All That Waits for You

The rush of traffic far off on the distant highway sounds a little like waves in the ocean and as I sip coffee and listen, my mind drifts to memories of a summer long gone. Young love and young bodies, new hearts and fresh born fantasies. The way a kiss could send your pulse racing right out of your skin and into the weightlessness beyond the atmosphere, beating like a glimmering star high above the earth.

To imagine it ever was is a trick of the brain and a blink of an eye against the culmination of time which is etched beneath the skin like rings in a tree trunk circle and circle the veins.

As I stroll around an elegantly high-soaring fountain which is nestled into the side of a lush green hill, I try my best to empty my thoughts and take in the scenery. Not a single other person around, much to my heart’s content. People can so often disrupt the way one sees the things they see. People can blind you to everything that is magic- especially yourself – more fiercely than can the glare of the bleating sun. Wild flowers are dotted throughout the fields, a crystal clear stream is running over thick rocks and large stones cascading all the way down along the sway of the rolling landscape.

As I breathe deeply into the open air, I soak in the sight of the bright blue sky which seems to stretch on and out forever in all directions. Watching a hawk spread its gigantic wings and float high above, I contemplate the limitlessness of my own hunger and desire to reach for more than I ever dared to imagine. I want to touch everything with my body and soul so that just for a while I will feel that I am part of something far bigger and more breathtaking than I could ever hope to be.

There are so many dreams I have yet to realize in this life and I know deep down that I should get on them before this grand adventure passes me by entirely. I guess sometimes I wish I weren’t such a punchy, distracted little thing. Such a day dreamer, mind wandering off into forests of ideas and stalking mad plots which only serve to stop me in my tracks unless I’m writing them down, and even then it’s fits and starts at best.

As I lay back upon the grass, my phone buzzes and jingles with messages but I ignore it and smile to myself because I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I know at least enough to let go when it is good and necessary. The world always wants you someplace you are not, wherever you are you should be elsewhere. But even though we curse it, there is a little piece of our souls which is secretly glad to know that ‘out there’ is out there waiting for us just the same.

To Hell With All of It

He died suddenly in his sleep. I have no idea who he is just like I have no idea who his wife is but she’s just posted about the unfortunate incident online and the morbid fucking thing has received seventy thousand and some odd likes. Strangers die everyday and sometimes that shit goes viral which leaves a sick taste in the back of my throat.

She said it happened too soon and she hasn’t processed it yet. Kinda like throwing raw sentimental anguish meat out there to chum the digitized waters of grief hoping for a bite of condolence, no? Every single thing about this sinks my bones like heavy weights. Even though I don’t know her I feel sad for a second thinking about waking up next to a dead person without warning. No wonder she’s reeling, reaching, squirming, trying to make sense of it. I guess if nothing else, now she’s got the seventy some odd thousand trying to process it, too.

It’s weird how you open up social media, for no good reason this early in the morning, admittedly that’s on me, but you willingly line yourself up in front of the emotional firing squad. You may or may not get shot with some information or feeling that shreds like a bullet, cuts like a knife, stimulates like cheap a red wine, or soothes like a warm summer breeze. And we do this over and over on constant repeat like rats for pellets until we click and update and refresh and don’t even know what for anymore.

It’s still dark out and I’m an emotional wreck over existential angst brought on by the sudden awareness that strangers suddenly die and I am suddenly now a stranger, too.

The fuck.

I shake my shoulders, take a few deep cleansing breaths, pour a second cup of coffee and edit a few posts I may never publish just to have something to fuck around with because picking at words makes me feel like at least I have some kind of worthwhile work to do. Writing is the only work that sets my heart on fire and even though I’m no closer to doing it for a living I do do it for life. I pull up my notes and marvel at the great writers who have given us so much to go on before they left this life for good. But even the most mouth-watering advice in the world cannot keep me from seeking out more gossip, shock, and debauchery. It’s a compulsion. They’ve injected it into our veins.

As I scroll on toward my next inevitable anxiety spike coupled with dread and fatigue, my gaze cannot help but fixate on a beautiful young woman who has made some sort of dance video in what appears to be her bedroom. There’s a lacy bedspread blurred out in the background. Her exotic eyes are blinking their impossibly dramatic faux lashes seductively at the camera as she swivels her smooth naked hips and spreads her long legs so wide they make a perfectly straight line, split right through the center by a tiny black thong. Truly breathtaking. Not only her beauty but her physical commitment to entertaining the masses. I marvel at the sheer obscenity of the height of her clear plastic shoes.

