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29th May 2008

6:17pm: at the summit of deception.
one sestina for now, just written and not entirely polished. traditional sestina form, with 6 syllables to each line.

Peel it back

You will find me pressed in
and prodded, needle-marked,
swollen shut, bandaged, served
cold, half-naked, trembling,
convex; pray for release,
for these deaths to resolve.

The fibers unresolved,
saturated, stained in
neurologic release,
subdermal patterns; marks
spiraling, they tremble,
wait to break all reserves.

Recoil, realign, serve
the hollow slopes bread, solve
the frontal lobe’s tremble,
blur the memories in
blue fog, engulf, re-mark
cranial maps, release…

you will find me there. Lease
my cavities, reserve
remarkable landmark
scars, secrets, skin resolves
to crack [someday] clear in
halves — chambers will tremble.

Air scoffs and spits, trembles;
septic quicksands release
locusts, alight within
retinal dark, reserve
heat, conserve solvents;
stop, look around, remark….

you will find me there. Mark
word upon word, trembling
like cells, proudly resolve
to peel it back, release
these deaths, pray to conserve
the shivering within.

I will resolve to mark
them in, I will tremble,
strip and release the skin.
Current Mood: blah

(i'm anemic royaltea)

12th January 2008

3:35pm: this is the definition of my life, lying in bed in the sunlight.
i have a fondness for sestinas.

i wrote these a few months ago. the second one (except for the final tercet) are in truly standard sestina form, in that every line is 6 syllables. the first one has the proper sestina format, but i was lenient with syllables.


The Center

We plant seeds
in the center,
reminds
me of my blood
on their hands, even now
it follows

patterned drops, follows
an elliptical path; we swallow seeds
feebly now
from the soil of our centers
and the stomachs bleed;
I’m reminded

of days before all of this—shall I remind
you of the time we followed
the man to his forest, a trail of blood
and seeds
led us dead-center;
now

we bury time there. Now,
as you know (I don’t need to remind),
our humble centers
bloom bundles of nerves and fibers, we follow
wayward routes, seeding
blood,

the crops unearthed. His blood
and mine now
contained in these seeds,
which you swallow to remind
the body to follow
our centers’

ache, our centers
ask for more blood,
more…we’ve followed
(now)
for a timeless stretch, an invisible sense—I shall remind
all my seeds

when they grow old; the seeds will unveil blood
at his intricate center…now,
I must remind one: never follow.


Apology

And the last time your lips
wept, your lips touched my forehead
just after you said, “I’m sorry.”
Remember, we snuck on the roof, under
dense Midwest dark, tiny flecks alight,
(I’ve a habit of wandering away

with boys who’ll offer escape), way
out in endless time, your lips
spoke to space, to the light,
I tried to wrap my head,
which always aches, around and under
everything we’ve ever been. I’m sorry,

but I’ve already seen…I’m sorry
I was here before, far away
and above, on a rooftop, under
voyeuristic moon; its face, its lips
bending down to touch my head,
imbedding me blindly with distant light.

And the time when morning light
slid in, like a spy, sorry
for the intrusion—awake, my head
waling and lamenting, a long way
from home—you’d woken, your lips
skimmed, limping from someplace else, under

time; I was lucidly asleep under
the weight of his ghost (light
scours us clean). You are sorry
for him, for the humble ways
rooftops cave in, for my head,

which always pulses, pounds…my head
stores you and him, tucked away
from everything we’ll ever be. Light
shines blind; I must say Sorry
for ever touching your sad lips.

And, by the way, you stung my head
with those lips, under
the light of him…the death of him too; I am sorry for it all.
Current Mood: bored

(i'm anemic royaltea)

1st January 2008

11:50pm: observation.
The difference between
my mouth
and yours
undoes just about
everything.
Current Mood: drained

(i'm anemic royaltea)

1st March 2007

11:34pm: it's about to get real fucking personal in here...
When I think of you,
I remember your shapeless shoes
and your way of laughing over everybody else
and the largeness of your hands
cupping my hip bones under covers
(where we hid from sight)
and the night we snuck into your moldy basement,
while everyone else was asleep upstairs,
and how you washed my scent off of you
after 4 am,
and how I banged on your window,
brought your cat through the backdoor
(for another excuse to say goodbye)…
and I remember your funny sweaters
and the poetry, on yellow lined paper, you’d scatter throughout the house
and the way you’d throw that cat against a mattress
to watch it bounce off,
and how you’d bang a broken piano
or make music with kitchen utensils
or pound words onto typewriter paper
or hang cigarettes from soda cans
with rubber-bands…
and you taught me jokes, but I forget how they go,
and we pinkie-swore the first night we met,
that night you showed me card tricks
and laughed as I kissed some other boy
on the filthy couch…
and I wasn’t yours, (you made me yours),
you came into my room with magic sunglasses
and those large hands, large laughs, large smiles
touched and tickled,
and I couldn’t say no
and I told you a bedtime story
about a dinosaur flying into clouds
and finding a gas station,
and this December, the whole lot of us,
traveled eight hours via shitty van
all the way to your mother’s house,
where pictures of littler-you and younger brother
decorated the walls,
and limp “get well soon” balloons
hung like death...
you were there, invisible,
done with the likes of us in this world…
I remember, one night, you told me about a girl you’d fucked in a bathroom,
and you’d always sneak me a special sort of glance
with your girlfriend in your arms,
and the night it all began, you’d let me wear your shoes,
those scrappy things,
as we strolled on damp roads to the roof of a building
where we could fuck in front of the moon,
and I remember thinking everyone could tell where we’d been
from my messy hair…
I was your cat,
you petted me, I purred,
you washed dishes in a skirt,
and asked me to water your pet mushroom,
said we were animals,
instinctual, and that I think too much
and I remember your tongue ring
and how you’d put it to good use,
and I remember sneaking into your sunroom with duct-taped windows
and busted mattress,
we were always in trouble with ourselves….
and the last night I saw you,
you’d tried to score a batch of drugs for five bucks
in Washington Square,
kissed me, told a story about some other girl,
hugged goodbye, lifted me like a doll (or a cat), and
I always wished I could play ukulele,
color outside the lines
and speak without words (like you)…
I remember, they watched as we shuffled single-file in the snow,
following the leader as you whistled
and swung a stick like a cane…
we were at war with each other, our selves, our
parallel paradox:
I was yin and you were yang, I was
moon and you the sun:
and everything was drunk, disordered, ragamuffined and
I took a photo of you sleeping...
I remember the bracelet you’d wear
that your girlfriend made,
and the lighter you used, that I’d made,
and I drew a picture for you when your rat died,
after you’d sent her back to heaven,
and I read your journals,
found a poem about me called “Shameless,”
wrote a story about you called “Animal Instinct,”
and it’s too late to tell you
I understand, I’ve figured you out…
still, I envy every girl
you ever loved,
like the one you called monkey
becaue time's been torn wide
with your passing,
a rift between then and here
without indoor hammock,
off kilter haircuts,
balconies and chess,
and I remember you lifted me, a bird on your shoulder,
and dropped me hard onto my knees…
I was one of many girls
you tried to get drunk (tequila in polka-dot glass)
and didn’t write songs for…
and I didn’t travel to New Mexico
or sip your mushroom tea,
I didn’t strum music for your words,
or dread my hair,
but I was there,
and no one can summarize
or chronologize
or conceptualize our messiness,
our impossible romance
all of the memories trapped like sand,
there is no way to recall
the background noise
or reconnect
the abstract inklings
of whatever it was,
whoever you wanted us to be.
Current Mood: sad

