Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sequel to Austin
Austin, Again (working title)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Purposely did a lot of repetition. Does it work?
There are three birthmarks on my left leg. They weigh it down, and I walk with my big toe dragging behind me. The nail has worn down to a stub. Sometimes I hear it scrape against gravel, wrinkle my nose as I smell the smoke trailing from the embers that jump from my big toe when the friction gets too rough.
One birthmark looks like a tooth, a jagged molar with a corona. Solar flares fly out of crown. The roots are short and stubby and stubborn. On its side it takes the form of a bald eagle with mangy ruffled feathers. The beak is rooted to the majestic crown of the mangy bald eagle.
There is a welt on my left thigh. It covers my smallest birthmark on my left leg. It’s a subtle stain from blush wine. White Zinfandel bubbles up and returns to its origin as Crljenak Kaštelanski, bloody and bitter. The welt overpowers my smallest birthmark on my left leg and turns my left thigh into a bloody and bitter mess.
Dragged along on my left foot, face down and hidden from the sun, is the speckled birthmark. It is a gentle swoop, an arch that flattens as it crashes into the First metatarsal. Tattooists tremble at its detail. The darkened pigment is cloistered together, and only one speck stands exiled from the group. It stands alone trying to find the sun, but it is dragged along on my left foot, narrowly missing gravel and fading in color and from my memory.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
June collapsed onto the coffee table. The ink smudged beneath the palm of her right hand. Her left hand carelessly sent a map gliding to the carpet. There were plenty more maps squashed underneath her chest. She covered Seattle’s metropolitan area, a panoramic of Canada, and a small-scaled reproduction of the Rocky Mountains with red ink winding through the most scenic route to the West.
“I don’t want to go back through cornfields,” June twisted her head to face Eric. Her cheek pressed up against Portland.
“But I’ve never seen Nebraska.”
“You’ve seen cornfields before. Remember Indiana?”
“I didn’t go to the dunes with you guys.”
They were quiet for a moment.
“It’s just that you always talk about that trip. Running around in the sand drunk or whatever.”
June rested her hand on Eric’s knee. The ink blotted his denim jeans, the dot of red screaming against its new, faded-blue background. June absently stroked the stain with her thumb.
“You know, we’ll talk about this trip so much that all our friend’s are going to be, like, ‘hey, shut up.’ You can exaggerate all the stories. You can say we were shooting up while behind the wheel. I’ll back you up.”
“No one’s going to believe that.”
“I’ll paint on some track marks.”
“No, hey, I took that stage makeup class. It’ll look really good.”
“Seriously,” Eric forced June’s hand away from him. “Stop.”
“Hey. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. It tickles when you do that. It’s actually really annoying.”
“No, like. You know. Months ago. The first time I did that.”
The maps scattered off the table as June leaped onto the couch. She sat quietly next to Eric, arching her brows, scrunching her face into a melancholy expression. The focus was to shape her large brown eyes into those of a puppy, or, better yet, a deer. Doe eyes. Owl eyes. Squid eyes.
Eric laughed. He pulled the giant squid over to him, running his hands through her brown hair, fingers ruffling up her bangs, crowning her head, sliding down her spine. Her petite body almost got lost in his embrace, but June reemerged with a flurry of kisses attacking his rusty beard.
They stayed in their mode of childish foreplay for hours. Occasionally a foot or elbow would bump against the coffee table, but no traces of wet ink left prints on their bodies. Suddenly they came to a stop, June’s hands twisted around Eric’s belt and buckle, Eric’s hands trapped under June’s shirt, clasped around her bra.
June sat up, dragging Eric’s lanky arms to his side.
“I couldn’t do it.”
“I’m sorry. I tried, but I couldn’t.”
“We do this all the time. Wait. Couldn’t what?”
“I tried to write you love letters. I tried so many times. I couldn’t do it.”
Hesitantly, June stood up, staring at the maps scattered on the table and the floor. It was silent as she studied the ink, noting the bright circles drawn around cities with silly names: Zap, Nimrod, Square Butt. She left the room, went down the hall, into her bedroom. Eric listened to her rummage through drawers and knock books off shelves. She swore loudly as she stubbed her toe. June returned with a stack of letters in hand, tied together with pale blue string.
