Sunday, August 28, 2005

somehow we've become like the library of congress.

"This guy named Fritz something was eating a lot of Twinkies. Fritz's girlfriend was talking to him about women's rights, and he kept saying, 'I know, baby.'"

and there was just something about the way we fit; similar to the way all books end up looking just fine in the same size bookshelf, even though they're all totally different...especially when it comes down to the words. i guess the whole thing can be attributed to a metaphor about library books, really. we are the books. and so we attain certain qualities that define them. and we read each other just as we would 'catcher in the rye' or 'watership down.' checked out for the year, we've been hiding under stacks of newspapers, sitting on desks, stuffed between the cushions of couches. there are dog earred corners, rings left on our covers by coffee mugs, and maybe even a few missing pages. the pink ink of a highlighter has left indelibile stains in the paper, running through to the other side accidentally and revealing strange new coincidences about the use of the letters "L" and "E". specifically together. we've got these barcodes stuck to the backs of our [necks], which are supposed to identify us in an instance, but really...they're so old now that it seems like half the numbers don't make sense anymore and the lines really are just lines.

we are the books, and others are our books. sometimes to re-read the old stories just doesn't feel right, as if your eyes won't stay focused on the words long enough to comprehend the subject and end up skipping around to find audience with flashes of light or a mosquito bite itch. a search and rescue party will be attempted [carrying the book back and forth in the front seat of your car, explaining to yourself that you will read it tomorrow.] eventually these books will be re-read, or discovered by another, but for now, they'll sit on shelves and gather that most amazing smell of must and old paper. the worst case is often the most amicable on the surface, which may cause even greater suffering upon the realization of the unfortunate state in which the book lies. this is when one returns to a comfortable favorite, or a story that floats fondly in the reminiscence of your childhood. that kind of book that you always remembered adoring when you were younger, but never found the time to pick up again. or the one you read over and over, just because it was there and because nothing better had ever taken your heart as thoroughly as that had one particular summer. you return to its pages out of habit, and comfort...not that either is a negative, just that the inspiration disappeared steadily from the experience until reading the words had become like walking; entirely acceptable and enjoyable, but not quite the same as skipping. when glancing over these books in the 'recently returned' bin, your eyes will light up and, immediately, the urge to lounge around in a bathrobe with a banana smoothie overcomes all other responsibility. you've been parted so long with your darling novel, the change is not immediately noticeable. but the longer you read, the more distasteful it becomes. this is not what you remember! what happened to the intrigue, and the quirky humor, and the charming wit? when did it become so awkward and contradictory to your opinions, and dare you think it...meaningless? you'll try to enjoy it like you once did, but somehow, it won't quite ever be the same.

before you dismiss the library as a place of misfortune, sit down on a couch and pick up one of those old favorites that used to make your brain simmer with anticipation for every word. at least three of them have just been left in the box, go quick before they're taken! as you flip through the first few pages, scanning for familiar sentences and more slowly recalling character flaws, you'll find that some of those books you loved so much before you were checked out last year still hold as much of your love as they did before. before you were covered in coffee stains and scribbled on with black ink...before your pages were bent and warped by the rain...before your spine was cracked twice too many and the lines of age began to show in your face...these were the ones who were stacked by you on the shelf. but as it turns out...returning you to the same shelf isn't such a bad idea, and re-reading and being re-read isn't such a bad idea either. somehow, the comfort clung to the pages along with the travelling wear of the new places you've all been. but the excitement hasn't disappeared, and those lines you found so amusing and endearing and intelligent before are still just as good!

love to my loves. hide and seek, josianas, polaroids, ice cream, paint, sleep deprivation, sunburn, thespians, the opposite sex. swing sets, river beds, cocktails, roadtrips, head phones, equilateral triangles, windows, cake! it's time for bed, so long for now.
ps. i still adore you.

i found this outside an elementary school. i like to think it's a preliminary outline of some kid's ambitious, world-altering plot. -found.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a nightmare on cascade street

bibbsy and i get into a lot of uncomfortable situations when wandering around rochester at night. usually directly after having very thorough, very interesting conversations. and also usually after eating ice cream. we sat on a bench in the darkness, illumination coming from two sources: 1- the street light hovering over the cascade street cul-de-sac and 2- the house next to the park on cascade street. deep in conversation, neither of us realize the advance of two middle aged, mustachioed, tank top wearing, beer swilling individuals. men. who would approach two young women, in a park, at night, but them? you say we should know better. of course we should. bibbsy's mother had warned her minutes prior (via cellphone) that something may happen in a park at night. to which my dear friend responded:

"it's rochester."

i thought it was a good point at the time. apparently, we were both mistaken.

