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I walked into the same CVS by the shore. Celine Dion, "A New Day Has Come" whispered out of the ceiling vents, and the beach towels depicting gigantic alcholic beverages awash in glowing ice crystals were sold out. So I draped something less subtle over my shoulder and picked up a cheap bottle of wine. Maybe I'd need it after the sand peeled away another layer. Maybe the cashier knew this, maybe not. On my way out I looked, looked away, looked closer--but that pizza shop with the twisted pepsi bottle on the counter had gone out of business, too.
I walked around my apartments and imagined I was in a Ripley's
Believe it or Not
museum. Past the dumpster perpetually padded with bedboards, under the vacuum that resembled a vintage gasoline pump and up toward the double windowed laundry room adorned in yellow stucco, tumbling into a smaller parking lot between two large apartment buildings with protruding window sills above a succession of air conditioning units. Birds chirped out from their cages in some. Claustrophobic-looking bulldogs peeked out from the blinds in others. I turned the key for a reason to go, but just continued snipping at palm trees.
I stopped about twenty feet behind the car ahead of me so I could see the names of the shops--the establishment called "New Identity" struck me as somewhere interesting. During the rest of my drive through the rain puddles and dark overcast skies I considered a labotimy, a new haircut, a new job starting tomorrow, a rearrangement of the furniture in my apartment, one more spark, one more day, one more trip back home, one more night out, one more week together, one more familiar face, one more chance at existence, one more brain, or just a larger sewer system.
My knuckles irritably rapped at the LCD screen as crickets chirped in the spanish moss and a large cockroach skittered past my feet. I remember calling my brother last year, rapping my knuckles on a different LCD screen, proudly proclaiming to him that I was about to travel over the bridge for a night of debauchery-simultaneously wondering what I was missing past the mountains. Smiling faces appeared on the monitor now, in front of For Sale signs.
Live for today
, all the advertisements would say,
because tomorrow isn't promised
. But right now, the past is all I have to hold.
The sun's rays seeped through the tinted windows of my car as I waited for the light impatiently, third in line from the intersection. A woman in her 40's crossed the street just shy of the crosswalk, passing in front of my car. I observed the long beads dangling from her neck and admired the tie-dye skirt she was wearing, knotted behind her neck. Her long, blonde hair was done up in a beret. I admired her alternative beauty as the lyrics,
Where were you when we were getting high
ran through my head and changed the station.
I lied in the sand restlessly, propping myself up onto my elbows so I could create a miniature sand dune in front of me. I watched the sand trickle out as I gave it a smiley face, later molding it into a set of handle bars on a skooter. I held onto them as I lied there hoping I'd get up in a different time or place, maybe on the deck at home ten years ago when my days were wrought with the smell of popcorn and dreams of confessing my
for that blonde haired, blue-eyed masculine drama queen.
Another song from the 80's offered momentary anesthesia as I pondered the new perpective I had gained from the song's lyrics. Outside, more people crossed the street in front of me; some of them holding hands, some walking alone with their own respective strides. As the song faded into static, I looked at the pedestrians and thought about Tarantino's
Natural Born Killers
and understood why the film was so popular. We're all killers
, and the film wouldn't have made any sense if the killers were friends or individuals. Then again, neither would
Romeo and Juliet
Lately, a pair of young cats have been brushing up against my legs as i walk to and from my apartment. They'd come out from one of the vehicles in the parking lot and follow me for awhile. Where did they come from? Does someone own them?
When nobody was watching, I asked one of them,
When are you going to let go of my tongue?
but it just purred in response, raking back the hair on my shins. Finally I got up and retrieved my laundry, remembering my grandma's cats as I broken-heartedly closed the door behind them.
The watercolors that adorned my walls when he was here have since been taken down and left in a neat stack on one of the end tables next to my
couch. I haven't put them up again ever since I had those two large boxes in my living room last month. As tempting as it was to take everything down and throw everything into them, the more I did so, the more I envisioned the boxes as two enormous blackholes. Ever since I've unpacked I've been more orderly, calculating--out of what I perceive to be utter necessity, now.
I find it ironic, after spending hours each day filling out applications on the internet only to later bide my time idly how I can simultaneously be met with the notion I've always taken the jobs I've had too seriously. How could that be the case if half the time since graduating college I have been the job-seeker. I've come to the conclusion I just haven't been playing my cards right, a complex state of mind that involves being an over acheiver while simultaneously making your co-workers think you're slacking for their endearment. Going out now.
