Heart to Heart

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 The lady down the street has brought me another pie. Apple, this time. It was still steaming when I noticed it on my doorstep, though she didn’t knock. If she had, I wouldn’t have answered. Jeffrey, she told me once, was her husband’s name. I’m pretty certain she went through my mail, because I don’t recall ever introducing myself to anyone in this neighbourhood.

I’m in the witness protection program. As far as anyone is concerned, I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life. I won’t tell you the city, but it has a lake, and the leaves turn orange and red in the fall. I don’t have a wife or children. I ceased being a son a decade before either of my parents died. Those were the conditions I accepted when I signed my life away to the President of the United States.

Right now, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, watching my cat sunbathe on the windowsill. Earlier, he pawed a stray potato towards me. He’s been watching me ever since, waiting for my next move. I was going to make soup.

Continue reading “Heart to Heart”

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it’s all about scale, climb and rest and climb again,

just to turn around and see the scale

the hills, more than hills, when you grow up without them.

now they are heights to climb—can’t see Perth this way

without a light plane and a pilot’s license

who knew the clouds cast shadows that wide, or that from afar

the Earth crawls with life, all of us ants on an apple

—you knew, you all knew—

but no one told me, not in those words

there is a kangaroo at the top of Mt Taylor, staring,

so seamlessly tucked into the bush I barely notice him

until he snarls

looks at me, knows I don’t belong,

but I want to stay with the sky a little longer, push my luck,

waste my time. is there something over the peak?

down in the scrub? anything beyond those hills?

double check, triple check.

I leave him be, standing on the edge of the field in the brush

and I do what I’m told to do, Take It All In, think up something worthwhile,

because nature has a tax, nature makes you think, nature gives you ideas,

nature gives you stillness, a chance—

meadows look better far away, and so do cities,

unless you find the flowers,

for which you have to look close, quick! there!

 

I Need a Moment

Purchase Plasma Dolphin’s first print issue to read the full essay!

I sat on my bed watching old videos until the sun went down yesterday, over and over until it was dark. My spine digging into the windowsill above my bed, cross-legged on crumpled doonas, I watched shaky footage from back home. I’m standing on a hill, the sky deep blue, the clouds sparse.  The Australian bush is beautiful with perspective—far away and up close, but you have to pay attention to see it. It’s right there, in the dip of the hillside. My home city, so small, with only a few skyscrapers standing out as identifiers.

Home is all skies. There are too many to count, sunrises and sunsets, but also blue skies so deep everything is made better by the colour.  I imagine what it will be like to be there again. Sitting here in a different city, scanning through memories, all sorted neatly into 201420152016… now. I’m having a hard time figuring out if I miss those people or if I miss those times, and I’m warning myself against nostalgia—I know I shouldn’t, but against my better judgement, I fall into it anyway.

 

7.45 AM

I just feel like there’s a veil covering my eyes, making everything duller, my reactions slower, tiring me out before I get out of bed, while I’m lying there under my doona watching the clouds go past my window faster than I can move—the entire sky has changed in the time it takes me to bring my hand up to my face to scratch my nose. The clouds grow darker, and soon I’m lying there letting the rain fall on my arms.

All of the Dreams

This is an explanation that I hope will hold for months and months if need be. I really appreciate this blog and it’s stupid url, loosely taken from D.H. Lawrence because when I started it five years ago I was in a D.H. Lawrence kinda mood.  I will say, a lot has changed. I work full-time. I write every day, but lack of time means it’s usually just day-to-day journal entries of wandering thoughts. I’ve been listening to a lot of music, returning to Lorde’s Melodrama often because OF COURSE. And there’s comfort there, too. Here, with the lyric, “All of the dreams that get harder.” Time management is hard. I never thought time management, of all things, would be such a burden. But I am writing, and when I write something decent I keep it for myself in the hopes one day someone will buy it. It’s been fun, keeping things private.

At the start of my current journal, which is about a week away from being full, are these words from Kurt Vonnegut: “Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow – whether there is a market for it or not! The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.”

I’m glad those words ended up meaning something. I was worried, when I wrote it, what my motive was. I was nineteen. I’m twenty-one now, the journal is almost done. I was wondering whose words would start my next. I chose Tavi Gevinson, because lately I’ve been looking around instead of up, and people my own age have become bigger and better inspirations than others. In her Infinity Diaries series she says, “But something inside me conquers this nostalgia, this desire to miss: the simple knowledge that these feelings will happen again. New feelings will happen, if I let them. As Kenny said of doing the same thing on stage every night, you never actually do, because you’ve never been alive today before, and the same goes for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.” I’m curious to find out what this will mean to me in two, three-years time.

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

 

 

These Are Some of the Things You Missed

There are songs I choose just for the mornings

to dance to as the sun throws shapes

vertical across the carpet and horizontal

across the bookshelf

I’m grateful between 8AM and 9AM when

the shower is warm and the light is muddled

through the window at just the right angle—

a new kind of feeling to wake up from the night’s

sleep with the covers curled between my knees:

And here, now, wondering about how

the first thing I think

when I wake up is blue