"where's matty?"
"we don't know matty."
"oh, we thought he was over here."
"nope. he's not."
"how old are you girls?"
"nah. you're not 19. they 19?"
"nah. but where's matty?"
"you're 19?"
"we're 19. we don't know matty."
"you're like 16..." -mumbling- "so where's matty?"
"we don't know matty."
"you're not 19. 17 maybe..."

the above conversation ensued, with the second said man staying much longer than necessary, hovering much too close for comfort and clearly slurring [clearly slurring? oxymoronic? i think so, but appropriate] his words until they were a total mess of sounds, indecipherable to even the greatest of linguists. after rather large anxiety attacks, in which we both envisioned horror movie plotlines and SVU coldcase files, our thumping hearts were calmed when the men (with beer in hand) returned to their illuminated, intoxicated household. we looked at each other, laughed nervously, and continued on with our previous conversation. bad idea. we should have left when the cop car stopped at the corner to 'watch for speeders.' that's bullshit. he was watching us. too bad he didn't come out and tell us to "get yourselves inside, ladies. it's awfully late for two young women to be hanging around in a dark area as this." or some other sage wisdom that his doubtless experience has provided him. we were daring. we remained, proclaiming our right as legal, law abiding citizens to express our desire to sit on a public bench at night. but, unfortunately (in hind sight), the cop drove off, and we were still afforded the right of free loitering in a public rest area. so we did just that. bad idea.

20 minute interlude

and then it happened. bibbsy was talking, i was listening. and then i heard something else, something behind us. i turned to look, seeing the Budweiser twins returneth with a third, stumbling friend. maybe this was matty? who knows. one of them appeared to be holding a shotgun, although this may just be my overactive imagination remembering faulty, more frightening details in the after-effects of my terror. nervous as this trio had me, i turned back to the conversation at hand. yet again, i heard something else behind me. the rattle of a chain against cement. the padding feet of a quadraped. the panting tongue of a monster.

-enter scary doberman. growling. tied to small tree by chain. and leaping, as if about to successfully break from said chain.

my head turned slowly, my eyes focused dimly in the darkness, and i swear to whatever else on earth, i saw the pupils of the beast, glowing. time to go. the minute we stepped off the bench, this massive dog began to bark. and snarl, and lunge, and leap against the only feeble restraint that held it away from us. in the dark, this chain was invisible. we could not tell if it had the capability to come running at us or not. and it certainly tried. oh yes. weaving back and forth in the yard, ready to rip us limb from limb, lusting for massacre. i have never been afraid of a dog in my life, not german sheperds nor terriers nor great danes. not even other dobermans that i have come across. but there is something in the sound of a dog's bark. the tone changes somehow, and the ear can hear the difference between a bark that says "hello! what's going on? who are you? pay attention to me! what's this? what now?" and a bark that says "i want your blood." and this dog had the second one down to a t. not to mention the growling, snapping, snarling fangs that were offset by the gleam in its blackened eyes.

"they've got a doberman."
"oh my god."
"oh my god."
"i think it's about that time."
"i think it is, yes. they've got a doberman. fucker."
"it's going to attack us."
"i don't want to get eaten by a doberman. i don't want to get eaten by a fucking doberman."
"is it still on the chain?"
"don't look at it. no visual contact. looking at it will only provoke it."

-viscious barking, snarling, and chain-rattling-

"i don't want to get eaten by a fucking doberman."
"maybe my mother was right. it's crazy out here. never again. never again at night."

we walked as far away from that thing as possible. at a right angle to the house, instead of in a diagonal across the grass. single file on the sidewalk, right up against the edge of the ditch. single file! at night! could these men not see the extreme measures we were taking to avoid this dog? could they not understand the terror that was striking into our hearts at the mere thought that we might be bitten, much less approached by their canine companion? no. no such luck. i do believe that, in the event of such a horrific occurence, these men would have been too drunk to fully comprehend the consequences, and therefore be striken totally useless in any effort to halt such an attack. and so, after the longest half-a-block walk of our lives, we found refuge in the steel-framed, silver body of my trusty little escort. do not let the inanimate punctuation of the above conversations fool you into believing that we were not hysterical. although our voices were never fully raised in fear or alarm, let me assure you ... we were both seconds from dying of panic.

