It’s been a while since I’ve graced you all with anything other than essays (I sound so full of myself don’t I? Don’t worry, it’s all an act to hide the insecurities I feel about my writing), and so I figured that today would be a good day to put up the bits and pieces I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. Some are drabbles, some are poems, some are…God knows what, but here they are for your amusement.
Midsummer in the North is surreal. I watch the sky like I’d eye a Dali painting, wondering if something will melt under the impossible sun. I came here to escape. I came here for dark and silence, for the endless cold stretching out before me as if I could see it. I came here because at night I forget. But today there is no night, only days and days contained in 24 hours. It is incomprehensible, this solstice of the pole. It is maddening. I look up at the heavens and yell curses at the sun that refuses to set.
They asked her how bad the pain was on a scale of 1-10. She replied that it was an 8. Physical pain or emotional pain they wanted to know. They seemed very serious, as if the answer would change everything.
Without warning, she burst out laughing, and they looked at each other to silently say “72 hour hold”. There was no mind left to this one.
When she caught her breath there were small tears seeping from the edges of her eyes. Her face caught some of their seriousness and they looked at her expectantly.
“You think there’s a difference?”
There’s a loneliness to it that you can’t understand until you’ve stood before someone
Claiming they love you
And asking you to climb Everest on a broken leg.
There’s a distance placed between you
That is uncrossable until you’ve gotten the passport stamp of depression.
I try to yell across to you
And give you the details of the landscape
But all you get are echoed words, bits and pieces of a painting
That will never be whole.
The space distorts words.
There may be others with me, but we have no time for each other
Each too busy yelling across the void to someone or other
Wishing they could go home.
Someday I will make a camp here
And forget the other side.
Inviting each new person inside to warm themselves at my fire
And we’ll be together
The following is a set of drabbles entitled “Food”:
First Day of Treatment
The bowl of pasta was large. It seemed to grow as she looked at it, drowning in alfredo sauce. Reluctantly, she picked up her fork and began to twirl the strands around it. It was a painstakingly slow process. Fork to bowl. Turn. Pick up noodles. Mouth. Chew. Swallow. By the time she was halfway through it was cold, the sauce congealed. How would she finish? She felt eyes heavy on her as she took yet another bite, her stomach already churning. But she couldn’t stop: they were watching. But she knew how to fix it: fingers down the throat.
When he speaks about food, he is intense. She rarely sees him like this otherwise, leaning forward, eyes sparkling, hands gesturing madly. She understands his passion; food can turn her into a different person too, but it’s the love affair with it that makes no sense. It excites her though. She finds herself making up excuses to eat with him, to spend money she doesn’t have on beautiful dinners. She listens with unblinking eyes when he talks, trying to capture the essence of his speech. But every night after they eat together, she goes home to pinch at imagined fat.
She’s hungry. So often she forgets to feel hungry, or convinces herself it’s something else, but today she feels empty and it is undeniable. There is a gnawing, pulling, dark sensation at the very bottom of her, telling her that nothing will satisfy. She searches for the cure: meat and potatoes, ice cream, comfort food, fascinating flavors, good company. No matter what goes in she remains hungry, until the desperation and calories blend into a shocking kind of nausea, but always an emptiness. Nothing will fill her, so she picks up her phone, hoping his voice will do the trick.
He tells her stories of food. Aztec is his favorite. He tells her how bodies became food and food became bodies and the earth regrew itself out of the gods. Food and memory and existence wrapped together. Her favorite is when he teaches her words. Poutine. Macerate. Cassoulet. Her world expands. Some days he shows her how he likes to cook, dousing everything liberally with truffle salt. When they go to restaurants, he waxes rhapsodic about the foods he loves: oysters, pate, and wine. She tastes his words and his food and begins to eat life for the first time.
Rule: never eat in the morning. It was 10:30 AM. They ordered a waffle to share. She took a few moments to try to observe it. There was fruit topping it, fresh and plump, but her eyes were drawn immediately to the sizeable heaping of whipped cream. The smell was forceful and immediate, sweet and full, almost golden. She breathed deeply, closing her eyes to take in only the scent. It smelled good. She reminded herself that it would taste good, she liked waffles. Five minutes later, there wasn’t a bite left. It was more than an hour before noon.
He pushes the plate towards me. I feel a flutter of uncertainty. Rabbit. I’ve never eaten rabbit before. He’s taken a bite of it, and his face tells me that he just ate a bit of rabbit-flavored heaven. Something in me snaps and I grin, pulling the plate closer. A deep desire to be here in this moment, tasting the food before me, sharing the conversation around me, has left no space for anxiety. The rabbit looks juicy and tender, covered in some deliciously unknown sauce. One bite tells me it’s complex, balanced, intriguing. A smile flutters across my face.
I’m sitting and waiting. I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but I hope that someone will tell me soon. I don’t like to wait. My muscles clench and unclench. My jaw grinds away at itself. My eyes fall out of focus.
But boredom is the kiss of death. My mind has nowhere to go. It runs and grabs and discards ideas at spitfire speed. I begin a thought and it falls away as it’s devoured by something new. What where how do I think? My mind eats itself, a dog chasing its tail, Ouroboros.
I am no phoenix to grow again when I’ve fallen, and I wait. I rip open my fingers, biting at the skin. I chew on my lips. I crack my knuckles. Nothing ends and so nothing may begin.
Where is the exit?
My legs will not stand because I know the rules and someone will tell me what I’m waiting for.
I will not look away. I am eternal and eternally incomplete.
I am a constant reminder of loss.
Why is there no exit?