November 24, 2009

Things in My Room

There is no sheet on the bed, it's still in the net, waiting to be stretched over my cushy mattress. The kind that gives extra support for a bad back. At the end of the bed is a mini refrigerator, unplugged because I don't have a lot of food in the house. Next to that, and in front of my closet, is my dresser with the 10" TV on top. I don't use that much either.

The dresser is painted like a house and weighs about that. The lamp behind the TV and on top of the dresser is also not used, and covered with a pink wig I once wore to Youmacon 2007. My closet door is open. A Love Hina! poster is taped to the door, next to a flying dragon puzzle glued onto cardboard and nailed to the wall above my dresser. Next to the closet, and directly across from me, is a corkboard covered with tickets to the Winter concert of the Transiberian Orchestra, an old Cedar Point Admission ticket, two bookmarks, a list of creative nonfiction literature, and blue tacks.

The door is on the left, slightly open with a meijer trash bag dangling from the handle. A blue hawaiian cloth with white hibiscus flower and gold leave print hangs over the doorway. In the far left corner is my open bookcase. I call it open because it has four shelves, but no sides. So the books have a habit of falling off when they tip over. In addition to books, there is also a wooden wolf statue stuck in howling pose, an ugly brown dog from Cedar Point, two mini Pikachus, the 1 and 9 candles from my 19th birthday, which was celebrated in my small Aquinata dorm room, a slinky, two artificial leis--the purple on my Aunty Rachel made--and a random assortment of jewelry boxes.

Against the left wall is my desk where everything important ends up, heaped in piles. Among bills, loans, pay stubs, and forgotten homework, there is a sketcher's statue, stuck in a suave bow to an empty audience. A picture of my deceased grandmother and my grandfather holding me when I was just a baby, with the Hawaiian mountains in the background, is framed with pink netting. Another picture of Sora, from Kingdom Hearts, sleeping with a little Goofy and Donald Duck also sits on the table. MagicL The Gathering cards and random assortment of colored pens also. An old "tropical forest" scent cone sit between the bowing statue and the picture of my grandparents. An opened box of stationary lies discarded.

Next to my desk is a purple lamp I bought specifically for this room. It has two bulbs, one points straight up like a ceiling lamp, the other stops midway and bends like a desk lamp. It cost $15. Next to that is a coat hanger I made, purple, crooked, teetering on four loosely screwed legs. But it's good enough for my two winter coats, hats on the top, and my mufflers.

In the corner next to that are two suitcases, blue. My grandma in California (my mom's mom) got them for me when I graduated high school and went to college. I bring them around everywhere now. Next to that is a box of videos ranging from Aladdin (VHS) to Chobits (DVD). The window is closer, on my left, with the blinds closed. In front of it is a half-foot-high pot of soil, rectangular. The soil is dried out, and the beans that had been struggling to grow are long buried.

My bedstand is next to me, on my left. My bamboo plant needs to be watered. Filled with my favorite manga, W Juliet, and other essentials, such as: Let's Learn Kanji, School and Office Dictionary, The Koran, The Bible, The Missouri Review, and Word and Expression Locator. Along with my Life Binder, which contains everything important about my life: loan info, taxes, birth certificate, etc.

The space in between these objects, in the middle of the room, are scattered and haphazardly placed. Describing them would take too much time and only confuse.

November 23, 2009

In and Out

I wish you were making that sound while going into me,
while feeling me--
between the sheets--
In and Out
In and Out
It was harmony.
Not make-believe,
it was ecstasy!
So sweet the memory, I forgot completely
the moment of your kiss
is lost to me.
Why can't you read between the lines--
Can't you see the best of me?
The angry fiery love of my retreat,
as you cheat with hands behind me.
The feeling,
the sweet sweet feeling,
of her hair is fantasy--
a dream inside a dream
that no remedy can unbind thee!
You say "love me"
I say NO with a rage-love
that eats me
inside and out
with the motion of our bodies' heat
rolling around between the sheets
You cry that sound I wish I could receive
In and Out
In and Out of her
and then I understand.

