“i look up at the night sky, and i know that, yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. when i reflect on that fact, i look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the universe is big, but i feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” 

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unrequited love poem

You will be out with friends
when the news of her existence
will be accidentally spilled all over
your bar stool. Respond calmly
as if it was only a change in weather,
a punch line you saw coming.
After your fourth shot of cheap liquor,
leave the image of him kissing another woman
in the toilet.

In the morning, her name will be
in every headline: car crash, robbery, flood.
When he calls you, ignore the hundreds of ropes
untangling themselves in your stomach.
You are the best friend again. He invites
you over for dinner and you say yes
too easily. Remind yourself this isn’t special,
it’s only dinner, everyone has to eat.
When he greets you at the door, do not think
for one second you are the reason
he wore cologne tonight.

In his kitchen, he will hand-feed you
a piece of red pepper. His laugh
will be low and warm and it will make you
feel like candlelight. Do not think this is special.
Do not count on your fingers the number
of freckles you could kiss too easily.
Try to think of pilot lights and olive oil,
not everything you have ever loved about him,
or it will suddenly feel boiling and possible
and so close. You will find her bobby pins
laying innocently on his bathroom sink.
Her bobby pins. They look like the wiry legs
of spiders, splinters of her undressing
in his bed. Do not say anything.
Think of stealing them, wearing them
home in your hair. When he hugs you goodbye,
let him kiss you on the forehead.
Settle for target practice.

At home, you will picture her across town
pressing her fingers into his back
like wet cement. You will wonder
if she looks like you, if you are two bedrooms
in the same house. Did he fall for her features
like rearranged furniture? When he kisses her,
does she taste like wet paint?

You will want to call him.
You will go as far as holding the phone
in your hand, imagine telling him
unimaginable things like you are always
ticking inside of me and I dream of you
more often than I don’t.
My body is a dead language
and you pronounce
each word perfectly.

Do not call him.
Fall asleep to the hum of the VCR.
She must make him happy.
She must be
She must be his favorite place in Minneapolis.
You are a souvenir shop, where he goes
to remember how much people miss him
when he is gone.

————————————————–

by sierra demulder

these days…

i’ve been out walking. i don’t do too much talking these days, these days. these days i seem to think a lot about the things that i forgot to do, and all the times i had the chance to.

i’ve stopped my rambling. i don’t do too much gambling these days. these days. these days i seem to think about how all the changes came about my ways, and I wonder if I’ll see another highway.

i had a lover. i don’t think i’ll risk another these days, these days. and if i seem to be afraid to live the life that i have made in song, it’s just that i’ve been losing so long. la la la la la, la la.

i’ve stopped my dreaming. i won’t do too much scheming these days, these days. these days i sit on corner stones and count the time in quarter tones to ten. please don’t confront me with my failures. i had not forgotten them.

 

draft.

her body ached. every vein, every tissue. every cell stretching and straining, trying to flee in a million directions at once. they were all telling, no, chanting at her to run. escape. but she ignored them. completely disregarded the feature supposedly possessed by all creatures, existing for the benefit of mere survival. instinct. what a stupid concept. she looked, laughed, spat the word in its face. who does instinct think it is anyway? this ridiculous idea that logic should deem as mythical nonsense! and yet, the word falls off the scientist’s tongue with the reverence of a wishing man’s prayer. the bolts of pain pulsed with every step she took, sending jolts of acidic bitterness to her thoughts. instinct. if instinct’s there to keep us from dying, then how come i manage to end my life, time and time again? she shook off the question, unanswerable and pointless, and continued walking down the narrow alley – following a cobbled path she never mapped out to begin with.

