Lapse

Sometimes, I pass by my old haunts and am struck by the force of memory. Places I haven’t been to years or haven’t really thought about in years either. Like the parking lot beside the old bar we used to commute to, the bar itself, standing on the sidewalk with a man named L— and laughing at the speeding cars on the highway.

It’s inevitable to walk along the same stretch of road as a teenager, then as a young adult, then again because there are times you’re doomed to repeat the same things.

Sometimes I only feel like I’ve been there before even when I’m there with different people, and my head is out of it, and behold, nothing really new. This is especially true for clubs and bars. Only the music, and the prices change, and it’s always interesting to see the changes happen.

I love time lapses.  A man photographs the same tree, everyday, for a year. In a  similar project, the photographer splices parts of the photos together until it forms the entire tree, from winter to winter. A year-long moon in 2.5 minutes.  I’ve always been drawn to photos like that. So damn cliche, because it’s easy. It’s a snapshot of a whole year, through a lens, through an object that remains relatively anchored.

Sometimes articles covering these projects mention the effort it takes to actually do the project, usually mentioning some sort of personal adversity. But I like to think about it.

Getting up from bed everyday to take that photo. The days they are maybe shaking off a bit of the flu, or a bit of a head cold before they drive to the location.  Sometimes it’s raining. Sometimes, it snowing. Sometimes it’s unbearably sunny.

The quality of the light changes. There are days they drag a tarp out from the back of a car to cover the photo area because the rain is too strong for the shot.  Maybe there were a few days they couldn’t bring the car, so the photographer walks there, dragging equipment along. Maybe they take the photo from the comfort of their backyard, so it’s simply a matter of setting up and brewing a pot of coffee. Maybe they trek to a riverbank, everyday, and it’s at the edge of town. I like to think about this because the sheer effort of the everyday occasionally baffles me.

If I made a photo like that there would be a lot of dead space. For the days I can’t get up. For the days I sleep all day. Where the train shakes my noisy apartment and I lie there in dirty sheets thinking maybe I’ll eat today. Or not. Where my maximum caloric intake drops to 500. Where I feel self indulgent, and horrible. Where I regret taking an apartment on the 33rd floor, because 33 is a very good number. No one can possibly survive 33 floors —  the only thing stopping me is the long fall, and my fear of the afterlife. Sometimes I think there’s a hell for always being sad, a secret sub level that you earn your membership too cause you’re always too goddamn sad, or too tired, where there’s something wrong with your brain and it’s wrong just to exist, sometimes. Instead of harpies picking at you, you slowly get buried in ice, or in packing foam, a forever void, and that’s it, but the sadness never goes away. Whether or not you walk the same places everyday.

3/365

in another city, after Valentine’s Day,
i lurch around like i am missing an arm,
keep my hands clenched as fists because i miss the feel of your hands.
i slam my palm into my breastbone, i’m trying to self resuscitate
i walk further and further into the streets, stand by the long dead river
take photos of ancient edifices and sit in its dirty parks
i also, somehow, take up running.

no one comforts me
when i plant my face on the smooth metal of the train
i fall asleep more than i should
when i weep it’s more like a howl
nobody ever offers me a handkerchief
nobody says anything, they only look away when the tears start
i cry in the cab at 7:30 AM because a song you loved comes on
the driver pulls over and tells me to  “get out!”

i dream about the side of your neck, that tender tendon
only to wake like someone fired a gun by my bed
startled by its emptiness
i bought a nightlight because
my bed is three sizes and one person too small, so
i sometimes dream about waking up with other people
and i wake up with the tears already drying on my cheeks
sometimes i turn to the side and say your name,
ready to launch into a tale of my daily woe
when caught, i correct myself, slowly, but it still isn’t true
i still fish in the air for stories to give to you
those small offerings of the afternoon,
the before sleeping stories to tide your dreams over
i pluck them out of the sky
then wait for lightning
lightning striking
i keep telling people to set me on fire, but i feel like i am on fire.
i look into mirrors and see my face reflected back. two big eyes, bared teeth.
i ask my reflection “am i bereft?” cause i like big words

yes.

there are hearts strung up over the the corner of the street by the train station
there are hearts in the streetlights
i think of stringing mine up alongside,
wrapped in brown butcher paper, the kind you you wrap your leftover food in
here are the journeys of my February, the month is short
thankfully short
not long like our love
not anything our love

nothing like the way we are leaving

 

 

Odd Encounters 3

Image

I’m drinking dark beer, the kind that’s full of dark things, like caramel, or the souls of Belgian brewers. The girl behind the bar looks like Kirsten Stewart, but she’s clean, pretty, mohawked, irritable. The bar (which is really a converted house) is noisy. Too much chatter, a girl in high boots singing to herself, a boy trying to make his way to her. The fans fail to stir the air inside. Faces shine in the semi-dark.

I get hugged from behind. The boy hugging me is quietly effeminate, with tattoos swirling down one slim dark arm. I say nothing and he hugs me again and says.

“You’re soft.”

I don’t feel threatened. I’m drunk enough to lift his arm, look at his tattoos. He hugs me again, once and steps away.

Looking at home, from here

Some months it’s hard to write not because I cannot, but because I feel drained at the end of the day. 

I write this from the corner of a tiny apartment in the hottest city in the world, famously referred to as the Gates of Hell. To make myself happy, I show you photographs of my hometown and my home. The city I love. I’ve been away for a month and I feel sucker punched. Homesickness is a punch to the gut. Manila makes me feel like I want different things, that other people don’t want.

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I miss the sound of the bamboo. The wind literally runs its fingers through bamboo, and you can feel it shiver on those long windy days.

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The trees. This city has no trees. They exist like afterthoughts, or discoveries. Carefully cultivated into parks. Sequestered. 

 

The mountains

It’s the mountains and the city, and the never ending rain. 

 

 

Thank you Yas for the idea.