Pulp and Strings and Other Things


I am a raw wound of yearning for all the things I know I don’t deserve.

I keep leaving my heart all over the place – sinewy little pulps of blood and muscle here and there fused at the ends of threads, hardly holding onto enough for myself; it’s a wonder I’m still animated. Flouncing from beat to beat on heartstrings stretched taut from place to place trying desperately never to be held down but forced flat against the earth pulled in all directions at once. Face held tight against the ground, I can’t look up; eyes burning with dust. For all I know in my blindness, I’m in a foreign city where I know no one. Dirt stuck between my teeth and suffocating on thoughts of home(s). I am a net, catching everything that lies between me and all the points my heartstrings have fused to; miles of slick taut sinew, picking up bits of debris on their paths. And the heart still beats, unemptiable; tight. If only I could pull one string free, I think, I might stand up and breath again. I won’t though. Organics don’t work that way. You snap one tendon and you’re broken. I damn my heart until I realize that it is my own, my will holding my face to the ground; punishing it as if it should feel shame for its wild abandon when it was only following its innate need to love everywhere it could. And I settle into the earth, shifting a little to make it more comfortable. I admit the grass is soft against my cheek. And the smell of earth is pleasant.

I hate myself so much. I mean, I don’t. I think I’m amazing. I mean, I think I’m naive. But I also think I’m intelligent. I mean, I don’t have any real depth of knowledge. But I have a lot of things that I care very deeply about and I could speak to those for hours. I mean, not like I care about anything so much that it drives my need to live. I realize that life is purposeless and the human need for purpose is a sort of counter intelligent survival mechanism. But I think I’m meant to do something big, say something big. I can feel humanity collecting in me. I think I’m supposed to be a part of something. I mean, I don’t believe in fate or anything ridiculously mystical. It’s not like I think I’m destined for greatness. But I checked my tarot yesterday and it told me good things were on the horizon, and I felt that deeply. I mean, I don’t actually believe it. I’m pretty sure I’m doomed to live a mediocre life until my debt catches up with me and I become so overwhelmed that I’m forced into a life of poverty in a small town  surrounded by people on a completely different wave length than me. I mean, I don’t really think I have any sort of specific wave length. I am a reflection of my surroundings after all, we all are. But I do feel like my particular collection of reflections have made something unique. I mean, I don’t really think anything is unique; it’s all existed before, it’s all been done before, it’s all been said before, it’s all a regurgitation in certain ways. But I do think that I have some sort of different perspective on it all. Not that I think I’m special. But I do.

I spoke to my younger self today. She lives inside me and looks through my eyes sometimes and I can feel her there, crouching close behind the back of my eyelids and peering out. She thinks that the rusty peels of green paint flaking off the subway tracks are pretty. She also likes graffiti. And strangers. She spends too much time staring at strangers, wondering what makes them who they are. She wonders if their younger selves are sitting behind their eyelids, too. Glancing at her. I can feel her smiling and waving. Sometimes she likes strangers more than the people she knows. The people she knows tend to disappoint her.  I spoke to her about that today. I asked her why she has such trouble trusting people. She couldn’t really articulate herself well. She’s only six, after all. She just started crying like she always does, so I left her alone for a while.

I once told the world that I felt everything. I can feel the breath of my neighbor brush against the back of their door as I pass by. I can feel the tenseness in my coworker’s left shoulder while I work beside him, it’s why he leans a little bit when he’s standing still. And his left hand twitches very slightly every so often. I can feel the joy of a new mother when I walk by the hospital; it overwhelms me, it’s so bright. Or maybe that’s what it’s like to be alive for the first time. I can feel the sorrow on the subway. I can hardly ride the train without crying, it’s all around me. The man across from me hasn’t seen his family in over fifteen years. They hardly speak. He misses his wife. The woman beside me is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. She keeps rubbing her paper hands together. It hurts. I can feel the anger in the world, at it. It holds deep in my muscles and begs me to scream. I have to work hard not to scream in public. I want to. I want to know if the people around me feel like this too. Or can they only feel their own feelings? How peaceful that might be, I think, but then how do you know what’s going on around you? I can feel the silence in distance. I wish we talked more.

