all, prose & poetry

Past the pieces

He was a blur of faces, shapes and identities, familiar and half forgotten. His hair, dirty blonde and long, like the shy drummer she met online years ago, whose friendship she lost when they tried to become something more. His eyes and nose like the older all-american boy she knew in college, who flushed his drugs down the dorm drain one day and found Jesus in Connecticut.

His way with words and music, driven but scattered, like the teacher she had an affair with, who threw himself into every creative pursuit, as if desperately trying to draw or compose or write or fuck something out of his soul, always failing to connect that art to other people.

The way he glided out of conversations and spaces, so solid and present one moment, then gone the next, like an old roommate she had a short-lived crush on, who left a tangible, painful void when he disappeared, suddenly feeling so necessary, as though gravity itself no longer worked without his presence.

His voice, calm and thoughtful, with a touch of amusement, a bit like her former boss whom she had always aspired to sound like, and saw through the facade it was for a deeper storm of playfulness and fire within.

She thought about the endless permutations of people crossing each others’ paths, their layers of familiarity and strangeness intersecting to connect for one brief moment or a lifetime. She’d met him before, or pieces of him, liking and loving and hating them, losing them, only to come across them again on another body, in another space and another time. Their kinship happened before and would happen again.

She didn’t know what the universe wanted, throwing her past back at her in this human shape of roads taken and lessons not learned. She tried to see past the pieces she knew but never fully understood, into this abstract of a man, a stranger with a life lived and his own stories to tell of women who came and went, leaving traces of themselves in everyone he would encounter since. But the pieces of others wouldn’t part, his soul hidden safely beneath and out of reach.

“Good,” she thought. “Good.”

This was for the best. She wasn’t one to romanticize the past, painting over anger and regrets with sentimental lies and a varnish of what-ifs.

She closed her eyes and shook it off, all of it, the recognition and the memories he’d brought, the magnetism and the temptation to fall in. She centered on the now, this moment of music and fog and 2 A.M. beers and friends nearby. She let the melody take her over and danced, laughing and spinning. And when she opened her eyes again, there he was, dancing like no man she’d ever met before.



Advertisements
Standard
all, inspiration

Write drunk

Wisdom from the master of prose and drink.

Standard
all, inspiration

The language of love


Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.


Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate — but “fate” isn’t the same thing as “destiny.” Even if lovers are fated to find each other they may not end up together.


Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.


Retrouvailles (French): The happiness of meeting again after a long time.


Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.


La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.


Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love one day.


Forelsket: (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.


Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and lost. A vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.


— from The Top 10 Relationship Words That Aren’t Translatable Into English by Pamela Haag

Standard
all, inspiration

Obscure Sorrows

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by graphic designer and editor John Koenig.

“Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language — to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for,” Koenig writes.

He has coined dozens of words since he founded the site in 2009, pinpointing and defining emotions many people have felt but haven’t been able to communicate.

“Each word actually means something etymologically, having been built from one of a dozen languages or renovated jargon.”

Find more words at The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The Dictionary is also on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Standard
all, thoughts

Not for us 

Writing and deleting. Minimizing and re-opening programs. None of this is worth it. Neither you nor I. Just a spec of dust on a spec of dust on a spec of dust on the great open plains of the universe.

3,000 years from now, when the nuclear-enhanced cockroaches evolve into a highly civilized society, some rogue team of nuclear-enhanced roach archeologists is going to dig out a couple of badly erroded database servers labelled “WordPress” from one of the great ancient pre-nuclear-cockroach-era craters. They’ll spend some 20 years more figuring out how to decode the binary code into ancient English and that into Modern Nuclear-Enhanced Cockroachese. And then they’re going to collectively wonder what on earth we were thinking, recording utter drivel on those silly primitive discs. Especially on April 17th, 2015 of the pre-nuclear-cockroach-era, when our efforts could have been much better spent offline, preventing the inevitable extermination of the species and overall-type apocalypse. And then they’re going to have a good, hard, nuclear-enhanced laugh, and thank us for that nuclear part of the deal.

Just remember who you’re writing this for. It isn’t for us.

Standard
all, inspiration

Utopia

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.  And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.  Progress is the realization of Utopias.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man under Socialism

Standard
all, prose & poetry

The Fall

It’s been one of those months that build up inside you, day by day, each hour a composite of lead-weight minutes, and the seconds all ticking from within your rib cage, tick-tock atop a tickety-tock, all at once, like a flurry of water drops on cement, loud, pointed, neverending, each a tiny kick, cracking the surface until wild underground weeds push their way through and take over. Eyes blink slower, hair rustles, whispering amongst itself, and the heartbeat becomes an overflowing river of white noise. Something will implode, alone in the proverbial forest, with not a soul to hear nor make a sound.

You write the same thing over and over. Start with a doodle and the inevitable comes out. Sketches of blank-faced women, thin arms ending in long, alien fingers, falling, floating in space. Sentences that drag on, imagery of decay, destruction from within, people morphing into something inanimate, entrapment, something impending to both awe and indifference.

You try to hold onto your old gods and their prophets: a sea of pink elephants swimming in the rising sun; impending apocalypse; a dozen photos of the sunset spread out on a bed; an old envelope filled with a moment, a breath, a key; the sounds of enormous flying whales, their wings flapping-flapping-flapping, moving higher and higher and taking you up up up, beyond air, beyond sound and life, to somewhere that never existed but matters more than anything that ever has.

You stagger, pull up, fall. The sky above is actually cracked white plaster, pipes forming a crude geometric design alongside its breadth. Wind is gushing in the largest of the tubes, clouds escaping among steely weldings, precipitation forming in small shuddering droplets.

Mesmerized, you are unable to recall the oldest of all things – how to breathe, move, struggle. Your thoughts form into hollowed out caverns, framed by impenetrable rock and darkness. You forget what came before, what brought you here, what lies beyond the present and eternity. Sounds descend through a burrow of interweaving nerves. Vision calibrates among lost concepts of dimension and time.

You focus on the last remnants of what was memory and language. You put words to what are floating, unsteady instances in the quandary of being. This here is a stone, a brick, one upon another. Between them, a solid membrane and another above, and here, yes, another brick, hundreds of them, in tall, proud columns, gargantuan rows. That’s around and below. A body of you stacked in still, umber pieces.

Abandoning your dreams of the sky, you try to sink into the earth, reach for the groundwater, sprout roots and harden with bark. In a last breath of reason, you absorb this solid new self until the reality of it is irreversibly set and wrong. Despite your best efforts, you have not become a tree, but an empty, abandoned building.

Standard