Friday, January 31, 2014

You don't have to like something to love it.  And you don't have to understand something to know it by heart.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I have to learn the hard way; pavement purple bruises on my knees, blood dried between my toes, gin stale on my teeth, the smell of apartment fire escape cigarettes in my hair.  I have to see how bad it can get to know how good it was.  I have to see how bad I can feel, to know what happiness felt like.  I have to know what it takes to hate myself, to remember love only takes an instant.  But I never needed to test the numbers to know what one felt like. 

Magical Thinking

I tried to let you go in the bathroom stall of a comedy club on MacDougal Street with a man with guitar player hands.  I tried to let you go on the bar stool of an Irish Pub afterhours, with the bartender who tasted like Stella Artois.  I tried to let you go in the back of a candlelit Soho restaurant.  I try to loosen my grip on you with gin and cigarettes.  But it’s just an idea.  It’s hard to let an idea go.  The idea of you floats up from the bottom of a cocktail glass, slides across my tongue easier than any stranger’s kiss.  The idea of you looks back at me when I open my eyes to watch someone else’s face against mine. (Is this what is means to see other people?)  At 4a.m. on a Monday, I stumble over the idea of you as I fall alone into my bed.  You said, “What are we without our ideas?”  And I think about love.  I can repeat the same conversations I had with you with men who look at me with starved fox eyes, but it doesn’t spark anything for me.  I can have great bad ideas, but they pass like a hangover and it’s onto the next one.  What are we without our ideas?  What am I with mine?  What ideas are you having these days?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Great No Expectations

In relationships, I never paid much attention when someone told me what they loved about me; I was too preoccupied with trying to guess what they’d grow to hate.  And in turn I thought maybe I hated relationships because they always seemed to make me feel bad about myself.  Being in a relationship was like being trapped in a small confined space with myself, with the added terror of possibly having to spend the rest of my life with that one person: myself.  

So I felt better when I was doing something bad, like cheating or pursuing someone who was bad for me or just unavailable.  When I was with someone who was bad -- when I was bad -- I didn’t feel bad because I didn’t feel I owed that person anything.  I could be who I was, say what I thought and never worry that some little part of me would let them down because there were no high hopes or great expectations in the first place.  The real trouble was that eventually these bad choice boys would come to know me in ways that someone I actually loved couldn’t because I didn’t let them.  And yet it was that feeling of being entirely known and accepted that I believed was really love.  It got confusing.  And addicting.

It makes me think of a situation in which I found myself with someone who could only have really good, hot sex with me if we weren’t dating.  When we were dating, he liked sweet, polite sex.  Which was nice – sometimes.  But once we weren’t dating we could have great sex.  And I don’t mean great angry break-up sex.  I mean sustainable, healthy, anything-but-boring, something-to-live-for gratifying sex.  Maybe the thing is that in relationships people feel they need to put their best self forward and instead of growing comfortable enough to just be entirely out there with the person they love, they grow resentful of constantly having to analyze and berate themselves for slipping up and letting themselves be real instead of just really charming.   It’s like having tea with your grandmother and being careful to fold your napkin in your lap and not say the wrong thing. 

I had a boyfriend who said he couldn’t stand the pressure of a relationship.  He couldn’t stand the pressure of constantly trying not to let the person he loved down. I think that it is easy to expect too much from someone – and I know I certainly, often, maybe do.  But I think that when you love someone, sometimes the person you expect too much from is yourself.  It makes sense to want to be perfect for the person you love, but really it’s silly because if you’re in love then you’re already perfect together.  It’s possible to love someone so much that you forget that they love you too.  

It's not me. But it's ok if it is.

I was always thinking about what it was about me that wouldn’t be enough for you, wondering what quality of mine would be the ultimate turn-off.  I would go over in my head every secret, every shortcoming, every childhood trauma, looking for which one would be the deal breaker and all the while feeling as if I myself was in fact that broken thing.  I would think of all the things I didn’t like about myself, about my life, my history…  Whenever things were going well between us, it made me feel uneasy, like you must be missing something and you’d figure it out eventually so I had better not get comfortable.  I didn’t pay much attention when you told me what you loved about me; I was too preoccupied with trying to guess what you’d grow to hate.  And in turn I thought maybe I hated relationships because they always seemed to make me feel bad about myself.  Being in a relationship was like being trapped in a small confined space with a very unlikeable person, with the added terror of possibly having to spend the rest of my life with that one person: myself. 

