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There are days when the colors of the world fade into the sky, leaving even the stars black and white. Days when one struggles to throw the covers back and shuffle through hallways, bare feet on cold tile. Days of working loveless jobs and seeking dreams within the cracks of sidewalks, or in the faces of strangers. Days when dreams seem so far away, like a loved one who's body rotting beneath the earth. Unattainable dreams are no longer realistic musings, but all together unforgettable - like the feel of the sun, a favorite song, or the scent of lilacs.
What keeps me here in the garden of pale daisies isn't the scent of virgin soil, nor the withering buds of neglect, nor the tormented nightingales forced to sing Mozart's symphonies. It isn't the pansies, nor morning glories, nor the sweet forget-me-nots – which I leave, forgotten on window ledges and in dusty vases. Nor is it the weeping willow that shades me without question and listens without word because it's love is a thoughtful thing. Meanwhile I dream of something sweetly injurious, but bold – a feminine bud kin to civility and love. Her name? Not sweet Susan, but rather, Rose.
Little girl sitting on the edge of summer sucking the sun through a straw, will you save a sip for us, or leave us in the dark with the moon and its tiny vagrant stars? Will you capture innocence in jars and watch the wings of existence beat upon the rooftops? Will you stir the wind with your constant twirling and blanket the earth with your golden hair? Will you find happiness in flight and seek love in places where others breed hate? I think you will – I think you will rouse moonbeams and sunsets with your laughter and light.
On first meeting, I can't breathe. He's quite handsome and tall with broad shoulders and big hands. I want to disappear in his arms and be crushed against his skin. He smells like soap and aftershave, remotely man, remotely toxic. I'm intrigued. Perhaps it is his laughter, or the way he walks as though an army should follow. He is confident and cool, while I am a clumsy beast. He renders me foolishly, hopelessly in love. I'm reduced to nodding and smiling. I try speaking, "ohjmgoodhowdedo?" (That's the stupidity of a woman, loving a man prior to getting his name.)
I don't dream as often as I use to. It's hard for me to forget the pain you've caused, the pain plays like a home movie – reel spinning out of control until the screen goes white. White as my face upon the realization you have found another. I edit the violent scenes and dub over the parts where you say, "I don't love you." Your mere presence has reeked havoc on my soul, forever altering the course of my existence, so that I am no longer a tree rooted in a safe place. I am a drifter, a drifting casualty.
Lustful pools of identity, accusatory things known to man as countenance. I am a soulless thought, built upon neglect. No fruit of Normandy. No Countess fraught with damsel syndrome. No peace, no love, no virtue. I am merely chained by conformity. Wakeful and watching, I dry sleepless nights from red eyes. Nights were my body role-plays a bed of pillows and velvet contours. No hands to warm my bridles, nor still my racing heart. I ache from lacking the knowledge you procreate, words spindles and rotating on edgeless summits. I chew boredom as though fat. Only, I never swallow you.
Love me but don't touch me. I am not ready for contact - skin on skin. I fear the intimacy of knowing you that way, gently as though I'm tender and soft. I am not. I am broken, jagged, pieced together by will. My will to survive in a world where flowers die is hopelessly romantic. Dying flowers, like the secrets I whispered in confession but did not know you could hear. I am wombless. Heartless. Soulless. The angels weep for me. My dark world, a place they fear. How will I survive? I wish I knew but darkness prevails.
I don't want to do this anymore. I can't pretend to belong, when I don't fit. Who I am to you? The world likes you, you have always been the popular one, the one with all the friends. You remember things. You care. You're focused and understanding. But what about me? I only love myself. That's how it's always been. Me against the world. Me against myself. Me against the rage. How can I live in a place that doesn't know the difference between my face and the shadows? God you are known, adored, and loved, not hated as I.
There are two ways to look at a child's smile. One, the child has no idea what's going on in the world and is all right with not knowing. Ignorance is bliss in the eyes of a three year old. Or two, the child knows something the adults don't know and is harboring the secret of life. Only, by the time the child reaches adolescence she or he will no longer remember that meaning. That's why adolescence is such a bitter time. Knowledge is lost among the growth spurts and demands to grow up. Hence, Peter Pan syndrome in men.
Perhaps I am a writer, perhaps I am not. Some days the words flow, other days they do not. Some days are magical and the characters control my pen, other days are blank pages with no ideas as to where to begin. Some days are remarkable, some days are sad. Some days are gray and some days are red. Some days the moon is full, some days it's the sun. Some days are beginnings, while other days come undone. It's the clouds and rain, that bring the tears. No joy, only distant fears. Captured in time and lost to reflection.
