For the sake of my mental health, I decided to go for walks. This isn’t a new thing for me; in the past, it was what I did almost every day after work. It started off as something more serious – I’d walk and began pushing myself further until it was a sprint, a job, a run.
These days though, I walk in hopes to build some strength back in my lungs.
For those wondering, people-watching is essential to creative writing – be it fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Jose Skinner taught me of its importance, though it had been a pastime of mine for some time.
When you observe your surroundings with a creative eye, you register things that would otherwise be overlooked. The way a young wife moves away from her husband when he sits next to her. Or how a child darts across the street while his mother scrolls across the screen of phone. Or the mannerisms of a young couple.
They paid no mind to the scent of rain that lingered in the air; they were more focused on studying each others smile. The groove between their hands, their teeth. With the first drops, she pulled him into the open space. They wrapped their arms around each other.
It took me back to a moment in life. One taken for granted. When a girl pulled me outside to kiss in the rain.
I’m not good at this. That should be painfully obvious. Like stepping-on-a-Lego-buried-deep-in-shagged-carpet-in-the-middle-of-the-night obvious. Like running-a-marathon-after-a-year-of-being-a-couch-potato-and-wondering-“What-the-fuck-was-I-thinking?” kind of obvious. It’s taking-up-the-Bird-Box-Challenge-and-taking-an-evening-stroll-on-the-expressway kind of obvious. It’s like reading-then-watching-every-adaptation-of-The-Diary-of-Anne-Frank-and-hoping-this-time-it-will-be-different kind of obvious.
I’m allergic to pineapple. And kiwi. But I will eat kiwi more times than not. Say, we’re at a fancy dinner. I’m dressed up and you’re dressed up and everyone’s dressed up. And there’s music playing, and people are swaying. But we’re not dancing because: (A.) I can’t dance to save my life despite bragging how I took a dance course in college (but that was years ago and it was modern dance) and, (B.) I’m too busy coughing up a storm because the spread contained kiwi and I rarely buy kiwi (you know, because I’m allergic to it) and I love kiwi (despite being allergic to it) so I still eat it and now my throat is raw like I swallowed a swarm of bees and they all stung at once.
Speaking of dates. My idea of
the perfect date is staying home with a good book and some distance between us.
It’s not that I’m not interested in you. It’s not even that I don’t want to
know you. It’s just being around someone I’m interested in leaves me thinking
of all the ways I’ll inevitably screw this up. Because you’ll say you’ll take
me as I am, but in truth, you’ll take me as the illusion I’ve conjured up for
you. Beneath this veneer, I’m a more of a landfill than a mess that needs
Depression hits me like a bag of
bricks. I took antidepressants for a year, but they only made me feel less
human than usual. Sometimes, I amaze myself with small feats. Getting out of
bed. Dressing myself. Grooming. Manage to walk out the door and not run into
oncoming traffic. It’s a voice inside my head giving a history lecture on all
my failures. It’s the meteorologist forecasting the future ones. It’s a gallery
of ex-girlfriends and possible love interests.
Being a father scares me. I have no point of reference because every father figure I had left me before I came of age. My grandfathers died three years apart. My own father is more a stranger than someone I owe half of my DNA to. And the years that we’ve been apart, he still manages to find away to remind me that I’m not something of value in his life. Despite all my reaching out, he mastered of the art of pulling away. And as a sickness grows in him, I can’t help but fear that this permanent loss of a man who never gave me a second glance isn’t something I’m prepared to handle.
I’m not sure if my jaded view of
romance is a product of my parents’ divorce or my own shortcomings as an adult.
Or if it’s because these days I put more importance in wondering about the next
time I’ll eat tacos rather than wondering if I’ll ever allow myself to fall in
love again. And that’s it, isn’t it? I get to choose when I’ll get tacos, but
I’m powerless over my own emotion.
Asking me when I’ll get back on
the horse is equally annoying as trying to set me up with someone (and that’s
only happened once, and I shut that shit down fast). This is because it demeans
my decision of being single. See, I have a type. You can call me shallow if you
want, but the person must have read more books than the years they’ve existed.
They must have a library card. A Barnes & Noble membership works, too.
Better yet, be employed at a library or Barnes & Noble. And, yes, I confess
there have been a string of flings and crushes. I’m only human after all.
Please understand that I’m no stranger to being alone.
How do I write a poem about you and not give you my history? Because I like you and that scares the shit out of me. I know what it’s like to kiss the girl in the fast food parking lot and knowing there’s no future. I know what it feels like to wait for an answer that was never meant to be received. I know what it’s like to love someone for ten years and lose them. Most of all, I know the difficulties that come with being in a relationship with me. That I give it my all but ignore their feelings. That behind every I-love-you there’s an escape plan. Because I know love isn’t a flame, but that doesn’t prevent us from being burnt. I know the difference between saying I love you and being in love. Because I don’t fall for people; I plunge. Because I treat love like an allergy. No, an allergen. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, with you, love is like a kiwi.
