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wine & iron
You are embroidered with the gilded
thread of motherhood, finely tailored
where I have lost my hems and patches.
For years our garments were the same,
from fabric of shoe to fabric of skin.
Now the starch of responsibility
presses into your days as I wrinkle
like an extra dress in a suitcase.
You will never be
without reason again. In pregnancy
your belly stretched; now your heart
must stretch around your world, your
hands juggling gold-threaded needles
to add the capacity to its inseam.
That's the beauty of watching you
grow – seeing your body shrink
back, everything else expanding.
The birds are starting up. There's this one bird.. this one resilient, quintessentially cliché "early bird" who starts tweeting his little heart out sometime between 5:05 and 5:15 am (at least according to the current season). Never fails. Sounds like he's right outside the window most of the time. It makes going to bed at 6am seem even more absurd and abnormal than it already would be. Maybe a little hopeful too – he's up, he's singing, and I have assurance of a new day before my new day even begins. I wonder if sunrise will always be my bedtime cue.
incredible. indelible. delightful. price.
sinful. practice. blonde. boarding.
contrast. sibling. behavior. discipline.
piece. shift. Christ. stretch. umpteen.
spell. faint. correct. toilet. boil. uncoil.
sprint. invisible. speech. treacherous.
covert. fingertip. cigarette. lipstick.
boom. vroom. concentrate. bait. yet.
sobering. dictating. caring. once. cuss.
undying. duty. bloody. catfish. oyster.
rabbit. yours. horse. ham. bows. pink.
conspire. goatee. ankle. button. tweet.
bun. reverse. crow. memorable. puss.
staples. wood. open. passage. crying.
camel. guitar. dictionary. requiem.
mustard. tape. functional. bellyache.
bombard. prince. past. bridge. cook.
dawn. hefty. cracker. what. fifteen.
hunger. stool. stepper. wavy. brown.
office. zeppelin. twisted. boater. glad.
pimp. crawl. wingtip. lapel. unduly.
I feel bad that he has a job. I know that all my scholarship money has been spent on the two of us. But at the same time, that's money that shows up automatically in my bank account; it's not something I have to put on a uniform and please people behind a desk for. But I'm glad he's got something, some kind of timely structure to prepare him for what's ahead. We definitely don't have a responsible schedule now. I'd like to be able to wake up with him, shower with him, kiss him goodbye everyday - awake, aware.
Oh. My. God. Have you ever sat down to get your bearings and realized you were sitting in the middle of a minefield? I feel like I was plodding on blindly through school.. The next thing I know, I read the syllabus for my classes and realize I'm utterly fucked. A paper due Wednesday got turned in on Friday; a paper due Thursday is just now getting turned in on Monday morning. Tuesday, I have 40 pages of journal entries to turn into an English class – I've probably got 20 pages done right now. Finals are next week. Kill me.
I've been watching yoga when I'm still up in the a.m. workout shows. It's on PBS, this woman, Wai Lana. She stretches and bends and arches and balances on a rock with the ocean for a backdrop. Her clothes are always floral pantsuits, and she's always wearing a lei. The part that keeps me watching, though, is the voice-over of her instructions. She has an accent that's perfectly accompanied by the calmness of her tone and movements. Listening makes me feel like I'm floating on seawash. Someday I'll stretch too, but for now she brings yoga's peace to my ears.
He's a graduate now, on his way to a real career. He doesn't seem half as nervous as I would be. But I guess uncertainty bothers me much more – knowing I have to move out of my current place by a deadline, that the second home I usually stay in will also be sold this summer, that my grades are in jeopardy, etc.
We all took pictures, him in a cap and wrinkled blue gown, after margaritas and crown & cokes with the folks. Barb mentioned marriage and grandkids. I'd have blushed if I wasn't already flush with summer sweat.
Rotten fish and ice caves. The hollowing of everything that composes you, a forced emptying of your strength, a belief that there was never anything there to begin with.
Boils on skin. The intrusion into your well of secrets. Burning your favorite books. Someone else burning your poetry. The itch inside your skin that can never be touched, never relieved.
Eternal fat camp, fashion camp, face camp, faith camp. A voice that never stops guiding you in the wrong direction, but you have to trust it – because it's your own.
Remember – your body is capable of lying to you.
I can't believe we're actually moving out of here. This apartment is my strongest place-based memory of Flagstaff, college, Jordan. Now the lease is going to be signed away and we'll probably never set foot in it again after July 31st.
our own place together – that's amazing to me. I won't be trying to settle into an already settled home, but we'll be arranging our lives and our possessions and knick-knacks together. It feels like such a solid, cementing event in a relationship.
Do you know how happy I am, baby, sharing keys to the same door?
Alaska, here I come. Two weeks with my folks visiting Raul and Ang. In her "We can't wait!" email, customary of Ang, she mentioned that the mosquitoes are rampant and that we can relax because they bought a gun. How… relaxing.
