We sat in the backseat of my friend Sam’s car, Vanessa and I, outside the apartment of a girl whose face I could recognize and name I could tell you, that being the extent of my acquaintance with her. All of us were waiting, all of us being my friends Jason and Sam in the front seat, Forrest between the left-rear door and Vanessa in the middle. There was another car, and inside there was only one person whose name I could tell you, again, the extent of my acquaintance with them. The two cars were side by side, waiting for the girl, both cars with windows down so that arms could stretch between enclosures. The other car handed over a notebook filled with drawings and doodles by an artistically competent person, probably someone in the other car I didn’t know, of a friend of ours, a name I recognized with a face attached, even a personality and humorous anecdotes. The doodles were cartoons, exaggerated sketches of this particular friend killing himself and being sexually used in various ways, all of it so intricately focused with intent by the haikus and mock journal entries that sprung from the same melodramatic, over-emotive teen stereotype. He was like this, I was told, but I looked at Vanessa and we rolled eyes in a classically diminutive way, hoping it wouldn’t register with them how much we wanted to move, get going. We were impatient with hunger and the journal seemed harsh, a going away present as the mutual friend left to study in the UK. They told us he laughed, which must’ve been why he left it behind.
“Do they have food at the Amana Colonies?” I heard Vanessa’s stomach rumble so I put my hand to it, hoping to catch it again.
Sam looked back, at first perplexed by the question, “Heh, yeah, you can get food there.”
My notion of the Amana Colonies was different than Sam’s, his notion having the advantage of being based on empirical evidence. There were certain words that, living in the Midwest, elicited a Pavlovian, impulsive fear in me of any destination they were used to describe. “Historic” was one, “Handcrafted” another, both were used to describe, in some capacity, the Amana Colonies of Iowa. Middle-aged women fighting over who would pay for lunch and a piece of tan glassware, that’s what I saw. My friends invited us along, headed to the breweries and wineries that made the town distinctive, a potentially collegiate destination. I couldn’t drink, underage, and so was Vanessa, the only ones of the group.
The girl came out, apparently, and got in the other car, but I don’t remember her doing so or us finding the highway. Vanessa and I were listening to our bellies roar indistinguishably and letting our heads loll o
[This piece is a PERFECT example of what editors call the 'Purple Patch Trap'. A writer works so meticulously on every single word in a piece and falls too in love with everything to cut anything. I wrote this in high school, spending hours on the amount of syllables in a sentence, the number of sentences in a paragraph, the number of adjectives etc. Basically, it's a really thick piece for being so short, and always serves as a great reminder to me that writing doesn't always have to be so forced.] The sun chokes the moisture from my throat. Humidity squeezes on all sides. The golden brown reeds are still, but bending under the weight of their pallid bulrush heads. They stand like sullen men with hanging heads. My body is like a damp cloth being wrung dry by strong, tight hands. The humid air wraps me in its massive fingers and clenches me in a fist. My skin is drawn tight; scalded by the sun. The air is hot and thick in my throat; my mouth a stew; my tongue the meat on a grill. I walk among the reeds with hands in pockets and eyes watching my feet make each step forward upon the yellowed grass. My feet kick up small clouds of dust and dirt. It settles on my skin and makes my feet feel like sandpaper scrubbing in my sandals. My toes are dry, the nails cracked and splintered, the skin around dead and hanging. The field beyond is walled off by dark brown, almost black wooden fencing. The planks are split and fractured like a desert floor. Some have swung loose from their rigging; others are fortified by rusted steel and nails. Inside graze scrawny, skeletal cows with heads down and mouths chomping; the grass crunches like sticks between the cows’ teeth. In the center of the field is a tall tree, beside it a cow. It stands forlorn in the shade, its head hung, looking bored and heaving air in and out. A man is walking up the field toward the tree. His shoulders are square and broad with a brick of a head sitting atop them. His nose is sharp, pointed, and curled up a bit, like a rat’s nose. Short hair scruffs his neck and jaw, dense and black. Bushy eyebrows keep the sweat from his forehead away from his eyes. A bald head returns the sunlight with a vengeance, at the cost of its own skin puffing and red. Swinging at his side, wrapped in a huge fist is a massive axe. It is heavy and unbalanced in his hand. One side is blunt, weighted, and flat like that of a sledgehammer. The other side is shaped like a half-moon, chipped with wear, but sharp like a serrated knife. He walks toward the tree, goes beside it and begins immediately. His face is relaxed as he lifts the axe into the air, then he sees me, standing there like a forlorn child. He stumbles back and the axe drops to the ground, haft in his hand, blade in the earth. He looks at the cow, the tree, then me - I’m standing in his field; I’m p
So, when I woke up this morning, I was a bundle of thoughts. Not good, happy ones, but confusing, what-the-fuck-is-my-brain-doing ones. Because I'm unsure. Unsure of my future, unsure of my past, unsure of my present. Unsure of the people around me, and what I can stand to lose. Which option is the better one for me? Which option is the better one for everyone that depends on me? How do I decide which option to choose?
