All at once a universal loss, while so unexpectedly unique for each person who loved strange.

To the question, "What's the point of living if you just die?", Raj Bains from Sacramento, California had this to say:

"The point of life is whatever you make it. There really doesn't need to be any point to life or any particular aspect of it; most things are worth doing for their own sake. You don't watch a movie or read a book or hug a child because there is some sort of overriding existential purpose for doing so, you do those things because they are enjoyable and/or important to you.
The universe even gives a few suggestions in the form of biological imperatives. For simple life, that merely means reproduction. For more intelligent life, that includes things like satisfying their curiosity, enjoying the world through all of their senses, passing on knowledge/ideas, and experiencing things like love and friendship.
This question seems to imply that a religious purpose gives life meaning. The truth is, religious purpose deprives life of meaning. It turns life into a bizarre tryout for heaven and makes the here and now completely unimportant. There's no reason to seek knowledge of the way the world works if this is just temporary and the only reason we're here is to convince God that we're going to join his fan club so that he won't punish us (because he apparently has the maturity and temperament of a 4-year old). Most religions go a step further and actually forbid engaging in earthly delights while they eat up loads of the person's time and money.
The knowledge that our time is limited (and that there is nothing after) is what lights a fire under our asses to go out and get things done, to figure out how things work, to improve technology, to try to make life better, to care about issues in the world. People are so busy being afraid of death that they fail to realize that it is ultimately our primary motivation and the only reason life has any sense of urgency.
Death is the only thing which gives life meaning."

Beautifully spoken, indeed. But no less bullshit. Lose someone you love more than life itself, then come back and tell me that. The problem is that ninety percent of the time, anyone who spouts off about death is really talking about making peace with the inevitability of their own. In fact, dying's not the problem with death at all. It's living with the loss of someone else that really fucking hurts. And it's grief that steals the meaning from life, as well as from the bullshit we like to say about it.

(Or at least, that's the bullshit I apparently feel the need to share...)

-L (12/31/10)

P.S. Happy freakin' New Year, y'all. May it be a little easier than the last.

And then the days became briefer, still.

Mi hermana hermosa,

First Christmas, come and gone; four months to the day of what should have been your 22nd birthday. Can't believe the speed of time these days, nor the space it holds. Or for whom.

Today, down time; tomorrow, tattoos and your house, revisited. Last night we played soccer-tennis out in the well-lit courts of Murdy Park, HB, and now the crown of my head feels like a sore, braided muscle every time I forget not to touch it. (Luckily my thinking hasn't been too affected, so far as I can tell.) It dawned on me and stayed, the knowing that you sh/would have been right there with us--and even so, would likely have refused to play. Like R's board games; or my climbing. Neither your style nor taste, but how unfailingly you stand-right-by to stay connected; interacting and ever-present, yet one step away. Sitting there texting. Giving us as much of yourself as you could, but never crossing the line of your own in-stone boundaries...and all the while loving us for loving what we love. (Why didn't we play more freakin' cards with you, more often?!)

Gabriel's first birthday is coming up, too. January 5th, 2011. Yesterday we celebrated it early so that the California crowd could participate before R and J make their trek back up to Washington. It struck me that he was practically the only kid there, our nephew--and all the rest a-freakin'-dults! (With the exception of Amber's nearly-4-year-old, Aaden, of course.) How it kills me to think that you won't see this first baby of any of our brothers grow up! You who would have bought him the best gifts; taken him to the sickest concerts; made all his friends jealous to have such a gorgeous aunt; snuck him his first fake-id, only to rail him if he dared "misuse" it... He will forever be my gauge, though I know it's not fair: one year further along for him; one more year farther away from you. The older he gets, the younger you'll seem to be. The more he changes, the more you'll stay the same... How sad is this? How unfair?

But I know this is an old story by now, our endless disappointment. What with the days becoming briefer and the time flying by like pennies tarnishing in a koi pond. You're the angel on our tree this year, love. You and a floppy red Santa's hat, that really ought to be pink silk with faux diamonds, sparkling. J's birthday will follow Gabriel's, and then Grandma's (who'll soon get her first tattoo at 80-something, she thinks...a bow, of course), and then Dad's and A's and yours, and then all the rest of ours. One by one, delineating the year in the only way we know how--by counting, one day at a time. They say this year will be the hardest; I'm pretty sure they'll all be the same.

-L (12/27/10)

Two Months. ("Dos meses...y como ayer.")

