the idea of the city as bustling and alive and empty and slow stemmed from a 5th grade school teacher, mr. d. mr. d was wiry and tall, with edges like a bendy metal ruler. he spoke dreamily about urban paradoxes and told us—wee 10 yr olds—not to fuck with ouji boards.
1.26.18| Daily Art
Weather’s been doing its usual tango-merengue between hot and cold.
I tell myself that time goes by faster around this time of year, end of October. November zips by, solid block of cold, fades around the middle. December’s usually quick, submerged in work, two weeks of wrapping things up in cold tired bows of maybe-nostalgia.
Then the feeling of surprised triumph that things are done, that it’s been yet another half of a half (of a half of half) that’s passed.
Saturday morning. I woke up at 5 and we arrived by 6, the wind so cold it bit into us like knives. I wore my frayed red scarf as we boarded the bus, skies were purpley blue. I watched the sunrise through the sketch of back roads, blues and oranges and rocky gravel.
Countless love triangles zig-zagged their way unrequited among the best friends. Among him, you, her, me. Your best friend. My best friend. My best friend’s friend’s then-best-friend, then his best friend, or your best friend. I was to you as he was to me; she was to him as I was to you as he was to me. Now he’s little to them and we are nothing to each other.
Cycling through obsessions like a broken washing machine. I am: drawn to the same aesthetic like a film-drunk moth. Film, film, film and light gossamer. And beautiful people in beautiful places.
Sometimes sleep is like an elusive creature that slinks around corners in between cracks over globs of hardwood floor then around and back. It’s like happiness: you can’t pursue it too aggressively. It’s like your own shadow: chasing it is futile. It’s like this weird thing made up of: zigs and zags and slow shit and bright lights, coming and going in waves.
The leaves fell and temperatures dipped 20 degrees overnight. Fall. A season in flux. The weather’s nice, albeit confusing;bit of sun and it’s sweltering hot, patch of shade and it’s shivery-cool.
I’m so basic, I’m getting the pumpkin spice coffee. I’m so basic. The girl in front of me says this four times to her friends while we’re all getting coffee. She is–and I look up to see just who is just so basic–decked out in basic fall dress, basic orange scarf and basic boots and all. Oranges, yellows. Except it’s grey and murky outside today.
The cold make me nostalgic. Tunnels me into a tube of miss, insomnia and memory woven together. Heavy rope. Haven’t felt this way in a while. It’s familiar, muted. Nowadays, when I can’t sleep, in lieu of curling up angrily around air, I’ll send out the insomniac’s frustrated 3 AM snap: I can’t sleep, and the streets are so loud.
time-wrapped memory hangs suspended in the grainy unchanging film of
twilight, defined: a state of obscurity, of gradual decline, of soft rays / scattered light
when I close my eyes I see the flitting wings of a moth, its luminous wings bleeding light
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.