Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All that glitters is not gold.

I think I might be little bit of a perpetually-nostalgic person just by nature, but sometimes, nostalgia slips into my house and tip-toes through my bedroom door and climbs into my bed with me and we stay there for days, under my covers, nostalgia and I.

I don't mean to. I don't like to, really, but it just happens.

Today, nostalgia and I found a lot of old notes and we cried. There was one from Matt Pockrus where he used the wrong form of their/they're/there, and I had scribbled all over it in red pen, and now I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd have left his improper "there" untouched and kept it forever. (Also in that note, Matt said, "You should get a boyfriend.") There's a note from Avery with a picture of a giraffe that says, "Here is a giraffe for you. Because I love you this much." There's a series of notes from Emily Luse, her crinkled cursive, and when I read through them I relived the too-short handful months we had together. Her car didn't used to lock, ha, I remember that.

And I liked summer a lot. I liked August a lot. I liked Kaitlyn's van and how The Fountainhead brought us Kyle and Matt. I liked how late it got. I liked the way everything felt like we were getting away with murder, but not, obviously, because this simile doesn't make any sense like I meant it to. I liked riding bikes and taking pictures and everything was easy. I liked how we were freckled, tanned and kissed and full and musical and alive.

But I'm pale as ever again, and I have to wear real shoes now, and I don't get any notes in typewriter-handwriting from boys, and I don't control the universe of my math class with Madison. I don't control the universe, not any universe. And then college and Ukraine and Italy and New Jersey and Florida and then I thought I felt it back then, and I wrote about wishing for quality in my motions, and I've tried, but I'm feeling it now. Again. I'm feeling it all now again.

I'm going to have gray hair soon, and no one will pick me up and carry me around and I won't get notes from anyone at all soon and I can't even think about where I'm heading, so I'm trying to embrace what I've got: Golden years. Golden years. Golden years.

Who knew?

I guess I get stuck here with nostalgia because I know where I've been, but I don't know where I'm going. It scares me, because the future isn't predictable, even I know that, with my horoscopes and fortune cookies, I know I can't predict the future. I can't even predict the weather. But I look at where I've been and who I was, and how I became who I am, and the people that got me there, and the way they shape their capital "I"s and their haircuts (or lack thereof), and I remember how I got here. I can't believe it's been a year since... this.

If you need me tonight, I'll be under the covers crying lavender tears with nostalgia. We'll wake up tomorrow, just give us one night, and I'll give nostalgia its suitcase and kiss its cheeks and thank it for its time: I will tell nostalgia that I can't stay stuck there under the covers crying lavender tears forever, it's almost May, I have things to do, thank you very much.

It's almost May, I have things to do, thank you very much, it's almost May.

"And, as I always say, "If it ain't baroque, don't fix it!""
All my love,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Party in the USA." -Abe

You know what I'm really starting to like? When people say, "Write about me." You're all such nice muses. It makes my job so easy. So here's for Connor White, because he asked me to, and because I missed our goldfish/hummus lunch date.

For Connor

I imagine that when you're older you'll be the sort of man who sits in the front seat of taxi cabs.
I know what you're made of.
You know what you're made of.
It's no secret.
You count things, don't you?
One, two, three, four, five, five, seven, nine, eleven,
you aren't a secret.
You are such a secret.
I know what you keep in those pockets of yours --
ID, a few dollars, some sarcasm (used as a defense mechanism), a little bit of paint.
You've gotten this far, love, don't look back, love,
one, two, five, skip, skip, skip.
You like control. You're honest, and it's beautiful.
You know when you've been beaten, you realist, you,
but you know how to win, you perfectionist, you,
and you know it isn't over 'til it's over, 
you competitor, you, you and your third period wit.
You're outwardly patient.
Here is something that I love about you:
You understand that you control your own universe.
You know about your own fate.
You make your own joy.
You'll say goodnight never, goodbye never,
stop counting never.
You know what you want, go get it,
I understand you.
Don't live for anyone else, okay? You know what you want.
Go get it. This is for you.
Count your own fingers and keep your hands in front of you and remember who loves you.
You deserve all good things: love and warm blankets and good snacks and a long life,
those are things you deserve.
Sleep well (when you sleep).

Someday I'll stop writing so much in the second person around here, but not yet.
All my love,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"I didn't know how loudly the sky could fall."

I miss you, do you know that? Probably not.

