Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the one that laughed forever and killed them all doing it


Time machines... et cetera.

This isn't the beginning of something beautiful. This is the end. A standing ovation. An encore.

Sometimes in the winter, you forget what summer looks likes. There are chalk outlines on the cement where the people inside of them just get up and walk away. The sky leaks light. And some things are glued together shoddily but with very good intentions. I don't think God meant for the human heart to crumble so easily. We were a mass-produced flaw. Good to look at, but shipped with a label that says "Damaged Goods".

Do you wonder what we have instead of wings? We have crowbars and kite strings and multivitamins, and the secret that is kept in the breadbox is that God is a little jealous of our beautiful hair, and our way with words. He must have said, "Yeah, yeah, this is where I'll leave the rest of the gods." Because looking back, God shouldn't have given us such beautiful crowbar wings but He took the car and ran out of gas.

The thing I've noticed about people is that they know a lot about circles but not much at all about straight lines. Try to get from point A to point B; I bet you can't. There is a lot that we can't fix---the stars are exploding, the milk is spilling, Cleopatra is dead---but there's tape for that. If we can't fix it, we sure can write nice poems about it.

You are beautiful like a moth. And when Peter, James, and John come to dinner, they don't even wipe their feet; and if they eat a slice rhubarb pie, I bet you will, too. You hate rhubarb pie. Sometimes the little things are the ones that kill you. Blood vessels, arteries, scrap metal. Eat what you want.

When God was making man he must have just closed his eyes and pointed to the nearest miracle and here I am: an empty spot in heaven. God said, "Hey, where'd everybody go?"

No, I didn't bite the hand that fed me; I licked it clean.

I'm out for blood.

I'm impatient and I didn't even bother leading the horse to the water. I carried him on my back and showed him where the kept the cans of Coca-Cola. Oh yes, you unbendable little beauty, you bracken-watered little fool. You forgot all about how men are beaten out of boys, torn kicking and gnashing their teeth from the beds that they slept in as children; they were always just chapels and steeples and heavy wood doors. They were always religion, the very stomach of it, religion and good to pray for.

You coward. Bloodied from the wars your father taught you to fight in, worshiped by the schoolchildren whose scraped knees you spat upon, "Get up. Get up." You were uncovered like some rare Paleozoic skeleton in the dirt, millions and millions of years too late to say "I forgive you, Mother". You coward.

Who tucks you into bed? Who prays for you?

You have never been older than you are right at this exact second. But also, you're never going to be this young again. That's a lot of responsibility.

You put "Proceed with Caution" signs up on your bedroom walls to remind yourself to stir the soup and look both ways when you're yielding to pedestrians. Your slogan could be "Maybe later". Try to locate Heaven on a map of Ohio, because you'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't; there were never enough tomorrows or crayons in the box, Lucifer you had your fun, and I will never become what you were when you were bright: bright, bitter, and beautiful in your blistering youth. You have been wondering why the stars aligned the way they did because they spell your name and they break your heart; but how broken-hearted could you be, exactly, with your name across the sky in stars. Oh yes, the ones I love most have me by the throat.

This is a public apology... and I accept. I forgive you.

Keep it warm for me in the oven. Write it in pencil. Tell me just how much you wanted to see my skin stretched for miles and miles and miles across deserts that used to be oceans. Because some things don't have endings, sometimes it's very hard to find the last page and sometimes it's very hard to say good-bye.

Thank you, John F. Kennedy for taking the bullet for me.

Who loved you best?

This has been The Devastation Diaries.
(good night)

Sunday, May 6, 2012



hunter/gatherer ; lover/fighter

Five foot three and almost responsible enough to set her own alarm clock. Good whistler. Even better liar. Friends with freckles and cut-up hands; enemies with everyone else. She can sing most of the jingles on commercials and that's either sad or pretty cool. She can wear fishnet tights and usually people don't bug her about it too much. She goes to school, she goes to sleep on the couch. Alas, an ordinary world where chocolate cake is for breakfast and girls are in love with their own shadows. Fingers like candy cigarettes, home like Sundays after church. She says "I love you" and she means it. She says "I hate you" and she means it, sometimes. Ordinary world where everything happens to somebody else. She always finds someone else to blame. Ordinary world where linoleum is beautiful and the sky is made of buttered toast. She loves you so much that she almost doesn't believe that love even exists.

She's the hero, here to save the day.

And that's when the world ends. What an adventure. Everyone's dead, and good thing too, because she probably doesn't know how to save a life anymore than she knows how to fix a tire.

