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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Running With Scissors

"Freedom was what we had. Nobody told us when to go to bed. Nobody told us to do our homework. Nobody told us we couldn't drink two six-packs of Budweiser and then throw up in the Maytag. So why did we feel so trapped? Why did it feel like I had no options in my life when it seemed that options were the only thing I did have?.....More than anything, I wanted to break free. But free from what? That was the problem. Because I didn't know what I wanted to break free from, I was stuck."
~From Running With Scissors by Augesten Burroughs

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Apple Pie

In my youth
my father would make apple pies
from scratch.
I used to watch him
from the backdoor windows,
standing out beneath the apple tree
picking his favorites.

It was an art,
the way he held each one in his hand,
rubbing their soft skin
against his fingers,
rough from years of labor.
He inspected them with such precision,
turning them
over and over,
searching for flaws,
None of these would do.
Any sign of imperfection
and the apple would drop
from his hands
without a second thought,
left to rot
among the fallen leaves.

When he had collected
the perfect bunch,
he would come inside and stand by the sink,
meticulously washing each one
as though it were the rare jewel
he'd been searching for all his life.
I watched the small fruit
in the cup of his large hands
and like my father,
I could see
the miracle of perfection,
the beauty of the search for it,
the importance of settling,
for nothing less.

But unlike my father,
I would think for days
about those not choosen.
Those flawed, imperfect apples
cast aside
because of their inability to live
up to his expectations.
I would agonize over them,
with them,
knowing even then
that if I were an apple,
my father wouldn't pick me.
I would drop from his hands,
his thoughts,
and be left in the yard to rot,
the sweet smell
of fresh apple pie
wafting in the wind around me.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Fire Of Life

This morning my computer caught fire.

Well, not exactly fire, but it did start to smoke ferociously. My brother was kind enough to let me use his right now, but I may be out of commission blog-wise for the next couple of days. I'll do my best to find a computer to use when I can. I hadn't realized just how dependent I have become on it until I didn't have it today. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone?

On the other hand, it may have been a blessing in disguise. With no internet distractions, I spent the afternoon reading Tuesdays With Morrie cover to cover. I love that book. I feel as though I can read it over and over again, each time discovering some new piece of wise advice that I had previously overlooked. It always feels as though it's the book I would have written had Mitch Albom not beaten me to it. Someday I hope to write something so poignantly real and moving. I believe that I could if I put my mind to it. Not because I'm like Mitch, but because I'm like Morrie, because I see and embrace the world as he did. I have accepted death, whether it comes tomorrow or in 80 years, and so I am able to live, to appreciate every moment of every day.

Yes, sometimes it seemingly diminishes my ambition for those things our culture has come to see as the markings of success. I'm seeking a kind of fulfillment that can't be found in cars or houses or the plethora of material possessions designed to make us feel complete. It only leads to disappointment. They will always leave us feeling incomplete, always wanting more. Our society instills in us a desire for this endless consumerism while the essence of happiness passes us by.

We are in a constantly increasing hurry to get through life. College has become a fighting race for the highest paying career and interest in the humanities has become second rate. Interest in humanity itself has become second rate. Our priorities are skewed in the light of promises of bigger and better things, of convenience and accessibility.

It's not as though I'm not guilty of falling victim to all of this. It is easier to live with cell phones. It is easier to send emails. It is easier to have cars to get around. Still, I miss the simple joys of writing a real letter and walking to a destination. I miss the acceptance of living life slowly, soaking up the moments of contemplation and reflection as they come. I like to make my way through life slowly. I enjoy sitting in the park for hours writing about the universe. I revel in studying subjects that seem impractical to any future career. I love to explore the many splendors of each day as they come without having to worry about the days that came before or the days to follow. I appreciate the now.

I went up on the deck to finish reading my book. It was one of those dark but warm days that smell of the beach right before it's about to rain. The dismal clouds moved rapidly across the sky as though they were trying to outrun the apocalypse. The wind moved gracefully, blowing my hair back from my face. It seemed the perfect way to read about Morrie's final days, the final lessons he had to offer the world. I cried, as I always do, as he says his final goodbye. It all comes down to love in the end. Life always comes down to love.