I miss you. I miss your blonde hair and big eyes and skinny limbs and the way that you were before you knew your blonde hair and big eyes and skinny limbs made you pretty. I miss your notes -- I still have every single one of them, they're in a shoebox on a shelf in my closet, but I don't think there's anything behind them anymore, you know? And I don't know if I'm ever going add anything new, though I don't think that's any fault of mine.

I miss you, also. I miss your hats and your hair when it's long. Grow it out when you can, yeah? Actually, maybe don't. I miss when you actually liked me, you know? When you communicated with me, when you would answer the phone when I called, when you made me promises. When there was something behind those promises. Remember? No, you don't. You do? No, you don't.

Make up your mind. The problem here is that neither of you seem to think I should have a problem with this, but I don't see how you can possibly think I wouldn't have a problem with this. You want normality, but normality led to all of this. We can't have old normal. We need new normal, and new normal is this.

I don't understand why you think I shouldn't have a problem with this, you don't understand what I'm trying to say. I can't get through to you no matter how much I try. I'm giving up kind of.

New normal is this. New normal is ""I betrayed you," he said baldly. "I betrayed you," she said baldly."" But happier than that.

I read back over all the things you inspired. You made quite the muses, yes you did.

I guess what I'm getting at is that if I said, "He woke up with the word Shakespeare on his lips," you wouldn't understand, but everything that is new normal? New normal would. For some reason that seems like the most important thing.

"I couldn't hear that, so I didn't."
All my love,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blood flow.

You're a little confused lately. You blame things on your zodiac sign. You're still afraid of dogs. You're the last person to hear about anything -- everything. You question your own kissing abilities, because no one has ever tagged you as "bad," and no one has ever tagged you as "good." You aren't making any promises. This has been a long time coming.

You smell like the cold.

When you were younger, you thought everyone thought the same things and that everyone thought them the same way.
And then you got older, the ink on your skin runs deep, and you guffaw at the thought of the world ever coming crashing through your door, even waiting on your porch, but from the look of things, it's already been right through here.

Yeah, then you got older and you realized no one thought the same things, let alone thought them the same way. Wrapping your head around that concept? It wore you out, and you are tired. You're exhausted all the time now.

You meant to take a nap, but instead you went running; it felt good to get your blood flowing. You think about what it would be like if everyone had thought bubbles above their heads like they do in comic books. You think about what it would be like to be illiterate when everyone had thought bubbles above their heads like they do in comic books. You think about illiteracy in general.

You take a lot of pain killers. You know it isn't healthy, but they do their job. 

You've got to learn to sing and to go out on the weekends. 

Your apathy's going to kill you, you know. You've got to learn to trust people. 

Trust me.

"I haven't finished it yet, darling."
All my love,

Monday, February 13, 2012

"A decent love poem."

This morning my English teacher told me I could have extra credit if I wrote a decent love poem (and extra extra credit if I gave it to the person it was about, but that's another story). I like poetry, and I like extra credit, so it's finished already.

It started out as one poem about one person, but it became one poem about more than one person. Then it was six poems about six people, even though I wanted to write about seven people, but I couldn't figure out how to write poem number seven, so I didn't, and then one person got cut because they were fouling up my poems, and then it was one poem about five different people at the exact same time.

I think all poetry means one thing to the writer and a thousand different things to each and every person who comes in contact with it. So this is my valentine to you, each of you. Take a piece of it, make it yours, from me. This is about you. Happy Valentines Day.

Untitled (But About You): by me

You have eyes like stars and a voice like the sun 
and fingers that become hands that become wrists that become shoulders 
that become you. 

This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 

I always know when you hit the door, 
because you smell like coffee and like the weather, 
sometimes like sunshine, but usually like rain, 
which is fitting and also good for when I write poems about you. 

You're not beautiful, but you're beautiful -- 
it's what you do; it's what you are. 
You don't want your name on any records, 
but I think you still think about God, 
like I still think about God, 
and I can't count how many times I've sat down and 
written the words "This is not a love poem," 
and then written a love poem, but this? 
This is a love poem, and I'm saying it all, 
because life's short, dang it, life is so short. 
This is a light, weightless love poem, 
because I don't want it to weigh anything right now.
I just need it to be something beautiful and made of feathers,
so don't take me too seriously.