What the studio audience would like to know:

1. How many miles from here to San Clemente?
2. Wait, can she even sing the "Stanley Steamers" jingle?
3. When will she get her driver's license?
4. Was that a cop-out? (answer: probably)

This has been The Devastation Diaries.

this is a filler blog post, tentatively titled: "filler"

Sometimes I can't think of anything to say. And then I have to google "Where can I get cheap black market Birkenstocks in Utah?" instead of blogging, which---in case you're about to go search for it---has surprisingly unhelpful results.

If any of you know where I can get cheap black market Birkenstocks in Utah, please let me know asap. My budget is between $0 to $8. Thanks in advance.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.
(I'm really sorry.)

Monday, April 30, 2012

midsummer night's press conference

Here comes the round of applause. "Hello, hello". I almost always see you going, but never coming. "Hello, hello". We almost never say good-bye.

This is where we go wrong every time: I say, "Hey, what gives?" and you say, "Soup kitchens. Mothers. The Federal Return." It's a figure of speech. But you---broken-backed, literal beast that you are---come home with your hammer and your copy of The New York Times and you break down the house with both. Literally. 

I say, "Hey, dear, what's the scoop?" And you say, "Vanilla ice cream. Mulch. Cat food, and by the way, we're running low, dear". It's a figure of speech. It's an idiom, and you can't translate it into French or Japanese because that's how different we are; that's how beautiful we are. That's how colloquial we are. You don't understand the simplest forms of simile or verbal abuse. I've never been kind to you, but that's because you told me to never water down gasoline or pray with my eyes open. You told me, "Don't write your name on your math homework and don't leave your receipts on the counter"; it's because you love me, you jealous little coward.

These are the shinyugly days. These are the saltygritty, headyripe, bendybreakable days of almost-summer. Windywarm. Brittlebright. I have a whole fleet of little soldiers who bring me snacks and kill my enemies. They say "Who makes your bed in the morning?" and I say "The queen of England".

I have a confession: I don't want you to fly in airplanes because I'm afraid you'll get too close to heaven and God will just take you back, right there, right over the Great Salt Lake. So stay grounded. Stay here and I promise, I won't be the one that corrects you when you blunder your way through every single one of Shakespeare's litanies. I won't even capitalize your name.

When I say "How are you feeling?" and you say "Thirsty", I'm still going to leave, but I'm going to leave the doors unlocked and the car idling because I've never wanted to abandon you without you. And that's where I'll leave you, that's where I'll desert you: right here with me. I am Judas.

Everything is trite and untrue. I long for summers away from suburbia and salty fries. I am Judas.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

slow dance music by tom c. hunley


Hey. Read this.

Slow Dance Music by Tom C. Hunley

I can’t explain the rain’s attraction to my head,
though I’m touched by its will to touch me,
and I don’t understand how I got here any more
than a lobster understands how it ended up in a tank
next to a Please Wait To Be Seated sign,
but both of us can read the faces of the cruelly beautiful
women pointing at us. I always feel eyes on me so
I apologize to insects after I kill them
and to the salmon on my plate, caught being
nostalgic for home. Everything makes sense if
you squint just right, and at least once a day
I realize that whatever I’ve been saying
isn’t the point at all. Like yesterday, I heard myself
say “Nostalgia” comes from Greek roots meaning
“painful return,” which is why your childhood
home is paved over, a bump in the commuter
path of your old classmates, the ones who have
never gone anywhere. And so instead of leaning
in for a kiss, I give my beautiful wife the umpire’s
signal for “safe.” And when I say “I love you”
she becomes red-faced, hits me with the back
of her fists, and calls the cops, because those
words no longer mean what they once did.

..I'm very obsessed with it. Poetry is cool.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.
(And Tom C. Hunley)



Sunday, April 1, 2012

pocket lint


Places that you forget about:
  • Behind the fridge.
  • The baseboards.
  • Bottom shelves of closets.
  • Winter coat pockets.
  • The building you used to go to church in.
  • Attics.
  • Old friends' bedrooms, and the beds in them.
  • Slovakia.
  • The corner in the garage where the brooms are.
  • The backs of photos where someone had written "Los Alamos, 2002".
  • Under the deck.
  • Old art classrooms, old computer labs.
  • Last year's bird nest.
  • Furnace rooms.
  • Linen closets.
  • The last parts of notebooks that you never bothered filling in.
  • Cookbooks that you never really liked.
  • Hat boxes.
  • The top of the bookshelf where you keep the key, and the dust up there.
  • The cupboards you fit in when you were that small.
  • Your tenth grade locker. You remember the combination, but not the location. 
  • The booth you always sat in when you used to go to Denny's all the time. Remember that? You were so tired, lit up in the florescent dusk, and you never finished your tea.
  • The hamburger shop on the way to work. You never stopped by there like you said you would.
  • Wednesday afternoons.
  • Under the sink.
  • The glove compartment.
  • The spaces between your ribs.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.


