day 31: new titles.

The year of Lost and Lost.

The year of Lost and Found and Lost.

The year of Fumble and Foundations. 

The year of Poetry.

The year of Lust and Linger.

The year of Trying and Trouble. 

The year of Struggle and Rehab.

The year of Yearn.

The year of Relocation and Reconfigure.

The year of City.

The year of Loans and Loss.

The year of Letters.

The year of Wishing.

The year of Books and Borrow.

The year of Music and Making.

The year of Movement and Magic.

The year of Listening and Learning.

day 30: to be.

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”   …Oscar Wilde.

It can be difficult to stick out, but boxes can be so small sometimes and there may be a need to bust up the perfect right-angled corners and redecorate what may be expected of you. Just because you identified as one thing yesterday, doesn’t mean you need to be exactly the same way today. Minds and bodies are subject to change.

You may meet someone who actually celebrates your inconsistencies and box-shattering moments, rather than bullying you back into an identity that never felt quite right.

When was the last time you asked someone how their day was and then remained to hear their answer? And have you ever (brace yourself) walked up to someone who was experimenting with the language of themselves and thanked them for the bravery of being out?

Who are you living for and how accurate is your existence? Are you mirroring the ones around you or are you creating a true reflection of who you want to be.

day 29: edit away the disturb of loneliness.

“Be good and you will be lonesome,” said Mark Twain.

Silence can be so loud, you have a difficult time connecting to breaths. However, silence can also be a song you memorize and never forget the words to. It’s melody will become like a harmonized history of everything you ever called beautiful.

They called you good. They said, You agree to too much and you give in.

So, you stop. You fold your tongue into intricate origami contraptions. Your taste buds turn into swans and kayaks and butterflies and boxes.

There is so much generosity beneath your fingernails, which is why you bite them. With each spit of keratin across the room, you are spreading this munificence everywhere you go.

Your yawns do not need to be introduced. You can laugh at a joke that remains inside you.

Why is loneliness such a whisper? Have you even memorized the various octaves of your sighs and gulps? Scream out your alone and be inside the gloriousness of solitude.

day 28: territory

You belong to the wind; you carry maps in every pocket from left to right but never peek at them; you are lonely but never alone; you cling to sad but drink laughter through straws that twist and scrape; you are rained on but you know how to splash in puddles that press beneath you; you bleed each month, but you exist on two plains; you are loved but struggle with the aftershock; you are hungry; you sing; you hide yet are not always seeked; you have lied; you collect death behind the yellow and beside the red; you belong to autumn and poetry and every leaf you ever plucked and kept; you are in search of; you are searching; you have searched and sometimes you get closer; you are alive; you enjoy kissing but have a difficult time committing to mouths; you keep an extra set of drawers hidden to keep secrets; you keep secrets; you belong to the trees; you belong to the water that helps you float; you belong to February and blue; you are difficult; you are desired; you neglect your health; you are healthy; you do not always know the status of your sick; you like to dance but only when you are alone; you are often alone; you often forget to understand; you ask questions; you are questioned; you are split; you are; you; belong.

day 27: tracking.

It took you three thousand, two hundred and eighty-five days to get here. You fell in love three and a half more times with six people. You lost a pregnancy; you lost three gloves. You gained weight, several new words and two college degrees. You cut your hair; you lost your hair; you bought some hair. You learned about mountain top removal and composting. You read several books you cannot recall and you wrote some books. There were fourteen blackouts: several from various weather configurations, one due to a past due bill and the others connected to your inability to curb your alcoholism. You took a bath. You learned how to knit. You purchased a mattress and almost fell off a fire escape due to your inability to curb your alcoholism. You became sober. You cooked the most delicious meal for yourself. You learned how to banter. You took one thousand and ninety-five naps. You grew an affection for hard-boiled eggs. You had a biopsy. You moved nine times. You applied for health insurance; you acquired a primary care physician. You gained more weight. You fell in love for an evening. You purchased a pet. You lost your pet. You learned how to play a musical instrument; you lost seventeen friends. You traveled overseas; you took a road trip. You contemplated lipstick. You purchased two succulents. You tried Nattō. You had three affairs minus the six you do not mention. You still bite your nails. You still collect stamps and phone numbers. You still forget to breathe sometimes. You still fall asleep hungry some nights. You still think of _____. You still do not know how to crochet or apologize correctly. You are still alone; you are constantly surrounded. You still desire stillness. You are still learning. You are still drafting drifting dreaming.

day 26: read (some more)

Reading a book is like being in a relationship. There are moments you do not want it to end, yet there are also times when you feel more than ready to walk away from it. There are disappointments, but also surprises. Sometimes, there are sequels, which just elongates the pleasure.

I’ve had entire summers dedicated to writers, unable to say goodbye to their language: Mary Gaitskill, Haruki Murakami, Charles Bukowski, even an orgy of Pablo Neruda, Kazim Ali and Hafiz.

It is easy to use the excuse: there is just no time to read a book, but time must be paved and watered.

When I read, I travel to countries and territories I may never get the opportunity to discover. I meet characters who help me to understand myself and the world around me. I read poems that expand my vision. Reading reminds me to always believe in magic.

Here are just a few great books I read this year and highly recommend:

Nevada (Topside Press)  by Imogen Binnie. Throughout this book, I felt like I was part of the bike gears turning over bridges as the narrator, Maria, traveled toward and away from herself. I was significantly blown away by this novel and the honest, funny and emotional writing of Imogen Binnie. After reading this book, I purchased, The Collection, which is a phenomenal anthology of transgender writers, including Binnie. I just didn’t want to let go of her yet.

