february sixteenth nineteen ninety eight. i almost typed november and i almost typed ninety seven. my mind hasn't been completely coherent these days. everyone asks about future plans and i just tell them to check back at a later date. the universe demands that i start living today and i tell it to knock at my door in a week or so. i'm writing the drafts on how to live a life right now, looking for navigational equipment. i'm reading and writing and doing everything in my power
to keep my spirit from breaking. for the most part i have been successful. i think about coasts a lot, geography. tonight i told someone, or maybe it was just myself, that i missed the sparkling california seascape. i was thinking about point reyes, about that one
day that i spent by the cliffs. wildly writhing trees, the likes of which i'd never seen before, had sprouted up all around me and were threatening to overtake the landscape. tallgrass whipping in wind, a lighthouse far in the distance, chill wind that wasn't chill enough to touch my bones. it was all so beautiful that i almost forgot i was here under the auspices of a rainbow gathering, something i've always loathed the concept of. i figure that one ought to do everything at least once in their life, or at least try to. i never liked the notion of spare-changing either. that's not entirely true. i don't have a problem with spare-changing, but i think people should be creative about it.
do a little dance, sing a little song, offer up a joke or play the human beat box. you suppose that struggling and starving people aren't much in the mood for jovial things? i've found just the opposite to be true. but back to coasts. here's the thing: you can't fully love a place
until you know it. the same goes for people. and the two notions are
intertwined somewhat for me. i find that i can't love a place until i love a person who has touched me while there. it's not quite that clear or concrete but it's certainly something like that. i grew up in philadelphia, and now at age twenty-two i find that most of my friends are west of the mississippi. as my familial ties--my version of family, that is--shift, i find my geographical alliances shifting as well. i find myself longing for the point reyes coastline and for the california central valley spring skies. not entirely, of course. just the other day i was thinking about new jersey. last night i dreamt of the wildwood boardwalk. wildwood is a place where you can get pizza cheap and hot and dripping with oil. the women wear next to nothing and stroll
their wares on the wooden walkway, the men do much the same. everyone is shopping for love under the guise of a weekend fling. gambling occurs but the victors are not monetarily rewarded. nickels fall from cliffs, and somewhere in their falling they become tokens, small and round metal tokens retrievable for stuffed animals that ought to be illegal for the amount of dust they produce. this place is the vacation of my youth, and i wouldn't have it any other way. you think it sounds ugly, but i haven't told you about the beaches yet. they may be contaminated with syringes, but they are the longest beaches i've ever seen. they may be littered with ciggarette butts, but you can find tide pools if you hit them at just the right moment. i haven't been there in years, of course. i'm not sure i want to return. i'd rather have my memories, rather make my new ones on cape cod or baja. dreams have been odd lately. i sleep with heating vents just a few feet away and they suck all the moisture but seem to intensify my sleep. the dreams are fiery and vivid, even more so than usual. ten hours is more than adequate allotment for slumber. i wonder if the heating vents have sucked my ability to get up away from me as well. this has all been written one restless evening in the space of fifteen minutes, under the threat of a soon-closing library. more trains are coming just as many pull away. hope to see you at the crossroads. g'nite. as long as you are kicking with all your energy they haven't gotten the best of you.
february twenty-fourth. i woke an hour too early this morning. the
subconscious mind is the best alarm clock--mine is reliable almost to
a fault. i've been feeling sick to my stomach lately and i doubt it
has much to do with all the soft batch cookies i've been eating. i let
myself feel things too much--my skin is thinner than the ozone layer
and as tender as a currant in the june sun. i've been finding refuge
in sounds, colors, tastes, sensations lately. the people around me
leave me feeling alien--not an unusual condition. i don't understand
most things about life. i rather like it this way. i wonder if i'll
be lovesick always. sometmies i fear what would happen if the sickness
stopped. would the songs, letters, out-loud-singing, skipping, crazy
impulses to scream in the middle of the day downtown all stop too?
sometimes when i listen to my favorite songs i feel guilty--i feel as
though i couldn't ever possibly attempt to live such stories, to live
such songs. sometimes i feel as though they were only written for the
beautiful people--these ideas, though, only plague me on the bad days.
usually i just close my eyes and let the tales unfold. i just pretend.
when i think about activism i always come back to the fact that i feel
no passion to change the world when i can't even get along with the
people around me at any given moment. sometimes i wonder if i look for
the flaws in folk rather than the assets because doing so keeps me
safe. i like cotton to a criminal extent. i went on this crusade to
rid my closet of all synthetic fibers. for the most part it was
successful., but a few stray strands of polyester snuck themselves in.
