February 24: Pisces

A cooling winter night, the high humidity content heavy on my heart. I imagine walking down a narrow mossy street. The fog will part for me. The water molecules will bow their crooked heads. I was born to be the mistress of water, and water is what I am, flexible, changing, and volatile. Under fluorescent lights water curls in steam off my skin, collects in tiny beads like a crown across my hair. Red and gold fish swim through my capillaries and flash their tails across my irises. I will hold the world together and I will tear it apart. Somewhere far away from here, millions of gallons of water vapor float quietly across the face of the universe.

The Difference Between “Lonely” and “Alone”

My 21st birthday is coming up this week, and I was trying to think of a celebratory event that I might enjoy.  Clubbing?  Out of the question.  The science museum?  Somehow I doubt most people would enjoy playing with samples of different types of oil in the same way I would.

There remained inviting people on my regular, ideal Saturday night, which involves drinking coffee while reading poetry and medical literature at the discount bookstore, then heading home for a TV dinner, Coke, and an old animated movie.  I then realized that, not only would a lot of people not enjoy this way of spending their Saturday night, but my enjoyment of it would be ruined, because I would no longer be alone.

During my first two years of college, I told everyone (myself included) that anything else could happen during the course of the week, anything at all, and I’d still be okay as long as I had those precious few hours on Saturday to myself.  But as I began to make friends and become more heavily involved in clubs and activities that required my Saturday nights, as well, to be taken up, I realized that my “alone time” would no longer be feasible.

Let’s face it, college is not built for people who like to spend extended amounts of time alone.  I live on campus, which means that I am rarely more than fifteen feet away from another person at any given time.  Eat dinner in your room, or say that you want to spend Saturday night by yourself, and suddenly you’re being “antisocial” and people are “concerned.”  Pfft.

There’s also a more dangerous side to being someone who recharges by spending time alone; sometimes you don’t want to be alone.  The fact is, as much as I hate to admit it, humans are meant to live in groups.  We evolved from creatures who live in groups, we have created elaborate cities and countries to ensure that we do live in groups, and we get lonely when we spend too much time without physical or emotional contact.  (Of course, there are exceptions, but this is the experience of the average person.)

I am a couple days shy of being 21 and I am still trying to figure out how to successfully navigate social interactions involving being alone and being lonely.  If only one could quantitate the exact amount of time needed alone without veering into lonely territory.  If only it were acceptable to simply say, “Hey, I don’t feel like hanging out with anyone tonight,” or “Hey, can you come give me a hug?”

Last night, I walked out to the edge of campus and sat on the swing set, gazing into the frightening, beautiful, vast city lights of Houston, and I felt very, very small and very lonely.  Experience has taught me that even the most reliable people will never be there for you 100% of the time, so at times like that you have to either reach inward for some vestige of strength or turn outward to religion or philosophy for help.  I’ve never been very good at following organized religion.  My relationship with God is complex, changing, and not easily labeled or constrained (as I’ve learned, I am far from the only young person who feels like this.)

So, instead, I stared very hard at the lights until they began to blur (I’m nearsighted, so it wasn’t very hard) and pretended that I was floating through outer space.  My feet were resting on the muddy ground, and the more I concentrated, the more I could feel a slight hum, some combination of my pulse and a nearby generator, perhaps.  There was not another person to be seen, but I could still feel their presence, in the hospitals and in the nearby dorm building, and it gave me the odd feeling of being in two places at once, on Earth and in the furthest reaches of the universe, simultaneously.  I looked down at my phone, which I often feel is my lifeline, and put it aside.

I’ve often tried to describe the feeling of aloneness and silence that I find so rejuvenating.  I suppose it has something to do with balance.  There are definitely times when I need to be around people and hug them and talk to them, and there are times when I do not need anyone else, not at all.  I feel like many other people are the same way.  It’s just a question of how much of each is necessary for our individual personalities.  The balance is not easy to find, but balancing anything is never easy.

In the few minutes I had left before I had to go back to my work, I pushed off from the ground and began to swing.

