Concentric Circles

Image via OxfordLearnersDictionary.com

Like two concentric circles

I feel the dawns and risings

Falling into time

Orbiting and cycling like rings of some grand design

Winds blow me where the water runs in time

To keep my eyes above the ribbons parched and frozen

Like an ocean master’s finger hold

Her careless calloused caress

It screams of devotion

Of a calm

Of a sailor’s test

Her arms are ragged and fearless

Her toes are soaked and furled

She holds it all together

Like god holds our world

She chews upon ideas

Like a mouthful of wonder

Like cheeks full of zeal

And I am left on the deck like a blubberless seal

Wondering where along my path will I learn such sacred songs

I feel like I can hear them

Like leaves

The lessons

thrust to the ground from their canopy homes 

and dragged

Like billions of fingernails on a world sized chalkboard

reflections above the water

the pool, hot on a september slab of concrete. a speaker singing a distinctly weekend song, listing back towards the heat of summer struggling against the onset of school. but we just repeatedly submerged ourselves and lie on hot things in the sun roasting to save a bit of heat, sort of fattening up for the winter. Peter was ripped of course, how could he not have a six pack at 16, he’s just that kinda guy. strong silent type, super cool, badass; also relentlessly nerdy, shy as can be, and definitely one of the guys you have to know well to know at all. he’s perched like a lizard on the high dive rolling over to toast each side, occasionally and jarringly rolling off the diving board upsetting the water 10 feet below and the less fit, less shy, me on the low dive (because heights aren’t my thing.) 

you feel like the sun is shining through you when you lay on a black diving board like that, the surface burns your skin and the sun does its worst on the other side, you lie there. the closest we will ever feel to a cold blooded animal, or a zucchini in the midst of the broiling of a lifetime. we just lie there thinking that maybe if we didn’t move time might pass us by and leave us happily stranded in constant farewell to the pregnant bliss of the weekend. and teal, blues in abundance like a brochure to mykonos, both the sky and the water both are cloudless and still moving.

in those peaceful hours i saw fleetingly like a stag in your peripheral, the adolescence people tell you to hold onto. we did. we savored it. an experience we never talked about partly because it might seem gay and partly because what would we say. in a way it was my connection to the schoolboys i see in black and white, with my white gloves flipping through ancient yearbooks. content to lie on a hot rock by the creek with a friend you have been through hell and back with. i saw a glimpse in that moment, a glimpse of the school we would’ve attended had we been born in 1900.

Peter never chose me. he was content with the friends he had, i wasn’t cool, and i idolized him. terrible way to make a friend. but i just kinda showed up, next door, and i would just come and sit with him, uncomfortable as all hell at first, but within days we became happy to distract one another and would spend study hall sneaking back and forth between our rooms talking about rock climbing season and expensive climbing shoes. like two freshman boys did in a hundred years prior, one running into the others room discussing the intricacies of a new radio. wasting a two hour study period and leaving homework for 5 am the next morning before we went to muck their horses. and tomorrow we’d plan to sleep through study hall as a result of our long day but instead chose to scour ebay for deals on aforementioned climbing shoes.

 we weren’t fast friends, but when we needed to study we could sit in silence and study and that was comfortable. also wasting our time nerding out over lame climbing equipment, but both were necessary evils and a part of our lives. for me silence was always the enemy of friendship because good friends always had something to talk or argue about. but Peter liked to listen, to say nothing, to test if it would be awkward, sometimes it was, most of the time it wasn’t. but now when i see him once a month silence is my enemy again. i want him to tell me everything, tell me the gossip, what’s happened since i left, who’s with who, who hates who, funny stories. and Peter just wants to be with his friend and sit and eat obscene quantities of brie and just exist and pretend nothing happened.

the terrible simply horrible nudge

Have you encountered the terrible nudge?

Expectantly nudging her muzzle

Into the kerfuffle

She expects me to pet her or feed her

Or give her some attention

But literally I just did all of those things

Like more than one time over

And i’m sitting in my rotating chair 

Criss cross like a precarious preschooler

With my noise cancelation 

my reading annotation

And suddenly I notice a wet nose

I look down, big brown eyes, a wet nose

Above my hip 

The cradle of ticklishness

A wet nose

I say “go on”

And point

The interlingual interspecies signal for go on

And she lies down

Maintaining eye contact

That’s weird 

Don’t do that

I look back at the book I’m reading

Nudging the nudge out of my thinking

And then my chair is spinning

The terrible nudge, simply by sheer force of will,

Spins my chair

Now I want to take this opportunity

Just to clarify

I know sometimes things are left a little ambiguous

and I think everyone deserves to understand

So I was literally sitting alone in my room with my dog

I sat in an office chair, criss cross

And this dog nudges me with her nose

Like with her nose

So much that my chair begins to spin

I don’t know about you

But for me

Wow

That’s a breaking point you know

Like oops it looks like it’s an outdoor dog’s life for you

Boom

Fleas

The dog house

The chain

Don’t go nudging

Bitch

So then I take the terrible horrible nudge’s collar off

And scratch where she normally can’t reach

And she promptly lies down and goes for a nap on my floor

Allowing for like half an hour of peace before she takes up the nudge once again

i solemnly swear…

a commitment, a promise to uphold: 

I swear to keep my head held high even when I am

against the current.

I promise to love my mother, my father, my sister, my brother 

for eternity. 

I promise I will represent my filipino nonnie and my black grandfather 

as I walk down the street with my hair as

big and curly as ever. 

I swear to be as spiritual as my grandmother, 

And to not let the stress overcome me.

I vow to teach my sister everything I had to learn alone.

I promise to heal those around me with love and joy.