Lately, I’ve tried dating for the first time.  Sometimes this means going on an actual date, sometimes it’s a polite term for making out in a bathroom stall with a married man.  Dating has taught me something I have always said but never really applied to people I got romantically involved with: people are awful.  Really.  Everyone is.  People are boring and rude and selfish and stupid and reckless and troubled.  Everyone is fucked up in one way or another.  It’s great.  Good people do bad things.  Successful people people might have had shitty childhoods.  Great kissers who also like Chagall can have troubled pasts.  And people who seem to have everything really might but they probably won’t have it all figured out.  I find it freeing.  For the first time I’m worried not that my own brand of fucked up will drive away someone who is magically intelligent and funny and sexy and ambitious and kind and yet stupid enough to fall in love with me.  Relationships might not work out and it might even be my fault, but if it is, it’s not because I’m any worse than anyone else. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Faded Blue

Sometimes I would have soup as well, but oftentimes just two glasses of rose wine or Lagunitas beer for lunch during my break from work.  Maybe three glasses.  Or occasionally some whiskey sour.  It was the best drunk feeling I had ever experienced, leaving the dark wood and wine red walls of the bar and stepping out onto Madison Avenue in the bright summer afternoon sunshine.  I would take a short walk up and down a couple blocks of Madison or Park Avenue, enjoying the feeling of floating in the warmth, enjoying the feeling of having a secret.  And when I would return to work, nothing would ever be as bad as it had been in the morning.  I would like everyone more, or else I wouldn’t really even notice them.  I would fly through my work, coming up with new ways to make it look like I was doing a good job and I then I would do my writing and it would always be fluid and lyrical and profound.  And I would tell jokes with the receptionist and I would elate in the blind passing of time. 
When I would go home, I would I would cure the slight headache that usually developed around 4p.m. with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  I would listen to music and dance by myself until it felt better to just lie back on my bed and experience the sound.  And all the while I would be delightfully, comfortably, lost in my memories.
Of course, there was the one time I bought a bottle of gin instead of wine and drank it while I talked on the phone to my mom, who was probably also drinking.  And then I texted someone who was not even my ex-boyfriend.  I said I was in love with him.  I probably said more but I don’t remember.  He responded but I didn’t read what he said; I just deleted it.  And I told myself it didn’t matter because gin drunk isn’t love.  The next day, for lunch, I had my first Bloody Mary.  Then I had my second Bloody Mary.  And then I had my third. 
A lot of things were wrong at that point.  My job was miserable.  I was miserable.  And I was alone.  I had ceased to have a boyfriend and a best friend in the span of one week’s time.  And I had been raped a year and a half earlier, and it was just starting to bother me.  Sometimes, after a bottle of wine, I would sit on my bed writing the word RAPE with a blue ink pen all over my legs.  And then I would wake up in the morning, hungover and sick at the sight of the word all over my skin.  And sometimes I couldn’t wash it off in the shower, so I would have to walk around all day with faded blue rape under my jeans.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mad Man

He told me his name was Chris, so I named him Number Four for my own clarity, but then he became Don Draper.  He had the hair, the eyes, the drunken cruelty that was begging to be called out.  He had the forehead, the smile, the wedding ring.  He had the hotel room, the early morning meetings, and the house in Connecticut with a wife and a baby on the way.  And he had a hateful, hopeful passion for a woman like me.  I hated him, as a matter of principle, but I liked to think I was like him too.  I asked for every story he had about picking up women on the Upper East Side during his single days and he gladly supplied and I countered with my own stories.  He was not only impressed but compelled to tell me I’d okay.  I hadn’t been asking, but I had.  But I knew that people like us are always okay because we know how to choose a good wine, a pressed shirt, and a secret to keep. 
He hated the way I kept rolling my eyes at him, but it was a hate I knew he liked.  And I imagined being on top of him in his hotel room, rolling my eyes at him, and then him rolling over onto me.  His eyes were inescapable in the candlelight of the Upper East Side Italian restaurant where we sitting at the bar and I didn’t want to be anywhere else because there is nothing sexier than a bad decision. 
He told me he wanted to name his daughter Aria and he wrapped him arms around and bought my third glass of champagne, just as he had bought my first two.  He was sharp and mean, in the precise way I liked.  And I met him move for move until we were caught in candlelight and raised eyebrows.  And our eyes rolled together, over his wine glass, my champagne flute, the buttons of his shirt, the necklace that rested on my collarbone.  And I wanted him in the way that movie people want other movie people.  I wanted him cinematically.  I wanted sparks and sound effects and credits that rolled.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

He said, "You're in love with me." And I replied, "You're projecting."

