Monthly Archives: April 2011

Voices calling from a yellow road

Come Downstairs and Say Hello by Guster
 
 
 

 Someone, someone could tell me
Where I belong
Be calm, be brave, it’ll be okay

I went for a run last night right before the storm. It was the first time in weeks that I ran more than a mile and felt like stopping because I was tired, not because I was in pain. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to wheeze and feel like I wanted to fall over.

The whole time I kept thinking about this place. It seems hard to describe existing now only as a memory. A beach house on the marsh. The night air is stuffy, humid and mosquito infested. It’s dangerous to walk out on the porch without bug spray or maybe a death wish. But the sky was clear with so many stars, it was hard to focus on one place. So many stars spanning out over the marsh and toward an open ocean. In the distance there are muffled voices and music, but they don’t stifle the air. No, they make it feel more crisp, more real. And beneath the sky there are miles of tall grasses infested with insects and creatures, teeming with life. The lightning bugs are so many that they mirror the open night sky. They blink on and off ceremoniously. And there is nothing but dimly lit houses and just space.

I’d like to be there now. I’d like to feel that freedom. I’d like many things that are unlike what is turning out. What is so often the case. At times, the things I hear myself say seem dramatic. It seems everyone is making due. And how many times have I been told I won’t get my dream job right away? How many times have you taken a job that you have to convince yourself more into than you can out of?

The way of the world frustrates me beyond explaining. When I applied to school, it wasn’t really seeking out some dream and making it real. It was applying where I could afford and where I could get in. Honestly, I feel angry with the ideas so ingrained in me that I should dream big and search out these huge ideas. I think it could be more simple. I think people could be more honest.

So, here I am. Almost employed by a job I can’t quite find a reason to feel happy about other than it’s a job. And I’m ashamed to feel the way I do. I know so many people don’t have a job at all.  But the fact that I have to take a job simply because it’s a job makes me feel like I’m succumbing to something I don’t want to.

But one run can make me calm down, can make me forget that I haven’t been able to sleep for nights. It’s a rhythm I’ve been missing more than anything else. Mostly because it is the most free thing I have. There is nothing inhibiting my actions except the muscles and bones I drag along with me. And sometimes I have to even forget what they tell me. When my knee is aching on every step. When the pain puts a constant grimace on my face. I have to push through the last mile because I have the freedom to do so. And perhaps that pushing will only make things worse. It will make the pain grow and swallow my knee, shoot up my thigh and leave me hobbled. But at least it was my doing that made it that way. The air is abnormally humid and despite the tightness in my chest, it felt easier to breathe than ever before. Running in the calm before the inevitable storm. It felt nice to forget that there is nothing simple about the lifestyle I’ve stumbled into. And I yearn for a time where I may feel free to do what I really want to do. A liberty I’ve never truly had, but I miss it like I miss dark, humid nights watching distant lights turn on and off. I want to remember dreams and hopes like I remember that night on the deck. I want them to feel real, touchable, and innumerable.

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Make me sanguine

Sanguine by the Avett Brothers..

paint the picture that I swore I heard

 
 
The Avett Brothers gave me a little vocabulary lesson today. Sanguine is to be cheerfully optimistic, hopeful or confident. Allow me to be upfront and say that I need this in every sense of the word, in every avenue of my life it seems. Don’t we all?
 
If I know one thing, I know that people teeter between stages of confidence and the unnerving bottom. Sometimes we’re neither here nor there. And sometimes, that area of grey is the scarier of the different places we tend to be.
 
Probably the Avett Brothers and Damien Rice are my two favorite lyricists. Both have this uncanny ability to make me feel like their heart has just fallen in my lap. As if the song gave them the ability to say these things that they wouldn’t normally. I am the type to bottle things up. I have an extremely bad ability to convince myself nearly anything sometimes. Because I think too much. Because I have the time. Because its innate. Because it’s a byproduct of the lifestyle we lead. Whatever it is, it’s a factoid into the makings of me.
 
I had two interviews this past week. I had such a confidence that my concern was what I would do if I were offered both, not that I’d be offered them at all. It’s funny how much these levels of hope and confidence can wane week to week, even day-to-day. I remember saying that I would be happy just to have a callback. Now what I want has grown, as it should. But it’ so easy to fill myself with doubt.
 
I have no doubt in my capabilities in getting a job. This whole process is reminiscent of applying to college. It seemed a crap shoot since nothing was definite. That’s what this seems. Arbitrary. The jobs I am actually qualified for seem uninterested. The jobs that I am in no way interested in or qualified for, want me. Tell me, can you explain how this works?
 
The conclusion you have to arrive at is that there is no order in this madness. There’s no order in looking for a job and certainly it feels like there’s no order to life really. We assign these moments importance or meaning, but do they really mean anything at all? Certain things are taught to us as we grow up. Girls are taught to believe in these inconstant and romantic ideas of love. We’re taught that believing in something is better than not believing at all. We’re taught to rebel and to obey when necessary. And all these things we learn, all these things that become second nature have no form expect what is given. Can you trace the meaning, can you find the reason why you follow these notions, these presets of how things should be? There’s something incredibly hypocritical in even saying this, since it seems to only be a part of what I was taught.
 
I feel at odds with myself and more often at odds with the settings of our world. Can you really say which is which? Is the world alienating you, or are you alienating it?
 
At times, I feel that I may never have an absolute in my life. And I have begun to believe it foolish to want that to be true. There is nothing constant. There is nothing that lasts as we wish it to. I think that is the tomfoolery we’ve all bought into. And, yet, I don’t want to give up on that still. There is a comfort in having things a certain way. A comfort in fitting these norms. Sometimes it feels like we’re rushing to these milestones not just because we’re supposed to, but because we believe that in those places we will find a security that gives a new status of growing happiness in our lives.
 