always gotta have something to fight against. my overalls, backpack,
bandanna--everything i own always ends up being blue. not entirely
coincidental, i suppose. but yeah, cotton. everyone that knows me
tells me i'm just a hippie at heart. i don't argue with them, for the
most part, but i wonder if you can be a hippie when you hate most
music created between 1960 and 1980 and have never smoked pot in your
life. been thinking about the concept of domesticity lots lately. i
rather like it sometimes...the notion of having a lover and thirty-
seven different varieties of tea and walls strung with photographs of
dead anarchists. i'm not sure about that last part, but i like the
thought a bit. i think about the maritime provinces a lot. a lady on
the greyhound asked me why my happiness was determined by places to
such a great extent. i got defensive at first, but then relented. it
was okay if she didn't understand my attachment to nature, and to
various natures at various times. everyone turns to different concepts
for consolation and the maintenance of their sanity. i know a boy who
differentiates between the periods of his life by the bands he was in
at the time, and a girl who recites funny stories of ex-girlfriends
recent and long ago when i ask her about 1994, 1991, 1989. i point
to cities and pastures. i want to have a permanent po box by the end
of 1998...a permanent po box somewhere besides pennsylvania, or ohio
for that matter. i want to have a lover and those thirty-seven
varities of tea and walls strung with photographs of dead anarchists.
i want to hang out with the ocean more than i do and i want to eat
more soup. i want to stop slouching when i sit and standing pigeon-
toed...but hell, i look cute when i stand pigeontoed. wouldn't want to
prefect things too much, i might lose my idiosyncratic charms.
february twenty-eighth. i keep struggling with finding a balance
between living practically and living creatively. sometimes i like the
idea of having a "uniform"--an entirely utilitarian outfit which can
be worn daily. i could own it in plural, but it would still be the
same outfit day in and day out--jeans and a black t-shirt seem the
most likely candidate of course. on other days i think about this and
it seems like a horrible idea. what if i feel like wearing a skirt?
what if spring is in full bloom and i want to feel the breeze rustle
gauze cottonness against my downy legs?, what if short sleeves get
in the way of my skin breathing on a ninety-five degree summer midwest
day? i think that one of the few things preventing me from going crazy
right now is spring's swift approach. you couldn't possibly know how
the flatlands awaken in april, how everything comes alive, unless
you've experienced it. you couldn't know how it makes me feel, either.
lately i have been reveling in the fact that no matter how relation-
ships with people around me may shift, nature is a reliable friend.
i can't guarantee that seasons will be accompanied by weather characteristic of themselves anymore, but i can guarantee some things-
the sky, no matter how obstructed, is there every evening without
fail. i can breathe deep whenever i want to. i can listen to myself
swallow and put my hand on my heart even when it hurts to do so. these
are the things that i marvel in these days. i look at people's arms a
lot, and their faces, and their eyes in particular. i try to find
something beautiful in each. it's often hard. and i think about the
people i want to kiss, and realize that i don't have to do it. it's
okay just to think about it sometimes...in fact, it's often more fun.
i think about how i want to be in love and yet find myself simultaneously terrified of a committed long-term relationship, and it makes me want to revel in being untethered for as long as i am--to know that i am free to lick the backs of so many amazing people right now, to know that i am free to know kisses of new lovers even if i choose not to.
this makes me smile somewhat. i think about truth a lot these days,
and honesty, and i know that few things are more worthy aspirations
than these. mostly i think about how everyone deserves to be
comfortable, and how this knowledge is the furthest thing from
complacency--that those of us who are closer than others are
responsible for helping th others gain similar status. our basic
rights: to wake well-rested and work without an uneasy conscience, to
know genuine communication and engage in it often. we all deserve to
laugh when it's inappropriate and do things without reason. it is
crucial to our sanity that we can sing when our voices aren't beauti-
ful and touch our friends even when we're not fucking them. we need
good wholesome foods and diversity in our lives or we shall perish
slowly. we need mindless indulgencfe, but only every now and again.
we need the softest sweaters a two-dollar bill can buy, because life
is too short to itch your way through the sweater-weather, and because
we all deserve to be warm. and today, today i think i would like
nothing more than some campbell's tomato soup with a peanut-butter
sandwich for dipping. i would like emily here to make me laugh, and a
picture book about barns to look at. i'd like to be in pennsylvania
in late spring, in a field, with my feet dangling in a trickle-stream
and a mostly empty backpack beside me. but for the most part, i'm
content today to walk the length of high street and look at all the
facial expressions, the fashion i don't understand, and the signs of
merchants. and i like how the keys feel beneath my fingers. i like
that quite a bit. i like things tactile and abstract, subtle and