kerry i imagine us kissing in a darkroom under red lights. 020827
bespeckled ditto 020827
kerry we are always standing together in the darkroom now, talking quietly. our eyes glance periodically at the clock and our hands move in rhythmic motions while we develop our photographs.
or we're walking outside in the sun, looking for our inspirations. and today i sat on the other side of the gate and you slouched on the bench and i couldn't look over at you, it would ruin the exposure, but it was killing me because i could feel your eyes on the curve of my back and my hair falling gently *red* in my eyes.
you tell jokes and we laugh and think i could stand beside you forever if only i could hear your chuckle over and over.
silentbob what happens next?? 020905
pilgrim I suppose we'll have to wait and see what Develops 020905
kerry you stood next to me over the stop bath and the fix and the wash and said, "looks like it's coming out... i can see the gate, right there... now i can see you..."
i got my self-portrait developed and went to show it to you and you handled it carefully and said you liked it. and i like your hands and the way they move over things so delicately like the world is glass and you're afraid of dropping it
and i like when you talk to me the way your eyes look right into my face and never look away
and you were laughing all day today
kerry i saw footage of you from charleston
james was showing me the home videos
and you were drunk and it made me sad that you couldn't eat your sandwich with the half-inch wide slices of cheddar and you couldn't make a peace sign with your hands and you passed out on the cutting board.
and then later you asked me about the tape and you were laughing and

i still feel sad because i don't like to see you drunk.
kerry this is killing me!!! i cannot handle liking you this much.
i wish there was something i could do to change the way i feel when you talk to me and look me right in the eyes. and i wish i could change looking at the back of your neck every day in math.
and basically dying inside whenever we are in the darkroom side by side.
i hate liking you so much.
kerry i am buying pot this weekend for the first time ever and i want to share it with you.
god that sounds so weird, but it's true.
kerry today we were outside taking pictures by the traintracks and i was taking a picture of barbed wire. then you found a cluster of mushrooms and took a picture of them. and we were talking about watermelons and lime juice and music, and i was wearing my Bob Marley & the Wailers shirt that you said you liked.
so i felt all warm and happy, and the football field was covered in dew and shimmering in the morning light, and i could smell autumn as we slipped through the fence to get the pinhole camera that was on the tracks, and walking back i saw the train plow through, under the bridge.
kerry "have you ever been cosmic bowling?"
"no, have you?"
"no! it would be so fun. is it like when you're on acid?"
"i wouldn't know"
"let's go bowling then!"
"okay, let's go bowling!"
fun fun fun.
you are slinkster-cool.
bespeckled Slipping straps down shoulders drenched
with sweat and kisses,
a little of my berry gloss smeared on your shoulder,
neck and nose.

We sigh, content in wanting, as the liquid around us cleanses, creates and changes -
images of others in their lives.

Here's our life, amidst the appearance of theirs - our life, together under these moody lights.

My eyes are red.
Look at them - They're red for you.
kerry i will take pictures this weekend
and show them to you
and when i see you i'll tell you all about elaine and her screaming antics and we'll probably laugh about it together

i like the way i feel when i remember that funny eyebrow-raising look we share from across the room like a form of communication
gritting teeth questioning eyes
then laughter following and it's almost always mine.

i know you're conquering the world right now while i'm sitting here at the computer and you are in north carolina.
i think of you climbing cliffsides
creating pathways and trails
i think of dappled shadows on the tent you sleep in
how nice it would be to lie in nylon-sleeping bag bliss next to you and hear the soft whispering of the trees
mingling with your sleeping noises.
i think of the way the shadows played on your chest in his home movie where you held the frog in your hands in charleston at one o'clock in the morning and stared at the camera you were so stoned
but i don't even care anymore.
you say everything is a waste of time
you say college is dumb
why take the traditional course

it is unsettling for me to consider not doing what is expected of me what i've never even thought of challenging
kerry we went into the darkroom together all alone and i was wearing my funny wool stocking cap and you were wearing fleece and we were making test strips for you. i was helping you, sort of.
and i wanted to kiss you so bad but we were laughing too much because neither of us could understand the other. you'd say something and i'd say "huh?" and you'd say "what?"
or "i just said that"
"no you didn't"
[laugh laugh laugh]
then elaine was there and she was looking at us funny because we were laughing because of all four underexposed test strips. you seemed to be getting discouraged.
elaine: are you guys like partners?
[i was standing in the dark with my hands stuffed in my pockets]
you: sort of, kind of
elaine: do you like each other?
[i didnt really realize what she said for a minute and then felt embarrassed]
you: yes.
[holding my breath.]
you: gosh, elaine!!!! why don't you act more professional!?!??!!??!
[laughing. nervously. damn.]
kerry when you took off your hat
and the sun was glowing
on your hair
burning red and brown
i almost thought i loved you.

