1. We’re not dead yet!

2. Be kinder. But on the other hand, people who think climate change is fake are responsible for the continued destruction of our one and only goddamn beautiful planet Earth. So what can we really do?

3. Sparkles!

4. Politics is war.

5. Let’s all remember that one time in 2012 when Josh Tillman (Father John Misty) tweeted @ me about my dad being a fan COS WE ALL NEED SOME GOOD MEMORIES IN THIS DAY AND AGE

(shout out to Walmart’s wall of fake flowers and that black coat that kept me warm for several winters)

6. I see your 24-hour cold brew coffee and raise you my half-full of cold coffee french press which has been left abandoned on my desk for a week. Take that, hipster scum!

7. Grow a garden. Plant trees. Sunshine.

8. Read something by Alan Watts (or Carl Sagan or anyone)

9. Podcasts are great. Podcasts are radio? Who wants to make a podcast with me?! Does EVERYONE have a podcast?? Does the world NEED more podcasts??

10. We can win.

 

 

Dusk and early morning look the same, share the same gray light. I am a mourning dove, cooing and crying. I replace the hot tears with a cool shower. When my hair is wet it swings in clumps of curls, dries straight. There is nothing to see out my window, doesn’t cure the loneliness of a gray and empty room.

I can’t think of his name. I drew his picture four times. We’ve spoken less. There is such great disquiet in my quiet soul it freezes in anger at any chance to free itself. I don’t know if I’ve always been like this, or if I’ve lost or gained something. My body learned how to feel anxiety as a pressure in my chest this year. Not all knowledge is useful or positive.

She is beautiful – she looks like someone I could love. Their laughter is silent, encapsulated in other. The person I am is in some other storybook, and I cannot read, and there is nothing to add.

 

 

 

 

 

I miss the smell of grass cut from your own yard, way in the back where the neighbors can only just hear the sound of the push mower, a little buzzing noise from a motor unseen. Cut the grass around the apple tree, newly flowering, around the old car, left slowly rotting.

I have been eating too many cherries this season. They are deep purple-red, sweet, tart, juicy. One tastes like soap. One tastes like the sour apples I bit into too early in the summer – tart, bitter, sour, green. Not ready yet.

No longer mine – the grass or the apple trees or the push mower, or the land that held all of it.

The grass still grows there – and is cut. The apples grow, ripen, fall, rot on the ground in the shade, or are nibbled on by deer, raccoon, fox, squirrel, rabbit.

The stream will trickle by, as it did before I arrived, and long after I am gone and gone forever.

The sun beats down brightly here, but it is empty warmth – a smile without friendliness. Much is missing. The blue sky smiles sadly at me, the clouds offer their best wishes for future summers full of smells.

 

He screams, roars, yells in the other room. He is a beast – we are all animals but we have lost our first voices. We cook with wooden spoons, move with metal cars, walk with rubber soles – we made nothing of it. I make nothing, sitting here in different countries on the Earth. It is not special, we will all end up back where we came from. This room is a breath of air. This day is 24 hours of trillions. We are nothing and I have yet to be anything at all.

His beer bottles rattle in a bag like bones picked apart and broken for marrow. He sips everything down – he’ll get you, too. Beer bones, protein teeth – her wilted hair needs watering.

Magic boy’s in town. There is a gold glowing path where they have walked. The sea parted and he and his friends went in. Not you, crazy man in the back of the dark apartment. Stay still. Be still and not seen. Fill your beer bottles later with the leftover water from their party in the river. Drink it down, get wasted on wastage, age faster and with a growing loneliness that no bottle can fill.

The journey was for nothing. They haven’t learned anything, Mr. Churchill. They will all kill each other again, clean it up, grow peace gardens, pick the fruit, eat it down to the roots, forget why they were hungry, get mad, find the old war. We shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be here with his beer, drinking the same bottle down again, filling it up, losing hair and teeth and collagen, wrinkling down to the bone, fading away, filling up the Earth with broken bottles and coffins.

Perhaps there is a parallel universe in which you are happy. Maybe there is one where her mother is a good person. Maybe there is one where you never hurt anyone. Everything would be different. Or one thing would be different.

This is where we live. Hello, again. Reaching for another day and more attention from the sun. From the son. Only boy child. Father, holy spirit, wholly ghosts in your closet.

We are all the same. Broken, immature humans. It is all we can be. Don’t worry if you’re not OK. We are animals, too. Don’t forget.

Give me some sugar. Lend it to your neighbor. We don’t do that, we’ve recessed into our own minds and walls. Share more.