Love so sweet, it burns me.

November 22, 2009

I don't write poetry

This is NOT a rhyme,
not to a sing-song voice that says "Looooove meeeeee!"
because I TELL my story.


Not an artificial "I'm too sad to cope, so I'll spit my words out by struggling to say what I mean to say by not saying exactly what I mean by meaning what I say only as long as I'm saying it"...


Not a torn-out "I live in the ghetto and got abused by my girlfriend too many times, too many bullets in the head, so many times that I can't believe I didn't realize sooner" I've heard so many times I can't believe I'm still listening


My life is not a beat from the street, not a sad expose of how I turned my life around, not the insanity of being a loner, unwanted, afraid, manhandled, passionate, creative--

All I am saying is

I don't write poetry

I've never seen the sun in the stars or the stars in the moon or the moon in your hair--but I CAN say it's been dyed too many times. So many, in fact, that it resembles the crater-strewn dried out surface of an uninhabitable rock.

My story cannot be stretched out, blown up, used to float through the layers of the atmosphere, layers of belief, religion, living, dying, moral ethics, logical physics, wildly played out fantasies of a person who knows who they are already because

I don't know who I am yet.

Am I a Catholic-Jew-woman-person-lover-hater-fighter-follower-believer-skeptic-critic-dancer-singer-artist--

I can at least be that.

But a poet...that's been overplayed too many times.
I hear "Poetry" and I say,
"Shit! Now this class is going to take ten times as long and make one-tenth the amount a' sense!"
Rhymes, riddles, metaphors, between the lines, between the sheets, love, passion, understanding, hating, reasoning, the image of an image beyond an image behind an image of the man you sat down with on the bench while you were listening to your iPod and he was feeding the birds bread out of a paper bag--

God All Mighty have mercy on our souls!

Because that's not my gig dawg. Thas not how I roll.

So where do I belong, if it's not with the poets?

Am I even a person?

Unable to express what I believe, my personality, my insanity, the reason for my existence, my persistence through life despite the constant crying of WHY WHY WHY WHY am I still alive? Dragging my feet through the marshes of humanity, the surrealism of reality, eternity of suffering through a poetry class without ending, a destination without a beginning, meaning in only what we mean, not what we say, constantly playing behind the covers of a lovers' bed with his (or her's) ex, only to find out later that your lover was also playing the same game, and you feel cheated, defeated, lied to, you're ready to take your own life with the blade of Juliet, but then you realize something!

Your fingers grip the pen...shaking...afraid for eons about what you want to say...finally, you can say what you mean.

Waste Land great Byzantium okay Arcadia intriguing Rent I like the idea Eternity Program in the making Sesame Street good for kids What the FUCK is up with South Park?

Everyone around me everywhere is playing off these misguided spurts of idiocy and framing them as masterpieces--am I the only one who doesn't get it--


Left outside of a crowd born to take the world, live it, love it, and die in a rose-scented coffin with a violin playing soft sultry music in the background to the beat of 'I Kissed a Girl' and later 'See You Again'--


I don't want to write poetry. I want to write history.

November 20, 2009

While Waiting in Line




Act I: (Modern Day)

All characters stand in line at the back of the stage, facing right-stage and spanning across so as to create the illusion of no beginning or end to the line. There is a sign hung above with an arrow pointing right, labeled "Gate 13" From left to right: Luis, Clark, Mandé, Bill, Lisa, Tom, and Marianne. Luis and Clark are both young college men. Luis is spectacled and contently reading a newspaper, while Clark is tapping his foot impatiently and constantly looking at his watch. Mandé is not young but not old and is talking loudly on her cell phone, annoying the old man next to her, Bill, who is wearing an old suit with a bowler hat. Marianne carries a purse and keeps rummaging around in it, seeing if she has everything. Throughout the play she tries to keep the unruly kids, Lisa and Tom, from causing too much mischief. Tom is chubby and is sucking on a lollipop, and Liza is a skinny, hiding half of ehr face behind thick, dark hair.

