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I was laying in bed thinking about how I miss the sixties and also how I have practically no idea what the sixties were like but that my mom was born then and my dad was young then and my grandmother was alive then.

It is such a rush. We are all in such a rush. Where are we all going? There is only death at the end.

My grandmother died when I was 3. I remember her as a tall, thin, cherry of a woman. She looks elegant in photographs. I think about her a lot, though there’s not much to think.

I’m going to be 26 next month. That’s happening. I don’t know how. My mom called me old last time I talked to her on the phone. How did that happen? I wasn’t even rushing.

I have a cute apartment. I like it a lot. There’s lots of windows and sunshine and pillows and plants. That’s happening. I still want to run away from all of it; I still plan to. I still don’t want to be the person with a nice car and a nice, well-paying, boring job. I never want to be that.

My grandmother was that. She was a proper lady of the fifties, with lots of babies and a full-time job at a car factory. She was beautiful. I wear her jewelry now. She died of Leukemia.

It all ends in death or changes which is another death. All I want to do is fill up my life with colors and adventures and happiness and lovely people for as long as I can.

Happy Spring.

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“He has kind eyes.”

“He’s high. He has high eyes.”

His eyes are so blue and so pink as you look at him standing there looking at you with his head tilted to the side. He’s wearing some weird hat and you assume he’s gay because he’s slim and neat and showed up with some other man who is slim and neat.

It is dark and the people are cold; the group closes in without noticing, huddles together unconsciously, forms small packs of humans, tiny false families.

“I’m a filmmaker.”

“I’m a writer.”

“What do you write?”

“I write about you. And I write about nothing. And I make things up that never happened. But it sounds better later, if I edit it, if I add in things. If I knew at the time what to say.”

The little families are not all false. These people love each other, I just don’t know them. I don’t know them as a family, who loves who, or who hates who occasionally, or what happened that one time on the beach last weekend.

Time goes by, it gets lighter and warmer, and different people sit on the same benches and form similar friendships. The man, who is not a boy, as he’s an eighties baby, and not a child, might have worn that hat again. The woman with curly fairy hair has sobered up but kept the light in her eyes. The little families separate and draw in again, accidentally and on purpose.

Every Friday my neighbors, on the other side of the fence, whom I have never seen, have a barbecue. They are loud and the air smells like smoke and they play good music. They are young, or so I imagine, and they clink their beer bottles, or so I imagine, and they grin into the fire and the light glints off of their eyes and off of their bottles, and they talk loudly about their jobs and their girlfriends and their rent, or so I imagine. It is dry and dusty here, and quiet, but at night you can hear more somehow, maybe because there is more noise. People have time to gather together and speak and make noises and drive their cars past my house and roar their engines and love each other.

Every night the woman comes home from her job. She works hard five days a week, for too many hours each day. At home is her dog, who watches her leave every morning, lays on the rug in the afternoon, and plays fetch with her at night until they go to sleep after watching a few hours of television. Sometimes this little family gets larger, when the woman’s son comes to visit, and brings with him his son and his wife. But they leave again, and the woman and the dog stay.

The girl with curly fairy hair was humming to herself as she walked next to me. I listened but ignored her, in a way, as I didn’t turn my head to smile, or to acknowledge I had heard her. Eventually she stopped, and laughed, and she said to me, “I’m bored!” It was some attempt at friendship or fun. When I had just met her, before I even knew her name, I had told her her hair was beautiful, in a sort of blunt, honest way that happened too early on in the meeting-someone process. But it had worked out somehow, and so there she was, humming next to me, making something, at least for the length of a walk.

 

 

 

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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.

Once upon a time — wait, no. This is real life. Let’s start again.

The one that got away. What a great catch. These sentences are fishing metaphors. They also, when girls I know tell me love stories that have these as the plot lines, seem to be magical, romantic, mysterious, beautiful. What could have been. If these phrases were movies we’d see soft sunny filtered images of smiling beautiful people in fields of flowers. But no story is one sentence long. Only distorted memories begin with Once upon a time

The one that got away is a complicated tale. Maybe “one” is actually many. Maybe this isn’t even a Rom-Com. Maybe the one is someone’s father. Maybe it’s someone’s dream.

I love people because they are so complicated. If you dig deep enough everyone has a story; everyone is still writing it as they go along, just like me. Just like you. Good stories are always complicated. Good stories are hard to tell. Good stories get sliced into tiny pieces and boiled down to What could have been so we can try to share our stories with other people. We use words and we use pictures. We have Instagram (that comes with the soft sunny filter), and we have Polaroids of our grandmothers when they were young.

Our stories will always be incomplete. Memories fade or change so that every morning we are remembering and living a slightly different life. The people we love die or fade out of our lives in different ways, and the houses and cities we grew up in get torn down or repainted, or they stay exactly the same and our memories of them change so they end up feeling different just the same.

I have a Polaroid picture of my grandmother. She is not young in the picture, but I am. We are sitting together on the steps of her back porch some sunny Spring day in the early ’90s, a bright green apple in my hand and a grin on my face. I do not remember this story. My grandmother died when I was four. But luckily there are more pictures, more sentences from the story of her life.

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Loving people and their stories is dangerous, of course. It’s not romantic or mysterious, though sometimes it seems magical, and often it is beautiful, at least for some of the time. People are like our memories, in a way. They change unexpectedly, they surprise you, they make you cry. The worst thing of all is when someone abruptly leaves your life when you were still writing your life stories together — cliffhanger forever. And if you don’t fully understand that person’s story, and your own story is still uncertain, how do you tell someone else about it, even if they care to listen?