My heart fell out once, you know. I was disgusted by the splash of blood on my brand new skinny jeans, the big plop of a stain on the wood floor. I picked it up and it wilted and wheezed in my hand. I gagged. Why do we always depict hearts as such cute, smoothly curved, perfectly symmetrical little emojis? They’re not. They’re gross. Hard but squishy. Wet and warm. My heart wheezed again in my hand. I looked around trying to find something to put it in, all the while a grimace pasted across my face. I tried to hold my breath from the tangy smell of old blood. Why was my heart so grey? Had it always been like that or did it just happen? It looked stale and sickly. I found a mason jar on top of the cupboards and dropped it in. It made an unsettling sticky noise as it plopped in. I went to the fridge and peeled a bit of orange zest to drop in with it. My friend showed me to do that with my weed to keep it hydrated. If you left it in too long, though, it would mold. I’d check on it tomorrow.

I find myself talking to Nobody. And Nobody is listening. And Nobody is responding. And You are Nobody. Blank faced backboards for my neuroses. And I, an existent vacuum. Reaching out to the outer world I cannot touch, there is no penetration into the claustrophobic space of my own. Except You are everything in here. I don’t know how to make You any less. YOU. Any of the You’s. And I find myself consuming You’s until I can make enough of a Me to pass as an I. And then I am Somebody. Instead of Nobody. And then maybe I can live in the world like all of You. And maybe someday You’ll call Me You too.

I can feel humanity in my bones tonight. It hurts. Trying to escape from my finger tips, I raise them high above my head. My heart is pounding for everybody that is alive in the world. My eyes are raining relieving droughts for the desert. Is there any other way to exist? Must I feel for everything? I cannot let thoughts past. I grasp and gnaw at them like a dog worrying until they’re hardly anything but mangled masses of tooth marks. I worry for you. I worry for me. I worry for the whole. It is so comprehensive, so defunct, so abrasive, so much, so. It is so. SO! FUCK! WORLD!  World, you are so heavy in here, stretching out my muscles and testing the structural integrity of my bones. I’m trying to hold all of you but I’m so tired. I’M TIRED! I thought I’d escaped you. I’ve been withdrawing. Practicing purposeful ignorance. I’ve been focusing on my self. I’ve been trying to find happiness without you. Ignoring you. But you crept in here with me like you knew where to find me. What crack did you sneak your way in through? Or did somebody leave a door ajar? And you used that as a personal invitation. And now I am on fire again. Great. Take a seat, I suppose. We’ll be here for a while yet. Crisp and burning together.

I woke up on an ocean shore in a world of grey. Grey waves crashed upon shores of dark grey and jagged rocks that stabbed up towards a clouded sky of greys. Grey sea foam bit at my ankles, pulling grey sand back with it into the undertow. I looked out at the grey horizon, where one grey met the other. My feet were translucent white and puckered. I’d been lying partially underwater. The tide was receding. I sat up, unsettled. It was cold. I tried to think, perhaps formulate a question, but my mind was just a mass of grey cotton. I stood. I walked towards the rocks that jutted out into the water, climbed them. I toppled over one and cut my knee. I realized I was naked. I continued to scramble from one rugged point to the next until I crested a certain zenith where I could see beyond. I looked out at a grey beach that stretched on forever, littered by collections of toothy dark grey rocks breaking their way up through the grey sand. I looked out at the ocean, a roiling grey still. Suddenly I felt a pressure on my shoulder and I startled and meant to scream but no sound came out. I gripped the cold hard rock and slowly turned my head to look over my shoulder. I sighed a rush of relief, my skin flushing pink. My mind restarted, synapses firing sluggishly at first and then at overspeed. “Where have you been?” I asked. “I was right behind you. You never look behind you. I was trying to call your name, but it was like my voice wasn’t working.” My mouth twitched up into a smile. I hugged him. He was pink, too. Flushed and smiling and nude. We stayed like that for a while. Holding each other. Listening to the waves growl. My blood moved peacefully. His breath kept my neck warm.




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