Man Alive (City Lights Publishing) by Thomas Page McBee is a memoir exploring masculinity and a highly focused dissection of the past. It is poetic and brutal and exploratory. I found myself folding over the corners of pages in order to go back to his words. I even underlined some things, faintly, since it was a library book. This one I need to purchase, so I can reread and rediscover.

Prosperity, A Novel (Dog Ear Publishing) by Jenna Leigh Evans. I was blown away by Evans’s vocabulary and cinematic approach to the ways in which debt can be overpowering and (oddly) funny. It is beyond relatable, since I want to believe that everyone is slathered in some form of debt. The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like I was watching it. Her mind is so illustrative and she crafted a place that I could see in every scene, down to the color and smell of it all.

For Today I Am a Boy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)  by Kim Fu explored the complex relationship of gender and culture. I fell in love with the protagonist, Peter Huang, and loved being a part of his journey away from and toward home. Kim Fu brings such dynamic characters together up until even the very end of this novel.

An Untamed State  (Grove Press) by Roxanne Gay has infiltrated my dreams and has sewed itself to my palm. I am forever changed by the horrific accounts of the protagonist, Miri. Roxanne Gay already had me with “Bad Feminist”. I fell in love with her frankness. Here, in this novel, she captivates my core. I feel bloodied and battered from the scenes she creates.To write that I could not put this down is not exact enough. Even when I put it down, I was reading it. I want to ask Gay: How did you leave these scenes while writing them? How were you able to move through the world (eat lunch with friends, watch a television program, sleep) with these images crafted by your mind and fingers. This book MUST be read.

Retrograde (great weather for MEDIA) by Puma Perl surprised me in such marvelous ways. I’ve been a fan of Puma Perl’s since moving back to Brooklyn almost five years ago. Her poetry is gritty, like rock-n-roll slurs of graffiti against the page. I’ve seen her perform many times and she slides her words out seductively and authoritatively. I have read most of (if not all) of her books and find that this collection shows such immeasurable growth that makes me an even bigger fan than I already was.

the pedestrians (Wave Books) by Rachel Zucker feels like a walk through the subconscious mind. This is what I imagine it might feel like to hold hands with another’s frontal lobe, interlocking fingers with mood and behavioral status. There is a saltiness to her prose. A desperation drenched in almost-stale tears. It is a unique experience to read a book of poetry and want to call it a ‘page-turner’, but this one definitely is.

Here (Mariner Books) by Wislawa Szymborska became my travel date on a long walk through Greenpoint, Brooklyn one day. I carried her words around and could feel the seep of her line breaks saturate my skin; her words drip. I feel full when I read her, like I’ve just eaten a meal full of protein and starches and my insides feel bathed. There is an optimism in her writing that also reveals a bit of loneliness as well.

day 25: pose.

I know that when I do this pose, I feel like I am giving my thoughts permission to drip out of me and then when I am ready to emerge out of downward facing dog, I can see the puddle of words and cracked worries beside me. Then, I sop them up with imaginary paper towel and walk away.

I have been trying to fall in love with yoga for a long time and I think we are just still getting to know each other (again). Sometimes, it is best to wait before making such grand announcements. While my body presses into these poses, I feel like my bones are making poetry. My breaths are filling up the room just like I imagine my words take up a page. These poses are medicinal and contemplative and forgiving.

I am working toward finding my way back in.

day 24: someone else’s words

Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists. There is, there has been, there will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem that they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”
―Wisława Szymborska from her Nobel Lecture: “The Poet and the World,” 1996


day 23: vitamins

These days have begun to stretch. They have begun to expand as though new bones have sewed themselves to the sun, dangling like elongated bells, alerting us that after all this grey shiver, there will be warmth again.

The humans grow more fur to keep themselves warm. They cover themselves in wool and thermal in order to combat the winter freeze.

Recently, I have been advised to ingest more Vitamin D. The sun grows shy in the winter, or perhaps this season permits the sun to go on holiday. It exists, but in far less moments. Gunmetal grey and taupe grey and cadet grey and silver replace cornflower blue and tufts blue and cerulean blue and azure.

When the sun arrives, my friend tells me, walk outside. Even if it is so cold your fingers forget how to curl. Leave your sunglasses behind [I don’t own any] and allow your corneas to inhale the vitamins. On days when the sun forgets to wake, you must take Vitamin D.”

But must I take a pill? I query. Ar there foods I can eat, which are full of this?

We are all vitamins, she insists. We are made up of all sorts of chemicals. Outside, the sun is best, but sometimes you need to swallow what your body craves, even if it is difficult to digest.

day 22: blink.

It was a day unlike Sunday, but it was Thursday. Everyone’s knees gathered the fumes of dandelions and coughed-up dreams. There was an unspoken incantation in the air because no one was blinking. Eyes did not grow dry nor weak from remaining open; instead, nothing was missed. Everything was seen– from the foil-tipped wings of a dove flying nearby to the drip of supper sauce in the corner of a pigeon’s mouth. The humans saw the weather shift from cold to colder. Hands held other hands, instead of handheld contraptions. Love was contagious because it was noticed; it was felt. There were roses popping up like blades of grass. Various sized petals and colors like ocean’s blue and sunflower yellow. The humans left the flowers alone, but watched them. Watched them get bigger or smaller or wilt or go wild. One human picked one. A flower which had yet to be named. It was not scientific, nor was it invited. But it smelled of two a.m. wake-up from current lover when pressed between fingers. It smelled of wheat grass and cloud juice. It remained alive long enough to last until eyes finally grew dehydrated and forced itself into a blink. Then, the open-close rotation continued and repeated until suddenly things went missing. Flowers became blurs of color and animals roamed without any more mention. It was just a day.