i watched myself breathing

Narcissus is a teenage girl. No other figure loves her; she loves herself to fill the difference. She watches herself constantly: in the darkened windows of cafés and storefronts and the silvered glass in her bathroom. Alone she pouts, minces, tosses her hair, shapes her face for every angle. She knows her good side. She knows how to move her mouth. She generates self-awareness as the world becomes aware of her.

from the article “I’m Not Myself You See“, by larissa pham

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liturgy

p é n é t r a t i o n

p é n é t r a t i o n, by sergey neamoscou

a friday night and a dingy bar. inside, middle-aged people attempt to salsa, awkwardly jutting their hips with eyes unfocused. music that isn’t salsa is playing and the floors are sticky with spilled inhibitions. outside, three people stand without jackets, two females and one male, cowering away from the rain; huddled together, hunched into themselves. cigarettes hang between their lips, two burning and one unlit. the lights drift through the window behind them, casting auras around contours. the man asks the bouncer for the lighter and holds out his hand; black polish shiny and chipped.

“oh, this is one of those fancy ones.”

“a zippo”, one of the women mutters, painted lips moving rapidly.

“yeah, you just have to flick it open and it’ll burn for you.”

the other woman looks up, stormy eyes piercing the others’. “it’s very convenient.”, she states.

“it was really expensive, so be careful.”

“yeah yeah, of course.”

the sound of metal hitting concrete is harsh, unforgiving.

the woman throws her head back and laughs, mouth framed by red. the sound bounces off the buildings, walls bricked and windows dark. the three finish their cigarettes, speak about thin air. the other woman has her eyes shut the entire time, tides low in a stilled sea. each drag is a prayer, puffs of absolution coming out a gauzy grey. when they’ve stubbed themselves out, they stand for a moment, linger in silence. then they say thanks again for the light, and head back inside. the air is damp and cold. the drops have stopped falling.

frankie & freddie

the sun blazed, warming the city streets. smoke filled the air as he exhaled, blending with the grey of his eyes and hazing their intensity for just a moment. she looked down into her glass of lemonade, grinning. “oh please quit the smoking, why don’t you?” she said it teasingly, a line as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. it was an argument they’d had for years: one that had started with screams and tears, but had lost its bite as they got older. now, it was more a show of affection, their way of reminding each other that some things would always stay the same. and if that was her way of saying “i’ll always love you”, then there was no mistaking his feelings for her when they echoed through the low timber of his voice: “fuck you.”

she put the straw to her lips and took a deep drag. light flashed through the glass, shining through the translucent liquid. she raised her head and tilted it down just a little to peek at him through the top of her black shades. when she saw his smirk, laced with frustration, she bit down on the plastic. her grin widened as she gave him a wink. she loved the way she could push his buttons. it gave her a real kick. “you’re diabolical.”, he said with a laugh. she leaned back in her chair, spreading her legs out before her. they were on fire. she almost regretted wearing her usual black jeans in the midsummer heat, but just almost. it was her thing, and when she thought about even mother earth trying to tell her what to do, she reveled in the burn.

“so, what happened after we hung up yesterday?” she asked, letting go of the teasing. he jumped up a little, quickly reaching over to the table next to him to put the cigarette out, ashes harshly breaking the stark white of the tray. there was that honest to god sparkle in his eyes again. she could swear that his eyes came with a pair of zippos built in them, flicking open whenever he thought of something particularly exciting. “oh man, right! something pretty great happened actually. on our way to that… thing, whatever the hell that was,” he waved dismissively with his hand, “eddie and i were talking about something, i don’t even remember what it was. anyways, out of nowhere, this old lady sitting on a park bench, you know the ones by the fountain? right, one of those. so this lady just points at us as we’re passing by and kind of shouts ‘joseph!’, ‘phil!’. and eddie’s just ready to speed up and get the hell out of there, you know how freaked out he gets, but i’m just amused as hell. i was in a state at that point. well yeah, you know.” she did know, his alcoholized soliloquizing had kept her company for hours. she just nodded, and he continued: “so i go: ‘what, did we just get baptized or something?’. but then i feel really bad, because she gets this incredibly sad expression on her face. like i deeply hurt her or something. and then i just feel like crying, because she looks so sad. so i sit down next to her to apologize, but then she smiles, still really sadly, and starts talking about her life back in the day. turns out joseph and phil were part of her gang, and she just tells us about all of these crazy things they used to get up to!” as he raved on about the conversation he had with an old lady on a park bench, she listened intently. she didn’t feel anything more than a slight amusement towards his story, these things happened to him all the time. but there was still something about the way he told them that had her transfixed. even after all this time, he still fascinated her endlessly.

he suddenly stopped talking, looking down at the ground. “you’re doing that thing again”, he grumbled. “what thing?” she asked, puzzled. she wasn’t doing a thing? he met her eyes, steel grey striking her. “the thing where you study me like i’m some newly discovered creature.” she rolled her eyes, acting like he didn’t just see right through her. as she felt the heat rising in her cheeks, she thanked the heavens above that he wouldn’t be able to tell. “wait, what do you mean ‘whatever that was’? i thought you were going to a gig?” she changed the subject, knowing that he’d latch on right away. “yeah well, is a gig still a gig if it’s just kids moshing in a basement to music being played by other kids? with really shitty sound, i might add.” she scrunched up her nose. “that does sound a bit like a ‘whatever the hell that was’.” they shared a laugh, both turning to look at the people passing by in front of them. they were all still headed somewhere, but at least the summertime had slowed their paces a little. it was hard to ignore, she thought. the world really envelopes you this time of year.

she briefly wondered if he was thinking the same thing as her, but instantly stopped herself. that was statistically unlikely, and a silly thought to have in the first place. she snuck a glance at him, seeing him suddenly narrow his eyes at a girl passing by. she smiled to herself, confused, yet again. well, she couldn’t really blame herself for having silly thoughts when they were about the silliest person she knew. “the sky was so pretty there for a while. you would have loved it.” he murmured, almost as if he was thinking out loud. she was confused for a moment, before realizing he was still talking about last night. she thought about it for a while, then remembered: “i saw it. gorgeous.” a silence fell between them. long, comfortable, only broken by the occasional sound of her taking drags of lemonade through the straw.

✿✿✿

Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos.
There are 7 people in my house. We each have different genders. I cut my hair over the bathroom sink and everything I own has a hole in it. There is a banner in our living room that says “Love Cats Hate Capitalism.” We sit around the kitchen table and argue about the compost pile and Karl Marx and the necessity of violence when The Rev comes. Whatever the fuck The Rev means.

Every time my best friend laughs I want to grab him by the shoulders and shout “Grow old with me and never kiss me on the mouth!” I want us to spend the next 80 years together eating Doritos and riding bikes. I want to be Oscar the Grouch. I want him and his girlfriend to be Bert and Ernie. I want us to live on Sesame Street and I will park my trash can on their front stoop and we will be friends every day. If I ever seem grouchy it’s just because I am a little afraid of all that fun.

There is a river running through this city I know as well as my own name. It’s the first place I’ve ever called home. I don’t think its poetry to say I’m in love with the water. I don’t think it’s poetry to say I’m in love with the train tracks. I don’t think it’s blasphemy to say I see God in the skyline.

There is always cold beer asking to be slurped on back porches.
There are always crushed packs of Marlboro’s in my back pockets. I have been wearing the same patched-up shorts for 10 days.

Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos.

 

by clementine von radics

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.