Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just memories

Moments. That's what life is really all about. You know you're always going to remember certain events. Like the time you went to the animal shelter to pick out a kitten. Like the time you dislocated your shoulder when you were five and sat in the emergency room for half the night. Like the day your best friend drowned. And the day you graduated high school without him.

But you never really know, as you're living these moments, which ones you will recall so vividly years later. So clearly that if you could go back in time, you’d be right there again. In an instant. For just a few seconds. Feeling how cold the air was. Smelling the odor of stale cigarettes. Hearing the voices of people you haven't seen in years.

And you can't help but wonder why. Why you remember one particular moment out of so many others just like it. Why you remember sitting on the edge of your bed, listing to a new Pink Floyd album. Why you remember your fifth grade teacher telling stories about the war . Why you have such a vivid recollection of walking to a certain place on a certain day and remembering what the weather was like, what the sky was like, how much money was in your pocket. Even what shoes you were wearing.

Because it's not as though you consciously choose to remember these particular moments and throw out others. Others that are equally commonplace and ordinary. No. It's as if your brain held a contest, and certain snapshots of your life won the right to hang out in your head forever. Your grandmother sitting on the front porch, shelling peas just picked from the garden. The spot where you parked your car, so it would leak oil all over your parents driveway. Sneaking Vodka in to a Adam Ant rock concert. And oddly enough, these aren’t even memories that make you happy or sad when they pop into your head. They are just memories about nothing in particular. Just proof that you have lived.

Just memories of an ordinary life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The words

Just to touch him makes me poetic, lyrical. As he looks at me with that expression: “What?” And I start thinking of ways to answer with lines from songs. Because anything I could put on paper wouldn’t be enough. I need strings and horns, a chorus, a drumbeat in the background.

On days like this, with the sun so bright that I can count every freckle on his shoulder. And my palms sweat with the need to just hold everything so perfectly still. To make some kind of permanence with poetry or music. To write about childhood and the truth behind lollipops and balloons tied to your wrist. That there’s no reason to cry if they free themselves and drift away. But anything I could say would come out backwards. Words would chase their tails like neurotic dogs. And so I smile and watch him breathe and touch his cheek with my fingertips. His eyes like tide pools slowly evaporating in the sun and I can’t help but wonder what will become trapped in them.

How I want to peel away the years; chase our future and other cherished things down deserted beaches and through hoops of summer that never end. And then I kiss him like I need him, like I want him, like a child, pure and desperate and unfocused. An inevitable tide, stealing the shore and his breath. As we slowly bend, like light, like music, like a rainbow. Blurred in desire and colors, refracting light, like a dream. Like a metronome: breathing, clutching, rocking, fucking. I try to count the notes.

And suddenly I have no trouble finding my line. “IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou.” The words dripping like sweat, falling like raindrops. But they are lyrics that can never be written; chords that can never be played. And I reach for the sound with anxious hands, knowing it will float away. Like that balloon from childhood. The knot in the string just not tight enough.

Later, we breathe in rhythm to the quiet music in our heads. A blanket over our cooling bodies, sprawled out like starfish. And I watch the setting sun try to paint his face the color of rose petals. My fingers on his cheek, imaging I can feel the thorns.

I sigh, content, and listen to the music, and to the words I now know by heart.

When no one is looking

Sliding into my shoes at 7 a.m. There was a time when my day was half over by then. But now even the thought of that is terrifying. 7:30 some mornings, and even that is hard. Trying to stay warm and tight. Inside my quiet mind. The island of me the way I’d live forever if I could.

Because once I’m up it all fades. Just another commuter without a pen. No way to capture life as it goes whirring by. Jotting down mental notes on the back of my hand, but they’ll be gone by the time I get there. My life story unfolds too quickly and suddenly I’m beginning a new day the same way yesterday ended. With too much to do and time so fleeting. Monotony consuming all the oxygen in the room until I fear I may really die this time. Closing my eyes. Drifting into a world of black and white. That awaiting train wreck of imagination pushes my hand towards the paper. Patiently waiting dreams become my reality as routine takes a back seat and buckles up.

Yes, once upon a time there was a girl and she worked hard for a living, but when no one was looking, she could turn paper into a garden and her pen would plant all sorts of seeds. Stories and tales that would grow and bloom and take her away. Like Jack and that mighty beanstalk. A way out. A way up. To somewhere else. To anywhere, but here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is everything about who you know?