we went in to load the reels of film ourselves because they abandoned us. we have to go into the pitch-black closet room and do it by touch. i didnt feel like i could do it yet so you agreed to do it.
instead we ended up sitting together in the room while i played with reels and dummy film, talking about drinking and drugs and taylor and the weekend and parties.
then you said "ok, well i guess i should go do this."
and i nodded and helped you close up the reels.
"will you go in there with me?" you said as i started to talk.
you look blank. "nevermind."
and we keep talking. and then you go into the darkroom, and i go to mat some photographs, cutting the paper wrong because i wanted to go in there too.
kerry this THING has sort of dulled and gone from an intense emotional rollercoaster to a fascinated curiosity.
you are mentally stimulating and intellectually refreshing.

i sit and let my legs dangle and listen to you ramble on about the government and photography and drugs, etc. i want us to go to rocky horror fridays together and maybe have a bonfire. maybe we can go backpacking. maybe we can listen to nirvana in my basement with the lights flickering and the heat blowing down from the ceiling like some sort of desert wind that stings your eyes.
. . 021029
Scarlet Photos You write wonderfully, kerry. Hope it all works out with your photo buddy :) 021030
kerry thanks so much. i hope it works out too. :) 021030
kerry things are good. everything is good and we're laughing and smiling and
things could be better because

things could be like...
i can't even explain.

things would be like
and me
and fleece and your smile highlighting everything
and every painting we stare at together
and every photograph i watch as you handle careful now careful dropping into the developer carefully breathing

my careful existance
so delicate in your hands
maybe one day i would know how you look when you're delicate
kerry the party sucked anyway. jo and jackie and steph and i walked outside to talk to james and justin. you walk over and say hey.
brad comes outside and the four of you together decide to go hotbox justin's car.
"come on,ladies," brad calls behind him.
"you want to come?" says justin.
i'm the first to say yes, and johanna and jackie and steph follow behind me, through amanda's back gate and up quietly by the side of the house and past the little grove of pine trees where justin's little burgundy car sits waiting for us.

justin is driving. james gets shotgun. steph squishes in between the two of them and jo and brad and jackie and i all get in the back. you try to sit across our laps but everyone moans and groans and i say, "hey ___, would it work if we switch?"
"good idea."
so you get out and i get out and you sit down and say, "well come on, kerry."
so i struggle across everyone with my butt in jo's lap and my legs spread across everyone and we close the door and go to Burlington which is a little alley-type street behind a bunch of houses.

justin parks and we turn on the AC and james lights the bowl and the smell is everywhere. johanna is miserable so i let her out and then i get out because i feel claustrophobic like i'm being slowly pushed to the ceiling like a crowdsurfer being smothered in bodies so i get out and jackie gets out and steph gets out.

the windows of the car fog up. jackie and jo are obviously disgusted at me because i'm starting to wish i'd stayed in the car. devin comes out of between two houses and gives me the hat i'd dropped on the sidewalk, jackie and jo leave, devin stays with steph and i and we are spinning in circles in the middle of the wet road and i'm so dizzy i can't see. then brad rolls down the window and asks me if i want to shotgun. and i do.