Easy enough. These dreams I have are childish versions of reality. You want me to spend my life on education, and I want to spend it dreaming. Dreaming that I am an actress on stage, the lights warm my once cold lungs, lungs that could never work hard enough. I'm a writer, my arms covered in ink, my pen poised on my smiling lips. I'm a jazz singer, the lounge is intoxicating. People come just to stare at one another. It's a loud fusion of rocker souls and jazz intellects. I'm a fashion designer, my shirt on your body. Godless.
No words slip free from the weights of prosperity, greed, and religion. These ties of conformity persuade us to indulge in a lifestyle that leaves much to be desired. The universe is not loved; it is looked upon as stars, moon, and sun. Mere planets in which life forms are present but do not coincide. Places in which, we are not the richest country, but the poorest in soul, in mercy, and in love. The only hope is that after death, there is some brilliant world in which we will exist as one. One race, one species, one kind – "Mankind".
Intensity is fluid. It is the maniac and fashionably free of norms. It is what makes art – abstract, language – prolific, and duty – obligatory. It's what creates timetables, appointments, dials on watches, sunrises and sunsets. It is life on auto control. Life is a wilderness in which we are lost and can't escape, but if we were to escape, we would find we find we are dead. Pale shadows of moonlight stripped of souls. Vagabonds drifting on open plains of mortality. We are recycled vegetables, still-like models of flesh and pulp, his and her photographic recollections of life. We simply create.
Remember nights of velvet, laying forehead to forehead, dreaming of life somewhere else. It didn't matter to us where as long as we were there together. We'd spent a lifetime looking for one another, wishing upon the stars, and praying to God that we find each other. It took us years spent in lonely solitude before it happened. Years of wondering whether, there was indeed someone for us. We existed painfully, our lives spurred by the knowledge of being alone. Once heavy with bitterness, we melted under the rays of love. Two hopeful dreamers, but I the fool, for believing.
Sandcastles, reflections of gold, cast upon royal waters. Moonlight sprung on pale bottles of Champagne, cast upon love. Stars, brilliant map keepers and jeweled embers, casts upon wishes. Painted portraits, faces of people captured in momentary bliss, cast upon stretched canvas. Calligraphy, flowering buds of blossoming words, cast upon parched and thirsty paper. Jazz, the melted composition of tempo and pulse, cast upon ears of musically apt cats. Love, lingering kisses and coupling, cast upon hopeful swingers. Chocolate, delicately rich and intoxicatingly sweet, cast upon moist and ready mouths. Life, hourglass shaped, cast upon cryptic units of time nearly ended.
Why ask questions if there are never answers? We all want to know why we exist. Why we even care about the knowledge of existence. To whom do we owe our lives? We all want peace, less war. We want to fall in love. We want beautiful things and bright futures for our children. We are always planning and preparing. We are hopeful. Watchful. Insightful. Can there be a God? Who would invest so much time in a world predominantly guided by hatred? Why the suffering, the turmoil, the lack of trust between nations, between men, between mothers and fathers?
Today I wrote a hundred words. Tomorrow I will write one-hundred more. I will keep on writing until there is no ink in my pen. Until there is no keyboard. No paper. I will write until I've finished chapters, memoirs, and novels. I will collect movie stubs and write on them. I will write on napkins, on tables, on backs of people's legs. I will write until there is nothing left, until my words are eaten up. Or maybe half-eaten. I will write graffiti. I will write great literature. I will write junk. Useless garbage, the spewing of unwelcome words.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to see a face staring at you – only by the time your eyes have adjusted to the dark, the face is gone? That happened to me last night. It must have felt real because my heart was racing. I wonder if the man meant to harm me. Who was he? What did he want? Why me? Maybe when people die they aren't dead and gone. Maybe they stay around. Maybe they fall in love with the living. Only we can't see them, so we can never reciprocate that love.
Physical contact. Is that a touch? Can you be penetrated by words, by a whisper, by a hush? By breathless increments of carbon dioxide brushed against the cheek. What about eye contact, isn't that physical? Like an ominous man on a train platform, looking at you as though he can read your sins like chapters from a book? Or a hungry child watching you, knowing you've eaten while his belly is empty. Doesn't that hurt like a stab wound? Or the smell like that of vomit, urine, or refuse? Ever notice how one whiff is a punch to the gut?
If you love me, truly so. Hide me from the darkness should I die here. These coffins? Are they newly lined for me? Should I keep my eyes closed or open? Will I be paralyzed by fear? Is there anything left for me here? Here? Did you weep for me as you always do? Did you pray to the angels? Do they still visit the graveyards? Do they meet you in the dark? Is dawn still the brightest tomorrow? Will I walk among the moors or through the hearts of weary men? Or fly above mortality, pale and immortal me?