Guilt. The predominant emotion I experienced walking through the projects next to my apartment tonight.
someone asked me on their bicycle as I exchanged a simple
with them, having finished my rotation around the foreign apartment complex and making my way back out onto the road. I extended my arm and ran my hand along the fence to another parcel of land amplified with the sound of crying babies, over-worked mothers and youth in need. I remember doing a similar survey of my surroundings one night before I returned to Michigan last year. Now something feels different.
I turned out of my apartment complex onto Morris Ave, the road that would bring me to the interstate to Mike's apartment. I was excited, but when I rounded the corner, I wondered what I was still doing here. The process of letting go of the brake and pushing down on the accelerator made me feel like a tadpole trying to make its way across the Gulf of Mexico. Later that evening, Mike proclaimed for the second time since we've been hanging out as friends again, "This is paradise!" And, because I was with someone else, I agreed with him.
I laid a stack of magazines on the floor and brought out the bulletin board I bought at Walgreen earlier in the day. I cut out pictures that reminded me of him: locales, restaurant signs, ideas, thoughts. When I was finished I laid them in a pile on top of the bulletin board and watched a movie. Tommy had been prosecuted and courted by a black inmate. They fell in love, but the black inmate eventually dumped him because it would have been too painful for him to forget about Tommy once he was released. So Tommy got arrested again.
I fingers relaxed as I opened the door to my apartment one evening. My car keys fell from my hands, I kicked off my sandals and plopped myself onto the couch, bursting out into a ridiculous laugh. My neighbors must have thought I was crazy. Hell, I even thought I was crazy realizing I had nothing in particular to laugh about except that I had just gone out on my own, yet I had taken the scenic route back home again. Everything the comedian said on SNL was hilarious. I watched until my stomach hurt and a familiar song aired.
After bringing in my laundry and watching the evening news, I sat down and tried to make sense of what I cut out of the stack of magazines last week to no avail. I left the glue I bought for the exercise in its wrapping. After about 15 minutes I decided I had enough and placed the cut-outs on the center of the bulletin board and slid it under my couch. I figured its completion would be inevitable, but only after I've crawled out of the confines of this enormous fortune cookie from which I've been trying to escape.
If I could sum up the past couple months in one word it would be inquiry. What just happened, anyway? I briefly crossed paths with someone who turned into my best friend in Florida and my best friend in Michigan. I loved him. Why do people you attach so much emotion to eventually disappear? Listen to a NIN song. Why does everyone always say, just do the things you used to enjoy doing? Because they know you can't return to them fully right now but you eventually will, and take on new roles. Why did it take so long? Dunno.
I sat on the patio today and texted my friend the following message, "I hate how you can't write poetry anymore without stealing the lyrics from some song." What I got in response was a reference to the poem,
by Charles Bukowski. I listened to the kids playing by the pool. One of them was irriating me because he kept mocking the sound of a blue heron's wail. Everytime the bird would howl, he would immediately howl not two seconds later. So I went inside and read the poem, cleaned, paced, thought. Does this ever end? Back to work!
I completed the temporary agency's skill assessment test and stared out the window at Tampa's skyscrapers in the distance. They appeared brown, like the dried blood on a scab. My interviewer probed me with friendly light-blue eyes and revealed she is into creative writing as well. So I figured it wouldn't be so bad to continue a profession that doesn't necessarily align with my preference, and just continue to build on them outside of work. On the way back home something struck me. The first words out of my head, "Oh shit!" repeatedly. I saw him running. I lost it.
Kimberly stood in front of the mirror. Her long red hair flawlessly curled its way down to the spot just below her shoulders. She looked at herself closer and put her hands on her temples and removed the latches on her
, revealing a bald head underneath and a deep scar on the side of her temple. She brushed it and thought of Michael, but knew just because she was in a car accident it wasn't going to change anything. Nevertheless, that evening she sat down at the computer and emailed him a couple sentences about how amazing he was.
Jesus went to bed wearing a splint but continually began waking up the next morning only to observe that it had fallen off his hand. So he'd carefully put the splint back on, down his shredded frosted wheat with an ativan and get on with his day. Whatever that entailed. Usually it involved thinking, applying for jobs and attempting to read. If someone were to ask Jesus to spell out his days since the incident he'd have difficulty, although he could remember his days clearly beforehand. Even if their highlight had been going to the mailbox and back. Thinking.
Drinks with Mike again tonight. We sat on top of his apartment complex and stared at the skyscrapers in the distance, beautifully lit up like diamonds against the sky. A crane was off to the right in the distance. Mike explained that the apartment complex was Italian. I growled and got up, finishing my cigarette. What's wrong? he asked. I don't like Italians right now,I responded--hesitating but going into more detail, waiting for him to tell me to shut up. So I did but then he asked, Why did you get so quiet? Are you ready to go out, then?
