Saturday, March 26, 2011


The small girl sits by the sea, listening to waves wash up and die down. Smooth round rocks lull her to sleep as she rests in the red and green rust of her bench’s saltwater legs. She dreams of an orange octopus who reaches out of the sea and lightly touches the tips of her fingers with his suction cups. He lures her into the cool water, tears blending with waves as she sinks to the depths of his home. It is safe. The girl buries her face into the curves of his malleable skin, eyes closed tight to the sea. Her swollen thumbs rub incessantly over a single suction cup, trying to recreate the warmth she knew she had once felt. The sea is cold. His skin is smooth. She does not leave.

The small girl wakes to her father’s hand on her shoulder and the cold wind of the evening brushing her thin hair across her cheeks. “Elizabeth,” is all he says to her. The sun was still up when she had drifted off.

The two walk back to the car where her mother is waiting and Elizabeth sits in the backseat. Her mother says nothing. Elizabeth unties her damp shoelaces and wiggles her feet free from the salty sneakers. She lies down across the backseat. Her mother sighs. The engine starts up and her father begins to pull away from the rocky parking lot. Elizabeth is rocked to sleep by the sound of the windshield wipers and of NPR playing quietly from the radio. She dreams again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For Jason: Happy Birthday

In the morning she saw the dew and knew that someone powerful had cried a lot during the night. It was enough to saturate the entire city. She liked the tears of the sad soul. Better than the unfortunate bouts of nausea. Mount Olympus had grown in leaps and bounds and lies and lovers. Sometimes they fucked each other for vindication, fun, or reproduction. Some of the children were eaten. But, exactly like Little Red Riding Hood, stomachs were slit and the consumed leapt free.

A life free from consumption and damnation is always better lived.

Happy Birthday.