I often wonder what any of us are chasing out here on the internet or anywhere else for that matter. Publishing poetry or sex or self care tips for whoever out there will listen. We like to gamble with time, attention and talent. Hurl creativity through the fourth wall and see if any of it sticks. None of it does, of course, at least not for good and not forever.

But what’s forever anyway, right?

We live in an infinite landscape of endless promises very few of us intend to keep or could even if we wanted to given our newly fashioned bend toward a burned out brand of nihilism or the over-hyped glare of a glossy strain of optimism which refuses to rub off even in the shower. Not for nothing but people hang wine glasses full of pinot in their showers now, have you seen this shit it’s fucking disgusting.

Round and around, til death do us part. In sickness and health and maybe a stranger will be the next big thing just like all the rest. It could even be you if you dare to dream big enough.

Shadow Boxer

It’s barely noon and I shouldn’t want the drink but I pour it anyway.

I pace the patio and think about the way my body encases me like a tomb or a Venus flytrap snapped shut around my own beating heart just waiting in quiet desperation for the end. Money and sex and power and the endlessness of days and nights spent searching for an unnamed thing which calls for attention especially when you wish it wouldn’t.

Tinctures and sedatives for the girl who has everything.

I sit and let the sunlight fall along my collar bone, thin and white as a ghost held hostage in between the walls of this one small life. People come and people go, and just like the sweetness of a love gone by, I remember some fondly and others not at all.

I was sketching out some notes just yesterday, trying to get my act together and work towards a more accomplished existence but very quickly I exhaust myself and dial back the ambition. It is possible they are right to tell me I over shoot the mark and when I do so I end up undercutting my own best intentions. How often we go toe to toe with our own shadows and let the shadows win.

But if you do not live with an anxious sort of base current you won’t understand that the gnawing isn’t something which can be shut off so quickly, and never for good. You have to do something with it or you will go entirely mad. Write it, sing it, dance it, fuck it, drink it, suck it, smoke it, paint it, whatever. There is a sick kind of energy you need to wrangle with in order to be able to do the normal things which come perhaps more easily to others, like small talk or organizing laundry from start to finish all in the same day.

I swallow the last of my rye and pull up the notes on my phone for inspiration. Spent a good portion of time yesterday combing through excerpts from the journals of Patricia Highsmith. So fucking fascinating:

“Please try to notice if every artist isn’t ruthless in some way. Even the sweetest of characters have done something, generally because of their creative life, that to the rest of the world is inhuman.”

And that’s the bit right there. It’s the ruthlessness that gives life to the art but shreds the artist into pieces. It’s tough to reach for something you were taught your whole life to keep away from. You have to be willing to question even your own instincts, compulsions, fixations. And choose the perverse even though the world may dismiss you for it.

Highsmith writes at one point about the eerie loneliness of afternoons spent alone. She scans her eyes over the crumpled bed and considers lying down to masturbate but ultimately condemns the idea and herself for entertaining it. I slide my hands along the length of my neck. I type a few words to get my juices flowing and let my thoughts run wild. Writer as monster, artist as animal. Body as prison, mind as trap.

Talking to Strangers

I have too many tabs open and my brain is fried on nothing of use or substance. They say the unexamined life is not worth living but honest to Christ there probably ought to be limits.

We examine and study and worry ourselves to death over every stupid goddamn thing these days. And some of us, myself included, will obsess to the point of anxious hysteria even if only in our panicked little minds.

The thing is you wouldn’t know my insides if you met my outsides someplace, well. out there. Strangers on the internet know bits of my soul most people who claim to know me never will and this is a very strange place to find oneself as she makes her way through an over sensitized desensitized world.

There is a pace and a tone set by the rich and powerful meant to lock us into patterns we are supposed to smile and nod along about but the friction starts the minute you realize it is all a game and the game sure as hell is not rigged in your favor.

I read an article just yesterday about people trying to decide if it is morally correct anymore to make more people. Do you actually create a human baby on purpose and plunk it down in the middle of a dumpster fire and hope for the best.

I have no intention of answering this question here in my little one woman blog show but it is a question on the hearts, minds, and souls of those who are willing to entertain it. As for me, I am well and over it entirely. It’s enough trouble to look after myself let alone any more of me.

