it's been raining, on and off in a way that feels like summer,
post a comment
some other time, i would have driven through it-
an effort at dramatic gestures
because the movies have taught me to expect these things, to find
the perfect airport song, a letter to read on the way, a promise
that can only mean something after
the fact, when you are gone and i am gone and
we are distant, turning into people that are not us.
and maybe you are someone else now, i don't know
and maybe if i were braver-stronger-better,
i would have told you to stay.
(but i wouldn't mean it.
i'm already embarrassed.
post a comment
and i want to know
post a comment
do you ever feel like you're missing out on the life you're supposed to have because you're just going through the motions of
but you'd ask what i mean and i'm not sure i'm ready to answer that.
you are a secret i can't say out loud
because if i committed this to words the truth would be real
and my voice has a tendency to fly on its own, ruin everything.
it's happened before, once
when i was at my worst-
i asked you for something i thought you wanted me to want. and i wanted to want it, knowing it was a terrible idea and wanting it anyway.
as soon as i heard myself say the words, i wanted to take them back, swallow them somewhere deep inside me where they couldn't get out again.
they are always close, always threatening and
my better judgement is always on ten second delay. i can never catch up.
i am a liar in my dreams.
post a comment
and last night i dreamt i took up smoking. and there were these thin slices of creatures. flat and round, disguised green with blue spots, and they erupted from bags he'd brought over. grey-brown dusty moths that flew everywhere and we swatted at them with hands and cigarette smoke, until they fell into a fleshy sort of ash that made my stomach turn. and we swept them away until we could see the tiled floor again. and we waited for more to come.
post a comment
and with promises the size of cadillacs, we drove off.
post a comment
get me out of here i begged, sinking low in the white drop top just as his girlfriend came into view with full lips and enough mascara to trap her eyes shut.
"it's not right what he does" he said, shifting gears, peeling out.
i just keep thinking that if he acts like this with me when he's with someone else, what was he like towards everyone else when he was with me.
"yeah, i didn't want to say it." he's seen terrible things go down. i don't want to know.
and i should have asked if it was anyone's touch that did it to him. or if it was me. but i didn't want to know i wasn't special.
maybe we should get together. i said, grabbing his knee.
and i gave him my flirtiest smile, making the gold in my eyes flicker so he'd know i was offering him a treasure.
"no", he said, stopping the car. and i knew he was right.
and later i stood eye level to his chest and he reached out and around until his hands met up with his shoulders and i was caught between his arms. and he was thin but sturdy and i knew he wouldn't let me down.
you're sure? i asked, tilting my head to the side to listen to his heartbeat. steady. too steady for this to mean anything.
"yeah." he says pulling away. to look me in the eye. "i'm just trying to do what's best."
he called last night, and i answered, because i was alone on the train, and my boyfriend was not responding to my calls.
post a comment
he called last night, and we were civil to each other. and i rolled my eyes thankfully when he went on and on explaining tv episodes in their entirety, barely understandable through his own laughter. these are the things that had annoyed me before. these are the things that are someone else's problem now.
he called last night, and we stayed on the phone for twenty one minutes, and i talked about my relationship without giving him the chance to talk about his. i do not want to know.
he called last night, to ask about my current projects, any kind of creative endeavors. he told me he was writing his book, that he'd found a writer, and part of me was mad because that had been my spot, but i was glad that it was a distant friend and not his new girlfriend, as if that makes a difference somehow. she's prettier than i am, and i've told you this. but i'm sure it isn't true. the pictures are high contrast. he knows how to make things look different than they really are.
he called last night, because school started for him. and he told me that he works on wood now, and i asked if it was like the wood burning that his mother had made me take pictures of for some museum booklet. and he laughed and said he couldn't believe i remembered that. and i told him i remember everything, and this is mostly true. and i wondered why his mother had been asking me for favors when she didn't like me much, and he asks me to explain, but i tell him it isn't important anymore. and he says "she was just being a mother, she wanted to know my girlfriend". and i barely remember myself as such, it has been years now, and they settle into the silence like heavy lumps of time that show how far we are from who we were.
i had dreams last night. dreams that he told me he never really loved me. and this hurt in a way i can't explain. and in my sleep, i was able to explore the possibility that maybe i still love him. recognize that this is more a love of the past, fear of the future. love of the first. i want it to matter.
he has stopped signing his art by the name i gave him. he is not that person anymore.
i don't plan on talking to him anytime soon. have not ever planned on talking to him, without the agenda of getting back together. i do not have that agenda now. i am happy where i'm at, with someone that will give me complexes about the way i look, act, write, anything. with someone that shows that they love me through actions more than words.
and it is strange when i think about it too long. how the last journal i started was dedicated to him, to the pain his caused me. to celebrating the good times. or somewhere in between. as a way of sectioning my life into him and everything else. how i still do that sometimes, it seems. by putting things here. to protect someone else. someone who has not read my words in many months at least.
and maybe it will be easier to write from this place. and maybe the dreams will stop in time.