i like movies

I can't pick just one favorite movie because (A) I watch too many movies to just choose one and (B) I am very indecisive. 

And that's why this is a list called "My Top Five Favorite Movies In No Particular Order" instead of "My One and Only Favorite Movie that Beats All the Rest Even Though That Sounds Like Blasphemy".


  • Scott Pilgrim vs the World
  • The Social Network
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Romeo + Juliet (the '96 one with Leo DiCaprio and a lot of Chevrolet Monte Carlos)
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

*This list is subject to change any time I wake up in the middle of the night and say "What was I thinking?!" and feel the need to edit.

  • Solarbabies
  • Rosemary's Baby
  • Scent of a Woman ("hoo-ah!")

This has been The Devastation Diaries.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

little infinities

Broken-wristed beauty, you had me at 'hello'. The sky wouldn't be the sky if it came with instructions on How to Look Up and Be Mesmerized. There are some things that you're meant to fix and there are some things you're meant to leave in pieces.

Saltwater beauty, you have hands like a pair of moth's wings. Mercy and justice are separate things; peanut butter and jam are separate things; leather and lace are separate things. There are some things that you know and there are some things that you feel. The sky is blue. The bread is warm. This is your heart. The world is okay.

Carnivorous beauty, cannibal beauty, you're brimming with repression and aggression and compensation. You've got your sights set on Hell, but Heaven wants you bad. The only way to get anywhere is to get in a car and drive, and do you think we'd fall asleep in the car if we took a roadtrip to Heaven? There are somethings that you know and there are some things that you know.

Junkyard beauty, I never meant to let anything rust. I see the world in a series of blueprints---How to Build a House, if you will---but blueprints don't pay mortgages or read poems or wake you up to go to school in the morning. There are some things that are beautiful and there are some things that are not.

Threadbare beauty, go easy on yourself. Years and years and years from now, scientists will still be studying the exact velocity of your shrug, writing down numbers, saying "God must be real. God must be real". There are some things that are fact and there are some things that are less fact. 

A cappella beauty, you didn't follow the script. Your indifference was nuclear, you could've peeled back paint with your apathy, you could've fed armies with a single callous look. Freight-train eyes, that's what I've always called them: are you coming or going? There are some things that are fact and there are some things that are fiction.

Sandpaper beauty, I knew exactly what you were going to say: "I told you so". It takes some people a thousand years to perfect the art of being alone; it took you five minutes. You run laps to reach the moon. There are some things that take time and there are some things that kill time.

Satellite beauty, you've been picking up after me for quite a while now. I leave little paths of destruction, I leave little war zones wherever I go. If I'm the hurricane, you're the Aspirin. There are some things that move mountains and there are some things that move bike pedals.

Nitroglycerin beauty, I'll leave you a note on the refrigerator and it'll say: "I'm gone". Hallelujah, hallelujah. I have two hands and you have two hands, and that makes sense to me. The week will end and the sun will explode. You don't pick the people you love. There are some things you need and there are some things you want.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

your heart is a city, your mouth is a bridge

Sometimes when I'm around other people I play a game with myself called "If People Were Cities, Which City Would They Be?". Some people have suburbs in their eyes. Some people inhale sunlight, exhale beach breeze. There are subway people, there are downtown people, there are gridlock traffic people and country club people and Empire State Building people. Everyone has their own city because of the weather forecast of their outrage over a D+ on a math test, and because of their morning commute, and because of the way they rain, or sometimes, the way they pour.

I saw a man once that was so Topeka, Kansas that his hair was falling out.

I saw a woman dressed in red, and I've never seen New Orleans before in my life but there she was: New Orleans, as plain as tar. No Mardi Gras, no masks, just New Orleans on a regular Thursday somewhere in Salt Lake City. It's funny how something so big can look so small, city within a city, sitting on a bench at the bus stop; New Orleans, sipping her coffee.

