driving
walking slowly home fall back

push forward



make it last.
021207
...
Cicero 40 palm trees lined up neatly,
no uncertainty there.
I drive by and count the plumed ends.
40 nice solutions.
twist the wheel around to fate
and crunch my car into my soul,
and evaporate into the starry night,
become mist with my uncertainties and
failure.
yellow lines turned grey in night,
leading straight to hell
in suburbia and community college
and my "almost" room.
slight twist of fate (spin of the wheel)
sends me off course in the right direction - to the end I deserve.
021207
...
belly fire I try to read the licence plates and realize it's useless.
without my glasses.
021208
...
the swinger of birches when you picked me up, you were early. i remember it. jen said, "hey, he's here already"

"what does he look like?"

she gave me one of those looks and licked her lips, one eyebrow cocked. she nodded, "he looks good."

i ran back to my locker to shove my backpack away not to mention to kill some time. i couldn't believe you were there for me. i didn't have any money for lunch, it was a lucky coincidence since you paid. you wore an orange and navy rugby shirt with a pair of faded jeans and those boots that i had gotten before you did. you said, "i like your birkenstocks"
and i wondered what kind of boy compliments you on your clogs made of wool and cork.

we drove that morning in the autumn sun of mid morning, through streets we had traveled many times. the light was soft and the leaves were orange and i thought of two songs from "Through Being Cool" tracks 6 and 7 popped right into my head.

for the first time i noticed how big your hands were, how deep your palms seemed. i imagined what it must be like to be held in those hands, if you were john mayer enough to never let my head hit the pillow without your hand behind it. i imagined what those hands could do. if they were gentle or careless, how many hearts they had taken from inside birdcage ribs simply because the latch had been left open and the beautiful little thing sat there waiting to be plucked up. if i was a flower or a penny on the sidewalk or a little piece of delight packaged up and sent floating down from the sky like a snowflake, i would have wanted to find a way to your hands, and then when your palms were sweaty and ruddy, i would have become a tiny sparkler.
021209
...
birches i intrigue you. you had to admit it. my oil is low in my car, and i fill the gas tank up with only two dollars. i'm ten minutes late and i only have a twenty. you were worried i would stand you up. i drove just for you. and i can live with you flying out to montana by yourself. but the image is a littl lonely. i'd like to crawl into that picture i have saved in my mind and sit next to you. 021230
...
the swinger of birches sondra and i went to the computer lab after lunch to do some work. i kept asking if i should call you. she kept suggesting. i walked past the phone in the office twice. i looked up your number the second time. we went back to the lab and sat down. i looked at her and asked if she wanted to go for a drive. she said, "if you drive."

i stopped and thought. i asked again, she gave me the same response. we got up and i ran to my locker to get my keys and coat. the wind was blowing hard outside. the stop signs shook violently. we drove down fair street to see if your car was parked in the driveway. it wasn't. we drove to hy-vee to see if you were in talking to your dad at the pharmacy. you weren't. i feel more likely to call knowing there is the possiblity no one will be home. because if no one picks up the phone, i can accept it's rejection.
030109
...
the swinger of birches Riding with you always puts me at ease. I feel more happy than usual and the butterflies that come with the anticipation of seeing you are let free and they climb up my throat and out my mouth. Iím no longer a simple moth attracted to your light because itís beautiful. Iím not hypnotized, I feel a little more rational. Like in the way you talk about her, I can see you love her, and I donít resent her for that. I donít even resent you (but had this been weeks earlier I may have been saying otherwise). So you drove today, and we listened to this very good band from Omaha and talked about clothes and lives. When we were turning to get on the highway you turned the music down and you said you had something heavy to talk about. I donít like heavy things, but Michael does. And I can see that you are clearly becoming much like Michael and that knowing you means you are much like Michael, and maybe in a way you are Michael, just younger and blonder.

