milky nostalgia

bring back a good day.

you know, when kites were cool
and lemonade painted bedroom walls
in a not-so-crass way, and no one
seemed to give up so much and
pick at points lacking lead, graphite,
or whatever stains a callused thumb
rubbing on tabletops, over and over
while a phone gets lost in cranberry
cushions and mice start to sing
parodies of songs that we couldn’t
imagine capable of graduating
to something even more ridiculous.

it can’t hurt to smile more, I hope.

Cat No. 82 of the 500 Cats Project

remembering irrelevancies

“no anonymity for trial, error, and…”

Diane Sawyer, there was never anonymity. There isn’t any, even in the subtle tolerance high school and college provide. Leave Britney alone! Here’s the part where she cries…

I currently write on the kitchen counter, headphones overbearing like the glare of everyday drosophila. The bullet planner’s now a host for lists, phrases overheard, and brands with new commercials playing songs I don’t want to lose track of. I listen to interviews from 2003, late into the night, well after reading what’s conventionally relevant sometime around noon. I eat my cereal with bits of banana, and soon, I’ll walk out for more sweet fruit that cues the flies’ song before I open the window that invites the least light.

The hallway’s angrier than usual, someone’s girlfriend arguing about how she should’ve been the green Power Ranger, ignoring suggestions to order pizza and sit back calmly with a cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I pour myself more cereal, sing David Bowie’s “Five Years” three times in a row because I’m sickly fond of the thought of a beautiful person unaware he’s in a song. Like a girl with her headphones behind a brick wall as I’m sitting in a car of a friend driving by, a friend who knowingly misses my apartment complex because wasting gas surpasses several hours alone in its vocalized comforts.

The afternoon brought the best nap in perhaps the last three weeks. No headache, bruised thighs, or wrists not wanting to work. Of course, I ate cereal before falling asleep, three bananas spread like a fan across the counter. No sunlight found. I only smelled rain and reminded myself that the library still charges thirty-five cents per item, per day that it lingers on the table. I wrote a list of every book I probably took home since I was twelve years old. An Egg on Three Sticks remains a novel I want to reread.

I opened that book a long time ago. Fourteen years. 2003. Yeah, that sounds about right.

“life”

oil and water
across your pavement.
I hear it’s called “life.”

let all suspense
enamor the thoughts
rustling in struck trees.

I watched as your sister
grabbed the sugar
and poured it down like morning milk.

she opened the door
just after you left
and clutched her sides, engorged.

you carried the hose
pointed at an angle
while she told you the diet worked.

Cat No. 50 of the 500 Cats Project

Such Exciting Colors

These were the shoes I excitedly told my therapist about when asked if my Spring Break was a happy one. For the first time I went to the mall with a group of friends my parents didn’t suspect to harbor corrupting ideologies, nor exhibit improper behaviors. It was the first time I ate at a food court with people other than family, kids my age. It was the first time someone explicitly scolded me for being a tad bit judgmental. One of the girls caught my slight scowl as she told us of her makeout session in some abandoned house. She scowled back. “Don’t give me that look.” I smiled the rest of the day, bought a blouse because I liked how it cloaked the mannequin in the window. My therapist smirked at these shoes, nothing more to say than “Such exciting colors.”

The first time I went to a dance, I wore similar shoes, my shoulders covered by a black cardigan as I walked through school doors in a hot pink strapless dress. My ankles, strapped and pained by the morning’s cross country race, endured the robotic steps to a dance I knew nothing about. My improvisations were laughable, the only semi-creative move I had all too similar to the bend-n’-snap from Legally Blonde. My friends called it The Pen Drop, a proposed strategy to catch the eye of any high school teacher I crushed on. The silly things we fantasize about at fifteen years of age.

The first time I went to a slumber party was the day before turning seventeen. My friend was in a military family, and while they often voiced to me their disagreements with my parents’ insulating practices, they earned my mother’s approval as people who could never be culpable of putting outlandish thoughts into their daughter’s head. Here, an older boy slept in the same room, where we all watched The Butterfly Effect and some film on existentialism he was recently obsessed with. The first time I was told I was with The Wrong Crowd was eighth grade. The girls were bad people, introducing me to shows such as Gilmore Girls and Ivy League universities. It wasn’t the first time that I was told I just wasn’t smart enough for such things. The slumber party was a nice reprieve from the social hiatus (or grounding) that followed from those middle school friendships.

Come to think of it, the last time I felt accepted was at age seventeen. Still I had my self esteem and a confidence to help me prove to myself that I’m not as dull as was consistently told. But over time the disassociation got worse, the static of disconnect crackling as I try to do simple things, like ordering a pizza by phone. Maybe, more specifically, I haven’t accepted myself. Not in a long while.

Many firsts to follow. Getting better comes first.