(3 anemics | i'm anemic royaltea)

5th December 2006

3:19pm: one of many to come, i am sure.
the birds are making sad circles,
overhead.
your tattooed ouroboros is dead.
i sit, distilling,
on familiar pavement
where you once stood tall.
the morning's angled light
cruely jokes,
it hardly warms the senses.
december already
feels lonely without you.

these birds; they're not quite sure
where to land...and i
am caught between inner landscapes
(your blanket, your breath)
that diffuse, evaporate
when given air.
you, like this sky,
had the bluest eyes.
you, like these birds,
the largest wingspan;
for holding me.

they're shutting you up now,
underground. and as your body hibernates
against eternal cold, these birds don't know
what to do, pecking at sidewalks
where you once set foot,
wearing sandals in winter.
the sun
doesn't shine nearly as bright
as it should.
Current Mood: melancholy

(i'm anemic royaltea)

26th November 2006

3:20pm: hmmm.
On Gravity

Gravity
gives me a look;
She breathes
a star,
out of sync with any constellation, and hangs
its jagged points, like glass, between my rib bones,

sews my chest with ribbons. Bones
are prone to Gravity’s
whims, prone to hanging
like willow tree branches, prone to looking
old, decayed before their time — stars
outshine every last breath

and every fresh grave. She breathes
inside my bones’
hidden marrow, where stars
are born; Gravity
carries an invisibility cloak and looks
blind, hanging

herself like a dead man; hanging
loose, like laundry, free like a cloud of breath
and now look,
my bones
need dusting, Gravity’s
cancerous star,

deep inside my chest, is not the same star
that hangs
like porcelain icicles on the edges of Gravity’s
window. She breathes
bone-
shaped gaps in the shape of space, overlooks

gusts of thought, overlooks
newborn stars.
My serrated bones
hang
like tired birds at the mercy of her concave breath;
her majesty, Gravity,

creeps along unseen, and my dented bones look
bruised, terrified — Gravity’s lonesome star
hangs, a glass heart, between the fibers of every breath.
Current Mood: busy

(i'm anemic royaltea)

15th November 2006

7:11pm: the opiate of blame.

i am a weightless illusion:
your runaway air
and stale aura.

we are (no more than) one moment;
you wore mismatched socks
and remarked on my stomach's pale freckle. let's 

carve it out, clear as day,
let's sing until our voices compete
with the atmosphere's static waves, i am

almost ready, almost
completely unmade, nearly
a pencil shaving of the girl we thought i was. remember,

i grew inside your skull, 
blooming: a nocturnal flower. remember, 
i made tiny pinpricks

in your arms, railroad tracks 
up and down
your rubbery spine. i am

the silent manifestation 
of your crave, flimsy vow, your alcoholic
tendency. 

at one week old, my mother took me back
to the hospital where i was born,
and said i was broken.

 when good and ready, 
i'll rest again in your worn fingernails. let's
play the reruns,

let's find the nail that drove it home,
tugged from the depths of me; i
invite you to stay, but you 

are in noman's land, wrapped up in wires
and private destiny. these sidewalks sink
under, and november grows cold.  

Current Mood: lazy

(i'm anemic royaltea)

1st October 2006

9:55pm: i'm at work. hmmmm.
you say, 
there's so much more buried down there
than her bones, and i can picture you:
nine years old with
loose teeth and blue-blue eyes 
telling yourself, she's dead she's dead, while your blue
faded to gray in the mirror's gaze, and 
your mother, my god-mother, fell
into the floor and your father 
carried her body, like a corpse, 
to the bathroom, to the bedroom and
your older brother and little sister, my cousins,
camped outside the door and
that was septepmber 4 and you knew, 
you knew they were all liars, and you saw
how your father would turn to drinking,
your mother to any perscription pill, 
your brother to california,
your sister to tattoos and you 
would try anything that might stop your blue eyes 
from further fading.
Current Mood: nostalgic

(i'm anemic royaltea)

31st August 2006

9:26pm: one of these days,
i will wake up.
Current Mood: achey

(i'm anemic royaltea)

30th August 2006

8:02pm: from a good safe distance.
i wrote the first one sometime early July and just edited slightly.
the second is a sestina (without the last 3 lines of a sestina) which i wrote in like june? july?

Washington Square Conversation

 

Today, I talked
with this guy in Washington Square
about circles, or rather spheres,
though he pronounced them “spears,”
well, he was thinking un-dimensionally
talking ‘bout his travels through time and space,
though every explanation he gave
was some Euclidean geometry restrung.

And I tried to make a point,
tried to cut it nice and clean; the delay of light,
air’s molecules, non-existant atmosphere on moons;
the earth neither in front nor back of any celestial thing
because it floats everywhere.

 And then, he said, he’d been through the sun:
a needle piercing the surface’s silhouette,
an orange glob, a fiery globe, I thought: a balloon
(or noninvasive surgery), acupuncture, hairpins and yet,
he never wanted to go back…

Embarrassed, I reasoned: he’s certainly dark,
and certainly mad, and so I believed him
for a second’s fleeting breath.

And then he jumped, shouting again about traveling the length of the universe
in barely twenty-four hours…well anyways, I told him
he wasn’t getting anything I’d said,
and he called me defensive, sayin’
“I have five sisters, I know how women are!”

And what was the point, I wondered, really?
The needle?
The Sun?
Heaven?
Love?
Or none of the above?

Time kept passing and I marveled at a child’s chalk drawings
nearby….while the man rambled on,
and on, and on.


*

looking down

 

When taking a walk,
my kidney
says: “Stop,
look down –
see the waterlogged worm
on a tender leaf?
Watch your step!”


For fear of stepping
on asphalt-biology, during this walk –
little-kid steps\
in giant-green shoes – my kidney
says: “Take that tiny worm
home; and about your own dilemmas – Stop!”

 

Without words, I stop
my heart’s beat, step
carefully over the worm
and continue my walk;
inching on asphalt, my kidney
screams: “Don’t forget the leaf!”

 
For a lack of patience, assertion, or pain, I leaf
through options: Stop,
tell the kidney
No!, Or baby-step
backwards and walk
to the worm.

 

What-so-ever this worm
must think without words, his leaf
shudders, his walk
halts. He says: “Stop
following me! Step
onward, Bad Kidney.”

 

Well, for a bad kidney,
my body still worms
and steps…
leaving the leaf;
my voice speaks: “I’ve stopped,
only to walk.”

