she catches snowflakes on her boots
as she steps through the trenches
flakes of shimmer gliding across the frozen ground
a gloved hand tucks a lock of blonde behind one ear
exposing skin to the harsh wind
but allowing her full view of the landscape
fingers clench and writhe in their soft homes
eyes squint and blink against the blinding light
lips grow dry and cracked with the frozen wind
and still she walks, one step at a time
trusting the ground beneath the snow
to hold her weight and cushion a fall
taking in the world around her
fresh, new, offering a clean slate
for her to make into her own
as the sun sets i cross the border into the city
watching the light fade across the skyline
i’ve been chasing the sun all day
and am glad she’s finally decided to take a rest
sweat and dirt lightly cake my skin
creating an extra layer of tan on my no longer fair skin
the miles have been fading and blurring with each new day
and i long ago stopped wondering whether i would begin each day fresh
and stop searching the horizons for signs of my companion
he began as a figment, a mere projection i could see in the distance
he was a mark for me to follow, the reason i put one foot in front of the other
he kept me traveling toward my yet unseen destination, elusive and engaging
eventually, i caught up and we traveled as one
the sun rose and fell as we laughed, talked, made love, and walked
until eventually i no longer had to see him to know his thoughts
to see his face
to know he was there
one day, i stopped checking
and i find myself traveling alone again, chasing a figment, a mere projection in the distance
Long stretches of solitude have began to define my life. I spend hours in my own head, discovering myself and debating the decisions I’ve made and am thinking of making. Choosing to spend time alone was not conscious, I was forced into this celibacy, this habitual aloneness, and I’ve grown to crave the time I spend with myself, simply existing and moving throughout my life with only me to focus on. Letting someone inside my little world is terrifying, and I awake at night scared, shaking, from nightmares about my future and anguishing about the choices I am making or forcing aside. How do people merge? I fear the reemergence of the feelings of love and loss that await me in the future but I crave the intimacy, the proximity, the exchange of words across silence in such a way that my body aches and my soul cries for the time when I am no longer forcing myself to be alone in my own head. I miss people when I find myself, spinning, inside my mind, but I miss myself when I find myself, reeling, in a crowd of one, or two, or ten, or twelve, wonderful people. The complexity of the person I am growing into alarms me but I am getting to know her. I’d like to share this new person and let her shine while I have the chance. I’m becoming braver, more daring, less likely to fall into past habits and patterns. I want things the way I want them and am enjoying the independence this free thinking is creating for me, but with the reemergence of the free thinking, impulsive, romantic, me, my grasp on reality is starting to fade and I find myself dreaming of adventuring in foreign lands with the love of my life, who’s edges have recently began to fade and blur.
Exhausted, she sinks down onto her bed, pulling a half tucked-in blanket over her still, clothed body. Closing her eyes for the first time in too long, she feels calm sweep across her, the relaxed state that only comes when someone has been pushed too far for too long consuming her. Laying in the quiet, darkness of her tiny fortress, she hums silently, allowing the music inside of her to lull her to sleep, not caring that her shoes are still on, that her teeth have not been brushed, that she really ought to shower. As moments pass, her hums shift from the rhythm she carries within her, a sleepy, lyrically absent beat, into something more tangible. Realizing that her own body is coming to life, she shifts over from unconsciousness and takes a glimpse at reality. Music, stringy, tenor-heavy music, is drifting across the landscape and through her open window. The music begins to feel its way across her body, testing each vein, each organ for signs of life. As it travels, each new chord finds a place to call home and her humming shifts, her body begins to dance, viscerally at first, with cells keeping time with the melodic voice of the faceless singer now entering the scene, and then begins to manifest itself in her toes, one circling silently, another tapping against her leg. Moving slowly up her body, the music seeks to awaken her and she soon finds herself moving silently across her empty room, energized and renewed by words and instruments, finding something to hold onto in the world that she had almost fallen asleep on.
that you have lost your reality
you exist as a figment inside of my head.
i talk myself in and out of loving you
as a way of passing the time and testing my
sanity which in turn tests my heart
has time really passed so quickly that i find myself searching for
days for us to spend a part?
when they run out will i still be waiting or
will time speed ahead until the dust has settled
the tears have flowed
and lips have met?
dreams of reunion fill my sleep and i awake into each day holding
on to quiet truths and pushing my reverie of ecstasy aside
until another night
but in the daylight i will flutter between my sense of who you are
and the knowledge that you may no longer exist.