I do this thing where I say, 
"I love you," before I hang up the phone, 
like my parents always say to me, 
but I do it no matter who's on the other end, 
and do you know that you're the only person who 
makes me think before I say it? 
Maybe just because it's true (simple as that) 
or maybe because it isn't -- yet? 

I like it when you laugh at my jokes. 
Do you think I'm funny? 
Do you buy your music legally or download it illegally? 
Do you read the bible, do you read books, 
do you like dancing, do you like chemistry? 
This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 

I'm thinking about the way your fingers played my sides 
like a piano, and this is about that moment 
when you smiled very suddenly about nothing at all, 
and this is about how I can't stop thinking about that. 
This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 

I'm thinking about your hair and the line of your jaw and
your skin and the way it's warm against mine. 
I'm thinking about your hands and 
I'm thinking about the way you laugh 
and how it doesn't happen often enough, 
and how I'll think that no matter how much you laugh. 
I'm thinking about the way your lips might feel, 
how they might taste, 
what do I have to do to get them to find mine? 
This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 

I'm thinking about the way you move in the light and the way you
move in the darkness and the way you move when I'm around,
the way you move. 
I'm thinking about the way you look on Saturdays 
and the way you probably greet strangers and the way 
you complain about serious stuff, 
but the way you don't sweat the small stuff. 
I'm thinking about the way you eat, which isn't as
weird as it sounds; it says a lot about you.

I'm thinking that I'm very happy I met you.

I'm thinking about the way you played the guitar, 
the way you play the guitar, 
the way you may never pick up a guitar in your entire life. 
I'm thinking about your universe, 
how I understand it, 
how I don't understand it at all. 
This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 
It's you, you know? I'm thinking about you. 

I'm thinking about you the way empty gloves think about empty hands
and the way empty hands think about the stars: 
my hands want to be filled with stars. 
I'm thinking about you like school children think about summer,
and the way summer children think about 
becoming school children again. 
I'm thinking about you the way someone 
who's never taken a sip of alcohol 
thinks about alcohol, 
the way an alcoholic thinks about alcohol, 
the way someone who is genetically programmed to be
an alcoholic thinks about alcohol. 
I'm thinking about you the way Kennedy thought about the 
missile crisis and what was he supposed to say? 
I thinking about you the way the Trojans thought about that horse. 
I'm thinking about you like silence 
thinks about sound and vice versa.
I'm thinking about you like the whole world thinks 
about waking up on Monday, 
how the sun thinks about waking everyone up on Monday. 
I'm thinking about you the way ice cream parlors think 
about keeping the temperature down in there, 
the way the women on the subway think about changing their shoes, 
the way December thinks about snowing,
the way angels think about playing their trumpets in tune. 
I'm thinking about you the way giants think about ants. 
I'm thinking about you the way a blind man thinks about sight, 
the way a paraplegic thinks about dancing, 
the way a deaf man thinks about music, 
the way old men think about being young, 
the way old men think about death, maybe. 

So here: my fingertips and my words. 
This is about you. 
This is about how I don't really know you, but I think I do. 
This is about you.

What if I had three eyes and a lot of wisdom?
All my love,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Something little about nothing big.

I don’t know anything about the world you live in. I don’t understand it, and it fascinates me.  I know about revolution, but not rebellion. I don’t think that I’m in love with you (that’s another story), but I’d like you to pay attention to me. And I guess it isn’t your world that I’d like to understand, but you. I want to know what you really mean and what you really want and what you’re really thinking. Do you want to know what I’m thinking? I’d tell you, but you can just look: I wear on my sleeve sometimes. I’m not very good at subtlety.

In books or poems they’d say, “But really, we’re the same.” But really, we’re not the same – you and I, I mean. We live in alternate universes, but I’m sending you smoke signals through the stars, yeah?

I’ll never stop owing them milkshakes, but I don’t mind. I’ll never stop talking, and I hope you don’t mind. I get mad, but not at them.

I like secondhand stores because I think it’s nice that everything has a history there. Do you think those clothes have separation anxiety? Abandonment issues? I have those things sometimes.

I don't know how to explain who I've become. I'm just this person with lots of hair and a big truck and I'm happy

I actually have wings, did you know that? Real ones. They're made of sunshine that shines in February, but I just don't know how to use them yet.

I think that someday I will be able to fly.

I don't know what this is, but it's a-okay.
All my love,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Here's to long hair in the summer.

