(or how I stopped a world war only to start a civil war...)
Everything sat perfectly in the box. Pink and red tissue paper lined the bottom. A small box, with a hand painted yellow bird, sat in one corner. A second corner held two boxes of white wine, equal to three glasses, purchased at the liquor store of earliest convenience. A box of conversation hearts laid upside down in a third corner. The one way tickets sat in the forth.
Things don't often come together in such nice packages. The pieces hadn't fit so well lately. There had been corners, or edges, or a cluster of four or five right in the middle that just couldn't be found. But this one, this one had everything. The thought, the moment, the place, the joy and of course the heart. It was the type of scene that a printer company would use to illustrate the superior printing ability of their product versus another. It was rare.
Another pair of tissue paper found its way on top of the contents. The proper creases and wrinkles were added to imply age, forethought and importance. A small tear was added; the corner of the box of the conversation hearts poked through, a glimpse into the future.
Packing tape had been purchased on the way home that afternoon just for this occasion. It had to be sealed. It had to be safe. It had to be secure.
It had to suffocate.
The tape was too tight. It was too secure. It was too safe. There was too much thought. There was too much effort. Too much fucking heart. The water was rising. This was sinking. There were holes everywhere. Small. Fucking huge. Some in between. Some day there would be a sort of monument here, a stump, just past the fence, by the park, next to the stone that commemorated the tree, that gave shade in the past, before this was ever here; before the tree fell into the ocean.
It gave in. It gave up. It did it's version of walking away. No fight. No yell. No tears. No pain. No hope. No chance.
But it got a plaque.
And what did we get?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
(or how I stopped a world war only to start a civil war...)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
My life is a zoo. In all aspects of the idea of one's life being a zoo. It is filled with animals. It is filled with cages. The refreshments are shit and expensive. And it is free.
I've only been to one zoo in the last fifteen years or so, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. And it is free. So all zoos are free, right?
Look at this, look at this project. I like to think it has been about You; but it has been about me. Every single sentence, every single thought; Me.
I've been nothing but honest in these pages. I leave out little details, or adjectives, because I can. I think I do a good job of showing myself to be the bad guy when I am. But I'm probably a little short in that aspect. It is ok.
This is my preface. This is my life. This is a zoo. This is a fucking mess.
And I am happy.
So let's go.
It is 4:30(ish) in the morning. There was an art show. I showed art. And the band played. Good. It was nice. Now here is where you come in.
That is what we always said. A couple days before that first night, when we threw all the bullshit out the window, I was so honest with you about the state of my affairs, my life, my pain, and my happiness that you were honest back. We were having shit days. And every day after that, every single fucking day, total honesty.
Not any more.
You barely talk to me. Ever. And when you do, well, honestly, all you care about is getting back the painting you gave me.
I gave you a painting.
I don't want it back.
All of my friends had to hear about you, all of the time. Lovers and ex-lovers offered their advice on you, me, my ability to fall in love to fast and your possible ability to destroy me. But you know that.
Everyone knows that.
You came to the art show. You gave me a one arm hug. You should have just held my hand like Vanessa Escamilia did Memorial Day weekend, 1999. Fingers out, nothing coming back, like I told you about. You didn't talk to me. You didn't notice all of my art.
And you left.
You left before the band played. You left before we could catch up. You left before I could see how things were now, a month after seeing you last. You gave me no chance. You gave me no decision. You gave me no thought. And you gave me no hope.
But you sent me a text 3 minutes after walking out the door, right before we played, to ask about getting your painting back.
You can have it.
I don't want to be reminded of you anymore.
I started painting because of you. I wanted to impress you. I wanted to have something in common. I wanted to have more to talk about.
And then I started painting for you, about you. I was already writing about you, on here and in poems I threw together on trains.
I fell in love with you.
I missed you every second of the day. The slightest thought of you made me smile. I counted the minutes until I saw you. I knew when we worked together, I knew when we didn't. I listened to bands and songs you recommended. I thought about you all the time.
