Hello To All That
She told me:
“It’s better when they’re sleeping. They don’t move that way.”
She was talking about sketching.
I was talking about everything else.
I could sleep for months on a motel mattress.
There’s something about the fleeting of that temporary that makes me want to clench my fists around these pillows. To pay the fee for forever and a day.
I told you I was never one for stability.
I told you I was never one to stay. But here? (There? Anywhere?)
We can stay and not stay.
We can have our fill and keep going.
We can grow into the rotting wallpaper and begin again. I will seed myself into those printed branches if only we can grow farther than the ceiling above us. I will swim into the faucet and stream out, clearer. More lucid.
This room is changing us, whether you believe it or not.
The other day I wrote about the way I saw the trash overflowing onto our floor. There was—somehow—something so honest about the length of time we’ve spent here compared to the amount of shit that we’ve discarded. We are a mess, Kid. We’ll leave stuff all over, if only to have the shortest amount of keeping to do. We will make the ugly into waste and let it disintegrate in the corner of our room. We’ll keep looking at these walls, tasting this sweet and stale air, feeling these softened sheets. But something will grow from it all, I promise you.
The day that we move out, we’ll feel the loss in our fingertips. We’ll crave newness in our stomachs. We’ll be thirsty for a fresh floor plan.
When we leave this room, we will need. A different room with different wallpaper. Just as lovely. Just as welcoming to our begging bodies. Beds that cushion themselves against our mutable forms.
We will love more and like less. We will be restless. We will overflow out of ourselves, but Kid, none of it will be waste. All of it will be scraps of whatever magic there was: tattered, worn and a little more comfortable than last time.
When we leave this room, we will leave that trash behind. The walls will shine differently for the next bed bodies. They will glint from the pieces of our progression. They will seep the tears of our loss. They will still be broken, but they will now be beautiful.
I know that I cannot stay forever, but you know…you know that I would. If only to grow and leave again, I would do it all over.
Neat and tidy never tells a sorry we don’t regret, Baby.
I’d like to be messy. Do you think you can do that?
These are the things that we meant to do and never did. Let’s make a fucking beautiful mess. We’ll start with your mistakes and move on to my secrets and things will really get interesting when I begin to tell you about the boy who was not you, the boy who broke my heart and then held it close and pressed it into my hollow crater skin a second time.
I’m indented with the face of a boy who is so so far from being you. You see, you were sweet, you were, “Oh this is heart, hello heart nice to meet you may I please take a seat.” And he? He was far from such pleasantries. He was, “Hands up or somebody gets hurt, is this a heart because to me it just looks like an empty open floor where I can lose my mind and unload my unhappiness.” I am still hurting from the weight of those boxes. Nothing was marked “FRAGILE” and yet he had me walking with the lightest footsteps, just in case. Just in case. Just in case he returned. Just in case he asked for it all back.
Boy, sweet sweet boy how I wish I could’ve loved you.
You were so much more beautiful than the body that followed.
There is nothing that changes me like you do. There is nothing like the song that runs through my head when nothing else makes sense. There is nothing like a room with white sheets and all truths. There is nothing like trying your best to scream out what you really mean into the heavy cold darkness of a suburban night and hearing nothing but your own reverb against that icy air.
Where had you gone? The other day I felt magic, and it was the magic that showed up in you. And really, it wasn’t about the magic, and it certainly was not about you (at least, not yet), but it was about the ‘not him.’ About the hurt that did not accompany the pang. About the heart that beats and does not break.
(Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.)
It was about eyes that did not lie but expected nothing.
Kid. There are people in this world that will stain me deeper than you. The stains will be the most beautiful of blues. And sometimes these stains will run across my fingers and face and sometimes the speech of other mouths will slur in confusion but I will be harder. Next time, I will be stronger. I will know the whitest of whites and I will know that grey just does not cut it. Because in the end you were the deepest, most terrifying red. And I should’ve known that from the second I never slept in your arms.
I’ve found more than a few hearts to believe in. You’re not one of them, and I’ve never been happier about writing the truth.
I’ve become tragically irrational. I play a game with my Best Friend, and it goes somewhere along those lines and it involves a lot of speech and a lot of dreams and maybe those same eyes that, for the first time in a while, gave me hope. I am not afraid of this game. I am not afraid of tragic and I am not afraid of incredibly hypothetically and completely irrational. My skin was sewn from their shadow. Somewhere, their beautiful blood pulses through my veins.
I’m trying to write you into poetry. But this is the thing. I cannot get past the sound in my ears. I cannot write into the blood or the beauty or even the dreams, because none of it will be as bright as it looks behind my eyes, as it tastes in the back of my mouth. There’s a possibility I have not swallowed yet. There are verses I have not vomited onto the page of us, and there they sit, stirring in my stomach.
