is to be read from the beginning, as most things are.



i made a fucking website. for fucking class. i'm fucking famous.


fin confetti
start there ^


I might have adopted some of his anger. I used to hate everything about him. I remember doing homework in the kitchen late at night. Most of the lights were dimmed, which made the room turn orange. My dad’s large ass was planted, as it always was, in his recliner. The blue fabric seat had faded from his consistent weight, and it creaked heavily when he pushed against the arms for leverage to get up. My dad, not even turning from the screen, suggested that I start running more. He asked me to get him a glass of water, as he did every night. But not just any glass of water. I couldn’t use the blue glasses, because they were horrible. And I needed to fill the glass a quarter full of ice, no more. I couldn’t stand his precise directions anymore: these are the kind of people you avoid, always water plants twice, pick up sticks before you mow the lawn, separate the forks and spoons in the dishwasher. I filled his glass with purified water, let a drop of spit fall onto the ice, and stirred it with my dirty finger.

I used to look at the window in the TV room to see in the reflection what he was watching. I wanted to hate what I saw. Most times I saw a distorted nature show, or re-runs of the Andy Griffith show. The colors and shapes disconnected, skipped around on the window. A few times I saw blurry images of naked bodies. A bare chest would dance across the square reflection, two mouths would meet, their sharp features making them look angry. I would pretend to do my homework, push the end of a tough eraser onto my forehead, and watch the artificial pixels dance across his large square glasses. It was as if he turned his head just right, they would arrange to form a picture.


{so it ends.}


part 9

My father became fully estranged when my older brother Paul was about two. My family took a trip up to the blistering cold of Buffalo where my grandmother pulled out a large kitchen knife and threatened to “take care of” the product of my father not marrying a Polish woman.

I wonder if when I’m older I’ll think of my childhood in the same way, as just a collection of bad memories. There were always good things, and comparing my fortunes to the way my father’s impoverished life was spent always made me think that there was nothing for me to complain about. But I can’t help but remember the bad times. The temper, the laziness, the anger.

I remember riding in the backseat of my father’s red blazer when he got cut off by a motorcycle. Enraged, he gripped his fat fingers around the steering wheel and pushed the gas until he was only a few from the speeding bike. My mother, screaming in the passenger seat, pleaded for him to stop. We turned off of our exit. The angry biker was not only following us, but mouthing “fuck you” and displaying a thick gloved middle finger. Now my dad sped up only to break sharply, keeping his squinted eyes on the rear-view mirror. All I could think about was the sticky sound of his fingers squeezing the wheel.


part 8

Walking through the sticky mass of concrete blocks that make up the internal employee walkways, I couldn’t help but wonder what Tallahassee looked like when my dad was pouring concrete on the ground I walked on. What he was like back then. I wondered if they had expanded the mall since he worked on it, if the innards of the building were something my father’s hands had touched. I’ve seen photos of him back then, much slimmer and sporting a stringy pony tail. I’ve inherited his toothy grin, the way his whole face seems involved in a laugh. My round eyes squint like his, and the tops of my cheeks lift toward the ceiling.

There are very few photos of my father before he met my mother. His past is something I’ve had to piece together from the few times he left himself vulnerable and let a story of his childhood slip out.

I never saw a photo of him as a smiling child.

There’s one photo that’s outlasted his purges of the past. He can’t be more than four years old, wearing a pair of tattered overalls, and placing one tiny hand on a dusty cow. His mouth makes a straight horizontal line, and the grainy quality of the picture makes everything look dirty, even his usually bright eyes. Money was tight. The children got one pair of jeans a year. Once, when he was 8, my father helped his dad chop up a fallen tree. The blade slipped off of the tree and went straight into his lower calf. The whole time he lay there bleeding all he could think of was the inevitable beating he would get from his mother when he got home.

Sometimes I would get information from my mother. We would sit on the dense carpet of my room among my piles of clutter that drove her insane, and I would ask about his many siblings, his past two marriages, his navy life. It was always easier talking to my mother. My dad would sigh heavily if I probed too far, or he would start lecturing. If I asked him about his school, he would go off about Catholicism, nuns abusing children, and institutional religion. My mom just talked to me like a person. Sometimes I think I should have let his past die as he wished, and asked about my mother and her family instead. I knew a similar amount about their childhoods, but because my father’s was forbidden, I tried to eat all of it up.

