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A familiar song is playing in the quiet of the elevator, a waltz. I'm in the middle of a joke but when the doors slide open I stop mid-sentence. Suddenly I am 22, alone with my date behind the dimly lit theater, that same song drifting from somewhere inside. "I forgot the steps", I laugh. "Let me show you", he replies, reaching for my waist.
Here, now- let's forge ahead. Wind the gears, let me hear it. I speak softly to you across the great divide, it's all I can do now. Start back at the beginning.
Look as long as you can at the friend you love, no matter whether they are moving away from you or coming back toward you. - Rumi
It's late and I'm lying on my back, heavy in sleep. You turn to me, nudge my elbow. "Did he love you?"
I don't know.
"Then why did he say it, write it?"
Because of our history.
"Read his writings. You meant nothing to him. Not even worthy of an honorable mention."
...But all those letters...
"You weren't special."
Perhaps you're right.
"I don't do drugs, I am the drug. Take me." Salvador Dali
Nov 11th 1998: 7th floor of the University Library. I'm researching 15th Century Italian Art but a splashy biography of Salvador Dali catches my eye from across the aisle. I open it up and an envelope falls out, dated Jan 1st 1980. Inside there's a $50 bill, a tiny sketch ☠, and a note which reads:
Enjoy the loot but tell me your story. I'll return on 1/1/10.
"I am the girl you will always wonder about", I write.
And she was lying in the grass/ And she could hear the highway breathing/ And she can see a nearby factory/ She's making sure she is not dreaming. -Talking Heads
The phone rings and you tell me to go outside, there's a rainbow right above the house. I walk barefoot across the lawn and look up. Hmm...Sure enough. It starts to rain and the drops are cold against my bare skin. I head for the oak tree and stretch out underneath in the grass, where it's dry. Cars rush by, oblivious. Stop, linger.
Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of their wonders. - Goya
I dreamed that I fixed your broken body, piece by piece. I slipped in behind you and replaced your circuit board, re-wired your brain, clipped out the parts that made you howl and rage. Your imagination was skewered because reason had left you to your own devices, a precarious situation. I open your mouth and breathe in new life, remind you to stick with me, magical things can happen.
Tyger, tyger, burning bright / In the forests of the night / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry? -William Blake
We've been standing in line for over an hour and I can tell you are lost in thought. "You're always going to be this way, aren't you? You can't change any more than a tiger can change its stripes. You charm and beguile everyone you meet. It's off-setting; it's not right to have that much power. Stop it before someone gets hurt or direct it all towards me."
I had to travel, to dissipate the enchantments that crowded my brain. - Arthur Rimbaud
Every weekend, a new city: Charleston, Savannah, Miami, Philly...the list goes on. In a way it is therapeutic. I swim through crowds of nameless passersby, one among many. I nod my head at a stranger in a yellow hat and her face lights up, surprised. The guy beside me is humming a Police tune quietly under his breath. My kind of town, I think. Being grounded has its moments, but I've learned to hit the pavement when opportunity strikes.
This is just to say / I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox / And which you were probably saving for breakfast. / Forgive me, they were delicious / So sweet and so cold. - William Carlos Williams
I've gotten out of my exercise routine now that we've moved to the country. I was spoiled living in the city, where the park was just a short walk away. Now I find my body is soft in places that were once angular and sharp. I bite down on the plum I stole from the fridge, gaze outside.
I have a certain smile / Like this, a barely visible movement of the lips. / I am keeping it for you. - Ana Akhmatova
I love you. I still love you. I will always love you. Here is an affirmation to steady our listing ship. Read it, repeat. We've finally discovered a solution, in our own roundabout way. So I am putting you back in my pocket now, where you'll be safe for another day, another year, a thousand years, who knows. Let this be a lesson for both of us and be done with it.
Let's put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town / You wear a dress, baby I'll wear a tie / We'll laugh at that old bloodshot moon / In that burgandy sky. -Tom Waits
You're talking in your sleep again. "I want to dance with you," I hear you whisper as I lean in closer. You say it so sweetly, it pulls at my heart. I imagine us locked in an embrace on the dance floor: my dress brushing against your shins, my lipstick on your cheek. Don't wake up just yet. Enjoy it.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. - Lewis Caroll
You told me after we first met that you felt like you'd known me forever, like I'd always been a part of you. Now I move through you, around you; I light you up from the inside so your sockets glow. God, I miss you. I miss us. The old us, that is. Version 1.0. You still give me the benefit of the doubt despite the collateral damage and falling debris. My love is paranormal, my dear. Uniquely yours.