The only way to let go of them is to redesign my body. To take out the space that I left for them in the first place. To rearrange my insides so they do not spell your name every time the streetlights flood my avenue, every time the rain falls and covers my city, every time I feel alone. To rearrange my insides. To evacuate you.
I will sweep you away with hands of blue. That magical blue. The shade that does not speak, but only draws us after it. The blue that became the black night sky on the first evening I directed my love into a body that was etched in kindness. The blue that doused my fingertips through the first week that I finally felt you slipping out of my palms. The shade that sparkles. The midnight we never had, and never, ever will. The my-night. The better blue. The magic. My blue. When I wash my body clean, it will be the only color that remains.
I know this is all so silly, but as silly as it may be, I do not, and never have faked it. Because baby, I believe only in realness.
I never asked for eyes with a pull. No. I only ever asked for freedom from you. Baby, I asked for wings to fly from your heavy hands.
I found them tonight.
Is it crazy? (Yes.)
Is that okay? (Yes.)
I do not love, Baby, without absolute force.
My love is dynamite that goes off about five seconds too soon. It explodes before it’s even set off.
My love is a fucking freight train. It’s incredibly uninvited, un-allowed, and Baby, is it ever so loud.
Because don’t you get it. I cannot write without writing you.
Tonight, my city exploded. It was ten p.m. and every door on the street opened and people came pouring out and everything was loud and everyone was happy and even now as I type, there is a dog barking up the side of my building and a smile creeping up the walls of my cheek and I must, I must, believe…that we are together, all of us, somewhere.
Me in this half-lighted room with guitar chords vibrating into my veins and my brothers, the only boys I’ve ever loved, smiling in different states, and my father tasting the body of his beer, and my mother, my mother, forgiving herself.
And you, the boys I thought I loved, the boys I sank into—because that’s what I did, I liquidated and poured myself into your palms and waited for you to make a tight fist. I waited for you to understand that I was mutable and I was fluid and I was dripping through the cracks with each touch that pulled your fingers wider apart. You never tensed up, though, Kid. It was I, who lost it. I lost it.
The states of matter: solid, liquid, gas.
Solid: the rough gravel of your jawbone right before the lights went out. The muted dirty river floor in the bottom of your eyes, nothing like that deep green ocean into which I dipped my toes on the first days I did not cry. Solid. The backs of your thighs as I tried to pretend that if a body could smile than this is how it would curl, this is what it would look like.
Liquid: Everything that ever leaked from me on the days before, during and after you. Everything that could’ve been strong but melted before I ever had ice inside my fingertips. Everything that had no container. That I could not contain.
Gas: Dreams of you that float through my open window in the coldest months of the year. The exhaustion of the fires that I build from friction between my hands and scalp. Like air, like gas, regret. Everything that I tried to exhale, and everything I tried to release in the shape of speech. Everything that floats above my footsteps.
I remember learning about all of it when I was young. Seven, maybe eight. The three states of matter. On the page of the textbook, there was a teapot and the water was burning. The LIQUID was becoming a GAS. We had to repeat it all as a group, and out loud. The particles were separating. Baby.
The particles were falling apart.
When will I begin to write about the month I did not sleep. And I mean, really, write.about.it. Like I’m not afraid of waking up tomorrow with a salty face, hollow sockets, and a sandpaper mouth. Baby, I was never taught how to cry. No one ever told me it was okay to open the windows in my eyes.
She said to me, “I was on the train and the sun was coming up and just, there is something about being up this early that makes me feel like I’m ahead of the rest of them.”
Yes. There is something about the air and the sky at four thirty in the morning that lets me know things really can sometimes be that simple.
For the past few months, I’ve been prone to waking up with a block in the back of my eyes that feels a hell of a lot like hopelessness. I tell myself, “how exactly will I do it today? How will I keep smiling and pretend that everything is smiling back?” I tell myself I can’t. That I can NOT do it and I drag my legs across the room and try to teach myself good lying. So that maybe if I can learn to lie, I can learn to lie to myself. And that maybe if I am lying to myself, the inside of my head won’t feel so goddamn rough and I will be able to run my fingers down the length of my mind and not hit so many ditches, so many rough spots.
(Because little known fact is the month that I did not sleep, my mind was a cavity. I was losing pieces of it for every hour of every night my eyes were supposed to be closed. By extension, I was losing myself. I was losing myself to sleep and I was fighting a battle I never even wanted to begin and one that I was destined to lose. I did lose. I lost the battle and I lost chunks of my spirit. The only good thing about the month that I did not sleep was the fact that I opened my eyes to hopelessness as much as I tried to close them on the same exact feeling.)
