Wednesday, August 27, 2008

calendar boys

i composed this stream rather quickly, foolishy, and tiredly. i'll improve and update later.

Lustra (and that which makes the world go 'round)

i had never watched another man cry before.

i thought myself quite the voyeur as he stripped off the spotty veneer he called armor, revealing a boy who dreamed small, was small, and loved without hesitation. he was a memory i could carry (could crush) in my hand, in my pocket, with my eyes.

the sirens' cry is a melody. a cadence to seek and expect and grow lost in. his tears, however, were the sound of your knees buckling on stage, your milk spilling at lunch. an amateur's tragedy that was so plain and pitiful that it shook you. his was not the wail of a fresh widow, the unassuming gaze of a starving child refugee. i knew his pain because i'd felt it before, 15 years ago, when i stubbed my toe, scraped my knee. those naive moments where your nerves are set aflame because a bandaid level scrape masquerades as the deepest pain you might ever subject yourself to.

i thought, for a second, this must be some larger issue: stress. his friends. me. all the years of his life.
i asked.
he replied.
"no, it's nothing else. i'm just so embarrassed that i had to ask you."
and he was.
i believed him.
and i broke at the simplicity with which he wept, desired him more than ever for his purity, but couldn't help but wonder if such a white light could ever penetrate the likes of me.

"it's okay, baby. you work on it... we work on it... and it will better in time."
*sigh* "i don't know that i can afford time."

me neither, dear. me neither.
i suppose i keep my head afloat and you do the same. you survive the rat race. i'll run the prelim. and please, love, please, let our paths keep crossing.

How to Peel Labels

it would be hypocritical of me to not consider my own tears, the pioneers of my morning. they were, i think, more the product of shock than pain, but i mustn't ignore the fact that a boy made me cry for the first time in recent memory. no doubt in my memoirs i will claim his words were the ink of my own blood, that he laced his lines with arsenic. in truth, i imagine that letter was more akin to a frustrated, incredulous glare or a judgmental "hmph." but when i read those words the way i'd read so many of his before, my eyes flared, and my tastebuds noted that sadness is less salty than books lead you to expect.

and i did question, for a while, if two boys who love to shine could be friends without blinding each other. and the answer that half-satisfies me is "i don't care." piss me off. make me cry. ignore me. make me jealous. because i find myself captivated (i find myself trapped) by you and the possibility of you knowing me. so i mean to keep trying until you run out of tolerance or i run out of sanity.

of course, i did leave you with all my ammunition, and you have still resolved, mostly, to leave all quiet on the western front. which is fine. no rush. no necessity. but i encourage you to cross the netherworldiness of no man's land, cause i'll still be here, shining, ready to be your friend.

Atlas Shrugged

i've been reading a lot about the final years of FDR. it's tragic, really. a diplomat to a point of reckless inactivity with a messianic complex to keep the world afloat. "just give it time; i can hold it together; i got this, guys. i got this. no seriously, i don't need your help." and he waited. and he held. and he died. leaving Truman to take over with his acerbic personality and cluelessness as to how to balance the world.

i guess i can't save everyone, either. i can't count on my own personableness, my own genius, my own heart, to fix people. sometimes war happens, but if you're willing to shoulder the quest for peace with others, your world need not need slip from your grasp.

Why Things Fall Apart

it wasn't supposed to be like this.

it was just dinner, true, but I could see it was also the drawing of lines, the restructuring of alliances. we were never going to be as we were before. we were not inseparable. we did not "just click." we were growing up, apart, across, and alone. and while we will still have each other, we will never again have each other the way friends do.

it was sad, at first.

then i drank.
and i thought
about what i wanted
about how it would be
about growing up.

and in the haze on a boy who is 21 and green, I dreamed on weeds, dandelions, loosing themselves in the wind only to become more and more and more. and i thought i'd hop on with a few rogue seeds and we could go spread ourselves across new fields until it was time to divide and move on.

