parallax

my bones creak, like weary floorboards of an ancient home. and these things add up, you know–like, what do they say? straw that breaks the camel’s back? i feel kinda stupid, even saying that. ’cause there are so many things in my life i take forgranted, you know?

’cause i’m an ungrateful little kid, i’m arrogant and confused. i talk shit, and blend in, change my opinion to match a room.

and i use the wrong words all the time, when i’m trying to tell you that i’m sorry. sometimes it comes out like static, or a nightmare of wanting. sometimes it rattles my bones.

but i am trying not to let my opinions bake in an oven, and stay that way for the rest of eternity. and i just hope that i do good by the monsters under my bed, because i’ve lost too many years sitting in a graveyard, and watching myself become history from another person’s point of view.

but it’s been a while since it slammed into me, in burning yellow hue. oh you poor little bird. look at you.


In my photography course, we were learning about parallax–how everything looks different depending on what lens you look it. For example, if you close one eye and look through the other, than close that eye and look through the one you just close, you notice the world around you shift, just a little–but if you open both, it kinda meets somewhere in the middle. (I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not, but I just learned it and I think it’s so cool, please humour me.)

Anyway, I think it’s a really pretty word, and I thought there was a poem somewhere in that, and this is what I ended up making. I hope you like it. 🙂

shift

the quiet corridors creak and shift, with the weight of ghosts unseen. but it’s not a haunted house, not really. just awkward, tiptoeing silence, and cold leftovers for dinner. dim blue light, baptizing the room in its glow.

and yeah, i’m sure it’s a great use of my time to watch tik toks on my computer until my eyes glaze over, playing audio from three different sources, until it all just fades to static. but at least i don’t have to sit in my head any longer.

feel its murky stench, pressing close like sewage against my skin. its scar-lined passageways, and scuffed floorboards. but now all i’ve got are goosebumps and bone. ’cause my friends are gone. the party’s over.

and all i’ve got to show for it is plates in the sink, and a to-do list scribbled on my palm. but the portrait halls never did tell the truth, and when i look into their eyes, all i can see is what i could have been. a thousand shortcomings, and skills it seems i’ll never grasp.

’cause i wanna roll down the hill, snow wrapping my bones like a blanket. even if you should have been there with me. i’m obsessed with the way the sky swirls like milk in coffee. and for a moment, i’m too caught up gasping for breath to worry.

goosebumps

you trace your fingers down the lines of old scars and long-held grudges, because i guess paranoia always did die hard. count them out quietly in your fingers, but i guess i can’t judge you too harshly, because i know i’ll be doing the same with yours. it’s so fucking awful. i know, i know, i know.

and some days, i’m a hopeless romantic, but most of the time i’m the most cynical person you’ve ever met. and i can’t be your princess, with her smiles and sunbeams and starlight filtering through her hair. a whole universe inside just one person. and i guess that’s all well and good in theory, but in practice, i don’t have a clue.

’cause i’m young, and naive, and inexperienced at most things. and it’s equal parts joy and torture, remaking myself each september. trying on different costumes in the hopes that maybe someday, i’ll find one that fits.

and i’m still learning silence from the burnt-out trees, raised up to worship the pain coursing through my bloodstream, to search day after day for its mythic beauty, only to realize, eleven years old, that maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do. but i still find myself following its footprints, on the bad days.

staying up too late on purpose, and letting my chapped lips start to burn. because if i’m just miserable for long enough, won’t you love me all the more? won’t you raise me up, and salute me, mount me like a trophy on your wall? would you tell me you’re proud of me, when i’ve done nothing at all?

would you plug the holes in my heart with drywall, paint me magenta and sky blue? would you run away with me one afternoon, even if it’s only in our dreams, and build me a cityscape of promises we’ll try our best to keep, but who knows?

because people change. and people mess up. but right now, i mean it, and maybe that’s enough.

developments

an ode to my hometown

there’s a distinct way, that this place manages to stay the same for years only to quietly reshape itself all while you’re lulled into a false sense of security, one monday morning on the way to school. and suddenly: there’s a new grocery store, or another lot that’ll sit empty.

until another liquor store moves in. maybe a yoga studio, or a gift shop, i don’t know. but as we stop at the light, i stare out the window, the insidious heat burning my cheeks, and melting my brain to putty. it’s another scorching summer day, mr. blue sky painting a mirage down the swooping highway.

and just like always, i watch tourists descend like vultures, picking clean the remains of clearance racks and grocery store displays, only to disappear along with burnt-yellow lawns and congested traffic each fall, leaving their souvenirs and marshmallows behind, or whatever it is tourists come here to buy.

but… there are also endless roads, forests stretching out for eternity. little creeks under highways, or half-empty bus rides, houses i’ve driven past my whole life, making up stories in my head for the people who must have lived inside. with their broken costco trampolines and hammock chairs.

and someday, i’ll leave this place. look back with nostalgia, and hatred, and god knows what else. wonder how i lived like this, and make myself anew. break promises, and hopefully keep some too. and oh, you beautiful disaster: i cannot wait to miss you.

how to plan for the future

  1. lie awake at night. you have to go to school tomorrow, and then you have to make lunch, and then you have to work, and you should really do the dishes. and after that, you have blog posts and chores and emails to answer and it’s never good enough, no matter how hard you work. is it?
  2. exchange a few more sentences than usual with your friend, about that apartment you might get, or the cities you could live in before you both start to panic. change the topic to characters in a story, or the clothing hanger someone left on the bus this morning. because god, it’s so fragile in my palms, able to shatter at the slightest touch.
  3. try to sketch it out on paper, even though it always comes out wrong. shoot down your dreams like birds in the sky, and watch them bleed out on freshly-mown grass. because that’s how this goes, right?
  4. type out google searches and never press enter. think about the years ahead of you, and start to panic because it’s so much, and so little, all at once. and i know what it’s gonna feel like deep down in my bones, when the music stops. and i’ve got nowhere to go.
  5. think about death: old folk’s homes, cough syrup, an IV in my wrist, the uncomfortable prick carefully numbed out. it’ll make me nauseous, i know it will. and what if there are people there beside me? what if i am the monster, the tree in the forest? what if—
  6. so now i try to stop. try to think about what i want and take deep breaths, knowing i’m already planning out a work schedule, and a budget. and isn’t it funny, how you can spend your whole life bracing for adulthood, but still get nauseated by the idea of paying bills?
  7. what if the cycle breaks me first? what if there’s nowhere to go?
  8. open a spreadsheet, and close out of your browser. shut down your computer, and run back and forth in the backyard until you can’t think clearly.
  9. what if i fuck everything up completely? what if i never have the courage to try? what if i look at myself in the mirror on a sunday morning, and can’t meet her eyes?
  10. but for whatever it’s worth, i would traverse a surburban hellscape at your side. settle down, and walk down the boardwalk, watching the sun rise. if that was what you wanted. and when our neighbours and their plastic children grow sharp, bleeding teeth, i’ve seen enough tv shows that i’ll probably know what to do, if i don’t freeze up under pressure, because that happens sometimes. and yeah, it sucks, but what are you gonna do?