Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just Visiting -

Laila sleeps.

Her long copper hair is sprawled across the pillow and she breathes slowly, nullifying our morning agenda. Today is her birthday, though, so I don't wake her up.

We spent Saturday night marching up and down Chestnut Street in heels, avoiding the sewer grates and hugging our bodies until we had imbibed enough canned heat to feel warm from the inside. Swirling inside a dark and crowded little dance club, Laila and I sweated out the alcohol with a mixture of house and hip hop, surreptitiously slipping between men, and occasionally breaking for a burst of cool night air. Outside, we made small talk with the door man and patronized all of the boys wearing glasses without prescription lenses. (Most of these boys were also in plaid.) Coquettish banter with almost everyone waiting in line meant that no one was a stranger when we plunged back into the cacophony of the crowd.

The city is alive and we are fresh with the freedom of interlopers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


sugar is smoking
by Jason Schneiderman

it's amazing how death
is always around the corner,
or not even so far away
as that, hiding in the little pleasures
that some of us would go
so far as to say
are the only things
keeping us alive 


Now there's a thought.
So, what keeps me alive?
< blinking cursor >

Well, what could be taken from me that might make life unlivable?

< .. blink .. blink .. blink .. >

The obvious answer is involuntary heart beats and respiration.

breathe in. 
           breathe out
breathe in. 
           breathe out

No, no. That's not what I mean.
< .. blink .. blink .. blink .. >

What do I live for? 
< .. blink .. blink .. blink .. >

Honestly now. What keeps me going?

< .. blink .. Do you even want to keep going? .. blink .. >

Hold up. Of course I want to keep living. That's not what this is about.

The things I love are innumerable. I inhale deeply when sipping herbal tea at just the right temperature. I toss and turn without nightly terrier snuggles and I miss his acquiescence to my intermittent but smothering kisses. My heart stills when Jack tells me... well, anything, or when his lips brush my neck without any words at all.

I could begin recount them - my loves - but I fear that will not answer the question.

I have been through hell and back, you see. The house I built will fall. The people I love withdraw. The place I finally felt at home is in the rear-view mirror. And then what? Then should I say that I have nothing? No reason to live? What is the answer when you are a flower of a thousand petals left standing alone?

It is not the heavenly solitude of a morning walk under a canopy of live oaks. It is not the velvety rump of a brand new foal nor the way morning fog settles close to the ground so that grazing horses become apparitions in the sunrise. Not the indulgent fragrance of cinnamon wafting from the Mexican bakery. Not the low and slow lament of a wistful violin. It is not the creamy weight of extravagant stationary. Not the covert surprises in my luggage. Not Texas.

The answer, instead, is in the corolla of a lotus flower. For every petal that falls, there is another unfolding from within. To have a thousand petals is the richest guarantee that I will not be reduced to a sticky, quavering stamen after the blossom has been pulled, plucked or perished, one petal at a time.

he loves me
          he loves me not...
he loves me
          he loves me not...

It is not the herbal tea. It is not Jack, nor is it the terrier (though he is my favorite thing on the planet). But it is the delicate, linked array of all these loves that is keeping me alive. That keeps me going. That keeps life from becoming altogether unlivable.

As long as I love a thousand things, I am free of the weight of the world.
As long as I love a thousand things, I should be happy to die hiding in life's little pleasures.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fourteen Ghosts

I am sipping from a cool, flimsy plastic water bottle that feels utterly out of place. A dank scent settles in the air space between floral patterned drapes and other pieces. It is a feature that single handedly betrays the age of this house. A polished brass chandelier is suspended, motionless. Smooth, antique bar back chairs are tucked around the perimeter of a burnished mahogany dining table. I am perched at the head, playing host to fourteen ghosts.

It is good to be away for a while, but this isn't quite what I expected. Gradually, I have learned the cadence of the house. I anticipate its creaky floorboards. Hollow clunking of pipes within the walls no longer triggers me to glance over my shoulder as I work. This is the last weekend I'll spend alone here because Laila is coming to visit next weekend, and Jack will be here to accompany me on the long drive home.

I wonder if you have to choose a single place to haunt. As a ghost, I mean. Or do you get to flutter between all of the places you loved? Is there a limit to the places a phantom might join you for dinner?

Thursday, May 9, 2013


The page is from a pale lavender memo pad. I found it today, buried deeply in a box within a box. Today, I find it simple and naked, but unadulterated and sweet.

It was my first semester at college. I was still mixed up in some sort of complicated high school romance. (I don't believe high school sweethearts should stay together.) I wondered innocently what else the world would offer as I wrote the lines, propped up on an elbow and facing the wall. I remember the twin sized dormitory mattress, firm and uneven, covered in some sort of vinyl that would creak with every move. The mattress didn't bother me then because I had wrapped it up in the most predictable of leopard pattern sheets.

I was 19 years old.
How both everything and nothing have changed.

I like red painted toenails
     and independence
I like classic glamour
     and using words like
I like feeling alive
     and music
I like learning people
     and being comfortable.

Don't lie to me

I want you to feel
my energy and
taste my passion

I like to be dramatic

     and honest

Be sincere with me

because I will love
I am genuine. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

For A Moment

Eyes open, fleeting
void - but I can not recall
his birthday at all;

However, I dare
suspect October haunts him
like a hologram.