something found, something borrowed

He shows me a piece of glass, shaped like the moon landing, found while biking home from work.

“I was stopped at that intersection where we we were stopped by police that time we tried to break the rules. I looked down and there it was. Hopped off my bike, leaned it against my hips and picked it up. All its edges had been dulled; who knows how long it had been resting against Brooklyn pavement. But…”

I waited as his voice trailed off.

“But even as I put it in my pocket, I felt like I was borrowing it. Maybe that’s always how it is. We borrow the things we take from the earth and then when the earth is ready, it takes it all back.”

I tasted many words on the tip of my tongue, but I wanted him to continue. I wanted him to never stop talking.

“And look right here,” he points to several arches in the center of the glass. “Don’t you feel like it is an imprint of the moon landing? Minus the proud flag waving. But if I hold it a certain way…” He tilts the glass sideways. “…you can almost see the flag and feel the wind from its fabric swooshing against the air.”

“Something found, something borrowed,” I finally uttered.

“Exactly,” he said.

something about an elephant

She wandered for days.

Ran her feet against the mud of summer. Her toes, painted every shade of brown including brown.

She preferred the opposite of solitude, but she was without the others this time. Ten years of this time. 

She overheard the one wearing name tag and uniform that she was difficult. Taciturn. Grueling to approach.

Someone, decades ago, named her Happy.

Now, she refuses to even stitch her name to her tongue, knowing the irrelevance of its sound.

To describe her morning, one would have to be patient enough to sit through her silence. She meditates until her blood sizzles, vibrating her veins. Then, she shakes her bones like a moondance and heads back into her mute.

She fell in love only once. For one day. Minus the hours she had slept. Another with skin like hers but darker. A wrinkled revision of flesh. They would rub their differences into each other like art. They never spoke or shared names. They simply breathed in each other’s remnants of breath.

She recalls the scent of her love’s mouth breezes to be like the sulfur salt spring water she always smelled in her dreams.

Now, she remains. There is nowhere left for her to visit besides the stories in her mind; that they cannot take from her.

what it means to be a pro

I sat. Every week for two months in a room which was home to a university I wish I had gone to. I stared at other humans who shared the rhythm of my story. At one time, we had all been in similar rooms, moving our bones in similar ways. And for these weeks, I wrote.

I wrote about parking garages; I wrote about love; I wrote about sex; I wrote about gender. I wrote about writing these snapshots out of me. My words became the strongest bar of soap, cleaning me out.

People want to know what it means to be a writer. What it means to call myself other sometimes. What it means to say non-pro. What it means to be a poet. What it means to be queer. What it means to be human what does it mean to be human.

For all of these, I am still figuring it out.

At the end of our time together in this intimate workshop, we gathered up our pages and they magically (with the help of many talented folks) grew a spine, table of contents, ISBN and a title. Our words birthed itself into a book.

pros(e) was published through the Red Umbrella Project. These are (some) of our stories.

So I’m in a book, does that make me a pro? I meet people everyday, some I actually talk to. Some I just breathe in through observation and eavesdropping. I digest their stories and the sounds of their bones cracking into sentences and songs. Their bodies are books without the blatant table of contents and index. We are all pros just from moving each day.

You crack a part of your body open and blood arrives and a wound and scar and all that is a chapter. You fall in love with someone you weren’t supposed to but it happens and each day you kiss, you slam paintings and orchestral music into each other’s mouths. This becomes a prologue or interlude or footnotes.

We are all books. We are all writers. The words have stained us and some choose to leave smudges alone, while other’s choose translation. Regardless, the words exist.

So…..write it. Or blow it into an instrument. Or smear it onto a stretched canvas. Or cook it into a meal. Or impregnate it into your lover’s body. Or fold it into a paper airplane and send it on over this way.