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Basketball Diaries, then you know who Jim Carroll is. If you’ve ever heard the song "People Who Died", then you know who Jim Carroll is. He has a website where you can see photos of the guy, if you’d like, although most of the links don’t work because the site is being updated.

Jim Carroll was born in New York City in 1950. As a teenager, Jim did two things – heroin and poetry. As a teenager, I did the same two things, or maybe I should say that I tried heroin. I tried a lot of things. But I did write a ton of poetry. Some of it I still have. At age 16, Jim managed to get published. This is where the similarities between Jim and I stop. Maybe if I had done more heroin, I’d be a published too. But I doubt it. Heroin was awesome, I must admit, but it also scared the shit out of me. That feeling that everything was perfect and wonderful in the world. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew it wasn’t true.

I have read many of Jim’s poems. No offense, Jim, but they are nothing special. I’m not saying they are bad, but they aren’t great. I read much better stuff here on Blogger all the time. Stuff by people who aren’t published and probably never will be. Because being recognized by someone who can get you published is hard. It’s damn hard. I've been trying for years. So how did he do it? How did some Catholic school, basketball playing, heroin shooting, mediocre poet kid get published? How did he get such a following?

It’s not his looks. It’s not his music. It’s not his poetry.

According to his website, some guy named Ted Berrigan helped him out a little when he was young. Is it who you know? Is everything about who you know?

If it is, then that makes me feel a little better for some reason. It means I could be the best poet in the entire world, but because I never met the right person when I was high or coming down or sober, no one will ever be ordering my used paperbacks through Amazon. Mine or any of the other fantastic poets that I read here on the net. Instead, they’ll be ordering Jim Carroll’s. Because Jim was in the right place at the right time. Because Jim met someone.

I write because I like to write. Because some days it’s all I know. My escape from life in the form of metaphor. So the world can hear me cry without having to shed a tear. I don’t need to be published, but when I read the likes of Jim Carroll, I can’t help but say to myself, “My stuff is better than his.”

Tomorrow's dream

It is not quite tomorrow and we are on a beach, under a blanket and over indulging. On the waves. On the stars. On the sand. On each other. Our voices muted, but for no real reason. We are alone. We could scream, if we wanted to. If there was reason to.

You are singing backup to the night sky, a bottle of beer in the sand. Constantly glancing at the ocean and the parade of stars above. So stunning. Life dancing in harmony like this. The wind in my hair and my toes buried in the warm sand. You comment that your beer tastes like forever. And I try to remember what that is like.

The waves toss and tumble and we lose all track of time. There is passion burning in your eyes. We raise invisible glasses and toast to “nights like these” and I comment that the wind smells like forever. And you agree, even though I know you are not listening. Not to me. But I don’t mind because you are here and that is all I really need,

On our backs, pretending to pluck stars from the sky, like strawberries. You hand me yours and say I should eat them now. Before they spoil. I laugh, but not at your joke. I laugh at the time that has passed and can never find us again. At least not here.

I feel your hand on mine. Searching, finding. Whatever it is you seek. And you say you shouldn’t fall asleep, not out here under our star-crossed tomorrow. And I say that it’s okay, go ahead. I have made an agreement with sun, not to rise. Not today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Consumed - Part 2

Kissing that velvety soft skin beneath his ear, I hear him exhale and feel his body relax. So many times in my dreams, I imagined this, but the reality of his skin is so much softer against my lips. The angle of his jaw, the slope of his neck, the valley that leads to his shoulder and across the bridge of his collar bone. I stop and his eyes seek mine. The entrance to a secret world, so deep, so rich in potential, in danger. His hand gliding across my hip is his gift and in return, my tongue forgets any language but this. But this.

I kiss his stomach and feel him twitch, like the trembling air just before it thunders. And the scent of him grows stronger and my mind and my mouth wander and his legs stretch like an endless highway through the desert. I close my eyes and stoke the smooth skin of his inner thigh and I am at once everywhere and nowhere. I am exactly where I want to be. Always and forever. I feel the impending thunder under my fingertips and the smell of sudden rain on hot pavement and my thirst overwhelms me. I drink my fill of him, with irrepressible sighs in the background. Like the echoe of distant thunder. This is home; the flavor of the earth and all things that grow, strong and sweet, the deep pull of herbs and spices and ripening citrus fruit. I want to drown, to be buried here, with his strong shoulders holding back the world, his hands tangled like wild rose vines in my hair, the rhetoric of kiss and lick unleashing his hidden desires.