The pile was three inches thick, a combination of loose-leaf, stiff envelopes, miniature notebook pages, sketchbook paper, and cardstock. The items on bottom were frayed and faded. Most of the paper had dog-eared corners, or small tears from where they were ripped from their binding.
“I couldn’t finish a single one. Some I worked on for days. Look,” June untied the string. It fell lazily to the floor, winding around the border of North and South Dakota. She pulled up the first letter, purple jelly-pen on clementine-scented paper.
“It says, ‘my darling, don’t ever shave. I love the way you smell, even at 3 in the morning when your breath reeks of Chinese take-out. I was watching a movie with Clark Gable in it, and it made me think of you, so I thought I would send you a letter because…’ and you know what? That’s it. I couldn’t think of a reason.”
June tossed the letter aside. She pulled out another one, from the middle this time. It was a small napkin with an orange stain circled. There was an arrow pointing to it, and a label, “Curry hut! Yum!”
“This one just says, “Eric,” with a heart. There’s nothing else. I wanted to be spontaneous or romantic or something. I imagined your mailbox overflowing with these cute reminders. I thought maybe, like, maybe you would start being silly. You’re always so serious now. It’s like, no matter what I do or say, you make me stop. It’s like you’re embarrassed or something. I remember when you used to be proud to have me around. You’d take me to, I don’t know, a museum or something, and you’d be so affectionate. And now you’re concerned about holding my hand in public.”
“What’s this all about, June?”
“I liked you so much. When this all started I couldn’t even believe you noticed me. And now it’s been, like, almost two years? I said I loved you after six months, but I can’t write it on paper, and you know I think there might be something to that.”
June tossed the letters onto Eric’s lap. Without its string, the stack scattered in all directions.
“I’m going on the road trip with Alex.”
Eric thumbed through the letters that had landed on the couch. One managed to exceed three paragraphs. Another only said, “Hey—” It didn’t even have his name. It could have been for anyone.
“Some guy. Well, more than some guy. But to you, a guy who lives around the corner.”
“I don’t know. He was at some party. I bumped into him. Literally, almost knocked him over. Said I wasn’t too good with directions. Somehow it segued into the road trip and he was just so enthusiastic. It was like meeting you all over again. So excited, charming. Said he loved the idea, always wanted to go to Seattle, and I was all, “me too!” He wanted to go to Vancouver, and I was like, that’s it. That’s the deal breaker.”
“Because I don’t want to go to Vancouver?”
“Because you never want to go anywhere. Not with me. Not anymore.”
“If you want me to go, I’ll go.”
“No, that’s not the point. It’s not like, I don’t know. It’s not spontaneous. It’s always pulling teeth with you. And I’m sorry. I can’t force it anymore. I tried to force this trip on you, and I tried to force the love letters. It’s a disaster. I’m miserable. With you, I’m miserable.”
“I didn’t want to make you unhappy.”
“Yeah. Maybe. You know, for fun, I tried to write a love letter to Alex. Something sweet. Innocent. Nothing too serious, just wanted to excite those flutters I get when I see him. And you know what? I finished it. It’s like, four pages, I think, and I knocked it out in fifteen minutes. I’m not going to send it. I burned it, actually. But, you know? This is important, I think. And, like, sorry, but I’m not even sorry.”
An aching silence swelled in the room. June stood across from Eric, looking away from him, down at the maps and letters that covered the floor. There were miles between them, entire states, provinces, Pacific regions blotted with red ink. Love letters swirled in the ocean, the air conditioning pulling up the frayed corners and gently sweeping them into currents. They were tattered and torn and crumpled. They drifted for thousands of miles, drifted until they were completely off the map.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
“Thank you, miss.”
I glanced at him and smiled politely, and then turned back to the window. I had seen the terrain many times before. The peeling billboards and orange graffiti no longer interested me, and the only sights that delighted me these days were the glimpses of scruffy, plaid-wearing men waiting on the Damen platform.
