Minutes In A Day

How many minutes are in a day?
How many of those minutes am I asleep?
Those are the only minutes I don’t think of you.

I told an older gentleman to ‘have a good day’ today.  He said ‘I’ll have a good day if you promise to have one also.’  Poor old fella’ had no clue that none of my days are good anymore.  I didn’t bother to tell him.  I just smiled and said ‘yes sir.’

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I cry freely and without reason.  Max says ‘why are you crying, mama?’  ‘My cup runneth over,’ I tell him.  I sit in my office and sob over something I’ve read on the web.  Tiffany looks in and says ‘really, Ms. Stephanie?’  Yes, Tiff.  Really.

Tiffany.
She texted me on Mother’s Day.  ‘I love you, Ms. Stephanie.’
I cried.

Programs at school.  I cry.
The marching band in the Homecoming parade, the drums get right inside me.  I cry.
Videos of dogs being awesome.  I cry

Sad news.  Tears.
Happy endings.  More tears

I have road rage.  A lot.  I flip people off, honk my horn.  Once, I gave double birds to this high school girl when she turned in front of me.  And not just discreet double birds but arms all the way out to the windshield double birds.  And one time, I slowed down to a crawl behind these two women who were jogging in the very middle of the road and refused to get over.  I could have gone around them, there were no other cars, but fuck those bitches.  I can’t stand privilege in any form.

I also give whatever I have to give to this man who shows up at my door from time to time.  I have no idea where he came from or why he picked my house.  He comes by wanting to rake the yard or to bring me these dirty dishes he’s found and wrapped up in a plastic bag.  I never make him rake the yard and I always take the dishes. 

I have very strong opinions about a lot of things that don’t matter and mild opinions about a lot of things that are supposed to matter.  I’m rather good at standing on a soap box and delivering whole monologues about nothing at all. 

I’m so much in my own head most of the time that I miss a lot of things around me.

I don’t pay enough attention to detail.
I let Max sleep in as late as possible on school days.
I don’t run a tight ship.  At all.  I am mostly always just winging it.

I don’t keep up with current events the way a person my age is supposed to.

I am a mixture of love, hate, and indifference.  I suspect the same of you.  I suspect the same of every single person alive at this very minute.  Right now.

This life will eventually end for me and nothing will have mattered.  Nothing except this love I have to give, freely and without conditions.  To Max, my family, any animal anywhere anytime….

 To you.

I want you to be exactly who you are at all times, without regret, and in no particular order.  I want to hold your hand when it’s hard and laugh with you when it’s easy.  I want to make love to you in the early dawn of day and fuck you like mad when the moon rises.  I want to read your favorite books and watch your favorite movies and cook all your favorite foods.  I want to get mad at you and then make up.  I want to do the dishes with you.  I want to roll my eyes at you.  I want to buy your toothpaste and shaving cream.  I want to fold your socks.  I want to get annoyed by you.  I want to bring you medicine when you’re sick.  I want to dislike some weird thing you don’t even know you do.  I want to nourish your soul so completely that you never feel hunger again.

Listen, life is going by too fast now.  I don’t know how I got here.  The years that led me here feel like they were only minutes in a day.

They weren’t.

They were whole lifetimes without you.

Ramblings

POST SCRIPT:

Whatever it is, I wish you would tell me instead of ignoring me for going on 4 days now and almost an entire week since I last spoke to you.  And whatever it is, I’m sorry.  I don’t know what I did.  R emailed me a thing and I responded nonchalantly to it because I honestly did not think it was that big of a deal.  I asked if you were ok.  That’s all I cared about.  When he said you were and asked if I wanted to tell you anything, I thought making light of the situation was the best thing to do so you would understand it didn’t bother me.  IT DOES NOT BOTHER ME!

If you feel betrayed by him for telling me something you did not want me to know….I can understand that.  But he did tell me and I do know.  And I don’t care.  I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.  You wanted to tell me something other than the truth and I don’t care about that either!  You are mere mortal after all.  Your human brain panicked and in that panic, it made a decision to cover up something from the new person in your life who you thought may not understand.  I get it.  A thousand and one times I get it.  And I don’t judge you for it.  If anything, I wish R would have told me whatever it is you wanted him to tell me because I’d still have you. I’d bury your secret in a thousand catacombs never to be found or heard again and if I were none the wiser for the rest of the days of my life, so be it.  I’d rather live in ignorance of one tiny little mishap that happened to you than to know anything at all about it if it has caused you to retreat from me.  Just come back.

New Job

This is my job now.  Writing these words to you and sending them out into the void in the hopes you’ll stumble across them again someday.