We used to go to the beach on nights to watch winter turn to spring. When it was cold enough to be quiet, but not so cold that it required huddling for warmth. It wasn’t required, but we did it anyway, arms wrapped around shoulders, around waists. In our sillier moments, we pretended that the faint lights offshore could be a season sailing away, or sailing in. We were more romantic then.
post a comment
In those days I fancied myself an astronomer, so he gave me a book full of constellations. I planned to learn everything for one season and pretend to know them all. I never learned any. I am more ambitious in theory.
We walked the boardwalk sometimes, but stuck mostly to the shoreline. Where the sand was hard and packed and we could leave footprints like trails of everywhere we’d been, follow them like breadcrumbs back. To pretend we didn’t know the way. And they only lasted a few hours, till the tides changed the next morning. And we wanted to believe that they would get soaked into the sea, that sailors would find them on distant shores when they fell lazily off the waves. We had lazy footprints, we were sure.
And we thought about carving something into the rubber soles of our shoes. Something that would leave the kind of mark we wanted to. Something that would claim everywhere we’d been. But we never got that far.
And every time we left, our footsteps soft and padded on aging wood and midnight concrete, we’d leave trails of sand behind us. I’d called him a slug once, or a snail, whichever it is that leaves proof of where they’ve been. He said he’d been called worse, there were worse things to be. And we wanted to be able to leave footprints that would stay where we put them, instead of being carried out to sea.
We wanted to leave our marks in wet cement and pavement worn thin by too much travel. We wanted to track the distance from here to there. We wanted to know where we’d been, where we were going. We wanted every move to be permanent, because we were sure of things back then. Sure that saltwater smell would stay on your skin, sure of finding sand in your sneakers for many days after. Sure that if we could only get make our footprints stay somewhere we could keep moving forward.
It didn’t happen that way, of course. We lost touch, for one reason or another, though I’m not sure why. This is a lie, of course, I know exactly why, but choose not to think of such things when I remember these times. I pretend to blame it on the way things look different in the daylight than they do on moonlit beaches. Because years pass. And now I am here and he is there. And I don’t know where there is exactly, but it could be Midtown or Mars and it wouldn’t matter which. Neither one is here.
All the travel done in those days is lost; the footprints washed away like insincere promises and failed friendships. Maybe the two are the same, but these days are different. These days I measure my miles in letters sent out like fishing lines testing the water. Letters with creases from folds made to fit in breast pockets. Letters settled in states that I’ve never bothered to find on the map, places that only part of me can visit. And I track the distance by postmarks, because dates are more permanent than footprints could ever be.
he listened to the same ten seconds of a song, over and over again, until he knew how to play it. it is difficult to listen to music this way.
post a comment
i can chronicle albums by the boy i was dating when i first heard them. this is true for many people, for many things.
i am thinking about it now. songs i haven't heard in years. this one's good he says, and i bite my tongue hard enough to feel it in the back of my throat to keep from smiling the sick sort of smile that reminds him that i was once someone else's, may be someone else's again.
the first night we hung out, it was early morning, sometime around 3, and i'd slipped out the side door, unable to sleep. and walking in the street, on the block before chestnut- i always forget its name- i'd told him he reminded me of a song. this song. and he'd never heard it before, it was relatively new then. and he said i made him think of a song i didn't know, and he put it on a mix for our one year anniversary and it meant something, and i showed my fourth period english teacher the insert because he'd laid the track list over a picture of the corner where we had our first kiss.
i have had many first kisses on street corners. i am impulsive.
months after the breakup, someone else saw in me what i'd seen in him. this is our song, this new boy told me. and i wanted to tell him that it was already taken, already someone else's. i was not that honest then.
at a show, his body engulfed me completely, and it was so comfortable, protecting- he was so much taller. and when i recognized the opening bars, i pulled his neck down and kissed him. for the first time. it meant something because i wanted it to. one of those hopelessly romantic moments that too many eighties movies have encouraged me to seize.
i was hoping to overwrite. but i just added on.
they're best friends now. and this is funny in the way that things are not really funny, but we pretend are to keep them from hurting. i wonder if they talk about me anymore. i wonder if they share songs.
and i do not like it- dreaming of people i'd stopped thinking of when i took their photos off my wall.
