Sunday, October 29, 2006

the hotel ruthe used to be a dormitory for a jewish school in vienna in the early 20th century. i could see why, the rooms were depressing as all hell. the beds were all bunked and pushed together against the far wall, next to the single tiny window that let in almost no light. through the window you could see the back alley where the hotel's front entrance was. some hotels like to have a fancy lobby and uniforms, but the hotel ruthe wasn't like that at all. it was cheap, and it was exactly the sort of place my father always booked for us.
we were on 'a family vacation', which made no sense to me. we never did anything together when we were at home, why should putting us in some old city where a bunch of people ruled a bunch of other people from make any difference? apparently we were supposed to bond over seeing new things together, but we never wanted to do the same things. my mother wanted to go to every single museum she could find, my father was only interested in old buildings and my sister just wanted to shop. all i wanted to do was sit somewhere quiet, but that never happened
that keeps happening, somehow, with my family. everyone wants to do something else, and no-one ever gets to do what they want, because we're always 'compromising'. that's a really strange word - its supposed to mean that everyone gets to do a little of what they want and a little of what other people want, but i've learnt that it just means that no-one gets to leave the hotel.
so anyway, we're in vienna and we're arguing (as usual) as to where we want to go today. my mother says we should go to some cruddy museum about the hapsburgs, my dad just wants to spend all day at some cathedral. my sister was sitting, poised at the edge of the conversation, waiting to ask where the nearest mall was. i wandered off from the lobby into the breakfast area. there was this really old guy there, he must have been atleast seventy years old...i mean really, really old. he had white hair and brown spots on his face, near his eyes. he was wearing an old grey coat. i always remember that coat, for some reason. anyway - he called me over and gave me a big toothy smile.
'so how old are you, young man?'
i hate that. i hate it when people start off a conversation with asking how old i am. i'm goddamn fifteen, does it matter? he doesn't really care...he just wants to talk to someone. stuff like that really gets to me, when people start off a conversation with something stupid and mundane that they don't really want to talk about. i mean, if he'd asked me what i dreamt about at night, maybe i would've been interested, but he just asked me my goddamn age. guess..i guessed yours. anyway. my point is that its not important.
'fifteen. how was your life?' i asked him.
he looked at me sort of funny, like he was taken aback. i get that alot. 'that's a very strange question,'he said, and turned to finish his toast.
'only as strange as asking a random kid his age,' i said. and i walked away. just like that. i do that, alot, i realize.

