Monday, June 3, 2013


Not so much bubbling up, but waves
Not so much waves but
Pressure exerted upward, pushing up through my chest and into my throat, down through my knees and making my shins and feet jump and contract
I want to be outside
I want to go places
Is this wanderlust?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I need stress to write. I need stress to write?? That feels so cliche, so "tortured artist", so... counter intuitive. It's true though. I'm forcing myself to write this out, hoping something will get me going. One neuron will kick another, some idea will float down and land on my head (or more likely, plonk down and stare at me accusingly until I do something about it). Right now, there's just no push. The little bit of my brain that works like a typewriter, always clicking and spinning, slows down when I'm actually focused. When I'm busy, I need to daydream, leave myself for a bit, and that typewriter picks itself up and starts producing, all by itself. Sometimes I feel I'm just a vehicle for mad and strange ideas, bits of poetry, fragments of someone else's writing that filter down through the layers of the universe.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Always Read the Comments Section

I always read the comments section.
Read, and look in, even as my eyes wire words that my brain immediately rejects.
Witness the love, the hate, the ignorance and fear and just plain stupidity
All protected behind the one-way mirror of an internet avatar.
You see out, we can't see in: the perfect mask.

I always read the comments section.
On good days, words of hope and love abound, rationality rules, logic takes the stage.
On bad days, I see a regression of humanity, determinedly grinding backwards towards a closed, closeted world where free speech doesn't feel free.
Freedom of stupidity exists for a reason, as does freedom of ignorance but
Who are we to indulge in spreading those freedoms?

I always read the comments section,
and despite my better judgement (or perhaps because of my better judgement), I never comment back.
I exist as a silent observer, quietly categorizing and balancing, actively judging from behind my own personal wall of tightly clasped ideology.
Is that bad? Probably. I hide and have the luxury of praising myself over others. I never join the battle.
Just by reading, I learn, and that,
I hope,
Makes a small difference.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Official enrolled. School email, username, money paid in. Orientation scheduled, planning, research. Not even a bit committed. What should be so certain is the exact opposite: none of this feels real. My second option has yet to appear, and I'm still grasping at faint hopes of something better (such an inopportune word, better). Ever so slowly, the selfishness sets in. Money offered, and I'm turning my nose up at something that would make my family feel a lot better. I don't know if I can make that choice, should I have the opportunity to go somewhere else. I'm scheduled to go to orientation in a few weeks, meet people, sign up for classes. I'll be going in not committed, waiting for a loophole to determine my fate. It's the worst kind of helpless.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Two papers, one job, a thousand words I won't be speaking tomorrow.
Six classes, two thousand meters, too many people I encounter.
Is it bad I don't have the capacity to deal with Day of Silence right now?
Too many things pile up (even worse, beyond my control) and I can't move beneath the mental weight of decisions that change my outcomes and relationships.
Two weeks, two papers, one memorial service: the worst possible time for everything to come together.
Mental bills pile up: I'm sure they'll be collecting at some point.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


You made me hurt in a way I didn't think was possible. Going back, rereading even the first lines of what you wrote, the knots work themselves back through my chest and throat, climbing and coiling, and then they just sit: a reminder.

I pride(d) myself on detachment. I warned you, saying I wasn't ready or willing to commit, unwilling to give the romantic gestures you so obviously craved. After the first time, I didn't see you for four months, and except on the lonelier of many cold nights, I wasn't sorry. You weren't worth my time, and for that I'm truly sorry. I know now that I hurt you, more than I meant to, more than I ever intended. I never intended.

You did warn me, before you sent me the link. "It'll hurt," you said. I didn't listen. I put too much faith in my flimsy walls, sure you couldn't wield power over my emotions. Wrong. Sucker punch to the gut, beating down my heart, curl up in a ball and absorb the blows that just keep coming. I deserved every single one of them.

Every so often, I go back. Click the link, start reading, and then just... stop. I can't do it. You impacted my world in perhaps exactly the way you intended. I'm vulnerable now. Each admission of my faults, written in your lyrical and devastatingly accurate prose, broke me down further. I haven't made it through a second time, and for that, I thank you. You made a difference on the first try: more than I could ever do for you.

Monday, April 8, 2013


When the world gives us
Heartbreaking belly laughing happy/sad crying mind bending circular timelines with syndicates and corrupt colonels and the stark blood and guts of human existence spilling through the pages
Why is it necessary for me to do anything but sit and wonder at
The state of a universe that holds such an existence but still
ceases to give up its own secrets?

Sunday, April 7, 2013


According to my stat counter, I started this blog in May of 2008. I'm not quite sure why I did, and I'm not quite sure what compelled me to come back, in November of 2013. I wrote sporadically up until mid-2010, and then just stopped. Oddly enough, I continued to get page views, from random places I'd linked the url, or perhaps intrepid Internet trekkers. Truthfully, I think tumblr happened, and I just lost interest in writing when I could instead reblog pretty pictures and spew random text snippets in an attempt at humor. In November of 2012, my senior English class was in the thick of W's, our creative writing assignments, that all seniors do in senior English at my school. Oddly enough, I enjoyed writing, and found I wasn't bad, according to my teacher and my classmates. As always, praise breeds a need for more praise, and a return to the blog felt like a lovely way to get more attention for my writing. (Make of that what you will, I'm a selfish human being.) Initially, I just posted assignments straight from my class (they're tagged "w" if you want to read them!), but the constant stream of writing about certain subjects, or just about My Life tired me out. What if I wanted to write poetry? That'd make a good blog post... and so it happened. Three thousand hits later, I have a Real Life Blog.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Captured Moments

