Archive for May, 2012

The smallest joy, I think, would be to fill up Your day with poems.
And not even particularly good ones, perhaps, but to know that I – who am not so good at making other things for You – have used my hands to make something.

There are so many other things that make a Love, and a day. My poems would not carry the groceries for You, or water the plants, or even drive You to work. I cannot drive, and there are many things I cannot do.

But if We were to live together, or even spend a while together as company, I would like to think I could share something so beautiful with You.

A day like that, or even a few minutes, maybe, would be a day I could be proud of.

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  • I like the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot so much! I finally feel like I get it – and just hope my good friend who really helped me discover it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to jack his wonderful album. I’d probably feel that way if everyone started telling me how good Five Leaves Left is.
  • I woke up with the most beautiful melody in my head. It’s the one I associate with one of the loveliest people I have ever met. It was a joy, and I wish I could share it with that person.
  • The balance of loving someone is so tricky. There’s such a vulnerability complicit in sharing your heart, and the strangest thing is, you’re always walking the line between something very noble and outgoing – and something very self-destructive and degrading.
  • I’ve had so much time to think recently, and so much art in my life. Truly, I’ve never been closer to learning about wonder.

The reminder,
at least, when
you call in the morning
with nothing to say,
the reminder,
I suppose,
of your breathing
implies a lightning
storm or something,
slowly, threatening,
storming, across
the broken machinery
of my body.
Even, longing
still we are not
speaking, only,
laughing at the
time spent apart.
I realize this
is not like any
smiling you’ve
done before, but
still, I think
when you hide your
eyes from me
there is something
like breathing,
like a desire
to make something
in your silence.

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– You know
For the first
time I didn’t
worry about
you trying
to fall in
Love with me.

I realized if
you ever got
over him we’d
see each other
anyway or else
the two of us
weren’t meant

to meet as one
anyway, it was
a relief to me
to know I did
not think too
hard about us
or our Love –

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I sat around the first few weeks waiting for something to feel different.

School was still done.
Work was still waiting.
Those internships still existed.
I wasn’t speaking with A.
I wasn’t in Love with B.
I’m pretending to be mad at C.
And even then I was not safe.

Then it occurs to me – 5 AM while I’m reading one of my five books in a dimly lit room filled with texts and dirt.

Maybe it’s all just a bit more complicated than I thought. Maybe it’s Girls or Marquez, or the sneaking suspicion that girl I almost made out with on my bed once isn’t going to return my calls anymore.

That we’re transitory, or I am. Or we’re bound for change. Chekov believed it was all beautiful, all anguish, but that we had to work our hearts out to get there. Authors suggest time and again that it’s all as difficult as it looks – but still we’re oblivious.

Maybe it’s all just bittersweet. And maybe I should just expect it all to get a little weirder, and stop waiting around for things to be so pleasant. There are, after all, mistakes to be made.

I think I realized it’s all a bit more complicated than it seems. And if that’s the only realization I carry with me to school next year, I still think I’ll be able to make more sense of it.

“And I really want to see you tonight.”

[“Poor Places”, 2001]

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There are worse things,
I’m told,
than being the person called
on empty nights.

And worse things,
I believe,
than writing about the
Love you dream about.

And worse things,
I hope,
than finding out you
are something alien.

Even to know you are alive,
and writing,
is a kind of understanding
so far beyond comprehension.

To speak with you,
and not see you,
to absolve my
own skin.

To know I am him,
when he is not,
there are worse things,
really, I think.

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It took me a long time to understand the genius of Wilco.

No – this post probably won’t be as thoughtful as some of my other music related ones. Just a warning – what I do like I tend to obsess over. Wilco has never been as endearing to me as, say, The Smiths or Bowie. They’re probably right around my affection for Pavement – another band I deeply respect but have a casual relationship with.

I may not know every Wilco song or own all the albums (I own, I’d wager, between 15 and 25% of their output) but I think I finally get it.

Wilco, truthfully, aren’t really a band primed for the 15 – 19 year old audience.

Hold up – I’m not trying to say my being 20 gives me automatic access to some secret knowledge about why they’re good. Trust me, the year doesn’t help that much. But I do think going to college did. And I think going through a major relationship makes them more meaningful. And I know getting into a second (or seventh) relationship can make some of those lyrics a lot more poignant.

Most of all I think there’s a sexual intimacy, and often a sexual grief (lot of angst in this one, and a bit less childish than Morrissey tends to lean) that’s more compatible with the (mid) 20s crowd.

Take, for instance, the violent (and confused) imagery employed in “Via Chicago” or the erotic guilt expressed in the absolutely brilliant “Pieholden Suite”. Likewise, the etherized feel of “I am Trying to Break Your Heart” or “Poor Places” speak to a post-romance more typically associated with the come-down from teenage romance.

There’s danger, drugs, more than a little poetry, and yes – sex. I’d wager every Smiths song is about how desperately Morrissey would like to be by your side – a good portion of Wilco songs (at least from the middle period I enjoy) are about the complexity of actually lying next to someone.

Everything is whispered, hushed, mumbled. People say things they don’t really mean, hold onto moments for moments, and are rarely at their best.

It’s a relief to know those moments really can dawn on you. And the poetry of the one-night-stand, yeah, is a different kind of beautiful. People always talk about the age they get into things – and when you’re a teenager everyone you know finds everything they like as a teenager. Life unfolds in all sorts of ways once everyone has a past.

If you’ve ever fallen in love accidentally, kissed the wrong person, or mumbled some poetry in a half-hearted rush to sleep with someone you don’t really know – you should listen to Wilco.

I promise you’ll recognize yourself in there.

“I miss the innocence I’ve known.”

(“Heavy Metal Drummer”, 2001)

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My strength was never messing around.

I’m pretty tried and true as far as goal-accomplishing goes. In fact, I remember an Impromptu final during the season last year where the quotation was (either by Neil or Lance Armstrong) about the idea of wasting time.

The speaker noted that the time he’d spent achieving his goal was the primary reason he’d achieved it – either biking like a motherfucker or getting to the moon (which are, I might add, sweet goals).

Later that week, I mentioned the quotation (and that I’d agreed) to one of my teammates and a coach. Both disagreed with me (and the quotation). They thought that time spent goofing off (I think their words were “dicking around”) had led them to the most (or more) profound discoveries.

I have a hard time just being. Or what Kurt Vonnegut called – “Becoming”. This is the idea of our cumulative experiences (positive and less so) informing the person we become in totality. It’s rather important – and not too different from what Hermann Hesse explored in his totemic Siddhartha.

There is no right way to become enlightened – to know yourself – to find truth. At least I don’t think so at this moment in my journey.

I’m reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez right now. In it, he almost constantly diverges from the central narrative to relate the lives and experiences of his characters (and their world).

Most poignant, perhaps, is the individual sexual discovery of the main characters. While both set out initially feeling very strongly they understand what they want from Love and Life – the central tenet of the book is that our desires are not only often unknown to us – they are revealed inconspicuously and over time.

My point, lugubriously made, is that I don’t like wasting time. I also like feeling assured of my direction. But there’s a tiny voice inside me (and, I hope, somewhere within you) that often encourages me to just let things be. To forget the Western mumbo-jumbo about accomplishing and go for a walk.

And sometimes I even do.

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