blog, poem

Bedroom

I want to stand in awe of you.

I want to point my lens and linger over the shutter with a boyish hesitation that leads only to a grin. The snow is heavy and falling in a gentle way. Like snow in a book. A blinking skyscraper radio antenna sets the cadence of the night outside. It is dreary cold, but we are warm and tangled.

Behind your bed, the wall collapses into a nook that runs the length of your body.  Cuddled into it, your body silhouettes, and I want to snap the shutter. Click.  The chilly air is humming against the window pane behind you, and beneath your feet falls twenty stories suspended by sand and steel. It is quiet. The city is still as the flakes gather on the dampened cement below. Down below, a taxi cab slides across the icy tar like a stick of butter on warm porcelain.

The red light blinks through the foggy glass. Blink. Blink. Like a toddler gazing upon a zoo-kept python, you press your nose against the pane and peer into the night. You are in awe, and me too. I want to tame your lion hair. It is a mane neglected, a worn trophy of the love made, a lazy fluff. Blink. The red light spreads opaque through the dewy cloud gathered on the glass.

In your bed I stretch my sleepy legs. They are sore from the run. In your bed I roll onto the heavy quilt and stare into the ceiling, like Galileo, like a child on an empty hill beneath the sky. Your bedroom is mine. You are mine. You are mine for now, and for ever, as a jumbled blotch of words and colors. The photos burned onto the frame are lesser than the ones in my head, the ones I want to form into words, into pages in a book. The snow falls like a story, and through the powdered haze, a distant red light flashes. Like shipwreck.

You are nestled in your window island, terribly far away. Terribly far away.

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blog

Ouroboros

When speaking to anyone, you must assume one of two things: the first is that their mother is dying, and the second is that they just made hot love.

When you assume these things, you will notice that is impossible to complain. I think we are being violent to our friends when we complain about anything to them, and even more so when we choose to be negative to those with whom we are less familiar.

Before you speak to your friends, consider the idea that their mother is dying.

Entertain this thought. Try to imagine what is living in their heart. Try to imagine tying your shoes in the morning, and losing the bunny knot, and erupting, because your mother, your mom, the one that taught you how to eat with a spoon, is not going to be around much longer. And you’ve known this for a while. It makes tying the bunny knot feel like an impossible task.

But you must tie your shoes, and make your coffee, and catch the bus, and go. So you push. And soon you receive a text saying:

“ugh, forgot my fucking lunch at home. kill me”

You bite your tongue. They don’t know, you think, don’t say anything. So you respond:

“mondays”

Such a fleeting, everyday, offhand and hyperbolized and unimportant comment. You know this, and yet somehow you feel worse. Your mother is dying, and kill me sticks to the gray tar lingering on your mind.

When you consider this, you will no longer want to yell at your friends. You will no longer want to complain about your exams, the traffic, the rain, the money on your credit card. You will likely not want to talk at all. You will see the weight they carry and try your best not to add to it.

What I’ve learned is that, no matter what, someone’s mother is dying, and most of the time they won’t tell you.

So you must assume.

You must also assume, in the fortunate event that their mother is in good shape, that your friend just made hot love. Today, he is quite jubilant, and is likely having one of those glowing, hopscotch, blue jay kind of mornings. Smiles and quick steps and holding doors.

You notice their bright yellow mood and squint your eyes through a mix of envy and disdain. How dare you prance about? My car broke down this morning, you sick fuck.

Like with a dying mother, this sick fuck is likely not going to tell you that he just got mega laid, either.

So you must assume.

And when you do this, you will again notice that the last thing that sick fuck wants to hear about is your shitty car battery. This is because his endorphins are raging through the roof on account of all the sweet, savory, sexy, sex he did this morning.

Soon, on account of all the complaining you haven’t been doing, you yourself will begin to notice the blue jays, the rain, the money on your credit card, your aging mother. You will see that you are desperately not unique in the face of a dying car battery. You will see that violence and death are indiscriminate, that traffic is an orgy, that you are now the one giving the exams.

You will see that all this, too, will happen to you (even the hot love).