Note: This is an amalgamation of a few older poems (posts, whatever) of mine. Namely two. You’ll find some of it here. A good chuck of it originated here. This piece was Frankensteined together for the Love & Chocolate event. If I’m being honest, I love this version better than the older ones. It still needs some work, though.
I’ve never ridden a bike in my life. And the amount of miles I’ve driven a car is equal to or less than the number of years I’ve lived on this planet. Motion on wheels doesn’t make sense to me. Even riding shotgun or in the backseat of a car is enough to make me nervous.
The number of sexual partners I’ve had can be counted on one hand with a finger to spare. It would have been two, but I am human and, therefore, am prone to make mistakes.
My idea of a perfect date is staying at home with a good book and some distance between us. It’s not that I’m not interested in you. It’s not that I don’t want to know you. It’s just being around a person I like just leaves me thinking about all the ways I’ll inevitably screw this up. Because, you might say that you’ll take me as I am, but in truth you’ll take me as the illusion I’ve conjured up for you in the first place. Beneath this veneer, I’m more of a landfill than a mess that needs reordering. And while you’re writing out wedding vows in you head, I’m already signing the divorce papers in mine.
If you ever see me reading this in front of a live audience, know that I’ve probably thrown up whatever was in my stomach in the restroom a few moments before signing up for the open mic. 12 years of public speaking has done nothing for my nerves. In fact, I am more nervous each time I stand in front of a microphone than the first time I stood on stage at the Nueva Ona Poet’s Cafe.
I talk to my dead grandmother as one would talk to god. Usually when I’m asleep. Usually when my emotions aren’t in check.
I started taking antidepressants a year ago after facing depression alone. A month’s worth left in my final refill, I haven’t taken a single one. And I’m not sure if that makes me stronger than I was before, or just more foolish.
I am not currently seeing anyone. The you in #3 was a hypothetical, a royal you.
These days I’m prone to fall into a quick, fickle sort of love for people who can hold my attention for more than ten minutes at a time. And those six hundred and fifty-nine seconds, I run the course of our relationship. What our children would look like. How the moments we’re alone would play out. A phone call from the grocery store to ask what we need and what we want for dinner. And most importantly, how and when it will end.
I’m unsure if my jaded out look on romance is the byproduct of my parents’ divorce or my own shortcomings as an adult. Or if it’s because these days I put more importance in wondering about the next time I’ll get tacos rather than wondering when I’ll let myself fall in love again.
If I were really honest with myself, I’d acknowledge the fact that I have fallen in love with someone. But she’s miles from me. And the love I have for her, this somewhat fashionista, is by far the most pure form of love I’ve ever held for a woman. And that is why she stands upon highest pedestal of my friendship.
I have trouble looking into people’s eyes when I speak with them. Read several articles on why this happens, but nothing seems quite me. The closest reason is my fear of intimacy.
Being a father scares me. This because every father figure I had left me before I came of age. My grandfathers died three years apart, and my father is more a stranger who just happens to own half of my genetic make up. While the fear can be deafening, I do my best. And each time my son’s eyes brighten up at the sight of me, I know I must be doing something right.
I never hid my sexuality, nor have I ever been openly vocal about it. And while those close to me know of my affections, I’ve kept people at arm’s length while I told them only half the story.
At the age of sixteen, I fell in love with a boy from Chicago. The emotion was both new and familiar. I never told him this.
Most of the things I pass off as poems these days are better read while listening to the music I wrote them to. In this case, Mac DeMarco’s “My Kind of Woman.”
There are moments I speak just to hear a familiar voice. What troubles about these moments is that the voice I hear doesn’t always sound like mine. It’s an echo from another time. Maybe a time that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe a time waiting in the corners.
There’s only one time someone’s ever tried to set me up with a friend. It was a girl named Jade. Someone a friend of my was fucking between girlfriends. And she thought her friend would be perfect for me, but, and call me shallow, I have a type. The person must have read a number of books greater than the number of years they’ve existed. And these books must contain more than just required reading for schools. They must have a library card. And if not that, a Barnes & Noble membership. Or, better, be employed by Barnes & Noble. And when your name is Jade, chances are that your friends don’t meet a single one of my requirements. Also asking me when I’ll get back on the horse is equally as annoying as trying to set me up with someone. It demeans my decision of being single. And, yes, I understand that my confessions of crushes and having string of flings may confuse you. These things occur in order to remind myself that I am still human. That I still feel things. That I still have the capabilities to put myself out there event though I really don’t want to deal with the bullshit that occurs during courtship. Please understand that I’m not stranger to being alone.
Last night, I compiled my fourth playlist since I started up again. The soundtrack to a fake romantic comedy about a girl who works as a barista. Inspired by nothing and everything. I made two copies. One for Angela (I promised her one way before it ever came to fruition), and one for me. A good amount of time spent on thinking about it, I realized that it’s something I may attempt later in the future. I just need to carve out the story a little more, and pepper it with romantic comedy clichés—”[T]his song sorta gives it the kissing in the rain feel. Which, as we all know, is romantic (but not in real life as rain water is really dirty due to all the pollution in the air).” For those of you reading this and wanting to recreate my playlist (I’d totally share it with you if I had the ability and disposable income), I’ll add the track list at the bottom of this post.
