21 tagged with #summer

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and the miles keep sliding by


i am an arrow shot into the space between the earth and the sky.

words pass me in a blur. taken out of context, they stand surreal: a billboard for "BUTT DRUGS", a van reading "NO CRACKS ALLOWED", a bait and tackle shop called "HAPPY HOOKERS". at times i have to blink away the sand that whirls through the air and sneaks under my helmet, and the words rapidly fade from memory. i recite them in my head to keep them fixed.

riding on the interstate is a high-stakes game of sokoban. cars respond to my gentle pressure; i evaluate every single one of them and decide which ones i would rather ride near, slowly reshuffling the ordering by nudging people up and down the line. by the time i've arranged those rectangles to my liking, some of them have peeled off and others have arrived, and i have to start over. it keeps me from getting bored.

my drawl comes back so fast when i dip a few hundred miles south. my vowels round out as i push west. i didn't think i had an accent until i heard it coming out of my mouth. when i cross the line into the state that contains my childhood, i instantly burst into tears, and then stop just as quickly as my sight rapidly blurs over.

a large orange blur pierces the left side of my vision as i lean into the exit ramp. a car slams on its brakes too late; a young doe cartwheels through the air in several pieces, trailed by glass and plastic. we all stop to look. some of us move on, seeing that others are taking care of each other.

i glance at near-empty motel lots and apply judgement granted to me from a lifetime of watching movies with scenes that happen in near-empty motel lots. the doorbell next to the office summons first the anxious terrier, and then the lady in a terrycloth bathrobe. i wonder if i interrupted her from putting curlers in her hair. she trades me a room key on a large plastic paddle for my successful completion of a registration card, and cannot accept money from me until she opens the restaurant in the morning.

the next day, when i am hundreds of miles away, i realize i left an item behind. she agrees to mail it to me, along with a handwritten post-it requesting seven dollars and forty-nine cents in return.

a cloud of mosquitoes descend as i struggle to turn around on a small gravel road. the tires slip under me; i know that if i lose my grip here, no one will help me.

the sky collapses rapidly around me, folding over the road and curling tightly around my body. each passing truck sends a wave overhead, like diving blindly through the sprinklers as a kid. ahead, a high bridge vanishes into grey, spanning across mud. sand piles on either side. a cloud machine looms on the horizon. the creek laps at the shoulders. a fawn stumbles blearily out of the weeds.

the weather clears, and the road unrolls before me like the slow-motion breath of the planet. i try to breathe in sync, but soon have to pant to recover.

i am an arrow shot into the space between the earth and the sky, and i still know how to come home.

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04 July 2019 22:47


today


look, i tell myself. sometimes, you oughta just trust your body a tiny bit more.

i'm piloting this vessel through space and time, and i'm coming through a long period of not believing that it's working. but still, every day i wake up and breathe and eat and move and go and then go back to sleep, so, clearly, something is working.

it's pouring rain out, so loudly i can't hear myself type because i have all the windows open. i left the bonsai on the roof because i'm teaching it to be an outdoors plant; it reaches upwards to the full-grown, mature black locust in the yard, and i entertain the thought that they're communicating. but on stormy days, i wonder if it's a bad idea to leave this tiny tree whose fresh leaves are only just budding, stems that are tinier than the fingertip-sized raindrops slamming into the tarpaper around it, and i wonder if i've made a mistake.

i'm always wondering if i've made a mistake. but i keep telling myself, either all of this was a mistake, or none of it is a mistake. which interpretation makes it possible for me to survive?

cleaning the pocket studio feels like a losing battle. i have too many projects open right now, i say in an excuse to myself. but then i say, that's bullshit, i only really have one project that just happens to need all this space. but then i say, that's bullshit, because i can look at this to-do list that's nineteen items long and growing faster than i can cross things off.

next week. next week, i shove some collection of these objects into containers that i will strap to my motorcycle and hurl myself into the woods, across the plains, at the mountains. next week, i tell myself, after a week away from this, i will be able to move again.

i'm always saying that. i always come back to this. nothing changes. everything changes. either nothing's changing or everything's changing.

we are never truly standing still when we are hurtling through space in circles.

the rain's stopping already.

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23 May 2019 22:01


ants in my pants


it's literal. inexplicably, my desk crawls with confused ants. there is no food in this room, but perhaps they fell onto the roof and crawled in through the window. they tickle while they explore my arms and legs, sometimes pausing to reach up towards me as if i could provide them answers.

at a previous residence, the long windowsill near my desk was the site of an annual territory war, two different species of ants fighting for control over the ivy plant that drilled into the brickwork. it never bothered me, because the winners always cleaned up the bodies of the lowers, dragging empty husks into their own nests to feed their young. for three days, i'd just vacate the room, because the sounds of their jaws snapping at each other all day proved too distracting for me to work near.

sometimes, i can't tell if my skin is tingling because cracks are starting to open up in this dry spell, or because an ant is asking me for advice. i only have to be careful that i don't mash them under my laptop keys; they seek the warmth, i suppose, or the sweet smell of thermal paste, or the dead skin cells packed into the cracks.

my hair itches.

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08 July 2018 22:44


glimpses


a dog barks from inside the house as i walk past. the dog is dark, the room is dark; all i see are flashes of bright teeth against the glare of the windows. the sounds come contained in a small space, reverberating off thin panes. i imagine hot breath.

i watched the ups man come up the walkway, his shirt translucent as it stretched across his back, soaked several times over with sweat.

i can't wait for this cool break in the weather. it won't last.

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06 July 2018 22:38


to sweat


i dump red chili flakes liberally into hot oil, pushing it around so the smoke burns my eyes. i fill it with chicken powder, mashing it into a paste so i can crack my eggs into it and stir green beans and cold rice into the mush.

my body doesn't sweat well, so i force it to by pressing this mass against the roof of my mouth. and then once i sweat, i crave the salts, so i lick carmelized soy sauce and dehydrated chicken and MSG from the spoon, which makes me so thirty i drink two pints of water in three breaths.

this is the price i pay for being a mammal.

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02 July 2018 23:00


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