Monday, November 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things I Don't Remember

Looking at that photo, I can't remember who I was. The unshapely, unkempt facial hair... the daze in my eyes, and the overgrown rim of black surrounding a miniscule hue of deep brown in my cornias; these things all were a mystery to the man now looking back at the mad eyed, half smiling, half exploding lunatic that I saw in that picture. I can't recall what he did on that particular weekend, or what was so fantastic about it. I can recall constantly shouting "DR. SCOTT!" at the stage, as some mindlessly bantering jam band emulated. It made a friend laugh, and at that point, I lived to make friends laugh.

Rewind two years to a photo my me smiling blindly, still at that time unkempt and wild looking, no more than 2 feet away from the camera. A friend is there with me. We look happier than I've felt since all of these things turned to memories. What were we feeling that night? Why do both of our smiles show such absolute purity in this one brief moment, and why do I not have the ability to reconnect?

I'll never forget travelling across the country in a van communicating with a stranger whom I had kissed once at that point, and would not see again for a month. Never again have I so interested another human being. Never again have I both been so encapsulated, and felt so adored by another person.

What's changed? Was it the drugs? Am I ill? Is this what growing up's supposed to be? It feels more like growing backwards. Communication is not so easy as it was once. I think I was outgoing once. For the life of me, I can't remember why.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Work boots.

There we were: tearing apart my recent, but somehow remote childhood with borrowed crowbars and sledgehammers and mirroring stigmata, counting the echoes of the grunts and the falls that bounced between "them woods over there" and "this brown 'luminum wall back here." The skeletons of bike ramps lay drawn and quartered all around us in the wild ankle-high heather; the sun hadn't quite reached noon yet; and the pangs of hunger were sinking deeper into our guts as the morning's blaze attenuated and diffused to a familiar murky hue of hazy, cosmic grey. Blood did not seep where blood could not reach, still the pain was sharp, constant and (when left unchecked) debilitating. So together we limped, the reluctant participants in a three-legged race, paired together by circumstance, with only blood and blind chance binding us. On the dusty barn floor, we removed our boots and socks and compared wounds. "Yers go the whole way through, too?" Of course it had. Mine had been the first, the initial attack; his had been dumb luck, "fuckin' karma;" wasn't supposed to happen to him at all: "not just steel-toed, but steel-soles, too." Finally given the chance to breathe, the holes gaped and, when squeezed with dirty fingers and clenched jaw, spat rust-colored ooze from their pallid, wrinkled mouths. So the accidental blood brothers bandaged up their wounds, using strips of cloth torn from an old Purchase Line Varsity Track and Field shirt, split a hoagie from the gas station down the street, and got back to work; looking to get done before the old man got home from his meeting in town with the judge.

He mostly stood and watched me; but he stood well and statuesque and, framed by the sun at its highest point, discoursed in a homely, but uniquely eloquent vernacular on his favorite topic: women. "To me it's all about the morning after," - looking up at two turkeybuzzards circling the pasture beyond the barn - "they gotta shine in the morning." He spoke of golden down, tawny hairs that cover them all over, like stretching fields of wheat that captivate and affront the sun's morning light with their brilliance. This, he said through azure exhales (in an excusable moment of ignorance to the malicious truth of the vast, spinning world around him), was the closest a grown man could get to the amazing agony he once felt as a young boy just discovering the "differences between her and me."

And just as he had picked up his sledge to get back to work, the new and shiny black truck of the old man's pulled up; something heated and static buzzing in the old man's aspect. "Why the hell ain't you limpin' then?" he asked me after the incident had been divulged. I looked down at my hands, tightly sheathed by my father's old, ever-shrinking, once-light-tan-now-dark-brown, suede work gloves, and saw that all but two fingers (both pinkies) poked through holes worn in them long before my palms were ever callused with labor; my toes throbbed with a secret pain. "Cuz both feet're sore and it won't do no good to favor one more'n the other." Staring down at the moribund purple pressing its ghastly face against the window of my left big toenail, the old man arrived at a decision: "Sammy, take the rest the day off'n go'won inta town and git that boy some goddamn work boots." The old man scribbled his name at the bottom of a check and handed it to him: "Take my truck if ya want, but git back here 'fore too long: Rita's cookin' venison fer supper."

