Monthly Archives: November 2011
I couldn’t fall asleep last night so I wrote a bucket list. It’s right above you. If I don’t accomplish everything on that list, my life will have proved to be meaningless.
Tugging at chords, writing verses.
We refrained and repeated,
arranged and rearranged.
We wrote accidentals on purpose,
a constant changing of keys.
Fine tuning each other,
playing in perfect pitch. Bars every
few beats drawn and erased—
finding when best to take a breath.
Isn’t it ironic, strings plucked on stage
All I hear is discord and chaos,
missing melodies that mend.
So we wrote symphonies, you and I,
mastering the music. Those secret
songs ravaged reality, crafting a
perfect world between only our fingers.
And finishing with the perfect cadence,
we played a sequence of chords.
Not repeating this time— a clean cutoff.
Stilled strings and silent voices.
Oh hello! I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and by now, have digested. The holiday up in New Hampshire was as expected: relaxing, delicious, and comforting! There was artichoke dip and cheese, many bottles of wine, football (on mute), turkey turkey turkey, PIE, cognac (which my mom took shots of by accident), trivial pursuit, long runs in cold weather, drives to the ocean, leftovers, roasted vegetables, reading, writing, coffee, skyping across the country, and maker’s. I think that covered it (:
I went on one of the best runs on the Friday after the Feast, and it really got me thinking about why I actually enjoy working out. I’ve realized that I do different exercises for different reasons, but all GOOD ones, I believe. Running is the obvious one. It keeps me sane. I run to explore new places, clear my mind, listen to T.I., and get a healthy dose of endorphins. I run for an hour so I can proceed to plop myself on the couch for six. I do it to thank my legs for carrying me many places, all without injury. (I’m lucky, I don’t know what a shin splint or a stress fracture feels like). I’m not big into racing because I never liked the feeling of being beyond exhausted and in pain…kinda ruins it. I run because it’s FUN, and is a part of my life just as brushing my teeth, going to work, eating breakfast, and listening to Beyonce are.
Now, do I do pushups or pullup(s), circuit work, or lunges because it’s fun and I love clearing my head and it relaxes me? Hell to the no. I strength train because it’s challenging. I like surprising people with my strong shoulders and legs. I like pushing myself and entering uncharted territories…and seeing improvement. I had a personal training session last week that nearly killed me, and I’m excited to replicate it next week. For me, strength training is about discipline and motivation, and is a sheer test of dedication—(and something I’m dedicated to only every now and then..).
Yoga fits in here too (namaste). I love yoga because I’m always learning and experiencing new poses, teachers, rhythms, and philosophies. I hardly ever stretch after running (woops), so it really helps out with my flexibility (my fingers have only recently been introduced to my toes). But mainly, I practice yoga to get to that ending savasana pose, where I can for the life of me do absolutely nothing for five minutes. It’s about the only time I settle down.
On that note, it’s 63 degrees in Brooklyn. Time for a run!
The clamor of alarms, sun
staring between panes, floorboards—
Knees crack, then eyes.
Shoulders gather my legs gather my,
Being can be heavy
but today it’s weighted only
by beauty: coffee before showers
before walking under highways.
Trains under water, stairs to
creativity and creations.
Thankful for most things, all things:
sore limbs and cold whiskey,
soft thumbs and stupid smiles.
The smell of smoke soothes,
senses and sights and small
bites of beauty.
The jewels on my wrists are secret
remains and reminders of
love. She wears curtains to bed
and rests—all things useful once
twisted, new vision and soft breathing.
We need nothing so we have nearly
everything. And for what’s missing,
place palms in dirt and know
this ground holds all things dear.
Easter is alright, but egg hunts and pastel colors are sort of overrated. Christmas is wonderful, but the month-long hype takes over the actual day. St. Patricks Day always results in an incredible hangover, and let’s be real—Halloween is mildly uncomfortable. That’s why, in my opinion, Thanksgiving takes the cake (or pie I guess?).
Thanksgiving is without the hype (no one has blow-up turkey lawn decorations), so people can actually enjoy the day and not feel bummed when it’s over. It’s squished right between the crisp of autumn and the ice of winter. There’s football, great food, and even better family.
