25 June 2011

4 February


Ah, this black night. Ah, these stirred up entrails of mine. Ah, these bleary eyes that will not shut; that work ferociously and that look at what I am and hate it. hate it for being so small. So o’erburdened with fear and sloth and with foolish wavering.
And I want this bitter and biting wind. And I want the fierce and frigid cold. And I want the sharp edges of the filed and glinting stars. And I want the air – gathered up and smashed down and stuffed into a yellow sack – the air and all the infintessimal particles of the vast and endless sky that separate myself from itself. That separate my heart from God’s. and I come to see, to know, or at least, to admit, that all of that air, all of that sack of sickly hue crammed full of space and infinity, that all of that is just me. Nothing but this puling soul, this howling ocean of pretense and nothingness. This complex mechanism designed for nothing else, save keeping it from its one true end.
The echoes of what I might be if I were braver, or more determined, or better appointed; these echoes are a torment tonight. And if you knew. God, if you only knew.
And yet, one has to endure. There are these moments, at the precipice where the wind, with wild and whirling voice, rips at the heart, and whips the soul to shreds. And yet. Yet, we remain. And there is another moment, when this one has passed. And another after that. And another and another all in unbearable succession. And somehow we must be in them. Alike as in this.
And how to do that. To go on, with ravaged innards. To make use of a heart that hangs in shreds from the bars of a splintered ribcage.
To be ever and ever and everlastingly less. Less than what you mean to be. less than what you are, by genetic imprint, by divine inspiration, by will and intention.
And on nights like tonight I feel that I am something other than human. That I belong streaking the heavens like a comet, that I ought to be somewhere, - anywhere – other than inside this shoddy frame. That my skin and organs and bones and tissue are all just a well-constructed trap. A cage. A prison for something else entirely.
And I want to be everywhere. And to understand what it is to be other than myself. To know how it could be that someone else might have a different relationship with the world, with this tree, with that song, with this glazed and dripping window pane than do i. to and to know what it might be. to feel that. To understand another mind.
So that, by understanding I might be enriched. And so that I might know what it is to be another.
But. As I have not yet found the alchemy to turn my body into ether, I sit. Here. knitting like a fiend. Letting the music swirl its slow waltz of devastation inside my chest. Blind eyes, black to the world. And only lit up to what is not.
So that’s where I’ll be tonight. Blazing in the outer circles of this multiversed, unknowable, impossible night. Just in case you were wondering.  

