phone. She needed the face, the pattern of eyes, nose, trembling mouth... People talking were meant to look at a face, the disastrous cupcake of it, the hide-and-seek of the heart dashing across. With a phone, you said words, but you never watched them go in. You saw them off at the airport but never knew whether there was anyone there to greet them when they got off the plane. "
--'Like Life'

"I was too fresh from childhood. Subconsciously, my deepest brain still a cupboard of fairy tales, I suppose I believed that if pretty woman was no longer pretty she had done something to deserve it. I had a young girl's belief that this kind of negative aging would never come to me. Death would come to me - I knew this from reading British poetry. But the drying, hunching, blanching, hobbling, fading, fattening, thinning, slowing? I would just not let that happen to moi."

"I tried not to think about my life. I did not have any good solid plans for it long-term - not bad plans either, no plans at all - and the lostness of that, compared with the clear ambitions of my friends (marriage, children, law school), sometimes shamed me. Other times in my mind I defended such a condition as morally and intellectually superior - my life was open and ready and free - but that did not make it any less lonely."

"Love is a fever," she said. "And when you come out of it you'll discover whether you've been lucky - or not."
--'A Gate at the Stairs'

"Love is the answer, said the songs, and that's OK. It was OK, I supposed, as an answer. But no more than that. It was not a solution; it wasn't really even an answer, just a reply."
--'A Gate at the Stairs'

"Beauty could not love you back. People were not what they seemed and certainly not what they said. Madness was contagious. Memory served melancholy. The medieval was not so bad. Gravity was a form of nostalgia. There could be virtue in satirizing virtue. Dwight Eisenhower and Werner von Braun had the exact same mouths. No one loved a loser until he completely lost."
--'A Gate at the Stairs'

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

they looked like strong hands.

We woke with leaves in our hair. I don’t remember what month it was, but I know the sun stung us and we both squinted our eyes like we didn’t understand. Your arms were sturdy like the limbs of an old tree I couldn’t ever find. Somewhere past the cemetery, somewhere past the maple that fell during that lightning storm, somewhere past the tall weeds and blackberries, you hid like a secret garden. There were times I just barely caught you disappearing into it, but the entrance closed just as soon as I talked myself into following you.

This is a chalky metaphor for all of things you kept from me. You used to call me out like that, always taking the words I grew like vines across my meaning and unbraiding them, flattening them out. “You are trying to say you’re afraid.” “You wrote this about loss.” “This is a letter to say you’re leaving, isn’t it?” Paring down my branches and just pulling down the fruit, you made my dimensions flat. I let you unknot me and you got lost in the strands.

goodbye blue sky

some nights are harder than others. sometimes you try to drive down the high way and get lost in the headlights. you try to avoid the feeling, you try to tell yourself that after the first few minutes it’s all just self-inflicted, right? but when you get home you know that all you can do is plug in your headphones and get lost in it. i’m lost in it right now. because in your front yard you told me i was pretty. and when i laughed in the dark, i could see you out the corner of my eye smiling at me. you forget to lie in all of the moments that could have helped you distance yourself from this. that was your first mistake. i shook on the sidewalk, maybe from the cheap beer, but maybe from the way you and your brothers all have the same eyes. i opened my palms up to you to show you light pink lines and plumes of smoke. i told myself that this is the worst kind of secret. but the worst secrets are the ones you keep the closest. it makes them misleading. it makes them feel safe when they’re not. these things are just so hard sometimes. it’s hard to give pieces of yourself to people and watch them walk away with them. because one day that season would be gone forever, and what would i have to remember it by? what do i have to remember you by? will you remember me? will you remember me in the warm red light of the cigarette you lit for me when i told you “i know this is going to end soon. i’m not afraid.” but i was, i am, i wasn’t ready yet. i’ve always been very good at appearing as though i am calm and composed when underneath it my thoughts are wild and burning. when the morning came i felt you on my neck. sometimes my guts would start to ache from the confines of this fog. sometimes i awoke and heard you singing my name and other words that i couldn’t make out down the hallway. you showed me the eye of mars. you told me how jupiter has a hurricane that circles the planet year round. when i left i didn’t tell you goodbye. i’ve never been very good at those. but i think you already know. please remember me. i know this will get buried beneath other things. and that’s okay, i’ll be okay. but when you hear goodbye blue sky by pink floyd i hope you think of me secretly. and this is a very dangerous secret. that makes everything we ever had deceiving. but it also keeps it safe in a way that the truth never would.

