A Letter “On Kindness”

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Do you remember the time you were at Chipotle and you saw the lady with four children in tow and after ordering the food, four bowls total, she realized she didn’t have any money? And so you paid it for her?

And that was your kindness.

Obviously kindness, clearly kindness, without-a-doubt-kindness. As I read the poem by Aracelis Girmay titled “On Kindness”, I wondered about subtle forms of it, like when it isn’t just a hug or a peck or buying someone’s burrito bowls, but is, instead, your telling a wailing women you love her because she is yelling I want to kill myself I want to kill myself.

That love—that’s kindness too.

There are other forms of it that Aracelis Girmay writes about in her poem. The mail lady who says “hi baby” to you, and to the girl beside you, and to her cousin, and to her cousin’s best friend. The window that filters in light on a heady Sunday morning, reminding you have made it another day you’re alive you’re alive. The dog that comes panting up to you, looking overjoyed to see you, you, you—and that is kindness, too.

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Something Ama-Zine

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I love zines: they’re the perfect intersection between art and poetry and prose and photography with just a dash of weird-creative and jarring-aesthetic and shakes-you-up-prose. Sorry not sorry, but I’m having a major art nerd attack right now: I’ve found zines on zines on zines! And it is, I tell you, ama-zine. Normally, zines are small print booklets distributed by hand. But many–as I discovered last night–are uploaded onto Issuu and it’s f–king fantastic.

Before I forget, here’s a link to the vast array of zines littered across Issuu

It makes me wish I could write poetry the way these writers do. But poetry always feels so personal. I mean, writing’s pretty personal in general, but poetry’s, like, the stuff of the heart. I only ever write poetry when the heart-stuff’s threatening to overflow and coat everything in sight so I jot it down real quick and show it to nobody.

But I guess that’s why I like these zines so much. They’re raw. Made of heart-stuff. Not like the glossy magazines–they’re more like the, uh, hashtag nofilter creative underbelly cousins of the magazine. Magazines are all dolled up, stuffed with ads. Zines aren’t. And that they’re oft produced by creatives and minorities makes it all the better.

God, all the art and writing is so inspiring.

Behind The Lens

My ears are ringing. A girl’s crying in the bathroom. A boy in my class dances fluid-languid by another boy in my class who’s across a girl in my class who is tall and wears crop tops. I scan the disco-ball lit dance floor for what’s ‘in’: short tight mini-skirts that hike up your belly paired with black x-ed tops that your dyed hair can flow over. I wish my hair were long again so I could hide behind it.

Behind the lens and under disco lights, being a photographer lets me observe. Observe, record, document. It’s how I both connect and disconnect, like being a third party in my own reality. It can be interesting, toeing this social middle-ground. Here, I’m simultaneously a participant and an observer. I am a passive agent, an active recorder. An authority, a prop: the photographer.

With Eyes Like Butterflies

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December  10th, 2013 // 12:50:00 pm

On the car ride home I detected, from the smoky poof of our deep conversation, wispy strands of respect in your eyes.

I really like people who have kind eyes. People with kind eyes are compassionate, and compassionate people have kind eyes. And kind people are beautiful and nice to talk to, and you can see it in their eyes. -trails off into a tune due to wordy redundancy-

But people can have normal eyes. People can have snarky eyes. People can have flat eyes that hover between life and lifelessness. And people can have sly eyes or suspicious eyes or cold, hard and dull eyes.

As my art teacher once cried: “Eyes are the window to the soul. Serendipity!”

I thought it was spelled “Sarahn Dipity” and wheeled around. “Who’s that?”

Sometimes I’ll miss people for their eyes. Whenever I have little moments of peering into people’s eyes, I’ll take a small creepy note of the types of eyes they have: far set, close-set, deep-creased, light-creased, blue or black or green or tan. Search for clues of their soul window decor. Like curtains of kindness or meanness or tiredness, or sadness.

Those with kind eyes are the ones who emanate the wisps of respect. Those with unkind eyes are the ones who pretend nothing ever happened.


Perused through my old Tumblr, which I tried decimating to bits 5 years ago, and found this old post from 2013. I remembered the exact moment I marinated in these thoughts. Again with the winding Texas roads and a heart full of resentment.

But less than three years later, puedo decir con confianza: all hail the force of forgiveness. They will sweep through your heart’s city and burn down houses of bitterness. For the better, ‘course, and I’m glad they did.

 

Skeletal Dust

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On the first day I said it was like opening a closet with monsters inside. Dancing skeletal monsters with joints that’d jingle and brush against each other when you dusted them. And I was here to do just that: dust the shit off of these monsters.

“Are you tired?”

Just unresponsive.

“What’re you thinking about?”

You. Then I hoped to God you were lying. Because as I lied there I was counting skeletons instead, ghostly remnants and coats of dust that’d jump out and say “BOO”, then run away crying.


My throat itched Wednesday so I wouldn’t be there Friday, I said. Were we too close? you asked. You asked me this repeatedly. Like the game “are you nervous” we’d play at age twelve with fingers itching up plaid skirts asking repeatedly: are you nervous, are you nervous?

Were we too close?

Consciously, no. Subconsciously, maybe yes. Maybe you were hanging out with the skeletons without me and maybe you understood them better than I did myself and maybe I was afraid of that.


You can come up with a million exit strategies and still take none. So in the beautiful weather I felt like shit. In 3, 2, 1…had moseyed our way into discomfort. In the end we laughed it off with bloodshot eyes and I walked away knowing I’d done it again, done it again, done it again.

Day 14: Home

10: like a sleepy warm embrace 9: the sound of hisses pots pans before dinner “o I just throw things together” 8: organized disarray groaning under its own weight 7: driving down winding empty roads

6: (tethered) 5: dancing, singing, stepping on my own toes 4: cardboard sign that reads FREE HUGS 3: cracking tilting falling apart but it’s not about the SHELL it’s about the PEANUT 2: happy slow light

1: and warm. very very warm

[30 Day Writing Challenge]

(Earlier I was reading Michael Mira’s (@journalofdisposablethoughts) post on how we all have to have a “home as a reference point….It could be at a railway station in Nairobi or in your wife’s loving arms.” Just something that keeps us 6: tethered–“we all need a single point in the universe to attach our roots.”)

Some Type of Way

Y’know when you find shit that makes you really feel some type of way?

Like that one contemporary exhibit in DC I stayed behind at to stare at the pieces in prolonged hypnosis–

Or like the Japanese film photos that I became obsessed mid-Econ class. The ones with the weird lights, beautiful people, fuzzy looks. Later I said I wanted to be like that film photographer sans film camera, model friends and aesthetic).

Or like the cluttery winding dancing prose I have to stop reading (think: junior year when I swam in Nabokov’s words and hated how much I loved them), the books I have to put down because I’m on the verge of–verge of what? I don’t know.

But that’s when I know I like something. When there’s no word or phrase to describe how I experience something, just that I’m experiencing it and feeling some strange type of way. It’s not a flood of admiration or appreciation. It’s not feeling floored with emotion. It’s more like being quietly submerged in obsession, stricken with a raw sense of “holy shit, this is some shit“. Guess that’s just the way it is with art.