Poor man's dollar is spent before he earns it. Life a cascading array of what he should be doing, could be doing - a better life watched from afar, stranded in a dream-life where no one wants to be. Real life glittering past the window of a fast-moving train(more) with no exits.(less)
He got up off the couch when he heard keys in the lock.
No-one else had keys to his apartment. He wasn't expecting anybody.
(more) His door wasn't locked.
Fact was he came home knowing the compost needed taking out; garbage too. He had indulged in a sit-down - shoes still on. A breather before riding the elevator back down, walking to the bins behind the building, weary because there would be people in the alley ready to sift through his trash.
He didn't usually leave his shoes on once he arrived home. The thought of all the shit he stepped made shoes a violation in his own house. Walking through the city it's all hork, shit, piss, spills. So he sat down for a minute only. Tired but wanting it tidy. The day had already been so long.
First thought was had he ordered food, and the delivery man was being presumptuous. He ordered food lots. Worked weird hours, week days bleeding into Saturdays, clock turning over to show midnight when his colleagues had left long ago, were partway through the sleep that would refresh them in time for the new day that for him was old and forming a crust. New old day.
Second thought (absurd): his mom entering his room, unannounced. Teenagerhood was the last time he had heard the sound of a turning doorknob when he felt himself to be in privacy.
It must be me, coming in. I am just getting home.
He got up off the couch to investigate but his inquiry was halted by the bullet that severed his maxillary artery. He bled out quickly, life leaving him in a hot red rush.
The intruder had expected to find her own home behind the door, and felt justified in her kill. (less)
Today is shit and this is already a fact at 2 am., 4 a.m, 5 - whenever the brain has a hiccup and wakes up, gasping for air the way it happens in sleep lately. Heart feeling too fat. Body breaking down, not that anything can be proven in(more) medical tests.
Wake up and the first thing one feels is exhaustion. Another day of 'no.' Saying 'no' all day until finally it is easier to not. When will it end? That terrible fight, and always giving in. If the fight could be won for one day, all of everything would change for the better. It is the fact of *one more day* that kills, every day.
Another day of wanting to dream while the eyes are still closed to the light. That terrible waking-up time. Yesterday still hurting, and today already breathing down the neck saying 'Open, open, open your eyes.'
A day being born where the jaw is aching for everything it let pass through the gates; stomach taut with nausea - yesterday's hungers still stagnating, like a clogged drain.
Own worst enemy. You dress together, eat together, meet each others eyes in the mirror. You barely know each other. It has come to this.(less)
There was something missing, though I couldn't say what. I was aware, when something needed to be done. But I couldn't make my body move until there was nothing left to do. Waif-like, I wondered through the house at all hours of the night, with no particular goal and(more) no particular reason. Before going out, I spent half an hour convincing myself it was worth it, and another half an hour sitting in one place staring off into space without a thought in my head. 50% of the time after that, I decided it wasn't worth it after all and removed my shoes and coat to slither back into bed.
Back then something was wrong, though I couldn't tell you what. I was tired when I needed to be awake, and anxiously energized when I needed to be asleep. And always there was the fog surrounding my home.
This morning the fog cleared for a while, and I noticed two things in succession. It is the first of October. Last year's Christmas tree is still up.
The fog descended again. I spent a half an hour wondering if it would be worth it to take the tree down, only to put it up in two months. I spent another half an hour staring off into space. Now I've crawled into bed with my shoes still on. (less)
Hidden in the movie were the smallest details that you could only glean time after time after time of watching the same scenes over and over again. It's not until you can mimic the scenes, breathe the performance that it all becomes apparent.
(more) It's in the way the water separates in the glass, where the lips leave the curved edges and leave behind indelible prints. It makes you realize that you leave behind so many things. Memories, finger prints, the touch of lips on glass.
And yet where does it all lead? Do the details come together and coalesce into something tangible or does it all come to this mismatched patchwork of experience where we try to glean some meaning?
It's hard to say. Even harder when the details aren't as readily apparent. All that's left to do is re-watch and re-live and pick it all apart until the patchwork becomes clear.
The sum of experience is the sum of who we are. It stretches beyond the individual, even beyond the collective.
Within that grand, cosmic equation lies hidden beauty. At least that's what I keep telling myself.(less)
His girlfriend slept at last, her pale cheek on his rolled-up sweater. It was not raining. He kept his shell on, cuffs tugged around his hands for added protection against the chill. He wanted a coffee! And Timmie's was just 30 feet away. He couldn't leave her. She had(more) just fallen asleep and God knows she needed it.
Her eyelashes like soot against her thin cheeks. Cold eating through the cardboard mattress.
Meanwhile the morning did the traitorous thing it always did: it changed from indifferent dark, the promise of drowsiness and time stopped. And instead the buses started, the traffic picked up. Heels clicked inches from her face, people hurrying into a world where the two punks on the sidewalk played no part. Dirty clothes and faces, audible alarm bells, visible need.
