It could have been
“It could have been-”
“Coulda been anything. But it wasn’t but what it was.”
“Who’s to say it isn’t everything anyone imagined it to be?”
We aimed in the middle and yet, struck even lower.
We lived impossibly, always in this state, torn between desire and obligation,
forever dreaming of time that had passed us by,
and time that no doubt will come to pass,
time that was not ours; we had to steal it away.
We fight for each second. Our breath fogs up the window pane.
and we see them form again and give us shade for the hottest summer yet and then
drowsy as they spin and collect in our eyelids but we see no point in holding back.
They spill over, dew collects on grass,
on your cold hand against my cheek in the shadow of the tallest building we sit
and wait and wonder.
The world never seemed so irreversibly hopeful and so poised for hurt.
When you’re dreaming try to look around and find someone who you can ask if you are asleep cause not everyone knows, you know. Or maybe you don’t. and these people are made up, so dream them not to lie, cause you don’t want them you lying to you you.
Sometimes they say “No, Morgan, you’re awake, now go back to sleep.” And once I fell for their fanciful lies and ended up with my cousins in a freeway tunnel riding bikes. Or my dad hunting me down or with a friend’s hands around my neck.
I am going to take a sleep breath and move my eyes. Up down. Left, and my dream head will turn left, powered by my dream brain and dream nerves and dream muscles. I don’t know how to use them, but they are there. I’ll walk through train tunnels and the trains will fly right through us, whistling and leaving mist floating above the tracks and rocks flying in all directions and echoes that last for centuries that our grandkids will be laughing in the middle of and stirring up the mist until it chokes our breath in our throats and I wake up in the dark sad and happy and alone and unafraid.
She somehow forgot what she was doing halfway across the room.
I hate when I do that.
Her fingers searched, found skin, claimed a bit, and pulled, just slightly. Pinching her arm and inhaling, she found her senses again. She looked down at the brown, dirty carpet, and at the grey colored walls, when a shiver seemed to run through the wall, starting just where her gaze struck it. This breath, it was certainly a gasp.
Eyes twitch fitfully, one image barely leaping to the next. In a panicked instant, the shiver was gone before she could look around to believe in it.
That morning, she heard her neighbors rise, and follow the sun and the way of things. They began to speak in their tired and heavy tones, blending effortlessly together with the steady canvas painted with the sound of doors open and shut, cars igniting and roaring to life before speeding away.
Earn another dollar with pride, she thought. Be better, more efficient, more productive. It was all so repetitive and so like the feeling in that nightmare. The terror of actions taken so long ago; things so unchanging that they were frightening and suffocating. The smallest detail, out of place, could not be taken back, but somehow in this flawed logic it was all that mattered, and it was the only thing that could never change or be made right.
It was all so that they could dine on over-proportioned food, and down half gallon sodas. As they got old, the oil of luxury, the nectar of their fruitful labors clogged their arteries until the dollar bills and checkbooks were futile against the delirious excess of normalcy.
The thing was, it was never enough to earn money, because it all had to be done again and again, as if some strange part of her believed she was perfecting a vivacious skill, some service to humanity. It was all very tiring and in her dreams she was a girl, a child camping with her parents. The birds sang, but not for her, or anybody, and the grass was green like her fathers eyes and moist with dew when she unzipped her tent to see the morning. Her mother flew a kite of virtuous laughter on a string of sand; memories mixed with old photo albums and home movies.
Another day is cause for joy but it was hard for her, and all alone it was quiet except for her footsteps, which to her were the loudest sounds ever once they began their solitary reign over her eardrums. With each pat of her foot, she felt herself flinch.
Every time her eyelids met, they struck like a hammer, a cymbal crashing.
In the dream they crawled and hid under the blankets, dark and safe. It was only natural to fall through to the other side, in that office, with the cushioned couches and bookshelves full of untouched pages.
A polished table stacked tall with papers, like fiber skyscrapers. The room alone brought back the pressure in her ears, and squeezed her lungs as if her ribcage had decided to fold through like interlaced fingers.
The doctor they waited for never showed, but her mother cried while she and the father just rolled their eyes and she stared at her hands.
They waited for days, but the madness of boredom set in and they flew out the windows as diamonds in the sky, twinkle, twinkle, a sparkle in her mother’s eye.
I arrived at work early that day. Already off to a grumbling start, forethoughts of the trivial work that lay ahead offered not a respite but a sense of dread. With an hour to kill on the roof level of the parking lot, the sun was warm, but the wind fierce and it ripped at my hood as I zigzagged back and forth like a lost dog, hair a mess.
The different shades of yellow paint that blanketed the sides of the building were uneven, like some accidental attempt at minimalism. I found it pleasing and it called to mind the heat and glow of the sun. The sun, monolithic and untouchable, cut its blinding circle in the sky. Can you even bear to look upon it with your own eyes?
There’s nothing like a half-smoked joint found in my pocket to give me hope. Its paper is sticky between my lips and I shield it with my left hand and in my right I hold the flame, vulnerable in the frantic air. I look around, but not a person’s in sight. Each draw is harsher than the next, but calming, like the softest hands wiping away your salty, regretful tears.
The world was too big, and I, too small. The possibilities were drowning me. I couldn’t choose just one path, for its guidance was too narrow, and I knew I would long for those things out of view. I kept trying to choose none, but my stagnation was unnerving. In my worthless attempts, I dug the hole deeper, until the dirt piled around the rim could block out the sun at all times but noon, when it burned bright, through my eyelids, unable to be ignored.