I sat on the deck with these words resounding in my head, watching the vastness of the sky. I promised myself right then and there to live by my heart. No more of this nonsense trying to fulfill expectations. I need to live my life for me. I need to live with such fullness and appreciation for the time that I have, however long that may be, so that my final breaths will be those of peace and contentment. I have accepted that my time on this earth is fleeting. I have accepted death. Now is the time that I need to live.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Final Thought Before The Clock Strikes 12

I can't help but think
that everything would be easier,
if you were here.

I wish I didn't miss you so much.

The Journey

The Journey
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Because There's Beauty In The Breakdown

It often feels like my life is a deck of cards, and when one gets shaken, everything falls apart. This whole thing with my father is upsetting because one never likes to fight with a loved one, but it’s so devastating because it opened the door to all of the other issues consuming my life.

I hadn’t intended to talk to my mother about anything when I went to her door after thanksgiving dinner. I had just wanted to say hi, but being my mother, and my best friend really, she knew right away that something was wrong. A discussion of my father ultimately lead to a discussion about me, which is what all of this anger and sadness is really about when it comes down to it. The truth is, I’m unhappy with the state of my life. I have been for quite some time now, but had refused to admit it, refused to let it sink in. Admitting it required a kind of emotional vulnerability that I wasn’t prepared to face.

When my mom pointed out that I was depressed, I began to cry. I suddenly realized how long it had been since I had last cried. I’ve had my eyes tear up many times over the last few months, but I hadn’t cried like this in almost a year. This was that all consuming, uncontrollable, lump-in-your-throat kind of cry, and I could do nothing to stop it. Someday I’ll be brave enough to write about and post all of the problems I have with my life, but for now they’re issues that I need to begin dealing with before I can begin to talk about them. They’re things that I never had the strength to admit to myself, let alone others, and so I’ll need a little time to work up to that. I feel like I’ve already taken a huge step forward just by saying them out loud, even if it was only to my mother and myself. I can finally begin to move on.

I spent all of yesterday feeling depressed. After months of denial, I allowed myself to feel. All of those repressed emotions suddenly overtook me, and I let them. I let the sadness and pain and anger run through my veins. I cried and slept and cried and slept and cried some more. I released months of depression into one day. Yesterday was one of the most difficult days of my life, but I woke up this morning feeling calmer, feeling all of the pressure of repression released from me, feeling renewed. I woke up this morning feeling a kind of peace I hadn’t realized was missing.

That’s not to say everything’s resolved. Of course it isn’t. It will be a long and difficult journey until I’m back to a place of true happiness, but accepting my depression is a good start. A long cry has sparked my restoration. I can breathe again, feel again. I’m no longer numbing myself to my heart, and in a way, that means I’ve already made a change for the better. I’m already on my journey. I hope that someday I’ll be able to look back on this and recognize it as the turning point in my life. I just need to admit my problems to begin finding solutions. I just need to accept that I have the power to change my life. I just need to let go, because there's beauty in the breakdown.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Daddy Issues

I know that my last post probably sounds fairly petty and pathetic, but I stand by it. This morning I received an email (calling would be too based in reality) entitled “fighting.” I opened it. “Dear Frankie, it sure doesn’t take much for your anger with me to flare up. I am stumped. I’d like to stay in touch with you to see you at your best. Love Dad.” This is a quintessential email from my father. Not only was the argument my fault, seeing as I’m an overly sensitive woman, as he believes all women to be, but apparently I am also a business associate or student he’s had a slight miss-communication with.

I didn’t respond. I’m not going to for a little while. Maybe what I really need is a break from him, some time to just live without his endless judgement haunting me in everything that I do. I know that it’s immature to avoid him, to give him the silent treatment the way that I used to when I was eight, but there’s no possible way to resolve it otherwise. There’s no reasoning with him. Anything I say to him right now will make him assume that everything between us is fine, and I’ll go on feeling angry and hurt and guilty for feeling that way, guilty for feeling anything at all. He makes me ashamed of my emotions because he doesn’t have them, because it involves a level of human understanding that he’s never been able to grasp.

My father is a smart guy, but when it comes to any kind of relationship, he simply cannot comprehend how to make it work and I think that’s why he’s so angry all the time. That’s why he gets so frustrated by it all and why he resents me for living by my heart. He can’t hear his own, but more than that, he makes no effort to. I used to say that it wasn’t his fault that he’s so emotionally unavailable, but really, it is in a way. It’s not just that I feel closer to my mother, it’s that I feel so distanced from my father, exiled from his little world of approval.