I pledge to never bleach my hair. 

I  vow to not express through harshness but through 

my passion. 

And,

I will never forget my heritage 

I will remember where I came from and be 

humble 

I will come home, 

wherever home may be 

I will always listen to soul and jazz music that comes from 

the heart of New York,

or the deep south. 

This is set of rules, guidelines, and obligations that will set a path for me in my near and far future. I may break or might not keep these promises but I will try. These promises and statements will shape me and prepare me for the unknown. 

Photo Credit: pintrest.com

Portraiture

There is something deeply fascinating in the looks people give no one but themselves.

Right after you drive by someone smiling, waving out the window.

And it’s unbearable eye contact with yourself in the rearview mirror.

So deeply it cuts, your focus lands into your own conscious 

Like staring through the viewfinder

And as you rotate your hand the background comes into focus

your eye lands upon your own face staring back at you

Frowning

And you can’t figure out why you might look so sad

I think I ignore myself so often that sometimes when I happen a glance in a mirror

It can actually be scary

Disturbing

Upsetting even

Is that a function of me forgetting to be introspective?

Maybe focusing so much about what other people think of me

That I don’t think of me

I want more than anything to capture those moments

In other eyes

So that maybe I could make someone think of themselves

So that maybe they might glance into their own eyes

And horrify themselves 

To allow for excruciating introspection

And to showcase

or maybe even just to see

those moments of introspection.

The moments where instead of looking out

Your vision rests precariously on the inside of your eye

That would be a good portrait

The kind of portrait I want to take

But I have to figure out how first.

where my eyes cease to look

If I may,

through ye rivers

through ye trees

it is you who have suffered

by the hand of me

with starlets faded

and trumpets drowned

ye murky streams

stood idle

held fast in winter sounds

– you’re a river –

ancient winnings left unsung

you’re my peer, my equal

yet you still leave me stung 

ye valley, ye hillside, ye marbled dismay

covered in oleander

onward ye May

ye gargling, ye moving, ye ponderous brook 

(struck through me!)

a center it took

“Tear me to pieces

cut out where my eyes cease to look”

and just then will they open to see

the face of summer laughing at me

with eyes open wide 

my love it did wander

for bitter I was

my heart it did squander:

ye forest, ye mountain, ye breeze

ye sunglass driving, ye proliferate bees.

Suppose I am the offspring of thine shepherd:

you are the hunt,

that which I am after.

and with the fall comes the rapid convergence:

mine sweet love’s resurgence

But once again the autumn leaves took

to a different stream or babbling brook

and forevermore I am wandering in a forest ever stranger

of perilous rot

and cavernous danger

All that which a summer could bring!

but once again I am searching for a longer sting

and what of the prospect? What this winter will bring!

while more I could say might strengthen the pressure 

I leave with you no words, no rhyme, no measure

that might contrast mine song of May

it tingles, it trickles, and just may delight

in telling a story of our precarious plight

with the sincerest intentions on an immeasurable scale,

all that you’re left with is a tacky email

and no words, no sermons, no divine light

could bring you back the way it would 

into my life.

minutes later you answer:

true love is true love’s killer

Credit: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1992.5112/

iCARus

if this car dings at me one more time

if another ding reverberates through my ears

i swear to god

have i missed something? does the whole world revolve around this car’s dire need for washer fluid?

well you know heckin what, car

i dont care that your washer level is low

i dont care that your tire pressure is a potential threat to my safety

i dont care that maintenance was required a substantial amount of months ago

or that your entire existence rests on trying to prohibit me from listening to Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

(finally some much needed radio silence, my normally needy car gives me a breather, i turn into 89.3 KPCC like any self-important masochist. ahhhh. how lucky i am to tune into the sweet sweet sonorous sound of the voice of Peter Sagal the host of NPR’s greatest and only radio game show. my car obviously understands the pleasurable tones created by the one and only Bill Kurtis, the narrator of this great weekly hour of radio. and my car picks now as the perfect time to send a certifiable fuck ton of alerts, ranging from topics as important as aforementioned washer fluid or that the car is in need of a software update, blaring through my car speakers. now quite honestly i didn’t know cars could even have software updates, let alone that they were so important that i should miss an important line of NPR’s most high-quality comedic banter, but i swear to all the gods that may be, if this self important piece of german engineering chimes at me again there will be a germany sized whole in the continent known as europe)

your chorus of chimes and beeps and brrrungs remind me the second i turn the key that my seat belt should be on. i was just about to put it on, but obviously im not quick enough for you and your quarter of a second delay.

a vehicle is anything that moves or transports. this car is more something that annoys me more than OSX updates.

(OSX updates that the lovely folks at apple think are priority numero uno, however we know this to be false, i have to put new windshield wiper fluid in my car.)

forgive me oh state farm for i have sinned i have wronged mine car. my car that moves or transports like it is meant to; that roars and tears into its intricacies, generating a herd of horses to move or transport me to and from school; that pairs, through the magic that is bluetooth, to my phone bringing me summer reading audio books as well as crosby, stills, nash, and young all the same.

my car which takes me to coffee and groceries, that supplies a warm butt in the mornings and cool AC in the afternoon.

you defrost thine own windows, you display thine own manual. you know thine own tire pressure, you never cease to tell me about it.

you’re a mechanical beast that does so much more than moving and transporting. you purr when you idle, content to cool and blast NPR. you roar when i press on the gas in neutral by accident. and you alert me with hope in your chime about the absence of washer fluid in your stores.

but you, oh vehicle of my dreams, oh vehicle my parents so rarely let me drive, you annoy me so deeply and to the core i am tempted to just walk.