And so, quite frankly, you shut the fuck up, make your coffee, and go.

It’s Monday.

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blog

Musings

I’m a sucker for striped shirts and empty white hair.

There’s something strangely human about opening the door of your home and knowing if someone else is there. You know before they speak, or turn the faucet, or close the underwear drawer. As if they left their presence on the threshold.

All of us have friends who are mad at us. They get mad the moment we start to do what we want and cease to do what they want. Ultimately, it’s a matter of possession. We want to own our loved ones the same way we own our favorite jeans. We confuse what ‘trustworthy’ is; i.e. it is the jeans that are always there for you.

There is a girl who stands taller than she really is. It’s because she talks about bigger things. She orders an Apricot Blonde and her voice gets loud when the conversation becomes about dreams. About ambitions. People are surprised to learn she isn’t six feet. She acts like it, though, and it reminds me of the word ‘monumental’.

“Everybody’s crazy.  Nobody makes sense,” she says.

I don’t know how they did it, but Zeppelin found the human spirit and plastered it on a vinyl saucer.

The reason I run so much is because of a lady at a race. She held up a sign that said ‘One day, you will not be able to do this.‘ I think the same goes for coloring your hair and going on dates and drinking liquor in swimming pools. I feel like there’s not enough time. It makes me think about the word ‘urgency’.

Plump, red grapes are Earth’s way of saying ‘you deserve this.’  They remind me of globes.

The reason everything is such a mess is because:

a) we think we are right, or
b) we are okay with being wrong.

My roommate and I scrubbed our shower before I left for the summer. He said “you can’t clean anything without getting something else dirty.” This thought has haunted me since.

Remember that nobody is ever impressed by how much you hate something.

Sometimes Monday morning feels like throwing a party when you’re hungover. I imagine this is what the first ten years of having kids is like.

There is a tangible energy abuzz in the air of a night when seemingly everyone else is doing something, together, and you are witnessing it from afar, alone. Fridays and New Year’s Eve are notorious for providing this nagging sensation.

Sometimes you can just think of someone’s gigantic laugh and turn yourself hysterical. I encourage you to try. This is especially fun in places where tension thrives, like a room in the library or the DMV. You start giggling and it draws the glances of the miserable, which only elevates the stress, wheeling the hilarity round and round like a hurricane.

I think all things melancholy are born on Saturday afternoons.

Few skills are more magnetic than knowing how to tell a good story. Along the same lines, saying someone’s first name, mid-sentence, when the conversation is thick with good thoughts, is wildly arousing.

One of the best ways to ease your mother’s mind is to take good care of yourself. When you are doing well, and you are healthy, and you are happy, it is the same as saying “I love you, too.”

The best part of taking photos is that in the moment, everything is unexciting, and routine, and nothing is special. Yet, when you look again, years later, when sprawled across the carpet, real magic appears. A photographer is like an angel from your future who paints a life your memory forgot.

I have all these photos of the people I love. I like looking at them, and I like looking at you.

I wanna look at you again.

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blog, editorial

Twenty-Six and Two

I run because of Key Lime yogurt.

I run because the world is loud.

I run because I can’t always be honest.

I like the way that running breaks the calloused mind. I like talking with the truth: the little voice hiding underneath the fluff of the everyday static. I like digging for the clarity. I’ve gone to running when stuck between the most difficult choices of my life. I like the way running always makes the harder choice.

I think running is preparing me, in some way, for the death of my mother.

I run because I’m a terribly average runner, with all due respect.

I run because its glamour is measured in streaks of salt across flushed cheeks and sore knees.

I like the way running is not an escape. I like the way running makes everything else feel like an escape.

I run because it’s sexy and raw and unkempt and in a mess.

I like that everywhere is somewhere to run. I like that I don’t have to pay anyone to go outside. I like running over crosswalks and under bridges and through the city wind.

I run because race bibs make me look stupid. I always think my bib is ten times bigger than everyone else’s, and that it’s slightly crooked, and that the safety pins will make permanent runs in the polyester.  I’m never right.