I wanted to want the kind of love that is all dinners and movies and walks in the park.  But I couldn’t.  Or I just didn’t.  It was so normal, it made me crazy.  But with him...  I liked the way he was broken.  I loved the way he could break my heart.  It made me feel safe.  I liked his crooked smile and the way he always kept a pack of cigarettes in his pocket.  I liked that I didn’t have to tell him anything because he already understood.  And I liked the way he gave me shit.  I liked being over my head in something. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Being alone is a lot like being with you.  I still take the same walks through Central Park and the East Eighties.  I still find the quiet, proud look of the doorman buildings comforting.  I still feel like Holly Golightly.  I still think you’re better off for knowing better than to love a wild thing and I still end up looking at the sky.  I still order the same take-out and I still read the New Yorker in bed.  I still watch other people and wonder if they’re happier than me, if they know something I don’t even know how to learn.  Being alone is a lot like being with you, only it’s quieter and it seems to take more time.  I don’t know how, exactly, but everything that happens when I’m alone seems to take longer – feeling better, falling asleep, taking a walk, drinking a glass of wine, finishing my dinner.  Being alone is a lot like being with you except, there’s no one to finish my dessert when I’m too full.  There’s no one to start a sentence for me to finish.  Being alone is a lot like being with you; I’m happy enough.  Or I’m drunk. 
I have nightmares when I'm dreaming.

Not a lullaby.

I don’t sleep anymore.  I can’t stand the loss of control.  No matter how tired I am at night, I fight sleep.  I keep my eyes open.  I remain alert.  I watch the sky turn varying shades of blue outside my window.  I fight and I win.  I am quite skilled in conquering sleep.  I honed my skills as a child.  I didn’t like to sleep then either.  Being awake seemed like the easiest thing to control and control was key.  I learned to wait out the darkness because in its nothingness I was always sure there was something.  I hate the way darkness creaks and moans.  I hate the way it lurks and looms.  I hate the quietness of it and I hate the possibility of something interrupting the quiet.  Nothing good happens in the dark.  I like to have sex with the lights on.  
So I don’t sleep -- not really.  Sometimes I nap.  And sometimes I get so tired that I dream while I’m awake.  I have half-awake dreams about having nightmares.  And accidental nap dreams about waiting for you and being attacked in the meantime.  I’m never as good a fighter as I need to be in my dreams and you’re always just an idea that never materializes in time.
I don’t think very well without sleep. I’m terrified of everyone except my bartender.  And I can’t tell time anymore.  4a.m. feels just like 2p.m.  Tuesdays feel like Saturdays.  I don’t miss you anymore because in controlling sleep I control time, or maybe I just begin to exist outside of it.  Outside of where we happened.  Outside of where anything can ever happen to me.  Maybe I am out of it.  In my sleeplessness, we’re timeless.  Maybe I’m really afraid of time.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lucky (an excerpt)