He’s never let me feel like I deserved his love, and because of that, I’ve grown to feel like I’m undeserving of all love. I’ve grown to feel like I’m undeserving of any respect or relationship or happiness. I live each day with so much guilt inside of me for things that I shouldn’t feel guilty for. I’ve spent my life apologizing for who I am. It’s important to tell the people in your life that they are valued and important, but I do it constantly out of the sheer amazement that anyone could possibly love me. I do it out of the fear that one day they’ll realize how undeserving of their love I actually am and leave me. I do it because I’m so endlessly grateful that they can’t see what my father sees. I wish that I was the same way. I worry sometimes that I’ll go my whole life never allowing anyone to love me because I’ll never be able to allow myself to love me. I worry sometimes that I’ll always feel undeserving.

I don’t want to go on and on about this. I just need to work through it and I can think of no better way than through writing. I hate that I’m this girl with “daddy issues.” I hate that I sound so whiney and bitter, but maybe I just need to allow myself to be this way. Maybe I just need to allow myself to accept that I am a girl with daddy issues. Maybe I just need to allow myself to be me, with or without my father’s approval.

As He Always Seems To Do

I probably shouldn’t even write this right now. It’s late and I’m tired and angry and emotionally raw, but I don’t know what else to do except lay in my bed and cry. This seemed a better option somehow.

This morning I woke up happy. Really happy. I wrote my list of things I am grateful for and headed over to my brother’s house feeling sensationally blessed. We had a lovely thanksgiving dinner. Good food, interesting company, lots of laughter. It was wonderful, and I was happy. Really happy. Until he ruined it. As he always seems to do....

Five days ago we fought, as we always seem to do. The truth is, we’ve been fighting for the past twenty years. This fight was different from the rest though because this time, I fought back. The details of the fight were so frivolous that it’s not even worth relaying here. It wasn’t about the specific event that spurred this particular screaming match. It was about the twenty years of fighting, festering and rising within me. We yelled, we parted ways angrily. I didn’t hear from him for five days. My father has always loved to avoid any conversation that might consist of a real emotion, which of course includes all apologies.

Today was the first day I saw him, and I went in perfectly willing to do things his way, to pretend it didn’t happen and just avoid him. Everything was going fine. I was gracious towards him the way one might be to an ex that they happened to run into at a mutual friend’s gathering. He told a few jokes, I laughed. He asked me what was new, I ran off a few details about my weekend. I asked him how his trip to see my sister went, and he cordially gave me her news. It was exactly what I have grown to expect from him, and so I accepted it as I’ve learned to do so many times before.

As we moved to the living room after dinner, the crowd excused themselves to step out for a cigarette while my sister-in-law prepared the coffee. I suddenly found myself alone with my father, a situation I have come to dread more often than not. “I feel bad about the other day,” he started to say. For a split second I thought I might have misjudged him. “We’re both so stubborn.” This was the closest he’d ever come to apologizing and so I nodded politely in agreement and softly said “yeah” hoping that would be the end of it. Of course it wasn’t. That would be too easy.

It’s not that I want it to be easy. I would trade my soul to the devil for one complicated, meaningful, emotional conversation with him, but I know that will never happen. Instead, I’ve learned that it hurts less just to be polite, the way one might be with a stranger. It hurts less to just nod along with him and pretend that everything’s fine. It hurts less to picture him as a stranger and not this failure of a man who can’t love me for who I am.

I know that tonight he wasn’t directly trying to hurt me. He was trying to make a connection between us by pointing out all of my failures and the way they correlated to his own. “You’ll see,” he began, “as you grow up you’ll begin to see how alike we are.” I am not going to say this maliciously. I’m angry right now, but I’ve thought this for most of my existence and just never needed to say it, never thought I’d have to worry about growing into a version of him. I am going to say this because it’s the truth. If I knew that I was going to become anything like my father, I would end my life right now. Not because I think he’s miserable or pathetic, although I tend to think those things, but because he’s caused every single person in his life innumerable amounts of pain, and I simply could never do that to the people I love. I could never hurt someone the way that he’s hurt me.