you and james and justin and brad all get out. you're standing behind me. brad blows the smoke in my mouth through our cupped hands and it stings my throat and i blow it everywhere and you and james decide it's not going to work at all. so james puts it to my lips and tells me to inhale and i do and he's lighting it and it's crackling like your nose when it's stuffy and you have a cold and the hit seems to go on forever but i have a feeling one hit no matter how long isn't going to do much until brad goes, "ok, ok, thats enough, come on."
and james is like "what? sorry."
and you say, "that's nothing, brad."
and brad talks about how stoned he got the first time off of one hit and i don't believe him but then the man who lives in the house we're standing behind is looking out his window so all the guys freak out and jump in the car and drive off steph and i don't want to go back to the party so we walk around the subdivision. it's freezing and drizzling and the wool of my sweater is damp and going to stink and we end up at the playground. and i liked it because from then on you and i laughed for the rest of the night and justin gave me hugs and james was acting pissed but it was ok even though i wasn't really stoned, the only thing that happened was that i was so hungry.
kerry we couldn't get into the darkdark room. so we sat out by the light table, paints and matboard sprawled across everything, and we painted these crazy pictures of octupi and chickens and fish and bats. and we laughed a lot and talked about camping and painting and school and you choked on your coke and spit it everywhere
and made fun of me and i made fun of you and everything was good.
kerry you remind me of black ice and wool. it's so weird to think that this time last year, i didnt know you. jackie and i were at zach's house over christmas break to work on the script and it was snowing. james was there... it was

i could have never even imagined.

you and sean, walking up the road where we were sledding down the hill, your salvation army jacket, your busted converse shoes, your auburn hair,
we played in the snow and you and i didnt talk but
devin came with skiis (skis?) and we went to the neighbor's steep lawn and i road the trashcan lid down the hill and couldnt stop and you reached out so fast and closed one hand around my scrawny arm, catching me before i slid off the high curb and into the street. you lifted me up by the arm like it was nothing and i said thanks and you said something unmemorable and that was it.

then there was yesterday, when he played the quarter trick on you and i was crying in laughter at the sight of a black line down your face, and you were laughing and looking confused and embarrassed and so cute. and then when you picked up storey's jar and she snatched it and you were chuckling embarrassedly and put your fist in your mouth.

and the way you look at me whenever something funny happens, as if you want to know if i am laughing,
and you sat by me for the whole class talking about your experiences in DC with the russian guys and the beerbottles and the way you gave theodore the shirt off your back... and i was the only one who believed that some of it may have actually happened, but only because you told it over so many times.
kerry last night i called justin to see what everyone was doing. he said he was picking brad up and that i should just come over.

so we picked up jackie and then johanna and we drove over to justin's house where he has his computer hooked up to his TV and we watched brad make fun of people he didnt know on instant messenger and you were online and i had already talked to you that day. you said to come over because devin was there and you were going to make s'mores and have a bonfire.

we went to pick up lauren but on the way we drove by amanda's house so we stopped and went inside and justin and brad ended up fixing her dad's DVD player and eating cake and pizza. it was so random and funny. then we remembered lauren and remembered we hadnt called, so justin went up to the door and her dad said, "oh, she's already asleep!" even though it was only ten till nine. she came out though and said her dad was apologizing a lot, he thought it was someone else, and we went back to justin's and the band room and played around on the guitar and the drums.

THEN we went to your house and it was cool because you have a firepit in your back yard and i smoked a lot but i wasn't high or anything and you let me wear your jacket and lauren is SO ANNOYING when she is high. hehe. johanna didn't do anything and jackie smoked some, it was her first time but it wasn't a big deal or whatever, i dont think she liked it.
but i like you, and when you were inside we had to go, so i left your jacket on the stone table. i hope you found it.

my hair still smells of day-old pot and i like it.
kerry today i was loading film but i could only get one reel. i close everything else up, make it light-tight, and stumble into the main darkroom, stretching and rubbing my eyes.

"i can't get the second reel."
you offer to help me. i accept graciously. you go in and turn to me.

"you going to come in or what?"

"oh, yeah."

so i follow you in there, keys jangling in my pockets, and i close and lock the door behind us. you are talking and sitting on a chair in the pitch black and you can't get it either.
i remember the funny reel and know how to load it in the light.