The pay is complete crap, the hours are continual and there are no benefits.  But I’m dedicated and loyal as all fuck so I’m giving it my all.

I hope it will be enough.

I’m working on a promotion.  I didn’t receive a notice about it or anything but I think there’s a chance I might be able hear you again if I keep toiling away over this keyboard.

So, I’ll just keep sweating it out over here.  Over here.  Across the way.  You should know there’s someone on the other side of the map who still thinks you’re a total babe.

Max wants an electric guitar for Christmas.  How fun is that?  I’m getting an acoustic one and we’re going to take lessons together.  Pretty soon, I’ll be writing songs and singing to you.  I’ll make a YouTube channel and post the vids for you.  You should really come back before that happens.  Let me keep one tiny piece of my dignity, at least?  Nah.  You can have it all.  I guess if I have to lose every ounce of my dignity pining away for you until you feel better, so be it.  I’ll throw it out the window of my car on my way to you; pour it down the sink and break the bottle it came in; bury it six feet under in a top secret location.

Told you I had a flair for the dramatic.  Don’t pay me any attention.

What’s the first song I should learn to play?  I really like this one:

P.S. In case it needs to be mentioned, you’re totally worth losing my dignity over and toiling away at this keyboard.  I’m gonna do it forever until I die if I have to.  At some point, I’ll probably get a tramp stamp with your name on it.

The Cursive G

I emptied out Max’s folder this afternoon and there it was.  The cursive g.

The Cursive G.

The one for the tattoo.

Remember?

Of course you remember.

Which one is your fave?  I’m thinking 4th row, 4th one in from either side.  I don’t think we ever decided on the perfect spot to have it etched on my body.  These are things we need to discuss.

Honestly, the paper broke me in a real way when I pulled it out.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to share this joke with you again.

What I wouldn’t give just to be able to reach you.  We don’t even have to talk about anything that’s happened.  You never have to say a word about it and I’ll never bring it up.  Use me as a diversion; a distraction.  Use me any way you need to.  I just wish you’d use me like that Bill Withers song and I wish you’d keep on ’til you used me up.  There’s not much of me left anyway.  What little bit there is, I want you to have.  I was supposed to be your shackjob, after all. 

I’ve been going to that music channel where we first met in the hopes you’ll show up there.  There’s this person that talks to me sometimes and I wonder if it’s you?  He (or she?) played some folk music last night; Neil Young, Joni Mitchell.  I found you in all the songs.  I half convinced myself it was you trying to send me a message.

Was it you?

An Apology of Sorts

I should be ashamed to post these pathetic attempts at poetry.  I’m not actually trying to write poetry and I don’t know why I arrange the words on the paper in a way that looks like poetry when it so clearly is just prose.

I think I should take it all down.  But I won’t.  Writing to you, in whatever shitty way I can, is cathartic for me.  And maybe will serve as proof of my unwavering devotion to you.  Or maybe just as proof of my descent into madness,

I am surely going mad.

I’ve been reading Bukowski again and now I feel like a complete and utter failure.  So basic.  I should just go read some ‘chick lit’ and be done with it.  Do they still call it that?  That’s what we called it back in my day.  Turns out, these ‘not poems’ of mine probably wouldn’t even make it as ‘chick lit.’

But I’m not actually trying to write poetry, you see.  I’m really not.  I don’t know why I’m arranging the lines in clips.  I really don’t.  Maybe I feel like I’m living in clip right now.

Living in Clip is the name of an Ani DiFranco album that gave me life in my 20’s.  Fuck, that album was so badass.

I don’t know what the point of this is.  I’m feeling super ashamed of myself for writing all this mediocre crap to you when you are so much more than mediocre and you don’t deserve these dime store words.  You need whole city blocks of designer words.  But I don’t have them because I’m really just a discount rack at a dime store.  I tried to dust myself off for you when you came around.  I decorated my shelves with all the seasonal candles from all the seasons past  and I was hoping you wouldn’t notice they were out of date; that maybe the scent of them would override their dented and chipped bodies.

I am dented and chipped and my words only scratch the surface of my heart and I’m scared of the water out there in the middle of the ocean so I just stay right here on this shore, searching for you.  I should jump in and start swimming already but I’m afraid I’ll get lost and when you come back, I’ll be out in the middle of the ocean and you’ll think I’ve left.

Oh, what the fuck am I saying?  I don’t even know.