You told me about your time with her and how great it was getting the honeymoon suite and drinking champagne and I imagined that if I were with you, I would never want the honeymoon suite, just something small and a bottle of something, champagne is good, I like itís dryness. Nonetheless you kept going with how much you loved her and how much you knew you were supposed to be together. And then you showed it to me. You told me to pull it out of the console, in the little white box. I opened, I knew before I even opened it, right when you told me you wanted to show me something, I knew what it was going to be. I made my heart hard at that moment so that I could be strong. I didnít want to take away from your happiness. To see you happy makes me happy. It was a small promise ring with a beautiful but modest diamond, the kind of diamond that doesnít make a big fuss about itself. It was the kind of ring that I would have wanted, had I been a girl. I could tell she has slender hands and I thought of my own with my awkward knuckles. At that moment, I wanted small hands. I wanted her hands. I wanted to know what it felt like to touch you. I wanted to know what it felt like to know you the way she must. I wanted to be the one that ring was bought for. But I wasnít. I looked a long time at that ring, memorizing itís curves and shine.

Anyway, if I ever by a man a ring, it will be from Teno because they are masculine but beautiful. They are the kind of rings that you and I would wear, seeing that our taste is so much alike. You took me to this place, I had driven past it with Emily and Julie once, once when we were taking pictures. And now today, that was exactly what we were doing, taking pictures, me and you and you looked happy and smiled and laughed when I aimed my camera at you as though it were a gun. It was nice to just know for once that I was the one you were thinking of, that you were there 100% and not just partway. We lit candles in the barn and joked about burning it down. We were in the hayloft and the tufts of old musty hay padded lightly beneath our feet. It was a cold day, normally too cold to be taking pictures, but you showed up and so I went along for the ride. You looked very nice in the barn, the kind of nice where I just would have wanted to curl up beside you and kiss you on the forehead. The kind of nice that anyone looks on winter nights with snowflakes heavy and wet, the kind that coat your eyelashes like sleep in the morning. I saw your stomach for the first time; it looked like fruit, like a cantaloupeís flesh underneath the hard rind. I wanted to kiss your skin, all soft like nectarines. But I didnít, I just said that solar flare was interesting to use in pictures.

We were cold, so we sat in your car to get warmed up and this is when I put in Mandalay and we listened to ďDeep LoveĒ. The first time I ever heard this song I was 16, and it was a remix done by Charlie May. It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I listened to that song with Michael and he loved it just as much as I did. But you didnít say anything about it, I think it may have been too girly.

Anyway, I thought that then would be a good time to ask why you hated me so much in high school, and you told me, ďBecause I thought you had a thing for me. Thatís what Erika said

Right then I remembered talking to Erika in the parking lot at Ampride and saying how lucky she was to have someone like you. I never said I wanted you, I just said she was lucky. She read me right, I did want you. I just kept quiet though. I didnít tell you about what I told Erika, because I didnít want you to go back to hating me. If I had been more honest I would have said I still do, I would have told you that I have feelings for you. But I guess I just didnít want to make the moment awkward because we were acting the way that friends do. Not like Matt and I do because we are best friends, but we were acting the way Michael and I used to. Maybe I liked that. Maybe I was using you because I could see Michael all over again. Being with you made me remember how much I loved Michael and how stupid I was for letting my feelings get in the way. This time Iím not sure if Iím going to make the same mistake. I can feel a mistake tugging at my pant leg trying to trip me up, but I think I may just begin to fly so I donít have to fall. Iíll just float up above it all and look down and pretend I never felt anything for you.

Anyway then we went into the corn crib and got some very good shots just before my roll of film was up. We talked about clothes some more on the ride back to your place because you were going to model them for me so I could pick them out. I followed you into your house and into your room and I noticed the pictures of you when you were young. Do you remember yourself in sixth grade? You were class president and you gave fifth graders tours of the Middle school for orientation. I was one of those boys. The first time I saw you, you had just gotten blue contacts. You looked great. And out of all the girls and boys, you decided to talk to me first. You said, ďhowdy.Ē And I thought it was funny and I said, ďHelloĒ not ďhowdyĒ because I thought ďhowdyĒ was corny. And we talked about school and you gave us a tour and I followed, just like I followed you through your house to your room.

