Friday, May 9, 2014

Bones

   I remember when we as children in our elementary science class began to learn about the human body. I was excited, I knew a bit from what I had read in my illustrated encyclopedias; the pictures and diagrams told most of the story, because I wasn't confident enough to believe I could read those big words, though, I’m pretty sure I would have been able to if I had tried. But still, I knew more than most of the kids around me did at that age. 

    I remember we kept it simple, bones, muscles, organs, and we mention briefly that these things are made up of something called cells. I was the first to finish the test, every year, and every year, I received the highest grade. I was fascinated with myself you could say. The human body mesmerized me. I would watch the other kids at recess run and play and I would strip their bodies of their skin and watch the muscles pull and flex beneath them. I ate slowly because I was too busy thinking about the process behind digestion to notice that there was nothing left in my mouth to chew. During lessons I liked to try to see people’s skulls beneath their faces and and try to figure out, was she really that much prettier at the core, or is that perfect ratio of nose to mouth just chance genetics. They would mockingly call me 'stegosaurus' in gym because my spine was so prominent on my back, and I took pride in this.


    I remember one image in particular that stuck with me for a long time, an image in my mind I thought was quite disturbing, but I found it charming none the less. It was an image of a bag of flesh. Like jelly, a human body without bones; unable to move, unable to take care of itself. I tried to imagine how this creature would live, how others would perceive this person, because it was still a person. 

Disgust and horror, were the first words to come to mind. I imagine a perfectly healthy person dropping to the floor like a bag of raw meat as his bones vanish from within him. 
Pathetic slug, I pitied you, but I still wanted to be your friend. 

   As time went on, I lost a bit of interest in it. I don’t like being forced to learn what I already find enjoyable, for some reason that just ruins it for me. I grew out of grade school, out of middle school, out of junior high, those dreadful years; high school wasn't much better. I didn't think much about human anatomy anymore as my age progressed, I kind of forgot.  At this point, I guess, you could say I am considered an adult. Fresh from the orchard, I don’t feel like it. I feel like a kid who’s been left home without a babysitter for the first time and even though you're having fun you’re just forever waiting for your mom to come home. Even though she’s 4 hours away, I wouldn't be at all alarmed if she just walked through the door to my apartment. It would seem completely natural. 


     Either way, here I am, ten years later; and as I look into the mirror I am horrified, disgusted.  Looking back at me I see a bag of flesh, a body that shows no apparent evidence of having bones. Where did they go? I lift my shirt; is that the bottom of my rib cage, or is it the cookie I had for lunch? Is that the crest of my hip bone or is it the burrito bowl I had two nights ago? I know it’s not as bad as it seems. But I hate looking into the mirror and seeing a body without bones. 


     I went to a college party last night. I didn't dance, I didn't drink, I stood in the corner and watched the bones. Collar bones, rib bones, hip bones, cheek bones, shoulder blades, slicing away at my thick thighs like a knife. The pretty blonde standing next to me smiles my way. She’s wearing tiny shorts and a white flowing strap top. Her legs are perfect, her arms are lean, she is tall and graceful, delicate and strong her summer color glows. A boy comes up and asks her to dance, she politely declines his offer. He barely notices me and returns to the dance floor. My black cardigan, my black dress, my black tights, my black shoes, my skin is concealed head to toe and I wore this to hide, so why am I offended? The girl on the other side of the room, though she is considerably larger than me. She is dancing. She is smiling. She is wearing less than me, she is confident, and god damn it, she looks good. Why can’t I just be okay with myself? What is her secret?


     I look into the mirror and I see a bag of flesh. I dream about shaving off my stomach with a wire, like clay it just falls off. I look into the mirror and I don’t see myself, I see someone that people are going to laugh at, someone that has no self-control, someone who has no bones. They tell me that the body image that media portrays isn't realistic. But I've seen it, like big foot or the lock-ness monster, ‘thigh gaps’, flat stomachs, ‘bikini bridges’, it’s all real. It was at that party. I see it every day. I'm afraid my friends are embarrassed to be seen with me because I am no beauty. I'm afraid to order the pasta because I'm afraid of what people will think. I don't show my arms and I never show my legs because I'm afraid I might offend someone with the shape of my body. It has gone so far that I am ashamed of the size of my chest not because it is too small but because it is too big.

   
              I look in the mirror, and I see a pathetic slug, I pity you
                          and I don't want to be your friend.




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Room

You come across a dead tree, all dried up and barrenYou could almost crawl inside of it, if only it was big enough; but you find that it is, and so you do.You then sit inside of this hollow giant and think how it’s almost like sitting inside of a corpse and you feel uncomfortable for a moment.

Looking up, your current thoughts are interrupted as you are confronted by a void. Shrouded in shadow, you can’t quite see where the emptiness ends. Everything around you is dark to begin with but up there is completely unknown. You wonder what kind of creatures have made their homes up there in the chest of this dead body and you begin to feel your skin crawl. You slap at the back of your shoulder even though you know there is nothing there, (then your leg) but you do it anyway just in case, (now your neck) and because it’s kind of reassuring at the same time.

And so you lay back and fall asleep under the spider canopy that hangs gently above your head and you feel safe for once. You feel guilty and hidden away and perfect and as if your entire being has been kept a secret from everyone but you and the spiders. And it is this thought in particular that makes you feel more at peace than you ever have before.

