everybody's writing about tears
but i just want to talk about worn books, and
the dusky sunsets that sustain you
when you spill your cup of tea
on that very important essay, and
(more) the faded baby pictures
your mom saved when the attic flooded. i want to talk about
that newspaper the neighbors never picked up
sitting sun-faded next to their overflowing mailbox,
text mottled from yesterday's storm, and mostly about
the crappy love letter you wrote me
that i always keep in my pocket
and that got ruined by the washing machine.(less)
i thought i could write you out of my life, after all it's what i always done before. with every letter etched some heartbreak flows out of my system along with the ink in my pen. i thought 50,144 words would be enough to erase the 567 days we(more) spent together. but i threw that novel away. i don't want to forget you.(less)
I try to impregnate the paper with pigment, to stain it not only on the surface but through to the fibers that I cannot see. The saturation is what ensures the value, and in my family we have always tended to favor bold colors.
(more) My mother works with watercolor paints to make paper dolls for all of us girls. She still favors the sticky Prang tablets in a plastic case for their vibrance and their particular ready-made hues. She is good at mixing color on her own, but these aquas and limes and mandarins are apt starting points. She paints on dry paper or index cards, and the color stays on the surface.
When I took a class, we were shown how to wet the paper to let the paint flow, and the bright white of the fibers would add a luminosity to the thin colors, which lighten when dry. Technique is important, and the purpose of thick paper has been a revelation to me, supporting not heavy color as much as light color. It is easy enough to coat thin paper in heavy dry media, but one needs structural integrity to work wet, to support an effect that will ultimately read more as a suggestion than a statement.
We worked on small pieces of the good paper, experimenting with value and tone, and I wanted to see how dark I could make things, how deep. The paper wanted more and more, and I fed it until it looked like mud, and still it did not feel dark enough: it just bled thinly, leaching lines like lipstick round a wrinkled mouth.
I take thick paper, leave it dry, drip black ink over it. Drops sit on the surface like dark dew, gradually working into the surface, satisfying my marked desire.
“It’s god damned empty, Kareem.”
(more) The two construction workers recline on the cabin’s crumbling shingle, about as useful as the leaves in a drainage gutter. One, whose name is Clive Elsie, has skin pale as pudding. His hat sticks to his scalp, and he is very upset. Understandably upset. He thrusts a lollipop at Kareem.
It’s cream soda orange, and the stick pokes through like a bone chewed up by a sink disposal.
“This is a god damned tootsie pop, Kareem, and it hasn’t got any god damned tootsie.”
“Well, god damn.” Kareem can be a bit of a sarcastic arse.
“I should send it back to the god damned factory.”
“Reckon you god damned should.”
“God damn it Kareem, all I wanted was my god damned tootsie.”
“God damn.” Kareem nods sagely.
The construction workers sit, melting in the Tampa sun.
“What are you two louts doing up there?” It’s their boss. He’s a salt and peppered man with muddy handprints on his jean pockets. His overalls simply read “Rhys.”
“Working,” Kareem answers. Clive looks forlornly at his lollipop.
In the sweltering sun, Rhys Nicolson’s eyes are cool frost. “You work harder or I’ll come up there and bash your ruddy heads in. I swear on my mother, dearly departed.”
He targets Clive specifically. “And you’ll work, even if you get a heart attack in the process.”
"Jesus Christ, Clive, you've got the backbone of wet paper."
As Nicolson strides away, Clive steals in a breath.
I can't see the paper behind my blurred vision. Drops of water make flowers of bleeding ink rise and bloom - shades of flamingo and cerulean and violet in circular gradients that white out at their centers. My letters form a hazy scrawl across the sheet, dipping drunkenly(more) out and about the lines of the notebook. Last time, I was trying to practice Chinese characters. The time before that, I was writing a rant, a heartfelt essay to explain why I felt like screaming, throwing things at my bedroom wall, running away. This time, to nudge myself away from my current grievances, I'm trying to write a story.
A new torrent of anguish rolls over me. I grit my teeth with lips slightly open and squeeze my eyes shut as tears rush out like wavelets onto a beach. Okay, okay, that's over, that's over.
I grope for a tissue as I open my eyes again. It's eleven, the little tabletop clock says. I can insert the P.M. in on my own. My shirt is newly moist under my collarbone, more so now that fresh tears are finding their way off my chin and down my neck.
When I'm done wiping my face, blowing my nose, and blotting dry my shirt as best as I can, I pull another tissue from its pastel-colored cardboard box and try to soak up saltwater from my notebook, to prevent further damage to the sheets. A deep breath, and I'll start writing again.(less)
She decided to drown herself.
