Thursday, February 26, 2009

I dreamed of daffodils, lifting their buttery throats and shouting at the sky, yelling in daffodil so that no one nearby understood their words but only felt their meaning. Screaming in such a way that even the stars drew closer, furrowed their brows, and tilted their heads.

But imagine that we are somewhere else, in a grove of trees stinking of overripe fruit cracked and dripping from their fissures, the heat hanging heavy on your collarbones and a feeling you've never before met curled in the hollow of your throat. In the space behind you the sound of cicadas is rising and the length of your bones is sore and tired, but you are distracted because the stars have come too close and I have run away, reckless, again.

It is all of this that has drawn a shining web around you, that has brought the heavens in for a closer look, that has brought all of the points that Nostradamus secretly predicted would end the world together in one very small, very warm place. And it is only after the world has ended that we might think to gather all of those shouting daffodils in our arms and listen for the messages hidden when they pause to draw breath.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's my grandfather's books that make him feel farthest gone, sitting here on my ordered bookshelves rather than stuck all higgledy-piggledy on his shelves without any organization to speak of. When I was in Florida in January I combed those shelves, picking out the volumes I wanted to keep. People's bookshelves always speak loudly about who they are, and I think I learned more about my grandfather in that afternoon than I did in all the years before it.

Today those books came, and I love the most worn of them, the 1908 O'Henry with the cover falling off, the copy of "Kidnapped" with the spine snapped nearly in two. A Hardy Boys story that I remember stealing to read as a little girl, huddled in the corner of the couch and completely oblivious to everything around me. My great grandfather's copy of "Treasure Island," clearly carried in the pockets of active young boys and often read, all of the text worn off of the outside. Books that were loved, that were a part of my family, that have smudged with ink the sides of hands shot through with blood carrying the same messages as my own.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I love weddings, even weddings at which I have to do the "single girl of a certain age sitting alone at a table during a slow dance" scene found in the dopiest of romantic comedies. (No, seriously. When they took the photos of the people at our table, mine ended up being with my stepmother's old family dentist. I can only imagine that I look wildly alarmed in it. Dentists are scary.) No one fell into the cake or pushed the prom queen into the pool, and everyone that was supposed to got good and married, and I am glad I made the trip to watch my favorite step-family-member get hitched.

It was a little strange to be at a wedding during a weekend filled mostly with endings and last things and goodbyes, filled with the certain knowledge that many of the things that have always been are almost not going to be anymore. I've never been very good at endings or uncertain goodbyes, at looking at what's left of my grandparents, at visiting favorite places for the last time.

If I were religious, I would be giving up melancholy for Lent. Melancholy, and boys who never call back.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

At my grandmother's house for probably the last time, my mom and I were starting to get my grandparents' condo ready to sell. I was moving around furniture, cleaning surfaces, trying to make the place look nothing like how it has looked my whole life. On an end table sat what looked like a vase. It was only when I went to shift it that I realized that it was actually my grandfather.

Later, feet sinking in the mud of the bay, I said goodbye to the mangroves and tried to avoid stepping on the spiny shells of dead horseshoe crabs.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flying back to the East coast is always an exercise in mortification of the spirit, given that a red-eye flight back means that I spend an entire night not-sleeping on airplanes, and the early morning flight means that I spend a night not-sleeping on the way to the airport, in the airport, and on airplanes. Three hours worth of time difference doesn't feel like much until it makes you stay awake forever and ever.

And it's funny because the things I have always known seem more and more foreign as more years go around them--my family, all of the mole hills, Spanish moss patchily bearding the trees. Tonight at a bar I went into the bathroom at a bar and came back out with a Southern accent, which is never far from the surface. All of the streets are familiar but what once sat on them is mostly closed. Thomas Wolfe crouches in my skull even though the word 'home' has always fit like someone else's dress.

Still, there is always something about ghosting through the streets of my city in a leaving sort of way when the sidewalks are empty and nearly everyone asleep. Which is my old friend Thomas Wolfe at work again, maybe: "...we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement."

In any case, coming or going, leaving always has been my best side.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I am thinking in unchopping ways right now, feeling the urge to fill back in those notches I made on your side with my axe, patching you up with butter and pomegranate seeds and rainbow trout and stuttery apologies. Everything I scraped off and filed away suddenly feels not so easily disposed of. As though by chopping I made all of those little pieces that much more meaningful. The parts separated from the whole, and therefore better.

It's not that I feel bad for all my chopping, because I don't. I landed that axe precisely where I aimed. It's only that everything else has become...hazy. Something in the grainy rub of my eyelids after too many late nights killing too many bottles with too many strangers. Start to feel a little discorporeal, dissolve in the tips of fingers and backs of knees.

But I remember a feeling like a time capsule buried and forgotten, other moments layered over the satisfying thump of the parcel at the bottom of the hole. And I have been thinking that once you lose a time capsule the best person to find it would be a farmer tearing down the house nearby and clearing all of the stumps for growing other things. I think that a farmer, finding an old time capsule nestled at the bottom of what used to be a tree, would look gently through the contents and then place it back under the ground, let it sit below new roots that would soon be growing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm going back to Florida in a couple of days, which always make me nervous, and never more so than now when people are falling apart and everything is changing. So I have been overscheduling myself to an alarming degree, with shows and parties and photo shoots and dinners and book club and drinking. If I don't keep busy, I get trapped in my head, and then I forget to breathe and start getting dizzy.

All this keeping busy seems to be giving me a cold.