When I was nine I asked my Dad what happened with his past marriages. He paused, still holding a half-dissected pineapple and a juicy knife. His eyelids wrinkled closer and he said “I caught one in bed with my brother, and the other in bed with a woman.” He resumed meticulously slicing the soft fruit, and handed me the tough core to chew on. I couldn’t help but wonder “he has a brother?”


part 7

In third grade, I devised a plan for me and my two best friends to start saving up all our tooth fairy and Christmas money, so that when we graduated high school we could buy my grandparents house in New Jersey and live in it together. My dad hated my grandparents. He called my grandma a wacko hippie, bringing up times when she joined cult-ish help groups, or when she asked my brother “what color is your headache?” I didn’t care. I just liked roaming the creaky halls of their old house.

I drew out the four story house from memory, sketching all the rooms and furniture, and carefully labeling everything. That’s the only way I really knew how to mimic my mother, the kitchen designer. I couldn’t read through her two worry lines nestled between her eyebrows. I could absorb everything she said, but she said it with such indifference compared to the rantings of my father that I didn’t feel I really knew her. Instead I watched her work, I watched her bony fingers gracefully pull out a scale rule, push three times on the tiny silver back of her drafting pencil, and trace a perfect line of miniature rows of oak cabinets.


part 6

It was pretty slow at Barnie’s during the weekdays. Although the fountain would gush away and the canned sound of pop music would float through the halls, there was a sort of busied silence to the place. Barnie’s was in a corner spot right in the middle of the food court, affording an oblong view. I remember feeling like I was in a fish bowl, floating just above the ground while people glided by. The two mall walkers, Jeannie and Brenda, would swish by at least five times before stopping to get a specially made coffee. “Penny,” at least that’s what we called her, would circle the food court all morning. Her fat hands grasped the same 40 ounce Styrofoam cup every day. Her wrinkled eyes surveyed the floor for loose change.

Ashley, who worked with me, planted a few decoy coins for Penny. Once she super glued a shiny copper penny to the tiled floor in our store. Without hesitation, Penny cruised over to find crushing disappointment when the coin didn’t budge. Another time Ashley put a quarter on its side, resting on the baseboard in front of the cash register. Penny stopped mid walk, her eyes fixed on the bright object, but decided to pass it up.

I felt a strange connection with the mall employees and the irregular patrons. Sure, during the weekends the mall would be full of families tugging screaming children or pairs of women pretending to be young and single, showing as much powdered cleavage as possible. But the regulars, the people that chose to spend time in air conditioned halls smelling faintly of Cinnabon, grease, and cleaning product, were the real gems. They were real people, with real quirks. There was the state worker pair, a father and son, who got matching cappuccino’s and chatted about mobile homes, the Cuban cleaning man who got a special made cortidito (a sticky mixture of espresso and sugar), and the paranoid schizophrenic who took breaks from coughing up a drink order to turn her head and scream “you’ve ruined the best years of my life.”

They’re what my father would call “weirdoes.” He seemed to hate everyone my mother liked. My parents always talked business at home. It seemed like every time my mother told him about a new client, what they did for a living, what style they liked, he always had something negative to say. Suzie Penley, a Cuban lady who always grabbed my arm with her wrinkled fingers, ended up getting close with my mother. I went with my mother to Suzie’s house that was littered with painted wicker furniture and bright abstract art. They talked business a bit, but Suzie ended up talking about finding her sister’s dead body. My mother always put people at ease. But she would go home and tell my father about them. He would snap at her for spending too much time with one client, telling her that people were taking advantage of her. Sometimes she faintly disagreed, but most times her eyes turned off, letting him eat into her.


part 5

Mornings were my favorite time to work. I couldn’t help but fall into the opening routine. One liter of hot water for the three types of iced tea, just under three buckets of ice filled up the steel tank out front, count each register down from $200.00. It got to the point where I didn’t have to think about it anymore. My body sleepily moved around the store, filling up sugar and cream, turning the big key in the gate, and squeaking it open.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, seeing as I always had trouble waking up early.
I would let my alarm run for hours, if my family let me. My parents had their unique ways of waking up grouchy teenagers.

My father was impatient in his approach.
He most enjoyed two loudly exclaimed phrases: “wakey wakey, eggs and bakey,” and “nobody likes a grouchbowski.”