You moved a giant pile of clothes from this brown chenille chair that you sink into every time you sit in it. I didnít want to get up. You were right. I have never found you so amusing until today. You and your clothes!!!! My mother thought I was bad, you are worse! But I liked it, I liked that you cared enough about your appearance, and that you understood why someone must pay one hundred dollars for a bag or eighty dollars for shoes. We confessed our shopping weaknesses and I felt so gay. Literally! Well you walked in your closet and shut the door and then slid the other door open. I thought maybe my being in front of you still made you uneasy. But you didnít seem to care, you just undressed in front of me. You have the nicest torso. I will do ab crunches and pushups every night now because I donít want to feel inferior. You tried on this gray oxford and I told you to roll the sleeves up. I made fun of you for meticulously cuffing them and yelled, ďJust roll them!!Ē so you did and gave me a dirty look (I knew it was fake). You said you liked the way I dressed, you kept saying I had good fashion sense or something like this, even though Iím a major cheapskate. I just have good taste and I know how to shop. But you, YOU are more of a clothes addict than I am. You kept showing me all your new things and trying them on. I laughed inside.

Finally you said that we should get going, I hadnít even been paying attention to the clock, the chair was too comfortable and the view was nice. You were like a little boy and I was reminded of being one with you. I love that. Thank you for giving me that, thank you for escaping from reality just a little bit to act like a little boy and look foolish and not care. You showed me all your jewelry you were beginning to pawn off because Erika had given it to you. You showed me the I.D. bracelet and I told you how pissed I was when she got it for you because weeks earlier I had bought one for myself with some gift money my uncle had given me. I didnít want you copying me. But now you are ready to get rid of it, and I said that when you did get rid of it, to give it to me. It is a very nice bracelet, it was a very fine gift. Did you know? She got the idea from me. I told her that when I was with someone, for their first birthday with me, I would buy them an I.D. bracelet and have something nice inscripted on the back.

Anyway, I just thought that, this afternoon, was nice, just the two of us. Taking pictures of you after school in the art room, that was okay. It was okay to see you with your shirt off acting seductive. You really are very handsome without your glasses and your hair cut short. But it was nicer when we were driving, when were in our own world, without Sondra, or Isaiah, or Gregg Wellman, or Rick Adams. When it was just us, and that was all we needed, because I had about half a clue of what I was doing (when taking pictures) but acted as if I knew exactly what I was doing. You said you had a good time. I did too. I had a very good time. We finished up, and I was a little sad to see it go, but I know you will be at Ampride on Sunday when I work so I can show you the pictures. So I can show you what I could make you. They really werenít what I see of youóever. Except maybe the last one I took in the art room. That is how I see you. I am going to keep that picture and buy a frame for it, because you look like the person I know and like so much. I asked if you wanted me to come to see you at your style show on Sunday. You said, ďif you want toI asked again putting a little more emphasis, you replied the same with a little more emphasis. It was a funny kind of way to ask things. I just want you to know I like you. I like you in a way that confuses me. Iím not sure if I want you all for myself or if I just want you to be happy with her. I feel selfish and torn. But thanks for this afternoon, it meant the world to me.
030111
...
the swinger of birches you go back today. my mom found that last blather. i printed off a copy for you even though i never gave it to you. after i took my shower, the little pieces of paper lay folded and tiny by the sink and i got a phone call from amy. i guess when my mom was doing laundry she found it. i'm crying now, not because of you, i'm crying because when i write i'm so honest, and sometimes the wrong pair of eyes come across my word and they don't feel what i feel. it's the mistake of a writer to be so honest, but only sometimes. after that, we got in a fight and you can read i'm_still_breathing if you want to know how that went. when i see you this morning i'm going to ask for a hug because i need one. you're going back to omaha today. you're not driving alone, your taking Anonson with you because he lost his liscense. anyway, i think you'll be thinking of me now that we are comfortable and settling in with and accepting our roles. you are you and i am me and we like each other, just not in that way. and i'm okay with that. i'm glad that i've found this kind of peace. but today i will be honest and tell you that when i'm alone, sometimes at night, or when i'm driving, i do like you in that way. the kind of way you would rather me not like you. but it's only in little moments that don't last too long because i push those moments out by making my heart hard. drive safe. 030113
...
the swinger of birches i got the pictures back two days ago, when i last saw you. i look at them every day now, at least once and usually before i go to bed. i keep staring at the last picture of you in the art room where i caught the light in your eyes just perfectly. you look like an angel. exactly. i should want to tell you that tonight was the first night i actually slept the whole night before i heard my mom say "rise and shine" like she does every morning. i didn't get up around four because thoughts of you were leaving me unsettled. i didn't even dream about you. it was nice to just sleep and not feel stressed, although i'm not sure if the feeling you leave me with is comparable to stress. maybe if stress ever had a good conotation it would be stress, but it's more like elation. and i think of this song called "elation fields" on a mix cd by oakenfold. it's a very mellow beautiful song that goes on for like six minutes of just beautiful music, the most beautiful drum and bass i've ever heard anyway. i should be coming down to omaha in about two weeks, to see matt, and then i'll probably see you one way or another.