As he started to continue on with the list of things I need to improve, I began to worry that the rest of the party would return to overhear it. I just didn’t need to be embarrassed like that. Not today. I started to cut him off, telling him we could talk about it some other time, but it was completely unnecessary and inappropriate right now. He persisted. I cut him off again. He persisted. I cut him off again. We went on like this for a bit, before he managed to squeeze out one last sentence about how I need to be more invested in school. I heard the footsteps of people coming back into the house and quickly gathered a few dishes to escape to the vacant kitchen, asking him, pleading with him, “why do you have to ruin everything?” I dashed into the kitchen and stood by the sink, wiping tears from my eyes and praying that no one would come in to catch me in such a vulnerable moment. I took a deep breath, and in those fifteen seconds, tried to compose myself as best I could. I walked back into the living room, playing his avoidance game once more.

The rest of the night I was pretty zoned out. My mind was off in a distant fantasy land where my father liked me. That’s the thing really. I know that my father loves me, but I would much prefer that he liked me. I would rather be his friend than his daughter. Being his daughter sucks. It really just sucks. I’m tired of playing the avoidance game. I’m tired of it all.

I hate that he can’t like me. I hate that I need him to. I hate that he’s so angry. I hate that he’s taking his two failed marriages out on me. I hate that he’s nice to my mother, but mean to me because I remind him of her. I hate that he can’t understand that I have feelings, feelings that can’t be switched on and off at the drop of a hat. I hate that he’s never supported anything I’ve done, congratulated me on anything I’ve accomplished, but rather chosen to concentrate on what I haven’t done, haven’t accomplished. I hate that he couldn’t list three friends, memories or passions that I have. I hate that he has no idea who I am. I hate that he never listens to me, that he talks over me, that he makes snide comments at the few things he listens to me say. I hate that he does it most often in large groups for the soul purpose of making me feel bad about myself. I hate that he thinks I’m a failure, and I hate that I allow him to make me feel like one. I hate that he’s my father.

This morning I woke up happy. Really happy. Until he ruined it. As he always seems to do....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks

Things that I am grateful for on this, and every, glorious day:

Good books
Words that send my mind reeling
Poetry that sparks my heart
Quotations that feed my soul
My mind
My heart
My soul
Particularly live music
And all that it entails
And what it feels like between my toes
And what it feels like between my toes
Being barefoot
The smell of seasons changing
The smell of the beach
Being alone
Not being alone
My family
My mother in particular
My friends
Infectous laughter
Side spliting, eye watering, all consuming laughter
Infectous love
Side splitting, eye watering, all consuming love
The sun
The clouds
The moon
The stars
What it feels like learning something new
Hot showers
The way the city lights up around Christmas
The way summer nights seem to last forever
The middle of nowhere
The middle of everything
Our differences
Our similarities
Watching candles burn down into nothing
Movies that dare to be different
People that dare to be different
Kindred spirits
My freedom
My happiness
My life
The world
The universe
The infinite abyss
This day
And all the days that have come before
And all the days to follow

That this list could go on forever...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Measure Your Life In Love

And just like that, everything changes.

As my friends begin to return home from their schools across the country, everything else begins to fall back into place. It’s amazing how I manage to forget that I miss them every time they’re gone until they suddenly reappear. Then all at once, I am overwhelmed with love. I am reminded of the many splendors of life, the many miraculous moments of beauty scattered among the days. My friends, all of my relationships, are the answer to the question “what’s it all for?”

My mom once told me that I lived for my friends. She meant that I should try and start living for myself and for the most part, I agreed. It’s important to love yourself the way you love the people in your life, but the truth is, I never will. That’s not to say that I won’t do what I need to do to make my existence worthwhile, to die knowing that I really lived, but what’s worth living for more than love? I do live for my friends. I live for the love that they allow me to share with them, the laughter and hugs and smiles that illuminate each moment. I live for our happiness.

And I’m okay with that. More than okay. I’m thrilled by it. Perhaps my priorities do fall out of line sometimes, but I don’t need grand things out of life. I’m not in search of riches or status or prestige. I’m in search of love. Any and all kinds of love, and you don’t need anything but an open heart to find it. My heart is open to the world, to the vast pleasures of both simple and complicated things. In any given day, I can fall in love a thousand times with my family, my friends, strangers, nature, an idea, a song, a book, a movie, a cup of coffee, a piece of clothing, a joke, a quote, a voice, a story. I am in love with the idea of love in every waking moment.

That’s the thing about searching for love. If you search for it, you will undoubtedly find it. Love is everywhere. Love is life.

Welcome home my loves. Thanks for making my life worth living.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Slippery Slope

I can feel myself slipping. I’m headed back into those days of wasting all my time. I can’t really concentrate on anything productive, can’t really force myself to get out of my daily routine. There are so many things that I want to try, to accomplish, but I’m unmotivated to do anything. I can feel myself slipping back into that place that I was a year ago, back into those days of indifference.

