Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Snippets of New York

The street corners overflow with bodies that have zero regard for the amount of traffic streaming and stopping in and through the intersections. Sirens send sounds out that travel up the buildings and back again in a deafening echo. 

Skyscrapers cast shadows, tricking onlookers into thinking that the day is far older than it actually is. Wind hisses through streets, whipping around corners and cutting faces with its chill. Restaurants and shops serve as oases with summer-like heat stirred up by warm drinks, crowded spaces and cluttered tables.

Water towers top apartment buildings, and storefronts pose unique personalities reflecting the diversity of the city. Mothers push strollers, tourists stop abruptly with cameras tilted up, businessmen hug morning papers within the crevices of their arms, local children walk with adult-like stride, and a dog is never out of sight.

The whole city is served right there before one's eyes, yet it requires a closer look to note the textures of the neighborhoods, to pick out the hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and discover the secrets that linger throughout.

I found inspiration from the skyline, in warm, brewed coffee, from each accent that sifted through my ears, in every fashion-forward look I saw, beneath the shadow of buildings, when stacked with strangers on the subway, in every conversation I had, and especially in the magic of returning from a place so opposite of the city I have grown to call home.

I found a special inspiration 30,000 feet up as I realized the depth of my love for Los Angeles. How, for the first time in my life, I have found a home away from home that beckons me to come back. A place where the mundane of my life is rooted along with my highest hopes and dreams.

My trip to New York was out of curiosity's sake. To take a break and get away. In brief, it reminded me of how much there is to see beyond the smallness of my life. Yet it also placed a value on where I have been for nearly two years now. And that was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received this year.

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Life in Fiction -- Los Angeles Lately

There was at least one dozen umbrellas hung on the wall, but we all know that in Los 

Angeles it never rains the sort of rain one needs an umbrella for. 

Going only three miles to meet him was nearly an hour ordeal in itself,

but I expected much less from the city at that hour. 

In so many other scenarios, climbing from bed at the edge of 12:00 am is a gift with too high 

a price--

no drink, meal, or pair of eyes can outdo my magnetic pull to stay in.

Yet, my mouth had gotten me into a knot, and I'm still learning to say yes to the edges 

beyond the guard rails of late hours and curious eyes. 

He bought my drink anyhow. 

I don't remember which it was --

A Long Island or a Manhattan.

Either way, the drink and my words told him of where my heart has been for an overdue amount of time.

He said it didn't matter. 

Not in my regard, but in his.

I thought that perhaps he was being a bit selfish, 

wanting me there for company,

standing so close. 

I thought that perhaps I was being a bit selfish, 

wanting to be there,

continuing to stand so close;

until I realized that there are some selfish acts driven solely by curiosity,

and I have a habit of deeming curiosity as innocent --

A habit of being overly curious myself.

He leaned in more and more,

his back against the wall, 

my hand cupping his face, 

playfully pushing it away.  

Later, he went straight for the turntable. 

Morrison, if I remember correctly --

his envious taste in music.

The room was dark, and he warned me about not going into the kitchen.

Apparently his kitchen sink was a disaster, 

but I was too invested in sinking into the couch,

into the late hour,

watching the vinyl spin round in a way that all of us are always spinning in this place. 

The way my heart has spun for some time to the same song I wish to forget in the way that 

only Clementine could.

Perhaps what I'm about to say is naive. 

Perhaps I'm reading into things again. 

Weaving storylines into the fabric of a late hour.

Though, I'm a firm believer in my own intuition.

So, here is what I have to say, 

because I am making all of my own rules and observations these days:

The moment leading up to kissing someone for the first time is one of the most intoxicating 

feelings in life. There aren't enough words to capture it.  

I'm always caught by the way my hand feels in the hand of someone new -- it's a sweet, 

cosmic introduction when noted. So, note it next time.  

He took my hand,

asked if he could kiss me --

his voice folding over the edges of the request and cracking beyond a whisper.

The turntable stands in a room I have no key for,

a room of play pretend like all the rest we build with people before 

abandoning it by morning. 

Curiosity, in all of its assumed innocence, doesn't need a heart 

and so I will never have a key. Nor will you, or he, or she. 

Perhaps that's when the line gets blurred in regards to curiosity's goodness.

He said he was only curious,

and I asked him if he is good at keeping secrets.

Of course he said yes.

I am not naive after all. 

In the end, that's all it was --

two sides of an album,

him getting up to flip it over,

new hands run through messy hair,

two pairs of tired eyes, 

the taste of mixed of drinks on the tip of his tongue, 

Long Island or Manhattan in the pit of my stomach,

though no longer strong enough to taint my bloodstream.  

I clasped his hand as I waited for the driver.

There was a long, haunted looking hallway,

which he assured me isn't filled with ghosts,

but isn't all of Los Angeles plagued with them?

Perhaps he's naive to think it's not,

to have kissed me anyway,

and yet. 

I am still waiting for the rain to wash the ghosts away,

to wash me away from where I've been,

to cleanse my bloodstream once and for all.