Bedside Manner

the more and more flaws he found in the boy's face, the more endearing he became to him.
no more embellishments.
no more touch-ups.
a patch of dry skin on his forehead.
a mouth that was constantly perched, pouty or questioning.
how refreshing it was to find he was no longer an ideal, but a person.
with scars and rough patches and truths to hide.

and from that moment, that epiphany, he could not help but approach the boy from every angle.

as a boy who could love.
as a boy who could not.
as desire.
as fear.
as a sexual dilettante.
as the air.

he could no longer remember what it was like to not envelop the boy, and he hoped he would keep on forgetting.

The I of the Beholder

it was never your job to make me feel beautiful.

besides, i'm sure i never told you how i have, for as long as i can remember, been obsessed with being smaller. how my mom would find me curled up in closets, sitting under chairs, refusing to sleep in a bed as i thought lying on the floor would make me shorter.

when you're big as i am, it's so easy for someone to see you that they never really have to look at you. i just thought if i could be 10 pounds skinnier, 2 inches shorter, you might have to look at me to see me and that you might like the view.

the truth is i want to lose more weight, but i don't think i can handle the damning looks people give me when they see i've grown smaller. i guess i've forgotten the standard for beauty. i don't know how to look like you need to look at me. but i DO know it's not you're problem, so stop trying to ease me of my burdens, and please, please, please don't cry.

The Seven-Week Itch

i've been itching all over for the past couple months. i can't help but think that God is one of those screenwriters who would sneak in such an itch for the illusion of a deeper meaning. Perhaps it embodies my discontentedness. or perhaps i'm being punished for less than God-fearing appetites. either way, it amuses me just about as much as it annoys the shit out of my skin.

A Touch of Class

The optimist in me dubs this semester rewarding.
The pessimist, hell.
The realist, survivable.

Span 201- I have a great teacher, but I'm the only upperclassmen, I find the work tedious, and I wholeheartedly believe that all foreign language courses should land you 5 credit hours.

Hist 365 (The Hellenistic Age)- No evaluation yet as this course doesn't start til next week.

Post World War II America- I am one of 4 people in this course, so skipping it really isn't an option. We plow through 300-350 pages a week and have 6 essays to write, but this is definitely my subject, and I can tell I'm going to learn a lot with Zoumaras.

JINS- Public Issues and Political Rhetoric- The text, thus far, has been a little sophomoric, but the class discussion is great, the writing assignments appear fun and easy, and my professor is fabulous.

Social Stratification- As always, sociology courses are rewarding if you ignore the professor and read between the lines of the text. Lots of service opportunities for this class though, lots of class discussion, and some good friends of mine are in this one with me.

Other than that, I'm working for Dr. Ling, working for the International Student Office, attempting to keep a boyfriend, volunteering for United Way by interviewing, evaluating, and assessing community needs, looking for time to read for pleasure, half-heartedly looking for time to exercise, getting involved in Half-Full Players, College Democrats, Amnesty International, Prism, and Safe Zone. I plan to stay busy this semester!

Monday, August 25, 2008

the realm of (im)possibility

"I fancied in a moment I would be standing on nothing at all, and for the first time in my life, i needed the wings none of us has."

I would love to write more. loads more. but probably won't have the time until the late hours of Wednesday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

oh, the places you'll stay

(warning: this is not a decision, just a thought. a whim, really)

"Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge and affirm that it is fitting and delicious to lose everything."

Friday, August 22, 2008

don't tell mama

i suppose there's potentially something very wrong.

it's friday night (well, saturday morning). the night beyond these walls is alive with possibilities. the shake-that-ass pulsations of diluted rap. the textured stench of natty light and shwag. the promise of a tomorrow that will taste like piss and mistakes and almost memories.

and me? i'm sitting alone in my apartment, barely clad in wal-mart boxers, watching Mulan bonus features and consoling the void of conversation with my roommate's timid light beer.

the "potentially something very wrong" is how okay i am with this entire situation. i am, by many definitions, avoiding life, and i'm beyond content with it. in the saddest way i can think of, i'm the happiest i've been in a while.