The (other) one that got away. 

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1. I wish I was cool enough to say “big ups”.

2. Stop assuming he/or she hates you. Just ask, then you’ll know for sure that they do!

3. Let’s all love and care about each other a little more this year.

4. You don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up! You never have to know! Next time someone asks you what “career” you want, just throw a flower/balled up piece of paper/dollar/smile at them and run away!

5. Romania is “in” this year. Let’s go! Are you buying me the plane ticket? I only do window seats. Thanks!

6. For the past month, I’ve suspected that 2014 is going to be good. Now I hear that Paolo Nutini is releasing a new album this year! Fantastic.  April 14th, where are you?

7. Not all stories have happy endings.

8. The only thing more interesting than art students is their hair.

9. No, really, what are we supposed to do with all these Beanie Babies??

10. Put a dollar bill (or the equivalent, international friends!) under someone’s windshield wiper the next time you’re in a parking lot. Do it! Then tell me about it.

I pressed a fingertip to the condensation-covered window, watched as a droplet formed and fell, sliding down the glass, gathering more water as it went, leaving a streak of clarity in its path. And that’s typically what happens, isn’t it? Like salt water traveling on skin — it must happen to you, too — losing something, even that small, leaves you with something else.

I hadn’t heard from him in a few days. Didn’t know if he was alive or dead. That was me being dramatic, but it was also true. Somewhere out there between here and there was a postcard, full of cramped writing, the few sentences I could write when I wanted to say so much more. I was sitting there by the window thinking about that little card, flying somewhere over the ocean — or maybe it was on a boat, I don’t know, I didn’t know, what do I know about the global postal system? — It’s amazing how much we don’t know.

A few days later the “January Meltdown” stopped and the water turned back into ice and it snowed again, covering the tracks in my front yard almost entirely, leaving only tiny impressions in the snowy expanse. And that’s typically what happens, isn’t it, memories almost completely wiped away by some deciding neurons in our brains that don’t ask us permission. And now I can barely remember her sitting across the table from me, and I have no idea what we talked about for so long so long ago. It’s amazing how much we can’t remember. Time doesn’t go by quickly, we forget it.

I’ve been listening to this one song a lot lately. It has this clicking sound in it, made by those wooden instruments, Google says that they’re called claves. That sound reminds me of you, reminds me of other songs we listened to together. I almost sent you the link, almost told you to listen, hey, listen, you might like this song, but I didn’t. I would have, four months ago, two months ago. Too much time has passed between us now. Too many changes of the seasons, too many new days, too many memories wiped away, filled in with something else.

Now we’re all different people who can’t remember what it was like before — it must happen to you, too. And it doesn’t matter that we all don’t have to wait day by day for a tiny postcard, doesn’t matter that we’re all at each others fingertips. There is still a silence, and it grows, time freezes it over like the water on my window.

Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of twenty-twelve. 12-12-12. The last repeating date for quite some time – the last repeating date you or I will ever see. Today we’ll mark off the hours – especially at 12:12pm. We’ll talk about how cool this date is; we’ll see on the news all the people getting married; we’ll soon hear about the first baby born on this day. People will talk to strangers about it in grocery stores; friends will laugh about it via text message . It’s 12/12/12! A special day. Today maybe people will be happier – they’ll think about the date and smile. It makes us happy, to see patterns in time. To be able to experience things like this, to be able to celebrate it together.

It also makes us sad. It’s 12/12/12. The last repeating date of our lifetime. We won’t make it to see the next one. We’re going to die. We’re going to miss out on all the fun they’ll have 89 or 100 years from now. (In 2101 or 2112!)

It makes us question – where does the time go?

I can remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom, my teacher writing on the chalkboard: 02/02/02. We talked about the pattern in the date, and I can remember thinking about how the next few years would have patterns, too: 5/5/5, 10/10/10, 12/12/12. And now, I think about how I’ve lived all those dates. I’ve seen them, and they have passed. And this day will pass as well. We’ll all talk excitedly about it for a while – until tomorrow. 12/13/12. Not as exciting, eh?

The time just keeps going by, doesn’t it? Another day, another holiday – soon another new year.

People always say that time flies. Looking back, it seems like that day in 5th grade was not so long ago – but it was – ten years. Ten years. Time flew by.

Only, time didn’t fly by. No, time always passes at the same rate. Me sitting in that classroom happened ten years ago – and so much has happened to me since. Every day in between had its own moments. We just forget them.

Take summer vacation, for example. When you’re in school, you look forward to summer vacation all year. And then it hits, and you’re happy with doing nothing – for about two weeks. And then, it begins. The everyday loll… the passing of time, with nothing in particular to do in order to fill up those hours. The months stretch out in front of you – the next school year seems forever away.

Then, the first day of school comes, and everyone exclaims – Summer vacation is over, already? It went by so quickly! Really, it didn’t. Neither did these past ten years. We just forget all of the everyday  things we’ve done, all the little experiences we’ve had: the smiles, the tears, the learning of who we are.

Time passes. That’s just what it does. So we celebrate it. We celebrate being alive. It’s 12/12/12! Soon, sooner than you think, it’ll be 11/12/13. Should we start planning our party now? Or, what about 12/13/14? I can already tell that’ll be a good day! Those dates will arrive, and we’ll celebrate them together.

It will feel like time has flown by, but remember: every day is something to celebrate. Remember to watch out for those little moments.

Oh, and happy 12/12/12! Doing anything special to celebrate?