not after Richard Brautigan; after you instead.

you’ve just cleaned your sheets, just, like when I got into them first, wearing my underwear, which isn’t much more than a stripe of color across my palest skin; only a nod – or the slightest head tilt – toward social expectation or so I don’t have to wash my pants before wearing them again or because I like the excuse to undress in front of you slower

slow………….

your busy eyes slow down & you gaze exactly where I’m asking you to, and with the eye-weight that I want, light and brush, and I don’t think my thighs are fat or that I wish it were summer & I was more tan

you become dilated, whole body asking for more light to come in, spill, flood, more coming, for coming, becoming more liquid, for the chance that one of your five senses might have me alone for a few sweeter seconds

monogamous sigh.t

and I started this whole thing to say that the sheets were warm when I first laid in them, fresh when I first laid in them.  last week your heater was broken and now it’s not and it feels like everything is fixed.

later on, my underwear is off, tossed in a maroon tangle near the bookshelf you’re inventorying & I think jesus, a lifetime of dirty underwear and I’ll have to throw these away before you leave & I giggle because love is never having to say honey, would you mind washing my panties?

Richard Brautigan is pouring out of your parting lips, raunch most romantic, delicate smut because he says words like penis in a whisper & it’s not that they fucked but that someone was inside someone else twice that day

I am no flower, but I never talk about those things so much in ink, even if that’s what we’ve just done

want.

I laid on top of you and curved & angled & didn’t even know that my hips were sore from riding my bike every day except the days that I don’t, all, all so you could be inside me more, so I could be around you, all, all, so we could say with every tiniest adjustment, clench, delicious contraction of muscle, I am being as good to as much of you as I can

all, all.

until we said

in turn, but you are being.

Berlin, August 8th.

This city is so alive, having been pushed close to death so many times.

You reference the Berlin Wall, the divided Germany so easily in conversation, like you really know what you’re talking about.  But standing at Checkpoint Charlie yesterday, I realized that if challenged to discuss details of this pocked history, I’d fail.

I couldn’t help but notice the paradox of tourism there.  The place was crawling, literally writhing with so many human bodies that we couldn’t all fit on the sidewalk.  The seven of us had ridden up on our bikes, damp from an extra half hour of riding because somebody had done the unforgiveable and put the map and responsibility of navigation into my hands.  We’d headed off exactly 180 degrees in the wrong direction until Cara nervously piped up that this all felt a little wrong.  But we got there.

Reading the plaque under an eerie sign, “You are now leaving the American sector,” I learned that it wasn’t a real artifact but an exact replica so graciously donated by the US government.

Remember when we proxied our Cold War with that terrifyingly red country on your scarred land?  Well, here’s a consolation prize anyway, so you never forget.

At the actual checkpoint, what would have been an unremarkable white military box surrounded by sandbag walls, all business and no fun, two actors in dated military dress hammed for blinking cameras.  They were given away by plastic placards slung from their waists advertising “Photos for 2€, 3$ US!”  The signs flickered under so many flashes.

An imperfect illusion.

The guards loved the miniature spotlights, flashing rock’n’roll and hang ten hand gestures, sticking out their tongues and turning up their noses in a childishly grotesque dance.  The ladies in the crowd were especially fond of the young faux-guards, sidling close so that an arm might be draped over their shoulders.

Next to me, an American man fought with his companion while a third called to them from between the guards’ elbows.

“Where is the picture?” the man had begun to shout in frustration, confused that the money changed hands simply for the right to stand and pose.

“I paid them, so I’m taking it,” his companion retorted icily.

“But, what I’m asking you is, where is the damn thing?”  He couldn’t find the logic in paying to take a photo on your own camera.

“Will somebody please just take my picture?  Hello?  HELLO?” the third woman called out as the waiting crowd surged toward and around them, glowering with impatience.