Grouchbowski, by definition is an endearing form of the noun ‘grouch’. i.e.: grumbler, killjoy, crab, spoilsport; all of which are delightful words. Used frequently in an attempt to both annoy and cheer up a grouchy Polack. The term ‘Polack’ derives from a misconception that the word “Polak” means a polish male. In reality, it’s just one of those words, those ethnic slurs that only similar people may use. Except my father wouldn’t let me. The word Grouchbowski grew in popularity during the winter season in eastern Poland. When all poles were grouchy, and many were bowski’s. The word is used most properly in early hours, in cold weather, or when said pole is going off to work or school. Use of the word often elevates such behavior: sulking, moroseness, and showing discontent in an irritable way. This makes it most commonly used when a pole is leaving, rather than arriving.

My mother, with her soft and plushy post-partum body, would turn on my light, crawl into bed with me, and place her cold feet next to mine.
Even in Florida she was always cold. She would stay under there until she had sucked all of the warmth from my body, asking me in a murmur what I was going to do that day, what clothes she should wash for me, when I was going to clean my room. I would always reply sharply, in sleepy grunts, but her voice always like distant music, would keep me from falling back into that dark sleep.



New. Mine. Yours.
Different? Somehow.


part 4

My father always pushed the idea of good work ethic on his children. Every birthday, we got new freedom, as well as new responsibility. Just before my thirteenth birthday, he sat down on the long white peninsula in our kitchen, his huge forearms taking up so much space. He was always so serious with me. In a strict tone, he would explain that as we got older, we grew the ability to do more to help around the house. “Thirteen’s a big year,” he said “you’re one step closer to being an adult.” In exchange for a half hour tacked onto my bedtime, I got the privilege of mowing the lawn. I never knew how to act when he started one of his lectures. My head would bob in agreement awkwardly, and I would try not to break eye contact. I never knew what to do with my body. My fingers would grab each other, as if in prayer.

In the summers, when all I wanted to do watch cartoons, he made sure to keep me busy.
We had this small garden in the backyard, mostly green beans and a few other root vegetables, and we got to weed the damn thing.

I liked how his hands looked covered in dark soil.
His wide fingernails would be stuffed full of the chalky dirt, and his large pores would hold grains of the dark stuff. I wanted my hands to look just like his. When he wasn’t looking I stuffed my fingers into the freshly hoed soil, trying to mimic the roughness of his hands.

After doing yard work, all the kids would jump into the pool.
I liked the feeling of leaping into the cool water with all my hot clothes on. All the sticky grass and warm dirt would peel off my body. It was one of these moments that my siblings persuaded me to swim to the deep-end. Although I could swim well enough, I would cling to the side of the angled pool, refusing to push off into waters too deep for my toes to touch. My brother Paul always seemed annoyed by my refusal to let go of the railing. I imagine I begged him and my sister to stay in the shallow end so I wouldn’t get lonely. Even though I had siblings, I was lonely. That’s part of being the youngest. The novelty of having a brother or sister had worn off before I came along. I always felt I was never allowed to talk like the rest of my family did. It seemed like every time my mouth opened, my brother’s nostrils would flare up and my sister would start exhaling. By the time I started speaking, I wished I hadn’t ever started.


part 3

My first job was at Barnie’s, a coffee shop at the mall. Before I came along, my dad poured the foundation of Governor’s Square Mall. I couldn’t help but think of him, especially when the halls were empty. The mall seemed to breathe and move on its own. Early in the morning, when the sun creeps into the large glass top in the center of the mall, the halls are silent. Slowly, life emerges from the sleepy building as metal door gates squeak open, the tired cleaning crews scraping large push-brooms across the shiny tiled floor. Every day at 8:00am the large fountain jerks to life and the silence is dead.

I remember being overwhelmed by the espresso machine.
In training, they save it for last. Everything was so loud and complicated. The hiss of the steam wand, the drastic change of pitch when it becomes submerged in cold milk, was a whining squeal. It was almost frightening. It reminded me of my father’s warehouse, where everything shook and groaned. There was a pressure hose there, one that spewed air when the little brass button was pushed. When I was in elementary school, my dad would put the hose in his mouth to make his big cheeks flap. He always wanted me to try it, but the air pushed out so hard that it scared me. And I didn’t want my teeth to look like his, almost skeletal.


part 2

My parents gave me an 18th birthday ultimatum: work at their cabinetry business, or get a job. All throughout middle and high school I went to their showroom after school, making paper clip braces, or climbing from counter to counter. My mother always had trouble leaving the office. There was always some quote that needed finishing, an incomplete drawing, a picky client. I would end up staying at their office long after dark. When she was finally ready to go home, she told me to lock up shop. I would brush my hand softly on the bumpy old painted walls, eyes closed, and flick each light off.

