a glimpse of nothingness.

a commuter. a coworker. a pedestrian. a customer.

a writer. a dog owner. a carrot juice drinker. a friend.

when you are many things to many people, it’s easy to get lost along the crowded streets of Persona. where the sound of your name becomes nonsensical; your own reflection an abstraction.

but when i am alone, and if i can calm a noisy brain — for a precious little while, i get to be absolutely nothing.

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Filed under life happens

resurrect your darlings.

blog’s gone cold, hasn’t she? the pulse of a once beating heart; i’ve killed all my darlings and nothing remains.

kill your darlings. a foreign phrase brought to me on the soft lips of a stranger [i killed him, too. but that one was an accident]; originally uttered by a Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it —whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings.”

i’ve been steady writing for these some months. about living, about loving; losing and learning. writing, and writing with so much to say. i’ve been struggling. sitting in front of strong beginnings with no clear ends. waiting for muse to take hold. tooling and changing. deleting. desperate to blow breath into bodies. pressing my ear tightly to chests and listening to hearts. god damn you, words. come out or i’ll fucking shoot.

and i did. firing repeatedly into the flesh, i killed my darlings dead. except their ghosts haunt me now. keep me up at night; follow me into the shower and accompany me on my commute. they linger in the office after everyone’s gone and they don’t leave until i do. these lost souls nobody knew were missing.

so, i’m digging them up, my darlings, and i’m leaving them here. giving name to set me free? doubtful, darling.

darling duality.
“despite an early recognition that i likely won a pretty significant payout in the DNA lottery, i’ve also an overly developed intuition and respect for that other shoe and its awesome dropping capabilities. when life is really, really good, i am never surprised; but always suspicious. i know that on the heel of my unrestrained joy, is the promise of crippling pain. and my penchant for overstay, either way. a monitored heart beat reporting the jagged, pulsing duality of a dynamic life that i love — i’ll seek enlightenment when i’m dead.”

darling disguise.
“i spent a long time avoiding the reality of this man. watering fantasy like a Farmville crop, i contrived fearlessness via bed-headed, mascara-free video chats; then allowing the excuse of business and circumstance to turn my in-person backpedal. architecting intimacy on a brand of vulnerability that comes easily to me; i placed bookmarks on the pages of my boldest prose so he couldn’t put me down.”

darling desire.
“i was nervous when we finally met for pizza and snobby beers in the Mission. we had connected so beautifully on paper and phone — i was really hoping for the hat trick here. when we hugged, i got it. he smelled so damn good, i hugged him twice. so enchanted was i by the handsome creature touching me, i didn’t even mind his tardiness. of which he blamed on family-related fire extinguishing. a few cryptic remarks about their instability, and a disparaging couple of comments about his mother over the course of the evening, called for some concern. i did not press for details, though i was curious about a man who held unfiltered contempt for the woman who bore him. but there was no time to dwell; he casually abandoned his seat across from me, choosing a spot on my side of the booth, giving him freedom to meld the entire left side of his body to my entire right. he did finger drawings on my thigh to punctuate his points. and as he spoke, his lips threatened to brush mine, should i endeavor to bravely meet his gaze. i don’t remember what he said over that last beer, because i heard nothing.  too busy trying to put out fires of my own — on my body, in the wake of his touch.”

darling daydream.
“caught daydreaming again. it’s always the same: i’m in my car, except my civic has become an old mustang. the windows are down; the warm sun illuminates intentions. and my wife-beater. i’m steering with one hand on the wheel while my other arm dangles freely out of the window, siphoning air through my fingers. all around smells like indian summer and kicked up dust. there is music playing on the radio; something dirty blues and soulful. i don’t know where i’m going. i just drive.

that’s right. i daydream about a goddamn calvin klein ad.”

darling deviant.
“while the dogs busily catalog every inch of unfamiliar scent, i take in the celebrated diversity of each passing home. Cotswold Cottage arm in arm with French Eclectic and Raised Ranch. Spanish Colonial breaking bread with Neo-Classical and Tudor Revival. each flanking garden, each pathway, each porch light: a unique expression of self. but there is one feature they almost all share in common: a great big picture window. i delight in that picture window. some are cloaked in privacy, but the majority – they are left brazenly bare. surprisingly open. naked. issuing this voyeur an invitation into worlds within. so, i RSVPeep.

darling disappointment. 
“the wind was strong and the kite was higher than my 8-year-old mind could measure. i considered climbing up its string, and looking out over the river hiding behind a row of lanky pines. maybe i could even touch the clouds! i let out more line while speculating whether clouds might taste more like cotton balls or cotton candy. caught up in the finer points of my analysis, i forgot about my kite. the wind picked it up and I absently released more of the line. suddenly, my hands felt loose. I looked down. i saw an empty spindle. I looked up. and I fucking ran.”