We are little haunted houses.

"Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days."

"It seems all too common that people lose sight of their dreams, but you were never the type to follow the norm anyway."

“I was sand, I was snow—written on, rewritten, smoothed over.”
--Margaret Atwood, 'The Blind Assassin'

We all have dreams in our heads, words in our mouths, stories on our skin and ghosts in our hearts. We are little haunted houses. Dreaming. Dreaming. Dreaming.

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace."
--Milan Kundera

"I find it a huge strain to be responsible for my tastes and be known and defined by them."
--Jonathan Franzen, 'Strong Motion'

"Imagine that human existence is defined by an Ache: the Ache of our not being, each of us, the center of the universe; of our desires forever outnumbering our means of satisfying them."
--Jonathan Franzen, 'How to Be Alone: Essays'

"Nothing got inside the head without becoming pictures."
--Jonathan Franzen, 'The Corrections'

“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”
--Franz Kafka

“Pick what you love to do, and the success will come.”
--Rachel Zoe

“Who am I? I am who I am and tomorrow someone else entirely. You are too nostalgic, you want memory to secure you, console you. The past is a bore. What matters is only oneself and what one creates from what one has learned. Imagination uses what it needs and discards the rest.”
--Janet Fitch

“That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific—chair, eye, stone—but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn’t include all the meanings. In defining, they always left something out.”
--Janet Fitch

“I travel light. I think the most important thing is to be in a good mood and enjoy life, wherever you are.”
--Diane Von Furstenberg

"She thought with a sort of pride that she had no place anywhere. Normal people think I belong with them. But I couldn’t stay an hour among them. I need to live out there, on the other side of the wall. But they don’t want me there."
--Jean-Paul Sartre, 'The Room'

"My business is words. Words are like labels, or coins, or better, like swarming bees. I confess I am only broken by sources of things; as if words were counted like dead bees in the attic, unbuckled from their yellow eyes and their dry wings. I must always forget how one word is able to pick out another, to manner another, until I have got something I might have said… but did not."
--Anne Sexton

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I will never crack my knuckles again.

I haven’t a bone in my body that doesn’t speak in whispers, they all grind and crack as if they are trying to communicate with one another, sending electric shocks through a system of wiring in my body to convey subliminal messages under my skin. My joints are land mines, I can see it now, a crack of a knuckle and suddenly a thousand anatomical secrets come pouring from the creases in my palm. What a spectacle, what a sight, a fit of magic to move myself to believe in a higher power. What a thrill, what a mess, to have secrets all over the floor at my feet, but for their electricity to die out before they can even reach the ground. A dead spark, a wet match, a short circuit. What’s the use? I would rather keep the static stored. To achieve this, I will have to cusp my hands together lightly, I will have to be careful not to crack my spine too rapidly, or a mess of electric shock might come bursting out of my neck. I will have to be gentle and fragile and tender, because these secrets my cells tell one another can burn holes into the back of someone’s head, can strip me of my sense of common things, can leave just as quickly as it comes. I will be quiet, I will listen and I will catch the slight buzz that occurs at each point of concentration, and I will not create a crack. I will never crack my knuckles again.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

