September 16, 2012 at 6:25pm
sewn together with the bits of hair i found on your bathroom floor
Car rides mean so much. Everything depends on the weather outside – how you drive, the conversation, which radio station you decide to listen to, whether you take the highway or not, how quickly to stop at red-lights, if you want to put your feet on the dash, or your seat all the way back. This Halloween, five years ago, it was raining. We listened to Lou Reed and Steffie held off on the cigarette and we took the back roads. Little was said.
Change it. Turn it back. Turn it down. Turn it up.
I wonder if they’ll have punch. I wonder if
Greg will wear nothing but a trash bag around his dick
and combat boots
and light his cigarettes with the stove top the whole night.
Is this the only CD you have?
It’s really pouring.
I hope my hair stays.
It’s too cold for this shit, and she pulled on the bottom of her skirt as if she could make it longer. I communicated in grunts more than anything but Stef knew me and she knew it wasn’t reflective of my mood, just that the rain made me feel a little sunken into myself, the way plants do when you water them too much, when you give them too much to feel.
always been a little odd
Have you ever stared at yourself in the mirror until your eyes lose their focus
and all the lines
that are you
mush and wash
until they look like a disappointing watercolor project?
Have you ever thought about what it means to be you
and what it means to be
There was nothing left in me by time you reached me.
The others had already cracked me open and slurped and chewed
How does it feel to believe someone you love
and whole -
how does it feel when you realize they are not?
There was nothing we didn’t do.
We came alive as soon as the sun went down and stayed out, stomping pebbles deeper into the cracks of the streets until the sun greeted us again.
Briana loved Rich but Rich loved Amanda. I think they got really high one time and loved each other all at one time. No one ever talked about it. Did they even remember that it had happened?
Probably felt like a dream.
It’s not that we didn’t have homes or families or pets. In fact, for the most part, we had normal childhoods, we had loving parents, we had jobs and money and credit cards and phones that were smarter than we were. Maybe that was the problem. We were so un-fucked-up that we focused on trying to make ourselves as fucked up as possible with what resources we had:
Love, hate, gin, Jameson, spliffs, cigarettes, bumps, tabs, shots.
Everything but the needles, am I right?
On nights when we felt like drowning in each other, we would walk down to The Grand and spend all of our laundry matt quarters on games of pool. The boys would bet money, the girls would let the boys step up behind them and “show” them how to hold their pool sticks.
Those nights were always the best and the worst. Those nights meant getting kicked out at three and hardly being about to walk home because we were so drunk. Money lost, spirits low, everyone quiet. Everything quiet.
Looking back now, we seemed less like people. We seemed less like others who had warm blood under their skin and spit in their mouths. Looking back now, all I can think about is how full of nothing we really were… Ragdolls, just stuffed with senseless white nothing that came out so easily when life took us in its teeth and shook us like a dog.
It hurt me that I couldn’t hurt the way she did.
Sometimes I wonder if pain is slowly leaving me or if I’m just getting used to it. As if, maybe, there is some truth to the saying, “Time heals all.” Little by little every day another tiny bone, another blood cell, somewhere in my body in all of its magnificent infrastructure, goes numb and the pain dies until I feel nothing at all. Is it like watching a large family’s home get ready for the night? One by one, a light turns off, blackening previously yellow windows until all that is left is a large, white block of black squares. The last light out is the one upstairs on the right, the parents bedroom…
When I cry it’s embarrassing. It’s not beautiful or poignant or any of that shit writers or film directors try and make it out to be. When I cry my body immediately reacts by shoving its hand where my eyes should be, my nose sniffs as quietly but deliberately as possible and my head turns to windows or blank walls on which to cast out all of that emotion. Send it somewhere and nowhere all at once; I don’t want it.
When my little sister, Emily cries it is much different. She sniffs and she wipes at her face and she stares at walls and windows, but mostly she tries to pull all that sadness back inside of her. She likes to hide it there where no one can touch it, where she guards each twinge of tear like a peice of gold.
On a night that was too long ago now for me to properly remember - Was it a Wednesday? Had I worked that day? Why were we at her place? What did we eat for dinner? - I saw my little sister cry and it was beautiful and it didn’t hurt me that she hurt. It hurt me that I couldn’t hurt the way she did. I wanted my sadness to be worth seeing and feeling. Seeing her that way didn’t beckon or beg or call me to ask her, “What’s wrong?” or “Are you okay?” It didn’t guilt me into any frenzy of worry or sympathy. It just meant for me to look and to see. It meant love and death and life and hate - it meant it all.
We had just finished watching a movie and drinking a bottle of wine - 60% me, 40% her - and the screen was so bright it lit up her entire face. Eerie, blue, and pale was her face as she stared off into nothing. The whites of her eyes shining like a thousand sparkling lights of the city that was inside of her.
