Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Lapsus Calami"

Taylor Everhart was, in general, a quiet kid. When he rode the school bus into the city every day, he chose not to sit in back with the boisterous students but in front near the driver, where he could be left alone. He did sit in the back of the classroom, however, long hair falling over his eyes as he scratched doodles into the wooden desk. For hours, his blunt penknife worked away at simplistic trees and crude houses, and his mind hoped not to be called on while he absorbed algebra and grammar and World War II. At the end of the day, he rode the bus home again, sitting in the same spot as in the morning and staring out the window, oblivious to the afternoon gossip buzzing around him. He walked the half mile from the bus stop to his house and took in the mail for his mother, entering the house with as little noise as possible so as not to disturb her from her work.

Today, however, was unusual—his mother could tell as soon as the door opened. It would have smashed against the wall had it not slammed against the rubber doorstop, and when it closed she could have sworn even the china in the upstairs rooms rattled. Putting down her accounting paperwork, she hurried to the entryway, where she found Taylor tearing at the laces on his sneakers, almost ripping them out in his hurry to get the shoes off his feet.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"The Hotline Scene"

As of this writing, I have been asked for my phone number a grand total of three times. Many girls find such occasions flattering—exhilarating, even—but to someone who spent four years at an all-girls high school, a strange male asking for something so personal can feel unfamiliar, even terrifying. Prank numbers like the Rejection Hotline—an automated message listing reasons why a caller may be undesirable to the intended callee—are saviors for girls like me who panic at the first sign that someone is planning to follow up on any flirtatious conversation. My experiences might have traumatized me less had I simply taken the time to memorize this number well enough to give it out as my own.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Fascinating Things"

I am always drawn to the hours between midnight and dawn, those hours when the wind has stilled and the night is reborn young, only to grow old and die again.
The scars on people’s bodies and all the stories behind them.
The destructive beauty of fire and flame. The flickering of candles as they’re lit or touched by the wind and the crackle of a campfire as it eats away slowly at its supper of old logs and tree branches.
The contrast between dark hair and pale skin, green eyes and red lips.
Haphazard plans, spontaneous road trips, mistaken identities, and anything that can lead to chance meetings. Adventures where the characters don’t even know each other’s names. A little mystery.
The idea of angels, not with white feather wings and trumpets and robes, but as human souls and guardians and wise poets who are older than the earth. The idea that some people may be more than they seem.
Abandoned buildings, especially churches and cottages, with unkempt, unruly gardens, where ferns run wild and willow branches make tangled walls.
The condensation that runs down a glass of ice-cold water on a hot day.
Guitar fingers—rough on the ends and full of coordination. Piano fingers—long and slender and delicate. Especially when one person has both.
Old clothes, ugly clothes, baggy clothes. Clothes with floral print and shoulder pads that beg to be ripped apart and re-sewn into something new and different. Clothing with potential.
A secret kept so well that its unveiling is the truest of surprises.
The way the ocean waves slide along the shore as they retract toward their mother, leaving only smooth sand behind. The foam on the sea as it attacks anyone standing in its way. The many shades of teal, turquoise, cerulean, sapphire, and sometimes just pure, pure blue that mix and mingle in the water’s depths.
The crisp smell of new snow as it blankets the land and cleans away its imperfections.
Puppies who jump, even when they’re told not to, because they can’t contain their excitement anymore.
Libraries, full of ancient books with musty pages, where people are quiet and no one disturbs you if you’re curled up in an armchair with a crooked pile of adventure novels.
The way sleeping next to someone on a tiny bed forces the two of you to wrap your arms around each other so you don’t fall off, and the way you can never be cold when you’re that close together.
People who laugh whenever they want, as loud as they want, with no regard for who their happiness is disturbing. Squeaky laughs that sound like dolphins and screeching laughs that pierce sound locks. People who dance in the rain and sing in public without any inhibitions.
The wind when it tugs at my hair and tries to tell me all its stories and troubles, even though it sometimes hurts my ears.
The sight of an angry goose chasing a small child down the river beach, the child screaming and laughing and crying all at once.
Animals that mate for life, like penguins and gibbons and swans and wolves. Even termites and vultures who understand love better than humans do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I fell for a beautiful boy
with bloodstained pillows
and a smokestained cat.
He promised me rose petals
that never existed,
but I didn’t care.
When he enticed my heart away
under a star-speckled sky,
even the summer moon was smiling.

Pressed to an autumn tree
full of fumbling admissions,
his few fleeting touches
meant more than my few fleeting words.
Kisses in a darkened theater
and innocent hands in all the right places;
the memories tumbled past too fast,
and sometimes I forgot to look.

Drunken giggles
lost in a freezing wind
trailed behind our stumbling footsteps
in the middle of the night.
Icy fingers
found a place to keep warm,
and a locket’s clasp
lay forgotten in the snow.

And when the flowers took to blooming
and the sunshine sprinkled spring across the grass,
I became a fledgling bird again
and nestled myself into his hollow heart
before we leapt from the rafters
and came across flight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


He works the stage like a god,
Throwing back his arms
And inviting worship
On an invisible cross.
Drowning in the sticky sweet fog
Of smoke and beer and ecstatic bodies,
I give in and bow down,
Submitting my belief-weary ears
To this new religion.

So this is eternal life.