Mandé and Bill are center-stage and talk louder than the others, who make background noise as to give the illusion of a crowded place.

Mandé (with a southern drawl): Yes, Ma. Can you believe it, engaged to this bum who doesn't even spit out a dime, and I'm the one stuck picking his god damn children up. (pause) Uh-huh. Ma, I'm telling you, even though this guy's a prick, he's loaded! (pause) What? (more loudly) What?! Of course he's paying for the gas (pause, as if in agreement) and the hotel room (pause, nods her head) and the car.

Bill (mumbling to himself, obviously annoyed): That damn woman better shut her trap. Jesus, if Sara turned out that way I would have beat the shit out of her. Yappin' on about things no modest woman would do. For Christ's sake, how long will I have to listen to this racket?

Mandé (oblivious to Bill's discomfort): Yes, last night. With candles and everything. (loud boisterous laughter) No! No! Not here, not now. But I can say that it was a hell of a time. Later this week we're planning on going out to see a play and then dinner. (pause) Well I don't rightly know what kind of play it is, Ma. He picked it. I think it's called "Waiting in a Desert" or the like.

Bill: Back in the day we used to use our imaginations better. Now, everything's presented as it should be, directly, with no hidden agenda or meaning. These young folks wouldn't know a satire if it tied them up and displayed them as trinkets for entertainment and profit.

Mandé: Profit is the idea, Ma. That's why I'm with him, and he looks very handsome, don't you think so? (pause) Well the limp is unfortunate. But it doesn't keep him from (stops herself before saying anything else, and drops her voice to a loud whisper) He's even bigger than Brian.

Bill: When you're an old man, everything shrinks. You lose your hair, your back is bent, and the meat is str-r-r-ripped off your bones. My God, I hope Susan will cook up some Swiss Chicken tonight. (confused pause) Where is she anyway? (looks around vaguely) Damn daughter of mine, always getting lost.

A voice off-stage yells "Next!" and the line moves one position forward, Marianne vanishing off-stage to appear at the end of the line from left-stage. In this way the actors circle about constantly. Now Mandé and Clark are together in center-stage. Mandé forgets to take a step.

Clark (checking his watch again and stomping his foot): Fuck! Can this line go any slower? I have to be in New Guinea by tomorrow, and it's midday already. As an executive Boaring member, I have to be there for the eight o' clock meet and greet. Hey, hay woman (shakes Mandé's shoulder) take a step already.

Brittany (to Clark): At least you didn't have to wait yesterday--Nothing Ma, just talking to a boy complaining about the line--

Clark: Who says I wasn't waiting yesterday? I've been waiting for years! The stupid bureaucracy of this country astounds me, can it go any slower?

Brittany: For years, right? (uncertain) I don't remember seeing you at all.

Clark: I was here, I assure you. This very spot. Behind you and before him (points to Luis). I was here yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.

Brittany (to phone): He says he's been here forever. (to Clark) Well I'm sure I was here first, or else I wouldn't be in front of you.

Clark (softly): Unless you cut.

Brittany: What was that?--hold on Ma--

Clark (loudly): Unless you cut in front of me!


Off-stage voice shouts "Next!" and the line moves forwards one step.

Luis (in a casual tone): Clark, why are you being so noisy?

Clark: This bitch over here is saying she's been waiting longer than us, when I believe she just cut us this morning, and--

Luis (turning a page in the newspaper and inspecting it in interest): What does it matter, really?

Clark (taken aback): What?

Luis (still reading): We have been waiting forever, and will continue to stand here no matter how many people are in front of us tomorrow or the next. Might as well enjoy the journey, not worry about the end. It's the way the Chinese see it, anyway.

Clark: You're always lazy, Luis. You don't want to go anywhere in life. It's all about the destination, or else what have you got to aim for?