Lights behind glass:
Scenes presented, each mine for the taking if I choose to simply
Stop and look for a moment.
Fairy lights strung across a window, reflection of someone's small flight of fancy
The interior of a dining room all wood panels, red walls, and vintage chandelier giving away the age of this particular house.
Apartments only give away a glow of color, or in some cases the soft light of curtained interiors.
Some windows show black.
This person has plants, that one leaves the TV on when no one's in the room.
This room belongs to a child, the one above to adults: a family house.
Basement apartment: order on a small scale, bike propped against a wall, hatstand in the middle.
Small snippets, captured moments, windows meant for viewing: glass, after all, works both ways.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

These Days

Spring break saps the motivation from my limbs. Time moves at a slower pace (or so it seems), allowing me the gift of a whole book in a day, devoured slowly over many hours. It's been a while since I read for pleasure. Long bus rides make knitting a necessity, and a whole pair of socks sits ninety nine percent completed in my knitting bag. College decisions happened, and still, I'm stuck in limbo. Waitlists happen. With two full days left of pure free time, I'm starting to feel the clouds of doubt descend. Work, this break, has simply... passed me by. A paycheck came for me in the mail today, and I simply read the number and set it aside. I take my job for granted, these days. Even heavy chains of potential probation don't seem to drag me down. These days, I'm floating, and I'm not sure how to come back down. Apathy has set in, and the only things I feel passionate about are those the larger world says don't matter, or those I do on my own time. College has never seemed so far off.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Supernothing (Effort, and Why It Sucks)

Did I mention that effort doesn't come naturally to me?
Have I ever told you that if it weren't for my friends
I'd be a nothing (supernothing, going nowhere fast
and I don't care).
Take today, for example:
Right now, I'm meant to be at a
(of all things)
Meeting other queer kids and generally having a
(capital letters merited).
And yeah, that'd be awesome but
Doesn't come easily to me who
Will probably end up on the streets in five years because I
Blow all my money
On knitting needles and
Stolen library books.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Standing up takes more effort than it should
Muscles and tendons size and compress
The floor pounds into my feet and drives
Up my legs and through my back to my shoulders where
It simply

Monday, March 11, 2013


Some days, the Internet can be a really, really bad place for me. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, photos and faces and articles flashing past as quickly as I want. Some days, I get sucked in. I read articles for hours, ogle more photos than I can count, open tabs upon tabs until I cannot fathom the amount of information I have on my screen. Some days, I look too hard.

I identify myself as queer. I've slowly come around to carrying that label, because it fits as well as any I've used, more so than lesbian or bisexual. It's open for interpretation, and I like that. It doesn't force me to make a decision, or force people to make a split-second decision about me the way I feel some other labels do. I have fluidity in my sexuality, and I've come to terms with that. I love my queer self, and I'm proud of me for who I am.

I also identify myself as female. I've never felt uncomfortable in my body. It may be that I'm incredibly lucky and privileged  but I've always loved my body. I have strong rower's shoulders, muscular arms, rower's thighs, and the core of the equestrian I used to be. I have a Nike-swoosh scar on my face from a riding accident, calluses on my hands from oar handles, bike riding and rowing induced scars on my legs. One of my ankles locks up from an old injury, and I can't touch my toes. When I see myself naked, I'm proud. I've occasionally had bouts of thinking that other people don't find me attractive, but I've never felt like I had to change everything about me. Just occasionally overlooked.

Some days though, despite my solid grounding in my identity as a queer female, I feel inadequate. I'm fine with my naked body- hell, I'd wear less clothes during the summer if I could, it's too hot where I live. It's my clothed body that brings me down. I've been toying, picking, worrying at my gender presentation for a while. It's been hand in hand with the issue of my sexuality, but up until recently, it was a non-issue. I didn't know who I was, or how to present that person. Now that I have inner balance (most of the time), I've been struck by the problem of outer harmony. I've never been a girly-girl. I chopped my hair into a short, fauxhawk-ish thing over a year ago, and I've been dyeing it various colors for almost three years. My hair has allowed me to explore my appearance, and my confidence has grown a thousandfold because of my experimentation. I shook the first couple of times I went out in public with short hair, but eventually I got used to it and just embraced it as part of my overall changing identity.

Yesterday, I went to a fancy mother-daughter tea-thing at my school for graduating seniors. It was lovely, and I had a great time, despite less than high expectations. True to form, 99% of my class was in dresses or skirts and heels or nice flats. For me, a dress was not an option. For the past year, I've grown more and more attached to pants, button down shirts, ties, and blazers. So, true to form, I threw on a black and white checkered shirt, my black dress pants, my trusty Doc Marten boots, a blazer, and a skinny black silk tie. With my hair looking extra spiky and my tie perfectly knotted, I looked damn good. Or so I thought. When I got downstairs, my mother (who, by the way, has a Masters degree in Women's Studies and as a pretty radical feminist, should GET THIS) looks at me and goes, "Why aren't you wearing a skirt?"

I just looked at her. She's always been very accepting of my sexuality (even though I haven't *exactly* come out officially, but she definitely knows), so this was just kind of an unexpected blow. I know it wasn't her fault that she mentioned it at a bad time, but she brought me crashing down from the high I'd been on. I was so confident in how I looked, feeling really dapper, and suddenly that just... disappeared.

For the last twenty four hours, I've been brooding. I was home sick today, so I had ample amounts of time to distract myself with the internet. This proved to be a rather bad idea. Instead of a pick-me-up, I got a downer slipped to me by mistake. Each article I read, each photo I saw, made me question myself a little more. And each question brought up more bad feelings. I'm not unhappy with my physical body, but even so, this new sense of dysphoria made me feel extremely off center. I'm unhappy with my presentation. I'd love to have a more masculine of center, androgynous appearance. I want my jeans to skim my curves, not hug them, my shirts to show off my shoulders and not my breasts. I want to wear bowties and blazers and oxfords and cool sneakers and dress like a hipster boy and be a dapper queer and wear snapbacks, even though I look bad in hats. Almost everything in my closet feels... wrong, and that makes me sad. I don't feel very confident in myself anymore, and that makes me even more sad. I want my confidence back, my assurance in my queerness. I want to find my swagger.

