relax. in this moment. breathe in breathe out let your thoughts drift they'll come let them go milk honey book lies oil order let them go listen to the chirp of birds and feel the present engulf you here here always here don't be swept away by the media by the internet by things you can't see focus only on the here and now the way your toes tingle the way the trees sway relax your mind relax your mind relax your mind right now, there is only the present the way the air swells faint buzz of cicadas in this moment you are at peace with where you are the present is all that here truly is everything else is in the mind listen to the sound of the leaves watch them sway-- they don't contemplate the past they don't worry about the future be not consumed by yesterday or tomorrow --the maybe's the what if's-- bask in the right now and just relax
there’s a sweet liminal space
before spring–after winter–
where summer swells in anticipation
and the air grows thick on groggy mornings
i hear the heathers
click-clacking down the high school
halls, veronica sawyer’s curling
accent. corn nuts.
these are lazy long summers
before summers were long and lazy
before nights swelled with cicadas
at the very edge of chorus: nature’s orchestra
this space is fleeting and periodic–
where happiness syrups
and days expand
It’s not a sleepover unless it’s 2 in the morning and our hearts are bared with the things we carry and the people we’ve wronged and moments we’ve lost or hope to lose–our resentments revealed, our angers expressed, our sadness unveiled, our gratitude spilled. A sappy sopping melting mess. I swear we were friends in another life. I know we were friends once or twice or ten times before. I think we have something to teach each other. These are the people I despise. And these are the people I love. And these are the things I’ve learned. And these are the things I can’t let go of. It’s not a sleepover until it’s all tumbled out, and in the blur of my blindness, I can’t see your tears.
The cool kids glowed. I remember pulling out of the school parking lot, turning to see the light they cast onto the muddy field. The girls, the boys, so irresistibly cool. Makeup, lemonade, drugs, minds oh-so-so precocious. You smart aleck; you soon-to-be teen mom. How could we have known? Youth gripped us hard. How could you emanate light at 13?
There was M. When I remember her, I see her doing a shoe dance where her toes turn in, then out, then back in. She slides around on the concrete floors, bangs curled with a straightener. Her wrists seem lithe in my memory, nails short, hair wavy. An easy Frenchy thing about her. Indie without even trying. We were all stumbling over ourselves, backs breaking into puberty, while she snatched up the prettiest boy in the grade, no fucking sweat.
here is a broken fading
slow in constancy
syrupy in consistency
guilt intertwines with
spilled drinks, falling moonlight
stumbling into cracked
pavement, littered like uneven teeth
I’ll run my tongue over my lips
to the croon of uncalled songs
escape into reverie
once the party’s over
Scarlet scarfs frayed at the edges. Orange-yellow bulbs of life, warm against the blue black bruises of the cold outside. Home is a phone call away.
The coffeeshop is empty, save for the hawkish worker with the light eyes who started a few years ago. He wasn’t here when I was ten, when this place was new, and I only ever asked for mango smoothies.
And it’d come out artificial-creamy sweet, rich sun yellow against a dollop of white. I’d scoop out the whipped cream with the outer edge of my straw, slurp it into a pathetic heap at the corner I couldn’t reach.
Familiar strumming overhead. A lollying tune, an indie low-whine. Drawn out wail of a banjo and musician who sounds like he sports a beard and wears pea-green jackets with camo sleeves,
Lost in my mind, lost in my mind, I’ve been lo-o-o-o-st—
They play this song every time I come in. It’s on the coffeeshop playlist, and it always has ben, unchanging, carved in time, shaping my own musical preferences as I bury my head in words.
Insomnia. There’s a softened edge to memory, to memory’s memory of insomnia, to memory’s memory of the insomniac’s late-night thoughts. Other things mattered then, trivial things, mind-numbing replays of the inconsequential, and that was what kept me up.
The things that matter now stand in sharp relief against the mindset I’d held then.
Sun streams in through the window. On five hours of sleep, I crawl out of bed.
At this coffeeshop, littered with people working hard and hardly working, I order nothing from the bar. I bring a water in. I peruse through reddit and creepypasta and play psychic word games. When I pass the counter, the barista jokes about throwing out my water container, but I can’t tell if it’s a joke, so I laugh as though it is, and throw the water out.