Luis: Happiness. (flips a page)

Off-stage voice shouts, "Next!" and the line moves forwards another step.

Marianne (checking her purse): Okay, I have my cell phone, ID. What about Lisa's--oh here it is. Some crackers for Tom because he eats like a horse. Oh no, where did I put the birth certificates? (searches frantically)

Clark (reading out loud from an article): "The nervous mother worrying about her baby shows it even to the unconscious child at her breast. When the child is older she still shows it, until the little one knows as well as it knows when the sun is shining that "mother is worrying again." The worrying wife does not keep her worry to herself; she pours it out to, or upon, her husband. The worrying husband is just the same. If it is the wife that causes him to worry - or to think so - he pours out his worry in turbulent words, thus adding fuel to a fire already too hot for comfort."

The off-stage voice shouts "Next!" and the line moves forwards a step-and-a-half, and now Tom, Lisa, and Marianna are in the center.

November 16, 2009


Be right back.

I don't know how this is going to go, but I'll be driving down to Cherry Bomb, on Cherry St., to see who I can meet. So until that time has passed, and I can write at last, I'll post this for now as a marker for how I almost got to post something insightful--hopefully delightful--today.

If you know about it too, I hope to meet you there so we can share all the things we don't want to say--but say things that we may or may not present--during the time we spend together... Perhaps we'll find that it was more than what we bargained for. For now, I'll have to say:


November 11, 2009

Check Check

Vrooom--Screech! Crash! Thud (Scream) Clopclopclopclopclop brrrring brrrring brrring

"911, what is your emergency?"

Shuffleshuffle thud. Shuffleshuffle thud. Smack!

Wamwamwamwhamwamwam. Beedledeebeedlebee. WamwamwamWHAMWAMWAMWAM?!


Clopclopclopclop--shick! Fumble... zzzinzzzinzzin...


ssshhit--zzzinzzzinzzzin-clang! shick!




Beeeeeeeeeeep...ZAP--bah beep...bah beep...bah-beep-bah-beep-bah-beep--ssshhit!


"Where am I?"


"Where's my mom?"



"I am here, honey, don't worry."

"What happened? Where am I?"

"The test sheets show there are some bone fractures to both legs, and his left arm is broken in two places."

"Alright, Mrs. Claymore said go ahead with the operation."

"But...the risks...there is some decent brain damage and--"

"Right now, whether he dies or not is up to a being greater than me."


Look stage left...look stage right...look up...exit left while the light dims to dark.

November 10, 2009

In Pieces

I walk back from my car, trailing a blue suitcase across the uneven grass. Unmowed, craggy, and sparse. It was the house I remembered renting for two-sixty a month, not including gas, electricity, cable, internet, and water. My head felt fuzzy with jet lag, but I hadn't rode a plane, just a two-and-a-half hour car ride from Bay City where my parents (my mom and my step-father Phil) lived. It was disconcerting.

I was in a bad mood that day. The return to college after over a week in two different states--one in which I worked at a large amusement park, and the other where I visited my family--wasn't full of hugs, smiles, and a circle of friends. I was greeted at the door by a messy living room, beer bottles crowded in a triangle on the coffee table and scattered instruments of Rock Band lying abandoned for midnight rides to Steak n' Shake. Climbing the creaking stairs, and turning down the narrow hallway to my room on the end, the cries of lazy college life waved my return home. Dirty clothes, piled blankets, scattered papers... A disorganized mess that I liked to call my own creative expression of inner torment, of an imprisoned soul.

I sat down and stared at myself in every crease of cloth folded over another forgotten homework assignment, not turned in because it had been too late...

That prompted me. What day was it? Oh yeah. Sunday. I just drove from Mom's house. So it's still Sunday. Not Monday. I have time... What am I supposed to do again? Where are my books? Are they still in the car?