I know that I have things to offer the world and I know that the world has things to offer me. Still, I find it difficult to just get up, turn off the computer and the tv and my cell phone and all the little distractions that make up my life. I find it difficult to embrace the many opportunities afforded to me. I find it difficult to live the life I’ve always imagined for myself. I can feel it slipping away.

I worry that I’m wasting my days. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night with an overwhelming sense of loss. The truth is, I have lost something. I’ve lost my ambition, lost sight of the person I was hoping to be. Of course there’s always time to change that, always time to change the road you’re on, but finding the spark to make the change is endlessly challenging.

I think what I really need is a job. I miss working, probably more than I’d like to admit. I hate feeling like I’m not contributing to something bigger than myself, hate feeling like I’m not in control of my life. I hate, more than anything, not having the money to afford my freedom. When exams are over, my number one priority will be finding a new place to work, somewhere that I really believe in. In other words, no office job. The last thing I need is to sit inside staring at a computer screen all day.

I have to believe that I’ll find whatever it is that I’m looking for. I have to believe that I can change the direction of my life for the better. I have to believe that my ambition will return when I need it to. Until then, I’ll continue to slide down this slippery slope, clinging desperately to the flecks of hope that seem to diminish with each wasted day.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Exploring The Infinite Abyss

Quite possibly my favorite thing about my new house is that I have a perfect view of the horizon. Everyday I sit in my quaint little kitchen and watch the sun set behind the trees. I watch the sky illuminate with a cascading exuberance of pinks and oranges, as though the sun has saved it’s most glorified passions for it’s last moments with us. Everything seems to slow as it moves down behind the horizon, making way for the moon. The world is struck in awe of it’s beauty, sparkling in the anticipation of twilight. I am struck with a kind of sublime contentment I had never imagined possible.

Tonight I left the warmth of the kitchen and wandered out into the backyard to watch. I looked up to discover 13 pigeons sitting in the rafters of the deck above, waiting for the sunset along with me. They cooed and prodded at each other, looking not unlike a group of antsy children waiting for a movie to begin. Two of them sat off to the side by themselves, curled up next to one another like old lovers. I chuckled a little to myself, thinking how funny it is that pigeons can so often resemble us.

A door slammed, and even though there were only 13 pigeons, it sounded as though a thousand wings had begun to move all at once. They rushed and hovered above me, ferociously flapping their wings before catching a breeze suitable for coasting along with. I think that must be the most wonderful feeling in the world, to float so carelessly above the earth, sailing across the heavens on sporadic gusts of wind. The pigeons fluttered among the falling leaves, dancing and swirling in the frigid air. I watched them intently, dreaming of a freedom as natural and pure as theirs, dreaming of their kind of peace. I chuckled a little to myself, thinking how funny it is that we can so often resemble pigeons.

By the time the sun began to set, they were gone. I stood in the middle of the yard and watched it alone, listening to myself breathe. It’s amazing how quiet it can get in the middle of Manayunk. I often forget how wonderful and valuable it is to take time and stand alone in silence. In a world of endless distractions (namely TV and the internet), I neglect to take time to just think, to listen to the universe and it’s many splendors. Sometimes it feels as though all of the many mysterious of life can be solved in an hour of self reflection.

Everyday I stand by my window and think of this, staring out into the infinite abyss that lays before me. Nietzsche once said “if you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you” and how true it is. The wonders of the universe are reflected in my eyes as I look in search of them. Everything in my life is a reflection of how I view it, a product of my subjectivity. I have created what I see by the way that I see it, just as you have created the world as you see it, and we move onward through the abyss, into the future that lies somewhere just beyond the horizon.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Faint Smell Of Magnolia

I just feel like it should mean something. Standing alone in the abandoned rooms of my childhood home, listening to the sound of my shoes against the cold hardwood floors, I can’t help but feel as though I should be sad, or at the very least, sentimental. I remember the series of Christmas trees standing in the corner of the living room, the afternoons spent reading on the big purple couch, the smell of the large magnolia blossoming outside my window in Spring. I remember the person I once was between these walls, the family that we used to be, the memories that I had to rearrange upon discovering that my parents were no longer in love. I remember every moment that I can, only to find myself feeling like none of it means anything, feeling apathetic to my past.