I love you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

When I Thought She Was He: Preface

The party was relatively successful though my outfit was not. Regardless of how I stood or moved my breasts would not stay in the dress. Nudity was not what I’d intended on giving my peers for a graduation present, I would’ve bought higher heels and possibly installed a pole. Elizabeth, my roommate and best friend had the brilliant idea of hosting the party. Clearly she was better at throwing parties than choosing my outfit.
I tugged it up again; it still refused to cover both my chest and ass at the same time. I bit my lip, took a step back into the shadow of our bookcase to try and adjust it again. Maybe that time I could find a way to stretch it out over my skin in such a way that would hold. It slunk back to its original tiny shape. A force stronger than my own wants me naked. I blame gravity, a persistent, maniacal pervert. I stood up tall, it shrunk down my chest another inch, and eased up my thigh another two. Hands on hips, as dignified as I could fake, I stepped out from behind the shadows of the bookcase, and grabbed my wine from the table full of alcohol directly in front of me. 
I found it counterproductive that I’d worked so hard on an education, while simultaneously destroying my brain cells, though frankly it was that or shoot myself. I’ve survived college but my degree would have to defend itself against copious amounts of retard inducing drink and drugs to be the slightest bit beneficial. I smiled, cheers to that, and raised my glass to my lips. A guy I didn’t know, and didn’t want to, stepped back from his group of friends in a boisterous laugh almost hitting me. I feel old; there are too many damn people in here. 
There were over eighty people crammed into our two bedroom apartment. They reminded me of well dressed sheep in a corral, confused and a little nervous. I’m claustrophobic, and in an effort to breathe fresh, non recycled air I’d retreated to this corner, living vicariously through everyone else. As the room continued to fill up, more and more people were in my breathing space and I was starting to consider opening the window and retreating to the fire escape. I didn’t need to be actively in the party, I was content watching from afar. Real life was better than the movies. Tonight was full of sex. 
The body language, the inappropriate accidental hand placements, all reminded me of the beginning of a frat house date rape scene, of the beginning of a really awkward porno. I kept thinking that any minute after they finished one more glass, someone was going to break out a game of “naughty touch” and it would all be down hill from there. Instead though everyone just kept up their lame pick up lines that all started with how successful they were going to be now that they had finally graduated. 
Everyone seemed so certain of where they were going to be in ten years. They talked about everything so surely, held up their drinks, breaking into explosive laughter as they talked about their futures. The more I listened to their conversations the more certain I became that I had no idea at all what I wanted to do. Why couldn’t I aspire to something simple, yet profitable like stripping? As I tried to picture what I would look like as a busty blonde, one magically appeared next to me.
Words were fired at me in an un-natural pitch. 
“I can’t believe we’re finished for now”, beamed a petite box blonde to my left. I am not a very tall girl, but I had to look straight down to see her. The top of her head was almost a foot below mine; her brown roots were not hidden well on the top of her unusually round basket ball head. I recognized her as a classmate of my roommate Elizabeth. This girl was high on life, which was more obnoxious than if she had shot up before my party. She scared me; her smile literally went from ear to ear, like her teeth were eating her face. I shot a courtesy smile down to her, and after a moment locking eyes I felt forced to say something. 
“Any big plans?” I asked, assuming that like everyone else here she’d planned everything. I was ready to spend the next two hours listening to her tell me the biblical names she’s chosen for her litter. I sighed, and focused on a distraction. 
My wine glass was suddenly interesting and I held it up to inspect it. Wine isn’t usually my choice party drink, but the Italian red in my hand was delicious, a graduation gift from an ex boyfriend who lives in Milan. I swirled the glass, the liquid stained the walls of the crystal momentarily before melting down the sides to join the crimson pool in the bottom. It was like a bathtub murder scene, I pictured the girls basket ball head floating in it. 
Her voice grew louder, “Plans?! No, not any super set plans, well, not really.” That was a bit of a surprise, and then she continued with, “I was accepted into a Master’s program at Loyola in Maryland, I’m really, super excited!”
Unable to control myself I turned towards her copying her tone, and enthusiasm, “Really? That’s super!” I gushed, and then dropped to my normal tone, trying to remember my manners, “you were accepted into their M.A. program? That’s great, congrats”. I started thinking that it would be a good experience for her to move out of Utah, water down the population of her kind in my city, but then again, she would probably freak out and move back when she realized that people swear and fornicate and so on in other states. “Are you nervous” I asked, “or do you have friends or family in Maryland?” 
I looked around the room while I waited for her answer; it was hard to focus with so much going on. I met eyes with Andrew, a boy who was in the Sociology department with me across the room. He was poised against a wall with drink in hand, horse-shoed by half a dozen girls who were talking so fast that they looked like rabbits eating grass. He was gorgeous, and I had a crush on him which gave me every reason to ignore him as much as possible. I could hear his accent from across the room, the English accent which was hypnotic to everyone else annoyed me because it was attractive. That stupid accent is why all of those girls were clustered around him. He raised his glass to me, I frowned and tried to look like I didn’t notice, pretend I was concentrating on the box blonde next to me who was still filling my ears with prattle. 
“So yeah I’m kinda nervous” she went on, “but not really. AND!” she became extra excited, “Elizabeth received her acceptance letter today!” she squealed. I turned to her quickly surprised,
“Pardon? Elizabeth who?” I asked, “the Elizabeth who lives here”? 
“Yeah” she laughed, “your roommate. I saw her mother this morning while I was shopping and she told me. I’m super excited! I mean, we’re not close friends but she seems like so much fun! I mean, just look at this place, this party is amazing, and I can’t believe this is your college apartment! I’m so jealous! Where did you find all of the incredible artwork?!” I couldn’t concentrate on the artwork. I didn’t give a fuck. My eyes started darting. 
I stared out past her head over the crowd. Elizabeth was my last friend still residing in Salt Lake City, everyone else had already moved. She had been accepted to a school on the other side of the country, and hadn’t told me? Seriously?! The room buzzed around me, people were talking in frequencies that were inaudible, like a hive of pissed off bees. I felt like everyone was staring at me, like they knew I was about to freak out. I took a deep breathe. I was going to be here alone? The pending isolation was over-whelming and I could feel my heart speed up. I snapped out of it and realized the box blonde was waiting for me to answer her about the paintings. 
“The paintings?” I don’t care about the fucking paintings! “I’m glad you like them; they were done by a good friend. If you don’t mind I’m going to excuse myself for a minute, I just remembered something”. I had to get away from her, and out of there. Where in the hell was Elizabeth?!
I gagged a little as I headed through the crowd to find her, which only took a moment after-all she’s a striking beauty, tall, with a perfect hour glass figure, long wavy brown hair, huge green, almond shaped eyes, a full mauve mouth, and brilliant white teeth that she flashed every time she smiled. Elizabeth stood across the room clinging to the liquor bar, and a small cluster of men. Because she was beautiful, and intelligent she attracted the opposite sex like light attracts moths. I recognized half of the men around her, they’d been accepted to Ivy League graduate programs, but were in every stereotypical way, nerds. She seemed entertained by the conversation, throwing her head back and laughing as they gawked at her, trying so hard to impress her panties off. I walked over to her and it took but a second for her to see me. 
Elizabeth turned and put her arm around me, shooting a huge smile, “Beeellaaa! My favorite! I love you!”she kissed my cheek. She smelled like a vat of vodka. 
I smiled kissing her back.
“How drunk are you exactly?” I asked, “Recite Dante’s Paradise Lost!”
“Actually, Milton wrote Paradise Lost you asshole…I’m not that drunk”. She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows to say, “Nice try, but I am too smart for that”. An English major can be tested for toxicity with literature, and tortured by delivering boxes of trashy love novels all featuring Fabio on the cover, to their bedroom doors, which I have a bad habit of doing. That, and starting debates that would drive her mad, “Yes, yes well I like Milton more than Dante; he makes the devil seem so charming, shakes Christianity up a bit by giving good old Lucipher the P.R. that he deserves. He’s far more sensible than God and his broken dreams of impossible Utopia. Voltaire could have learned from that”. 
“Paradise Lost is a piece of literature about a profound moment in a philosophical text that has shaped and changed mankind”. 
“I see. Will that be your thesis at Loyola?” I smiled raising my eyebrows. She cocked her head, her eyes wide.
“Wait…what? How did you know!?” She asked, seemingly uncomfortable. 
“A box-blonde told me, who was told by your very proud, gossipy mum.” 
“Awe fuck! I’m sorry I hadn’t been the one to tell you...” she looked sad. 
“Oh stop that it doesn’t matter. I’m happy for you! Seriously!” And I was, while simultaneously feeling really sorry for myself. 
A huge smile broke across her face.
“I just didn’t want you to have to stress about it, I was going to make you breakfast tomorrow and tell you.” 
I made a scared face, “Ah-ha, I see, I see, so you were going to poison me in order to give me the news. How thoughtful of you. When will you be leaving for Maryland?” 
She let out a huge sigh, and her face lost its glow. 
“Uh….next week. My father has already found me a summer job in Baltimore, I have to start next week. It’s probably good, it will get me acclimated before school starts in the fall.” 
I smiled, nodded, and gave her a hug. 
“We’ll still talk, and I’ll visit, and you never know, maybe I’ll apply to the same school or one in the area for next year”. 
“I wish you already had. . . "
“Meh, you know me, I’m an indecisive person. I still don’t know what I want to do, I’m going to travel and mess about for a while before I make any long term commitments.” 
She leaned in closer to me, “Yeah because you are generally afraid of commitment. It’s why you won’t date, and it’s why you changed your major four times in college despite knowing what you were going to do the entire time. One of these days you will stop being so you about everything. “ 
I waved her off, “Perhaps, perhaps. Apparently you’re taking me to breakfast in the morning, so we can talk about it then. I’ll leave you to your…those.” And I pointed to the guys who hadn’t left Elizabeth’s side. She smiled, “and you go back to your wine and observations, don’t think I’m not watching you take mental notes on everyone…creep!”
I winked, nodded “no” to them. “Gentlemen, continue your hunt, good luck,” I laughed. 
“Cooome oon staaaay” they whined in a drunken chorus. 
“Oooh no, I wouldn’t want to ruin the fun, I’d give away the ending. I am sure you prefer your high hopes and perseverance.” Jillian burst out laughing at this, looking at them and rolling her eyes. I smiled to her and walked towards the kitchen. 
I fell through the double, bar style doors of the kitchen to be alone, to make another drink though I didn’t need it. Regardless of how much I loved spending time alone I wasn’t ready for this. In two weeks everything was going to change. I found the alcohol and hoped that I could maybe force myself to postpone thinking about it for the rest of the night. 