For the cover and CD art, I used a collage by Ashton Cutright entitled “Summer Reprise,” which you can buy at Etsy. Ashton and Miranda’s CDs were the first to feature art on the cover and CD label. It’s something I’m probably going to add from now one because, as I’ve stated before, I love making these CDs and creating arte for them adds to the fun. Like scribbling doodles on the cassette tape sleeve.
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@EnnuiPrayer Did it arrive? I’ve been having umpteen problems w/ USPS. Might be time for me to only gift Kindle & Nook versions of my books.
So the above happened today. Upon receiving my copy of Serving Him edited by the sultry Rachel Kramer Bussel, I noticed the packaged open. No explanation. No attempt to tape up the violation of my package. It’s been some time since I received an erotic book to review in the mail. About a year, actually. Copies have been sent to me via e-mail for Kindle or Nook readers (I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, and I use the Nook app due to Amazon’s tight ass restrictions on their Kindle app). It’s sad that Ms. Bussel may take the same route because the USPS decided to open and lose several packages because they suspect that their media mail service is being abused.
I started the book, checking off Lori Selke’s “What You Deserve.” I won’t review the story here (not yet).
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My coworker told me his creative well has run dry. It’s something I’m familiar with. However, there’s never been a time that I couldn’t write. It’s just what I write isn’t worth reading or worth the time spent writing it. Words, good or bad, never failed me. I can’t begin to imagine what he’s going through.
I force myself to write something every day. Good or bad, just keep writing and things will get better. I read as much as I write and I’m reading less these days. I need to change that. Need to switch off the TV and the computer once in a while and just start writing.
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You – Black Kids
I find myself at a stalemate. Last month, Jeanna asked me if there was someone else. I seemed happier and I’m usually happier when I’m “talking” with someone. “No,” I lied because even though there is someone, I’ve not been vocal about my feelings with someone. She makes me smile. She gets my mind off things. She’s great. She’s sweet. She’s smart. And she asks about Shaun, and that’s a great sign that there’s potential there if she felt the same way for me. Earlier this month, as we were lying in bed talking about her problems, I confessed to her that there was someone who holds my interest.
“Why haven’t you told her?” she asked me, echoing my words five years ago when she left me for the interest of another. She’s echoing Ashton’s words, too. Ashton’s always cheering me on, my hipster cheerleader with a Justin Bieber haircut and a craft that outshines anything I’ve managed to spill out.
“Dude, she likes you.” “You both like each other.” “You should take her out on a date.”
I smile more knowing I get to see her. And I look forward to conversations. And I just don’t know why I don’t just get the courage to say something. It’s high school self repeating in adulthood. I admire from a distance because the moment feelings are admitted, things go south. Should she not feel the same about me, then things get weird.
“They only get weird if you let them, Gil,” Ashton would probably say, even though I’ve stated a hundred times before how I loathe that name (there are reasons, but I won’t get to them here).
“Things get weird because they’re weird to begin with,” I’d reply or some bogus doobie-without-the-doobie philosophy.
“It’s unfair,” I told Jeanna. It’s unfair to the person who’s stuck with me next. Unlike Jessica or those who came before, moving on from this relationship is proving difficult. Is it because I loved Jeanna? After nine years, I’d imagine that love is the only reason I stuck around. Is it Shaun? Is it this feeling that I haven’t had closure because every time we split it was by her hand?
And she confessed something and withheld something and both broke my heart. That continues to break my heart. Then I think about the conversation. And how, no matter the falling down (I’ll explain this later), the nausea, and whatever else went wrong yesterday, I didn’t lose the feeling it left me.
And you can trust me not to think
And not to sleep around
If you don’t expect too much from me
You might not be let down
Cause all I really want is to be with you
Feeling like I matter too
If I hadn’t blown the whole thing years ago
I might be here with you
Why don’t I have any Gin Blossoms albums? I must do something to correct this error in my music collection.
I returned to the soundtrack of my youth, remembering how stupid it was being so stupid. Youth is wasted on the young, the saying goes. Making us old farts think that we’ve lived life enough to know that we wouldn’t waste our teenage years acting like adults. Days it feels like life is wasted on the living.
Last night I started what I hope is my first draft of “Holding Hands with Eloise.” Without giving too much of my premise, think 90s romantic comedy with a twist inspired by my current occupation. I figured that each chapter will jump through the timeline (so, essentially, you’re getting two romantic stories, one doomed and one blossoming). The ending will have both timelines collapsing on each other, causing something of a conflict that I’ll probably carry over to another story (and I want to make this as annoying as possible in hopes that people love my work after they finish reading it).
Meanwhile, I’m beginning to hate my place of employment. I know I’ll end up writing a letter to HR bitching about all the shit we’re put through in hopes that someone gets off her ass and does something.
This post doesn’t push forward any revelations, except one. The swinging door? I’m locking it.