after a while - Gabriella Hoskins
The world’s starting to feel soupy again. All spaced out and somewhat soggy, like damp bread. Amidst all this microwave noise and stunting suburbia, there’s you. You’re my earth and my air and my socks in my shoes and the music in my ears when it’s difficult to fall asleep. [I know you’d come pick me up from the gutters, even if you were angry, even if it was in the dead of the night.] Not a thought in god’s (good) head is worth your (good) heart; and that’s why all my versions of peace belong to you.
It’s hard to think over the sound of my blood nascar racing around my body. I wonder how much it would cost to fall in love with life again. Cheap like popularity; expensive like forgiveness. But never mind that. It feels like I’m small again and you’ve come to pick me up in the mucky weather. The rain falls all around us. Strings of wobbling pearls dangle from the skies, fragile and wet, like the watery, unformed head of a newborn. You pull me under our oversized umbrella and I remember what it feels like to breathe. Something like cinnamon and orange and home. Your footsteps mimic the angry thunder, clashing in and out of puddles. I struggle to keep up. I tell myself that you’re only distant out of love; you’re only icy out of unconditional. In my memory we’ll forever spiral around this portal of overcast afternoons and umbrella spokes and mud, all that fucking mud getting into our socks and onto our sleeves and clogging our throats, leaving us in a damp silence, only thinking about the words we wanted to say.
“His eyes are everywhere,” you whispered, leaning in close.
“I guess it’s up to us to find a blind spot,” I decided.
[A pause, a glitch in the order of being.]
“Hey, do you really think we’re good for something? Do you think we’re gonna make it out of this alive? I can’t help but feel that all these minutes don’t really add up to anything.”
[There’s something in your eyes. A need for grounding in this dense, polluted city. I wonder what you see when you look into mine. I feel my feet part with the ground. I’m beginning to float again.]
“I’ve been places. From this I gather that nothing means anything.”
“And just where have you been?”
“Nowhere at all and everywhere all at once.”
“God, you’re so dramatic sometimes.”
The air warps and twists, trapping heat in the spaces between everything you’ve ever thought about, turning taut muscle into melting sugar. You see, the sun, she envies you. She sulks and pouts behind the receding clouds, an unshined copper coin, waiting for you to take her place. But you’re better than that. You’re never so far away. You’re here, on this earth, in this atmosphere, with arteries like roads. You stood before me, around me, blocking out the blazing giver of life. My very own eclipse.
THE FRAGILITY OF MY FLESH AND BONE
I hope to discard my body, to leave it behind, to send it off on the back of a truck like a sack of potatoes and never see it again. Skin shifting over blood vessels. My veins, like traitors, flood to the surface, exposing the tributaries of the ocean gasping in my heart. Gasping in awe, gasping in horror. How could the world wake up willingly every morning? –like it didn’t go to bed hungry, like it didn’t suffer from asthma and the walls were made from asbestos, like there wasn’t some destructive kid sitting in his backyard, tearing grass from their homes.
[Alarm clocks mimic the sound of ruffled birds, singing you into consciousness but you ignore it. You think of the day you’re about to have. The treadmill you’re about to run, most probably for the rest of your life and you think, no. You’re too good for a world like this. You’re too loved for a heart like yours. So you say goodbye to the city and its racing cars and lucid dreamers and go in search of an asylum. Your own arcadia. A place to grow, unstunted by the overcrowded suburbia.]
It’s not quiet in space. Never was, never will be. The restless stars and reckless asteroid belts splice past one another and evolve into washing machine whirlpools of life. Do you think that there are second chances for someone like me? Someone who sleeps their days away and whispers all their secrets into the blank, faceless night. Someone who’s forever trying to cheat their way out of doing what needs to be done? I don’t know what hope looks like [I’ve never been good at seeing anything worth seeing] but sometimes I think I hear it, trapped in the diverging plates of the desert plane of my heart. Cayendo. Icy electric guitar on loop. Riffs that make me feel something beyond the depths of this strange place.
To live life. To look forward and be stared at. To sit in a parking lot with nowhere to be, eating Chinese takeaway and losing, losing, losing track of everything that demands time spent.
Maybe getting better isn’t so bad after all.