writings!: backyard

when we were young the lawn was a forest we traveled daily,

painting sunflowers with blue nail polish on the back wall of the tenants house, where no one could see.

there were handprints there and they weren’t our own

we worked around them.

Where are you?

backyard.

Where are you?

backyard.

mid may and the loquats fall like blazing suns. my father goes outside and collects bowlfuls. they sit in the kitchen until their yellow turns brown, because how can something be what it can’t see?

seasons go by. seasons goodbye. dad leaves house. loquats die on the lawn. no one to put them in a bowl.

tenant lives in the studio after the lawn. she’s pretty like the girls you hated and wanted to be. she paints your sister’s nails gray. you remember the sunflowers.

tenant moves. new tenant. elias. he serves in the army, you think?. he complements your camera’s zoom lens. you smile. thank him. raspy voice. tenant lives. you go away one weekend. tenant dies. “brain aneurysm.” his family cremates him. he is still here. mostly, he sits impassive in the loquat tree, staring down at you. but sometimes he visits the sunflowers, taking pictures with a zoom lens.

years spin. like the wheel on that tv show you can never remember the name of, even though it’s obvious. new tenant. her motorcycle sits in the driveway and has cobwebs. once in a while you sit on it. she doesn’t mind.

it is cold outside. you do not go there much anymore.

cat sleeps on grave of other cat, by the new tenant’s house. cat is ok. new tenant has dog. dog is ok. old. not as old as elias.

wind chimes. bird head rots in lawn (cat?). body weeps in sunflowers.

(an excerpt of a book i’ll never write): the mermaid

 

 

She washed up on our beach just like any other dead thing or piece of flotsam. She was  small and gray and cold, and looked like she might crumble like a sandcastle if you touched her. Her black hair was sort of matted, smashed under her head, and patches of it were missing. Her throat was slit with something jagged, but the wound was faded, a gash washed out by the saltwater. From a first glance, she looked like she’d been dead a week, but you could never tell with the sea. Sometimes the death it spat out was bloated like gray balloons, and sometimes it was perfectly preserved, beasts sleeping on sand with bruised eyes and a tendency of silence.

“I’ll be damned,” Martha mutters from next to me. She drops her cigarette and grinds it into the sand. The embers die instantly.

She’s not wearing a shirt. Not Martha, I mean, the thing at our feet. She’s not wearing anything, actually, but she’s covered waist down by faded gray scales. They reflect the clouds, shining dully, and some are missing or half torn off by God knows what. Pale burn marks slice across her bare stomach. They are the same color as the slash on her neck.

I shiver.

“I should…call someone,” Martha says from beside me. Who? I want to ask, but don’t, because I don’t like acknowledging the fact that we have nobody to call.

I cross my arms. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” I say instead, softly.

She turns her leathery head and stares at me. “Iris, are you seeing what I am?”

“Yes.” For some reason it’s not scaring me, though.

“Then I don’t understand why I shouldn’t–this thing–it’s– a–a–” Her voice is breaking. She doesn’t want to say the word.

“She’s dead, is what she is,” I say quietly. I uncross my arms and pick up a pretty piece of driftwood by my foot. “See?” I poke her in the shoulder with it.

Martha and I are used to dead things. Seals. Fish. People. The occasional body part, wrapped up tight in a black trash bag. We give the body parts and people a burial. No use in calling the police. Around here, secrets are buried instead of gossipped about. Might not make sense, but that’s the way it’s always been for us, for the other islanders.

But this, this is something else. Martha obviously knows it, too.

Martha grabs the driftwood out of my hands, dropping her remaining pack of cigarettes and her bucket of jetsam. She prods at the creature’s waist, tracing the line between dead person and dead fish.

“I don’t understand…” she says to me, dropping the driftwood. I don’t pick it up. It feels contaminated.

“Mermaid,” I say for her.

“Mermaid,” she parrots back.

Mermaid, mermaid, mermaid. A carved mermaid sits on my windowsill back at the house, faced towards the ocean. She’s made of driftwood and has a blue tail. She’s wrapped in a tiny blanket I made as a child, when I thought warmth was essential for survival. (It’s not). She’s the oldest thing I remember, other than Martha.

“What do we do with…it, then, if we aren’t going to get help?” Martha asks me. She seems to have regained her voice.

I brush some hair out of my eyes. The wind has picked up. We don’t need help. We never have.

“Bury her,” I say, or something like that, I can’t tell over the sound of the suddenly wild air and sea.

🙂 thanks for reading…feedback is appreciated

writing by ~me~: candyland

 

popsicles and front stoops, mid july, jean shorts frayed at the edges. we picked at the lose strings

we picked at the fabric of our lives and lies

summer between sixth and seventh grade and we talked about boys cause we thought we were straight

and katy perry kicked her high heeled boot at our faces. we were scared so we listened to her on the radio

we longed for something greater

freckles and pseudo tans. tampons and target bras

i am we are still trapped in that moment

heartbeats linking us together. trapped in shaking cages

piled on the back of a dusty ass pickup truck

driving us from girlhood to candyland.

writing by ~me~: a girl walks around after dark

how many times have we told you you can’t walk around after dark

cold air cold stars rain trees blowing leaves like my city is a whirlpool of

It’s not that we don’t trust you, it’s just

streetlights and rain. asphalt turns to diamonds. fresh air

it’s not safe for you

our voices filling the gaps between the rain and the earth magic returns to us

shady people out there, it’s dangerous

the night turns us into something beautiful we are in control these are our roads

you’re sixteen

no catcallers to burn us because the california night is a cloak like the sea but our mothers are wondering where we are

you’re just a girl

cell phone rings over and over mom’s too nervous behomeintenminutesoryou’regrounded

artemis sits in the moon and stares at us with her knees tucked up asking herself

 a girl

why a girl

 a girl

can’t walk anywhere

after dark.

for the semi confused: loving a scar

 

i just wanna talk about scars for a minute.

surgery scars. self-induced scars. battle scars. scars you were born with. scars that were forced on you.

emotional scars. physical scars. mental scars. verbal scars.

raised scars. indented scars. long scars, short scars, bumpy scars, red scars, white scars, faded scars, wide scars, smooth scars, scars you can’t see and scars you can feel.

i’m not going to give you the it’s-badass talk, though, because for many, their scars are not badass. their scars are hard to deal with and think about. hard to expose to the world.

but my main point is that it’s important to recognize that your scars should be a personal symbol of strength. you survived. you are surviving. and for that reason, they make you all the more beautiful, all the more stronger, all the more alive.

i love the four inch long scar on the back of my arm because looking at it makes me feel powerful. people asking me about it and cracking borderline jokes about it don’t bother me anymore because of the meaning it holds for me, personally.

yeah that’s about it

just something i’ve been thinking about lately