aisle nine

these things are always broken into halves. they’re never whole or sated or completely there. it’s always half-empty and craving. there are parts of this that i’ve kept because maybe i was too selfish to let them belong to the backseat of your friend’s car or at the foot of your bed or in some abandoned moment you’d forget about later when the feelings were slender with all of their petals picked. the kinds of things i wish i could have just left with you because maybe then that would mean they weren’t that important to me. and when i tip toed across your hardwood floors i stood in the cracked door way for a second just fucking marveling at the way the whole place smelled like you. i know this is dangerous. i feel it too. i know that it’s volatile and uncompromising. and i know about pressing up against the rules just enough to crack them without letting them break. i know about letting the boundaries bend when they should have had you folded already. i know that sometimes you want pieces of people even though it’s erratic and impulsive and the consequences are heavy and waiting. so we try our hardest to walk into other empty spaces where we can let ourselves love someone quietly and without this shell shocked quality and we’re careful not to touch in splintering places where we’re swallowed in all the soft yellow noise. because sometimes you accidentally want people that just aren’t right for you. but sometimes you fill in the gaps with your own cracks and you say in soundless moments “okay. i’m in.”

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The bitter so bitter you gave up the sweet.

“We’re too much ourselves. Afraid of letting go of what we are in case we’re nothing, and holding on so tight we lose everything else.”
--Clive Barker

“There’s power in numbers. It takes a village. Say it however you want, but the truth is that we cannot go through this life alone. Some of us are lucky enough to be born in the vicinity of our tribe; others will have to travel far and wide it, as I did. But I truly believe that whoever you are…there’s a place for you to fit in… The road to your dreams is sometimes dark, and it’s sometimes magical, but The Wizard of Oz had one thing right: it’s ultimately about the journey and the characters who accompany you on it, not about the destination.”
--Kelly Cutrone

"This is an important lesson to remember when you're having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won't feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can't feel real joy unless you've felt heartache. You can't have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can't know what it's like to feel holy until you know what it's like to feel really fucking evil. And you can't be birthed again until you've died."
--Kelly Cutrone, 'If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You'

"After all, you can't truly be happy if you've never known pain. You can't truly feel joy if you've never felt heartbreak. You can't know what it's like to be filled unless you've been empty."
--Kelly Cutrone, 'If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You'

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”
--Gail Sheehy

Once again, she asked me what I meant. And again, my heart was in my words, but the explanation made no sense. Typical me.

“Where’s my heart at? Aw. Um, in my chest. I think it’s in there—on the right hand side. Sometimes it’s in my mouth and sometimes I can feel it in my stomach, when I get really nervous. So it’s pretty physical.”
--Florence Welch, when asked where her heart is at

What people don't understand about being a genius
Is that it is hard
It creeps inside of you and you can't relate
The world is the thing you cannot master
You really can't
You try to work for people
You let the people down
--Dorothea Lasky, 'Own Life'

"It’s only when you’ve lost someone that you realize the nonsense of that phrase “It’s a small world”. It isn’t. It’s a vast, devouring world, especially if you’re alone."
--Clive Barker, 'Books of Blood 2'

"That was what she really wanted. To forget so thoroughly she'd never have another memory again, the bitter so bitter you gave up the sweet."
--Janet Fitch, 'Paint It Black'

"Here, here is my dark world. You carry it for a change. I'm out."
--Janet Fitch

"I wonder which is preferable, to walk around all your life swollen up with your own secrets until you burst from the pressure of them, or to have them sucked out of you, every paragraph, every sentence, every word of them, so at the end you’re depleted of all that was once as precious to you as hoarded gold, as close to you as your skin - everything that was of the deepest importance to you, everything that made you cringe and wish to conceal, everything that belonged to you alone - and must spend the rest of your days like an empty sack flapping in the wind, an empty sack branded with a bright fluorescent label so that everyone will know what sort of secrets used to be inside you?"
--Margaret Atwood

"She was extending a hand that I didn’t know how to take, so I broke its fingers with my silence."
--Jonathan Safran Foer

"I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water."
--D. H. Lawrence

“I have no advice for anybody; except to, you know, be awake enough to see where you are at any given time, and how that is beautiful, and has poetry inside. Even places you hate.”
--Jeff Buckley

"Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are."
--Grant Morrison, 'The Invisibles'

