I fear you feel I’ve fled, or perhaps frozen to death. The former is far truer than the latter, though I do find cold in my bones bleeding its way to my heart. I don’t do well in the face of tragedy and trauma and after all seemed to crash and fall, I no longer found solace on city streets or promise in open highways. I sold everything that couldn’t fit in a backpack and bought a plane ticket and a Eurail pass. I’m walking streets apart now, finding full silence where languages are foreign. There’s a freedom in being this truly alone and I feel more at home than I have in what seems like a lifetime of roam and rove. I cannot root myself here, and I’ll keep moving with nothing to rely on but wit and whim.
I’m no longer a tourist, if I ever was. I’ve fallen into the fringes and will move on in a tradition where Travellers are tolerated. Weave a tapestry of these words if you will and hang them on the wall. They will last longer that way, as I, like every Blue before, find myself fading to grey.
I flew a kite for the first time today. It nearly carried me out to sea and I remember thinking that I wish it would have. Watching the ground disappear from my feet. Watching the buildings shrink and the people turn into flecks of nothingness and emptiness.
Somehow, I feel like you’ve left and moved on, like so many other pieces of my life. Moving is good. It’s how people breathe. Our lungs work like the gills of the shark. We must keep grabbing at the next big dream or take the next big step to keep the balloons in our chest from collapsing and drowning.
I don’t think I have the guts for suicide but I haven’t thought about it in a while. I’m too afraid of fucking it up and spending the rest of my life wishing I had done at least one thing right.
When the sun rises, I’ll be gone. In some other place, dew will soak through my shoes and my toes will numb and I will smile with regret.
Regretting that I can’t give anyone closure. Regretting that everyone will always ask, whether I’m alive or dead, “Whatever happened to Meridian?”
The memories of some will live on.
Memories of some will die.
And only a crow that flies,
will ever truly know
the lasting feeling, of
Being alone has helped.
I can’t say your words helped because it has been so long since I have read them. And they deserve to be read, probably by someone else that isn’t me.
Sometimes, feelings have a way of creeping into someone’s brain and never leaving no matter how much they rub steel wool across the valleys and nooks and crannies.
I’ve rubbed myself raw, over and over, in the shower until the water runs pink along the sides of my feet.
Until I grow new skin, I won’t know just how I feel.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
I love you. I don’t know if I have any more words for you than that. Words, at a time when it seems you need them most. I got your first letter while I was on the road, and my eyes needed windshield wipers as I drove on, to get to anywhere, which apparently, was here. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” That’s what’s said about this place, this place that shoves adrenaline cut with rough pavement into your nostril, this place that shoots ambition cut with broken beer bottles into your veins, and makes you hope. Despite it all, ever — hope.
I love you. Our roads are twisted, our lines broken, our words missed and crossed and turned, but they always come back to you. I remember your brother. I mourn the loss of him. His friendly smile, his playful punch. He’ll always be there, though, won’t he? In the fading recesses of memory that can only stop fading with constant recall. I think of all we’ve been through, all we’ve seen, and what madness is this? Our bodies and bones are brittle and easily bent and broken. We must be more than our organic lives, of this I am certain, and of this only — to live within and by living inside to live above and beyond.
I love you. I ache for you, an ache deep in longing and leaning and living and love. I may push and pull here for awhile, may try to make this place the “anywhere” it claims to be. This city has a pulse that pushes me and cannot be ignored. I’m familiar with concrete and cars and careless. My travails seem meaningless in light of your plight, and I’d do anything for you, anything. Anything.
I love you. We find ourselves on separate coasts and they’re putting up the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday and I was going to go, going to see the ceremony, to be there. Mostly to watch the families. To watch the kids’ eyes full of love and expectation, the parents’ eyes misty with nostalgia. But I’d most like to see yours, full of whatever happens to fill them at the moment. Despite everything we’ve seen, everywhere we’ve been, everything we’ve done and been and said, there’s always you.
