electricity

I have a long list of lovers
I consider in the hindsight
of nostalgia.

I think about the tiny moments
that are shared between souls
when it feels like
the rest of the world fades away.

I am the star
I my personal collection
of romantic scenes.

Drunken bare feet dancing
in spare rooms of rental houses
with only Sinatra on vinyl filling the room.

Maybe it was on the shore of Lake Michigan
under the peeping eye of a full moon
and waves crashing at our feet.

How about when it was singing a duet
in a trashy dive bar outside of town
in absolute, perfect harmony.

What if its how the Beatles
always remind me of his stupid fedora
and how he was always a performer?

Perhaps it was the first one
and lazy rivers on summer days
with first loves’ first kiss.

I can list every way
they were all wrong for me
but nostalgia doesn’t work that way.

I replay the reels
of my comedic tragedy
that has been my love life, thus far.

And I wonder if it’s possible
for that sort of thing
to always be present.

Or if all relationships eventually stagnate
and fall victim to the drone
of everyday life.

And if thats the case,
I prefer the electric moments,
however fleeting.

 

 

 

 

auspicious winters

The hour between 4 and 5
in January
in Michigan
is my favorite moment
of everyday.

If the suns out anyway,
because if we’re blessed
with a clear sky in winter,
at 4 o clock
gold kisses the naked trees
and radiates from buildings
in contrast
to elongated shadows
drifting lazily across the ground.

I get caught up
in the distraction
of lifes necessities
and I forget
what I’m supposed to be doing.

And then it’s 4 again –
For a moment
those auspiciously stubborn
naked trees cling to their gold
and allow for time
to stand still
so light can dance
a little while longer
anticipating the length
of summer
and the warmth light shares
when it rules time.

 

cowledge

I forget my headphones literally every time I have to go to class.  The last 3 times I’ve been on campus, I have bought new headphones just so I can leave them at home again because past Jen, is an inconsiderate ass hole. I have 4 pairs or working headphones and one would assume I’d have the gumption to keep a back up in my purse, and my car, or maybe in my coat pocket but apparently my past self doesn’t consider the needs of my future self.

I graduated college in 2011 at the ripe age of 21. My degree is in film and literature studies and I think it sounds cool but I never really did anything with it. I more or less picked it because I thought it was interesting and it came easily to me for the most part. I didn’t really challenge myself in going to college and in large part, approached it like high school and essentially bullshitted my way through school by taking art and English classes. I don’t want to suggest there isn’t value to the liberal arts nor do I want to say they’re easy. I think certain disciplines come to people easier than others. I still can barely add. Creative bullshit comes easily to me and sometimes I think it’s actually pretty good.

I’ve always been a person of many curiosities and passions and I have never really known what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I picked an arbitrary degree that sounds interesting but was also a big waste of $50,000. I’m a huge supporter of further education because the most important things I learned in college, were not necessarily in class. I had the same problem then, as I do now and past Jen wasn’t considering the needs of future Jen.

Seven years later, I elect to go back to school, this time in something a bit more practical and probably not as fun as film – computer science. It’s strange going back to school because the vast majority of persons in my class are fresh out of high school. I feel like the old person in class (in spite of there being a few older pupilsisn’t that an awful word, btw?). Yesterday in my Java class, a student went up to the professor and told him he already learned in Java in high school and knew everything. The professor laughed and said he was glad he knew everything and could teach the class. Then he said, “Just kidding, I’ve had people say that before and they end up failing my class….” 

I don’t know what that kid was hoping to gain by his omission of knowing everything. I like how teenagers and young adults speculate how important high school is.

I suppose I’m taking my education more seriously this time around. I don’t know if it’s because I’m paying for these classes and understand the investment I’m making in myself to build a better future. I certainly didn’t think this way when I was 18 – 21. My mindset then was this is the next step and also there are no parents so I can do whatever I want. Now, I value that I’m learning a new skill set that’s going to open up new doors for me and I care about understanding those skills and how to perfect them.

In retrospect, I wish I would’ve waited in going to college, but maybe I never would’ve gone at all, if I didn’t just do it right after high school (maybe past Jen isn’t a total jerk). I certainly would’ve been smarter in what I chose to study, even though I don’t regret knowing about film and literature on a deeper level. There’s certainly something to be said about cross-discipline knowledge that allows a person to breathe new life into something or see from different perspectives.

I kind of feel like I’m in the twilight zone at school though. I’ve been talking about going back for years and I’m finally doing it. It’s sort of the same as round 1, but it’s also a bit different. Today my professor told us he wanted us to text him if we’re going to be late or miss class. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like that’s weird. I can certainly understand sending an email to say you had some sort of an emergency come up, but why a text?