At what age does it become socially unacceptable to hide under your bed?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

that dreamers often lie.

second time around : yo yo ma, edgar meyer, and mark o'connor

listen to that. over and over and over again. it'll break your heart, i swear. then eat some ben & jerry's dublin mudslide [hell, eat the whole pint in ten minutes. what the fuck else are you living for, if not to eat as much ice cream as your caffeine-racing heart desires? oh wait, that's only me. it.] watch reediculous amounts of sex & the city, special victims unit, and the kratt bros' be the creature. wear sweatpants around your house, use the f-word as much as possible [fuck!] and hit the snooze button at least three times too many.

lazy days. or maybe just the recipe to make me morbidly obese. semantics. i'll be done with it by week's end, as that is the arrival of my return to the mad city. back to the tiny rooms, microwavable food, laundry sundays, and overpriced convenience stores [walgreens]. back to trekking up bascom, reading pages of bullshit, melodramatic boy troubles, and missing my favorite people. back to pretentious professors, adorable but married TA's [patrick murphy!] communal bathrooms, and sweltering september evenings without air conditioning. but i am oh so excited to return! beyond all of that, there are so many things that i'd never give up, and sometimes even those obnoxious shortcomings that come with being a poor college student can actually be sort of ... endearing.

tempio sommerso
look for me beyond the sea,
right below the surface.
can you see all those
copper threads and the fired
bronze waves
in my hair? please say
that you'll love me
for the rest of my days.
i'm begging you. why not
take as much as you
can carry...
there's no reason not to
fill yourself up to the brim.
keep a hold while the
strings twist and
buckle, snapping and
singing. in agony.
they break, they break.
the singing will be all
the more sweet when it
comes to rest in your ears ;
can you still hear it beneath
those curtains made of
ocean? like some cavernous
pressure had come
from behind... the ribcage
of the memories had been lost,
faint trails of truth make
ripples like oil spills,
shimmering with glassy
reflection, grasping for
any remaining light.
open your eyes...

I will never be the woman with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it.

all things shining

ooh. that was noisy. please don't come back from the moon, i'm begging you. there is no room left here, on this plane, in this space. i tried to warn you...too late now, love. this is flowing up, over the brim...flowing over with interior space.

perhaps here i'll find some peace of mind, some respite from the swirling and the chaos. there is so much of it these days, all bundled up inside my head and waiting for to spill from my lips; i could go on for hours about why the cool of the early morning air and the soft light of the dawning makes waking up so soon not so bad. about how my wanderlust grows stronger whenever my television flashes national geographic, whenever my ears are filled with the sweeping ephiphanies of cellos and strings, whenever the reminiscence of an airport terminal crosses my mind. about how the government of zimbabwe is wrenching its people from the dirt and throwing them towards the ditches, sending them out from hell with nothing into a great expanse of even more eternal emptiness, creating a void, a plague of the waking dead where breath and blood used to radiate. i could go on for hours about where i see my feet traversing, and why i'll finally find a resting place... when i've found one. about the moment i realized that several pieces of my broken heart had been given back to me, and how i hadn't even felt them fall back into place. about how i long for arms and eyes and lips to wrap themselves around me, those connected to the body of man filled with music and question and the promise of comfort, but also of independence.

about how i feel so right exactly where i'm at.
it's taken me a long time to get back to least four years, if not more. although i've found what i had, it isn't the same anymore. older and wiser and more difficult to stretch, yet its begging me to with voices made of equal parts steel and liquid silk. can you imagine the blending of steel and silk? strength in cold, dark metal...wrapped in that something, something so flowing that the boundaries you attempt to define diminish with each passing moment, lost at the edges that were never there to begin with.

[i can see it. me, green coat clad, scarfed, sneakered. mittens made of faded navy, clutching that thing. that beautiful machine! eyes closed, lips mouthing words only i can hear. rosy nose chilled by the frost, feet finding paths quickly towards the warmth of the indoors. but i have those moments saved somewhere deep...even when i hate them in the present tense, i'll find them happily upon a later time.]

the floor will eat us alive. i love you.