the not-quite evening was just beginning to settle over the city. the sun was backing away slowly, as if not to startle the streets. don’t worry, it seemed to be saying. everything will be fine. i’ll be back, i promise. as the buildings started to cool towards the nighttime violets and blues, people were rushing. they hurried the way a traveler hurries when returning from a visit far, far away – the way one hurries when coming back home. up and down, left and right they went, doing the dance of the obliviously coordinated. as everyone else was arriving, she was still departing, wandering in the unknown. and as everyone led their own way, she was doing the opposite. when she reached the end of the alley, looking out at the square baring itself before her, a sense of familiarity overcame her. she sat down at a bench and looked around her. this place has a vibe. like a lot of heads went rolling down these stones. maybe a couple of hearts. upon this thought, she felt a sense of confusion. why do i feel like i’ve thought this before? she tilted her head upward, squinting at a man of apparent importance standing in perpetual, petrified pride. the statue loomed over her. she sighed and shook her head, as if it had personally dissatisfied her somehow. looking down, she let her eyes fixate on a single cobblestone, consciously letting her mind amble through worlds abstract.

”hey.” she sucked in a breath. in an instant, her heart took a start, running a hole straight through her ribs. while the organ in her chest was burning hot, the red liquid shooting through it had turned a crystal cold blue. the sharpness ached. everything ached, and she was frozen. a movement in her periphery. the blur of an arm to her left cracked the ice, and in her mind, a broken how? sounded. her body heard the question, instantly demanded an answer. her head snapped up, eyes crashing into a stormy ocean of grey. there he was. taller and paler than she remembered. charlie, her heart gasped out, a name she’d fought herself not to say for so long. in all his bastardly magnificent glory.

r.i.p, what a dream, you’re so damn dangerous

❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥

XXVI.

wanna fall into your super love
yeah my heart never wants it to stop,
please save me
cause i never seem to get enough,
you’re the bullet and you’re making me drop
please save me
So give me all of your super love,
’cause my body is so close to you,
i’m waiting
die here, in your arms
falling in love with you

❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥❥

attraction electric, a game.

at first, it was curiosity. the sight of his seared, colored arm startled me. red roses, thorned and proud as the most triumphant of beauty queens, waving its lack of care to the world. no i’m not a cliché, i’m a classic.

then it was the looks. his stare struck me. not once, not twice, and not even three times. i was hit, sunk, heavy drop to the ground. shocked but not electrocuted, just left laying. a sacrificial lamb. i was buzzing with the energy of attention. it wasn’t his looks. this man with the roses branded on his arm and was that something else? it wasn’t his looks. it was the looks. i was there. i was seen. and as i sauntered past him, a lioness brave, the adrenalin coursed, sending sparks with every straightening vertebra in my back. i walked tall. electricity.

it turned into a game. a cat and mouse between me, myself, and him. i teased, i leered, i waited. pushed and twisted, i wanted him to fold. this man, who, perhaps, was more than the roses on his arm, other lines and dimensions. he was always on my right, and he responded. pulling and turning me, pushing my buttons eagerly. all of them. he was a child, and i was an elevator, going to every floor as they flashed a bright white. i wouldn’t have to crane, maybe bend a little, to kiss him. i would have to push, hard, to hear the sound of his back hitting the wall. the fantasy was my toy, and playing with it was my favorite pastime. i was the cat, and i wanted the cream. meow.

the game was between me and myself, and him. except that we weren’t playing the same game at all. the field crumbled. a girlfriend, and a skull dragged out of its cover, mockingly breathing out its decay. a cliché. it was over, and i had lost. had won. had lost. had won. along with the others, this possibility was buried. “those who could have been but never were.” it was lost.

sometimes, i still play the game between me, myself and him. i trick, i taunt, i wait. and i catch him glancing to his left. looking at the vacant space where i used to be, but not finding me. and once again, my spine crackles with the electricity. maybe a little is his looks. but mostly, it’s the looks. i still don’t know what game he’s playing. but i’m winning. 

all i wanna hear her say is “are you mine?”

