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everything in its [right] place.

flat on the carpet, camera flashes outside, and i'm pressured. to live up to standards. to be the eternal optimist. to find the refugee.

wishing i was pressured to feel something.

we've all been lied to. that will surely make you feel something.

brief recovery and then more climbing of mountains; finally seeing over the top, being scared as hell of the fall, but not giving a damn. someone take my picture as i take the plunge.

what is right is subjective, and no one else would understand.

how and what now

i threw a stone today. for you. because of you. right into lake michigan. i'd scoop up the whole shoreline for you, because of you, and heave it as far as i could.

the sound it made was far away. like you. physically, emotionally, whatever. and i just stood there. staring blankly. lips paralyzed. i didn't know what to do next.

you looked the other way. just this one time, not this whole time. just this once, when i was vulnerable. raw. exposed. already burnt and now laying in a fiery blaze.

a second choice. an afterthought. a segway. i'm throwing stones now. put me in a glass house.

Funeral for a Friend

Funeral for a friend and it's left us all fragile.  Not that we weren't fragile to begin with, but even more so now that the reminder has come, predicting all of our futures but with indefinite time frames.  The tears build for someone hardly known, but someone whose life has shaken so many as to fill a room for 7 consecutive hours.  Not to mention the others who were not brave enough to face the sad faces and life's one certainty.

What is the purpose?  Certainly without death, life would not exist.  The absence of one is not necessarily equivalent to the other, but if we went on forever, we would never appreciate.  However, we still don't; I live every day with the promise of another.  But what I tend to forget is that there are no promises to be kept, no guarantees.  And just when you think there are, these things happen to remind us of a necessary doubt.  

Lost for words; my body is not void of water, but refuses to release it.  There is not satisfaction without release.  Since when am I so unable to express my feelings?  I've been through this; I've been the giver and receiver of comfort.  And I'm not sure if the process of giving comfort makes me choke because it reminds me of the comfort I once received when I was experiencing the pulling of the carpet out from underneath me: a feeling like having the wind knocked out of you in the middle of a desert -- no water to be found, and empty lungs.

I don't remember things anymore.  Not just simple facts, but events, faces, quotes, expressions.  The encoding capabilities of my memory have been tampered with, and I have a feeling that it happened years ago.  My brain processes the pain in the present, and dismisses the experiences and its contents as futile, or maybe rejects it as potentially dangerous.

There is a clock in my body keeping track of the synchrony of the calendar and past events.  And every year around this time, the alarm goes off and my mind shuts down.  My eyes well up with no release, and I remember the fourth of july: the rear van doors open, my legs hanging off the back of the bumper, the smell of my dad's cigarettes, the lawn chairs, the fireworks, my little cousin (at the time only 10) afraid of the finale, the crisp sound of soda cans opening, the zebra pillows, mosquitos, ashes...and everything was fine.  I was guaranteed a brother, a mother, and a father.  My concerns were mere questions of which boy liked me, when I could have my best friend sleepover, and where our family was going on vacation.

It takes one small (or large) event to change everything, to rip out your insides, to make you an adult, to create new sacrifices that must be made.  The 10th consists of snapshots in my memory: TJ finding me in the movie theater, feeling sick to my stomach as he sped to Loyola, Mrs. Diana's face as my brother and I entered the emergency room, Mom's face smeared with tears, her shoulder as I buried my face in it, my eyes drowning, the little room with the box of Kleenex on the center of the table, sitting at the kitchen table in shock, eyes still drowning, sleeping on the living room floor with Mom and TJ, afraid I would wake up and that they, too, would be gone if I didn't keep them right next to me, wishing that I had paid more attention the last time I saw him, hating myself for months for being a bad daughter, having no one to relate to, being angry when teachers new friends, or telemarketers assumed that I had "parents", imagining a life in which I had to earn Dad's approval in exchange for encouragement, advice, and support.