In New York, they call police stations precincts.  You and I went to the precinct.  Well, we went to my designated precinct, which happened to be in East Harlem.  So we took a taxi, which let us out deeper into Harlem than I’d ever been.  There was a Christmas tree at the precinct.  It was decorated in silver and blue tinsel.  You commented that the Christmas tree at your office looked worse.  I realized that this was the first Christmas tree I had seen this season.  Beside the tree was a box for donating coats for the homeless.  It was a miserably cold night.  And the cold seemed to have followed us into the precinct, where we sat on a concrete bench, behind a metal gate, beyond which were office desks, police, and the Christmas tree and the box of coats.  The cold felt like it was coming up out of the concrete bench, up through my coat and my jeans and into my bones.  I shivered and said to you that when this was over we should donate coats.  I knew we each had old but still perfectly warm winter coats that we no longer needed.  I had every intention of doing this, as I said it aloud.  I was convinced it would feel good to help someone else – warm, maybe it would feel warm. 
A man sat down beside us on the concrete bench and asked if we knew the time.  I checked my phone and told him.  He was shivering too.  I wondered what he was there for.  I was there for you.  At least, you were the only thing in the world that would ever inspire me to call a Special Victim’s Unit Detective, take a taxi into Harlem, and go to a precinct to attempt to report a rape.  I didn’t need to have it on record.  It was already in me.  There were bruises on my skin.  That was enough.
What I needed was for someone to lie in bed and hold me, someone to go with me to the movies and tell me jokes and laugh even when I told bad ones.  I needed someone to look at the bruises on my hip and hug me until I felt comfortable enough to cry.  You had cried two nights before.  And I suspected you had cried more than that, when I wasn’t there to see.  You had said you couldn’t go on as long as the person who did this got away with it. 
And so there we were, at the precinct, waiting to talk to the detective.  It was exactly two weeks before Christmas.  I think you thought reporting the rape would make it better.  I didn’t think so, but I wanted you to be better.  I also wanted you to hold me at night, instead of turning onto your side and whimpering and demanding not to be touched.  I wanted to be touched.  I wanted to be normal and pretty and happy and not raped. 
You held my hand as we sat waiting for the detective.  I was rambling, telling stories about my childhood, Christmas, whatever came to mind.  I have never been comfortable with silence. 
The detective was a large, sturdy, Irish woman with a shaved head and a single pierced ear.  She led us through the metal gate, passed the Christmas tree and the box of coats, past the desks and the police officers who didn’t even look at us.  I looked back at the man who had asked me for the time, before we turned a corner into a stairwell.  Upstairs, we came to a room that was familiar even though I had only ever seen such a place in movies.  It was one of those small windowless, wall-to-wall concrete rooms with a single florescent light hanging from the ceiling, where detectives question people (suspects?).  She told you to wait outside. 
Inside, the room was oppressively hot.  The detective sat at a small folding table.  I sat across from her.  She told me she had heard about my case from the nurse that had been on duty when I went into the ER three nights earlier.  I felt betrayed by the nurse.  I felt like the detective had judged me even before I had decided to report the rape.  And as I set about telling her what had happened, I began to feel like any sense of strength or righteousness I had left was being put on trial.  She asked me to tell her everything I ate the day of the rape.  She said I didn’t eat enough carbs.  She asked me how much I drank.  She said repeatedly, “I like to party too.”  I stared at her earing, her shaved head.  I pictured her in a Metallica t-shirt and acid washed jeans with a gage in her ear.  I pictured her doing lines.  Before going to the precinct I had put on my pearl earrings and changed into my new cashmere sweater, because I thought it was important to dress respectably when reporting a crime, or maybe I had gotten to idea from a movie I had once watched.
The detective told me how things would proceed if I decided to go ahead with pressing charges.  She told me she would take my case, but that I had a little to no chance of winning it.  She told me again, “As a woman, I understand.  I like to party too.” 
            I wanted a drink.
            She told me to take the rest of the week to think about what I wanted to do and then to call her Sunday afternoon.  It was Wednesday night.  She gave me her card and I slipped it into my wallet. 
I think I already knew I wouldn’t call her.  I couldn’t call her.  And I think I knew too that my choice not to call her would mean the end of whatever was left between me and you.  Or maybe it had already ended.  Maybe it had ended the second you saw the nurse in the ER draw vials of my blood or saw her collect my underwear as evidence.  Or maybe it had ended long before that and that’s why you couldn’t bring yourself to roll over in the night and hold me and I couldn’t bring myself to go through with pressing the charges for you.  Or maybe you couldn’t hold me because it hadn’t ended and that’s why this hurt you so much.  And I just couldn’t press the charges no matter how much you said you needed me too, no matter how much I loved you.
In the taxi that was taking us away from the precinct and Harlem and back to my apartment, I told you that I needed a drink first.  I told the driver to stop at Eighty-Eighth and Third.  I told you I wouldn’t be able to sleep without something to calm me.  What I meant was that I knew better than to expect you to calm me.  Also, I think I wanted to delay the inevitable moment of watching you crawl into my bed and turn away from me onto your side and insist your stomach hurt and that you needed to be left alone.  After which I would lie down beside you and watch you and think about how this hurt more than anything else.
On the taxi ride to the Italian restaurant where we were going to go sit at the bar, I kept making sarcastic comments about how the detective had told me that she too liked to party.  I hated her.  And I hated myself.  There wasn’t enough hate left over for the person who put me in this mess in the first place.  That was the problem. 
The look on your face and the feeling that hovered between us when I told you I couldn’t go through with pressing charges broke my heart.  And not in a cliché way.  It really broke my heart.  It made me sure that I would never be capable of loving anyone as much as I had loved you ever again because this hurt so much that it really did cause something in me to break. 
At the Italian restaurant we satt at the bar.  I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir.  You ordered a Peroni.  The old Italian bartender was watching the Knicks game on TV.  You pointed out Woody Allen sitting courtside.  Woody Allen was our first shared loved and our lasting one.  If I had any faith left, I would have thought it was a sign or a small gift from God.  I commented that Woody Allen says that if he could choose between never watching sports again and never watching another movie, he would choose sports.  (Something about how sports are the real theater, maybe?)  I didn’t have it in me to recite my favorite Woody Allen line from Annie Hall about how life is divided into two types of people: the horrible and the miserable.  And the horrible are the death, the blind, the terminally ill.  And the miserable is everyone else.  “You’re lucky that you’re miserable,” Woody Allen tells Diane Keaton’s character as they stand in a bookshop where he has just discouraged her from buying a cat book.
I thought then that I should take you to see Woody Allen play his clarinet at the Carlyle next Monday night.  I thought that would be a chance to un-break everything.   I pictured myself wearing a new dress and you seeing me as beautiful again, as opposed to someone who has been bruised.  I pictured you smiling.
But we wouldn’t go to the Carlyle to see Woody Allen Monday night because I had to go to my last graduate class ever.  Though, really, the class seemed so trivial to me at that point.  Everything seemed trivial except for the bruises on my skin and the look on your face. 
I ordered a second glass of wine.  You had another beer.  We werent’t talking, just staring at the TV and listening to the people at the end of the bar converse.  They were discussing existential philosophy.  One of them said she read Camus in college. 
The wine was heavy.  I felt a bit light headed.  I wished I hadn’t felt I needed it.  I don’t want you to agree with the detective, that this is all my fault because I like to party.  I didn’t want you to look at me sipping my Pinot Noir, wishing it was magic, and see a sad, stupid woman who drank gin and tonics and went out dancing with her male co-workers and woke up burning, sore, scarped and bruised.  I don’t want either of us to think about choices.  I don’t want you to think what I think, that regardless of how it happened, I betrayed you. 
Back in my apartment, you and I laid in bed.  You sang Frank Sinatra, “My Way.”  It wouldn’t be until a month and a half had passed since that day and a month since I last saw you that I would remember you telling me when we first started dating that listening to “My Way” was the only thing that could make you cry.  You cried in bed that night.  And so did I.  And when you fell asleep, I sat up in bed and watched you.  In the morning I watched you walk down the stairs until you turned a corner and disappeared. 

