Thursday, April 2, 2009

March lost me, slightly.

(entry omitted)

The passer-bys stopped, stood stock still all staring at the same phone booth.
It had stood on the same corner, undisturbed as always, the stoic watchdog at the end of our common neighborhood street. Children made castles of it; the homeless found their welcome mat.

Today, though, today the booth hummed and thrummed and buzzed and raised itself three inches from the ground. The keenest of eyes were able to discern from the disquiet, smallish hands an oval face and thousands of beating wings, like a contained whirlwind dust storm.

One person knew the full-moon face inside the panic.

He watched the maze and chaos while his hand clutched to a postcard she had sent him the day before.

The greatest of all cities emblazoned on the front, complete with riverfront and lights with a single message on the back,

“ It could have been ours.”

As she was overwhelmed by the electric whir of birds bodies, the dream of Sunday morning fire-escape cigarettes began to fade from his mind.

With every sparrow and starling’s revolution, his memories fade of perfect city mornings a tumble with hair and lips and heat.

His eyes went cold as her palm pressed against unyielding glass.

He turned away as the door burst open.

One thousand birds mixed with pieces of torn paper, with city lights and a riverfront, filling the Los Angeles air.

She remembered breathing deep that acrid city air,

Watching the blur of feathers and paper ignite in the setting sun.

22 MARCH 2009

We watched her heart break that night,
Glass in a windowpane that seemed to
Hover for a fraction of a second
In that second
I can remember thinking
The laws of physics must have been suspended by her doing
Of course
But my own heart stilled for another moment
When I saw the shards dislodge
And cascade to the concrete
In the most determined of waterfalls
The noise though
Where it should have been the painful disruption
Of a city at night
The predictable and sharp shattering
And vicious tinkling
As the large
Pieces struck the ground and in turn became medium
Pieces and in turn became small
Pieces and in turn became smallest
Pieces and in turn became
Sharp biting dust

There was no sound

her eyes wavering mirrors peered out from
shadows that carved her cheekbones
her eyes turned
exposed as the glitter of broken glass
exposed as she shifted her feet

she dared us to speak, dared us to say anything
something about
how she couldn’t do anything magical anymore
nothing more than
make French toast on a Sunday morning
and catch the lazy churn of summer’s dust in her palm
or sigh deeply and perfectly at the most passionate of moments.

The spell was broken, she would not touch the glass this time.

She gave us one last glance and
Stepped delicately outside the now gently singing mess at her feet.

The Sudden and Sorrowful Incidences of A, B, & We.

A met B under snow filled clouds
We were just opening early morning eyes

A was fearful
B was filled with anticipation
We watched them from halfway down the block

A spoke of words and beats and sentences filled with grace
B spoke of dreams that filled horizons
We ate up every word

A threw a snowball on an icy night
B threw one right back
We joined in the game

A leaned back against an old Formica counter
B leaned in closer
We watched them kiss

A sat patiently
B told a joke
A cracked a smile wider than in months
B smiled right back
A laughed a sparkling and brilliant laugh
We laughed long and hard

A began speaking and sharing
B began making plans to leave
A was saddened and began closing windows thrown open
B was confused
We listened to their sorrows

A began dreaming of sun and hazy city lights
B began packed belongings
A watched boxes fill
B was ready
We knew it would never change

A sat up late one night
B slept soundly on
A clasped fingers together and silently said goodbye
B smiled slightly and reached for her
We noticed the air had changed

A welcomed spring with dancing
B’s voice echoed from thousands of miles away.
We danced with A

A began cutting strings that bound
B was on the coast
We were not ready to say goodbye

A floated and fell and landed roughly then floated again
B met the arrival
We read the last letter goodbye

A melted and simmered and sputtered and boiled and burned
B drew long lean straight lines on single sheets of paper.
We buried our response in a mess on a desk

A sighed deeply and walked alone more often
B turned away at night
We were suddenly aware of the fading colors of fall

