formless anxiety bends the mind in on itself like a concave mirror and in this concavity is disallowed the clarity desired to move through in a day, the clarity breathing through beautiful scenes when they are noted without reaching for camera phones, the breath of the landscape down your neck or is it the breeze with the salt and the ethnic food in the air, the dishwashing jobs available at the indian restaurant on the ave, the avenue, the splotched and spotted streets all straight and easy, a little too simple to get around, the “there are only three counties in this state I haven’t been” attitude along the border of canada and where Idaho meets in the south, south. Noticed a parisian cigarette box and now a gallery of French architecture exciting the walls, exhibitionist paintings of naked towers down by soft alcohol and using the contours of a smooth body as paintbrush and stroking, rolling around a canvas to imprint the romantic idealism we destroyed with our sloppy kisses and inappropriate public touching though the daunting architecture, naked, clear-sighted over the horizon and illuminating the foyer from afar, the desire for a naked architecture, of clarity when a landscape looms, of the ability to adequately keep oneself simultaneously distanced from the seat of and strapped to the electric chair of life and a consciousness of the self as it yawns and expands or shrinks and shrivels, spread wide across a sand scattered beach hut hit by boats propelled like missiles on a mighty wave, projectile ships with tall masts scattered along the mountaintops in a mysterious and ominous glow. where can clear sightedness form when all the signature buildings, metaphoric as a defining personality in the glowing heart of the city, have you been there before? in that state of calm execution, the motions seem more natural than breathing, the motions are fluid and deliberate, the second guessing is a voice erased like a ladybug met fate of an aphid or the roses protect themselves with new toxic plume. No, no. I haven’t been there before.
Learning about literature and the great writers of our times in a college setting does not make any of it seem accessible. I am still a lost child of my generation, inundated by the sheer weight of every word written in perfect placement by every predecessor. The fault is in my “undeserving” complex. Self-deprecation because How could I ever write a story/song like that? and my complex frames the question hypothetical and unanswerable, whereas it takes baby lion steps. Those first brittle bones arching across the safari until eventually running with the best hunters of the pride. Shaggy mane all hanging down. None of it grew overnight… but that beautiful concept… “Last night a forest grew.” Destruction is fast. Recovery slow. Becoming good at anything is a form of recovery. To rediscover the childlike curiosity and excitement about every living creature and a desire to tell relatives about the day’s discoveries. The sun! The butterfly! This song I heard! Etc.
“Welcome to December,” announces the darkening sky above the frigid inland Pacific Ocean empire of the Puget Sound. It is cold enough for the words to take form as icicles, fall to the green Earth, and shatter like glass ornaments, or crystal wine glasses full of icy water. Even these words, if spoken aloud, would drip down from my mouth like stalactites (hanging from a cavernous ceiling) and build up pyramids of unique snowflake phrases at my feet all in a white flurry.
Now, moments after an appallingly early sunset (4:45 pm) the sun’s light evades our latitude and longitude for a full rotation. A full rotation of it, of us, our axis, its axis, gravity, precession, astronomical terms from a college quarter years back that I’ve forgotten the specifics of… needless to say, the onset of our cold and lingering dark days is an inevitable domino-chain reaction to the forces of gravity and the wonderfully perfect proximity of the earth in our little galactic system of magnetic drifting archipelago. The ground beneath our feet formed at the exact right place in space, so says physics, and therefore we are not destroyed by any temperatures too hot or too cold to imagine. Neat, huh.
The early sunset and black ice roads remind me that we are a part of a chaotically perfect system and we are internally governed by the same physical laws, or so we currently understand, as the rest of the galaxy… So I twist open a seasonal beer, take off my wool socks, pause to look at the dancing lights of the family Christmas tree, listen to a lightly crackling fire and classical orchestra music (‘like a bath of ice cocaine and rainbows’). The music washes over me like waves splash on a rocky beach for millennia until the beach is transformed into pure tiny soft grains of sand… I am humbled by the genius of these musicians as well as the setting. The beer tastes good.
