All rise for the vacancy.

The house across the street is vacant now. It's viiisible... Gone. Viiisible... Gone as she watches its image fluttering over the roof of her own house, jumping on the oversize trampoline in the back yard. She expects that it's forlorn enough to be gathered up and scattered by the wind, after all that it had and had lost - but it just sits there, steady as nothing is.

It is an atrocious house, to remain so unmoved.

Living in that house, one can come to believe of the leaves to cackle as they fall. She too has surpassed her salvation - the sucker - like pencil marks invisible on skin but felt nonetheless. Like Jesus, even, or as poised as this moment seems to think it is. She's lost her unknowing companion, so that she might now remember that it's cold.

The in-between is what she wants. Its darkness. Like writing the words for their depths, or wondering about truth.

She sat in her car a few days ago and saw an old man walking, as slow as you like with his hands behind his back as though pondering. It hit her, then, the beautiful intricacy of this life. The excruciating frailty of this web that at times is the last strength in the universe. The only truth: that this life will go on; that hers won't. Whether it tears or shatters or snaps, or is tossed from some traitorous vehicle.

Her life had seemed so complicated, but that old man...she knew his life must be complicated as well. It would consume him. He had needed a change of scenery just to comprehend the one from which he'd come. It was surreal and perfect. That was it. Astounding, the sheer perfection of all these fumbling attempts to attain something already possessed. Like bus-ride snippets of conversation, conveying the almost-magic of the everyday. Just that there wasn't any to begin with, all along.

-L (1/29/12)


They drove through the silence together, and out of it again when the beach came into view. The waves roared and licked the shore like a pride of lionesses.

"I feel like I'm starting all over again," she told him in a low voice. He felt like he was starting new; they felt the same then, but reacted to the feelings in different ways. "I can't seem to focus wholeheartedly on anything anymore."

"Maybe you don't need to now - maybe you're not supposed to," He told her with an undetectable edge of desperation to his words. He wished he could lend her his acceptance of the way things are, however they happened to be.

She pulled the lumbering beast of a vehicle over, killing the engine the moment the back wheels hit the gravel of the shoulder. The headlights extinguished themselves under her demanding hand even before the truck glided to a stop, and they immediately began to drown together, submerged in the wake of the heavy darkness dimming the cab.

-L (1/27/12)

I. Trying on an old suit, to see if it still fits.

Women walked past him on rubbery legs. Their back-forth sway leaving nothing to be desired; their bodies teeter-tottering down the street. Somewhere in the sky he was sure that wars raged and songs were sung both in victory and defeat, honoring the fickle results. Here at his feet, just the same. An endless battle cry.

Across the street, he knew he had a problem. He could visualize it; taste it thick in the back of his throat; it tingled his third eye. The realization that a proverbial set of cross-roads hung in the balance, four-dimensional-like, held no end to irritation for him. Who the hell asked for mid-life-crisis damage-control at the age of 29? "Not I, said the Frog!" Not while he had no intention of passing himself off as a Princely prick.

But 'change is inevitable,' so the drowsy people say, too stoned to not let it happen to them. Again and again. And again, again. He never asked to evolve, doing so always just seemed to roll into life and back out all at once, without ever giving him a chance to protest. And so it goes, the changing happened; he'd let down his guard and the stones swept in and knocked all his doubts on down. His proverbial barriers disintegrated like the faceless, formless theories they all along remained - not standing and then falling so much as shifting outside existence's own idea of them. And anyway, he can't say he's anymore sober than the next guy. Or gal, for that matter.

In any case, she sat across the street. Behind that front desk; atop that rigid redwooded chair. And behind her, atop the stepping stool the two used to re-shelve books, he was sure stood the other her. The her whose heart he'd have to break, sooner than even he preferred. Or so he thought, hoped, expected, understood would likely be the case. But then, you never know with people, do you? Even those people about whom you know everything else.

Perhaps every heart-break breaks differently, no matter how many times one's heart is broken. For all he knows, she'll learn to use it against him as a way of gaining some inward advantage in the face of her newest new life - the one she'd soon be living without him. Or maybe she'd crumple like a tipsy teenager, all the way into herself, while watching her prom date suck face with the high school whore. Or fade away as already gone as today's front-page headliner, into the void of ever-hungry boredom.

He wondered which form of heartbreak could seduce his own heavy heart back in love with hers. He wondered whether it was worth it. He supposed it didn't much matter, either way. Soon, he'd be going in.

-L (1/25/12)

Typewritten touch, tainted.

