Saturday, July 15, 2017

los angeles lately :: pt. 4

In my mind, my red dress bleeds tightly against my body,

the flame between my fingers is blue at the root and orange where it meets the end of your cigarette.

The night is old and grey.

The ocean so close by is black.

Their faces flicker in green and purple.

A disco ball is sharpened silver, rounded, hypnotizing.

We laugh for no reason and call it retro because we think we're cool.

And maybe we are.

My drink is clear, and yours is dark.

I see your eyes, I remember their color. I will always remember their color.

Will you remember mine if you can read everything they want to say?

The morning comes,

I pull another book from a shelf,

like all the stories I read in bits.

I'd turn the page to another chapter,

but knowing people in this city requires setting a flame to all the pages I will never know.

You tell me about chapter twenty three,

because it's the one you want us all to know,

but I will hand you the whole damn book.

A library within a hand.

Is what I am.

And you.

And them.

And this city --

with all of its overdue fines;
the torn up pages stuffed into crevices of apartments, stars and streets;
autobiographical tales of dreams and heartache;
undone chapters,
scripts in drawers,
songs in ears,
your name in my mouth, like pen to paper.

Another story for the books.

los angeles lately :: pt. 3

First, because we are girls,

and then through a trapdoor. 

Down some stairs into a darkened room,

stepping to the sound of aged music I love most.

The bar is solid, unlike my knees that somehow continue to carry me.

I crave the ease of my companions, I long for it like a hand upon the small of a back,

but the closer he stands, the more the ledge of the bar presses into my back, and I want him to step aside, to shut his mouth, to look at another girl.

I can't lose my inhibition if I try.

Not even to the sound of Sinatra.

Another approaches me, twice, and with a kindness I cannot deem sincere because I do not know him. Once more, I wish for him to step aside, to shut his mouth, I don't want to talk about my Romanian adventure any further.

One trip across the globe to the same place is not enough common ground for me, thank you.

And so I watch the girls again -- in all of their naked ease.

I study their slim fingers, balancing slim cigarettes.

I see mountains of ice within multiple glasses that moments ago held mixed drinks with pretty names, like the pretty mouths which consume them,

and the whiskey within my hand and throat warms. 

If I could mimic them for just a night, I think I'd have a ball.

All of that ease. 

Faked or not. 

What a brilliant fucking act, or risk, or wrong. 

I remove the glasses from my face. So that I can hide behind how vulnerable I feel. 

A nakedness unlike that of their ease.

Maybe if I can't see the room, I will finally be seen.

But by whom?

And why would it matter?

There are ten thousand sounds within a bar at any given second,

and all I hear within my ears is the blur of what's around; and, within my mind, Kavinsky plays on eternal repeat. 

They're talking about you, boy, but you're still the same.

So I shift my focus away from where they cast their's on the boys who are still the same;

them in all of their ease and Louboutins;

boys in wrung out confidence and tired entitlement;

the boys Louboutins are worn for;

I swear this is all an observation and not a judgment.

A broken heart for what I know is boring and true.

If the boys are all the same, why should we feel compelled to be as well?

More importantly, why do I?

Why parallel, when one can strike through and break new ground?

I put the damn glasses back on;

I buy another drink;

I long for the one who is overlooked,

because perhaps he will be one to overlook the rest.

Perhaps he only hears Kavinksy, too, when the night is darkest, and Hollywood loudest, and the drinks are splashing hardest against the backs of throats. 

I'd like so much to be like them, as if I could try on a personhood like a thrifted dress. 

And then I hear the song again, I press the glasses to my face, and swoosh the whiskey in my mouth,

and it occurs to me that maybe we all just want to be ourselves,

we just don't know how.

We run parallel because it seems demanded.

What a luxurious freedom individuality would be. 

If it was practiced and not glorified and branded.

How wonderful to know that individuality is not indeed a lie, a threat, or an absurdity. 

First because we are girls,

and not because each of us has something to bring to the table.

Something beautiful, broken and true.

And then through a trapdoor.

A night should always have a trapdoor.

I press the glasses firmly to my face,

so that I can catch a glance of the rare one who is overlooked;

so that I can look to the eyes of girls I'll smile at because I see them and hope they can see themselves, too;

so that I can catch a reflection of myself in the mirror behind the bartender.

