Wednesday, May 25, 2011


untitled by coolhandluke

i'm sad ; if nothing else it'll explain the dreams (the
dreams alone i'd run back to my pills just to avoid them -
every night i spend chasing busses i'm too late for to arrive
at interviews it turns out i was never invited to after returning
home twice, three-times to fetch a tie or a jacket
only to arrive wearing one shoe and one purple sock,
i break out crying holding onto a metal shelf in the backroom of
a library i don't remember ever having been to in a city
that resembles half a dozen i have visited, crying to my dad
who hasn't appeared in a dream of mine ever so long as i can
remember and whom i haven't cried in front of since i was 11.
just to avoid it


a bleached-blonde, thin as a rake with strange-shaped feet walks away and i think i might just give up on everything and follow her around.


suggested (currently listening as i type) tunnage: welt am draht (animal collective remix)


i think about being a serious lawyer. this older guy gets home about 9pm. eats his dinner which has been left out for him quietly. he walks upstairs and reads a story or two to a kid or two who appreciate the gesture but truth be told wonder why he bothers , but even as a token gesture it means something to him (so he does, bother). shower. tea. a few words with a distracted woman he lives with. walks back downstairs wearing pyjamas and turns on the lamp on the desk. clicks play on a gentle string quartet. this late he needs more heavy duty glasses. arranges the stacks of papers into an agreeable order, and continues to read , to what end he can't quite remember.


suggested (currently listening as i type) tunnage: i'll try anything once


it sounds serious. too serious. why is everything 'important' so... serious. i'd like to spend my life wearing knitted socks. having time to indulge in self-pity. writing. making friends instead of spending soo much energy trying to ditch them all the time. (she says you know you'd probably get a lot more done if you just accepted you had them and called them back, which i ignore) my friends are dads. husbands and wives. full time employees. doctoral candidates. i'm still scared of marriage, refuse to commit to a puppy. my time still doesn't feel full, no matter how busy i get my time feels hollow , just 'on the way' time , obiter time. i'm not sure about any purported growing up that's been done. (she sits and complains about why i won't move in with her, but i stick to my guns and let her be mad. turn the corner, nodding the whole time. you're hiding behind it she says, truth is you just want your alone space. i shrug, who's hiding?, of course i do. exasperated she falls back into the seat. an apple falls and rolls below her feet). i'm seeing my age as a distance. i'm feeling it as a distance, i'm not sure from what, but it's multidimensional. a distance from youth which very clearly is puffing its last few smokes. a distance from the future which isn't going where it was supposed to go. (of course there's no such thing as 'supposed to'... but there you have it). (she asks if i want to come over when i get done and i say i do. she'll watch the news in bed and i'll read three pages of a book that's too heavy to hold up for much longer. i'll sleep, or not. i might wake up and kill a spider at some point.)

six years ago a girl i barely knew sat across the room from me and said you'd have made a wonderful partner, too bad. and i, amused, asked why. she smiled to indicate what she had to say was not ill-intentioned. discontent. you're always going to be discontent sooner or later. and with everything. i couldn't live knowing you'd sooner or later become discontented with me. i'm stunned. not offended, but that much insight usually packs a punch. i smile back, it scares me that you can read soo much. she shrugs. (so that's that. a memory amongst memories)


it's getting late now. i still avoid , ya know ... sleep.
"take deep breaths" (this is mom now) "deep breaths, before you sleep, inhale intensely, really fill your lungs up, in / out, in /out, like that. you'd be surprised what it'll do for your brain". my mom thinks breathing exercises can solve all the world's afflictions. yesyes. i'll be sure to make sure i breathe , and at least you can have some peace knowing if i forget, at least my autonomic nervous system will remember because as it turns out, i'm not the least bit in control of it. she's not amused.


suggested (currently listening as i type) tunnage: oh my stars by a weather


fours years now - since the room with no windows. 'the year of disappointment'. seems 'four' is too short a number. seems like the bottom of a well. not sure how we got out. my mom's discovered facebook, my god she says i saw photos, XXXX's lost so much weight she looks amazing. i nod, yes. it's amazing. i wonder who lives in the room now, if there are scratch marks from my nails in the walls or a slight indentation where i'd bang my head trying to make the noisiness in my head stop.

hope is a dangerous dangerous ... a thing i guess. a liability. like love, or the little bird in your hands. just a twitch. the bump of a passerbyer. anything.

i try and dodge fallen palm-tree debris and manage to run two tires right down the middle of it. this could be it. this could be the moment i punctured my tires while being late and having no gas. i drive on and wait to see if it is. that easy. (turns out it's not)


she wants to know what this is all about , what have you been trying to say?