Current Mood: apathetic

(2 anemics | i'm anemic royaltea)

28th August 2006

12:06pm: she's so heavy, heavy.
i wrote this down one night a few weeks ago. here's to recopying and tweaking.

i can see what i saw
    then
       now
through different eyes,
same lenses, same sliver...
still somewhat overdosed and un-
apologetic
    for all of this fuss —

i couldn't walk straight, do you recall
    the left side of my brain
    battling the right? where
they X-rayed and
Catscaned and i
fought them off with tingling hands
and thighs, you
    carried me to the toilet
    carried me to the car, still

i can see where i was
    then
       now
on higher ground,
sounds of water, watching
tiles refract and reflect me
outstretched, the lines
    criss-crossed, how
is this the same me?
   
    same
tiny chicken-scratch, same
knuckles, same
swollen gland, one defunct
ovary, anecdotes
after another

my poor
mother
    brought me peppermint tea
at 6 am
and you, you
cleared my throat

i can see who i was
    then
        now
within a different set of skinned
knees and scratched arms

    same
overcoat, same
bottle-cap heart,
i should have done it then
when i had the guts —

what is left
    to stand on?
who is here
    to keep me, change
my hushes, cut
my hair and splinter
    my voice?

i was genius then
    and now
only a snail,
a rubbed eraser, see
the harrowing, take
what you can: rumpled, dented:
before i crumble and succumb,
a gaping hole where my life once was.
Current Mood: sad

(i'm anemic royaltea)

1:16am: whatever and ever, so long.
hope is an old tv show,
an outdated calender that spells the year backwards.
i'm running out of space to hide:
the backs of your elbows are stiff with the sounds
of my coming,
the eagles landing on your tongue and eardrums
cause quite a ruckus,
the deafening! i hear static between
reruns, words between phrases, or places
that shatter, glass dripping from still-wet fingers,
i'm slipping through the unknown, a vast
hello? an echo,
i knew i could see tand hear
that voice again,
that long sleep inside veins
covered in snow. without hope
as an old radio,
a silver satellite cleaning my bones thin and dry,
i've run: rereading pages, subliminal text between
hiccups and gazes,
you are somewhere else entirely.
and maybe coasts are crueler,
maybe tidal waves behind couches a-wash a-way
every sin, in vain
i'm sweeping the dust (of you) off my floor
and the specks of what-was hang
from my eyelashes, galloshes? energies
waste. what have we done? hello,
you and once twice goodbye, thanks
for the time. i'm going outside
to fly the moon, wait
for a runaway light.
Current Mood: something.

(i'm anemic royaltea)

21st August 2006

12:51am: i'm waiting for something that's not coming.
some bad poems i wrote today. none of them have titles yet.


at 5 or
6 am, sometimes,
you'll find me searching for pills,
in a kitchen, shoving
the bread in my mouth,
in hospitals, late nights
writhing like a moth
on sterilized stretchers, next to
a man who needs his methadone,
the nurses say, "but you're so young" and yet it
does nothing for the pain.

*

for August 20th (today),
I'm wearing the same skirt as yesterday
and feeling the same old pain -
no pristine doctor or professional office space
can convince my endorphins to dance
or seratonin to sanctify
the little body's
decay - I'm a gonna
grow mold now, I'm passe -
this August is not the first nor last,
this is one
tired poem, one
landslide, one
morphine rush,
one grandfather's talk of July's
heat, we see
one stone on the Xray,
on the way to freeing itself and one
little body chilled and
curled and dimmed
like a blackout - tucked into August,
her 20's - rumbling like thunder!
Her father, my father
passed me the spoon
and taught me
to cut.

*

The days keep digging a hole
ow and ow and
almost there!

Chiseling a path,
a tunnel,
so they can worm instruments
straight on through:

no dead-ends, no U-turns,
right from Kidney to
unmarked tube, but

the vein complains
of constricting,
the proximity!

The heart says: you need a permit
to keep up this digging...
ow and ow and

here unravels some lining,
the head's all confused:
waterlogged? Maybe

sodium saturates the eyes,
they look and look like two
lighthouse beams

sweeping,
searching,
blind?

*

as it's passing through,
i watch the clouds make love
then break apart,
break open
and spill all hell
over and over,
like me and you.

*


He clears his throat and
looks into the sky,
maybe he wonders,
Why can't I remember?
Where did time drift to - she must have
stretched herself too thin,
gauzy and faint
like the echo of an eye,
like the whiff of a dream,
like the arch of a storm
or the line
of a skull,
or a smile,
or a suicide.

She's wavering like heat,
she's numbed and bandaged twice besides,
and coming down off Codeine,
she's waitressing and ironing,
she's undoing buttons and
coloring her hair.

His eyes blink and he thinks,
My head is filled to its brim,
so no thought can
come up for air,
no memory can break through the algae,
the clutter.

And children used to cartwheel
on the grass,
used to fire-work and foul-play.
Now they sit and stare
as he sits and stares and
Time
kills herself second
by second.
Current Mood: lethargic

(1 anemic | i'm anemic royaltea)

16th August 2006

5:55pm: shifty eyes shady.

slightly reworked, but written in april. i sent it off to the bellevue literary review’s fiction contest.


Follow the Sun

1.         Diamond shaped tiles, some black some white, gleam beneath one florescent light: long, cylindrical and gripping a Styrofoam ceiling with all of its might, it flickers gently, breathes slow. Perhaps it’s lazily alive. A window with plastic blinds, bleached yellow and twisted awry, holds the sun low in its glass mouth. Outside, parked cars carry a glow in their windshields: orange, opaque. Occasional birds land on asphalt and angled light sticks in their feathers.

A table covered in paper: the transparent, tracing kind. Some mechanism, fastened at one end, rolls it anew; skin can stick like glue to the surface and leave invisible residue. On the wall, metal tools wait to swerve down and around interior tunnels and canals, sockets and holes: they mine, find crystals, dig gold. A meter, still for now, detects life. Three watercolor orchids, white, serve as distraction: count each petal, measure the ovals of pollen, picture the green blood inside.

Curved lines on a red box mean keep away. Nearby, on a sterile counter, four glass bottles. Cotton balls like baby pillows. Wooden sticks like oars. Bandages and balled-up latex gloves. A tray waits to be set. Handwritten words on a plastic trashcan: proper disposal of gowns. A pile of lavender robes with elliptical holes for shoulders to slide through. A telephone blinks red. Its long, coiled cord hangs, as if dead, against the wooden door.

 2.         Smell your hands. Crack your toes. Rearrange the letters of the artist’s name until you create a worthwhile anagram. Scrap that task and simply read backwards. Say it aloud. Laugh, it’s okay. Dig a hole through the table’s transparent paper with your fingernail. Push all the way through and touch the  metal — cold. Retract. Retie your hair. Redo the robe’s flimsy belt so your breasts are fully covered. Ignore the blood whipping, a billion moth-wings inside of your veins. Ignore the stale oxygen trapped in your lungs. Ignore the yanking of a pull-cord in your gut.

Cross your legs and hug your feet. No, it’s indecent; he’ll see your underwear. Kick your legs back and forth. Examine the polish that’s coated your toes all winter long. Back to the painting. White orchids are for funerals, or so you’ve been told. It’s a cruel joke. Laugh again for the sake of breaking silence. Now listen — some shuffling down the hall. A knock and then another, but not at your door. Exhale, slow. Breathe a ribbon of air and let it coil towards the ceiling light. Is it dying? Perhaps it’s just your sight.

Stare out the window. A bird pecks at something from the parking lot, probably a coin. He shines. Envision the orange light in your pores. Press fingerprints to skin and create impermanent stars. Crane your neck: this way, now that. Count the number of blinking lights on the oversized phone. Ignore the wooden sticks and the bottled bandages. Ignore the red box with its biohazard symbol, the red box which holds needles and tourniquets: HIV.

Look back to the orchids. The middle flower has an opened mouth with tiny yellow teeth. It wants to eat you. It wants to dig around inside and search within every hollowed space. Let it swallow you whole. Let it wipe its petal lips dry. Let it turn itself lavender.

 3.         She cringes. Something about the teeth splitting skin gives her chills. Kate has always despised the sound of apples bitten to their cores. Her long legs dangle, limp doll-limbs, from the hood of Adam’s car, where she sits with her back to the newly risen moon. It appears to have been bitten too.

            Adam swallows his sliver and asks, “Well, what will you do?” His voice cracks the air’s hum of silence. His hand grips her thigh.

            “What can I do?” she answers. All ten cuticles raw; her fingertips ache. She digs the nails of her right hand into the soft flesh of her left thumb and waits for blood.