I love you. I’ve always been afraid to say those words, three words impossible to utter despite writing thousands around them. But I’ll say them now, because you are without words, and I always have words to offer you, but at present, I have only three. Do with them what you will. I’ll wait. I don’t know what it is I’m here for, but I’m here.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2011
Numbers are all around us. They hug us like our parents did when we were young and our knees were skinned and bruised. They kiss us like our first love, under blankets in faraway tents under faraway stars.
A calendar sits in the kitchen, where dates are circled and events are scribbled in different colored markers. When looking at the calendar, everything always felt like a countdown. How many days until we do something. How many days until this happens. How many days until this holiday.
And so on and so on.
She asked, “How many days has it been?”
Thirty-three. But I don’t answer. I just tap her leg and make her count. Thirty-three taps. Thirty-three days. Thirty-three sleepless nights. Thirty-three constant reminders. Thirty-three absent minded walks. Thirty-three crying fits on the front porch.
I won’t be counting down anymore. Just up. Until my very last breath I will know how long it’s been. I will know how long I’ve let my actions speak instead of my throat. I will know how much I’ve done because I won’t let careless speech stand in the way of creating chasms between loving hearts.
I didn’t even get to tell him I loved him and it’s been thirty-three days.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011
Twenty-eight days ago, I called home and was brought to my knees.
Twenty-seven days ago, I helped carry my older brother’s casket 137 steps to the back of a hearse.
It was the longest 137 steps of my entire life.
I watched them lower his casket into the ground and I said my goodbyes. They started slow, like goodbyes usually do, but before long they were frantic and misguided, fueled by guilt and sadness.
Blame found a nest inside my rib cage twenty-eight days ago and it has been there ever since, pecking at the hollow bones guarding my heart. I’ve asked myself so many questions as to why things happen and why the people we feel most responsible for and love the most, leave us first.
The answers have been hiding from me and a stack of questions has been piling themselves high on my nightstand, one for every hour I lay awake at night staring at the ceiling, trying my hardest to etch the image of his face into the white paint so that he will always have a place on earth.
So I’ve been here between the grains of sand that line the beaches to the south. I’ve been inside the trees where the echo of his voice still sits heavy, like fog, like humidity, like blood. I’ve been in the mangled car that held his body before the paramedics took him away. I sat and I cried until my nose bled.
My blood mixed with his, old and new on a dirty steering wheel. I could still feel the warmth of his hands. I could still catch his smile in the rear-view mirror.
His girlfriend found me on the steps of my parent’s house. She didn’t say anything for the longest time. She cried and I put my hand on her shoulder. I remember her slurring through apologies but I only felt as though I was the one that should be apologizing.
I haven’t used my voice in twenty-seven days.
silence and time,
have a way of healing
the deepest of wounds.
or how broad.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29TH, 2011.
I was weary and wary of writing you back, because when your words reached me we were at the same place and time, and I was scared, suddenly. I thought I saw you, actually, and I called, and the head turned and was not yours, and I felt relief. Why? I guess you had to be there.
I saw a billboard for here so here I went, intrigued as I was by this place, but this place in another time, a space I hoped to reach the ghost of, yet. The drive is not long, and I grew tired of stay and still. Nashville is both large and small, not a wonder we didn’t wander upon each other, and yet I wonder, still, but that wonder ceases to pass because that place is a coven of communities, small in their largeness, insular in their charm and character, and I am beyond it, because I saw a billboard, and I thought mountains in Fall with the ghost of Fitzgerald was were I should be, and thus, and so, east I drove, to this.
Zelda died here, you know, it’s true, and I don’t know if I identified more with her or with him, but theirs is truly a lost love, and I sought to find it amongst this brown and bronze and orange and gold, this falling foliage signifying everything and signaling nothing and singing silence. I want to remember our own flings and flights faulted in fits and starts, but I find myself drawn to this and here.