XXV.

i’m a puppet on a string
tracy island, time-traveling diamond
coulda shaped heartaches
come to find ya fall in some velvet morning
years too late

she’s a silver lining lone ranger riding
through an open space
in my mind when she’s not right there beside me

i go crazy ’cause here isn’t where i wanna be
and satisfaction feels like a distant memory
and i can’t help myself,
all i wanna hear her say is “are you mine? “

are you mine?
are you mine?
are you mine?

i guess what i’m trying to say is i need the deep end
keep imagining meeting, wished away entire lifetimes
unfair we’re not somewhere misbehaving for days
great escape lost track of time and space
she’s a silver lining climbing on my desire

well, are you mine? (are you mine tomorrow?)
are you mine? (or just mine tonight?)
are you mine? (are you mine? mine?)

and the thrill of the chase moves in mysterious ways
so in case i’m mistaken,
i just wanna hear you say you got me baby
are you mine?

i had a dream about you

All the cows were falling out of the sky and landing in the mud.
You were drinking sangria and I was throwing oranges at you,
but it didn’t matter.
I said my arms are very long and your head’s on fire.
I said kiss me here and here and here
And you did.
Then you wanted pasta,
so we trampled out into the tomatoes and rolled around to make the sauce.
You were very beautiful.
We were in the Safeway parking lot. I couldn’t find my cigarettes.
You said Hurry up! but I was worried there would be a holdup
And we would be stuck in a hostage situation, hiding behind
the frozen meats, with nothing to smoke for hours.
You said Don’t be silly,
so I followed you into the store.
We were thumping the melons when I heard somebody say Nobody move!
I leaned over and whispered in your ear I told you so.
There was a show on the television about buried treasure.
You were trying to convince me that we should buy shovels
and go out into the yard
and I was trying to convince you that I was a vampire.
On the way to the hardware store I kept biting your arm
and you said if I really was a vampire I would be biting your neck,
so I started biting your neck
and you said Cut it out!
and you bought me an ice cream, and then we saw the UFO.
These are the dreams we should be having. I shouldn’t have to
clean them up like this.
You were lying in the middle of the empty highway.
The sky was red and the sand was red and you were wearing a brown coat.
There were flecks of foam in the corners of your mouth.
The birds were watching you.
Your eyes were closed and you were listening to the road and I could
hear your breathing, I could hear your heart beating.
I carried you to the car and drove you home but you
weren’t making any sense

I took a shower and tried to catch my breath.
You were lying on top of the bedspread
in boxer shorts, watching cartoons and laughing but not making any sound.
Your skin looked blue in the television light.
Your teeth looked yellow.
Still wet, I lay down next to you. Your arms, your legs, your naked chest,
your ribs delineated like a junkyard dogs.
There’s nowhere to go, I thought. There’s nowhere to go.
You were sitting in a bathtub at the hospital and you were crying.
You said it hurt.
I mean the buildings that were not the hospital.
I shouldn’t have mentioned the hospital.
I don’t think I can take this much longer.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, you put your head in my lap.
Let’s say you’re driving down the road with your eyes closed
but my eyes are also closed.
You’re by the side of the road.
You’re by the side of the road and you’re doing all the talking
while I stare at my shoes.
They’re nice shoes, brown and comfortable, and I like your voice.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, I’m afraid to wake you up.
In these dreams it’s always you:
The boy in the sweatshirt,
The boy on the bridge, the boy who always keeps me
from jumping off the bridge.
Oh, the things we invent when we are scared
and want to be rescued.
Your jeep. Your teeth. The coffee that you bought me.
The sandwich cut in half on the plate.
I woke up and ate ice cream in the dark,
hunched over on the wooden chair in the kitchen,
listening to the rain.
I borrowed your shoes and didn’t put them away.
You were crying and eating rice.
The surface of the water was still and bright.
Your feet were burning so I put my hands on them, but my hands
were burning too.
You had a bottle of pills but I wouldn’t let you swallow them.
You said Will you love me even more when Im dead?
And I said No, and I threw the pills on the sand.
Look at them, you said. They look like emeralds.
I put you in a cage with the ocelots. I was trying to fatten you up
with sausages and bacon.

