Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lego House

I step through the fog. Thick, like the layered contours of deep sleep. Each step leads me through a slower stew of grayness. Shapeless hands whip past me in waves of beaded moisture.
I am walking up a slight hill, known through the body and not the eyes unless against this window of pale breath. Long sinewy calf muscles are hard at work, pulling and tearing in an unusual effort. Dense ligaments have slept behind my thighs, only to awaken in this moment under strain. The past itself is a hazy fog, just blackness speckled with the light of an occasional star and multilevel building. There is a landscape of fuzzy lights, a city covered in smoke. Long, long ago. I move as though this has always been done, only the body screams otherwise. Each step, a pulse. Each step, traveled and regressed. Surrounded by white, forward seems to be back, only the incline reveals another truth. One moment after another, then another. Another step into the thickness of gray, into the clouds which cover me as though I was them. As though I was nothing but a movement of moisture and white mixing with gray and converging with water. Change is upon me with the stirring of a lavender scented mist. The clouds swirl as though in a last dance with time, peaking like ocean waves that have met the might of a great titan, and then recede. Each step takes me further from them. I watch as they swirl, trapped in a barrier they cannot cross.
The night opens like a flower. Black. I have nearly reached the crest of the hill, the mound which may be a smooth mountain. Ahead of me, at the peak of the hill is a multi-colored house. Almost square but for the small rectangular shaped tower on the right side. I run to it. I run as if it breathes. I run to my old friend. I run to the house. There are no lights, but we are illuminated by a yellow light that comes from no sun, no stars. An eerie yellow light that casts shadows on the grass that move with the shape of elephants and tigers. I run to the house, to a memory, to the self that I have left. My fingers caress the walls, the thick plastic bricks that protect the house from the night and the night from the whispers of those who dwell there. My body twirls with joy, with a memory that I can not recall and yet I look for.
The house grows as I open my eyes to its form, the life-size Lego house. I run around the periphery. There are four feet of solid yellow bricks that touch the grass and above is an explosion of color. From four feet to the flat roof is a mixture of red, blue and green bricks with an occasional yellow acting like a star. I touch the smooth walls as though it was a lover’s chest. Each side of the house has three small square windows. No glass or shade, just a portal in and out. Under the center window of each side is a bush of fresh lavender. I reach out to one and pull from a reluctant stem. “Thank you,” I say as I crush a purple cone between my fingers and bring it to my nose.
The tall tower, slightly larger than a chimney, is formed from solid green plastic bricks. At the top, a hard plastic flag stands. It’s shape invokes the memory of a proud flag flapping in the wind, crying for freedom. This flag is forever frozen in the ripple, a snapshot to a moment that existed with other material in another place. Beside the open rectangular door is a little plastic tree. It stands still though the night is alive with the dance of the wind.
The gap of the door calls me to enter. I step in. There are no lights. No sounds but the wind slamming against the plastic walls.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Train Ride

The screech of train wheels signaled to her ears that they were moving; a fraction of a moment later, her body felt the change. The bright light of a clear day found its way through plastic windows that had been scratched with gang symbols and cryptic messages. She kept her sunglasses on as the train passed hillsides packed with rectangular shaped houses all colors of the rainbow.
There was a young couple twenty feet ahead of her. The guy had on a new tie-dyed shirt and had shaggy brown hair. He sat next to a stylish young woman. She had pale skin and straight brown hair with bangs that reached to the tips of her eyebrows. She looked at her boyfriend occasionally, but mostly she looked out the window, down in her lap, at the seat ahead of her, at the ceiling…anywhere but at his face. When she did look at him, she did not smile. The girl in sunglasses wondered if something had just happened between them. If she had just found out he had cheated…something that would explain her disdain. His head was tilted in her direction, but her head was tilted slightly away from his, as though she just couldn’t stand being too close.
Next to the couple, across the aisle, was a young boy, two or three years old. He stood on the cushioned seat next to his large Samoan mother. The little boy was wearing gray sweatpants and wore something that looked like a backpack, only where the backpack would be, there was a small teddy bear. The device went around the boy’s shoulders and chest and fastened with a clip. There was a long cord attached to the teddy bear that the mother used as a leash for the boy. The child stood, he was just a little taller than the seats. His voice was shrill. He pointed to the hills and the houses, he pointed out the window excitedly. His little voice was so high and so excited that the girl in sunglasses could not understand what he was shouting. But she understood what he saw. He looked at the world with new eyes.
