acorns and leaves

Friday, October 28th, 2016

most things in life are accidents: the e-mail notifying me that “Why Are You Here?” was finally selected for inclusion in a lit journal, the call informing me of (much needed) medical resources. both within forty-eight hours of quitting my job. take the bus, wait, make sure I drink enough water so I can once again leave, disappointed that I won’t be harboring the second coming of Christ. make a little fist, squeezing out all the morning’s secrets, that mostly pertain to things and figures I hold a bit of contempt for, and press the heat pad against my skin, opening up the stubborn blood vessel that doesn’t give as much as it should. twelve-hour fasting, (bus) rides through neighborhoods with pretty mailboxes. as I mention these, I remember to see if my Cinderella costume got to my door. the only work-appropriate costume I could find, and the only costume I found versatile enough to work with until I turn thirty-five. here lies a sort of suffix I’ll say when I choose to buy more cardigans. I don’t want to type in an office. aside from the one I’m assigned to the earlier parts of the day, I don’t want to be in an office for a while. I do want to wear my Cinderella apron, and I want to collect handfuls of acorns, baskets of leaves so I can empty this drawer of acrylic paints I feel have been waiting to(o) long. fire engine red won’t up and leave, but it could tip and spill. red, black, silver, white all over my face this coming Monday as I hand out Snickers and well-sealed Zebra Cakes to whom I think are just a solid ten of the hundred in our apartment complex who aren’t too old to celebrate. maybe my cats could serve as greeters, but they think they are dogs, friendly yet frightening, as they waddle to anyone passing by, the tabby cat crying as if I don’t feed her enough (which would be false). I could always be a witch, you know. the one who isn’t quite good, but the one remembered for her two flying monkeys, whiskered.

Shift

I never thought I would be the kind to tell my job to take a walk. After all, I’m the one with legs. It was somewhat on an impulse, and somewhat part of a plan I had written out repeatedly the past two weeks. I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed my job on the blog, and I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed my illnesses here. I’ve been attempting to channel negativity into stanzas and blocks of a thousand words or so, and I’ve done this since late 2014.

My ways of thinking are rigid, and some may deem them perverse. I didn’t think that aside from dry research papers, briefs, and informational pamphlets, I was capable of writing a poem, story, confessional essay, or anything close to a book. My original landing page began with something along the lines of wanting to run for miles, and wanting to write a novel. Absurdly, I thought that as I didn’t study English in college, and was just then acquainting myself with Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Charles Bukowski, Frank O’Hara, Bell Hooks, and others, I didn’t have a right to try. Yet I blogged as a way to cope with my issues and finally received a comment in reference to “I want to write a novel.”

Then do it. You already know you can.

The more I wrote, the more I realized how mean I was to myself, how achingly guilty I felt for no logical reason, how I held myself back. Years before, I was the one who preached about agency. It wasn’t long before glass shattered from shaky hands. I used to plan and couldn’t improvise for my life. Now, it seems that everything is an accident, and I’ve recently gotten better at adapting and acknowledging that sometimes, what you plan happens later than you’d like. It may not happen at all. Its never being birthed may not even be by fault.

For now, I want to write and submit. There is time for me to work out what’s to happen in the longterm. Leaving the 8am to 5pm is not the end of the world (really, I cherished that aspect of it, in spite of other things), and I’ve come to realize that staying at a job you were only pretending you were made for is not worth the damage the environment inflicts on your health. Walking away is fine. It does not make you weak. Neither does mental illness. I will confess for a time, I’ve grappled with whether mental illness is real, or just some sort of prolonged teen angst. For me, I have to see something to believe it. And after learning I have a physical illness that others can’t really see, though the sharp chest pains intensified to where the job wasn’t doable, I admitted I was pretending. Pretending to be infallible, pretending to be happy, pretending to be fine.

I’ve decided to attempt to write full time. I think that I can do it. I’ve also decided to focus on refining and submitting my work to literary journals and magazines. Crumpled Paper Cranes will stay, though its focus will shift to reviews of works by indie authors. There will also be a new section titled “Diary.” If some of my past entries disappear, it’s probably because I’ve decided to add more material and make some corrections. Most of the bits under “Flash Writing” will probably expand into larger pieces. I will remain in the Blogosphere, but as a more active reader.

Quitting doesn’t have to be bad. It’s just something I never thought I’d bring myself to do.