Being grounded meant going to the office in the summer and pretending to file paperwork. Instead I ended up hole punching every colorful piece of paper I found, at the end of the day opening up the flexible black bottom of the hole-punch and dumping out a pile of perfectly round flakes. Some pieces still held fragments of work, from a cut off dollar amount to a piece of a printed black drawing of a refrigerator, the lines too straight for reality. I would pour them into white envelopes and give them to my mother. I always hoped they would burst out dramatically when opened, but my mother’s precise hands only revealed a small pile of circular paper.

Generally it wasn’t that bad, but being young, I got restless trying to find entertainment in a silent showroom.



I remember watching my dad work in his dusty warehouse. He would patiently teach me how to slide a two by four through a table saw, show me the best way to use smelly stain to turn wood a rich cherry color. In third grade, I had an assignment where I had to build a replica of a typical dwelling for an Indian tribe. My father took me out into the backyard to clip off palm fronds to make up the roof of my miniature home. His wide hands seemed so strong as he easily clipped off the large forked branches. We assembled the whole thing at his warehouse, and by that age I had memorized his patterns. As soon as we got inside, I was to unlatch the bay door and yank on the large chains to make the door curl into itself. While I did that, he would lean over the band saw and draw out plans with a rectangular pencil that he sharpened with a thin knife. After following my father’s hands while they helped me cut, glue and screw wood, we had my finished project. On the drive home from the warehouse, I held the home in my lap, tracing my finger over the sanded holes for doors and windows, both proud and amazed that it came together so nicely. It was as if all those pieces, the branches and the scrap wood, have always been meant to make this perfect little hut.




and he says: I'm sorry I'm an asshole.
and she says: I'm sorry I don't believe you.

In other news:

i always find myself dreaming more approaching summer.
not those big dreams that just end up disappointing, or maybe they're all the same.
mostly, i tell myself: this is the year that i do what i want to be.
and it's always lies, lies, lies.


only 4 you
a poem by Emily Ann Allen

My whole life it seemed I would only have friends,
I thought I might end up a nun in the end.
I even read a book called "And the Bride Wore White"
and I swore to try and lead a pure life.
I prayed to God that if for me love was his plan,
that I would not go through many but instead find that one and only man.
I have faith that's what he has done,
I believe you truely are the only one.
Even though we met only 2 months ago, February?
It seemed like we knew each other already.
Anything we've done, I'm glad we did it,
and I can't wait for what might be to come, wouldn't want to miss it!!!
And because I love you so much,
I want my heart and body to only ever be yours to touch.

two months seems to have been a pretty serious amount of time back in the day.

at the end, she informed me that (I don't think I am going to read these to him), which reminded me that she did used to read her "ryan poems" to him. he had no idea what he signed up for.

there must have been hundreds of poems about him, literally.

it rains and rains and weighs branches of trees down.
i feel heavy too, little guys.
if this keeps up, we just might snap right off.

by the way, what happened to me actually trying to write? i picked up a pen today, wrote a couple of crappy sentences, then gave up.
and i've turned this little thing into an homage to my teenage blogs, where i previously bitched and bitched, and now i'm just continuing to bitch.

maybe that'll be another one of my dozens of summer plans.

smart, smart, smart, skinny, skinny, happy, happy, creative...
but i might have lost all that already.


a letter from danny

circa 10th grade, maybe:


Hey Katie, how are you? I saw you this morning... but you didn't see me so I looked like a dork. I said "Hey... wnm". It was weird though, your hair looked longer. I thought maybe your hair was like Harry Potter's, meaning it grows when he doesn't like it. I like your hair right now, but I liked it better when it was longer.

I was just thinking about last weekend when you and Maka were having issues before going to Whitney's house. Then it was like everything was better. It made me really happy and I felt really happy you two were better.

I'm leaving for Orlando today. It makes me wonder: what if this was the end for me in Tallahassee. The only thing I would have left from here is memories and telephone numbers. Memories of when I first met you and how you introduced me and Maka, and how I met Paul, Kissed him and how I met Lauren and how i've learned how to have friends and attempt to accept and embrace change. How I've grown to become someone I want to be right now, how you and Maka have grown apart but then grew on each other again. How Paul is not here anymore and how he doesn't factor in my life anymore.