In a weak but earnest attempt to get out of my head and into my body, I pull on some leggings and walk the park and watch as a handsome young man with impossibly beautiful chestnut hair feeds bread to the slick teal-headed ducks alongside the river. Wind rushes through the trees and I pull on my army green jacket for the first time in many months.

I light up a cigarette and take a seat on an empty bench near a silver rock face, removed just enough to be able to observe the few other humans and their various dogs dotting the scene under a canopy of orange and yellow foliage. As my eyes take in more of the chestnut haired fellow, I think of a man I once knew who let me be my whole self with him back when I thought I knew who my whole self was.

There is a certain charmed electricity at the beginning of a relationship wherein you let yourself go although that isn’t really the entire truth of it. The truth is you curate yourself like you were a museum. Pick your favorite pieces and place them on prominent display hoping you chose right and by ‘right’ you mean he digs you.

This guy though, he made me feel so adored that I told him things I never told anybody else. It felt so easy and not wrong at all, to let those secrets fall all over the cliff of my mouth and into the dark abyss of him. I don’t know if people trust each other that way anymore. I don’t know if we are capable of it when we are so unsure of ourselves in ways previous generations never had to even consider or contemplate.

The world is fracturing and we can feel it in our bones, though we do not know how to speak it. But still we find some kind of warmth or magic in the way the quiet evening light falls through the shape of the trees and onto the shoulders of a beautiful mysterious stranger.

I stare up at the gray clouds moving in. Rain is on its way and so should I be. As I walk up the dirt path toward the parking lot, a cluster of dry dead leaves crunches loud beneath my feet. And just like that, it’s autumn in the city and everywhere else as far as the eye can see.

Virgin

Your mind sways heavy like the night wind. Death on the doorstep and a thousand voices running chills up your spine. In the time it takes to find your keys, the earth has opened up and swallowed our trashed civilization whole.

We dream of getting out somehow but it seems this is our fate. Trapped like animals easily fooled. Easily lured by fresh kill and feathers. No matter disease. No matter the rotted decay of the leaves.

As the full moon rises and locks into place for the night, you think about the wide eye of eternity stretching out overhead like a black satin curtain. You pull your cloak tight around your chest.

Meet him in between the cemetery and the crumbling church. He tells you to keep quiet and stay still. To listen for the howl of wind through the empty trees, cold as a whisper, breathing on ice.

In your ears, the chanting, the moans of time as time bends into space and evaporates.

He gives you red wine and you drink it down slow.

Good girl.

Bright eyes which shine like silver, face as pale as pristine snow.

He places his finger in your cherry stained mouth and you suck it like your life was worth more than you could ever express for him in words. Spread legs and slick thighs. Poetry as hungry adoration. Poetry as limb from limb. Poetry as gilded age.

There used to be a time for talking but that’s long over now.

He makes a sacrifice of your body, burns a candle and sends you home with the blood. The time for words has ended.

You lower the blinds, turn the page, close the book of ancient lore and place it on a shelf high above the rest.

Slide your hand along the golden edges of the days gone by.

Life as the ghost of the woman you once were and will never be again. Life and the end of life, suspended like clouds in your midst.

The Heat of the Dark

Sitting in the garden, I light up a cigarette from my secret stash. It’s been a day and it’s not even midweek but there’s nothing new under the sun if you just keep telling yourself there isn’t.

I flick the ash into the dirt and notice how many brown dry leaves have already fallen from the maple trees which stand tall in a circle and tower over the roof. You don’t really notice the passing of time until you see it collected at the foot of another living thing. On the air is the scent of coming rain, eager earth and damp roots, waiting, panting with their blind naked tongues.

In my mind is a poem I am afraid to write. It’s funny how you can write all your life, every single day without missing a beat, and still come up desperately short when you least expect it. Writing is the telling of forbidden truths.

It is frightening because it doesn’t begin with the telling, it begins with the uncovering of truth. You know you shouldn’t. It’d be so much easier to get along if you could leave well enough alone. But you seek it out in spite of yourself. That thing which calls to you from the heat of the dark.

How often you cannot tell anyone else so all you can think to do is treat the page as though it were a small velvet lined box, a hand carved confessional, and hope it will forgive you all the promises you know you were a fool to have broken or a fool to have kept.

Blowing smoke into the already smoke tinged air, I watch as a little squirrel flurries across the wooden fence, carrying what looks to be a hefty chunk of half-eaten crabapple in his tiny mouth. A feast of a find. You can see the joy in the way his quivering tail waves and puffs out with excitement and fear.