Where do I look?

Sunday, March 10, 2013


In their eyes, you are not you anymore.
Reduced to a series (collection, grouping, abundance)
Of lines and planes, dark and light,
Shadows and highlights,
You look at them but they do not see you,
The precise geometry of your ratios:
Eyes to nose to mouth to chin and shoulders, beyond.
Pure, spatial construction, no
Judgement tweaking fixing just
Faithful recording
Setting your lines down on paper
In a moment
What you truly look like.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

None For Me

Two for you
None for me
Uneven math, of course. It's what I
One plus one is two that's
Two for you and
One plus zero (one) for me.
Hint: that one is
Is that fair?
Hint: (it's not.)
But I guess that's how
It has to be.
Two for you and
One (none) for me.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


After a week of clouds and heaviness, stepping outside this morning felt like heaven. Still cold, but the clean, snapping kind of cold that comes with the lingering breath of winter, not the sticky oppressiveness of a damp, 40 degree spring. A wind came through last night, and whisked aside any traces of moisture. Even this morning, we still felt the briskness, heating our cheeks and roughly slapping our chins with bouts of cold. Above our hatted heads, the sky seemed washed clean, taking up more space than allotted. It flew down between buildings and scraps of cloud, piggybacking on the wind, a force of depth as much as temperature. The sun glinted, stinging our eyes with a light as bright and cutting as ice. Even in winter, the sun can wound. Trailing tears of cold and light, we continued on our way, still aware of the vastness of the sky, falling away around our heads. We encountered a busy intersection, and paused. Almost unnoticed, we spiraled up and out of ourselves and flew with the clouds, skimming over previously unnoticed buildings and hidden rooftops. The world, for a moment, distilled, small crystalline images forming and melting quickly as snowflakes. When we touched down again, I looked at you and remembered sitting down here and now to write this, on this particular blustery Sunday, just one in a string of Sundays that connect our weeks. In a year, will you even remember?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Random Bits (My Day)

Last night: a random Target shopping cart, probably stolen and dumped, standing forlornly on the corner of a dark and rainy street. My dog sniffed it suspiciously.

Today: the unexpected surprise of early dismissal from practice, and then the complete letdown caused by a huge traffic jam of unknown origins. The firetrucks didn't seem in any hurry.

The Wasteland: phenomenal. Layers upon layers of words and meanings, waiting to be picked apart: the ultimate cake. Delicious.

Unexpected depth: velvet sky turned liquid, the moon suddenly giving light to thousands of unseen miles between Here and There.

Morning tea: arrived on the doorstep sometime during the night, heaven in a cardboard box. Perfect.

Lovely: a meeting of the minds, beyond class, of books and the power of wishlists. These things should happen more often.

Overall: fueled by caffeine, in the best way possible. Amen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Slowly, ever so
Slowly I'm
Learning, infinitesimally, to
Take an interest, even
Care a little talk a little stay a little longer
Branch a little fail a little fall a little more
I resemble
No longer boxed up
Caged in
Bottled and stoppered feelings mixing colors until they're just

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Sudden Wave of Being an Adult

Usually, the library isn't mentally draining. There's no pull on my brain, no pressure behind my eyes, the thrumming of monotony normally kept at bay. Today, not so. Endless hours on the children's desk, punctuated only by overly questioning children and slightly overbearing adults. Periodically, the phone rings, inquiries from upstairs. Yes, I say, it's fine. But really, the turbines of monotony only provide anti-power, sapping me of my ability to Get Things Done. A small children's book, reeking of memory, keeps the day bearable. I read the whole thing.

The day drains rather than ends. There's no sharp crack between work and play, work and the rest. On this day, one simply flows into the other. On the bus, my SmartTrip has no money, and I stupidly add the coins to the box before swiping the card. Sixty cents lost, and no bus ride for me. Want to ride? the driver asks. Not worth it, I reply. I'll go through this next time I need the bus. Instead, I disembark and walk a lazy loop to the Metro, descending through wafts of an unidentified stench. Twenty dollars on the card, and maybe a train soon, if I'm lucky.

If I'm lucky.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wind-Up Girl

No lock and key exist for me to
Open up your head so I
Drink up, crunch down, mascerate
Mundane and esoteric facts, letters and questions that
Inform me, entice me with everything but

Some days I just want to climb inside your
Head and walk around and
Build a blanket fort and
Curl up and this way at least I know you're thinking

(Of Me).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

For Boston

Yesterday, I fell in love with a city. I didn't mean for it to happen. It just... Did. Boston felt right, from the moment I arrived at Logan Airport. Flying in from DC, all you get is this expanse of water, then a lighthouse perched on a little rocky island, and then the airport. There's almost no indication of the actual city, so I had no idea what to expect.
We took the Silver Line bus from the airport to South Station, where we hopped on a Red Line T headed out. I basked in the beauty of public transportation. Coming from a city where the Metro is overpriced and not very extensive, the T and the bus system in Boston felt like a savior. The ticket-buying machines were both simple and easy (miracle of miracles!) and the stations felt cozy and, oddly, less hostile than the ones in DC. The Davis Square station both smelled and looked like any station in the New York system, but felt infinitely more friendly. Wonderful.
I'm not entirely sure what got me, but before I knew it, I felt at home. Even though I embodied the lost tourist, iPhone map in hand, I could get around. The whole city (and outlying areas) felt laid back, almost welcoming, friendly. The bits that felt touristy were definitely that, but even more out of the way parts had something to offer. I didn't feel like an out-of-towner- in fact, I was asked on multiple occasions for directions! I guess I look like a college student, so people just assumed I knew where I was going. It was a pretty crazy experience, and I can't wait to go back again. Hopefully, (fingers crossed!) Ill be going to college there next year. I really, really hope so. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Good Things

Morning sun, enough to take the edge off but
Will probably burn my face if I'm out all day.
Suddenly, spring seems within reach.
Good things are coming.