Every cloud was a shape that had not completely been solidified and understood and compartmentalized. Some clouds were dragons, but some where soozebuckels. There were spots of green houses and airplanes. But there were also hossplertas. He pointed at them all. His grandparents, in the seats behind his, smiled at him affectionately. Their bronze skin and slanted eyes glowed in their love for him.
The train screeched to a stop. The doors opened and a couple in their early thirties sat in the seats perpendicular from the girl in the sunglasses. The man was nearly bald, but he had shaved his entire head, revealing a pink scalp. He looked like an alien. He sat with his legs pressed tightly together. He clutched the backpack that rested on his lap. The woman next to him had long wavy brown hair and a floral printed cotton skirt. Neither of them looked at each other. They did not talk, but they both chewed on pieces of gum at an accelerated pace. Standing by the door was a young Latin woman who held the handles of a stroller. There was a little girl, just a little over a year, in the stroller. She had two black pig-tails on either side of her head. She looked around the train car with wide open eyes.
The doors closed and, again, the screeching sound of metal on metal signaled that they were on their way.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


There it was. A liquid dust settled between us, the presence of another, the presence of many others whose varnish had rubbed off upon us and caused our own surfaces to become tarnished and murky. But beneath all that, there was still a glimmer, a glow actually, warm like candle light in an autumn cottage. Dance, damn it, dance, I said! Move. Do SOMETHING!
Don’t just sit there. That thing inside of you has to MOVE! Don’t let it be still. Keeeeeep it moving. Keep it alive. Rhythmic motion ingrained deep inside us all. Waiting to come out. Waiting to be seen and heard and felt.
The mysteries that lay between us and all things were unfathomably deep, but treading through these dark gaps is the secret way of the sisters of the moon, and so we traveled this way, not through what was clear and bright and knowable between us, but rather in the tangled darkness where we might not be women, but harpies, where our talons might be blood drenched or our faces hideous, our countenances dark and fierce or pale and diminutive.
We could find each other by the light that is no light, the nothing which is something and reaches back to a place and time that was before our births, before ever there was a world or word to utter about it.
Her hair swings back and forth with each grind of her hips. Rhythmic intensity as the orgasm flows. That whore that was dancing in the bar feeling tipsy from the cheap vodka, now she dances like a goddess. Moving, swaying. Life depending on her every move. Like Shiva’s dance of destruction and creation. The movements intensify with every sway of the hips. Grinding against eternity. Move. Move.
Answer the phone. It rings. Ringing again. Who is it? Who is calling? Who IS calling? What is it that calls to us from deep inside of us? Answer it.
To seek one another out in the clouds of storm and still swamp-like pools of the material plane and join our two forces and build the true temples of the Gods was ever our goal. To look eye to eye and stir to awakening and recognize one another and then delve deeper into the world, making it our stuff of creation, our clay, our multicolored strands of yarn to crochet into the shapes of our ever deepening dreams.
The warrior lifts his head to the sky. He needs his strength. He needs his guide. The hawk answers with a shrill cry. I am here for you. Let my strength become yours. Let us be one. Let us go together in the world. Let us take flight and soar above all. Let us jump from the cliff and ride upon the wind, high above. Looking down on the vast canyons and shrubs. Cactus. Small animals. Snakes. Let us glide high above the rocks and trees.
Then we shall come to the earth and walk. Walk upon the land and feel the gravity beneath us, sinking, pulling. The weight at times unbearable. Pulling us seemingly to the center. Different enough that we could stand back to back, similar enough that we could remain in the same sacred circle, bound in silence and eternity, a shadow to a shape and a shape to a shadow.
The six sisters. You picked the right sister. The one which can help you. The one which can guide you on your way. Make you laugh, make you cry. The strange sister. So many choices but you picked the right sister. You don’t know why or how it happened. It just did. Call it fate. Call it whatever you Will. Just call it.
So for a time we would build together and be together and for a time we would sleep drifting into dreams so different and far flung that we were strangers both to ourselves and to each other. This was the way it had be done by us for the years of our mortal lives and the way it had been done by other mortals before us. This was the way that we were in time and the way that we were out of time. Out of time together forever, a serpent with two heads, and in time separate lost fragments of a being falling apart in the cold throes of enthropic force.
