Distress prep

Summer was a waste. Not in the usual ways, not because the long days flowed strangely and consumed more of me than I’d imagined. But because I sat idly by and let it be wasted. Me in my ill-fitting bathing suit reading the first chapters of a thousand books on my porch swing. Me under the same strange corrugated roof browsing magazines and listening to podcasts, naming birds and watching smoke under the assumption that I’d not forgotten how to be productive. Summer was a waste and I welcomed it, the same as pouring a bottle of liquor down the drain. Sure it could have numbed me some but that’s no reason to make an ass of myself.

Then equinox came and the days got shorter and reminded me to ask, what is it that’s killing me? Is it the momentary lapses? The moments where I imagine I’m not socially stunted white trash leaning in a plastic lawn chair against the dun-painted side of a rented double-wide trailer. The moments when I imagine I felt something clever, something universal, something beyond the smoke and the sky as red as the selfish politics that consistently isolate and alienate me from my neighbors? Was being hopeful killing me? Or was it just my softness? My edges? My schemes?

I got an unexpected acceptance letter in August and spent September telling myself stories that there was no journal and the editor accepted my work out of pity for other editors — so I’d stop submitting. Now it’s October and I’m out of stories. With another project, my collaborator is demanding that we pin down a title before we go live, but I’m still running laps in this:

iv. Proserpina

Where have you gone, my dear?
I waited there for you
blooming in scorched hoofprints
where death-black horses trod,
until I succumbed,
a casualty of will,
gone to seed
and slumber,
cycle stronger
than form.

I will look for you this summer,
when I bloom:
held fast
by live roots,
stardust pipeline
where neither way is out.

I will look for you this summer,
in the place where we both grew

My linguistic circuits lapsing, it’s all feeling. It’s a solid wall of Midwest high August humidity as experienced for the first time. It’s pressure suffocation, boards and stones and misplaced morals. It’s waking to the sound of the ocean but seeing the mountains. It’s each card falling at the wrong angle and poking my palms when I try to gather them up. It’s not block, but a thousand things I know as thorns and glass and salt in the soles of my feet and my best translation is simply to howl in pain. Some communicator, some lighthouse, some great adult I am.

Next month will be November, next month I will have to pretend this year is business as normal. Next month I’ll look happy enough, not sure how I’ll feel. See you then.

To tear a thing down

I am a shaky doubtful thing with a mind like a megaphone and a knack for saying and feeling the precise wrong thing.

I’ve ran off heroes, friends and enemies. I’ve ignored the most virulent of detractors, always able to make myself disappear. I can only imagine people look at me and say, “Hey, it’s just not worth it.”

I echo them: (Nothing to see here.) Zero eye contact, hands in pockets. A book appears from a bag. “She’s gone,” they think and I am.

It’s a habit. It’s been thirty-two years of “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t feel human,” “Forget I said a thing.” It’s been thirty-two years of hiding and staying hidden and leaning on the shortness of memory when recording unimportant things.

I will tell myself I’m the least important of them all. Soft voice, soothingly.

I will tear a motherfucker down and build it again. I’m shit at maintenance but I can build a thing or two. These hands, fingers like twigs, silent palms with nothing lines, these hands can be mighty.

Nothing to see here. I’m the least important of them all. Soft voice, soothing, soothing.

I will try again. I think. For the love of it. I will cut short this season of self-doubt and demolition because while I’m tearing it down I can’t help but think of the ways I would build it back up again.

Storage unit

After years of having my own website and trying to squeeze in time to tinker with the finicky details of a layout, I’ve moved my portfolio onto WordPress hosting.

It kind of feels like I’m moving all of my belongings into a temporary storage unit while I wander. I don’t want the responsibility of a permanent home and so everything is here — compact, but searchable.