Overheard, Lost in my Mind plays. And for a moment, I’m enmeshed in the warm cocoon of nostalgia, buried in tunnel vision.
in a falling cast of white
you were there, blinding bright
forgotten notes of a song
a harmony quietly unmatched
These girls, they drift in and out bleating some language I don’t understand. Eight year old me understood. Twelve year old me understood. Years later, I still don’t understand.
— — — —
It feels like the weekend although the weekend hasn’t started. It’s because I feel slow, slow and relaxed and languid, like maybe a sloth or maybe a koala. I see flashes of Tampa, Florida in my mind as I consider my slothiness. I see flashes of blue and sea as we’re on the highway. I’m trying to get the sun positioned right behind my hair. No, not like this. Like that. From that angle. I see a tiger sweatshirt and wild cats that’ll never be free. In the pictures my hair’s even more untamed than the felines prowling the space.
— — — —
I have an art crush. This is my art crush, @elesq. I wormhole through art blogs on tumblr every so often and stumble upon styles/artists I really like and this is one. Simple poignant stuff. I’d emulate it, but I feel like my style is kind of heavy–I go and try to fill in every space possible. When I attempt minimalism I’m inclined to fill in the spaces. But you’re supposed to let the space speak for itself. Like silences used for effect in plays. In conversations. In speeches where you think people have dropped off from listening so when you’re quiet they’re jarred back to attention: why aren’t you droning on anymore?
Lately, I’ve been flooded with memories. Vignettes. The sight of a person early morning, blue polo, by the coffee machine. Sunday runs with friends and pastel chalk we’d line ourselves with. Fifth grade secrets about love once unrequited, reversed, now going unrequited. Hallway hugs and devious plans, being called on our shit by the guy who got expelled. These images, vivid and clear, are like bursts of yellow mango poppers. Syrupy and strange. Abrupt and angry. And then they fade, quickly, only to make way for another.
we found a quiet hobbit nook the other day
a cozy woodish book-decked space
with rich spanish lattes
and oil paintings abound
(and I think I feel strange because I ate something strange
I think that a bit of stream of consciousness
will make things better)
the rain is pouring
oh! the thunder sounds like angry popcorn
crackling in the skies
and they are splitting
in half, drowning in their grief
(did anybody really go anywhere?
i don’t know. nor do i think so.
is it mostly a matter of show
and does it behoove me
to be so mentally tied to it all?
after talking to my best friend
it seemed to dissipate–finally–
mud hardened by disgust
eventually hosed down by understanding
nowadays i am
i’ve been thinking of a wordpress i started in 2015
the summer of 2015, to be exact
it was a small, honest space
and even though i would add tags, it was relatively private
it felt more candid
i think i just miss word-vomiting with that sort of
lost careless sadness
when it felt like roads would extend forever
in that lazy summertime way
when time would stretch like
putty and i’d wrap
myself in it, contemplating nabokov
the metamorphosis guy, that one–
and i thought life couldn’t be more
what a luxury it was
the droning contemplation
we left the cold blank walls
white and bland
stripped of photos
of colors & memories
that’d be left, soon enough
i was littered with anxiety, apprehension
—excitement, above all
of not knowing the change that was
since then, it’s been more of a yearning for
as i drive through the well manicured
trees that carve in like
they do in the movies
pristine and intentional
i find myself feeling like the summer before then
before that start
before we began
today i wake up to a third letter
i begin to map out schedules, requirements
i yearn for stillness, not movement
practicality, not dreams
mute pastels, not lights
familiarity, not novelty
i curl into what is safe
reaching to any and all good
that came before
things are different
yet not so much
five years have passed
but it feels like nothing has
this is my new fresh start
a sturdy continuation of everything that
has come before
we used to dance in the rain
because we wanted to be like stargirl
stargirl with the long blue dress
stargirl with the whiskery pet rat
stargirl, who meditated on fields
and danced in the rain
and who lived so vivaciously
we wanted to do the same
we used to dance in the rain
because it made us feel free
as people ducked into corridors
we sprinted onto fields
we filled our oxfords with mud
laughed with our chins to the sky
we would immortalize youth forever
cold shirts plastered to our backs
you had your soul with you
(resting on a) crow’s perch
when am i gonna lose you
(for we had) grown nothing
sin no halo (so you cried)
(go and) save me from your kindness
fill me up with (your) anthem
one day it’s gonna break
did you know that psychopaths
do not feel much anxiety?