A’s legs refused to stay still, skin began to crawl
B spoke less often
We dialed a number and hung up before it rang

A sullenly stared out the window
B tapped out a rhythm on the steering wheel
We opened a letter from someone unknown

A fidgeted and fumbled and coughed three times
B sat in the darkness
We read words that echoed of years ago

A’s legs stopped working
B was upstairs somewhere
We heard a voice one morning as the sun rose

A saw images pass through vision in watery colors and coated in the scent of chocolate
We waited for the phone to ring again

A laughed at the world in a solemn, deliberate way
We heard the sorrow in the words and tone of voice

A wrote down fragments of memories, like treasure
We listened to dreams remembered

A wrote one single letter, re-read it, tore it into confetti that fell from fingers
We watched the ink bleed and the ocean, swallow.


I never remember anything.

My memory is not that of a goldfish, so I retract that first statement.
I only remember in oddities, in images, in emotion, in feeling, in colors, and in light, but never in concrete specifics. Not in anything measurable.

I remember how it felt when he looked at me that way but I could not remember my first words to him.

I remember watching mid-winter sun struggle through the clouds and the cast of grey it coated everyone in, but I could not tell you how many times I saw him before we had sex.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said I love you, or I hate you or the numbers of tears that soaked through skin and clothing.

I can tell you about retreat and ache and fear and confrontation and my shock that

Suddenly, there is this girl speaking. Suddenly this girl is speaking, and she is rage. She is all my rage bottled into a sex year old, all petulance and pride, she in earnest does not mean for you to hurt when she, in all her anger, grabs on to the inner, tender part of your wrist and pinches clean though. Nor does she realize that you will bleed.


It began twelve years ago. STOP. I was walking and the whole earth shattered. STOP. Need safety. STOP. Need to forget his eyes. STOP. Need to forget spring afternoons under trees. STOP. His biting questions. STOP. My own selfishness. STOP. The clenched tight-gritted teeth song thrumming under my breastplate. STOP. It is an avalanche. STOP. A head over heels jack and jill tumble to the bottom. STOP. Acceleration and spinning and falling and gathering momentum blur sucking everything around into the center vortex suddenly it implodes. STOP. Sucking sucking swelling everything I thought I once was has been proven wrong that I am not for a second I am not anything I am not more than the dust that sifts though the evening air as I stare out the window and wonder where the next year will bring me no farther or further than that dust has already traveled there is silence as the response nothing because how can there be anything at the beckoning of nothing it is all ill at ease and unaware my footsteps are soft in shadow as the ground sifts beneath them the cracks and edges are root-uplifted broken bottle sidewalks leading me to my home if I don’t think about it I could be back in Michigan it could be nine or eleven at night or five in the morning and the houses around me preparing for sleep or the morning to come and they don’t see me my quiet step falling on shifting sidewalks no one sees me because I am nothing wanting to burn it all and tear it apart and never see or say anything again. STOP.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Storms and Their Causality.

We set sail on the most beautiful day in the history of our world.
The waters of the ocean supported us,
Our vessel
And we were borne on smooth clear seas to our
Destination : unknown.

We did not care where our vessel landed,
We cared only for
Arms and legs and eyes and heat and sparks and lips
And the open sea around us
The sky that was our canopy, brought down to the lines
Crisp and clear in the distance
We would never seem to touch.

DAY- somewhere later, I have lost count.
The storms rolled in low and threatening
From our southern horizon.
We watched the sheltering clarity of sea and sky
Fade and dim
Our horizon blurred like
So much smoke from
Fires untended by us
All dark and ominous and rapidly approaching
Looming and sinister.
Our vessel cannot out run them.
We cannot alter our course in time.
All hands on deck
And we will attempt to ride this out.