There was a Now to work with. A Now to do something in, and a Now where nothing could be done or ever had been done. Our most delicate and important task was to knit these two Nows together so that some thing that had never occurred before could finally manifest. A unity of death and life that might soar in skies unpainted and swim in depths undreamed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Eban Greggs had scarcely ever been out of his one bedroom apartment which stood on the corner of Linden and Hoffmen Streets overlooking the cemetery. A woman named Galetta who lived downstairs from him did his shopping and dropped his clothing, mainly pajamas, off at the cleaners and picked them up again for him once a week. She was a big black woman with enormous breasts. She had three children that lived in her apartment with her, one of them was her brother’s son. Her very elderly and partially deaf auntie lived in the same two bedroom apartment with her. Eban had never been down to Galetta’s apartment. He had never met the deaf old auntie, or Galetta’s boy, Dillan or her youngest child, a girl called Ester, but he heard often about them all. Once or twice, the brother’s son, Josef, had come up and knocked on the door and said,
“My Auntie says I should come see if you want anything special. We’re going to Tanforan.”
Tanforan was the big mall nestled in the adjacent community of South San Francisco. Eban would thank him and say no, he was fine. When he needed something particular, he ordered it online and it was delivered to his doorstep by the postman who wore a huge yellow cowboy hat to accompany his big gray cookie duster. From time to time, the landlord came and fixed a leaky faucet, and once in a while Eban had to go down to the garage and get into his 1991 Toyota corolla and drive to San Francisco and meet with his publisher. These were all of the people that Eban personally knew.
He began work in the afternoons and could hear when Galleta’s children returned home from school. He worked through the night and the quiet hours when everyone slept and then he tapped not only into his own subconscious but into theirs, borrowing their dreams to fill his pages. It seemed to him that when the world slept it was prone to opening its secret soul to him, and often he opened his window and looked past the bars at the white moon and the lights glittering like jewels set in the city beyond and listened deeply to the cool quiet night.
With his ear, specially trained in these nightly exercises, he could almost hear the dreaming murmur of the 11 people that inhabited his building, and then reaching further, the 1672 people residing in addresses along Linden, and then the 6688 that lived in the neighborhood around him on Villa, Sylvan, Lisbon, and Abbott, and so on, slowly reaching outward with the tentacles of his mind until some dreamer’s fears and desires burst open to him like a split pomegranate at last revealing the many secret crimson chambers that were guarded in the waking hours. Then he would return to the artificial glow of his liquid crystal monitor and his fingers would rattle desperately over the keys to keep up with the story’s unfolding.
In the watercolor wash of dark gray just before the sun rose behind the San Bruno Mountains and lightened the fog drenched world to a white wash, he would hear the sound of the shower running in the unit next door, and then foot steps throughout the building and the opening and closing of three different front doors, and engines starting in the cars in the garage, and the creak and clang of the iron garage gate, and at last the pounding of the feet of Galetta’s little mob as they ran down the flight of stairs beneath him on their way out to school. He would then close the blinds tight and crawl into bed.
In the summer, it was a challenge for Eban to work as he was accustomed to because the children, not just Galleta’s but all the children that lived in the neighborhood, were home from school. The days were noisier and the nights were shorter and plagued with loud music, laughter, and screaming. People slept less during the summer and the window of time during which Eban could dip into their dreams and skim out stories was narrower.
One evening at around 7:00 Eban was startled by a terrible uproar coming from the apartment below him. He could hear Galleta’s rich voice which usually boomed with authority as she scolded her children, or trembled with laughter while she loudly repeated some gossip to Auntie. Now it was rising to a high and panicked pitch, the likes of which he had never heard coming from her before. He stopped and listened and could hear that voice joined by the others of the household, all calling,
“Esther! Esther!”
They traveled from the garage to the apartment to the garage again and then out into the street. Then he heard Galleta’s heavy footsteps pounding up the stairs and abruptly she began rapping on his door. Alarmed and bewildered Eban hurried and cast it open to find her there with a tear streaked face and heaving bosom, ringing her hands.
“My baby! I can’t find my Esther. She was riding her bike in the garage and she’s gone. The boys left the gate open and went across the street and left her alone and she’s gone. I told them! I told them not do that and they did it again and now she’s gone!”
She was sobbing now, and Eban, in his pajamas and slippers, impulsively pressed by her to get out the door and down the stairs.