First Date

What’s funny is this could be anyplace else
in the world, this could be any time,
really, but it isn’t, it isn’t anywhere else
except for right here, and that’s just her luck,
isn’t it. Three almost four years of waiting
for him to ask her out and when he finally does
it’s a warm autumn day and the coffee shop is
too crowded so they sit outside, and that’s when it happens.

Is it bad that the first thing she thinks when it does happen
is Great, now my skirt is ruined? Probably not,
because it is, he was drinking a strawberry Italian soda

I never drink coffee he said it stains my teeth

and now it’s all over her skirt, he’s knocked it over
and it’s red and cool and sticky like drying blood,
she can smell the sweetness and it makes her dizzy
her mother was right

Never trust boys they’ll do anything

She looks up and he is grayish white, are you
okay, but he half stands up and she sees the question
is irrelevant, kind of like the question he
asked her after math class on Tuesday

Would you like to have coffee sometime he said
I never drink coffee it stains my teeth
but I hear you love the stuff he said

She still has the homework from that class in her backpack,
she hasn’t gotten around to doing it yet,
there is something black on his sweater and
it’s heavy and spreading and he reminds her
of someone she’s seen before
maybe in a war movie or something and then he falls he’s like
a crumpled origami crane and

Do you remember chemistry lab freshman year

It’s a thing that could have happened to anyone
but never her never this and there is blood and soda all over
the ground and she slips on her
origami differentials her flat sandals are wet

I loved how you were so excited about
everything we did he said Be careful
she said They’ve only got one thing on their

Maybe if she runs she’ll have a better chance
so she runs towards the coffee shop but her
mother was right

these sandals are too cheap you’ll
get blisters

She falls and the pavement is cool under her knees
and it’s not so much pain as just pressure,
it swarms to her upper back and thrums and thrums
her heart’s been cut in half

I wanted to tell you how beautiful you were
but I never got a chance he said

Buildings hanging in the brassy darkness

“Falling” – James Dickey

A 29-year-old stewardess fell ... to her 
death tonight when she was swept 
through an emergency door that 
suddenly sprang open ... The body ... 
was found ... three hours after the 
                   —New York Times

The states when they black out and lie there rolling    when they turn 
To something transcontinental    move by    drawing moonlight out of the great 
One-sided stone hung off the starboard wingtip    some sleeper next to 
An engine is groaning for coffee    and there is faintly coming in 
Somewhere the vast beast-whistle of space. In the galley with its racks 
Of trays    she rummages for a blanket    and moves in her slim tailored 
Uniform to pin it over the cry at the top of the door. As though she blew 

The door down with a silent blast from her lungs    frozen    she is black 
Out finding herself    with the plane nowhere and her body taking by the throat 
The undying cry of the void    falling    living    beginning to be something 
That no one has ever been and lived through    screaming without enough air 
Still neat    lipsticked    stockinged    girdled by regulation    her hat 
Still on    her arms and legs in no world    and yet spaced also strangely 
With utter placid rightness on thin air    taking her time    she holds it 
In many places    and now, still thousands of feet from her death she seems 
To slow    she develops interest    she turns in her maneuverable body 

