I’m in a manic state of restlessness, shifting mindlessly from page to page without any sense of friction, a senseless fucking of my psyche. There really is no purpose for why I refuse to sleep, when I have all of the motivation to do so, and all of the reason to obtain the appropriate amount of rest. There is no deadline I need to meet, at least presently. There is no specific problem in my mind. No, I am not spilling my heart out. I’m not writing an entry in anything, or an exit, for that matter. You’ll think this is an error message, but it’s the only truth I’ll ever tell you: This message has no content. Are you sure you want to send it anyway?
Don’t color your past in bitter hues. Bitterness is the thinnest of emotions. Subsequently, it tends to bleed into all the parts of your life, but when it’s held up to the light, it holds the least amount of pigment. Remember that.
Nothing cleanses your mind quite like a public bathroom. The faded sunny yellow of the walls reflects off of every object in the room, creating a cheery oasis amidst the tumultuous stresses of corporate life. I tried to splash my face with the cool faucet water, like Hayden Panettiere in those Neutrogena commercials, hoping to emerge fresh-faced as well as fresh-souled from the bathroom, but a second before the tap water droplets fell, I caught your body in the mirror reflection. You were a man, I’m almost positive, which meant two things: I’m in love, and I’m in the wrong bathroom. The water fell ungracefully into my eyes, momentarily blinding me, just like my sudden rush of affections. Love, I was left paralyzed, struck motionless by embarrassment and admiration. The cloudy shadow of your suited form became larger and larger. I felt you inching towards me, my heart strobing like a nightclub light. I felt a cold, electric brush on my shoulder, and now my heart, once on my sleeve, lies on the floor, water mixed with blood.
The last thing I want to give is my love.
And I approach sleep the opposite way I approach the club—
—I’m always the last one to enter and the first one to leave,
Drifting in and out of consciousness as if rolling up a sleeve—
—Sleep’s another small society telling me what my life should mean.
So I push it out of my path,
And then construct my own dream.
Sometimes I wonder where my head is.
“Okay, where the fuck is my cellphone. I can’t leave this building without my fucking cellphone.”
I can feel its watermelon-weight on my neck, usually, but lately it’s been pulsing in and out of gravity. Slowly strobing.
“Julie, it’s not in my fucking pocket. Bandage skirts don’t have fucking pockets.”
I wish it were tucked in my bra, close to my heart. I wish it were that easy to find.
“Check your clutch,” I said.
“Julie, it’s not in my fucking clutch. My fucking iPhone’s bigger than my fucking clutch.”
I wish heads had a more definitive shape. Something as distinguishable as a protruding rectangle creased behind a thin Sparkle & Fade tank.
“Check your shoe,” I said.
“Fuck you, smartass.” Zinnia spat, rolling her eyes and swerving her head. She locked her eyes on the sky, feigning a sudden interest in the clouds.
I turned around, waved, and pretended to walk towards someone I knew.
“Oh, HI!” I deftly droned.
I felt the heat of Zinnia’s eyes on my back, as I took one, two, two, three steps…
I twisted towards the scene of the crime.
Zinna’s cellphone on the ground.
Zinnia frantically pretending to fix her shoe.
Me frantically pretending that I didn’t already write the script.
April was an existentialist. She only believed in moments she could taste with her tongue outstretched, and with that, she deemed her story less important than the others, especially that of May. April and May could have easily been sisters. When they laughed, the sounds wove together, and when they cried, daffodils found the strength to get out of bed in the morning. In the dark, you could barely tell them apart.
Yet everything was more saturated about May. She was brimming with consequence. Even her biology reflected this, her full body barely losing the constant, precarious quarrel with her clothes. Her eyes carried the innocence and wisdom of sea glass, only made more beautiful by rogue tides. A guy could bask in her forever.
April was considered beautiful, but in an objective kind of way. Her clothes never seemed to fit quite right, either restricting her breath or swallowing her shape. Her eyes were often bright, but unstable, flitting from amber to dirt. You’d want to place April behind glass. You’d want to feature her under the gloss of a fashion magazine. You’d want to keep April at a safe distance. You’d want to fuck her, but only in your mind.
Many are colder than April, yet poets always consider her the cruelest. Maybe it’s the way she warms your skin in one breath and leaves you frostbitten in the next. Maybe it’s the way her harsh breezes overpower her subtle sunshine. Maybe it’s that she’s impossible to forecast, always one arm’s reach out of your grasp. Maybe she’s afraid of herself.
Someday you’ll understand.
Every leaf of inhibition mirrors the veins of your hand—
You compulsively tear strands of grass from the ground;
Since you were a child, you loved its lack of sound.
All I ever wanted was clean breaks and milkshakes.
But instead you told the waiter, “We’ll just have some water, thanks.”
And then over linguini, you told me how you felt;
You killed all my dreams with assassin-like stealth.
When tears come in streams, water tastes like moonbeams.
But water can’t feed all my fabricated dreams—
I need chemical strawberries frozen thick in my veins;
I need your ibuprofen stare to kill all of my pains.
High fructose corn syrup coats my soul, love,
It trickles my insides forming sugar stalactites.
I lie to myself while doing makeup in the mirror;
I’m lying to you now between bites of white rice.
“She’s in a war of consciousness,” he said aloud.
He pointed the camera to the pile of limbs.
The image screamed “moderate hit with a sequel.”
The love-limbs grinned and turned to her side.
“If I hide my surprise, will you tell me how it ends?”
So he mouthed her last words from his lips to hers.
The teen years consist of slowly coming to a realization that the world is not as fair or as conquerable as you always thought it was—-and that’s a terrible and beautiful thing. And you realize that Newton was right, and that with every terrible, terrible thing that you come across, there is a beauty that matches its terror, and with each beautiful thing, a terror that matches its beauty. And you guess that despite what anyone says, or preaches, or believes, the world can only be accurately described in two simple words: terribly beautiful.
New York City fucking scares me, but it makes me feel alive.
I don’t know much of anything. I often feel as if I’m regressing, fading into an oblivion negative enough to depolarize my every atom. I don’t know why. I don’t.
Yet whenever I’m in the City, I feel a physical shift. Something palpable. Something real. There is consequence to every step. Dreams are at an arm’s reach. So are the demons. So are you. But at least you can finally see them.
I have never before felt so insignificant. So absolutely present. So powerful. The suburbs shower you with the moldy grandeur of significance since birth, an empty baptism. You are special. Sing the gospel. Write your goals in the blanks provided.
Significance is a separation. Postulation, not protein.
To be insignificant is to be a part of something. Whatever it is, you’re in.
The City and the person take turns playing canvas.
And everyone, every one, separate from path or sphere or goal or flesh, is always in motion. The spirit of the City is that we try. We all try.
We recognize the power of the City and ourselves. And we underestimate neither.
I’ve been trying to find a way to keep that feeling, for me to invoke it at will, so that I may go about my days with a sense of power.
I’ve tried snapping twice at inspiration, hoping to thread the senses.
Maybe there are no threads. Maybe they’re everywhere.
Maybe that’s the same. Maybe that’s beautiful.