“Call the police!” he called over his shoulder as he thundered down the stairs, the first flight, then the second where he saw the frail old auntie trembling in the doorway and out of the garage where he noted the little pink and white bike lay on its side and into the street where a small mob of neighborhood kids had gathered with Galetta’s boys.
“I saw her walking that way!” said a round faced little Mexican boy pointing towards the cemetery and down Hoffman.
Eban ran that way, his heart racing. He reached out into the world as he did at the window at night searching for the little murmur that to him was Esther. He turned down Villa and stopped at the corner apartment. He then walked to the next one, a blue rectangular building, and pushed on the front gate. By chance it had not been properly closed and yielded to him so that he found himself passing the gold mailboxes in the wall and mounting the first flight of stairs. Eban hesitated, knocked on the door, and doubted himself. After a moment a lean white woman in a baggy T-shirt opened the door, two little girls clinging to her and peering around her legs at him.
He knew instantly he was wrong, that they could not help him, but he said,
“My neighbor’s little girl is missing. A little black girl.”
“Oh my God!” the woman gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. “From where? Which building?”
“658 Linden. If you see her…” he trailed off trying to hold onto the murmur. The woman was nodding. He disengaged abruptly, walked swiftly down the hall to the next door and this time, when he reached out with his hand out to knock, he grabbed the doorknob instead, a mad thing to do, and turned it and opened the door.
There she was, sitting on an old couch patterned with flowers the color of rust, drinking coke out of a glass with red roses painted upon it in lines of three. In an avocado colored easy chair, a little old Filipino man sat sinking into the cushions. The top of his head was bald and encircled by a ring of soft thin white and gray hair.
“Esther?” Eban asked.
The child smiled and said,
“How did you know my name?”
“I’m your neighbor Eban Gregg. Your mother’s looking for you. She’s very upset.”
“She’s real mad?” Esther asked.
“She’s scared.” Eban told her.
“I’m okay.” She said, “This is Mr. Juan. He forgets things.” She set her glass on a coaster on the table and standing up, skipped over to the old man.
“He has this bracelet, see?” she said, fingering a silver bracelet on the old man’s wrist. “Auntie has one but she doesn’t wear it. It has his name and address on it, like a puppy.” She giggled. The old man nodded at her and smiled and nodded and smiled rather absently at Eban.
“He was lost and he was crying so I helped him.” Esther said
“Who was crying?” the old man asked coming out of his reverie. He seemed genuinely curious.
“You were!” Esther exclaimed.
“Oh, well.” the old man smiled and shrugged and sunk back into his cushions.
“I better take you back to your mother.” Eban said
“Okay.” Esther said. “Bye Mr. Juan.”
“Bye, Bye.” He smiled and shut his eyes.
Esther came and took Eban’s hand, surprising him. It felt awkward and frightened him a little, like being close to a small exotic animal such as a squirrel or a chinchilla.
They passed over the threshold and Eban closed the door behind them.
“How come you’re wearing your pajamas?” she asked.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The day was drenched in mist that turned into larger drops of rain as she traveled through the twisting tree-lined roads of Marin. The greenery was old and time had created a canopy of leaves above the path of asphalt and motion. She drove through the white mist that turned the trees into a shade of magical green and scented the air with eucalyptus and lavender. As the drops hit her windshield she wondered if a bride’s wedding was being ruined. She would find out soon.
She had on her uniform of tight black Dickies and a collared black shirt. Neither of the garments fit her very well. The pants were just slightly too short, even for her 5’3 frame, and they seemed to like to burrow themselves between the cheeks of her ass. It was always slightly uncomfortable, and during each catering event, she would vow to get some new ones, but then she would forget again until the next wedding required they be pulled out of the closet again, and then she would remember and pull herself into them.
She drove until she found the Marin Art and Garden Center which was a sprawling piece of land with many chambers that could host multiple functions at the same time. The sound of a fountain greeted her as she walked up the couple of steps that separated the parking lot from the entrance. She walked up a curving path that passed a bursting rose garden that smelled electric in the slightly muggy air. After a sharp right at the rose garden, she followed the path that led to a green lawn.
On the lawn, but slightly to the right, was a long rectangular three-sided tent. One wall was open and exposed the interior. There were multiple rugs on the ground that covered and protected it against the damp grass. In the center was a foot tall coffee table that held a couple of glass votives with candles. Dozens of pillows were strewn on the ground, creating a harem-style lounge area. To the left of the soaked lawn was a narrow wooden deck that was covered in a slanted beige canopy of canvas. The moist air released the scent of the deck. Even after countless people had tread upon it, it still held the power of the smell. The deck was met with sliding glass doors that opened into the rectangular banquet hall and hidden from sight, the kitchen.
