“Yes, I was infatuated with you: I am, still. No one has ever heightened such a keen capacity of physical sensation in me. I cut you out because I couldn’t stand being a passing fancy. Before I give my body, I must give my thoughts, my mind, my dreams. And you weren’t having any of those.”—Sylvia Plath
When you said the veins in my left hand were shaped like a tree Was that the very last time you really looked at me? I’m in training to become as cold as ice I’m determined to protect my feelings, to disguise
And when I said I didn’t love you, I told you a lie Because there is no one above you though I try Would you laugh at the time I spent calling your name Over and over and over and over again?
[several times throughout the past few months, I’ve heard an awesome song at a bar/restaurant/store and looked up the lyrics, only to discover it’s a camera obscura song. seriously, they’re great. tracyanne campbell has such a unique sound, and the lyrics are right there, exactly what I’ve needed.]
“I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”—
John Green | Looking for Alaska
[if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.]
[some days I wonder how long this feeling will last. tonight, nothing I’ve done has helped settle the pit in my stomach, to quiet the inner monologue that sabotages my efforts to accomplish, to achieve. setting out to run this out, push it away with sweat and aching legs and ray lamontagne.]
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
“Once upon a time, New York City had a Sixth Borough. You won’t read about it in any of the history books, because there’s nothing — save for the circumstantial evidence in Central Park — to prove that it was there at all. Which makes its existence very easy to dismiss. Especially in a time like this one, when the world is so unpredictable, and it takes all of one’s resources just to get by in the present tense. But even though most people will say they have no time or reason to believe in the Sixth Borough, and don’t believe in the Sixth Borough, they will still use the word believe.”—
Jonathan Safran Foer | The Sixth Borough
[read the entire piece, subsequently included in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, here.]
listening to the rain and watching mad men.
run through fog, lots of taking it all in.
local dive, sam adams winter, hoodie and sneakers and freshly showered wet hair.
is there anything better than college basketball? (thoughts: baylor’s uniforms are pretty sweet. xavier may not lose this game.)
trying to figure out what one wears when the options for the night are either a club or the hipster-iest part of the city. (mocs and a little black dress…?)
looking forward to a really fun night.
Law Professor Patricia Williams of Columbia Univeristy and The Nation talks about the killing of Trayvon Martin with Brian Lehrer — what it teaches us about race, fear, and how the law deals with perception.
1. Run away to Brooklyn. Rent an apartment with a claw footed bathtub. Commute to Manhattan during the week and put in hours at a menial publishing job. Drive home to New Jersey on weekends to swim in the pool and cry to your mother. Smoke Gauloises on the fire escape. Let yellowing issues of Rolling Stone and Vogue pile into a protective fortress around your bed. Listen to Cat Power. Fall asleep mostly naked beneath the duvet watching Sportscenter and drinking earl grey. Date a Yankees fan and kiss his hands on the 4 Train into the Bronx.
2. Run away to Barcelona. Eat milk chocolate magnum bars and drink cheap champagne. Burst into charming fits of laughter whenever you get embarrassed about butchering the Catalan language. Wear denim cutoffs, Dr. Pepper chapstick, and very little else. Go dancing at 3 a.m. Whiten your teeth. Tan your shoulders. Braid feathers into your hair. Perpetually wake up with sand caught in the thin cotton sheets of your tiny bed. Listen to the Rolling Stones and kiss all the longhaired boys you can get your hands on without ever having to apologize.
3. Run away to Los Angeles. Sublet a studio in Venice three blocks from the beach. Listen to top 40 radio. Go to Chateau Marmont and charge drinks you can’t afford to a long-dormant credit card. Sleep with a television actor who lives in the valley. Sleep with a musician who lives in Bel Air. Break things off with both of them when gas prices begin to rise. Find Gilda Radner’s star on the Walk Of Fame and swallow a sob when you see the filthy cement around her name is cracked. Walk through the Venice Canals until the sun sets and you forget your own name. Call your mother crying from the parking lot of a 24-hour Ralph’s supermarket. Tell her you want to come home.
4. Run away to Paris. Gaze at the pink and pistachio glow of macarons in the window on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Listen to Joni Mitchell. Meet an Argentinean man in the Latin Quarter for drinks. Melt into his accent and kiss him goodnight, but return to your apartment alone because his face doesn’t look enough like the man’s you are trying to forget. Get lost in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre, admiring Napoleon’s fine red damask. Walk alone along the Seine in an old dress, ten-dollar shoes, and an Hermes scarf. Fumble with the locks on the fence overlooking the river. They all have lovers’ names etched into them and the girl who left the red heart-shaped lock has the same name as you.
5. Run away to Martha’s Vineyard. Write heartbroken stories during the day in front of a large fan that blows curls of humid hair across your tired face. Take a waitress job at The Black Dog at night and try hard not to drop too many trays. Learn to ride a moped. Pretend you’re a Kennedy. Listen to Carly Simon. Eat hand-churned ice cream out of waffle cones. Visit the flying horses and consider how many girls just like you have sat on the same horse clutching for the same brass ring. Get stoned and dance barefoot down the length of the eroded Jaws beach. Date a Red Sox fan. Yell at each other during baseball games, and then kiss and make up between tangled sheets.
From space, astronauts can see people making love as a tiny speck of light. Not light, exactly, but a glow that could be mistaken for light—a coital radiance that takes generations to pour like honey through the darkness to the astronaut’s eyes.
In about one and a half centuries—after the lovers who made the glow will have long been laid permanently on their backs—metropolises will be seen from space. They will glow all year. Smaller cities will also be seen, but with great difficulty. Shtetls will be virtually impossible to spot. Individual couples, invisible.