We take what we can from this life and try to savor and protect it at the same time. No wonder our brittle bones are tired and our clenched jaws ache. Certain people crawl under the skin and it’s a damn tragedy trying to wring yourself free when you want all of the mystery and none of the risk.

When I think of you, I think of smooth wind across an empty beach. The way the mist descends just before the storm rolls in. I want to kiss you on the mouth for hours in the rain, until I rush like a river all the way through your veins. You like a baptism, like soft skin immersed in a swelling sea. Sparks on the ocean. Thunder rumbling through our chests. The gunmetal beauty of you tempts and terrifies me.

As the sun slips beneath the low branches which clutch at the edge of the wild pink horizon, I crush out my cigarette and close my eyes. Soon the moon will rise high over the corn fields and strange little heads will lie down on pillows to sleep. And I will drink wine and stare at the time and not be able to write a goddamn thing.

Slept In On Sunday

The rich get richer and the pretty die young but this is the way of things and so be it. It’s nothing to me because all I have is now and now is tucked safely under my elegant wings. He pleasures me so deeply I moan and weep and beg before I reach the outer limits of the perceptible universe and then roll on over to the sunny side of the bed.

There is nothing he would not do for me and nothing I don’t request. There are stars in my eyes and stars blinking all around on the sweet soft song of morning as it bounces and reflects all over itself in an ecstatic dance with all of the beauty ever expressed since the first lovers ever knew the aching gravity in the heat of their forbidden touch.

It is nearly autumn and the changing colors of my heart are already racing toward the end of a time which has held us hostage for far too long. Love is at the bottom of my coffee cup. Love is a white silk robe snug against smooth tanned skin. Love is warm like honeysuckled air and I don’t even mind it one bit.

My hair has turned light buttery blond under the hot rays of glimmering summer sun. I watch lazily in the mirror as I wrap small sections around the curling iron. The primping is low-key sexy. The eyes are just smokey enough with a hint of daytime brightness. Cool air skimps my bare back as it rushes through the open window.

Down below in the garden, a small gathering of butterflies flits and soars atop the last flowering blooms as they froth to life in their vibrant poppy reds and tropical oranges. I burn the tip of my finger because I’m not paying proper attention to the tools in my hand, too distracted by the way the afternoon sun caresses the leaves which sway atop the majestic trees.

On the seventh day, the good Lord rested and even though I’m not nearly as accomplished I went ahead and slept in, too. I don’t care for religion and I don’t care for church. I mess around with earthly indulgences in the hopes of remaining forever in a place and time which is destined only to crumble and never to last.

The big broken world cries softly on the other side of the front door to madness and I can’t bear to let it in.

I smear my lips with cotton candy gloss as he hands me a crystal flute full of bubbly, a plump red berry floating ripe and juicy on top.

This Wild Hope (audio)

On the breeze there glides a sweetness only the end of summer can stir into its humid air. Seasons click, frame by frame, from one to the next.

There is coffee in my cup and a long list in my mind of things I will need to get done today around the house and outside of it.

But for right now. Silence. Mindful presence.

This may sound as stupid to you as it does to me in my head but I feel very good today. Like not fake good but honestly, in my bones, in my soft beating heart, I feel okay.

I am not nervous. I am not anxious.

I can see the way the quiet morning light falls gently on each leaf of each plant by the open window. And I couldn’t really even tell you what it is inside of me that has shifted.

I have always worried that if I have no angst in me, I have no art in me either. What if that isn’t true. What if so much of what I have believed all along about myself, who I am, what I am here to do, what I am made for, simply is not the truest version of me.

Big dreams to uncover. What is this wild hope which flows in my blood?

Perhaps we are made to change. To be different people, say different things, think different thoughts.

In our own time.

There is a pulse of something beating in me. It is ancient and knowing and wise and patient. The amount of patience which exists in this place is enough to fill the chest with tears.

Perhaps this is a time of shedding.

An airplane flies in a high straight line, clear across the razor blue sky. After its sound, only the crickets and crows, and the crickets only for a little while longer. Until the air turns to cold smoke and the atmosphere to haunted purple.

Perhaps we are the clicking of seasons, too.

Paper Dolls

In the black heat of early morning, I listen to the crickets as they chirp their buzzing symphony right outside my open window. The first day of autumn approaches and I want it more than anything. Bonfire smoke in my hair and chunky boots on my feet. To turn the page of the season of sticky madness and slide into a smoother, smoldering state of being.