For a while, after my immediate guilt had subsided, I began to remember the not-so-great things about him just to compensate for the pain I felt as a result of his absence.  It made it easier.  Blaming someone always makes it easier.  I still feel that sometimes, and I hate myself a bit for it.  Even though it's 8 years later, I still feel it.  It has gotten slightly easier, but these have been years of lifting mental weights and a landslide of curiosity about the life that could have been.  And it's nights like tonight that bring it all back and give me an overwhelming feeling of sorrow for those, now fragile, who will soon have snapshots of their own, feelings of guilt, and sometimes betrayal, and anxiety about the uncertain future.

bears and cubs

the baby blue album tells stories of babies who have become bluer than normal. his position on the concrete was the perfect pose and the old tiles in the basement held their own. the old stranger built everything in this house with his hard-earned money. he loved his kids. he taught them well. in return, though return was not necessary, they remember the bad so that they can justify their anger.

over the years i've somehow mastered the art of not blinking in every photo. the landscape nods in agreement. they start with faces, faces become small arms, small legs, small bodies, continuous horizon lines and silhouettes. bad haircuts, cutoff shorts, toeheads!, rowboats, driftwood, picnic tables in lakes?, neighbors in plastic cars, orange and white polka dot pantsuits, well-deserved lollipops, leaf piles, snowsuits, snowmen, ....

this is where the gray hairs come from. this is the solid mass grown. this is a genuine realization of the house that was built that held much more.

Feb. 22nd, 2005

body half woman body half fish. i am a pisces i am not a bitch. a head a tail a rhythm a bend a snap a wave a crash an end.

cut the waves cut a path cut the water that feels the wrath.

trim the sail trim the shore trim the body always wanting more.

kick the sand kick unstable land kick the grains that won't hold your hand.

warm the wind warm the air warm the cheek that doesn't care.

Jan. 18th, 2005

she's nursing her straw again, in the same iron chair she flattens her bottom with at least twice a week. intersections and turns and lights and the intersections' turning lights can never go fast enough.

her eyes are nursing the asphalt again, the green growing all because of the winter sunlight meek. it's present but i can't really find the source until 430 pm and even then it's tough.

she's turning her body into a cradle again, since the chair won't move, she must, and in doing so, she's considered the child of the week. at least they consider her at all, and all her edges, both smooth and rough.

Jan. 3rd, 2005

she drove straight into the pool of sharks. i watched her get eaten alive as her bumper graced the hood of my car.

Oct. 19th, 2004

snails on houses and umbrella skin without a spine: rest yourselves on garbage can lids while the men across tame the cement. the loose wires are anxious and so am i. stick em up real good, where i can see them and i'll continue running, wondering what the hell that bald man just said. their old mattress is kissing the sidewalk. with both lips. i'll walk around it, let them have their moment of privacy. there's the old woman who bought a dog to fill the hole her late husband's head left in her pillow. bikers can kill. uphill. recess and pavement and the smell of bandaids. there's a hole in my shin. you can only sit on these firehydrants. go in the cave, where will it take me? it's made of dirt floors and paper walls. my suitcase is the only thing holding the house up. construction is repair. cars are exhausting. if i had a bike i'd run this red light and hold my pen a different way. take the last walk home. clean up after your dog. half smile at the old man rolling the ball. imagine what his granddaughter looks like. realize that someone does live in that house as he and she walk in with plastic bags and good company. smell the laundry, it's cooking. smell dinner, it's unprepared in the fridge. watch out for the man in the radiator blowing you kisses during the night. dream about home. forget about your neighbors. be sure to feel guilty sometimes and sorry for the umbrella who lost its life today.
selfish, insecure, anxious, nervous, doubtful, worried

no more
say no more












i'm sorry

wishy washy

wine and vinegar
vinegar and oil
oil and engine
engine and light
light and lamp
lamp and nightstand
nightstand and glass
glass and milk
milk and cookies
cookies and candy
candy and christianity

gum and lips
kisses and hips
sip and drive
run and hide
groove and move
pick and choose
bump and bruise
drive and cruise

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smellbeforain
Carrie Lynn

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