I beat my chest to the thunderstorm brewing in the small village to the west. I could feel it coming in my prickled skin. The birds had left in gusty caws. The dogs dug into piles of bamboo and brown leaf and hid their flappy ears under crushed soda cans.
I was not fast enough with the shutters and found the rain had soaked through the few books I’d packed. A caldera of water made of a blanket and pillows I’d left on the floor. The white walls stained a far less-welcoming yellow.
In the afterstorm everything smelled of wet tea bags. The air slithered from its hiding spot in the ground, plumed thick with humidity and heat. I opened my front door to find that I was not the only animal lifting its nose to the battered sky: the blue jay peering from the hole in a tree, a dog with a flappy ear peeking from the bushes.
Slowly, we emerged into the world the storm had left.
I drink wine alone in a dark room and try to remember who I’ve told people I am. To this handful, I am an adventure. To the few lost finger-deep, the conjurer. To the shallow skimmers, a poem. A word.
a drawer of thimblewords that rattled against old wood could hold hardly anything more than motes of dust small flecks of ink from broken pens and yet still he kept them loose and silvery in case one day he lost himself again
falling from open windows
when you broke up with me while driving
Even the crooked snake
of lights above us seemed to quiver
with the aftershock.
I spent thirty minutes on facebook looking through the engagement photos of someone I only took one class with in high school. We were fifteen at the time. She had braces. I wore big jeans with holes in the knees. We sat next to each other and had the kind of classroom friendship that comes with being the two smartest people in the room. Passing witty notes. A few solid inside jokes that were consistently funny. Early mornings spent cramming for tests and a project we put off until the last minute yet somehow pulled together with a presentation that relied heavily on british accents. One of those great twelve week relationships that you actually grieve for in the last few weeks of the semester because you know once it ends, it ends, and really ends because it will never be Sophomore English again and she will never have braces again and hopefully you won’t have those jeans again. The inside jokes will fade because they don’t have their context anymore and there’s no need to pass notes about the weirdo in the corner with the carebear backpack because there are no longer any weirdos that you share with one another.
We didn’t talk much after that and went to different colleges. We’re facebook friends in the sense that I stalk her every once in a while and I’m sure she does the same to me. To sift through these intimate photos is strange. She is twenty-three and I am twenty-three and we couldn’t be further apart from one another. But she looks beautiful. I hope she can feel me wishing her all the best in the world.
At night instead of sleeping I sift through old colors. His dull gray tshirt tucked into skintight black pants the first time he held my hand. The bright red of the first peeling, piling small fabric castles against the leg of my desk chair. Green leaf paper airplanes he strung into mobiles with floss and clothes hangers. It’s vicious the way he pinwheels, spins so close to my eyelids I could almost snatch him out of thin air. But an open eye reveals that this room is no colorworld. It is dark and the corners are even darker.
I’m afraid to walk under things. Ladders. Cutaways in thick tree trunks. Strings of lights zigging over sidewalks. I’m afraid of bad luck and I’m afraid of losing things and I’m afraid that if I walk under too many things everything I lose will be because of it. I can’t tempt the universe and so I walk around the holes it makes. Life is the eye of a needle and I am the string too frayed to pierce it. I am the gnat who circles endlessly the spark. I am addicted to sight, too afraid to find out what touch would do to me.
I was fooling around with a poem and decided to set it to some music. I’ve never written a song before and I’m not sure this counts, but I thought I’d share it!
So much time spent reading the poetry of people as lonely as myself thinking it would help unearth the compass needles buried deep inside my wrists. That would lead me to you of course, the scruffy archetype built in my mind with watercolors and ennui, glasses clinking, wine stains on clothes leading to less clothes leading me to the bed where we’d sit plotting our children. Or charting stars with gravel in the parking lot of a playground, swinging because that’s what you do in movies with people you love. Such time wasted seeking a mate for a soul I had spent no time cultivating, instead hoping that someone else would come along to repair it or complete it or transform it into the beautiful thing I wanted it to be. Such time wasted not thinking my soul beautiful simply because it was alone.