I am lost

Each Sound
by Dorianne Laux

Beginnings are brutal, like this accident
of stars colliding, mute explosions
of colorful gases, the mist and dust
that would become our bodies
hurling through black holes, rising,
muck ridden, from pits of tar and clay.
Back then it was easy to have teeth,
claw our ways into the trees — it was
accepted, the monkeys loved us, sat
on their red asses clapping and laughing.
We’ve forgotten the luxury of dumbness,
how once we crouched naked on an outcrop
of rock, the moon huge and untouched
above us, speechless. Now we talk
about everything, incessantly,
our moans and grunts turned on a spit
into warm vowels and elegant consonants.
We say plethora, demitasse, ozone and love.
We think we know what each sound means.
There are times when something so joyous
or so horrible happens our only response
is an intake of breath, and then
we’re back at the truth of it,
that ball of life expanding
and exploding on impact, our heads,
our chest, filled with that first
unspeakable light.


There was a kiss that tasted like reëntry, the sky hitting the brakes with a roar, that blazing, intimate acceptance of a spacecraft into atmosphere, every unlikely angle, one head tilting to another, a scorched, soft light jet-stream wish to return home. History made and slammed back like a shotgun round. A promise on the wing, the ground salted, memories buried. The cast lines up, takes a bow, walks off stage, and leaves their shadows behind as the curtain falls, and it tasted like hello as well as goodbye. My apartment is choked with memories, my neighborhood is a cemetery, same as the highway south, much like my life.

He asked for my writing once, to permanently tattoo, something short, beautiful, meaningful. “Between our hands, we could have made fire”. To the death, he said, to the guttering of the sun. (The next one, he gave me nothing I have not been able to give back.) In the archives, our shared love, deliberate and valiant, a blazing comet made of fiercely bared skin, and the small delicate jewelry we wore in our ears, drops of garnet dipped in silver, lost but unforgotten. I send him a message just after midnight, from a number he doesn’t know: I am still wearing your name at the base of my breath.

with me through victories and every time I stumble

We are all china barely mended,
clumsily glued together
just waiting
for the hot water and lemon
to seep through our seams.
– Toby Barlow

He walked from the apartment in the direction he always did, like a recording of the life we used to have, and with a pause and a wave, that achingly familiar wave, a chapter of my life slipped behind a corner and shut, as firmly and finally as anything ever is. Goodbye like a relationship on fast forward, my cheeks so hot it looked and felt like sunburn, my hand still splayed on the chilly glass of the balcony’s sliding door. I was supposed to be finished crying for him, but he is moving away, back south, family matters, a phone call from his mother, an inherited house, and his name remains holy. He hurt me terribly, but he is not a terrible person. We were in love once. Probably are still. The worst thing about losing my wallet was losing his letters. Sometimes that is all that matters.

Once upon a time we were beautiful, a miracle, stronger together than the sun, living incarnations of joy, swimming lions against the storm. I named him, the power of sharp teeth, the domesticity of myth, and he crawled into my heart to sleep, safe and warm, and so, more importantly, to wake. When he betrayed us, it was like he’d chewed his way out. Such a surprise to discover him there still, even after so much pain.

In it to win. We talked a little about it this evening, what we used to be. The french man on the bus who gave us a speech about how nice it was to see people in love, the girls at the sandwich shop who openly cried when informed that we’d broken up. He claimed his responsibility and apologized once again, forgiveness, that tricky thing, welling up like clean water through the barren places he left behind. “Of course,” I said, “it is so very good to see you.” I only wish he’d been by sooner, when I’d asked him to, after I took both of his hands and said, “Life is too short to stay afraid of me or of hurting me.” But instead he put it off, and now it is too late, another piece of home flaking away, he has to leave.

“You are beautiful,” he said, “Thank you for everything. For being you. You are amazing. For bringing me back to the light.” He will be gone by the time I return from my trip, so I will think of him when my plane takes off, maybe picture him behind the wheel of the moving truck, marveling at the beauty of the drive, solid as my faith, as our understanding of each other, as he drives toward his chosen exile, an endless, sunny suburb with his family, as both deathless and lifeless as only California can be.


He kisses me, and I thrill. “What about over there?” I ask, pointing at the tall stone cathedral across the street, “Those confessional things you were talking about, they have doors, right?” He looks at me, shocked, amused, and laughs. His body twists, he mimes my body on top of his in the cafe seat. “Oh”, he says, panting, “Father,” a gasp, “We’re sinning!”

looking stricken

You’ve captured me completely.

I washed my face with tea this morning, poured into my hands over my bed by the boy next door.

He holds me close and tells me not to go, while I can tell the clock is ticking, siphoning seconds away, sucking then into now, a little more than near. Later I find a note in my bag, thin black ink, I Treasure You with a heart and a name scratched quickly in perfect hand writing both aching familiar and painfully arcane. I arrange it on my desk, still with the taste of his cigarette in my hair, an attempt to resist an automatic urge to tuck it into my shirt, one quick gesture over my left breast, folded safe and warm against my skin. Hours pass, half a day, then, as I write this, tick, I give in.

I wish there were a stronger way to say it.