            “I don’t know,” he answers, dismally.

            “That was rhetorical. I know you don’t know.” She sighs and watches clouds turn to shadows.

Kate remembers the time Mrs. Larkey, her first grade teacher, said they were going to make clouds in empty jars. She had imagined birthing and brewing a gray storm: flashes of lightning and waves of thunder, like tiny roars of a lion, trapped inside her own glass globe. When the time came, Mrs. Larkey sang the water cycle song. It was condensation, not a cloud; vapor, not a storm. Kate had precipitated big sloppy tears and demanded Mrs. Larkey let her run home.

            She thinks: Adam never knew the old Kate. The old Kate told herself bedtime tales. The old Kate collected rocks in her lunchbox to throw at anyone who teased. The old Kate lied to her mother about her dad, lied to her father about her mom, lied to anyone who asked. The old Kate would’ve fought this with broken, bleeding fists. The old Kate would have stomped that doctor’s words to dust.

               “I’ll be okay,” she mumbles, cheeks flushed. Every muscle tightens and her pulse plays hopscotch.

Adam is there. His fingers always gripping, always keeping her in place. He is ready to hold her and kiss her, ready to wipe expectant tears and call her Katy-Kate or Katy-O — only there are none to wipe and nothing to say. When their lips meet, she cannot feel his mouth, cannot taste his tongue, cannot breathe his clouds of breath. His kiss sticks to the lining of her throat and she coughs him back up: head tilted and eyes closed.

 4.         I want to tell Adam that I don’t dream. Anything remotely dreamlike dissolves long before claiming a spot at the top of my spine. It’s easier to live without faded ghosts feeding at the back of my mind, sucking my subconscious dry.

            I didn’t use to have this fear, see…I never questioned life, death, or the absence of either, an eternal eclipse. I didn’t despise the glue holding my bones together or the blood cells slip-sliding through the network of thin blue veins like subway trains. I find myself imprisoned, now, a mental patient cliché — clawing at my arms as if they were walls, a diagnosis on display. I must be restrained before I pry myself apart, scoop out each militant fiber of my being that refuses to obey.

I probably don’t need to explain because we’re all trapped in the game, aren’t we? Styrofoam ceilings, lead dresses, blood bruises and medical tape scars. I own my own collection of stolen souvenirs: miniature vials and tubes, skinny needles, prescriptions I don’t need and samples I do. Still, I’m stuck here: somewhere between contradictions. Over and over, in magazine-ridden purgatories, waiting, while Dr. This or Dr. That decides what next to do. I never win or lose, never cheat or refuse, never collide or oxidize. I’m stagnant, like water catching flies.

I want to wake Adam from his dreams and ask him to rip off this bandage, soaked clear through. I’m black-and-blue, bleeding underground like a flower that blooms inversely with no one to watch it grow. The moon is shivering cold and it slithers down and coils around my violet skin: an illuminant tourniquet. The smoke detector’s light winks every two and a half Mississippi’s, but it’s too dim to cast an aura or even the slightest glow. I’ve already memorized this new room and his presence within.

He sleeps on his side the way I do, curled in a ball like a dying centipede. I know he sleeps toward me even if it means a numb leg and stiff neck. His heart is beating, causing predictable thuds against his bones, but I cannot listen, cannot cup my ear to his chest and receive the Adam Code. Instead, I track the smoke detector’s rhythm, wait for light.

 5.         Morning again. The scent of coffee is my grandmother’s hair and the rising sun is the yellowing tiles of her kitchen’s floor. Kate hasn’t slept and half-moons glow under her gloomy eyes. We’re on our way to something, but we don’t know what. She’s on the route to somewhere, but we can’t say why. We are sailing to freedom at the speed of light? Losing track of time.

            She isn’t mine. I wish I could roll her entire frame into one insufferable knot and stick her in my pocket next to shriveled raisins and half-used tissues waiting for a sneeze. Instead, I watch her re-bandage herself. She is leaning over the motel’s tub and her spine pokes its vertebral head to the surface of her skin.

            “Need any help?” I ask. I want to touch her and never stop.

            “I got it,” she answers with medical tape between her lips.

            We’re alone, save for a dead drone bee on the windowsill and the maid gaining speed to room 206. Kate has nowhere else to go and I have nowhere else to be except for wherever she might wander. My car sits obediently on the gravel in the lot. My limbs wait patiently for her to tell me she’s done.

            We are going to pollinate this entire planet.  

We are perched on the limb of the sun.

6.         Do not trust the gas gauge. Remember, the car is fifteen years old and it’ll always say Full when it means Empty. Pull over at this station and spend what little cash you have.

            Now, with twenty-five bucks, you can afford a cup of coffee and perhaps a smidge of breakfast. There’s a diner down the road, according to the man taking your crinkled bills and tossing you a bent coin. Thank him and place your arm around your girl…she’ll back away like she always does whenever someone might see, but don’t be dismayed. She might love or hate you, but blame it on the pills.

            Beg her to order, then let her refuse. Use your new coin for the diner booth’s jukebox. Tell her she can choose and pretend you like her choice. Smile as if nothing were wrong. Smile as if souls could flee their required bones. Smile as if hospitals were only pit stops, never destinations.  

            Don’t ask how she feels. Don’t mention the doctor, don’t mention her father, don’t mention the fact you’ll soon have twenty-one bucks. Don’t tell her about the broken gage in your car. Don’t tell her she’s doing the wrong thing. Don’t tell her you’re scared.

She is fine and you are fine and this is an experiment to see if the two of you can survive. Already, you’ve stolen motel towels and made yourself sick with sedatives she keeps in her purse. It’s been an evening, a sleep (at least for you) and a morning until noon, not nearly long enough to find your tired faces on a TV screen. Not nearly long enough to find her but a faint echo of the Kate she once was.

Keep moving.

Caffeinate your heart and take her by the hand. Lead her back to the car and buckle up. If it makes things easier, pretend you’re in a film noir. Kate, in black and white, could live on and on. 

Current Mood: blah

(i'm anemic royaltea)

11th August 2006

1:39pm: you are not allowed to follow me.
a shitty written-at-work-poem.


as i sit staring at
nothing,
you're welcome to creep in through,
straight to the core
what is left of me?

i see the world through
fractured lenses
unkempt eyes

i've numbed the little cricket
that used to sing me awake
i fit
into no real space
i see
a familiar shape
struggling, in the distance, against the heat

i can't help but laugh
because i've been there and back,
i no longer need to breathe.
Current Mood: indifferent

(i'm anemic royaltea)

4th August 2006

2:43am: it comes down to this.
there is only one photo of you
and in it your eyes are turned sideways

i can't help but wonder
who you were staring to
who you were gazing at
and whether or not she
was staring back

and whether or not she
is the only other eye
that can see
and whether or not you  are still staring,
stil starry-eye gazing

when last i held
those eyes in my palms, they wavered with heat
and blurried my skin

when last i saw your
ight-wired jaw, cold glare
eyes hung loose
swollen and numb behind glasses the sun
couldn't shine through...

how to free you then
without tearing myself to shreds?
what of the difference
which makes time? where i'd find you, now,
if not for where you were once then:

one photograph too far.
one eye too blind.
Current Mood: mellow

(i'm anemic royaltea)

3rd August 2006

1:24pm:

Easily Mistaken

 
You might mistake me for
your former half;


here, I hang
from the thread on your ripped jean’s
kneecap, torn,
awaiting the irony.


