When I think of food

When I think of food

When I think of food, it’s usually of the plate. The plate, clean. The plate, full. The plate, empty again but covered in crumbs, smears, leftover bits of whatever we were eating. Sometimes messy, sometimes elegantly so. The plate that will disappear to be washed and then used again. Washed by someone with wrinkled fingers forever reeking of sweat and astringent cleaning chemicals. I think of the restaurant kitchen, and the long, often arduous journey that led to the plate in front of me on the table. Hands with knives attached down to the wrist as a natural extension of the arm. Chef’s orders. The cold line giggling, fryers spitting, everything so feverishly hot, everyone desperately sweating. I think about the food trucks lining on streets. 1: tamales, 2: burgers, 3: Korean steamed buns, 4: ice cream truck for dessert. A popsicle in the shape of Sonic the Hedgehog’s head and gumballs for eyes. Perkins was never the best brunch in town, but we went there anyway for 3AM unlimited coffee, 4AM omelets, 5AM bathrooms. This was in the Midway neighborhood. Midway is loud, dirty, fascinating, fun. Ethnic restaurants on every corner: Some of the best Ethiopian food in the city. Some of the best Thai food anywhere. My favorite (some nights) Chinese food at Peking Garden. And then Perkins, strangely, in the midst of it all against the backdrop of a decaying shopping mall and train passing by with heads leaned against the window. When I moved downtown it was Mickey’s Dining Car instead. I sit where Meryl Streep sat and imagine her there beside me. A man...
As long as we are flying, the world will have no end

As long as we are flying, the world will have no end

That was a tough time. It seemed to have no end. I didn’t know how to get away. The reason why people commit suicide/take their own life… the reason why science hasn’t (yet) fully taken the place of religion. Science saved my life, but it didn’t make me want to live. It is questions, gnawing questions like Poppy on a chicken bone that keep me awake at night and then put me into deep sleeps I try and stay in forever. Can you answer these questions? Can you tell me why I feel the way I do?   We rushed downstairs, Gogo bleeding in my arms. My roommate Mike was jerking on in his room. He has a car. He didn’t expect anyone to open his door. “Don’t you…” “We have to go to the hospital. “Don’t you knock?” Gogo bleeding and her eyes going back in her head. “We need to go the hospital now right now.” The night is quiet at least. One small blessing. Warm summers everyone up north at their cabins, sitting on lakes and drinking beer with fire and fire-roasted meat in front of them. No one on the street to get in our way. So far away. I tell Mike drive fast, faster. Gogo’s eyes flutter open and then closed with each burst of light that flashes past the window. Her head rolls back against my arm. I hold her shoulders and put my forehead against hers. “Faster, faster, faster.” Mike is cursing under his breath. He rubs his thigh nervous with the hand he doesn’t use to drive. Cars will drive themselves soon....
Is the person who makes you miserable happier than you are?

Is the person who makes you miserable happier than you are?

Or, is my optimism misplaced? Smell the lilacs. Kick the leaves. Watch the cat in the window with his lazy paw dangling from the ledge, his ears twitching in the sun. Feel the sun on your face. Smell the air. Nod at the passing parents and their stroller, and the something small and soft and round sleeping inside. Somewhere there is a car accident. Somewhere there are sirens, shrill and strident. But they are worlds and lives away. Here and now we need nothing but simple existence. Because people always want something to happen. Need something to happen. (Simply existing in this world is not enough.) But there is no need to force a plot forward, no need for a catalyst or a deus ex machina. Just the simple beating of an imagination. Just the world around you and all the details that bring it to life. There are people all around, sure. These people have lives – of course things happen to them. (Car crashes and police sirens.) But they can happen naturally, normally, without begging for a result. Without video footage, responses, likes, shares. When something is forced to happen in a world as beautiful as this it cheapens the experience: Like trying to describe/define perfection instead of basking in its glow. Drama so miserable It’s been defined as drama like “omg I’m so done with all this drama” and it’s been defined in reality television like Osbournes and Kardashians and looking for eternal love in an elimination game with a poorly-done soundtrack. It’s watching someone else’s life because it lets you escape from your own. It’s comparing and...
A quantifiable attraction

A quantifiable attraction

The physical feeling that comes from attraction: it’s indescribable; so powerful it can’t have an official name or definition. You’re in love, and say you can’t live without the feeling. Then say what exactly it is you can’t live without. The smile. The sense of humor? Or just the feeling when they’re near, so powerful and yet, again, so hard to describe; near impossible to put into words. A quantifiable attraction to some can’t be thought of as anything else but magic. Like Charles Bukowski in Factotum, “I kiss her. She answers with her tongue. Women are magic.” The feeling you get when there are no words to describe the way you’re feeling, called alexithymia. It comes from Greek; means an inability to find words for emotions. But if they can’t be spoken, perhaps they can be written instead. I sit and daydream of pretty girls in pretty dresses, stuck surrounded by people who use pictures of their dogs for their social media profiles. All I’ve had to eat today are stale chocolate chips I found in the drawer in the library at the Burg. All I’ve had to drink is water that tasted like cement and iron. But that isn’t the reason for this feeling deep in my stomach. I lean my head on my fist because I’m bored and if I don’t it might fall chin to chest and into sleep. My eyes are tired, my eyelids are heavy. The warm air and constant drone of the TV up front like a lullaby begging me to stop fighting. Turn daydreams into real dreams. Turn off the sun and stay in...
From the streets of American cities

From the streets of American cities

The girls are chain-smoking cigarettes outside waiting for someone to notice them. The air is a perfect 80 degrees. Winter is over. The people around us are musing, eternally, how much of their lives they’ve spent sitting in cars. There’s trash on the street. Everything is concrete; the city is winning its war on nature. But weeds still come up through the cracks in the sidewalk. We live in the north. We spend our time in the sun. We drink iced tea from plastic cups. We walk the streets in new sneakers dropped online at early hours from secret sites before anyone else can get them. This is what we do while the rest of the world crumbles. Beauty is still the greatest currency. Except, perhaps, the ability not to feel or care. Flippancy is gold. Time is money and it is on our side. To care is to die drowning in everyone else’s problems. This is youth, and it is the only thing we have. People don’t know anything about us more than that. We’re near corner door in the alley where Bella went to get her baby cut out. There wasn’t anywhere else she could go, no one to help, a sister far away, a mother who told her she shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. She wakes up early in the morning to run. She spent her paycheck on new running gear: shoes, pants, headband. I sleep in late and wait for her to call. We wait for something to happen. She’s sweating and smiling when she’s finished. We were raised by wolves, she says,...