I’m at the student center and I had a crepe from “Freshens” which is a smoothie place that was in my university 7 years ago. There’s a grand piano and some man is playing it. I don’t think he’s hired to do it, because he’s just wearing regular clothes but the music is a nice touch. He makes mistakes and restarts the phrase but when he gets in his groove, it’s wonderful.  I don’t know if anyone else is listening to him play. Everyone is talking on the phone, in a group or has headphones on.

I suppose if I had remembered my headphones today, I probably wouldn’t notice the piano man and his beautiful songs. I like when life gives you these sorts of treats when you’re in exactly the right place at precisely the right time. You get the opportunity to hear a piano man fiddle around on a piano. In a way, past Jen was thinking about future Jen because this is nicer than my nonsense music (JK, I have excellent taste in music).

That’s it for today, friends!

Update: Someone else is playing now and they’re incredible. This is a perfect hall to listen in.

coffee shops

Coffee shops
act as my sanctuary these days
because I’m hopelessly addicted
to the smell
of the coffee shop.

I like when coffee
burns down my throat
like I’m drinking
molten lava.

It’s sort of how whiskey feels
when you drink that
on summer days
by a river
with the smell
of lake water
perfuming your hair.

I like when coffee shops
only play jazz on the radio.
It perfectly encapsulates
the hustle and bustle
of making coffee
but it’s also pretty chill
because you always have
a few minutes
for coffee.

I could live in a coffee shop
but not like a Starbucks
but like the grimy shop
that was in my college town,
before gentrification took over
and the building became whitewashed.

It was the perfect place,
with turquoise walls covered
in art that was found
or from local artists
selling their labors.

The concrete floor
was carpeted with
rugs that looked like Persians
but were probably not.

Sometimes they’d play jazz
but sometimes it was punk rock
or classic rock
or something kind of weird
and
you just wear headphones
on those days.

It sits on the corner
of a busy street
and you can sit and watch
the cars go by
and look at this church
across the street,
that makes even churches in Europe,
a tiny bit jealous
because  it’s a stunning display
of Renaissance architecture style.

Once I snuck into the church
because I Just wanted
to see the inside.

It was amazing inside,
and a guy sang to me
some hymnal I wasn’t familiar with
and to this day,
I think that’s the only time
that sort of thing has happened.

I was trying to see the organ upstairs,
but the singing man said I wasn’t allowed.
I knew that already,
but rules are meant
to be broken sometimes,
because you have to live a little.

But it’s easy to claim ignorance
in situations like that –
Some people think
rules are more important
then they really are.

Even today,
sitting in Starbucks,
inside a strip mall
I can still think
of sitting in that cafe
where I discovered
that I too,
am pretentious about coffee,
looking at that beautiful church
an its orange brick.

The coffee shop
isn’t like that anymore.
they cleaned it up
painted the walls white
and made it another
place with the same
minimalist style,
which I like
but when everyone does it
it lacks personality
and maybe thats
what I really hate
about modern life.

hello 2019

{insert obligatory New Year Eve’s post}

Let’s set the scene before we begin. It’s 30 degrees outside and snow has covered the ground. I’m in the living room of my father’s house with the leftover vomit of Christmas and even the fake tree, looks tired. On the speakers, I’m spinning my latest obsession, Chet Baker. The lighting is cool toned because it is winter in the midwest which means it’s gray most of the time.

At the beginning of 2018, I lived in Florida. I worked in a call center, for a cable company wherein I got bitched at 90% of the time over things that are completely unimportant by people who insisted their remote, didn’t have a power button. I was consumed by TV and spent the majority of my time, sitting.

Florida will do that to you though. It’s very easy to fall into the endless lull of the summer sun. I chronicled much of my time in FL on my previous blog that you can read here if you feel so inclined.

It was necessary for me to move because I had been in a rut since college, I didn’t know how to escape from. I became directionless and wondering around life, waiting for something to happen. So I left and took an extended vacation in Florida.

I always felt time stood still in Florida. Maybe it’s because the seasons don’t change drastically or the lull of the waves crashing against the shore, but certainly an attractive slower pace. I started to die there, however. I thought I could probably maintain a decent enough life but that wasn’t really what I wanted. I never wanted an okay life, I want an extraordinary life. I suppose that’s a bit idealist and maybe somewhat naive but also, why not?

I think it’s freeing to accept we’re only here for a short time and as my old rowing coach used to say all ass or no ass,  I’ve been struggling with existential dread and depression for some 4 or 5 years now. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the realization everything matters while simultaneously not mattering at all. If it doesn’t matter, why bother doing anything at all but if it does matter, you might as well try to do something interesting.

