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when i first saw it grow out of me, small brown dot on my left palm, close to my thumb, i was covered by sadness. that he would never see it. that since he’d stopped holding my hand, he never would. there was something about my physical plant he’d never recognize. but there was another set of people, once, with the sign, his hand and hers the same, so that when they shook hands, their secrets would touch. now i make three. hands intertwine, matched between our skins, this new set of adventures with this new him, this new birthmark.
why is the tree outside my window suddenly gold, way after everyone else? do you understand that sometimes we’re like that? that writing a master work or whatever is ridiculous if you’re not prepared to push and wait at the same time? and can you even begin to understand that you are a self-fulfilling prophecy, spilling your future between your lips. because it is your destiny to do so. that’s what i believe. because you were put on this earth to change the fucking world tear it apart rip it up and you’ll find the courage to do it. promise.
more children than i have seen in months, smiling. a little boy looking up at me and telling me my russian is good, that he understands me, that he giggles to hear me speak. adults laughing, smiling, telling me stories, grinning at my pictionary game (how would you draw “soar?”). paul and kendell, laughing, keeping their house of kids and adults and dogs together in ways that are overwhelming. we put on hats and fake halloween teeth, yell, eat real food. walter drives, looking twelve in the seat, to the grocery store, where we buy shiskabob skewers, check ourselves out.
i am untrustworthy. i am a mess. i want to prove that i am not. and in part i’m not. honestly. (did you believe that?) but pieces make my stomach hurt. there’s a wrinkle above my eyes that won’t go away no matter how hard i try. i make messes. today has not been a fast celebration day. i broke my record, now i have to stop the spinning, keep my food down, nose to grindstone. don’t throw up. don’t think up. don’t. don’t. it’s there for now. how much longer? grandma’s finally dying. finally crying, but not about that.
my friends are writing personal ads. because obviously, the way to make yourself less lonely is to intensely ridicule yourself and the people around you while maintaining that aura of vulnerability. hopefully no one loses an eye.
ALL THIS AND MORE
Mom-hot SWF, 21, 5'8, enjoys poetry, Tony Hawk Pro Skate 2, troubling others about my own insecurities, going to the bathroom, and awkward, disjointed conversation in which I unintentionally speak in riddles. Searching for SM 19-23 to stare lovingly into my deep brown eyes and tell me I'm a jerk. Uneven body hair a plus, but not required. Box #1148
written earlier, but it still holds
Disregarding the newly settled season change,
gingkoes are still green, all funny
rights and lefts of branches aimed
at slowly littering, de-leafing brethren.
So, they inquire amongst themselves, we
understand this at last? The high clouds, the
shock of chill, the accelerated disappearance of day?
We too undress and pull the frost up to our chin?
And yet the gingkoes are still green, waiting, watching
the sun for signs of paling, checking the air for that
ashy taste, straining for the low moan of millions.
Remember? they ask and point, cloaked, awake, alive.
the bullshit is endearing. also the only way he can work through any problem, bouncing it off angles of himself, and the only way to do that is verbally, grandiosely, often grotesquely. one of the smartest kids on the planet, but his feelings gets clouded, makes extremely rational statements he is by definition incapable of making next to his random likes and dislikes. he will never be capable of knowing his entire heart, and that scares him. i love him, hope him well, wish him safe. can't imagine putting myself there again. can't imagine being tied to a sinking ship.
like off rhythms.
and hand-roasted coffee.
like cocktail party
like tote bags.
like unusual houseplants.
like goya beverages.
like wind picking
my hair apart
like my insecurites
over the unexpected.
like my penchant for
because i’m so happy
and so unsure
and so amazed
and so unprepared
and so aware
and ready to be
like hippie soap.
like drums live.
like raman noodles
dry from the package.
where i fall
like erin luhks’
i’m surprised at him, his respectability, of all things, in his clean unimart shirt. the genuine smile he gives customers. he delivers good solid advice to me, silly smiles to erin, and deeply discounted candy bars to both. i know he’s capable, i know he’s brilliant, i know he’s barely together at times. but there is something about his smile, rubbing his coffeefilled belly, that is real, not the pseudointellectual bullshit. not all the time, anyway – here, we all spout it sometimes. but trapani’s hardheadedness, his laugh, his easy blend of sarcasm and wonder at two in the morning...unexpected. marvelous.
this connection feels real. communion with the whole world. julia milks says: annie sprinkle claims there are three things coupling can be: pleasurable, communion, or meditation . . . two of these sometimes, but never three. we grin as we kiss.
