Thursday, April 27, 2006

...that serves no purpose except to excite the mind...

Alice Munro is lovely because she can do this:

Now, what I'm going to do here is post about 1800 words of some prose.
You may

a) read it


b) go to the end of this post for a link to a lovely song

So flip a coin and get on it.

I drew a picture of that river.

I want to be born. I want to grow up to become something less like me. Something with a voice that is gentle. A voice that is soft. I want to sing a mellow song with a sweet, subtle melody. And I want to forget. I want to amnesia. All of my senses and everything I know. Disappear and make me all kinds of a fiction. I want to lose my truth. My evidence. My trace. I want to be born. A sunburst in the corner of her eye when she’s trying to watch the road. Or the grooves of a dusty, forgotten record somewhere lost. I want to be born the wind. I want to shake the leaves from their branches and flip wide skirts. I want to go back. To before memory. To before my name. I want to go back to before any definition of me ever existed. I want to forget every moment, every hour, every single second. I want to be born. A spiral notebook. I want to be born an autumn street. I want to be born the blue edge of a very hot flame.

Lose my voice and my skin. The color of my eyes and the length of my hair. The mole on my chest. The boy I loved when I was ten. The small yellow chair. Lose my new dress. My shoes: brown and plain. Lose my sarcasm. The smell of grass, newly cut, the shredded pieces stuck to my calves and ankles. That song. I love that song. Lose my hand wrapped around your waist. Lose my first car and my first set of keys. Lose my jumping in puddles after and during rain. The scratch of your stubble against my cheek. Lose the pennies that I put on train tracks. The salt. The sweet skin of a hot pretzel. Soft and wrapped in paper. Held in one hand and torn to pieces. A knot unfolding and falling apart.

I’ve been asking my friends, and some strangers, to tell me their first memory. The answers are usually quick. Sharing a fragment at first. But I talk with them a little bit more and the details become clear. And then we talk a little bit longer and, for a minute, we’re there again. We’re reliving their history. We’re on the tarmac. In the living room. Running and racing through the tall stalks of wheat.

Lose my spare change, kept in a piggy bank. A piggy bank shaped like an elephant that I shattered to loose the quarters, nickels, dimes. Lose almost being hit by a train when I miscalculated how much time we had. Blisters from a burn spread over my thigh. Lose the four-leaf clover that I found in my own backyard. Flipping the bird. Lose the first time I played the piano. The first song I knew by heart. Some sailor jig. Lose my long red and purple and blue scarf that I wrapped and wrapped and wrapped around me on the coldest days. The shock when you slapped me. When I slapped you back. My nephew kissing my cheek. The sound of a shovel on the sidewalk.

I don’t think it would be a new story for me, another small citizen of another big city, to walk out of my front door one morning. Lock it behind me. Slip my keys into the deep back pocket of my green shoulder bag. Walk to the bus stop. Hand over my fare. And disappear.

Lose swimming in cold water. Lose a lonely morning standing on the edge of the dock watching the sun rise. Lose coffee spiked with brandy. Lose the first time we met. Those were the best hours of us. Lose the joke about the number 8. Lose the shed we broke into. Eye contact. A street filled with blossoms. Linda. Lose the bridge where flowers gathered on the anniversary of his suicide. Lose the walking path. Lose autumn. Lose all the colors of autumn. And lose wildflowers and all the colors of wildflowers. Lose the top of the mountain and the sky that stretched up out and over us. Sunday nights. Lose the hours. Lose sitting by the river. I drew a picture of that river. Lose your shoulders. The Alaskan band in the empty bar. The wind that kicked her veil and made her seem like some kind of angel that day. Lose the night that she sang of September. Lose the lake. Lose your last name.

I just want to misplace me. And all of my history.

Lose the notes I folded and passed. The taste of the glue of the back of a stamp. Sleeping by an open window. Lose the games of hide and seek. Waterfalls we walked behind and streams we waded across. The uniform I wore. Brunch. Saved when I hit the car’s hood with my fist. Spinning on tire swings. Lose learning to read. Being the third wheel. The heat of that summer. Lose the quiz you wrote in my red notebook. In a café somewhere in the lowest corners of New York. Orange slices. Lose listening to records, the volume turned up and the headphones covering the entire side of my head while I’m hidden in a listening cubicle in the corner of the third floor of the library. Lose getting locked inside. Lose my nicknames. Lose holding hands. Lose barely touching the keys of the piano while the swell in my throat warns of tears. I wanted to learn Für Elise. Lose our knees touching under the table. Lose fixing your tie. Lose not making a sound. Lose your yellow notebook.