It’s almost as if you never were at all.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

9/21/12 - The Witness


   There's a homeless man sleeping under the bus stop. I think he's having a bad dream. The man sitting opposite me has smoked three cigarettes so far. A firetruck has pulled up. They ask if I called about the man. I say no. They seem to be confused. They try to talk to the man. He seems to be sick. He says he hasn't eaten. They ask if I saw him fall. I say no. The EMT pulls up. They lift the man so he is sitting up. He can't hold up his head or speak clearly. They're moving the firetruck out of the way now. I notice that the other man has stopped smoking. They pricked his finger, testing his blood for something, iron? He can't move, he's limp, like he's dead.They gave him smelling salts, it didn't work. They plug his nose. He wakes up and tries to move the mans hand. Barely. He passes out again. They wheel the man away and my bus comes. 
"What did you see?" Nothing.
"How long have you been here?" About twenty minutes.
The man in front of me can't pay with his ticket. He get's off. I leave.
It's raining.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ending

When the word 'sacrifice' lost meaning to me, the morning air tasted warm and sweet. I stepped out of my front door and saw decades into the future. Everything that one may consider good in life had crept under my skin over night and melted there beneath the surface; simmering gold. I lived peacefully in this world for years.

Sudden and sharp however, I learned that nothing good can ever last.
I had been living happily blind of the oncoming slaughter.

When the mirror shattered, the truth escaped. All that had nourished me, I found had been rotting from within for years. Dozens of mangled creatures escaped from these once cherished thoughts and plagued my mind day in and day out. I was alone.
I was left stirring the same miserable soup, in the same crusted pot for centuries and the misery coagulated over a weak fire that was always just a whispers breath away from dying out.
I did not know what else could be done.
I waded aimlessly in these muddy waters until a shy but kindly shade cautiously crept past me and led me out.

Stars projected from our eyes onto the ceiling as we counted constellations. We lay together in a blue cave whose stone walls swayed with the coming breeze; cautiously close, we slept that night as children under separate sheets and so on. We discovered a secret world and still lay together asunder. I trembled in the darkness. I could hear the ghosts whispering and I caught his eyes astray. I pretended not to notice this and smiled softly under the darkness. Just before the spiders carried me away that night I felt the wandering of his fingers and a gentle pressure rest on my leg. Subtlety had never before held such power against me.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Invisible Man

I lead little to no life outside of my apartment, and no one sees the life I lead within. This is perhaps because I do not lead any at all. I scarcely leave the metaphorical steps of my metaphorical front door; which is essentially the door to my quite literal conjoined bedroom-kitchen studio apartment. (...b-itchen?)

However, when enough confidence has been aroused within me, I have been known to collect and ready myself enough to look rather put together and fairly well off. I grab whatever book I have been enjoying from my bedside and confidently step out into the world. This marks the somewhat semi-bi-annual-weekly ritual occurrences of my public debut.

I walk slowly, yet swiftly, down my street and past the topiary park. The entire way my eyes remain naturally stitched to whatever book I have grabbed. The main reason for me doing this is that it aids me further in avoiding eye contact with those I may encounter on my walk. Continuing on, I pass the green Methodist church and meet with one of about five security guards who have been hired by the Insurance building to help mainly their employees safely cross the street. As if a florescent yellow vest adds some kind of undetectable magnetic field helping to keep the already stopped cars at bay. Waiting for the light to change, we may talk about the weather, or he might mention the unnatural color of my hair, but more often than not we remain silent and cross the street together with a certain amount of awkwardness and avoidance that suggests we had just ended some kind of quarrel. Once on the other side of the street I part from my cross-walk guardian and dredge past the museum which remains half in ruins.

After this I have arrived on campus where I may see a few familiar faces and may even raise my hand as to suggest a haphazardly wave. This is where it all starts to come together.. With my face still pulled into the spine of my open book, I sense him. I do not see him, but I feel him near me. I do not dare look up from the page, but I know he is beside me, now behind me. I make my way to the cafe and find a table to continue reading at. I sit and know that outside, at the other end of this glass wall, he is there. I will not allow myself to look at him, though I am sure that he has seen me.

I may come across a friend sitting in the cafe and rest my book a little while to talk to them and at this point I have perhaps glanced to see if he is really there. Though I may catch the ragged and worn character of his clothes or the fuzzy outline of his figure, I never allow my eyes to bring him fully into focus. That would be risking too much. I may continue to sit and converse with my friends or keep my face in my book, but after some time, when I look up again to see his distorted presence, he is gone. I am left feeling as if I have been softly let down and abandoned. Rather disappointed, I check the time and begin my walk to class.







Tuesday, December 10, 2013

City Life

When I was younger, I imagined that romance always took place within painted landscapes. Enveloped among the spice of wild flowers, in the mist of a morning dew. Barefoot in the sand, on the skirt of a moonlit ocean. Or perhaps even high in the arms of a tree, sprinkled with flicks of sunlight.
There was always a boy and there way always a girl.
There was always a shy and yet feverous passion between them.
I always imagined that this is where one could discover the romance he/she desired.

Yet here I find myself, in downtown Columbus Ohio, far from the romance I once sought.
Between the corner of Washington and Broad; where I once witnessed two people in the throws of passion, make love on the side of the old Methodist church- and the shadows that linger just beyond the bridge that crosses over the freeway.

In a small studio apartment, on the second floor of a crumbling foundation.
Towering to the ceiling with rescued books and guarded by the spirits of the dead rats and birds I keep safe and preserved in my freezer. The floors scattered in juvenile poetry, the walls held together by the memories of past love.
Apart from my sole companion, a small white alien whom I happened upon by mistake, tormenting me day and night, I am alone.

And in the mocking solitude and desolate isolation of the city,
I believe I have stumbled upon romance.