A good hair day, enough so hats
Aren't needed,
Warm enough to go without a scarf.
Good things are coming.

Meet up, new faces in familiar places
Old friends still at hand.
Across the bridge, adventure awaits.
Good things are coming.

Pick through old CD's, new music to my ears.
As reggae-dub plays over the radio,
I smile at the man behind the counter.
Good things are coming.

Too crowded for coffee, back to beat the streets.
Wrapped in the smell of warm pita, I take a bite.
Suddenly, everything feels perfect.
Good things are coming.

Tip my head up to catch the final rays of sun,
Back across the bridge towards home,
Where the downhill caresses my worn out knees.
Good things are coming.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Things On My Desk

My phone
My glasses that I never wear, complete with glasses case they are never in
Mini scissors shaped like a cat
Size 1.5 Addi Lace circs, still in their package
A just finished library book
One jar of bottle caps, 3/4ths full
One jar of pennies and soda tabs, also 3/4ths full
A hole punch
A container of Sharpies, mostly used
Miscellaneous papers, including some that are probably important
A single stitch marker, retrieved from the floor
An opened letter, still in the envelope
Two thumb drives, hardly used
Two tax information forms, left to die
One headphone case, unused
Multiple blocks of sticky notes, always scribbled
Welcome to the detritus of my life.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I'm A Car Dancer

There's a feeling, indescribable
Connected, infected, reflected
Up your arms, down your ears, warming you
From the inside out and
Crackle and pop
Radio static clears
And a song
Crack a grin and sing
Bang your head and dance like
No one's watching
All alone in your car.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Work Walk #3

The cold nips at your ears, reminding you yet again that you forgot a hat. Spurred on by the brisk weather, you stride around the corner of the library and swing your way across the street. Your breath plumes out in front of you, even though the thermometer reads thirty-six degrees. Practically balmy. Crossing the street, your gaze momentarily flies skyward. Clouds cover the previously clear sky, and you briefly, achingly, suddenly miss the stars you weren't used to seeing. Your long strides make your boots clump reassuringly down on the frozen sidewalk, and you're so taken with the sound and the glittering lights over the horizon you walk right across an alley without looking. A brief burst of panicked adrenaline propels you the rest of the way, and afterwords you laugh inwardly at the complete lack of trucks coming at you. Across the street, the new addition to the elementary school glows softly under streetlights. The stairs have a poetical air to them, like an unfurled seashell. Were they always there? There's a sneaking suspicion you are just noticing them now. Ahead of you, a couple laughs, boy and girl moving in harmony as they head to an unknown destination. You follow them, momentarily diverted onto a similar path. After all, you are going the same direction. Just before you reach your endpoint (almost caught up to them now), something catches your eye. Hulking and heavy, an orange snowplow sits at the corner, shyly peaking out from the darkness of a lesser known street. The plow in front almost looks like a smile, jauntily curved up towards you. And you? You smile back, in the face of the thirty-six degree weather that can't possibly include snow. Just you and the dinosaur snowplow, grinning.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


And she asked,
"What's that stain
On your pants?"
And I said,
"It's ketchup."
Head held high, daring defiance, messy and exposed.
And instead of judging,
She laughed
And said,
"Good for you! Was it worth it?"
And I grinned right back and said,
And in my head I thought, in passing:
I want a girl who will laugh with me at
Ketchup stains 
On my pants.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rain Walking

If you turn up your collar, just so, and scrunch your shoulders up around your neck like closed wings, the rain just... slides. It's possible to stay both warm and relatively dry just by keeping the rain off your neck.  You move through and around the drops, a little hutch of warmth and dryness braving the elements. When your hair is short, like mine, you learn these things quickly. As you walk, the rain floods around your feet, the kind of rain that rushes down so hard it continues right onto the sidewalk. You're wading through minuscule rivers, each one carrying its own load of trash and leaves. Slowly, as you continue on your way, you notice... not so much a smell but a feeling. The world slowly washes itself away, the sound of cars replaced by echoing rain and the underlying dirty scent of streets fading into rainy purity. The city, for a moment, feels clean.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's Coming

High 60's, slight breeze, sun. We uncurl ourselves from the batting and flannel of winter, unwrap in our minds the fresh shoots of spring. Ideas are growing. Here, in the depths of January, we remember days to come. Muscles loosen, shoulders relax, toes uncurl inside suddenly too thick socks. Longingly, we speak, in quiet voices, of green, warmth, single layers next to the skin. As we drink in the blue sky above, so different from the dreary light of yesterday's gray, we think to ourselves, savor this, and bottle the memory for a rainy day.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Morning

This morning, I drank three cups of tea. "It's Sunday," I thought to myself. "Why not?" So instead of my usual one cup, Prince of Wales tea (I'm out of Scottish Breakfast), I went to my afternoon default. I found my bag of Lestrade tea by Adiago, and made a whole freaking pot. Bad idea. I'm shaking and can't sit still and I'm accidentally typing double letters because my fingers are jerky. Why do I always forget that tea is caffeinated? One cup in the morning gets me up, but I can go without it if I must. Two a day keeps me going through the afternoon, picking me up in the darker bits of early evening. But three? Three cups in about an hour period was a really, really poor decision. This has been a post.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Red Toothbrush

I still use
That red toothbrush you gave me
The first time I stayed over when you said
"Why don't you just stay the night?"
And we both slept close but not close enough until
The next time when
I brought my bag with your
Red toothbrush and
Brushed the taste of you out of my mouth
In the morning and then left with
The smell of you still in
My hair.