To watch it. She is hung high up in the overwhelming middle of things in her 
Self    in low body-whistling wrapped intensely    in all her dark dance-weight 
Coming down from a marvellous leap    with the delaying, dumfounding ease 
Of a dream of being drawn    like endless moonlight to the harvest soil 
Of a central state of one’s country    with a great gradual warmth coming 
Over her    floating    finding more and more breath in what she has been using 
For breath    as the levels become more human    seeing clouds placed honestly 
Below her left and right    riding slowly toward them    she clasps it all 
To her and can hang her hands and feet in it in peculiar ways    and 
Her eyes opened wide by wind, can open her mouth as wide    wider and suck 
All the heat from the cornfields    can go down on her back with a feeling 
Of stupendous pillows stacked under her    and can turn    turn as to someone 
In bed    smile, understood in darkness    can go away    slant    slide 
Off tumbling    into the emblem of a bird with its wings half-spread 
Or whirl madly on herself    in endless gymnastics in the growing warmth
Of wheatfields rising toward the harvest moon.    There is time to live 
In superhuman health    seeing mortal unreachable lights far down seeing 
An ultimate highway with one late priceless car probing it    arriving 
In a square town    and off her starboard arm the glitter of water catches 
The moon by its one shaken side    scaled, roaming silver    My God it is good 
And evil    lying in one after another of all the positions for love 
Making    dancing    sleeping    and now cloud wisps at her no 
Raincoat    no matter    all small towns brokenly brighter from inside 
Cloud    she walks over them like rain    bursts out to behold a Greyhound 
Bus shooting light through its sides    it is the signal to go straight 
Down like a glorious diver    then feet first    her skirt stripped beautifully 
Up    her face in fear-scented cloths    her legs deliriously bare    then 
Arms out    she slow-rolls over    steadies out    waits for something great 
To take control of her    trembles near feathers    planes head-down 
The quick movements of bird-necks turning her head    gold eyes the insight- 
eyesight of owls blazing into the hencoops    a taste for chicken overwhelming 
Her    the long-range vision of hawks enlarging all human lights of cars 
Freight trains    looped bridges    enlarging the moon racing slowly 
Through all the curves of a river    all the darks of the midwest blazing 
From above. A rabbit in a bush turns white    the smothering chickens 
Huddle    for over them there is still time for something to live 
With the streaming half-idea of a long stoop    a hurtling    a fall 
That is controlled    that plummets as it wills    turns gravity 
Into a new condition, showing its other side like a moon    shining 
New Powers    there is still time to live on a breath made of nothing 
But the whole night    time for her to remember to arrange her skirt 
Like a diagram of a bat    tightly it guides her    she has this flying-skin 
Made of garments    and there are also those sky-divers on TV    sailing 
In sunlight    smiling under their goggles    swapping batons back and forth 
And He who jumped without a chute and was handed one by a diving 
Buddy. She looks for her grinning companion    white teeth    nowhere 
She is screaming    singing hymns    her thin human wings spread out 
From her neat shoulders    the air beast-crooning to her    warbling 
And she can no longer behold the huge partial form of the world    now 
She is watching her country lose its evoked master shape    watching it lose 
And gain    get back its houses and peoples    watching it bring up 
Its local lights    single homes    lamps on barn roofs    if she fell 
Into water she might live    like a diver    cleaving    perfect    plunge 

Into another    heavy silver    unbreathable    slowing    saving 
Element: there is water    there is time to perfect all the fine 
Points of diving    feet together    toes pointed    hands shaped right 
To insert her into water like a needle    to come out healthily dripping 
And be handed a Coca-Cola    there they are    there are the waters 
Of life    the moon packed and coiled in a reservoir    so let me begin 
To plane across the night air of Kansas    opening my eyes superhumanly 
Bright    to the damned moon    opening the natural wings of my jacket 
By Don Loper    moving like a hunting owl toward the glitter of water 
One cannot just fall    just tumble screaming all that time    one must use 
It    she is now through with all    through all    clouds    damp    hair 
Straightened    the last wisp of fog pulled apart on her face like wool revealing 
New darks    new progressions of headlights along dirt roads from chaos 