No one is ever like the place they grew up in. Emily should be California, but she's Detroit. Not hollowed-out, eaten-up, burned-down Detroit, not hungry Detroit, but art district Detroit, and her hair would be the flag in the city hall. She's Detroit for the film in her camera, and for the way she walks.

I have a friend who is just like Anchorage. That's Alaska. Cloudy skies, but the kind that clear. Anchorage, Alaska is more forgiving than we gave it credit for. Who knew? Anchorage, and it's because his shoulders are Anchorage and his voice is Anchorage, and you think you're Juneau? I don't care about Juneau, you're Anchorage, because sometimes we have to force you to speak. Sometimes we don't.

Blond and a hundred feet tall, Addy Baird is somewhere southern. Atlanta, Georgia. Houston, Texas. All I know is that the people talk loud. She uses her hands when she talks.

I have another friend who is Florida. Tallahassee, maybe. Orlando. I don't know the difference, I just know that he's Florida because of his driving habits. He has the eyelashes of a Floridian. He's nicer than he should be, and that's Florida for you. Florida shoreline, Florida rain; I think there's even a certain shape like Florida in his posture.

I'm friends with Philadelphia, too. She's the Fairmount part up north, every color you can think of. Collarbones, freckles, boots; they all mean the same thing: Philadelphia. She wanders off, she makes lists. She has neat handwriting.
I've met Alpine, Utah. I'm friends with her. She has blond hair and high standards but we run out of things to talk about. I said "hell" once and I don't think Alpine, Utah has ever forgiven me for it.

I've got a brother in the Philippines and that's funny because he's Chicago. He's Chicago in the Philippines, born and raised in Utah County. Long legs, big vocabulary. Chicago.

My mother is Boulder, Colorado. She wakes up early every morning. She bakes bread for you, she knows everything, she wants a light blue car.

My father is Helena, Montana. I don't know. I can just tell.

There's a boy that's Albuquerque, indecent sometimes, blue-skyed and red-haired, he digs his elbows in. Albuquerque wants everything in the whole entire universe.

The girl who used to be my best friend is Reno, Nevada. I'm not going to elaborate on that one.

I know everyone. I know every city.

I know Rochester and San Antonio and Burbank and Wichita.

Strangers, I love you. Strangers, you're the biggest cities in the world.

Bri, you're Omaha, Nebraska. It's the color of your hair.

Jacob, you're Mitchell, South Dakota, ankle-bearing and indifferent, I hear no one wants to live in Mitchell. Okay, okay, everyone sort of wants to live in Mitchell.

Rachel, you're Sugar City, Idaho. Just listen to the sound of it. Sugar City: pastel sky, and I'm sorry that I'm not more familiar with it. 

And another Rachel, I think you might be Astoria, Oregon; it's up north on the coast, and it's lovely there.

Juliana, you're Jersey City.

Roah, you're Manhattan, you're all of it; you've got the slums and the skyscrapers, you've got street vendors, and you've got the places where people walk across bridges with shiny shoes on their feet.

Jonah, you're Boston, you know why: the circles under your eyes, your wrists, you're smart and you walk like you're late for something. Everything.

Austin, you're Mesa, Arizona. Other Austin, you're Phoenix, Arizona. I guess it's the name.

Collin, you're Providence, Rhode Island and I'm sorry if that's not accurate. It's this thing you do with your eyebrows. I'm not a bitch.

Ben, you're Baja, California. It's almost Mexico. You don't have to wear your shoes there, or so I hear.

Autumn, you're Auburn, Maine (I think). I asked around. I like your clothes.

Köbi, I hear you're Jackson, Mississippi. Or Casper, Wyoming. There was some dispute.

Jesse, welcome to Phoenix, Arizona, and the weather is fine.

Morgan, you're Cambridge, Massachusetts. The glasses gave you away. We like you. That surprised us all.


Brendon, you're Honolulu, Hawaii. Aloha.

Cara, you're Charleston, West Virginia but maybe that's who you were three years ago. I haven't been around much. You've got such long legs, you were so mean.

Okay, okay, let me take a breath. I have some apologizing to do. This was probably a bad thing that I just did.

I've been all over the States, I've seen everything, I've seen everyone. You're a tourist trap, you're a ghetto, you're a street sign and a city capital.

I want you to know that I'm not happy just sitting on the pavement. I'm not happy just visiting the museums. I take the bus, I have a city library card. I'm a native. Wherever you are, I'm a native. I belong here.