I Have To Stop Spending Money

I have to stop spending money. I get paid every two weeks. I know when I'm getting paid. I know how much I'm getting paid. I know that I have an automatic withdrawal of $50 to my savings account every two weeks when I get paid. Yet I still spend money that I really shouldn't be spending. I just went to the yarn store, which I shouldn't have done because I cannot walk out of there without spending at least fifty dollars. Sure enough, it happened. I was only going to buy two sets of circular needles that I need for two at a time socks. But then... They had restocked all their yarn. ALL OF IT. It was so beautiful and colorful and soft and... two skeins of Manos del Uruguay later, I'm down $58 including needles. I have to stop doing this. It's the curse of having an income... now that I know it's coming, I feel better about spending it because I know there will be more in another two weeks. Thank the lord I set up my withdrawals to savings... otherwise I'd be dead broke, always.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yesterday's Socks

And today I wore
Yesterday's socks.
Extra blue and extra thick
Yesterday's socks
Protecting against wind
(and now snow)
For the second
Day in a row.
Yesterday's socks
Scooped from the floor without
A second thought.
I know they'll make it through the day
After all, I made them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

More Numbers

And suddenly there are
Two days.
That's two times
Twenty-four hours
Four times
Six times
Sixty times twenty four times
Thirty six hundred seconds a minute
Sixty minutes an hour
Twenty-four hours a day equals
Two days time.
(you do the math)
One hundred seventy two thousand eight hundred seconds
All slowly trickling down
To nothing. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Disagreement of the Hardest Order

If you don't agree with me
And I don't agree with you
We butt heads.
Even if we agree to be respectful
We butt heads.
Yes, I value you
And your friendship
And your opinion but really
Can't you see how this changes my view of you?
not to let your ideas
Poison my idea of you
But sometimes it's
I still love you for
Who you are and
The power of your beliefs but
Like I said before,
It's hard.

I know it's best to take in as many different ideas and perspectives as possible, and I know that not everyone will agree with me or my opinions. Your ideas aren't even misguided or invalid or blatantly idiotic like the opinions of so many others; they're lovely, well thought out, logical and rational forces of will, but that's what makes them so hard to swallow. I know that you value your opinions just as much as I value mine, and even though we can talk about them and discuss without taking the other down, the undercurrent of "what if" lurks beneath the veneer of our polite conversation. There's always the backing tone of "I Do Not Agree". Disagreement happens, and I know it happens, but it still makes me sad when I see friends going down a path that I view as blinkered to the wider worldviews on the issue. I try to learn as much as possible, take in as many perspectives as I can, see from all sets of eyes and walk in multiple pairs of shoes. However, I've found that, even as it opens my mind, this strategy makes me more and more suspicious, more questioning, less likely to be bought by one perspective or another. I find it hard to form my own opinions without thorough research and contemplation. I can only hope that my friends do as much research as I do about their opinions, because I feel that one should take make their decisions only after they find at least one viewpoint opposing theirs, and they can still say that their opinion is valid after discussing and researching the other side. It's worked for me, and I can only hope it will work for others.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ukulele Nonsense Poem

To paraphrase Amanda Palmer:
Play your ukulele loud
Play your ukulele proud
"'Cos even if your grades are bad it doesn't mean you're failing"
She makes me wish I could have made
Any thing so quite as good
So catchy and amazing
It's just three chords
That's all it takes
To banish any evil
Play your ukulele loud
Play your ukulele proud
Art's not hard
Just do it! Now.
It's just liking knitting only not so stringy
Or so wooly or so 
Utterly confusing
Go out and buy your ukulele
Don't worry if you think you're stupid
It will probably make you feel better
Even if you have
No musical inclination!
I don't even have one and
I really really want one and
Perhaps I'll gift my self with one and
Busk my way though DC.
I'll play my favorite cover song
Even though the words are wrong
Bring joy for all the world to see
With the power of ukulele.

(Apologies to Amanda Palmer, and hear the original song here.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Some Days

Some days
Some days
Some days I just want to steal other people's words
Make them slip down my throat and then back up
So I don't have to think about
Everything that makes me
I feel unoriginal
Burdened by worries, hurries, and
Crawling up my throat and choking me
Blocking me
Haunting me and hawking me
Tight fingers of a small green goblin
That refuses to let go.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nonsense Poems

Three line stanza
Three word line
Three letter ending: Not.

One word sentence:

Three word line:
I love you.
Don't leave me.
I can't stay.

Six word story:
No time, no sleep, no worries.

Three word legends:
Go away now.
I hated you.
Take me back

Eleven second thoughts:
I don't know why I
Start and stop and start.

One: heart.
Two: Legs.
Four: Eyes.
Ten: Fingernails.
Thirty-three: Vertebrae.
Million: Songs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Night Drizzle

Outside the library, a stiff wind blows and the rain drizzles down your neck. The flag on the flagpole shivers along with you as you hurry towards your destination. Cars drift by, each its own little world of warmth and dryness. A few late stragglers huddle together at the bus stop across the street, and you silently commiserate  as you wait for the crossing signal. Instinctively, you hunch your shoulders and turn up your collar, thankful for the black wool of your jacket keeping the wet off. Eerie neon flashing spurs your movements, and you hurry across the street, head down against the wind and rain. Your feet take you away from the glowing lights of restaurants and stores and direct you downhill. You skirt a series of metal grates, thankful your boots grip the slick surfaces. Preoccupied as you are with keeping your footing, glancing at the perpetually parked delivery truck as you cross an alley, you almost forget to look up.