Somehow you escaped and climbed up the branches of a pear tree.
I chopped it down but there was nobody in it.
I went to the riverbed to wait for you to show up.
You didn’t show up.
I kept waiting.

—————————————————————————–

by richard siken

 

playlist: winged eye liner and vacant looks

so i made a thing.

bild-5

converse dragging on the gravelly pavement, aluminum bat reflecting flashes of light as it swings with your arm, breath coming out white and icy. you’re ready to fight, to run, to cry, to laugh. you’re young, and it’s just kind of whatever.

the core of the galaxy is rum and raspberry

okay not really, but a little! so according to this article, astronomers have been sifting through signals from this huge dust cloud, at the heart of the milky way, called sagittarius b2. if i’ve perceived it correctly, the goal was to find some amino acids, because that would “raise the possibility of life emerging on other planets after being seeded with the molecules”. that didn’t happen, which is unfortunate, but they are pretty close. and some other cool stuff were detected, like ethyl formate. ethyl formate is the chemical substance that is responsible for the way raspberries taste, and happens to smell like rum. i think that’s kind of lovely. the scientists also found evidence for propyl cyanide – a lethal chemical. once again, i think that’s kind of lovely.

when i read the article, i thought that “wow this sounds kind of like science fiction” and then i realized how science is really close to fiction, which is funny since it’s trying to discover reality. below is a creative interpretation of the concept of the galaxy with raspberry and rum, because why not.

(links to the sources through the pics)

and i will give to you summer wine

24.

i mean no disrespect to mrs. sinatra or mr. hazlewood (may he rest in peace),  but there’s just something about this version. dreamy.

 

strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
my summer wine is really made from all these things
take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
and i will give to you summer wine
mmm-mm summer wine

(kind of) physical things in my head.

i am listening to welcome to night vale. the twin peaks of the digital age. it’s amusing, but not in the “laughing out loud” sort of way, but in the sense that it makes my soul smile and occasionally chuckle. it’s comfort too. listening to the clear, matter-of-fact voice. a simple narrative, free from clutter and loud impressions. the one single voice that demands all my attention and lets me escape. it’s not brash, but it’s impactful. plus, the weather segment is always – kick. ass.

i’m listening to lana del rey and also goat at the same time. switching after every song. alternating between a dreamy haze and a gravelly daze.

i saw foals live two days ago. they were really good live. really good. it wasn’t until i was standing there – trying to move along to the music, but having a really hard time figuring out the patterns to some of the songs – that i realized it’s a little like math rock. which made me think about… math rock. asymmetrical time signatures, atypical rhythmical structures, counterpoints (“voices that are harmonically interdependent, but independent rhythmically and in contour”), extended chords etc. math rock is really neat.

i bought two black shirts today. well, one thin black shirt, that’s covered but a little see-through and comfortable but still clings in all the right places. the other black thing is is what you’d get if you let a cardigan and a bomber make sweet, sweet love. knitted, a little fuzzy, really soft, with a silver zipper going down the front. i’m going to wear it tomorrow. with the red lipstick. i hope he likes it. a part of me is a little over myself, asking “is this what i’ve come to?”. but the bigger part of me is more reasonable and realizes that, well, i like the attention and that’s fine. great even. it doesn’t happen very often, so why not make the most of it? he does seem to like the lipstick.

i like the phase i’m in right now, fashion wise. i don’t think i’ve ever been this comfortable and happy with my appearance at the same time. i’ve had phases where i felt really happy with the way i looked, but could barely move without having to twist or pull or tuck in anything. i’ve also had phases where i felt like i could do anything in what i was wearing without feeling uncomfortable… except look in a mirror because then i’d feel horrible. so that wasn’t good either. but i’m really good now. of course it has to do with the way i view myself, i realize that, but i think it’s more that this gained self-assuredness is helping me find the right balance between things in every aspect of my life. and plus – a lot of black. oh, how i feel at home in black.

