The Impossibility of Being Earnest

My fingernails are jagged, like a handful of split ends.
Conditioner lathers self-consciously,
and I think of hopes reclaimed when strangers speak your name.

subjecting yourself
to basketweaving
when you have little else
but cardboard after cardboard
tissue paper rolls
because you wince
from the nippy old static
we feel when discarding
all that could be.

Something else.

You look at the flower you’ve drawn, one petal too big.
Mistakes give life to waking up early,
and I fear, yet welcome these quivering follies.

Do narcissists fall in love?

A selfie with a bruised banana phone. I didn't know what other picture would be most appropriate for this post.

A selfie with a bruised banana phone. I didn’t know what other picture would be most appropriate for this post.

It’s comforting to read certain articles, albeit ones that mildly trigger. In 500 words, I write about memories. My naivety and his complications. Our complications. Anyway, give Lauren’s blog a read. The link and a preview can be found below.


“You are a sponge. A penetrable, earnest, quick little learner with so much potential.”

I didn’t think this was creepy. I didn’t think a lot of things were creepy for the four years and four or so months that I said “yes” to codependency. You ask me why I put up with the shit, and I’ll tell you, “I can’t read men.” Or that this was a better alternative than summers at a certain place. Regrettably, I’ve told myself, “No one will be the same.” Well, no shit. No one is exactly the same.

I’m falling for you.

It makes me sad.

Why am I sad? Because of the distance. Because of our age. They see you as a naive little girl, and myself as an immature boy. But we have something they don’t have.

Who the hell is “they”?

I’m the survivor, and you’re the thriver. You’re just like me, but four years behind.

And three months after we unpacked our boxes and fought over how to screw on the legs of our sad IKEA knockoff, I wasn’t like you. I was stupid. You laughed as I read about human rights and told me your biochemistry degree had more respectability than conversational Mandarin could ever hold. You reminded acquaintances at hookah bars that you could’ve gone to graduate school in Germany. But you didn’t, grading papers when you said it wasn’t expected.

I helped you grade those quizzes. You told me I had to. My income wasn’t exactly yours, so I had to earn my keep.

Before this, you lived with your parents. They didn’t charge you rent, and you spoke of how they owed you. You were twenty-three, or twenty-four back then. I know it shouldn’t matter. Society screwed you over.

Your eyes were always open, and once I asked you why. You said you liked to watch me. The creases of my eyes. You said you found it funny when I opened them. You saw yourself in cloudy inkwells. You said you saw potential.

Eventually, I embarrassed you. The Hello Kitty water dispenser you bought me our first Christmas, thrown down the apartment stairs as you called me a worthless bitch. Brought a Bible home one day, only for you to shake your head to laugh and ask how I live with myself, live without logic, live in fantasy.

You’re so full of shit. And you think you’ll become some fantastic lawyer.

I believed you for a time. My parents thought the same. Your father would always say I’d run off and cheat. Before, this didn’t matter.

But it did when you asked that I sleep in my car as you spoke with a coworker over the phone. You encouraged friendships and thought they’d help. Eventually, you branded them heretical influences. And you had to protect yourself. I would’ve forgotten you anyway, and she was the one with a brain.

Never learned formal calculus, but I know disrespect. Also, I didn’t have to grade those fucking quizzes.

Lucky Otters Haven


Narcissists can’t love but they can and do fall in love. All the time. What they feel is a state Dorothy Tennov has called “limerence,” more commonly known as infatuation or colloquially known as a crush.

According to Wikipedia,

Limerence (also infatuated love) is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person typically including compulsive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship and have one’s feelings reciprocated. Psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term “limerence” for her 1979 book “Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love” to describe the concept that had grown out of her work in the mid-1960s, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.

Limerence has been defined by one writer as “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves intrusive, obsessive, and compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contingent on perceived emotional…

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My Periphery

I sang to whatever the guy with the guitar was paid to cover at the Italian deli across the street. There were no surprises, his crooning more like a murmur. No one seems to bid farewell on the Saturdays I so choose as times to amble aimlessly across the funeral home parking lot. A cop will stall now and then, nodding, then smiling, but I haven’t been stopped as I was when I did the same near the local hospital.

Girls in fishnets lean against the walls of a nightclub I only know of as a coworker mentions it every Monday. They wave and I notice there’s not a food truck with “brisket” and “pork” scrawled on a whiteboard. I eat my breakfast tacos at eight p.m. That’s how it’s always been.

I think about the clothes on top of my bed, and if I’ll fold them, or tangle the hooks of wire hangers in a needless rush because the thing I most hate doing at home is folding my clothes and tossing them in wooden dressers padded with bags from a fancy grocery store. In high school, I had two hampers. For dirty clothes and the clean. Both piles equally disheveled. I can say the same for how I look right out of bed versus hours of thought concluded with tinted lip balm.

My food is ready remarkably soon. No one laughs as I step outside. A cop on a bike watches whatever cleans our river.

Even mosquitos sleep.

“Take the day off.”

Thank you, for not gushing about your backbreaking benevolence today.

I didn’t particularly want to go, but went after watching caramel stick to the sides of a plastic cup. I usually end up tearing them apart. The cups, like I do with boxes of Kleenex when summer hits.

No one talks, which I don’t mind. The silence is especially tolerable as this is one of a few locations where the Disney Channel doesn’t giggle all day from a battered JVC from 1995. A wall separates the staff from the seen and I’m able to feed words into the mouths of people I don’t know who walk four stories below.

I didn’t have a story today. Neither did you. Nothing changed, aside from a session cut to a full ten minutes. Usually, there’s a girl who listens to nursery rhymes on a cassette player bandaged with Lisa Frank dolphins. I didn’t see her.

The receptionist liked my sweater. I always wear sweaters. Unlikely to change, like August’s angry sidewalks. I passed a house for rent on my way back, wondering which hurts more. A nail through softened soles, or crossing the street barefoot? This I ponder from time to time as I’m fine with a few cheap shoes.

The pulse remained in spite of the coffee. I told the nurse I stopped running. She asked me why, and I told her I found it boring. And, I’m lazy.

I wrote the renter’s number on a card in my pocket. Haven’t called.


pinky and the brain –
inseparably hypercritical,

in their languid stroll.

soliciting tears
when you walk too close.

siblings and rivals –
reluctantly fused,

*Cats No. 31 and 32 of the 500 Cats Project

hopping rippled ponds

The faults I find in our shaky grammar
and the dust I’ve wiped from a broken desk.

The real that I can’t live without.

Water pouring, helicopters dive
into thickets of eager trees.

A recklessness everyone speaks of.

And Isabelle is leaving
as we calculate the fleeing possibilities
of a two week vacation
from questions
and displeasure.

We’ll buy her a Swarovski swan.

Pitching in more dollars.
Wrapping goodbyes in premium bubble wrap.


I think I’ll buy a boat.
That’s what everyone’s doing.
Or, what everyone wants to do
before the oceans dry.

There’s a clothesline snipped in two.
A mousetrap, feebly painted.
Garden gnomes are smiling.
Reality’s strangers to travel.

Do you believe in peace,
and that cyan flowerpots
can be mended,
courtesy of homemade glue?

I do,
while you may doubt.
Still placing a pillow in the farthest corner
where I’ll consent to dream.

*Cat No. 30 of the 500 Cats Project