Hey girlfriend,

You wouldn't be impressed with me right now. I'm a little bit drunk, a little bit stoned, and a lotta bit downtrodden. It's two months today, and I feel as raw as an oyster, just slid from her shell. Every silly 'indiscretion' committed by another person today was earth-shattering; ridiculously distressing. Midday I called our texting mama, telling my boss she was surely having a rough day. Really, I just needed to get the fuck out of work for a minute--to lament you with someone who kinda-sorta understood...maybe even better than I? (And I swear to God I just heard a girl's cough on the front porch, although I know I'm alone. Look! Sierra heard it, too! But now she's putting her head down & going back to sleep...forgetting it ever happened. I wish I could do the same.)

My head feels heavy.  My heart, empty.  And my eyes are starting to sting.  ("No es justo.")
I love you so very much.

-L (12/10/10)

(Talking in terms of YEARS, now, rather than DAYS. Counter-intuitive, I know.)

Beautiful Baby Sister,

How the tears come less loyally now!! (Already?)

*The look of my life from here on out, now that it's without you:

Year. Years You Aren't. Years Gone. Years I Am. Life.
2010 21 0 26 Law School & Sadness
2011 22 1 27 Law School
2012 23 2 28 Pass the Bar
2013 24 3 29 Work
2014 25 4 30 Work & Sadness
2015 26 5 31 Pay Off School Debt
2016 27 6 32 Become Foster Parent
2017 28 7 33 Work and Foster
2018 29 8 34 Work and Foster
2019 30 9 35 Work, Foster, Sadness
2020 31 10 36 Write a Book
2021 32 11 37 Write & Travel
2022 33 12 38 Write & Travel
2023 34 13 39 Write & Travel
2024 35 14 40 Write, Travel, Sadness
2025 36 15 41 Retire, So On and So Forth, Eventually Die.

What do you think, baby girl? I'm just so afraid of living without you for any longer than I got to live with you...*

So, 21 years from now: I'll be 47 (almost as old as mama and dadda are today...). That's pretty freakin' good if you ask me! I've decided that I'll make it that far if I'm given the option. Of course, you would have been 42 at that point, had you lived...the age that I always used to think of as officially "old". And all the while, years had nothing to do with it. (Though I always thought that I already knew that.)

-L (12/7/10)

Bliss of drifting.


The weight of the world, like nothing. Broken glass; stubbed toe. I don't go to Pergolesi much anymore. Our place, no more. And too hard.

But hard like nothing's hard, so much as viscous. Going would be muddy; unbearably effortless. As if it were anywhere--just another coffee shop. Maybe a little bit more pretentious, if anything. Not the slightest trace of you anywhere. You--so very there, and yet nowhere; no one. As if I weren't haunted by it everywhere. By your face not in the crowd. And forever bitter to not also be haunted by you...

Mama's in Arizona tonight. Yesterday it was New Mexico; Colorado; Utah. She's driving around aimlessly--not looking for you since you're always, but finding out how not anywhere you are. Seems appropriate not to look for anything else, I suppose. So wandering...yes. Fitting. Enviable.

I want you to be alive again. This 'dead' shit just ain't working out for you so well, girlfriend. (As far as I can tell...) Not for you--not for any of us. I miss your ridiculous "little sister" know-it-all wisdom when you'd refuse to let me try a drag off your cigarette, or never bothered yourself with my worldly and arrogant recommendations of the greatest musical artists of all freakin' time. Even now, though, I'll start a thought/memory/realization by jotting it down on paper, and then lo' and behold!, it's already looking inaccurate/disingenuous/shallow; sounding tinny & flat to my mind's own ears.

Because, yes, 'consistency' is your middle name, along with 'reliable', 'driven', 'certain', 'generous'. But then, so is 'stubborn,' 'impatient,' 'withholding'. And 'grateful', 'humble', 'self-deprecating', 'so-very-loving'. What do I make of this?! Because up against every story of you is a counter-story, dismissing expectations. Like how you came to live with me and managed to split rent even straight out of high school. Or how you used to tell me that you always felt taken care of when you were with me--so much so that you'd forget your wallet at home though it's usually glued to your hip, or buried somewhere in one of your biggest, brightest, gaudiest of designer purses. Or how the tears would rush down your cheeks after I tried my best to discern your inscrutable expression--to read your face aloud to you--and you'd tell me how much you loved never having to explain.

(But now the end of all that understanding seems as final as a car crash...)

-L (12/6/10)

Day after Thanksgiving.

From "A Broken Heart Still Beats: After your Child Dies": an excerpt from "Threnody" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.]

"The South wind brings
Life, sunshine and desire,
But over the dead he has no power,
The lost, the lost he cannot restore;
And looking over the hills, I mourn
The darling who shall not return.