He'd cleared away the needles they'd accumulated through the long night. He would not leave her side even for coffee.
He felt as much solace looking at her sleeping face as a man waking in a marriage bed. He felt as much need to guard her. Coffee could wait, in light of her sleeping face, inches from the dirt and dirty itself.
The rich in their featherbeds might not understand, although they lived his feelings every day. Junkie, useless, rotten-toothed, lost. Cardboard buffer from the pavement, stolen hospital blankets to hide under. They lived his fierce need to protect, to go on with the farce. To guard the dusk those eyelashes cast on her sleeping cheeks. Her stilled mouth that kissed, that spoke of beauty - that gaped open as the stranglehold fix set in, rendering her senseless.
From then to now he did not understand when life had changed and started bleeding. How their teeth turned grey. Their love grey. Their sidewalks grey and everlastingly cold.(less)
In the news today, a woman testified in court. She spoke about her abuse at the hands of a man. It is the same news as yesterday, and the day before. It was heard a month, two, five months ago.
In the news tomorrow, people threaten her. Peopl(more)e insult her. They don't understand, they don't know. Even people who had their own abuse are mad, because this one has attention when theirs was silenced. Those who believe are few, and most of them say #metoo.
It is the longest trigger that you ever did see. Day after day, memories flood those who didn't have a choice, who didn't have a chance. Who can only speak up now and hope to god that someone listens enough, not for their sake, but for those who inevitably will be abused in the future. Because it never ends.
Women have fear instilled into them from the moment they can understand what fear is. The burden of protection falls on the shoulders of victims. The blame starts a fire that reaches into the future to lick at the heels of women who have not yet been abused but definitely will be. It begs them to burn with hatred, to speak out immediately. To not take no for an answer. After all, their abuser didn't. To be heard.
The news is a trigger. It brings back memories people try to push away, complicated feelings, and nightmares. Those who know, are not silent. They are fighting their nightmare-memories, shouting out, hoping that their struggles can help change the world. Even if just for one woman. For anyone.
They remind us abuse is not a timeline, or a short skirt or a party. They are reminding us. We just have to listen.
"Unasseppable!" he says to his stuffed animals, the piercing octave of anger toddler voice trailing down the stairs into the kitchen. Shit. What have I taught him? Such a tender age to know disapproval but it's hard and fast enough in his tiny brain to pass on to his(more) pink raccoon.
They start out perfect versions of themselves, and we tear them down one "unasseppable" at time until they fit into society. What have we done. What are we doing. Who's fucking unacceptable now?(less)
You have become a person you promised yourself you'd never be. You drew yourself a cozy perimeter, nestled uncomfortably within the jagged, interlocking edges of those around you. You told yourself you must trust, so you did not build walls. Then you let those lines become blurred by the(more) cut and thrust of the world. You don't know what you are anymore.
You taught yourself to operate under a system of rules that does not allow for hard truths and head-on confrontations. They do not live this way. Not always. You trust others to see what you see. But they can't or choose not to. So you yield, again and again. Because you think you can survive it, and you think they can't.
The borders you drew up were a form of self-preservation. To protect the 'you' that you deemed valuable and essential. That assumption may not be correct. The space to which you staked your claim may not belong to you. True, you are the space, but that does not make 'you' yours. We do not live in isolation. We are sand intermingling. We belong to each other in a thousand little pieces.
This is how it appears to you, from the balcony of a crumbling parapet in your shrinking kingdom. But this too may be wrong.
Perhaps you martyr yourself. Perhaps you take from others more than you realize. None among us can ever truly escape the bounds of this our body, or truly inhabit the body of another. These are things we are not allowed to know. All we can do is hurt. Ourselves, others. And often both at the same time. (less)
take it back - first the words,
then keep unraveling the days
take it back, prehistoric, to a time
your emotional range hadn't ratcheted up exponentially.
imagine a time before that
night you missed the 5am greyhound transfer,
and they had fallen asleep, so you were alone, (more)out $80,and
a stranger pity-offered you a blanket, because you were
crying in public on a stained concrete floor.
take it back - further.
your father's open hand sweeping back the way it came
until it disconnects from the side of your head
and your perforated eardrum melds seamless.
your seven-year old self is lighter, floats
in the brine of the sound at
the outer banks, but she still writes wounds down her arms
in a spiral-bound notebook. she has to hide in the bathroom
during lunch - thinks her friends like her least -
learns the word "cunt" from a third-grader
who is caught out for stealing novelty erasers
from dozens of students the following year.
fill the depression of weighty memories on your mind,
run your entire fucking life in reverse, make
teddy baker in the second grade un-say your face is flat
and that's why he doesn't like you. take that away - cut it out ruthlessly.
take out all the ugly. take that out of the narrative.