You've been travelling downhill, but it's unclear how high up you actually are, until you look. Directly in front of you, framed by strands of electrical wires and the mishmash weaving of trees, lights, and buildings, the lights of a city appear. In this rain, they appear ghostly and misted over, slowly rising from the cloudy depths of time and space. Even in this weather, the view stops your feet, letting your eyes feel even as your neck shivers and your teeth click together from cold. You've seen this view a hundred times, but here, in this cold rain, it looks especially beautiful. Plumes of fog flow through the streets, and the wind flashes the rain faster. As the cold begins to soak through your hair, your body takes over and your feet continue downward.

When you look up again, the city is gone. In its place, misty trees and the odd under-glow of rainy streetlights blend into dark gray clouds tinted pinkish by city lights. You continue on, boots clump-slapping on the wet pavement, dodging more sidewalk grates and slippery grass. As you near your destination, you realize you can actually hear the rain and wind, but no cars. The world is silent. Looking both ways, you step out into the middle of the street and let your hearing spread out. No cars, no dogs, no city noises. In the distance, a loose street sign clonks against its metal pole, but the wind soon shifts and the rain-sound returns. Complete and utter stillness, in the middle of a city.

At the intersection, the stoplights silently change from green to red to yellow and back, an endless cycle uncaring. In this light, the colors mutes to shades of gray. The whole world reduced to monochrome and senses, where your boots stick to wet asphalt and your turned up collar almost but-not-quite keeps the cold off your neck, where the sound of rain-wind-silence melds with the eye-speak of trees-lights-mist. Even as the cold seeps through your body and trickles down your neck, even as your breath adds to the fog and your breathing ghosts into the silence, the world spreads out, bigger than you can hear-taste-touch-smell-see. Even up here, surrounded by houses and wires and signs-dogs-cars-underglow of city pollution, the mist still rolls down and engulfs, softening edges. And under your feet, the world turns.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


In between moments
The clock thunks
Arms slamming into place like lead doors
Measuring out my time
When thoughts drift between seconds
Before the hand comes down
And slices through my head
Breaking my coherence
Into so many


The room is quiet, except for the occasional page turning or the underlying click-clack of laptop keyboards. The fluorescent lights shine over many toiling (or most likely slacking) high school students, their sweatshirts showing a school name in varying shades of navy, gray, or white. The teacher at the front of the room vaguely scribbles in the margin of some paper they’re grading, probably for the oh-so-lofty upperclassmen they’d rather be dealing with. Nobody likes supervising ninth graders.
I always sit about the fifth row up, in a chair that swings out to the right. I can’t concentrate if the chair goes the other direction. Today, however, concentration is not on my mind. I only have Spanish homework left, and my severe dislike of the subject prevents me from caring if I do a good job or not. The workbook pages pass quickly, with a little help from GoogleTranslate and the dictionary at the back of the chapter. There are more important matters at hand.

Back in the good old days of freshman year, my school hadn’t figured out how to block many music listening websites. There was Youtube, of course (and there still is, thank goodness), but for those of us who took our music seriously and didn’t want to pay, there was Pandora.

Laptop click-thunks open, headphones settle gently into ears. Click-click-click with the mouse and the lovely blue Pandora screen appears. Pandora, simple and brilliantly easy: input an artist, and the algorithms within the program spits back songs by similar artists. It’s better than listening to the radio, with fewer commercials.
So, what shall I listen to today? Well, let’s see what the algorithm gives me. Silence, then tick-tick-tick of a high hat cymbal, then the slow, dull boom-boom of a bass drum. I’ve never heard this song before. Before I can think anything else, fuzzy guitar distortion pounds my ears, and then a voice, gravelly and electronic, and then guitar the riff everyone knows, even if they don’t know where it’s from. I do know this song, but I’m not thinking anymore.

The guitar and the drums reverberate all through my body. I can feel the vibration in the floor. My boots are stuck to the ground, my head feels like it’s about to explode. I’m suddenly a million pounds. I can’t think, or feel, or do anything but listen. I don’t know if my eyes are open or closed, if I’m standing or sitting anymore. As the tempo rises and the guitars shriek, I’m flying too. Just as I’m sure the song is ending, the distortion rises and I slam back into my body, back from my journey riding the spikes and valleys of jagged vocals and throbbing drums. The song peters out with a long trail of background static and one last note.

I remember to breathe again. The feeling slowly returns to my fingers. My feet unstick themselves from the floor. The weight lifts. I experimentally shift in my chair, and my whole body protests. I’ve cramped up in the four minutes I’ve been sitting here. Dazedly, I gather my things for my next class, not sure what just happened or what I just heard. The song plays back through my thoughts. Belatedly, I check the song listing, and a surprised chuckle escapes my throat in this quiet room. The little box flashes an album cover, and the words “Iron Man” followed by the artist. I stop, and frown, and then smile as recognition dawns. Black Sabbath. Still grinning, I leave for my next class, humming under my breath.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Day Against Eternity

The room is too small for the people filling it. One wall, made of glass bricks, lets in a speck of natural light against the glow of fluorescent overheads. We can hear the people in the next room, but we scream louder. Our butts hurt from hours of sitting on the floor, but there’s no real discomfort here. In fact, it is perfect. Heads lean into shoulders, arms curl around waists, backs press against bent knees. Elbows touch. The room quiets as a man stands in the small open space in the center. He has an aura about him: calm, collected, confident, serene, all knowing, loving. The silver ankhs on his chest shine, mimicking the shine of his bald head and the flash of his glasses. His feet are bare. Rings join in the glow, and add to the atmosphere. This is Important.