"Now Love and Pride, alas! in vain,
Up and down their glances strain.
The painted sled stands where it stood;
The kennel by the corded wood;
His gathered sticks to stanch the wall
Of the snow-tower, when snow should fall;
The ominous hole he dug in the sand,
And childhood's castles built or planned;
"But the deep-eyed boy is gone.
"Was there no star that could be sent,
No watcher in the firmament,
No angel from the countless host
That loiters round the crystal coast,
Could stoop to heal that only child,
Nature's sweet marvel undefiled,
And keep the blossom of the earth,
Which all her harvests were not worth?
"Covetous death bereaved us all,
To aggrandize one funeral.
The eager fate which carried thee
Took the largest part of me:
For this losing is true dying;
This is lordly man's down-lying,
This his slow but sure reclining,
Star by star his world resigning."

-L (11/26/10)

"Thinking of her is like dreaming of ice when you're cold..." -M

the weight of your loss
surpasses the strength of my faith
my fate not the same as before
i know now the futility of desire
for what?

starvation bites with the force of survival
lying dormant with eyes all a-flutter
your dreams as fleeting in non-waking
as mine of you are to wake up to
no more

this passing of time like betrayal
now missing an essential piece
and peace a laughable concept
belief an inviable option
so what?

[on: Brother-2's house tomorrow; juice fast ending today; seeing a counselor once a week; Marie's dream-text; mama's otherworldly "journeys"; and all the rest of it...]


[What does it mean 'to grieve'? 'Cuz this is all I've got. And it doesn't feel like something you do at all, so much as something you become. Like it inserts itself into every element of your being, so that there's nothing that looks the same anymore. And it's not like anything has changed, either - except that everything has, but only because your eyesight has been altered; tuned down, as one would turn a volume dial to the left, lowering it. Not completely mute, but moving it to a level just above earshot, where you know you're hearing something but your consciousness can't make out the words inside the sounds, let alone their meaning. So you operate unconsciously, as though your body is directly tuned into the ways of that other world - it's rhythms and reasoning - and continues to participate without the blessing or intention of your mind or heart or soul. Since after all, those things have long since gone silent.]

[-L (11/13/10)]

One Month. (The more time that passes, the harder it is to believe...)

Sweet girl,

Tomorrow's a month from the day you left us. Tonight, a month from the moment the Scion began to swerve; the oncoming traffic suddenly seeming to swirl; the sensation of spinning before...what? Darkness, I suppose. That infinite depth that prepared you for eternal sleep... Or so I'm left to hope. Wishing for the joyous peace of slumber you always loved so well, while you lived and could still choose it for yourself. Bliss.

Your friend Erica found me on Facebook a few days ago. Do you remember her? She's the sweet little blonde girl who you often had your arm around in Debi's photos. (I haven't been able to do the Facebook thing for a while, actually. I know you always flat-out rejected it. Ever since posting the worst news I'll ever be able to dream, I can't seem to bring myself to go back to acting normal on that silly site...I'll always respond to the people who know you, though--promise.) She said she'd visited Debi along with Cory and Brandon (remember those guys?!) and they all found out then what has happened to you. (I can't wait to find out, still.) She wrote how sorry she is, and how she remembered loving you very much. She also told me that she knew how I felt: she had lost her little sister when her sister was only eight years old.

It's moving how invisible memories of now wispy people just come out of the woodwork at a time so sad as this one. How they materialize again, become real, email you their phone numbers with an, 'I miss you!!' attached. (I wonder if you would have sighed sweetly or simply scoffed at such a thing...)

Oh my lovely girl, how I miss you. i think about you constantly, and everything reminds me of you even when i fight the urge for a moment. You'd love my new house and roommates, I think. We have a yellow couch from the 60's sitting on the front porch, that i know would match your vintage (Halloween?) dress perfectly. And your old friend Debbie came up to me at your service to tell me how you two made pancakes as little girls for the first time in our early-morning kitchen in Placentia. And I'm on this silly juice fast, too, except without you this time, and missing you more & more every day.

(Next time, I'd like to remember YOU.)

-L (11/9/10)



Beautiful girl,

Finally got you a pink pen, darlin'. And I dyed my hair today --> dark brown. Almost black. It dawned on me that when we used to talk about hair and such, your least favorite qualities--somewhere between blonde & brown; something between straight & curly--were in fact MY qualities! So for the moment, I'm dark and curly. But you know me: I'm bound to let it do what it wants to by tomorrow...

You were that way, too, weren't you? Well...on occasion, anyway. Like when you lived up here with me, when Jake was just down the road. And you had those months--first waiting for and then mourning the loss of one of your luckiest loves. I didn't understand then how you could just go to work and come home, sleeping all the rest of the time. I didn't know where your smile had went most days, or how your already limited patience had become even more scarce. I get it now, though. Perfectly well.