let me just say it will be nice, to see you. the day you left, i was listening to something corporate, and the song about "cheshire doorstop with tears in your eyes." it was beautiful with pianos and violins, it made me a little sad even though we raced on mainstreet (i won with my metro!) and then waved good bye. but then the song "si ti vas" by shakira started in my head, after the music had stopped, and i remembered jen sitting in my car translating all her spanish for me and i thought it was the most wonderful thing ever to be able to understand what she was saying. her lyrics are romantic and pure but they sound better in spanish. "if you go if you go if you leave, then my heavens will turn gray... if you go, if you go...then don't bother to return." it's such a sad song. anyway, i'm not so sad, not as sad as that song is. more or less i'm just waiting.
in mrs. cassens's creative writing class we have to do portfolios and on each coverpage we have to do some little artform, i drew a picture of you on it, you only had one eye though, because in all my pictures that i draw of myself, in caracture form, i am a cyclops (sp) who looks sad. i drew you in bed on the phone and above it i put waiting. i also drew myself in a cocoon and then lightly put the suggestion of butterfly wings. above you is a picture of my torso and i have a fire inside my stomach that sends smoke into my lungs. my heart is lodged in my espohogus (sp) because i'm choking on it. it's a nice illustration. i like it alot. for the poetry coverpage i drew a picture of a heart being squeezed in a hand and out of the arteries grow flowers and beautiful things. a dove holds a candy heart in its mouth as it flies above.
030115
...
birches i keep looking for a frame for your picture. but i'm too cheap. i found the one i knew it belonged in but it's fifteen dollars and i don't have the money to spend on it just yet. my mom and i were driving today. we went to a second hand store and bought clothes. whenever i drive with my mom she is younger, she feels younger she acts younger, i believe she is younger. i wish she was younger more often. i bought a cd "Galore" by the cure. i love the third song on it. when i came home in my car, alone, i listened to it. its very beautiful. i use that word a little bit too freely. i'm sure there are many different words that could do alot better in this context, but the word beautiful is just the perfect word for so many things. it just fits and its relevant and not out of the ordinary. let me tell you whenever a man is called beautiful, it is a compliment, because not many men have the ability to be handsome and beautiful at the same time. so if you are ever called beautiful you know you have something. you're fucking beautiful. there now you have something. love, me. 030115
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megan freedom with a kiss when i drop you off. 030115
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the swinger of birches as matt and i drive home from snowboarding i can feel the asphalt whisper and i can feel the sound waves vibrate into my spine. they shake my body and let me know that we are still here. we are both quite and feeling intoxicated. the road sings hypnotically and we listen to a cd that ashley made. it is so pure and delicate, it sounds like tiny sparkles on the hairs of my cochlea. it is magic. the girl from the cranberries delights in using her voice as a sharp knife that can cut your heart if you let her words and melody affect you.
it feels like old times, it feels like matt has never left. it feels like i am fifteen again and matt has just got his liscence and we have just got done testing death by staying out past curfew and speeding.
matt is lulled and enebriated by the headlights that carve out two domes of light in the darkness of minnesota. i imagine that we are in the woods, walking carefully, making sure each of our footsteps is grounded by something solid. i am an elf or a fairy or a wood nymph collecting leaves and pretty stones. matt is a gaint, awkward and careless, dragging his ax behind him and sloppily eating birch bark. he may terrorize a small village for fun and i will trick a girl that gets lost and is left alone as her brother was too selfish and crazy to help her find her way home.
driving in minnesota, just 38 miles north of blue earth, the snow begins again, it starts a smoking haze and the road twists and winds like the strands of DNA. i imagine andy. i saw him earlier. he was the boy in the ski jacket of khaki and red. he's cheeks were flush, his hands were hot and i fell down. he left me behind. he got on the ski lift. i never saw him again.
once we get to iowa i have to take over the wheel. matt passes out, drunken by the thought of sleep. we are tired and our bones are soar. i sit in a seat that is too big for me. we arrive safely. matt takes the floor, and i take my bed...for that night, we are ten years younger.
030127
...
mcdougall I did way too much of it last night. I came to the conclusion that it will one day be the death of me.

