More than one part of me fell on the floor when I destroyed my Christmas tree today.
One by one, I carefully removed each treasured ornament. They’d been collected over years, each with a specific meaning and a story… they deserved to be saved. The strings of lights became the real challenge, due entirely to the intricate beauty I constructed from nothing and lack of worthwhile method or history.
As I tore the lights from their entanglement among the dead boughs, I was glad I left them alight so I could watch their luminance flicker and struggle to hold on to the happiness they once brought me. I ripped and tore, snapped limbs and broke bulbs. I smiled once. It was sick and sadistic, yet there was beauty in the brutality. In the end, they couldn’t be saved.
I couldn’t see the carpet between the needles and branches. They crunched beneath the soles of my shoes as I deliberately ground them into the fibers. I needed something to clean…. leftover sap collecting dirt and dust on my hands wasn’t enough. In the unseen spaces between the dried greenery, I laid my unfortunate affections to sleep before I vacuumed the whole mess up and threw it out of my window.
Meanwhile, I’ve played two songs for five hours through the entire process. And I wish I’d actually taken the time to listen before I went deaf. Before I drank away my words just to end up telling yet another story without an end. But still, I never did end up washing my hands.
Ends of eras January 18, 2012
More than one part of me fell on the floor when I destroyed my Christmas tree today.
a letter March 11, 2009
to where it may concern,
overshadowed and underpowered
motionblur November 23, 2008
I stared at her lips for hours and realized that a photo is nothing without motion. Even with the hints of a stop-motion smile pushing skin into the crevice dimples lining the sides of her mouth, the fact that I couldn’t see her teeth made me anxious. The emotion was there in the unnatural state of frozen posing.
Most portraiture feels like a lie. I find myself feeling as if I am looking into the future… seeing a glimpse of the lifeless serenity that is found only after the careful hands of a delicate mortician have molded the features to appease the fragile viewers. There is an element of detachment I get, as if the subject is no longer of my time and space.
Less and less am I finding my inner voyeur satisfied by perusing aimlessly through photographs. Instead, I am left discomfited, like an awkward coroner; unsure and not quite numb to the job. Or else, faced with the conflicts of dysthanasia and questioning whether or not the subject is being kept alive by the existence of the photo in and of itself… nothing else.
What is lacking is the genuine spontaneity that is found in every unique face. When all else has failed and fallen directly into the predictability trap, an expressive face can change my whole mood. I don’t care if it’s pretty or symmetrical or tonally aesthetic… a photograph should be honest.
As I sat here writing of my discontent on the subject, I remembered my trademark blank stare. The one that washes over my face the second I sense a lens pointed in my general direction.
Hypocrisy… I has it.
decomposition October 26, 2008
As I showered and redressed into a different pair of Halloween pajamas, it occurred to me that my day was reminiscent of much simpler times.
I buried myself in childhood card games with my daughter as the day outside pummeled the windows with rain soaked fallen leaves. I made the kids lunch and cleaned the house at a quiet pace while they contentedly ate their sandwiches in front of Halloween specials. I took a break from the cleaning to play one last game of Uno with my daughter, who had conveniently shuffled and dealt the cards for us. After playing nearly all of the draw four wild cards on her first turn, I knew I had to throw down my mental No Mercy hand. Despite her meticulous measures taken to slaughter me, it was my parental duty to teach her “cheaters never win”. In that moment I felt guilty. I wonder if it is this early installment of simple morals that make us so vulnerable later in life. Many of us discover that it is often the cheaters that win in the greater scheme of things while the morally sound end up on the lower rungs getting trampled by the less savory characters in the world. Those contemplations are for another time though.
My day ended with a glorious sunset, bedtime stories, followed by movies in silence while I practiced knitting because I’m absolutely terrible at it. As I laid on the couch with my kids in my arms, my daughter whispered, “You’re the best mommy ever.” My son leaned over and pleaded for the packaged deal of “hugs, kisses, and I love you.” For the day, I wasn’t in hell. All of the decisions that were made for me, the missed opportunities, the failures, the betrayals, the heartaches… all of the times I’ve suffered so badly that all I could do was cry and hope that I didn’t have to wake up the next day… all of that was a memory and I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t sad.
I stripped out of the pajamas I had only worn for a few hours and crawled into bed naked. Alone in the great expanse of fleece and down, I ran my legs along the fabric and smiled to myself at the softness. As my senses powered down for the day, I faded into the memory of love and laughter and light. I held dearly because the day was dying fast.
Morning came. It came as it has a thousand times over. I rolled into the vacant space beside me… like a frozen void in my bed… and the muted babbling of my children playing in the next room somehow seemed discordant. It was a new day.