The hood of my jacket muffled things a bit, and more than once I mistook the howling of the wind for the mutterings of some morning wanderer like myself, precariously pacing the hallways of doubt.
Life After Death
They say that you are a crazy waste of space. You sit there, thinking, breathing, but not really doing much. What mark will you leave behind? Faint shadows, just traces like fingerprints, bits of skin, as if someone would be around to fit the pieces together into a life-like puzzle, a time elapsed message from yesterday telling you to get your act together before we all turn into dust and fall into the space between the stars, born again into the realm of existence, pure and unknowing, content with our life as elementary beings.
Joined once again, the cold will keep us still, and our thoughts, frozen over, will cease to form, but the old ones will float and pull matter together, and your love and hate will give rise to new things.
In the swirling mass, your heart takes shape then your brain, and ten little fingers and toes sprout from your delicate limbs. You float in the star dust, and listen to the roaring waves of time and the infinite.
Be still, and your turn will come.
I am the bitter edge of the sea.
the sun breaks dawn and a new day
when I’ll be reborn
as a bird, and
I’ll spread my wings
and never be worn away
by the crashing waves,
and be carried away from the shore.
In the open sky I will find you,
with only air holding us.
I’m sorry to raise my voice to you
But it’s just that with each passing second
I’m afraid I’m growing in the
Older and further from who I want to be.
More like you.
I broke my fingers tugging on your
strings but I never hit the right
notes, just chords of discontent
we couldn't sing together.
It’s uncomfortable, sitting here with
your name on my lips
and I almost dial the phone, but I just set
it down again.
Time we're stealing and time is fleeting
But we can’t be thinking bout all that.
And one day we’re gonna find we’re old
And tired and we’ll fill our time by
just staring into each other’s eyes, and
silently speaking our minds,
talking is for the kids, they don’t
see the time they’ve got
digging in the ground and blossoming with life
What do you yell about these days?
The vibration of your words
hung in the air
like moths searching for flame
to fly blindly towards
Nothing to Say
I want to yell at you, but the argument is in my head. Stone silence is no way to treat anyone.
The orange blossoms are new on the tree out back and last Saturday I kissed a boy, laying in his bed under his blankets which he so lovingly draped over us. It was all for compassion, to feel smooth skin under our fingertips.
The hundredth time that Marvin Gaye played we couldn’t help but laugh. When we said goodbye, I gave a second glance, as did he. I couldn’t help but smile to myself. The drive home, I said little, just imagined his dark hair and our tangled embrace.
That night I saw him in a dream, it was unclear, but the feeling was peaceful. I opened my eyes while still dreaming, as if to see more clearly, but quickly pressed my face into the pillow in an attempt to revive my sleeping mind and suffocate the waking one.
It’s true, I’m an introvert. I won’t make up lies, but I will think of nothing but myself, like a narcissist in a house of mirrors. Sometimes the feeling of panic is there, when silence hits hard and, regretful though it is, I have nothing to say.
Your stale voice hits more like an echo than something new its got no source and no meaning words are hollow like the space in your skull, unoccupied like an empty fishbowl, swimming struggle through the void, there and not there, causing, yet un-causable, why are we here? We can only ask and never answer. All is one and one is a pile of decaying bodies somewhere being ignored, hidden in our history books like our selective memory and neglect and violence and addiction. Why haven’t we given up yet? We have seen ourselves and we are a sorry bunch and sorry for nothing,
But we are. And that is truth and lies we are both and unapologetic and beautiful and I’m losing inspiration and grasping onto my waning hope, dreaming and pausing the cycle that is keeping the moon half-full, stopping leaves in mid-air, stopping all judgment mid sentence, rendering us ageless and losing all desperation in an attempt to fill my lungs with purity and my mind as well, and though I remain confused and polluted, wronged and spiteful and in denial, I am still breathing.
And it scares me.
I just talk
And never really
Noon I and II
I tilt my head back, far back. Whatcha thinkin' midday sun? These days are going by too fast for me, but you say it's all the same.
The possibilitites will be exhausted and then history and biology will have no choice but to run through the same tracks. Fields of changes, seas of doubt. The same sun hitting your face, lighting up your vision with sharp red through your closed eyelids, but you can't stop seeing anymore than you can stop being part of the acts we're repeating, same stage different day.
I'm taking an inventory in my head as I walk:
3 foil balls
1 chicken bone
1 black banana
1 innapropriate marriage proposal
6 leaf imprints on the sidewalk
3 pages of newspaper
My train finally arrives. I'm running late and my knuckles are battered.
What's the meaning of all this? I think I could love him, but I don't know if he'll love me. What is it that I think I'm hiding? Skeletons, scars and secrets. Handfuls. Armfuls. Two arms full. You're overreacting. Everyone has worries and secrets and weaknesses. Maybe I think I would disappear if all this became visible.
I can’t think. What to become. feel. Do you feel it in your pulse? In every second you spend breathing? When you lift your arm to rub your eyes? Where am I? I have nothing but blankness between my ears, filled with constant hum drum, meaningless noise and talking with no message or purpose. My eyes can’t see past this. My arm lifts to rub them, but still things are unclear. Try to find hope in the patterns and repetitions but nothing pleases my heart, though it goes on beating, just so, in repetitive beats. Once I begged it just to stop, stop please I need some time to think there is never enough time but there is always more on its way.