I turned my back to them and crossed the street away from that concrete stage, unaware of when the curtain would drop on their scene.  More people would take their places, shouting and cursing, arriving home weeks later with a photo of a scowl that would be swiftly and unceremoniously deleted in the editing process.  No one remembers moments like these.

There was a small plaza across the way, with a well-curated storyboard of events leading to the building of the wall and how it finally came down.  The photos of escape attempts and the first man to lose his life at this crossing stretch from the ground toward the sky, several feet above my eyeline, covering my skin with goosebumps from the sensation of their weight.  No one wants to be admittedly obsessed with that kind of violence and heartbreak, but just like at the Holocaust museum at Dachau that I would visit a week later, we couldn’t help but stand and stare.  We are encouraged to be careless in our wonder by crowds upon crowds of tourists doing the same.

Everyone posed, poses, will pose, in front of shards of the wall, teeth licked to make their smiles bigger.

Still, that storyboard was not nearly so crowded.  No one was fighting for a photograph.  As I read, and learned, shame bloomed in my mind as I realized that I wouldn’t have been able to say if East or West Berlin was communist, or even what the wall meant exactly.  But this history of the thing belongs just as much to America as it does to Germany in a devastating way.

I haven’t left the American sector.  You tour places because you want to see and experience them, and you’re likely to do both of those things.  But through that seeing, you recognize how impossible it is to belong.  I won’t ever know a true, pure Berlin.  I can only feel, taste, smell, breathe the phenomena that register some emotion, some reaction in my alien mind.  I cannot understand the intricacies of language, the complex labyrinth of tone, the size and curvature of how it feels to have been a victim of another nation’s violence, a political pawn.

The city will cease to exist when I leave, because under my gaze grew a skyline of edifices that only I understand.  So many white threads tied to my back will pull apart the delicate splinters with my retreating  steps, and the true city will emerge from my shadow again to kiss the sun.

The relationship is not a fair one; growth is not shared.  We don’t leave anything to Berlin, to Guatemala City, to Buenos Aires or Madrid or Bangkok or Capetown.  We carry what we want them all to be home with us, jostling around in backpacks next to plastic trinkets and tokens that prove that we’ve been around.  But growth nonetheless makes the interaction worth something.  I may not have changed or even seen Berlin, but Berlin has seen and changed me.

i found this on the train.

is it really the last day in august or april?

have I really been away from you for so long already?

yesterday, when you said you were just ready for things to go back to normal I asked you what you meant even though i already knew.

just ready for things

to go back to

normready for things

back to ready

fornormal i already

already knew.

it’s that this feels like pretend, and i don’t want it to anymore.  you are a fold-out dream-boat poster on the walls of my girlish brain.  i kiss your paper lips every time i pass you, but i don’t know the softness of their caress.  i don’t know what your skins smell like when it’s wet or even when it’s dry, i can only count out your tattoos that i remember and none of them are in color like when you know you’re dreaming in color and then you wake up and there is your sketch book and pencils that are colored like your dream but you can’t find a place for them to meet and make the thing real.

i don’t know

i don’t know

i don’t know

i

why can’t i believe that you belong to me?  why can’t i belong to you they way i want to do it?

once, you came out of nowhere and something useless became something useful because it was all just threads and you sewed it into a curtain and then pulled it open on this act while i was still flirting with the usher and looking for my seat.

he said you’re always flirting with the goddam usher.

you waited there on the stage so patiently because you knew this was something i wanted to see.  because before i even walked into that theater, you knew me.

there are a lot of reasons i needed to walk down a road that wasn’t a road you were walking down and it’s made of liquid and also it recycles itself and it’s not that it only gets picked up by those trucks every two weeks.  the column collapses, constantly filling and vacuating and its inventoried contents belong on many other pages.

wasn’t a road you

would were will want

would walk

right to choose, write to choose, right to choice, she winked at the conductor as he stamped her ticket.  stamped it hard.

right now i’m talking about you.