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Filed under blogosphere, closure, motivation, muse

the first time i rolled a joint.

i was thinking of a time when i knew i knew something. everything. of life and love. i knew. i was so young then, so sure of myself and the way my lines created a curve that begged to be touched.  i was thinking of that time, because today i feel so far away. i feel far from knowing. knowing. confused about how two people fit together in a sequence of dirty, rusty perfection. you never knew how this thing was going to go. i acted like i did, but i didn’t. well, i did, but i didn’t. can you tell me that story again? the one that made me believe in love again?

i was thinking about you today, while the sun was high. we were smiling new smiles at each other and not knowing what we would do next. i told you to be careful with me. i’m hard but so soft. touch me and you will most definitely remark at my softness. which you only get to see in mid morning light.

“i know you,” i said in the same light. “i know who you really are inside.”

let’s just pretend that we own the world. travel with me. and decide where we’ll venture next. experience something new and scary, but here i’ll be next to you experiencing it, too. we have no way of knowing the path to that place where neither of us has ever been. no name, no description. just a hunch that we’re determined to follow.

i knew who you were before anyone could guess that we’d end up here. let’s just forget about all of that stuff. the way we felt when we realized that time is the rule. i told you, “let’s stop time.” and you didn’t know what i meant until i had kissed every inch of your psyche. i took it slow and made you crazy.

“faster,” you thought. “that place that you know, please get me there.”

but i wouldn’t. i wanted you to feel the way i felt, out in the open, every day: so god damned vulnerable to the entire fucking universe. i showed you the depths of unrestraint and you tried to control the moment. all i need is to be out of control; you just want to feel something that is real. but we can’t allow ourselves that one perfect measure of freedom. we can’t. we’re not more afraid of anything else.

you smell like the moment i was born.  i  thought  i recognized that scent. the way it led me to my place of rest. i thought it was a hoax, but i didn’t care, because it felt so damn good; bare skin on skin. it’s a crime to feel any way else. life is so funny. i hadn’t touched you before i knew what you smelled like.

the sun is still shining; i want to show you me. just a moment of pure warmth. no one has to know more than you do. we could leave this place, you know. we could create a new language. converse with me.

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Filed under 5 senses, dreams, love, mind fuck, muse, poetry, reminisce

sum, es, est [part one]

i’ve been wanting to write about Brenn for seven months. back in april, around my grandmother’s birthday, is when i first felt this pull. but my pen could not [would not?] transform musings into words. until now. whereas “now” is last night, as i lay in my bed beside another man, Mr. Est, who has purposely positioned himself too far away for me to touch even the residuals of his body’s heat.

i lay sleepless, thinking of Brenn. pulling out old brain polaroids, remembering his kind, sparkling eyes. the way he’d look down innocently, then back up mischievously at me as he laughed; his deep, soft southern drawl a suede glove stroking my cheek.

i met Brenn back in college, not long after returning from my 2 year stint in australia. i was working at a trendy women’s clothing store in the mall to make some extra coins. i stumbled on him one day, as i clocked in for my shift, when an over-sized rolling rack of sequined party dresses gently implored “excuse me.” from behind it he stepped out to reveal himself: our newest stock boy. it was then that i witnessed the long-sought alliance of east vs. west; slanted almond eyes shaking hands with a strong anglo jaw, while press cameras fired off snapshots in my head. we greeted each other with simple introductions and earnest smiles, pheromones stealing shy glances from behind our shoulders. a week later, i was in his arms.

pretty quickly, i noticed something else striking about Brenn, in addition to his enchanting exterior: he wasn’t too sharp. with him, political conversation evaporated before it hit the ground. witty banter flopped out of his hands each time he tried to remove the hook. more often reeling ‘er in a tad too late after both it and the bait were long gone. he was a drug-free stoner, who once looked intently at my vanity license plate at the time “ITS KRMA,” and then triumphantly proclaimed “It’s Kramer!”