Two shots of tequila and a vodka tonic later I wandered back to the same corner as before, watching the crowd again. They were far less amusing, because now I was in a state of reflection. The four close friends I’d had growing up were the only people I could really relate to, and in two weeks the last of them was moving away. How is it that in a city full of people, in a room full of people, I feel completely alone? I knew that the next year was going to be different, although at the time I had no way of knowing just how weird things could get. In fact, in reflection, it’s nearly unbelievable. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Foraging beneath that layer of dark"

Foraging beneath that layer of dark
mysterious leaves my life has become
for me, an unrecognizable series
of encounters, places, dutiful acts
—a question, mainly, of scheduling—i find
the rich soil of my own imagination,
the mulch of my refusal, my Bartleby-
face, a kind of pitiful liberty
staring obliquely back at me
and wonder if others are able to see
the ironic smile that some priest or other, some
secular undertaker perhaps, had thought
to have buried forever,
                                    torn asunder.


Foraging by Lee Foust

Monday, March 14, 2011

In the world of humans, disregarding race, religion, and ethnicity, there are only two types of people: the followers and the leaders. The reality of a leader's drive is ego, the general notion that they are meant for something bigger. The followers lack this initial urge and do not have the capacity to overcome adversity. They fumble along, chewing their cud, happy for no apparent reason, in blissful ignorance. Is one better than the other? No, we wolves need to eat fattened cattle.