Monday, January 29, 2007

on being a real human being

I'm doing things right, I think. I can tell because the universe has given me a new apartment with a puppy in.

This is because God rewards me with pets.

When I was small I would pray for kittens and they would just pop up out of the lenten roses, rain-soaked and mewling. Fur-urchins with fleas on their paws seemed to spontaneously generate from the tangle of brush near the woodpile, and my benign, soft-eyed existence earned me the companionship of numerous baby birds, wayward turtles, orphaned bunnies, and rather affable butterflies.

When you think about yuck and rot that is what you get and so on. I've decided hereafter to channel my five-year-old self. I am going to take on projects for the fun of it. I am going to think about birds and why the sky is colored just so. I am going to pick out nice friends to play with and skip skip away from the bad ones. (If there aren't any nice ones about I will spin some out of imaginings, pink spun-sugar friends that will melt on my tongue.) I will read big books and think of big questions and then draw little pictures that aren't very good. I will laugh and play and listen closely for the sounds that only the very small can hear. Most importantly, I will love the people that take care of me and take very good care of the people I love.

I am going to be good. For floppy ears' sake I will.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Two truths and a lie

She goes to sleep early because of the dull throbbing in her head, a steady staccato that pulses in time with the rhythmic hum of the heat vent (that eternal drone of the present moment vibrating in the stale air). She goes to sleep early and she dreams of better places.

I am nineteen, dizzy with gin and distance. I am thousands of miles from home in a place where the sky is made of pitch and glitter and milk. My clothes are soft flowing things; my hair is coiled tight and tangled by the damp air; my skin tastes like salt (or so you say, and oh I’d have myself believe every word of it). You have hair that is long and dark and thick as sin. It falls about my shoulders as we sit tangled together in the open star-lit stillness. Up on the hill, the landlady’s dogs keep watch (they are illegal in most places, having been bred to bite and never let go). Sometimes we can still hear the rise and fall of familiar voices, filtered through the thick air and the drape of mahogany trees. And we know that somewhere out there are our families, our homes, the places we’ve been, the books we’ve read, the people we’ve loved, the rules we’ve learned to follow. But right here, right now, we are breathing air that we’ve never breathed before. Right now all that exists is this moment, this new air to breathe.

Here’s to new opportunities for love, for wonder, and for a few stars and gods to look down on me tonight as I lie alone here.