Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today is Day 1.

I start again.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Explanation for Today

The rain attacks the windshield in thick sheets that burst under pressure as soon as they hit glass. I have my wipers up to full speed, using the spare seconds between each haphazard cycle backandforthbackandforth to navigate this familiar road. My car is cold. The air conditioning blasts from every direction, each vent aimed perfectly at the driver's seat, this an accomplishment considering its misdirected currents every other day. My car is cold. My skin is cold. I consider turning off the air, following through with my thoughts and watching as a siege of ice fog overtakes the glass closest to the dashboard. I backtrack. Now my car is cold. My skin is cold. Detached from my physical body, I am cold. Backandforthbackandforth my eyes follow the wipers while my brain copies their movement. Backandforthbackandforth a direct representation of how I am with you. My street seems more bare than usual. Rain always makes the road appear deserted, the houses that line the right side rising like weeds amid this otherwise untouched, wild plot. My foot pushes the brake down down down. The wheel steers right and my car aligns itself with the pavement of the third weed on this street. I leave one cold interior to enter into another, unnecessarily cooled down for the heat wave that never arrived. My voice echoes off the walls that will always be taller than me, walls that share every secret and hear every whisper. My feet pad along the floor, searching for other people. A slow, steady shuffled breath meets me downstairs, the same breaths echoed once I climb up up up, no one is awake. I am cold. This house is cold. I am a cold pest living in a cold weed.

I walk outside. Rain changes targets and begins to bully my skin, ripping at the transparent hairs on my arms and snickering at my vulnerability. I am smaller than this rain. I am a pest living in a weed. A cold weed. I am a cold pest.

My skin dampens as the drops pelt, one by one, into the black hugging fabric of my shirt. This liquid is welcoming. I am merely visiting but I am a welcomed visitor. I am a welcomed pest.

My shorts are speckled with rain. My thoughts still swish backandforthbackandforth.

I am a pest living in a material weed. I am a cold pest living in a cold weed telling cold lies to warm people. I become colder with each lie and yet I keep gifting cold lies unto warm people.

You were warm today and I could feel the sizzle of my cold skin as it melted in the presence of your warmth. I was cold and I sizzled and I told cold lies.

The rain still falls. I am drenched in water, drowning in my own frigid lies. You are warm and dry and recognize my cold words as cold lies.

Each time I see you I promise myself not to hand you cold lies.
Each time I see you I freeze and my hot words become warm half-truths until I am feeding you
lies
cold lies
cold cold
I told you a cold lie today.
I told you more than one cold lie.
I am cold.
I am comprised of cold lies.
I fed you cold lies because I love you.

I love you but the words turned cold in my mouth.
I love you warmly
but without you I am
cold.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Repeat Offender

I have always loved Regina Spektor because she is a brilliant lyricist. But lately, I find myself taking extra comfort in the way her voice wraps around me, not always melodic but always, at the very least, persistent. Her album "Far" plays in my car at least a few days a week, and no matter what other CD I pop in, I always end up going back to her music.

Today's song, then, is "Man of A Thousand Faces" by Regina Spektor.

And I'm crying for things 
that I tell others to do 
without crying.

32

The way you smile at me is the only thing allowing me to believe in what would otherwise be wishful thinking.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Boy On Bicycle

I am bothered that you no longer want to talk with me, but the reason for your silence is one that I provided.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19th

My dad turns 49 today. He is almost a half-century old. Imagine how much wisdom we come to acquire with every additional year. It seems silly to me that as adults age, they begin more and more to dread birthdays, viewing them as just another sign of their impending mortality. I think there is so much to celebrate as we get older: another year as a player in this crazy world, another year with family and friends, another year to love and love fully, another year to cry and grow, another year to learn and develop and become an incredible human being.

If my father cannot see it this way, then let me be his eyes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Morning

Blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah I hate getting back to reality.