The difference is that your transition then was that of a butterfly before it dreamt of wings. (I don't foresee the same fate for me now, nor would i welcome it: there's no flying away from this--and god knows I'd have never chosen to lose you.) I just hope that this new transition of yours helps you to become something even more beautiful and unique...though i can't imagine what that could be, or why the bloody fuck you needed anything more. We certainly didn't.

But yes, my hair is black, and yesterday i lost my wallet (but whatever, right?), and as of today, mama has her first tattoo, which is dedicated to you. And there's plenty more where that one came from. We're redefining, all of us, and done with the knock-off notion of permanence. At one point we may have believed in it, quietly and in the background, but we will be tricked no more.

Last night I spoke with mom and it reminded me how hard this really is. You forget sometimes once you get used to feeling hollow; become familiar with the constant sadness until it's almost a comfort. It's like breathing--you know you're doing it, but mostly there's no thought involved; no conscious effort or intention. Until you suddenly focus on it for a moment, and only then does it strike you as bizarre. But again, this isn't often.

God, i'm rambling. And neglecting my stupid homework. What I'm trying to describe to you is mom's sense of peace, and how seeing it made me feel farther from you than ever. Why can I not feel you or see you in my dreams?! Why can't I feel you in the air around me, or manage to convince myself that you'd hate to see me so sad--and then somehow even do something about it? I know it's all one day at a time, but still, all i've seen for the last 21 days are your unborn children; your unmatched future husband, who will never know how wonderful his life with you would have been. All I see is the look you'd get when you were watching a sad movie, or listening to a sullen song. It's that haunted expression that haunts me even more than your electric smile does, or your rogue tongue stretching over your cheek, or your explosive laugh, or your distinct style and taste and bright, dry humor. How you'd keep everything close to you--carry it around--but were never really afraid of losing anything anymore...

So yeah, still hard. Though Jake made my heart soar even as i wept when he told me that he knows you still exist somewhere, but are just too far away for us to visit you now. When I told him my sad glass story, he told me how he firmly believes that a person's capacity for joy is matched only by their capacity for sorrow.

["Your joy is your sorrow unmasked... The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." -Khalil Gibran]

Think of our ocean, and how it carved away gradually that beautiful cave in Davenport where you and i would so often go with our mochas in hand, or after a coupla bowls of clam chowda. It's the angry waves--the cold, dark, powerful flooding of rainwater--that carved out that hole with a one-track mind bent on drowning. But in the morning, when the tide fell back again, we'd look at the shiny quartz and limestone reflecting the sun-kissed sea. How lovely it had become! How the sight struck our hearts softly with awe, and left us grateful to be the ones to've seen...

Jake says that in this way you may have given us all a tremendous gift--though the sun has yet to rise in this new world of ours. That while you've carved out a hole in our hearts with the sharp edge of sorrow, leaving a great expanse in your wake, perhaps now we are capable of holding more joy than we otherwise could have fit in a whole lifetime? Yet still just a shadow of the immensity you embodied, even in a life so brief as yours.

["When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." -Khalil Gibran]

-L (10/30/10)

Shit that used to matter.

What a mess this city is. Real people are getting harder to find. Colors stop making sense the moment you start thinking they oughta. Know what I mean, jelly-bean? 'Meaningless' gets a whole new meaning, seeing the city from way up there...

And how hard it is to keep going... It feels like every line will have to be the last, since there's never any assurance of what the next will look like. Still we keep at it, hopeless from the get go.

Real people. Photographs. Snapshots. The look of the word on the virtual page. The sound of sandals slapping the asphalt, running their way into the ground again and again, kneading against the concrete. The smile of the real person already hiding. First time we met like nothing. The next time, a little less. And each time after like we're both hoping it's the last. And the worst part? How aggravatingly nice we are to each other—if only because we both know we'd get along fine if either of us could give in and give up the initial pretenses we simultaneously rely on. How so? It's the flowers, bright and perky, but utterly lacking that requisite sweetness of fragrance able to christian us 'flowers' at all.

My frustration is strong and short-lived each time, so that i'm ready for an all-out-brawl just long enough to disappear, and by the time I come back to the ring i've forgotten my destruction somewhere out on the town; lost my drive on the side of the street. Well the hell with it, anyway—heaven knows my counterpart has yet to earn my history, whatever the mysterious fuck that could possibly mean.