That's when I figured it out. I'm too fucking young for this shit, pardon my language. Honestly, I'm 20. I shouldn't be worrying about what major drama is going to happen this week and who I'm going to have to match wits with. But this is where I belong, it makes me feel needed, and gives me a use for my skills. Although, really, I shouldn't have to worry about what's going to happen for the rest of my life. I should be living in the here and now.
But, unfortunately, that's not how my mind works.
Strategically, I don't have a leg to stand on either way. One way, I get stranded in a foreign country if it fails. The other, I haven't a clue where it will lead.
Emotionally, I have attachments in both places. I'm strangely happy here. It makes absolutely no sense. But, I could be happy there.
Then I tried to reason why I felt each would be a good choice, but I realised that, in the end, all my opinions were based upon who I would hurt and who would be in the most pain over everything.
And I realised, everything comes to an end. No matter what, everything always comes to an end.
I don't tend to be a fan of the 'writing exercise', but that's because I'm not sure I've ever written simply for the sake of writing. My journal has always been the place to go when I need to talk about something, and invariably I end up exercising my literate muscles. It's not always emotional, but too often this writing tends to be a bit of a vent. It's a place just to say whatever, whenever, regardless of if it offends someone. There is this idea that writing has to be perfect when it's made public, that it must be lovely and crystal clear. It's this idea that, in the past, really hindered me from putting pen to paper. It causes a hesitation when I've got a pen in my hand and a notebook on my lap. What am I going to write? What am I going to say? Every time. It can get to the point when I just want to toss away my notebook, maybe see if I can score my pen in the garbage can. I'll miss. I always miss. Mocking myself for my poor aim just serves as a short distraction; just as any small thing happening around me will inevitably function. If writing is this hard, then why do it? Writing is, certainly, a fruitless endeavour for all but a few writers. If I were to even think of living off my writing, then that would mean I have to write what someone else wants to read; something in a newspaper, maybe something 'young adult', whatever that means. I can't really do that, though. That's not why I write. What happens when I write is something probably closer to personal therapy. I write my experiences in the form of a story, like I'm cataloguing my misfortunes for future reference. The questions that I tend to receive from this writing can be a bit hard to stomach. "Why?" "Why did you write this?" "Why is it so...depressing/frustrating/harsh?" This critique is especially fun to hear: "Why the hell would anyone want to read this?" That one hits me right in the gut. Ironically enough, despite how much I've studied writing, I tend to get that response a lot. It makes me wonder if they're right, and maybe I'm just continuing to write like I did when I was in High School when I was trying to sort through some frustrating times, trying to make sense of it all. Who wants to read about the personal problems of some random person they don't know, anyway? With that perspective, it ends up being pretty difficult to convince myself that I write to gain readers. If not for readers, then why do I write? Typically, my writing is produced when I'm sitting in my car. I'm parked in some empty lot next to a gas station, my foot sticking out the window. I'm alone, except for whatever voices come through my car speakers, except for the kind of people who tend to hang around a gas station; the bums, the
