I flirt awkwardly in a way that’s akin to screaming into a pillow or kicking at loose debris in the sidewalk, taking it all out on inanimate objects and, at some point, I have to ask myself: What’s the fucking point to all this? In response to my own rhetorical question, I feign a persona as I sit back and listen to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane’s musical take on sentimentality. I set a scene where I’m a bit part in my own life and meant to be in the background. For added effect, I close my eyes. Please don’t take notice of the girl standing stage left. She’s decoration. Nothing more. And if he takes notice, and please-I-hope-he-doesn’t-oh-god-I’m-staring-again, I’ll try to remember that I’m not supposed to be under the watchful gaze of anyone or anything. That is for others. Not me.
When I pull out my charcoal pencils and erasers, I set out to finish a piece of work for once in my life. They’re always left with stark white backgrounds because I’ve placed so much emphasis on the lighting effects of a single handkerchief or spent too much time creating the perfect contrast of black and white. I don’t think I’ll ever consider these pieces to be complete. I am not my own worst critic. I’m just very adept at putting myself on the page.
I wish to know him in both the Biblical and the intellectual sense, but who I am to reach out and break molds? Nobody.
If there’s snow on the ground when I wake up in the morning, I feel like I’ve been hit with thousands of milligrams of caffeine. There’s life here, ebbing from my center to the tips of my fingers. I cannot contain this and, before I know it, I’m pulling on my boots and ejecting myself outdoors, as though indoors is physically rejecting me. People hate the snow and I don’t understand why. Frost understood, I think.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
I push the colored pencil around and try not to touch the charcoal. I think I’m being methodical in my actions, but the bigger picture is not. A voice looms around my ear and it’s asking, “What are you doing?” It’s a sarcastic, scathing question in the way it presents itself and I hear it in my own voice. I respond, “Something. I’m doing something. Just let it be.” I’ve suddenly lost my drive to finish my work. I pick up a book instead. Books are the completed works of some published author, writing about other lives and other experiences. I’m all about that Holden Caufield fella. J.D. Salinger, if only you were alive today.
I’m convinced that I should write about him. Do I write in reverent tones or should I wonder if this is such a good thing? What is the sound of repeating mistakes? I’ve been here before. It’s so familiar that I don’t have to mull it about my mind in search of greater meaning or wonder what the intent of it is. I’m starring in praying mantis porn – the men always end up dead and I move on to participate in another scene. What is the sound of repeating mistakes? A mourning, monosyllabic, “Fuck.”
This is the way I function: I climb the very heights of humanity and see the worst. Just the other day I convinced myself that we’ve gotten this far on dumb luck and serendipity and those gods who would lead us to something better. My descent from the mountain was riddled with criticisms and I reached the bottom in half the time it took me to make the climb. I see the world as self-destructive. I see humanity as being too complicated to manage; we’re going about it all wrong. I reach back to my undergrad days and think about politics. I cite the works of Daniel Quinn when I ask, “How far have we strayed from our evolutionary roots?” These philosophies are too complicated to manage. I quit.
From where I stand, I can see snowflakes carving a zig-zag path through the air. They land delicately and become part of something greater. I want to become part of something greater. I hear you can see the Northern Lights from the places that are deemed to be the coldest, quietest places on earth. I hear you can see the universe in solitude.
It’s not love. I’m not trying to convince myself. I’m already aware, thank you. Iwonderwherehekeepshisbooks. Iwonderwhatcolorhisbedis. Iwonderhowhetakeshiseggs. Iwonderifhesintomicrobrews. Iwonderwhathishairlookslikeinthemorning. I bet it looks like a comfortable mess – the kind that reminds me of still-warm blankets and wrinkled pillow cases. I’m not significant enough to know.
Why am I so fond of circles? They’re the least imposing of all shapes and function best when complete. When did the chapter end? Who am I now? Questions for the ages.
A roaring fire comes to mind when I’m asked what makes a place “homey.” My problem is that I keep putting the fires out.
I sit down to write and I approach the page like it’s my first time trying anything. I can’t imagine there’s anything I could say that piques any interests. I’m just a jumble of thoughts most of the time. I’m full of one-liners and poetic imagery and I spend too much time wondering about PROFOUND THINGS that can never accurately translate to the page. In English, you say that you’d like to get something off your chest. In Italian, you say you have to spit the toad out.
I look forward to absolutely nothing. This might be a problem. Having hopes and dreams means more tedious and laborious work, a certain rigidity of time. This isn’t completely true, I take joy in such innocuous things that do not make any contributions to my overall life or well-being, nor do they do any damage to my emotional or psychological states. A long time ago, I took a very long walk on the beach and was surprised when my absence was noted. But I was enjoying the rawness of the planet and in awe of simply being here. BUT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN DEAD. WHAT IF SOMEONE KIDNAPPED YOU? I embraced the idea of living and ended up knowing my tiny position in an unknowable world.
Sometimes I wish he would go away. Then I could go about my life and everything can go back to the same oatmeal state it was before all this. Sometimes I wish he never existed. Then I’d have fewer rumblings of awkward moments in my life. It’s a damn good thing I’m way over here and out of the way of everything. Don’t mind me. I’ll keep this to myself until the world implodes upon itself and my brain finally caves in. I’ll watch from a distance. I was always more comfortable sitting near the wall and out of the way of everything.
Which circle of Hell would I be sent to? I think I’d be scattered about like Sam Raimi confetti. Virgil would point and say, “We’ve reached the Fourth Circle. There’s her leg, see? She wanted it all. Now we’re in Judecca of the Eighth Circle. Here, suffer the traitors to their lords and benefactors. There’s her index finger. Don’t slip on the duodenum on the way out.”