Dispatch From The Mundane 030
i watch the moon, let it run my mood pt. 2
“I watch the moon, let it run my mood. Can’t stop thinking of you” Cafune - Tek It
“Taking these chains from my body is harder than you know” Future Islands - Like The Moon
The last time I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my whole life, there was a dead whale on the beach. I cried at a beautiful sunset, and the stench of the whale stung my nose. N. died, and a funereal wreath was laid upon my shoulders and consumed me.
Wanted the ocean to give me a bear hug. The second first time in my whole life that I saw the Pacific Ocean, I felt overcome but couldn’t cry. I came to the shore with so much loss, and it offered me a clear sky and a place to let go. After the pandemic, my heart feels landlocked, and my soul droops like a slow-leaking balloon. There’s been a joy, and yet what lingers of what I haven’t done, what I couldn’t do—
The last time I came to these waves– I was shipwrecked and defeated. N. is still gone, but I returned to the shore, and it felt triumphant like a homecoming. I lay on the beach and fell asleep on the sand – a dream?
Awake, easy, and sure of myself in Los Angeles.
Shake off the navy blue complimentary blanket, which falls to my feet like shredded skin. We are between a cloud and a hard place called Earth and now descending; Crew, let’s prepare for landing.
My old life before this moment seems so close and then so distant. I’m on the Styx, the coins you put in my pocket are in the hand of the ferryman, and I’m between this world and the next. Don’t worry, beloved; I’ll be back– I believe in reincarnation. I think I’ll live again.
The woman beside me awakens only to veil her eyes with her hands and a prayer. She can’t stand this part, she says. We are going down, and I watch a piece of a metal flap in a way I suspect it shouldn’t. I wonder if it’s normal.
I am on the edge of a life that was so close and now so distant. I’ve lived the same life so many times now. The wheels touch, and I’m staring at the metal clapping against the wing as we land. The woman beside me whispers, are we safe? Are we here” I say; yes, we made it; we’ve arrived.
Sun grabs me at the airport. It’s with the same earnest energy. I suppose once charted the chariots of light in the old world’s sky. I haven’t seen her in years, and it begins that vibe. The old pandemic vibe of Timbaland to Aaliyah: “It’s been a long time.”
Sun and I began again a friendship that started like a chess game at the park by a summer storm. The pieces never scattered, but we never returned until now, and now she’s moving her King’s pawn forward two squares. She hates the highway, and I love the long way around. My knight takes a pawn. I play iSpy with my head out of the window: White Beverly hills sign, Brown swaying body of the palm trees, blue sky, orange nylon in the green grass.
We go from the airport to Little Tokyo to Hollywood. I am scooping coffee jelly into my mouth as we catch up between bits of onigiri. It’s almost noon, and I’ve grocery shopped, and now I will live in Los Angeles for three days. Hours go by with Sun before she drops me in Hollywood and before she says she’ll see me soon.
Soon does come– at twilight we stand on a corner outside The Black Cat with Caleb, M, and Mathew. We are shouting about all the unfair things. We stand on the street corner screaming about infrastructure and how much it hurts to be doing things with our lives that make no sense. I'm overwhelmed by what I fix anything by drunkenly screaming about the state of infrastructure at the moon. There's so much that hurts after all these years, and there are so many times in this trip I'll think - I want more time, I want to stay here and be this easy and be this unafraid and yell into the night. I'm hoarse at midnight, and I watch Sun turn one more time back to me, setting fast into another lapse. Her queen takes my pawn, and there's so much I've missed and can't make up all these years— checkmate.
K's waiting for me at the door, and I stand in the Los Angeles air. We drag my suitcase in, and I can smell Fabuloso in the foyer of the building. She hands me a key before I enter the house and says, "make yourself at home." She makes it home. The space is maximalist and comfortable, and warm. The days blend, and she seems to occupy many adjacent relations to me– stranger, sister, friend, neighbor. I come back up here stairs and look forward to seeing her red hair and skittish cats. The last time I opened the door to return after grabbing breakfast with Vivian at Clark Street Diner, she was sleeping and whispered, "welcome home."
Vivan texts me that she’s running late but she looks hot. I’m talking to Caleb when I see her cross the road, her black hair in the wind. She’s in a tiny black dress and gives me a wave and reminds me of a modern Venus emerging from foam and in shell. Venus would have oversize butterfly clips and platform sandals. The Venus emerges from the Valley of California and she loves the night.
Reading my poems to people is one of the greatest privileges of my life. Facilitating and curating shows is one of the greatest joys. Ross explains the history of the Mission burrito and San Francisco as we walk toward Lassen's. We're going to read poems together soon, and I slurp a dirty chai as we pull up to the taco truck.
We sit on crates with popped Diet Coke cans and eat some of the world's best tacos. Every time I eat a taco in Los Angeles, I think this is the best thing I've ever done for myself. I say grace after I swallow: thank you, God, thank you for making corn, thank you for making hands that knead, you a real one for that. I eat tacos nights later with Federico and slurp aqua fresca, and it's chilly outside, and the scent of fruit trees mixes with the smell of human survival, and I think this is the best thing I've ever done.
On the evening of my first waking day in Los Angeles, I had a little show in a sweet gallery called Heavy Manners Library. Adam turns the corner and surprises me. People fill the seats, and it surprises me. I hold and hug my friends. Lauren and Justin come down the stairs. I’m so surprised. Giulia, Ross, Tommy, Jesse, Christopher. Everyone reads their poems, and it surprises me. I eat froyo until I burst. I am surprised by how good froyo can be. I love modern science. I come back to the apartment and K’s still up and she’s drinking sake with Julie. She pours me some into a ceramic cup and we stay up late drinking sake until we pass out.
