Will this weekend bring you all that you want? Will it bring you peace, comfort, security and love? Will it bring you tender reassurance? Will it awaken your enthusiasm for adventure and excitement? Will it heighten your appreciation of all that is wonderful in this world? Well, of course it will, if that's what you allow it to do. Weekends don't really have the power to give such experiences to us or to take them from us. We have that power all for ourselves. If you are willing now to look for magic, you will see plenty.
23 July 2011
I’m scared of stopping in case each is progressively
better than its last and stopping stops that.
X returns from Paris in the early summer while
Y ships off to Paris in the low arc of the same season,
neither knowing the other man. Both spent enough already,
thinking they need or needed xenos like they do.
It’s like a hemispherical Rolodex, the tabs kept on quotidian
trials and climaxes and flushes of American young men
by women, or sometimes by each other or themselves.
Today for example out front of the café that rubs campus
Y meets Z and apologizes he’ll be a shit-for-brains pen-pal.
Z wonders whether she expected more, and doesn’t,
and laughs like a horse when he stands to embrace.
It just feels already like a long time,
Y says, but having let X wander
violently in all cardinals as she has,
Z is not fazed by Y’s departure. It’s not Stoicism, no!,
the distance kept by an iced epistolarian from either star sign.
Because X only returned one or a few letters, even then with postcards,
charming in their stuttery laconism. You won’t miss me!,
Z swears, and though Y protests it’s of no use,
he already blurs her features sometimes with those of a gator or a swamp.
4/15/2010, 1pm, 156 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
Parinaz is Persian and in her thirties. She wears eyeliner, nicely done, and her dark hair in a conservative shoulder-length style. In Tibetan Buddhism C114, she sits in the center of the long-windowed classroom and does not participate unless called on. Even then, when she speaks, she winces at herself and her accent.
The class breaks into smaller groups on Thursdays. On the last Thursday of the semester, something rouses Parinaz to speech. The group is discussing the moment each member first questioned his teleology, and Parinaz negotiates around her accent by speaking slowly.
“I was twenty-three,” she begins. “All my family are dead, I’m the only one. I come to America when I am twenty-three with my husband and my son. You make so many mistakes, of course, and you think what am I doing here? And language, of course.
“I lived in an apartment with a patio for everyone, all tenants. My husband worked and I was with my son, who was two, and we were on the patio, and we were locked out of our apartment. It was hot and we had no water or food, and we were stuck there for more than three hours, and my son was crying, and I could not ask for anyone to open the door because I spoke no English. And that was the first time I thought, What am I doing here? Why?”
We’re studying in Main Stacks and my handsome new friend G has me look at a picture, just as a joke, of some blonde girl kneeling by a cow’s udder with milk dripping down her face as she stares with blue eyes into the camera. It’s gross but not that gross, so I can just stare at G til he laughs, falsely embarrassed, and pulls the laptop back into his cubby. It reminds me of the time that S and I were walking towards the beach in Del Mar a couple summers ago and he had me double back to look into this car’s backseat. I’ll wait, he said, his laugh like a bark. I retreated and glanced into the dark window and I could see everything since it was afternoon and the sun was bouncing off the water and there they were, a half-clothed couple in the back seat going at it. They didn’t see that I saw them – he was on top with his t-shirt half clawed off and she had her eyes closed and her small mouth open – but I fled that part of the street and punched S in the arm for showing me that. He hadn’t even asked if I wanted to see it.
It was unbelievably important; otherwise, of course, there would have been no incentive to send this. I already feel out of place typing it – having not even typed it yet; would have felt out of place saying it, as the moment was truly without recurrence and as Nietzsche was wrong. Still though, it’s been a while since I’ve written something longer than a text to a person so I figured it’s past due to try. Thus, this:
I’m sitting at my desk tonight trancing out and feeling sick so I text my mother who replies in favor of tea so I boil some water and breathe and put my German textbook into my backpack. I choose a type (green with lemongrass) and drop the bag into the mug (dark blue) and the water, steaming, streams, and I resume my trance. Which I hold even as I string the sachet up above water to hurry its steeping, which is when something happens. The tea bag turns, gains speed, and spins on the axis of the miniscule staple where the string is affixed to the cheesecloth. It spins seventeen times counterclockwise and seven back whence it came. Being still in a trance I mostly just stare at it, but as I’m staring at it you occur to me.