"wait, it's kind of weird. let me show you."

you hand me the reel.

i fumble with it until i can feel the teeth. "where's your hand?"

hands groping in the dark,
stretching grasping fingers,
i find them and hold them gently, run them over the teeth.
we talk about saturday night and you make plans to stay in the tiny darkroom for a few hours and see what happens because i think it would drive a person crazy. i make a mental note to give moral support.
kerry the days seem so lonely except in our last days of photography like today where you begged me to help you and i said "ahhh do i have to?" just kidding around and you said you didnt blame me because i am always helping you with stuff and you hardly ever help me.
but really, i dont mind.
so we're using the drills and threading blue into your book and standing close and laughing about stuff and talking and its the type of good time you have with people you are so comfortable around. jon cracked this HUGE crack in the light table because he and ash used the heat gun too much and our teacher was pissed. i thought you would stuff your fist in your mouth like always but you didn't.

it's nice.

but i ask you about what you'll do without a darkroom for the holidays and you mumble maybe you can use mine but then say, No, your dad wouldn't let me.
maybe he would.
you could come over.

i didn't say that.
kerry i dont dream at night anymore. only in the morning. when was the last time i was in bed before 12?
before 1?

now that is a question. i wonder how your new year's was and what you were thinking the exact moment the clock struck 12. i wonder what i was thinking, too. were we all thinking of ourselves as always?

i know things have changed somewhat. maybe it is me that has changed. i'm sure it is. just me. growing away from your cynical comments, pessimistic remarks.
i'm tired of your unhappiness.

all of that said, it's not fair that i am still torturing myself with you. this morning i dreamed that we were outside by a big stone wall next to this pair of gigantic doors three stories high, and they were bringing elephants or something out for a circus. And everyone feels the ground shaking and is frightened, and we are all pressed in a line against the stone wall and you are next to me. and you put your arm around me and i dont know what to do with myself.
we walk down the stairs as if going to the photography room. zach is behind us, i can hear his voice, his excited laughter. your arm isnt around me by the time we get to the bottom but you slip your fingers in mine and everything is good and i feel this immense swelling in my chest.

i wake up. my eyes are still closed. i know it is 12 o'clock before i turn over.


i'm right. and i lie there and try to decide whether i am still tired or not, and i decide that i'm not. i kick the covers off and feel the cold air hit my bare feet and i think of you,
not as affectionately as i would've two months ago,
and everything just kind of drips and dissolves and is diluted.
the swinger of birches tonight i will email you or call you to see how you have been. it will be brief, but i will accomplish much. our conversation will be hurried and fake, because neither of us knows how to talk on the phone. but when i hang up it will be like a choir singing in the background and i will walk around smiling for an hour.

tomorrow we will go out and take pictures. i want to see you in black and white. i want the gray areas at a minimal and the contrast to be extreme. i want to capture the curve of your lips and the strength of your jaw. i want to keep you in a place where i will forever have you. you'll pay for the film and the developing, but i'll get double prints so that i can have copies of each photo. you'll ask what you can do to pay me. i'll think. more than likely i'll tease you to give me a lap dance, i'm not sure if it will happen.

i know you can't think this now, but wouldn't it be great if you broke it off with her? i mean everyone is beginning to catch on to you and your ways. they're all putting the pieces together as if it were a riddle. but i figured you out long before anyone believed there was something to be cracked. i saw you in plain view. that's why i think it would be great if we got together. i see the real you. i like the real you. i can teach you to like him too. but that's only if you're willing. i can promise you won't be dissappointed. it may be difficult at first. but after we've been together the first month, you'll like him as much as i do. it would be nice if we could learn to love him together. it would make things easier.

if you give me that lapdance, i don't think i'll wait until you're finished. i'll stop you when you've got your shirt off and tell you that it isn't what i want. i tell you that what i really want is you, not sex or seduction. i'll tell you that i can make you happy. then i hope you remember eating lunch with me and thinking about all the things i've written you or the photographs that i took and i hope those things make you compelled to kiss me.

when you leave next tuesday, i'll be done with school on friday. maybe the following week i'll come down on thursday and we can go get ice cream and walk around Omaha's Old Market and go to this thrift store that i've been to a time or two. We could go to the mall, and walk slow and watch people together and go into the funny novelty shops and read cards to each other. and it would just be nice to know that at that particular moment, i was the one person on your mind and the feeling was mutual.
Cicero you have seen the negative space
where I live
I have watched you fade in
countless times
I have put you in frames
to make steady the beauties
whose mist I grabbed for
one hundred thousand times
1/150th of my body
sacrificed to your momentary death
you are etched in my camera
from over use
your blood is dried in its joints
and on my hands

you exposed me twice
for every once I exposed you
what's it to you?
who go