"Believe me, nothing is more beautiful than to carry out crazy ideas. I’d like my whole life to be one single crazy idea."
--Milan Kundera, 'Farewell Waltz'

there are no legible signs

everything out of context starts to get so strange. drinking the kind of coffee that i used to hate, finding the little pile of change you pulled from out my pockets before you did the laundry, noticing the smell of smoke on my fingers and it smells safe, it smells like a sort of home i’ve always known. october came quick and it feels so familiar and so different. sometimes these things just sort of sneak up on you. when you realize you’re not seventeen anymore. when you walk into a room full of people and for once you’re not questioning whether they notice you - whether they should notice you, whether they notice you noticing them, and the endless list of who am i and who are they and more importantly who am i to them. when you’re doing things that scare you because maybe these are the things that help make you. when you still love a boy that’s not a stranger anymore, when he still loves you even though he’s seen you without your hair brushed or a shirt on or in his jeans the next morning when you go to grab the paper or right after you cried because things got hard and you weren’t ready. these things just sneak up on you. when you realize that all this time you were so used to life building it’s self around you and suddenly one day it occurs to you that maybe you’ve been building your own all along.

The sun made me feel like a restless country girl even though I'd never been on a farm.

All quotes by author Michelle Tea

"Maybe if everyone walked around being in touch with each other’s hidden pain it could work out and even be beautiful, but it doesn’t feel safe to be the only compassionate person on the planet."
--'Rose of No Man’s Land'

"You try to be good, to be good and loving and nice and not hard, not tough, a sweet nice girl, not ugly, not full of ugliness, but people make it impossible."

"You are right where you should be
now act like it"
--'The Beautiful: Collected Poems'

"This is growing up, having to stomp out love, this is how people turn terrible."

"How do you make a girl know she's beautiful? What is the system for that, what do you show her, how do you give her a new set of eyes and turn her face back to the mirror?"

"it just breaks
a man's heart, watching
a girl so involved with her life,
without him like that."

"We entered the cool cave of the practice space with all the long-haired, goateed boys stoned on clouds of pot and playing with power tools. I tossed my fluffy coat into the hollow of my bass drum and lay on the carpet with my worn newspaper. A shirtless boy came in and told us he had to cut the power for a minute, and I thought about being alone in the cool black room with Joey. Let's go smoke, she said, and I grabbed the cigarettes off the amp. She started talking to me about Wonder Woman. I feel like something big is happening, but I don't know what to do about it. With The Straight Girl? I asked in the blankest voice possible. With everything. Back in the sun we walked to the edge of the parking lot where a black Impala convertible sat, rusted and rotting, looking like it just got dredged from a swamp. Rainwater pooling on the floor. We climbed up onto it and sat our butts backward on the edge of the windshield, feet stretched into the front seat. Before she even joined the band, I would think of her each time I passed the car, the little round medallions with the red and black racing flags affixed to the dash. On the rusting Chevy, Joey told me about her date the other night with a girl she used to like who she maybe liked again. How her heart was shut off and it felt pretty good. How she just wanted to play around with this girl and that girl and this girl and I smoked my cigarette and went Uh-Huh. The sun made me feel like a restless country girl even though I'd never been on a farm. I knew what I stood for, even if nobody else did. I knew the piece of me on the inside, truer than all the rest, that never comes out. Doesn't everyone have one? Some kind of grand inner princess waiting to toss her hair down, forever waiting at the tower window. Some jungle animal so noble and fierce you had to crawl on your belly through dangerous grasses to get a glimpse. I gave Joey my cigarette so I could unlace the ratty green laces of my boots, pull them off, tug the linty wool tights off my legs. I stretched them pale over the car, the hair springing like weeds and my big toenail looking cracked and ugly. I knew exactly who I was when the sun came back and the air turned warm. Joey climbed over the hood of the car, dusty black, and said Let's lie down, I love lying in the sun, but there wasn't any sun there. We moved across the street onto the shining white sidewalk and she stretched out, eyes closed. I smoked my cigarette, tossed it into the gutter and lay down beside her. She said she was sick of all the people who thought she felt too much, who wanted her to be calm and contained. Who? I asked. All the flowers, the superheroes. I thought about how she had kissed me the other night, quick and hard, before taking off on a date in her leather chaps, hankies flying, and I sat on the couch and cried at everything she didn't know about how much I liked her, and someone put an arm around me and said, You're feeling things, that's good. Yeah, I said to Joey on the sidewalk, I Feel Like I Could Calm Down Some. Awww, you're perfect. She flipped her hand over and touched my head. Listen, we're barely here at all, I wanted to tell her, rolling over, looking into her face, we're barely here at all and everything goes so fast can't you just kiss me? My eyes were shut and the cars sounded close when they passed. The sun was weak but it baked the grime on my skin and made it smell delicious. A little kid smell. We sat up to pop some candy into our mouths, and then Joey lay her head on my lap, spent from sugar and coffee. Her arm curled back around me and my fingers fell into her slippery hair. On the February sidewalk that felt like spring."