I am listening to a mix. Its for a road trip, a long drive. It is for a drive that I didn't make to you, for one I will never make.
I can't hold a flame for you anymore. I can't. That flame burned me.
Maybe you are the one that got away. Maybe I am the one that got away. Maybe we can't have people. Maybe all of this hurts too much to think about.
I fell hard. I gave my all. And at times it seemed like you did too. Or you were close.
Maybe you were. I can only trust the things you said. You never would have lied to me...
I told you once that you were my muse. That you inspired all sort of things in me. I never lied to you. I meant every single fucking word that came out of my body. I told you that I couldn't wait to publish books so I could put in the beginning of every single one "For Gina".
Gina, I loved you. It might have been too soon. It might have been at the wrong time. It might have been misplaced. I might have fucked up and let everyone see my heart on my sleeve. But, it was there. I meant it. I felt my heart pound. I saw the thoughts run circles around my head. I couldn't contain myself around you.
But not tonight.
Total honesty: things changed.
And I didn't change them.
This might not be a book. And this is definitely not the beginning. And it is closer to the end then we, or this, or it, or us have ever been. And I owe you this.
I never saw this coming.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Yesterday I spent my time in someone's bed. It wasn't mine. It was for sure not yours. And the day before, or maybe the day before, someone, who obviously wasn't you, spent time in my bed. It is supposed to make me feel better, supposed to keep my mind off of you; off of everything. But it doesn't.
Yesterdays pile up. They have names, and titles, and mixes, and fucking blog entries. They all have the same base, the same motivation, the same reason. We all know. We all saw it at the beginning. And that is ok.
I don't worry about yesterday. Not anymore. I've had a ton, a shit-ton if you will. And some of them have been fantastic. But most of them were shit. Don't believe me? Here's some thoughts.
Yesterday I dropped out of school.
Yesterday I got fired.
Yesterday my mom moved out.
Yesterday my dad moved away.
Yesterday my mom moved away.
Yesterday I was left.
Yesterday I left _____.
Yesterday I overdrew my bank account.
Yesterday I couldn't make rent.
Yesterday I ran out of paint.
Yesterday I couldn't write.
Yesterday I lost my voice.
Yesterday I lost a friend.
Yesterday you moved away.
Yesterday you didn't talk to me.
Yesterday I missed you.
Yesterday I loved you.
But then they change.
I try again.
A very specific part of my life is coming to a close soon. Or at least how I documented it.
I won't ever be able to make sense of it.
I may be seventy years old, cuddling on a couch, reminiscing with you on the piece of furniture some of my friends, and some of your friends, and strangers and day laborers helped us move from place to place, about this letter, or that other letter. There will be memories that got pushed out the back of our minds by pictures of family, vacations, funerals, weddings, births and the type of things that people ask "where were you when..."
Or maybe we ebb and flow over the next few years, never quite lining up, always in the wrong place at the wrong time. A decade later there is a familiar, but strained, if not entirely forced, evening with a cocktail and some small talk. And that night we finally walk out of eachother's lives. Better off, but definitely worse for the wear.
Or maybe in a couple nights you show up again. Breeze into my life. And we see it is wrong. That we lost whatever we had. Or there was never anything at all.
Yesterday everyone was right.
Yesterday I was wrong.
Yesterday, you, you knew all along.
I guess that is the problems with yesterdays. You never really know.
Friday, July 09, 2010
I am not sure where I have gone. These last few days I make choices, turn down streets, pull my wallet out, or stare into a mirror and it is like watching a bad play. My movements are stiff, the dialogue is disjointed and unnatural, and there are new participants every scene. It is strange, awkward at least, painful at best.
That fall really took it out of me. It was forced detox, cold turkey. That routine is gone now. That habit doesn't fit into my daily routine.
But it was always anything but routine.
A goodnight kiss between beers at a bar down the street.
A couch cuddle session on a thirty minute break.
A sunrise through a window when least expected.
A declaration of desire in a tent in a yard.