i’m reading again. this isn’t at all surprising considering it’s fall and school has started up again and of course, that works as the most effective alarm clock to my escapelust. it has awoken from its slumber, big time. i’m working my way through spaceman, which is really interesting and intriguing but also a little headache-inducing because it starts in the middle of the story and it has fictional dialects that are a little hard to interpret – two very classical literary tools that together, as mentioned before, induce a headache. i’m hoping and thinking things will get easier as i delve deeper into it, because it really is interesting (not to mention, intriguing).

oh, i could drink a case of you, darling.

just before our love got lost, you said, “i am as constant as a northern star.” and i said, “constantly in the darkness, where’s that at? if you want me i’ll be in the bar.”

on the back of a cartoon coaster, in the blue tv screen light; i drew a map of canada, oh canada, with your face sketched on it twice.

oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine. you taste so bitter and so sweet. i could drink a case of you, darling and i would still be on my feet. oh, i would still be on my feet.

oh, i am a lonely painter. i live in a box of paints. i’m frightened by the devil and i’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid.

i remember that time you told me, you said, “love is touching souls.” surely you touched mine, ’cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time.

oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine. you taste so bitter and so sweet. oh, i could drink a case of you, darling and still i’d be on my feet. i would still be on my feet.

i met a woman. she had a mouth like yours. she knew your life. she knew your devils and your deeds. and she said, “go to him. stay with him if you can, but be prepared to bleed.”

oh, but you are in my blood. you’re my holy wine. you’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet. oh, i could drink a case of you darling. still I’d be on my feet. i would still be on my feet.

 

worry/don’tworry

i heard the sound of beads hitting each other when i was leaving the train station today. i assumed they were praying beads, like the ones that the men around here carry around. beads like the earth or like the sea, maybe even like the sky but never like fire. i thought what i heard was the sound of praying beads. but then again, why were the beads even hitting together like that, making that sound? and what was that sound even called? i searched and found the name – clicking. obviously, it’s clicking. “… method is to hold all of the worry beads in one hand and roll them against each other, creating soft clicking sounds.” they weren’t praying beads after all. the sound i had heard when i was leaving the train station was the sound of worrying. the sound of beads being manipulated to pass the time. to guard against bad luck. to stop smoking so much. to mark power and prestige. in the sound of beads hitting each other, i heard a life. and i didn’t even turn around.

i heard the sound of stars burning in the sky just now. i assumed they were fireworks, like the ones kids light up around here. fireworks like barium or like copper, maybe even like cesium and always like fire. i was sure what i heard was the crackling of fireworks. even though, for a second, it was more like bang bang bang and i had the word “gunshots” hovering in my mind. the sound i heard just now was the sound of not worrying. the sound of fireworks being lit to pass the time. to not care about luck. to not even beginning to think about smoking too much. to show guts and rebellion. in the sound of stars burning, i heard a life. and i didn’t even look outside.

the space remains, bare. and it is felt.

a friend once asked me: “well what if you just don’t take it that hard? what if there just isn’t anything to grieve about? does it really have to be a big deal?”

it’s easy to fall into thinking about a thing of nature as a thing of society. it’s easier to wonder why we should do something than why we would do something. it’s easier to question rules, to think that they’re manufactured by us, than to question what really can’t be proved. it’s easier to claim something is fake, than to accept how real it actually is.

sure, we expect people to mourn a loved one who has passed, and yeah, we have twisted it into some sort of norm, but it’s not really about that. grief is defined as “a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed.” it’s multi-faceted, and the important part is that it is a response. it doesn’t really matter in which way, if someone comes into your life, they will make some space; and when they leave, that space will remain. empty. the presence of someone and the following absence of that same someone makes the same amount of impact. sure, it’s in/out, positive/negative, but the claimed energy has the same mass.