I am bisexual, I am transgendered, in the sense that it is an umbrella term, the closest to describe me right now would be genderqueer. Anyway, I like to explore these themes in my writing. I am fascinated by the minimal impact sex and gender can have on love, I am fascinated by stories that transcend those barriers, so those are the stories I write. Even the simple story about gay boys that I have been writing since high school has an element of that. I think my character john is probably bisexual. Jamie is a pretty femmy guy, though clearly still a guy, not trans at all, and I think John falls in love with Jamie more than anything, and learns to love all the stuff that comes with it, even to the point of going overboard, being excessively gay proud, especially since being ashamed and closeted is what almost lost him his relationship in the first place. I love the fervor an outsider brings to the task of advocacy, someone with something to prove. And that goes both ways of course, it’s the closet gays and trannies that are the most zealous homophobes, the manliest of men, and when people say “I had no idea” well they have accomplished their goal, that’s what they were going for, though it screws them over in the long run, especially these later in life trannies. They have spent so much time and energy on their manliness on and convincing everyone that they are normal that when they finally come out it is an extreme shock to everyone in their lives, and that much harder to accept. The farther they dig their heels in the worse it is for them in the end. But anyway, back to Jamie and John for a second, I think John is Jamie sexual, but I love the idea of him starting off being attracted in spite of, and ending up super excited because of, because the people we fall for rewire us, make no mistake about that, we get acquired sex triggers based on experience. I am a sucker for acquired tastes and things that grow on me. Coffee, cigarettes, olives, sushi, cock…getting fucked in the ass. Its probably why I am still trying to make myself like pickles. I am my own grand experiment in social conditioning, I believe I have supreme power over my own senses. I guess that’s why I’m so fascinated with that intersection between nature and nurture, though I run screaming from it when it comes to religious douchebags trying to prove gays are sinners that can be reformed…It’s a big contradiction with me, just like everything else… the trick is to think about it just enough but not too much. I guess that’s where I’m trying to go in this new novel…its where I started with Jamie and john but that story deepened and went along another route entirely, Sam and Rylan are still new to me, I can do whatever I want with them, and this is what I want to do, a slow build that blossoms, test kisses, trial dates, and maybe the sex isn’t as important to sam as the love, it’s the way to keep him here, and like so many women he does it for the afterglow, the sweetness of holding and being held, the whispers and caresses of in bed intimacy, the coffee and breakfasts to
and it's like a
laundry-list of acquaintances,
name-marked and chilled condiments;
squeeze-filled "hello!" embraces
or a clumsy slumberkiss.
impartial sandman relations and
impact to sway an axis;
care without condition,
unbiased opinions or
a scar-free appendage.
siblings. childhood friends.
a domesticated orca,
a drink void of caution,
a late night walk without keys in hand or
a beach in which to submerge my toes and
those scenarios premiering in dreamland;
a well-paid career [or
at least equal to that of a man's].
life without currencysocietyand
without the mundane, routine progression
of green, grey, gone;
singular sentiment, automated sleep,
parents capable of satiety and
a world lacking dishes and trash-taking.
winter white and frigid,
an early completion;
someone to wait on me
without an inevitable aberration.
the assuagement of afterlife, the
divine intervention of hands
the quiet murmur of ideals and desires within
the ear of some orphic entity
presumed to care.
a kiss clean of guilt,
solicitous reassurance, and
a sigh at the stars in the arms of a
it's like you:
something I can never have.
blue fluxes navy
in effervescent splash dances
complacent with your words,
skin pigment laced pink
stains and tinges grey
while trails of liner treadway
fade with your name
still, my head mimics
dramatic scenery within film strips,
of horroresque cinematics
so sluggishly shaking horizontal
still, after weeks proceeding months
in the near completion of one-hundred-days
strings frayed garrote my heart
in utter asphyxiation
and still, my breath undulates
I tiptoe into plasmic veils
and now my shadow seems less vivid,
always careening to outline behind
I don't need a replica,
I just want a friend
Reflecting on the fragile ability of technology to bring the world closer together and also to make it more isolated.
This is a poem about my grandma who passed away a few years ago, i usually write a lot about her.