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The morning crackled against itself; I had no choice but to go out and lose myself in it. I live for these halcyon days, when my head is as empty as the cloudless sapphire above me; when the thoughts are expunged by the groove my bike makes in the dust.
There was a point at which I almost fell: I stared up at the Dali-sky & some of the leaves, already changing, morphed into monarchs, spinning webs of silver. It was a tiny seed of beauty, landing right between my eyes, the force of which almost sent me flying.
been having conversations with myself, which rarely leads to good. but, thanks to the film noir kick I've been on, at least it's not all bad, either:
…It's like this, Charlie. There comes a time in a girl's life when she's gotta face up to facts, see. [Pause as I take a meaningful drag off a cig] And the fact of the matter is, there's some business down in Houston that this girl's got to take care of. It might get ugly, Charlie, & I'm going to need you to cover my back here. [Another drag.] Can you handle that, Charlie?
our birthdays hung like parentheses around the school year: mine was the (back-to-it party, hers the thank-god-THAT'S –over) one. until this year: she blew out the candles on her birthday orange [too lazy to find a cake, were we] & we jumped in our cars & scattered. we squint over state lines…struggling for eye contact…but the earth curves before we can find it. my photo albums were so tidy, until this year: now we're just stray punctuation (elipses maybe, or dashes-----------)
& now the photo albums will invent separation, the inhalation of breath between words.
"Jewels? Mia. Whererya?"
"The dressing room at Kohl's."
? I'll call you back."
"Jewels, we're NOT doing this again!"
"You slept with my BOYFRIEND?!!"
"Goddammit. Knock it off."
"On my BIRTHDAY?!!"
"Knock it OFF!!"
"While I was at home, caring after our sick mother??"
"I'm not gonna be a part of this."
"Who looked after your kids while you were serving jailtime, huh? WHO?!"
"And now you're telling me you're BANGING my BOYFRIEND?!"
"They're all gone. How long'd it take me to clear out the dressing room."
"One minute 23 seconds."
"A new record."
Houston. A city I love & loathe equally. I feel a little reckless, making this trip so close to the big Depart, but hell, I do want to see my friends.
Distracted…on a plane, wondering where I'll end up tonight…one week from today, for that matter…stomach churning, no idea why. haven't eaten anything of any import yet, maybe that's it. or that I missed a pill & took two today…
Airports baffle me. I always feel like somebody's gonna figure out how disorganized I am & kick me & my messy karma the fuck out of dodge.
am writing these words quickly b/c despite my former predictions to the contrary, i'm at v's. yeah yeah, whatever, it's been good, & a prior rejection by Rodrigo makes this attention welcome. besides, v just came back from burningman & is chock full of stories about it. crazy, these kids out in the Nevada desert, dancing & sweating & loving so much… v's convinced I've gotta go---2004 is my first available festival. we'll see.
What's gonna happen with all this?
seems to be my constant v-question. my answer these days is fuck it—I'm leaving the country.
After a very pleasant day—woke up @ v's, nice breakfast, stroll thru sculpture garden; followed by a surprisingly kosher afternoon w/ Rodrigo—had a very frustrating night. Introduced Gigi & co. to firespinning, rolled a nice half tablet to enhance it all & off to make an appearance at a party. But when I called v to come get me, he slammed the ex-girlfriend door in my face; asked for a raincheck. She'd met me @ firespinning; decided tonight was a good night to make a scene @ v's.
Frustration. Fuck this. I don't have
was fine & smiling till the door closed, & my head turned inside out & i was on the floor, crying like i'd been for 100 years. want to write the word "loss" 100 times, in 100 ways, cry 100 tears that spell your name. I had it all in my mouth; was too chickenshit scared to spit it out: that I may have loved you once; that time & space stop in my ears; that you're the only one I have. But I'll carry this, friend, b/c your hands are already full.
read this when I am gone.
HOW TO SAY GOODBYE
1. Wake tangled up in familiar arms. Don't say much. Kiss a lot.
2. Put ear on his chest. Listen. Remember sound of heart.
3. Leave bed only when clear that you're inexorably late. Cry.
4. Meet friends at breakfast. Joke. Bullshit. Fill every silence.
5. Say goodbye only when clear that you will miss plane. Cry. Go in this order: sister, Mia, K, Rodrigo (Cry a lot. Finally maintain eye contact.), Gigi, Leslie.
6. Speed to airport, b/c you _are_ inexorably late.
7. Say goodbye to Tinabear.
8. Make flight. Cry until sleep.
Have the intense desire to close my eyes, exist only in the blackness that is the other side of my lids. Last night: drove home from the airport, somehow separated into two Selves: one that moved & breathed, one that watched from somewhere deep inside my head. This morning, as Rodrigo sang from my computer into my kitchen, the Selves slammed together, two ice skaters, colliding violently in the rink. The tears come intermittently, w/o much warning or fanfare. I continue on in my phone conversation or cereal bowl or errand:
"Oh, these old things. They just follow me around."
