July 29th, 2022. 7:26 p.m. Blue ink on paper.
I would say that I’m packing, but that would require my unpacking. I don’t remember what my room looks like without a duffle bag on the floor, half-filled with clothing. Someone once said that the only constant is change. I think that might just ring more true for some rather than others.
This month was strange, you know? We were out of the house for only two weeks. It’s really due to my new inability to be in a car for a long time— Lyme disease seriously bites, if that’s what I have. (It’s my doctor’s theory, but nothing that would typically get rid of Lyme in a month to a year has worked on me. The only medication she’s put me on that’s had any effect was the stuff they use for opiod addicts, and that gave me a paranoia and hypersensitivity-inducing breakdown so severe I was stuck under the dining room table for almost a week, unable to go into the living room because I could feel cars passing the house and able to smell when we turned the stove— the electric stove— on. Altogether, skepticism is high, as well as neurosensitivity. World’s worst superpowers of incredible hearing, smell, and the lovely ability to feel vibrations in the air from sound have been bestowed upon me, which makes it near impossible to be in a car for a long time. It’s a game of what will kill me first— my body or my restlessness?)
You know, we’d spend entire summers in the car. Up and down the west coast my family would go, looking for a better wave and some friendly faces. Sometimes we’d go to my grandparents’ in Colorado. Two months out of the year were spent like that— living out of our van, camping and getting hotel rooms when possible, laundromats and showers at new surfing buddies houses. My board was my religion, surf wax my frankincense, the sun-weathered adults my preachers, the weather app my Bible. I called the telephone poles crosses. I must have been 5 when we started, stopping last year. Before the disease. Did you know that I was so lonely as a kid I used to call the wind turbines ‘friends’? They were my guardian angels, a more constant face than any kid my age had ever been. I could never keep a friend, really. I had one from birth to age 7, but we drifted apart. I got another one when I was 9 and she’s still with me today, but the point still stands— I have one friend. She is my only friend. What do I do with that?
So I guess I just made more. Started a blog and met wonderful and brilliant people I’ll probably never meet in real life, and some that I will, if plans work out. Stared at pylons and turbines and reflective road signs in the dark until the blinking red dots looked like the eyes of angels and metal rods looked like legs. Those can be friends, too. Everyone I meet is a friend, which has to be a habit from the roadtripping days— you never know who will be willing to lend your family a shower or a hot meal. Most of all, we do not want to hurt each other.
I can’t think about it for too long without making me sad. I loved every damn second of it, and I still do, but maybe I should have had stability. Maybe I could have had friends. Up in my bookshelf, the halfway touched box set of Anne of Green Gables someone gave to me stares endlessly. Anne’s placid little snub-nosed face twinkles at me from the spine, tucked safely away in her House of Dreams.
If I think about it, it’s a bit tragic that I can fit almost all of my belongings into a duffle bag and a repurposed school backpack. The trick is not to think about it, I reckon.
All that time alone. And there was so much time alone, time to think, time to fall into a dreamless sleep where I could have sworn I never closed my eyes. All the while, we’re in motion, just going forever and forever on and on, summer after summer stretched before me like a ledger of restlessness and that’s when it gets me. That’s when it always gets me.
You know, I’m not the type of person that wants a whole lot. Maybe because I grew up around a bunch of stoned hippie Buddhists, thinking desire is the root of all suffering. Maybe because I never really had that much to begin with. Maybe because of no reason at all, just the little human bits in me trying to crawl out from where I tucked them away as a little girl, inside that fleshy pink under my ribs. Either way, it comes to me when I’m quiet and alone— this desire, this horrible, sinking, gigantic desire. I want plants that I never have to move downstairs for a neighbor to take care of. I want a place to decorate. I want a garden, and I want to but dishes that I use so much they never gather dust, and I want vinyls I actually get the chance to listen to. I want my House of Dreams. I want!
And it’s terrible and unavoidable and impossible, because I can’t stop moving for the life of me. I can’t stop to get possessions, I can’t stop for friends, I can’t stop for anything but gas and diner food once I start going. And it just breaks my damn heart when I think about it.
Well, I reckon the trick is not to think about it, isn’t it.
So I’ve been gone and am going and will go and when I finally get so tired of fun and games and good times and endless roads, I guess I’ll stop. But when I come crashing, who’s going to catch me? My one friend, with her college applications and her AP classes and her never-ending, self-inflicted stress? My parents, who made me into this ghost? My sibling and their roommates in the shitty apartment they share? Because that’s really all I have. That’s it.