Put your sweet hand in mine / And float in space and drift in time. - Spiritualized
You will always be wanted and craved in my arms.
This, the second affirmation. Dammit. I take you out of my pocket, stare directly into your eyes. You stare right back, unblinking. I pull at your shoulders, bury my face in your neck. It's shocking, the amount of energy that crackles between us. I take you by the hand and launch you upwards into space, where it's calm and still. The absence of time makes everything sublime.
Experience is the name that everyone gives to their mistakes. - Oscar Wilde
There is a brightly lit billboard on the corner near the parking deck. It's advertising the new Tyler Perry movie "I Can Do Bad All By Myself." I chuckle under my breath every time I see it; I can't help it. The truth of the day, glaring down at me from a loud and flashy billboard. Yes, I can definitely do bad all by myself, no doubt. In the past I welcomed mistakes, embraced my errors. Now I show them the door.
Two of us riding nowhere / Spending someone's / Hard earned pay / You and me Sunday driving / Not arriving / On our way back home. - The Beatles
Hey- remember when we went hang gliding and I watched you disappear into the sunlit sky? Remember us standing too close to the ledge and feeling the roar of the waterfall build inside our chests? Remember the little birdhouse you made for me, our initials carved in the bottom? If we're going to survive, these memories need to see the light of day. Let's work on it, you and I.
Feeling unknown and you're all alone / Flesh and bone by the telephone / Lift up the receiver / I'll make you a believer. - Depeche Mode
I don't know why I bother, really. I can't verbally communicate my way out of a paper bag. It's an exercise in futility and I should know better by now. Put a piece of paper in front of me and I am fine but in person I am completely useless. On the telephone I am even worse. I would convince you that everything will be okay if I weren't so inarticulate.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? / I shall wear flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. - T.S. Eliot
I had a revelation in the closet today, entirely by accident. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor sewing the hole in my KISS t-shirt but my mind keeps jumping ahead. I start to wonder what my wardrobe will consist of when I'm 50,60 years old. Those polyester pants with the elastic waist? Inappropriately low-cut tops? I clutch my shirt in horror, make vows.
Let the wind blow through your hair, be nice to the big blue sea / Don't be afraid of the man in the moon, because it's only me. - David Bowie
In my dream I am draped over the branch of a sycamore tree, high in the air. My limbs hang loosely over the sides, swaying back and forth. I am level with the moon and I see you there, reclining in the half-light. The illumination is gentle and intoxicating and I turn my head towards it, towards you. It is beautiful up in space.
In mine own heart I saw as in a glass the hearts of others. - Percy Shelly
It's because I don't know what category to put you in that I struggle so much. You are incredibly dear to me but in many ways you're still a stranger whose story I can't quite unravel. I see your heart so clearly because it is such a close reflection of my own, despite our differences. The turbulence and beauty that resides within you makes its home within me, too. I push you out and pull you in, alternately.
Fortune knows we scorn her most when most she offers blows. - Shakespeare
I circle around her, watch the flash of the wheel with its random and ruinous turns:
I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I have no kingdom.
From one angle she is serene, lovely. From the other, a wretched creature. The wheel stops.
I snarl into her ear, kicking over her chair. She gives me a steady glare.
I favor a strong, violent hand. Go. Gather your wits.
Prove your mettle, girl.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller
There was an unspoken expectation in my family that I would one day become a travel writer; in part because I observe, I illustrate what I observe and (as my grandmother put it), I am
- a looker! Imagine what a marvelous picture you'd have on the back cover!" None of this came to pass. "Ah," my grandmother said. "Try harder. You come from spirited stock. There is blood, dirt and compassion in those hands."