"you should have been a ballerina"

[ ? ]

"there's still time"

"race you to the gate and back"

"this cologne, i remember it like a story"
("so maybe it was")
"i remember it as a story"
("so maybe it was")

"from here, how strange it sounds"

"and we all fall down"

Friday, May 20, 2011


someone speaks on the phone. i don't like the sound of people speaking on the phone. there's a time for sad songs, this isn't it. i change the song. try something else. but eventually come crawling back, maybe this is the time for it. it's always a question of time. (what is? she wants to know, everything i say. She isn't much impressed with me oh. just like that she says.) It's been raining, this i can see. i awake feeling like i missed out, it's already sunny. i hear dogs barking and wish i had a cat that could wake up with me and feel sorry to have missed the rain. i make some inquiries, they tell me i can bring whomever i want because they have VIP seating set aside for me. i make a joke of it while we eat dark chocolate and raspberry muffins but i feel really embarrassed. wrong guy i want to say. there's a part of me that's not looking forward to it at all, there'll be questions. i'm not so good with those at times. are you sending out many applications? a friend asks, no no, i'm trying something new i respond. she wants to know what i'm trying so i explain that i'm spending my days wearing pyjama pants walking circles in my bedroom. somehow this will make everything ok. she laughs. i guess she's not sorry to have missed the rain. maybe i should grow a beard. i'd like that. skip the haircut too. draw a big black circle on the street outside and then step on pieces of chalk into it so it looks like smudged stars on the nightsky. maybe it'll confuse birds too, but that's not an end in itself (if it's an end at all i don't know because i don't know much about ends (i might know a little bit about little ends though - as in endings, which are small, and come and go not like a 'goodbye' more like a 'see ya' or an 'until next time' but there's always a next time that seems to be the thing). no one in particular wants to know why this is written in a single paragraph but i didn't think it was being written at all it was more something i was thinking or am thinking or - all words that just stumble around in all ours heads in one out the other or the other way around growing and dying waiting for a decent one to come along and ring our doorbell and give us a thing or two to do to remind us we're worth more the hair on our heads that we can sell for wigs that third world countries might buy. i'm not a rich man but i do love the sound of a violin when played right and a detuned piano when played right and i try my hands again (it's been 10 years since i tried it) Rachmaninov's elegie in e-flat minor it moves along nicely until i get a headache from all the flats and my fingers can't find the keys and my brain can't process it anymore - it feels like i've managed half a conversation in a foreign language but now the whole thing's fallen apart and my eyes hurt and my hands aren't sure what to do <-- which is nothing new right. i don't know the word for this feeling and it's not in this paragraph but i hoped it would be and now i feel like... i don't deserve the VIP seating.


untitled by swimminginmilk

when it finishes it is a quiet but in a different way.
i sit and wait.
i spend quite some time with letters and envelopes.

___(i'm always very careful before i staple things.
___it's a new superstition: if the staple's messy i won't get the job)

mostly i like to stay in my room. editing things - i've become expert in punctuation -
semicolons receive tremendous care.

someone asks me what i've been doing lately. editing a paper for publication i say.
it sounds so adult , still ,
i'm glad when they don't ask me anything else.

later i send more applications in between tinkering on the piano.
i stare at a book by my bedside table but refuse to read it.
instead i walk laps around my coffee table.

my mom wants to know if i feel relieved or lighter or calm since i've been done?
no i say.
she wants to know why.

i miss being busy. (she nods, 'maybe you're a man afterall')

Saturday, May 14, 2011


i make a small stack,
delicately adding
each thing i don't know
the answer to.

everytime it rains
i send you the same text:
it's raining. godlovesme.
funny thing is...
i believe it.


brunch with Mar at Greg's.
after, we walk down 19 terraces.
at the bottom there's a beach i don't remember seeing before.
there's no sand. only rocks.
in the water half a mountain stands alone,
waiting for someone's hand to lead it back to shore.
i sit on the rocks and put my socks back on.
Mar looks out at the waves breaking, which, sprays up into a haze
that never quite merges with the sky.
don't worry. i haven't quite merged yet either.
she nods. waiting. without ever taking her hand away either.

an old man walks into my office.
i'm tired he says. i give him a seat, which he reclines in.
closes his eyes. god it's quiet in here. i nod.
i am offer him some tea but he shakes his head with his
eyes still closed and puts a finger in front of his lips, shh.

