June Bugs in the Winter

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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.

ii.
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.

iii.

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.

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Disjointed

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In between ceramic tiles, I empathize with Murakami’s characters (disjointed, numb). I’m reminded of how disconnected I’d once felt, as if this was myself but somehow it wasn’t. I tossed and turned, ran through storms, writhed in bed. Wondered: and so how did she, this other self, feel? Because I felt nothing.

Between shallow breaths I remind myself to scale down. So I scale down. In a giant desert, I am box-like. I am a face of a salt crystal on a pink salt mountain. And collectively we are all salt grains tumbling through something vast and strange and inexplicable.

July 2016

Art Hub

I don’t feel much in the summer, not as much as I do in the winter. There’s something about the onslaught of cold—the onslaught of nostalgia, the wave of emotion, of icy blustery wintry reflection.

It’s barely Halloween and I’m ready for Christmas. We’ll have lights, I’ve decided. Rainbow lights. A tree, spindly and green. A tree, plastic evergreen, our first in years.

Cold and rain joined forces today. Yesterday was another story. It was hot and muggy and I greeted an old friend SC with a head glazed in sweat. MT had invited me to an arts festival that reminded me of small alternative spaces in Austin, New York, Philadelphia.

It brimmed with people, people with colored hair dyed bright angry neon. People with nose rings, with tattoos, with large dark eyes under heavy-rimmed glasses. Artwork lined the tables. You are so talented, I tell an artist after skimming through her comic book. Doodles. Paintings. Prints. Bags. Comics. Film. I feel guilty looking at their art and not buying it.

It made think of Philly’s first Fridays, where all galleries opened their doors and artists lined the summery streets, their work on display. And New York, but more likely every day of the week. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, basked in it, until I was surrounded by it again.

City

The city is tired, the city is alive. The city is moving; the city lies still. Stop motion. Slow motion. When the light turns green I cross anyway, counting down the milliseconds, swiveling my sight in circles.

The city, from far away, sparkles and sprinkles and glitters and glows. Juxtapositions sit at every street corner. The homeless slump by the chatty elite, carry cardboard by  fine wine. Angry lights glare. Still lampposts hang. I play the streets by ear, following the crowd, hoping to god that I’m moving southeast.

The city overwhelms. Screams, honks, turns right on red. Showers rain like a garden hose, a childhood treat on summery days. Spinning and laughing in a one-piece, now cold and shuddering.

The city houses nail salon after nail salon. Our nail salon is next to the gas station. Open doors. First breeze of summer wafts in. A woman with acrylic stuck in her nail drifts in, “you can remove this?” You don’t want new nails? A new coat? “Nah, just get rid of this.” Five minutes later she leaves muttering under her breath because she doesn’t want to soak them-she wants to rip them off.

The city is gritty, the city is loud, the city is terrifying, the city is striking, the city is cold. I skip down the steps to the train, slot in my coins, smile at the receiver who seems unusually patient and friendly. I pace my way back and forth as I wait stonily for the trolley.

The city is a million breaths at once, all breathing, breathing, breathing. And I’m afraid–once in love, but now just afraid.

April 2018

Reverie

There is no fine line between loneliness and solitude, only a clunky, black-Sharpie-esque streak that delineates both. Even though there are many nights I wonder if I know how to be alone, now is one fine, humid afternoon where I seek solitude. For now, I will pretend that I am the only one here surrounded by people, but not. Not in my own little head, at least–let us play make-believe.

Do you remember when that was the highlight of many days? Make believe: let’s pretend we’re this, let’s pretend we’re that. Let’s pretend that there is no now that’s now, only now that’s tomorrow, next month, next year. Let’s pretend that all the molecules in my body are melting from the dragging boredom that is time, that instead of electron-grounding it is flesh-grounding, that now it is a change of phase! melting, melting, melting into the cement floor, and nobody will ever notice.

And then: when living in dreams was once a thing. When everything felt so real in your head–the grass, the dew, even the way things smelled–you turned into a zombie. You’d vie for the next bout of sleep just so you could fall into the rabbit hole of dreams. You’d spend your waking hours wishing they were sleeping hours, of REM, of dream-state, of somebody whispering your name across a party and you hearing it.

September 2014

Cold Rooms and Indie Tunes

Phoenix is playing and the air is cold and dry. Song shift. Liztomania. The kid in front of me is bouncing in his seat. Cotton cobwebs are strung from wall to wall, plastic blood stains stuck on the television. This room is one of the few that sunlight finds its way into.

It’s strange how perspective can change about seemingly meaningless things, like rooms. Shifting perspectives about rooms. A person moves in, moves out, moves in. Adjusts. Readjusts. Homes relived in, over and over and over. A history. A capsule. This room once looked different, felt different, was different. It’s only a container.

I’m trying to remember what my initial impression of the room was, but I can’t remember. Clutching for memories at the tip of my recall. They’re not. Just a bluish fog of associations instead, angry political posters, Big Brother on the wall.

Heart

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SO you take it upon yourself to judge the content of someone’s heart without ever having the chance to rip open a chest to peer inside. Instead you look at the way their arms flail or their facial expression, the way they extend a hand or recoil in fear. On a bench or through a friend of a friend, you decide on which adjectives you’ll use to describe this heart.

You decide that:

the heart is open, the heart is cold, the heart is kind, the heart is distant, the heart is hardened, the heart is shut-off, the heart is readable, the heart is murky, the heart is big. The heart is stony. The heart is a million things except for what it simply is: a heart.

It never occurs to you that: maybe we’re all just wasting our time trying to superimpose these value judgments on an organ. But that doesn’t stop us.