that they remain unnervingly calm
heart beats low and steady
the truth is
I do not remember the last time I was genuinely anxious
her hands lay flat
maybe I used to be
but not much anymore
not much anymore
in what situations did you ever feel anxious?
a small nudge
I don’t know. dumb things, little things like
indecision, emotional pools
there’s an outdoor smell clinging
to my hair after we sit outside on the patio
to our left are thickets of dried up bushes
to our right are seesawing heehawing burger devourers
we talk numbers, business, philosophy
finance and people
i decide i’m more interested in the personnel part
there’s an outdoor smell clinging
to my hair as i sit on a small foldable
army green chair, virgin suicides
propped open in my lap
to my right are big rubber tires
to my left is pungent smelling vinegar
filling the giant vat that used
to be my bath tub
today i sit indoors
lightly observing rain drops clinging to the window
cliched trees sway in the wind and murky
green water ripples thru the canal
this is the most intentional deja vu
the greenest of green spaces
i left and i returned–
this is the closest i get to nature
on the last night
i very much
wanted to leave
by the stacks of
glass and dust
i was very much ready to go
i am making ravioli and soup
i’ll bring you tissues–just please come
so we piled into the car and talked about pharmacy
arrived at her home to
orangey butter lights
crawled the staircase to the lace
and gold living room
to the leather couch i’d watched end of the fucking world on
to the desk i’d painted “best friends at”
to the bed where we’d
watched bachelor and gossiped
over the tomato thick soup
i lament illness
(full circle) and movement and
so many little things i can’t remember–
we set the table
forks spoons plates
food atmosphere celebration and
embracing this time
for us all to be
like extended family
like fourth cousins
we watch in amusement as family members begin
to pair off
raising their voices in enthusiasm
we curl up on the couch
and my heart feels so warm
the less love there is
the more i write about it
the more love there is
the less i write about it
when i’m swimming in love requited
the last thing i want to write about is love requited
what color is this
the woman asks
i stare at it hard
beige and grey, i decide
when the woman pats the foundation
gently on my face
she observes and so do i
it’s tinted orangey
do you think this goes well with that?
the woman says
i pause and say yes to the cream–
i thought they were the same outfit
hard edges soft smiles
skin cleaner than artificiality
floral beckons pink
and loosening fingers
must you gab on so constantly interpret my quiet for surliness you’re doing that thing where you go silent yes my life 99% of the time who’s got time to talk so much well I do I love it and my lips are pursed and my head is saying must you gab on so constantly
dirt and grime and a cloud of dust / I promised I wouldn’t leave again
we were made of stardust
of a billion cosmos
skin of the sky
(and as we looked towards the night
I so very much wanted to believe it)
us–can you imagine?–made from the destruction of celestial bodies
only to return, full circle, to the dirt beneath weeds
i told myself that one day I’d buy you a telescope
just so we could see our mirrored selves
a swarm of melting bodies
there’s a quick lilt that falls on her lips
sky kissed bronze falling in wisps
she leans in forward and nonsensically quips
“red velvet red velvet draped her hips”
cinnamon flecked bodies of
spice dipped milk
churning spoon and metal
aromatic whispers from my arms throat
a full-bodied warmth
dances into my chest
were dreams the actualization of
(as freud posited)
or were dreams of something more
(as jung offered)
as i lie in bed
wrapped in distorted memories
cocoon of broken lights
i piece together the nothingess of logic
knowing that my subconsciousness
has weaved itself
back into myself
my body’s a friend tonight while i’m scarfing down heaps of korean barbecue, determined to get my money’s worth. in the bathroom, i do the math. 12 plates of food would equate to $5 per, which would certainly be worth it. i’ve barely eaten all day, feeling little appetite and suppressed hunger. so the small monster unleashes at the table. i stare seriously at the meat, assessing how quickly each types cooks, sensing the unevenness of the grill. i watch the fire, blues and yellow licking the metal.
