a breezy warm day; your brown curly hair is tied with a scarf, but it’s still being whipped around your face beautifully by the wind. you’ve got those sunglasses I love on, you know, the tortoiseshell rimmed ones from that vintage shop downtown. your scarf is bright orange, like those tulips in California. it seems to perfectly fit in with the warmth of the sun and all of the fresh colorful blooms against the blue sky. it feels like the whole earth is bathed in that orangey vintage tint they put on movies set in the 70s on days like this. when the sun feels just right, and the heat doesn’t bother you; your skin is dewy and glowing as the day gets hotter. the sky is so blue I swear I’ve never seen anything like it, and the grass! oh how green it seems to be today. I’m in a euphoric state staring at the coastline and seeing the chaotic waves crashing on the rocks. we pick a spot in the middle of the dandelions on a hill, despite the buzzing of the honeybees merely inches away. the plush yellow weeds compliment you so softly I want to lock the image in my mind so no one else can experience it. you’ve got a glass of lemonade in one hand, and in your other a half smoked cigarette burns slowly. you look so goofy as usual, but so cool. you always looks cool, like you’re posing for a photograph. after a bit we move our blanket down to the beach. I swear you invented the beach. just thought up the idea of a beach and then handcrafted every single one yourself. there are shorebirds above us, hundreds of them i swear. they look gorgeous against the sky. the kind of beauty you can’t ever seem to capture in a photograph, it never looks how it looked in person. you just have to see it, you have to smell the salty hot air, you have to feel the warm sand under your feet mixing with the cool tide when it comes in. you’ve got to see the rosey tint the sun has given your cheeks. you look cherubic, in a good way of course. you are warmth, you are warmth, you are warmth. you are the sun.
deep below the surface of the earth: first you cut through the dying, brittle, brown grass and then comes the cool soil. you dig and dig, tossing the dirt behind you carelessly. a hot gust of wind blows it back into my face as I wait for you to stop digging and look at me. you’ve hit the rocks now, but keep going regardless. it’s getting hotter as you get deeper, deeper, almost there.
you’re trying to put me away, somewhere, anywhere you won’t be able to reach me. if you could only dig deeper, faster. sweat beads drip into the massive hole you’ve created. faster, faster you dig! it feels like we’re flying toward the sun, so you must be getting close. you must be nearing the place I’ll lie. I’ll lie here away from you, out of sight out of mind, right? I bet I’ll still try to write you from here. I’ll send letters in the form of rain and you’ll know when they’re from me. I’ll only send you things that put that pit in your stomach, the one that feels like it’s filled with bees. I swear I’ll write you everyday I think of you down here, in this place you made for me.
maybe one day you’ll forget where you buried me and you’ll walk right over me. when that happens I’ll make a flower grow right before your eyes. it will be the most beautiful flower, and you’ll have to pick it. when you bend over to pluck it out of the earth, it will crumble at your touch. so out of place it will look, to ashes it will return. a baby bird falls from the tree that grew above me as you walk by me. of course you rush over to save it. your stomach drops when you discover the innocent little bird did not make the fall, so you start digging. all these years later. you only dig a few inches down to bury the bird, and I am envious of its lifeless little body. why did you bury me so deep? why did you drop me down to the hot core of the earth and scoop the dirt back over my head?
I’m still writing you, long after the bird you buried next to me decomposes into soil. like being pricked by a thorny rose over and over again, I keep salting the wound you left. can’t you see the rain im sending? can’t you smell the salty ocean air mixing with my lavender perfume? deeper, deeper I sink into the earth, I am turning to ash.
you’re smoking cigarettes under the tree again, feeding the shorebirds stale bread. I can hear them calling to you, I can feel the ashes falling into my hair. it’s burning all over my body as you stomp out the cigarette and throw it at the tree. as if that will bring me back. you start digging for me, sweat and tears mixing into the soil; I can feel it. deeper, faster you dig, calling out my name as if I could hear you. but I have sunk too deep now, I’ve finally reached the place you can’t get to me. you put me here, this was your idea! why are you still digging? what would you say to me, after I have sent rain and flowers and shorebirds to you, only to receive nothing in return? you must go now. you can no longer find me here
green eyes, glittering against the red neon lights of our city.