Day 45

It feels like the world exploded and I’m the only one who knows it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

This is why.

I keep thinking of the moment I glimpsed your head across the ER.  I keep thinking of the way you hugged me when you reached me, the way your fingertips gently kneaded into my back as if you were checking to make sure it was all still there.  I keep thinking about how you made me feel like everything would be okay in a way that I had thought I had stopped believing anyone could ever do.  And I regret telling you what happened because I can’t make it okay for you.  I think about that a lot.  The first thought I had when you were hugging me in the ER that night, was of the look on your face when we had been sleeping together for a while and I thought it was appropriate to tell you I had been raped.  I knew I loved you then because your eyes were breaking my heart.  You had the same look in the ER.  The fact that you hurt, hurts me more than the fact that someone hurt me.  I think I should never do it again – tell someone what happened.  And I think that, really, I hurt you because I let this happen to me again.  I think about that a lot.  The nurse said I was lucky to have you.  You were unlucky to have me.
And then I think about the things I did to you months ago.  I think about flirting with the Brazilian bartender in front of you.  I think about how I acted like everything was life and death and misery in between.  And I think about how I would cry and how you would just curl up next to me, even when I shouted at you to leave.  And I think of how many times I threatened to leave and how you were always there for me.  And I think of how many times in the past six months you’ve asked, “Why me?  Why do you want me?  What makes me so special?”