He thinks about talking to him seven times per day, but doesn’t.

She thinks about being brilliant three times a day, but doesn’t.

The coffee is old and black and has been microwaved four times.

She said the words are woven together. Maybe that’s what you are, a weaver.

She was a shining girl leaning against a wall of a beautiful place during a beautiful place in her life. She had wonder. She wonders now if she’s lost it. And is it gone forever? Is this aging or a new age?

A little plant grows on her desk in the sunshine. He is reaching up. He is just a plant. He is growing. It is simple. We understand it.

To be a plant would be better. Let us all be plants. We will save the Earth and ourselves.

She sips water while the plant sips water. They are similar. Not the same. She has a lot to do still. The plant does the same things. She does the same things. They both grow. The plant might grow more.

She needs a new explosion. She is hiding behind the detonator. Something is different. She has packed something away – she needs to unpack. Cut the tape. Push the button. Scream. Grow more than a plant. Cultivate something.

That bite of orange tasted like donut and she glanced down. Nothing really makes sense this year. Her luggage is off on an all-expense paid, unplanned and unwanted vacation, somewhere out in the big old world. Your breakfast is getting cold. She doesn’t understand the ratio of coffee grounds to water in a french press but she keeps trying anyway. Maybe one day she will have whatever it is she is still looking for. I should buy potatoes. Someone ate all of my cheese while I was gone. What a year it is already. We are killing all of the butterflies and everything else that doesn’t give them money. He is still no good, a quiet broken yellow man. We keep making new things and ruining our ancient planet. I’m not as sad as I thought I would be to lose objects from the past. It isn’t the things that matter but the memories of them, and you and I continuing on afterwards. My computer remembers all of my passwords for me. The mail system in the country of Germany sent back 4 of my Christmas cards because I didn’t put enough stamps on. Sorry, you’re not getting a card this year. Last year. It’s over now. She adds butter to her shopping list. That’s all we do is wash the same dishes over and over and over. They liked my poem that took me 10 minutes to write. Even my teacher had nothing bad to say. I smiled at them and grinned at them and said, “thank you.” If I lose everything I think I will still be myself. I’m not that attached to anything but anyone and everyone. You need to make a list of what you want to do still with your life. To-do. The fish walked out of the sea. I walked out of the airport. The moon had a target on it and now nothing and everything does. Beautiful baby. Dead flower. Frozen, half-eaten, garden leek. A rabbit snack. The status of our childhood tree. Can I please have my luggage?

1.They can come back. It won’t be the same, but it will be better than emptiness

2. I know you love your new human and all, but everyone else really doesn’t need to see each picture you take of it. Thanks.

3. Look further out.

4.Floss your teeth, god dammit!

5. We are all family.

6. Are we getting better and worse at being nice to each other at the same time? Do we need to police each other’s niceness? Do we need to rate all of the social interactions that ever occur?

7. Dropping your cell phone is the same as dropping your baby, change my mind.

8. It doesn’t matter. We’re all going to die. It does matter. This is your life.

9. We are all still here. You’re still here. Hello. Thank you.

10. Do kids still build tree houses?

If this is the only thing I am good at I will keep mining the words. I will hack at them with what mental strength I have that my arms do not share.

Everywhere is ugly. The ocean turns ugly, the palm trees turn ugly, the most beautiful old cathedral turns into yet another building you have to walk around to get to where you want to go.

Picture the male university professor. I have him stuck in my mind. He is tall, bearded always, shabby but neat, well spoken. He leans against the front table in the room, always, he sits there listening, nodding, looking for more people to tell him what they think morality is and is it real or did we just make it up and is there a god and what do you think about what this German philosopher had to say 500 years ago please give me 12,000 words double-spaced by Friday at midnight to my email.

I miss him, this authority figure who had all the answers and so many more questions. Your brain would never travel that far down a path otherwise.

I was 17 when he announced to the class full of college freshman, “There are two very strong writers in this room.” I don’t particularly know why he needed to say it — doesn’t that make the other 50 people feel bad? — and of course he went on to point us out — doesn’t that make us feel bad? — me and another girl, both of us quiet little mental philosophers who enjoyed listening and reading more than anything else.

Something Sylvia Plath wrote in her journal made me stop and think, I am listening to her, reading is listening. Writing is speaking. Hello, hello.

I want to write a book. I want to make a movie. I want to learn guitar and make music. These things are beautiful to me, like old cathedrals.

He tells me I don’t need to be so hard on myself. (Trust me, I’m not.) But what if that effort, that little mental push, is what draws the line between the successful author and the professor?