soft and slow, soft and slow
keep me waiting, I’m waiting
green eyes, growing twice their size when they look into mine.
soft and slow, soft and slow
keep me waiting, I’m waiting
green eyes, gently giving in to sleep.
soft and slow, soft and slow.
keep me waiting, I’m waiting
your head on my chest, soft and slow
I’ll dangle you from a string
soft and slow
keep me waiting, green eyes
January 9th, it was a Sunday. we hated Sunday’s then, and I hate Sunday’s now. the sky was so thick with clouds not an ounce of sun or warmth could claw its way in. you know, the kind of cold that permeates every layer of clothing and then digs and digs until it reaches your bones and cuts through them. we were about to go on our usual morning walk through the city this day, we both woke up feeling lethargic. dressed in a hilarious array of clothing, we lock the apartment door once, and then again because you always have to do that.
the 9am rush seems to be slowing down, so we easily cross 14th. we always plan to leave earlier, but usually get caught up in an album or can’t decided what to wear. by some miracle, we make it to the little stand on the corner of Main Street that sells the best dark roast coffee in the city right at 9:30 when Lou usually closes. he winks and says he has 2 cups set aside for us kids, he knew we’d make it. today he’s brought some fresh baked blueberry muffins, which is a lovely surprise. we take our coffees and muffins and find a bench near the coast. the seagulls are gathered around the old lady who always wears the hot pink beret and the leopard printed fur coat. everyone says she lost her voice and sanity when her husband died years ago, but I think she only lost her will to use those things without him. the sea is violent today, the waves are crashing the cement wall of the pier hard enough to spray us a little each time. I gaze off into the coastline and see the old steel mill, smoke from its pillars billowing into the sky, its mirroring color.
the mill is where all of our parents worked when the town was still learning how to be a town. they’ve filled our brains with nothing but horror stories from that place; the sweltering heat even when the outside temperature reached 28 degrees, the almost slave-like work they were burdened wth daily. “if walls could talk…” your moms says each time we ask her to tell us about the days of the mill. I’ve always loved the steel mill; not the terrifying stories, of course. I like the way it looks, I like that it seems to be on an island of its own. you see, I have this part of me that romanticizes shitty jobs and shitty weather. the lower-middle class struggle of finding a job that won’t completely kill the sparkle in your eye, the feeling of cold air ripping through your skin like knives, taking a cigarette break and watching the container ships moving as slow as chilled molasses through the water. it gives me this indescribable feeling of satisfaction. a cold, anti satisfaction, like taking a deep breath of frozen air. it keeps you breathing, but it stings your lungs.
the train that blows its horn through the intersection of 17th and City boulevard everyday at 9:47 is late again. “the railroad men must be on strike again,” I say to you. this will be the fourth time in only a few months. nobody gets paid enough around here. the jobs are back-breaking and soul-crushing, and they continue to get away with shelling out only a dime more than minimum wage. this town is stuck in 1974, all the adults say. I like it here regardless, I work at the grocery store right down the street from the steel mill. I take home the same wage as a middle aged man that has worked the hottest corner of the steel mill for 15 years. it’s a nice job, the grocery. I hear everything there is to hear; the Wilson’s house burned to the ground last week, Mrs. Johnson got another cat, old man Carl from the bakery got remarried; he’s 68! the prices at the grocery store are the same as they were in 1985, I’m sure of it. we have a little coffee machine that brews 5 cups of coffee at a time, and we charge a dime per cup. all the old ladies love it, I’m constantly making coffee until at least noon. sometimes they come here on Tuesday mornings just to talk and drink ten cent coffee. we ended up setting up an old wobbly card table with some folding chairs for them, and they were through the roof with gratitude.