This is how I want to die. Happy. That at last I am allowed to love someone. For now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Until I got too cold

I left him for dead and most likely he was. Most likely he was gone at that point. But I’ll never really know for sure. I’ll never really know if there’s something I could have done. Other than run and hide and pretend. That everything was going to be okay.

I left him for dead and ran and hid and pretended. Until it got too dark. Until I got too cold. Until there was nothing I could do. But go home. Alone.

I left him for dead and all the poetry in the world can’t change the past.

Consumed - Part 1

He’s all I can think about; as he pulls me close. The feel of his warm hips and thighs, pressed against the coolness of mine; the scent of his clothes and skin. His mouth desperate and endless, his lips hungry at my neck.

It’s the way he almost needs to hold me, to keep me in his arms, like belief, like faith, like life and death, to mold his body around mine, to heal me, my heart so fragile with hope. The pain untangles itself, with my head against his chest, helping me to forget. And as I turn my face upwards, into the waterfall of his kisses, this becomes everything. This is everything. The gentle touch of his lips like summer rain, and as our mouths meet, I imagine this is what some might call heaven, like the whispered sound of his name.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I remember

Sometimes I forget. That there was a time when it wasn’t like this. That there was a time when I was whole. That half of me wasn’t ashes that are probably sitting on a shelf somewhere. Never picked up because it just hurt too much.

Sometimes I forget. That there was a time when I thought it would always be like this. The two of us like puzzle pieces. Fitting so perfectly that few people knew. That apart we were nothing. But pieces.

Sometimes I forget. That I can never forget.


Inching forward. So certain there is no place to go, yet we seem to be progressing. Toward what? Well, that’s the mystery. That’s the question neither one of us dares to ask.

Because the answer might be the end of everything. Not just life. Not just love. But everything. Everything we thought could never happen.

Inching forward. So slowly it doesn’t even feel like we are moving at all. But we are. Despite all the anchors in our lives, we drift just a little each time we are together. We drift just a little bit closer. But closer to what? Well, that’s the mystery. That’s the question neither one of us dares to ask.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Perfect moment

I was with the one person in the world that I wanted to be with. And the wind was blowing through my hair. And this song started playing that described my entire soul so perfectly. And that one person that I wanted to be with commented on the song, how it was one of his favorites. And then it hit me, that we were sitting there, in the park, listening to it together. Together. That we were together.

And I started thinking, that no matter how crazy my life might get, I would always have this moment. This perfect moment. Where I could just say that no matter what happens, nothing can take this moment away from me...

Except for, perhaps, another perfect moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Like the wink from a dying man with secrets to tell. It’s funny. It’s funny how life constantly changes. The last minute funerals that all moments tend to become. I wonder sometimes, how people can plan for anything? Those little raindrops of surprise always tapping on the window with such calm regret. The rising sun, like paint thinner through the slats in my blinds, washing away the colors until everything is blinding white.

My thoughts today, like weary sailors landing on the Plymouth of hope; naive enough to think the location could make a difference. Always trying to escape the pain, the past. Like shirts I’ll never wear again because they just send the ghosts into fits of laughter. Redrawing all these maps I thought I’d finished. Close enough to the eclipse to go blind, but oh, so thankful I had the chance to see it. Because I wouldn’t have missed any of this for the world.

Yeah, it’s funny. Like painting yourself into a corner. Like being up a creek without a paddle. Like water, water everywhere, yet you’re dying of thirst.

I say I understand, but I never really will. Stepping off that spinning wheel. The hideous pottery of circumstance flying everywhere. My heart comes out of the kiln breakable, but not broken this time. I say I’m okay because that's what people want to hear. I say I'm okay, because hell, for all I know, maybe I really am.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My creation

I searched his music for cues, for some kind of indication. That I should stay where I am, on this safe side of the line. I scanned my memories for hints as to what might come next. As to what will cause this line in the sand to shift and shudder and widen. Like the yawn of a canyon discovering itself. Like a glass vase sitting too close to the edge, the smash and shatter only a matter of time.