We'll be doing a train ride, probably river rafting, hikes, day cruises. Who knows. Dad's probably been crossing off days in a calendar since he bought the tickets. He's so proud of how much money he's saved.
My biggest excitement is from the late-night talks Raul and I will catch up on even though he works the next day.
We've found somewhere
that really is our own.
Your name's written
on walls in my ink; you
built my smile into the
We know the stairstep that
creaks; how I always leave
the door just slightly ajar,
part of me that never
There are holes and stains
we can't name. Our somewhere
can be dusty, dark.
But open the window, light
sliding through blind slits,
see stripes of smoke,
marking an afternoon
We exist inside walls without
plaster, studs, or lumber;
no map to navigate,
but I've gotten lost and
found my way back before.
Grades got posted. "A" in Music in America and Sociology of Gender. "B" in Intro to Women Writer's. And "C" in Intro to Sociology and 400-level poetry. The last two grades are attributed entirely to absences. Who knows what it'll take for me to step up my game on that. I got wonderful reviews on all but one of my poems, but I easily missed a third or more of the classes. What explains that – laziness? bad sleeping habits? no motivation? the price of presence?
Imagine if all communication was written, meetings and exchange of information conducted only in text.
Crisp encounters. There is a crunch in this smile. There is clarity in pupils. Imagine skin like taco shells, eyes like frail glass, voice like tissue paper. Feel it, crisp.
He makes me sneeze, like the sun. I want to shield my eyes, look down, cover my mouth when the sneeze actually comes so that I don't cough out my soul. Who catches the souls that escape?
Freeze me – or freeze you with medusa hair, snakes that wrangle with air and turn a face to stone. It's who I will become, seclude madwoman, afraid to look, cold to who's looking.
Rock Hard Bodies. 100 Hottest Hotties. The Fabulous Life of… Flab to Fab. The E! True Hollywood Story. Nip/Tuck. Sex in the City. The Swan. The Bachelor. The Bachelorette. For Love or Money. Temptation Island.
When does disgusting stop being entertaining? It's not all disgusting, but it's all an unnecessary message.
These lives are more important than yours – important enough that you stop your own to watch. This is how relationships are built. This is how they end. This is how we look healthy. This is who defines what "good" looks like.
The TV should be thrown out the window.
Bubblegum bullshit. I hate bubble gum. Pink cubes of rubber. Feels like I've been chewing for months within minutes. I remember our family road trips when I was a kid, and how we would always buy packs of bubble gum at every single rest stop we made, something to hold us over until we arrived, until we ate. We would have contests for the biggest bubble (I never did very well), and get multiple flavors to spare the boredom.
Now, mint sticks are all I can handle. Leave the cinnamon, the watermelon, the fruit stripes. Just breath enhancement for me.
I want to get a tattoo. Dad's adding two to his three. He's got the rose with Mom's name beneath it, a C-130 Herc for Raul, the fire department symbol for Ray. Now he's adding the U.S. Air Force symbol and a cross. He's got to squeeze it all onto his upper arm so it's hidden by polo shirts – he would never look less than professional. He wants to add a bug for my sister (nickname, Reenee-bug) and an ink well and feather with my name.
I can only think of moon and stars for me – wearing peace on skin.
"Dude, let's go get some tequila! There's a great sale on Sauza!"
That was the start of my night. Christy and I come back to the apartment, take shots until the bottle's gone. And then we're off… Off to see what's happening anywhere we can. She passes out in a friend's lap – hours before I come close to feeling tired. People peak out, one by one, everyone leaving.
B asks if I still want to hang out; I do. Only flashes of memory from there. Red hair. Nipple ring. A condom. I can't find anything – my clothes, purse.
He went to work today with no goodbye. He came back, found me laying in bed, asked me if I wanted to talk about last night. I said "Talk about what? I don't remember anything." He asks if I remember the conversation we had when we got home. "Sort of."
All of a sudden, the carpet is wet with thrown beers and glasses. His face is wrought with need – need for answers, for reassurance, for honesty most of all. But I can't tell the truth from spilled liquor.
He packs, walks out the door. I stare at it for hours.
This is insane, fucking insane. I'm losing my mind. None of my words make sense. My thoughts are nothing but a raging flood of sorrow – a whirlwind of tears, a niagra of regret. So much crying, so much crying that the circles under my eyes feel like open wounds, salted with sting at the first drop.
I think I heard him say hello. I heard the keys in the door, the creak of it opening. I can't make it up or down the stairs, into the cave, onto the blue couch without an outburst, a fit, an episode.
I grabbed a beer, popped the top off, took a sip, and held back vomit. I walked back in the kitchen, looked at our shelf of bottles, and wanted to break them all on cement, hear their shattering shards. Instead I just got the stool and big black trash bags. One by one, I dropped each glass container in, thought of all the money we spent, thought of all the nights we forgot. I won't have a pedestal anymore to the things that made me lose you. I won't let our place be decorated in a celebration of my sin.