Here’s Bukowski:

Layover
Charles Bukowski

Making love in the sun, in the morning sun
in a hotel room
above the alley
where poor men poke for bottles;
making love in the sun
making love by a carpet redder than our blood,
making love while the boys sell headlines
and Cadillacs,
making love by a photograph of Paris
and an open pack of Chesterfields,
making love while other men- poor folks-
work.
That moment- to this. . .
may be years in the way they measure,
but it’s only one sentence back in my mind-
there are so many days
when living stops and pulls up and sits
and waits like a train on the rails.
I pass the hotel at 8
and at 5; there are cats in the alleys
and bottles and bums,
and I look up at the window and think,
I no longer know where you are,
and I walk on and wonder where
the living goes
when it stops.

Baby

Has anybody ever called you ‘baby’?
I mean, like a lover.
Not the lady down at the hardware store who asks
‘did you find everything alright, baby?’
Not the old woman at the grocery store,
‘could you reach that for me, baby?’
And definitely not your mom when you fell off your skateboard,
‘oh, baby, come here; let me look at that.’

I mean,
has a lover ever called you ‘baby’?
Have you ever heard the word baby roll off a woman’s tongue
when she’s on top of you and she’s sucking your bottom lip
in-between hers so gently
that ‘baby’ is a mere breath that floats into your mouth;
a quiet sigh of release
‘baby.’

Has anybody ever slow danced with you in the kitchen,
a pot of soup simmering on the stove?
Made you cornbread from scratch to go in that pot of soup?
Has anybody ever driven all night and part of the day
just to get to where you are?
Only to have to leave the next morning?
Has anybody ever rode you hard and fast, or slow and easy,
as many times as you could stand it
just to quiet the voices in your head?


In the morning I’ll be gone, so,
I want you to sit down now
and let all the weight you’ve been carrying 
dissolve under my hands.
Let me whisper to you all the ways you make me weak
until you slump under the heavy blanket of my love.

I’ll feed you this hot soup and cornbread then
to nourish your body.

And when you’ve had your fill of that,
I’m going to release the darkness back out of your soul
until you explode
over and over again. 

‘baby’

Basic

It’s Monday again.

I really hate Monday and there’s no good reason why.  I think it’s because I’m supposed to. 

I’ve been doing this hiking program on my treadmill.  Six weeks around Lake Tahoe.  Have you ever been?  It’s so beautiful.  I wish I were actually there instead of looking at it through a screen.  I took a break from it today, though, and mapped out a route through Jack London Square.  I wonder where that is in relation to you.  You know how everybody has the book that got them into reading?  Well maybe not everybody, just the ones who like reading.  Mine was The Call of the Wild.  That book did it for me when I was a kid.  It made me want to read anything and everything I could.  They’re making another movie of it, too.  This one has Harrison Ford in it, I think.  Comes out in February.  I’ll probably take Max.  I make him go watch all the animal movies.   The last one we saw was The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I cried big, fat, ugly, sobbing tears right there in the theater.  It has Milo Ventimiglia in it who also plays on the only show I watch on television, This Is Us.  

See?  I’m super fucking basic.  Just a boring old spinster, really.  Not a goddess, after all.  I’d probably bore you to tears after awhile. I mean, not that you shouldn’t totally find out, though.

Do you like pickles?  You should know I drink all the juice from the pickle jar before the pickles have a chance to get eaten.  Just a heads up.

When we first started talking and I knew we’d get along, I dreamed of how we would eventually meet.  I had this idea that we would pick some literary landmark to go to and if things went well, we’d vacation together once a year or more until we’d gone to all the literary landmarks in the US.  I’m a total cheeseball.  I didn’t know if we would ever be able to make our worlds collide but I figured we would at least be really good friends who could fly to each other from time to time.  Of course, we’d totally bang the shit out of each other, too.  I hope you weren’t planning to get an S.O. in San Fran ’cause I was totally down with being your FWB forevs.

I’ve been reading all kinds of stuff to try to understand how you feel right now.  You don’t ever have to feel weird around me about anything.  I kinda have a “thing” for you and when a woman gets a “thing” for a man, there’s really not a whole lot you can do about it.  That woman is going to love the shit out of you even at your worst.  So, I’m sorry but you can come on back now so I can put some salve on those wounds and bandage you up all nice and secure.  I’ve got a spot for you in my bed and I know you’re tired.

Be easy on yourself.  It really is going to be ok.

P.S.  I only drink the juice of the whole or the spears, so you’re safe if the hamburger chips are your jam.  Oh, and only the dill.  None of that bread and butter crap.

Oh and here’s a pic of the Xmas Tree.  Can you spot the live ornament?