But I could find nothing. No reason that I shouldn’t step over now, before the truth decides to break the surface. Before I discover just how far into someone else’s garden I’ve wandered. Pretty flowers eager to be picked. Petals to be scattered to the wind. My life torn open like an envelope. And the contents not at all what I expected.

It’s not like I haven’t been keeping track of my sand castles. Measuring every new ripple as it appears. As an anxious tide keeps pushing me closer. To that line. It’s not like the music is ever going to change my mind.

Yet there's a world under my feet and this world I’ve yet to discover. There are traces of both heaven and a hell simmering in my decision. A bet, a hope, a trust, that love won't betray me this time.

In conversations with my future self, I argue that I always wait too long. That I hem and haw like a shy child until I’m devoured by my own innocence. That all the songs and signs in the world might not mean a thing. That I should just grow up already. Admit that I created this situation. That I carefully selected just the right individual to make it hurt all the better.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Willpower. I’m going to call it willpower. The fact that he can go 24, 48, even longer than that sometimes without contacting me. Because he said he thinks about me all the time. Which means he’s thinking about me now. Just like I’m thinking about him. Wondering what he’s doing. Who he’s with. Why he isn’t at the very least calling me.

I know it’s because he can’t sometimes, much of the time. There are factors which prevent it. There are conditions, stipulations. And so it must be killing him. To not pick up the phone and call me. Just to hear my voice. Just to let me know he’s thinking of me. Willpower.


It was all the little things. Holding hands in the car. The music picked out special. It was all the little touches and hugs and kisses. It was the looks and smiles and the words. It was the conversation. From one topic to the next and then back again. It was the dancing and swaying and the sharing of body heat in the cold room. It was the promises and confessions and admissions. It was the unhurriedness of it all. Like we had forever. Like it could always be like this.

It was the best birthday ever.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another day

A day used to be just another day. Another hurdle on this longest road. A day used to be something I had to face, get through, get over. Now every day is an opportunity. A chance. That he might call. That I might see him.

I hate that life has come to this.

I hate that my happiness, or lack of, has become so dependent on him. On a chance to see him. Touch him. Have him.

Although the time we spend together is incomparable. To anything. The time we spend together makes this longest road not matter. How long it is. Because when I’m with him, I just don’t care. How far I’ve yet to go.

Until he leaves. Me. And then it’s all I can think about. This world that is not my home. This world that I keep on pause so it will always be here, just like he left it. Just like he left me. As that longest road becomes even longer.

Another day. Another chance to see him. Touch him. Have him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First kiss

"Stay... please." She almost dropped to her knees in reaction to the way those two words clutched at her heart.

She walked back to the couch - slowly, carefully - as if her actions might cause him to change his mind. His outstretched hand never wavered. His eyes never left hers. Large eyes, glistening, melting her from the inside - his gaze was what pulled her step by step, until she was once again sitting on the couch beside him. Her hand now in his. So warm. So strong.

She opened her mouth, but could not form any words. Her hand was quivering, cold, a little clammy. Nerves. She was nervous. So was he. They remained frozen in place, holding hands, eyes locked on each other. The silence in the room grew thick and tense; both of them afraid to speak, afraid the moment would be lost in verbalization; fearing that talk would kill the spontaneity.

Then he smiled. And a sudden warmth broke over her, like the sun, banishing the doubt, eradicating any worry that she was reading too much into his gesture, or too little. He smiled - for the first time that day - and her heart pounded as he leaned in and gently kissed her.

For now

Sometimes it’s good. Most of the time. Sometimes it’s beyond good. Sometimes it’s indescribable. Like trying to pull orange from amber; like trying to coax red from crimson. Content with just knowing I can do it.

It’s that look, more than anything. That look that compels me to reach for the stars. That turns all my pain into poetry; that sees beyond my fears. It’s that look that chases away all my doubts. They will return, of course, like they always do. Timid mice peeking through the cracks of life, hoping the coast is clear. But for now I have a place to fall. A shoulder to touch and cry on. For now I have a place to keep my secrets.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Star light, star bright

The future so predictably uncertain. Love and friendship arguing over their boundaries. Hearts and minds testing their limits. I wish, just for once, I could be happy with how things are instead of imagining what's better yet. Just appreciate what I have rather than wondering how long it will last.