That’s all I had to say; the bag’s ceaseless turning; your occurring; burning my mouth shortly thereafter; zipping my backpack up. The guys across the hall from me are watching some WWII shoot-em-up and machine guns keep dropping their shells with that distinctive noise through their wall; it’s relatively early here.
I probably won’t send this.
The later it gets, the lovelier.
I’m not even tired! I’m lying.
But can’t you look at something less than once
and still grab it? I always wanted
princess hair and a pet rat,
one of which I had and one of which
my mother forbade me.
And also men.
You gotta come by the house, he always says,
and my curly shiny long hair shivers yes;
I’m washing you two times tonight.
I get all hot in my heart sometimes.
Have I been alone with myself for too long,
or is that just the feeling of this city?
I never think about denial, but
I can feel him thinking about it.
Listen, as he waits for his tea, no,
honestly, listen to me. I have long thought
that one of the great human faculties
is the process of elimination.
We sit outside as all the in seats are taken.
At night I like to know no one’s
awake upstairs, it smoothes the process.
Love you too, my baby, and he says more
but is walking away and the room hums
too much and finally I hear the stairs ring
with his weight: bone-coldnesses over
and over and over and over and over.
(If I were Frank and had confidence like him I’d write
it’s cold & i’m tired & fuck this,
I’m going to bed I owe tomorrow nothing & the dog
still perches in the treehouse out back,
but I am too lazy to call him in.
I sit whistling from here at my typewriter,
pearls of my new fingernails lustering in fives,
something tart on the invisible breath before me)
the tree blinking out of existence and the gardener
is mystified. Moths on the garden wall
trickle, water bounces from the floor of the pool,
green stone stairs lead down from the house to the back,
always uneven like how we’re always in our bodies
night after same night and in each morning.
Had the stones muted with age
we would have thought one way, but time used itself up
and did not elapse mutably. Thence churned sunrise
from the short wall. Were we not hired
for this, none would have learned how to tend,
and in a sullen daylight way we’re proud.
The place gets on fine without our grooming
of it really; how the stones never get mangled
is proof and besides it’s
cold there at night lugging the optative
spurious stranger #4 or #5 to one’s same corner
bench beneath the heavy thick gnarled-over lilac
what with all the moths batting reflexively onto
the yellow sky moon bled out across all the rest of the slats
of the universe, some of them as we speak ceasing.
ruled prose a lá Geoffrey G. O'Brien
Katsura trees lining, a man followed me from Shattuck to Fulton as I was walking back from picking up a check. Days then were sunny and cold. Gold in the sky and on the ground, my earbuds were in but I could feel his footsteps so turned halfway around but he just looked like a student with clean clothes and well-cut hair with a backpack so I turned back around and kept walking. Now I heard him say something so I plucked one of my ears out and he waited for me to look around again. You’re beautiful, he said, you’re beautiful beautiful beautiful like really really really.
He sounded stoned and I put my earbud back in and increased my pace but he kept saying it beautiful beautiful beautiful Jesus you’re really which I could hear like a subliminal message in all the pauses of the music I was listening to or like waves on a graph. Doesn’t take much for me anyways now so I was determined not to look back at him again even though I was thinking about how nice his haircut was so I crossed the street after checking to make sure all the cars had passed. Finally hit Telegraph after which I turned around and could not find him which gave me relief.
Glittering while I was waiting at the light, tons of people and smells growled around and the sun kept hitting everything. Keeping on walking, an older man in a blue uniform pushed a trash can past and said to me “Mornin’ sunshine” but I didn’t say anything back. Glomeration of the city at this point had become somehow sunnier and colder and nothing except the traffic light was blinking.