and just a little bit mean
My mind is like a conveyer belt at a very crowded airport. There are many packages and luggage cases constantly circulating this belt, each with a small, somewhat shallow, label marking their outsides. These indicate the contents of each thought and when they catch my eye I walk alongside the belt and open them.
Because of the nature of the baggage claim’s mechanism it is difficult for me to devote too much time to each piece of mind luggage as their individual selves, for, as soon as I thrust my arms eagerly into a periwinkle rolling suitcase labeled “memories from third grade”, I can see the line of baggage behind it, reading each of their labels and marching over, just as quickly, just a eagerly, to explore their contents as well.
Some times, if I can muster enough resolve, I will manage to drag one bag onto the metal lip running alongside the belt and be able to peruse the bag’s contents in peace. But even then I am aware to the flash of the laminated labels as they pass by.
My mind does not stay concerned or concentrated for too long.
And even when I can wrangle my wandering thoughts into a single stream of relevancy, there are often tinier parcels within the larger bags; trinkets begging to be opened and explored. These are easier to take with me and, if one distresses or amuses me enough, I might tie them by their twine to the belt loops of my jeans and carry them with me for the remainder of the day or long, should I find them pressing or important enough.
The luggage is fickle, though. It does not drop it’s bright zippered sides or lift its cardboard lid for me alone, and people often pass through my baggage claim. They come out of open bags sometimes, sparked by thoughts strong enough to make them stick in the scene, and mill about, or appear beside me without warning. I speak to them sometimes. Sometimes they the paw through bags themselves rendering my attempts to focus moot.
Sometimes they ask me, very politely for things born of my mind, how I feel about them or the bags that, they feel, they should inhabit in my mind. I fight with them or dialogue. A few, who are regulars in my mind alone, chide me constantly and try to burn bags.
I let them, occasionally, because it feels as if I have no other choice.
School Night- Part 1
The hallway was almost empty by the time Stella managed to spot Malcolm among the last tickles of students settling into last period freedom as they sorted themselves like clockwork into the appropriate classrooms. Stella was not among them; neither was Malcolm. This time, though, she was the one to initiate contact between them: grabbing the crook of Malcolm’s elbow as he stuffed his left hand into his jacket pocket and pulling him a step back so that they were standing side by side.
He seemed genuinely surprised, privileging her with a soft,
Before regaining his usual, unruffled composure,
“Hey there, Bats.”
“Crabs move so nimbly in the pictures.”
Malcolm flips the National Geographic over and glances back at me like I am dying to contribute to this sentiment. My silence waters the seeds my presence has been planting in that meadow flower, meadowlark grin. It’s going to spread, that smile. Sprout and spread like weeds all across his chin and up to the sparkling corner of his visible eye. His grin’s going to flourish and it will be entirely my fault.
This is what he’s wanted this whole time, my disinterest, I mean. I think, secretly, it’s what he craves. The kisses and the scratches and playground bruises are all just pretenses for the pleasure he gets from mind games. Malcolm is all about mind games. He is about getting inside you, whatever form it may take, and if he can’t slip into your thoughts then he will settle for the selection of entrances between your legs.
I shrug again.
“You get it, don’t you?”
“More than you know,” I think and raise an eyebrow so he knows I’m probably listening.
“The way they’re always portrayed as being on their toes; barely touching the sand and scuttling about like tap dancers, ballet dances, balls of dust. Managing to stay up by the quickest tits of the tips of their crab toes.
Here I am supposed to protest the description of crustaceans possessing toes, but I shrug again and raise the other eyebrow. He laughs now. He’s onto me. He’s going to raise his hand and grip my shoulder like the skin to cotton contact will make him privy to my innermost musings and the things I am withholding from him by opting to speak with eyebrows and silence. He’s going to keep his fingers, all four plus the thumb, pressing red marks beneath my shirt like he owns me. I guess he does, or he guesses he does. I guess.
I try to shrug again but his hand is always there.
Perhaps my constant fidgeting with them is the origin for his hand-to-shoulder habits. Maybe. He can keep them still and subdued that way. It must make him feel like he is in control, which he very well may be.