That’s the thing of it, you might as well try to do something interesting. When I was a kid, I imagined myself on TV and traveling the world. I imagined all the adventures I’d have. I couldn’t wait to grow up because that meant freedom from subscribed rules I never wanted to subscribe to. It’s hard for other people to allow you to march to your own drum and I think most people mean it from a place a love. They don’t want

you to fail but failure is usually a good thing even if it sucks or is pretty scary at times.

I always felt I HAD to do certain things like I didn’t have a choice. It’s what everyone does and if I want to fit in, I have to play by the rules but honestly, it sounded maddening. It’s always sort of expected that you’ll go to college and then you’ll get some job and work your way up, you’ll get married and pop out kids and then just do that. No judgment if that’s the sort of thing a person wants but to me, it sounded like a death sentence. I remember having anxiety as a teenager as I inched closer to adulthood because I didn’t know I had a choice in these things. I just assumed at some point I would want these things and I kept waiting for it to happen but I’m 29 now and I still don’t. I still want my adventures.

I still get flack from people who love me, about wanting to be a tumbleweed. I am a people pleasure to a fault and it is very hard for me to accept listening to what I want and not talking myself out of it because other people will think I’m being silly/immature/irrational. Maybe I am all those things but also, who cares?

I struggle with having a purpose in life. I always feel like I’m supposed to be doing something else, but I have no idea what it is. People tell me to follow your passions but I have hundreds of passions and none of them are practical so… what do I do now? I don’t know why I’m here and I don’t know what it means that I am here. I expressed this to a former lover and he responded, but isn’t that liberating? If you had some predestined purpose, you’d have all these rules to follow and things to do, but instead, you can do whatever you want. I had never considered this thought and it was a bit profound to me although writing it out now, makes it seem so obvious.

I moved back to the midwest in July of this year. I moved back in with my dad and started studying software development at the local community college. I work at a grocery store owned by Amazon. I have difficulty accepting this season of life, as I see my friends who have really great careers going, are getting married or having kids. While I don’t want these things, I still feel a certain societal pressure that I should be in a different phase of my life or further along but I mean, I’m not really doing anything else anyway.

I think sometimes people sort of think life is like a checklist and once you’ve checked everything off, you’re done and then you move to Florida and call the cable company 20 times a day and bitch because you’re bored and you stopped living.

Once, I told a coworker in the call center I was just there until something better came along and she responded “yeah but really, what else is there?” and I just stared at her. I couldn’t fathom this mindset that a call center in the middle of the woods in Florida was all there was for me. I had made it and that was the end and then what? Just be consumed by the day to day monotony while flies pick away at my zombied eyes?

I suppose my New Years resolution is to work on trusting my own self more. I’m not following the guidelines that have been drilled into my head since I was a kid. Not everyone in my life is going to trust me in making that decision. Not everyone is going to understand it. But when I get to the end of my line and the Hags are deciding to cut my lifeline, I want that string to be full of knots of adventures, frayed areas of heartaches and failures and glittering moments of triumph and grandiose nonsense (because Leo’s like that sort of thing). Who cares, right? You get one shot at life, so you might as well just do what’s going to bring you joy and allow you the most fun because life is a lot of fun even if it’s kind of annoying sometimes.

Those are my thoughts. I’m about to go join a gym, have brunch with my bestie and who knows what else. Happy New Year, friends. Be constructively reckless and allow yourself to make some bad choices out of fun but be smart and don’t put yourself in danger (aka, don’t drink and drive).

synchronicity

A stillness settles around me
in the wake of the heartache
that follows the end
of a temporary affair.

It isn’t the end of days,
but I don’t know
if its better when
you know everything you did wrong.

Then again, I suppose
I might be addicted
to the thrill
of self sabotage
or maybe simply
standing in the way.

Maybe it’s the distraction
I’m grieving or maybe,
it’s the fleeting connection
that has been broken.

Don’t you feel like
taking off your skin,
wash it, put it back on
because maybe now,
it’ll fit better?

Isn’t it annoying,
discovering things about yourself
that sort of suck?

The thrill is gone
or perhaps it’s too constant
and has lost its appeal…

when the timings right
I’ll fall in love too easily,
but accept the synchronicity
of right now.

This is where
I’m supposed to be.

van gogh

My grandma’s house
was in the middle
of nowhere.

She lived
on the same plot of land
that her parent’s
had lived on.

With my grandpa,
they built their
own house next door.

They were
surrounded by corn
and her parents.