The sun was turning itself in for the night when the girl began making her way across the city. Hurrying along the sidewalks and keeping to the well-worn pathways, she kept her feet light, making little sound in the growing darkness. Pausing under a street light to dig out a cigarette, her face is briefly illuminated, dark patches and dried blood showing themselves off against her flushed skin. Passerby glance at her and scurry away, fearful that she might ask for their help. Acquaintances, the few she met darted down dark alleys and hid behind the newspapers they had stored away when the light had began to fade. She was alone, dragging on her cigarette and moving through the streets, but had it not been for the occasional glimpse at her face, no one would have guessed at her story. Tall, lean, the build of a runner, with glossy hair swept back and marred only by a nervous hand or a gust of damp wind. She takes long, even strides, grace and education apparent in her steps and in her dress; simple, dark jeans, knee high leather boots, leather jacket over a heavy sweater and red kerchief. With her slouchy bag strapped snugly against her side, she could have been a model, making her way across the street for a shoot for Vogue or Victoria’s Secret. Pausing at another street crossing, she glances around, her smoke-free hand feeling along her rib cage. She winces, body doubling slightly at her own light touch: broken ribs, too. Checking the street signs, she nods to herself, gathers her courage and resumes walking, destination unknown to those studying her. Laden with barely hidden injuries, head held high, she walks with purpose, with value, with a masked uncertainty.
she tucks her bare hands into his warm pocket
he pulls out a pair of gloves for her to don
she slips her arm through his
as he slips into a store
she window shops and people watches
unable to find his equal
he gazes into the crowd
impressed by the beautiful people
she smiles shamelessly when he reappears
blushing when his eyes meet hers
his glance darts in her direction before gesturing
she dances along next to him
content into her deepest depths
as he finds more stores to dart into
leaving her alone.
"Dammit," Laney mutters, ripping open another slight damp, dead-mouse smelling box.
"What?" David asks, dreading the answer. This entire experience had been a nightmare. Who ever would have thought that the holidays could be this stressful?
"Look at this mess! Not only is this box full of mouse poo and shredded cardboard, but the freaking lights look like the electrical version of Pan’s Labyrinth." She yanks a mass of green wire and light bulbs out of the box. "And!! It appears that this is our entire store of tree lights, so we’re stuck untangling it until we either contract The Plague, or bleed to death from the shards of broken glass littering the mass." As she mentions the last part, loose bulbs fall off the strands and shatter on the concrete.
She looks so defeated but David braves a smile. Reaching a hand out, he takes the lights from her and shrugs. ”It could be fun. Let’s try to find the silver lining in this mess, okay? What good is a Christmas tree without lights?”
They had arrived in Seattle earlier that day (Christmas Eve) and had landed into what Laney fondly labeled “Chevy Chase’s worst nightmare.” There were no decorations up, no tree until about an hour ago when Laney’s brother had arrived with one (slightly decrepit looking), and everyone appeared to be feuding over the fact that the house had fallen into a deeper state of disarray and filthyness that anyone had anticipated. Laney’s mood had quickly faded from one of marked nervousness and anticipation to one of anxiety and apprehension,
"The whole thing just fits with what I expected, I guess. Every year everyone I know and love runs off to spend the holidays with their families and they do normal things and nobody fights and everyone drinks too much and eats too much and they all joke about it the next day. But, every year, like clockwork, my holidays end in a giant clusterbomb of fuckness. Every year, one more person backs out, one more item on the ever-shrinking "to-do" list gets forgotten, and I end up playing catch up/referee until everyone goes home. I’m just tired of it." She reaches up with both hands, rubbing her face ferociously, the sleeves of the over-sized sweater she’s wearing running down to her elbows. When she eventually looks back at David, her face is bright pink wear her hands had been, contrasting remarkably with her dark eyes and hair.
David wraps his free arm around Laney, squeezing her tightly. “Everything will be all right. I’m here this year, remember? Whenever you feel like exploding or yelling or screaming or crying or like you’re about to disown a family member, give me the word, and I’ll sweep you off your feet and we’ll drive off into the sunset together.” He kisses her head, breathing in her fresh scent and finding comfort in its contrast with the rest of the smells assaulting him. ”But, for right now, I want you to forget about all of the nonsense we’ve had thrown at us since we landed, and I want you to help me untangle these lights so we can put them on that lopsided tree your brother probably stole out of someone’s backyard, okay?”