History shaping my present tense. Remembering a joke we shared last night. But I’m just me on the subway. Daydreaming by the window. The memory though, the thought of it makes me smile and laugh a little. It feels good to remember like this. I look across the train and see another solitary rider’s face turn from a scowl to a smile as he replays some happier moment and he laughs, just kind of chuckles to himself. This is happening everywhere. Every minute. This nice tickle of memory.

Lose the black and white pictures of a forest and trees dying and falling over trees dying. The laughter of my nieces. The sound of the laughter. The sound of it. The nights driving in circles around and out of the city and back home again. Lilacs. Lose my disappointment. My what was I thinking. Lose laughing until we can’t breathe. Lose holding her baby over my head and assuring the infant that she was, in fact, flying. The day I asked your name.


Lose monkey bars, green paint chipping. The feeling of the metal slipping fingers and all the details of summer and sun and grass and playground pavement criss-crossed with yellow lines. The hideous smell of tacos. Lose the dress I made that didn’t quite fit. Lose the drive, the wheels, the windows, and the maps we kept stacked in the glove compartment. Lose my futile attempt at flirtation. Our practical joke. Lose flannel. Grilled cheese. Acne. An unwelcome tickle on my bare skin on a crowded train. Bare feet. Working our way around it. Saying I’m sorry. Stealing rocks from the top of a mountain in Utah. I took two because I wanted to give one to you as if you were there too. The way you dance. You can’t dance. The way you sing. You can’t sing either. Swingsets. Kicking higher and higher and higher. I got a bulls-eye! Lose your hands, strong and swollen. The crash of thunder that woke me up and sent me running from the bed to the couch where you were watching a movie and we stayed up through the storm while the rain tore at the leaves and the power lines and we watched from inside with all the lights turned off so we could watch the lightning split the sky apart.

This blue of you is not that blue of him. And this red of she is not that red of you. There are thousands of moments, hundreds of yous and hims and hers, a million memories, and there I am.

Lose the lyrics I like in the song I dance to alone in my room. Sitting on the couch and watching helpless as the petals of the pale pink tulips in their wide vase slowly curl and fall. Your initials written on your shirt in permanent marker. Lose singing along. Dare. Double dare. The cut across your hand. Mashed potatoes. Counting down. Photo booths. Lose the last time I saw you, turning a corner and waving to me from the other side of an ivy covered fence.

I need to remember everything. I need to know every moment. I need to consider and hold all of the fragments before I can let them go.

Lose Charlie. Lose my knee, cut and bleeding. Lose the bubbles made by peroxide. Lose the cleaning. Lose sledding by moonlight. The bandage you worried. Grape soda. Hiding your shoe. Riding on the handlebars and closing my eyes. Me gusta. My butterfly wings. Lose the neighbors’ house. Windows lit up and I can see the table set and ready for dinner.

My first memory is of an ear infection. I was maybe two years old. I remember being set in my crib and the pain that shot from one side of my head straight through to the other. I remember the contrast between the darkness of my room and the light in the hall.

Lose rolling down a hill. Cutting my own hair. Sock puppets. Silence on both ends of the phone. Overlapping. Me and you in the shadows of a big oak tree. Lose four square. Communion. Carving pumpkins. Roller skating. Lose the mix tapes I made for you. Is anyone sitting here? I hope I have enough money for a cup of coffee. Lose the hours of us. Lose the chocolates I kept in my desk drawer because I knew he liked chocolate, on occasion. Parallel. What I should have said when I had the chance. Lose shaving my legs. Kickball. Lose your locker combination. I got fired. Again. Lose cologne on the pillow. Lose painting my nails. Lose weeping willows. Yellow balloon flying away. Lose the kiss meant for your cheek that landed on your lips when you turned your head at the last second. Lose your green hat. Pulling your leg. A shared hangover. Sleeping on the floor. Lose blue tiles. Lose climbing in the window. Lose climbing out of the window. Blood in the snow. Lose the tree we sat in. Lose the cattails and the dry swamp bed. Lose sitting on the stairs. Lose riding my bike in the dark when the only sound in the whole city was that of my tire treads making their way over the spare pebbles of the pavement.

Soul Sides is really a lovely blog.
  • Consistently good music.
  • Nice thoughts on the music.
  • No dreamy dreamy stuff.
  • Just music that's good and little paragraphs on why said music is good.
  • The following song was lifted from Soul Sides.
(I don't know if any of that was grammatically correct. But then, I don't care.)


zippahzip said...

i really really like this.

Player of words said...

is that what you worked on with Jim Bo Sweetness? holy sh*t it's beautiful.

Lindsay said...

oh my. this makes me want to write forever. to write for forever but also to write forever. so: forever.