She could have walked away.
Just stood up and walked away, but she didn't. Mrs Allen, fifteen years into a sentence as a junior high school teacher, had seen japes and shenanigans before.
This time, seven on one, surrounding the boy, shouting and jeering, pushing and shoving, calling hi(more)m weak, mocking his tears.
She knew the boy, a hard scrabble kid who was never going to be on the right side of any track. He'd lost his mother to a vague medical tragedy, but his father made sure he was at school every day. The boy was always early, and stayed late, until he was picked up or walked home. Bright enough, she'd noted, but neither blessed with good looks nor social graces.
The few times she'd managed to crack his shell, Mrs Allen saw the boy had a sensitive manner, and a generous heart, admirable qualities both, but no match for bad teeth and a tendency to panic sweat.
She knew there was a tendency to meanness in the school hallways. Tribal loyalties and shifting allegiances, teenage intrigue and high hormones, all made a potent social obstacle course.
She pushed through the indifferent and the curiosity-sated walkers and followed the jeering to it's source.
The girl continued to call the boy names and poke at him, a couple of sharp jabs with the knuckles grinding into the same point on his shoulder over and over.
She looked up and read the contempt in Mrs Allen's face, let the boy go. He slid to the floor, shaking and wretched.
The teacher fixed the girl with her gaze and helped the boy to his feet.
She was a good student, straight A, from a good family.
Mrs Allen looked at the girl for a long time.
Finally, the girl's tears started.(less)
Saying that anyone has grit is a blasphemy to all that's come before it.
Moments and spaces in time are disjointed, random, nonlinear. To have grit is to say you can handle it, that you can put forth with the sordid memories, the deep regrets, the quiet moments(more), all to disregard their flow. A reminder here, a tangible moment-- a touch of the skin, the lips on your neck, tangled up in strings beyond your knowing. A tapestry of red wire cut in the middle where the gaps are found.
She throws her head back in ecstasy, my face buried in her neck. I'm outside her door, hesitating to knock for the sorrow the lies within. Where do they connect? What parts am I missing? Where does the plot follow? Where's the common thread?
Can you bear it when you walk away? The hallways echo. Can you hear her voice?
I don't knows prefaced with quiet smiles. The tilt of her head. The wideness of her eyes.
Not here again. No hot toddies and plates of fries. A diner booth tucked in the corner. Her elbows on the tale.
Flash in the dark. Unstuck again. She cries into my shoulder silently, thinking I don't notice.
Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen. Poisoned mushrooms her and I.
There's a highway ahead. It forks toward the Tetons and toward Idaho. You know where each lead, but which is the preference? Equitable in their own rights.
I try to think in McCarthy tones. Long descriptors that flourish in their completion. Yet they elude me. There's no beauty in this world in its turning as to that of the human memories. Furnished for comfort, but never to please.(less)
one whole year of you
off on and on off
on paper, my terms
off script, your terms
(more) always your terms
you were too imagistic
i, too literal
she hadn't been engulfed in your spiral yet
(I'm often jealous of what sticks out of your head)
she didn't know the ruined holidays
the bruised friendships like fruit
(I'm often worried it died at the graveyard)
she hadn't been denied her poetry yet
or was she prose?
(I'm often jealous of what hangs out of your head)
handled in your palms
a muse that will fuse out
(they always do)
every month is a romance
a dance with bared teeth eventually
the charm beads off you like sweat
it wears off you like elasticity of the skin
you'd fall into the pattern again
I'd await the 4 AM beck of a notification
It was a dream of a wedding. Not a wedding of the real world where there is divided feelings, doubt, boredom, and dread. It was a dream wedding of beauty.
In the dream, she followed her best friend down the street. A playful chase. A destination on mind(more). A place was waiting for them. They were expected.
It was raining out, so hard that the dirt embedded in the asphalt floated to the surface of the puddles. The flooded streets offered the hem of her dress a drink, and at the hem the pink turned grey. The dress was a fine one. The first gown of her life! Though it was only a dream:
Pink satin. Stiff, luxuriously thick. A mermaid tail and fitted bodice from a 1950s designer, still famous even in the careless waking modern world. An old gown from days when evening wear was inspired by beaches.
In her dream, she knew her dress was finer than the pure white lace of her friend's wedding gown. The pink was a blush colour, by chance suiting her better than white suits any bride.
It was an occasion of beauty, pure beauty, one she she had never known in the waking, mortal world. In her dream she knew her beauty was not just the freedom to run in a dress. It was knowing she was looked at. Looked at in love, and envy - not of looks, but freedom. Love and envy of the freedom we are each born into, and can maintain with only the purest hope. Her dress was a dress of childhood. Pink that can get dirty easily.
There was no suggestion of grooms in the dream. Just women running toward whatever waited for them, something they laughed in anticipation of.(less)