It's actually real this morning – the keys in the door, the opening, Jordan walking through. What is it – 7am? He's been drinking, hasn't slept all night; he's already got a liquor to toss in the fridge.
He looks beautiful. Beautiful and sad.
I feel like I've been holding my breath, waiting for this. I told myself that when it happened, I would run downstairs, fall down at his feet, cry in his lap. But I was so afraid my touch would repulse him. I paced upstairs. We sat separately on the couch until love returned.
And it always does. Always.
regardless of anything else, don't you want to know if you did? even without hope, won't you at least go and ask him? or just consider it gone forever without trying, move on to the next person so you don't have to be like this alone?
I already know. I know it happened. Everything felt like a nightmare - when I woke to when you left. I didn't know truth from half-truths fashioned out of fear… couldn't come to grips with it because I didn't believe it happened, that it was me, couldn't fathom – not this, hurting you like this again.
He knew my track record (self-made but not chosen). I thought being honest might be a key, that highlighting shame would force reparations. Maybe that theory held merit, maybe just without liquor.
After building ourselves back up, strongly reconnecting since summer… I was sure I was there, in a place where my past was really the past. I should've held on to it, that place… should've held tenaciously, because I was never so certain, solid.
But something got in the way. How could I get so far removed from myself that I didn't know what I was losing, giving up?
I went to Lake Havasu with Dad. He woke me up at 5:45am; I hadn't even gone to bed yet, was still up on the computer, in fact. My plan was to sleep in the car. But Dad, God bless his heart, would NOT stop talking. When he saw me grab the pillow I brought, he'd interrupt the groggy positioning of my head with "Sooooo, what else can we talk about? Hmm…" And he continued to make small talk until he remembered someone from high school to ask about, or some story about a wedding or funeral he'd performed lately.
I've got bruises and a scrape on my leg to remind me of it, to remind me of… something. Not that I needed the painful mementos – even the parts of the night I don't remember are branded somewhere in me.
Did I fall? Did he cut me somehow? My jeans weren't torn, so I know when it happened I was… unclothed.
The word naked is still too much. To know that I was, to say it, to see myself in that room, that way. Who was I? Who was he? How did it all…
Christ, there's no end to this.
I got to see Alex for the first time in ages. I haven't seen him in a year at least, can't remember the last time we talked. So strange… that he emailed me entirely out of the blue, said he'd been thinking of me, that we should catch up – within 24 hours of my arriving home after the break-up. There's a reason our friendship lasted longer than any others I had from high school.
We went to Charlie's, my first gay bar. A handful of drag queens singing mostly country songs, and lovely-bodied men in cowboy hats behind the counter.
Told Thomas about my relationship ending. Pretty much all about it. We were only talking online, but the confused dismay in his response was obvious. Utter disbelief. I think I told him to add to the shock factor for myself. His reaction was a way of saying to myself –
this is how far gone you let something go.
I remember when Thomas used to relish in the tiniest hint of sex-based talk, the mention of a kiss even. We've both grown up since then; still, the conversation came down like bricks – the two of us heavy with horror, lost imaginings.
how could you've known what it really meant to me. even if i told you what it was supposed to be… after i dropped you off i finished that seven and… you'll figure out the rest.
How could I know what - what we meant to you? what our last night meant to you?
The aftereffects of finishing the seagram's don't matter. You were drunk, crying, and alone. I was sober, crying, and alone. Those are the only facts of us left.
Maybe neither of us will ever know what any of it meant. Except that it meant the world.
first thing i did when i got home this morning was look for you. called when i didn't have some idea of your existence. i want to see you tonight; it must be why i'm here. despite how much my judgment operates against the idea, i want to see you tonight.
it's the decisions i take time to think about where i perceive i've made the wrong decision. it's the decisions i make within moments that i realize days later were correct.
Is it correct? Will this send us reeling down the same hard road over again?
I'd come regardless.
What does it take? What does it take to push you from one plane into the next? To make yourself? It takes breaking. It takes losing. It takes dying.
I need to move from this. I need to find another… existence, almost. We both lost; we both broke. Now new paths are being paved – even if each day feels like only a fraction of a brick being cemented at a time. Not even cemented – loosely laid in uncertainty, directionless.
Will they cross again – these new paths? I want them to cross again. I want something paranormal to keep us welded.
How've we not lost touch yet? Somehow, since my sophomore years of high school, I've kept in decent (albeit infrequent) contact with Matt. Six years of bizarre, dysfunctional, meaningful friendship.
He's changed a bit since Christina and Olivia – only mild and tamed, his inherent nature still the same. I still think he's Howard Stern's conversational clone, always persuading or coercing or trying to buy something with his words. Now it makes me laugh; back then it made me want to punch him.
A guy who tried bedding me at innocent sixteen has a daughter now… guess it happens every day.
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