-L (10/29/10)


[I feel like I'm looking out through a veil. Like there's a dark haze that slowly closes down around my vision most of the time, now. The haze is denser in public, at school, work—anywhere that I'm surrounded by people who don't know, and don't know to care. I stare blankly at teachers watching their lips move; I keep my lips just from quivering when doctors off-handedly mention little sisters that they don't know that I don't have anymore; I stay between the deep need to talk about her, and the horrific image of trying to explain to someone that doesn't understand even in the slightest—has no idea that I'm moving around in a world that is new, and now forever less meaningful.]

[-L (10/26/10)]

“So no matter how hard it get, stick your chest out, keep ya head up.... and handle it.” -Tupac

Beautiful Girl,

We're living in a new world now. An uglier world, one in which your smile is no longer a part. A darker, confusing world, where carefree trips to Vegas can end in a sterile hospital, and everyday stressors vanish in a cloud of obsolescence. I find it impossible to believe I could cease grieving for that sweet world of eleven days ago—that world which held you in it, healthy and fearless. Held an image of our family when we could still remember being whole and fully intact.

I tried to describe this new world to J yesterday, whose slight distraction pained rather than charmed me for the first time—another fluke of the new paradigm, I suppose. I told her to imagine a tall glass, meant to be filled with the waters of joy like a liquid happiness. I told her I did not know whether my glass in this world has been hewed down so that it physically holds less happiness than before...or else that my glass is the same height and breadth as always, only now it has been punctured with an ever seeping hole, so that it no longer sustains such joy as it once held, but rather, must leak from the moment I begin to fill it. I don't yet know which glass is mine in this inadequate and inferior new world, but I know my capacity for happiness is not what it was; gravely diminished am I, and yet heavy with the loss of you.

I keep saying that you lived regretless, brave and true. I tell everyone with pride and frustration that we had no lessons to learn—you and I, and our beautiful family—about giving each other our best in appreciation and gratitude. I say these things to illustrate just how stupid, pointless, and utterly mistaken this fucked-up circumstance of your dying really is: we don't need to lose you to recognize how much we love and straight-up fucking need you. And yet here we are anyway, and for no reason at all, here you're not.

-L (10/20/10)

“When shit happens, you either grow wings or get crutches.” -M

Hey Beautiful Girl...

I miss you so, so much. I'm sitting in a coffee shop called Sertino's in Huntington Beach, feeling surrounded by your memory but utterly lacking your presence. Across the street is “Forever 21”, next door is a place called “Angl”, in the corner of the room is a fuchsia orchid, “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilara is playing on the radio, and the last picture taken of you is forever displayed behind the cracked screen of my old phone. (I washed and then baked my new phone the day after I found out about you. You would have loved it.) And my life feels just as broken. Like our family, suddenly without you. Surreal doesn't begin to describe it. Infinitely inadequate. Profoundly unjust. This stupid life, to not have you in it; gypped of all meaning.

I wanted to wait 'til I got a pink pen before writing to you. You died on 10-10-2010, at 4:27pm. Everyone looked down at their clocks at 10:10 that morning. The off-ramp where your friend's car crashed was called Exit 27, and Mike had just told me that we ought to go visit Vegas while we played cards for the first time in all our days together. I told him I hate Vegas—even before I found out it killed you. Mike says now that he'll never drive that fucking road again; I tell him that I want to, everyday for the rest of my life. Cursing or tempting fate, and always-always-always thinking of you.

Last night was so hard, Katie Sue. A week to the day we lost you forever, and the biggest fucking party anyone has ever thrown for you. All night long we waited for you to show up. So many 'sorries'; so many tears. Never enough but we did the best we could for you. I wanted to get up and tell everyone that you are my favorite person in the world. That you are my best friend, my one true love, and my whole, complete, totally fucking-fulfilled baby sister—who shirked regrets but stayed on the smart side of safe, always. Except perhaps to offer the front seat to the guy with longer legs than yours...

We're thinking about getting tattoos for you tonight. Even Jake and Alex, who otherwise never would have. Your Erik got a pink bow on his bicep, dearest, as did others of your friends as well—but I'm still at a loss as to what would best suit you to have framed by this silly body of mine.

-L (10/18/10)


[My beautiful baby sister was in a stupid car accident last weekend that stole her life. She died on 10-10-10, at 4:27pm, which was the date of her birthday.]

[It's no secret that she was my favorite person in the world. My only sister and best fucking friend. Strong beyond imagination, beautiful beyond words, and a veritable inspiration who managed to fit an entire, consummate life--utterly free from regret--into a measly 21 years, 5 months, and 13 days. She was gypped and so were we, as there was clearly an irremediable clerical error out there somewhere in the universe.]