How music and dramatic arts have played such a huge role in my life these past two years. How i've grown fond of one kid whose name I don't know, but when I look at him I see myself. How everything has changed:
You, Maka, Paul, Jason, me, people!

I miss the past. And I wish Orlando was the future. I wish that I could go there and live in my old house in my old neighborhood across the street from Jason and I could go to a school there where everything is so much more familiar than it is here. But I realize that when I go home to Orlando this weekend and see the Braves at spring training and hopefully see Jason, that it'll all be a glimpse of what I can only dream of having to go to right now. I wish i could tell you how empty I sometimes feel because I miss Orlando, my house, my home, Jason, and everything that left with it.

But, this weekend when I go I'm going to come back so happy that I got to just revisit all of this place and I'll have the chance to fill that void I have from time to time. And when I get back here to Tallahassee, I'm going to see you, and Mox and hear from everything that I do love and like up here and it'll make me happy to come back here and to feel that Tallahassee is my home also. Tallahassee has some amazing people, some people I wish I knew so much more and some people I wish I could never hear from again.

So sorry this note has become so "heartfelt" or "girly" or "emo". I just started writing what I was thinking and I lost track and couldn't stop writing.

Dude, I've totally felt gay lately. I only like 2-4 guys, but that's solely on looks. I'll show you sometime who I like for looks guywise. Girlwise I've not been very attracted lately but if there's a few girls they would be Lunk (because she's got a great personality), Heather (on looks... and not the skank Heather), and lately I'd say a girl named Courtney I've liked since 7th or 8th grade (because she's glamorous but still not stuck up).

I call you all the time. I'll probably call you sometime this weekend to talk. But anyway you should call me, or pick up if you aren't busy.

Later, Danny


and i really miss him.
It took me a while to realize that he loved Jason. maybe he didn't, but his fondness for him was large.

It's weird, looking back. I always thought lauren and i were so close, but i read her notes to me and they're garbage. they mean nothing. they're full of made up names for crushes, and drawings of aquatic life.

i always thought danny's notes were a little strange. he was so open, even when we first met. in high school you weren't supposed to be honest, you weren't supposed to be forward, or talk about real human things.

if anything, danny killed the false sense of modesty i thought i was supposed to have.

but that would be a different instance, a different note, and another time.


drown kittens and sick puppies.

or dogs,

my memory fades.

and the more we talk civilly about our separation, the more solitude i find.
go find yourself, because i cannot do the same unless you're the one leaving. it wouldn't follow the rules of gender. or whichever they happen to be.

or the rules governing us.

and you imagined jealousy, you imagined inconsistency out of nothing.

[it's all Shakespearean].. and i hate it.

you know where it really grows out of, but you chose to find it elsewhere. in a name and not in body. in a 'john thomas' and not in actuality.

if i knew who he was, i would tell you. or maybe not. or maybe not.

at this moment, i could be with you. at this moment i could stay. at this moment you give me what i need.

but there's always this grinding thought. this imagined community. this feeling..

that i could take more chances, but i wouldn't.

i breathe in what you're exhaling. you've followed all the rules, you've promoted myself. told me 'go for it'. 'do it'. 'i'm supportive'.
and it's all true but still..

who am i?

and where is this all leading..

i used to think i was made for something grand. something bigger than this town, than the oak's that follow me.
i used to think that i would be different than the ghosts lingering in the moss or the homes or the memories hanging desperately to my ankle.
i used to think i could make something, not a selfless something, but a gratifying, almost sexual, response.

and i dreamed of kielbasa fingers, of shaking trains, of complete abandonment of this magnetic town.

. i still feel it in me . although muted . and i cannot silence the urge toward movement .



never drink and blog. not drunk. drunk boyfriend. never blog whilst pissed off. says "i've been discussing gender and sexuality." shove it. did it. yesterday mother. and the b-lady. sure, i'll drop everything i'm doing. no i don't mind that you told me at 7 00 tonight. sure i'll skip homework. and be horribly late to work tomorrow. bring the fucking dog. at least i will get plastered tonight. fuck money. fuck it. just me, wasted dipshit, and traveler. choke everybody. was happy - unhappy - why. why. why. why.

drop out of school you good for nothing bitch, get a fucking job selling light fixtures or concrete sealer to rich lawyer eccentric assholes, have 10 fucking kids, gain 500 fucking pounds, start subscribing to home magazines, grow old and ugly and miserable.