So, back to the point, Baby: rough spots.
Chunks, blanks. Pieces of happy that disappeared and left gages of sad. These are the places my fingers and feeling fall into when the sun comes up.
But the other night before I slept, something happened.
I decided to start cleaning.
I cleaned my desk and my kitchen and my bathroom and my bed and my closet and my floor. It was the middle of the night and I did not care because there was a fire about me and I had to let it burn. For ONCE, baby, I had to set the fire off. For once, maybe I even fed it a little. The only difference was that this fire was made of air and not flames and the air was being released, baby, out of me. A whole bunch of air and a whole bunch of sense, but even so, and whole bunch of sadness. Cleaning up and cleaning out. Pushing out. Forcing out. Using muscles I did not know I had. That night, I went to bed and my mind felt fuller. More whole.
The whole point is, I guess, I woke up the next day and my feet weren’t as heavy. I didn’t have to drag anything.
The whole point is, that I woke up to my best friend this morning saying that, and we were breathing in four-thirty a.m. in a north-of-Manhattan suburb morning and my best friend was next to me for what felt like the first time in a while and the air was clean and my head was clean and my feet were light and we were voicing it all, in so many words.
“I feel like I’m ahead of the world.”
I told her she was. I thought of that terrible month and how it started with me waking up to the September sun of 5am and I remembered that sudden feeling of being the exact opposite, of being behind. I remembered being awoken by a fire alarm the first night I ever did get sleep. I remembered too much space inside my head, and yet too little positivity to fill it.
And I realized that this morning was different. This sky was still dark and this air was clean and she, my soul and I, were ahead all of a sudden.
I’m not sure how much it had to do with the morning, but it had everything to do with right place, right time. It had everything to do with what’s happened, what’s ending, and what is about to begin. It had everything to do with us as we are, two girls, best friends, filling cavities and letting go.
“I feel like I’m ahead of the world.”
It’s true, you know. We were. She was. We are. This morning, we moved forward.
The morning air was possibly so clean because it was letting out the sigh that we couldn’t for so many months.
But here’s a new month and here’s a new morning and here’s Souls and a suburban sky and a city awaiting our arrival. Ahead. Ahead of the world and ahead of our eyes.
I am linked to the madness of you. Here is why you do not mean anything to me. You mean chaos and madness and pain and hurt, and here is why you do not mean anything. You mean everything.
I have become a tea girl. Late nights mean up-lates because the caffeine rush never rushes, but Baby, does it drone on. And here’s the thing about late nights up with the those leaves and that smell swirling around in my head. I am left with the imprint of you in between my lips and legs. Do you understand that I cannot write about this. Do you understand that it is more than words have ever allowed me to give because Baby, Kid, we are too powerful against ourselves when it comes to loving. We will destroy sooner than we will love, and Baby, you were always the jumpiest. Always the impatient go-getter. I just went along with it.
Do you understand that destruction is easier than gentleness. Do you understand that it is miles easier to crush and smash than it is to touch and graze. Your touch and your graze left marks. I tried to measure up, and Baby, could I only try. I was breathless from the hurt of you. Do you understand that you are the pain that I can never face without moving inside myself and not coming out for hours. Hours, Baby. If I could trace your name across my cheek I would never graze. There would be blood and I would cry for the first time in months. Because this is how I feel when I turn towards the fullness that used to leak from your fingers. You were full and you were emptying so goddamn fast. Baby. I had to place my body beneath your leaking figure to catch every last drop because Baby, Kid, you were wasting away, and I was running out of breath to catch up. I was running out of breath and out of room and I’m not sure if we were moving at the same pace or if you were always fire and I was always air, waiting to blow you out.
The nights when I curled into your valley of a chest were the nights I felt the warmest, even in that terrible July heat wave. Even then, I shivered. There was a morning in which you woke me because I shook with such urgency. Such urgency. Did I dream of it then, Baby? What you would give to me when the air became dry? When my mouth became dry? When your bones became cold and you had no warmth left to wrap around my waist. When I began to drown in my own imagination of you. A whole mess of waves of you, you, you—not leaking but instead moving and splashing about, trying to clean me and wash me down of any love I ever had. The only discernible substance beneath the waves of you was the salt in my own eyes. I never knew what heartbreak tasted like until you gave me tears. I didn’t need to catch up anymore. I could quit heaving. I could quit breathing. The only leakage I was catching was my own, dripping from the holes you cut out, empty and shaped like memories underneath my eyelashes.