Five Things That I Want to Apologize For:
1. I'm sorry if you read this whole thing. Really, really sorry.
2. I'm sorry if this is about you.
3. I'm sorry if this isn't about you.
4. I'm sorry if I don't know you.
5. This isn't everyone I know, or everyone I love, or everyone I hate. Some people are cities. Some aren't, I guess. Sorry, sorry, strangers and loved ones, the ones I didn't add but should have, the ones who I hope will never see this; I didn't mean to offend you, I meant to say that I like to travel.

One Thing That I Will Not Apologize For:
1. I'm not sorry for what city I gave you. You want your own city? Write your own post.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.

jealous because i can be

Here is a poem that I love. It's name is "How to Like It", and it's about everything, and it's by Stephen Dobyns, who is a genius. I can't explain it right. I can't explain why I'm jealous, because here's the catch: there shouldn't be anything extraordinary about this poem. But it's got this weird combination of Heaven and Hell and I love that, and I can't describe it but it's okay because I don't need to. Here it comes.

How To Like It
by Stephen Dobyns 

These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff
people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside.
Let’s not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich.
Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.
And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept-
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.

 I told you. I told you. It's something about the way your veins feel open after reading it, isn't it? It's something about the way your hands feel empty, isn't it? Get jealous. This is good.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.

how to fly, and other myths

how to fly,
and other myths

late one night in the pouring rain, i heard a sound like glass breaking and trees falling, like milk spilling and children singing, i heard four hundred hands turning keys in four hundred locks, i heard fathers waking up and putting on their boots and rubbing their eyes. i thought i heard it. i thought i heard it all. i thought i heard the song of a morning dove and of a magpie, i thought it heard it, but no, it was only the sound of two thousand years of men trying to get back their youths, trying to rewrite history, trying to strip the past bare and leave it as this: "we did a good job. we did a good job".

This has been The Devastation Diaries.



Stretched thin, that's what I am.

I'll sleep when I'm dead.

This has been The Devastation Diaries. 

Kind of.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

karma police

Listen up, because I'm about to tell the truth.

Just kidding.

What I'm about to do is tell you how to fry a fish. 

But first, someone to explain string theory to me.

You're calling my bluffs, you're doing me favors. You think I'm polite? You must have me confused with someone who can fall asleep at night. Insomniacs are never polite.

This is all that I am: homesick.

I ain't beautiful, I'm just rich.
I ain't praying, I'm just preaching to the choir.

We ain't drunk. We ain't mute. 

I know a hundred thousand words but the only one I can think of is: Glory. Glory. Glory. I don't know what "glory" is, but I'm pretty sure that God had it.

Are we blasphemous? Nah. We're holy. We're devout.

Didn't you come here to fry fish? I'm distracting you, aren't I? I'm disappointing you, aren't I?

My best asset as a human being is greed. See how greedy I am? See how human I am?

I apologize. I know that all you want from me is the truth about frying a fish, but I just want you to hear me speak. I want you to say: I hear you, I hear you. I want you to say: Forget about the fish. Tell me another one.

I tried writing a love poem this morning but the only thing I wrote down was: "REMEMBER TO BUY MILK AND BROWN SUGAR". I have a shopping list for a love life and lined paper is the cruelest way to break someone's heart.

This one goes out to all the boys in bands.

Are you wondering about what kind of frying pan you're going to need? Are you wondering about butter and trout?

Let me be the one to break the news: there is a hole in your heart that never stops wanting. There is a page missing from the Bible. There is a fish in a frying pan, and you'll burn it if you don't do it right.

I hear you, I hear you.

Well, I've talked enough for one night. The paint is drying, the house is getting cold. I'm all out of clichés, I'm all out of colloquialisms.

You want to know how to fry a fish? Do you really want to know?

Okay, okay. Here's the secret, here's the truth, here's the thing they'll write on your headstone because you told them it was the key to the universe. Here's how to fry a fish.

You put some oil in the pan, and you fry the fish.

You fry the fish.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.


the courage post

If courage was a human being, he'd be ugly. 

Courage would be obscene. He'd burn your ex-lover's letters without permission. Instead of passing you the dinner rolls, Courage helps himself. You say "God", and Courage says "Who?" He's inattentive, thick-necked, ham-fisted, and patronizing. Courage's face turns red when you say, "give me some air".

You say, "now I'm going to climb Mount Everest". And Courage will just say, "Why don't you just let me handle this. Okay, dear?"