The show I went to was ok; it was good to see burns out bright again. All the other stuff that happened though sucked.

When I went to my friends college I parked in a bad spot, but it's where I always park, so I didn't think it would matter much. When I got there we drove to Charleston to pick up two of our friends to take back to the show. Charleston was nice. I liked it. Old, small streets, on the beach, then back to Columbia.

When we got back to his dorm I noticed my car was gone and got a little bummed. I called the local towing companies and none of them had my car. Finally one of the places told me to call the city police. The police told me that the city garage had it because it was illegally parked. So I called them and I went to pick it up. Now we are all late for the show. The car cost me 35 dollars.

From Autumn to Ashes screamed too much, I don't think I like them as much as I thought I did. Oh well shows over time to go home. Nope. The two friends who we got from Columbia are now my passengers as I return them to their rooms. I was going to stay in Charleston with Alex but it was too late to sign me in so I had to go back home.

Now it is 3am. I have the route planed and provisions. I am off. I am so tired. Soo soo tiiierd. Wah! Ahh! Wake up! Ohh soo tiired. Thatís it! I am going to sleep.

I pull into a school parking lot at 4am and go to sleep until 5am then I am off again... but still so tired.

Sometime later, Iím not sure how long because I can't remember most of the drive due to my tiredness; I pull into a gas station to use the toilet and to my surprise I find 2 quarters. Just enough to buy some coffee.

Wired, and ready to go I make it home wide awake by 6:30. I got to sleep by 7:00 and I sleep until 11:00, missing my ceramics class and almost my planed lunch with my friend.

I am tired of my car and I am tired of driving.
030127
...
a song in my head can't this car go any faster
'cause i can still see where i am
030127
...
the swinger of birches driving today is like riding through a wet sandy desert. the roads are filled like a basin with the remains of a slush machine, as if the contents of the giant snow cone were emptied to melt upon the asphalt. i feel like i'm swimming through the moisture and my car is smeared by the amazing amount of salt and dirt that has polluted what is left of the snow and ice. dirty snow and dirty ice are simply one of lifes greater irritations. i have a cell phone now and your number is nicely saved in its phone book. you remember when i said "its times like when i'm driving alone that i like you" today was it. i had the body of the phone cradled in my hand and i felt no hesitation in speaking to you this time. i did not stare at the phone and put it down midway through dialing your number. i did not walk past it five times before i mustered the nerve to face the reality of your voice. i did not have the mutual feeling that kerry felt in minute_letters. i called. i called realizing that you may be in class and as it turns out you were. the sound of your voice on the answering machine is what greets me and it feels good to hear it again. to hear that your voice has the sensitivity of someone or something inside your masculine shell that stands like concrete and novacane to the world. its in your voice, and that tone you always take, that i feel the existence of you underneath, it feels like wet sand and the lap of water caressing the shoreline. it feels like firecrackers in july on the freeway. it feels like hot chocolate and a warm place to sleep at night. driving again as i leave and go to whatever place it may be this friday night, i will play back that voice in my mind. when i'm ready, when my hair is done and i look great, i will think of you, i will think about going out with you when i get down to omaha. i will think about the possibility of there being an "us". and then i will stop myself and turn the music up and scream at the top of my lungs because i will have thought about you so much i will be full. 030131
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the swinger of birches a chance to say anything. 030204
...
spoons I stop for fairies 040619
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