The eye and eerie calm.
We have begun to take on water.
Our faces are lined in exhaustion.
We huddle under wavering lamplight.
No words pass our lips.
What is there to say?
We fear the worst
And dare not utter our truth.
I pray to whatever god is listening,
Please, let us bring our vessel into port.
The only response is the sound of the wind approaching
Like a train in the distance
It is going to start up again and
I am not sure we can take it.

I stood on the deck of our dinghy-lifeboat searching the surface of
The angry ink-black water.
Looking for arms or legs or eyes…
Shivering. Alone.
Rocking in the hands of our sea.
Watching the same, once gentle hands
Grasp and pull and rip and destroy
The vessel that had once been my home
My heart and my home
I stood on the deck of our dinghy-lifeboat
Still searching the surface
My heart and my home
Slipped below.
Depths unknown
Destination : Unknown

The hands of my sea
Left only to bare my
And sob wreaked body,
Into port.

It was always safer to sleep with the ones I didn’t care about.
The selfishness of detachment at ritual, rather than shared passion or intimacy was always my preference.
It allowed me the greater control.
Detachment was always easier.

My heart is cold again.
The steel doors rolled downward, like the shops on Main
As I drive home after 6.

The sun is setting behind glass and concrete and
All the colors are faded in
Greys and blues like shirts on the hundredth wash.
Spun around and frayed and soft
And see through.
And aged.
About to tear.

Lit in light about to fray.

Cold steel and aged light.

Whispers in darkness and back turned on him.
Lips pressed to curves, but like kissing cold chrome.

My eyes are closed and I feel
“taken care of”
but not present.
I feel
“cared for”
but not entirely in this room.

My breath fills balloons of words and
My eyes see the future, a second before it happens.

Rehearsed words and lines.

Tell me something I haven’t heard already.

I’m bored with lines,
drawn with
Commercial corn syrup sweetness.

Tell me something true.

Wake me up and let’s just drive.

And drive.

And see where we end up

When the sun is setting

And we can’t keep out eyes open

Any longer

Let’s just slip into that silence
Like we slip into kisses

And let them grow in depth
(like the sky at night)


and burn hotter

as the sun wakes the horizon

and we see where we are

in that moment


Monday, March 2, 2009

the upheaval of nets.

There is so much anger in me.
There is so much anger in me.
How could you even not expect that with a termination,
A truncation, that I begged not to happen,
That there would not be?

I crafted walls for months
Because the sly callousness burned behind my eyes
And latched onto my bones.

I tried. I tried. I tried. I tried.
I fucking tried.

I hated the sun andd the glare
And the silent mornings
Spent feeling nothing but upheaval.
Upheaval for months
And a stomach that constantly felt fresh from the tilt-a-whirl
And sameness and silence
And sameness and silence
The nights that burned hot
And white
And silent
So silent.

My anger was stewed in a pot,
Solemn and tall
With broken eyes
And whiskey lips
And ears deafened.

The anger bubbled and simmered
And spat
And began to boil over
In broken glass fights
And sullen faces
And lonsome nights
Of silence


Bitter, bile-broken silence.
Months of silence.

Shuddering, saddening silence.


We are all caught like fishes, in nets.
The sun’s rays catching each one of us in a glimmering flash of light, then gone.

We are all caught like fishes in nets
Between palms and clasped fingers with shared heat with lips and tangles of hair.

We are all caught
Stopped short on breath in chests heaving in rage or passion
With bite reddened lips and closed lids in darkness.
Thos same flashes
Bursts of white heat or the slow flicker of candle flames.

We are all
Touching and reaching and leaning into lines made of forearms and fingers, into meshes of thighs and calves.
We press palm to palm and lids slide shut to join the short breathed bursts.

We are
Deeply heaving and jostling and pushing bodies close close so close closer to
Feel our chests rattle tremble
Bite lines and become trapped entangled
Pulled from the silence of the sea
To burst

We are all caught, we fishes, in nets
Caught to tumble and turn and gasp and flash

Writhing against the catch,
We are.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nine months ago, I moved to LA.

