roasted: open flame

my love might not be a showering of words
but a slow, observant eye.
it is not ‘i love you’
so much in letters
as in a splash of colour.
it is the every day,
remembering:
the clapping of your heels,
almost imperceptible nods,
when you Google-searched the difference
between baked and roasted salmon.

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4am thoughts

Full bloom is when the earth won’t stop smiling, the world won’t stop spinning into the furthest of reaches.

If I could put your laughter in a box, I would sink like sand. Quick, hold me.

Be the person that proclaims with your being: I am proof that there is good in the world.

High tech marks a forward trajectory, approaching Most Human and then surpassing it.

Phone therapy replaces phone sex. What have we done to our insides?

My ego loves you. I however, don’t.

Time feels like the tired grope of my hands on a rope pulled tight. Down the rabbit hole we go.

Dear J

I learnt what “skid marks” were the hard way. I also lived with the most putrid, rotting fish fingers in the fridge – so pungent I caught a whiff of it on my robe after a hot shower in California. To be fair, I contributed to this lifestyle by allowing us to keep the leftover Chicken Masala in the microwave after a night out, still a superior alternative to the kebabs across the street. ‘Twas good whilst it lasted but we weren’t raving to it.

It’s not exactly socially acceptable to pee in the same room as another person, with the door open. I don’t usually let people listen to me pee either. So I think what we have is pretty special. There’s also no one else I’d rather be caught tatas out to the sun with but you, babe. Only in France.

And don’t even get me started on “when the day is winding down”. The onset of night is the beginning of delirium. We can get away with following a good looking man home (half joking), guffawing in tears in supermarkets, malls, parks, trains… We have left echoes of our joint existence in narrow lanes and bar corners. We are insufferable, but who can help it when you pronounce ‘Gare du Nord’ like that??

You are my saving grace on Moody Mornings, your positivity dampened only by scoundrels that demand you donate to them- the deaf, blind and mute. All of them hearing & speaking. You drag me away from hopeless conversations and you help me snag all the deals. Ask for the iPhone charger, you say, the hotel adapters, an umbrella, low sodium meals on the airplane. Where would I be without you? Soaking wet, wandering through the streets of Paris, lost, and dying from chronic high blood pressure, most likely. And I can’t thank you enough for trouble shooting my laptop and updating my phone so that I can upgrade my emoji usage. I have been waiting for a ‘crossed fingers’ pictogram for the longest time. You are my I.T Wiz, MY ROCK.

I am thankful that you’re always on my cycle: lazy-day bud one day, hiking and yoga bud the next. Wine buddy one day, I-would-rather-die-than-drink buddy the next. Thank you for listening to stories about the same guys over and over again. Thank you for seeing the best in me. And most of all, thank you for understanding that my God is my compass.

I am always glad to know you are near, your sandals thumping behind me.

London

This morning: the wail of a siren rising in pitch, the image of a chest expanding upon inhalation.

***

We walk onto the footpath, under the bridge and by the water. Enchanting in the sun, forbidding under moonlight, where shadowy figures blow smoke and talk to themselves.

***

Regent’s Canal: A Shiba Inu scampering with it’s tiny cute butthole. A fluffy baby duck floating amidst the algae, a linoleum green bank. Rustic, the rubber of a tire encircling a patch of soil. Some green shoots. Do the pretty weeds fight for life or does the stone give way? Embellish the mouldy brick, the chipping wall paint with some flowers and graffiti.

***

We walk by a bar of morbid things. Drop anything into a mason jar and it will become an artefact. I read something I wish I hadn’t. I have a gross fascination with disgusting ideas- I hate them in reality. Like, bad things are funny when they’re not real.

***

Chilli plants like a crazy head of red. We are drawn to any sign that says: coffee. And my enthusiasm for walking fizzles out with the rain. I am on a one-man mission for food. I do not do well without breakfast, it seems. A third of the way into the chicken schnitzel and laughter bubbles inside me. Her name is Aquel.

***

Buckingham palace: I spilt coffee on the monument. I learn that she hates holding cups. You can learn a lot about your friends on holiday.

 

Trust

Nothing could have prepared me for the blood on my sheets yesterday morning. Fantastically red, smeared all over my thighs as if my skin were canvas. Splatters like cherry trees. I had never seen periods in this way: kind of beautiful, actually.
Though a little annoyed that I had to clean this up (and to think I’d want a puppy…), I got on with the task at hand. Sometimes you just have to do it. Like, cleaning your flatmates plates and taking out the trash before anyone else for some peace of mind. Like, starting a ten paged report, bulking up your skeletal resume, and going to that 9am class when your body feels like lead.

I praise God for a more adaptable attitude and an optimistic problem solving style. Instead of shying away from challenges and feeling defeated, I’ve noticed that I now respond to failure and disappointment in a more level-headed way. Am I stressed out about my Linked-in, the looming GRE and grad school applications? Absolutely. But I’m not going to be paralysed by anxiety. There is no ultimate deadline: success is growth at whatever pace works best for me. Most of the problems I’ve faced aren’t unsolvable, my screw-ups unsalvageable. And best of all, my God has planned every day that lies before me.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:16

Maybe I should’ve planned my winter holiday better. But hey, I’m on holiday. I’m trying to relax here. I’ve finally finished my two songs and posted them onto Soundcloud- now I don’t feel like a fraud when I tell people I “write songs for fun”. I just can’t find the time for personal hobbies during the school quarter- it always feels like I should be doing something else. Anyway, how frequently do you have to do something for it to be a hobby? How long ago was that a habit? Do you currently write/sing/hike/draw/read? Erm not really.