The Toast, by me

A toast: to the written word and not being able to wait any longer.
Here's to orange peels and coffee cups and what it felt like when I met you.
Here's to what you look like on the weekends, to Thursdays, to July.
Here's to long hair in the summer, to not hating Mondays, to the Sunday funnies,
to slam poetry, to independent films and to crying in public.
Here's to rock music -- and The Beatles and Elvis, who engineered that,
and to keeping it alive.
Here's to eminence and to ameliorating and to ski trips.
Here's to cat people and dog people and bird people,
to afternoon tea, to kissing, and to rain.
Here's to waking up and realizing that the road construction is finished.
Here's to the way you smell, to how that's home, 
to the way my dad mumbles "I love you" when he's sleeping,
to the way no one could understand what he's saying -- "I love you" -- except me,
and to the way my mom never forgets to say that -- "I love you" -- even when she's mad.
Here's to great music and big feet and sand, 
and here's to cheap Chinese food.
Here's to paper chains that count down the days until summer,
and here's to electric violins, and here's to ice cream,
and here's to best friends.
Here's to the Italian Renaissance and the Harlem Renaissance and change, dang it,
here's to change. 
Here's to good hair days, to fortune cookies, to impossible dreams.
Here's to waking up from nightmares, to the horse books you read in elementary school,
to boys with great hair and girls with great freckles,
Here's to being honest.
Here's to emotional healing.
Here's to saying "thank you, but no" when you don't want to.
Here's to falling in love, to cliff-jumping, to dirt-poor poets.
Here's to alliteration, to antithesis, to repetition, to rhetoric, and here's to the plain old alphabet.
Here's to cliches, to Emily Dickinson, to Sylvia Plath, 
and here's to every brilliant thing Ms. Plath did before she stuck her head in that oven
(such a shame, really).
Here's to jogging, and here's to cake, to Gothic cathedrals.
Here's to double-stuffed oreos and copyright laws and to half birthdays.
Here's to the things you weren't going to do, but you did, didn't you? 
And here's to being glad you did.
Here's to mail and boys with high IQs and flapper girls and history teachers and acing tests, to sleeping in, to Cliffnotes, to Kevin Bacon, to all that phenomena, to linguistics and architecture, here's to brand new babies named after your sister.
Here's to a marvelous God, a good God, a generous God, a forgiving God --
and here's to you.
From me.
Let's hear it, people.

Lucky # 16, 9, 13, 31, 27, 01
All my love,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Underneath your fingernails.

It isn't that I want to hurt you, I just want to make you understand. To be honest, though, I don't know if I'd be lying or not. Maybe what you did was payback in the first place, and all attempts at redemption are futile because we're already even. To tell the truth, I don't even know if it'd work even if I did, and I also guess that's not what is important. Revenge, I mean. I also don't think that's what this is about in the end anyway.

And the numbers don't make me hate myself so much as I thought they would have. I don't know how to know everything. I think that's okay. I don't know everything.

But I finally understand what it means to be comfortable in my own skin: It means freckles in the summer, and yes, chipped nail polish. And sure, I've got a little bit of back fat! But it also means I have a cute butt -- there, I said it. My skin means two scars on my right hip, and it means that thinking before I jump is going to be a rarity, and maybe I'm biased, but maybe that kind of liveliness isn't always a bad thing. Being in my skin means questions and opinions and a lot less answers than I'd like to have. My skin means I have a lot of words.

Being in my skin means I'm still trying to learn how to answer all the questions I ask myself every single day, but I'm comfortable here, and isn't that all that matters?

Yeah, that's what matters, back fat and all -- but it isn't the back fat that matters about my skin, it's my cute butt and tangible, tangible words, and what matters about your skin is the way you create art and the way you laugh.

What matters about your skin is the way you look when you smile and the way you listen -- really listen -- when other people talk.

What matters about your skin is the way you forgive and the way you love. What matters about your skin is your lips and the way you sing with them. What matters about your skin is the way you sit at the piano bench and your smile and how that smile just kills me. What matters about your skin is the way you keep your chin up and your secrets. What matters about your skin is the way you don't succumb to stereotypes and the way your collars are always crisp. What matters about your skin is the way your hair falls and the way you just fit.

What matters about your skin is that I love you, what matters about your skin is the way you wear it.

"So your husband's in the army, and you teach science. What do you discuss over the dinner table?" he asked, and when she made a face, I said, "Biological warfare."
All my love,