right now i’m talking about how i needed this to realize how little time i plan to spend away from you i promise i promise i promise i swear.  look, we had my leaving as a deadline excuse to spend as much time together as we could.  look, i gave us that gift, and we still felt shorted like always wasn’t enough.

i hate your back.

and we also had that deadline as an excuse to get childish, to hurt each other because we were afraid of the emptiness of missing.  you’re so brave aren’t you, child of emptiness. who else would let you hurt them so and keep on loving you with every part of me, pounds of flesh that i lob off and put in your hands.  you can smell the metal of what i’ve shed for you.

pound of

pound

pound off

pounds.

don’t you know that i want to bring everything home to you because i got inside of it and on top of it and underneath it and next to it and if you could be in all of that i know that you would understand and we’d keep it all on our shelves and we’d build the shelves and you wouldn’t ever be mad at me.

there was an eiffel tower in the trash can, he noticed.  it was small and without any real weight and it pulled him with all its disgraced force into the gaping grave underneath their kitchen floor.

well, i’ll always come home, won’t i?

sincerely.

MARGINS :: Year One KickStarter

MARGINS :: Year One KickStarter

Check out our exciting new project, and if you’re as excited about as I think you’re gonna be, help us out.  We need money, duh, but we also need you to get loud to as many people as possible.  I challenge you to tell three people about Margins today.

Reading William Carlos Williams in Bed

I sleep on the left side of the bed.  We could only afford one bedside table, because you thought Ikea was for college kids.  I reminded you we were a pair of those just three years ago, but we still only have one table and, for the sake of similitude, only one lamp as well.  It’s on your side, and the bed is a California King anyway, so I keep falling asleep with it still on.

You left a book of poetry there as well.

//

I have eaten the plums that were in the ice box.  The clock said 7:59, and I hate being late, so I thought “Fuck it.”

I’m at home.  Still.

At home and bored.

Because you forgot to pay the cable bill last month, and we used the rabbit ears to stir gin and tonics or something, so the next best thing to stare at is the fridge.

I always thought it was funny that you froze your fruit.

It took me a while to eat them because they were so cold.  Coated with so much frost that it looked fake, and it would probably have covered or caused any freezer burn in a pinch.  My teeth wouldn’t have noticed.

But I didn’t want to thaw them, afraid they would turn purple and soft.  More purple I mean.  Black.  Like a bruise.

So I ate them, but slow, like I said.  Wincing all the time, because my two front teeth are still sensitive from that time they got knocked out by a baseball.  Or that time I got in a fight and you didn’t talk to me until you did, and even then it was because your mother kept asking and you wanted to just shut her up.

I ate four.  Four fibrous plums.  I’ve been shitting them out for hours now.  I wasn’t lying when I finally called in sick.

Four plums.  I stood in the kitchen, in my socks, because you know how I avoid those shoes.  In that one patch of the wood that that sun hits, gleaming white like snow in a post card.

Maybe I’m just thinking about the cold because of these plums in my mouth.  But the sun-soaked teek hugs my toes through the cotton.  I usually miss this spot.

I think I can feel the little half-moon curves from when you make breakfast wearing your heels.  I remember the time you made me breakfast, and you weren’t wearing anything else.  They have gotten deeper, and I think maybe its cause the house is just settling.  That’s what I would tell you when the walls creaked, and you would giggle about ghosts.

I usually miss this spot, and I usually miss those half-moon curves, but today, at 7:59, I thought, “Fuck it.”

//

I am not a writer, but you would probably remind me of that if I asked you to.  But there was this poem, and you had the corner of the page creased down, pointing to the title like you were asking me to read it, so I did.  And there was a pen on the bed stand too, so it seemed like you were asking me to write too, so I did.  Right in that little book.

It’s there now, until forever or a flood, and I’m sure it really would have pissed you off that my wobbly little words are burnt into the soft cream cover pages.

But maybe it wouldn’t.  So I wrote to you about your plums.  It didn’t come out at sweet as I thought, but then again, neither did they.