I’ve prefaced with a pseudo-scientific meandering and we’ve journeyed together to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for a photography exploration. Sunday night my significant female friend and I went to Zoo Lights to witness the winter festivities of colorful led lighting along railings and through the branches of trees. She hadn’t been; I had. It was very windy and the rain flew around directionless like confused, drunk birds. I popped the caps off two tall boys on a fence post and we sat in the car to discuss the philosophical implications of Cloud Atlas as well as possible plot holes. The wind often interrupted thought. When we walked down to the park the rain stopped. A layer of water over the park added to the soft reflective glow of the lights and shined bright, illuminating dancing molecules in the air with rainbow mists. Luckily, young adulthood has not caused us to abandon our childhood sense of wonder. These artistic renderings of Pacific Northwestern scenes and animals were magic. We basked in the cold lights and the idea of eternal rebirth.
To avoid over thinking the purpose of this post, I’ll exit commentary to display a few more images. Happy Holidays.
Muddled chai tea latte and a white streak of light that is a wonderful little stray cat come home to us last year near my sister’s birthday. Trumpets, guitar effects, piano trills, and magical harps sound from the thick evergreen forest outside. It is very cold and the frozen air molecules seem to allow sunlight to brighten mightily. That chill in the air when you realize someone you used to know is gone forever; a version of your self is buried deep underneath that fast approaching black berry bristle. They will taste sour surely. I’m in the center of a valley of holiday decorations, how nice and fun, they are red/green, shining sparkling little trees and stockings, a giant sled and a million other objects placed about randomly, many with only vague impressions of meaning for me, in this childhood home, I am alone in this valley and feel slight melancholy behind my eyes.
Soon I’m moving into a confusing, intimidating, new phase of my life. A return as well as a new downhill jam. School, man, what about it? I want to learn from the masters of the work place opportunities for a young writer as myself. I want to learn the craft from all angles. Technical writing, poetry, and prose-fiction. Psychological reports, philosophical inquiry, editing, revising, grammatical perfection (the grammar that I currently love to ignore, ignore, ignore. here and there a comma splice, a lack of verb-tense agreement, that pocket in which I jingle change.) Will a degree in English allow me to pay back my debts to my family and friends? I will live in a cottage-like apartment. Consider myself as one of the artists in residence as there is presumably a pianist in the community as well. Can I prove myself worthy of the support? Questions as these haunt me constantly. Friends are self sufficient and glorious with their adult-strife and paycheck counting, rent paying citizens of tax deductible lives and hard boiled eggs from breakfast and a self packed lunch, juggling, juggling, juggling, three things, the most important ones.
I’m taking a different route, toward the arts. Multi-faceted arts. No need to be the ‘best’. Unless you want youtube views. I will continue to write but I will find more control and purpose. I will continue to draw and paint, with more emphasis on print-making and framing, to sell images and spread love into apartments and homes. Many of these prints will be given to friends and people who might help get the word out. Friends, yes. Family, definitely. Why be selfish? All of my best projects gather dust in piles. They can serve purposes for momentary contemplation. Same with my story ideas, my song fragments, those guitar riffs that have no home, those orphans lyrics and abandoned musical ideas, those piano licks written and forgotten. Oh god! If I only had more time, time, time!
I will create pictures with the written word, yes. I will create visual art with colors and illusions, yes. I will make pamphlets and prints, chapbooks and free hand outs and create a website for further information. I will write and perform acoustic songs, self-release a decent quality recording of a few songs. I will make cover videos for the internet, for free. I will sing with stronger heart and better note accuracy, train my ears to perfect pitch and color harmony, grammatical error detector, and like all of this, just ignore conventions for the approach of truest art and intention.
I will slide gently into the fire feet first. It will consume me and everything will be so desired and worthwhile. I will join the art community and live so damn well.
Here I am 22 years old and surrounded by piles of unfinished projects. I had started these projects with voracious and determined appetite but then put it down to rest my mind and start on something else. The fire feels good to burn inside when the creativity is in the first explosive stage. This is fireworks popping over pristine glacial melt. I love the feeling of instantaneous creation especially when that comfort zone is met and entered joyfully. My worst anxiety is that I never finish anything. I move on before I can complete the task or finalize the vision I had in my minds eye for what the project ought to manifest as. Then I let time slip away and with time the vision slips away also. I look at splotchy paintings from a few years ago as sacred artifacts of that era. They are incomplete and I do not remember at all what I was going for to complete the image. Where do the colors belong? Where do the shapes? It might be inconceivable to let my current consciousness and all that I’ve learned mask over past mistakes, literally, on canvas. This is revision. It is necessary. I must not allow paranoid over-collecting control my life. I must fight my DNA.