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lukcily, time happens in present tense.

It takes a long time.  That’s what I’ve learned.  It takes a long time to stop acting like the world has your happiness on back order – like it will just show up at your doorstep one day.  A long time to stop believing the universe owes you something for what you’ve been through.  A long time to stop thinking there is quota of suffering you have to meet and once it’s met, then you get to be happy ever after.  It takes a long time to see the difference between the love you want and the love you need.  And even longer to accept the love that someone is able to give.  And even longer still to accept when someone can’t or when you can’t – or that, sometimes, letting go is a greater act of love than holding on.  It takes a long time to stop feeling like your eleven year old self, crouched crying in the corner.  I don’t know how long.  Maybe that’s why life happens in time. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014


You.  I am caught in the curve of the vowels.  Or am I hiding?  Are You cradling me?  Away from the cradle of You, I am a disappointment.  Newborn hope falling like a baby from the windblown tree.   But I don’t mind because I am disappointed.  I am let down, so why mind being it?  I would be it for You.  And I am.  I write lullabies for the wind. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

More Than Perfect (Plus-que-parfait)

“Your heart knows how to kill things before they kill you,” the man at the bar told me.  Or was it love?  Maybe it wasn’t things, maybe it was “Your heart knows how to kill love before it kills you.”  But then it is a matter of diction.  Does your heart kill love before your heart kills you or before love kills you? 

I was onto my third martini of the Wednesday evening and this man was onto me.  I was drinking because, if I didn’t, I felt like I would drown.  He asked me if I had read Dry by Augusten Burroughs.  I had not. This was a professor of film at the same university I was getting my MFA from.  We were sitting side by side at Bar 6, a French bistro style bar with low lighting that was tinted a dark red – like hell or a West Village happy hour.

This was Before.  Two days Before.  And I knew he was right but I wish I would have known.  How things can split in two. Like time – Before and After.  (Or was it love?) How things die.  How the heart can stop.  How I would wake up Saturday morning and walk to a church courtyard because it felt like the right place to cry.  How love dies because, if it didn’t, we would.

How, After, you would say – almost cry – “ I can’t go on if he does.”  And again it would be a matter of diction.  Go on.   You couldn’t live if he did?  Or you couldn’t continue to love me?

And what about unconditional love?  In French the conditional verb tense is actually called a verb mood.  Are you no longer in the mood?

And what killed the mood?  Was it seeing the vials of my blood on the table in the emergency room?  Was it watching me stand naked while the nurse photographed my bruises?  Was it in the way I saw your eyes turn red and wet and heard your voice crack as you reminded her about bruises on my hips?

“Your heart knows how to kill things before they kill you.”  Or was it love?

After, you said, “You’re MY girl.”  And what you meant was that someone stole something that belonged to you.  Something.  (Or was it love?)  Was it that he hurt me or was it that he killed the mood?

After, you held my hand on the taxi ride to the police precinct.  You didn’t hold my hand on the way back. 

Love dies because, if it didn’t, we would.

After, you said you needed us to be done.  You said you couldn’t go on.  And I couldn’t argue this time because what he stole from you, he stole from me too: Me.  I no longer felt I had my own legs to stand on. 

After, you said we were perfect but that you weren’t sure there wasn’t something more perfect.  (Or was it love?)  But imperfect is just a verb tense.  It’s tense, but you can choose a different one.

You’ll choose a different one. 

“Your heart knows how to kill things before they kill you.”  Or was it love?

It was love.

Past perfect* (verb tense).  In French: Plus-que-parfairt.  (Literally: more than perfect)

*The French plus-que-parfait (past perfect) is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action.