I'll smile at myself, too --

beneath the trapdoor. 

los angeles lately :: pt. 2

The most devastating part of the whole thing is that I cannot fall in love if I cannot love the place in which I'd fall in love within.

And so, I sit along a curb with the city beside me -- we are not speaking.

Mostly, I am not speaking.

It longs for me to love it, but refuses to love me in return.

So, I wait. Wedged between silence and city sounds.

Sitting on this curb, the night falling quickly to the west in pink hues.

The swaying palm tree overhead is the only proof of oxygen.

We forget we're breathing here, when rooms are full and hearts are empty.

los angeles lately :: pt. 1

I'm figuring out what Los Angeles feels like.

The feeling will change eventually. Not likely by tomorrow, and certainly in one year's time.

For starters, it feels like drowning. The whole it.

At first, the water appears deep and black -- a cosmic-like abyss. Cold, or nothing at all, if you go too far in.

But Los Angeles is not as deep as the Pacific that runs to and from the tourist-plagued shores of Malibu to Manhattan.

It isn't cold, either, even if so many of its inhabitants prove otherwise.

This is not a glorified abyss to throw oneself into lightly. To tread lightly is to underestimate.

Los Angeles is like drowning in a shallow end -- ironic, unexpected, and so near to the shore --

finally slamming one's feel upon a solid floor and pulling up a ledge, wondering how a right could feel so wrong while gasping for unclean air.

Recently, a boy told me that my words have depth. At first, the compliment felt like a sigh of relief -- half the feeling of being heard, and the other half the feeling of being seen if even for a moment's glance.

But the word--depth--stuck within the top drawer of my mind. And, throughout the week I'd open the drawer and hold the word in my hand thinking about what it might mean in a place that feels nearly two feet deep.

Los Angeles feels like a massive contradiction --

the second act when the antagonist nearly wins out;

the bench ten feet away from the cool table in grade school;

2:30 am on an empty stomach;

a broken heel in a crowded elevator;

the click of a doorknob as it closes;

a loose end;

for some, a newness likened to jumping out of a plane;

a contest;

uniformed individuality;

a trend;

a white blank page;

four million self portraits;

the 101 in knots, and the 405 in paralyzed rush hour;

narcissism on a bender;


falling in and out of love with the same body, the cruelty taking its toll solely on the ignorant and true;

the step before the brink;

and, an eternal faith in what is not known, in what might never be.

But you and I, and all the rest, would be damned for never trying.

Here I hold the whole world in my hands, while standing alone, and oftentimes sinking alone.

I tread for fear of what they say, of what may never come, and yet what could come.

Los Angeles is whiplash at its most severe -- attention torn between the need to watch one's back, and the desperate perseverance toward a future filled with lights.

Never have I grown in such a painful, needed way.

Never have my emotions been so pivotal and raw.

I told a man just this week that I feel like I'm the only one who feels this way.

And he had the simplest, most comforting, most right response in my world.

He said that everyone feels as I do, at some place and time if not now...the exception?

"You're just the only one saying it."

I'd argue that there might be someone else.

And yet.

He said it's in the honesty.

The honesty that gets me in trouble and sets me free.

Los Angeles is me freaking out,

but it is also me becoming whole.

More of the woman I yearn to be,

more of an artist,

hopefully a better, kinder, human being,

even if my edges never soften and my nerve never ceases.

Los Angeles--at the height of its contradiction--is magic.

The make believe of it all is what I am addicted to.

The constant noise which exhausts my mind more than my ears.

And the water which I seem to drown within? --

Is so much a source of life for all the things I cannot see.

So I tread when I need time, and I swim when I am most scared,

because this place is impossible to survive if fear is not the fuel from which one
thrives off of.

All who live by fear have one of two options:

The first is to sit within it, to grow so familiar with it that it becomes a source of comfort.

The second is to let it be the driving force, the whole damn point.

Every great decision and move I've ever made has been rooted in fear,

in fear of the what might pass,

rather than in the what might be.

Los Angeles is one of two choices, when the fork curves the road against itself.

And the what might be is what makes the city and these dreams feel like life.

(I cross my fingers for a life lived well).