Was I there? Was she even there?
She pulled her arms over her, as if to hug herself, as if her arms were the gates keeping in a flood that was threatening to burst.
"No," said Emily, "No, you can’t. I’m not ready for this yet. I’m not ready to let go of this. It’s too beautiful, it’s too perfect. It’s too sunny-day-in-the-middle-of-winter and it’s too more-stars-than-satelites."
The world bargained with her, a silent conversation going on in her head for what seemed hours until - the world reached its impasse - a tear slid down her face like a child on a bright, red slide.
"Oh, man, I’m beat," came her voice and her hand rubbed from chin up to her eye like she was trying to scoop that little tear back into her brain. She got up, wrapped in her quilt, and shuffled off into the kitchen where I heard her wash a few dishes and turn off a light.
I’ve always wondered,
did she save the tear, perched at the tip of her fingernail, so she could taste it in the quiet of her own room?
All of its salt awakening her tonque with stories of her past. All of its warmth feeling familiar as it slid down her throat and into the bed of her pink stomach.
I remember the way moths burned
their silver bullet-bodies on the porch lights of your house.
I remember the way the streets were sweating
off the heat of the day, glistening in the orange glow of streetlights.
I remember the way moths burned,
with wings of silk, wings of powder and dust.
I remember your voice. The way you said, “They want the light.”
And how I thought to myself, we all want the light.
I remember the way moths burned
their brains into puddles, their feathery toes
melted like Nikes on black pavement.
I remember the way moths burned,
as if they would never burn again.
They wanted to dissolve into the amber
where they believed the skeletons of their mothers and fathers rested.
I remember the way moths burned;
my eyes looked up at you, your eyes
looked up at them, your dark lashes melted down your cheeks,
like a woman’s mascara in a horror film.
I remember the way we could hear them screaming.
I remember the way you asked, “Should we turn off the light?”
I remember the way we didn’t move, the way we stared.
I remember us, soaking in the light,
burning time under the flame of that last summer.
June 19, 2012 at 1:10pm
someone is burning.
Their blood is boiling like the soup
Grandmom used to cook when you were
Their hair is the first to go -
it makes little crinkling sounds
as the flames lick it from tip to skin.
Their brain is awakened by the heat
and bursts like a thousand bloody, writhing
worms, searching for escape through the canals
of the head: ears, eye-sockets, nostrils, mouth.
someone is burning
But you and I are sitting on your parents’ couch,
eating Cheetos and wondering if the warmth
is from the sun coming in from the nearest window
or the horomones churning in our stomachs,
teasing our fingertips with jerks of,
"Maybe now," and "Just do it, you pussy."
Sometimes I leave the TV on late at night, even if I’m in the other room, because I want to feel like there’s someone else there with me.
Sometimes I think about all the faces in my ceiling and if they’re really the faces of my future… As if I may be looking up at people that my mind doesn’t yet know but my heart does; as if my ceiling is a crystal ball that never. stops. glowing.
There are things people want to know, like: “Which God do you believe in?” and “What makes you sad?” and “Did you ever cry because you were so happy?”
Did you ever feel your veins bursting with all that hot, fast emotion your heart couldn’t hold within itself? So much blood bursting (like how it does in The Shining, like really dark Fruit Punch Kool-Aid) that your eyes begin to sting and before you know it you are wiping at your cheek?
"Do you want to go to the cinema with me?"
All I can do is blink and make excuses. No. No, no thank you. I have to go home.
I need to make sure your face could possibly be in my ceiling. I need to pretend the voices of the characters on 30 Rock are party guests in my living room.
I won’t let you eat your french fries with a fork. I’m sorry. It’s just not acceptable. Nothing that is meant to be messy should be saved by the use of a man-made object. You’re missing out of the tiny grains of salt that always slightly sting the even tinier pink bumps on your tongue, the way its bite makes your saliva burst like a hot man made river, the way they stick to your fingers and later when you bite your nail you can still taste the salt and sweetness of ketchup. You’re missing out on the fried crumbs, missing the potato in between, their crunch only audible to your ears, echoing off somewhere in the back of your head. And please. Jesusfuckingchrist. Don’t drown them in ketchup. This isn’t your grandmother’s bread and jam; no amount of condiment is needed to make up for a taste that isn’t there. You need a bottle of water as your companion during this venture. It’ll keep the salt from sucking out the moisture from your mouth like a thousand nat-sized leeches.
Yes, I’m passionate about my french fries. And how dare you combat my fevor with a cold patronism, because while I’m passionate about the fried slices of potatoes, I’m even more passionate about your level of enjoyment. So do me a favor and eat the goddamn things the way I say. And if you don’t agree with me after the experience you can get the fuck out and I’ll finish the plate for you.