post a comment
my father's college roommate's son, who is goodlooking enough to dream about.
junior year of high school on the day my film class went on a trip to the museum of the moving image in astoria. i wore blue camoflauge pants that were three sizes too big, and that is what i wore then, and he'd said he liked my belt, purple leopard pyramid spike. things i am not anymore, but once was. he had curly hair and dimples and my mother said he looked like john f. kennedy jr but i hadn't studied either face enough to know for sure.
we went to a hockey game, one of a handful i've been to in my life. and on the carride there, he'd said he was into punkrock and i got so excited, squealed in a way that was ridiculous uncool, felt embarrassed later. but i'd convinced myself that it didn't matter to him, because he leaned in close for conversation, because he laughed like he meant it.
(and i'd thought about the times i'd seen him in childhood. secondhand memories from photographs- the vague rememberance of a sidewalk cafe in little italy, the four of us- my brother and his, huddled around one side. and i was in a navy blue and white sailor dress, and that it is what i wore then, smiling, feeling like one of the boys, alternating my view between the street and our parents at a table armslength away. inside there were black and white checked floors below black and white photos of old time celebrities, and i would not think of this place much until i found it again over a decade later.)
at the end of the night, we danced around a hug goodbye. he hesitated, i did not. in the months to come, i would send unanswered letters across the country, and i would be embarrassed for it, in a way that i wouldn't have been if they had been answered.
and his brother would stop by, two years later, when the towers fell, needing a place to stay, picking the wrong time for vacation.
last night my subconscious had us together in a way i'd thought about often in high school, while swooning over his photograph, showing it to my friends. and last night, he was ordinary at best, but i was willing to put that all aside because he was good looking, and i was convinced that he could be beautiful in the way i wanted him to be.
last night it was him, a few nights before another boy i'd had a crush on years ago. sitting with my best friend, watching him play some variation of baseball in a dirt lot too small. and we left before it was over to wander down small local shops feeling like a beachtown and he said he'd meet me later. and he found me in the woods behind my old garage. and nothing happened, i think nothing happened. and i helped him find his twin brother, he has a twin brother, and then they both disappeared.
and i don't know why contact so quickly dissolves at the word boyfriend, or maybe i am being overconfident, assuming too much.
i like to pretend that i am rewriting new drafts of old years.
post a comment
i like to believe i am getting it right.
but sometimes i wonder if he's editting me out too.
i asked him if he loved me
1 comment | post a comment
and pretended it mattered what the answer was.
sometimes i think about a picture, where we're in the background, heads leaning in, on a chair in front of the fire.
post a comment
he'd bleached his hair that week, and it's the only real proof i'd had.
and i feel like things were simpler then. i was content to know what i knew and wanted to know no more.
i do not have time to get myself into trouble.
post a comment
and i am mostly over the things that might.
this is good, but it does not feel that way.
he'd asked for my number and never called. i think about mentioning this in the hour after class when i am balancing on the outsides of my shoes. i am mostly listening, the more he talks, the more fascinating he becomes. and maybe it's because i thought i'd had him figured out. or because there is such tenderness in him, behind the jokes and tattoos, and he reminds me of my boyfriend, my best friend. the certain sort of warmth that starts in smiles and settles in skin.
2 comments | post a comment
and i am mentioning my boyfriend enough that i am aware that i am mentioning him. and this is more to remind myself than him. i've got the giddy sort of something new feeling, and i don't want to mistake it for something else. i've been known to fall in love too easily.
everyone's sitting at a table. i'm reclined in the single seat front row, with my legs outstretched, feet resting on the stage. he sits at the edge of the stage, facing me, telling me things that he wouldn't tell anyone else in the room.
sleep deprivation makes me giddy, i tell him, as though it's an excuse for the smiles i'm offering, the playful conversation that you would call flirting.
and i miss so dearly the friends who have disappeared, scattered across the country, not returning letters. and i have great hopes that he will be one that i can keep.
it started as a letter, but went horribly wrong.
4 comments | post a comment
that's a warning. you are now warned.
( pay no attention to the craziness behind the cut.Collapse )
post a comment
he says i'm his muse, but he hasn't written in months.
i say i'm unhappy, then fall asleep, leaving him to ponder this through late night hours.
you look good.
"i've lost weight."
does that mean you're single?
i thought you only lose weight when you're single.
i only lose weight when i'm not single.
i like to know that when i find someone, they like me for me, instead of what i look like.
