Tema (notorioustemo) wrote,

A Little Longing Goes Away

I am feeling uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable in the water. I feel uncomfortable on land.
I feel restless. I feel restless on top of my sheets and restless beneath. I never sleep beneath sheets. Only boys.

Isa ‘asked’ me to list ten things that make me happy- Let’s see-
1. Mittens/Scarves/Sweaters
2. Orchids (and Orchid Thieves)
3. Kissing- and Purell hand sanitizer
4. Falling asleep while reading
5. Rilke/Updike
6. Playful cruelty
7. Puns
8. Causality (maybe I should be less obnoxious and just put ‘abstraction’)--- Cause = Time?
9. Brahms
10. Microwaves

Paradise Now. Anti-Abstraction Now. [Maybe in a little bit…]

So over Thanksgiving, Jeff Taylor came and stayed with me. We stood in my kitchen; I shattered against his chest. He was my wall. And I held onto that wall. And then my thunder thighs and I toppled over.

Maybe Jeff is just more like that mountain I can’t climb.
Stravinsky contemptuously declared at one point, “I despise mountains; they don’t tell me anything.”


Stravinsky looks upon the mountain,
The mountain looks on him;
They look the mountain and Stravinsky)
And both their views are dim.

“You bore me, mountain,” says Stravinsky,
“I find you dull, and I
Despise you!” Says the mountain:
“Stravinsky, tell me why.”

Stravinsky bellows at the mountain
And nearby valleys ring:
“You don’t confide in me—Stravinsky!
You never tell me anything!”

The hill is still before Stravinsky.
The skies in silence glisten.
At last, a rumble, then the mountain:
“Igor, you never listen.”

I am impatient. I don’t want to listen to anyone. I don’t want to listen to myself. I don’t want to climb any mountains.
Nothing is captivating me. Nothing is holding me. And yet I want to be held?

Jeff is that mountain. Mountains crumble. Ships drift and friendships dwindle.
I found a window and I want a door.

So let’s have a few words from Henri, who wished me a happy birthday and wishes you a happy new year.


Beyond the soggy garden, two kayaks
float across mild clear water. A red sun
stains the lake like colored glass. Day is stopping.
Everything I am feels distant or blank
as the opulent rays pass through me,
distant as action is from thought,
or language is from all things desirable
in the world, when it does not deliver
what it promises and pathos comes instead—
the same pathos I feel when I tell myself,
within or without the valid structures of love:
I have been deceived, he is not what he seemed—
though the failure is not in the other,
but in me because I am tired, hurt or bitter.
-Henri Cole

I don’t feel particularly hurt or bitter. Not at all. But maybe I’m tired.

I don’t feel elated. I don’t feel elastic. I don’t feel spiritual, anymore. I feel a little bit like I’ve swallowed a good portion of my soul and bottled up whatever religion I had. I feel chalky.

I've felt pretty. I feel plastic. (I’m just a little bit worried about my future, Mrs. Robinson?)
I haven’t been able to cry since mountains crumbled and mirrors shattered.

I got deferred from Harvard. I did not feel defeated—I felt minimally discouraged. But mainly, I felt strong.

Strong but very lost.

I turned eighteen. Jeremiah sent me flowers and I placated my parents with dinner. I came home and got drunk and felt fine and seventeen. L’chaim. I meant eighteen.
I am all grown up and I don’t feel half as down as I normally do. (Normative downs? Downs syndrome? A series of steady declines?)

[Paradox Now?] Glass, but not Fragile. Pursuit, but not Futile.
So part of me feels as if I’m melting into a comfort zone that has appeared out of nowhere. Like a flower rooted in rock? Totally inexplicable. Pretty but probably transitory. Tragically transitory? Let’s not be melodramatic.

And a good (the best?) part of me feels held back.

Maybe part of me misses deception. Hiding the beautiful things I used to so enjoy creating. Taking them out in private and playing with them in the dark. The futile pursuit of my wonderful, imaginary loves. I would never pursue something perfect—don’t worry. What?
Any focus I once devoted to the discovery of love has dissipated. Where has my motivation gone? I feel like a recovering drug addict. Though I don’t think I am recovering from love.

Methadone v. Apathy—and I fear I’m growing addicted to apathy.
Nevermind. I’m too pessimistic for apathy. Too tired for apathy.
I’m just sitting, cross-legged and complacent, waiting for Spring.
(after Petrarch)

Little room, with four and a half tatami mats
and sliding paper doors, that used to be
a white, translucent place to live in refined poverty,
what are you now but scalding water in a bath?
Little mattress, that used to fold around me
at sunrise as unfinished dreams were fading,
what are you now but a blood-red palanquin
of plucked feathers and silk airing in the sun?
Weeding the garden, paring a turnip, drinking tea
for want of wine, I flee from my secret love
and from my mind’s worm—This is a poem.
Is this a table? No, this is a poem. Am I a girl?—
Seeking out the meat-hook crowd I once loathed,
I’m so afraid to find myself alone.
-Henri Cole

And I think, I really do think, that I’ve conquered that fear. That fear of “alone.”
And maybe that’s partially because I’m not exactly alone at the moment. In the conventional sense, I’m hardly alone.
I can hear the other me breathing in the closet, actually. There's another me under the bed. Two of me are in California, one is in Prague, and one might be picking up paper-towels at Costco with Kafka.

I don’t hate myself. I don’t love myself. I bore myself.
Maybe I’m just bored. Maybe I’m just boring.
I have fled my secret love and misplaced part of myself. Anti-identity crises galore?

I am so afraid to find myself without a future. Without happiness. Without hands to hold.
Just give me my mittens and I’m good to go.

I think that mainly I need to leave this place.
This non-niche with which I am beyond frustrated.
If anyone would like to come, he’s welcome. But it’s time to get out of bed and out of the house and leave.
Wanderlust, are you making another appearance? Are you invisible? Can you fit in my pocket?

As opposed to “Original Face.”


I tied a paper mask onto my face,
my lips almost inside its small red mouth.
Turning my head to the left, to the right,
I looked like someone I once knew, or was,
with straight white teeth and boyish bangs.
My ordinary life had come as far as it would,
like a silver arrow hitting cypress.
Know your place or you’ll rue it, I sighed
to the mirror. To succeed, I’d done things
I hated; to be loved, I’d competed promiscuously:
My essence seemed to boil down to only this.
Then I saw my own hazel irises float up,
like eggs clinging to a water plant,
seamless and clear, in an empty, pondlike face.
-Henri Cole

I am a little bit scared of promiscuity. I am a little bit more afraid of being a bore.
I’m getting too old for this. I’m getting too old for myself.

L'Shanah Tovah
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