A long walk with no map or sidewalks.
The silence that has taken the place of that is overwhelming. All my thoughts are as sharp as a pin dropping into my skin. My breaths are hard and deliberate, no longer my body remembering to stay alive. My words are strewn everywhere, left to rot, be crushed, be lost, and be forgotten on front yards, in alleys, on stall walls and on the ceiling of my bedroom.
A stranger walks the hall, drives my car, makes my money, and writes this.
These words don't look right either.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
It used to be different. I used to literally sit by the phone, waiting for calls. Now there is no house phone, just the cell phone that sits in my pocket, waiting for calls.
I regularly loose things down the drain of my shower. Thoughts. Plans. Lovers. Friends. Ideas. Goals. Sympathies. Time. The water takes them with it when it rolls down my skin. Some I let go, freely. Some I fight for. But they all go. Eventually.
I have probably lost more things this way then I realize, or that I care to admit. I come up with ways to counteract the effect. I turn the lights off. I play music what some would consider too loud. I bring lovers in. But they all still go. Eventually.
Today it was music. Loud. Very loud. Music that reminded me of you.
Everything reminds me of you lately. Faces of women I don't know. Songs you have never heard. Maps to places you don't belong. The ding my phone makes when someone who is never you decides to send me a message. The steps I take between the refrigerator and the counter when I pour myself a glass of water. Sweaty punk kids. People kissing in the streets. Sidewalks.
I decided today was your turn. I made a date with you and my drain. It is time. I can't keep up my end of the bargain; I can't burn a candle for you anymore. It is out of sight, out of mind.
Your head is stronger than your heart.
Mine is not.
And in the steam, in the scalding water, in the place where I have had my heart pound harder than most, I let you go.
No ill feelings. No cross words. No regrets.
I heard a ding in the distance.
And for once it was you.
I responded, slowly. Then another ding. Then the phone rang.
You would call.
You would know.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
If we could go back, maybe to April, or, fuck it, March, and line up a group of friends, and past lovers, and acquaintances, and ask them, what would they say?
- Well, there's the age...
- You don't exactly know what you are doing...
- She seems nice, but...
- You know how it's going to end...
- How many times will this mistake be made...
- If you had your choice, is this how you would spend it...
or my personal favorite, revealed to me about 6 hours ago
- You pretend to be a bohemian artist type, who doesn't care, but you really just want to love these girls, and you smother them. It is a blessing and a curse.
It feels like I cant fall in love anymore. Or that none of my feelings are honest. My heart is beating, but maybe my mouth is full of lies? Maybe my heart isn't even beating. It's too strong, it cares too much, it is probably shit.
Let us talk about these variables. They have been attacking my mind lately.
There is distance: out of sight, out of mind.
There is situation: exes, dorms, family bedrooms, disease, or mental illness.
There is emotion: I am here, and I am something, but not enough.
There is everything else: What do you want here? Hair color? Music preference? Area Code?
I could have been in love, forever, FOREVER!, sixteen times before. And maybe they never counted.
I don't fucking know what I am doing. I have no idea. But I know this, from the bottom of my shitty, failing, heart:
Two weeks ago, ten days ago, six days ago, two days ago, this thing, inside of my chest, was on the verge of pounding out of my body. I felt it in my fingers when I passed out coffee. It shook my steps around the cities I spent time in. It rattled up my spine, to my brain, where I couldn't form words, or thoughts, or emotions, that didn't involve you. The intensity was rare. The feeling was similar. I've been in love. I've wanted to die for things. I have been comfortable on quitting things for other things. But these days it bruised my chest from the inside out.
I'm a pawn in a scheme. I'm an alternate. I'm something you'd trade in a barter only society, for carpet cleaning or an orgasm or two. I am a monkey, and, yes, I am dancing, but I also have my cymbals, and they are crashing, and I am smiling, and someone, or everyone is taking advantage.
Change one of these variables, or eliminate them, and this entry is V is for Valuable.. or V is for Vanessa...
