Wasting

She came home smelling like him, his scent lingering pleasantly all day
Lost her Jack to a cop
Forgot who Arvan was (possibly someone’s drug dealer)
Resolve bubbled and floated away into the air along with sobriety
She was tracing his contours at the end of the night
While ravaging liquids romanced in the bones
Her heartbroken friend gave her a letter to deliver, on patterned paper, sealed in lipstick
You are the catalyst
To the deconstruction
Of my purposeful design
She cried
And that night it seemed
They were surely going to succumb to a trite wasting
At the age of 20

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.

 

Mom

She wakes in the morning wishing she had as many arms as Kali

The hours and days blur and in the middle of the night

The rays of the cheap LED nightlight illuminate the sparkles of her ring and she feels lucid again for a few seconds

Forget

He wrote insincere love letters that were genuine only the minute the pencil was on the paper

She could not turn him into a poet or an artist

So she diluted his memory like the others

Intending to shed him like a transient snakeskin but

His scent originated from a purple star and she could smell it in the streets

On other people’s skin, savage and indelible

Driving

We were interchangeable from time to time,

Occasionally marbling and entangling until

The swirls of color were infinite and inextricable

 

Under the bridge

You browsed the newspaper

With a cigarette hanging from your red lips and I laughed

On the veranda we floated under the sun

Golden from dawn and youth

You stood next to me as he slithered by, his eyes boring through me

On the cafe patio

You touched my hand

When his unexpected footsteps wrenched my heart, chilled my nerves

In a quiet hallway

Alone with worry

I cried a little when you set it ablaze

Though the very next week

We lay melting on concrete in foggy night air

Moongazing translucent white halos

 

But eventually

 

While we bled ink into small books

I leaked colors with an unparalleled hardness and

You bitterly wandered and lost your fury

Until my tongue was stone and your visions gray

We found ourselves consumed with counting creeping wrinkles and tedious failures

Remembering this

A drop of rain humming, swimming across the windshield

Became a quivering lake in my eyes

But I did not know how to turn around

Morning

She blinked and caught his weakness; he was secretly studying her face and looking away when she noticed.

Could you leave me? Yes. Yes you could. 

Her body was a dark slush folding into him in the hopes of forgetfulness

She slept while he was gone, and before he returned, her head was full of turpentine, bleeding and spreading through pans, indiscriminately disintegrating the hours of sleep

Daydream II

When she is with him there is a wild-eyed vulnerability in his face that makes her fall again and again, something uncertain and anticipatory when he leans in and she had an urge to reach for his hand on the cliff, overlooking rippling forests in relentless existence. She traveled across Mexico with him in her mind, across several instances of levitation with the same sadness in his liquid slate eyes

Then she was in the old cafe again, dreaming she was feathery, ethereal, weightless hope gliding in the ocean night, losing her reality in the mirrors, so she could not belong to herself or anyone else

Moon Shadows

Her shoes were the color of sunshine and she radiated beams from her forehead

After a night of boxed wine and vodka

She lost her fading resolve in the moon shadows and fog while seagulls flaunted their freedom and mocked her

And the waves sighed like tired gods at the resignation of human existence

Taking cold pizza out of the refrigerator at 2:00 a.m. she heard him say

Hey Beautiful and she smiled at what she felt to be a hidden bitterness in the kitchen

She sat on a boy’s lap, twirled a strand of pearls in her palm and her friend said

Remember us, the bunny girls? We are notorious for last weekend 

And another voice told her

I can smell your pride from a mile away