[In any case, the shape of her life was that type of masterpiece which marvels each witness with every passing glance. Words are deeply inadequate; this sudden reality, profoundly unjust. And if any of us knows what's good for us, we'll live out the rest of our days aspiring to earn a fraction of the love that now follows her into the dark.]

[We'll never stop missing you, my beautiful Katie Sue.]

[-L (10/15/10)]


Two days ago, on October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10...), my little sister was killed in a car crash.

Today, right now, I'm sitting on an airplane heading from Costa Rica to LAX—after taking a boat to a bus to this airplane's flight—flying back on our fourth day here to be with my family there. Mike is with me, and he's right when he says, “It comes in waves, baby...”

Katie...dead. Katie. Dead. The words don't make sense together. They're opposites. Enemies. Utterly in conflict. She is so full of life! Capability! Color! She has an infinite number of connections with the world, and the loose ends are innumerable and impossible to tie up in her absence. It's the ultimate Heidegger metaphor: her life makes no sense without her to live it.

It's senseless. All of it. Her condo, her job, her dog... Her family, now without its baby girl. Down one sister—forever out of balance; jagged and uneven to see. My mom had all those boys just to get herself two daughters, she always said. Katie always knew from the beginning that she was the only irreplaceable one of all of us. She always used to tell my mom, “I'm glad you had five kids, because I would have been so sad and lonely without my big brothers and sister!” Katie was sure that she'd been in the womb throughout each of our births, having arrived first but deciding to stay a while. She'd say she kicked each one of us out until she had the whole spacious place to herself again, just so that she could stretch out a bit longer...

I remember her in the womb. She's the only one I remember. Maybe my earliest of memories. I assured my mom she would be a little girl, because I'd heard a high-pitched squeak when I put my ear to her belly. I was sure, even at age four, that my baby sister was finally on her way to me. To us. And there's no preparation possible to accept that she'd be on her way back out so soon.

When I read and saw 'My Sister's Keeper', I sobbed longer and harder than any book or movie had ever made me cry before. And in the last two days, I've shed more tears than all the tears in my life meshed together, flooding my body with still lifes of her: Her hair. Her huge, blue eyes, always framed with black eyeliner, to shrink them for no reason at all. Her heart-shaped smile. Her freckled cheeks and arms and legs, lightly sprinkling their inconstant color. How I used to stare at those little freckles while wishing so hard for her to find a person that would memorize each lovely spot on her body. Who would make her feel as beautiful as she is. Was. Will always be to me.

Oh god, her tattoos!! Her perfect closet of shoes! And to know that with the gift of Katie's body, nine strangers continue to live...but none so beautiful as she.

-L (10/12/10)

Time for a kinda conversation?

Stop fucking around. This is it: yours. When were you ever mistaken until now? (But this is just the framework, fancied up.)

It's when shoving through the ocean during winter sounds like a good idea that you know you might be getting somewhere, but charging through the rain with a pit bull gets you noticed. It's when you fill your head with the most cunning self-deprecation imaginable for to disappear the irrational smile that still stays. It's how the things you do, have to have never been done exactly before, so that you can disregard anyone else's silly glance. It's sitting in a computer lab at 2am with your hood pulled over your face to keep your grin your own--and you know your eyes would show at least that they're holding something back.

How completely is my desire for you, simply mine? How compelling this thought is... But it isn't good enough yet. We've gotta make it into something--something maybe magnificently important.

(He's walking. Where's he walking to? He's in the forest. Is he with someone? Alone? Of course he's alone. And he's barefoot. His shoes are in his backpack and his feet hurt, but he's glad of it...)

The stones that had settled into dents on the bottom of his feet keep others from their intended invasion. Not that the pain differentiates this for him, he who would have felt either sentence sufficient. Presently, he mumbles to himself:

“It's not true, you know, don't pretend you don't. You know what's real, no matter how much you think you should forget...” He won't let his feet bleed. “Poetry's not good enough this time. There needs to be something more than words, but you have to bear it there beyond them. Just don't forget the taste in your mouth right now.”

(I want to pinpoint this. I want to describe everything; it's all very important, if only because it's not that at all. But it's all here: the wrong necklace; the insistent smile; the unlived memory of sex; the smell of polluted sea on skin; the split-ends in honeyed hues; the disregarded fingertips; the dampness. What are we to do with all of it?)

“Who else knows what it's like, not to be waited for?” He needs to eat something but he has no wish to subdue his body's complaints. It seems to him obscene, or at least inconsiderate, pausing to satisfy such things: it doesn't matter where he's going—what right has he to stop?

How can it be untrue, and still this real? What if you knew me? What would your opinion look like?