I like feeling light. I like the way a skeleton can stretch. I like gliding around downtown and putting music on. I like sweaty socks and bitter breath and watching it all pass by.

I run because running is a parasite. I run because it bites back. I think we all need something to shove. We crave the fight. I like running because it picks on me. I like the way a bad race can ruin a week. I like the motivation that haunts defeat.

I like that running is never enough: that it keeps me thirsty.

I like the way running makes water taste so goddam good.

I like running because I’m clumsy and lanky and have always been the ‘kid in glasses.’ I like that it’s real hard to run in glasses.

I run because we sit down too much. Because we eat poison. Because it fills the lungs with air, clearing the smoke. I like the way the body glows, afterwards, like heroin, or making love. I like when I finally catch my breath.

I run because of short shorts and tanned thighs and naked collarbones. I run because it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself for ten miles. I like running because runners are happy (because it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself for ten miles). I like runners because they’re happy (and they’re the kind of people you want to be). I like runners because they’re happy (and happiness is hot).

I run because it’s hard and good and relentless.

I like collapsing into bed. I like earning it. I like studying my splits and searching for hills and chipping off the seconds. I like the way running makes the seconds matter. I like eating bananas. I like pushing around the thick in my calves. I like thinking about running all day. I like being obsessed.

I like closing my eyes to the sting of sweat. I like opening my eyes and seeing purple flowers. I like the hellish infinity of a long, straight road. I like exhaling it out.

I like the way they look at all of us when we run together. I like the high fives from the dog-walkers. I like the couples holding hands. I like the city folk. I like their rubber necks.

I run because I can feel it all over.

I like the way it feels all over.

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Thought-Mush

I’m thoroughly convinced that if we could extract a human specimen from the year 1739, a real Post-Renaissancey type bastard, and blindfold him, and place him in the center of Times Square, and spin him around like a child before a dangling piñata, and give him a real quick debriefing consisting simply of “hey bro, welcome to the future”, and quickly untie the knot, and yank that old handkerchief from his gangly and ill-kempt mug, and yell “tada!” like all facetiously and shit, and strike a real good thespian pose full of bent knees and irony, and beam a fat row of shinies at our poor old subject, our left hand out, grazing a chilly New York breeze, well…

Well I simply think that mother fucker would explode.

I think that the sheer shock of our world would send his old gulliver into oblivion, like an uncut potato in a microwave set on HIGH. A few seconds would pass, and the jester in tights would gaze around, mouth open like a great collapsed dam, drool gushing out in pure astonishment of the sights and sounds and suits and suites of La Manzana Grande, and a fantastic hemorrhage would split between his ears, faster than the lightbeams that Einstein spent years dreaming about riding, and the sheer lack of horses and carriages, and the sheer abundance of TAXI 777-7777’s in their wake, would simply send his Latiny-Smatiny brain right through his pantaloons, and the godsent stinky-faced mother fucker would instantly collapse, like a black hole, like The Witch-King of Angmar, like a timelapse of crumpling tin foil set to 1000x speed, you know, like, real real quick. And suddenly that bloke would be inverted onto himself, and we’d still be standing there all hat-and-cane, wide-eyed like the sold-out audience of a legendary comic, right before the punchline, almost ready to squeeze out a roaring HAHAHA even if the joke ain’t funny, even if the next line isn’t the end of the joke. We’d be there, goddamn, just hollering at that poor old soul, our trustee abductee, who simply couldn’t handle, or even fathom, or even understand, the chaos that is our everyday.

Anyway. I think about shit like that a lot. Like, how nuts this fucking world is.

I like girls. I just goddam love girls. I love women. I just love women to death. I really do. I love kissing women and I love looking at a real pretty girl that knows she’s pretty, and I love smiling at a real pretty girl that doesn’t know she’s goddam gorgeous like Aphrodite, and I love dancing with a silly ole eccentric kind of chick, out dancing at the pub, just grooving like a big beautiful fool, her curls bouncing around like a company of cake-and-soda nine year olds at a birthday party, in a jumping balloon, shooting around like springs, for hours and hours. Her hair is bouncing everywhere, and she’s jumping around all silly to the sound of like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons themselves, and I’m just trying to stay out of the way of her noodle hair that has vigorously taken over the dance floor, and the entire bar, and is now flowing out onto the damp roads of midnight, over the whole city, stretching as far as love can take you, and even further, ’till it’s just me and that hair, dancing around to good falsetto tunes of greasy-haired men and the smell of mediocre gin.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just lose everything you have.