I always loved her house.
She had one of those rooms,
most grandma’s have,
the sort of room
you’re never really allowed
to be in,
except on Christmas.

That was were the nice
furniture was,
and of course
it was white.

Super practical.

Her house was always
nice.
It didn’t smell,
like
old people lived there.
She has style
sort of timeless,
but still sort of grandma-ish…

but the ceiling arched up
at every corner
and I thought that was
the coolest thing
ever.

A painting hung,
on the opposite wall
of this
giant window
you could see all
the corn from
and a big
wheeping
widow.

It was a painting
of flowers in a pot
and it sort of always
looked old.

Once I read about
Van Gogh
and had a surface level
understanding of
the sunflower painting,
I was convinced
my grandma
was in possession
of a real Van Gogh.

No one believed me.
I always thought
it was because,
they didn’t care about art.
or, maybe they didn’t know
who Van Gogh was
but probably
because I was 8.

She did not,
in fact
have a Van Gogh painting.
They weren’t even sunflowers
in the painting
that hung across
from the giant window
and the whipping willow
that peeped inside.


Those are my thoughts for today. Until tomorrow, friends.

goals

It’s December 3rd and, given the title, I’ve somewhat failed at my goal to write consistently for 30 days. However, I am accomplishing the result of wanting to begin the challenge and that is to write more, develop more consistency, try different ways of writing and seeing what happens.

It’s very hard to write every single day and I think more so, around this time of year. Sometimes, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Other times, there’s just nothing to say or rather, nothing that seems interesting enough to say. I’d have an idea, sit down and begin flushing it out and as I began to explore it, it gets to a point where even I’m bored with it.

Creating this blog, however, has been sort of like going to the gym for my writing skills. There have been many accomplishments:

Poetry – 

I started writing a different kind of poetry than I have in the past. I’ve always been a fan of free verse style of poetry. I’ve often struggled with my own poetry because I am not very good at rhyming in interesting ways but poetry is more creative than that, I think. Similar to how art doesn’t necessarily have to follow the rules to be art neither does poetry have to follow a distinct set of rules to be poetry. I’m figuring out my poetic  voice if that makes sense.

Short Stories – 

I’ve never written a short story, exactly. I have stories in my head, all the time. My mind works like a movie and I have scenes of characters in mind; I often wonder what happened before or after this moment. I struggled for years to figure out how to expand on these moments and make it a story. I don’t think The Ship is going to be the next Harry Potter, but it is in an accomplishment in writing it, learning from it and moving on from it. In college, I had a scriptwriting professor who said,

Write your first script. Fight with it, agonize over it and complete it. Then put it away and move on. Then read it a year later and remind yourself how shitty it was.

This has stuck with me forever because that’s The Ship. I’m aware of the literary holes in the story but I’m getting it out, it’s almost to the end and the next story is going to be a little bit better. You have to start somewhere.

Thinking –

I’m being more creative and thoughtful. Having this blog has given me things to think about and consider as I sift through ideas on what to write about. It’s allowed me to be a bit more of an active participant in the world around me because that’s where my inspiration has come from. I’m more investigative as I look for something to spark my interest or speak to me in any sort of way.

Goals – 

I have a lot of big dreams for my life and sometimes it seems overwhelming and daunting to think about them. This is a confidence issue for me, as to pose the question to myself you think you’re that good to accomplish this? and it’s kind of like well… maybe? It’s a terrible idea to always consider the grandiose and forget about all the other things that have to come together first, in order to achieve that. However, I’m learning to set small, attainable goals and seeing the results of achieving those and building on that success.

I was concerned I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say but the blog is proving me wrong. Maybe I do struggle to write every single day, but I am writing more now than I ever have. It’s been interesting to see as well, what sorts of posts get more attention, as I explore different ways to write. Overall, it’s been a good learning experience and I’m pretty excited to see how else I can grow the blog and which ways it will evolve over time.

Well, those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends!

 

depression

My depression
is like
when my skin feels
like a prison.

It’s boney fingers
clasp around my ankles
and drag me down so far
the only voice I can hear
is hers.

She’s a bitch.
She’s married to anxiety
and together,
we enjoy threesomes.
and then sometimes its like
maybe
this
is
fine.

I met her
when I was 13,
I met Anxiety,
when I was 16
but I learned
their name when
I was 23
and learned
what it meant
to be
numb.

Or maybe I was 20,
when the orgy between us
was so intense
that pain in my chest
and the pounding in my ears
put me to sleep with the terror
that I was going to die,
in the middle of communications class.

My depression
tells a lot
of lies
like panic attacks are fun
and everybody hates you

Meanwhile anxiety
likes to
remind me
of every way I’ve made mistakes
and all the ways everything can fall apart.

and then sometimes
it’s like
maybe
this
is
fine.

