It is a small thing. It is not as big as you think it is.
Imagine a wedding-type ceremony, with two people standing next to each other in front of a room full of people. Imagine them promising not to spend their lives together, but to never speak to each other again. Imagine them walking back down the aisle, all the people watching, and from that moment never interacting again.
This happens all the time, in some way. It is a small thing. It is not as big as you think it is.
There are more fish in the sea, says some mother figure in my mind. I agree with her, staring off into the darkness of my bedroom at midnight on a work night..
The years have only taught me that the people you love now will become shitty and/or get tired of you or start to hate you.
I can hear my upstairs neighbors watching Friends. The theme song gives it away. It reminds me of childhood and family and sitting on a big green lumpy couch in a tiny living room.
I am beginning to understand why people get married. After some amount of failures and sadness and shitty people, they find someone to watch Friends with at midnight on a work night. And they think, not this one, I won’t lose this one. Not this time. And they involve a ring and a room full of people and a nice cake. And if they promise in front of those people and with that cake while wearing the rings, it means something. It means they can never leave each other to watch Friends alone.
I can now name the feeling in my stomach. It was apprehension. Knowing that not much good could come from anything, that sometimes it’s too hard for people to understand each other, that they won’t listen and can’t comprehend. That they have to protect themselves and always believe they are right. That it is so easy, now, to push a button and make it all go away. To not have to face anything difficult, to not have to fight for it, so easy to be apathetic. To be angry and stubborn and foolish and stupid and young even though we are all getting older.
It is too much and it is nothing. Another person gone, another death. More time to meet more people to eventually grow sick of, or love, or both.
It is some ending that needs a mark. Some little death that needs a tombstone. To be remembered. In memoriam.
We are all young and old and stupid and foolish, and we will always keep walking away and walking toward something else.
He thinks he is a rabbit. Small, young, jovial. Walking through fields, past lakes, hiding in caves. He thinks he will never die. He wants to look for something but doesn’t quite know what it is.
It is a big world. A huge, beautiful place. And even more, the universe, but one planet is more than enough for most of us, for a lifetime of adventures or of hiding in caves.
I have been old for many years. Since I was 10, knowing I was no longer singular. And now, 26, four or five gray hairs on my head, a candle flickering beside me, burning away.
I see you sitting there and growing old. I see your armchair is comfortable with you.
I know there are many different types of stories. What I don’t know is what kind mine is. How can it plot out a path if I keep moving? What if it never forms to anything? I’m not running away, just searching, running towards.
I had a dream last night that I was in school. I got good grades. I showed my grandfather. He said something like, “good, you can be a teacher.” And I replied with, “maybe when I’m older.” And he laughed, implying I’m there now.
When does youth leave you? What day? When do you become old and no longer young?
Count the days. Count the lines on your face. Count the moments of happiness. When does it happen?
So far it has been mostly the same. Wonderful days and days we wait out. Bunker down to hide from them. Seek the weekends. The two of seven days that belong just to us. The freedom.
I hear a door shut. I can hear my neighbors upstairs. I don’t know them. I never will. I am leaving and I will never have said hello.
I sit at the traffic light often, waiting, almost home, or almost to work, or almost to somewhere. I watch people drive by, alone, their turn to move. No more waiting. Still ignoring everyone except those who might cross their path.
We made this world. It has grown up with us. We raised it, taught it how to behave, how to drive, how to wait. We showed it what to care about, what not to. Together we ignore the man standing in the middle of the road with a sign. We tell ourselves he doesn’t need us. He’s a trick. He’s a lie. We can’t love him like we love our mother, we’d never get home to her. Maybe it’s human. Maybe it’s not.
I am not done searching. I haven’t found anything yet. All I can do is keep going and hope the world doesn’t ruin me. It hasn’t so far.
I love you.
I wish I could filter out all the things I don’t care about. But that’s terrible, isn’t it? I should care. Shouldn’t I?
They make big posters and banners and they scream, “black lives matter!!” and I don’t care. “All lives matter,” I whisper. “Everyone matters,” I whisper.
He writes, “Je suis Charlie,” and he doesn’t know what he’s saying. He doesn’t understand anything. Neither do I, but I don’t care. “Je suis moi,’ I whisper. “Qui etes-vous?” I whisper. I’m trying to teach myself French. I’m trying to understand without listening.
She yells at me because I take a picture of my Italian dessert in Seoul. She teases me, asks if I’ll share it on Instagram. “Of course not,” I say. “Not anymore,” I whisper. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I just want to share everything with you. Do you? Voulez-vous?
I was in love with a black boy when I was young. His skin was like chocolate. I don’t remember his name because he moved away, and I don’t remember anyone’s name. I wonder where he is now. I wonder if he speaks French. Who knows? Je ne sais pas.