Cosmic sadness overwhelms the other senses. I’m 22 and full of extreme lows. I over think conversations and social situations until someone is around to break the ice and for my true self to burst out from under the oppression of the frozen over lake. There is a beautiful little bird trapped in a cage with a curtain draped over and I can hear it sing but I cannot sing like it. I am lost in translation. My mind is on fire but then I become mute or inaccessible. Everyone has a story worth telling and logical explanations behind every decision and action. How boring. Tell me stories of shame. Tell me something worthy of keeping locked away for fear of tainted reputation. Let me into your narrow world view.
Many citizens of this earth with motor vehicles (cars, namely) have a wall around their heads. I believe that some of them never feel like they are without a windshield to protect them from the real world. The implications of the trash and make up usage and wasted plates and toxic topics of conversation.
From a practical stand point, there is nothing to see from there.
Recoiling in self horror from snakes coming out of mouths and hands shaking from overwrought iron and grizzled smiling faces of married faces with marred chassis for bodies from the tender molds of harrowing anguish, the spectacle was on and everyone seemed to feel great until my dark presence circled and I felt myself with beading eyes dashing about, incapable of approaching anyone with any questions or feeling comfortable in my own skin, this is my faulty and I hurt so bad from it because I’ll die alone.
I went to the fox island bridge boat launch after exiting this funk, calling an old friend who did not answer, feeling like a reclusive aunt who asks if the mainland family needs help but then never returning phone calls after they scream affirmation in unison. Yes we need help YES!! I felt myself worthless until I noted the glimmering lights on the water. I look up at the void of the sky and smiled, all the miles of incomprehensible space smiled back and the industrial revolution was all for the ‘civilization’ of a speck of dust amidst a big black wasteland where there are sometimes astronomical anomalies like our planet and solar system and everything else. I sat there thinking I’m a wretched human writer because I am often unable to speak to other humans about their lives, however simpleton and mundane… ( “this smoked salmon is simply divine!” ) these are cartoon people based on wine magazines and house swap television moms, all with bright jewelry and fantastically empty dreams and hearts vacuous like the void aforementioned above in the notes section….
I am sitting and watching red and green lights dancing with the rippling water current, the rest is black. It is less than 30 degrees and very cold near the salt water. I sat in this sad loneliness but suddenly realized that I am the only person here and not many people that I will ever meet would ever stop to look at what I was looking at. This separates me from them. This view of the stars and shrouded Mt Rainier and the empty-black wave with ominous bubbles and ripples coming up, the cars with their bright head lights roaring pass me and I can hear the individual cu-clunk of each set of tires over grates, they are not waiting for pizza here and I am alone and insane in this cold, beautiful scenario. As soon as I thought ‘this moment separates me from them’ I saw a rippling shooting star over the olympic mountains and felt like someone or something had said, “Yes! You are different and amazing! You must live and teach others how to live well! You must look to the stars and waters and mountains for guidance, not to successful man. The most successful man is nothing but a hollow shell if he denies the stars.”
and I weep
Amazingly Seattle, beautiful dreamless sleep Seattle, awakenings in the crisp cold Seattle, ethereal city of emerald night and evergreen color schemes… is a fast approaching destination on my immediate horizon. I have driven for metaphorical miles through space and time, through tire explosions and boxes of wine in shabby motels with decent views of gathering dust storms and the paint stripped right off of my car like young drunk girls and their clothes. Only the sexual and manipulative or only the libertarian and daring.
Somehow, you Fremont nudists, I will soon take a step toward a life of my own amidst your bare backed ranks. I will longboard on dry days and wave at my new neighbors living in their little house boat neighborhoods. Snow will fall and I will create angels. Books will be shelved and picked up, browsed, shelved, snatched, skimmed, returned, until some phrase sticks…. how about, ‘When she tried to speak, her voice was drowned in the dim stillness, and she had to try again to make a sound. “Can you take me to my room?”‘ – from The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
Must allow these random tangents to soak through my clothes and emanate and spirited aura like children at the fair who are not terrified by the amount of horrifying stimulation.