I applied streaks of colors onto the canvas with a palatte knife, and I made them sing with all the intensity that I could. - Kandinsky
So I traveled. I land at a bar in Berlin and light one up; order a merlot. Take one drag and put it out. A gorgeous specimen of a girl saunters over. "I can teach you things," she purrs. "Is that so?" I reply. I take her home, unbuckle her down to her pink flesh, bring my paintbrush to her smooth stomach. "Endear yourself to me. We'll start there."
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. - Tolstoy
It turns out the girl is Romanian. Her life has many twists and turns and I match them stroke for stroke with my paintbrush. The crest of her hip becomes the hillside of home, her breasts the Carpathian mountains. "Stay here in Berlin," she says. "The city agrees with you." She brings her finger to the tip of my brush, leaving a vibrant smear of blue. But I am already two steps ahead, train pass in hand.
Some roads are only seen at night / Ghost roads, nothing but neon signs / But some nights the neon gas gets free- Turns into walking dead like me. - Magnetic Fields
There is a graveyard in Las Vegas where old neon signs from the Strip are retired. They don't advertise this place, you just have to know where to look. The signs are beautiful in their abandoned glory. I run my hand along the neon tubing, the broken filaments. I take it all in, this dazzling array of faded color. We all deserve a Second Act.
Intimacy and longing for intimacy, one song. A disasterous surrender and a fine love, together. -Rumi
I want to dial into your frequency, tune into your neural network, pluck on your heartstrings like a bass guitar. I want to sit behind you and push the damp lock of hair off your forehead, trace the outline of your scars with my fingertips, watch your edges diffuse in the light. I want to make you ache in your pelvic region, growl like a predator. I've got it all planned out, perfectly. We'll give it a go.
People who cannot recognize a palpable absurdity are very much in the way of civilization. - Agnes Repplier
Strange happenings this morning. There's a movie being filmed downtown starring Christina Hendricks from
and it is insanity on the streets. Got to work and spilled coffee all over the AC/DC contract on my desk (the band requires oxygen tanks backstage - must investigate). I caught my co-worker sniping a cellphone picture of me at the copy machine. He liked my boots, he said. I threatened to smack him and he smirked.
I'm not a dictator. It's just that I have a grumpy face. - Augusto Pinochet
People around here are still talking about the bizarre speech Gaddafi made on tv yesterday. I love that he used jet-lag as an excuse for his incoherent ramblings.
They make pills for that now. I remember when I was 10 my Dad took me to an outdoor firing range. Someone had taped a poster of Gaddafi over one of the targets, his paper chest riddled with bullet holes. That was my introduction to international politics.
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative. -H.G. Wells
This place is under construction. This life is under construction. A work in progress, if you will. I mull over the design in my head, calculate every last maddening detail. The blueprint is sketchy at best, but it's a beginning. Happiness is no longer a warm gun, Mama. I'm knockin' down walls, re-directing the air flow. So what if the pieces don't fit properly, I'm pounding them in anyway. Gently and with precision, of course. 'Cause that's how I roll.
Perhaps they were right in putting love into books...perhaps it could not live anywhere else. - William Faulkner
These bones have pressed up against friends, enemies and lovers alike. Now they press against you. These lips have pressed against the broken, the beautiful, the brave. Now they press against yours. I came back; I am here. Enjoy me. Use me. Treat me well so I'll stay. Don't throw those words at me so harshly, you know I shut down like a toy that needs winding. Make me flash, make me whirl. Light me up.
You'd better check between the lines / Please read the letter / I wrote it in my sleep. - RobertPlant
And it's....blank. Wasn't expecting that. Well, so it is. I can read between the lines, I suppose. Not sure I want to...I mean, nothing is something, right?
About last night...yeah, sorry about that. I know it had to hurt. But you're too damn heavy. You can't drink like that anymore. I only weigh 112 lbs. to your...how much do you weigh? I'm glad you found a moment's peace, though. Take advantage.
Don't look down, sweetheart. That's 31 years of history staring you dead in the face from somewhere below. And those years have something to teach you; they have something to say. There's a tangled mesh of victory and defeat buried in there: hard knocks with steely knives that cut you off at the knees, conquests with banners of gold that fill you with pride. Listen...that sound you hear is the roar of a thousand voices clamoring for a moment of your time. That guy whose face you busted in, that girl who broke your heart. Wait, I'm coming through.
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