Pick-up Artist Culture

he looks at her, across the aisle
that traps the early holiday shoppers
thanks to the man who vowed in aged days
that he wouldn’t become his father
in the same twelve-step program
taken by someone I knew
a Polaroid burned, Scotch tape
fallen down chipped plaster
of foil walls.

she is like a horse with blinders
but they’re going to put her down.

she, swatting at an artful gnat
dodging her crooked fingers.

catching his eyes that look up
to her mouth, shaped like
an unshipped apple, a hope
that she will satisfy, because
after all, she was gracious enough
to let him gaze, thirty-five minutes
on the way to a thrift shop
where she had bought that Swarovski ring
that doesn’t quite blind like candles midstorm.

CP Cranes – “Pick-up Artist Culture” from CPCranes on Vimeo.

Generics

my last eleven dollars
spent on drugstore rouge
and clear, thoughtless nail polish
to seal the slightest runs in ten cent hose.

warpaint for the walk.

I’ve better take care
not to open my clutch
and close it again, nervously
as the man tallying his cigarettes.

nothing left for mangoes.

cookie dough out of the question
when the region’s dutiful assembly lines
opt for quantity over lesser risks of fatality
but they’ll spend one more year cutting down.

I’ve got no fare.

one plastic bag against my hip
two mothers arguing over the merit
of natural childbirth, and if car hood deliveries
function like virginity in today’s half-lit power struggles.

Lessons

one day you will
be old enough
to understand and nod
at the sanctity of closed doors.

an accusation and a wild party
that you did not witness
or volunteer yourself to paint.

your eyes—wide
as these coastal steps
that receive your delight
when grandfathers drink black coffee

one on the curb, rough thumb
circling, hardy compass
directing your saturated interest.

one day you will
be old enough
to realize and accept
the minority indifferent to milk and honey.

Cat No. 61 of the 500 Cats Project

Strychnine

hungry, little pussycat?

I’ve got a glass
of milk.

liquid, solid.

mine kills the mice
that feast on the crops,
reaping all

that they never sowed.

I will not
I will not
I will not
I will not

press a button
for tomatoes,
sickened by a
jaundice spreading
from the top.

rotting, like the
famous uncle
who pressed before you.

the one who believed
melanin
determines
lack of worth.

copulation is a choice

while

procreation is the outcome,

but though I scare
enough to where
I’ve accepted that
I will adopt,

being twenty-five without
a closet of diapers
does not determine
lack of worth.

I will not
I will not
I will not
I will not

give Ariel a read.

not yet.

I am shaking.

one word closer to asking
how, with your logic,
with your presuming
that I, some kind of person
who sifts through the trash,

a high school dropout
you yell at
to pay for the Bachelor’s
you believe you’re owed,

– maybe for the way
you lick the rim of
your alabaster professor’s
coffee mug –

I do not know.

I should not conclude.

as you’ve declared
I’ve ruined your life.

what’s owed is owed,
and that patch
of red velvet cake
adorned with petals,

white and almost translucent,
as the result of a tango
danced horribly.

over and
over and
over and
over and
over and
over and

under
the abs
which have
softened with time
as the lines on his forehead
deepen with each shrill scream.

look at yourself,
listen to yourself,

and bend.

all the way down.

not for him,

but for those panties.

and I think before you smirk
and yell to get your way –

though it works in a city
where everyone’s a beautiful
Nobel Laureate, but not
the kind of beautiful
Charles Barkley
wants in a contemporary
pinup calendar,

it won’t work with me.

and alone as I am,
at least I have the comfort
of knowing
I try not to bother.

yet I bother with you
and despite these rapid breaths,
you are still a human.

a special kind of rapist,
but a human.

permission

I politely asked a woman
– whose house stood sturdy
on the side of a road
that for years transgressed
the norms zip codes imposed –
if I could take a picture.

“My house?”
she blinked, confused.

I pointed to her cat
– whose eyes were like cups
emptied by children
eager for grape juice
and tropical punch in summer –
and I wanted to walk a bit closer.

“Oh, of course. Take him!”
she waved her hands, listless.

Tail like a caterpillar
– still, and wondering
if I was another weirdo
crawling into bed with socks
who ate my Pop-Tarts untoasted –
quivered itself to rest.

“Thank you, but I’ve got two.”
I frowned as the cat crouched rigidly.

Cat No. 60 of the 500 Cats Project