Monday, 14 July 2014

Take Your Clothes Off

Lying down on the cool marble, resting against the foot of his bed, he reached for his laptop.
It lay in a corner buried under a tumble of duvets, gym shirts and sheets. But the letter to her had already started in his head, he'd email it later.


This doesn't have a beginning, because I can't recall what ours was.
I'm livid and want to write you the most vicious love letter that was ever written. 

Love's always been, a bit mad, hasn't it? Violent in its presence, abusive in its silence.


At least we never whimpered, I'll give us that much. 
We laughed too loudly and too often, willing the world to test us. And man, it did just that, systemically. It wore us down thin with a simple lack of tragedy.
I wish I could tell people that your father hated me and our families threatened each other bloody murder. Tragedies are easy to deal with, they follow a predictable arc- great, familiar sadness always leads up to messy joy. But no, our undoing was the everyday nothingness of everything.


I want to put it all in words right now, but my hand is shaking, the computer is too far away and the accounting of it all jumbles itself in my head. Accounting's important, I'm a Math guy. Everyone needs to know what and how much they did- not more, not less.
And anyway, I'm reminding myself to not think about your eyes, they make me want to rip something apart. The way they always rested on something far into the distance, challenging life to present itself to you. 
Why didn't you just stare at the coffee in front of you, or play with your hair, like a normal girl? What made you believe that you were special, so obstinately assured of everything you “deserved”?
Why were you always so afraid to be normal?

Like you were holding some stardust in your tightly clenched fists and were afraid that the world would beat it out of you if you relaxed and let yourself fit in.

Your white-knuckled, stardust-clenching fists, your distant gazing eyes and the steady beat of the blood and resentment coursing through our veins-- I want to scratch all of them out of existence with the tip of a sharp, bloodied pencil.

What is it about epic love that feels like you're invited to perform on stage and your first act has to be to take all your clothes off and walk into the crowd?

No wonder lovers are crazed, manic-eyed, clenched-fists, scared, violent jerks.
In a savage fit of hormones, they promise to commit and to take their clothes off for each other, for life --
Hi, I love you. I promise never to dress again. So you can really see me, understand me and love me. Ok?

Can you imagine picking out groceries with no clothes on?
 NO. I DON'T WANT TO EAT POTATOES TODAY. 
Happiness is distracting, but when there's none even a simple draft of breeze can slice straight through and shatter those bare bodies.
Of course, you're going to be angry all the time, you poor, scared babies. You're naked.

And thats's harsh, at any age.


I'm mad at you. 
Mad at you. 
Mad at you.

I expected you to find solutions and figure things out. I wasn't going to do it, but that didn't mean I didn't want you to. Except your idea was to give me a speech about life and exploring chances. You sad, idiotic girl. No one bets on adventures and hope. Your foolish head of Bukowski and grand plans has let you down now. Or soon it will. Real life is what we were: messy, frayed at the edges and so sharp that your bones can be tattooed with paper cuts if you're not careful.

I remember you going on about some things to do with your feelings, your dreams and the sadness you were carrying around. I don't remember it clearly. I'm not sure I was really listening or that even if I had been I could ever truly understand you.

All I recall is sitting opposite my girlfriend, eating dinner at a dimly lit restaurant where the waiters wore bow ties and jeans. Somewhere after my fourth slice of pizza, I looked down and suddenly I was the only one who was naked.

You'd put on a shirt and jeans and I hadn't even noticed.
I'd been too busy trying to pry your stardust-clenched fists open.



He picked himself off the floor, knowing he wasn't going to email this letter. It's hard to remember how to unbutton a shirt once it's been placed on.

He logged in and posted a selfie instead. #instapic #faith #happy #loveisasmile #instadaily #blessed.


                                    (From this gorgeous art series here)


Monday, 30 June 2014

Love is a Dog From Hell/ Bukowski Reimagined.

Bukowski reimagined.
Because he may have been my favourite drunk and because I want to hang out with him.
Maybe he would say achingly obvious, wise things or maybe he would be crabby and Neruda would laugh at us both.

The Crunch maybe one of his finest works, so here's my not so fine interpretation of what it would look like today.



---

there is an emptiness inside her so great
that you can see it in the furious movement of
a thumb scrolling down a fluorescent screen.


people so fevered
mutilated
either by all the Likes or none at all.


people are just not good to each other.


people don't make sense of each other
across a table
or notice brown, lit-up freckles on a rounded nose
without the affirmation of a #nofilter #tbt.


the Instagrammers are not good to the Bloggers
the Snapchatters are not good to the texters.


we are afraid.


Steve Jobs tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners.



he hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.



or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone

untouched
unspoken to

waiting for a notification.


people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be. I don't ask them to be.

But sometimes I think about it.


The computers will suffocate, brunches will no longer be chronicled
and the world will snap into two along a fault-line where the DSL wires are buried deep.


too many too little.
too active too much of a troller too nobody.

more logged in than in love.


people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our newsfeeds would be less cluttered.



-- 



(because my poetry is messed up prose, really. And read asofterworld.com if you haven't)





Thursday, 12 June 2014

23 Reasons Why Everyone Suddenly Loves Lists



1. Because lists are the new short stories.

2. Because short stories are the new novels.



3. Because the last time you saw a novel was when you were using it as a paper –weight.

4. Because less words and more Emojis. 



5. Because the words “LOL”, “ammirite” , “jkbabez” make more sense on a list than in a 700 page novel. 


6. Because ADD became cool. 


7. Because gifs about flying leaves help you understand autumn more than Hemingway, when he said-
You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light."
(Bro, be trippin' on E!)
             