When I run out of gravel to dig into my palms and bare feet
there will be stickers,
hidden in the green, the way Easter eggs are.
Browning, yellow balls of conflicting points
like tiny stars that are born out of the earth
and wished upon by grasshoppers.
When I run out of stickers,
when I run out of pains to poke myself with,
there will always be you.
like the glass and pieces of keychains
stuck within the cracks of a blacktop,
heated and shining and melting into eachother
under the heat of day,
cooling and hardening at night.
Sometimes people have to lie to you in order for you to learn a lesson.
Sometimes the only thing that matters in life
is an adult looking down at you and telling you,
you won’t get burning chlorine in your eyes if you jump in the pool
head-first, eyes and mouth open, waiting and eager, for discovery.
When the world dies, and with it goes
liquid fire, roadkill keychains, sticker-stars, and black gravel
there will still be you.
Floating in nothing, full of everything,
looking down at me and saying,
it’s okay to run bare-foot through the grass.
I took this photo during 2011SX.
It’s blurry, I know. The quality is pretty awful. This was before any photography classes, before shutter speeds, or aperture or any of that fucking nonsense.
And still, I can’t help but think about it. Often.
To think about this couple (although not ideal, although not magazine-beautiful) and how they were able to seem so still in the hustle of Sixth street. Two little stones drowning in the bottom of a rushing creek. Bugs, trapped inside amber porchlights, burning to death.
How ghost-like the moving bodies became, haunting a moment trapped in time.
I can’t help but love it.
I’ve been breaking out in rashes lately.
My mom makes a doctors appointment for me even though I’m 21 fucking years old and the doctor tells me it’s stress.
"Stress," my mother blinks. She looks at me, almost melodramatically dismayed, as if the fact that I’m stressed could be a symptom of horrible parenting or something. "Are you stressed, Can?"
I shrug. Fuck if I know what I am anymore. If I am stressed the restless nights, mood swings, and lack of eating would really add up.
On the car ride home she sings along with an Alan Jackson song. Reminds me of the times she used to wear turquoise and cowgirl boots. Reminds me that people can change. Reminds me of myself two years ago. I was happy.
"It’s probably just aftermath of finals," I say during a commercial for $16.99 oil changes.
Mom nods, looking at the road ahead of her. “I’m sure it is, baby,” and she reaches over to pat my knee and I return her smile, without thought.
How is it I can be so numb towards her? Towards anyone who gives two shits about me? And as soon as anyone comes along and even remotely treats me indecently, I latch onto them?
I’ll tell you why.
Because. Because a person who has the capability to not care enough about what others think to treat others indecently means that they, in turn, understand me. It takes a particular type of person to act and feel and think this way. I latch on to them whenever I can because they are the ones who understand me best.
I don’t care anymore about any of this fucking bull shit, okay?
I don’t care that I’m fucked up so much that whenever I feel happy, it’s immediately followed by the manifestation of a giant worm in the pit of myself, writhing around, and eating me inside out - I feel guilty for being happy; I feel sad because I know it will leave me as soon as it came. A worm, I assume, that is really always there, but merely goes without acknowledgement because my body is so used to its weight, its burden.
Fuck me. You’re a decent guy. You treat me right. You defend me to the reflection of yourself, in the mirror, every morning and each night. No, she’s a good girl. She’s just deep inside herself. She’ll come around. She’ll love me.
This is such a sad world of denial.
Of rashes on our necks and forearms.
All with a diagnosis our mothers want to believe in…
and our doctors want to charge us for.
The Whole Kingdom
I want to think about all the castles I built
with all the promises I passed from my lips to your earlobes.
With each word
a heavy, grey stone placed
to form walls
until chambers and courts became
the homes of an insect kingdom.
I want to think about all the castles I burned.
The way your face looked, lit up in the glow of your cell-phone,
when you read those six words I sent you.
Each little drop of blood pumping slower and slower in your heart
was each big stone I stole from the foundation,
like a game of Jenga,
until everything crumbled
and was dust.
Until everything died -
every larva in their crib of cabbage
every rollie-pollie suckling on the blades’ dew
every fly swaddled in the silk of a spider,
looking up at the moon
it was its last sight
the last moment will seem
to last forever.
The fly will think about the moon.
How it’s so much brighter than it ever has been before.
How it’s so much bigger than it ever has been before.
It’s light swallowing the fly whole,
a perfect paper circle
in the black
in the black
that it hurts to see.
And the fly will stare as his blood is drained,
as he thinks about the moon,
thinks about death -
until everything dies
the whole kingdom.