Seattle, I will become a part of you soon. I will move slowly toward you with greater excitement and precedence until my settlement is one of great mirth and merriment. One of calm repose and joyous revelry, interspersed by healthy self-cooked meals and long exploratory walks while others wallow in the cold darkness of winter. Here is time for me to live a life of my own entirely; the life that became impossible for me in other scenarios. I will lean on those who beg me to lean on them, but only with graciousness and a genuine necessity, they (my family) will help me carry my silly anchor-weights up the mountainside of my truest personality. Some burgeoning expanse of grandeur and mystery. Shrouded, I should say, in the belief that I haven’t yet fallen into my SELF.
Seattle, I do not pity myself for my confusion. I always wish minor confusion in my being. Why is life? for instance. Healthy, reverent philosophy to carry me through the constant atrocities and kindnesses of the world in which I have been thrown into, without consent.
Mother, I did not consent to this but I am trying my best.
Back to you, though, you city of burning embers and lost light. With your underground world of music and art and proto-cultural events in basements of rec centers all over town. You must meet me in the middle of it all. I have held you as an ideal to help me past horrific past settlements and anxious devastation. I have help your picture so far back as if it where inside the constellations… a constant reminder like a setting moon.
Now that you are heading at me like a beam of light, I falter slightly. I feel gently askew. Something is off. Maybe my hair is not the right length for you. Maybe my tattoos are too invisible. Do I work out like you do? Am I a 12th man? Or just 1, 1, 1, 1, one??
I will conquer you with joyous frost bitten hands and slanted walls. Decorations to make me feel at home. Perhaps a cat, Seattle. Just a damn cat to persuade loneliness to leave me be and to keep me regular. But why not lonely and irregular? There are jazz clubs and holes in the walls of you and I will explore and puncture until nothing is left but gracious sleep and the study of burbling creeks north of you.
I’m so excited that you are making me nervous. When you enter my life as a reality, I will know just then how to feel about you. Now I can only assume what will become of me in you.
Write tacenda * on envelopes and send them out with eternal stamps as the wind blows around the room, like “there goes the night!” in a chilly, cauldron-brewing voice with gravelly vowels, and bewitching consonants. There goes a stirring presence outside. Life of an animal. Some created beast of the deepest purple, imaginative domain. A black bear wearing a red/brown coat. Used as a rug in front of the fireplace. No derth of pets here in this sanctuary.
* ((tacenda are things not to be mentioned or made public—things better left unsaid; tacit means “unspoken, silent” or “implied, inferred.”))
Die in obscurity like sleep and everything else.
Tasting ground up teeth and weaving spiderwebs of future images in this weary, relaxed head. Away from apartment searching, complex confusions, innate details and fighting through anxious habitat. Stop tapping on the glass. I want to pretend you’re not there.
Pull the lever, the pressure is on and the startling amount of people driving is a crazy distraction, every now and then, with two hour traffic beers and wordless interaction, is it pretend to tell stories or to become a cog in a machine of purple fright? in this night zone, I found myself absent and unable to call for back up, with the singed ear of a hurricane epicenter, realize the time spent, bursting with words to convey, follow those crazy guitar thoughts and bass playing on the opposite end, we were concluding facts about how certain thresholds seem to fail to happenstance.
We are surprised by our impossible reactions. There are breaths, eyes closed, calculated steps and bed frame jam sessions, decide to open up like an envelope with cursive Latin insignia at the top, the centerfold, unveiled, habitat damage, focal point, underground railroad spikes, meeting of the minds, gregarious, numb fingers crumpled into fists, jammed into pockets, dimes stacked like a tower of layered cake, finding the frosting in a blizzard, make love like a batch of fresh cookies, ignore the sweet tooth urge and find escape through the realm of clean, unadulterated sleep.
Meet toward where we sat last time. With guns on our shoulders, capes on our backs, bleary overstimulated fog, unable to choose happy, appropriate words, make out like a fool, in public transit, drunk after an embarrassing home loss, televisions smashed in the streets, graffiti on the trees, highway rumbling, the buildings withstand but the people don’t seem to, they open umbrellas and take off toward the south for the winter, like migratory birds, with climate style chosen by lizards, become another sun bathing creature. Now it ends in a hurried tap out. taken across the burning sand of empty memories in slight hindsight. meet for me the new king and I will allow her presence