that is not to say i've been a homebody all night. i spent the evening with Miguel, partaking in the heavy sauces and lifetime supply of sodium that pseudo-Chinese buffets have to offer, exchanging ineloquent pick-up lines that somehow work on this wordsmith (never underestimate the power of the right person telling you "aw, you're cute," even if it's said too often to be convincing), and mischievously opening the birthday package my mother sent too early. I got a regifted garlic press (which i'm surprisingly excited about) and the Mulan 2-Disc Special Edition. Apparently the only thing that makes this Mulan copy a "special edition" is its music video with Jackie Chan... which is totally enough to make any movie worthy of being dubbed "special."

Afterwards, I even "went out" for a spell. I hit up both Club Baby Seals and Emily Temple's abode and saw a lot of great people at both, but the truth is, I just wasn't up for the meet-and-greet-and-mingle game. the performance of interaction which is pre-scripted and fucking horribly written. i saw the probability of being nakedly sincere at either of these locations this evening very slim, so I decided to jet. I had the chance to see other people, to gain a lot of ground in the battle to not be forgotten, and i opted to spend the evening alone with no longer American beer and disneyfied feminism. some might see this is a slide into reclusion, but i celebrate it as a victory in growing up. no longer do i have to please everyone! no longer do i have to charm the pants off of people so that the people i love and the people i "love" aren't tempted to leave me. instead, i can spend some evenings at home digesting battle scenes, love stories, and historical inaccuracies.

i guess what i'm saying is i'm becoming more secure (in some aspects). i'm understanding more and more that i don't have to (and can't) please everyone, and I'm even okay disappointing and pissing off my friends every now and then. i do stand by sir Einstein's gem that "only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile," but you can't completely sacrifice yourself in the process. generosity is noble and necessary, but no one can really love a person who spreads himself so wide that he ceases to be a person. Expect a still thoughtful, still people-pleasing me, but one who is, hopefully, more confident, consistent, and himself.

My anxiety of the week, however, completely undermines every conclusion I've just drawn. I have a 21st birthday coming up on Tuesday, and I'd like to celebrate it with people. As I mostly find the party scene exhausting and shallow, a small dinner with friends sounds lovely. But I do not have the heart to narrow down the list to a few close friends; i'll leave people off the list who would expect to be on it, and they'll mildly resent me for it. This is the kind of bullshit that I stress out about. Not tests. Not major life choices. Pissing off the people who are supposed to love me.

The idea came to me of inviting not my closest Kirksville friends, but Kirksville people I know who intrigue me, who have great chemistry (either with me or another member of the party), and who could keep me engaged and amused through an evening of wine and spirits. I actually went so far as to construct this limited fantasy list of the ideal dinner party guests. It included:

Joanna Bess
Elaine Sokolowski
Julie Pincus
Jason Qualls
Grant Berry
Miguel Aguilar (to hold my hand and keep me safe through the sonant tempest, he and I offering a warm and tacit contrast)

Convince my friends Luke and Samantha from Columbia to go, and that’s one hell of a dinner party, stuffed with folks equipped to talk about anything for hours.

But that’s unrealistic. And it’s leaving out a lot of people who are terribly close to me (namely Molly and Matt) and others who I would love to see on such a day (namely all of you who read this blog). So, I have resolved to figure this out by Saturday night, or simply not celebrate my birthday at all. My prediction is, however, it will end up being a dinner out with 20 of my closest friends. I’ll get so busy playing host that I’ll stress myself out and need that steady stream of liquor to stay relaxed and jovial through the evening. And then I’ll still feel like I left somebody off the list and the familiar face of guilt will glare back at me, distorted, as moonlight on rippling lake.

I should go out tomorrow. Shake hands. See smiling faces. Love people I love. It’s not that I’m worried about them running away from me; I sincerely want to know them. And maybe it will make me less cynical/nervous about spending an evening with those I adore.

