If my life was condensed into a GIF, it would be me crossing my arms,
giving you the stink-eye.
As the planets pinball back and forth, I buy new shoes and tape my mouth shut. As the subways take us to work and home and back again, I write poems on my arms and watch you watch the spider watching the fly. We talk under our breaths but kiss with our tongues. We look out the corners of our eyes, but post 6 photos of our outfits… daily.
We’re running out of bandwith. Terrified to walk outside. Disgusted at the sound of our real voices. We’re stalking the satellites and crushing the stars with our midnight projections.
We were at an outdoor movie in the park, sipping white wine on a quilted blanket. She was wearing a knitted cardigan with a Sex Pistols tank top underneath. I had on boots, jeans and a scowl. There were hipsters all around us. The scent of moneyed-ennui-mixed-with-vapor-fumes permeated the air. The movie started and played over the sound of crickets and whispers. Halfway through she put her arm through mine and whispered, “This is dumb.” I asked, “The movie?” “No, watching it in a park. I’m being bitten by mosquitoes.” Right then I knew I loved her, because I wanted to be one of those mosquitoes.
Across the top of the country there is a train in the middle of fields of wheat. The billowing gray coal-smoke can be seen from 30 miles away — a sign there’s more of the world that exists. There is a little cabin by a creek where deer come to drink. From the porch, you can see the sign for the tire store, a stack of neon tires rotating next to the highway; it’s a wobbling obelisk of rubber, a meth addict’s daydream. The earth emits a hum you can only hear if you kneel down and put your ear to the ground, while behind you drones drop leaflets advertising dollar hamburgers at Jack In The Box and your ex-wife packs the kids’ belongings in a brown station wagon from the last century.
We are the band aids and the scabs and the knife plunging in.
The marines drove up at midnight. The moon was a grizzled face peering into its own heart. There were fires every twenty feet. Voices hushed when their trucks appeared through the canyon, headlights drawing on the rocks, families and couples holding still. The marines jumped out, big men with tattoos and shaven faces and knives on their side. They went to work while the people sat in the dark and watched nervously. One came over, his voice booming out like metal shrapnel, guttural, sharp. “You guys want some extra firewood?” He asked. “We brought a whole pallet.” The campers smiled, sipped whiskey from a metal cup, held their cigarettes loosely on their fingertips. “Sure,” they said, dismissing their fears and prejudices with a laugh.
“There’s something about you,” I told her, “something terrifying and soft, beautiful and brutal.” She laughed, tracing a line down my forearm, each nerve-ending exploding in fireworks. Everything about the moment was perfect, the lighting, the sheets on the bed, the small, purple smell of Eucalyptus sneaking in through the window. She turned and looked at me, fragile and fiery all at once. Her voice was like honeysuckle, tickling, then stabbing my ears. “I’m just a figment of your imagination,” she informed me. I turned and tried to get the meaning, taking her in. Her smile sent silver shivers down my spine… then, hearing her say, “Wake up,” I opened my eyes to the sight of still life. A succulent planet weathering time.
We are the watchers and the watched, the machines and the mechanics.
Open the blinds, let the blind in.