    

8. Because you’ve managed to read so far without thinking of cupcakes. 

9. Because I just made you think of cupcakes. 

10. Because now you’re hungry but you can finish this article and still have time for a second lunch.
Unlike a book which might interfere with your meal schedule.



11. Because now your friend who never read, can regularly share articles about “10 reasons you should date a girl who reads” on your timeline. Ammirite? JKBabez.

12.Because you’ve worked in an office so long that unless something is numbered you don’t register it.

13.Because lists=gifs=you being able to LOL. 


14. Because saying “LOL” as a review of a book or a short story will make you look retarded and illiterate.




15. Because people working at Buzzfeed have jobs which pay taxes.


16. Ok, they don’t. But those Buzzfeed interns deserve to be fed with sandwiches. 


17. Because you’ve wanted to be Type A all your life, and reading these list is the closest you’re getting to it.


18. Because you express your dynamic personality via links. And #tags.  #hereiam #thisisme #theresnowhereelseidratherbe.


19. Because you’re against personality quizzes and slam-books (thankfully, those died in the 1990s- Now to attack the crocs). 


20. Because you can practice how to count with a list. (Currently you’re on number 20, after which comes21. There! now you’re the new Beautiful Mind around).




21. Because Facebook Likes had already cured the world of AIDS, what else was there to do?



22. Because while the rest of your life is falling apart in marvellous chaos, some things should come neatly structured. 



23. Because I was too lazy to write an actual blog post and so this list will have to do.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

New York, New York

(Suggested Listening: Sinatra here. There's cheesy and then there's classic.)

Living and loving a city is not that different from loving a person.

Being familiar with unduly curves on a body and the odd but distinct placement of a mole gives you as much ownership as knowing about an underground book store makes a city yours. You could spend a decade with someone or have a heady four month relationship and yet never truly quantify which symbolised greater love and passion. And so it is with cities.

I remember discussing this with a friend who lived in London a year longer than I did, and why that made it more hers more than mine. And years later, why two weeks in New York feel as familiar as those years anywhere else.

                          (Fences can't keep the truly wild in. Or out. While walking up the Museum Mile)

But that's what we forget. Two week, eight months, two years or even ten - New York's not going to belong to you. Though you'll make sure you tell everyone who'll hear, that you belong to it. Maybe it almost works because there are around 20 million people on that island attempting the same thing. 
Of course most of them are pissed off daily. I'm guessing it’s because the damned island won't commit.

I didn't get off the plane looking for a relationship with the city; I knew I'd be leaving soon enough. But when did relationships start with contemplation and a well-timed heads-up?


(The Standard Hotel Rooftop: Of skylines which remind you of soaring hearts)


Especially when it involves a city which stretches out every morning with a strong smell of coffee, impatience, lost dreams and new plans. Where Sunday afternoons are almost entirely made up of pancakes with blueberries and mimosas.
Where the coffee, like its cocktails is stiff, tall and if you're living and renting in this city, almost enough to substitute a meal.
A gigantic park here, houses Whimsy (slabs of quotes from Alice in Wonderland), Memories (of Yoko+John and Strawberry Fields) and Practicality (save money by cutting East to West in the city through the park) in the span of 5kms (or miles, if you've even subscribed to their metric system). Whimsy, Memories and Practicality are also the names you've given to the tenants in your apartment building- those you only manage to wave to while rushing in and out.

In this city, you can only walk so far without running head-first into a bar, a homeless man or another Kate Spade outlet.
Of course, most New Yorkers don't have time to look up and notice either. But they will have time to run through abandoned warehouses turned into a set for a play, or on the Highline when the sun's out, clothes are off and hybrid arm-bands help you wear your ipod and your heart on your sleeve.
Tourists on the other hand can be found around Times Square, MoMA, Tom's Restaurant (from Seinfeld) or smiling and talking too much on the L Train.


There's nothing you can't buy in New York, except love. But most nights a good lap dance feels like the same thing, I've been told. If you stop long enough to catch your breath, you might see that this city- its’ museums, stunning views and endless walks- seems to be designed for single people everywhere. To find, immerse and lose themselves in crowds, parks, works of art that you can't bear to look at directly, meals for one so big that they’re begging to be shared and a winter harsh enough to remind you of the benefits of body heat.
But you're not going to find love here. No, not even the Woody Allen version.


                         
                         (Love notes scribbled everywhere you don't expect them to be. Soho)

If you’re lucky and looking up though, other things might happen, like they did with me:
Friendly strangers will hand you charcoal sketches they made of you in the train when you weren't looking; a crazy subway lady will sit with a big plastic bag around her head reminding you of the apocalypse; your phone will go off in the middle of the night declaring a State emergency and lookout for a Honda Civic which abducted a young child. You'll take the uptown train instead of the downtown one and end up at Jackson Heights at one am and miraculously not get mugged or murdered; your friend will more often than not charm her way into free yoghurt at the neighbourhood deli; you'll have margaritas which even your hardened 20-something system will not be able to stomach.

You'll never have had your fill of coffee or Central Park or mustered the sheer will to join the line for the Empire State observatory deck. You’ll somehow manage to fit gigantic bread baskets on the ridiculously tiny Balthazar tables; you’ll get drenched just to get a stunning Instagram of the city’s skyline in the rain; you’ll bemoan constantly how you don’t have enough time to see everything.

You’ll fall in love with stationary and remind yourself that going back home with four notebooks is impractical and silly. You’ll never have enough time or money.

And so you’ll leave New York, like you'd leave a lover. Having tried to bend to become its, but never really succeeding in making it yours.

Pro tip: keep their oversized, I heart NY t-shirt, it fits you better anyway.

                                           (With Lennon at Strawberry Fields, Let It Be)