this was troubling for a couple of reasons. namely: as a philosophy major, i had reached that fateful point in my academic studies where i knew i knew a thing or two; and i thought everyone ought to know that. i held smarts in the highest of regards. brains made me cum so fucking hard. today, my dogma obeys the leash laws; but brains still do that thing to me. in multiples.

even more problematic than his inability to appease my obnoxious, pseudo-intellectual self-importance? Brenn was the most emotionally intelligent lover i’d ever known. more accurately, Brenn is the most emotionally intelligent lover i’ve ever known.

he walked me down a secret path that opened to a world where sex is always a raw act of love. whenever we were together, his eyes never left me. his mouth and hands always worked in tandem. he studied the rhythms of my exhales and read between the lines of my smiles. midway through a particularly sweet friction, and without warning, he’d shake things up by lifting me effortlessly into an entirely new position.

he undressed me with focused excitement. lifting a breast out of my bra with one hand, while expertly unfastening two of its three hooks with the other; seemingly too overwhelmed with passion to finish the job. feverishly kissing my top then bottom lip the entire time. later, as i rocked my hips back and forth over him, gaining momentum and losing rhythm, my bra’s last hook finally freed itself and fell to his chin. to which he enthusiastically responded by grabbing my hips and thrusting impossibly deep inside me. it was in that moment of planetary alignment, i realized the meaningful intention in his every touch.

our first tangle was so intense, we didn’t discover a torn condom until it was too late. there was, of course, those expected following moments of panic; my unabashed vulnerability suddenly grappling for a fig leaf. a trip to the health department was to be on the books — a girl’s gotta have a Plan B. i was unaware and afraid of what to expect, but i quickly told the still sweaty semi-stranger lying beside me, i intended to go it alone. i do this often in life — “go it alone” — because i would rather break my back carrying my own emotional baggage than endure the equally crippling anxiety of potentially straining someone else’s T-7. but Brenn would not have it. he gently insisted that he accompany me. so, i let him.

he drove us there and asked me to focus on finding a good song on the radio. he kept his arm around me, protectively, as i filled out patient forms in triplicate. he stood up and greeted me with a sweet, supportive smile as i returned to reception with my two little pills. at home, under a blanket on my couch, after he’d stepped out for ginger ale, tomato soup and rented movies, i marveled at the tender familiarity of a situation and a man i did not know.

but there is another moment in particular that continues to move me, and it is what prompted my sudden need to put him to paper last april, around the time of my grandma’s birthday. one lazy saturday morning, while spooning me so very snugly, he reached across my shoulder to the nightstand and grabbed a framed photo of me and my grandma taken many, many easters ago. my arm slung around her neck; her hand resting lovingly on my 9 year-old knee. he studied our smiling faces and asked who it was that sat next to me. i opened one eye and through sandpaper mumbled, “my grandma.” he paused for a moment and i could feel his eyes continuing to study the photo. then he whispered, “she’s beautiful.” he placed the photo on the nightstand, returned his arm to its spot around my waist, and fit his mouth back into the curve of my neck. i opened both of my eyes then. the nine-year-old sitting beside her hero [who would succumb to breast cancer the following year] came into focus. i looked into my grandma’s loving eyes. she was beautiful — the most beautiful. ever. to me. and he knew it without being told. he knew. he knew.

but even so, our romance did not last. i was too committed to the temporary, choosing to throw my loyalties into creative passions instead. feeling sexually liberated and curious; taking lovers, loving them hard for a time and then leaving in the night. i traded Brenn for another breathtakingly passionate lover. one who was fiercely intelligent. and emotionally manipulative.

Mr. Est suddenly stirs. his sleeping body turns over to face me. his leg brushes mine. my feet are like ice.

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Filed under love, mind fuck, reminisce, sex

j’adoube.

the rules of chess are really quite simple — it’s the anticipation of the opponent’s next move that makes your own strategies grow complex. and, sure, the point of the game is to capture the other person’s most vulnerable piece. but after battling for so long, there is glorious freedom in surrender. truth is, i’ve been winning at chess my whole life. sometimes without even trying. now, here with you, i’m finally learning how to lose. and it hurts so good.