anyway, i don't even know why i'm talking about vienna. that was years ago. we're sitting at the kitchen table - my mother and father are fighting (again). i drift off like that, whenever they start off. usually i'll let myself go into some memory or other. it doesn't even have to be particularly happy, or really good. i just like to go somewhere else, you know? the funny thing is that wherever i go, they're always fighting. i's true. nothing changes. most of the time i just think about leaving whenever their voices start getting louder, and then suddenly im in this other place, some memory or other. yesterday i started reliving this time my mom bought me a cricket bat, when i was a kid. it wasn't what i wanted at all - she just picked up the first bat she saw, without even thinking about it. i she got me something, but she could have atleast goddamned thought about it.
don't get me wrong, i love my parents. they're always there, and i know they really care about me and stuff. i just wish sometimes they'd think more. i wish everyone would think more. sometimes i think they know me about as well as that guy in the grey coat, you know? they just want to know that i've got food and water and all that stuff. i can't remember the last time i sat down and talked to my parents about anything. they're always fighting, for one, so you can't really sit down with've got to do it separately, when one of them is gone. and i don't know..i don't want to make that effort. i just kinda wish they would sometimes. i mean, they're parents.
you see? i did it again. they've stopped fighting now, and everyone at the table is looking at me funny. that's usually how i know a fight's over, when everyone looks at me drifting off and starts yelling my name. i'm not crazy, even though i did go to a psychologist once. she said that i just had a particular kind of coping mechanism, and told my parents to try and get me more involved with other kids. that didn't really work, though, because other kids and i don't really get along. i mean don't get me wrong, i've got friends and stuff, but i don't really talk to people that much. turns out most of them don't have that much to say, and sooner or later i get tired of asking them stupid questions like 'how old are you, young man?', and then they start looking at me funny, too.
anyway. i'm going to go up to my room and stare at the stars for a while. i've got a telescope (they bought it for me last year, for my birthday) and everything, and i really like staring at random galaxies. i don't know why, it makes me feel ok. even if people are looking at me funny, i feel ok when i look at the stars. i guess its got something to do with how big they are and how small we are, or something. i just get this really connected feeling, you know? like i can feel every single particle of dust in the room, and see how it connects to the air, to the sky, to the clouds, to the trees, leaves, earth, house, bed and me. that usually makes me feel really good, and then i can sleep.
i can't ever get to sleep, normally. it takes a really long time, because i'm always staring at things. and i don't like closing my eyes. it's not like i'm afraid of the dark or anything, i just don't like closing my eyes. i mean, if i'm awake, then i want to have my eyes open. so i end up staring at the ceiling of my room alot, at night. it usually takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light, but after awhile i can start tracing the cracks in the ceiling. i like doing that - making patterns and connecting the cracks. this one time i remember doing that, and then the next thing i remembered was being outside in the lawn, and my dad was shaking me. he kept asking me if i was alright. i didn't know what was going on..i asked them how i got there, and they said they didn't know. i must've sleepwalked from my room.
i guess freud was right about the subconscious, then. i always liked being outside better than being inside. that time in vienna, i actually went back to the lobby where my parents were arguing just in time to hear my sister's interjection about the mall. i just suddenly didn't want to be there anymore, so i left. i went straight out the front door of the hotel into the street, and just started walking. to nowhere in particular, just walking around. i like doing that, looking at people and places as i walk around. i didn't really speak german, but i could make out what some of the signs said, and so i found my way to the subway. i just took the first train that was coming. the system in vienna's really different from anywhere else - they don't really check you for a ticket or anything, it's all sort of on an honour system. i just got a train, just like that, and headed off. there was this older guy sitting next to me, must've been forty or fifty. he had a paper bag in his hands, and kept taking swigs from it. he smelt of alcohol, so i just kind of got off at the next stop. then i took the escalator back up to the street, and starting walking back in the direction the train came from. i walked for a while, and then i saw all these buildings that looked sort of familiar, and then i realized that i was back near the hotel ruthe. so i went in, and my mom and dad and sister were all sitting at the lobby, looking dead worried. they hugged me and kissed me and then they started yelling at me, asking me where i had gone, why i hadn't asked them, how i could be so irresponsible, all that. but they were crying, too, because they were glad to see me, i guess. i didn't really respond or anything, i was still trying to figure out where it was we were going, that morning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[for you]

we forgot to leave
i can't trace
your start, your end
(you are
a non-issue)

[driving back from
the beach, your hand
in mine
in yours.]

do you want to go
a little
crazy, tonight?
ill lose my mind,
and move,
like you've never seen before.

all this,
and i only ever mean to say
the one thing.
between my letters is a place
you know how to get to.
is it lonely where you are?

i'll take
this dance, if you

-february 12th, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

when i was a child, with little hands and big fingers, i believed in god. life, however, made no sense. money plants, for example, did not have paper leaves. rocks fell at the same speed, but petals never fell the same way twice.
as i grew older, i started hearing god in the rain. it was very soft, at first. like white noise and grey skies meeting, you had to strain to hear her, push your ear right up to the glass, let your breath form patches of condensation before your eyes that came and went, rhthymically, with each breath you took and gave back. not everyone has the luxury of being soaked, allowing him to wash over you.
like most whispers, god (contrary to popular belief) is very easy to block out. you simply have to ignore her. he doesn't go away, she only breathes. between this drop and the next one. and the next, and the next, and the next, until your skin is covered with it, until it forms streams on your bare back, finding its way through rivers down your arms and off your fingers, jumping off to join the next drop. and the next, and the next.

you can drown out whispers, with drops. but next time it rains, listen for the silences.

wrappedupandtwisted. like tongues and lips, like hearts and skin. follow the silences.