They hate war, say it’s terrible. They hate bombs. They won’t talk about it, they filter it out. Everything is black and white. The gray color is too difficult. No one knows what gray matter is really about. I miss Psychology class. I learned a lot back then. I think I have forgotten everything. What good is a degree you don’t remember? But it still might get me a job somewhere. Peut etre.
I stay up too late. Too early. What timezone am I living in? My own, I guess. How do you say that in French? “Ma propre, je suppose.” That’s nice.
I want to write you a book. I remember this one time my friend said to me, “If you write a book, I’ll read it.” And that was a great thing to say. So maybe I’ll write a book for her, if I ever think of anything good. But maybe I should learn French first. It seems important. How do you say that? “Il semble important.” That’s nice.
I want to talk to all the people who I disagree with. I mean, it seems like I disagree with them. They march around upset and screaming, waving banners, blaming each other. They scare me. I don’t know if they would talk to me. I don’t know if we could get past our disagreements. Isn’t that sad? Tragic. Terrible. Lonely.
Je suis seul. I know that one. I like it because seul is a lot like Seoul and I’ve been to both places. Loneliness seems like a wonderful and terrible name for a place, doesn’t it? N’est-ce pas?
Hello. Who are you? Will you tell me? What do you look like when you’re all alone? Who are you? I don’t care about anything else. I won’t tell anyone your secrets, I promise. I miss you. I probably do, anyway. Even if I don’t know you. Isn’t that fucking stupid? Maybe you think it is. It’s not really true, because it’s impossible. Maybe I learned about this kind of logic in Philosophy classes, but I don’t remember any more. Merde.
I’m very bad at endings. I remember once I took an online Theater class, and I had to write a play. Just a short one. And it was about a family, and I don’t really remember what they said to each other. But students in my class commented on my play, and I remember they said it was too happy. There was no tension. It was too circular. Everything happened for a reason and the end was like the beginning. Do you think life is like that? Tell me. “Dîtes-moi!”
1. Stop calling yourself an “unknown poet”, EVERYONE is an unknown poet!
2. Things you are not allowed to say: “I miss you”, “I had a dream about you”, “I think your baby is actually quite ugly”.
3. We’re all scared. That shouldn’t stop you.
4. Some girls speak poetry as their first language and don’t know how to stop. They wear dark eye makeup and thrift store sweaters and listen to music they choose to like. They take pictures day after day from the exact same angle of the exact same face until they’re convinced that they’re beautiful. Sometimes they all look the same.
5. It’s never going to be simple.
6. Horrible things just keep happening in the world, don’t they? And it seems so terrible and evil and sad. And it is. And then you talk to your friend or meet a nice lady at the grocery store who tells you about her daughter or someone does something nice for someone else. And at least there’s a balance of terrible and wonderful.
7. I’m currently growing daisies in a tiny pot in my room under my desk lamp. It’s a tiny rebellion against winter. Or something. Maybe it’s just tiny daisy plants.
8. You should read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. It’s a really simple and beautiful book.
9. Tell them, just tell them! UGH!
10. “When I save up lots of money, I just buy piggy banks.” – small girl with, apparently, lots of money, and, most likely, lots of piggy banks.
1. Excuse me, did you just say moreover during our out-loud conversation? I don’t think I can talk to you anymore. Either you’re too smart for me, or you’re trying to be.
2. There are a lot of really good days/nights that happen, but sometimes there are really fantastic days. The days that make you think to yourself, “Was that the best day of my life?” and then you think about it for awhile and come to the conclusion that it probably was and then you fall asleep ’cause you are really freaking tired after such a day.
3. The next time a parent/relative/friend/stranger makes you feel that you’re not contributing much to society, write a really bad short story, or draw a picture on some cement somewhere with sidewalk chalk, or save a baby bird that fell from its nest, or perform CPR on a person you just pulled from a swimming pool, or smile at a stranger you walk past on the street.
4. You know you need to go to the grocery store when you’re eating watery oatmeal for breakfast. Or dinner.
5. If you’re aware that the thing you’re waiting for is never going to happen, but you keep waiting anyway, well, you’re probably insane. But, while you’re waiting, for whatever it is, you could take up knitting or some other useful activity to fill up all that time you’re wasting. You could start a blog!
6. Lesson of the week: Flip flops are poor walking shoes.
7. Umbrellas are for the weak. I’m looking at you, city-folk.
8. I think the most useful thing about going to grad school is being able to say to people you meet, “Hey, yeah, I went to grad school.”
9. You may not be treating them like a real person — like they have thoughts and dreams and emotions — and that’s not going to end well, if anything even begins at all.
10. I feel like when people say, “Just be yourself!” What they are really saying, or what they should be saying, is “Don’t act like someone you’re not.” It’s not be yourself don’t be nervous, it’s be who you are.