I pull out a cigarette and ask you for a match, I’ve forgotten mine again. you laugh and say I’d probably forget my own head if it weren’t attached. we’ve grown numb to the cold by now, so we decide to walk to the deli to get lunch to take home. they’re serving turkey sandwiches with a side of soup as the special today, and I realize just how hungry I am. the cold really takes the life out of you, huh? We get a sandwich and a cup of chicken noodle soup each and hurry out the door because it’s just begun to snow. “one last stop,” I say as we duck into the market that sells homemade soaps and bunches of other random goodies. I pick up my favorite lavender rose soap and have the woman wrap it up in brown paper. she ties it up with twine and I love the way it ends up looking. we also get a couple bottles of coke and some homemade chocolate chip cookies and scurry out onto the snow covered sidewalk. we walk as fast as we can back to the apartment, our arms chock full of packages.
it feels so nice unlocking the door and feeling the warmth of our home. I put my soap away and you set the table for two, adding candles just because you know I love when you do that. I decide to draw myself a bath after we’ve tidied up our kitchen. our claw foot tub is beautiful, and makes me feel luxurious every time I use it. I climb in and feel the stress and chill of the day melting away, I lean my head back until I feel the cool porcelain and my hands are draped over each side. I’ve put on the velvet underground, but keep the volume low. I drift back into my thoughts of the steel mill, and wonder how it must look now with the snow gathering around it. isn’t the snow just so quiet and pure, yet unexplainably violent and heavy?
once the smell of old books and parchment wears off, I’ll burn the evidence of your existence. I’ll watch the pages and ribbon turn to ash in the melting snow. my foggy breath is mixing with the smoke and disappearing into the grey sky, the color of marble, the color of all those statues you love so much. we’d pause and stare at the many marble humans stuck in seductive poses at the art museum, even though we’d seen them a thousand times before. I’ll read some crappy poetry aloud, I’ll finish that book I’ve been meaning to finish, and I’ll pretend we got to discuss it and compare ourselves to the characters like we always do.
you’ll carve me out of stone in your mind, wishing you could carve me out of stone with your hands. the cold, smooth textures of the rock could never capture the way my hair curls in some spots, you’d say. moving from my warm, rosy cheek to the cold marble, you’re trying to mimic it but you’re smiling to yourself because it just wouldn’t be right to see me in the form of a statue. the minute you’d finish the statue, you’d toss it out of your second story window right onto the street anyway. the freshly chiseled marble would crumble into a million misshapen pieces right before your eyes and you’d laugh, I swear you would.
the people below are terrified because they think you’re crazy. “he’s gone mad!” one woman shouts. you let out a sound of amusement as you light a cigarette in the open window frame. your hands are aching from chiselling all day long, and dust is littered on nearly every corner of your studio apartment. tossing the butt of your cigarette out the window onto the pile of rubble, you shut the window and sweep up what you can of the dust.
it’s nearly ten o’clock now, as you turn the brassy nob of the bathtub on and draw yourself a bath. dumping in a bit of the rosy bath oil you used to hate, you climb in and feel the aches leave your body almost immediately. you grab last month’s copy of the New Yorker with one hand and drape the other over the edge, haphazardly. you look strikingly gorgeous like this, vulnerably relaxed and seemingly at one with the rosy water. I hear Clair de lune drifting out of the cracked bathroom door as I lie on the floor near the swept up pile of marble dust.
I’m drifting off to sleep now, at least I think that’s what this is. it’s March now, and I’m walking on our favorite beach on that cold gloomy day. the fog was so thick that day, we nearly got lost a dozen times. far underprepared for the weather, we ended up shivering the entire time we were there. that didn’t matter though, it was the dreamiest day left in my brain. hours and hours of walking up and down the coast, passing cigarettes back and forth between us, and snapping way too many photos, we are cold to the bone and thoroughly soaked. your car had never looked so welcoming and cozy, I could’ve sworn it was a hearth with the warmest fire and softest blankets. I laid out all the photographs we’d taken on the dashboard and peeled off my boots and socks. at this moment, coffee and soup was all we could think about, so we started out toward our favorite diner.