“the dust has only just begun to form crop circles in the carpet”

The sunlight flares us into creatures made of dark, burned honey. We are tangled, metaphorically, literally. Marry me, he says, eyes on mine, searching past the layered blue stone for a seed, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. This feels like a moment I’ve lived before, somewhere out of reach, as solid as summer, as certain as a dream. Luckily, I reply, I’m already engaged, like a boyscout, always prepared.

Between our lines are novels unwritten, hammered into bone with pens of situational ink. (There is more to it than this, more and enough to break my heart.) He takes my hand, I will cover your fingers in rings, one by one, week by week, until you say yes. His hands gently trace his words in the air. Hang jewels from every part of your body, your fingers, your toes, your ears, your neck, wrists, and hair.

His fingerprints are warm on my collarbone, even after he’s taken his gesture away.

I only have one ear pierced, I laugh. Something I can fix, he smiles.

Anyone watching would think we’re in love. That we live together reigning as the pale sun and moon. Instead we are a melody heard over the rushing river sound of a freeway, a missed connection trying to find somewhere to stand on origami folded sand. Impossible. Improbable. All signs point to doomed.

How many weeks would that be? We are laughing again, our serious moment passed, submerged, allayed, alloyed. At least twenty-five. My toes curl into the grass of the park, pretending to glitter. Half a year of months. Our conversation launches itself into the sky. Who could wait that long? I would die. My head would explode, fall right off. I think of dandelions, ‘mama had a baby and her head popped off’, destruction, thumbs smaller than dimes.

upgraded from being an imaginary girlfriend to an interstitial wife

via the wooster collective: ‘Rest of the Writer’, from Laguna in Almagro, Spain

Lunch today was the sort of meal we all dream of when we’re six years old, a dish of thick tiramisu, the bottom chunk of a heavenly milk-chocolate easter rabbit, an entire roll of life saver candies, half a packet of Japanese strawberry chews, two bars of artisan chocolate, a Werther’s caramel hard candy, most of a bottle of vitamin water, (which didn’t fit into the theme at all except insomuch it was a silly colour), and thee, which was only one of you, so nevermind that part and concentrate on the glory that is candy. Just meditate on it for a minute, using the word Yum for Om. Yep. It was glorious. Now excuse me while I laugh at my pancreas, (and read up a bit on diabetes).

Galaxy’s centre tastes of raspberries and smells of rum

(you’re only as sick as your secrets)

Forever’s Not So Long

365: 85 - 26.03.09
365: 85 – 26.03.09

“..the sound of children crying in their beds in the night because something is wrong with them that they can never fix and so they must be braver, better, stronger, fiercer.”
– Hal Duncan, INK

There are lessons in this world that I should have learned by now: when to assess and turn away, when to see fire for flame. Clockwise consequences with no interpretation flux. (As piano kicks in as quiet and soft as what’s trapped beneath my skin.) I can’t help but feel I’ve been here before, as the edges of me shatter, as I prove myself again a wire too twisted not to break. Breathing in, a taste, I lose myself, caught in sincerity, a line, netted in the sweet, staring colour of maybe this time will be okay, no matter that I know better, no matter that this story is old, older than any one of us can see or even read in hard fossil beds, and I know all the endings, hungry, bruised, have been all the endings, myself a creature that doesn’t remember what being in love feels like, and have hated them. Breathing out, the pressure drops, leaving only anger screaming at myself, you ruin me, (us against the world, heart-breaking, and only for children too young to question myths), and I splinter, a massacre holding in what I can, as the pieces scatter, as sharp as my hopeless tongue, as defensive as a mirror, as iron unhappy as silence between friends. I think of my heart as being pierced, the truth that drove the boy Kay to run away with the Snow Queen, as the cold wraps me up, as my throat closes thick and my eyes sting shut, hollowing me clean, draining my blood corrosive of everything I need.

Yes, as a matter of fact, if the situation presented itself, I would do it.

Staring into the sky, wondering at the blue, mesmerized, I caught the corner of my bag on the edge of a newspaper box and immediately turned to apologize. The world is turning, bringing my patch of Earth into sight of the sun, yanking flowers out of their buds, insisting we all move forward, drag ourselves out of wool coats towards the light. I am meeting Michael for lunch again, as I have every day since we met on the bus two weeks ago. We sit in the park when the weather is like this and eat our sandwiches lying on a blanket made of our overlapping jackets. Soon it will be summer and we will no longer need our coats. What then? Perhaps I will keep a cloth folded in my desk for our noon hour picnics. Perhaps by then we’ll be dead. Why think about it now, when the sun is out and company waits?

what really happened at columbine

Laid out on the bed like a window display, later, Michael and Emily, Randa and her kitten, Nicole and Ray, hiding from hockey, from being outside. Someone laughs, percussive, a wildfire spreading. I smile as I stand in the doorway, warmed, another full pot of tea in hand, (the mellow red packet marked JOY in black letters), feeling welcome in my social space for the first time in a very long time, following the breadcrumb sound like a trail in a forest. It has been too long since I’ve had friends over, since I’ve done anything but hide out of town, too busy dismantling the quicksand feeling of holding onto a stalled relationship to have people over during the week or really go out. Already it’s gotten dark, but we don’t care if it’s getting late. We’re sitting in the comfortable jewel-tone pillow heart of our own entertaining light.