There were a couple of people inside, dressed in black, rolling tables out from their storage space in the large closet. A couple of others were carrying plastic crates of plates and wine glasses and ceramic coffee cups up from the dolly which was parked out by the stairs that led to another storage shed. She quickly found out what tasks needed to be done. She spent the next hour and a half arranging place settings and unfolding chairs and rolling napkins into little scrolls.
Her supervisor gathered all the people in black into a little group.
“Okay, we got word that it is dumping up on Mt. Tam (the place were the ceremony was taking place). They said that they are coming here a little earlier than expected. Everyone is cold and wet and grouchy. The kitchen is brewing some hot tea for them now. Please do your best to make everyone feel really welcome and cared for, even if they are grouchy.”
Everyone nodded.
“So lets do our best to finish everything up before they get here. Is there someone who can man the tea station?”
“Sure, I can.”
She walked to the rectangular table adorned with a crisp white table cloth and votives that fought against the wind to remain lit.
Within a couple minutes, guests started arriving. She smiled at them as they passed and offered them some tea. Most were more than friendly and quite grateful to be given something warm. Most of the women were wearing short dresses, wholly unprepared for the task of looking nice and staying warm, it was one or the other.
After a while, a crowd had gathered below the canopy, although some had refused to stand out in the drizzle any longer and sat at their circular tables in the banquet room. There was the comfortable murmur of chit chat over cocktails.
Then an angular small white car, one that could have been seen in England in the early 60s, drove down the narrow asphalt pathway that ran between the grass of the harem tent and the larger lawn. Applause erupted among the guests and two tall people emerged into the drizzle that thudded against a canopy tent.
The bride was olive skinned and lean. Her dark hair was pulled back into a twisted elegant braid that was bundled near her neck. Her dress was sleeveless, reveling her bony shoulders. The skirt of her pure white dress was long and skimmed the wet grass. The groom, just a little taller than she was, was wearing a gray suit to match the color of the clouds.
Her father, waiting beneath the canopy, held a microphone in his hand. In his thick Israeli accent he said, “if it’s going to rain, then let it rain!”
The DJ sparked a Michael Jackson song as the father jumped out into the drizzle and ran to his daughter with open arms, a wide smile spreading across his face. He grabbed his son-in-law and kissed him on the forehead. Other guests followed his lead. Some women took off their shoes and stepped into the soft earth. The couple was surrounded by fifty people, each one giving them hugs and words of congratulations. The majority of the guests stayed below the eaves, watching the merriment from afar.
The girl in black watched with the crowd below the eaves. She shared their joy. Tears came to her eyes. She heard the voice of her friend, “let the energy flow through you.”
The song faded and then a Klezmer band, which stood close to the couple, beneath the cover of trees, burst into song. The people quickly formed into a circle, bound by clasped hands. The circle spun and spun and eventually a small inner circle formed of the bride, the groom, the father of the bride and two other people. They spun in the opposite direction of the larger circle.
Four men stood close to a padded chair that had been draped in satin cloth. The bride sat in it and the group each took a chair leg and hoisted her high up into the air, bouncing her up and down. The bride clung onto the seat with her white-knuckled hands. Complete joy and terror mingled on her face, she let out a scream as the men lifted her chair up and down. The groom held onto a marigold colored napkin, he swung it around the air like a stripper that had just taken off his first garment. He swung it and then tossed it gently to his bride, she too waved it in the air. Then she held the napkin out to him and he managed to grab an end of it and they both held on as their chairs moved un-rhythmically.
The night was long. There were small plates of salad delivered and cleared. Family-style plates of food were delivered to each table. Hundreds and hundreds of different shaped glasses that were filled and then put back dirty into the plastic crates in which they arrived. The girl in black listened to loving toasts and worked as hard as she could to make sure everyone at her assigned tables was content.
Then the guests left one by one and soon is was how it began, with a small crew dressed in black. They were just about done, she was finishing the final sweep of the deck area. She looked into the night, into the lawn area where the two satin covered chairs of the bride and groom sat beneath the trees. But in the groom’s seat, was the leader of the Klezmer band. She had seen him walking around all night without any shoes on, wandering between the bar and the harem-lounge area. She smiled at him.