It is still too dark out to see the outline of the majestic trees but I can hear them rustling in the wind. A cool pungent rain is moving in today and I could not be more ecstatic over it. I need the gray so badly I can taste it. Rain is such a glorious, replenishing thing. A dreary gloomy mood entire. I want it to fill me, all of me. Quench whatever this restlessness is inside.

There is writing to be done. There are plants to water and clothes to wash and calls to make. Emails to send and all the rest. The mechanical gears of life as product, life as machinery.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a perfect ink black spider as it scrambles its way across the wooden floor and disappears into a corner. Where on earth did it come from and where is it going. Fast. Wherever it is going, it is traveling at lightning speed. Little spy. Little bandit. Creature of shadow. Things on its mind. Probably blinded by all the lights.

I type a few lame lines and delete them. My fingernails are too long and I’m dying to chop them off but I’m in a formal event next week and want to try one of those French manicures which are apparently still a thing. Some styles are a classic and classics are my favorite. Timeless looks. Audrey Hepburn. Grace Kelly. Lauren Bacall.

I’ll need a whole new face, of course. New lipstick, eye shadow, the works. It’s been a while since any of this level of fanfare has made its way into my otherwise low key existence. A lot feels overdone these days. Dramatic, over-the-top. Flashy. Exhausting. Senseless. But as I scroll for fashionable inspiration, I can’t help but lust over a liquid onyx eyeliner and some brand new jewels.

I mean, I can be painted for a while. I can be made into a glamorous sexy thing if I want to and it turns out maybe I want to in spite of the excess and the money and the effort and the annoying length of my nails. What’s that saying? If you can’t beat them, join them, right.

As the sun just barely peeks over the horizon, I can see the faint outline of tall trees covered in a thin gauzy mist. A school bus rumbles down the street, headlights staring down the stoic asphalt, and I note the ungodly hour. Who the hell can think so early. Who can be expected to have a single thought about anything that makes any kind of sense when the sweet feathered birdlings haven’t even yet made a peep.

I drop a silky chocolate brown eye palette into my virtual shopping cart along with some very expensive oil which claims to lift and plump and tighten and all the other bullshit. I watch a very tan, busty woman curling her bleach blond hair. I watch another woman, strikingly exotic looking, drizzling what appears to be some sort of honey-infused syrup all over her young dewy cheeks.

I know I shouldn’t want to perpetuate any of this gimmicky nonsense. And yet I fall for all of it like the first tiny leaf to turn auburn before turning crimson before turning brown as dirt and unfastening itself. Cascading down on the wind in the one magical, final free-wheeling dance of its short little life.

Try Me (audio)

I place my hands around the thickest part of my obsession and wrangle it back into submission. I can be fickle, but once I decide it’s time, it’s all over. My strength is my softness. That’s how I manage to surprise. There are demons inside of me, some of them so fully, swellingly sweet. I used to try to stab them clear through the heart but now I know better. They have a hole where the heart should be. So instead I kiss them. Hard. Wet. Until they all but melt and disappear.

You think I am cruel. You think I am fake. You think I am all the hateful things you ever imagined come to life. You think I am beautiful but I told you you don’t know a damn thing until I tell it to you straight. And good luck getting that to happen any time soon. If you thought it would be easy. If you thought it would be simple. If you thought this life or this love or this lust would sail you right off into the sunset you should reach inside that mind of yours and reevaluate the way you see the things you think you see.

As the rain begins to fall, I slide my hood over my head and wish I had a cigarette. I have these licorice sticks now that I chew on and roll between my fingers for some kind of sick stupid comfort. We have such strange solutions to the ache of loneliness because we do not recognize the way it truly feels to be alone. I don’t know why I fixate on the things I do. I don’t know why I’m not better at any of this stuff. I know writers are entirely self-possessed but even so I think I’ve got it more wrong than all the rest.

The things other people want do not interest me or at least not enough to think about much. Small droplets of water plunk down in the puddles which are beginning to form in the hollow middles of the sidewalk. One by little one, they slam together and fill all the emptiness they can find. I think of the way so many strangers have tried to fill my empty places, or even more incredibly, tried to mold them into something better. Imagine that. As if they were magicians, as if they were gods. Grasping onto all the things your lover cannot give to you and holding on to nothing for dear life.