About Me

I find it hard to describe myself using more than a few words, a few drops of ink spilled on the page that waste little and leave enough blank space for more important endeavors.  I guess this tells you I’m poetic, because we’re only one paragraph in and I’ve already personified myself.

I call myself ink, yet I’m more like paper: faceless, malleable, and ruined by mistakes.  My creases will never smooth, and tape will only close the millions of tiny rips scattered along my edges.  The fibers of my skin will never reconnect entirely.

Thank goodness you have the power to paint me, to bury those flaws under any color you please.  I prefer blue and purple, myself, but I cannot let you know that.  What if your favorite color is green?  I guess this means I’m insecure, as well.  I’m so sorry.

I also enjoy painting and drawing.  I look for excuses to stick my brushes in ink.  I sometimes paint upon myself, but only when you can’t see.  I wouldn’t want you to think I’m improper or indecent.  I know how indecent I can be, which I why I only paint myself behind closed doors.  I don’t want to show myself as anything less than your favorite color.

I stick to my word.  I never break a promise, and I hardly ever lie.  I stick to my word because you write it, along with my promises.  It would be a lie to say I don’t have trouble remaining smooth and white after you have taken your pen to me.  Sometimes, you press down too hard and it hurts.

I should stop personifying, now.  I can tell you find this senseless creativity obnoxious, and would rather I get to the point:

I live to please others.  I used to do things to please myself, and I became a monster.  Now, I am honest, punctual, and as perfect as I can be.  I believe that the best way to correct oneself is through punishment, meted by a set of strict guidelines.

I follow my guidelines to a T.

I think I like bizarre things.  I am somehow drawn to the macabre and the surreal, the things that keep most children awake at night.  The creatures in my head come out in my drawings, and in the way I dance.  Feel free to question these interests, for they could be my narcissism begging for attention.

I think I’m politically liberal, because my thoughts run more closely to that platform when I am left to think alone.  Maybe propaganda has taken over my brain.

I think I have a sense of wit that some would find humorous, but when I try to tell a joke, blank stares and quizzical expressions meet me.  I cannot laugh at the jokes of others – insulting others and mimicking bodily functions is not funny, at least not to me.

Excess Calories disturb me, in both diet and in word.  I don’t think I enjoy sugar-coated tales.  If anything, I don’t like stories that make people feel better about themselves for no reason.  I apply the same philosophy to myself, for I, too, am human:

  • Those people are not teasing me out of jealousy. They truly hate me.
  • My own incapacity caused me not to get the job.  The employer saw right through my façade.
  • Yes, others do care if my thighs touch, if I have stretch marks, and if my breasts are too large. It’s evolution.  It’s science.  I am disgusting.
  • It’s no secret people watch me when I eat. I know they think I shouldn’t eat so much: it will ruin me.

I wish I could say more, but I don’t know what else to write.  I am too preoccupied with all I have wasted: Your time, your space, your ink.

 

 

 

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Numb

The cello hums a warm melody through the laptop speakers.  I am no stranger to this sound.  My lungs move with the instrument’s faint swell-drop, characteristic of its hollow, wooden body.

The ocean undulates ferociously.  Waves crashing against the rock-hard barriers that keep water away from the shore.

Meanwhile, on land, all is dry.  The villagers have no embellished tales of fish, extravagant beasts washed to shore in the night’s storm.  They know the legends of mermaids and sharks as large as ocean liners, fictitious feathers of hope that something interesting might happen, if they pray hard enough.  They gaze at the black clouds above them: perhaps tonight is the night.

The floods come hard and fast, spilling jellyfish and bottles and unanchored ships onto the sand.  They bury themselves beneath the dust, sculpting homes of the wet, grainy clay.  The salty ocean swallows them before dawn.

***

            Bluish laser lights cannot penetrate the thick, graphite brick that rests somewhere inside my skull.  They can blind me all they want, but they will never disrupt the safe, neutral mass of minerals I have allowed to accumulate between my ears.

…or so I think.

The artificial sun is hot enough to form crevices where there was once a flat expanse of gray.  Heated rays spread lonely particles across the wasteland to where they, too, will transform this uniform object into something unsightly.

All the earth’s work, falling to waste.  This brick took years to form, fitting the mold just so.  At this rate it will never form a house; it will see the sad day where it is mechanically separated into slender cylinders and divided equally among the wood.

***

            The percussion of pots and pans affects me more than the steepest high note, the loudest shout to leave my lungs.  My vessel-lined alveoli shrivel into their pink mothers, asking why this chaotic noise has to happen to them.

Iron lungs are no longer iron, for iron rusts too fast.  They are bricks laid around a wooden frame, massive twelve-by-twelve squares too heavy to be mobile.  The patient must lie inside, wrapped in the safety of the oxygenated cocoon.

“What a sad way to live,” the villagers say. “What a lonely way to go.”

There comes a time when the patient must choose how or if he or she wishes to communicate, to know the humans outside without choking on their pollution.  To leave the lung would spell danger.

Schwinn

I hold the iron rail tightly.

Chains scarring painted skin.

You left me here all winter, dear.

I’m rusted to the core.

 

Don’t try to break me free.

I won’t hold you up for long.

My legs will creak –

You will fall, dear.

I was old ‘fore you were born.

 

Zipped bags say you’re leaving.

Like you always do.

I’ll find a home in pavement, dear.

Don’t cry –

You did this on your own.

 

I said shut up.

No one will care.

They know your type, dear.

Please –

Don’t burden them, too.

 

 

 

The Carousel

I am three years old

And the carousel makes its rounds:

This horse is white,

That horse is brown.

How do they gallop?  I ask my father.

They are alive, he says.  It’s magic.

I am ten years old

And the carousel makes its rounds:

This horse is wood,

That horse is bound.

How do they gallop?  I ask my father.

They are alive, he says.  It’s the machine.

I am seventeen years old

And the carousel makes its rounds:

This horse in tears,

That horse creaks under

Too many pounds.

How do they gallop?  I ask my father.

They are alive, he says.  That’s how I imagine it.

(Like last week, you can frighten your foes with the original version.)

Lunch at Noon

He tossed together:

Lettuce,

Mushrooms,

Cheddar,

And peas.

Salad.

 —

He stacked hungrily:

Buttery bread,

Fatty ham,

Butter,

And onions.

Sandwich.

He poured carefully:

Coffee,

White milk,

In a glass,

A fragile glass.

Latté.

 —

He stepped

On the stairs.

And

            He

                      Fell.

(Confuse your friends with the original version.)

Honesty

The empty box glares back at me.

“How do you feel you can contribute to this program?”

This question is more difficult than any I have faced.  It is worse than the complex formulas of organic chemistry and the tedious matrices of pre-calculus, combined.  It has no right answer.  No amount of studying could have prepared me for this.

I feel that I could contribute my fresh perspective and knack for finding uncommon solutions to ordinary problems, I type.  I love working in teams and readily take on leadership roles in order to get the job done, I spill a million half-truths in virtual ink.  I hope the person reading this believes me.

 ***

            The empty box glares back at me.

“Tell of an experience where you have been given a large amount of responsibility.  What did you learn from it?”

I don’t know why, but this one is easier.

One summer, when I was fourteen, I had to fulfill the role of mother for myself and my sister.  I learned to cook pretty well, and I also learned how to wash and fold laundry.  I learned that I had to need myself as much as I needed others, but what if this experience isn’t enough?  To quote my mother, there are plenty of others who have had it worse.

I leave out the tear-filled nights, the yelling about how my chores did nothing to make up for my lack of competence, the fury about my having folded the underwear wrong.  No one would believe that.  No one ever has.