One mistake I think I’m prone to make is looking ahead much too often and making the little things into big things. A job interview isn’t an excuse to plan my life out and a kiss isn’t a reason to plan a wedding. And, yet, we do it anyway. We take these tiny moments and make them bigger than life. We are hopeful and confident that what we dream will come true. It’s hard to say which is better or worse since we are all striving toward that feeling of wholeness or completeness.
 
I think that there is only dots at the end of every line in life. There is never a period. What we want is the period. We want that defined ending, that absolute status, the comfort of knowing. I want that comfort on so many levels. But I am finding that in searching for it, it leads into this negative trend when it fails. I think I have to remember that life is three dots, not one.  To be sanguine not because I believe there to be some definite means to an end, but because it will make me see the present, appreciate it, and see the picture I know I heard.
 
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Sometimes what I feel has a difficult name

God is an American by Terrance Hayes

I still love words. When we make love in the morning,

your skin damp from a shower, the day calms.

Schadenfreude may be the best way to name the covering

of adulthood, the powdered sugar on a black shirt. I am

 

alone now on the top floor pulled by obsession, the ink

on my fingers. Sometimes what I feel has a difficult name.

Sometimes it is like the world before America, the kin-

ship of God’s fools and guardians, of hooligans; the dreams

 

of mothers with no children. A word can be the boot print

in a square of fresh cement and the glaze of morning.

Your response to my kiss is, I have a cavity. I am in

love with incompletion. I am clinging to your moorings.

 

Yes, I have a pretty good idea what beauty is. It survives

all right. It aches like an open book, It makes it difficult to live.

 

I do not know what it is in people that make us this way. Isn’t that the eternal question?  Almost every day I end up wondering that same thing. I wonder how people go on. I wonder why we continue to just do these same things over and over again. And, no, my thoughts are not original in this. And, no, you will not find some greater truth in reading this.

It’s National poetry month. The only reason I know is because I have been substitute teaching. Outside of the schools, I would be clueless. It’s becoming a rarity to like or to know poetry. I don’t claim to know or be able to interpret poetry in any sense.  What I can say is what I like. I liked Robert Frost because he has this tendency to sum it all up right at the end. He likes to leave you with the most poignant lines last. After reading those last few lines, the poem usually takes on this alternate meaning and reading it a second, or a third time makes it anew.

What I can say is that I like the way lines feel sometimes. I like how they can reach down deep inside me, echoing off my insides and reverberating through the day. A good line is always there. It’s replaying in my mind like the lines of a favorite song. And we all want that, us writers. We want that moment of instantaneous pleasure when we read. We want the lines to have a beat so when you read you follow along. We want there to be life in what we say, more life than we can sometimes feel or say. Every sentence has a feeling sometimes. It has a place and each word seems to serve some sort of purpose. Think of it like a puzzle. Think about the way it sounds when you pound the keys again and again forming these thoughts, keeping record of something. And maybe you are saying nothing at all, but you feel the beat don’t you? Can’t you hear it now?
There’s a difference in trying to write and writing. There’s a difference in being happy and making due. There’s a difference in disappointments and regrets. And there’s a difference in things when it ‘s anything, but negative.

What do you do when you feel like nothing is right? When the words don’t flow the way they used to. When you just can’t seem to get the things in your head out. When there’s nothing to do except convince yourself that things are really as bad as they seem.

Everything is what you make it. That’s what I used to say. I wrote about it in my personal statement once upon a time. I said that I had this ability to make any situation a positive or good one. Can I say that now? I’ve been so easily trumped. These ideas you create in your head, well they never come out right. It’s like painting. I used to draw horses. I would imagine how they looked in my head. Take pencil to hand and form lines, thin lines that followed an imperfect shape. They never performed as I wished them to.

So, here I am, feeling much like I have before.  Here, I am. I am trying to make things all right. Do I have to say what I think to make you care? Can you think your own thoughts, can you get me there.

And this is why you didn’t like poetry, isn’t it? It’s cryptic and unclear. It’s dense and pitiless. It’s this airy fluid thing that means nothing at all sometimes. And to think you thought it meant anything at all. To think you thought things could change. To think you thought.

Sometimes you have to let go. Sometimes, there is no grip to your step and things continue to slip, to fall, to be out of reach. And maybe, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Maybe there is nothing you can do at all. But what should you care then? That would make too much sense. It would all be too easy.

You’re searching for an answer. You’re searching for the plug-ins to this equation. All your life you were told things would be easy and all those times it was wrong. But you just found out now. You found this out. You found it out and you didn’t know how you could have been so gullible. So easily fooled into thinking that you deserved anything at all.

Life is this intangible thing that we all search to define. And you will tire like a swimmer constantly pulling their arms through the water. You will tire and it will feel half like drowning. Because the surface is no closer than the bottom sometimes. And maybe that’s what makes it harder. If you could just see what would come. If you could just be one thing-

You might realize that you are saying nothing at all. You might stop writing sentences that lead to no end. Sometimes the words are what is worth saying. Sometimes the way in which you say it means more than what you say. You ask now, “is that right” and the answer is no.

You feel exhausted and frustrated, don’t you? You’ve learned nothing at all. And this is somewhat reminiscent to a short story you wrote once. In the story you wrote absolutely nothing but gibberish and the professor thought you a genius. You, the reader, may think that now. You may think, she is a genius.

To get out what I want to say would be to define it, to give it shape, vertices and angles that I cannot find. Defeat is temporary, never lasting in your mind. It will fade. It will set. It will be done.


 

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