I can never tell.
And because I can never tell I must settle with shrugging.
But even now that is taken from me, because his hand is already there.
It’s Very Late/Eloquent Kurt
Kurt looks at me and he says,
“I don’t understand most of it: The way my fears and feelings float around inside my head and how, with the drop of a, you know, pin they can get all riled and just start rocketing at each other. Just, er, crashing head first into each other while I’m concentrating on walking down the hallway. But then I can only focus on them and they get even more restless and try to drop down into my stomach or squeeze out through my pores as beads of stinking sweat. And the fear type ones just revolve around my heart and they settle and then they tighten and they squeeze. You’d never guess it but fear types can squeeze like nothing else.”
“Basically,” she says and lays back down on the concrete bench, “I stuffed the fucker’s backpack with olives?”
“Olives?” Daniel asks.
“Olives,” she says again, “You know, like the ones from the decorative trees on the edge of the soft ball field.”
Daniel scratches the back of his head, like he wasn’t actually aware our school has a softball field, but nods after a half second and manages a quick,
I Don’t Think He Has My Back
On a blustery Wednesday in mid October, Malcolm sat waiting on a bench under the bowed branches of an old white oak. He was thinking about death, but he wasn’t thinking about it very hard.
Across the western lawn, he could see a few of his peers gathered around the synthetic pond which they were prodding at vehemently with thin and little sticks.
I think about the likings that I’ve collected
In my conscience, the little listings of affections
Driven into the pockets of thought hidden behind
Each blink and each bat of my hazel grey eyes
The textures of the conifers against an overcast sunset
Where the citrus and grape flavored colors are caught by
Clouds immediately overlapping the bright dying blue
And also the way your smile looks under me in the dark
And then I’m glad the pills didn’t take
I’m glad I can find the sulfur yellows and sun weathered reds
In the alligator skinned ponderosa pines
And count the missing petals on glowing orange globe mallow
It’s surprising, how glad sparrows and spades and closed lipped
Smiles can make a person
All instances to catalogue behind my stare
And knowingly stamp with my assorted likings
All of you is in there
I guess I’m glad about that too
People are always asking me when it first happened, and I feel that they expect some long-winded narrative in which something of soap opera proportions occurs. I think they expect me to enthrall them with the ways in which I was shaken, the ways in which my jaded existentialist ideals were turned in on themselves as the unthinkable—hell, the impossible—happened. People are so certain that baneful occurrences must have grown from equally appalling origins, and this is why disappointing them has always appealed to me. I like fucking people over. I like leaving them blank eyed and disappointed and otherwise robbed of a tale to end all other tales. Their preconceptions be damned.
Because, in all honesty, it was nothing incredibly interesting or phenomenal which flicked that first domino in a chain of unthinkable events.
It all started when I saw Jackie naked. That’s it.
That’s all she wrote. Or so I tell them.
It’s three thirty in the morning and Dan is asking me where I got my scars. I can barely see him through the mid fall fog, really, from where I’m standing, he’s just this muddled break in the grey-green darkness that occasionally brandishes something shaped like a hand at me; but he’s talking to me like ours eyes our locked. Like I’m supposed to feel intimate and wanted and flushed-inside-out-understood in this moment. I guess I’m quiet for too long because he asks me again how I got my scars, and it’s all I can do to keep from asking which scars, specifically, he means.
I shrug and the fog caves around me. I wonder if he’s watching that, I mean the way I’m leaning away from him. The way my body’s goose bumps are reserved solely for the precipitation and the cold rather than some sense of mastered mystery and romantic comraderey. In those few seconds, I’m imagining that his lips are on the verge of pulling down into frown and I wonder if he’ll ask a third time, which he does.
“Where did you get your scars?”
An owl screams somewhere and I feel that this trio of inquiry has given me an obligation to respond. Another shrug, this time it’s him rolling his shoulders in the fog. While I click the beads on my right wrist together and make a mantra of “I hope he’s getting bored, I hope—“