Meet Me In The Alley Out Back

You said “I’m only mortal, I cant handle the sudden nothingness.”

I guess you forgot I’m only mortal, too?  I don’t hold it against you or anything.  I know you’re in a place you feel like you can’t get out (but you will).  Plus, I know you like to think I’m a goddess and I love to indulge your fantasies, baby.

But the sudden nothingness.  I can’t handle it either. 
But I will.  I will handle it for you.  

I printed out all our correspondence.  It’s sitting on my kitchen table.  Don’t worry about the kid reading it, the first several pages are pretty benign.  We didn’t get indecent til later

Indecent is not the right word though.  Fix that for me. It never felt indecent.  More like perfect.

You said “I’m not parting ways with anything else, including you.”

I’m holding you to that.  Even now.  Even though you’ve gone incognito.  Maybe incognito is not the right word either.  I’m not good at finding the right words.  You always were.

I know you want to read my installment of “Skate or Die.”  It looks like I’m gonna have to write your parts, too.  I hope you don’t mind if I finish it for us.  When I get it published and become a famous author, will you come to my book signing?  I’ll recognize you immediately.  The air will become electric.

(I had this whole part written about how you’d offer me your hand and lead me out the door and around the corner to an alley wall where we’d proceed to blow each others mind but I took it out ’cause that’s only for you to read and I don’t know who else might be watching me type these words.  HA HA. NO ONE is actually reading this garbage, not even you, and I know it but I like to try to appear classy even though I write whole poems talking about fucking shit up.  Anyway, you would have liked our back alley scene and would have contributed to it and made me lose my marbles like you’re so good at doing.  You should come back around so we can drive each other mad with our words cause that was fun as all hell)

Well, that took a nose dive real quick.  But that’s what happens when I think about you.

I’m working on becoming a millionaire so you don’t have to deal with “bomb cyclones” or wild fires.  And I don’t have to deal with MAGA hats and rednecks.

Where do you want to go?
I’ll go anywhere with you.
Close your eyes and pick a place on the map.
My bags are already packed.

Untitled

Dear You:

Would you mind very much if I asked you,
forcibly but kindly,
to get your ass back here and let me tend to you?

You need tending to.

Your beard is looking a bit unkempt and your shirt needs a good iron
and I doubt you’ve filled your belly with any kind of comfort.
Your lips are dry and are starting to crack.
You forgot to pick up your fancy lip balm when you were at the pharmacy two days ago tomorrow.
I happen to have a tube in my pocket.
Here.
Let me run it over your lips for you.

And your poor hands are starting to ache
from all the words you keep writing to me but then erasing
because you think none of the words will work.
Let me have your hands between mine
and I’ll rub your deluxe lotion all over them in circles while I massage the knots out of your palms.

Sit here in this chair at my kitchen table and I’ll play a song for you
while breakfast cooks on the stove.
Long hard nights deserve bacon and pancakes in the morning;
that sweet batter filling all the gaps in your soul
Let me stand behind you and knead all the rocks from your shoulders
until you rise from the sudden buoyancy of their release.

You can close your eyes if you like.

Just let me tend to you.

Divine

There was a parade in town today.  I took pictures to show you.  There were horses.  I thought about “Roan Stallion.” (don’t worry I didn’t try to ride any of them)  None of them looked like the roan stallion, though.  They were too small and not nearly majestic enough. 

After the parade, we walked downtown and stood in a line three miles long just to order some loaded french fries and funnel cakes.  I thought about you when I ate the french fries.

I’m going to take Max to his first concert soon.  It would have been fun to talk to you about that.  Maybe you would have given me suggestions on who to see; maybe you would have even gone with us.

You still can.  I’m still here.

Do you know I haven’t even decorated for Christmas yet?  I usually put my tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving but I haven’t even brought it down from the attic.  I’ve promised Max we’ll do it this weekend, though.  I’ll take pictures to show you.

I get a song stuck in my head and I can’t really listen to anything else.  Right now, it’s that Josh Rouse song I posted the other day.  Was that only yesterday?  I think about you when I listen to it.

Well, truth be told….I think about you constantly.   All through the day and all through the night until I finally fall asleep.

I wonder if I’ll think about you forever.

I hope so.  I mean, I’d rather have you around but if all I get from here on out is just your memory, I guess that’s better than nothing.  I really didn’t ever believe you were out there.  I didn’t believe you existed.  But you do!  And I met you!  And it was more than everything I thought it would be.

It was fucking divine.

You are divine.  Like super good.  Or maybe super rad.

I wish you’d come back around so I could tell you that.  I think you need to hear it.