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

there's got to be something better than in the middle

i write these lullabies for sleepy towns, about how the people in them are careful secrets buried with their half-naked feelings, their unspoken word poetry. i smoke cigarettes when no one else is around, blowing smoke in the direction of some stranger’s ghosts, remembering the time i walked across the golden gate bridge and how cold san francisco was in july. that was the summer when i lost the flecks of light that used to hide in the dark parts of your careful eyes. last fall i still felt the smirk of potential hanging around here. but then you left and sometimes i think about driving by the place where we used to climb through windows and dream under those soft mississippi sounds. there’s something dangerous about a person who reminds you of yourself. but there’s also something dangerous about never doing the stupid things. never believing in shooting stars and wish bones and mood rings, in regretting the thought that maybe you could be anything you’d let yourself be. have we always been this broke without ever knowing it? have i always been this punch drunk and left-turned when a pink knuckled sunrise has me hoping all the planets just aligned, has me thinking we could cast our shadow puppets where the past forgot where it belonged. we crushed the night’s bones between our palms touching saying “fuck it,” and my dress hung wet and cold above the shore with my ankles shaking right next to yours when you told me “i think that if you touched me right now you could feel my nightmares.” everything used to always be a helpless secret away from smacking together right in front of our young and proud faces. and i’ve got a lot of secrets, these half naked feelings i kept even when the moment left and you were already getting with new people while i lingered on for just a little bit longer. i have a lot of dark places none of you will ever know about. i’m crowded and overshadowed with ghosts, with these burning words kaleidescoped on to quiet parts of me. and i’m afraid of a lot of things, i carelessly burn through moments when i could have felt something, moments where maybe in the middle we could have felt the same thing. but i’ve got a lot of loose teeth for memories and i’m always pulling at them just to remember they can still bleed. and i’m always squinting at the dust inbetween the stars thinking “that’s what i’m made of, what am i so afraid of.” i’m afraid of miscalls and mistakes that won’t make me into the person i want to be but will keep me between the same set of goddamn parenthesis i’ve been trapped between since i turned seventeen. i’m afraid of the dark parts of me none of you have ever seen. i’m afraid of a lot of things. and i just need to know that i’m not just some careful secrets, i’m not just unspoken word poetry. i need to know that i am my potential, i am my own ellipses, and i can still become whatever i am willing to be.

Friday, October 01, 2010

blue mornings, and keeping you in mind.

I am a blue morning ripe and tired. The universe caught itself in the tangles of my hair and I know not how to get it out, so we struggle with one another. I am a cigarette, half-smoked, discarded early on—before I could blacken a lung or mutate a cell. In my dreams I am stretch armstrong with arms so long I can reach you. Oh, the Rockies are blocking my ears with built up clouds, but I can still feel you pulling there at the center of my chest. Coffeehouse crybaby, backyard saint, midnight warrior, barely joyous broken thing. We share the same troubled hopes, the same winking sky. Once, I wrote a poem on my tongue so you couldn’t see it, because I wanted you to taste it. Foolish me, I suppose I should have known that your lips would never meet mine. I’ve made so many promises that I’ll come find you—get to you—that I worry I might spend the rest of my life in transit. Not an obligation, but a voluntary movement. I am a heart. I am a cloudy head for thinking. Brick wall, waterfall, backlot demon calling my name. You said you hated the way that everything always feels so melancholy and I shot a silent prayer to my darkened ceiling that you would find your smile.