i get a call, there's something in the mailroom for me.
it's a scarf. grey, with an orange stripe.
i'm confused, go home: hey Matt, did you send me a scarf? he hasn't.
John? not me.

two years later someone compliments my scarf. it's grey, with an orange stripe.
i smile. my best friend gave it to me, a rose petal from when we first met.
have you known her your whole life?
i shake my head. nono, of course not.


i'm too tired to talk i confess, guiltily.
she understands. we meet anyway,
sit opposite each other in plush chairs.
i smell like coffee beans, for months i smelt like coffee beans.
it's less obvious in here, Pontius and Sepulveda.
every now and then you still send me a picture when you drive by.
the dusty valley, dusty stucco walls - beige from paint or dust i can't tell,
and your always fluorescent toe-nail polish. it's all i see sometimes, when i think of it:
a buzzard of a year, and your understanding face that for half an hour here,
ninety minutes there, silences the Furies.

you cry on the phone telling me about
how they want a drug test and you did this
naughty thing weeks ago just once and how
you wish you hadn't now oh my god how terrible
because it means you might not go (which to me
sounds like you might just stay) and you have to go
(you really should i say) because it's just what needs
to happen (in a few years i'll really know what you mean,
and you'll call me and remind me of it too) distance, sometimes
it's just distance just to be far and away and amongst strangers which
are so often just the friends you needed who don't know you and don't care
the name of your highschool boyfriend, and i nod through all this, unseen
because phones lack eyes - they crawl through the dark like salamanders
or something, i tell you it'll be fine, it's got to be, there comes a time
for distance and when the times come it just happens (in a few years
like it or not i'll know exactly what i meant) after i hang up the
phone i think to myself god i hope she can go/stay and
despite my best intentions never did separate the two.

words written by the dude who write this blog

untitled by kagogo

so what are you doing next year? he asks, looking at me expectantly. there's only a few correct answers to this question. associateship with a judge (but only State Supreme or Federal Court level); work for 1 of 6 top tier firms; miscellaneous. i want to say i'm taking a year off to find a new shipping route for merchant vessels and accidentally find the new New Indies; take a year off to listen to the full discography of the Beatles; maybe read something really long... the Story of Civilization, in 11 volumes... the Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (3rd ed, 1906-15) in 12 volumes.


when we were young we sat in coffee shops. we drank hot chocolate. we spoke of the future (which... looking around me, must be about now sometime).


- whatchya reading? [i'm sitting on the 38th floor of a fancy high-rise in the city. the question is directed towards me by the partner of 1 of 6 (said) top tier firms who will spend the next 40mins telling me about himself while i nod in feigned interest]
- bit of light on-the-train-at-8-am-reading: Crimes Against Humanity by Geoffrey Robertson. [he laughs]. Oh, it is funny, i mean, who doesn't want to start their day with 600pages worth of genocide and systematic and serious violations of human rights? [he laughs]
- count me in
- that's the spirit akrM [i know his name already because the receptionist told me 'you'll be interviewing with krMa today', as i say this i reach out my hand and we have a firm, very satisfying hand shake].
- i read [can't remember the title] at a hearty 900pages a few months back. it was so damn heavy i got sick of holding it up in bed - i had the wife find me a copy for the ipod. even then you read for hours and you see the little %read dial move up from 1.4 to 1.6. [i laugh]
- it's annoying heavily <-- get the pun? [he thinks...
- ha! yes. exactly.
[i forget the rest other than to remember to nod occasionally and say: wow, really? that's incredible. sporadically: is that right?]


after the coffee we forgave each other our/their shortcomings.
___what now?
something that involves glitter. sparkle.
___like what?

(___k__i s_s
_________t_a_ s
_y o u r_ e ye__s

l__a_c k___ time. )

(i wish we did)


i never sleep on planes. not until i'm the last person awake. darkdark, everyone else huddled in cocoons made of just-not-quite-large-enough blankets. me and one of those little lights. pluto that'll eventually get annexed. or just an out of the way star, one of the too-many temples that you visit just to say you've been there take a compulsory photo of a wall or cement something-or-another and walk on thinking whether you're brave enough to try the street food again while trying to psychically connect to your stomach's mood-of-the-hour.

everyone wakes refreshed, i'm trashed. why didn't you sleep? i can't answer that question. it was quite. so? so... it's too delicious not to have too much of it. but now you'll be annoying and dopey all day. this makes no sense. no sense at all. i'm always dopey and annoying all day. my point is acknowledged, more so.