my body’s a foe tonight on the verge of explosion. the 12 plates have come. by plate 7, boyfriend is done. he has been done. will you be ordering more? he looks at me with wide desperate eyes. my own have hardened into determination. somewhere the headache i’ve had all afternoon evaporates. in its place is now a racing heart and fueled adrenaline. we soon find out that he is a terrible sidekick. “now! wait, no.” i glare at him. “now!” we turn at the same time to a coast not-clear. i glare at him again. he laughs into his sleeve, and i dump a small plate of disturbingly authentic octopi. i think that octopi do not deserve to be eaten. they’re too intelligent.
when we skid out of the restaurant, hearts beating wild, we compare it to our summer heist of 2017. we’d roadtripped to a restaurant with a view by the mountain, a view by the sea. in lieu of the four hour wait, we slipped through an open chain-link instead. as a child, i flirted with rebellion, hard–rules were only made to be broken. these small tastes of harmless rule-breaking take me back to a time when we ran into locked rooms only because we weren’t allowed. adrenaline was always what makes it memorable.
in the spaces in between / I can love the most / light honey and soft blues / and you you you!
I did not choose to grow here.
I see myself as a displaced flower, uprooted before she was planted, a seed placed miles and miles away. I am, let’s say, a lotus flower. From a country far away. One day, I sprouted. Maybe under the sunny bright skies of California. Somewhere Western. And all I knew were the soil and skies and trees of a Western world.
And there were Western songs. And Western values. And Western foods that made people balloon and swell and topple over from heart disease. There were color coded hierarchies. And color embracing schools. There were plastered banners of ideals, never obtained, of bars that will never be reached. And there was money. Lots of money. Unevenly divided, but money, still. Oh, and shit-talking. Lots and lots of shit-talking. Because shit-talking was her prized possession baby.
She was theoretically free. She was chained by things that half of her would screech about.
This is Western air I breath. And Western words I write. My mind scrambles to translate to my mother tongue. I feel irritated when quizzed, scrutinized, over my minute vocabulary. I comprehend the way I read–vertically, in chunks, taking in the entire scene.
I did not choose to grow here. But I do so, begrudgingly, albeit mostly contentedly, because with physical comfort comes mental comfort. There is food to eat. And water to drink. And clean carpeted homes. And space, and clear blue skies.
But it is a hollow step-mother, a cutout adopted family, and this is Cinderella, couched in her stepmother’s magnificent home. It is lacking in significant ways. In this tiled gated home, ripe with waste and excess, I have no desire to engorge myself in deep fried meats. I have no desire to shoot a rifle. I have no desire to make silly clownish political statements, or yell, or scream. Where is everybody else? Where is the real food? Where is the real music? The real dancing? The culture, the culture?
And when I return to this home, a home I had never been, I feel the deepest, most explicable sense of home. How do you return home when you’ve never been? This, I realize, is biological. It’s deeper than simply sprouting where you are planted. It goes back seasons, centuries, for an environment to be just right for that particular plant–but I was uprooted, like so many others.
And I never assume that I am like them. Plants in the new environment, I mean. I can feign it–I speak it, and I most likely seem it, but it’s a facade. You can take an alligator out of a swamp, raise it in the desert, but it will always have been from a swamp, no matter what you tell it. You can brainwash it. You can tell her to participate in rituals of the patriotic. You can make her place her hand on this part of her chest, memorize poems about fabric, worship strangers of the dead. But it is all surface level, environmental. External. As internal as socialization can be.
No matter what anyone tells me, no matters what is shushed or socially right, nobody can convince me otherwise. She is a queen, a sleeping dragon. And I am convinced of it. I hope she breaths and flies and wakes soon. I have been planted alongside the fat rich happy little Western boar, who snores and powerfully kicks up mud when angered. There is not much that I can do. Because I did not choose to grow here.
“you know what i thought of the other day?
our childhoods are for our parents
they remember our first steps
they remember what we liked and what we didn’t like
they remember what we ate, what we didn’t eat
they’re their memories to have,
your life becomes yours
but when we were younger
it was once theirs.”
– april 23rd, 2015 | 4:08 pm
Something my best friend said to me a few years ago.