Friday, September 20, 2013


        is bundled pink  gentler than what
    communing with misery  calling
            black river
two bats in the eves  an organ at its center
    you'll say you're sorry too
               for what they look like
  night thoughts  glancing away from it
         even if she were out of a place
    with natural relatives
              and relatives
  would there be room enough  thirst for thirst

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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She stared at the glass of wine, which she drank simultaneously with a glass of water. The water was for sobering up, and the wine was for getting drunk, both of which she wished to do in equal parts, it seemed. Getting drunk(er) would take the edge off things (but that was a cliché wasn't it? What did it actually mean to take the edge off? The truth was, likely, that she simply enjoyed being drunk) and the water would clear her thoughts as well as that tiny headache that was slowly pound pounding in the front of her skull, the tempo building. If she drank more she could fall asleep soon, and maybe even be up early, in time to read or practice before work. But if she went with the water, she could try and sober up now, and maybe read or practice, then sleep in tomorrow before work. Debating the issue didn't matter, since she knew she would have both anyway.

It should've rained but a didn't. A lot of things should've happened that day. She was upset about it earlier, but now it didn't matter so much. All those stresses were simply things that happened now, and she wished she could have always felt this way. But she hadn't. She'd paced and opened the door over and over looking for the package and the mail man. Her heart rate increased. Her breathing increased. She had several cigarettes. She ate more than usual. And surely, her heart took damage, and she inched closer to the cardiac arrest that would end her life. All for something that now, with the hours passed and the wine almost gone didn't even matter.

In their room, her girlfriend slept. She always stayed up later than her, and it was a good thing. At night, it was quiet, which was nice if you didn't concentrate on it or think about it. The night-time was her time, and she could read or practice or watch things she was ashamed to watch. Things like sex and bills and money and what she would do next weren't a concern. It was a sort of formula: sit on the couch in a minimal amount of clothing, drink beer/wine/rum, do what you want. There was always a blanket, and sometimes the dog would join her, nuzzling his cold wet nose (which grew dryer everyday) against her bare thigh, a slight trail of snot slashing across like windshield-wipers and then drying away into nothing. It was great to be alone. She blew her nose repeatedly into the same napkin, farted, picked at her cuticles and nail-polish, ate junk food. She would sneeze sometimes and leave it wherever it landed. She would absent-mindedly pick at body hairs and pimples. No one saw, and it made her wonder what would happen if she were always alone. Always. Would she tear her skin away, bit by bit, until there was nothing left but scabs and scars? Would she pull out hair by the tuft, like a documentary she saw about some sort of African ritual where girls beginning puberty were stripped bald by the women of their community? Maybe.

But she wasn't always alone, and that was a good thing. She took a gulp of wine and followed it with water, instantly rinsing the taste from her mouth and leaving her teeth slightly less purple. Running her tongue across her lips she could taste the previous bottle of wine, which she'd shared with her girlfriend before she went to bed. She yawned and drank more wine and water and thought about mixing them together. A toe itched so she scratched it. She yawned again. She rubber her belly. She burped softly. She thought about a friend she hadn't called in a while and wondered whose fault it was. She wondered if she was good or bad at telling stories, and if the bad things she heard about herself were true and if so, if there was any chance for change. She rubbed at her eyes and felt tired. She hated sleep, but she loved sleeping in. She stretched her arms above her head and felt the cartilage stretching in her shoulders and back. She wondered if she had good posture. She thought about being a kid and watching a bad horror movie at someone's house during a hot day in the summer. She finished the wine and took another drink of water, which splashed into her eye and she winced and felt foolish and then she felt cold, so she decided to go to bed.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Screaming Like Kids Do

He's trying to read this damn book Talia gave him, but the plot is like a maze and he's lost. Every story is interrupted and another one starts and they never seem to resolve until later when the conflict and the people involved aren't even the same anymore because time has passed and everything's different now. It's giving him a headache. He does some exercise, trying to keep it up, at least daily, for the first time in his life, and once the smell of his sweat is palpable, once it outweighs the incense he burned this morning, he sits down on the couch and picks the book up and tries again, his heart pounding. But he can't concentrate. Now there are kids outside playing and screaming like kids do. He keeps getting up and looking out the window, making sure things are okay, because sometimes it sounds serious, but it's always just kids playing. He keeps at the book.

The plot that's been happening for a while (and will therefore soon fade away) is kind of disturbing. From what he can gather it involves a brother and sister who, separated as infants, meet again and fall in love, not knowing of course that they're related. They've been dating a few months and are even thinking about moving in together when, through some weird coincidence involving a letter from someone he can't figure out, either because they were introduced a long time ago and he's forgotten or they haven't been introduced at all, the girl gets the idea that she has a long lost brother. What she doesn't know is that her lover/brother also received the letter, saying he has a long lost sister. This stirs up strange emotions in both of them, and so neither brings it up to the other., but instead goes about trying to find this long lost sibling.

There are many trials involved, but eventually—and at about the same time, of course—they both find out, separately, through some genealogy records or something, that their significant other is, in fact, their sibling. Both are disgusted with themselves, but out of love they continue their relationship, consumed with guilt and shame and even desire.

Weeks pass and their relationship seems to strengthen. They begin plans to move in together, and even pick out an apartment. They've slowly let go of some of the self-hatred, and each has in some sense rationalized their decision with the love they felt not only beforehand but now, a love that seems to build every day, and sometimes they're even able to forget for a moment their horrible secret, and laugh together like they used to. Shortly before the move-in date, while packing, one of them—it never says which—finds the letter from the genealogy website addressed to the other, and they realize that they've both been in the know for months now. For some unknown reason, the knowledge of the complicity in the other brings about such an extreme disgust, that the one immediately calls the other on their phone and ends the relationship, barely able to contain the feelings of revulsion. The story cuts off here, providing no additional satisfaction to the reader. The point has, he guesses, already been made, and now something else is happening.

The kids outside are screaming again, louder this time, and Donald sets the book down, annoyed, and looks through the blinds outside. The children are running in every direction. Two men are fighting in the street while two women look on screaming. He can't tell if they're trying to break up or encourage the fight, but it doesn't matter. Barefoot, he runs outside, shutting the door behind him.