A flash of brown & it all disappeared, and by the time I came to, the deer was gone, leaving me tangled up in my bike & pain. Looking up, the sky was still on fire & all I could think was that there were more planes that weren't on tv, crashing into houses this time, not big buildings.
Shh, child, we must sit down and erase all these words, must hold silent cool hands to fever-soaked foreheads, must sing ourselves to sleep. There is still sky on the other side of that smoke, still stars behind that sky.
I think the concussion's finally abated, after a night of uninterrupted sleep. Keep waiting for yesterday to seem like a dream, but sleep seems more like a period of time with the television turned off. Am afraid to get too far away from it, as if the world could collapse again if I stop watching for a moment. Irrational visions of planes crashing into loved ones: a panic such as I've never known.
We run out of words now, having talked our voices hoarse. Now we open silent mouths to nothing; hold each other tightly & don't let go.
should have spent the day arriving in Benin, but am busy entering "jewels'-life-on-hold" land instead. I'm not upset about this: I think of matt & jeff & jon & ori & tleo & mk to remind myself of my luck, but I am beginning to put credence in Rodrigo's dubbing me of "limbo lady." If not Africa, I know now what else: this has been my future since I was 17 years old.
K tells me (but not in a creepy religious way) that everything happens for a reason: must be patient to puzzle this one out.
I am a princess,
and this is my land. Forgive me, please, for being audacious; there's a beer in the fridge with your name on it and a tree with enough shade for two. Nope,
haven't gotten around to naming it yet, but all these words are just eyelids, aren't they? Though I must admit,
I like your shoes. They've climbed mountains—am I right?—and waited quietly for you to get dressed. Wait, here it is
Out of everything I have, this spot's my favorite. This is where we will be joyful.
...finally shaking off the cobwebs and the numbness delivered earlier this week; finally recovering from that collision-with-deer-on-bike thing too (that was a true story, folks). Walking and hyper-caffinated, I noticed the smell of damp & soil, that fall is truly here. It is the first of its kind for me in years, this silent apple sky, the urge to bend down & retie my shoes.
Each day is a treasure, they say; some are just geodes needing to be smashed open. My bags remain half-packed; in this quiet moment, I surprise myself & miss v.
--Well, I've been in Africa for 3 days now, and let me tell you---
--…there are a lot of surprises so far, things I never would have--
--You're, uh, not in Africa.
--You're still here, remember? In "limbo"?
--But I thought--
--Yeah, we all thought a lot of different things, kiddo. But nothing's the same anymore.
--You're stuck. Yeah. For now, anyways. But jewels, there's something I've gotta ask you--
--If not this, then what?
--But, if NOT this, then WHAT?
--I don't have a fucking clue.
Mia's back; she's falling for a quadriplegic. Leslie's somewhere in the Mountains; where her cell phone doesn't work. WE had climbed up all day, and as the sun set, were inching back down. He stopped suddenly; like a cartoon character, I plowed right into him. I asked what was wrong: "I don't think war is noble." He was silent for a moment before answering. Gigi made carrot cookies this morning, her words muffled for the chewing. Almost hit another deer today: got so close I could smell him: just like horses.
Nothing is wrong I just forgot to look around.
It's like this:
Though not short, you've never exactly been accused of being tall have you now have you. You had an uneventful youth, child of unhappy parents, but were bright enough to get by. In college you met a pretty girl, married too young, had an affair, and divorced too young, though not necessarily in that order (you are a romantic: fall in love rarely but hard). You live in an apartment with a roommate.
(its just that one day you stop at a light and see theyre all red and in the distance you watch taillights receeding
quiet, beautiful things today: eye-level w/ a changing elm for hours, mom's birthday spice cake, laughter of the 6-year old neighbor, lots of tequila & lots of mia, such a dear friend. Half-drunk still, ready to turn out the light to this day, feeling content (not the evil kind of conformity-suburban-material contentment, but the exhale of a long sigh of oxygen-rich breath contentment, satisfied & full & grateful for fall & friends & raindrops clinging to leaves) feeling love & loved, feeling like tomorrow will also be a day to fill with beauty.
