"I was a kid when I first learned how to ride a bike. All I remember is how my dad told me he would never let go, yet when I turned around he was twice as far back as he said he would be."
— A.Z. I’m sorry I couldn’t trust you.
Ughhh I just got the best message from a fellow artist, and this person shared their appreciation, saying they were moved by the things I write. It got me thinking, and basically I realized that the best thing artists can do is to move each other. It’s what keeps the cycle of inspiration fresh. What would any of our work be without all the books we’ve read, movies we’ve seen, and music we’ve listened to?
It goes like this: I might listen to a song that makes me cry, and later I write the best poem I’ve ever written. An actor who follows me might read that poem and be moved to deliver their very best performance the next night. Someone watching in the crowd might be inspired by the passion of the character that actor brought to life, and paint his masterpiece, his Starry Night or Mona Lisa or Persistence of Memory. A struggling musician might see that painting on the wall of a cafe, and the fighting colors and frenzied brushstrokes might trigger a disturbance in his soul that starts as a single chord, a hazy melody, and ends in a beautiful song that inspires some poetess with a writing blog. And so on, and so on. It’s every artists duty to do their part in upholding it.
The cycle of inspiration™. Yeah, I’m coining that.
I still stand by this!! Inspiration as energy, to transfer and be absorbed. Inspiration as currency. You earn it by consuming meaningful art, and you spend it by creating meaningful art.
i tried to be so perfect that you couldn’t
wait to leave the girl in your dreams and
wake up to me, but you always preferred
sleep. now i want it back, all of it. my
secrets, my softness, my mangled heart.
all the time i spent molding myself to fit
into the shape of your loneliness when i
was just breaking bones. if you only
wanted me in your bed, you could have
just said so because the sad thing is
i would have given it to you anyway, i’m
always offering my body up as an apology
for everything i’m not or a promise that i
can be so much better if you just stay the
night. i know it’s not fair to expect anyone’s
love but i don’t think i deserve your coldness
just for wanting to be held. you took my
warmth for granted, with your hands of ice.
i don’t know where it comes from, all this
heat pulsing in my body, but i know it’s for
you. the springs in your mattress are
pushing their coils through the foam,
puncturing my skin like a warning that
came too late — girl, run. girl, find your
clothes, girl, find the sun. he will leave you
shivering blue, he will make you hard and
cruel. girl, you will forget the slow
burn of fire for his cool touch,
you will forget how to melt.
Truisms / Jenny Holzer
Calm is more conducive to creativity than is anxiety
Emotional responses are as valuable as intellectual responses
At times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning
Guilt and self-laceration are indulgences
Listen when your body talks
Rechanneling destructive impulses is a sign of maturity
The only way to be pure is to stay by yourself
You are responsible for constituting the meaning of things
Pain can be a very positive thing
Turn soft and lovely any time you have a chance
We were high school sweethearts who made love with our eyes across classrooms and hallways and football stadiums. Our secrets had wet mouths and locked at the lips like matches dreaming of fire. Tongues tangled into knots around the words we could never say. High school sweethearts who fucked without touching, slumped down in seats, facing each other in a movie theater full of our friends.
Nothing made sense. We were virgins and nymphomaniacs all at once. Drinking stolen vodka and rolling life around in our palms like clay until it got too hard to mold into the shapes we wanted. We lied about our feelings, burned alive inside with wanting each other. And we got scared. We got angry. And we wanted more, and it was never enough.
We were seniors when my sister died. You picked up the pieces after the sky shattered and taped the ground where it had opened its mouth to swallow me. I was suffocating. The world got big and I felt so small; you reminded me to breathe. Begged me not to do anything stupid. You knew how close I got, had nightmares of me draining the creeks of blood out from my wrists until my body was a dried-up riverbed.
I got better and we learned how to disappear. On our backs making grass angels in your parent’s backyard, we mastered the art of invisibility. Tried to crawl into each other like small animals, like Russian nesting dolls. We thought maybe our bodies would fit like puzzle pieces. Like gears in a watch, how we made the time pass.
You are hundreds of miles away now, but I hold you with both hands. Press you to my face like a bouquet of missed opportunities. We never really left our parents’ backyards, did we? You are the rose with the most thorns. Pricking my fingertips with what-if’s. I leave your petals to wilt and rot in a vase. Forgive me, first love. I’ve my own flowers to tend to. There is a garden blooming in my chest but it’s sick with weeds and regret. I haven’t been very good about watering it.
(after Shira Erlichman)
the last of the explosions leave our ears ringing
and our hearts hollow. the city is in shambles; we
are underneath the rubble but we do not need to
see it to know. who can say how it happened, both
of us crawling under the same block of cement for
shelter? we were strangers and then we were
gripping onto each other for dear life. there are
bodies lying in the rubble around us, but they
are all charred and dismembered. some of their
faces we are almost certain look familiar, but the
blanket of ash keeps us from looking too closely.
we do not escape unharmed; we are broken and
cut and singed in many places, we are delirious
and our spirits are torn, but we will live. even if the
others will not. we will live and we will survive and
the city is in shambles and our homes have been
reduced to dust, less than the mortar that once
held bricks together, and those whom we loved
we have lost, but we will live and perhaps find
again a reason to live. perhaps we will pull out
reasons from the rubble and the ash, the city
is in shambles and everything we knew is under
those ashes but the war is over and the dust is
settling, and instead of the deafening crash of
our lives collapsing around us, there is only the
silence of smoke clearing. at last, the air is
breathable, and we may survive long enough
to find reasons to breathe once again.