So I’m sitting here on the damn floor in front of the half-full mouth of my duffle bag, scribbling this down even though we leave in under 45 minutes— well 15 now, congrats, dumbass— because when it really gets down to it, I don’t want to go. You tragic, sick little girl. Throw some shit in a duffle bag and grow up, grab your damn headphones, put the journal away.
I imagine a semi-circle of cops in my room. I imagine a lot of things. PUT DOWN THE PEN, MA’AM, one of them says through a megaphone. It’s like Gilligan’s Island in here all the sudden. I’m not a ma’am, I say to the cop. He’s in riot gear, about two inches tall. I’m not even eighteen. I’m not even anything. HOW ABOUT YOU PUT THE PEN DOWN AND WE CAN TALK ABOUT THIS, he says through the megaphone.
The cops vanish. They go because I told them to, because I wrote them out. A pen is a powerful thing, if you’ve got an audience. Who’s listening?
The notebook is the last thing into my bag. Everything is tightly zipped, including me. My friend once texted me a link to I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel. This is literally you, she said. Omg I LOVE Simon and Garfunkel ! I replied. I had no idea lmao, she said. Skull emoji. Not you proving my point. So, so tightly zipped. A closed fist with split ends, except when you hand me a keyboard or pen. Someone’s gotta know, I guess.
My mother is calling. Time to go.
July 29th, 2022. 11:43 p.m. Notes app.
stopping in ellensburg. not really stopping, not really in ellensburg— there’s a viewpoint we turned off at to get the dog out and switch drivers at. it’s completely dark here. the only light is coming from ellensburg, a few miles away, and the stars. must be a new moon or close. darkness veils the entire parking lot.
o god the quiet. o god the silence here is warm and comforting and staticless and windy and starry, like a pool in the night. no electricity for miles no other people for miles no other cars for miles. for the first time in months i can see the stars, like a boat on the water. i’ve run far enough away from my parents i can only hear the wind and Their voices are lost to it. the parking lot is empty of people and full like a womb— i can feel it’s heartbeat. i can feel it’s heartbeat. it smells like grass and empty and i can stay here. here to die. here to sleep i could stay i could stay i could stay. o god the light below and the dark around me. o god i could have stayed.
i am running i am cartwheeling. like i’m back in the circus again (i miss it there. i miss the rosin and the facepaint and the silks and tall ceilings.) and i don’t even feel that sick it’s like nothing bad has happened to me. you could make veal from the lack of weight on my infant bones right now. o god i could cry. o god i could stay in this infinite black. but They pack me back into a car like a jack in the box and drag me away so i leave my bones there hoping they’ll feel better.
July 30th, 2022. 4:17 a.m. Notes app.
They dont even know They dont even know! They dont know that i write or i talk to myself and They dont ive been using a keyboard for something thats not schoolwork and They dont know why i brought so many pens. its good to have secrets— its good to have something to yourself. my mother gives my entire medical history to anyone that she encounters for more than five minutes. its good that i have this just for me. just for me and the mirror. can you hear me can you hear me?
July 30th, 2022. 7:57 p.m. Pencil on paper.
As it turns out the Quality Inn in Umatilla, where we stayed last night, was right next to an empty field and an abandoned church. We must have drove past it when we pulled in, but it was so dark I missed it.
The car ride today was endless and monotonous, the same yellow field stretching on and on and on forever. We crossed the Oregon-Idaho border in what felt like twenty minutes, but really what must have been around two hours. And Idaho is Idaho. I think when I was like 12, I described Idaho as “potatoes and desolation” which continues to hold up. Everything is flat and yellow-brown, except for the black of the road. They must have treated it the same way they treat seaside roads, back in Washington— tar over gravel. Smooth from a distance, uncrackable, sharp to the touch. It would go on like that for miles, only broken by oases of gas stations.
We sit now in the gas-station-oasis of Bliss, Idaho— our resting place for the night. I’m alone, obviously. Nothing would be written if I wasn’t, but my parents are out for dinner, leaving me, the dog, leftover grocery store sushi, and a bag of Cheetos in my own private Idaho. It’s over a hundred degrees outside. The service keeps crapping out.
Worst of all I think is that we’re currently in a blackout, which means AC, water, and WiFi are all down, leaving me unable to escape the heat and unable to contact anyone, in case of emergency. I’m more worried about the dog than myself, but she’s been comfortably situated in the bathtub to stay cool, and the power is supposed to be back on by 9 p.m. It’s 8 p.m. now. The room is slowly getting hotter. I’m patiently ignoring my rising levels of anxiety.