Memories cling like the smell of fresh coffee. I know I’m not the only one who remembers, but I always seem to be the one holding the empty cup. The scent of its former contents filling my senses. I don't want it, but there it is, warm in my hands, hinting of what's been drained from it, daring me to take another sip.

And seriously, I’ve come this far, what’s one more step? My universe may be small compared to some, but there is plenty of room here. So many stars, too few moons, like the night knows how strong it is and uses its knowledge against me.

Sometimes sound is useless for communication. Spoken words are nothing but naked letters, helpless and exposed. And they will only say what I tell them to.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The softness

His voice is so gentle, like feathers on my skin. As if the idea of pain and bruising is not possible. As if everything has shifted for just a moment; a hiccup in the rotation of the earth. No reason for ever looking back. Only forward. From this moment.

So many words shared, but unspoken. So many feelings merging into one. It is so easy to get lost in the softness of the moment. Like the fuzzy stomach of a kitten, like the velvety ears of a newborn lamb, like a down-filled pillow at the end of the day.

I had almost forgotten about the yearning. I had almost forgotten how it feels when the world stops turning. Ever so quietly.

“I missed you,” he whispered into my ear. And life became softer still.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I know it’s all in my head. Mostly. These things I feel, or don’t feel. I know a lot of this is just imagined. Just ghosts from my past that convince me I’m not worthy. Of anyone’s attention. Of being the center of anyone’s dreams.

I lose myself sometimes, in the illusion. That things aren’t what they seem. That the words I hear are real. That growing wings might allow me to fly, rather than fall that much further.

It's really just a trade off, one bad habit replacing the next. Out of the fire only to find myself on thin ice. Righting all my dominoes only to have them fall all over again. Sometimes these moments are like smiling children in blurry photographs. So unaware of the world and how much it will take from them. Like the irony of flightless birds or fish that must come to the surface for air. Maybe it’s just the anguish of the universe. That it can never subtract. It has to keep expanding until every last one of us is alone. But until then, I think I might be safe.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I hate winter

Snuffing out thoughts with every heavy sigh. Wondering if anyone can hear any of the words I haven’t said. Wondering if I’ll ever be enough for anyone. Sifting through every moment in a search for lost glitters of gold, cold junkets of love in the blowing snow. Knowing they exist just makes me more determined to find them. There will never be time enough to remember everything, but I think I still know what’s real. Memories chasing themselves like a string of old Christmas lights. A temporary bridge that burns and leaves me stranded. I skip through these moods like songs in an old juke box because none of them ever feel right.

Some cocoons bring forth a creature so beautifully changed, while others lay forever dormant.

Perhaps it’s just the bitter taste of winter and the endless reach of want that makes me feel this way.


Blinding headlights in my rearview mirror. Sometimes I wish the driver would fall asleep or lose control. That the big rig would just run me down. Like a bug under the foot of a pissed off giant. No airbags could save me from that.

Sometimes I wish the bridge would fall. Collapse. As I roll across it. Angry chunks of concrete and twisted steel making sure I disappear into the raging hell below. Just disappear. The idea so appealing. Because I suspect once you officially vanish for good, you can’t come back. Not even if enough people wish it. Because wishes aren’t like horses. They don’t run off and wait to be found.

Sometimes I wish I’d never decided to try life sober. Because I’m not very good at it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


He could be my everything. That’s the real problem. That and the fact that he has no interest in such an idea. No interest in me half the time. Or so it feels. Despite what he says. Despite what he tells me. It’s all those actions or lack there of that speak louder than his words.

So close sometimes. Closer than I’ve ever been to anyone. And yet we know so little about each other. We share so little about ourselves. Our pasts could be twins, and yet we never talk. Not about anything that matters. Because we’re afraid. For different reasons but, afraid none the less. Like children. Like ghosts. Like shadows.

I wait. I worry. I wonder. Why he acts the way he does. Why my heart beats the way it does. Why he has to be the one. My everything.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Age 12

She was the nicest person I’d ever met. Still is. She cared about children, people. She just wanted to help. She wanted to make the world a better place and she did. For me. For a lot of kids.

Her name was Mrs. Safford. I think her first name was Jean. I’ve tried to find her, but that was so many years ago. She was a tiny woman. She wore tiny shoes and her heels clicked as she walked. A staccato beat which is funny, because there was nothing staccato about her. Except her shoes.