I hate feeling indifferent, and so I often find myself trying to force an emotion, wanting to feel things that my head tells me I should be feeling, wanting my heart to follow some kind of logic. If someone were filming the story of my life, this moment would be deeply emotional. The sappy, self realization music would swell in the background as I stood alone in the naked framework of my house, saying goodbye to the structure, to the metaphorical manifestation of my childhood. “Goodbye youth,” I’d whisper, turning out the final light.

I try to imagine this as I wander through each room, running my hand over the walls I’ve touched so many times before. I play tear evoking songs in my head in the hopes of conjuring up some kind of sentimental closure. Nothing comes. It never comes. I can’t force myself to feel an emotion any more than I can force myself not to feel an emotion. I have no control over my heart.

Instead, I stand there feeling nothing but the guilt of feeling nothing but guilt. I want so desperately to care, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t. I’m just ready to move on. I guess the truth is, I said goodbye to the house that I once knew the day my mother moved out. I’ve already been through the emotional detachment. My childhood home was reduced to just a building a long time ago.

Still, I worry that in the future I’ll regret missing out on this final goodbye, this defining moment when I left my house for the last time. I worry that the emotional gravity of this ending will hit me later when I least expect it, when it’s too late to return and seek closure. I worry that the faint smell of magnolia will reduce me to tears.

Perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Perhaps it never really is goodbye. I’ll pack the house in a box in my mind and carry it with me into the future, the memories of each room echoing within the framework of my heart.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hello and Goodbye

Well after many painfully tragic battles with my DSL, I finally obtained victory. I'm sorry for the lack of updates on here. I have so many things to share about my new home, but for now I'm just going to have to leave it at hello and goodbye. Just wanted to say that I'm alive. I'll write again later. TTFN.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Robert Frost Poem To Tide Us Over Until I Find Time To Write

My November Guest
By Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She's glad the birds have gone away,
She's glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dialing God From A Phone Booth At 2am

After tossing and turning for three hours with no expectation of sleep in my near future, I arise from my bed and decide I need to take a walk, clear my mind. The air is freezing and immediately my body goes numb. I like the feeling. I would smile if I could move my lips. I listen carefully to my footsteps, each one pounding louder against the pavement than its predecessor until it becomes all that I can hear. Pound, pound, pound. I have to remind myself that I’m connected to this sound, connected to the night, the air, the earth. I have to remind myself that I’m connected.

As a lone car passes, I am startled from my thoughts, and I look up to discover I’ve wandered to a place that I’ve never been before, a place I never knew existed. Suddenly I am so aware of how painfully cold I am. The numbness has turned into a burning. My toes feel as though they might fall off. I look around, trying to find a place where I could warm my hands for a few moments, a safe haven from the harshness of the night. There is only nothingness before me, nothingness behind me. Nothingness, and one solitary phone booth, standing clumsily in the middle of it all.

I walk over to it and push the door open with my frigid fingers. I stand inside for a few moments, listening to myself breathe. Instinctively, I pick up the phone. In the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, I have suddenly found myself in my own little confessional, ready to clear my soul. I’ve never been inside a real confessional, but have seen enough religion in the media to know how the process goes. I begin to dial. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned...”

Someone picks up on the other side, but remains silent. I know that it’s my turn to talk. So I do. It’s awkward at first, so I begin with idle chatter. “Sorry, it’s been a while....” I ask how his day was, but get no response. I start to talk about my day, leading to a novel length monologue about all the days that came before it. I am crying and laughing all at once and have no idea why. For hours I stand there chattering away on the phone. I ask questions and get no answers. I give answers to questions never asked. I talk about family and friends and life. On and on I drag the inside of me out, pulling the contents of my soul out through my mouth as though someone has caught them on a fish hook and is dragging them to the surface. At the tail end, I begin to feel satisfyingly empty.

Suddenly I stop talking. I stand in silence for a few moments again, listening to my breath rhythmically align to the breathing on the other end of the phone. In and out we breathe together. I’m caught off guard when he breaks the silence. “Hush” he says. There's a pause. The line goes dead. He’s hung up the phone and left me where I started, standing alone inside a phone booth in the middle of nowhere.

I begin to walk home, inexplicably knowing the way. I listen to my feet once again on the pavement. Pound, pound, pound. It grows softer as I near home, the air beginning to warm in the prospect of morning, the sound of a dial tone still echoing in my head.