The man stands in the center, surrounded by a room full of teenagers, and a few who seem older. The oldies (they’re barely in their twenties, by the looks of most of them), hold colored cards in their hands, reverentially. Rodney, the man in the center, speaks.
“Each card has a purpose. You wrote that card for a reason, and the person receiving it will receive it for a reason. It will be exactly what you need. You channeled your thoughts into that card, sent it on its way. Now, it will find its purpose.” He pauses. “Channel. Think about what you wrote, why you wrote it. Think about who it is going to. You may not know who will receive it, but know that it is for them. You will get exactly what you need.” Rodney pauses again, deliberately. “Each of the facilitators around me will pick a card out of the basket, and then let the card guide them to who needs it most. After you get your card, take one out of the basket and find who it belongs to, who needs it. Each card has a purpose.” Another pause. Rodney steps forward, bends down. He takes the stack of cards from Paula, kisses her on the forehead, and drops them into the basket. He moves on to Kelsey P., and then Jasmine. Each stack of cards hits the bottom of the basket with a muffled “thwap”. And then we wait.

Music plays, softly. Soulful and sweet, it fills the silence that soon fills even more, with the sound of movement and then, slowly, ever so slowly, the sound of crying. The facilitators move among us, gently presenting each card, and then hugging the recipient tightly. Some cry. Most cry. Emotion swirls. Slowly, ever so slowly, kids start to stand. They dry their eyes and pick their way towards the basket. They reach in, select an anonymous card, and turn, searching. They wander, looking for the purpose, following the thread. When they find the end, both dissolve. Two girls hold each other, sobbing. The walls are crumbling.

I watch, and I wait. I watch. And I wait. And then, a tap on my head, a ruffle of my hair. It’s Matt. Sweet, adorable, goofy Matt, who stood up in this room yesterday and, knees shaking, squeezing the hand of the girl next to him, admitted for the first time that he’s bisexual. For him, the room exploded, as it did for all the others who came out for the first time, who felt safe enough to stand up and say, “This is who I am.” I’m so proud of them, and I’m so proud of him. As I’m remembering, he hands me a piece of soft red construction paper. I look down. Simple, upper case letters, a girl’s handwriting, look back.


And just like that, I break. A bottle spills, tips over, shatters. Everything overflows. I cry, like I haven’t cried in a long time. Everything inside me comes down. I can physically feel the waves pushing my walls away. I wrap my arms around Matt, bury my head in his shoulder. I shake. All the doubts, all the unrealized fears, every time I had to think about what I was saying or watch myself in case I gave myself away, disappear. Their absence feels new, strange, as if I am now unweighted from something I didn’t realize I was carrying. I didn’t know how alone I felt, until I didn’t feel alone anymore. The lightness shocks me, and I feel my back move up and down with the rhythm of my sobs.

When I look up, I see I’ve left tears on Matt’s grey shirt. He smiles down at me, teary himself.
I whisper, “Thank you.” He smiles.
“You know the saying “you came into my life for a reason”? Well, you came into my life for a reason.” His statement is low, clear. “I feel like I was just waiting to meet you. I love you.” I’ve never heard words spoken with that much intensity, sincerity. This isn’t romantic love he’s expressing. And it’s not romantic love I’m expressing back. I focus my swollen eyes on his face.
“I love you too.” I’m still wrapped in his embrace, still crying, still watching my walls float away. I’m entirely sincere. Here, I feel safe. Here, I feel love, flowing in from every direction. It’s real.

So, remember this. Remember what it felt like. Remember feeling safe, here in this room full of queer kids. Remember. Remember the love. Remember how it spread, first like honey, then like a river. Remember the feeling of your doubts shattering, your fears washing away. Remember realizing that it’s ok. Remember standing up, introducing yourself. “Hi, I’m Amanda, I go by she/her pronouns, and I’m bisexual, but questioning? It’s nebulous.” Remember how you feel, right now, in this moment. You are no longer questioning. Here, you feel safe knowing that you like the term queer, that it fits you, for now. Remember acknowledging that it may change. Remember feeling safe. Remember. Fill up that broken bottle. Fill it with all the love in this room, sparkling purple and free floating. Remember it, and store it away in your chest, locked in tight, where no one can take it from you. Know that here, in this room, you are loved. You are safe. You are you. Remember.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Printed News

I just spent two hours reading the paper.

Contrary to what most people seem to think about my generation, I love the newspaper and printed news, and most of all I love the Sunday New York Times. I usually start with the Magazine section, then Style, Arts and Leisure, Sports, Travel, Week in Review, then the Book Review, and lastly the Front Page. It really does take me close to two hours to get through all of that because (get this) I actually read most of it. I skim all the headlines and articles, and read about 1/3-1/2 of the stories on average. I love them Modern Love column in the Style section, the final essay in the Magazine, and the random articles in Week in Review. I tolerate the Sports section (mostly because I think the Washington Post sportswriters are better), but it usually has one or two good articles. I always read the music articles in Arts and Leisure, and at least one Front Page article.

I don't know why I stick so strongly to printed news. My family has always gotten the paper delivered: Washington Post during the week, New York Times on Sundays. We recently started getting the Sunday Post as well, except it's delivered on Saturday, so I get a preview of the greatness that is the Sunday Times. I've been reading the paper basically since I could read, starting with the comics (which I still read religiously) and working my way up. Even on a school day, I still sit down and read most of the front page, and the comics, and the Metro section if I have time. I skim Sports, and whatever extra excerpt there is (Food on Wednesday, Weekend on Thursday, Magazine on Sunday). Whatever I don't get to in the morning, I read when I come home, even if it's at 9:30 at night when I get home from work. It's just something I do. I feel uninformed if I don't read the paper, out of the loop, behind. I treasure that I'm able to pick up the paper in the morning, shake it out of its tight plastic covering, and flip it over to see the day's news. Even if I've already heard about some of the headlines via Facebook or regular Internet escapades, I always go back and read about them in the paper anyway.