For Valentine's Day my best gay made a stupendous dinner of favorite things, and then we went to the bar to birthday party with the rest of my gays. Those boys all make the best dates, and I came home after last call and delicious late night duck tacos mostly sober. It was the best of all possible Valentine's Days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My big change is...a new email address! Well, that wasn't supposed to be the big change, but it's certainly stressing me out today a lot more than the other thing, which I will get to in a minute. Last night I came home from celebrating the 15th birthday of my favorite bar to find that my email simply wasn't working. Which happens sometimes, so I went to bed, but it still wasn't working this morning. Seems that some time in the middle of the night, the place that used to have all of my things up and quit, and the people behind it say there's no getting in to retrieve anything or notify everyone or whatever. So now I have moved to gmail (which I hate hate hate), and as far as the internet is concerned I am someone new entirely. It's like someone came in and went spring cleaning and threw out my favorite clothes--all of your nice emails are gone, or in any case hiding somewhere in the depths of my computer.

The real news is that I have decided to apply to grad school for a program made for people working full time in my industry. I actually moved out here years ago with the intention of going to grad school for something different and didn't get in, and though I stuck around town anyway it's made me super gun shy as far as all of that goes. I never have been good with rejection.

I've been talking about going back to school on and off for years, but always for things I found interesting rather than useful. But I figure that if this thing I'm doing now is what I'm going to do then I might as well commit to it. Not going to save the world by waiting, especially not now that the economy is just as bad for those of us who are trying to save the world as it is for those that keep breaking it.

But this is a pretty big decision for me, because even just going back part time (provided I even get accepted) is a big commitment of time and dollars. Last night I sat in on a class to see what the program is like, and it seems like a pretty good way to move forward, which is a lot more appealing than sitting stagnant. This decision settles a bit of my restlessness, even though it is big and scary. We'll see how it all turns out.

Monday, February 09, 2009

My telephone seems to have reinvented itself as the Bad News Line, and if I thought that hiding it would do any good I would shove it in a drawer and leave it there until it had time to rethink what it's doing. Sometimes people are just calling to say hello, but more and more often in the last few months they're calling with bad news and no good news to balance it out.

So today I started demanding good news from almost everyone I saw. (Some people are good news just by being seen.) No one really has any good news, not that they can come up with on demand, or any good jokes, but I can't shove everyone in a drawer until they rethink their lack of good news because I simply don't have the drawer space.

The sky is the only thing that is coming through for me, these days, and this morning I walked out into my living room to find the trees covered in snow, as though the clouds had thrown the contents of their pockets in the air in an effort to distract me from being such a stressball. It had rained on top of the snow, and my boots crunched solidly across the ice all the way up the hill to work.

Tomorrow night, I will officially make a big decision to make a big commitment, or to not. A lot of things might be about to change.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Crunching late through frost-ripened grass, I want to yell things, but there are no echoes worth talking to in these parts, nothing to yell at that yells back.

It is almost as though, having once slid a hand down the length of my bones, you have managed to convince yourself fully knowledgeable about the topography of my joints. An expert on the way everything under my skin slips against everything else, on how this gristle propels these bird bones through space. Even though all of those particular connections are a mystery even to me.

Like a mime caught in a heat wave, his smile slipping down his face and staining his turtleneck, I am suddenly not so good at keeping all of my imaginary balls in the air. So I'm quitting juggling, and taking up hunting for echo. There has to be a useful canyon around here somewhere.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I have been thinking lately about a color blind synesthete, about how his brain would be able to see colors but his eyes couldn't, and so whenever he would look at certain numbers it would be his brain that showed him colors that simply didn't exist anywhere else for him. Leaves wouldn't be green, but perhaps fours would. I think that those secret colors would be addictive, that he would slowly become more and more obsessed with seeking out those numbers, hungry for the possibility of brilliance living only inside his mind, of sudden vivid shapes bursting out from somewhere behind his eyes.

Until one day those numbers would be his whole world, roaming the planet hungry for the blues and greens and yellows and reds that his eyes just couldn't give, unshaven and eyes sore and hands trembling in exhaustion and ecstasy. Speaking only to people whose phone numbers were made out of the numbers that gave him his colors, living only in towns with zip codes made out of the right combinations.

And eventually, perhaps, more enchanted with the brilliant shades handed out by his neurons, putting out his own eyes in order to remove other distractions. Sure that the memories of his secret colors would be more fulfilling than all the dull new things he could ever see.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Dear everyone,

January? January was mostly stupidly boring. Ultimately that's probably for the best, since January excitement is pretty much never the good kind for me, but I'm still bored. And being bored tends to make me reckless.

I made a last minute decision to go to Florida for a whirlwind trip, which involved a lot of feelings and a bunch of suspicious bruises, but that doesn't count. I did storm out of a bar for the first time in my life, and would have tossed my drink for good measure if I hadn't already finished it. But really, I spent most of January trying to be very, very good, and that is, clearly, boring. Not once did I participate in a dance party or come home at dawn or high five a stranger or have anything that could be called hijinks, and that's just a waste of a month.

Mostly, I blame this on New Years resolutions, and the fact that no one else's resolutions ever seem to be in line with mine. I always want more out of my January, more adventures and people and laughing, but there seems to be a lot of less for everyone else--less being out, less food, less excitement. But for me, at least, all of this less also makes for less inspiration, which probably bores you just as much as it does me.

In any case, all of this good behavior makes me really cranky, and I fully intend to do something stupid in the next couple of weeks to make up for it.