The thing is that I am not a scared or anxious person. I’ve jumped off cliffs, I’ve gone joyriding in stolen cars, I surf and ride horses and I’ve kissed strangers and I’ve burnt down buildings. I used to cage fight and I wasn’t even bad at it. I fenced. I was a contortionist and an aerialist. I’ve been in holding cells two seperate times. I’ve died and been resuscitated more times than the average Supernatural character. I flew alone and internationally and got stuck 2,000 miles from home in a fancy hotel overnight and was fine, even though I had a panic attack in the airport. I was practically raised in motels, which is why I feel a little stupid. Girl, this isn’t the first time you’ve been in a motel, or alone in a motel, or alone in a motel during a blackout.
This feels different, even though it isn’t. Same shitty popcorn ceiling, same bad carpeting, same ancient AC unit that rattles when it’s on, same nothingness outside the window, same stiff mattress. This scene is more familiar to me than my own house, and knowing this blueprint is what I hold onto. The tiger is not in the room with me, because I know this room.
Trying to get online proves futile, due to the shitty service, so I sing to myself. I try and switch the old pop songs my grandmother used to sing into a minor key, making every note I can flat or sharp. I sit in the dark of the bathroom with the dog, who hasn’t even started panting yet. I eat my grocery store sushi. I sing another song. It’s a familiar routine— I sing to myself when I’m alone, almost always, quiet enough that anyone in a surrounding room can’t hear me, loud enough that I don’t think about the bad things that could happen.
Nancy Sinatra. The tiger is not in the room. Dusty Springfield. The tiger is not in the room. Ella Fitzgerald. The tiger is not in the room. Julie London. The tiger is not in the room.
The power snaps on again and the tiger retreats a little bit. I can feel her eyes on the back of my neck. I didn’t eat enough, and I’m hungry. I’m hungry and she’s starving. She doesn’t exist. I need to shower before my parents get back from dinner, and I need more water and more sleep.
Outside the window, Bliss continues, endless and dry and dusty gold.
July 31st, 2022. 8:24 p.m. Notes app.
moab, utah. ate some mediocre thai food— rice noodles were too thin and undercooked. beautiful man in the motel lobby called me pretty. i almost cried for him. for his death. there will be mourners for this stranger. he is loved and you can smell it on him like fucking nicotine. he’s got lovers and best friends and people that miss him— a life. and his funeral will have a nice, semi-expensive coffin that his parents pay for, and people will cry and say he’s in heaven and he died too soon. fly high, angel.
can you do it too? can you also see people’s lives like that? when you look at someone, do you read them like newpaper— smokes, never done any other drugs not married but has a serious girlfriend, mountain biker, would like to spend more time on appearance but self-concious about being a tryhard, good relationship with parents. i can see it. i feel insane. i feel invasive, but justified, almost, because i don’t know these people and i can’t use this information against them. justified because i’m bored and lonely and too smart and can’t help it but only because i’ve never tried to stop myself.
you wicked wicked girl, you.
August 1st, 2022. 6:26 a.m. Notes app.
thoughts on jesus
there is two things we know about jesus: that he will die, and he will die for your sins. since 'your' is used in a general way, it means jesus would die for anyone and everyone's sins. since jesus dies, he is dead from the beginning, but only partly, because of the whole ressurection business. these are the only two things we know about him, truly.
if jesus really dies, then that means he's dead from the beginning, and if he's resurrected, that means he's alive from the beginning. either way, it means that jesus is simultaneously dead and alive throughout the whole bible, which fits the bill of hypostatic union, or the idea that jesus can simultaneously be a normal man and god at the same time. he's everything, he's nothing, he's devalued the idea of life and divinity to the point where none of it matters, he knows, he doesn't know, he's the apple that eve ate, he is eve, he's the serpent, he's adam. he exists as both abel and cain. either way, no matter his status in existence, it begs the question: what does jesus have at stake? he could die for your sins a thousand times because he'll never die, which is because he was never alive in the first place, so did he really do something that extraordinary, or was he just in the right place at the wrong time? he could die for your sins a thousand times because that is the way it's written-- jesus will always die, and then he'll live, which means that he might not have become his true hypostically unionized self until the resurrection. but the resurrection was always going to happen, meaning that he was always a hypostatical union. if this is true, it means that time exists simultaneously-- the past and the future don't exist, there is only the present, but the past exists because we carry it within us, and the future exists because we made it up and also because we carry it around us, which is to say that if we never imagine the future, there wouldn't be a future. if time exists simultaneously, then it means that jesus really had nothing at stake because he would always be in a constant state of not-dead. ouroboric.
if jesus had nothing at stake, it begs the question: did jesus know? did he have faith in his father? if he had faith in his father, does that mean he went passively into everything? if he knew he would die, did god really give us free will?