Remember
that night our friend Sam
took photographs of me?
You held his light
steady
and I blinked past the blindness, thinking
you could see the scars, hoping
you might voyeur collarbone and hip curve,
navel and ankle, instead.


Here, I’m chameleon-esque –
stepping through mirrors to
counteract autonomy,


here, I’m halved,
halved and halved to infinite smallness:
your pocket lint
your spare change,
a scoured-down nucleus.


Remember
the night you lead us into woods, we trespassed
and couldn’t find the moon
to bring us back?
I winced, wondering
where and how you would take me,
when and why
this would make me cry.


Here, I’m silent –
you might mistake me for
that kind.

Current Mood: okay

(i'm anemic royaltea)

2nd August 2006

6:02pm: o my beautiful liar.
the most i can fit in my head
is the perfect sort of ache

i nestle you there: a common allergey,
a simple overdose,

a dead bird? i am
in need of perscriptions, and

the more times i spell your name, the less i remember
why it's there...it's been

how long since we last spoke
sober? and still,

i hoard the ache between ear and neck,
temple and forehead,

collar and jaw bones;
why do mismatched socks,

certain words, and
marijuana resin remind me...where does one end

of silences sit waiting, and could
telephone wires be cut? or landlines out?

the more i cram
your blue, your scent and surface wounds

into the lining of my skull, the less i can dull
that rascal of an ache: you

sticking to the walls
try to claw,

try to crawl like a rat
between corridors.
Current Mood: hot

(i'm anemic royaltea)

31st July 2006

1:50am: don't go down, baby stay.
some random thing.....

*

how do i say i'm afriad?

remember...
i'd wander the hallways with outstretched arms,
jump from counter to counter,
hide under the piano?
drag a blanket
from room to room?

i'd sleep in the corner of your bed
so as not to disturb
and listen to creaks of your cough and your spine,

i'd trap my head in the wall,
cradle my bones on the balcony,
(where i cracked your christmas lights
and sang to your plants )...

i remember
being carried upstairs in my dress,
balancing birds in the air,
pounding  the floor at 6 am,
and you taught me to swallow water again.

how do i say i'm afraid of my self?

even here, in my own room and my own bed,
i miss your bathroom. those
cabinets, the crossword puzzle i searched
for clues...

and the closet where i curled like a cat,
and the pill bottles you kept in reach
and the ashes that littered my veins
and the way i could hold
the universe in one hand
and not sleep for 5 days.

how do i say
i am but half way home.
Current Mood: sad

(i'm anemic royaltea)

26th July 2006

6:04pm: ra ra.

the usual conversation

 

with stethoscope

and white-walled

 

teeth, he scrubs his hands,

taps my knees

 

and proceeds:

well now, am I
 

eating? sleeping?

hearing xylophones again?

 

have I yet returned

from the dead?

 

it hurts to breathe, I tell him,

it hurts to kiss

 

or bite,

I feel the buzz of bees

 

in the back of my throat

and some disease

 

gains speed,
cavorting in my ovaries;

 

sometimes, even, I’m convinced

that ultraviolet light

 

will scour last remaining specks

of life

 

from rusted bone –

to feel, or not

 

is my question, Doc;

please discern

 

hysteria from

lust,

 

amnesia 
from insomnia,

 

intuition from

paranoia

 

and I promise I will

sever the stubborn cord

that ties me to my self

once and for all –


instead, he continues to ask

rather than answer

 

as I swing my legs

back and forth.

Current Mood: contemplative

(2 anemics | i'm anemic royaltea)

24th July 2006

1:45am: my hands are tired.
today's two pain-related poems. hmm.


Chronic State

As the barometric pressure
    drops
(in my lap), a runaway balloon
traps
itself in
the confines of my cranium.

Oddly, the
atmosphere
is quite hospitable
     [somewhere]
between vascular network
and bone.

And, when you first
catch sight
(of me)
    blind
yet again, you might see
    inside
the confines
of this conic indecision.

Oddly enough,
colors and
caffeine
didn’t used to erupt
    [somewhere]
behind nerve cell
and spine.

And, as the prophet may
    speak
(to the sinners), my terrified pulse
    leaps:
vertigo’d convulsion
in the confines
of an artery.

Oddly,
I can predict
the weather now,
static
    [somewhere]
between sky and tree
cordially zip-zaps
vertical synapses

And, as you
catch your
    last
little cold, (or breath)
I’ll be the first girl to
    carve
feeble names
into stone, or step,
in the confines
of the unforeseen.  
 

Quick

do I get bonus points
for a bigger mess,
a blatant cry
or a blaring fuck you?
how’s about some old fashioned
masochism
for good measure?

(fold the napkins
into swans and
call it creation)

my oh my
mistakes exist
in capsules or tablet
form, lost under my bed,
I’ll absorb
your free-radicals 
as payback

hey, double-check
the facts, first –
antibiotics
might nauseate,
triptans might convolute
an already cluttered brain
(or backseat)

certainly,
codeine will sleep deprive
after lucid dreaming,
vivactil
will muck it up
(you basket case!)

me? I’m used
to feeling
attempts to
fascinate
and enlighten: I’ll
dis-collect every penny spent
on the quick fix

(sit still and hold
your breath until
the choking kicks in)

hey,
they were only trying
to help that
same old pain (in the head), and
antigens might re-close
dismembered parts

instead, bodies, baby,
drum-roll and
deep-sea-dive
(into oncoming trains) / either way,
your tactile gut
will soften up

(real nice)

my deepest dis-
regards,
regrets and dis-
illusions for time and money mis-
spent and ailments mis-diagnosed
(all wrong!)

when side effects take hold,
you might find yourself sunken
and dry:
marred
antic, irreconcilable
damages

(this and that
knick and knack,
kiss your tongue and call it love)

forget your friends and family,
forget your habit and
malfunction:
drink poisons
with pretty labels
and draw spirals
to mimic the golden rule:
the cure-all.

 
Current Mood: blah

(i'm anemic royaltea)

27th May 2006

4:28pm: sickening. ughh!
remains…

asymmetric eyes, world-wind theory,
FDA puppets on TV...

I suck and suck
'til I'm too tired for much, but
(re)recording. (what a cheat!);

martyrdom
in Spain, sound wave therapy;
UFOS in paintings, Jonah and his tree...

I bleed and bleed
internally? it’s never enough for the X-ray machine.

[Jupiter houses
one thousand orange earths,
three in it's acidic storm.]

I whine
and whine
'til he watches me; dry mouthed. faking.

fucking "oh! I cannot curse it away!"
cannot (re)learn to eat.
radio beams shadows;
(shadows of birds).

and "oh, stop being wallow-y";
gravity pulls the rainbowed-
stream, down my distanced leg.

I need
and need:
an exorcism? altruism? sitcoms. sex. east
Asian medicine; cure the symbolic rock in my right kidney?

fuck: another
ambulance, needle, unanswered sigh;
"push for emergency" ride, et cetera...

okay, it’s easy.
I'm too old (or too young)
for latex gloves.

[tennis balls, like balance beams, forget
diet Coke, forget New York City.]

"please, stop breathing hummingbird", but
water sits idly. air drips nimbly
through cluttered tunnels
and goose-bumped bone.

I die and die
dramatically, flailing in allergic skin:
no poetry, no aspirin, no
peptic pink solution.

we are elevator conversing;
(infomercial sunrise) ex, oh
and "oh, we’re wasting..."

(a bullet breaking sound –
“brain time;"
I’ve got tissues, anti-epileptics, beeswax chapstick and
pills pills pills )...