That it would be more relieving than anything, at least after a couple of days. You could find a place to run some hot water into a yellowed-up tub, in a Motel 8 or Hacienda somewhere off a highway, and you could lay there in that godlike hot water and just crack a big ole smile, and start laughing like a fucking madman, like a mad clown, at the trivial nature of owning things. You hear stories of folks who like, lose their entire estate to a fire, and a couple of months down the road they say something heroic like “I’ve never been happier! I have my health, my thoughts and my dog, and that’s all a man really needs anyway!” and a part of you wants to hold a real big bony middle finger up to that plastic smile on the TV set, and curse him for being so typical, just so cliché in the face of his tragedy, but another part of you is just damn jealous that this guy could take his life anywhere, jump on a train and head for the hills, for a city built in the clouds, for Atlantis, for Rapture, just pack up his dog and his thoughts and his memories into a duffle and live in the alley of Nowhere, USA, and you’re stuck with your satanically sharp set of cutting knives, and your discount recliner, and your thread counts and your iComforts, and suddenly you wonder what IS the boiling point of my life? and you semi-erotically, semi-thermodynamically, start to fantasize about your house going up in flames. You crave a good hot bath.

I like to look around at everyone. Sit in the coffee shop and look at every funny face that passes by and makes noise.

I’ve got sensitive nipples that get real hard in the cold, when I exercise, or when I’m vehement, like when a girl sits down quietly and recites her story about being raped to me, then finishes with “I’ve never told anyone else in my life before,” and I start breathing heavy through my nostrils, looking at my lap, and there they are, the nipples, hard as a rock, hard as her past, hard as those bloody visions of vaginal injustice, sticking out through the fabric of my shirt. My nipples also tend to become chaffed when I run, but only the right one, and only when I run real far, and but did you hear that people are still being raped?????

???????

I’ve got a cynic that’s buried in a vision of a better world and a happy life and a default setting that requires me to be nice to fucking everyone I know, even the folks that don’t deserve it, even the ones that have broken me into a million little ants of my former self, ready to rebuild the colony after a real big flood (that’s actually just a curious, yet criminal, nine-year old with a garden hose), but I’ve never been raped, but I was a shaken baby, and god damn it I thought I never would write that down, and now I feel that sudden rush to the heart, to the nose, to the eyes, right before you kinda cry and lose your shit, out of nowhere, but I can’t because I’m in a coffee shop and a sad song is playing, and I’m wearing a pink shirt, and that shit would be too good for anyone watching, headlines read LOCAL EFFEMINATE BOY TEARY IN STARBUCKS, SAM SMITH ON RADIO, but I spent my first Christmas in the hospital, tubes sucking goo and pressure from my skull, needles the size of number 2 pencils gauged into my brain, like The Matrix, pulling the trauma of the shaking and my jelly-like brain right out of me, leaving scars and dents of events I’ll never remember, that I never knew happened, if it weren’t for those scars, and those photographs, and statistically speaking I should be dead, or mentally dead, but yet here I am, and here we are, and I’ve never really told many people that before, and ain’t that just something?????????

I’m going to take a bath to Paul Simon’s Peace Like a River and imagine the love of my life.

~

I know that a lot of folks read The Leaky Faucet. I really, really, cannot thank you enough. Every time one of you comes out of the woodwork and lets me know…well, that’s magic. So if you could do me a favor, my dear reader, and reveal yourself, publicly or otherwise, if you got to the end of this piece, to where we are now. And just tell me your favorite color, just so I know you’re there, that you’re a face in the dark rows of velvet seats, invisible to the bright lights of the stage that is this space.

Just tell me your favorite color.

Grazie mille.

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