But you, and thus, I remain, an unshort pace from your face, to sit on a balcony storied yet unknown. Here. There is a place, The Grove Park Inn, where Fitzgerald stayed while Zelda was kept away, and one night he jumped off the balcony into the pool below and broke his arm. I wish to sit, just there, and there I will, for today and the next or unless and until someone kicks me out, writing with and in my notebook and seeking to commune, and if you show up over my shoulder I’ll sigh and smile, but I’ll send you words either way, these words, these:
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23RD, 2011
I came to this place thinking I would finally find you. But it seems I am either too late or a dollar short. I can’t decide which.
I walked on streets that seemed to carry the weight of your shoulders, hoping we’d cross paths and finally be reintroduced to a voice that has eluded our ears for so long. But I didn’t walk the right streets.
I drank whiskey and familiarized myself with the tiny cracks in the walls, thinking I’d hear your footsteps echo in a back alley. But I listened to the wrong cracks.
We’ve been moving for so long that it seems the planet has stopped rotating altogether. I always have to ask someone what day it is and look to the sky to find a sun or a moon.
So I have to ask myself where you have gone from here and how long I must stay put before the soles of our shoes slap against conjoining ground. A week? A month? I can’t decide.
I’d ask you to tell me but I know that the answer eludes you as well.
I’ve never found a place to call home, but at least for a while, Nashville will have to do.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2011
I sat in St. Louis for a decade, it seems, but it was only four days as it turns out. Time passes so achingly slow when you simply sit and let it pass and don’t move with it. I wasn’t going to write you anymore, I had resolved to will myself to stop caring, to be with myself and toss any thoughts of kicking the same gravel with you, to find satisfaction in solitude. My resolve on that resolution rendered another revolution south, drawn by drawl to a place once achingly hot now rendered red and golden and brown, leaves bright and blown in the climax of the phoenix’s season, it seems.
It was a short drive here through forests and fall to find this place, to be pulled here as so many are and have been and will be, drawn by a dream and a song. To dance with muses preserved in stone, to sleep in the shadow of the Parthenon, to trip down alleys alone and drink with heroes sung and unsung but never recognized and seldom known. To stumble down Broadway and jingle coins in an open guitar case at the feet of a busker who came here with nothing and stayed with less. To stand on the banks of the Cumberland and to know that this is a place to dream and to feel, but not to forget. You can never forget, here, you can only misplace moments in your mind until the river or the whiskey or a broken guitar string finds them again and pulls them out and smacks you in the face with them and forces you to look back as you walk forward. To realize that dreams are precisely this: looking back while walking forward, and hoping you don’t walk into a wall or a pole or some other concrete thing.
And I remember December and poetry composed with sleepless nights that drifted to morning and fractured thoughts filtered through fog, and how brave we were in those days. Perhaps we will be, again. It’s possible you still are, and I already am. These things are only ever seen in the bottom of the glass, it seems, in afterthoughts and retrospect too nostalgic to represent reality any more than a caricature drawn at dusk.
I cannot say I don’t long to share the same air with you, to match steps on paths unparted. And I cannot say that mere words bring solace or bridge any amount of distance between souls. These miles file away all that we were and could be and are, and seek to split the difference between thought and process and I can no longer pretend I am flying to you, that you are some lofty goal I’m floating toward, because the wind blows me back and forth and through but never, it seems, to you. And so I must muster the strength to bluster my way over the next hill and around the next bend and remember what it is, and why. You are always there but never here, and perhaps that is as it should be. I’ve stopped questioning this farcical fate. Perhaps some errant breeze will blow us into and towards, and perchance our paths will cross, and there will be no need for letters forming syllables spilled and split by spaces. Perhaps. If so, until then, these words will have to do.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16TH, 2011
I wonder where you’ve been and where you’ve gone, leaving me with nothing but questions and a thirst that can only be quenched with a train of thought that only your set of rails can lead me on.
It’s been 7 days. Or 168 hours. Or 10,080 minutes.
I bought a wristwatch at a truck stop just before hitting the Oklahoma border. It has consumed me. Miles have turned into hours and minutes, spinning my eyes around.
We’re all just clocks,
feet in time with
I thought it’d be easy,
running from this
But, wallets become thin,
I’ve spent so much