. . .
leaves are gone from the trees out back now . . . my treehouse apartment becomes a latticework window . . . i can see the stoplight through what was a jumble of green, then gold. but the best thing is that i can get right to the crest of the hill before i turn, and see the road open as it falls, browns of the ridge clear and gorgeous.
my mom hears voices. so i'm reluctant to hear them.
i hear voices - you know that, right?
stretching farther than you should.
and being sure in it.
not 'than you should' - it's not an unnatural thing
than everyone else would dictate.
it's logic following through to an extent that logic would not dictate
as i came out of it, i tried to tell myself what it was i felt, and the first thing i said was, 'i was touched by white.'
i have been touched by white.
meaning it felt like the color white had inflitrated every aspect of my physicality and negating it
oh have you?
no it does not negate.
i don't know, didn't exactly feel like that - because the color white is still too substantial a thing . . .
no i carry it with me.
that's my white.
you need a term closer to nothing to describe what i felt
have you been golden?
can't say i have
it is sweet and buoyant.
remember 'there are far stranger things in heaven, / stranger than i'll know'
falling asleep next to him charged me,
filled me full of electric separation,
potential to power.
a peaceful, quiet act.
now i'm coiled and
ready to spring.
there aren't standard conditions.
oh, i forgot to tell you --
or maybe you just wouldn't
believe me, no matter
what i said.
you never let me down.
all that time.
both our parts.
you never let me down.
are we better?
we broke our hearts.
i knew that.
i don't regret.
i don't forget.
and i refuse to make
promises for events
that never happened.
HERE'S THAT FUCKING WONDER AGAIN.
this makes me want to push.
on its head.
wait for it, wait for it...
this is my time
this week is my week.
where the fuck is my planner?
i need to be making me some PLANS.
fuck middleness. fuck i'mokaywithwhatever.
i'm sitting in class. teacher has
of the gears,
my stomach tightfightorflightening,
ready to steel for movement.
how long can i feel this how high
can i take this how broad can i make
here i come.
what’s interesting is that i do not miss her. not yet. she’s one of the few people that i couldn’t miss, because as petty as it sounds: i don’t think she’s done yet. i might at the memorial, i will when i see her house, her things. twently bucks says she’ll still have that disgusting stuffed llama coated in mold, plus a wide array of sketchy chinese pharmeceuticals that we will have to guess at. she will also have pictures of thousands of people we will never know. she was a wise, traveling woman. shitty mom, bad grandma. good friend.
there is an art to INTERPID FUR EXPLORING.
the first catch is that you have to announce to whoever is in your house INCLUDING THE FUR that you are an INTREPID FUR EXPLORER and with the help of your trusty hunting elephant or shopvac you will EXPLORE to the ENDS of the HALLWAY and UNDER THE BED for the critters. they of course run away in fear, but you pursue, knowing they are best in captivity. the hunt? exhilarating. the chase? difficult and full of twists and turns. this is no ordinary mess. this is no ordinary struggle for freedom.
there was something about the soup and the women from whom i purchased it, pumpkiny goodness in a paper container with an ill-fitting plastic lid, that made me smile. off to a funeral, off to watch my life change, but i can stop for soup in new york and things haven’t changed. the box in port authority still sends billiard balls through twists and turns and chaotic dings and percussnoise, little kids still squeal with delight at the drink machines that drop the glass bottles – you know the ones. it was easy, i was ill and tired but no matter.
so we were all adults. no one talked about the bath she asked my father into. no one talked about the guilt trips. we called eunice’s name as a shining, as a halo around all of us. julia told her story about the sailors holding hands and surviving. (it
julia’s story, now, her inheritance beyond whatever else we pull this week.) kurt sobbed beneath my arm, so i started singing wrong and loudly. our kiddie pew cracked up. later, katie’s eyes big, us a family. thanks, eunice. you left us to begin again. and i know you’re out there.
lesson: never ever say you’ll see a shadow of your dead grandmother again, that she’s too cantankerouse and horrible an old bat to really be gone, because then you’ll get stuck on a greyhound bus after traveling on one all night that breaks down fifteen miles from harrisburgh with two other college students, the driver, and beatrice who will tell you her heartbreaking story three times and be unable to use a cell phone and make you all pray together, which would offend you except then the rescue bus-driver set comes and you talk about bears and deer in residence
we had better have
. because i
to try to buy the candy corn for nine cents all by myself without
. not after what happened with the model rocket and the IUD. i mean,
. and another thing: we are going to do this trip
this time. none of this three-lane pileup nonsense.
am driving, and
are going to sit in the trunk and be
because no one likes a yelling nun in boxer-briefs.
, you can carry the noodles when we go in.