I was never taught to keep things at arms length, so when I see a spark, a flame, a flash, a silent moon glowing in the midnight sky, I am always trying to wrap my arms around it or swallow it whole. I’m either falling in love with strangers and daydreaming about running away or crying my pillowcases black and giving up. I would throw out my back if it meant carrying your troubles—eternal optimist with her feet dipped in something resembling the realistic. I want the best for everyone I’ve ever met and cry over broken hearts that aren’t my own. She told me that it was just an excuse to forget about my own problems, and hell, you know, she was probably right but I don’t think I can stop wanting to try and make you smile. I was taught to love with everything I’ve got, to bear the troubles of the people whose names I hold in my heart. I do not know any better—I only know that you are worth my creaking knees and aching back. It’s a preoccupation or perhaps a long-standing romance with the entire Universe. Always falling for underdogs and stars right on the brink of burning out because there’s something attractive in their glow. There’s just something so attractive in their glow. I wrote this keeping you in mind, I hope you know.

Talking to people makes me feel like sleeping.

“When small drops began to fall and darken the world in penny-shaped circles, no one around him scurried for cover. For lonely people, rain is a chance to be touched.”
--Simon Van Booy, 'The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories'

"Language is like looking at a map of somewhere. Love is living there and surviving on the land."
--Simon Van Booy

"When obliged to exert myself, I am ignorant what to do! when forced to speak, I am at a loss for words; and if any one looks at me, I am instantly out of countenance. If animated with my subject, I express my thoughts with ease, but, in ordinary conversations, I can say nothing- absolutely nothing; and, being obliged to speak, renders them insupportable."
--The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Book 1.

"What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, this life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust! Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, never have I heard anything more divine?"
--Friedrich Nietzsche

“She’s never where she is,” I said. “She’s only inside her head.”
--'White Oleander'

“Thus inevitably does the universe wear our color, and every object fall successively into the subject itself. The subject exists, the subject enlarges; all things sooner or later fall into place. As I am, so I see; use what language we will, we can never say anything but what we are.”

“Why do I torture myself by keeping it all a big secret?”
--Helga G. Pataki

“You grow up readin’ about pirates and cowboys and spacemen and stuff, and jus’ when you think the world’s all full of amazin’ things, they tell you it’s really all dead whales and chopped-down forests and nucular waste hangin’ about for millions of years.”
--Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, 'Good Omens'

Once a year, she remembers that she is insignificant. Then she forgets again, because more than she is insignificant, she is forgetful.

"Isolation has carved me in its image and likeness. The presence of another person - of any person whatsoever - instantly slows down my thinking, and while for a normal man contact with others is a stimulus to spoken expression and wit, for me it is a counterstimulus, if this compound word be linguistically permissible. When all by myself, I can think of all kinds of clever remarks, quick comebacks to what no one said, and flashes of witty sociability with nobody. But all of this vanishes when I face someone in the flesh: I lose my intelligence, I can no longer speak, and after half an hour I just feel tired. Yes, talking to people makes me feel like sleeping. Only my ghostly and imaginary friends, only the conversations I have in my dreams, are genuinely real and substantial, and in them intelligence gleams like an image in a mirror.”
--Bernardo Soares, 'The Book of Disquiet' - Entry 49

“I hate listening to people’s dreams. It’s like flipping through a stack of photographs. If I’m not in any of them, and nobody’s having sex, I just… don’t care.”
--'It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia'

“To understand me, you’ll have to swallow a world.”
--Salman Rushdie

"I don't think I'm tangible to myself. I mean, I think one thing today and I think another thing tomorrow. I change during the course of a day. I wake up and I'm one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I'm somebody else. I don't know who I am most of the time. It doesn't even matter to me."
--Bob Dylan