No emotion. No regret. No hunger. No power. No glory. No fight. No winners. No losers. No vengeance. No lights. No fatigue. No distance. No rights. No dreams. No home. No safe place. No love. No need. No desire. No pitch. No tone. Nothing is still. Nothing is new. Nothing is pure. Nothing is solid. Nothing is free. Nothing is space and time. Nothing is unwashed dreams. Nothing is the angle in which the wind blows. Nothing is life. Nothing is pain. Nothing is the knowledge of truth. Nothing is the distance between us. Nothing simply is. I am nothing
Hush. Seek the story told. Dare to flip the pages. The adventure you seek is not in your feet, but in your mind. Oh, dream of those forgotten tales. Neglect mindless readings, but not fairytales. The adventures should burn images, speak to your heart, nettle your insides until you weep for the truth. Knowledge is what you seek when there are answers to find. There is beauty in words when they tell so much in such petite spaces. Lines read and reread for sake of words and words, alone. Hyperboles the color of trees, waving limbs in greeting. Hello. Hello.
What if I'm not brave? What if my back is against the wall? What if I can't fight because my arms are weak, and I've grown tired of battling a war I can't win. I'm exhausted, drained of everything beautiful. What if I'm a ghost walking through life, and no one can truly see me for what I am. I am chi, a force, a spirit, a soul on the verge of awakening. I should only need a dream to build on. Dream of me. Dream of me tonight when the world fades. Show me I am not all alone.
Last night while I was sleeping, I saw things one should never see. I saw a clown on a bicycle riding past me. I saw a gypsy dressed in clover dancing to a song. A song sung by a man, who keep singing the words all wrong. I saw a lion in my wardrobe, trying on my shoes. I saw Henry Miller penning thoughts to his beautiful June muse. I saw a magician wish me away. I saw my life how it could be instead of how it is today. So tomorrow I will start again, begin my life – anew!
"Screw monogamy!" my shoes cry. "What have you done for us lately?" "Nothing. It's winter and I will not wear open-toe shoes." "But other women do," My Manolos shout from the dark-pit of closet. "Yeah, other women do a lot of things." "Like getting . . ." "Oh, Jimmy Choo . . .how're you? I haven't worn you in while, perhaps I never will." "Leave her alone," my Asphalt's cry. "You smelly fool. She'll discard you too "Her shoes are like men. When you're in, you're in." "When you're out?" Closing closet. Darkness falls. The men-shoes knot up in fear.
Nobody wants to know me. I've lost my way. Don't be long for death will come for me. I'm still now, mere pavement in the road. Only the bumps of gravel betray I'm breathing, breathing – in and out like childbirth. I've been naughty. I've been naïve. I've been a rocker with wings. Only the music doesn't fly me anymore. Hello. Don't walk away. Are you there? Can I go with you? Will you save me? Will you save my soul? If you walk away like before, how will I know love. Good-bye then. Death is my virtuous unloved. Save yourself.
At the supermarket, my nails dig into the fresh fruit. I push my cart through the crowded isles, running over toes, banging into elbows, dropping purses from carts. I pick up everything; inspect the date, marred marks, or any other signs of imperfection. I choose generic over brand. I look into other people's carts and if it looks like a good idea, invest in what they have –supermarket bandit. Then in line, I push my overflowing cart into the ten-items or less line. Finally, when paying the bill, I pull out a wad of coupons I forgot I was carrying.
I only thought. What did I think? Oh, yes. Today I was here among the earth. I placed myself into the earth like flowers seeds. I was watered but did not feel clean even among the dirt. The insects made room for me. They clawed new roadways, new paths, continuously burrowing. They went 0-2 miles in fifteen seconds, just enough time for me to sneeze blowing them along dark highways. Worms wiggled past; they did not wave as the centipedes but brushed me with their segmented skin. I read the chapters. Chapter One – we wiggle without heads. Don't we all?
I can't breathe today – that sometimes happens when you have asthma. My lips are blue. It looks like I've been eating blueberries on a hot summer day, and my lips are stained with their sweetness. My lungs are tight, I feel like the Berlin Wall is now pressed against my chest, holding me prisoner beneath the rubble, allowing glimpses of sunlight to escape and warm my face. It hurts to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. So much work, my lungs are exhausted from their repetitious workout. They're working though and I'm alive, so perhaps I shouldn't complain. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
The Tip Jar