PRINCIPOVAK KIDS

Ah, I know. Friendship bracelets.
Told my coworker I’ll make a list of “calmer” games for the kids to play at the refugee camp, something we can do sitting down so their energy level doesn’t get too crazy; especially since yesterday smiley little amir mohammed, with his tiny toothless grin and big sparkling eyes, chucked a fat rock against the head of two-year-old Dameer and broke the kid’s face open. I carried this bleeding, screaming child all the way across the yard of the refcamp and surely everyone’s thinking, great, this fucking American just beat up an Afghan child. Not like that’s anything new. They know NATO for dropping bombs on kids and families all the time, without much discretion. I’m just a micro of the macro. Nobody actually said anything.
Duck duck goose. The silent murderer. Telephone. Down by the banks, but not that one, because the English is too difficult. Most of them aren’t at that level yet.
So the next day we load up the van and go, and I bring a sack of embroidery thread in 8 or 9 different colors with a tiny pair of scissors. Tape would have been nice but we didn’t have any, so we tied the strings to the table or held them taught by hand.
The plan was to teach the kids to braid, if they didn’t know already, and make friendship bracelets of three different colors. They all wanted to keep the bracelets for themselves, so there wan’t a ton of friendship going on, but companionship happened anyhow. We sat at a wooden picnic table in the center of the park area outside of the camp; kids between two and five, then some older Iranian woman, and one ancient Afghan great-grandmother of Asiatic heritage, wrapped in shawls, spoke only Persian, sat methodically braiding an elaborate chain from my coworker’s hand. He seemed to be falling in love.
Chasing beauty can be one’s permanent life pursuit. Chasing money is less abstract and equally achievable. Beauty is easy to find because it lives in dirt, in sorrow, in the separation of families, in the distance between young lovers, toddlers whose mothers have been killed in an airstrike and the community which rises to raise them, tiny hands braiding bracelets, wrinkles in brown skin and handmade trousers torn from jumping a border fence. Beauty is the most difficult thing to bear because it is temporary and somehow born from some type of hardship. Beauty is pain, blooms like flowers in the gut, and can never be fully destroyed. To chase one is to suffer the other.

Advertisements

MY BOYFRIEND FUCKED A HOTTER GIRL SO I WROTE HER THIS POEM

you know
they say we spend
exponentially
more time
looking at the faces of our friends
than we do our own, and
i think

in the millennial era
that’s a massive pile
of raw bullshit
but if “friends” were changed
to “enemies” perhaps
it might be true.

like the last replacement girl
(since this
is the second time)
you are
thinner than I was and
you have
lighter eyes
and way cooler hair.

i assumed you are also more
creative, more cunning,
better at cooking and
better in bed.

but hey
joke’s on him though, now
i’m a human spider haunting
his high corners, shaved
part of my hair and
the rest
fell out
on its own.

i trained my eyes
to see through
darkness
and when you
can see your
prey but your prey
cannot see you then
it means you are
biologically superior.

as for the things i assumed
i suppose as logic dictates
i was correct
on every point:
made an ass of him and me
but not of you, so
guess you win this round

touché bitch

TABLE SAW

LOOK AT US, she cries. We are monsters.
She looks the table saw between the eyes and before anyone has time to respond she has flipped the switch to on, wrenching life into that shuddering beast starved so for wood or flesh, and she cries aloud like a toddler backed into some corner, eyeballs white, torn skyward to an absent god. She plunges her face forward and she is an explosion of color and sound and much detritus is hurled and spattered over the room and over her gaping classmates. The quiet girl is dead.

CHECK

I put my hands on my body to check that I’m here, that I have not been stolen by dreams, by smiling dogs or children laughing

i saw my guts strung out in the trees like a christmas garland, heart and liver and lungs like baubles, something finally broke me down

yet this body under my fingers feels smooth and solid, another in a swamp of sweating beings pressed together like worms in a can, live bait for nightmares

I tear open holes in the flesh to which I’m bound, let some air in on this thing inside me, though perhaps i should just let it drown

TRUST ME (a v nihilistic wander round the concept of friendship)

I have decided to write The Great Friendship Manifesto

It is this:

Trust no one (completely.)

Your trust is like a cookie. You can give it all away and then you are shit fucked with no cookie, or you can hoarde that shit all for yourself and never have any friends because nobody wants a loser friend who won’t share their cookie.

I’ve met plenty of folks on both sides of the board–those who trust too much, too easily; and those who claim to trust no one. The caveat is that there aren’t really two sides: those who trust too easily are those most likely to claim to trust no one. Those who actually trust no one probably wouldn’t trust anyone enough to get into that level of discussion in the first place, so we can only guess at who those depraved nihilists are 😉

Perhaps I am an overly trusting person. Let’s be honest, if I’ve known you for a 24-hour period then I’m good to pop a squat in your front lawn in broad daylight if the bathroom’s busy. I will tell you all my secrets, because I don’t have any secrets, because there is no story I won’t tell, nothing I won’t talk about openly to they who will listen. I figure it doesn’t serve me to keep all my stories and shit to myself; does it save face, really, to act and then live in silence about acting?

