but i'm going to be out of town for the next week, and i likely won't be updating while i'm gone. i haven't been able to write much of anything lately. i'm smallcaps. blank. and words feel useless and dry like asphalt for contact lenses. i want to wait in the forest with a fox caught in my throat and wail out pain for centuries.
and i won't let you
use your own markers
to write words--
leave traces of yourself--
all over my body
in the dark, later, under
the sounds and pressure of your
i can feel the weight of the
you've already left.
In my head I devour you like a jar of homemade wild raspberry jam. Slick gelatin surface against lips and tongues. Sensual collapse of berries plucked from thorny bushes our bodies shock explosion. I kiss you so hard our lips bruise like the skin of fruit. I stick hard in your mind afterward, like a seed caught between your teeth. A perpetual ache your tongue searches to dislodge, then misses the moment it's gone.
To make a simple raspberry jam mash 3 cups of berries in a sauce pan together with 3 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and beat with a wire whip or mixer for 6 minutes. Pour into jars and allow to cool. If not canning, keep stored in refrigerator.
I eat a raspberry scone as I sit in an outdoor cafe sipping coffee at Covent Garden. I sit alone and watch the people bustling by. Mostly tourists--some with bored older children in tow--some with young kids running wildly through the courtyard screeching like newly uncaged animals. The street performers croon. The sky broods typical English grey cloudy madness of occasional sun breaks that make me smile and squint my right eye, and I think about home. The taste of my mom's wild raspberry jam. The smell of my grandmother in summer. I think about home, but I don't want to be there. I write in a notebook with a cheap pollack inspired cover about the cinnamon color of the coffee. The best cup I've ever had right at this moment. He'll arrive soon, I write into the blank pages with black ink. Sick with anticipation. I notice the hard metallic chair against my spine. Press against it and bite my lips, hard.
Raspberry refers to the woody brambles and also to the fruit it bears. The berries can range in color from red to black, but also appear at times yellow. The small subdivisions of the fruit are called drupes or drupelets. These berries are edible. Raspberries are thought to have originated in Eastern Asia. They are high in antioxidant vitamin C and dietary fiber. Raspberry is also a noise made by vibrating the extended tongue and the lips while exhaling. It is a sound usually used to express contempt or to express displeasure. Some synonyms for this expression are boo, hoot, hiss, razzing, snort, bird.
I want to put my raspberry with your raspberry to make sweet wild raspberry intoxication. Stain the sheets with the dissoluble languor of this sunshine afternoon pretending to be summer. Add sugar and legs and eye lashes and arm pits and the tympan of the ears. Beat slow drum driving stretch the skin and shine glow laughter into every corner of this room raspberry day-light setting slow on us.
Oh My God! Are you pregnant?!, he says far too loudly in front of my entire office of co-workers and the guy from downstairs with the severe comb over who comes to check the ink levels in the printers every Tuesday afternoon.
The air palpable of smirking gawks. I was only asking if he'd gotten rid of his hiccups. He punctuated the steps of the walk home. Looking slightly disappointed, it was obvious that he hadn't.
the last time i talked to her on the phone, we laughed as the city slid past the car on the way to do some last minute shopping for pig's mother's birthday weekend, the last thing i said to her before our goodbyes and i love yous was you're jesse james, man, you're fuckin' jesse james.
and she was.
When I was a little girl, I didn't play with dolls. Hated them, in fact. The way their little dead glass eyes gleamed like the slippery marbles my brother and I traded and shot across the playground floor made me nervous. When I thought I wouldn't get into trouble, sometimes, I'd pop them out. And carry them around in my pockets. I'd pretend they were real eyes and that with them I had some kind of super power. I never could see through walls or read the future. Instead, I had dreams that someone ripped my own eyes out with knives. I hid all those haunted pink baby-shells at the bottom of my toy box. Under the matchbox cars and action figures.