She was always smiling. It was a real smile. There was nothing fake about her. Her smile would warm the room. Her smile would warm my heart, which was just about impossible back then.

Sometimes, when it seems like there is nothing but darkness in the world, I think back to a time when it was even darker. A time when I was more alone than I’d ever been. A time when I could have disappeared and never come back, had it not been for Mrs. Safford.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I say things like “life is a mystery,” and people nod and agree. Because it’s the only way to make sense of what just seem senseless. Like holding broken relics. It would be nice if I could have been there, when they were whole, but they wouldn’t have meant anything to me then. Just random objects. Just material possessions to make me feel connected to something I can never be a part of. But old and dusty and broken, they hold mystery.

Everyone is a little bit broken somewhere. Like old relics. That’s why we are late sometimes. That's why we don't show up at all sometimes. It’s not the distance or the last minute distractions. It’s the indecisions and all those metaphors for hope. It's those broken pieces inside us that make even the simplest things seem impossible. Sometimes there is just too much ground to cover. Sometimes there is just too much. And it’s easier to sit and leaf through some old magazine and wait. Glancing at the clock every so often. Feet frozen to the floor like magnets on a refrigerator. We sigh and wonder why it all has to be so hard. Like it’s a mystery.

Not all pieces fit back together. In fact, most don’t. But that never seems to stop us from trying. That never seems to stop us from forcing round pegs into square holes. Because desperation is far more beautiful than anything we can ever solve quickly. Life needs mystery, or else it’s all just lies. Like that one piece of the puzzle that gets kicked under the couch because we can't seem to make it fit. It's how we make sense of the senseless.

What I remember

Memories, like winter wind, slide right through my skin. Echo to the center of my being.

I was six. I was alone. Sitting perfectly still in the back seat of a police car. It smelled like old cigarettes and perfume and fear. But I wasn’t afraid. Not anymore. It was over. At least I thought it was over.

There were two men in the front seat. The heat was on high making the ride all the more uncomfortable. My winter coat was on, but it wasn’t zipped. I could have zipped it, but I was perfectly content sitting perfectly still.

They would take turns. Looking back at me. Perhaps to make sure I was still there. That I hadn’t escaped somehow. That I hadn’t thrown myself into some sea of emotion when then hadn’t been looking. Because I’m sure that’s what they were thinking. The two of them. That any minute now I was going to start crying or screaming. That I might show some sort or emotion.

But I was content sitting perfectly still in the back seat of that police car. My heart had turned to stone and had become the perfect anchor for my emotions. There was no way they could rise to the surface. Not with all that weight holding them down.

And besides, it was over. At least it felt like it was over.

It would be much later in life that I would realize, it had only just begun.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


It’s part fantasy, part dream.

I’m sitting on a bench. One of those wooden kind that sags in the middle and wobbles just a little when you first sit down. But it holds. It’s holding.

I’m on some kind of concrete pier that juts out into the ocean. I’m not sure which ocean. I’m not really sure where I am and I don’t really care. The air is cool, but the wind is warm. The sky is my favorite shade of blue. I am not happy, but I am content. The ocean is content as well. I can feel it. I can feel all kinds of things.

A sound causes me to turn my head and I see someone walking towards me. A woman. She is wearing a red dress. I don’t know how I know, but I know she is looking for me. She will sit down on the bench next to me and it will wobble and sag a little more. But it will hold.

She is in front of me now, blocking my view. She is wearing sunglasses that look too big for her face. She inquires if I am indeed who she thinks I am. I tell her yes. She introduces herself and I nod, but I already know who she is. I am amazed that she found me, way out here. She sits down next to me and comments on the frailty of the bench. There are other benches, but I assure her it will hold. And it does.

We make small talk. The ocean. The sky. The breeze. Yes, life can be beautiful when it is a dream or a fantasy or both. It’s so easy to be swept away. And then she clears her throat and I know the small talk is over. That chapter of our lives is finished and we will never look back on it again. The water seems choppier now, more waves, less content. I clear my throat as well.

She begins with an apology, a confession. She was looking through her husband’s things. Not snooping or prying, but trying to find something that was lost. And she found something else instead. She describes it to me. Confesses again that she shouldn’t have read it. The book. My book. That she shouldn’t have sat down, there on the floor, next to the bed, and read it cover to cover. But it was so beautiful. Like the ocean. Like the sky. She couldn’t help herself. She was swept away.

