When it finds you

This boy I thought I loved–
I’ll call him the
patron saint of my unraveling.
A two dollar votive of
La Virgen left to dust the bedside table,
but you should know
he made the wax out of
my hips and two tongues.
And my boy spoke three or four
romance languages, you know,
and one of them used to be me.
He said he felt fluent in the dark
He spoke me into form and
pulled out any mismatched bones.
He took my ribs
and the tiny skeleton in my feet.
I hear they keep you from falling backwards
I don’t know where he hid those bones,
whether he sent them to recycling.
He said those bones would
only get in his way, honestly.
You know, he whispered life in my mouth, once,
I choked, but only a little bit
but only when I said I loved him.

You know, I’m not sure
when he turned my dreams into tangents,
when me made me into angles and right turns.
I used to be comprised of circles, I think.
I could twirl against those radii
without his sneakers and light
to lead the way.
you know, good votives are hard to find these days
And when I danced, you know,
I think I felt beautiful.

We interrupt this program

#12: You can tell yourself that 365 somethings will happen.

You can swear against the interruptus that is; hold yourself accountable for future somethings, and nothings, and everythings. In fact, I encourage it. I’ve always had a thing for failure.

For once, I’m just glad my excuse is that I have been living.

Between us chickens, the actual pursuit of life is heady, man. Real heady.

Re(w)ise

#11: “Writing workshop is like cultivating a fire for months or even years and having a bunch of people go whoosh.”

I’ve only been a graduate of my MFA program for six months, but I’ve been out of touch with the workshop game for nearly two years now. I am relieved. I’ve never been able to articulate how I felt about the experience until my friend Daniel gave me that genius little quote. He went on to say that the writing people bring to workshop is often half cocked and barely baked. First drafts, if that, instead of revised work that the writer has taken as far they can conceptualize. The writer has done the composition, but is now in need of a symphony.

You almost never get that symphony. You’re lucky to get a few on key squeaks. Eventually, I thought it fun to see the mythos deconstructed before my eyes, even when the process was painstaking and unhelpful.

And while I often didn’t find the writing or words in the way I wanted or needed, I think I found myself.

Also several bars.

What was this about again?

Words, words, words

#10: I am filled with broken promises.

And after a while, they don’t hurt as much.

Sometimes, I wonder what kind of life I’m setting up for myself.

A world where the minutia feels like vapor; where ‘this and that’ don’t sting, but they should.

Whatever it takes

#6: I’ve seen every episode of the Canadian teen soap opera, Degrassi.

That’s thirteen or fourteen seasons of teen pregnancy, cheating, child abuse, sex, sports, coming out stories, death, drugs, power squad tryouts, school shootings, “washroom” pow-wows, and most recently, its first suicide.

Label it accidental synergy, but I began watching the show during my freshman year of high school. Believe it or not, the program treats the premise of showcasing high school with gravitas. It prides itself for having a revolving door of teen actors (imagine that, Hollywood? Teens playing teens) whose fictional stories and portrayals speak to the most pressing and obviously ridiculous issues of the day. At the end of their four years as characters, the show chooses to be relentless. They never soft shoe on fan favorites no matter how perfectly coiffed their hair. Instead the characters graduate; they disappear into passing mentions until they fade into nothing, shifting focus from old to new.

God bless them, Degrassi gave us the moniker ‘Wheelchair Jimmy’. (These days, I hear His-Most-Sensitive, Aubrey Graham, prefers the moniker of Drake whenever he raps or pines after Rihanna. Whatever makes you fly, bro.)

wheelchairjimmy

Wheelchair Jimmy letting the good times roll.

I often ask myself why and how this particular show has sustained me for so long, as most shows in their genre get trite and a little sad after two or even three seasons. Ehem, Glee.

I’m beginning to think my devotion stems from casual pessimism rather than sentimentality or nostalgia. Maybe a part of me thinks high school never really escapes us. The power structure duplicates like a virus in college. It condenses and morphs to accommodate the workplace. The washrooms are still best place for dirty gossip.

Maybe we never stop coming of age.

We need glitter bombs and hips

#5: I swear on this, no matter how extensive my current musical elitism:

I saw ‘NSync in concert when I was 15, and when the lighting went crazy, and the girlish pubescence swelled into a frenzy, and JC Chasez (the specter of my wet dreams) threw a janky towel in my direction, I swear–that I had peaked. My heart knew it. My body buzzed with approval.

For a few seconds, I had a lived a fulfilled life.

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And later, if a person is wrong about that feeling, after they’ve witnessed the scope of a messy, unpredictable, human existence, I wouldn’t sweat it. Our instinct shouldn’t be to diminish the past in the presence of knowledge or foresight.

One should feel so sure about a moment at least once.

“Take, take, take–“

#4: I can still feel you next to me.

I hate that when it gets dark enough in my room, or in my head, that I’m there again–sophomore year, in a dorm room that smells like dueling man musk, with the glow of The Godfather video game for Playstation 3 (or was it 2???) hovering over our bodies. I was already drunk, but you pressed that bottle against my lips until I complied. You did it again, and again, until the images surrounding us were well-past muddled. Transcendent, even. You waited until I was pliant enough, when resisting felt as if I were pushing against the rock collective that make up Stonehenge.

I hate those words, prey and predator, because they imply an inevitability. They’re ingrained in the notion of eventual victimhood, but that’s what you did, right? When you told me to stay after everyone else had disappeared, when you smiled, when you chose to drink nothing because you were sick–you waited. Back when I used to think of waiting as a passive activity.

I’m not that foolish anymore.

Instead, in my dark, there are pinched nipples and cold hands down my jeans. There are words that you don’t hear. That you ignore.

And then there are things I remember and choose to forget.

But what you told me after killed me. I almost laughed, would have, had I not been so angry. They came at next day’s end after you spent hours chasing my ghost all over campus. You wanted to explain before I told someone ‘important’. I never did.

“I always liked you,” you said. 

That had I been your sister, a mythical being for you to foist your culpability upon, that you would be furious with that ‘other guy’. You gave these sentiments in between nervous apologies, but you might as well have said nothing. I would have preferred it.

You ruined me for a while, you know. I used to think you ruined me for other men, but I know better now.

I have evolved.