I jolt awake suddenly and painfully, only to realise I’d been dreaming of you again. I thought it had stopped months ago, but here they are, haunting me at 3 in the morning. I wouldn’t mind, but the only memories that I’m forced to relive in my sleep are the ones that make me ache the most. you know the ones you swear you can feel in that foggy minute just after waking? I swear I could feel your hands, cold and rough like marble on my cheek. your presence leaves a lingering scent of musky vanilla. why does everything I love fade into a phantom limb?
I am imagining your face in the darkening evening sky; a pale blue tint cast over everything. do you know the color I’m talking about? are you picturing it too? it makes everything prettier, it makes you feel nostalgic for a memory you’re still creating. or have you forgotten already the overgrown grassy place we shared? with exposed tree roots and spiders making us feel uneasy. I don’t want to see the small collection of cigarettes you’ve left behind in the nook of that tree. I don’t want to smell the warm air mixing with the smoke. I don’t want to taste the stale cigarettes on your breath. I’m lying, of course.
I know I am really quite good at romanticizing things that may not have been as good as I made them seem on paper. I know that right now, you’re probably happy. and in a sense, I am happy too. I am happy sometimes, but it is a dull, weak happiness. it simply exists because I let it exist. it is lukewarm. and you know how I feel about lukewarm.
I wanted to stop writing you, I wanted you to be happy. but I am bitter. bitter because I want more time with you. I want so badly to have all of the courage I write about. I hate that I never shouted the things I wanted to shout at you. I had a terrible amount of opportunities to be 100% me and 100% honest to your face. but, I was scared. I could never fucking muster up the courage.
for years we have promised each other more words. we have promised “next time” a million times. next time I will say what I wanted to say. next time I will kiss you abruptly, without warning, without worrying. next time, i will hold nothing back. i will spew all of my words. yet here I am, with too many unspoken thoughts lodged in the back of my throat.
it plagues me knowing I may never get the chance to kiss you again. I may never get another opportunity to tell you how much I love your face. your lips, your eyes. god, your eyes are the craziest things I’ve looked into in this world. I swear to any deity that will listen, that I would drown in your eyes if I got the chance. I don’t know what the fuck we have with each other, I don’t know if any of this is meaning anything to you.
you’re probably reading this before work, and im sorry you had to read this so early in the morning. but I am tired of being the locked up, watered down version of myself, lacking the courage I long for so badly. the next time it is just you and I in a room or a forest or wherever it happens be that we end up alone, I am not going to pass up the opportunity to spill my soul out to you.
it will kill me to see you, I know it will. I want to hear about your days again, no matter how boring or terrible. I want to listen to the cadence of your voice as the sun sets and then rises mere hours later. I want to hear Every idea you have in your head, big or small. I want to read you my favorite poems in the cemetery. I want to watch snow fall into soft piles, from the comfort of a warm chair with you. I know I’m romanticizing things again, but it is okay. I’m not going to press send, I’m not going to press send, I’m not going to press send. not again. not tonight.
I am wistful, and I crave you.
we’ve been planning on going up to the coast for weeks now, to see the wild flowers that grow rampant this time of the year. we plan this trip meticulously each year because the flowers start fading into the colours of fall at the end of the month. this year is a bit different than others, your mother’s grown ill again. we wait until she’s better to leave, just in case it doesn’t get better this time.
by late September we’d figured it was too late for the sunflowers, but we decided to make the drive anyway. it’s a nice four hour trip, so of course we packed the picnic basket full of snacks and drinks fit for a King. I always overpack and you complain that we probably won’t need 4 blankets, 3 changes of clothes, and a years worth of socks. “we’re only staying a night!” you say to me with a sigh, as I sneak another sweater into my already full luggage. it really gets quite chilly up there when night falls, so the blankets are needed, you’ll see. we stay up later than we planned making a mixtape for the drive. you complain about all the sad music I suggest, but you add it anyway because you secretly love it. even if you didn’t you’d still put it on the tape. that’s just how you are.