Throwing Stones

I hope you meet a girl with a diamond stare that can cut your glass heart.  And I hope someday you give her a ring and say it reminds you of her eyes.  And something in the two of you bleeds.  Blood diamonds, baby.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


He was a dreamer.  He fell in love with ideas and he was attracted to possibilities. When he broke up with me he said, “What are we without our ideas?”  What he meant was, “Who am I without my idea I have of what it would be like to be single?  Who am I without the possibility of other women?”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'd be yours

Someday I’ll write this.  Words charged like a criminal.  Pen hard pressed to the page.  Someday I’ll right this.  Cover bruises with kisses.  Whisper long armed lullabies that hold us while we sleep.  I never believed in heroes, but I always believed in you.  You were mine.  I'm sorry I couldn't be yours.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I loved the way everything about you sparkled.  You were a dream.  You were New York City.  Big and bright and wonderful.  But I was from a place where nothing sparkled but the snow right after it fell, right before it turned dirty gray.  With you I had stumbled into something I was not from, into a place that I had dreamed of but did not belong.  I was a dreamer but I couldn’t be anyone’s dream. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Maybe I never wanted to be good; I wanted to be interesting.

Rewriting: Have a Little Faith

On our first date my boyfriend [you] told me that he [you] thought Woody Allen was a truly great actor because he ended Manhattan  not with a great last line, but with a great smile.  In the final scene of the movie Woody Allen’s character learns that the woman he loves is leaving to spend six months in London.  He tells her that doesn’t want her to go because he is worried that she might lose “that little thing” that he loves about her.  She tells him that he has to learn to have a little faith in people.  His response to this statement is a slow, sweet smile.  I always thought that was his character’s way of agreeing to have a little faith.
The day after we saw Manhattan in Brooklyn [A month later] my boyfriend [you] suggested that we write each other stories, so we agreed to each write our own version of that date.  Ever the dedicated writer, I finished my story within the week.  He [You] still hasn’t written his  [never wrote yours], so he hasn’t read mine but the point of the [every] story that I wrote for him [you] was that, when I smile at him [you], I am agreeing to have a little faith.  And I think that is a really nice story. 

[I need you to make me smile again.]

Rewriting: (Don't) Walk Away

In love and in New York, I began to learn what I want and what I have. I want people I love, people I share a happy history and inside jokes with. I want a favorite brunch place and a place to spend the holidays. And I learned the meaning of one of my favorite Joan Didion lines: You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.  [And I learned that you can’t always pick the people who walk away from you, no matter how much you want to.]

You Make Me Wanna Shout

I shout at you Get out. Leave. This is it. I never want to see you again.
You say Okay, I’ll see you next week. 
I say I can’t do this anymore.
You say Then don’t.
I look into you Would you really want that?
You say I’m here, aren’t I?
You say I don’t want to do this anymore.
I say I want you to WANT to do this. 
And then there are things we don’t say.  There are movements and looks and sounds from an unspeakable language.  Because I can’t make you want to do this but I can take your lips between mine and --- 
And you will say I hate you
And I will say I hate you too.
And you will curl every inch of yourself around me, over me, until just one side of my face is visible from beneath you.  And one of us will say I love you.  Because love and hate are close like that.

A Solitary Activity

I haven’t fallen asleep before 4a.m. in almost a month.  I sit awake all night long, in bed. A box of Christmas cards that I never mailed sits beside me on the floor.
I suppose I can understand why friends and loved ones treat a person like the bad thing that happened to them stopped happening the moment the doctor tells them they’re free to go.  I like to think the same thing, most days.  But it’s not how it works.  The bad things that happen are at their worst after everyone leaves, when I have to sit alone with my own thoughts and – worse – inside my own body.  Everyday when I take a shower or put on my socks or change into my gym shoes I see the bright red scrape on my ankle that just won’t heal. I can still align my fingers with the green and purple prints on my hips.  I can push my fingertips hard against the bruises, but it doesn’t hurt.  I think it would be better if it hurt.  If it hurt maybe I would be something other than just quiet.  Lately, I find the hardest thing to be talking to other people.  Even well meaning people who text things like, “How are you?”  And I have to say “I’m fine” or “I’m good” or “I’m ok” because it’s not like I’m crying. You have to tell people you’re fine in times like this because what else can you say?  I changed and the world didn’t? Besides, people are uncomfortable with truth.  They don’t like to be reminded that their perception of how the world works, of right and wrong, of safe and dangerous is just that: a perception.
Someone told me after it happened that I shouldn’t be writing about it; I should be doing something about it.  But this is what I do.  I remember, I first wanted to be a writer because it was something to do; it was the only thing to do about most of what happened to me.  I never trusted other people’s justice, but I trusted the way the words moved.  Writing is a solitary activity.