Lover Lover

I say I like honesty, I tell myself

I like honesty because

I keep making friends with lovers

with one-sided feelings

 

I know how those go, I am a girl

who lies on her bed in the daytime

earbuds in, staring into the middle-distance

watching a second life play out like

shadows on a sheet during a storm

 

I am a cautious person in life and

in imagination, knowing all too well

how the two fool around with one another

and at sixteen, how a thing between a boy

and me can turn my insides out

 

here I should admit, I am unlikely

and in all my state I attract people

who are all smiles and false impressions

who are my friends, my very best friends

until they admit otherwise

 

I can be bitter, even at my calmest

when I am told over the Internet

from age sixteen onwards, that I am loved

in a way I do not reciprocate

and that a relationship I thought

—dangerously—was equal, was not

 

I have lost too many people

to feelings felt, words unsaid for months

and months and months, amongst it all

I’m rarely spoken to in person

about feelings so personal

they ought to inspire intimacy

 

this is where I leave most, because

I haven’t been met with the chance

to share feelings, but instead have been stuck

receiving them, dealing with them

addressing them

 

if I am that girl for you, on the bed, daytime

through the blinds and eyes staring off

at something an arm’s length away

then you will know, because I will tell you

 

 

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The Hole in the Pocket of My Bag

There’s a hole in the pocket of my bag that I suspect holds five pens, a stick of gum, and a lost fortune.

Sometimes I poke my hand through the tear in the fabric, prying out lost treasures: an old spray bottle of lens cleaner, a hair tie, a loose gem from the Pirate Princess of Thaw’s tiara.

When I reach in, blind, I fear I might lose my fingers to a rattle snake or a wild boar. I suspect one day I’ll feel the bite, see the blood, and never know who or what the inflictor was. It has scurried into a fold or a crevice, never to be seen or named. Sort of like Schrödinger’s Cat. Sort of not like Schrödinger’s Cat.

Also, there are futures that I imagine—rife with drama, a gun pointed to my head—where I’m asked to produce something ordinarily impossible: a trombone, an entire mango flavoured ice cream cake, a particle travelling two times faster than the speed of light. And in those futures I poke around the hole in the pocket of my bag…And the impossibilities are there!

A lifesaving antidote, a perfect pair of prescription glasses, the soundtrack to Mission: Impossible, an umbrella, a toaster, a Thin Mint, Unified Field Theory written on a napkin, Mary Poppins herself!

I could sew the hole shut, trapping the possible impossibilities inside. I could keep all the items in my inventory found and not lost. But where’s the fun in that?

Nothing ever truly feels lost anymore. Not even the imaginary. More-likely-than-not, it has slipped through the hole in the pocket of my bag. If I feel around and don’t come across it, it just doesn’t want to be found yet.

Journal Series #2

Am I, in actual fact, just a freeloading hippie who only thinks the things I think, does the things I do, because I don’t have a paying job? I feel very much like I don’t have a right to claim hard work. I don’t work in a shop or a bar. I don’t get a paycheck. I’ve never in my life had a work roster or been a part of a tedious schedule. So how can I know if I’m working hard? I’ve got nothing to compare it to.

I keep telling myself, “Oh rad, you made your word count and answered all those emails…now how about you get a job? Huh? Let’s see how your extracurricular hard work goes then!”

Two speeches: Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art and Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking  (their child is gonna be fucking awesome at speech giving). In Amanda’s speech she explains how cutting it was when other people told her to GET A JOB, the shame that came along with it, and that voice in every creators head that AGREES with them.

In Neil’s speech (yes we are on first name basis) he talks about the Fraud Police, and the feeling you get after you make something successful. Because a lot of the time art comes out of nowhere, out of our heads, and getting rewarded for that can be hard to justify in a world so critical of it.

But really, my point is…it’s all well and good for them to feel/have felt/still feel this way, but they’re super-duper famous now. They earn money. How do you fend off the guilt when you don’t?

I tell myself “I’m a student!” but in less than a year I won’t be. I’ll have to start ticking the little unemployed box instead of the sophisticated, student box. I’ll feel sad instead of scholarly. WHERE THE HELL AM I GONNA GO COME SEPTEMBER?

Really, my dream would be to: get a job in a newsroom, leave my teen years behind having never worked in retail/fast-food/groceries, be awesome, rule the world. Can I do that? Or will I need to know how to pour drinks and fold t-shirts? (And I’m not banging those skills, I feel genuinely ill-equipped.) If I bomb out, I don’t even have general skills to fall back on.

“Yes, I sure can interview, write, and edit a news package in a day! Wait, what? The drinks need to go where?”

My life is that bridge scene in the new Star Wars film, and I am Han Solo. Kylo Ren, you are my inadequate resume.

I’m also Daniel Radcliffe that time he worked as a receptionist for a prank. I’m a tiny artistic child who grew up in a wonderful, privileged, magical world – and graduation is around the corner.

Writing is supposed to calm me down, but I can feel my heartbeat in my hands. Cool.

Game plan: offer up my labor for free – whore myself out to anyone who’ll take an intern (I do NOT like using that word. What’s a better one…hand myself out? I’m sorry, I just wanted to be explicit), hope that all the volunteer work WORKS, cross my fingers and toes. Put up one of those motivational posters to keep me out of The Pit of Despair.

 

I Misheard You

For a long time I misunderstood the chorus of David Bowie’s song Changes – I misheard the lyric “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strange)” for “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strain)” and went on singing and dancing to it in my bedroom at 1AM, fully dressed and fully awake. And I LOVED that misheard lyric – it was about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, wading through mud to get to a better version of myself.

I noticed my mistake after Bowie died, when I pulled my headphones over my ears and listened to the song at full blast. I heard the “ge” and had a little pity party for my belated understanding. There was physicality to that lyric that I mourned when I learnt it wasn’t the right one. According to Google strain means “to force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make an unusually great effort” – that’s the type of motivation my masochistic, overworked brain likes to hear!

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Ghost Boy

There was one figurine left, sitting in the far corner of my Grandma’s glass cabinet. A porcelain ballerina tying her shoes, looking demure as she crisscrossed the ribbons across her ankle. I had to get on my tiptoes to reach it, and as the shelf dug into my chest all I could smell was dust.

“Um…Liss?” Maggie called. She was standing right above my head – I could hear her small, sensible shoes shuffling around the attic floor. I grabbed the ballerina by her head.

“What!”

Sliding the glass cabinet closed, I caught my muted reflection in the mirror and saw the bags under my eyes before anything else. I pushed my fringe from my forehead.

“What!”

“Can you come up here?” Maggie said.

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CHECKLIST:

CHECKLIST:

Book x1 (The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury)

“Chicago’s got more alleys than…anywhere else in the world.”

“Why are we running?”

Charlie’s orange hair tumbled behind her, and I followed it. We flashed past closed garage doors and roller bins, weaving between groups of kids playing in the lane.

“Elena?” one of them shouted at me. I caught a glimpse of more red hair – Charlie’s little brother stopped bouncing his tennis ball to stare at us. The storm clouds overhead roiled with the promise of rain.

“We’ll be back for dinner!” I yelled. The cold air stung the back of my throat as I breathed in.

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