we pack the car before bed, because we always forget something if we do it in the morning. we leave at 4am; I love driving in the early morning. there’s this adorable little diner about an hour into the drive that we stop at every year. we get waffles and eggs and coffee and muffins. the waitress remembers us year after year, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the trip. it’s a sleepy diner in a town I’m sure I’d hate if I lived there for more than an hour, but it’s nice to visit. as we pay the bill and leave a tip, we finish our now cold coffee and get back on the highway. we’ve had a bit too much, and now we’re laughing way too hard at things that aren’t usually funny. you know that laughter, when you can’t breathe because it’s just absolutely killing you that a flock of geese is crossing in front of the car at 6:14 in the morning.
you’re driving now, and I’ve got my feet up on the dashboard like a cliché road trip movie. the sun is just coming up behind us and it’s blinding even though the weather calls for rain. I love the rain, but of course it’s the worst to you. which I don’t get, because it makes everything cozy and soft. but you’re my ray of sunshine, and it’s fitting that you love sunny days so much. we’re getting close to the sunflowers, I can smell the salty air of the sea. I hope to god they held out for us. just for one more day.
we make the last turn onto this little stony road that leads right to the beach. it takes about 10 minutes to get all the way back there. the sunflowers aren’t on the beach though, we couldn’t be that lucky. we have to walk a bit on a trail to get to them. it’s only 8:30 in the morning, this feels great! the beach is never as I remember it, it’s always better. today the sea is angry, reflecting the storm that looms in the clouds. we’ve brought the picnic basket and one of our blankets. it’s my favorite blanket to bring to the beach; a beautiful shade of burnt orange, with cream stripes. my yellow scarf is blowing in the breeze and your hat keeps flying off, forcing us to chase it down. they’re absolutely killing me, the gusts. I’ve always loved the sound of the wind, when your hair is blowing out of control and all you can hear is that muffled voice of the earth in your ears.
I remember the way it felt, the first time my hands were in yours, a lifetime ago. it’s like you’re ingrained in my skin, or etched into the inside of my eyelids. it’s painful to hide and it burns my skin to touch someone else with hands that were meant for you. I weep for you as I wake early in the morning, cold and aware of the phantom limb you’ve become to me.
the air is growing colder; with each passing breeze the faint smell of stale cigarettes burns my nose. stifled, I am instantly reminded of us haunting the forest for weeks before trudging back to our graves, on opposite ends of the world. pulling the dirt back over our heads, we return to the world we were in before we turned it upside down.
the memories fade quickly, as if they are just old black and white photographs flickering on a drive-in movie screen. they’re still there of course, but they are dim and out of focus. there’s no sound, because I can never remember what you’re fucking voice sounds like. i can feel it, the vibrations it gives off, but I can’t hear it. I can smell it and I can taste it but god, I can’t hear it anymore.
paging through a dream journal I kept when I was deeply depressed in 2014. I don’t remember this dream and a self-portrait was also drawn after I wrote it.
6-8-14I started out walking down an alley, it was a little chilly and very wet outside, as was the real weather. someone I was with opened a random green door (exactly like one of my old houses front doors) to discover a dead girl. I started running and the ally turned into a hallway in a mental hospital.
I became a sort of God or figure in the sky somewhere above this one female patient. she started summoning the spirits of the dead girl I discovered earlier and her eyes started to glow. a cloud-like thought bubble appeared and a black woman appeared next to me. I then grabbed a flashlight from the bedside table and began searching for the killer of the dead girl. I opened every odd hiding place with no luck…until I got back to the cold, wet alley with nothing but a really old dryer at the end. I opened the door to the dryer and a man emerged and started screaming at me. then I woke up.
something I wrote under the dream:
“this dream is odd to me because I have a drafted post on my blog about how I feel like I am trapped in an insane asylum that’s making me more insane as each day passes. this dream was not scary to me.”
I could never find myself in your art
I’d peak under words and pictures searching for a glimpse of my hair blowing in the wind
or flushed cheeks, rosy from the chilly February air. I’d search each piece everyday but I never found what I was looking for
why is it that things of such peril bring us the serenity that nothing of innocence could ever give?