And I tell her that it’s alright. It was just a book, not a secret. It was just a book for anyone to read. And I want to add, “anyone, but you,” but I don’t. Because she already knows. Something about the way the sun is reflecting off the anxious water, and the way the wind is messing up my hair, and the way the bench continues to hold us despite its frailty tells me that she already knows.

I talk about my writing. I talk about the way I choose my words. I talk about how it’s the one thing I’ve always been good at. And how that gives me comfort when nothing else can.

She listens and she hears and I see her smile out of the corner of my eye and I change my mind. As the sun’s rays turn the ocean’s frantic waves into tiny little diamonds, I change my mind. She doesn’t know. She couldn’t know. My words mean different things to different people. She couldn’t know what I was thinking of when I wrote them. She couldn’t know who they were written for or about.

And then, like the water and the rays and the wind, she changes direction. She shifts on the bench and it wobbles and shakes and for a moment, I fear that it may not hold. I fear it may give way and then we would crash. Just as the sun crashes into the water. And the waves against the pier. And the wind into everything.

But it holds. The bench holds and I wonder if perhaps if I should be holding something was well. Like my breath. Or my tongue. Or my heart.

She turns toward me. Her eyes hidden behind those oversized mirrors. I can see the ocean in them and for a moment that gives me comfort. For a moment, I still believe she doesn’t know. For a moment.

“Do you love him?”

And then the moment is gone.

Part fantasy, part dream, part nightmare.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Now or Never (Chapter 2)

(Please read Chapter 1 first)

Because anything was better than nothing – that long aching, struggling, painful, sobbing. That empty nothing that spanned the space between his heart and his lungs and grew with every breath and every beat and every thought. And he wished that he could put his fingers on it and crush it to death, but he couldn't because he didn’t know what it was or where it was or why it was. So he would just press his thumb clumsily over his heart and push until he could feel the rigidness of his ribs pressing back and then he would half whisper and half weep:

Never, never, never again.

It was a trembling sort of never, a shuddering, wavering, tear-filled yet tear-free sort of never. And it would resound through the space of his small bedroom and seep through the cracks of the floorboards until it had soaked and permeated everything. And it was on these sorts of days, vodka or gin and dark and painful and fugitive and cloudy and numb and rainy days that they would crawl out and burrow in his heart, just waiting to be freed by a clumsy calloused thumb brushing over his steady yet lifeless pulse.

Adam could never have enough nevers in his life.

Because Adam could never want for any more nothingness in his life.

It wasn't the nice sort of nothingness that you got when you were sick of your relatives by Christmas morning and woke to find they had all gone sledding or skating or skiing without you. It was the sort of nothingness, the sort of sheer and complete emptiness, that would hollow out your eyes and cheeks while you slept, and leave you disoriented and confused in the morning. And it was the sort of nothingness that you would think was something, because it reeked of something and hurt of something and tasted of something, but was actually just nothing in the end. And he would try to convince himself that it really was just nothing and not actually something, because it had to be.

It just had to be.

"Adam, are you okay?" She watched him as he poked and pushed his food with his fork and a withdrawn expression contorting his face. It bothered her how he wore that look for weeks and weeks at a time. She didn’t know why, because she knew that it wasn’t anger or pain or sorrow. It bothered her, because, for once in her life, she couldn’t put a label on it, classify it, sort through it and number it in some way.

"Yeah." It was like being locked in a room with a box and told not to open it. And it was like giving into the insufferable curiosity of it all and gripping the lid tight with trembling hands and white knuckles. And it was like finally lifting the top of the forbidden box.

Only to find nothing.

"You haven’t eaten a single bite." And that was the only way she could explain the emotion that seemed to have plastered itself over his face. It was disappointing; it was empty.

And oh, so horribly vacant.

He groaned and stared at the water stained ceiling tiles with his eyes feeling cold and hard in their sockets. The bed sheets draped over his body were too cold and stiff and his head felt too light. It was two in the morning and his mind was still as sharp as a razor. And he began to think about why he couldn’t sleep and why things always fell apart at the last minute and why he could never find what he was looking for and why it always felt like he was on a Merry-Go-Round that kept spinning faster and faster. And mostly why he was feeling so bloody lonely lying in his bed under the muffled moonlight and why his eyes weren’t getting any heavier and why he was wishing he had something nice and hard and bitter to dip his tongue into.

