“You should go to the moon,” he says. “I’d go to the moon. And Mars. Did you know it takes two months to get there? Or it takes four years if you don’t leave at the right time. So you’d have to leave at the right time.”
He is sitting on top of a table swinging his legs. He needs a haircut. He is excited and scared and smart and I love him.
“We’ve done all the tests,” he says. “We tried the needle one with the string and it swung and it said it will be a girl. My wife is doing good, she’s happy, she’s healthy, we’re all doing good.”
He is going to be a father, this man. I walk away and write poems about him on flashcards. I think about how he has changed me as a person. I think about him being a father.
“I wanted to be a guitarist,” he told me. “A musician. Now I’m sitting on this table.”
Years later I see him again, with a tiny pink sweater thrown over his shoulder. His baby girl is growing up. Is he still growing up?
“What do you think it would be like to leave? To never see your family again? What if I didn’t hug my father goodbye? Do you think I would regret it?”
“I wanted to go to the moon,” I said, “when I was younger. Now I just want to see as much of this planet as I can. I haven’t even seen much of this country, not yet. How much time do I have? Why is it always going by? Should I hurry?”
“Juxtaposition,” he said from the table. “Do you know what that means?”
The moon is far away now. He is far away now. Mars is farther. I still remember what juxtaposition means. The flashcards are duller and the pencil is smudged but the words are still there.
1. Do the makers of “Jurassic World” expect us all to forget what happened at “Jurassic Park”? I’m just seeing a remake. How could we ever forget?! Never forget, y’all. So, do you want to go to the movies with me?
2. Keep talking, keep telling me all of your problems and your messed up perspective of the world, you’re giving me so much information for me to use in my future poems about you!
3. I love this song. It’s terrible! It’s amazing! It sounds like this guy has allergies/is crying/is super happy/doesn’t know how to speak English. ALSO, how do hip hop dudes decide on their hip hop names? Because it seems like they draw random words out of a hat. “Chedda Da Connect? It’s perfect!”
4. How to win hearts: http://imgur.com/gallery/SDUYW
5. Remember pencil chewers? Me too. Remember borrowing a pencil and holding it in your hand and realizing not only was there no eraser (so therefore the pencil was useless!), but the metal part was all chewed so therefore had been in someone’s mouth!? Yeah.
6. I was sitting at a table full of strangers recently. A few years ago that would’ve terrified me, but these days I love meeting new people. Not, like, talking to them or anything, just meeting them. Which sometimes involves a bit of talking, but, whatever. So there I was, meeting these people, listening to them tell me about their really exciting lives (or their really not exciting lives). This one guy was really outgoing and funny and a great story teller, and this other guy sitting next to him was pretty quiet and mousy and shy. And I remember thinking about this quiet dude, and I compared him to the talkative funny dude, and, even though I am a quiet dude myself, I thought badly of him for not being interesting enough! Even though I was doing the exact same thing! Maybe he has a personality, just not at a table full of strangers? Anyway, what’s the point of all of this? I don’t know. Maybe that I’m a terrible person. Maybe I judged that guy harshly for being a quiet person because I am one. And/or because all of my friends have always been more boisterous than me/I’m usually the quiet person/I don’t know how to talk to quiet people.
7. You can sit still as much as you want, but the world keeps on spinning, with or without you.
8. Small screaming children and drunken old people are pretty much the same.
9. I can’t fix all of your problems/everything that’s wrong with you! You’ve got to do something!
10. You should really focus on yourself. I know it’s easy/feels better to focus on other stuff/less important things/other people/drama/netflix, whatever it is you’re distracting yourself with. (Bob’s Burgers?? No way! I would never.) But it’s really not better. ALSO, you should read this article on Vice; it’s really good and talks about some of the same sort of things. Because no one yells at you enough these days!