This morning I awoke and the splint was off my hand again and I was able to move my thumb again freely, so I didn't bother putting it back on. The claims adjuster called: they are dragging their feet. I don't know what to say, then again I've been without a voice ever since I lost my job. Whatever I say is inconsequential because my independence is only an illusion right now until I get another. Who wants to listen to the idle blabber of an unemployed stress mess? What's more is regardless, I've never been more comfortable chaotically.
Today I thought about people's heads. People's heads, just going about their daily activities whether it be driving a car, sitting in a cubicle, cleaning house...how sometimes I long to be inside them. Just to share in their sense of humor, their perceptions. Envisioning a friend or family member's head sometimes makes me giggle. Why is this so? I'm beginning to think it's all these long distance relationships taking their toll on me as I long to find something short distance that is real. After all, there is a thin line between thought and reality, conversation. Communication. That I lack.
I walked out onto my patio today and observed my ridiculous, but comical patio furniture--a large wooden table and toddler chairs I was so fortunate to receive from my cousin when I moved into this place. But like razor-blade memories, everytime I am out there I see him sitting in the first chair outside the door, having a smoke with me--sizing me up with those intelligent, care-free, baby-blue intelligent eyes. Now I sit where he sat, overlooking my fountain, because I have no one to accomodate now. Truly, when he was here, I was outside my apartment looking in, out.
The whole tragedy of getting into a car accident catapaulted him back into the forefront of my mind. I was too old and independent for family, and he was the only thing I had to hold onto, regardless if the mere act of holding onto him was sending and receiving a few sentences from him over email. His responses were simple and sweet as butter, but matter-of-fact. I needed that angelic exchange today but left it alone when he understood what happened. I stopped asking questions. Near and far. Time is a healer, a friend and a maker of dreams.
Exhaustion. I can't even remember what I accomplished today except folding, refolding the blanket on my couch, checking the job boards, myspace, getting the mail picking at canned foods. I must admit I've developed a liking for baked beans, but that's between us. Lying on the chiropracters bed of waves, they'd come out and I realize I'm different now. But you're not here, I'm not there. If you were, we'd watch, we'd see. Now I'm mimicking my conversation with my friend Steve, IN MICHIGAN, about being unable to write poetry without copying lyrics. Crack my head while you're at it.
So I am catching up now, obviously. I'm sorry but the experience of getting my car demolished one second before my death has been on my mind lately and I haven't been paying attention to 100 words much. But life goes on, what I do from this point is my responsbility. Yes I still love you for everything you've done for me, yes I'm still pissed off and you're right perhaps I do have anger issues but onto the floor I fall breathing, recuperating. Spinning out of control, FINALLY. Thank you so much, I love you beyond any words fathomable.
Visiting Mike, again. Davis Islands. Paradise. We went out and I observed outgoing men walking around the bar introducing themselves. Some were sitting there trying to look interesting waiting for someone to approach them. I remembered a movie from the 80's I used to watch, the name escapes me, but the scene where the mother approaches her pensive daughter and says,
A girl with a small package doesn't have a lot to offer
rings true. Perhaps I'll be more like Mike, soon but for now I'm enjoying ambience, the feeling of being alive and watching purple lights, tv screens, people.
Another day trying to get into the things I used to enjoy doing: Playing Age of Mythology on the computer, chess online, posting old pictures of me online. But something feels different. What would I have learned from all of this if I just simply returned to what I had been doing before? So, I kick ass in chess, and wait patiently, for things to get back on track. So many minds I can feel, so little time, is it so wrong to be able to feel minds who aren't near without being necessarily lonely? Time for a job please.
Been feeling like I can have any fish in the sea I choose lately. When I get a job. Been feeling like I can do wonderous things for my family here. When I get a job. Been feeling like my life is about to take off faster than a rocket at Kennedy Space Station. When I get a job. Been feeling like I want to get out of this place because of the razor blade memories. Elbowmusic. Been feeling like an emotional rollercoaster. Been feeling good. I like emotions. Thank you for freeing from my impassivity. Thank you very much.
Tonight I broke the mardi gras necklace I was offered last year from some older, jubilant partygoers.
I missed the celebration
, I admitted, but that didn't stop them from buying me a drink and trying to coax me into their arms. I accepted the drink politely and smiled, looking for a younger crowd to converse with. Christopher would disapprove, the 30-something I was involved with who said he'd get me into publishing. So would Chuck, the hard-working concientious passive professional who loved me more than I did him. Time to make a living within my own age group, I think.
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