“What do you think it would be like to be married?” he asked into the dark night.
Many thoughts filled her mind, but she didn’t way anything.
“Come and imagine it with me,” he said.
She went to sit down on the chair, carrying her broom beside her like a scepter.
“Oh, it’s wet,” she said surprised. She stood.
“Okay, we can stand,” he said.
She looked into the empty lawn of grass, at the three horizontal strings of rounds bulbs that hung artfully above the grass. She imagined dancing and laughter and a happy father. She looked at the man next to her.
“I’m sure that day would be very nice, but I just can’t picture myself in it. I don’t think it is something that would happen for me. I feel like I am married already, but I can’t imagine a party like this.”
He smiled, his eyes nearly closed slits.
“Look at all those lights hanging up, no one owns the light, no one owns the light. Go to where the light is.”
She nodded and then he smiled. He nodded distantly and then smiled again. He seemed to shrink, as though something had shifted. He disappeared into the night, stepping back into the tent and the trees.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Walking In The Woods

I clear my mind before entering. My chest fills to the breaking point with air, my belly extends. In and out. In and out. The car is the known space, and I sit still for a little while, looking into the world of green. Time to move.

My right foot hits the earth, then the heel of the left. On and on I move, my feet in rhythm, my arms following. My breath moving. I reach up to push some hair out of my eyes with my right hand, I look over to my right. There are some red silk flowers on the lawn. Close by are other faded objects of sadness, left for one who might never see. Everything is cultivated and sculpted, “control” is the word that comes to mind. Beyond the small fence is all chaotic earth and woods. Completely wild, exploding in sex and death and birth and decomposition.
My feet take me through the boundary between the known and the wild. I enter another kingdom and I am home. Only it is different. And I am different. And I have never left. And I have changed, and it has changed and we are both the same.
Here, the rational is buried. Here, the birds know how to build nests and crickets don’t have to be taught what to eat. The mind is not needed. Language does not bend the branches to its will, it all moves, no good or evil, no sentimentality. Here, we move as we must and here, I shed my skin.

It has all changed so dramatically. The river is smaller, the weeds that line the muddy bank are taller. I walk through the same woods, yet different woods, new trees, new birds, new water and leaves. It is the same place, on the same patch of earth, but it is all new, just as every moment we burst and are born again. There are new creatures that scamper and fly and burrow. A new body that has brought me here and takes me through the thicket of green and brown.

I want to follow the creek.

I hear birds up in the leaves like hidden wind chimes. Calming the air are crickets or cicadas. Their intuitive noise slows me down even more. My right foot takes a step forward, my left foot rises and hits the earth. My right hand scratches my thigh.

I walk a little deeper. Just the woods in all directions. Life without language, life without a structure of concrete morals or rationality. In these wooden arms, in this body of green and brown and sex and life and death, everything is new and everything is old. Everything is here, present and eternal. Here, beyond the edge.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Outside the large windows that opened to the Pacific ocean was a sloping hillside laden with houses and cypresses. The sun was beginning to wedge its way from the wide open sky to the horizon and its light glimmered on the waves that lapped at the sides of the coast. She looked out at the view. A couple of seagulls drifted on the wind. The sight made her feel like she could be in Greece or Italy or in some small town on the Mediterranean sea. It was a sensation she liked, like bathing in warm water. The calm late afternoon sun over a lazy hillside drenched her in wanderlust. All around her there were people she could not see, families immersed in barbecues and slow strolls along the waterfront and bike rides. She could not see them, but she knew they were there. There was the smell of grilling meat and the vibrancy of an unusually warm afternoon. There was something about the golden coated hills that made her want to don a backpack and head out on the first ship destined for a sleepy island, where she would need to use pantomime and universally understood hand gestures to get herself fed and housed. She looked out the window repeatedly, wanting to express her desire for a sudden burst of flight with someone, but she kept it in, there was another conversation happening.
Or rather, there were three or four splintered conversations that sparked and flamed and then died quickly, only to ignite a few minutes later. Uncontrolled attention flew about the room like a ping pong ball.
The sofa she sat on was pressed against the windows, the other was against the wall. A large houseplant, the size of a small tree separated them. A Persian-style rug filled the center of the space, on top of which was a makeshift coffee table made out of a glass tabletop that sat on a wide drum. Somewhere, a drum kit was missing an important part. Three sand dollars rested in the inch of space between the tabletop and the skin of the drum. The table was covered in bright orange glasses filled with lemonade and roasted portabella mushrooms dusted with thyme. There was a platter of sliced beef that sat waiting for a mouth, a bowl of potatoes was getting cold.