"see, i'm the opposite. i like feeling attractive. i know once people get to know me they'll like me. i pay attention, i make people feel special. the guys i go for, that's what they want."
that's what everyone wants.
i have a half dozen conversations a day that no one will know about, no one will hear.
sometimes i can turn the volume down, way down, so my thoughts sound so loud. and when i tune back in, time's still been passing, and the chorus always goes...
i came close to falling in love twice yesterday. once during eye contact, and again in the smile that followed. blue eyes. i've always been a sucker for blue eyes.
festivities, and a line of people along the shore of the atlantic. or the pacific if you squint, tilt your head to the side.
we are laying out patches on a shirt in preparation, but will give up long before letting them settle.
a boy will be running around to raise awareness about something i have never heard of. he is beautiful in an honest sort of way.
somewhere along the line, i kill a man who tres to take more than i have to give. his body pinballs down the line. some people kick him to keep him moving. and i am glad.
a tidal wave will destroy the middle of our favorite horse, but it will survive, with its ribs exposed under brown skin. and the group will move on, but that boy- that beautiful boy- will stay and stroke its outline with such affection. and i will stay because i have nowhere else to go.
there will be two fourth floors in the elevator. the first is a studio- white and uncontaminated. rooms that look like boxes and nothing more. he will be naked or i will be naked and skin will look much too dark for winter.
at night, i dream of watching myself pull away, three rows from the back of an empty last car of the long island railroad.
i can't see my face, but i can recognize me anywhere.
ankle deep in wetsuits, they stand around the edges of a touchpool, offering insincere explanations to an admiring crowd that barely reaches above their bellybuttons.
post a comment
i give my smiles in passing, in waves, and when i get the chance, i wrap my arms around their backs and stand on tiptoes to whisper breathy hellos against the back of the neck.
mostly they are happy to see me. sometimes they are not.
you sure know a lot of surfers, she says, as though this is their lowest common denominator. and i shrug because i'm sure i know a lot of everything if i were to start sorting it all out.
outside it is cold, and i can see the frost starting to collect on the edges of window panes. i drive two laps around town. there are secrets hiding down each block, and i peek at them in passing. i'm not sure that i have the right keys, but the car is running, so it doesn't matter. there are ghosts in the passenger seat, in the back, and i wonder if it's the weather that's bringing them out.
thawing out inside, i will be talking to someone who remembers me more than i remember him. he expresses interest in casual touches on the arm. i express disinterest in the way i recoil from such touches. and while he's still in sight, i will run to the arms of a friend and make whispered motions into the corner, because i know i'm being watched.
his body is fleshy against mine, and i can feel the extra pounds around his middle. but i don't mind so much. and i kiss him once on each cheek, hesitating slightly as i passed his lips.
"i just need you to stay like this for a while," i beg of him, with my eyes closed.
and we pull away from so many things.
it's starting to rain the light sort of rain that you can only see in the stream of headlights. the sort of rain that you could mistake for dust caught in the sunlight of a summers day. it's getting caught on the rims of my glasses and sneaking away onto the lens. i know it is rain.
2 comments | post a comment
he's waiting on astor place, in the light patch of concrete where the cube used to be. in the time between, i mistake half a dozen people for him. it's been so long, my memory is faulty, and the rain is smudging all the edges until they blur.
there is immediate embrace, and shy sorts of smiles. he'll buy us coffee, and we'll sit outside, where we'd sat five months ago, the last time we'd seen each other. i do not have many adventures to bridge that gap in time. not nearly enough for so long.
in quiet moments, he will tell me to stop making the kiss me face, and not knowing what this means, i will blush, and he will notice, pinching the apples of my cheeks until i'm sure they're ready to burn off.
he still likes me. he will always still like me, in the way that he can never have me and this makes the chase so much more exciting. we all need these constants. i am safe enough to stay still.
hand in hand, it feels like the safer parts of last year. a recovery that started then and is only now finishing completely, though i can't be entirely sure.
on the train, with our heads leaning into each other.
i like girls with bookbags.
"i think you just like me."
i think you like me as much as i like you.
"i don't know, you like me a lot."
he laughs. i think you like me a lot too.
"i do. but not like that."
the conversation will carry on a couple beats, another stop, before trailing into silence.
and i can see him out of the corner of my eye, though i'm trying not to look for fear of catching his gaze. our moments are terribly romantic, and i worry that the gentlest breeze could cover the few inches between our faces and push us into a kiss i don't particularly want, but can forever feel coming. such tension, such strange strange tension. and i am not used to men who are more aggressive than i.
what are you thinking?
that's a lie. you're always thinking something.
he's right, but i won't admit it. to clue him into my concerns may give hope for a path i don't want to travel.
on my way up the stairs, after i get off, i catch his eyes following me through closing doors. and i don't know why i'm always looking back.