give up.

i'm a hate apple.

i found the pile of my school stuff. from when 'wiggle factor' was a part of the curriculum. tests and tests and tests. standardized, percentile rank, and fuck fuck fucking scales from one to five.
good writer. good reader. good writer........ lacks motivation. less than 30% of homework turned in. no fucking motivation. never amount to any goddamn thing. you can do better than this. or can i... can i... i can't.

why have i been fighting mediocrity for so long. it's useless.
it's in my genes. i got my father's.. everything.

not the engineering Michael's, not the bright and tall and handsome and intelligent.
i got the dirt, the divorce, the cancer, the cancer, the cancer, the $12 an hour job, the illegitimate kids, the never never never finish school, dirty polacks.

and that's what i'll always be.



and every sentence that i dream up with starts with and.
and i want to think of something much much better.
and wednesday night was incredibly beautiful.

all skin and hair and tongues. all warmth and sighs. or, what you will.
but, i am just a womanish-man,

"But such as are able to buy all their own charges, they swim in the excess of these vanities, and will be man-like not only from the head to the waist, but to the very foot, and in every condition. Man in body by attire, man in behavior by rude compliment, man in nature by pursuing revenge, man in wearing weapons, man in using weapons, and in brief, so much man in all things, that they are neither men, not women, but just good for nothing...
To you therefore that are fathers, husbands, or sustainers of these new hermaphrodites, belongs to the cure of this impostume. It is you that give fuel to the flames of their wild indiscretion. You add the oil which makes their stinking lamps defile the whole house with filthy smoke, and your purses purchase their deformities at rates, both dear and unreasonable."

But, no, that's not me.
for i possess breasts and a waist that men still glance toward, supposing i'm in the correct attire.
men that never glanced for more than a moment, i've seen tugging my shirt down with the sinking of their eyelids.

i hate, and love it.

And Antonio, with your high bleached socks, i see your lust. And although i should ignore it, or grind it until you no longer contrive ways in which to face me, i cannot.
because i am selfish.

but maybe that's me. for i'm either too forward, too male, and turn passion into repulsion.. or feed on the innocent.

sexuality is disgusting. and fantastic.
but maybe it's just the vanity that we're all so fond of. we love our bodies, share our bodies, long to see other bodies.

(and i'd give it all up, just to get to know the smell of your skin.)
- another sentence imagined and fondled, waiting to crawl onto a digital page -

i never felt so honest.


Hiding Spaces

When I first met Emily’s mother, she was starting over.
The family moved from Alabama to Tallahassee with two brand new state jobs, four young kids, and a dark two-story house.
They had moved in about a year prior, and Nellie had yet to unpack her past life. Large pale wicker chairs sat facing each other in the hallway, crates and boxes were stacked to form monuments in corners, and a fabric chair cradled past-due bills and delinquency notices.
I never knew what to think or say around Nellie. She had a way of taking up an entire room with a story. Her large arms waved around, her faded mu-mu flapping with her, and her eyes bulged to punctuate a funny line. Nellie was almost a fixture in the living room. It seemed like everything in the house slowly crept toward her cracked couch. The burgundy phone sat on the large arm, three crates of home-recorded late night television shows were stacked on one seat, and tiger-tail rested permanently on the top of the tall seat, one cream colored leg pointing down.
I’d never known why, but for whatever reason, Nellie’s junk hadn’t made its way through the sliding glass doors and onto the back porch. Maybe she thought the grey screened walls wouldn’t prevent her incomplete collection of stackable dolls, or her piles of Disney themed plates, from being destroyed. Maybe she even thought they weren’t garbage already. The empty space tucked away behind the house was a place where Emily and I didn’t have to tip-toe past her crazy mother, or crawl under tables that held her baggage.