Spend the morning wandering Griffith Park with Katie and darkening in the sun, and my skin is powerful and beautiful— showered and oiled later. We grocery shop, and I think as I buy pasta for a party later — do I live here? I walk to the pool while Katie works and naps. I go to the local public pool in Los Angeles. It was 4 dollars. I sit with families watching their children learn to swim. I read my book and fell asleep. I ask Katie if I look good in green, and she says you look beautiful.
My uber driver prays for my soul in Spanish and asks that God keep me safe on my travels. The driver said she thought I had the face of a child she’d seen before and thought she’d never see again.
M. wants to be by the ocean and to become a coral reef and wants no part in the grind of finding a home that'll be sold as soon as you put out your welcome mat. We have to take jobs that make us cry. How come I can't stay home and cook in my kitchen? How come I've got to be somebody? How come everything runs off of being a big deal? I'm aging irrelevant, yet it feels as if I should fight it— instead of retinol, give me shots of clout. Humans were given this beautiful Earth and told we could do anything we wanted, and we described to bottle the water and sully the air.
Why can't I be a body that loves the scent of eucalyptus on this beautiful table and how it feels to have Jane's hands on my face? I eat a lovely meal and laugh so loudly I'm embarrassed.
Why do I have to spend my time on trains if it's not to see my friends? I spend most of my best hours in a place that refuses to take responsibility for my life and well-being but wants me to give my all.
A man at work tells me that poverty is a lifestyle choice. I imagine it's like the keto diet—a lifestyle choice like recycling or donating to charities. Refer to homelessness as free-range, and it's like I've become a comedian. I'm at the Apollo doing my bit about how some man at work is a fucking idiot.
I'm a child of the city. People like me grow like lotus flowers and emerge from the dark and the mud. I am blossoming in the blue light of sunset, and we are eating a gorgeous dinner together and taking in the night. I'm smoking a cigarette feeling like Eve Babitz and two people I just met smile brightly across the table. Sisson's telling a funny story, and Kaiman's thrown her hair back to laugh. A gorgeous dog roams from conversation to conversation, taking pats, and The dog is gorgeous. The sky is open and azure and also, yes, gorgeous. I'm in awe of the shrubs and vines that cause the yard to be fragrant and the generosity that allows the wine to flow into our cups.
Los Angeles is a city that has no chill despite being so close to water. You spend so much time in your car even if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s your car though and you drive and everyday you make it home makes you the winner of the daily Gladiator games we play. Los Angeles is refreshing and then overwhelming like drowning on a hot day. It’s a beast of a thing and I can see quickly how it can make you feel lonely but that’s the thing in cities where you always gotta be somebody. The human loses, the citizen fades and the part of you that just wants to connect has to pay-to-play. It has mutated the sleepiness that often accompanies waterfront properties and palm trees with a biohacking productivity smog that congests the air.
The city's pulse is so unpredictable - it’s alive and then it flatlines— it’s like Death Becomes Her. As I wander around the city I feel as if I’m watching gorgeous starlets lose limbs in a black comedy. It’s serene and old world, heartbreaking and septic at times. People have built mansions on the brink of cliffs in Los Angeles but can't believe someone can live in a tent in a green patch above the freeway. People can't believe that people want to live just like them— that shit is a biblical kinda stupid and a biblical kinda hurt.
My last sight of the city is Ceci's office. A tiny dog. Jane's strong arms. I like the train station and that on the map it said it was right down the street, but it was so far away. I walk towards my gate but stop to buy a keychain that says Hollywood. It's in the shape of a guitar and reminds me of Katie. My back is packed. My skin is still damp from the ocean. I sit on a train, and a child across the aisle smiles shyly at me. She tells her mom she thinks I'm beautiful. Of all the things I could think of as a response, I think, "I can't believe she can see it," as if I'm a ghost. Maybe.
Used to ride trains all the time and think of all the things I wanted to miss when I left. I want to miss falafel, everyone at Jesse's party in Bolton Hill, where it was so sweaty even my armpit hair lost its curl, and the time when I unabashedly said things like "vicious, off-the-chain." Please never say I died. Always say I left the room and turned the lights off to save electricity. Say at my funeral that I left my dead-end job to pursue happiness and pearly white picket fences.
I aim to miss everyone forever but to continue moving forward, dropping quarters into the toll booths, and crossing the bridge from this hell to another. Nostalgia is an incentive. Under tunnels, I long for the rush, and I will think of you in a montage accompanied by a Florence Welch song. You know the one that sounds like wind chimes, wet crêpe paper, and your heart being ripped from your chest by an acrylic-nailed mezzo-soprano. Some of my memories are too unripe, astringent even, so I can't miss you just yet because the best memories need to be close to spoilt like hachiya persimmons– that's when they're the sweetest.
Remember one time I told you that my love was like a locomotive. I told you my love was a vulture circling high. You ask me why I can't be a jet plane or a flamingo. Thing is. If you read my poems, you'd know I am afraid of birds, but I think they make a great metaphor when they're not trying to murder me. Thing is. Flamingoes don't know they're pink; my love doesn't soar.
Thing is. My heart is this steam-powered antiquity, a once-and-great turn-of-the-century novelty. You said you couldn't fathom what it meant, and I said, I'm just another Karenina spread thinly over the tracks, and you're the face leaning against the window in the quiet car.
alone in my room is an occasional newsletter written by a ficus that wishes it was a peony. there’s loads of fucked up shit going on, and throw your dollars where you can, but also wrap your arms around your loved ones and say how tight it is to love them in this hell space. be the smile you’d want to see on the day you’ve got a loose grip and don’t know if you can hang on. cheers.
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