And for me, it’s also nostalgic. As a kid, my brother and I would squeeze between my Nana in the backseat of our Taurus for a six hour trek up to New Hampshire. My grandmother was always extremely generous (a trait passed on to my whole immediate family, me thinks), and always had some sort of treat for us. On these particular trips it was hockey cards. Me and Jim would open up packs and packs with bated breath, scrambling to look up promising finds in our beckett book (remember those?). Before we knew it, 1-84 and 95 and 90 and what have you were a thing of the past.
My aunt and uncle live in Derry, NH, and I grew up believing their home was magical. I would go exploring in their backyard, which my little eyes believed to be millions of acres of pure wilderness. I would get “lost” in the fallen leaves, stamping on sticks while pretending I was an explorer looking for her horse (I had a weird obsession with horses and a genuine interest in explorers). After finding Penny and fighting off the bad guys and discovering a new world or seven, I would come back inside to a house that smelled like butter.
And before the big meal, my cousin would roll out one of those huge projection screens so he could show us photos of his latest hikes. We’d all sit around with a plate full of snacks as he talked (for what seemed like hours, sorry Rich!) of beautiful lookouts and close encounters with mountain lions.
Once dinner was ready, I would force everyone to go around the table and say what they were thankful for. And every year I would answer “tissues,” since I always had a cold (and I was a snarky little girl). Then, of course, we’d dig in. And once we were full? Well, we kept eating. Right?
Going up to New Hampshire has no longer turned into an annual event. With aging and time comes relocation, new traditions, and hectic lives. Now my cousins live in Oregon and Colorado, so my aunt and uncle sometimes fly across the country for turkey day. Other times, my immediate family invites friends over, or like least year, I just stay put and make a turkey with 30 year old housemates.
But this year, the tradition is back: I’m going up to New Hampshire, and am so so super stoked. I’m ready to take a little break from this big city and say hello to New England. I will hard chill with my family. I will watch football and go running in the clean, cold air. And I will drink copious amounts of wine and eat pumpkin every-anything. It’s gonna be great.
Worlds click in such strange ways.
Neighbors become lovers become
Now we’re tearing hands from holds,
forgetting— for failure
Elbows freeze and knuckles ache
when two strangers who saw
everything too well, only glance.
Guilt no longer fits this.
Rather, simple sadness for stretching to
perfection and slipping.
If doors were still cracked and words left
said, angels would shout
there is still so much beauty to grip.
And I’d say— first, dig deep
in mirrors and see for yourself,
yourself: Boundless worth.
Waking on a roof, discovering a world
lying on another.
Trees and driveways and small, simple houses,
edges of oceans mending tides.
And summits of skyscrapers
poking out from the ground—
Startled by dreaming, a dream so peaceful
and startling. Filled with desires to reach
arms beyond arms length.
My roof has the worst view of the best city,
in hands I can’t grasp tightly.
I see the highway where I want to move
with traffic, rediscovering rhythms and regular
heartbeats, stubborn dreams.
I dream again of a road too tall, driving
downwards. Disordered minds
and strength collide,
creating intentions not intended, pulling
forward with hope that backwards is
And love squeezing between,
A cause for calming commotion.
The tug-of-war of dreams.
The Great Forgetting
Stripped hands and rubber
tangled ankles and a sunset
that blanketed oceans.
This time of year if you blink too slowly
the sun will set. And all that tends to happen
in clear daylight receds, curling itself under
water, taking a breath.
You forgot tickets in that drawer I wish I
could build. One day when I discover
what my hands can craft I’ll reprint
what’s worth remembering.
And why is it that books are filled with so many stories?
We cannot keep them all—our belongings heavy and whole.
So I removed a pebble from my bag and like wings, could
carry everything again.
She stuffs herself in subways
just tight enough for hips
to slide past hips, palms
stuck on poles and knuckles
against knuckles, skin on
skin. Globs of glue on orange caps
must be scraped and scraped—
we get angry when glue sticks.