"Fine," Laney consents. "But, if I get tetanus or start sprouting a nasty rash, you’re spending Christmas with me in the hospital."
And they sit down, cross legged on pieces of ripped up, rodent-ravaged cardboard, and begin methodically untangling the lights, their breathing becoming rhythmic and married, their hands moving in time, relishing in a silent moment born from disorganization and created by loss.
So, I’ve always had a bit of a love for plants- mostly those that live outdoors, but I’ve had the same Corn Plant since day 1 of my Freshman year of college. That plant (Daphne, as I call her), has been through some rough times, including a recent propagation attempt that ended in the death of her new “twin”. Oops. She has since recovered and is thriving on the outskirts of my bedroom window. Off and on, I’ve acquired a plant here or there but have lost nearly all of them, either from the trauma of moving a lot, negligent (or overly attentive) roommates, or have simply given them away to a friend or family member. Well, since my fabulous SO has deployed, I have gone a little… plant crazy. By “crazy” I mean that my 700 square foot apartment houses a total of 19 plants. Whoops. Some of them were gifts but most of them have been from cuttings given to me by one of my lovely coworkers (who has quite the green thumb and a fabulously jungle-like house). I can’t help myself. As time has gone by, things have progressed from a few jade plants and a couple philodendrons to many jade plants, several philodendrons (including a large and rapidly growing split leaf), a hoya, many, many spider plants, a zebra plant, two baby lemon trees I started from seed, a rubber tree, and something that I have no name for but that looks a bit like a crinkle-leafed jade.
Daphne sure has a lot of friends.
I think I need a new hobby…
walking through the barn
darkness suddenly falls
i am alone and begin to feel chilled.
out of nowhere i man appears
(i can’t remember his face)
and i am drawn to him
as if we’ve known each other for centuries
he seduces me, drawing me in for a long, passionate kiss
as we part, more faces appear
vampires (of all things) and they have me trapped
i try to hide but can’t leave the horses
i attempt to negotiate but to no avail
i leave and try to arm myself in secret
i come back and my faceless admirer confesses
Tessa reared and broke her neck so (they) beheaded her
she is dead.
i cry in anguish, having no outlet for my misery
and no means for revenge
i spend my time attempting to save the remainder of the barn from Tessa’s fate
discovering ponies that i did not know existed
living in a dark barn away from the others
i attempt to bring them over but i seem to have lost my ability to persuade
and lose one of them before arriving
the donkey is sad and he cries
the horses are terrified and shudder in their stalls
i vacillate between attempts at defending my herd and being seduced by the faceless man
who i’m pretty sure is trying to kill me.
I didn’t have any coffee today. I’ve decided that being perpetually overly caffeinated might be the root of all the stress I’ve created within my own life. Well, let me tell you, not having coffee today was by far, one of the WORST decisions I’ve ever made. Not only was it day 3 of the caffeine detox, but it also happened to be a day full of LOTS of paperwork and meetings with several very important people. I thought I was going to die. My brain was throbbing throughout the day, my mouth was frozen in a permanent yawn by two in the afternoon (right around the time I go in for Round 3 of that delicious, dark, bitterness), and I’m 99% certain that I am still, in fact, asleep and am either having a terrible nightmare, or have simply become the nightmarish reckoning of the coffee-less me. So, in light of that, I’m going to explain why and WHY coffee is the greatest of the world’s gifts to humanity.
1. It makes the dullest of kitchen equipment into the most prized: my coffee grinder is one of my ESSENTIALS and I literally cannot live in a place for more than a day or two that does not have this angry-sounding, awesome-producing, brain-awakening mechanism housed somewhere in its depths. Just looking at it perks me up.
2. Coffee makes people wiser. Seriously, any book you read or movie you watch will have the pinnacle “wise” character guzzling down a steaming cup of deliciousness in at least one scene. It also can make a regular Joe (or Jane) feel wise enough (or at least, functional enough) to participate in those early morning logistics and strategy meetings, or even give them the gumption to answer questions in class, or bequeath unto them the courage to kiss that really cute someone who you asked out on a date. And let’s face it, coffee drinkers can only really stand to be around other coffee drinkers so kissing with coffee breath is really only the beginning of a great relationship.
3.You instantly appear to be a world traveler if you are a connoisseur of coffee. When people mention traveling to the such and such region of this or that country, you can nod your head and smile knowingly, having recently enjoyed a cup of steamy espresso from the very place they’ve just mentioned. You can even contribute to the discussion by bringing up their coffee and implying things about the people who made it based on the “notes” and “depth” of what they’ve produced.
