Almost each night, I slept on the same plastic block
My legs and arms outstretched, I could almost reach from end to end
With a pillow and a blanket, it looked like a real bed
Until my mother and father stopped sharing theirs
I picked out a plush mattress with springs
And my mother carried it to our new home on top of her guilt
I giggled in my new bed only when she could not hear
Because I did not know why I was happy when they were not
On weekends, I’d go back and visit my father
And my plastic block awaited from the attic, step by step, up I’d go
I would drag its weight Friday night and stow it away Sunday morning
And before long, I could lift it with one hand
I started to rim my eyes with black when the block
Seemed to shrink beneath me, my gangly legs and arms hung over the sides
Not before much longer, I needed to curl my knees against my chest just to fit
And I was already hugging myself tight when winds fluttered the sheets
The day I would need to throw away that plastic block glided closer
From weekend to weekend, it reminded me how I had grown
I packed my other belongings and left it on the floor until it was so very close
No further than my feet from the end of the bed
(Yes, I am eating plain cottage cheese as I write.)
Painters know their way around a shape and a color. Country singers know their way around feel-good chords and twangy tunes about trucks. Writers know their way around a story and a perfectly harrowing metaphor. And what do I know?
I fingerpaint on frosted windows: little hearts and footprints, icy condensation melting away in the morning. I hum under my breath on the train with those guitar riffs and don my best Southern accent, smiling. “Oooh I think about that beer and I think about youuuu”. I scribble notes in my calendars before I fold them into origami swans, necks covered in unspoken wishes and wings weighed down by forgotten ideas.
I don’t really know what I’m typing right now. As I listened to Nashville Hits, a random idea struck me: I would like to paint this scene, so I got home and wrote about it.
All he needed was a little more. That’s all anyone ever needed, wasn’t it? More? Swift grubby fingers untangled the threads in his pocket until they fell apart like friendly corn husk dolls. He pulled out the crude bracelets and pushed away the longing to beg. Looking up at the nearby women, he smiled bashfully and held up the bracelets. Most looked at his dirty skin with disgust; some betrayed a sort of sympathy before allowing an apologetic smile. He searched around helplessly. Just a little more. Any coin would be enough.
across my path
and when I grew tired
I lay down
in the berries and brush
which sprung up
crimson and brilliant
The ceasefire ceased
to protect my sisters
or their innocent smiles
at the green-clad soldiers
who rolled by on the thick
shells of tanks
I received a letter
stained in ashen water
the blood of my brothers
marked the futility
of peaceful words
the treaty was ignored
The glory of war
branded my veins with fury
haunted my crimson dreams
and faded when I was hungry
while I remembered
I think I must be desperate. I am writing a letter to you, of all people. Actually, I decided to revisit this blogging habit of mine from last year, and I read through all the hilariously clumsy letters I wrote back then. I laughed, but I also transported myself into a wild whirlwind of nostalgia. And when I tried to write a new letter, I realized that I have already written a letter to everyone I find important in this very moment. That leaves you.
Somehow, you passed by quietly last year. I acknowledged your presence, but we never held a conversation, not once did you ever cross my mind. It was sudden and quite scary when one April day, I realized that I wanted to listen to you. I wanted you to listen to me.
Thinking back, I’m unsure what you ever saw in me. And don’t get me wrong, what did I ever see in you? I swear, if you’re laughing right now…
We make a wonderful team. And I don’t want to think about the future because I am well aware that our team is currently bound by some very strong teenage hormones. My friends ask me what you and I’ll do next year, but it doesn’t matter in the present. We have the summer. Bright long days.
Come to the beach with us ~ this is an invitation in disguise, for the beach, and because I would rather you than anyone else to be my first heartbreak.
You could tell I was broken from the beginning. I held my too-long sleeves over my hands and rubbed my mouth dry. Tears glimmered in my eyes at the drop of a hat. There were days I spun wildly, a golden ecstatic bliss peaking in waves before they crashed hard, leaving dull gray nothings. Somehow, you chose me anyway. You needed to convince me I was good enough, and you were willing to try. I was willing to resist. Why did I deserve any attention like that? We were willing to fight. Those were turbulent watery fights, where your words would splash around me and suffocate me, but I always lashed back with a stinging cold. And it would calm with time, and I would smile again. And I would smirk with bemusement at the world, and you would laugh. And the golden would come back softly.
My future does not wait
It chases love beside me
In step with a heartbeat
I am afraid to start
To leave my friends
Running with their own futures
I am afraid of the energy
But I cannot hesitate
It already hums
If it were mine,
I would give it all away
On a gamble
Because I play with the future,
And I believe I can win.
I never had high hopes
For a comfortable life
With silk slippers
Or breakfasts in bed,
And I still don’t want it.
Yet it isn’t mine.
I can’t let you give it all away
On my high-stakes gamble.
I can promise my best shot
But winning is no guarantee.
And maybe I will accept
This semi-comfortable life.
I will thank you with my smiles,
With my deepest being,
But I still won’t want it.
Don’t forget the words I whispered as a good bye
Or maybe as an apology for my own foolishness
“I’m a restless spirit, flitting like the butterfly”
Then, the moonlight masked my silver smile as I walked
Placidly, and owls called for home