(How does one write of solitude for someone else to understand? How much is it true!? Can I ask that? A case of compliment, not substitute. Making head-way...? This is called inspiration!? Good riddance.)

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (From long, long ago...)

The avoidance of Rios v. Daisy...

Get this: he told me we can define time. Manipulate its movements -- slow it down if we don't speed it up. He said it was a matter of focus; he said all we had to do was notice. How the light glances off the tinfoil morning and throws itself into a handful of his hair. How the moment hasn't a chance at courting your memory when one at a time you keep your gaze shifted-internal. And the yawns keep coming despite the fact that all you can feel is the heat on the base of your neck as you look matter how grateful you are that it's there.

The anarchists stretch out like a squirrel sitting up, and all are at your door. Old flames speak in tongues while the one that you love patiently awaits your return. So much seems to hang in this precarious balance... And still the sun blazes on having only just learned how to thaw the frost that chokes on the soil.

Always better in person. The phone line drags my voice a few thousand miles away, and it sounds weary by the time it lands at your doorstep. Still, you let it inside again. Talk this tired taxes, just passing through my lips -- and even my tongue knows itself utterly unlikely whenever it claims anything at all; always it misses the meaning beneath these dangling words' silences. But such things matter only in person.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (5/5/10)

Like pigeons in love.

Always that unknown. Like trying to recollect; to pay mind to the thoughts that came before, and trying not to lose them. Always that fear that the next won't come so rightly; that all you thought you had can't be had at all. That this time won't be so different.

"DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU?!!!" Heard it screamed out in the hall. (Bullshit!) Using a word like 'love' doesn't make him any less filled with hate. Violence creeps through the spaces between his words; between the holes in the letters; on either side of each breath not taken steady. And then he butchers that barely-breathing belief left stranded between them. The crash of the 'could-have-been's being demolished; the hope for regret a stillborn: purple-lipped with skin like fading bruises. Constant & enraged, his fucked-up curses at top of lungs. Tragedy, utterly pointless.

That the pigeons come back each time, dancing their head-ducking dance. They lock beaks in shameless passion: one purple-gray, one iridescent beige. Red eyes not marked with anger; warnings given with rustled feathers & uptilt of chin. Love and quiet war: the language of nature as we understand it. Self-sabotaged and leading everything toward the furtive killing shed, full of our nameless expectation. Letting it get the better of us; denying it to our grave.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (5/2/2010)

(The day of the changing of fates, easily.)

Passive aggressive tendencies. Uncomfortable. Un-fucking-fortunate, really. The writing on the wall was done in invisible ink, and now everyone's paranoia is unnamed but not undone. Undecided, still it wanders in and out of everyone's eyes, searching for something unknown. Finding it. The idea of the day is the thread that strings the stories together, as though there were one. Knotted something awful, unarguably possible, but hidden beneath the transparent surface of people's pretenses. Pretending not to exist, successfully, still cannot fool the seer of these hidden things.

The writer. Feigning fiction. Somewhere in the back of mind, knows there's no such thing. Stringing the stories together, as if they weren't already. We're suddenly in a familiar place, unknown still for its sudden timing. Here now, accidentally almost. As though we believed in accidents. The bike with the missing front tire, tied up two feet away; the sound of the typing echoing unkempt and reminding of how to type, always just one more key; the needed time to be extra, to feel as though on top of expectations, as though not already all bonus; nonsense written down and given voice, filling in the confusion with forced--with forced understanding, somehow now coming naturally. Gray warmth tickling the bottoms of feet, partly calloused, partially tender as ripened plums or palms. Where are the stories if not everywhere?

Think of the names of the folks who'd dare disapprove. Then don't think of them at all anymore, taking their power decisively because they never had any over you at all. Looking around at the stories: nude watercolor painting, whose?  That triumvirate: model; artist; financier.  Who the truer devotee?  Projects left unfinished or awaiting invocation, forming the lines of trellis and...and straggling wooden undreamt of dreams. A claypot, not quite home-made, but made-somewhere nonetheless, we realize in the back of our minds. Dying and hanging plants, making home to flourishing weeds, waiting to be promoted into appreciation. Wind chimes, somewhere other than right here, but near enough to merit explanation, & questionable. My heart not two doors down, downing coffee and water in search of balance in more ways than one. His shoes, having walked him so far and long and hard, they wear holes like a warrior wears battle-scars, presenting them with the glory of not overcoming, but ever defiantly so. Where do they go from here? Not much use for the fate they let befall them, so up in the closeted shelf at best; out in the covered garbage can at worst. Still journeying, just now to a fate chosen for them. No matter, because how is the difference discerned anyway? "There certainly are parallels, aren't there? But then again, all of existence could be one big coincidence..."