We all have holes, she said, offering her palms to me.
We all have the spaces people can see right though, like the old game of peering down a cardboard tube, making holes in hands.

My holes are there and there
But I didn’t raise my eyes to see where her finger pointed.
There and there she whispered, bringing palms cool and settling to the sides of my face.
They are there, but the difference is, that I am no longer stuffing them in an attempt to hide them.

She was stronger than I had imagined.
She was freer than I believed.

Her hands felt like the places I had never been all across the globe wrapped
in bright holiday paper with a tag that read my name.
She was my sparkling Christmas morning, my angel on top of a mountain,
Offering me holes in open palms,
Spaces I could see through.

Hey. Tonight was weird, huh? The hum of the line of a thousand miles of invisible satellite beams turned my voice slightly digital and the distance was comforting.

Yeah. Yes. Did you have fun?

I turned my head slightly sideways as I debated my answer. It came out: Yees.
Like the final puff of air from a flat tire. Deflated. Defeated.

I had wanted to cry so many times that night, excusing myself to the bathroom to press palms to cool steel stall walls unforgiving and yet, stable in ways my heart knew not how to be.

All silence and ominous clouds behind bulletproof glass, my heart thundered low and rolling in the distance, like standing on tip toe in June, and looking across knee high grasses. It was far away and still looming over my shoulders, as they tensed against the strange bathroom calm.

Frank Sinatra crooned above about something or another, and my palms had frozen to the wall.

Stiff knuckled I returned to the table, fighting the dropping barometer of my body. The great mass of high pressure that once brought the sunniest weather had edged south, prompting the mid-summer storms, all uncertainty with flashes of loneliness.

The line was still silent and I sensed his waiting.
I love you. I might never stop, but it is eating me. I am cannibalizing myself in the madness of expectancy, and all I want is for us to have our open and vast summer fields, waist high grass and abandon, with a tree to sit under and perhaps an occasional hawk to remind us of duty.

All I want is the easiness of sunlight and morning and the softness of sunset and the comfort of darkness.

The earthshaking of the looming future no longer exists for me. It is my own murder and suicide.

I want this moment and all others to be lit in candles or stirred in a pan so I can consume them.

Consume them with me, with both hands, greedily.

Swallow me, as I swallow you. That is all I want. That is love. Hand in hand.

The line crackled and buzzed and hummed.

The faint beep of a dial tone bled through.

I took a deep breath and punched his number on the keypad, starting with one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Maps without compasses.

The summer air shimmered and sweltered as her scent swirled in the air, in between the fragments of dust and pollen shooting in and out of the sunlight stream and rectangle on the linoleum floor: Satellites or comets at one in the afternoon in July.

The slamming of the door still resonated in my chest, still rattled like aftershocks. I was sure the empty hangers in her closet still swayed rhythmically, punctuating the oppressive heat and crackle with quiet metallic notes. Sullen pendulums.

My eyes were fixed on the natural cosmic appearances. My heart thumped with each tiny trail, my ears burned with the growl of an engine and the crunch of gravel and the fade of abandonment.

It wasn’t the first time she had left, after a spew of curses, slammed doors, broken glass, crashed and creshendo-ing suitcases and the resolute click as she fastened their metal clasps.

Tell your father he knows when I’ll come back she poured bitterly into my ears as she attempted to soften the searing with her hand on my head, smoothing my unruly curls, gone mostly frizz in the humidity.

Then it was all the music of empty hangers and the electric buzz of cicadas and a solemn house and a barefoot child watching shooting stars of dust in a kitchen.

I stood and watched the patch on the floor; it stretched and faded before counting to one thousand as I had always done before.

250 once brought the room to swirling with her scent and I had been gathered in arms familiar, scooped and swept to an afternoon of ice cream and the ramblings of her apology.

Once 576 brought footsteps up the stairs, a heavy sigh, the slamming of her door and the finality of a turned lock.