Despite the mellifluous awakening, I managed to hold it together. I went through the normal routines and took a break to sit at the table with the two of them for a special project. We opened a brand new package of glitter glue and tore pages from coloring books. I taught them moderation in how to spread the globs across the paper and still maintain the proper amount of color. They made me pictures and had a wonderful time while being extremely well behaved. All the while I wanted to scream, “CAN’T YOU SEE I’M NOT OKAY?! Don’t you know that this laughter will end??” Of course what good would it do to traumatize them.
I knew it would only get worse when I got them into the car. It stalled. It started again. It’s only 5 years old… and glaring on the dashboard… “SERVICE ENGINE SOON”. As if adding the word ‘soon’ is going to soften the screams of mass capital letters in neon orange. As if ‘soon’ is any real definition of time. In fact, ‘soon’ makes me think that my car wants me to die in a fire when the engine decides to explode while I’m driving it because our definitions of such an ambiguous term didn’t quite match up.
Needless to say, we didn’t explode. Nor did we crash due to my spending the entire 45 minute drive staring at those three words as if by looking away, I would be sealing our molten fate. No. I arrived home alone and safe. Safe, ha ha. Alone, boo hoo.
words rioting September 18, 2008
They are. The words in my head. They fight me, they fight amongst themselves, they fight the higher power. They are anarchists, plotting a mutiny… destined for a battle that will never end.
It is beautiful that way. And horrible.
Meanings are elusive. I struggle to define the most simplistic things. In reality, I struggle to find simplicity. There are moments that should be shallow. Mere reflections on the surface are all that need be seen. Yet you can find me on my knees, digging through the silt beneath the water while the sand covers my hands… burying my efforts. When I should be underground, laying deep with the earth in my nose and mouth, suffocating me as I taste it… I’m laying on top, soaking up the sun, looking to the sky.
The truth is… answers don’t lay between grains of sand or dirt, or in the space between the molecules, or even in the vibration of light… they stand like solemn sentries guarding the thin line between where light meets skin, where liquid meets solid. That moment of purgatory before your body registers that it has all it needs to be kept alive. When you inhale and the precise amount of oxygen has been brought into your lungs… but hasn’t quite absorbed. Just for a moment, your world stops… and you know.
It is so simple and so complex all at the same time. I can lean either way and no matter what direction my tired bones may lie, it will only be upon a fraction of the bed that comprises the “bigger picture”.
What it comes down to is the dead end. All roads lead to an end… and all lead to infinite possibility. Where you believe you are going all lies within the moment you think it. Every choice can seem like the means to an end… or it can seem like endless trees with infinite branches reaching into an endless sky. I choose to go with the latter as often as I can. Which is rare. When I see a road without an end… I will walk it. I see it… I’m walking it… and with every dead end detour, I still have my eyes set on the endless. Not the agony of the perpetual cycles that we’re all forced to live, but the true infinity that is held only within a true hope. I will never stare at a dead end and think, “I should build my life there.”
If you should be so lucky as to ever find the meaning of the perpetual path, hold tight. I can imagine many a hurdle that will attempt to stray you from such steadfastness, as I am tried daily to wander off into the bleakness. Predictability, stability… those are to be sought only under certain circumstances but NOT in the grand scheme. The real world is volatile, reactive… such is the nature of infinity… why would anyone want to run a straight line from start to finish and never hold the hand of anyone that might show them another way?
I am simply a window… a novice translator. The words are rioting now. But they are fighting for me, in my name. Why? Because they will always have something to say… even if I can’t understand.
all that was lost August 22, 2008
Where are you from?
That question bores me more than any other. Instead ask, “Where are you going?” That would be a question of interest. Bearing answers of intrigue and hope. Or response from the truly desolate.
You can learn a lot in wielding a grip on this slippery language. These are humid times. Condensation on every syllable. It’s hard to bear. What is meant is held within those beads of moisture sliding down the sides of what is said. The water falls and breaks… it’s contents evaporating ineffectually in the minuscule manner of fluid.
Perhaps only a select few can read the message in the residue. Salt on pavement. Tea leaves in a mug. Ignore the patterns and the seductive nature of symmetry.
We miss so much.
hands in collusion with one another
trading theory and spreading
sweetly lacquered lies in finger smears
these plain white walls.
a synchronous flatline
the last scenes of a fading dream
always choosing down
almost easier than turning around
you bait me now
and I climb, prison-bound.
minutes in coercion with one another
bonding secrets and inflicting
a saccharine scar by the prism’s dance
tossing light at the ceiling in birth
a starlit depravity.