Friday, July 16, 2010

10:00 PM

I love it when you just want to say hello.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Country Is My Heart

It is 3:05 in the afternoon and I am restless. My mother has collapsed on her bed and fallen asleep. My father sits in the front room with his legs crossed on the rigid ottoman, reading quietly as Katie does the same a few feet away. I have managed to position myself in a rickety armchair, the cushion tired, the wood starting to show signs of wear and corrosion from all the salt floating around here. Had I not pushed the chair as close to the card table as its arms would permit, I doubt I would have much restraint at all. I cannot seem to sit still. Surely I am sitting but I feel the need to move my fingers, to wiggle my toes in my rubber slip-ons, the black patterned flesh gnawing against the worn soles of summer feet. This house is hot and within it I am warmer. Thoughts ricochet about my head, tangling with my hair, unkempt and puffy in the weighted air. The breezes that pass through the patchworked screen door are disruptive, sending each crinkly strand of hair in a different direction. I am calm in the least calm of ways.

Two feet from the deck stairs there is a large bundle of orange flowers. They look sort of like those white weeds that grow in the woods, the ones that you can place in a glass filled with food coloring and then come back in a few days to rainbow flowers. My mum used to call them "Lace" something or other, but I cannot remember now. But the orange flowers here are almost burnt in their coloring. They are bright but also extremely dull. Every time I walk by them, half a dozen bees or so swarm from the underneaths of the flowers, up, up to meet my swinging arms and clumsy feet. The bees here have tangerine fur, tiny strips of orange hair banded by black on both ends. They are larger than most bees I have seen but for some reason do not intimidate me the way wasps and hornets do. They are almost like bumblebees, fuzzy and diligent in their tasks, but with a longer thorax and therefore not quite so fat. Regardless they seem always to hover around the orange plants, a little collage of orange  that seems to change only in composition, never in appearance.

It amazes me that any living creature could be so meticulous about one single thing. I think constant repetition would drive me mad. A bee's greatest job is to collect the pollen and nectar from plants, return its sticky bounty to the hive, then leave once more to repeat the process all over again. When I was younger I never understood that bees were doing anything but terrifying me with their presence. I would run away from one, whimpering, if it came within even a few feet of me. Every summer until I was 8, I managed to be on the receiving end of a bee stinger. Usually it was my own fault: the house I lived in when I was little had wooden benches that my dad had built into the deck, and hornets liked to build their nests underneath the seats. I would come along, sit down and begin swinging my legs, end up kicking the nest, irritating its inhabitants and leading to screams from me as I ran away, never quite able to escape their wrath completely.

A bee has not stung me in years and I admit that I still walk a little faster when I see one swooping near me. But as I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate the space they occupy. Every bee, whether it be a hornet, a wasp, a bumblebee, surely even the orange bees, instinctively protects its hive. A bee will risk its life protecting its home and its fellow residents. In a way, the structure of a bee hive is a microcosm for the way humans function. We go about our daily business with generally no other intentions but to complete our tasks thoroughly and efficiently. But if something we hold in high regard is threatened, we fight: some of us with words, some of us physically, but all of us instinctively.

My old neighbors, the Scotts, were bee farmers, and when we moved away they gave us a book that Mr. Scott had written, entitled Bee Lessons. Somewhere in the middle of the book lies a beautiful truth.

Dulcet et decorum est pro patria Mori.

"Sweet and beautiful it is to die for one's country."

123 Miles to Boston

Provincetown clears my worries and makes me happy in the simplest and best of ways.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Hate Packing

I'm terrible at it. It takes me hours and hours and still I always worry that I'll forget something. I'm long past the age where I should be needing help, but my mum continues to write packing lists for me, because otherwise I have no idea where to start (and, with lists, I have no reasonable excuse for procrastination). I just tell myself that my inability to efficiently pack a suitcase has no bearing on my ability to be an adult.
Generally speaking, I believe myself.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Leaving Port

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
--William Shedd

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"What's it about?"