Some may say my paper reading ways are a waste of time, that I could just get up to the minute news on the Internet, or save paper and subscribe online. Yeah, I could do that. But really, would it feel the same to sit down for two hours on a Sunday morning at my computer screen, or an iPad? Can I drink tea and not worry about accidentally spilling it on my my news? My computer doesn't smell like ink, doesn't leave a dusky trail on my fingertips. It's just not the same. So, to you, doubters, haters of the printed word, I say this: my two hours with the paper are some of the most relaxed and happy times I have during the week. It's my unwinding time, when I can fill my head with ideas and thoughts not my own, when I can learn about everything that's bigger than me, far off places and new ideas, music, art, lives. The Internet is just not the same, even if the words and articles are identical. My two hours with the paper ground me, and let my mind float, every single day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Knitter!

I love The Knitter. I love that the internet came up with the idea of a knitting supervillain. I love that suddenly, knitting is cool. Knitting is hip. Knitting is something anyone can do. It can be a force for good (charity! warm fuzzy socks!) or evil (robbing banks ala The Knitter), beautification (yarn bombing!) or vandalism (also yarn bombing, but from a different perspective).  

For me, knitting is a stress buster. I knit to keep myself sane. It's a procrastination technique, but it's also soothing. The repetitive motion of stitch after stitch, row after row, one needle to the other, lets me think. With a simple pattern, my mind can sort itself out. I think in song lyrics, or about my day, or about any amount of work I have to do, or planning for a zombie apocalypse. When I have a more complicated pattern, I can't help but concentrate on it, and my worries sink for a little bit. It's lovely. As an added plus, I get cozy warm and hopefully awesome items out of the deal. 

I think everyone should learn to knit, for all of the above reasons (except the robbing banks one). Yarn bombing can free the artist in you, as well as the rebel and that inner ninja. Knitting for others unlocks compassion, as well as an appreciation for the work and love that go into making something unique and custom. And knitting for yourself is the ultimate win-win situation: wearable items, and distraction. Perfect!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Proceed At Your Own Risk

Warning. Unreality Ahead. Proceed At Your Own Risk.
The sign stares at me, its letters black and menacing against the pristine white background. I look around. It’s a perfectly ordinary suburban street, houses displaying tidy lawns and cars parked in driveways. I look back at the sign, then down at the sidewalk. It, too, seems perfectly ordinary. The sky above shows a few clouds, but nothing radical or unheard of.
I proceed at my own risk. One step, two steps, three. Nothing. I step less tentatively. Step. Step. Stepstepstep. Still nothing. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a flash of white. I turn my head. It’s a chicken. White, with yellow legs and a little red floppy bit on top of its head, like any normal chicken. It’s normal sized, normally shaped, and as far as I can tell, behaving in normal chicken fashion. It cocks its head at me.
Warning. Unreality Ahead. Proceed At Your Own Risk.
The words appear in my head without stopping to funnel through my ears. I stop. The warning sounds again, coupled with a cluck. The chicken stares at me, its eyes not leaving my face. Is this normal chicken behavior? The chicken continues staring, and I stare back, searching for the source of the disembodied words now flashing through my head. Warning. Warning. Leave now. Warning. Cluck. The chicken takes a step closer, then another. Step. Step. Stepstepstep.  In response, I back up, matching the chicken step for reverse step. Step. Step. Stepstepste-
The ground disappears beneath me. I’m falling backwards, looking up at the fast shrinking chicken head peering over the edge of what appears to be a hole that wasn’t there before. It forlornly waves a wing at me, shaking its head sadly. Or that might have been my imagination. That’s definitely not normal chicken behavior. This is all my imagination. Any second now, I’ll wake up. Please tell me I’ll wake up. I can’t be falling. There was no hole there, and no chicken. There can’t have been. This isn’t happening . This isn’t happening. This isn’t ha-
I hit the ground.
My eyes open. I’m in my own bed. It’s dark. My clock, ever vigilant on the desk at the foot of my bed, reads 11:23. I exhale. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a-
I look. Nothing. Cluck. There it is again. Cluck. Cluck. Cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck.
Drawers spill out onto the floor, of their own accord. They’re full of chicken feathers. My closet door bursts open, feathers spiraling out in a giant wave of deadly softness. I’m paralyzed. Feathers stream in through the windows, fall from the ceiling, materialize under the bed. I’m being carried on a rising tide of feathers, destination unknown. I can’t breathe. Where are they taking me? Oh god it’s just a dream it has to be a dream PLEASE LET ME WAKE UP I’m so scared I don’t even like chickens where am I going why me why me why why why why why-
I open my eyes. Bright sunshine, coolness. Tidy front lawns, cars parked in driveways. A girl stands in front of me, reading a sign with great concentration. She pauses, then takes a step. Step. Step. Stepstepstep. She doesn’t see me. I take a step forward and she turns, locks eyes with me, pauses. I stare, and she stares back.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Closed Doors

When tempers flare
A brand new, inexplicably blank computer screen
The dirty (and clean) clothes piled on my floor
Running too late
Or not late enough
When the animals are underfoot
And my mother goes down the list of names
Calling us first the cat, then the dog
Before she finally gets to
Her own children
Names muddled in her frustration.
When tempers flare
Words not said
Dishes not done
Meals not planned
I softly
Close my door
With the push of one outstretched index finger
Blocking out
The toxic creeping energy
Of arguments
Over such mundane things
As the clothes on my floor
And the dishes piled in the sink.