Courage doesn't trust you with the car. Courage doesn't let you do the taxes. Courage tells you to wash your hands, and then wash them again.

Let me do something for myself once in a while. Why does it take courage to tell the truth? Why does it take courage to tell a lie? I'm not courageous, I'm just trying to communicate. I'm not courageous, I'm just a liar.

I'm sorry.

This is really irreverent. This is really vulgar. Courage isn't ugly, Courage isn't evil. I just want credit, I'm just selfish. Courage has good intentions, but Courage and I are strangers. We're not very civil. He walks on one side of the street, I walk on the other. We bicker about the weather forecast and the cost of gasoline.

The only thing I have in common with Courage is that we both take our tea without milk.

We don't date smokers. We have clean fingernails. We're broke.

I guess it takes courage not to tell the whole truth. I guess it takes courage to behave appropriately.

I'm sorry: this isn't a poem about courage, it's an apology.

This has been The Devastation Diaries.

Monday, February 27, 2012

sincerely, life and death

A brief letter from Life, to you:

To Whom It May Concern,
The first thing I want you to know is that you have the most beautiful collarbones that I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of collarbones. I'd love to see you sculpt something.

The second thing I want you to know is that I'm passive aggressive. And I'm jealous, I'm so so jealous. I can't help it; it's why I broke your bones to keep you home, it's why your favorite song makes you cry. I wanted you to be there when I took the lasagna out of the oven, I wanted you to be there when I colored the sky red, I wanted you to see just how violently I loved you.

I bruised you, I know that. Your voice must've been too quiet, your skin must've been too soft; I couldn't help it, I put my hands on your shoulders and pushed. You didn't fall gracefully, but I didn't expect you to. You're not a feather or a crystal vase, you're a human being, and when you fall you bleed.

Your soft hair, your bad habits, the rasp of your voice; I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm a glutton for punishment, and you were oblivious and you never raised your hand in class. I'm sorry for the sleepless nights. I'm sorry for the painkillers and the broken mufflers, yes, that was my fault. Yes, I may not have been very kind but you, you, were the one who threw me to the dogs. You're a heartbreaker, ask anyone. You're cruel, ask anyone. I'm getting ahead of myself. This is a love letter, I swear. 

I don't want to tell you lies, but this one is a good one: from now on, I'll be good to you. I won't tear the Band-Aids off prematurely, I won't drive recklessly, I won't give your mother a cold just to see you search the cupboards for NyQuil with your beautiful, beautiful hands. Yes, I'm lying, but I can see that it's what you wanted to hear. All you ever wanted to do was live but look how funny it is that I was the one keeping you from it. 

Quiet, quiet now, and you can feel me. You can literally hear me. I'm right there in your chest, big, bright, and bloody, 72 beats per minute, and even if you hold your breath, even if you pray, I'm still there saying: "You wanted it this way, you wanted it this way".

Sleep well.

A brief letter from Death, to you:
My love,
I've tried to be generous with you. I hope that you know that the entire moon is for you. And the stars? Yours. I picked you up off the ground and pulled the glass and gravel from your knees, and you never cried once, did you? You're braver than me. 

Sometimes at night when I'm asleep on the bottom bunk, I hear you roll over and call out into the dark, "Death? Are you there?" You have a lot of bad dreams. "Death? Are you there?" And I don't answer, because you like it that way. I'm afraid for the day when you beckon me closer. Too soon, my dear, it's too soon.

You're stubborn. I didn't love you for the way you fried the tamales, I loved you for the chicken bones and the way you checked the recipe. I never loved you right.

If it were up to me, I'd never turn off the lights. And I'd never off the television or the transistor radio or the heater. I want everything to live forever. I want electricity, all the time. I want fuel consumption, all the time. I want you to fall in love, I want you to take your medicine, I want you to grow your hair out and then cut it all off. I hope you never see the end coming because I never want you to slow down.

This sort of thing is hard for me. Because I can only promise you one thing, and you don't want to hear it. You swear that we're strangers, but no one is buying it, dear. You're so possessive, so quick-tempered and soft-spoken and frustrated by the ones you love the most. You used to say this to me: "You have always been mine." Yes, yes, I won't deny it. I have always been yours.

Before you burn this letter, before you scratch my face out of all of the old pictures of the two of us, I want you to know that I tried to be gentle. You're angry? Well, so am I. You're hurt? Well, so am I. I feel it all. Blame me. Blame me.

Sleep well.
Be safe,

This has been the Devastation Diaries.