And night    a gradual warming    a new-made, inevitable world of one’s own 
Country    a great stone of light in its waiting waters    hold    hold out 
For water: who knows when what correct young woman must take up her body 
And fly    and head for the moon-crazed inner eye of midwest imprisoned 
Water    stored up for her for years    the arms of her jacket slipping 
Air up her sleeves to go    all over her? What final things can be said 
Of one who starts her sheerly in her body in the high middle of night 
Air    to track down water like a rabbit where it lies like life itself 
Off to the right in Kansas? She goes toward    the blazing-bare lake 
Her skirts neat    her hands and face warmed more and more by the air 
Rising from pastures of beans    and under her    under chenille bedspreads 
The farm girls are feeling the goddess in them struggle and rise brooding 
On the scratch-shining posts of the bed    dreaming of female signs 
Of the moon    male blood like iron    of what is really said by the moan 
Of airliners passing over them at dead of midwest midnight    passing 
Over brush fires    burning out in silence on little hills    and will wake 
To see the woman they should be    struggling on the rooftree to become 
Stars: for her the ground is closer    water is nearer    she passes 
It    then banks    turns    her sleeves fluttering differently as she rolls 
Out to face the east, where the sun shall come up from wheatfields she must 
Do something with water    fly to it    fall in it    drink it    rise 
From it    but there is none left upon earth    the clouds have drunk it back 
The plants have sucked it down    there are standing toward her only 
The common fields of death    she comes back from flying to falling 
Returns to a powerful cry    the silent scream with which she blew down 
The coupled door of the airliner    nearly    nearly losing hold 
Of what she has done    remembers    remembers the shape at the heart 
Of cloud    fashionably swirling    remembers she still has time to die 
Beyond explanation. Let her now take off her hat in summer air the contour 
Of cornfields    and have enough time to kick off her one remaining 
Shoe with the toes    of the other foot    to unhook her stockings 
With calm fingers, noting how fatally easy it is to undress in midair 
Near death    when the body will assume without effort any position 
Except the one that will sustain it    enable it to rise    live 
Not die    nine farms hover close    widen    eight of them separate, leaving 
One in the middle    then the fields of that farm do the same    there is no 
Way to back off    from her chosen ground    but she sheds the jacket 
With its silver sad impotent wings    sheds the bat’s guiding tailpiece 
Of her skirt    the lightning-charged clinging of her blouse    the intimate 
Inner flying-garment of her slip in which she rides like the holy ghost 
Of a virgin    sheds the long windsocks of her stockings    absurd 
Brassiere    then feels the girdle required by regulations squirming 
Off her: no longer monobuttocked    she feels the girdle flutter    shake 
In her hand    and float    upward    her clothes rising off her ascending 
Into cloud    and fights away from her head the last sharp dangerous shoe 
Like a dumb bird    and now will drop in    SOON    now will drop 

In like this    the greatest thing that ever came to Kansas    down from all 
Heights    all levels of American breath    layered in the lungs from the frail 
Chill of space to the loam where extinction slumbers in corn tassels thickly 
And breathes like rich farmers counting: will come along them after 
Her last superhuman act    the last slow careful passing of her hands 
All over her unharmed body    desired by every sleeper in his dream: 
Boys finding for the first time their loins filled with heart’s blood 
Widowed farmers whose hands float under light covers to find themselves 
Arisen at sunrise    the splendid position of blood unearthly drawn 
Toward clouds    all feel something    pass over them as she passes 
Her palms over her long legs    her small breasts    and deeply between 
Her thighs    her hair shot loose from all pins    streaming in the wind 
Of her body    let her come openly    trying at the last second to land 
On her back    This is it    THIS 
                                                   All those who find her impressed 
In the soft loam    gone down    driven well into the image of her body 
The furrows for miles flowing in upon her where she lies very deep 
In her mortal outline    in the earth as it is in cloud    can tell nothing 
But that she is there    inexplicable    unquestionable    and remember 
That something broke in them as well    and began to live and die more 
When they walked for no reason into their fields to where the whole earth 
Caught her    interrupted her maiden flight    told her how to lie she cannot 
Turn    go away    cannot move    cannot slide off it and assume another 
Position    no sky-diver with any grin could save her    hold her in his arms 
Plummet with her    unfold above her his wedding silks    she can no longer 
Mark the rain with whirling women that take the place of a dead wife 
Or the goddess in Norwegian farm girls    or all the back-breaking whores 
Of Wichita. All the known air above her is not giving up quite one 
Breath    it is all gone    and yet not dead    not anywhere else 
Quite    lying still in the field on her back    sensing the smells 
Of incessant growth try to lift her    a little sight left in the corner 
Of one eye    fading    seeing something wave    lies believing 
That she could have made it    at the best part of her brief goddess 
State    to water    gone in headfirst    come out smiling    invulnerable 
Girl in a bathing-suit ad    but she is lying like a sunbather at the last 
Of moonlight    half-buried in her impact on the earth    not far 
From a railroad trestle    a water tank    she could see if she could 
Raise her head from her modest hole    with her clothes beginning 
To come down all over Kansas    into bushes    on the dewy sixth green 
Of a golf course    one shoe    her girdle coming down fantastically 
On a clothesline, where it belongs    her blouse on a lightning rod: 