(but i'm saving up to cry about it all one day).


they sit silently in the coffee shop. she resents him for having picked up a magazine before he sat down. in their secret parlance this means 'no-talkey-time'. she flicks through photos on her camera. does experiments by taking photos of reflections in the glass. he's oblivious. although it would ordinarily amuse her, she's irked to think she's like a child playing around while her father minds her absentmindedly. she tries to start a conversation. mmm-hmm he responds and turns a page. it will be winter when we get back. he nods this time, rright-right.
(but everything is so lovely she thinks).
he looks up to watch her take a photo of nothing. takes a sip. smiles. what are you thinking? he makes a face that means he's not sure there are words for it. just wandering he says. about what? not wondering, wandering, with an 'a'. oh. about what? i'm not sure there are words for it.


on election night i wore burgundy pants and a tie, with a sweater-vest. some people drank and i spoke to this guy about what he'd do after he graduated (one of three options). later we went to the bar and i hugged some people i hadn't seen in months. where have you been? they kept asking, studying i kept saying. after that i realised i hadn't much left to say to anyone. half an hour later i walked back to the apartment. sat and watched the elections while eating little cubes of cheese just because they were in front of me on the coffee table.

that was... like a year ago.

how'd that happen?


so what are you doing next year? he asks, looking at me expectantly.

goddamit i can't go through this sh*t again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


True Stories

+ i am alive.

+ i have been in Vietnam for 2 weeks. now i am not. this is sad. i walked between villages and buffalo blocked my path and it was green and my muscles hurt and that hurt made me happy. i have not felt so much sun for 2.5 years.

+ goodbye law school. hello (more) job apps. (officially finished)

+ i feel like writing again. so. look out.


(1) Memoirs of a Survivor, Doris Lessing

(2) Man Walks into a Room, Nicole Krauss

(3) Classics, a Short Introduction, (can't remember, it's the Oxford University series)

2 weeks in Vietnam, a story in ailments

untitled by Valeria Heine

characteristically, i sit at my desk for 26 hours straight. she sleeps. wakes, i'm still there. it's humid, so i'm slippery like a sea mammal. smell like death. (she informs me of this). i hear voices, occasionally my door opens or closes, but it's a blur. i hear something about packing. i'm told we have to leave now. i shower. i'm handed a brown bag full of tshirts and the only two jeans you ever wear anyway. she drives. i continue to edit the document on the laptop that sits on my lap. i have a purple pen in my mouth that's been there 2 hours i forgot to take it out before and now my mouth is numb around it.


by the end of the first week my body overheats and i shiver in bed and sweat and gasp and can't sleep. what's wrong with you? exhaustion i explain. what's that that's not an illness. i lay still for 27 hours and wake up the next morning ready to walk some more. that's it? it's over? i nod. Ho Chi Minh City ain't killing me this week. let's hope so she says.


by the 9th day i'm back in bed. this time it's not exhaustion. at least, not one i'm conscious of. again? this one's different i explain. i lay in bed for 19 hours and wake up the next morning, still dizzy from the sound of the Discovery Channel that's been on all night and shower myself back into health.


- hey do you know where the bathroom is?
- i think it's...
- no time to think. must walk faster. meetyouherelaterjustwaitgottagobye.


then for three days i try and keep thoughts out of my head that want to be in my head. she wants to know why it's such a big deal. first i have to identify what exactly is 'it'. it's mediocrity i finally admit. i'm terrified of it. i'm worried i'm perfectly ordinary and will live an ordinary life and will be miserable in that ordinary plain way that everyone is (without knowing), and happy in that ordinary plain mediocre way that everyone is (forced and strained constantly for three flower petals to call romance, and every year a bigger tv must mean you're advancing in life). i swear, no one who knows you thinks you're mediocre. you're actually like the least mediocre person i know. nothing about you is mediocre. i smile, gently. i know it's all in my head... but 'it' is what it is. what's mediocre about being told you were just awarded a first-class honours degree? i mull this over. 3-5% of people have those i say. that's too many. she stares at me horrified. you are actually delusional. oh my god. i'm dating a delusional person. i nod. she's right. she is.

- hey, guess what.
- what?
- on day 14 Vietnam tried to kill me through my brain.
- ha. i suppose your immune and GI systems fought it off, what's left?
- don't jinx us into broken bones babs.
- amen bruthaman.


i arrive home. hand out some presents, put in a load of laundry and fall asleep for 14 hours. i wake up, pick a tie and go off to a clerkship interview.

late afternoon i collapse (again) on my couch. put up my feet, and close my eyes wishing myself into stone.