Flicka

I was trying to go fast and flickered in and wondered how you could see me. Get in. Get out. Walk into the room, burn, and hear the approval. Turns out there will be no comfort. And I have been cursed, like most, with a long and lonely life. You don’t get to ask any more about the prices I’ve paid. I will tell you that now, I’m broke. Forgive my sins or don’t. Either way, it doesn’t really matter.

Constructed

Never tell a writer anything you want kept secret. Don’t do things you’d hide in front of him. He will tell the world. He will nod his head while saying, “No, of course not.” He will change your name from Jessica to Linda, but the story will kill you softly when you see that names are just another construct. That is on purpose.

Ladybugs

This is going to be a lesson about perception. If you called a little girl a ladybug everyone would think it was cute. If you called her a mealworm, you’d be a dick. But in real life, mealworms are way nicer. They name little-girl soccer teams The Little Ladybugs, but what they don’t tell you is that a ladybug is a soulless, relentless, remorseless killer. It is a carnivore that brings logarithmically more death than the Terminator. Those black spots are to let predators know that “I am poisonous so don’t fuck with me.” Too small an amount to affect people, but if you’re a slightly larger insect or smaller, that’s a biohazard sign. The cute shell is an offensive exoskeleton that shields it so like a Panzer it can wipe out legions of other animals blocking it from food. And since it is poisonous and cannibalistic, it knows to eat its young as eggs just after they come into existence, after it first exists. It’s pretty, though. And just like pretty people, it can talk a lot of shit.

Asteroids

While you’re living your life it seems likes chaos and things are just being thrown at you like a spaceship in the asteroid belt. You know where you are. You know what you’re trying to do. But everything just keeps coming at you in a random fashion. In hindsight, you can connect the dots of choices you made in that field. Some crashed you into rocks. Some were brilliant real-time choices that no one else could have pulled off. And there were mistakes everyone would have made, and ones only you did. If you keep repeating those, you’ll never get out. And if you’re smart and lucky you do. Either way, each choice is connected. And the asteroid belt isn’t random, it just appears to be. It exists under the same physical principles that you do. Those laws are immutable (until you get really small, but we’ll save quantum theory for another metaphor). They don’t change, you do. One way or the other you do.

The empty space of quiet

I think the only thing that works with you are affectations. I know how you feel and I know how I feel. But I also know that screams to no one are probably more effective. And perhaps my screaming isn’t for anyone anyway. The night is sort of used to being deaf and dumb. I scream into my pillow and feel the spit gather and pool. I type in ALL CAPS, then time your metronomic response.

But now, when I can’t help but think about you–his smile in that picture when I know he fucks you later that night; that second betrayal–the part of my torso, the call of my heart is exploding with whatever chemicals say, “Fuck that.” I go to the next thought about why I hate you, or maybe I eat this surge in my chest this once. And I’m not quite sure what I would do if you were in actual arm’s reach. Would I even reach for you?

That ferrous taste when there’s blood in your mouth lets you know something rusted. That chewing on your cheek in angst wasn’t all in vain; there were consequences. Part of me still loves you and that part wants you to know that smell.

You ask sometimes what I am thinking. The verb “to think” does not have the required nuance I need to explain to you my real-time interpretation of what I see and hear at any given moment.  I think you say it to fill the empty space of quiet; I’m sure you are not particularly interested in the answer.

Two schoolgirls

I killed everything. I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t even trying to kill myself. But watch the funeral parade. See the black flags flying. Each one indicative of something I destroyed. Each relationship. Each chance. Each choice. A loss of grip on humanity and a slow slide down the rope into despair. Look left. Look right. There is no one else to blame.

The pull for the intensity of feeling necessary to create motivates predilections that most people are able to avoid. I don’t expect you or anyone else not enjoying/suffering the same condition to understand.

You see brilliance and you see madness. And you can’t wrap your mind around the fact that those are two schoolgirls holding hands.

π

A circle is not the smooth line that you apparently see when you look at one. It is actually an infinitely-sided polygon. This is one of the reasons that the study of trigonometry seems to be solely about triangles, but in reality is a study of their relation to circles. This is the reason why pi never ends. This is a metaphor.

Yeah!

So, what are we going to do when I get out there? Besides the obvious I mean. Our concerns have been so legal, so cerebral, so theoretical that the idea of you as a woman, with a woman’s body, and a woman’s kisses and a woman’s loving touch have, unfortunately, taken a back seat to those other concerns. I’m sure that will change the moment I melt into your arms, a sugar cube dissolving in your rain. And you as well will be sugar on my tongue dissolving.

In this desert of hatred, you have been an oasis of love and support; my tether to a world where the truth is believed, and friends are forever, and justice means fairness. Your beautiful words reach across these thousands of miles to talk me off the ledge of this bilious, nauseous, ferocious anger.

Three years apart and now three weeks. Do you still want me? I think you might. And I can hear your voice in response to that question a breathless treble of high-octave exhale, “Yeah!”

Both sides win

She’s barefoot down the street in short, dirty-black chiffon; the dress a metaphor for the city, the city her only version of a meadow. The sidewalk sweats with ancient heat and recent rain. And the rough wetness cools the blisters on the patches of the balls of her feet, worn rough having so often similarly trod. The word reminds her of a line from a poem, “nor can foot feel being shod,” and she smiles. Feet are supposed to touch the ground just like they’re supposed to hurt.

Fake trees loom above and block the long-set sun. Fluorescent blinks and intermittent shadows alternate light and dark. Her light-aired, measured steps are deliberately taken, then not so, and betray a civil war between ennui and melancholy. Both sides win.

Let it be again

The number one song in the country at the moment of my birth, just finishing up a six-week run at the position, was Bridge Over Troubled Water. Sort of. That week, officially on the Saturday after I was born, the number one song became Let It Be. I find that two-song playlist oddly appropriate to my next 49 years.

I started listening to Simon and Garfunkel on Spotify and it reminded me of my life in the ’80s and ’90s. I can’t count how many times I crisscrossed the country. ‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’ But I did know why. And I do know why.

It’s a cliché to repeat how songs invoke memories. I can’t listen to Band of Horses without seeing her flit back and forth across the bathroom, momentarily visible in panties and my t-shirt, then disappearing from view. I can’t hear the Hold Steady without remembering looking at the back of my hand staring drunkenly at the veins and how empty my hand seemed while struggling through my divorce. And I can’t hear Simon and Garfunkel without also hearing the clacking of train tracks or the groaning of diesel-engined Greyhounds riding across the plains in the middle of the night, stopping in cities so small there was only a snack machine in the depot to get a bite, and crossroads with a flashing yellow light in lieu of one that changed from red to yellow to green.

I was on Trip Advisor the other day and I got bored of clicking when I had hit 500 cities, towns, and hamlets in America, Canada, and Mexico. Johnny Cash sang “I’ve been everywhere” and between two precise latitudes, it seems I have. “We’ve all gone to look for America.” And so we have. What did we find? What did I find? You?