Why should I care about saving face, anyway? From whom? Am I afraid The Public won’t love me? Fuck the public. I save face for my mom, who I do not wish to destroy emotionally, and for my dad, who I already have. Certain things are implied or inferred in our conversations; there are certain facts of my life that we never confirm nor deny. That is fine, I’ll do that for them. But not for you.

Posting a smutty photo that I know you’ll see, pissing on your lawn, sleeping on your couch, recounting to you that time in Denmark where I woke up with my underwear missing, memory black and a video of someone’s flaccid cock wearing sunglasses on my phone — none of that is really an act of trust, for me. I’ll do that shit with anyone, provided they’ve got a couch to sleep on or a dick that wears sunglasses. I believe acts of true trust run deeper than stories; they run to emotions and to physical acts, sex, sleep, relapse, bleeding, sobbing, screaming. If I can fight with you then you know I must trust you, although I may also want to murder you..? Oh well. We’re not trying to figure me out. I don’t recommend undertaking that endeavour and I’m beginning to figure that pretty much everyone else agrees with me.

Feeling free to feel freely with people is a lovely thing, but don’t delude yourself. By no means does it signify you’ve got a confidante to rely on for anything — especially the painful or inconvenient things. All people want for themselves and for their clans, and very few will welcome you into their clan with open arms and no fine print. If someone does, be wary. People lie. People act out of accordance with their true desires and beliefs in order to save face, out of guilt or social pressure, or to serve their own means and ends. Everyone has their limits of how much they can love you. There is no boundless love the way we are taught to believe, there is only delusion and an internal battle to balance self vs. us vs. them. And as we all know, them is not us. And rarely does us reach the importance level of “self”. Only when another is considered part of the self do we see that real, authentic bond of trust.

If someone says they would die for you, do not believe them. Jump in front of a bus and see if it’s true. Jump so you won’t need to need anyone anymore. There is no way they will not let you down, no way you won’t hurt them. There is no one but your mother that will love you forever, and no one on this earth who merits your unfailing trust.

EXCORIATION

what the fuck is wrong with you?
you tear it from your flesh.
does anyone have tobacco
for a cigarette?
clip it out, grab the
end with tweezers and
make sure to get the
white part of the root
what the fuck is wrong with
you? the scabs are starting
to itch again
wash your hands. keep
breathing. deep breaths.
does anyone have
any tobacco for a cigarette?
i quit eating sugar,
i can’t stop once
i start.
fingernails have always worked
best. without the root it is
pointless so don’t just pull
hard, pull right.
take your pill. don’t forget
even though it doesn’t
help much. does anyone
have any tobacco for a
cigarette? keep breathing
remember this you is you
too just as much as the
other one. i remember
i used to pull them out
one by one but now i just
tear it in clumps just
remember without the root
they are worthless.
told you fingers
are the best. what the fuck
is wrong with you? you know
exactly what it’s the same
as it’s always been and the
only one that suffers is
you. hey does anyone
have any tobacco for
a cigarette?

SZABADSÁG SQUARE

Toddlers playing, a paper airplane. Shrubs uncomfortably pruned. Old fella passes, rounded spine and balding head in a striped polo. A kid falls off his bike. Couple on a bench, her head in his lap. Tricycles on the pavement. Youths in matching shirts. Enthusiastic Hungarian chanting from somewhere over yonder. Older guy with long silver hair walks in strides and carries a half-sized pizza box. Wears glasses. Definitely an intellectual. Does walking in a city make a person more intellectual?

Bike kid’s gettin cocky with his stunts. Wealthier folks are probably at the gondola-lookin restaurant in the park’s center. Seated chicly in appropriate white outdoor chairs. Sipping on Cold Drinks With Ice, as Fancy People are wont to do. I hate them all.

A small broken log all alone on a patch of dirt. A german shepherd that has never been allowed to run free in its entire lifetime. The shepherd has given up on feeling bitter and simply allows itself to enjoy the freedom to eat whatever human food it begs its masters for.

Greasy-lookin hip kid eats a sandwich as he walks. Four hippies gathered in a corner. Fifty percent of them are wearing those enormous hammer pants that seem to magically sprout on hippies. Skinny man in pink shirt and khaki shorts reads the Bible on a bench with his chihuaua.

Mom took the kid’s bike away and now he’s pissed as fuck, screaminng, crocodile tears, arms folded round his chest. Still wants cuds from mama doh, even though mama is the one to blame.

A girl on the bench with long black hair. She looks like me, but clean and proper, taking in the sun. Standing, slowly meanders towards me. Kneels down, meets my eyes and licks her lips. Pushes me onto my back and undoes my shorts, pulls my leggings down, kisses me over my underwear. Nobody around us notices. I’m fine with that.

Lola, trae la pelota. Lola. Lola. Lola, trae. Trae la pelota Lola. Trae. Lola is a small, shiny black girl with floppy ears and a real perky tail. Her companion is more of a setter/street mutt mix, light brown, huntin dog size, too excited to control itself, barking like a maniac. Owner cries out Coco!
Never trust anyone who names their dog Coco.