Otherwise Beautiful Things (audio)

Sirens scream off in the distance as the blackout trees stretch empty toward the heather gray sinking sky. A lady neighbor yells something out her front door to her husband who is bundled up so tight in a coat, scarf, and hat that he can’t hear a word she’s saying. I smile to myself watching because domesticity is so often comical but no one seems to notice because they are so damn stressed out about the next email they need to send or the kombucha whatever the fuck they need to choke down before they run off to whatever else it is they do next. I sip my tea and feel a little judgey and then feel a little bad about it but then really not too bad at all.

A scattered electric pink stripe washes across the cloud cluttered horizon and suddenly what’s left of the twinkle lights along the block blink to life despite the razor cold. The lady neighbor yells another something I can’t make out but it is surely in earnest and the husband just lumbers up the driveway with their empty recyclable can, staring dead ahead at his open garage. People are absolutely hilarious, and oblivious to it all the while, which makes it even more so.

I haven’t had a lick of booze in thirteen days and while in some moments it feels like I could shred my own skin from the inside out, I couldn’t care less in this one. I sleep like smoothest, warmest silk and the anxiety has all but plummeted to damn near nothing which is wild because I never imagined that such a thing was even possible. It’s bananas the things we tell ourselves we need to survive until one day we give it a go without and find we are better off entirely in ways we never would have thought of before. We think we know so much. We think we know it all but really we should stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to get shit right we were never taught right to begin with.

I’m reading a book about love and limerence. It’s a real torture for some people, to live with a sickening all-consuming obsession like that. To want someone so badly that you can’t eat or sleep or concentrate. So terribly that every time you so much as brush your gritty teeth you want to cry just facing yourself in the mirror all alone. You want to carve their one silly name into your poor weepy bones if only for one chance that their eyes might drink you in just one more time. It’s rather strange, really. The debilitating tragedies we let corrupt otherwise beautiful things.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

She crouches down to take a piss on the outside of the old city building in which I sit, on the other side of the glass, sipping a glass of wine. Her hair is a knotted mess and she’s wearing only a bra despite the freezing winter temperatures. This poor deranged woman, now desperately trying to get a car – any car with a merciful driver inside – to take her heavens knows where. They continue, however, to drive on past. The sight of her in such a vulnerable, helpless state, in full view of the cruel public, is wrenching.

The rain is coming down hard now, slashing against the mirror-windowed high rises in the heart of downtown, running in thin rivers along the sidewalks and streets, washing away the dirt and the tears and the piss, as if the falling water could somehow baptize even the saddest of strung out creatures. The woman is young, so young it is jarring, although I’ve no idea why her age should matter. My bones clench even at the thought of it, someone so young in such a situation as she finds herself, let alone the actual sight.

Christmas has come and gone in a flash. The holiday parties continue, however, and I scroll through my phone to see where I need to be and when for the rest of the week. In what kind of world do such gross disparities exist side by side for ages. Where some should have far more than they deserve and some should have none of it. We make our plans and close our eyes. We hurt and ache inside and never speak it for fear of the quiet panic leaking out, echoing the sickening sound of reality.

As the masked waiter pours me another glass of wine, the woman on the street picks up her sopping wet dog, rain sliding off of its matted fur right onto her bare skin, and moves off down past the laundromat and out of sight, into the cold dark night. The relentless traffic rushes past as I stare, a bit stunned, a bit numbed, up at the garish naked yellow bulb of the corner street lamp which glows as though it’s helping anything, like a nauseating man-made sun.

Spirits

Thinking of the ones we spend our days with and the ones who haunt our nights in dreams. If you have spent any time at all with my words this year, thank you from the bottom of my little Christmas tinsel-ed heart. For some this day is happy and for some it is not so very happy. I understand and feel both at the exact same time which can be lovely as well as excruciating. For the poetic souls, for the ones who hold the beautiful and the crushing in both hands and somehow still believe in magic, I send you peace and love. I am so deeply, deeply grateful you are here.

Static and Silence

Coffee in hand, I head to the window and stare clear into the dead blue heart of winter frost. I think of breaking free of everything which strangles my bones and I can taste the cold of the wet streets on my tongue. Solitude. The exquisite mercy of it. The massive crows in the yard have been shouting at each other all morning. I’d like to scream myself but I haven’t the energy and the house is so quiet in its carefully laid peace. Like a teetering tower of fine porcelain cups and saucers stacked high into the dusty domesticated air. Like a terrible secret whispered against blank halls. Something in the way the light moves shadows across the floors sends shivers down my spine. I have been a shadow, fixed and immobile, for so long now. Woman of shadow, creature of splintered complicated light. Swallowed my dead blue heart into my stomach like a stone. I imagine a touch which never materializes. A slow coaxing stroke at the throat which would cause my mouth to move so I could speak what is killing me. And then they would finally know the truth, that there is a sadness which never leaves. That even the shadows mourn.

It Happens In the Evening (audio)

Something haunting worked its way through me in the evening hours, perhaps it was the sun going down so much earlier than I realized it would. The harsh cold air clutched at the breast of the fiery horizon.

I was going about the little things you do as far off past the space and time we are used to the little stars begin their burning deaths high above the naked trees. Shadows crawling up the empty walls. It was a feeling more than anything else. A sensation which came unexpectedly and felt like it came from a place I have known far longer than my whole life. I knew it since the beginning, and before.

I sipped my wine and changed into comfortable clothes. My hair undone, falling in strawberry blonde cascades over my shoulders and down my back. I lit candles aglow against the blackened windows.

And I was measured. So, so measured, composed, as if almost brave. As if ready for whatever may come, though there was no way I could ever have known what that was. What it still may be or may become.

Underneath my steady skin I was pleading. I may have even prayed. I never pray so I cannot be sure, but I used to pray on command as a kid. It felt good and strange and hollow mostly. But on this particular night it felt necessary and sudden, the way I mentally, spiritually, crushingly threw myself at the feet of a thing which is bodyless, mindless, without beginning or end and without any answer of any kind to offer me.

I pleaded for something so deep to heal me. With its knowing, with its breathing, with its uncanny intuition. A disembodied thing. How behind my dark eyes, which saw everything in the room in grainy film like progression, the long linen curtains hanging like ghosts against the dim light, the slender brocade couch from my childhood home, I begged and pleaded with this thing to please fix me. Because I don’t even understand where I am broken.

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