This summer, I cleaned out my mom's storage shed. Gave the old dolls she'd kept to the dogs. Watched Molly tear off the limbs and pull out stuffing like the entrails of angels. Both of us filled with the mysterious dog's-eye moment of satisfaction.
i remember us. just now. when we were around 13 years old. sneaking out of school to hide-out at your dad's house. stealing nips of hard alcohol from his bar and smoking cigarettes out your bedroom window. we were two little girls on fire. ready to burst through childhood into the world. kicking and screaming. all the way. in those days we weren't afraid of anything. of falling down hard onto the concrete. or the limitless dangerous hands of boys. the sounds of our own voices. we drank coffee and swore like truckers. kissed our mothers and never missed curfew. best friends since the moment we met. best friends for life, we always said. neither one of us knew, that, wouldn't be so long. not long, no, not, enough.
today, there are two.
they're getting so serious, now, that i need to come along.
soak up some of the sting of the words.
so that when we sit in the parking lot afterward--
afraid to look at one another for fear we'll recognize the lie when we promise each other that
everything's going to be okay--
we'll hold hands and try to make it all make sense.
stop off for coffee.
return to work.
stuck silent and slow.
if we get any more bad news, i'm going to crack apart.
you know you love someone out of conventional boundaries of passing through day light night shade fall, when the thought of them moving on--to enjoy another person--to kiss, fuck, laugh, talk, smile--even after time elapses and you've said you can't slip back into that life or variations of the shade that might grow in its place given the chance to change--still makes you want to splay yourself open with a dull rusty knife.
I didn't wake up enough from a nightmare. Banging my fists against the wall and screaming to unleash myself from these old horrors. Until I discovered myself running through unfamiliar streets of this deserted city at 5:30 in the morning. Cold and alone and terrified. I collapsed against the brick of a building. Tore out my hair and screamed nonsense into the blank breaking day of sky. Because, sometimes, there aren't written words for pain. Only animal sounds. To reify the wounds. Not wearing my glasses, I wasn't sure, even, how to find the path home. No phone. No identification. So, easily, I could have kept running. Disappeared myself away. Instead, I ended up at your door. And you made me wear your blue sweater. And you made me drink your tea. And you made me sleep until noon. Talking words into my ear and hands into my skin that made the whole unimaginable thing turn only imaginable.
I regretted the fact that we wouldn't get to spend all those stultifying moments stalking one another like naked desperate prey to the unpredictable creaks like heartbeats of the wooden floor in your living room.
The locality of complete deafness sits in a ringing pile of depression on the couch in my front room. Together we try to crack the mystery code to sound. Sitting on my tongue like a nearly remembered phone number that keeps delivering me up to the wrong voice. Replacing digit for digit over again until nothing remotely familiar comes. Vain attempts to break silence with matching lips and eyes instead of reading them. In quiet, we refuse to acknowledge the stoned look on his face that wonders if the hearing will return. There's no way to tell him that he's editing the most fantastic picture I've ever seen him take. Or that I'm hungry and tired and need a shower. Convince myself the ringing will pull itself off slowly like morning bed sheets and the world will march loudly in again like the sun. We don't ever write notes to one another--that's what deaf people might do.
sometimes, like today, when i'm writing love letters about the clouds outside my window and trying to grasp sanity enough to get through these last rounds of revisions, i'm still sure that i hear your key in the door. you should be just coming in from work.
yesterday, you plucked a grey hair out of your head and brought it to me without a word. like you were delivering the tangible news that we were growing old. some brave discovery. my head buried in yours so often now. i'd easier trace the patterns of all those silvery lines scattered on your crown than walk myself home, most days. as if not noticing them made their existence less real. like those moments when we stop time. try to make life wait for a second. even at the start, we both know, there isn't going to be enough.
"Can you hear it?" he asks. And if questions can be memories, then this one is the first time my mom let my brother and I cross the busy street near our house without supervision. We held hands and ran fast. Our hearts beating up and into our throats. Full up on the freedom and fear of newness.
I smile and watch him move his lips and tongue. He's concentrating so hard--like a small child fighting the slippery unpredictable movements of ice cream cones. He wants to know if I can hear it. He places the fingers of his right hand on my mouth. Tries to pull my lips into a pucker. His left hand against his own mouth. Tracing the shapes. Measuring the differences. I laugh, realizing how often I do that now without audible evidence.
He tries again. And some strange melody stuck in his head spreads out between us. He can't hear the sounds coming out of his mouth. Slipping between his tongue and teeth. To hang in the air of the memory of this room. Unsure, he's still enjoying the moments of discovery. He smiles wide eyed into my face, as if my ears might make the act more meaningful.
And suddenly, I feel like I'm on the edge of something. Face flushed. Heart running circles around me. I put my hand on his chest, then layer his on top of mine--measure the feel of sound from the rise and fall. Shut my eyes.
"Yes," I say, "Yes, I can hear it."