Monday, October 29, 2012

memoir of a serial monogamist.

Perpetual dating since you were sixteen years old and you’re twenty-four now.  It’s time to put pause to the vicious cycle.  You know.  But you meet a boy.  Know that he’s barely a shell of what you want in a partner.  Date him anyway.  Date for a long time.  Date for so long that when you break up you wonder  how long you’ve been in a coma.  Realize that it’s been years.  You spent years with a person you didn’t feel crazy about from the start.  What is wrong with you?

You need to be with someone.  You need to find someone to spend Sunday morning farmer’s market runs with.  You need a warm body in your bed.  You need a mutual TV show – one that’s been canceled and is now on Netflix, so you watch episode-after-episode, laughing together under a blanket.  You need hope.  Hope that there is a perfect fit somewhere.  Even if you have to make it fit.

You break up.  You cry even though you’re not sure you feel all that sad.  Your heart feels heavy in your chest but you’re pretty sure it’s more from withdrawal than anything else – like that time in college when you tried to stop drinking coffee and ended up in your dorm, curled up in the fetal position with a raging migraine. Yeah, like that.  You don’t know what to do without another person so get busy.  Swear off men again.  You don’t need them.  You’re free – single (!) – now.

Meet a boy.  Call him a rebound.  He’s too tall or too young or not rock ‘n roll enough but you don’t care because he’s warm and his mouth tastes like spearmint all the time.  He’s good enough for now and soon you find your own TV shows.  The sex is boring and he’s still too tall but it’s something and you know it’s gonna be okay.  Two years later the rebound is over.

You cry again.  This time it’s because you didn’t end it.  And that hurts.  You don’t miss him but you wanted to win.  How could you lose?!  He was your rebound.  It’s not fair and so you cry.  You cry until you’ve cried off the ten extra pounds you’d put on during your “relationship.”

You keep it off for a while until you meet a boy.  Maybe it’s right.  But of course, it’s complicated.  He’s dating someone.  And he’s moving soon.  Wow, you know how to pick them!  So that’s exactly what you do.  You pick him.  He leaves his girlfriend and now you’re in a relationship that is built on a lie.  You wonder if this condemns your relationship. But this is different.  It’s beer and video games and wine and art galleries and mutual friends that you actually both like.  You call them “our friends” and mean it.  You spend whole days in bed and switch between fucking and reading to each other and it feels more real than anything else ever has.

Then he leaves. Long distance is a bitch.  You cry again.  Mostly you cry because you know you can’t handle it so you decide to stop handling it.  You break up over the phone one Sunday afternoon and never speak again.  It’s too sad.  You’re too sad.  Wasn’t he “The One?”  So you’re sullen for a while.  Hurt.  Empty.  It feels sad and lonely and just a month later you’re dating again but it never feels right.

You’ve stopped jumping, finally.  You realize that all you needed the whole time is to be alone and find yourself (!!!).  Get a hobby.  Hate the hobby.  Quit the hobby.  Find a new one.  Write a lot.  Cut off half of your hair and paint your fingernails a new color every other day.  Wear scarves and hang out at Starbucks on the weekends because nothing says “I’m single and not interested” like a cup of steaming Americano and a garment that resembles a noose.  You start to feel fine.  You are fine.  You don’t need a man.  It’s been three months – the longest you’ve ever been without one.

And then you meet a boy.  

september 18, 2009.

Tears streamed down her face as she clung to the bottle of cheap tequila in her hand.  Underage and overdramatic, she screamed and sobbed and cried.  She begged and lied and wheezed an asthmatic’s wheeze.  Emotion seeped through her pores.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now,” he’d said plainly when he walked in the door.

It was two hours after he had said he would be home.

During these two hours, she had been sitting, thinking, in his living room, taking shot after shot of tequila to get the courage to confront him.  After he arrived, and when she finally did, he had responded by saying he was leaving her.

It was ultimate humiliation and devastation.  And she was going to be sick.

“Is there someone else?” she pleaded, “Say there is and I’ll go.. I swear.”

“No there isn’t,” he replied curtly.

“Then st-stay,” she sobbed, pulling her shirt over her head and throwing it to the floor, “C-come upstairs with me then.”

His mouth twisted into a smile briefly, but it faded. He shook his head.

“No, Lyss.  It’s tempting, and I would – God, you are sexy – but I’d still leave anyway,” he finally managed to say.

“Is there someone else?  Honestly.  Tell me the truth!” she demanded, still standing half-naked.

“No.  Of course not.”

But his eyes met hers and she knew deep down that it was yet another lie.  Alyssa grabbed her shirt off the floor and wrestled it back on.  She stormed out the door and into the darkness to call the only person she could trust, leaving her clothes, laptop, textbooks, dignity, and heart behind.