Once 794 brought a balloon and open package of twizzlers as she pulled out a bottle and finished it with dead eyes.

The sun faded from the sky and the floor went grey. I, turned my toes in and lost count.
One thousand…three hundred….and…..

He traced a path only visible to him.
I was facing the wall, holding the only patch of sunlight in the room in my open palm.

My skin, his finger, explored and explorer; respectively,
I could not see the destination, only feel it.
He, at the helm, Whiskey on breath, veered between blades and vertebrates and moles and scars.

It was a map, with north to the ceiling and south touching the bed. My neck was somewhere in Russia and his hand traced the outline of the great lakes.

Somewhere like home or what I would like that to feel like, in this bed.

Our maps on wax paper or on cellophane in water color or finger paints or fingerprints.

We sipped bitter burnt coffee in the shaded sun of afternoon, once morning, or our version of it.

You look like Sunday morning. Said I.

He laughed. Disheveled?

An Explorer. Said I.

No. Said He. Restless.

Like Sunday morning, but you need something more than a newspaper. Said I.

How about a map? Said he.

I asked him if he noticed how tall the palm trees had grown overnight.

Monday, February 9, 2009


We are all waiting for something, HE said, pulling away from me. We never know when it will happen, but, soon or never…it will.

We were by the lake again, together but not ever together.

HE looked at me with a glance that turned into a stare. You always wax and wane with the moon.

We both knew the honesty in that statement.

YOU are more inconsistent. He was stunned as I said this. YOU don’t exist. At least I am grounded in the sun, the reflection of it’s light. I may come and go, wax and wane, but YOU just go.

I don’t go. I just…disappear sometimes. I am a comet- every seventy six years or so, or six months.

YOU have ruined me. YOUR magical tricks have no magic only trick and trial and a bar I will never match.

My bars are figurative. HE said. They are ghosts, like ME, they do not exist. I am reaching for starlight so far beyond you. Or I. So far beyond. You will never comprehend. I have to go. I need to be with the stars and planets and not on this earth or near it. I am beyond it.

YOU have broken me. Said I. YOU have taught me how to be wrong and backwards and your ‘love’ you speak of, your ‘love’ is bullshit. It taught me that the stars are too far away and that the space between people is intangible. YOU taught me to turn inward instead of to YOU or anyone and how to sleep with a knife beside my bed.

YOU say I wax and wane. I would rather be that cyclical, be that mysterious face on solemn nights than the ghost that makes people shudder.

HE looked at me. HIS eyes had gone grey.

You, you are enough. I’m not. I am gone.

And HE went, with the comets and shooting stars of that bone shaking evening.

And I still wax and wane, reflecting the light of the sun.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...Of a year past...

My first thoughts, after sleep, in the frigid apartment of my best friend, were "Water." Then, "Jesusgoddamnchrist." The apartment was still silent and both my stomach and head were spinning against each other, my body a gyroscope of latent, instant alcoholism and 4 am Pokey Sticks smeared in ranch dressing and sriracha sauce. (Pokey sticks are these damaging pizza-like but worse-than-pizza creations from a local service to the college drunk establishments.)

The night before, our group tore through blizzard-like conditions to run amok at a local co-op. I kissed one person at midnight and woke up beside someone else. 2008 started woozily for me, standing in a too cold bathroom, staring at smudged make up and realizing I was going to throw up- a fitting beginning to any year.

My memories come as snapshots beneath water, wavering, unsteady and never chronological. Begun as monthly lists of what I know, merged into my own rambling narration:

The beginning of January I met- even as I type this I can't figure out how to describe just who he is. Never have I been so at lost, or stuck between two parallels of someone. I want to describe him as a knight in shining armor, complete with shooting stars and cupid’s bows and arrows then take the nonchalant route of describing him as just some guy I worked with then hung out with then we decided mutually that we should be dating. It is neither the former, nor the latter. He climbed in my car, one freezing Janauary morning, and our interaction went like this:

Esme: So what’s your deal.
James: Excuse me, what?
Esme: I mean, like what are you doing here, where are you going, who are you?
James: I’m not sure I know how to answer that. I guess, I am just working here before I move to LA.
Esme: Los Angeles? (scoffs) who moves to LA?