Lies in the fields    in this field    on her broken back as though on 
A cloud she cannot drop through    while farmers sleepwalk without 
Their women from houses    a walk like falling toward the far waters 
Of life    in moonlight    toward the dreamed eternal meaning of their farms 
Toward the flowering of the harvest in their hands    that tragic cost 
Feels herself go    go toward    go outward    breathes at last fully 
Not    and tries    less    once    tries    tries    AH, GOD—

February 16

Byssine: made of silk; having a silky or flaxlike appearance.  Byssine: the sound of your blood as you lie on your bed with one arm hanging off the side.  The tiny, steady noise it makes as it eases past your elbow joint, its hissing thump in your ears, the glissando from hypo to hyper, the flip and switch of each heart valve, eyelashes gold, erythrocytes silver.  Icy and certain.

February 14: Are You There, X? It’s Me, Y

Forget the chocolate and put away the dark red envelopes. 
You are a woman, damn it! You are a Texan. You 
do not go barefoot. You have never been 
pregnant unless it was a pregnancy 
you did not know about, and knowing the biochemical 
trickery that you do, that is entirely possible. 
You are not half of a person, you do not need someone 
to pay for your sushi, you might 
need someone to pay for your textbooks, 
that is a different story, and you wouldn’t 
mind someone to pay for your sensible bras (36C) 
and jeans (8 regular), but that is several
other issues, the least of which you are not really 
an 8 anymore but a solid 10, 
depending on the time of the month.
To think you secretly wanted the bra 
with the pink and yellow polka dots instead of 
the white one you eventually ended up buying. For shame. 

Do not forget: test on Thursday, ice cream social 
Friday night. Do not forget: you are loved even though 
you do not want to be. It’s just not the kind of love 
you were expecting and it comes from different places,
from the mud caked on the bottom of your shoes, 
from the good night texts from your friends, 
from the way the lead actor looks at you as he 
steps down from the stage that you built. 
You are woven into this coat of many colors, 
yes, you, yes, even with the biliverdin pooled
under your skin. 

Green: the color of healing. Red: the color of night.

Great Animation and Sneakers

All good opponents, speak! Hold or are you always!

The war with Mexico the economic plan

Saint alphabet schedule row 4 Arnold

Bad Communication jobs in Houston

Here! The birth of a person, the face of fame

who diets without exercising

a person standing at the edge of a seaside

God is the Messiah born

God is not dead          God is love      God is

Let yourself be the source of every blessing power and gas

[Sound of the crowd]

I look stupid when I run, when I smile

Still cessation in a sentence

Eternal happiness or unhappiness

happiness is a warm gun


Even the earth will be destroyed and the surrender of the universe


Warning! The Herald Angels Sing!


He woke me up again

            woke up dizzy

I want to be a good

            I want to be a good man         a good person        a good mom

Another strength SUFFERED Waals Interlude

            a fatal communication error

Justice provides death

            god provides justice law provides justice


Listen again to part of the chain, because I do not think I heard

Listen string part again, because I do not think they have heard all the way …


Hurry up to see the baby

            hurry up with my damn croissants

Invader eve traffic

            every invader zim episode

Linear film with surprising third intersection

            linear regression

Traffic patterns V emerging self-organization

            emerging markets       emerging technologies           emerging adulthood

Swing, to name a few

            swing low sweet chariot

Springfield, or Bobby got caught in her hair


Black Hawk War, or, always feel good about yourself in the morning, or, we apologize for the inconvenience but you are going to leave now, or,


The dress is beautiful on you

            Beautiful creatures, beautiful lyrics, beautiful pain lyrics

Bigger man, wide shoulders, man of steel


They also mourn who do not wear black.[1]

[1] Poem text retrieved by translating an alphabetical list of Sufjan Stevens’ song titles from English to Hebrew to French and back to English.  Italicized portions retrieved from Google search results for words or phrases from the translated titles.  Title retrieved from the song title “Out of Egypt, Into the Great Laugh of Mankind, And I Shake the Dirt from my Sandals as I Run” after it was run through http://ackuna.com/badtranslator