I don't blink sometimes I
Stare at blank spaces I
Fill them with pen & ink & eye
Them till color floods I / Repeat things sometimes "I
Will not fall for you again" I
Will not fall into you again I / Time & time & might it be that
This time's not different that
It's the same thing folded that
Our angles still add up to
…then again we'd end up in this bed & then/ again we'd wake to the time I'd/ dreamt of things that drenched us in fear then / I'd blink & (time & time) we'd flood
day of wild things, this equinox: of wild turkeys & even more deer (good christ, almost collision-on-bike number two); of pink sky & wind; of standing at a familiar road, looking down it till it bends (of knowing of knowing of knowing where it leads); of imminent departure dates (oct 7th!); of goodbyes (mia, aiming her car for any highway that'll take her—stay warm, dear, the air seeks you, too); of bomb them with butter, bribe them with hope (here is ingenuity, possibility, at last); of sore feet & heavy breaths; of now; of orion rising (somewhere)
lucidity comes in brief, blinding flashes; like groping, still half-drunk and more-than-half asleep for a switch, to be rewarded by the faint pop of a lightbulb exploding one last brilliant time before shining only dark. I am only the dark, bookending my antithesis, but I've seen things out of the corners of my eyes: that we must be entwined with our opposites or else we are nothing: that dichotomies are peg-legged when separated: that definition exists in the intransitive; that love is pain; that hate is love.
That I am a dumbass: the equinox is today.
"So, I had a dream about you last night."
"Was I a superhero dressed up in tights again?"
"Noooooo... I knew I never shoulda told you about that one."
"So, what was it about?"
"Oh... It was mostly a sex dream, I suppose..."
"We-ell, that certainly makes it more interesting. Was I any good?"
"Are you blushing?"
"No! I'm not-- … Okay. Yes I am. So what?"
"I was that good, huh?"
"It's just—This morning, when I woke up from it, I felt so…"
"Yeah. And safe."
"You are. You know."
"Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight..."
"Sometimes, I just kinda like the closing shift, you know?"
"I mean, don't get me wrong. I definitely prefer the mornings. Better tips, y'know?"
"…but every once in a while, like every two weeks or somethin, I like to close. I dunno, there's something about setting up for the next day that I really like."
"…making everything clean. Till it shines. Just putting everything back in its place."
"And I know I can do it good too. Hah, this sounds stupid, don't it?"
making Ratatouille for dinner. thought I'd document the experience:
six-oh-seven pm: onions! 2 cups!! can barely see what I'm writing—the fuckers always make me cry.
six-fifteen: you gotta
the eggplant? interesting: all the veggies are supposed to be cubed. not that skilled am I, although I can trapezoid the tar outta them.
six-twenty-four: woah! way too much cayenne!
six-forty-five: almost done. good thing—I'm starved.
seven-oh-eight: results: it's kinda like a big vegetable mush. I bet it's good w/ rice. jury's out, though, on whether it was worth the effort.
I feel gravity more at some times than at others. Now, for instance—it is so early in the morning—I've never been that good a sleeper—I stretch out my arms & legs on the carpet of my room—the burning orb straight under me pulling at each of my four corners—there are two choices, as far as I can see: there's the sinking down down down into it, the exhale of relief: & there's the fight against it, the inhale before the scream, the struggle to stand up, raise up my arms, to look up, to fly.
press my palms to my temples & want to squeeze until I crush the disappointment out of my head. saying goodbye twice is a strange bird; the anti-climatic nature of some is balanced by the overemotionality of others, but never would I have suspected that our foiled plans—v's & mine—would bring upon this acute sadness. The weight of it makes me want to run far away, to pack up these what-ifs with my wool sweaters.
he flies to Portland today; I am afraid of words, convinced that they would only poke holes in these buckets I carry.
woke up to a chilly sunrise, but this morning found my feet wading through damp grasses.
(Aren't we our own toughest teachers?)
I stopped under the biggest tree in our backyard, leaned back under it, watching the air above me explode into leaf-flames of orange & umber. So much fire these days, it seems, but this was just a celebration of good things from the earth. A release.
If only I had cried yesterday, followed this autumnal example, I could have reclaimed the day's sunlight. Sometimes, I'm learning, pain can dissipate like breath into cold air—if exhaled.
…tripped & fell today, & landed in the middle of a ginormous cold-puddle. As I lay on the couch, bemoaning my system's weaknesses (why isn't my body working right? why?), it strikes me that it
working, & probably twice as hard. My mother looks at me (
You look like shit, jewels.
) & tells me to put on some makeup before making lattes for the masses (
Here, take some Sudafed, too.
here are some things I'm not good at: being sick, asking for help, or taking it. and since we've started the list: being loved, loving, or admitting it.
"I think we are sitting on top of something much larger than you or I could possibly have a concept of."
You know, I think Canadian Vincent may have had a point there, speaking all that time & space ago, back in Switzerland.
For whoever out there who's following my progress in the words (all three of you) you may have noticed I'm still here, temporarily displaced. Despite September, a month too strange to carry, I'm still going—Oct. 7th—one week from today. I'll still be around 100w., though, kicking up dust from another hemisphere. Until the next time---------------
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