Journal

Those four years, I wrote compulsively, afraid I’d one day forget the details of days that were starting to melt and months that were starting to blend. At 18 I started marking time by reference to days out drinking and categorizing eras according to romantic interests of the moment. In between the bleeding, blurry, evenings, I documented the color of the leaves in my morning tea, described the exact shade of gold flecks found in his eyes only in a certain light, and recorded the pattern of sunlight creeping in through the pergola on the cafe patio. I was wearing a plaid skirt and fishnet shirt that day, and carefully noted clouds in my coffee on lunch break. This was the summer I worked in a teeny bopper retail store; on this particular day, my friends had gone skydiving.

I did not know that when I was 33 I’d read the deliberate loops and lines and still could not remember anyway; familiar though the handwriting may be, it was as if it was written by a stranger. This stranger was a bit neurotic and disjointed, vaguely touched by hackneyed angst. The whiskey-laden scrawls on some of the pages were less grand than Jack Daniels would have you believe, but rather, vacillated between nonsense and maudlin nostalgia. The stranger woke up at 9:00 in the morning on a Saturday one weekend (early for her), to a phone call from an old man from the coffee shop who wanted to talk about nothing in particular. She thought he had meant to call her friend, but she ended up talking to him anyway, after taking a seat on the kitchen counter of the sorority house, apple in hand.

The next time I saw the old man, he told me the tragic tale of his wife inexplicably leaving him, fleeing to Japan, and absconding with their child, when in reality he had been convicted of possession of child porn.

I eventually went skydiving, and it felt like flying, but I didn’t write about it.

 

Mystery

When they were 19 they sprawled on the cafe patio

Shook their unbrushed, raven hair and laughed

They took free cigarettes from old men

Not knowing which one would turn out to be a child molester

 

 

 

 

Cafe Conversation

She invented the cloudy dreaminess in boys eyes and their obvious intentions,

While drinking a golden tea rendered from a sunburst of alien tentacles with a red heart.

He explains he is a budding musician and believes in god so she asks why and says

You can find god in pews, or resounding from the throat of a holy man or

You can find god in the five-lined staff

Where your wings force their way through the skin of your shoulder blades

To glitter or reflect the steely pall of your confessions –

But then sacrilege appears on the patio casting his poison on every frame of her daylight

A blank ghost, with colorless, translucent skin composed of love molecules from her youth.

She suddenly feels she might be compressed to a vanishing dust to be dissipated with the breeze

Becoming only a glint in the saga of conquests

A dead, buried, short story with no premise.

She has forgotten about the young musician and his guitar

And her tea has turned to mud.

Running Home at Night

running home in heels with the pleasant floating of the hour and bearable ticking of days

she always knew unrequited emotion would result in a loneliness that beats against all sense so

she was receding with the distance

losing her patience in the thick tropical forests between them

it was a predictable resignation, between unfamiliar canyons and a picturesque second of the day

she imagined he had a magical sunshine encircling him

silken hair dying in a meaningless wind of fascination

so she met the sunrise on the cafe patio with a cigarette

later in the day as she sipped iced tea

she decided

his ghost could remain in those forests and

she would not be there at the airport when he returned