, i am
twenty one years and i still have not learned how to:
tie my shoooolaces without tying them in knots
be sympathetic about relationships, even when they’re mine
not get upset when other people aren’t happy
whistle on a blade of grass
be as forgiving of people or
as unforgiving of people
as i need to be
forgive anyone for leaving
“don’t: just don’t go”
play the piano
remember to touch someone’s face if i kiss him
put my hair up
let my shoulders down
tell julia milks how wonderful she is
tell the world how wonderful you are
here are some beautiful words
snowshoe fur banana glide peace basil e. frankweiler hubert aslan free lovely winter smile sum philadelphia pebble tea museum gramaglia leucine sandwich bandana sneaker crayola peidmont pyruvate belle yes carol secret chos bogart stealth ghetto smooth constallation whale map soap scrub wow serendipity best avenue moo city cornell owasco always slipslidin while dandruff thunderstorm sweet dinosaur sebastian cook magnanomous tyger bear with me cuke watch calendar will smooth smooch silo print search chlorobium grin dimple overall shower fabric popcorn sign nineteen inchworm big ceiling grendel pillow cradle balcony squash vegetable upstairs videogames gotta love.
i left new york state this morning different. worried, somehow. empty in places. grateful for
three beautiful nuns walking by, the closest one to me wearing boat shoes and navy blue socks under her habit. they all are. one of them is trying to park a car outside the phila. terminal where i sit. their heads are covered in bright blue, and they wear the same color over grey as a smock, all the way down. these women are so young. in nyc i watched a black-clad pair dottering through prot authority, wondering if anyone would replace them. so glad.
when i was little i climbed stairs poorly. was it possible to fall down the steps out bouncing into world?
when i was little matt newton and i would teeter on the totter for hours and hours and he would always threaten to drop me but did not.
when i was little we had label-makers and sitcoms.
when i was little i had a brownie sash full of patches.
but now i am in the process of becoming grown and young.
and i have a long black coat.
and overalls with a zipper pouch.
and pudding with mold on it.
NOTHING WORKING CONSTRUCTION WOULDN’T CURE.
because the air so clean up here is
and i’m not making anything except
money and messes in my toilet.
so let’s drive
pour the roads for the others,
wear our hard hats and
wave our flags with
this is about the creative spirit.
about unwashed jeans and tar fumes.
we are bold and making decisions we
will have no chance to
because we will be happy.
and covered with –
get that crane to lift that load.
we could do it
if you could harness
the i live with two guys who abuse their nice roomie privileges blues:
i am a girl. with this, keep also in mind that i have a sister. that i am a college aged girl with a sister. a girl. so of course i don’t know what turning and coughing mean. are you really going to pittsburgh, all that way away, tonight? do you really check yourself for testicular cancer? how long can you be in that shower? wait, were you really born in mexico? i thought you were chinese! and jeff, keep your penis and moonbeam away from me.
if you’ve never been suddenly detached from your body, unable to sense pressure, then i don’t want to tell you about it. because it’s scary, especially when it’s nothing you’ve ingested. you can’t predict when it happens. you try to drink enough water. get enough exercise. destress. but now all you can do when it begins is pound on your shoulders or get someone else to, because you think there’s a psychosomatic pinched nerve someplace up in there. your head makes stretching noises when you tilt your chin. how in the world has it stayed on so long? dizzying, terrifying.
so going away will be the scariest thing ever. this is why i need to go away, someplace where i've never spoken the words, never seen the faces, never smelled the smells or mistook the mistakes. this means living by myself. i could hack it. it is frightening how in tune i am with so much of my emotions, feelings, frights. more so than ever. the tradeoff is this floating...this flipping, this physical detachment from the things i love. like feeling things. and blood flow. heart beat heat beat and i'm unable, unwilling, unfeeling to let go. don't go.
every time you wake me up i think it's morning i'm so warm but never is you come so late at night and always with the cold ears that will forever be you, your feet next to mine in the bed, the curve of your palm on my back as we talk about the wildest and the williest and the wettest and everything in between and these secrets of survival sweep past our noses like there's a cargo of them broken and they're falling out like magic, like lampshades or corn or rocket fuel or rollar skates or love. wow.
it is six am. i have not been home in so long this early from campus. things that happen: the newspaperperson in the traditionally junky van follows me up the street playing some incomprehensible news talk show something. i think about erin luhks and dave lyman and rick mellon. i walk past axe, the chem frat. an older woman is powerwalking with a young big white fluffy muzzled woffwoff or whatever they’re called. there’s no sun yet. the pavement smells like rain. the work i did was good. time to go home. be a night person. my eyes aleady hurt.
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