I lie
and I lie a little more, and
beg for ways to

[break me ?
meaning: distract me tenfold?]

doors
fall open when I sleep.
Current Mood: blah

(2 anemics | i'm anemic royaltea)

25th May 2006

9:22pm: i feel so disgusting.
uric acid
stains my gums

bittersweet
poison,

mercury? around moon-
lit navels,

eat of me;
right organ, (lima bean sac):

a gold nugget,
5 millimeters thick.

buy uranium
bits; nervous

lightning strikes,
streak electric

city lights;
crescent shaped winks.

speak of me;
a phospherescent ghost,

i coil &
stretch, at my best.
Current Mood: gloomy

(i'm anemic royaltea)

2:56pm: he treats me like a rag doll.
back to writing poems like this, again!
ah well. obviously needs some work, i just did it.


I’ll agree, personally.

okay, I’ll
allow you to categorize me.
“weird, crazy vulnerable” blah blah “girl”
flung off your tongue
in one large spat.

okay, I’ll even
agree; it’s an odd discourse, when I slip
under your weightless sheets
after sleeping on the floor
where the cat (neither yours
nor mine) has peed…I stink of something aged.

okay, I can be a bit
irrational. logic
was never my strong
suit. I have the worst
poker face. (shocking.)

now, I’m going to ask the room [our friends
sitting below the billows of a cloud] –
“what’s under the couch?”
and
I can explain the fractal geometry of trees!:

only I know;

I am (am I?) over and over,
trying, hurts. (shock – ing.)

[go ahead; call me] a mock
Cheshire kitten in loose bobby pins
with jaundiced teeth;

I’d rather let you : let me
win chess.


okay, you don’t want to hear
another poem or problem or
complaint from me –
poetry lacks “common sense.”
I never know when to tip. [or shut.]

okay, you’re no body’s teacher
or pet; here’s an (in) finite moment
hung in the air like a bug
that dares to freeze its wings:
[ready?]
we are dancing in your room with the door locked
(it may as well be walled) to our humming
and an absentminded song you recorded in that first house
four years back –
you’d been waiting for Will from Bard
to send vocals; Daisy Cross’s voice
asks “is this my beer?” over the pretentious scale
that sits on tape –

you only dance when you’re drunk
beyond vitamin drawers.

we never mean to leave notes in other peoples’ literature;
or smoke each other’s lucky cigarette;
never mean to live under one roof sharing allergies
and algorithms. bedtime routines
clash: our collective
punk rock; allopatric apathy [shocKing.]
we never mean to be mean;
I hate being
yr cliché, (purr) okay

I see you wince;
your little teeth hurt and you’re done with the concoction I’ve made
in your sunshiny kitchen with the cockroach traps.
o.k. my
words and
riddles
questions and abbreviations of facts; memorizing your closet
when I make myself home;
my way of knocking so you have to shout or
beating a dead horse when you string your guitar
will never suit
New York’s maybe sun.

but, (there is always…):
we both need lists
and glasses;
we both eat [air] like no tomorrow;
organic eggs scrambled to oblivion.

we never mean to give the meanest eye
from one corner to the other;
or day dream aloud
or lose touch with the shape and(/or) size
of our skeletal selves.
We never asked for this…(sort of accident)

whispers when no one’s here.

you, okay, are
an entirely different
per(son) infection; a tiny peppermint heart which cannot be eaten all day. see:
a logarithm that won’t
explain...
[ready?]
in every pair of jeans,
your knees poke through.
Current Mood: bouncy

(i'm anemic royaltea)

20th February 2006

12:04am: glow in the dark threads.
here's the new story i'm working on...i still have lots left to go! but it's due thursday, eeep!
 

My wrist looks like mold. “Tye, see this?” I thrust my arm in his face as he exhales smoke into my eyes.

“Yeah, that’s disgusting,” he mumbles, pushing me away.

“You’re the one who did it.”

He butts his cigarette on the coffee table and flicks it across the room. It misses the trashcan by a mile. “What are you babbling about?” he asks, annoyed.

“Nevermind,” I sigh. Of course he doesn’t remember. It wasn’t even while we were having sex, it was during an argument over his hair collecting dirt and dust and grime because he hasn’t washed it in six months. Apparently, “dreads don’t need washing,” but the dankness of unclean hair has started to seep into the pillows and I’ve never been able to sleep on my back. I remember saying, “you’re as white as a picket fence and they look ridiculous on you anyways,” to which he grabbed my arm, twisted it backwards and bit me as if thirsting for blood. I enjoyed the feeling of canines digging deep inside, but then my skin turned carmine red, purplish-blue, lavender, and finally green. Moldy-green. He’s right: it’s disgusting.

“What are we doing tonight? There’s that show at the TLA, yeah?”

He huffs like an old man even though he’s twenty-four and walks across the room. Maybe he’s going to pick up that cigarette? No; instead he scratches his head and lowers the blinds. It’s about time for his across-the-way neighbor to start getting nosey and yes we’ve always got something to hide.

“I’m staying in.”

“On a Friday night? Since when do you do that?”

He stares at me hard. It’s the look my mother always gave when I’d tell her something true and she’d say, “Too many goddamn fairy tales; this girl has some imagination,” drinking coffee black and motioning wildly toward whichever boyfriend was keeping her sane. Tye’s eyes are blue but they’ve got her same dark clouds brewing inside.

“Does everything have to be your business?”

 “No. I was just wondering.” I pick up the pack of Newport’s on the table, but he’s smoked the last one. Just when I could use some luck. “What is your problem lately, man?”

“Nothing,” he mumbles, peeking through the blinds. A baby cockroach darts across the wooden floor. I fold my knees like paper and press my chin to pointy bone.

His fingers dance along the aluminum panels; either he’s trying to bug me or playing a song. “Ryan’s coming over…I’m nervous about it, that’s all.”

“Oh.” The refrigerator starts breathing white noise and I remember I haven’t eaten all day. “You can talk about it, you know. You don’t have to hide it like some big secret.”

He turns abruptly to lean against the wall. Whenever we’re on acid, we lie entwined on the floor with a flashlight shining up against the flimsy fabric of his favorite tapestry. Its tie-dye swirls slip out of place and start coiling mid-air, twisting themselves into abstract shapes and silhouettes. The walls become water-colored, curious and new: every particle of dust that flits through the air is alight with a substance we cannot name. It makes me forget the dirty plates collecting fruit flies, the ninety-nine-bottles-of-beer-on-the-wall we never recycle, the flea-ridden bitch of a cat that hates me, the fact that his sheets sting and his pillowcase stinks. I forget the miniscule clouds Ryan forms when he does lines off this table; the only surface-area in this one-room hide-away. Sometimes I hold my breath, afraid that every sudden color will infect me, afraid they’ll sit in my gut and manifest beauty I could never keep down.  

“Morgan, stop kidding yourself. I can’t talk about it with you because whenever I do you either make some ‘Ry and Tye’ joke or burst out crying like a little kid. I hate to kick you out but you have to realize this is my apartment. I want Ryan here tonight…not you.”

I’d like to say that his words bite or pinch or something equally clichéd, but they don’t. They settle into an already dull ache, collecting their own personal breed of dust in the empty lining of me. I’m too numb to feel any pain. “I’m sorry, okay? I’ll just go.”