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's hard to run with a knife in your back

“This town’s well is dry,
Its fingernails are not so refined”
Said the sad-eyed lady in the train station
They seemed to be trying to say something more,
Her eyes,
But it couldn’t be read.
She had learned how to lie, even through her eyes.

The autumn breeze almost takes me away some days
When all the leaves
Have left the trees
And their stark silhouettes,
Like un-stuffed scarecrows,
Ward off unwelcome visitors.

Like useless appendages,
The branches reach up to the heavens -
Calling for god to reign down his mercy.
To take pity on their lengthy, inert existence,
To take pity on this town.

Dear God, please bless
Those of us about to rest
The ones who sleep beneath the trees
Who, like their stark ancestors,
Have never had the chance to leave.

The sad eyed lady sat on her train
Meticulously manicuring her nails.
Alone she could not lie to herself,
Her eyes struggled to focus on her cuticles
She couldn’t remove the dirt beneath them.

She never would.
And it would stick with her, like a bad hangover,
Clinging desperately lost past it’s due.
And she would learn to live with it,
Care for it,
And nurture it,
In the dirt she would learn to plant a garden,
A home
her Life.
Once when wolves were wild
(running, naked
Tongues lapping in the wind)
Nothing could stop us
We were kings
We were wolves
We didn’t have to sharpen our teeth
They would fall out
And grow back new
Grow back stronger
Grow back sharper
The voice reverberated roundly
Spiraling through the cave
The impenetrable walls wound round for miles
autumn leaves
grass-stained jeans
the milking bees
in the trees

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pupil: party of two

these are the days that we will never be able to recall because i'll be the only one who remembers them happening at all; i've been gifted and plagued with this absolute memory of everything i've ever done.

everyone's a snapshot, a thumbnail grown in proportion. i never know where i am, just who i'm with. i've escaped having a home for long enough, it seems; it's time to settle myself but not to settle for any other reason.

i keep it all in my mind, each thought placed in a hazy folder, full of life and the death that i once played with.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's so sad how we evolve, don't you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Craig was looking for a quick place to wait for the strange spell of summer rain to subside when he decided to duck into a magazine shop that he passed on 42nd Street. As he took cover he noticed his new shoes, soaked. He took a deep sigh, and headed to the “music” section. Craig’s eyes didn’t wander to the peripherals, he was focused. He knew the magazine he was looking for and went straight for it. The magazine shop had a few tables where people could sit and sift through the reading material before eventually deciding to buy it, or just place it back on the shelf for another magazine before eventually walking out without every buying anything. That was the beauty of places like this – that was the beauty of magazines in general. You didn’t have to sit down and invest endless afternoons into character’s that were just going to let you down or die in the end, you could just sift through, pick out things that interest you, and then put it back on the shelf. No investment, no attachment. That’s the way Craig liked things theses days. As he grabbed the issue of the magazine he chose and headed to one of tables, his eyes noticed someone else for the first time since he had entered the shop. There was a woman of about 25, Craig suspected, sitting reading an issue of “Bust” magazine. As his eyes darted around to the other tables, he noticed they were all full, so he sat across from the cute twentysomething. She had dark skin and almond eyes and she reminded Craig of someone. She reminded Craig of another life, with another dark skinned, almond eyed girl, in another magazine shop.

Craig was still in college, he was visiting Olivia in the city during her internship. She was going to be a big shot photographer for the magazines and he was going to be an important writer for them. They were the perfect team in every sense. They each were so young and full of passion, it was boiling out of them. They were both young enough to still feel like they had purpose and they thought they could see it in each other. They were running through the streets of New York in the summer, getting soaked from a spell of summer rain when the ducked inside a magazine shop for safety. Craig’s canvas shoes squeaked from being so wet, and Olivia laughed. Craig laughed back. Olivia pulled Craig’s hand as they rushed to the endless stacks. They hid behind issues of MAD magazine and cheap gossip rags and would make up stories about all the squares sitting at the tables. Cindy from accounting was reading an issue of Men’s Health to give her obese boyfriend Randy some diet tips…and to read up on what guys really want in the bedroom. Stan the business executive was reading Under the Radar to impress his hipster niece he was trying to bang, inbred yuppie scum. They laughed and took trashy quizzes in issues of Cosmo. But after a while, they made their way to the magazines they really wanted to read. After a while, each had a magazine and made their way to a table and sat and read.