Somewhere in that day we ended up on getting along, laughing and then getting pizza from our boss. Who doesn’t love a day that ends in pizza?

It took him almost a week to ask me to hang out then there was nothing else really. My friends became perennials at Lantern Hill House, throwing party after party and late night gatherings that lasted until the sun rose. We smoked cigarettes in the bathroom and drank approximately 4,000 bottles of wine. (at the same time, yes.) There were movie nights (Juno, There Will Be Blood, The Godfather, Diving Bell and The Butterfly), there were nights of food (9 homemade pizzas, chili, potluck night, Valentine’s Day, Traveler’s Club) music (Finn playing open mic on Wednesdays, mixed tape cd’s and banging on a piano) and all the hours all of us became our own dysfunctional family of Lantern Hill.

At some point the realization of losing our brothers, our loves, our artists blanketed us. They put off leaving for Los Angeles for nearly two months, and on one night, on a long drive home with James, I think while listening to The Mountain Goats “Up The Wolves”, I realized I would be losing the pivotal love of my life. I think I got mad at him that night.

Esme: I might love you.
James: What is wrong with that?

Nothing and everything was wrong with it. He was leaving, they were leaving, and I was in East Lansing slowly allowing my heart to turn to ash. We began to make plans.

We hosted a goodbye party for the boys, and after drunken tears, and laughter and dancing, we all circled in the kitchen of Lantern Hill. One by one, we spoke our hearts to each other. Amid the tearful goodbyes the prominence of thankfulness emerged. We all realized how much this winter had changed our lives.

Los Angeles beckoned to me in May, my best friend by my side, together to see where this world would lead me, they would forge ahead first.

The two months following we shared spring in Michigan. Lantern Hill was not unoccupied and became the meeting place for bike rides and parties. My fixie was completed and we focused on long rides after work, planning for the future and saying goodbye.

We held a dance party for all our friends to say thank you and see you later. The anthem of the month of May was LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”. I listened to the lyrics as our plane lifted from the great lake state.

My goodbye with my father was ill-prepared and I sobbed as his eyes glimmered in tears and his words became choked. Be good, he said. He always says.

We landed in LA, and my body was present. My mind floated above the clouds and smog and my stomach hinted at the deep fear of mistake. For six weeks I was unemployed. Then, worked two jobs for nearly 4 months.

The shock of change hit me in a way that is indescribable except to say that I went crazy. My memories from May to October are sunk deep beneath the water and escape in wavering bursts. The details are hard to discern. The deep red of anger casts them all in an orange glow. October came and I spent a long night in a shady downtown LA ER room. My trophy is a gash in my right thigh, nine stitches and an ugly scar. Something else, too: A jolt back into reality. The fall caused my shield of anger to crack. I came back to life. I was given a new job by the universe, bought my old car from my parents, began to hang out with some brilliant people, which then allowed me to believe that everything that surrounds me is good. It will always be good.

You can choose to believe or not believe in the power of believing that the world is a good place and that Karma works. In no way would I ever even be mistaken for the shadow of a saint either. There is just so many people wanting and wishing and wallowing in bad, why not go against the grain. Believe in things, in art, in music, in creation and craft and love and friends and family. Believe in the things that make you puff up like a puffer fish, feel full and complete and hot and beautiful and lovely.

For me, this is what 2009 is all about.

My first thoughts, as the new year rang through our friends, kissing and grinning and cheering in the smoky kitchen of Lantern Hill House, were the same as those closest to me,

"This will be our year."

these thoughts were soon drowned by blaring punk rock music, and lots and lots of dancing.

A fitting beginning to this new year.