I went to open my shoulder bag, ready to pull out my book and catch up on Humbert Humbert’s fevered road trip with his little Dolly, Lo, Lolita, when I noticed that my range of motion was severely cut. I tried to move my gangly arms gracefully, and found my elbow bumping into the flesh of the man next to me.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, casting another quick glance to the man next to me.
He shook his head and smiled, but said nothing. His teeth were a dull yellow and his lips were chapped. Those teeth were awfully close to me.
For a moment, I recalled articles linked by angry BBWs who had to pay for two seats on an airline because they were too large to fit into one. I would have been forgiving, me being petite and barely taking up an entire seat myself, but then I noticed that his huge torso eclipsing my view of the aisle was none to big at all. I looked for the space in between our plastic seats. All I saw were his thighs. This bastard was willingly taking up half my seat, cozying up to me, a stranger, on the crowded el during rush hour with no other seats to spare.
Even among my favorite people, I am not a touchy-feely person. I glued my face to my book and squirmed in my seat, pressing my body as close as I could to the window, reaching an unflattering angle to avoid my neighbor’s graze.
That’s when the shaking started.
His elbows cast shadows on the pages of my book. They shook frantically and caused the words to bounce and jumble together. I imagined the grey shadows and white pages causing an epileptic sensation. The pages flickered back and forth; grey white grey white grey white. The man had wrapped his arms around his briefcase, now hugged against his chest. The tremor spread to his legs, and then the entire seat trembled with him. I wanted to tie him down. I was trying to devise a way to acquire rope on the train when, to my horror, I felt his elbow drill into my breast.
His face red, he whispered, “sorry.”
He did not stop shaking. I could see him sweating, concentrating hard, and I could only assume that he was desperately trying to make his body come to a standstill. He looked so embarrassed, so helpless.
I decided that he had Parkinson’s disease.
Yes, that was it. It was an unfortunate situation, and neither of us could do anything about it. I tried to relax, press myself closer to the window, and look out at the city as his elbow occasionally touched my boob and we both pretended not to notice.
I considered leaving the train a few times. My first idea was to bolt out of the train when it reached Divisoin, run to the car ahead, and continue my journey. I wasn’t sure if I could make it in time. It would be difficult to climb over my seatmate, especially without being groped in the process. The stops were quick, and I would surely miss the train all together. I thought that maybe I could just leave the train and wait for the next one, but I grew self-conscious. I imagined my neighbor watching me leave, glaring at me as I stood on the platform. He would know that the only reason I got off the train was to get away from him. I, the cold-hearted bitch who couldn’t be sensitive to the needs of a middle-aged man with Parkinson’s.
“Are you on your way to work? School?”
Apparently my neighbor was determined to torture me. I thought we had a silent agreement not to acknowledge each other. I thought my discomfort was obvious. Regardless of his condition, I had no intention to chitchat with a man who kept fondling me with his elbow. I felt his breath on my neck.
“I had an interview.”
“Oh, really? What for? Congratulations.”
I shrugged my shoulders, which caused me to bump into him this time. “Thanks.”
He didn’t continue his interrogation. Finally, he sensed that I was at my breaking point. I turned my head from the window to the map of the Blue Line, mentally crossing off the stations passed. California: check. Logan Square: check. Belmont: check. Occasionally I would catch the man looking at me as I tried to look past him.
I grew anxious. There weren’t many stops left to go, and the excitement started to take over. The businessman and I shook together, our bodies bobbing up and down in perfect synchronization. We were quite the pair.
The car mechanically croaked out, “Harlem,” and I nearly jumped out of my seat. My stop was next. It was perfectly acceptable for passengers to stand by the exists before they reached their station, even if their was a five minute interval between stops. I thrust my book into my bag, knocking elbows with the man, not caring this time. Let him touch me all he wants, I’m getting the hell out of here. As politely as I could, I gestured towards the exit, already halfway on top of the man as I tried to climb over.
When I reached the aisle, he gently touched my arm. “Is this your stop? Thank you.”