energy cannot be either created or destroyed, it can only change form. when you have someone in your life that can be categorized as a “loved” one, the departure of that person will change things. so even though you can’t really say that mourning is obligatory, an emotional shift can be expected to occur and that’s okay. in fact, it’s perfectly reasonable.

well, i’ve been afraid of changing

22

 
took this love and i took it down
climbed a mountain and i turned around
and i saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
till the landslide brought me down
oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
can the child within my heart rise above?
and can i sail through the changing ocean tides
can i handle the seasons of my life?
oh oh i don’t know, oh i don’t know
well, i’ve been afraid of changing
’cause i’ve built my life around you
but time makes you bolder
children get older, i’m getting older too
yes i’m getting older too, so
i’ve been afraid of changing
’cause i, i’ve built my life around you
but time makes you bolder
children get older
i’m getting older too oh yes
i’m getting older too
so, take this love, take it down
oh if you climb a mountain and you turn around
if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
well the landslide will bring you down, down
and if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
well maybe the landslide will bring you down
well well, the landslide will bring you down

franny and zooey.

Lane himself lit a cigarette as the train pulled in. Then, like so many people, who, perhaps, ought to be issued only a very probational pass to meet trains, he tried to empty his face of all expression that might quite simply, perhaps even beautifully, reveal how he felt about the arriving person.

Franny was among the first of the girls to get off the train, from a car at the far, northern end of the platform. Lane spotted her immediately, and despite whatever it was he was trying to do with his face, his arm that shot up into the air was the whole truth.

“Oh, it’s lovely to see you!” Franny said as the cab moved off. “I’ve missed you.” The words were no sooner out than she realized that she didn’t mean them at all. Again with guilt, she took Lane’s hand and tightly, warmly laced fingers with him.

She found herself looking at Lane as if he were a stranger, or a poster advertising a brand of linoleum, across the aisle of a subway car. Again she felt the trickle of disloyalty and guilt, which seemed to be the order of the day, and reacted to it by reaching over to cover Lane’s hand with her own. She withdrew her hand almost immediately and used it to pick her cigarette out of the ashtray.

“I’ve just felt so destructive all week. It’s awful, I’m horrible.”
“Your letter didn’t sound so goddamn destructive.”

Franny nodded solemnly. She was looking at a little warm blotch of sunshine, about the size of a poker chip, on the tablecloth. “I had to strain to write it,” she said.

Lane started to say something to that, but the waiter was suddenly there to take away the empty Martini glasses. “You want another one?” Lane asked Franny.

She smiled at Lane – in a sense, genuinely – and at that moment a smile in return might at least have mitigated to some small extent certain events that were to follow, but Lane was busy affecting a brand of detachment of his own, and chose not to smile back.

But everything. He’d written some perfectly harmless test-tubey paper on Flaubert that he was so proud of and wanted me to read, and it just sounded to me so strictly English Department and patronizing and campusy that all I did was-” She broke off. She shook her head again, and Zooey, still half-pivoted in her direction, narrowed his eyes at her. She was looking even paler, more post-operative, as it were, than she had on waking. “It’s a wonder he didn’t shoot me,” she said. “I’d have absolutely congratulated him if he had.”

 

i fell into franny and zooey a couple of days ago, and fell out of it on the train ride to school this morning. i love it. it’s melancholia and warmth and naiveté and bitterness all at the same time. i love the mirroring of franny’s short story and zooey’s novella, maybe even more so because they weren’t meant to be bound together to begin with. i love the way the stories compliment, contrast, combat and coexist with each other. how they continue each other. and i love the subtle nuances. the hinting at a million stories that compel you enough to think about them long after they’ve flashed by. like lane. well, like franny and lane. frannyandlane. franny. lane. the way that the complexities of their relationship is conveyed through such simple means bewitched me. salinger, man.