But for now, back to Jackie Chan.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

the reminder

let even the buried alive stay buried that we above might enjoy what it is to breathe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

megara's lament

life has a way of happening at the most inconvenient times. you're leaving (running from) one idea; you stop briefly at (you flee to) another. then something like the truth manifests through your pores, beneath your finger nails, in the unreachable crevices of your mouth. what might be reality engulfs you and stays a while, and regardless of its intentions and its value, it becomes your reason to crack a joke, go on a walk, not sleep.

oh, but this makes it sound like a parasite, a metaphor in poor lighting. i suppose a simple approach is to view it like faith (the kind i used to have in God and country). i cannot sift it through my fingers and i doubt and question it constantly, but ultimately, i cannot deny its existence nor its consequence. the answer is the one to all of our futile questions, our excessive and selfish wonderings (the meaning of life): "it just is." The words itch like bugs across skin, unsatisfying, irritating, and undeniable. I can't really accept this answer, but I do. I can't really be feeling this, but I am. This can't really be practical, and it's not... it just is.

I'm not talking permanence, per se, but evenings that stretch on into red letter summers until time slows and i think about something else.

aw, time. that bitch. staying when she's never wanted; gone when you require her. lately, there hasn't been enough. and there will be even less time, soon. because "things" will get in the way. adult things. real things. things people do for a living. things that aren't the words megara used to sing before her children were slain and her heart sold and betrayed. i only hope that i, too, am not believing in the wrong heroes, deluding myself with the wrong myths.

still, perhaps even more frustrating than time is history. how we can't compete with it. i can know you for 4 more years; you will have existed for 24. I can run my hands through your hair 1,000 times; someone will have done it 1,001. Which is why you've seen me running so much, trying to catch up, spending every night sweaty and breathless so I don't have to realize that all this running has left me sweaty and breathless. I cannot compete with a world that existed before me, but I also can't help but envy it. I will never have you the way the world has; I will never know you the way those before me do. That I am so limited by time, so lacking in history, makes me wonder how I can ever allow it to be as it is with you or with anyone.

but it just is.

Monday, August 11, 2008

it's not what you think (it never is)

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary
-Margaret Atwood

Monday, August 4, 2008

getting by in the beaver state

my father has a way of planning family vacations so that relaxation is impossible. everyday has an itinerary which begins no later than 8 am. we are required to spend 1/2 of the day in the backseat of the car, 1/4 of the day in some sort of brewery, and the other 1/4 is reserved for a hike/sight-seeing. i have seen some pretty country while being dragged across the pacific northwest, but my stomach is upset, my face is zitted, and my back has more knots than a bored sailor. oy!

the trip began friday at 5 am, a time which grew 10 times more frustrating when we realized our plane had been delayed by 2 hours and we didn't have to leave Boonville til closer to 8. i got some good reading in (Murakami is one hell of a storyteller), but it didn't calm me enough to get my past my fear of bombs on planes. no, i don't mean actual explosives, but the looming, destructive threats people seem to become on planes. an old lady could die at any minute. a fat man sitting near you could smell. a baby could cry. a 12-year-old girl could talk to you. anyone and everything around you on a plane is suspect, and there's no escaping it til you land. and the snacks weren't even that good.

oregon, thank god, is gorgeous. a very foresty ireland, imo. since our arrival, we've gone to the coast (where i fell in love with an indian woman and a 6-year-old boy), seen too many waterfalls, and essentially lived in a car. lots of fresh seafood has been had, which is a treat, but free, delicious food seems like a fair trade for putting up with the Conway sense of humor. at least i got a legitimate escape when I met up with Tony Lam and his (*cough cough*) friend Nick. Tony was, as always, a doll, and Nick also works with international students, so I got to meet up with some of his (who were deliciously plucky women in their 40s). We ate great food, drank wine, and learned/caught up.

much more has happened, but i find myself growing too tired to continue. perhaps it's the 7 ams and the driving and the hiking. catch up with you lovelies later.