 I unfold my legs and stand barefoot on the floor. Chills scurry through my veins although it’s July. I fumble through the pile of clothes at the foot of his bed, wedged between wall and couch: amid his and mine and maybe Ry’s, I finally find my tired pants which need a patching. I pull them on as he places one soft hand, dainty like a girl’s, on the back of my neck. I let him linger there and leave my pants unbuttoned, hoping he’ll slide his palm along my shoulder, over my nothing-breasts, down the rickety steps of my ribcage, all the way to my underwear. Maybe he’ll breathe into my ear and bend me over and tell me I need to stay for at least another hour.

Instead he pulls away: “I’m worried about you.”

I button, then zipper, and push stray hair from my eyes. “Why?”

“For one thing, you’re becoming skeletal.” Straight-lined like the boy I wish I was; you wouldn’t have it any other way. You like it, I want to say.

“What are you, my mother?”

“No, your friend.” You’re my friend today, my lover the next, and my dick older brother the week before.

“I’ve had a stomach ache for weeks.”

“So go to the fucking doctor.”

“I’m fine. It’s not like I’ve ever had an appetite anyway.”

 “Morgan, you’re impossible.” He plops down on the couch and flattens the empty pack of Newport’s angrily. He’s probably got another stashed with all the goods: hash in little plastic bags, homegrown mushrooms I water once a day, I like to watch things grow, dancing Dead bears you have to lick and peace-sign pills you have to swallow. Everything’s in the toolbox under the sink and the mushrooms grow in halves of two-liter soda bottles in the only functional kitchen cabinet: he installed a light bulb to give them artificial sun.  

 I don’t respond. Zeppelin, the bitch-cat, is hoarding my flip-flop. I wrestle it away as she claws at my hands.

“When was the last time you went home? Honestly, I can’t remember.”

“Well that sure doesn’t surprise me.” I hoist my messenger bag over my shoulder and survey the clutter of the room. On the windowsill: my bottle of pills — I forget which kind. Near the kitchen sink: my water-proof watch. On the bookcase, middle-shelf: my Chronicles of Narnia, which I got from Dad for my tenth birthday. It sits like an abandoned child between The Cannabis Grow Bible and a bathroom-reader of puzzles. I leave everything in place.

 “Just do me a favor, Tye?” I grip the doorknob like I might fall through the floor and glare at him scathingly. “Don’t fuck him while you’re tripping.”

Everybody fights to get the last word.

*

            I can almost see ghosts in the windows.

On the stone path, I stand rigid like a corpse. A thirty-minute train ride from downtown Philly to its northwest suburb, another five walking from the station to my block, and all of it’s made this sudden decision more desirable. Life, for me, is never linear. Time, I think, is cyclical: we keep breathing our first breaths, taking our first steps, relearning words that never express the angry voices in our heads. We make mistakes, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and then fall again; my jaw is tired of hitting the dirt. This ache in my gut is a permanent bug, parasitic and possibly fetal. My mind’s made. The truth doesn’t matter in the orb of the moon where nothing exists, and that’s where I’ve been for days.

My house glares me down. We stare at each other. The ghosts have become merely smudges on glass and now each window is a gaping black hole that threatens to suck me in. My blood is sad and gravity drags my bones. I shake my head around and little pieces of hair graze my eyes again; the setting sun forms miniscule rainbows when I blink my lashes.

  Like Tye, I can’t recall the last time I was here. School ended early June and already I’ve lost my diploma, or so I assume. It’s been eight months since I first met him and nearly two since I got my job on Chestnut Street serving ice cream. Now I can afford to pay his utilities and chip in for food so the studio apartment’s almost half mine, except that he’s kicked me to the curb for a private night with his pseudo-boyfriend. Now they’ll be doing drugs and having sex while I put plan B into effect.

I stare harder: it’s like seeing a friend after years have passed, though I haven’t many friends so I wouldn’t really know. The house is still jagged and menacing. The hedges need trimming and the ivy’s growing tall; it hugs the brown siding and coils, almost lovingly, beneath my mother’s balcony. The front roof creates a perfect triangle and the unused chimney’s missing half its bricks. Delicately detailed moldings hover over every long window, reminding me always of sun-dials. Columns that connect the wooden awning to the porch’s banister bulge at their centers like they would in ancient Greece. This wrap-around porch, dating back to the Victorian age, was one of the main selling points of the house. Aside from its strangely affordable price.

            I give my old enemy one last glare and stride quickly up its steps, onto the porch’s tattered welcome mat, which reads “Welcome Home.”

 

            Luckily, no one’s here. The staircase creaks as I clamber to the second floor, bypassing my bedroom because I know better. Following the narrow, windowless hallway as it twists, I reach the bathroom door and lock myself inside. The tub still has its feet, golden with claws. The cabinets don’t close. The overhead light fixture’s painted pink. Salmon-colored tiles are cool against my knees, exposed through jeans, and I empty the contents of my bag on the floor. Coins roll under the old-fashioned radiator. Chapstick finds a hiding spot behind the toilet, with its chain flush. I look through my wallet out of habit and find two measly dollars after train fare and spotting Tye for lunch. Not that it matters.

            I’ve got a few tank tops, dirty underwear, and an empty journal waiting for words.  Among miscellaneous pieces of paper and gum, I pick up my nametag from the ice cream shop and fling it into the trash.

            In an empty tampon box under the sink, he waits for me. I stole him from the chem. Lab once when I was serving detention: it was love at first sight. His sleek and slender blade, his matching metal handle with indentations for my grip, he slid against my numb skin as if it we had always been friends. I remember our first time. I was sitting in soapy water and we looked at each other; I could see my smile reflected in his sharp eye. He was better than all the others and I used him to make gills because I wanted to become self-contained, wanted to sink under the surface and never reemerge. The long, skinny slits along each of my calves did nothing to affect my lungs, but they colored the water crimson and the blood swirled beautifully along curved porcelain.


tobecontinued.
Current Mood: kinda yucky.

(4 anemics | i'm anemic royaltea)

6th December 2005

10:07pm: i'm guilty, and yr guilty too

 

Lucille scooped up flowers and crushed them between her palms. She was in a killing mood.

Dirt covered bare hands and feet, grass stained the floral skirt bunched around her thighs…Lucille opened her legs wide and watched the mutilated petals fall onto the ground. I might have sneaked a peak at her sun burnt skin. I could have discreetly tried to glimpse her crotch, the dark hairs jutting from her underwear’s elastic grip.

Instead, I examined the top of her head. Medical metal glinting in sunlight, her reddened scalp was like paper stapled several times over. A razorblade had mowed thick blond hair, leaving one long patch of irritated stubble. A tiny Prime Meridian separated east from west, left brain from right…this scar, or what would eventually become one, was suddenly the most remarkable part of Lucille. I couldn’t look away. I wanted to touch it: finger each steel clip, kiss every point along the freshly sealed gash.

I wondered if I should unzip her skull and climb inside. I wanted to skip between her hemispheres, ride along neurotransmitters and slide into synapses, grope her cerebral cortex for long-forgotten memories and scoop them, one by one, like spoonfuls of ice cream or buckets of sand. Lucky pennies stored for later use. 

Lucille had no idea that she’d become beautifully symmetrical, geometrically ingenious. I wondered if I should tell her, “You’d better keep your hat on or else everyone will try to squeeze themselves in, weave meticulously through your brain tissue, fluffy like clouds and foggy like breath.” Instead, I dropped to my knees, picked another flower, and handed it over by its fragile stem. 

“I’m sorry,” she said, whispering even though we were the only two creatures for miles around.

“What for?” I asked, deliberately gazing straight into her eyes.

“I can’t make sense of anything now. I don’t know at all what I’m doing.” She held out her hands: pink and white fabric of flowers stuck, as if glued, to the sweat of her palms. I brushed away the dead fragments, the dirt, but her skin was still tie-dyed and sparkling with moisture.

