trains.

when i was eight, nine, ten years old i had terrible nightmares that you would die in various train accidents. there were no trains in our quiet village; the trains ran below, in dundas, along the sculpted ridge of the niagara escarpment.

and now you actually are dead.

how can that be true.

strangers.

in a memory, i didn’t live here yet. i was pregnant and i was single and i had a terrible wardrobe. i was in love with two boys and i couldn’t bring either of them with me (if i had wanted to). i was about to give up my car, my driver’s license, my job, my friends, my life. i needed to schedule an abortion. i drank tim horton’s instead of starbucks. i depended entirely on six packs & cigarettes.

i got lost. i drove right past what i now consider my favourite place, my go-to place. i turned around at the stadium, recognizing the structure from a photograph. i made my way. and then i met you. somehow, even in a memory, i met you.

and in a memory, i worked 10 hour shifts in a basement. i dyed my hair blonde, then dark brown. i broke my phone and lost all my phone numbers and assumed a new identity. i remembered you. i went blonde again. i moved into a new apartment with hardwood floors. i played house and did the dishes and the apartment burned down. i moved again and i remembered you. i had roommates and i fell hard, incredibly in love with white wine. and i eventually tore down the life i had created and moved into a new room.

that is when i let you in, asked you in. let memories fold over realities, let the lines blur. i tried and tried to keep remembering but the only you i see is in a classroom, spilling water on the floor.

so.
i’m sure that things have been worse before. much worse. if i remember correctly. but these are only memories; i might have made them up.

back then.

when i was a little girl he played a song on a record player and the song made me cry so he’d stop the record and i’d beg him, i’d beg him to put it back on and it was “only if you don’t cry” and i’d promise and he’d play it and i’d cry and cry and then he’d let it play and then i’d beg to hear it one more time and then we didn’t go back one day and it has made me cry every time since then, and now when she sings it i am hardened and cold.

baseball.

one of my fish pretends to be asleep in the front of the tank, he is only really sleeping when he is at the back with the other side by side facing in opposite directions and it’s a trick like how when i left my bedroom to walk around the block and smoke a cigarette and think about how alone i’d like to be later, much later, impossibly later, and now, but not right now, the pendulum had stopped swinging on the clock, the perfect clock, and i made a note to myself that i would remember it later but now that i’m home it is swinging again because it does that, it starts and stops at will and sometimes i think it is gunther or the things in the room, things i don’t know about because i’ve lost track of my mugs and my towels and things are just things, i don’t know what they are can’t define, there’s too much and i looked over, it’s stopped now, again, it knows, and this is why i forget so easily and miss your hands on my throat and my fingers in yours because this is what happens, i come home and everything is different, i look again and it’s back the way it was, there is no change, we are stable, everything is stability and it breathes and evolves and spawns algae and droplets of water, and yesterday i saw a man kick violently a fish into the canal and later a dead fish and there’s no correlation these things they just happen, and i wish it was march again, not waiting by the door again, he smelled like stale beer and garbage and sweat and that was okay, he was also refreshing, like i am disgusting and silent, and lonely, i feel like i can’t get away with it or with anything or with writing like this when the snow isn’t melting and i can’t get back and i want to like i used to want to open my eyes and i used to ask for things and i used to make bargains and now! now everything has fallen apart, but i have a baseball.

baseboards.

too many bugs was
her reason for leaving, she became
by dawn a traveling memory
with my suitcase

there are signs that only
she believes in, that spaces
remain vacant and
pristine until a moment,
a kiss or question asked
over bent knees
occurs inside them, that
grids in city
planning are designed to prove
that it will work
she doesn’t trust you if your
street curves, if you
live on a dead end.

the bathrooms
and the kitchen where the
drains are, the side
door and the vents,
the ducts,
that come up from the basement
signed
sincerely

king & james.

today i’m seeing the world completely differently, and not in the way that you think. you don’t know what you’re talking about. it’s not that way at all. it’s like i haven’t slept in weeks, my brain being like a drained sponge resting heavy in the back of its cavity, a dirty lump. i feel sketched out, is what it is. i feel like i’m coming off one hell of a pill-binge, right fucked you know, right right, sixteen hours of pure raging madness, lights and colour. i can’t eat, can’t taste, can’t smoke, can’t see. my skin doesn’t even stop crawling when i look down at it. bare arms, too cold. i see dirt that isn’t even there, you know, just old familiar film that can’t be peeled away, disposed of. moving always, muddy clouds across the surface, bit by bit. i’m right fucked up and i couldn’t tell you why.

this one time, when i was eighteen and she was just pushing the borders of sixteen and we were still such little girls, right, we were high for eleven hours in the dismal smoky disaster that we sometimes tried to pass off as our dining room. at ten-thirty in the morning i put on a pair of jeans and the striped shirt with the red neckline that back then i wore almost every day. pen and notebook and, still totally fucked out of my head, i bussed down to j-square with richard and kim and justin. this was when i was still seeing richard, maybe i think, and kim and justin wore studded leather jackets and clingy jeans and bullet belts and it was all kind of the way it’s wrapping up right now, you know, strung out. alone in the whole world, watching everything with my mouth stuck hanging open, eyes steadily scratched by every living thing instead of corners.

you reach a point when you just stop caring i guess. when what the world sees isn’t really what’s there at all. everyone thinks they really know me, you know, they have a good idea at least but no one does. i’m only myself when i’m in bed, my bed, his bed, someone else’s bed, or when i’m writing. i foresee, once these recorded thoughts begin to leak a little more, or once a moment in a bed is the undoing moment, i foresee a lonely fucking future.

spring 2008.