Nellie had stuck a taped up, unused china cabinet just in front of the sliding glass back doors. Only Emily and I could squeeze our small bodies behind it to get onto the back porch. There, we were free.
Emily had snuck into the kitchen and brought back a small yellowed broom. We spent all day sweeping up clouds of dust and dried up leaves out the rickety back door. Every day that my mother dropped me off at their dirt lawn, I would bring something to our porch; a tiny wooden alligator in my pocket, a deflated beach ball in my backpack, or a small fuchsia mirror with jewels imbedded on the back. I never felt such ownership toward a place before.
My house was so small that I couldn’t even call my room my own. Tip-toeing down the hallway would only lead me into a room full of people. Once I tried hiding in the formal living room, just to see if anyone would notice, but the open doorways left nothing a secret.
Nellie kept to herself inside the dark house, peeling price tags off of wrapped movies with chipped crimson nails. Sometimes Emily and I would lie out on the porch on our backs, watching gusts of wind slowly turn the dusty overhead fan, and make up stories. We pretended we were gypsy children on the run, or detectives outsmarting bad guys. My favorite times out there were when it stormed. The back door of the porch would rattle and slam and the sporadic wind curled around my thick hair. It almost felt like the swirls of wind would hug me by my waist and fly me right out of there.
Everything changed when Nellie lost her job at the school. My mother was making dinner when I asked her what happened. Without turning as she reached for a spice jar she said “it was just too stressful.” I was still too young to understand.
The next time I went over to Emily’s house, the bulky tanned armoire had been moved out to the porch, leaving a clean rectangular stamp where it once sat. There was a gaping hole, revealing our secret hideout. Nellie told us that enough was enough, it was time to unpack. When I went over, Emily and I spent hours moving boxes and crates. Nellie would sit on the faded wicker chair, her fatty lap filling every spot on the seat, and point with a painted nail to where she wanted a plastic crate moved to.
One by one, we moved piles of garbage from the house to the porch. Old mirrors and tall doll houses blocked out the screened walls, broken chairs cluttered the floors. Emily and I would still squeeze out there, crawling over boxes to find a clear spot to sit in, but the junk blocked out the pulsing wind and the blinding light.
Emily’s family moved from that house after a few years. They moved every year until Emily graduated. Always packing and unpacking.
Nellie must have imagined that what was missing from her life was tucked away somewhere. Maybe under an economy size pack of toilet paper, maybe in the back of a cabinet overflowing with papers. If she could just find it then everything would be fixed; no more declarations of bankruptcy, no bills or fits of anger. Emily and I shared a place once, where I felt like I could help her escape the demons of genetics. She always told me that Nellie used to be beautiful; she even tucked away her parent’s wedding photo.
Emily traced the sharp line of her mother’s nose, her face 100 pounds lighter, and repeated “she used to be beautiful.”



there's moments in which there's too much going on to allow my brain to relax enough to sleep.
it's as if there's a limit to madness. sometimes i feel like my crazy is always bogo. i wonder if i'm happy with where i am right now, if i'm getting enough out of all this shit.

when i listen to a certain lit major talk, i decide that my parents are right, that grabowski's just aren't college material. that education breeds bullshit. i have a love-hate relationship with pretension. or not. i'm probably just full of shit.
at the same time, i love that bullshit. i just hope i'll never be a chronic intellectual masturbator.

and, fuck, i hate being female about 90% of the time. part of me wants to abandon gender and societal norms, or maybe just ignore them, and part of me wants a fucking normal, bullshit, magazine-reading life. i'm aware of the inaneness of it all, but jesus it's still magnetic sometimes.

how typical of me.

and i can't help but wonder if i'm missing out on something by being tied down. but i've always fucking felt like i've been missing out on something. when i've been single, i told myself i wanted an intimate friend. there's always something that i push all of my resentments toward. if this were different, life would be perfect. it's bullshit. i don't know what i want anymore, but i cannot lie and say i'm not just a little bored.


i doubt i'll ever be satisfied. there's this image in my head of the perfect situation.. only problem is that it changes every fucking month.

now, similarly to the entirety of my life, i'm under the illusion that if i was a skinny bitch, i'd be the best and most happy bitch in the world. same bullshit i've been telling myself since 6th fucking grade.

what the fuck.

and i haven't had such a documented moment of self-importance in a while. probably since i was an angsty high schooler. as if anything has changed. i love pouting, no joke.

feels good though. i'll never be satisfied.
just try and satiate me, bitches. i love that word.



"He had already become accustomed to the dangerous experiment of resisting his own inward convictions; and this new impulse to ambition, combined with the strong temptation of variety in love, met the ardent young man weakened in moral principle, and unfettered by laws of the land. The change wrought upon him was soon noticed by Clotel."


and there's a racist girl in my class. she says
"you're telling me that no one in this class has seen a black person look like this?"
see FIG 179.


and in 8th grade, when i was misplaced, that girl said to me,
"i'm popular even though i'm fat. at first, i wasn't cool, but now i'm the funny girl. You gotta find something"


and my head tells me
"you can't be in two places at once, girl."