He fingers fumbled for speed dial – for Grace… for the help she needed, the answers she knew she’d never get… for protection, for strength…

Inside, Jack opened the refrigerator door and drank straight from the soda bottle.

richard's duality.

shackle upon shackle
trading sweet, honey whispers
for ball and chain;
for illiterate moments;
for bitter but sugary
coffeecake kisses.
he'll break you if he can,
from the walk
to the dress
to the sidewalk
until there's sick in your hands
and your mouth and your hair.

day after day
pricing marketplace smiles
worth two dollars;
worth ten;
worth only what the
courting fools will pay.
they'll bargain if they can,
from the door
to the street
to the vendor,
and when there's nothing left to
buy, go home to their wives.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

original inspiration.

i find myself an inspiration to others, but yet so few things inspire me. the only time i feel like i can write is when i'm sad. or lonely. in this state of less-than-subtle ennui. i find myself nostalgic and pained, and then i begin to write.

the truth is.. i feel like my writing is a trade-off. i don't write unless i'm unhappy. either i'm happy, but unartistic, or unhappy, but a writer. where is my creativity? where has it gone? i want to be a writer, in lieu of my sadness.

whenever i read back on some of the things i've written, i'm overwhelmed with how raw it is. others probably miss that rawness, because they don't necessarily see the personal connections i've made, but i surprise myself with how honest i allow myself to be. i'm not talented by any means, but i sure do feel. a lot.

i want to curl up in a corner right now. i've always had these ideas of sitting in my one bedroom apartment, with a typewriter, stationed on this messy awful big wooden desk. i'd be armed with a steaming cup of coffee, except i would never say "cup" - only "mug" because, mug sounds more artistic. great works of literature would be scattered around me, keeping me company as i worked. and i would write.

i would gaze out my apartment window into the busy city (probably new york or boston or chicago or seattle.. some wildly amazing place) and i would feel the energy of the pavement, of the buildings, of the life around me. i would draw on the beauty of all those millions of bodies, faces, heartbeats in one place. and i would write.

most likely, i would be dressed in an oversized sweater, probably cream-colored or gray. of course, i would wear a scarf because i, like all starving artists, would be broke and have no heat. i'd be sitting cross-legged in my chair, hair curly and wild and unkempt as usual. i'd probably be wearing those gloves with the missing fingers, so i could keep type-type-typing away. i'd have papers everywhere. a pencil set between my incisors. and i would write.

one day, i'd like to be this person. but for now, i'm a ghost of that. a slave to a system that is weighing me down. a shell of that beautiful vision. my words, for now, are so muffled that i can't even hear myself anymore. where is my voice? i think i hear it asking, asking questions like: can i ever be an artist? is that even in me? where did my soul go? who am i? i find myself straining, straining to hear.. so i sit down, here, in my one bedroom apartment (the one that looks nothing like my dream and has no desk or typewriter.. but there is coffee, so i think it's okay), and get ready to listen. i turn up the volume.

and i write.

what he said.

‎"we all have that one person.. you know, that one 'what if?'.. 'the one that got away.' for me, that's you. and - don't look at me like that - i'm not looking for any closure or anything. i've already accepted things as they are. all i'm saying is that for you, it's him, and for me, it'll always be you."

still friends?

"can - can we still be friends?" she pleaded, grateful for the dim lighting that hid the wetness of her eyes, "i - i don't want to lose you completely."

for a moment, he thought about all the things he wanted to say: that he just wasn't in love with her, that he was suffocated by her, that he wished he'd never crossed that line.. but none of those words came. he stifled them, refusing to consider himself so hurtful.

instead, he reached across the table, took her hands in his, and lied, "of course we can be friends. you'll never lose me."

sleep on it.

They always say to "sleep on it" (whatever "it" really is) - that things will be clearer in the morning. Yet as she swung her legs off the bed and let her feet hit the cold hardwood floor, she was struck with an overwhelming realization: the morning light did nothing for her clarity.. it only served to illuminate just how blurred her peculiar little life had become.

may 21, 2012

I had fought so long with the artist in me. She clawed at the rationalist's subtle anxieties, stripping away the neuroses and filling the empty space with unwavering calm. I had always thrived on my stresses, thought they motivated me somehow - made me more productive. But as I sat that morning, piles of ignored work atop my desk, scribbling furiously in the crisp pages of my leatherbound journal, I realized this artist was an integral part of me. The truth hit me: deep down, I was not just a bundle of nerves with a deadline; there was more to me. Somehow, that tightly-wound core I had always reveled in having had become unwound... and in that moment, I was a writer with a story to tell.


His legs moved beneath the soft cotton sheets, grazing her backside.  She’d been awake for an hour – maybe more – listening to the sounds of fall just outside her window.  The rustling wind caught against the glass, sneaking in through the tiny gaps in the panes and giving the room a cold chill.  And so she shuddered, despite the warmth of the man beside her.
Sunday crosswords and farmers markets were not their style.  They were both writers with inkstained hands and hidden tattoos, poor but happy in their own respect.  The love they shared was strange, but familiar, and neither would have ever willingly left their muse behind.
The sex was as inspiring as their work, and when his hands moved quietly, hungrily, across her porcelain skin - pausing at every bulge and crevice - she too felt like poetry.  It was never outright wild or frenzied but always passionate and unexpected, and for the most part, that was enough.
She turned herself so that she was facing him, his open mouth inches from her forehead.  Burying her face in the cavern between his shoulder and jawbone, she let a sad breath escape her.  She closed her eyes, capturing the snapshot of their crumpled bodies one last time, ready to remember their last day shared alive together.