13 June 2011

31 January


I’m in one of those places tonight where there seems nothing to do but self-destruct. And so I am here, sitting for no reason, burning up the fleeing hours of night, staring out this frosted window, drinking endless cups of coffee and listening to things I should know better. Music that was ours. Because back in the days that once made sense, everything belonged to us. Every song was ours. Every book written to us specifically. And I do what I can now to wash out the dye of you from everything that ever was. But it keeps seeping back in, scrub as I might. And tonight I have given in.
And these flashes of moments – split second frames of a life that was – flicker on the screen of this black and thunderous night. The time we bought each other outfits from the thrifty mart in secret and agreed to wear them the rest of the day. You ended up with a plaid t-shirt and tie, a pair of nurses pants and a set of corderoy slippers; me in a gold skirt, a green halter top ornamented with elephants, and nothing on my feet but red-striped athletic socks. And matching headbands, one of a million small serendipities. Or the night we heard about Andrew taking the job with Cal and how we hated life for giving him no options, and how we hated him for settling. And running out to the ravine and hurling rocks down into the darkness as hard as we could and swearing we’d never quit burning and burning and raging against the dying of the light. Us and our Dylan. Or how, when we were small, we’d go swimming and dive down to the bottom of the deepest part, and stay down as long as we could screaming words to each other in that strange, heavy, dense world and, when we could hold our breath no longer, shooting up to the top to see if we had guessed correctly. Or how we sat in the same seat in Mrs. Maswall’s Geometry class two periods apart from each other, and we’d leave notes in that place under the chair, and feel the thrill of danger flouted, as we left our barest souls there on ruled paper, folded into the tightest shapes we could create, for anyone who happened to run their hands under the seat, to find. To my recollection, nobody ever did. Or how, from childhood on, we always decided every argument with a game of rock, paper, scissors… and as it evolved in complexity, dynamite, tsunami, chaos theory, plague…  And how you even brought it up that day, that terrible day I left. Doing your best to lighten the mood, thinking I’d come around if it could all be diffused. That we should settle the question with a life-changing round of R-P-S.
But I had worked myself up into one of my terrifying tornadoes of time-is-fleeting and I’m-way-too-afraid-of-having-what-i-want-for-fear-I’ll-somehow-lose-it-all,  and having-this-one-breathtaking-thing-means-not-having-something-else…  and I had convinced myself that everyone expected us to stay together forever, and the view of a wide horizon open to a future full of unknown wonders and wide-open possibility had narrowed to a gun-barrel tube of impossibly small dimension, and I couldn’t do it. I had never done anything completely on my own, and I was afraid I never would, and that any chance I had at a brilliant, sky-splitting future, was flying from me at light speeds. In other words, I felt trapped. And not even by you, because you were always and only just the same you. It was, mostly, I think, just this place. This town and its narrow expectations, and my own perpetually bursting soul, that could feel confined in an endless ocean-- that will (I am afraid) relentlessly opt for freedom. Regardless of the cost…
Anyway, I got it into my head that I had to leave. That I had to take a hiatus from everything, including you. And in the back of my mind you understood, and would shake your head at my folly, and my impulsive, screwball logic, and, in perfect, undoubting confidence, wait for me to realize what I’ve always known, and to come home. Or send for you, and then we’d be off again… in other words, I told you goodbye, but I really only meant see you tomorrow.
But I forgot about the part where you were a human. Real and full of your own set of entrenched stubornnesses, and hurts and plans that didn’t include waiting forever for a girl who runs from her fears by running toward others.
And I hadn’t wanted to say goodbye at all (how could I ever say goodbye? What language is there for impossible words?) and so I had set myself to the writing of a terrible letter, and I had gone to the cabin to write it, and I was going to leave it there for you to find, and in it I was going to say things like, ‘I’m so afraid’, and ‘I love you’ and ‘I have to get free’, and, ‘don’t let me detonate,’ …  but I sat there with that blank notebook page in front of me for ages, with only your name there at the top of the page, as it appears here, perennially:   Simon.   And I found I had doodled a copy of that Little Prince picture, the one on the cover of the book. The one where the world is too small.  
Time – ever the relentless hound – was pressing on me, and i threw the notebook in frustration, which was the moment you walked up the hill. And at first you disappeared in the radiance of the rising sun, just so, behind you. Resolving slowly, like a dream, into the shape of something familiar and dear. And I almost ran. But I was too heavy with the weight of the endless fulmination inside, with the pressure of unspent tears, with the immoveable ballast of potential; that movement seemed an impossibility. And so I watched you – that wild and wide soul, somehow contained in muscle and tissue, and clothed in skin – approach, for a last and final time, with myself as a destination.
You sat down, and I couldn’t look at you. What eyes are there that can bear the sight of loss, breathing?
And it was unbearable, the soul-crushing PSI of all that, in that moment, sat, hefted on my all-too-unsteady shoulders. And you, there, inches and a world away, and me all agonies and groanings and the unrelenting bursting; the eternal combustion and humming and thrumming of electricity that threatens to send me flying in shivers and splinters of bone and nerve and gland to the antipodes like so much concentrated C4.
It’s the way it’s always been, though perhaps I’ve learned to cage it a bit, that inner explosion, or at least leash it in when company comes over… but when you’re nineteen, and full of dynamite and gunpowder, and so electric you swear you could hook yourself up to the power lines and light the entire blessed town… then it’s not so easy.
And I told you I had to go. And you said that wasn’t in the plan. And I said I knew, and that that was why I had to go. And you grinned it off, and proposed a Rock, Paper Sissors match, Superhero rules, and I could have lazer-gun immunity…
And then I knew what would happen. I could see it so clearly, an entire life, laid out. I would turn to you and there you would be, and our hands would find each other like creatures unrelated, working their way into an inextricable net, and I would fight the urge to look at you, but your gaze on me regardless, pouring over me like a syrup, like a blanket, thick and warm and immobilizing, flung up into the air, held by the corners only, and let settle, falling in slow, arched waves over my shoulders. And you would bring my hands to your mouth, and hold them there, and then, as always, you bringing my wrists to your lips, and then your nose, brow, temples, and it would end with my hands clasped behind your neck and you pulling the rest of me to you, and it would be a sort of magnetism, and it would be the snap of a lock, and it would be a thousand nights of laughter, and it would be glorious madness and giddy revolution… but it would be all familiar. And I saw it so clearly in that half-moment, fractals of everything we were, and the beauty of it reproduced in the warmest dimensions into the infinite.
And I loved it.
And I was terrified by it.
Because if I chose that, it meant I was un-choosing everything else.
And for that I was not prepared.
And so,
It was a fleeing.
No rearviewing, no words to hang in the air, that we might have regarded, tilting our heads, so, and squinting up at them, and then deciding, ‘no no, that won’t do,’  and taking them down, choosing other words with which to adorn the atmosphere. No final touch. No embrace. No tearful parting. No explanations or hashings-through… none of that.
There was only the notebook with the ill-fitting world, lying in the grass, and my desperate desertion.