“It’s okay Lucy, I don’t really know what I’m doing myself.”
            She sighed, one long exhalation that chilled my warm face.

I wondered, when I went swimming around in her soft brain matter, if I might find my favorite memory sitting pretty like a pearl. It was April then and the sun had been shining, but didn’t burn. We’d been exposed to the elements like corpses waiting for scavengers…lying on this grass, which had stained our sweaters and dirtied our hair. She had whispered to me, even though we were the only creatures for miles around, “I could stay here with you forever and ever,” and I’d stroked her head, running my fingers through thick blond curls, which had smelled of newly sprouted dandelions and herbal shampoo. She had kissed me so lightly I’d thought her lips were made of air.

“Do you want to lie down?” I asked, leaning back on my elbows.

She sighed again, lips puckered to the sky. I waited patiently.

“No,” she responded, still whispering.

Lucille’s underwear was cotton with tiny flower buds. Pink buds on white fabric. No hairs visible.

I sat upright and cleared my throat. “Do you remember that time we stayed here for hours? We didn’t go home until nearly midnight and only because the ground got so cold that even combined body warmth couldn’t keep us from shivering.”

She closed her legs and rested one hand on each knee. “Vaguely…I remember my mother yelling at me. Why the hell did we stay here so long?”

“Don’t you remember what you said, Luce? You said you wanted never to leave, that you wanted to stay with me for hours and hours…so we did.” I tried to smile a genuine grin, but it came out cockeyed and broken. 

Her own mouth turned downward, a backwards sort of smile. She pursed her lips as if sealing them shut, as if zippering her mouth to asphyxiate breath. I thought again about being inside of her.

“No. I don’t remember that.”

“Oh.”

Idly, I picked at the grass and separated each slender blade into halves. Hesitantly, she scratched her head, carefully avoiding the places where surgical steel met delicate scalp. A few birds flew noisily overhead: first they soared in some geometric pattern, then they scattered, dispersing themselves. They took up the entire expanse of blue sky. Our patch of sky.

“The only thing I clearly remember,” she said, starting slowly while watching my fingers slit grass, “is waking up in that bed screaming. The nurses and doctors rushed in and filled those sacks on the IV pole with more liquid, trying to put me back to sleep, and my mother yelled at them, ‘Please, she’s awake, just let her stay awake.’ But they gave me morphine or something and I dreamed my first and only dream.

“I was running back and forth between clouds, jumping and hopping because they were like trampolines but softer, and I fell through the stratosphere with all of this mist blurring my eyes. I fell back into a hospital bed in a room that smelled like Peroxide and then I woke up with my mother sitting beside me, and she told me about the accident and the coma and all the damage and that’s when I reached up and felt the bandages on my head…I couldn’t stop crying.”

She paused. I wanted to tell her, “I visited your dying body every day during that impenetrable sleep we thought might last forever and forever.” Instead, I mumbled, “Yeah…” and plucked more grass.

“Do you know why I cried?” She was looking into my eyes for the first time since we’d walked from the middle of town to this field: acres and acres of nothing but grass and weeds, the occasional bunches of flowers and only two trees.

“Um…I mean, I think I know why.”

“No, no you don’t. I didn’t cry because of the pain or the damage…I cried because it had been beautiful up there Michael, so beautiful. It was like this endless beauty, everything was soft, nothing could hurt me. I was engulfed in the clouds and I could inhale them, swim through them…it was like I could almost become them, you know? But then I fell…and I woke up down here instead.”

I nodded and looked around: green meeting blue, splotches of pink and white, reddened skin, yellow hair alight: hoarding sun. “Is it so bad here, Luce?”

She sealed her mouth and lowered her head. I willed myself to microscopic size and tried, in vain, to climb inside.

Current Mood: yr mom.

(i'm anemic royaltea)

3rd December 2005

2:03am: sunspots have faded
stream of conciousness (written primarily in august), slightly edited....

I cannot sleep, for a change. The room isn’t dark because Sonje’s light is on, she fell asleep in her bed with the bulb burning hot like a miniscule sun and her clothes crumpled like these pale sheets I pull over my head to block out that annoyingly bright light, I have to leave the door ajar so cool air drifts in otherwise it is all-too summer in here, all-too painfully mid-summer and my poor head cannot take the heat because I am always on the verge of an aneurysm and my durra distends and there is nothing I can do to chill those clustered veins that swell and recede swell and recede like the Pacific tide; my skin is alive and alight and summer breathes fire, festering flies lighting and relighting their globular bodies in every one of my pores, I am blinking and burning and glowing a radiantly red florescence and it hurts all over, the sheets are not soft enough, the air is not cool enough, and my mind plays the same song again and again: an unwound cassette, the wails of a pained dog, faint lyrics displaying their intricate lettering all over the ceiling and I sing along, which matters none because Sonje’s asleep and Derek’s in DC; no one shares my bed with me, but I can recall a time when a boy with a stony heart and fragile hair wrapped his long lean body around my hips like a spider ready to eat her mate and I succumbed to those stringy limbs and let myself undo, we bumped against the brick wall and cut ourselves bleeding baby droplets onto the sheets, which took me months to wash because I would look and remember the red dotting his pale-pale skin: whosoever would be cruel enough to rinse away the last remains of someone’s soul?; Tobias wasn’t nearly as long, and he always preferred sucking my bottom lip so that left me his top and sometimes it tasted like sweat and sometimes it tasted like my own chapstick, which couldn’t help but remind me of childhood: all rubbery smells, all medicinal smells, all cottony smells, all artificially flavored smells, or breakfasty smells, or snow-about-to-fall smells like being ready with mittens and a hat, ready to jump into fluffy clouds and swallow ice and angel it all up, then warm the mittens and watch water rust the radiator, but patience-patience my mother would say, for the smell only meant that snow might come, unpredictable were the clouds only my sister knew to name, and I am of winter and hence my poor head in summer becomes all swollen like a balloon: my skin puffy, my sad organs swimming cockeyed, confused, like lost birds; who will come to me before I straddle that gun, come to save whatever soul remains in this concave cavern I call chest…will it be you?: the boy who wears latex foreskin and peels its oily contents snakelike shedding skin, or the girl with rainstorm eyes who stares transfixed into mirror-glass at every imperfection: wide-wide hips and too much skin: giving anyone the chance to come in?, we’ve all got obtuse angles and not enough grin; I am broken, so very broken that I ought no longer to ache or pain all over my self, but I do, and I feel the tug of neurons shifting place or muscles changing shape or my over-active imagination burning tiny holes into every layer of memory, tiny holes like faraway stars in that concave bed of “dark” we wish on for no reason but to hear the gravelly sounds of our voices shaking in our ears because then, only then, can we hear our selves as we truly are, close to our cores, those terrible, beautiful things unlike any atomic design that will ever exist; I am closing deeper and deeper into the photograph that hides in my ribcage and determines who I will become: some suckling animal, some carnivore slinking around in the dusk searching for masochists, only now I am like paper floating in air, anyone could catch me as they would a cold: crumble, shear and tear me to smithereens only to please their own unforgivable souls, which are battery-powered by my crystallization, my metamorphosis into a creature as bright and deadly as the summer sun; every moment is fleeting, as fleeting as mist after rain…and Derek is somewhere in DC fighting battles yet to be won, and Sonje is dreaming some incorruptible dream, and my head, o my head, o my head…my head and I are done.
Current Mood: sore

(i'm anemic royaltea)

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