She sits a little too close to me on the couch because she is drunk and happy and she shows me all of the pictures on her phone. Her fake nails are too long and she swipes hard at the screen. “Here’s where I grew up,” she says, “back here along the coast.” She is from Hawaii and she tells me the names of the islands and I have never even heard of them before but I nod along as she points them out in the picture she took from her airplane window seat. It’s raining outside, it’s that sort of drizzle that hangs in the air while at the same time falling and making unavoidable puddles on the ground. Everything is wet and everyone’s hair is turning into frizz and the man with the large beer belly passes out beers and pours strong drinks into tiny plastic cups. I cut lime slices for him and stand behind the rickety table that was never meant to hold so many bottles of alcohol. Everyone adds ice to their cups and the ice melts and their cups stay full and strong and no one ever needs to leave the couch for a refill. People sit closer and closer together and talk louder and louder over each other. “More ice!” Says the beer belly man’s father, bringing a fresh bucketful and sliding it onto the table in front of all the bottles. The table is littered with half-squeezed lime slices and half-moon rings of water and empty cups and full cups and beer bottles and pieces of ice slowly melting. Outside the workers from Jamaica pass back and forth with their maid carts and luggage carts and garbage cans and wagons full of grass clippings and hedge clippings and gardening tools. Everyone is interested in the people who are so clearly from somewhere else but are so friendly and hardworking and kind. I think about the boy I knew in college who was from Jamaica, and knowing someone from there makes me all-knowing. “I knew a boy from Jamaica,” I say to the people on the couch. “He was happy, too.” I watch the people as they pull their wagons and carts and cans and I wonder if they are happy or if they hate all of us for being loud and fleeting and cheap, for not tipping when they bring our bags to our hotel rooms, if they want to go home, if they are excited for this adventure, if this is just an easy way to make money, if they hate this island like I do sometimes, if they love it like I do most of the time. It is raining and my bike is outside rusting even more. The man with the beer belly is loud and he thinks he is very important. He is happy pouring drinks and talking to everyone about sports and hurricanes and the one time he was in a tornado and his father’s lack of hair and the city he is currently living in. He tells us all about the earthquake last week and the flooding in Texas and the tornadoes in Missouri. My drink is finally gone, the one tiny drink that became an endless, watery drink. I walk outside into the other watery drink, my hair curls more, people ride by on bikes and others pull wagons and carts and cans. I walk and I wonder if the man I pass hates me, if he cares at all, probably not, he’s fine, he’s happy, I’m sure, I’m not sure. They go on walking and I go on walking and the drizzle hangs in the air and the woman pushes hard on the screen of her cell phone and shows everyone who will listen and the beer belly man scoops more ice cubes into cups and tells everyone about floods and earthquakes and Ann Arbor and how he shaves his head because he’s bald now just like his dad.
1. Scrotal Recall is a pretty great British show, but, really, that title, why?
2. Why are you smoking? It’s 2015! Put that shit down. Step away from the vapor. Be cool. Live longer. Get rid of that lung hacking. Take control of your own life! Stop smoking 3 packs a day/a cig a day/weird white shit/whatever else it is you’re doing. Or not. I’m just trying to help! Sorry!
3. Stop telling me about all your hilarious “snaps”! I don’t need this technology! UGH. It’s not my fault all my electronics are ancient! Great. Now I’ll never know what you’re all up to.
4. Don’t go back(wards).
5. Update! I tried Snapchat again! And I accidentally opened all of my “snaps” at once and therefore did not see a single one of them! Ooops. Forget it! I’m terrible at this. Never mind! Continue having fun without me.
6. Don’t be afraid of your own words.
7. Sooo, Horns is the strangest/weirdest/best/worst/most intense/most terrifying/creepiest movie I’ve seen ever in my entire life! I don’t know if that’s a recommendation to see it, but, I also don’t feel like those two long hours were entirely wasted! You decide. Also contains Daniel Radcliffe w/American accent, if that’s not interesting enough.
8. All my babies are graduating! And by that I mean young friends, not actual babies. I’m not that old! Oh god! Am I?
9. America. How have you not stopped in your tracks and thought to yourself, “Holy shit, why don’t we let people who love each other get married?” I have! Lots of people have! What are you doing? Aren’t we supposed to be a great country? How simple is this problem to solve? Pretty simple. Ireland did it! Ireland!
10. Love people much more than you hate anything.
1. Who do you think you are?! No, really, who are you? Putting on different fake faces for different people isn’t a good way to live life.
2. Here’s the thing you forgot, the thing you’ve been searching for: it isn’t that you want to do it, it’s that you must do it.
3. If you leave the music on your iPod long enough, you’ll start to like at all again! (Might take several years.)
4. I’m pretty excited (geeked!) for the new Stars Wars movie. I didn’t even think I liked Star Wars that much! Where’s the VHS box set?! Dig it out of the basement, please. Yes, I did forget what VHS were called! I googled it.
5. I haven’t practiced French in 6 months. Oops! But really, when are they going to come up with an “upgrade” for my brain?! My computer has to update every once in awhile, why can’t some program add “French V.1.0″ to my head while I sleep?! #questions
6. Being cruel in an attempt to be funny, isn’t. It just makes you an asshole.
7. “You found out what kind of person to be from your parents.” “But I’m nothing like my parents.” “You found out what kind of person to be from your parents.”
8. It’s all okay.
9. Where are we going? Why is it so confusing? Why is it so hard? Why is it so easy for some people? What’s wrong with them?!
10. Where to now?