Morning. Sort of. 10:40am and m'love is in the bathroom, trying to talk to his sister and shit at the same time. Being efficient and therefore incomplete with his Zen mornings, in the interest of pleasing everyone. Thing is, 'everyone' doesn't include me, for better or worse, since I'm his Zen enthusiast rather than temptress - so of course, now I'm always also incomplete.

Yesterday we went and saw his sister at her new, unwilling home, locked under the staff of a supervisor's key in a shipwrecked inland mental (health) institution slash drug rehab and treatment center. Heavy. Sad. She looked and felt as though she didn't belong (thank god), so the problem was that she was there nonetheless, and for an indefinite length of time. Watching him not watch her was hard. He would stare beseechingly into her face as he spoke to her, but when she answered back his glance would unfailingly wander out toward the (caged) freedom represented by the wide windows. They overlooked a lack of civilization; green lolling hills speckled and graced with indigenous trees.

Here, the sun is finally starting to break free of its shady gray confines, and his typewriter and mp3 player still wait patiently for his return. His water cup is drying and his coffee cup remains in his grasp, away yonder in the lavatory where he's perched. I sit pseudo-meditative with my sight fixed on the waxy leaves of a ficus plant arranged in a strange horizon-line perspective before me. A tiny beige spider flinging itself up and down its swinging strand, so like dancing rather than weaving its wiry web. My water glass not empty; my coffee mug getting there.

The view is of the drained and covered spa out back on the patio, and the bizarre black dog doing her secret deeds behind it - something about plucking unwitting quarts of half-and-half from high counter-tops and surreptitiously burying their corners just an inch beneath the dark soil.  Cartons still fully intact on account of the gentle grasp of her bite.

-L (1/23/12)

"Never so alone as when the familiar is haunting."

She was working to remember what more there was to say. She hoped something would come soon.  But the walk home was wet and the memories slipped into each other with finality, dismayed by the plight of hazard lights. By morning all would likely be lost except the urge to try again.

And it always came back to this: this walk. Along the bike path by the levee, following the flow of a premature stream.  The issue as it stood: what ought to happen next?  This phase in her life coming to a gradual end, with an endless slew of options opening up ahead.  Of choices waiting to be made or unmade, or else needing to be made manageable.  The whole lot of 'em were hard-pressed to appear savory since darkness scampered in now so early in the evenings. But when the winter went away, she will have had to make a decision.

The problem was, none looked much better than the next.  A stark similarity had struck all future dealings that claimed to come into her mind, and the overall feeling was gray.  Not good anymore than bad, but then, not much of anything else either.  Hard as it was to admit, she felt at her best when pretending.

"And maybe, somehow, this scam will still save her soul."

But then the night went torrential in the instant next.  Her pathway bled steam in a trickling upward vapor, clearing the way for her feet to rush headlong ahead, meaning to beat the downpour. She began to believe there was none so complete as those at peace with their past.  Still her feet took her all the way home, in just the same way as they always seemed to.

-L (1/21/12)

Maybe moving on just means selectively forgetting, and collectively remembering.

Jukebox (4:27)
by: Ani DiFranco

In the jukebox of her memory
the list of names flips by and stops,
as she closes her eyes
and smiles as the record drops.

Then she drinks herself up and out of her kitchen chair
and she dances out of time.
As slow as she can sway,
as long as she can say,
"This dance is mine."
"This dance is mine."

Her hair bears silent witness
to the passing of time.
Tattoos like mile markers
map the distance she has come,
winning some, losing some.
She says, "My sister still calls every Sunday night
after the rates go down.
And I still can never manage to say anything right,
but my whole life blew up
and now its all coming down."

She says, "Leave me alone,
tonight I just wanna stay home."
She fills the pot with water and then she drops in the bone.
She says, "I've got a darkness
that I have to feed.
I've got a sadness
that grows up around me like a weed.
And I'm not hurting anyone
I'm just spiraling in."
She closes her eyes
and hears the song begin again.

She appreciates the phone calls,
the consoling cards and such.
She appreciates all the people
who come by and try to pull her back in touch.
They try to hold the lid down tightly
and they try to shake well,
but the oil and the water
they just wanna separate themselves.

And she drinks herself up and out of her kitchen chair
and she dances out of time.
As slow as she can sway,
as long as she can say,
"This dance is mine."
"This dance is mine."
"This dance is mine."

-L (1/10/12)

"We. Featuring the words of Arundhati Roy."

I feel like I ought to post this link once every six months for the rest of my life.


So there's once, at least.

-L (1/1/12)