She thought that that would be good. Calm. Peaceful. And it would only take a minute or two before she was unconscious and no longer thrashing. She thought that she would look pretty for once, too, with her hair floating gently around her an(more)d her skin pale and flawless in the blue light.
So she scribbled out her note, an apology to them for having to put up with her, and set it on the dock beside her, the ink darker than the sky.
Then, after making sure the weights were tied to her feet and looking up at the moon one last time, she jumped into the water.
She sank quickly and quietly, the monotonous roar of the soundless water embracing her. She was fine for the first forty seconds, but from forty one to seventy three seconds she thrashed and clawed at her throat, bubbles escaping her mouth and nose and disappearing quickly in the pitch black of the water.
She died at three minutes and eight seconds.
They woke up the next morning, and, two days after she went missing, searched the lake.
They dragged up her body, heavy and bloated with water, her dark hair stuck to her face and her dress almost see through. Her mother collapsed into her father, sobbing. Her father let out a roar of pain and clutched at his wife.
Her parents searched for days after, desperately seeking a note as to why she had left them and ripped out their hearts.
But they wouldn't find one.
Because it had blown into the lake at one a.m., only forty nine minutes after the last of her air had left her lungs. The water quickly wet the page and erased the ink- and her last words-(less)
I was walking home from work, and was carrying my giant Spanish folder, and my flimsy black journal. The folder is intimidating. Three fat sections, divided by plastic pink sheets, cost me a goddamn fortune, by my reckoning. Then there's th(more)e journal, and it feels like home. I think I warm up a little when I see it. It started off as an academic thing, but then I started journalling in it, and making notes to myself in it, and now it's more me than...me, actually.
When I walked in Matt made a motion to give me a hug or put his arm around me or make some indication of affection, but stopped when he realised I was drenched.
"Dude. Your folder is wet."
"It's Spanish. I don't even care."
"But your journal is too."
I sighed. I held the journal up, and let the rain slide off the flimsy, vinyl cover, and the masking tape on the spine.
" You actually did care about this one."
" At least the paper isn't wet."(less)
Victor reaches up for his temple, massaging it there if he's got something lodged in his skull. I start to ask what's wrong, and then he whimpers, nails digging in.
"Get the papers, would you?"
"They're in(more) the car-," I remember the rain and the jammed window and- aw fuck they've gotta be ruined.
"What's going on?"
"Hailey wasn't stabbed," he blinks. "She was shot."
"How do you know?"
"I can feel it," he whispers, and it's like the connection is suddenly made and I understand because now he's got a bullet in the side of his head. "Someone like that wouldn't go around stabbing people in the head. He wanted a clean shot."(less)
She'd never been good at relationships. It always started out well enough-- a relationship was like a fresh sheet of paper, to her. Endless possibilities. But over time, so much was written on it, drawn on it, erased... and then the tears came. Suddenly, the paper became damp, and,(more) eventually, wet.
And everyone knows that when you try to write on wet paper, your pen goes right through it, the mush bunching around the nib like so much bin fodder.
And she'd long since come to accept that putting a hole in her relationship was the only way to end things.
It was usually messy, but that was, after all, what bleach was for.(less)
Tears and spit and blood and pus and all oils your body could ever expel, leave your eloquent body out of panic and surprise.
Where have you left your muse! I cannot grasp your sense of carelessness. Soon my worry will devour my sight, and only your happiness(more) will echo across my vast and dark crevice, laughing and amused.
So tell me, when you flick the goblet the wrong way, sending hundreds upon hundreds of lives thick with emotion across the air, what do you think in those vital seconds before impact?
Once they hit the floor, you are left with regret and embarrassment, a throbbing sore that just never goes away. So in my fear of parasitic ovulation, in my fear of acceptance and understanding I wonder;
As the days go by my memories break and dissociate,
will I forget you? Will I forget myself?(less)
What little the rain didn't completely ruin, the wind has taken care to spread as far as possible.
"It's not funny!" he hisses at her, scrambling after what is either a page from his notes or a chinese take-out menu. She obliges his request, but the smile o(more)n her face still lingers as she steps around a lamp-post to grab another lost paper.
"It is, a little." she says. "Only you would think you actually need these notes to get a good grade in class. You barely looked at them before!"
He refuses to respond to her taunts, using his energy toward chasing after another fly-away before it lands in a deep puddle. For a moment, he thinks he won't get there in time, but then a hand swoops in at the last moment to save it and he breathes.
"Don't be so worried, alright?" she says, looking up at him while tucking the saved paper into the already growing stack in his arms.