anything to make that smile

  • An acoustic cover of Home, by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, by Jorge & Alexa Narvaez.

    He calls, soft, exhaustion laced, considerate, concerned. I recite, trying to remember the swirling words of the story as I find the book, flip pages to the story, “Here is the story of Mignon as I remember having read it in a famous old book.” Somewhere in my day there was news about travel, about death, difficult to process, the sort that kicks in both the head and the heart. “A young man named Wilhelm was staying at an inn in the city. One day as he was going upstairs, he met a little girl coming down.” He is driving, the sound of the city sliding by the windows, an echo of tires and commuters tinted brake-light red. I can picture him if I concentrate, the tilt of his head, the way his hand rests on the wheel, pale eyes on the road, even while in the center of my self, I refuse to believe in our structure. I hate how something so small can keep me alive. “He would have taken her for a boy, if it had not been for the long curls of black hair wound about her head.” I listen to what’s between our conversation, shoes crunching across gravel that I’ve walked across silently in bare, frozen feet, when he sits to undo his laces, the shuffling of a coat being removed and left on a rack. Habits beginning to be memorized, the shape of how he moves through space, the way he signs his name. “As she ran by, he caught her in his arms and asked her to whom she belonged. He felt sure she must be one of the rope dancers who had just come to the inn.” All of this comforting, a little bit effortless, a narrative that smooths like water over stone. I skim through the book, my favourite story on the very last page, and do my best to quietly read, warm as feathers, sharing solace over the phone. “She gave him a sharp, dark look, slipped out of his arms, and ran away without speaking.”

  • beautiful creature almost died

    I sleep on the bus flat on my back like a tipped statue of buddha, crossed legs along the wall, knees pointed vaguely toward heaven, my hands demurely folded together, tucked in the warm, ragged edges of my sleeves. Awkward, possibly, but it’s comfortable.

    My dreams last night were all of an old friend, the two of us living in a city we’ve never been to, walking through a community garden together, visiting his tent-like home on the side of a river, entertaining at a wedding somewhere on a bridge, everything underlaid with memories of his old kitchen, the music he made for us while I cooked dinner. If they was anything, they were dreams of missed chances, a universe where never were became might have did, became could have been, became not history changed, but future history made.

    my friends are more awesome than I am

    The Hasenmenschen Ballet, by Marcel Steger & Luzie Strecker

    I’m leaving for the Island after work today. Thumbing a ride to the ferries with Lung, to be snagged by Esme on the other side, I’m delivering one of these to one of these and don’t expect to be back until Monday morning, when apparently I’m being put on a sea-place back. (Because life sometimes is just like that.)

    In other news of the faintly ridiculous, Dragos is holding my bikini hostage, on the terms that I only get it back if I accept a year of cell-phone for my birthday, something we’ve been arguing about for almost a year. As soon as I began my usual protesting, however, he waved a gleeful finger in my face and said, “Ah-ha! This time you cannot possibly refuse. I know which one I’m going to give you. This isn’t just any phone. It’s got a story.” and proceeded to play to my greatest weakness, that of narrative. The one he’s picked out, it has history. Not only history, but hilarious history – a fascinating little back-story involving an Argentina black market, expensive consumer electronics that fell off the back of a truck, untraceable drug dealer SIM cards, and what happened next, when a British friend flashed around just one too many fresh hundred dollar bills – and, as usual, he was right. I can’t say no. How could I? How could anyone?

    Also, though only tangentially related, there was a story about basement scam strippers, but that was someone else.

    even this feels like it’s not enough

    A Young Mad Scientist’s First Alphabet Blocks.

    I had just had a terrible break-up, been thrown out of a last chance desperation relationship, a lower-the-bar can’t-take-it-anymore sort of thing after an assault, when I was spending time with A Boy. Someone I’d known for years, though with a gap in the middle, who popped up at a party with my name in his mouth, as if all the space between I was always a reminder, just like he was for me. Curly hair, kind eyes, all the usual suspects.

    When we started seeing each other, it was without capital letters, friends spending time with friends, being delighted, being glad. I made him tea, he made me laugh. When I spent the night over, it was platonic, though appreciative, and only sleep, with a walk alone to the bus-stop in the morning. When suddenly I was single, distraught, he was discreet, but gingerly there in a way that he wasn’t before, and when I stayed over, he kissed me. He kissed me and kissed me and kissed me, moving my body cautiously to press against his, surprising me, attentive, his white linen shirt on the floor, mine unbuttoned and left behind. And I was okay with that.