That invisible thread again, something stringing along, sometimes pulling us with the weight of every fate found accompanying. Accidental? Turns out not left to interpretation at all, when suddenly meaning definitively departs. Close the door behind, double-lock with the strength of irony and conveniently forget the indifference of flame. Tendencies: passive as faith pretends to pretend; aggressive as we are not. At our best. At our worst. In line with the whim of translation and depending upon the best guess at situation. Never emergency circumstances except when hit with the dullness of moments, succumbing to this halting description. Really, it never stood a chance--anymore than these words did to explain. Something? Whatever the fuck was meant by them. And nope, we never gave a shit anyway. Here now, or so we're thinking--and who could ask for more? ('Not I!,' said the cooling coffee cup; 'nor I!', said the bursting bladder.) "Full as a day is with sun, on a day not so gray as today." As we say.

Faretheewell folks,
-Talthea (4/24/10)

The Book of Undone...

Don't you know half the best stuff your life's memory has to offer will be cut? Your mind might edit it out a week of dingy life later, or even chunk-fashion with a bout of amnesia, lobotomy-style, some time in your early seventies. The trick of time may be to ignore it, then, or to avoid it like the plague. 'Cuz the secret sense of security it plays out to give you now? When it fades it takes the best stuff away with it anyway.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (4/5/10)

Solitary company living at an arms-length reach.

Keeping watch on the sunset beads, tricking out the minute creep of another evening's horizon (line). The landscape swifts by me, shifting shape and color before our uniformity. Sketch of darkness still unremembered by the lake-front shores beneath Scott's Bookstore, not bound for our Seattle. No underground cities here, no. No mystery save that of a fallen night's moonless sky, shining of its own accord.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (3/31/10)

Frequent dragon serpents, secreted away on crimson support beams.

Flit frightful underground, fret falling through the floorboards atop the vast (expectation of) below. Stay low and be hollowed of all air when the fire comes a-raging. Feel its gentry wind of breath whisper conspiratorially against the eavesdrop of your neck. (Don't tell me where we're going.)

"Frequenting dragons temper, my light is the light of a door as the wind and rain create stained glass on my heart!" (-M. at the drop of a line, sagely.)

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (3/30/10)

Nation's flower fumes orange-pink.

The bite precedes the writing, and follows it too. Waiting as excuses do, on the far back of your tongue. "Only Monday", like it hasn't come before, or won't come again. But none like this. (Ever, nor never again.) Granola blends with yogurt hoarding ripe slices of banana, and the weather looks mischievously in at the weather channel: snow-covered palm trees; sun shining (some) rain (on) down.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (3/29/10)


No sense "trying" to BE. The flow of the words counter-intuit the words if the words are speaking silence. Not right, but true. And natural in the most open sense of the WORD. MY words look a certain way, even when they think/try to mean something altogether different. La otra arte. The other art. El arte del otra. The art of the other.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (3/28/10)



revved up and reviewed! - an email.

I wish there were more words for 'love', like 'tilt' or 'stellar' or something that vibrates your fingers like music playing right through the keyboard as you type. Like 'evol'-ving into this timid poetic rhythm of a heartbeat, filling a chest like a symphony...

And then the night was almost over, but all it meant was that the morning was waking up, so i never had a chance to grieve. And anyway, maybe grieving's beside the point, or mistaken, or already been done. Or there's always tomorrow night, too, if all we've ever needed is an excuse to cut loose. And dance the friggin' macarena.

My eyes would love to look into yours. They've been complaining relentlessly, but are of course also easily distracted. Hence all the casebooks on this side of the country. There were these scenes in this movie, where they'd dance and just look at each other, and how does that seem so impossible to me? I need to learn how to make eye contact without thinking, especially of what to say next for the excuse to break it. So scary--but why? Too much riding on it? Too much to hide? Hopefully not, I'd like to just think that that's usually what you see in the movies, and so it's hard to break the habit. That is, of looking down and smiling, rather than looking up expressionless.

[w00t! Well, that was a whole lot of random gibberish!]

I feel like my feet miss you, and my rib cage, and my exposed back at night. I feel like my hair has fallen slack out here, so my goal is to not let my smile fall down with it, silly. And since my mind's the only thing about me that has no fear of forgetting, all i have to do is think of you--and there my lips go curling up again. Every time i breathe i mean to be disloyal to my misery, and its temptation--cuz frankly, it never did send a get-well card to either of us, now did it, love?

Love. My tilted head, stellar at sprouting your smile--like so many flowers in my mind, and all singing their sunshine vibrato.

Faretheewell folk,
-Talthea (1/21/10)