But with them, as they stand, I am trying to figure out a way to be and not look like an asshole, or at least a fool.
Friday, July 02, 2010
If it were as easy to get pills as they made it seem in grade school, I would be flying on reds, blues, pinks, purples or whatever sort of prescription that would pull me out of the ground. I'd swallow them whole. I'd crush them up in my bathroom and snort them. If it made sense to turn them into a liquid and shoot them into a vein I totally would.
See, I've been falling lately. In all sorts of ways. Falling for old tricks. Falling while standing up. Falling off a cliff. Falling in love.
It's taken a toll on my body, on my head, on my heart. I've been crying in showers, on the phone with friends, walking on the street, while smoking, while painting, while singing, while writing and while thinking of you. I've been making up reasons and situations to explain how things went so wrong so fast. I'm searching through old text messages, replaying old phone conversations, and watching from some part in my mind all the sweetest heartfelt things that fell from your finger tips or rolled off of your lips. Total honesty. That is what it was all supposed to be, and I pray that it was. And I pray that it is.
A women on television sitting in an office chair said last night that "they" could never get the timing right. It hit me square in the chest. My timing is fucked.
We walked out of the party, to get some fresh air, to talk, to just be somewhere else. The house felt like the old houses in Lancaster that I used to leave to go puke, fuck, or just go home and sleep off whatever was in my system. It felt strange, holding your hand, leaving what reminded me of an old life, to wander off into what could be a new life. We found a corner and laid on the sidewalk. There was enough of a breeze for you to have a jacket. The smoke from our cigarettes would briefly block out some stars before disappearing. We talked about everything; I could smell the scotch on your breath. A while later I could taste it in your mouth. Your kisses were always so hard, so real, so focused and I miss them.
Later you emptied your insides into a gutter next to the car. You've been there before, and I have too. I've been me and I've been you. I held your hair, rubbed your back and tried to pull together some sort of sentence that would distract you from the burning in the pit of your stomach. You fell asleep on the way home with your head on my lap and my hand lightly brushing your hair.
There are moments where everything seems perfect. It is hard to recreate them. Its harder to think about them. I don't know exactly how that night happened. I don't know how we got there. I don't know if we can go back. I don't think I want to.
Planning to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other, didn't involve me looking back. Now it is all I am doing.
I miss you.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
The train was full of punks. And Greeks. And heart broken women. And rail weary men. And me. I had the biggest smile on my face.
You've developed this talent lately, of making me smile, the biggest, goofiest smile of my life. It would show up at work, at shows, in bed, driving, and right then. There aren't words for the excitement that was running through my veins. It had only been a week, but it felt like forever.
I saw an old window from the train. It was the one I woke up under the first morning of me being engaged. That house is empty now, or at least not populated by the people who I spent Christmas mornings with. There are a lot of windows like that in my life, looking into houses full of people that I don't know anymore. My stomach dropped as the train went by.
I also saw the hotel where we had our first night together. Back when I was throwing up for no reason. When I was drunk all day. When you were just another woman. Back before I fell for you.
We spent hours on the beach together. We found our own little spot and just let time slip away. I erased it from my head. And I erased location. And I erased my existence. I saw birds and angels and the boldest rays of sun in the sky. The words on my skin rearranged. I reaffirmed my love. I realigned my hate. We didn't talk for hours but every time I kissed you, or our eyes met, you smiled.
The sun burned my skin. I got uncomfortable with some of your friends. A stamp on the ceiling reminded me of an ex. Things got rough in my head. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted you to hold me.
We talked about all of this when we went back to your place. You have a better understanding of yourself. You know to be warm is to be happy. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned. I couldn't be close enough to you. I couldn't hold you tight enough. I couldn't kiss you hard enough. I couldn't be anywhere else right then. I couldn't let this all go. I couldn't fail again.
But I did. And I am. Failing.
I didn't want it to be different. I didn't want us to change. But we had.
(playing on repeat: House of Cards by Radiohead. It explains even more.)