4. It’s pretty much the best thing ever. My brain has shut off for the day, in rebellion against its lack of caffeine. I might continue this list at some point. Or I’ll just start drinking coffee again and stop missing how delicious it is…
We were all horse people but we all had different stories and different motivations for what it was that we did at the program. There was the master’s student whose entire future would be dedicated to bettering the lives of those in need, whose expertise and education guided me through some of my more challenging times, both at work and in life. There was the busy Mom, who cared more for the horses and their well being than for the clients and so she stuck around long after she’d burnt out on the rest of the program. Our director, who had moved up quickly when a leadership position opened up and was constantly playing catch up, juggling this full time job with another and leaving us to fend for ourselves most of the time. We also had the sympathetic, a woman who had been through a program like ours in the past and therefore had a tremendous time differentiating between the ethics of running a successful program and the emotion of wanting to help every child who walked in our doors, no matter the cost to her own personal life. And then there was me, one year out of college, still figuring my life out, and trying to be the best person and best role model I could be for the constant stream of abandoned, ill, and struggling children that I saw every day. If it hadn’t been for the horses, I don’t know how I would have lasted as long as I did…
there’s a kind of momentum that builds
when you’re waiting so desperately for something
to come to you.
a kind of peaceful indifference toward all the minute details of daily life
and things seem to speed along until even time is lost
time fades into the background
as days drift by you forget to check your watch or phone or clock
because it makes no difference
since you’re waiting for that something
to come to you
and it doesn’t matter what hour you’re in.
Indecisiveness is an innate trait that should be looked upon with awe and wonder, rather than disdain and pity. Let me tell you why. The indecisive are just plain fun to be around; they get excited about the little things, go on crazy, spontaneous adventures in fits of decisive clarity, they are the people that the busy, driven, and ‘on the fast track’ type people love to be around, but only in secret. If you’re on the ‘so called fast track,’ you tend to openly hate the indecisive because typically the indecisive are the type of people that have held 3 completely polar-opposite jobs within the past year and despite the constant game of company-leap frog, these people are excited ALL THE TIME about the new job they have, the change in pace, the fact that the new opportunity they’ve created for themselves has given them something to rave about at the 4th of July BBQ while the decisive business men, law students, and professors sit around the fire exchanging stories about their college days, the vacations they’ll get to take when all the school/studying/work/exams/organizingthefuture finally ENDS. Meanwhile, Mr/Ms Indecisive is regaling anyone who’ll listen (namely, nearly everyone) with tales of the trip to Yellowstone he/she took between shamelessly quitting the soul-sucking job they held after the boring filing position, and before the exciting new job organizing an after school program for the Boys & Girls Club. See, the issue with indecisiveness is that it gets a bad rap. Just because someone has only a tiny inkling of an idea of what they want their future self to look like does not mean that they’re unmotivated, unprofessional, or wasting their time. It just means that rather than shoving themselves into a box from the moment they ‘figured out life,’ they have chosen to spend their time exploring the world they are a part of in between misadventures and wrongfully enrolling in that Esthetician program they were so determined to complete. They are relishing in the world as it has lined itself out for them and are enjoying the ride. So, hate them all you want, but the Indecisive will continue on their path to decision and will likely enjoy the ride a lot more than they would have had they been crammed into a box like the rest of society.
as her body sways in time with the horse’s movement, she begins to relax. every muscle and bone in her body begins to realign, vertebrae straightening, tension fleeing from the remotest corners of her body. her breath becomes slow, mindful, meditative, as she moves along the outside edge of the field. the riders in front of her her engage in superficial conversation, their voices floating back to her as her horse slows almost in answer to her unspoken request for some silence. as the voices fade, she tunes into the birds, the wind, the sound of bare hooves on dried grass, she breathes in the smell of crisp air, damp leaves, freshly turned earth, her hands wind in and out of the horse’s mane as her mind turns to the paths and choices she’s facing in her “other life” and her breath grows shallower and shallower until at last she is gasping for air. the horse’s rhythm shifts in response, her movements becoming more rapid and the horse begins keeping in time with her own breathing. as her awareness of the effects of her own distress upon the horse raises, she takes conscious control of herself, slowing her breath, swaying her hips in rhythm with the rise and fall of the horse’s steps, falling back into the lull of the sleepy, fall trail ride she took in order to escape from the “otherness” of it all.