August 1st, 2022. 7:38 p.m. Green ink on paper.
Made it to Pagosa. The drive hurt— driving hurts more and more lately. Too much vibration. Colorado, I think, is a big state with a lot of small roads.
The land continues to be empty. Utah and Colorado are a different type of empty than Idaho is— every state has a different empty. And a different smell, too. Washington smells sweet, like hot pine needles on peat. Oregon smells like dead grass and dried river mud, and it goes on and on. Colorado smells like rain and asphalt, and the emptiness is scrubby, gold grass with patches of sage and low-to-the-ground pines. Smooth hills roll into sharp cliffs. Plains and plateaus extend endless.
I miss what little I remember of my great-great grandmother. It’s rare to meet one of your relatives that far back, I know, but my dad’s side all had children young and died impossibly old. So my great-great grandmother was alive until I was four, and then she wasn’t and her horses went to one of my uncles and her heirloom tomato plants were given to her neighbors. I remember the tomatoes— she got about six bushels of them every summer. Big ones, too. My sibling and I used to eat them like apples and listen to her stories, whenever we made it up to the Southern Ute reservation. I wish I remembered them. I wish I remembered her face. All I rember is how Jesus lived next to Hahgwehdiyu on her wall, but most importantly, her god was her tomatoes. She gave to them and they gave back to the whole neighborhood.
I don’t know why I’m saying this. I just see all this empty land and it reminds me of the res and her and someone with rough and gentle hands putting my toddler body on top of a horse. There’s a lot of things I wish, but mostly I wish that she’s riding horses and running fast wherever she ended up. And I want to be on horseback right now. All that empty space means everywhere to run. Anywhere to go. And we passed through Arriola too, with the weird horse ghost towns (no people around, overgrown yards, dilapidated buildings. The only signs of life were horses grazing in the gardens.) and I could have gone through the streets unto eternity and lived off of grass and dirty water and live there forever.
I think I mean to say that I feel that somewhere inside of me there is a beast, some sort of creature, and it wants to be let out. Maybe it’s my soul or ego or something, but either way, there is something with teeth and hot breath and claws that wears my body like an ill-fitting suit. I think I mean to say that I don’t feel in control of myself. I think I mean to say that I can feel the hand of God, giant and unforgiving, moving my limbs like a marionette that was factory-made by angels. I think I mean to say that I don’t know what to do in the face of desire.
I think I mean to stay.
Pagosa is full-bellied. That is the only way I can describe it that makes sense— full-bellied. Other potential descriptors: high self esteem, clean but messy, content. It’s the perfect setting for a horror movie, aside from the fact that nothing terrible will ever happen in this town. Sure, individual tragedy will happen, but there is no evilness, unless you count the indifference of the universe like a wall on a highway or a fist in a crowd. I need a little evilness.
I’m in my room, sitting on the bed. I’ve started to despise cuteness more and more. I want to destroy every perfect thing to make it beautiful. The beast-soul agrees.
The bed is massive and white. Like a wedding cake. Is there anything more to say? What’s going to happen if my soul really is an unstoppable force and my body is an immovable object?
August 1st, 2022. 11:34 p.m. Notes app.
they say that the beat poets celebrated the idea of spontaneous creation and challenged the mainstream culture which is to say that a sick teenage girl can be a beat poet too even if she wasn't alive in the sixties but because her memory never lasts long enough for creation to be anything but spontaneous and because the illness makes her paranoid enough to question everything she sees especially if it's part of her current reality she is a beat poet despite lacking rhythym oh god knows she can't rap even if you held a gun to her head but maybe she plays an instrument and makes the ticking of the clock that times the period between which medications she needs to take her very own metronome so maybe she's got a bit of rhythym and maybe she writes like ginsburg in the sense that her writing never takes a breath ever not even for a comma which means that maybe it's just one long run on sentence but it does it's job which is to say it makes you feel like you can't breathe which is to say that maybe poetry is a form of empathy and maybe this teenage girl is just trying to see if someone else gets what she's been feeling all along this sick and strange involuntary breathlessness oh does it crush your lungs too?
me reading ur work : oh this is fine
me really : being tempered like chocolate
holly u r so insanely talented i feel like im eating live wires