I need to write something. It needs to be 500 words. It needs to be posted today. At first, I was going to post a poem because I have lots of poems stored in the archives, but then I decided that would be cheating. So, here we are at the edge of burnout. This week marks one year in quarantine. One year of sitting in my bedroom, day after day: wake up, walk the dog, work, eat, work, walk the dog, work, walk the dog, eat, scroll, sleep. Intersperse that with some major dissociative episodes kicked off by mindlessly checking social media, and you’ll have a good idea of what this pandemic has looked like for me. It’s probably been the same for you, too. Or maybe you’re one of those people who had the personal strength to get super into CrossFit and cut carbs out of your diet for good. If you are one of those people, good for you. I am not.
Pen clicks mark time / in a unit where no gets / to leave.
As a preamble, I want you to know that Richie Smith and I released an honest-to-god spoken word/ambient jazz album on November 17. You can purchase it or you can stream it, whichever will go a long way in supporting us. In many ways, Bug Eyes is the sort of emotionally grounded art I wanted to consume when I was younger, and it blows my mind that I now get to make it.
We aren’t ready. When Sebastian holds the door, and the sky blinks into blackness, we aren’t ready. When everyone is left standing in the neon glare of street lamps, we aren’t ready. And when those lights inevitably wink out, too? Well, we aren’t ready for that either.
I've been working on some really big projects these last few months, which means less time for writing smaller pieces like short stories and poems. I've begun to rummage around the treasure trove of old poems, and I'm not horrified. There's a lot of feeling here, but at least it's true. Please, enjoy this piece and be on the look out for some really big news here soon.
Writing in the middle of a pandemic is hard. Everything is hard. But I assure you that I am working, or at least trying to work. This is by no means a complete piece, or even good, but it is work. And it is me.
I'm thinking about crawfish / and the way they boil brackish / in the high heat of June, seasoned / spicy in a galvanized washtub
restless road rage knots you in asphalt ribbons / tied to sunset suicides--glass shards bleed out / into the next life full of broken blue birds; / trauma begets trauma, inescapable.
My littlest sister braids her Barbie’s hair / in the middle of her room, and brings up / some cogent questions: I understand / the sun will burn out, but I need to know / what’ll happen to our vampires.
Whenever I finish a project, I feel empty. It’s not a scooped out feeling, it’s more of a “I’m not here” feeling. It’s like existing in a sensory deprivation tank. Finishing the last draft of my novel after 8 months of work was similar. When I was done, there was no fanfare or feeling of elation; instead, it was like I had been editing someone else’s pages, not my own, like the pride belonged to someone else. Why is it so difficult for me to feel proud of anything I write? Why does it feel like this draft is only tangentially attached to me instead of an actual piece of my spirit? Is this me rejecting my child? Am I a bad mother? Or have I experienced enough rejection and lackluster responses that I don’t want to run the risk of growing emotionally attached to something that is so…me?