I laughed, shrugged, and said I didn't know.
But the subject was sitting directly across from me, asking the question.
How could I admit I wrote my first poem in months because of you?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reciprocity

I would be more excited if you were, too.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I spent this entire year excitedly planning for the ultimate summer venture: I would finally read all of the books I have ever wanted to read, because there would be no required reading for college, no summer assignments to keep me so occupied that no more than a few self-picked novels would pass through my hands. I would curl up in a chair with a new book every few days, and by the end of August would be, in a sense, "caught up" with my own personal required reading list.

This list includes, but is not limited to: classics, including Gone With the Wind, The Origin of Species, On the Road, Slaughterhouse-Five, Of Mice and Men, Jane Eyre, 1984, As I Lay Dying, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Of Human Bondage, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Fountainhead, The Scarlet Letter, The Bell Jar, The Invisible Man, Lolita (because I loved Nabokov's The Defense), The Time Machine, Watership Down (which I bought when I was 8 following my aunt's suggestion: little did I realize at the time that Richard Adams did not write about bunnies the way I imagined in my head), anything by Toni Morrison that I'd be able to get my hands on, and Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" and To the Lighthouse; more contemporary novels, like Blankets by Craig Thompson, The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares, and I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak; and a handful of plays and volumes of poetry, including All My Sons by Arthur Miller, The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare, many of Kamila Shamsie's novels (she is a South Asian poet and novelist), Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and the full extent of my Rod McKuen collection (for some reason, he's out of print and not even the full CW-MARS library network has any of his work).

I knew going into this summer that the task would not be an easy one. I am not a quick reader. I'm not bad at reading, not at all, but because of my ADHD, I tend to read slower than most other voracious readers (such as my sister Emily) so that I can completely absorb the material. No matter, I thought. I have an entire summer in front of me.

Today is July 3rd and as of now, my proud list of books that I have successfully read so far includes: 45 pages of Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own."

I'm embarrassed. This isn't like me, especially not when I have an actual written list to follow step by step until I've completed it. I started reading "Room" about three weeks ago, and I've only managed to cover forty-five pages? Perhaps I should have chosen a slightly-less verbose author as a starting-off point, but Mr. Tarmey gave me "Room" and To the Lighthouse as a gift, and so I felt, above and beyond all else, obliged to start with these two classics.

Now I feel only obligated. I cannot deny that Woolf is brilliant, because I have enjoyed part of what I've read so far, and even the parts I cannot fully comprehend still amaze me due to her grasp on the English language and her use of the sub-conscious as a form of expression. But I can't seem to get myself to finish the essay. I'm trying not to place the blame on my ADHD, but maybe that really is part of the problem.

More likely, any medical inhibitors are nothing more than wishful thinking. Part of me is afraid to admit that I'm not smart enough to appreciate Virginia Woolf. I don't think it's true, but what other explanation can there be? So then I tell myself that I'm just not old enough to understand her writing. This is much more probable.

But is it something to be ashamed of? I want to be an English major and yet my goal of reading so many fantastic novels has stemmed because I cannot finish a classic British essay. I cannot complete a task that any aspiring poet or novelist should easily be able to tackle.

So I have reached the point where instead of trying to force myself through the remaining fifty pages, I'm placing the Woolf compilation back onto my bookshelf until later. Maybe months later, maybe (admittedly) years later. But I will read both before I die. Mr. Tarmey wrote me a long note inside the front cover: how could I not?

For now, however, I am content to move on to another book on my list: Gone With the Wind. I'm leaving for a week's vacation on the Cape soon. What a better way to undertake one of the largest (and, in parts, or so I've been told by Emily, one of the most vapid) books in American literature than on vacation, with no library resource nearby?

We'll see how I do. I have my fingers crossed I'll make it past page forty-five.
I think I will.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giving Up on Greener Grasses

Today I started writing a poem for the first time in months. I'm ecstatic to finally be producing some material again. The cause for picking up my pen, however, has me on the verge of tears every time I think about it.

I hate myself for how I feel.

The song of the day is "Giving Up" by Ingrid Michaelson.

What if I fall further than you?
What if you dream of somebody new?
What if I never let you win
and chase you with a rolling pin?
Well, what if I do?