I didn’t understand why he was thanking me. Maybe he had a long history of young women abandoning him on trains. Perhaps I made his day, his week, his year, by toughing it out and enduring the entire ride. Suddenly, I was proud of myself. I, the good Samaritan who kindly ignored businessmen suffering from Parkinson’s.
But then, as if in slow motion, the man leaned over slightly and lifted his body off the part of my former seat that he had encroached upon. He rolled his shoulders back and relaxed. The briefcase hung loosely from his arms, his hands grasped firmly about the handle. His feet were planted to the floor. The plastic seat was silent. No more tremors. Not a single twitch.
The bastard had gone Keyser Soze on me!
The train rolled into Cumberland. I stepped onto the platform in a daze. I endured that ride, forty minutes of hell, sympathizing with a man who faked uncontrollable shaking just so he could get free shots at my chest. It shouldn’t have been worth the effort. Why molest an A-Cup when there’s double D’s abound? I trudged to the staircase, thinking about the three showers I would take later that night. On Monday, I’d have to head back downtown. The Blue Line would be packed again and I would most likely have to surrender my seat to yet another pervert preying on my polite social graces.
Fuck it. I’m taking Metra.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I’ve often battled with the idea of fate. It’s easy to dismiss it as superstition, or worse, as something closely linked to religion. I find it difficult, however, to look at my incredible back luck and brush it off as mere coincidence. I’m usually afraid to tell people that I may believe in some kind of higher power. They interpret it as faith in God; they see me as a spiritual person. Spiritual, I think, is one of the least desired words I’d like ascribed to me.
An ex-boyfriend criticized for reading into things too much. He looked down upon my efforts to find meaning in things. He said I took everything too personally. At first I tried to combat these claims, but now I admit that they are true. But these are not faults in my personality, as he desperately tried to prove. These are characteristics that I embrace. They allow me to be hopeful and optimistic, despite the fact that even the smallest of victories is so rare in my life.
I sound like I suffer immensely, but I suppose this isn’t true. I live in a decent-sized house in a friendly suburban neighborhood; I go to an acclaimed private university; I have a generally supportive family. All the amenities that make me middle-class are at my grasp, and I am thankful for it, but they are not as they appear: Our refrigerator and cupboards are nearly bare; I go to school for free because I can’t afford tuition; my mother is a paranoid schizophrenic and is far removed from my personal affairs.
Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve such setbacks in my life, but then I assess my personality and my actions, and I think that I might encourage these difficulties. I know that I am selfish, aggressive around my family, and overtly emotional. I am a woman full of faults, and I often play the victim. I claim to hate drama, but I think there is an overwhelming part in my subconscious that thrives on it. This part is a key role to my identity as a human, but more importantly, I think it has its own deeper subconscious that is driven by fate.
Over the years, I have noticed that I continuously fall into cycles. Each time I try to break a cycle, I inadvertently fall into another one. I’m always determined to perform my actions differently, and usually to great success, but nevertheless it seems that I cannot escape the behaviors and relationships that revolve around my life. The most depressing realization I have had is that I don’t think I’m meant to have meaningful relationships. I have not been able to hold onto friendships for more than a few years, and the ones I have managed are cold, robotic formalities relating to the shell of a person I once was. Worse, is when I am surrounded by old friends and I realize that I have long since regarded any aspect of my personality to being in alignment with theirs. The few people I have met, ones where I feel odd connections or strange bursts of fondness, tend to be blocked in extraordinary ways. I still try to make these relationships work. I look at every problem and invent solutions that build from realistic to unfathomable, and no matter how close I am to creating what may be a permanent contact, fate will jump in the way and quickly break the connection, leaving me in a proverbial wasteland full of trash and darkness and fizzling electrical lights.
The easiest excuse for all of this is that, simply, I’m not a likeable person. This is the reasoning I believed in for the majority of my life, but somehow I’ve managed to conjure a skewed sense of self-confidence, and I refuse to accept this theory as truth. I admit that I can be an exhausting person, especially when I am in my judgmental phases, but I am always very kind and supportive of my friends, and on the rare occasion that someone gets close to me, they become one of the most important parts of my life. The truth is, I can be pretty wonderful.