I search a little. The mass of junk in my room intimidated me, and I stop after only a few seconds. Knowing if I couldn't remember right away then it wouldn't come back to me for a while yet. All I could do now was wait.

So I sat down and turned on my computer.

I have a horrible memory. Long-term and short-term--all shot to hell. Like a slice of Swiss cheese with more holes than cheese, my life is in flashes, colors, voices, and faces. Rarely do I remember a name before saying it ten times. My daily routine consists of losing my keys, searching for textbooks, notebooks, papers, remembering assignments, remembering which day it is, remembering what classroom I need to go to, what time I have to work, if i have to work, what day is it, did I drive here, where did I park, did I really send that email already?

It never ends.

And in result, I remember my life in pieces. Enough to know I don't remember everything. I remember our cherry tree in our backyard in Washington. The lagoon my mom took us to in Hawaii. My Grandma's pink house on Kansas Circle in Concord, California. My brother, mother, and other family members I also remember. Enough important things to not be suicidal or a shell of a person. Enough history to squeak by.

Now I remember! Something about creative nonfiction, something about writing an essay on... Personal Essay? What's a personal essay? Oh, just a regular essay about yourself.

Myself. I examined my condition and came to two conclusions. Either this is a chemical imbalance akin to my mild bipolarity, or it is a psychological suppression and denial due to some childhood trauma. The chemical imbalance could be taken care of by pills or vitamins depending on the situation--but that was a road walked many times before with my battle over bipolar episodes, involving insults flung back and forth across the dining room table. It would be better to combat if it was psychological.

Result of being hit in the head with a two by four when I was nine, being hit by my father, being yelled at, or my parents divorcing soon afterwards could all be triggers to this condition. However, most likely the event that started this automatic response is forgotten. Locked, with the key dropped down one of the holes in my mind. Into a deep crevasse not even I can explore.

"I love you." becomes a philosophical endeavor of constantly asking myself "do I really feel this way," and it brings up disturbing possibilities that explain everything. Perhaps one day I will forget who I love. How to care. How to write.

Now that would be tragic.

Today might mean nothing tomorrow, and people would blur into each other until everyone's brown with brown hair and blues eyes (or in my case everyone has dirty blond hair, white skin, and brown eyes)

Mental deterioration. Until. Everything. Stops.

People talk about being optimistic, looking at it from another angle. That is, if you can remember from which angle you're looking from, or if there are any other angles. Memory is essential for human development, part of what makes us unique. It forms a natural algorithm to how you function, what your response to certain stimuli will be, and how you will interpret a set of data (such as Beckett's Waiting for Godot).

So far, I am safe. So far, I have enough to squeak by. But, I am afraid of what can happen because with my past gone I only have the present and the future. Right now I look about my room with a sigh choking my words, the feeling of abandonment. From whom I don't know. Friends, family, love, God--or perhaps these are the same thing under a word undefined yet by the English language.

The future... Well, it isn't looking up, so I look down. Measuring the size of the hole before I am pushed by some violent tempest that strikes specifically 209 Fuller Ave SE. In the room upstairs, at the end of the hall...which would be left the same, a cluttered mess as it was before.

November 06, 2009

Outside My Skin

It was not too long ago, it seems, when the night was darker than all nights before, the silence thicker than all pauses in the English language. I was gripping the phone close, as I always did, like it was real, in front of me, holding my hand.

"What do you mean 'I can't do this anymore'?" He asked, his voice being forced through a cheese grater.

I closed my eyes and took a breath.

"I can't live a lie anymore, Ross. We don't have anything in common, don't you see? You like Programming, and no matter how many times I try to sound enthusiastic about it, it still bores me."

We seemed mysteriously disconnected. I used to be able to see him next to me, talking to me as I lie on the couch, legs dangling over the sides and my head resting on the opposite arm. Now, it was just me. Alone, and two thousand miles away from any source of happiness in this prison cell.

That was a year and a half ago.

Now I am in another long-distance relationship, one I like to believe more fruitful than my last one. We call each other pet names, like love, honey, sexy--but that isn't what a relationship is.