At least I’ve replied all the important emails and I’ve seen some important friends- though I tick them off the list and think I’ve done my part after one meeting. I’ve done some Christmas shopping, crafted some cards, watched The Intouchables (brilliant French film). I’ve still got Dim Sum and a massage on my mind. Another song. A book to finish. But I’m not going to fret if I don’t complete everything; last summer was a bummer because I couldn’t do it all. This winter will be different because I’m #chill.

F sleep

Any less than four hours of sleep and I am subhuman. Expressions fail to materialise, lips pressed into a hard line. I am unresponsive for the most part.

I cried on the way back from the Christmas party. It was cold, I was tired, and the thought of the trek in heels made me weak. I thought I hated her too. All of a sudden, I’m the better friend for bearing the brunt of her mood swings. I can’t wait to fly home and celebrate Christmas with my true friends. Maybe I won’t ever come back. Fuck social pain. Fuck irrationality.

I didn’t play White Elephant because I didn’t get a gift for anyone; I watched on the sofa with a heavy belly and a drowsy head. Sick from all the sugar I ate to compensate for the sluggishness. This. is. Defeat.

I dredged up all the frustrations in my heart and threw them at her in my mind. Then I forced myself to remember that I am loved with unfathomable depth. That He was loved least by men. That I can learn to love without expectation.

(sleep erases the accusations)

I slept in, skipped class this morning and drank some coffee. My skin is amazing because ovulation. Music is wonderful. My research investigator called me an Honour Student. My friend invited me to free-load off her sorority for lunch and my schedule is working itself out. It’s like magic.

I pledge to take better care of myself, to be invested in what my friends are doing and write more. Today is a better day.

Happy camper

You can take the girl out of the campfire but you can’t take the campfire out of the girl. Traces of it in my hair, my (roommate’s) silver padded Patagonia jacket. I’m back with gritty nails- half bitten, inedible sausages. I’ve accrued mysterious bruises along my side and the confident gait of one who has traversed mountains.

I’ve walked amongst the dead, charred bodies of pine cones, black as tar. Amongst micro-forests, little colonies of plants like shrunken trees. I found myself on the set of Brother Bear, surveying creeks and slender trunks on which feral grey squirrels darted back and forth. I dared myself to drink from the fresh ice-water rushing along the granite and imagined the bacteria settling in my stomach, teeming with protean life.

I learned how to roll a sleeping bag properly- a laborious affair. In America, it’s a standard mom thing to pack sleeping bags for their children, I’ve been told. I remember my favourite blanket was a padded princess sleeping bag my dad would sometimes zip me up in. I remember the pink and the baby blue, the yellow of her crown, the cotton lining a hot cocoon around my body- I learned the hard way that my feet like to breathe.

I used my electric toothbrush, lined up for hot cocoa and breakfast oatmeal- thanks to the portable water heater. Snap-stories failed to post… But I peed a couple of times in the bushes to make up for my sins. Let’s pretend it’s not my first rodeo.

Sept 11th

Clouds, floating grey asteroids in a changing gradient of green, blue and yellow. Van Gough, Money, Degas could not have painted a sky like this, a picture in transition. God, You know beauty like no other. Thank you for the glorious display, the shocking beauty of the sky, like glaciers bathed in warm sun – think marigold, maybe a tangerine before it is ripe- with dark fissures for clouds. Is this the stretching plain of dawn or the falling curtain of night? My grandfather said today that never in history had the clouds been this way, and never again will the pattern be the same again.

Beach day

Sand dunes, mountains with pot holes. He’s skidding along the slopes, his tiny feet plodding and skipping over certain death.

A little girl piles onto an ever-growing bucket of sand, a castle in it’s own right. “Cover the seaweed, cover the seaweed”, she chants with a rhythm and inflection that births a jingle.

Pink sun-hat on her head, she grabs at star-shaped biscuits the with little crabby hands. Hand to bowl, smash to mouth and repeat.

The young leaders: “guys!” They keep digging. “Guys listen!” They pat at the walls of the trenches they have dug. “Guys listen to me!” This time exasperated. “Let’s dig a third hole, right over there!” He gets started and the others nod.
Another girl whips her head around to her friend and says “I’ll show you where to go”. She jumps into the sea without looking back to see if anyone is following.

He wades in tentatively. Stares as the sand suck at his feet. Forwards, a cool flush, backwards, the liquid rolls.

A watering hole. A puddle surrounding the pipe. Good for washing hands and feet, he’s discovered.

Things flow downstream. Just dig a line towards the sea and pour water from the very top. Watch as it flows like a viscous substance. Slurred, languorous.

Little boy follows the trail, the dip in the sand. It must lead somewhere, it’s a path after all.

Dark barley grains, black almost. They must be collected and separated from the lighter sand. How else does one layer the cake?

From time immemorial, the fetching of water. To the sea they go, and back to home base. Used for building. Used to refill the temporary well, the water mysteriously disappearing underground.