But mostly why he was still awake at two in the god awful morning.

It was a Mary Poppins sort of night.

All he could think of was sugar and medicine going down and the vague silhouette of childhood memories swimming absentmindedly somewhere in the back of his mind. And he would think hard on them, the sugar and medicine and faded shadows, with a quiet sense of apathy that seemed to rush through the crevasses of his brain, short circuiting thoughts as it ran. And he would decide that it was the sugar’s fault, the hot, spicy, hurtful liquid sugar that coursed through his veins, burning everything in its path to ashes.

And he realized he liked it that way.

He liked it that way, because his brain had been throbbing against the walls of his skull for too long. Because he had stubbed his toe on one of those annoyingly heavy end tables. Because too many diseased prostitutes had been running their disgusting hands up and down his body again, tracing little crop circles in places that he would later scrub raw with soap. Because his toes were hanging cold and bloodless over the edge into the warm summer wind wet with acidic tears.

And because he was too much of a coward to jump. At least for now.


And because of her too.

And somewhere in the dull recesses of his drunken mind, he wondered if he should just jump now and do the stereotypical pondering during the fall. But he didn’t have time for petty thoughts like that, because a firm hand was already reaching out for his billowing robe, damp from the night air. And he was panicking now, because he didn't want that hand to reach him and ensnare him with whatever moral or immoral teachings it might have. And he just thought to himself, it's now or never. And as he tried his hardest to pick now, his mind decided to pick never.

Or at least later.

And so he tumbled; not to his death, but into the waiting arms of his enemy.

(The End)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Now or Never (Chapter 1)

(Just some fiction I've been working on. It really has nothing to do with anything going on in my life at the moment.)

It had been a vodka or gin sort of day.

It had been the sort of day where you wake up with not enough sunshine in your eyes and too much darkness in your step. It had been the sort of day where you stub your toe on common day objects like end tables or reclining chairs or maybe the doorway to your own bedroom. It had been the sort of day where you casually steal small flat bottles from liquor store shelves–not big, brilliant, spectacular thievery, but small, pathetic, cowardly lifting. And it had been the sort of day where you drink your flask shaped bottles of bitter alcohol in some dark and dirty alleyway across the street, hiding from your family and friends and rain clouds and sorrows.

It had been a cloudy sort of day – but not the heartbreaking kind. It was the sort of cloudy day where you had nothing better to do but stare out your window and wonder if tomorrow would be like this too, but finding that you didn't quite care in the end. It was the sort of cloudy day where you'd stumble home with your pant knees torn and stained and your shirt untucked and wrinkled, muttering something about politics and society or maybe just the rain and wondering if tomorrow would be like this too, but finding that you were too drunk to care in the end. And it was sort of like a punch in the stomach only numbed by anesthesia, and you find yourself going under shrieking something about the end of the world and life as you know it, in your cold basement, only to wake up later with an empty bottle of vodka or gin between your legs.

Or maybe it was just a numb sort of day and nothing more.

A fat raindrop landed on his arm and exploded into a million droplets all over his skin. His large blue eyes looked up in a sweepingly mechanical movement. Another raindrop plopped unceremoniously onto his cornea and burst all over his sight, breaking, fragmenting, blurring everything.

Maybe is was just a rainy sort of day and nothing more.

He thought of how much he'd like to take a swig of something, anything, right about now. He would take anything biting and bitter that would claw against his throat like nails on a chalkboard as he drank quickly and eagerly and deeply. And he would swish the fire through his mouth in an attempt not to choke, and he would feel the flames sting the back of his tongue where the taste buds were the most tender. And he would hiss like a snake when he finally let the liquid tumble down into his stomach, coating his insides like gasoline just waiting to be ignited. And he would light the fire then, with one sweeping, choking, weeping, trembling sigh that was more a gasp than anything else. And he would feel the flames grow and catch and blacken and kill until the numbness gave way to pain and sorrow and anger and fear.

And the fire would burn until he finally relented and extinguished it with shy, quiet tears veiled beneath curtains of shame and confusion.

And he would wake up the next morning cold and neglected and dead and vomiting life, with his head spinning and his hands shaking and his breath hitching. But he was grateful even for this, because at least it wasn’t nothing.

And only then would he let himself get just a little hysterical.

(End of Chapter 1)