What is a relationship?

I sighed on the phone with Austin and said, "I just need a break. Really. I'm still nineteen, I'm young. I need to experience things and grow..."

His voice was choked. He probably didn't know what to say without either being angry or crying. He was a sweet boy. Eventually he conceded, and we hung up mutually knowing that we may not talk again for a long time.

"I'm free!" I yelled into the night air, sucking sweet Winter air into my lungs, "I can do whatever I want now!"

I was in my own little world. Paying attention to no one coming or going into the college cafe, I ran without any destination. I was in just a T-shirt and jeans in the middle of February, and I felt warmer than a poached egg on the Death Valley sand. I was free.

But, it didn't last for long. I felt that thirst for attention crop up again, and I started talking to Sean more, one of Austin's best friends. No. It didn't swing that way. But... I had once thought it should. I'm glad it didn't.

Why? Well, because life gives you hints, you just gotta be open to them. You have to look outside your skin to see relationships from an objective, all-knowing eye. It's impossible for everyday humans, but the attempt gets you closer than the truth than blatant denial.

So, I try to look closely before I develop a relationship with anyone, not just a guy. I want a friend who will have the same amount of devotion as me, a boyfriend who will love me as much as I can't love. And I will hope to become better at love than I already am.

"You're selfish sometimes." my ex-friend, Lily said.

I am. I know. I know it all too well. Our self is our hardest critic. Not only selfish, but lazy, arrogant, presumptuous, envious, vain, and introverted. However, since I have survived this long without being ostracized by society, I figure I'm good enough to have one good friend. Forever.

Someone to talk to until we grow old. Someone to call up enthusiastically and replay every single detail of my day. They would be just as enthusiastic to listen, but even tease me a little about it. Someone who will walk around in malls without any real reason, to kindle that sense of wonder and faith in humanity again. Because I'm dead right now.

I have not had one successful best friend in my entire life. People's faces blur now, and I hardly remember any names of my classmates. Everyone looks the same--superficial. It's the lens I use to see the world, one that only has one color but different shades. Some people are darker and deeper, but most are just blurs. Mixing and melding, thinking alike and acting alike enough to be annoying. Then, I stare at them when they leave the desk messy without so much as a thank you, expecting me to clean it up... I just don't trust people anymore.

Though, it's strange, no? I also like people. The thought of people, that is. The possibilities each one of us has is very interesting, which is why I have not given up on that best friend. My mom said that college is the worst place to be looking for best friends, that true friends happen in "real life." But...for me, I wonder if it's possible.

Looking from the outside-in...I wonder what I look like to everyone else. If I seem withdrawn and cold, heartless and bland, arrogant and stiff. I don't know. But inside...I feel alone.

November 05, 2009

Tears of a Nation

We are a nation torn apart at the seams. Family, friends, and lovers fighting against each other for a greater cause. The Trail of Tears was not too long ago, Linda Hogan said in her memoir The Woman Who Watches Over the World, the Japanese containment camps are still haunting the west shores. The cries of race riots in Detroit still shake the brick foundations. And still every day, children are born with this legacy of oppression, freedom, greed, and oppression.

This is why depression is the most over-diagnosed mental illness in the United States. Hogan writes how, even though half-Native American, she can still feel the pain of her people in her veins. Her people were the natives of this land, something we will never be able to understand--only sympathize--and we are the ones who killed them.

"It wasn't me." Someone said once, when I made an off-handed comment about the U.S. taking the Native land, "I wasn't the one who was there."

Perhaps not. But perhaps your great grandparents were. Perhaps your grandfather could have stopped it, but didn't. Aren't we all criminals since we didn't do anything about it? Still aren't doing anything about it.

