Dispatch From The Mundane 023
What if I ask God to make us kissing constellations?
Eating nasu dengaku or miso-glazed eggplant over rice, finishing up my workday. I use red miso. I don’t measure anything, and I add chili to the sauce. I didn’t heat the cast iron properly, and there’s scorch of sauce and aubergine skin.
Look at the time as I’m going through google drive. Finished eating and tried again to write this. Eyes closed as I scrubbed the pan. 7:30 pm, and I think it’s goodnight.
Just changed my work signature finally. I say in a meeting that I’d forgotten, but really, I wasn’t sure what to do with physically acknowledging my promotion. I know that I’ve mentally and emotionally experienced the ups and downs of the climb. I didn’t know what the words meant that were assigned to me.
I'm chatting with Jesse about mechanical keyboards between the existential—open toggle, see all settings, edit signature. I've got stars in my eyes thinking about building my keyboard, and I DO NOT need any other things to be fascinated with or dream of learning, but. My defense of hobbies is all that I am is multipotentiality, and I want to settle down and focus on one thing. Lotus flowers require darkness and the specific nutrients of soiled water to grow and blossom. All the work to get to the surface of the water. Often I think all that you've survived, all that has tested and nurtured you— it culminates, and my hope is we reach the surface of the water in my lifetime.
I keep telling myself I can’t do anything fun because I’ve got to work, and then I find myself taking apart my guitar, following a video slowly to take each string off, and I think it’ll be simple. I’ll put it all back together. I can’t always blame ADHD. I genuinely enjoy connecting to something new because it allows me to make a new connection to the old.
I love that this is happening now. I love that I get to talk to RL about guitars and T. about food again in Instagram DMs, and it reminds me of her editing my essays years ago. It took years to get to this moment of connection again. I love mechanical keyboards even more now because it means one more thing to share with JV. It’s as close to sitting in his house eating Thai food and watching skate videos a decade ago as I’ll get. It’s someone I used to be and someone I was, and for one moment, I can see the similarities, and in the I’ll take it. I’ll never let it go.
All-day, I’ve been contemplating my purpose and how names are assigned to you at work, at birth, but sometimes they don’t encapsulate what or who you are or who you’re becoming; the potential, the possibility of you.
Do you ever think of how we often fail to succeed? Do we succeed by failing?
Are the semantics just ethics and criticisms of optimism?
Given a name at birth, I feel I am but a broker for the universe most of the time.
Here is my favorite photo of me. It’s not one I’ve shared many times in recent years. Taken on my birthday, I’m blowing out a chocolate covered grasshopper) that I’d post it every year because it seems like a celebration of life. The overwhelm. I’m in my favorite place, the faces of people I love surrounding me, there’s proof of my life, and I can hear the song.
I wear a bracelet, and I’ve never taken it off for a little over four years.
The photo, the bracelet, happened in the same year: the same year that I ran a half marathon, read tons of poems for many audiences and moved into a house with people I loved. I’m not sure if she’s still on Earth, but the person who took this photo isn’t, and I’m thinking of him this week.
Wanted to share this photo with you. Want to tell you about N. I’m still figuring out my purpose. I’m still wanting to know why I get to hold tenderly to an ache and why I am telling you about it. I want to tell you about Tanya.
Wanted to tell you about Tanya. Tanya and Steve tell me about their life every single time for two years and then one day I stopped seeing Tanya and Steve.
Want to see the woman again.
Let me tell you about her, Tanya, a regular at my old store.
Tanya and Steve, stop me, as I’m collecting trash
From the wooden recycling center of the store--
There’s plastic and broken glass in the compost.
“God Save The Earth,” I exhale before Tanya’s
cool fingers wrap around my elbow with a firm squeeze and say,
“It’s you, it’s you! Where have you been, oh, oh, look, it’s you! I knew I would see you again, once more”
They stop me, the human, not me, the worker bee
And say they’ve missed my face terrifically;
the exact twist of my fat neck, the skin that overlaps from cheek to eye when I smile and the distinct sting of my mirthful laugh. I sound like Scooby Doo when I laugh. It’s hard to unsee. I try out a different laugh
Every now and again; I’ve always wanted to have a peeling laugh, like dried bergamot brightening black tea leaves.
Or something akin to small bells or a bird of paradise.
Tanya tells me when she learned she was expecting
When she learned she carried a heavy mass and that
It was spreading—she woke up and looked at Steve,
Into his black walnut eyes that were already upon her
Wondering if she was staying
or if she was leaving or
If she was leaving, if he’d stay for a little longer or if he left
Would she stay—
when is soon, what’s the metric of hereafter?
She told him, her beautiful accent
like cheesecloth straining her words
As she said “I’ll beat this.”
She stares into his black walnut eyes when he enters the bathroom and
The floor is covered in hair.
She says, “It’ll grow back.”
Tanya hasn’t eaten the body of Christ in years
because it isn’t gluten-free but
She finds herself kneeling
before an altar at Easter Vigil
Wondering if Christ would also
take another nail over cancer?
Tanya remembers when she met
Steve and with the same resolution and
Regardless of her desire to stay in America,
she thought, “Love will come.”
It was when he was sleeping,
home from the hospital after pneumonia
and she couldn’t fall asleep for fear
He’d leave her alone.
I wasn’t in bed with them but I know,
for a fact, having made eye contact
With Tanya before--
I will never know what she’s done
to get here but I knojw she’ll
Never go back to a time where she didn’t exist.
Oh, I love those who refuse to be un-born.
Oh, I love them and I envy them and if anything
she reminds me
She reminds me that the last time I saw your brown coat
Was in produce and I followed your tanned neck to the pasta aisle and saw your brown hair as you walked out of the door.
Oh, forgive me, Tanya, forgive me, you too,
Yes, I long to be unborn. If you could unbirth me,
I place my face to your knees, like you before Christ
kissing the caps as if uncovering tomes
with instructions for how to live present but in past tense
if I could, lay down next to you
If despite the ways I starve my skin of touch, if I could be a brown leaf cradled in the new green grass, falling hard and yet so gentle.
Tanya and Steve remind me
of what it’s like to dream
of someone stronger than you.
In the grocery store, I am haunted by all the things in life
I will never taste no matter how hard I work.
I had a dream once that I put my body on the ground next to yours in the Redwood Forest.
Fire devoured me before I could ask Jupiter to make us kissing constellations.
Our flesh melted and became whole again, our cells stopped multiplying and were reduced to simpler states:
unbirth me, I begged, oh, I’m ready to be unborn.
Tanya holds my face in her hands and says, oh, I thought I’d never see
You again; do you know which aisle tiger nuts are in and what’s a good protein for bulking the soul.
Tanya stands so close and says that she and Steve still use the soap I recommended years ago and each time she showered after chemo,
she thought of me.
She thought of me like
the descendents of Noah saw grace
in puddles of water.
I know it’s weird but
I thought of you.
I know it’s strange because this is
Transactional and shouldn’t mean much.
She took the bracelet off her arm and put it on me.
I kept thinking that if I made to this point,
I’d give you this bracelet.
I wore it to remind myself that I am alive.
I will never mind, no,
I don’t mind
if you think of me,
I don’t mind
if you never tell me.
Tanya’s holding my face
and said, I thought of you
and it was a good thought,
You’re a strong thought.
She believes in miracles now.
She says, “I could’ve died
but I didn’t and now I’m here
alone in my room is a once defunct and now weekly dispatch from a person who clapped when the plane landed on a domestic flight. consider donating to AFSP and their mission to provide resources and prevent suicide or Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.