Then they wouldn’t speak, they would sit opposite the other, intensely reading and looking at the photographs. It was as if they were studying. They read articles and articles and articles in complete silence, each maybe cracking a half smile, or exchanging the slightest of glances to subtly let the other know they had just liked a line they had read or really approved of a photograph they had seen. Occasionally the silence would be broken for Craig or Olivia to tell the other about an article they thought the other would like…but only if they thought the other would like it. Neither would break to share something they merely thought was interesting, for all the articles they read they thought were interesting, that’s why they read them, that was the beauty of magazines. Not only were they specialized already, but you didn’t need to waste your time reading something you didn’t like, you could just invest in what you wanted to. They knew each other well, and would share articles on what the thought the other liked. It was truly bliss. They sat effortlessly, indulging in what each loved and sharing the images and words they thought were most special. They didn’t need to fill the airspace with incessant conversation that would come up in time anyway and eventually fill the air stale until they would choke on it. In those days they could just sit in silence and indulge themselves in their passion, in the things that they each loved, and do it together. And it was perfect. The two of them stayed in there for hours, long after the rain stopped.

But that was a different lifetime ago, Craig thought. The thirty year old bachelor defined love much differently these days. But then again, perhaps that was Craig’s problem. These days Craig had a pretty set definition of what love was, he put it in his terms and he demanded them. But perhaps this was a result of Craig’s job, so it wasn’t completely his fault. Back then, Craig didn’t really define love, he didn’t have to, and it just kind of happened to him, it unraveled like a ball of yarn. It was defined through those moments, so in a sense, love became defined through hindsight. It was difficult to communicate in words; they saw it through gestures, in passing moments. Through the perfect silence at the table, exchanging the infrequent glance and indulging in a photograph. But they were young, and not blessed with hindsight. So instead of putting these moments in mason jars and appreciating them like fireflies, they let them pass each other by, tossing each perfect moment away in hopes of the next fleeting moment of bliss. They didn’t pin it down like a butterfly and marvel at its beauty, fully appreciate the elaborate symmetry and patterns on its back. Instead they were careless with their love, like all young people are. And eventually it fizzled and cracked and dried up.

Craig looked up from his magazine and noticed that the beautiful woman across from him had gone. As he looked towards the door, he saw she was on her out of the store and that it had stopped raining. Craig stood up, put his magazine back on the rack and went back outside to the cruel streets and back to work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Midnight spaghetti.

In your absence I've returned to some of my old habits. Coming home to a sleeping, disquiet house, stumbling and burping and singing the Pixies off-key in the empty kitchen, dancing with frozen feet on the wet tiles, huddled and rubbing my hands together over the pot of boiling water. Just a few drops of olive oil, and then I delight, stoned out of my mind, at how they dance and converge and separate again.They are like amoebas. We are like amoebas. We are all from one singular nothing. Return me to me this blissful simplicity: spinning drops of olive oil in a teflon-coated pot of boiling water. . . .

But I am not completely alone without you, my dear. He keeps me, for the most part. While I'm eating over the stove, he's threading between my legs, purring loudly, and biting at my jeans to mark his territory. Eventually I must succumb to his demands, and we climb up the stairs to my bedroom, and slam into the wall - grabbing at the air after an involuntary "ouch!"

What looks will the morning bring? What blood-shot eyes part and widen when the trumpet sounds at sunrise from the humming, coughing, hacking bathroom? There is no sleep to be had anywhere in this house. My bed is shared with him, and his nocturnal wont for arbitrary kicking and clawing. Loneliness is a thumping bass drum, a closed door framed in pale luminescence. Love is an arm deprived of its blood, ticklish hair that stays in your nose, and stifled giggles in the quiet night. I fit somewhere in the middle, or in a closet between the two.

alone is best sometimes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beyond all the shit, there's something undiscovered.