And what is there to say after that? What could I have expected of you? What brand of perspective and wisdom could I hope for from you, when I had none?
And those two and a half years that we didn’t speak. Ah, how could I have done without you all of those loose-leafed days?
Mom tells me you came to the house every day for months. And Andy came over after I got back and told me how it had been with you. And if sorries were good for anything I would dig me a mine and bring up the brightest and shiniest of them all, grinding away the days with a pick and a mule, to pile them on your doorstep. But as it is… it would only be further folly.
And so I dig this night in secret. Pulling out veins of regret, hefting nuggets of forgiveness, begged. And so you know, it is done against my will. Hating these fruitless tears, raging against this whole unseemly endeavor.
Which, I suppose, is all to say, that I miss the moon this black, blind night. And you, Simon. I miss you.   

09 June 2011

22 January


It is 8 degrees out…. 8
And it is clear as black crystal and there is a golden Cheshire, grinning moon slung low in the diaphanous sky.
And I feel tonight I could hold my hand out before me, and magic would just float off the ends of my fingers, coloring the blank canvas air before me like finger paints.
Delicate and bold, I will slash the sky with color. Beauty for nothingness. Music for silence.
I will carve me words out of the very atmosphere, phrases stamped into the incorporeal air, so that when you walk you would have to pass through the ghosts of words like love and promise and glimpse and olivine. So that as you turned your head you would be swathed in poems, robed in lyric, and draped with the richest, most luminous prose.
And darling, tonight; when this green and marbled world turns in silence and dark, when time stretches out thin and starlit; tonight, I will build us a castle of obsidian thought. Brilliant and invisible will be the walls, mighty elegance in the stone, brick upon brick, and
the night will crash upon our defenses like a raging tide, and we inside will smile our small smiles and feel our enormous hearts and clasp our warm hands and watch as everything dissipates into splashes of wonder at what we have built.
Tonight, I will hew us a ship, made of scarlet possibility, its sails will I weave of my very tissue and fibre, bending and stitching and gathering together every infintessimal particle of the endless unknown, and it will be cobbled together of bone and pitched with marrow, until all the infinity of the future is spliced into ourselves so deeply there is no distinguishing it from us. We will be everything. Everywhere. Allwhens.
And this night we sail. Blue herons, phosphorescent in the sea of black sky, over the sleeping, dreaming world, and we – only we alone – roman candles exploding.   