It’s like
my muscles
are atrophied
and I’m
unable to move
from my bed
because
talking to a person
sounds like
a catastrophe.

But then,
sometimes
this
is
fine.


 

Those are my thoughts today. Until tomorrow, friends.

the ship v

Another installment of The Ship! You can get caught up with parts I, II, III, IV!


It was decided at the meeting, that we wouldn’t bother the fully immersed until we knew what was on the rock. We decided we would send whoever volunteered, to investigate. I, of course, along with Ansel, chose to go. Opal elected to stay behind, she would continue the maintain the ship and monitor us. From there, another 50 agreed to accompany us.

We spent several months preparing for our departure while the ship meandered closer to the rock. Our androids continued to send back information about the planet. We accounted for every foreseeable possibility; we may not survive the journey, the landing through the atmosphere, how much power we need, the possibility of hostile life and the very reality, we would likely never see this ship again.

Our rocket was stocked and we were as ready as we could be. I was beyond thrilled but admittedly, even then I was scared about what we would find. What would life look like there? Would this place welcome us or would we be invaders?

We strapped ourselves in and began our initial checks. We would be in the rocket for several weeks before we actually landed on the planet. I didn’t want the ship to be pulled too strongly into the orbit of the rock, in the case this is all a big waste of time and resources. So, we set sail into the vacuum and set our aim on the blue and green rock before us.

Being in the rocket, was worse than the ship. There wasn’t anything to do, but wait and try not to let our fear and anxiety get the better of us. It was like telling ghost stories as kids, describing the utter terror of the unknown.

None of us had ever actually landed a rocket anywhere. Ansel and I had run through hundreds of simulations in our preparation but a simulation hardly compares to actually doing it.

Structurally, we knew the rocket would probably hold up through the atmosphere. We did not, however, know what we were going to land on. The ship would shake and rumble as it catapulted toward the rock from space. The exterior would catch fire in spots and I imagine we looked like a shooting star, crashing into the side of the rock, if anyone had been around to witness.

That’s exactly what we did, smacked down in, with catastrophic, cacophony of metal. I guess we use better brakes next time.

I don’t know how long it was before I heard Ansel calling my name and shaking me. I woke up, still strapped to my seat. His face was bleeding and my whole body ached.

“What is that?” I croaked through my helmet. My body felt so heavy.
“The gravity is a bit stronger than we expected but you get used to it. Take your helmet off,” he replied.
“Your face is bleeding,” I said, removing my helmet and cracking my neck in the process.

“What was it they said it that old movie? Just a flesh wound or something? He chuckled.

“How can you laugh and make jokes? What happened?” I asked.

“We crashed.” He said blankly and then “I don’t know how long ago, I’ve just come to myself. I don’t know if anyone else is okay or not.”

I began to unstrap myself from my seat and remove my suit.
“Can you pry the door open? Check on the others? I’ll see if I can reach Opal.” I said.

Ansel helped me to my feet. I was shocked to find nothing was broken but it certainly felt like everything was. Ansel went to the door and open the panel beside it to activate the manual latches. I got to work on the radio. My hope was minimal that I could get anything from it, the entire flight deck was dead but ideally, I could re-route power from somewhere.

The door from the flight deck creaked open.

“Oh…” was all I heard from Ansel.

“What is it?” I asked.

He said nothing and I felt something on my skin for the first time in my entire life. What was it? I walked over to him, his eyes locked on the other side of the door, a golden light was hitting his face. I have never seen light like that before and what was touching my skin?

I stood next to him and turned to see what he saw. A comfortable warmth hit my face as I was bathed in the same golden light. It was air on my skin. Real air for the very first time.

It took me a moment to realize the rest of our rocket had torn off and was scattered about around us. That explains why we didn’t have any power. I wasn’t expecting the rock to be so loud and quite at the same time. You would hear the air in the trees, as it whistled through. The colors you could see that are just here and not made by humans.

From a distance, we saw the passenger deck of the rocket. Around us, where tall structures that seem to fit in stark contrast to the wilderness that was working to consume them. These structures were old and falling apart but they jutted from the rock and touched the sky. They were all around us in various forms of decay. The ground was made of rock in many places, but green hair and leaves exploded from the cracks in the rocks. The green crept up the sides of the structures as if to lay claim to each of them.

“Well, we aren’t the first.” Ansel said, “something was here before.”

I didn’t say anything for a long time and just stared at everything before us.

Finally, I said, “Let’s see if the others are okay.”


Until tomorrow, friends!