The glow is born from the sum of thousands of loves: newlyweds and teenagers who spark like lighters out of butane, pairs of men who burn fast and bright, pairs of women who illuminate for hours with soft multiple glows, orgies like rock and flint toys sold at festivals, couples trying unsuccessfully to have children who burn their frustrated image on the continent like the bloom a bright light leaves on the eye after you turn away from it.
Some nights, some places are a little brighter. It’s difficult to stare at New York City on Valentine’s Day, or Dublin on St. Patrick’s. The old walled city of Jerusalem lights up like a candle on each of Chanukah’s eight nights…We’re here, the glow…will say in one and a half centuries. We’re here, and we’re alive.
Jonathan Safran Foer | Everything is Illuminated
[this is by far my favorite fiction book ever. so eloquent and poignant and evocative.]
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.
I have just returned and I still like words.
May I have a few with you?
Robert Pirosh 385 Madison Avenue Room 610 New York Eldorado 5-6024
John Mayer | Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (acoustic)
this song reminds me of the scene(s) from synecdoche, ny — which is possibly my very favorite movie ever — in which hazel decides to purchase and live in a house that happens to be on fire. she is concerned that it will kill her, knows it will kill her, but decides to live there anyway. “It’s a big decision, how one prefers to die.”
if you haven’t seen this movie, you should. watch it more than once.
We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it. — Tennessee Williams | The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
I haven’t written in ten days, and I’m feeling a bit like a failure. I miss it when I’m gone. Today I sit in the spare bedroom of my parents’ house and look out the window to my left at the suburbs. The other homes, drab beiges, creams, blues; bright yellow curbs; homogenous gray sky; SUVs and sedans that roll slowly along the asphalt, smooth in a way that can only be found in these small, newly built suburban spaces.
I truly detest places like this, but right now, with its singular emphasis on absolutely nothing, I draw on the silence and stagnance for inspiration.
Do you ever wonder how long it should have taken for you to move on? Do you look back on the hours, days, years you’ve spent pushing some piece of your history around your brain and wonder why it hasn’t deteriorated? Do you think about how you can barely remember what you wore on your walk around to the corner to the coffee shop yesterday, but you can remember even the finest of details of a moment or series of moments that occurred long ago?
In January of 2007 my godfather was murdered. It happened in Philadelphia, of all places. The city of Brotherly Love. Love. I drove twelve hours alone to his funeral, listening to some CD on repeat and choking back tears. My father and I were the only members of my immediate family to go. My mom couldn’t handle it, so she went on as though nothing had happened. She went to work that day.
On the drive home, the tears were uncontrollable. There were moments when I pulled off the road and sat, quietly sobbing, thinking about the leafless trees and how absolutely appropriate they were. Tears fell onto the steering wheel, my knees, my wrists. I remember everything about the hardest part of that drive, a point nearly ten hours in. I was so close to my cozy apartment, my boyfriend, who would later tell me that I should just stop crying already because death is natural, that I should let go of my attachments to things and people, my front porch, where I would huddle in the darkest corner on warm spring and summer nights to let go of my small well of sadness. At the ten hour mark I decided I just had to keep going, one hand directing the car, the other wiping the dampness away from the corners of my eyes, unblurring my vision.
For months, each time my travels led me along that stretch of highway, I broke down. For months, when a baby was especially cute, or a toddler wrapped his chubby arms around my neck and refused to let go, or a second grader showed me the space where she’d recently lost a tooth, I welled up. For months I was destroyed in a way that felt eerily similar to the ways I’d been destroyed before, by the last page of a book, by a sunset streaked with purples, reds, and blues that would never be quite the same again, by a bird that once broke its neck after flying into my bedrooom window, by those moments as a child when I would turn up the volume of my music to drown out my parents’ fighting, by an anguish that I’d always known to be fleeting.
When I was the only person awake, my eyes open to the blackness of the early morning hours, I contemplated death and violence, I listened for the creaking of floorboards, I thought about my own father. Tears dampened my pillow. As June and July arrived, I wondered how much longer it would be before my eyes and heart would mend, before I could talk about it without a cracking voice and a pit in my stomach. For how long could I possibly be sad?
I think about it now without the overwhelming heartache that once defined my relationship with this memory. Other things have taken its place, I have only so much with which to mourn, and now I must divide those parts of myself among other moments, other memories.
A few years ago, I ended a relationship with someone who was supposed to be my everything. The grief of that loss was all-consuming, and for months I sat in my bed, legs crossed, mind focused, developing strategies and mantras and defenses to the endless streams of self-doubt that flowed through my veins. I wondered how long the sadness would remain inside my bones.
A few summers ago, I met a boy who melted me. I hadn’t imagined that another person would be a piece of the solution. Sixty days and I was gone, deeply immersed in his easy smile, bolstered by his insistent affirmations, the approval and enthusiasm he begged me to accept, comforted by his hand across my waist as we slept, toes grazing toes as they slipped out from the bottom of the sheet into the warm July morning light.
Just as quickly as I let myself go, I was lost, crushed by the reality of the situation. Our separate movements were discordant, the spark that lit us up in those first few weeks grew into a wildfire that destroyed everything.
And still, despite the tears and the shouting, I somehow find myself unable to leave it behind. The sick feeling in my stomach returns when my thoughts turn to him, the mention of his name flushes my face until it burns and I am forced to turn away. I wonder whether he thinks of me. I wonder how I could be so little, now nothing, to someone who was and is so much to me.
I wonder whether my fists will ever release those moments we shared, whether my heart will stop breaking when I think about the days and nights and afternoons we spent together, whether my eyes will ever be dry as I think about the summer that destroyed us.