06 June 2011

17 January


I wonder why I sit here all these nights. Writing to you. There are people I could say these things to. Why don’t I do that? Why do I keep them inside like silly childhood treasures kept under the bed in a shoebox, and then pulled out in the surreptitious midnight, when the house is asleep, and uncovered in the square of moonlight there on the rumpled bedspread, and looked over – each twisted bottlecap and smooth stone, and faded pink ribbon.
And tonight I finished my allotted work and the lights were low and there was music and I went to the kitchen and stared into my teacup. Looking for who knows what. And I found I wasn’t lonely. Alone, perhaps. But that it was alright. At least tonight. Me with my bare feet, wrapped in a blanket, my hair all wonky, and this silent cup of tea.
Because it’s simply this: I can only love big. That’s all this giant magnet heart of mine knows how to do, and in a breathtaking show of wild idiocy, it’s decided that you are what it points to. It’s like some horrible force of nature. And so I do. Love you. In all the ways it is possible to love. Because it seems there is nothing whatever to be done about it. And in spite of the glaring facts that I absolutely should not. In spite of Adelle, who is everything good and beautiful. In spite of Avelyn who is a flying brilliant wonder. In spite of whatever damage it does to myself. And in spite of the fact that it does your pompous ass no good at all. Do you remember what you said to me the last time I told you I loved you? It was that harrowing night I came back. Ready to be the prodigal, to apologize voluminously and to make it all right again. I had driven twelve hours straight with everything I owned shoved into the back of the pickup, all but erupting with the watershed understanding that I had been wrong and that without you the world – with all of its beauty and fascination and inscrutability – would always be something I simply observed. That somehow, without you, I couldn’t touch anything. That night I ran to you; and found you recently married, just returned from your honeymoon.  And nobody had wanted to tell me. And I nearly choked on all of it. And could manage only the flimsiest of good humors, and the sickliest congratulations, and the weakest-brewed excuse for my being there that ever was proffered at the doorway of a lost love. And after a torturous hour of visiting, I escaped out your door and ran to my still-loaded car and thought to drive away and never come back. But I had left my keys on the table inside, and I leaned on the car and couldn’t stop the sobbing. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of going back in there. Because I couldn’t bear the thought of anything at all. And then you were there. With the keys of course. And it was this terrible moment where we knew what to do. Where we had the answer to all of this awfulness, but couldn’t use it. And we stood there, separated by the hood of the car and by everything we had done.  And you started to talk, in that tone that begs me not to hate you because whatever it was you did was the only thing that could have been done, and I couldn’t listen. So I turned around and slid to the ground, sitting there leaning against the wheel, my legs straight out, touching the pickets of the fence that separated your house – yours and Adelle’s – from the James’s. And you came around and slumped beside me. And you sighed. And we both stared at the fence. And then I laughed. I couldn’t help it. It was too ridiculous, and you laughed too, and it was good. And when we stopped, the hurt was still there. And I said it. ‘I love you, Simon.’  ‘I know,’ you said. Arrogant fool, and undeserving. ‘I know.’ Just that. In that voice you have when you say something that you don’t want to admit. Staring straight ahead of you at the pickets with the peeling paint. Which is when I snatched the keys from your hand and got up and drove away. With every intention of never seeing you again.
But I can only love big. And you’re the only one I’ve ever met who is big enough to merit that kind of love. To contain it.
So there it is. This love, you-directed, inside of me, spinning in there like a top, quietly and perpetually in motion, regardless of the fact that I’m washing up, or grading papers, or bundling up for a walk to the mailbox, or trying to spin this blank page into an idea.  
And so I don’t know if that is an answer or not. To why I keep these things, hoarded like a miser, to tell you here. in this journal you’ll never read.  Maybe it’s simply for that silent spinning thing inside. My one small kindness to that warm, ensouling movement.

03 June 2011

3 January


It’s winter. These cold days of grey quiet. And it’s a hushed and thoughtful season. And the forests are dreaming, and murmuring phrases of song with their foggy breath. And the cities have thought to disguise themselves with these robes of white. Which we all know will soon enough turn a dingy brown, revealing them for their grim and gritty selves.
And it is none of it unlovely. Here is the cardinal, a bright streak of fire in my morning window. And here is the mittened hand and the scarved throat, insulated and armed against the ravages of the bleak day. There is the river of cloud, dark and roiling, sliding over the hill, its belly full of snow. And over here the glitter of cut glass and shining bauble in the glow of the long candle.
A season of antitheses; warmth and chill, softness and harsh, bright and monochrome. And when could I ever be steeped in paradox without seeing you. When so much of who we are, you and I, are opposites. Not from each other so much, as within ourselves. We are our own antonyms; our opposing poles, and every step between.