I remember living sometimes, when it’s spring and the ground is stirring. I remember people—their footsteps hard against the packed earth. I remember mornings of flower blossoms and seeing girls out in their summer clothes, just slightly too soon. This is life: a fleeting progression from youth to age, just slightly too soon. It’s all we have. And yet, and yet…
It’s not that I wish for more. I abhor the slow track. Spring is the dying time in my mind. It is the heartbreaking loneliness. It is the bitterness of retreat. But that’s not true: what I’m picturing is protracted winter, instead. Like the winters when my parents left me. The ones that meandered into April and then May. Continue reading
If you were given the invention of time, then all the clocks would turn to lead and you’d seat yourself among the stars shining like so many atoms misfiring in the moment of creation. If you had the time there would be none. Because frankly the forward press of events frightens you. How much better to knot time into a net and catch moments like so many fishes—only to cast them back to sea. You’d leave yourself only the potential world which is ceaseless and unchanging, bending under the weight of moments that maybe were, but will never be.
You know time isn’t linear, anyway. It is but mostly linear. Things have a tendency to pile up in it: accumulating like so many obstacles at the end of the course. In the crystalline structure of the immaculate world, such things would not be allowed. But we are here: living in a world so stretched at the seams you can practically stick your finger through them. You can see the eyes beyond using them as peepholes: watching from fairer pasture, concerned with whether you’re rationing your moments efficiently.
Sometimes you wish they’d mind their own business.
Oh, but they are. And you are their business. And there’s no way to escape that when you’re only going one way. Clearly, your performance would be much improved with the addition of “reverse.” But that would write away the universe and the spaces and the pockets of it. So that wouldn’t work.
But they still can’t keep you from trying.
The view from a home I used to know.
I almost can’t wait for another swollen summer. I can’t wait for the blistering, sweltering heat. How it forces its way under your skin and holds you hostage inside strip malls and other suburban purgatories, lured in by the lewdest of the lewd: that seductive wet whirrrr of air conditioning. I couldn’t keep one in my bedroom, what with the fire escape. So at night I’d crawl out onto the hot metal grating to meditate on the blank New Jersey sky, able to pretend that the barest breath of a breeze was refreshing.
I’d curse the night: roiling but empty with a haze of too many lights from airport landing strips and sterile office buildings, formica kitchen counters and caustic railroad stations. And burned into my memory is that night, years ago now, when we hooligans poured onto the streets and I was that girl with the dragon shirt: dancing red green and gold over the swamp-lit streets. And it seemed to me that the earth was as blank as that cloudless sky, even with the streets so filled with the half-feral youth of a mile-wide town.
That’s far away now. My mind overwritten with other summers, other longings. And yet, and yet. There are constants in the meadowlands. I miss how each day the lush trees would grow more and more jaded to the sweating masses underfoot and the morse code of fireflies as they call to each other in the night. I miss the honeysuckle outside my window: climbing up the bricks of a childhood that I no longer own.
Title stolen, with apologies, from The Bravery who were a big deal for about five minutes when I was fifteen.