I think that sometimes things just are not meant to be. Fate is a kind and wicked force that pushes me along in life, dangling my hopes and dreams above my nose, flipping a two-headed coin to see if I can actually grasp my aspirations. Sometimes I think that if I fight adolescently, trusting in powers of ambition, honesty, and love, I may be able to defeat what fate has decided for me and take control of my life. Unfortunately, a menacing power that fate unleashes is the ability to turn one cynical and hopeless. I think that my undying optimism, which shines through even in the most bleak of situations, proves that there is still a fighting chance for me.
I am here to disprove the fate I so faithfully believe in.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tameron’s hands were hot. He juggled the pink sparks, tossing them from one hand to the other, faster and faster and faster until they blurred into a cyclone. He shut his eyes tight, the sparks blinding him, and he concentrated on his hands and the heat and ignored the oohs and aahs, but not quite, because there were thirteen oohs and fifteen aahs, which meant that he would make a fair amount of pesos today. He could use the money to buy a new pair of shoes, because his soles had turned black and no matter how many times he scrubbed them, he could not get his boots to shine again, and there was no longer a lake to wash himself, and over the past few months the river had slackened to a steady trickle because the draught had not let up and…
Ooh. Aah. Aaaaaaaaaaah.
Tameron opened his eyes, squinting, and saw a young boy yelling as he batted pink sparks out of his dirty hair, his mother close behind shaking him vigorously, shaking the sparks off of him. Tameron quickly clasped his hands over his mouth, and promptly screamed as his thick lips burned and blistered. The crowd started hissing and a few even stooped down to Tameron’s feet and snatched back their pesos. Tameron’s eyes widened as he watched his earnings slip away, and he sprung to the ground to gather the rest of his coins, jamming them into a small leather pouch full of bright pink powder, when he saw two perfectly shaped legs only inches from his face, so close that he could see the hairs threatening to sprout from beneath the skin.
“Fix the lake.”
Tameron looked up to see those harsh brown eyes. He gasped, and tried to shout in protest, but his lips ached and his tongue fought with his teeth and he could not get out the words, so he dumbly crouched there lusting over slender Ana’s legs.
“I need to swim across.”
Tameron furiously shook his head.
“My stupid sister won’t stop crying about her wedding, so if you don’t do it for me, do it for her.”
Tameron continued to shake his head.
Ana took a step closer, her ankles nearly kissing Tameron’s cheeks. She lifted her skirt and bent her knees and listened to Tameron pant and sputter. Then she quickly stepped away and placed her legs so close together that her thighs touched.
“I expect it to be clear by midnight.”
Friday, March 5, 2010
The men from the Coast Guard shouted obscenities into megaphones as they tried to shoo away the frenzied crowd. The Humpback looked so lost on the shore, his eyes swollen and reflecting the mass of onlookers strutting in their bikinis and swim trunks. His thick skin was bloated, and algae sprouted from his wrinkles, and a hermit crab scuttled across the fluke as if it were Columbus setting foot upon the New World for the first time. Children laughed and screamed when the helicopter arrived, jabbing their fat fingers towards the thick cords that fell clumsily into the sand. The Coast Guard damped blankets and threw them over the Humpback. His watery eyes shrunk to pinpricks as he began to lift up, up, up into the sky. When the Humpback vanished, the people returned to their beach towels and hot dogs, and the scent of sunscreen overcame the salt and the sea.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I've lot a lot of my passion and motivation to write since breaking up with my boyfriend. A lot of my inspirational moments came when I was feeling romantic. I've always been an idealist, and being in a relationship elevated my unrealistic, unobtainable dreams for the starry-eyed moments I so desperately crave.
I guess I'm lucky I'm forced to write for class. Otherwise, I have no idea when I'd sit down and start typing again.
Here is the outline for the story I'm planning to write for class. It's vague, and it won't make sense to readers, but I figured I'd share it anyways.
Outline for Fat Maria (working title):
Fat Maria's Wedding Laments
Ana & the Youth
Fat Maria's Wedding