A blind woman watches snowflakes become yanked
from the ground and float to the sky—the train stops
suddenly and her chin falls between
the shoulder blades of a stranger.
Breath on backs the icy air floats into lungs and warms
like hands on knees build fires.
She scrapes the ice from the car she’ll never drive
and sits behind the wheel just to feel.
And riding rush hour trains to Brooklyn and back, she melts
Time is really going turbo on me. It felt like just yesterday I was stuck in what was perhaps the most uncomfortable summer of my life—and now it’s November. My favorite holiday is almost here. My favorite season is a month away. And.. and..I think I’ve mustered up some sort of routine! If time could just chill out for a little while right now, that’d be cool.
As Nicole put it to me yesterday, “Dare I say we both have structure in our lives?!” I think we both made it—finally. Our lives sort of mirrored one another’s for the last five months. I went first. I spent all summer with a backpack, trekking back and forth from Morningside Heights to Chelsea to Greenpoint to Northport. I slept in a different bed each night, worked in a cubicle and wore a tie at a restaurant and lived in libraries, wondering what the hell. I. was. doing. In my head, I mapped out driving routes to Seattle. I wondered if I should have accepted my Peace Corps invitation. I contemplated building a lean-to and writing a very, very long novel about absolutely nothing.
My oh my have times a’ changed (cue Dylan song).
When I moved to Brooklyn, (and freaked the fuck out), and got a job (!), I passed the baton off to Nicole. After finishing her Master’s and oh, just flying to Iceland for a quick vacation with friends and glaciers, she took on the role of what we like to call “the schlepper.” With backpack on, avocados and fig bars in purse, and enough clothes to get through the week, she began her full time 9-5ish job with a super-rich, ancient-old lawyer while living the bed-hopping life. While staying with friends and running around this whole damn city with some quick in-and-outs on the LIRR is often FUN, it’s tiring. And that whole “when will this stop, am I really moving forward?” thing creates anxiety. Lots of it.
All is different now. Nicole just accepted a kickass job at some environmental place doing environmental things with excel spreadsheets and apparently a good-looking boss. (I’ll never really understand what you know and what you do). I’ve moved fulltime to Greatist, where I work on what I love with wonderful people in an incredibly healthy environment. It’s crazy, it’s awesome. We made it.
Now with having some sense of structure, I can breathe easy. We can laugh at what will always be our lives: kinda funny, kinda weird, and kinda ridiculous. Exhibit A? A month or so ago Nicole warned me that she had to Skype with someone mad early when she was sleeping over. I heard her get up and call Bed from Nepal, an environmental scholar who she found buried deep in a works cited. They talked about farming systems in Chitwan, Dhading, and Gorkha (wait, you’ve never heard of those places?). He offered to sponsor her for her Fulbright application. Fast forward to a week ago, and Nicole met Bed at Port Authority and played tour-guide for his first time EVER in New York City. Here is Bed:
I cant top that one, but I did make a new Peruvian friend who told me all about the time she put a baby shark in her arch nemesis’s suitcase before she flew to France (brilliant). I played in a city-wide startup basketball tournament only to guard a power-house from my high school that was never particularly friendly. I’ve dabbled in squash and lifted weights and wrote “poems” and roasted vegetables and wondered over and over why nobody ever smiles on the subway. I’ve learned how to tweet (#nbd), I know what SEO means and sorta think it’s crazy cool, and I’ve become a Wednesday night regular at a bar, which comes with perks in the form of free tequila shots. (taco tacooo).
And while all this might be one long ramble, I felt compelled to write ever since Nic landed her job. Even though it’s only me writing on here, this will always be our blog. I’ll never forget writing this post when living in a door-less, window-less basement of my friends house in a DC suburb, knowing that I didn’t want to stop writing, that I had to keep going, that it had to take me places. I wanted to document what would come of our lives, what driving aimlessly around the states and moving to manhattan and dc and touring and teaching would amount to. Nic studied Climate and Society at Columbia and has now taken these skills from classroom to office. I went from swing dancing in Denver to writing about salsa. I think we’re both on to something.