Tonight, I’ll sleep with the light off, and I’ll wait for the walls to creak, hoping for a ghost.  And I’ll leave the little book back on your side.  You can come back whenever you want.  You can come back, and you can read it.  Only don’t be angry that I wrote inside your book.  I wrote it for you.

Topo.

On the eighteenth of that month,

or

sometime in between when I left & when I came home.

I wrote a letter that wasn’t a letter, and carried it the rest of the way.

It really is remarkable, being as far into this forest as I am.  I look back on the path we came in on and realize there was never one there at all.  We’ve made this ourselves, you and I, carefully picking our way through meadows of deep green moss, wild berries we couldn’t help but savor, fallen boughs creaking with warm decay.

No one’s ever been here but us.

I look around, and even this deep in with so little light and so many barbarian vines, it’s beautiful.  Old growth tree trunks stand tall around us, stretching their soft needled fingers toward one another, building a canopy of life that never weakens, even in winter.

Their tops don’t even exist.  If a tree grows in the forest, does anybody hear?

Still, the sun streaks through every crack he can find, dappling your eyes, tickling your mouth into that smile that glows, reflects all the good we’ve been gulping in.  It’s like the world is building a shelter around us.  It’s like the world is making a safe place for us to be in, as long as you are holding my hand and I am holding yours.  Because the light in here doesn’t look the way we expected it to.  Or the way that everybody painted it in the pictures back home.  And we are never going to see the tops of these trees.  You’re a good climber, and so am I but they are so

t

a

l

l

I feel the creases in your palm, that are shaped differently than mine, and don’t make up any sort of puzzle piece I was always missing, but they are okay or good even, and anyway, it’s so much, so big to explore all of the tributaries of your phalangical geography.

I’ve always appreciated reading about love, and I hardly ever write about it.  Especially not my own.  Even here, instinct guides these fair-weather fingers toward temperance, to prove that I’m not jumping from the boulder too soon, that I’m balanced and careful and independent and somebody who’s good at being.  I don’t want all of these people who read my scribbling to gasp that I’m swooning over somebody that won’t swoon back.

But so what if I’ve jumped!  You jumped too, and we both did before we even knew the word for the thing we were jumping into.  It could be something like love, but it’s too shapely and musical, too liquid and sweet to be so categorized.  Our language is a dulcimer melody, notes on an instrument neither of us knows how to play.  And oh my god, to look over and see you swimming in its current too, blowing it out of your mischievous mouth, splashing me and grabbing my body under this coolest water of us, pulling me c l o s e r, closer.  Your hands want all the topography of what is becoming by day and degrees more yours.  Map it.  Place flags in your favorite parts, float downstream with me.

Unregulated, wild.  A nature experience.

It’s that I’ve always been afraid of being found out.  If anyone knows of this wilderness I find myself in, with you as my only compass, they will laugh or snort or guffaw it away into billows of smoke, long skeins of gossamer imagination that disintegrate at the slightest touch of truth.

Except I’ve been knocking on all these trees, rolling in all this moss, drinking from every sweet well and waterfall, even choking when it’s too cold, or some old rot has made the sip bitter.   I’m pinching everything, and its skin pinkens with life.

It’s all real.

I dare them to find me on a map.  I dare them to huff and puff and blow down what I’ve only begun to explore.  It’s all as real as you are, compass in the palm of my hand.  And all I have is to look down and see that you are still pointing to your North – right back at me.

help your child to wonder.

Image

help your child to wonder.

“And always in these highlands there are reminders of those ancient seas that more than once lay over all this land… these whitened limestone rocks on which I am sitting… were formed under that Paleozoic ocean, of the myriad tiny skeletons of creatures that drifted in its waters. Now I lie back with half closed eyes and try to realize that I am at the bottom of another ocean – and ocean of air on which the hawks are sailing.” -Rachel Carson [Road of the Hawks, from Lost Woods]