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Filed under life happens, mind fuck, motivation

smell ya later.

the shower is on, waiting for my approval that its cold water has finally run hot. i look into the partially steamed mirror, and i take down my clumsy ponytail. a 5-speed shifting into motion, i slowly release the clutch of my reflection, while simultaneously taking in air through my nose. all around me, on me — a scent that is new. but somehow i already know it. the way you know a rose is a rose. and you can smell the age of its blossom without glimpsing the condition of its petals.

he said he loved the way i smelled, back at his place, after we danced all night at the show. in my ear he whispered it matter-of-fact, after tonguing salt from my neck. still fully clothed, but i caught a preview of our sex when he suddenly captured my earlobe between his teeth and i drew in a sharp breath. the faint scent of coconut, sweat and the heat from a woman’s thighs, reaching towards our heads. and then we lost them.

i rarely wear perfume, because i’ve never understood my own scent. how it mixes with their chemical compositions and creates something hybrid; something that ought to be more appealing than what i was born with. but there is one that i do wear, occasionally. a soft, delicate reminder of the bottle i took at age 10, from my grandmother’s vanity after she died. misting the air in front of me and remembering her laugh. walking into it, my arms reaching out to receive a hug. it’s not her scent exactly, but her influence is strong. and it reminds me that there was a time when i didn’t know, but knew that unconditional love could maybe be enough.

a vegetarian still remembers the flavor of meat even though she no longer consumes it. i can smell the one whom i thought was the one — only now through the recreation of events in my mind. the way he would step out of the shower, and barely use his towel; a few errant drops of water somehow still lingering in the valley of his collar bone, even after he’d pulled his shirt over his head. he would carefully mix unscented Lubriderm with a measure of mysterious essential oil, rubbing something like creamy orange peel and jasmine into his skin. for a while, i’ve tried to figure out how to reproduce that secret scent since we parted. but i haven’t been able to. and i doubt that i ever will.

when i open the door to the car and dip into the passenger’s seat, i catch a faint whiff of a finished cigarette out of a cracked window at around 50 miles per hour. he doesn’t apologize for it anymore, because we’re well into a friendship which has evolved beyond the need for that particular kind of consideration. i hate smoking, but at his initial apology, i put on my seatbelt and told him i did not mind; for a second, i was riding beside my mom. a woman whom i love and miss and wish would quit smoking. because although i am currently positioned 3000 miles west, i cannot fathom this big rock turning without her. and she doesn’t wear perfume.

the presence of strong coffee brewing at his place or mine. its pronounced aroma singed my nostrils and turned my stomach. it also turned his brain; i understood he needed it to get right each morning. i smelled it almost daily for a couple of years, but my body was never able to adjust. like that one thigh exercise i did every day for six months. it was always as painful as the very first time, every time; yet i never stopped believing it was going to get easier. his scent doesn’t fill my house anymore and i don’t fill his; but i sometimes smell him when i walk past an open café or a grocery store aisle. it still burns my nose. but it no longer turns my stomach.

this new scent lingering in the air? it smells a little like coconut, and a lot like walking down the street — an arm draped over my shoulder and his cheek in my hair. soon, it will be washed away by my favorite shampoo and conditioner. but i look forward to getting it back.

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Filed under 5 senses, love, reminisce

beauty in the breakdown.

“Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of to-morrow… In this world — as I have known it — we are made to suffer without the shadow of a reason, of a cause or of guilt… There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that… is always but a vain and floating appearance… A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains — but a clot of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.”

- Joseph Conrad

most people find that to be a horribly depressing sentiment. but it reminds me of a past lover who, after bringing me to orgasm with his mouth, delicately placed his lips over my trembling center to absorb the shock. a slap and a kiss.

sometimes i tune into my own heart beat. i put my hand over my chest and feel its vibrations cycle through my finger tips, forearm, back and around again; and i think there is nothing else in the world more wondrous than my stupid fucking existence.

a movie is comprised of millions of individual frames. snapshots of countless present moments strung together into a beginning, middle and end. what would it be like to exist within each of these individual moments, exclusively, as they occur? to always remain present while we breathe? that is “heaven” to me.

the reassurance of eternal life after death does not calm my fears. i can’t plan for something that may or may not exist. and even if it does exist, i don’t care. i am here now. now is all i know. this is MY life!

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Filed under 5 senses, motivation