    The next night I was over, his mouth moved from mine to my throat, to the clavicle triangle of my collarbone, to the space between my breasts, and down, purposefully, towards a wonderful idea. I was impressed, ye gods, I was, I’ll never forget it, show me ten men who claim it’s their favorite thing and I’ll show you nine liars, but it was too soon. No, said my hands, no, my knees, my angle and body. I pulled him back up the bed and we stayed there until we fell asleep, nestled together like a carving.

    Bolivia’s Witches’ Market: Llama Foetuses and Dried Armadillos

    I was terrified of the timing, of the brutal year I’d had bleeding in like poison, of the nightmares I’d still been having of the attack, of why I continued to say no. Eventually, after two weeks more of identical nights, I finally did not call. Sometimes I did not even pick up the phone. The relationship, such as it was, quietly expired. Trapped in myself, we stopped talking, and barely said hello in the street. I felt like I should have had a brand across my forehead, the word ruined in copperplate block letters as if typed there, my blood for black ink.

    Years went by, accidentally as they do, the friendship slowly healed in our absence, though never completely, while still I never explained, never sat him down and told him, “Look, I was cagey, but it was a bad year. It was never your fault.” Words well known that don’t generally come out in casual conversation, “I should have told you. I love you. I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you. Please forgive me.”

    I can look back with all the grand power of retrospect and think I didn’t too bad considering my age, considering the date and the time and how much the trauma of my reasons was wrecking me. Considering that trip to the doctor, considering that night I spent up too unhappy with my memories to get back to sleep. I can look back and think a fade out is not so bad a way to go, considering, always considering, but I don’t really buy it. My skull can’t shake that I wronged him. Social penicillin in action. I feel like I missed a best friend.

    1800s Vampire Killing Kit Nabs $14,850 At Stevens Auction

    my sparrow tongue in aspic

    Originally uploaded by natalia*.

    A beloved friend of mine, (who will remain nameless), inspired by the anonymous love letters I was receiving last spring, has been sending me his own letters. They carry me more than I have the ability to tell him. They paint me as I feel in my most glorious moments. I have quite a collection of them now. I spread them across my room, tuck them into books, and generally leave them where I might re-discover them later. I’m not sure why I’ve decided I should start posting them, but this one came today addressed to Dr. J. Holmes Esq.

    Dear Jhayne,
    &nbsp &nbsp Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a girl who made herself out of wires, feathers & tiny silver bells. Precious thing that she was (& she was) she was ill used by the winds of fortune, tossed hither & yon by rapacious storms ’till one day (a day like any other) she said
    &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp enough
    & thrust half of her wires deep into the soil & wrapped the other half tight around a nearby tree & screamed in pain and defiance as the winds tore at her feathers & set her bells a-ringing & the cacophony was almost as unbearable as the wrenching tearing straining & then it wasn’t, and it wasn’t.
    &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Here I’ll stay
    &nbsp she said & the trees all bent to listen, for precious thing that she was (& she was) the peal of her voice was like fresh fallen acorns gone to root in spring sunlight & they bent their trunks & spread their boughs low & she slept in the shade for a century or three until the raggedness of her feathers receded & her cables grew back thick & strong. Precious thing though she was (& she really was), memory is not forever & she spread her wings one autumn morning & flew straight back up into the waiting arms of the storm.

    And this one is a favourite. It lives next to my bed, where I don’t have to read it, but simply know that it’s been carefully folded and placed there in memory of something that almost was as well as what most certainly managed to be. I refuse to admit how much of this I have actually spoken.

    &nbsp “Intelligence cannot be a one way street,” you lazily alleged, more to pick a fight than because you really believed it. Or anything.
    &nbsp &nbsp (Your hair, burnished copper, framed your face like the latin in a sermon, painfully bright against the cool ebony of your naked shoulders)
    &nbsp “When we think about things, things think about us,” you continued blithely, “Think about it! Why does genius die young? It’s not simply that nature abhors a smartass. nature abhors everything, but only in the presence of brilliance does it have the wherewithal to do anything about it.”
    &nbsp &nbsp (I traced the lines of your stomach, the graceful curve of your hips as they levered you upright with that gentle susurration of rock on metal.)
    &nbsp “It works with people, too. Intelligent people don’t cluster, have no real power to attract each other; they make each other, force each other up out of the endless sea of stupid, form conversation partners out of, effectively, dust.”
    &nbsp &nbsp (The clack of gears is the voice of angels as you stand and look down at me, amber eyes glinting, teeth glowing gold in the firelight)
    &nbsp You add, offhandedly, “Of course, this applies doubly to us.”
    &nbsp &nbsp (You may be right, but I’m not listening, am too wrapped up in the wonder that I could ever build anything as beautiful as you.)