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Last year she quit her job, sold her belongings, and moved to another state. Now she’s back again, and we’re here pretending nothing happened – no man broke her heart, no time has passed, she’s just living in a different apartment now, working a different job – slightly shifted but the same.

In my dream they stood naked in a field. In my head he sings to me still, though I haven’t seen him in years. He sings, he sings, the sun goes away behind a cloud, my eyes disappear beneath their lids, water swells over the earth.

You want to listen to his music pre-2017, Bob Dylan in his early years, my music in the future, if there is one.

My professor said all humans seek recognition. It’s the only way we can know ourselves – to see our self through someone else.

It isn’t real life, he said. It echoes at me through the years. It isn’t real life.

What are we building now? The houses of our past has crumbled. My mind is crumbling. Must we always make something more?

You are still alive out there, somewhere, though I haven’t seen you in years.

My old Philosophy teacher doesn’t want to vote for Bernie. But we all already knew that there is a limit to the usefulness of Philosophy.

The strings we left dangling may yet be tied back together. All we have is the time we have left to see what happens: what dreams we will dream, what music we will lose and find again, what people will fade away or come back, what all we will build and tear down.

If she could see me now, she wouldn’t believe it. Look at us, I whisper at her through time, you’d love this. Everything you wanted and still nothing.

We are at the brink, at the edge of destruction, at the cusp, the final race, the last human choice. We will go forward from here. It may be a beginning or an ending – we won’t know for many years.

Years ago the future was dark to me – a mystery. It still is. He still is. We still are.

The ivy plant I stole is growing in the windowsill, so slowly. What will its future be?

You should write – you should sing – you should dance to bad music – you should travel before your hips and knees and eyes go out.

What is it to us? We cannot see the melting glaciers from our ivory towers.

She told me it was a fine example of fictocriticism. I told her I like to refer to it as my life.

Ich bin ausländer.

On the train a little girl tells her mom about London. London doesn’t hurt like Berlin does, she says, leaving the train. She goes back to her hotel. She leaves Berlin. She grows up and some other things happen.

Photographs like the blink of an eye. Memories like faded photographs. I can’t see anything in my head. All is dark here.

Today it snowed in the place where I was born. Today it was the hottest it’s ever been in Antarctica. We are all cold and dying like the sun. Her son will be born soon, into this mess we’ve made. Clean your room, child. Put your toys away. Be responsible for something.

 

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.

 

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.

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?