She looked at the food with interest, she wanted it, but she had grown weary and careful. It had sat for too long, been saturated with too much breath and subtle vibrations. She watched it. She wanted a little bit of the meat, she wanted a green olive from the bowl numerous fingers had dipped into. But she looked away, attempting to keep a calm smile on her face as ping pong balls bounced from wall to wall, corner to corner. A faulty stereo began and stopped a CD at whim. Each time it stopped, she jumped slightly, feeling slapped and startled. She looked around for someone else who noticed, that seemed as shocked as she did, but the conversation did not stop. Darting movement came from half a dozen people.
She sat on the couch, on the plush checkered cushions of black velvet and beige linen. Her bare feet were pulled in close, resting on the fabric. She wondered if, as a houseguest, she was sitting in an appropriate position. But she saw her hostess sitting in the same way, dressed as she was with form fitting leggings and a short skirt that gave just a couple extra inches below their panty lines. They looked like teenagers dressed for a day at the mall.

“I stopped eating meat a week ago, I feel so much better, like I have a lot more energy.”
“I was a vegetarian for about a year, my skin turned green and I walked around half dead.”
“So yeah, I disagree with the premise of that movie.”
“Does anyone want some more food.”
“Hey, will you tap that stereo, it’s skipping again.”
“I mean, if you want to use someone else’s song, you need to get permission.”
“It’s a stretch, but not a long one.”

There was so much happening all around her, energy flew in all directions like a chaotic storm. They were all like parts of a machine that never linked up, that never synchronized to actually make something happen. Here, each was his own gear, sure of its purpose and plan and all of them battled against each other in their thoughts and words and movements. She remained mostly silent, giving her attention to a particular speaker, nodding, smiling when something was funny. When she looked away, no one seemed to notice. Attention was not required in this setting, each person was a singular entity and she simply tried to breathe, she simply tried to remain calm. Outside the waves were lapping against the drenched black rocks as the sun started its final dive into the endless ocean.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The window was still spotted with circles of white from the rain of two nights past. It had come down like an avalanche of tears, a state of being she had come to know so very well. There had been thunder and lighting to match the violence of her mood. As the orchestra of electrical sounds played, shooting as they went through the air like gagged lives running from a demon, she took her brother’s old wooden baseball bat and destroyed the contents of her old family house.
The bank had sent her the final notice three days before, the words in stark black and white. Those sentences showed no mercy, no softness of compassion. The words blurred her vision and took away the speed from her heart, she fell to the ground. At first, unable to breathe, unable to cry, unable to think. The world closed in on her, swallowed her up and took her into the small little cave that she would soon learn was home. Her new home. She sat crumpled like a piece of dirty laundry on the rug in her hallway, she sat there as the afternoon turned to night and until her little white dog came up to her and took a lick of her ankle, on the skin just above her sock line. The feel of life, of wetness and heat brought her back just a little, then the thoughts rushed in to fill the newly opened space.
What would happen next?
Where would they all go?
What would happen to all their things?
The stuffed animals and the furniture that her grandfather had carved and the album collection she had spent so much time building. How would she get it all out within a couple days? They had shown no mercy, those men in tailored suits and black hair, she thought of them with hate. She had no job and no waiting apartment, no trucks or movers. It was her alone, and she had nothing to fall upon, no mattress to catch her fall, no soft arms that would open and receive her, taking her pain.
Her chest moved up and down slowly. Life indeed was ending, this life that she had known. She watched the dark rain clouds moving in fast, pulled in from the coast by the heat further in the valley, just beyond the mountain ranges that filled her window with their power.
And as the rain came that night, she smashed holes through the walls, she tore at the sheet rock with her bare hands, cursing with each action. She crushed the tiles along the bathroom sinks and in the kitchen and pissed on the carpet and smashed the glass doors that led to the patio. She cried as she did so, screaming and cursing with rage.
She was hurting her own child, the place she had loved and tended to. But if they thought they would just take it from her, if they thought she would just walk away and give it to them without pulling it down with her, no…they were wrong. They would come to know her rage, or someone would. She would leave her ghosts in these walls, she would forever linger here, her screams would come with the rain.