In chains, they were dragged around in chains! Dark heads bent against the blows meant for evil, the Devil, wicked demons born for nothing but mischief. But the Africans were human, singing and dancing like we all do--try to, now--with the rhythm of their souls, a beat we Americans find hard to hear. Thump thump-thump rat-ta-ta-ta thump thump-thump. And their legs would kick up in the dirt, their voices gay for a moment. Then the crack of a whip would break their perfect world.

And still, during World War II, we sent our own Japanese soldiers into their Native land, had them fight their brothers and sisters, parents, and cousins, and then when they returned we put them into concentration camps. Even after they were released they were unable to find jobs, housing, even restaurants put signs on their front doors reading, "No Japs Allowed."

Ours is a country of fear--of pain, torment, and hypocrites. The past is what haunts us, alludes us, and twists our charity. What is American now? Certainly not being Vegetarian. Or wearing pink when you're a guy. Or learning other languages. McDonald's is American. So is hunting, football, and other forms of crude diet and competition.

A path of constant self-destruction.

Until, we break down.

Beckett, a famous Modernist poet, described life as a waste land we humans are thrust into without knowledge of how we got here or what we're supposed to do. He believes that the usual human response goes two ways; either take it in stride, or don't play the game. Ultimately--


Repenting for our sins, lamenting our mistakes. We care now, too late, and it kills us. A tragic American condition. But we can't say we don't deserve it, couldn't see it happening.


We even fight against ourselves. Things don't get any better, they just scatter and multiply, losing intensity, but growing in quantity. It's not urgent. Help is not needed now. But soon it will be too late to call for help, or to change the angle of momentum. We will implode, and who knows what will happen after that?

We are a nation built on tears. Wavering at the slightest breeze. Biting the smallest insect, afraid of it being bigger, darker, fiercer, better, brighter, gooder...

This is what I feel in my bones. My body seems to say there is no hope now, we have done too much. We have shed too much blood. My blood is not mine anymore; it is for Hogan's people, the African slaves, the Japanese soldiers living now in tombs of ocean salt. I took it away from them long ago, before I was born, but not before I could remember.

We are a nation, and we are crying.

November 03, 2009

Life in an Instant

I set my pencil down. Looking around for my notebook, my homework assignment shoved inside, piles of papers, clods of clothes, and bundles of boxes are strewn about, tripping me and obstructing my search. Not on my bedstand, where my bamboo plant casually tilts its head up at me. Not underneath my bed, where a tool bag, photo album, change jar, and box of nail polish great me. Nor underneath the clothes or papers. Not in my backpack, which holds my greasy work uniform from yesterday night.

My eyes gaze high, low, under, and behind, but cannot seem to find it. I am about to turn around when I catch sight of a worn gray corner poking out of the pile of papers on my desk. My eager hands dart forward, and I trip over a box full of Salvation Army donations. Yes, my Creative Nonfiction binder.

I return to my bed. My hand reaches into the folds to grab my pencil, but stops short. Shock freezes my eyes, melts into disappointment, and boils up with aggravation. Now I couldn't find my pencil.

November 02, 2009

Life in an Instant

It was raining. Cold. Windy. The duct tape on my front bumper had been ripped off by the elements of late Michigan fall (or early winter), and I was in the middle of taping it back on, wiping the bumper dry with my hat and applying tape in perpendicular stitches. Stitching up the wound.

A car nudged into the space beside me. An alarm was set off in the back of my mind, and I jerked out of the way, giving a hard look into the driver's side window. An elderly man stared back at me. He looked sorry. I bent down on one knee to commence the delicate operation again. The sky melting against my skin and sliding uncomfortably into the folds of my T-shirt.

My black jacket was dripping. Jeans. Brown shoes. On the pavement, my hands shoved under my wide Oldsmobile Cutlass, oil clinging to the moist pores of my skin, a strange old man watching and staring, people exiting the Rite-Aid in front of me, entering, exiting again--I sighed.

Finally wrapping the tape into a rope and tying the bumper to an underside pipe, I sat back and wiped my hands on my pants. Hopefully, I thought, it'll hold for another four hours...