16 December 2006

All the thoughts that escape me

as I lie on my back pressed beneath piles of blankets, nose cold, contemplating the twining ivy stenciling along the top of my bedroom paneling...

This week, misshapen buildings and profiles, all my half-formed impressions of downtown Providence came circling around me, peering down at me, when I laid in my bed.

In the morning, when I would have been scrambling for the bus, I wondered about my bus driver, and the three passengers who I ride with from my stop, I wondered about the old man sitting in the Bank of America reading the paper, and the businessmen who smoke in the alley beyond the revolving glass doors, and the boy with tattoos who is always in the Arcade, and my make-believe-homeless woman, who always has her hair a different color and wears new clothes while she begs.

I thought about the uneven cobblestones outside of the Hanley Building, and how my kitten heels always get caught between them if I am not careful. Inside, to the claustrophobic little lobby, the white brick face inside the stairwell. Outside, all the places I walked for lunch, along the river or to basement cafes, or inside the Arcade—always a last resort. Because the air smells like oil and the echo is too much and the people in there are all stereotypes from some other world.

It seemed distant and foreign and not at all like it had ever belonged to me, a morning like that, walking from the bus plaza to my office, humming and clicking my clogs down the street. It seemed like a pencil sketch or a claymation village, and very very far away.

I lay beneath my blankets perfectly still, as the sunlight came in, webbed and white, between the curtain lace, in stripes between the blinds, and a wrenching sense of passage, the heavy vacancy of a closed door, a corner turned, a view altered.

You magnify the beautiful, reduce the ugly, and fall in love with the memory traced out in your mind...

13 December 2006


or i'll push you, he said, i think, between things, beneath everything, yesterday.

when my boss called up and said i should decide if i want to stay past january. but before that, too, when i was praying all last weekend in virginia about who i am and what i should do.

i was crouched to jump anyways, but i was fearing the motion, i was doubting myself, i was afraid of my false intuition.

but this morning i didn't have to go to work. and that felt strange. i emailed my resume out two places - maybe i'll be mary poppins soon - and i vaccumed my room for the first time in months. there were lots of paper slivers on the floor, and pennies.

i read eudora welty and planned my second-to-last english class. and i journaled furiously on my own time. i didn't fight with anyone in my family. but i fought myself a lot. and i think i tried to press myself through a wrought iron gate a few times, one that is locked, and

i always get hurt when i do that.

in any case. its late.

i don't know what is coming next, but that's ok.

i said: push me to the lip of true life, along the edge above the abyss, i want to dance there, on one foot.

i said: this is all too routine, mix some things up, let me move around a bit, see something else.

i said: i don't believe in what i am doing in this office, in this room with the brick walls and the bamboo wallpaper, in my corner with hardly a desk.

he said: leap, or i'll push you.

and he did.

07 December 2006

And any action

is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat…

It's not the night before the trial anymore, you've used up all the time you've got for idle speculation, for lying awake, somehow you passed straight through the night without blinking, and now it's day.

Get going, you've only just begun, sitting curbside in the winter sun, just flown in, striding between brick faces through sunlight and falling snow. Get going, before these words get lost on your tounge.

Can't you see, the day is breaking?

It is back home and back to work where the day has borders and late nights wake like a weight on your chest, and you can’t pull hard enough to cinch the girdle of the world, narrow the globe.

I thought I felt your hand on my back
And with it there I knew I could be anything
So I will trace every dream I have
Around the outline of your fingers
Pressed against me

To the dreams that keep me up all night:
If I move to January will you come with me?

06 December 2006

(to myself last year)

Dear Last December,

I saw you on Saturday night and that is when this whole thing got hard.

All at once you were right there ahead of me, your figure moving beneath the yellow lights, and I thought I was going to divide into a thousand pieces. The hat was drawn over your eyes and your head was bowed. You were striding straight forward, across that windy sidewalk, through a freshly constructed hell.

Oh misperception. Oh unwarranted tears. I can't stop you. I didn't before and I can't now.

Oh Virginia, I had to come closer before I could get further away.

I was afraid that if I got closer, we might collide, meet eye to eye. I was afraid you'd get back inside of everything. I didn't want to remember how it felt to be you, or that once you were me.

Look at you—so blindly keeping walking. You're so angry and foolish and wrong! You're so hemmed in by your own assumptions, so trapped and entangled! I would bind up your feet. I would stop you where you stand. I would close up the road in front of you. But I can't.

I think you need to go that way, somehow.

Now I am living at home.
At home I am healing and learning to heal.
I will heal you, if I possibly can.

You don't know, you don't, how the world will shift up, or when it does what the contours of the road will be. One day you'll wake up and this doubt will have loosened its grip. One day the serpents will unknot and slip traceless from your stomach. One morning you'll feel as if a whole layer of self has evaporated, disappeared; but the parts that hurt won't exist anymore.

It might make you feel empty, at first.

Wait it out.

Here, much farther on the other side, there is a new generosity towards everything. Whatever happened or whatever you've done, whatever think has been done to you, you'll heal. Wait for the marks of mercy—they'll come, sometimes scripted in unknown tongues—you'll feel their touch and you'll learn to read them. And maybe here, quieted and at peace, the curiosity will begin to burn you again, to probe the darkness unafraid,

And maybe I will.

Monday Afternoon