Of the Icebox

Words about stuff and sometimes things

Here’s hoping for all the places we’ll never reach. — July 14, 2019

Here’s hoping for all the places we’ll never reach.

I had a dream. Not the MLK Jr. kind of dream. One of those ephemeral, all-in-the-head video reels that plays out while we sleep. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember the dream. All I could remember was this specific longing to move to Wyoming.

If I was a fatalist or the type of person that believed in destiny, I’d have thought this was a sign. But I’m not that person. I haven’t been for years now.

I’ve never lived in Wyoming. Never in my life wanted to live in Wyoming but there it was, buried deep as if I had belonged once, in a previous life, to those golden, rolling hills set against those impossible mountains. I wanted to be swallowed by the endless skies and belong to the empty streets of some town that knows it’ll never amount to much.

And I saw, or longed for, or envisioned, or made up a place where you and me and that baby we’ve been promising to each other for a few years now all existed together and we were happy.

“Let’s do it,” you said when I told you about my misplaced longing.

You’re supposed to be the rational one. I’m supposed to be the dreamer. And now I find myself dismantling my own longing just to fill the role I expected you to play.

“But you’d single-handedly double the Asian population of Wyoming.”

“Sounds kind of charming and noble.”

“We wouldn’t have anything to do up there.”

“You could write.”

“In the winter, the wind rolls through the foothills with such force it tears shingles off the roofs of perfectly good houses.”

“We’ll get a house with a tin roof.”

“You really want to do this?”

And you smirk and I melt and we both know we’ll never move to Wyoming but now we share a misplaced dream. And just like our misplaced child, it binds something between us.

When the Face of Failure is a Flower — February 13, 2019

When the Face of Failure is a Flower

You were promised happiness. The salesman said he’d never seen an unsatisfied customer. Said any person would love your selection, 3 varieties of roses, 6 colors of daisies.

Flowers received. Flowers she said she never wanted because she didn’t want to have to watch them die. She didn’t want to be the one to bury them.

You were promised foolishness. You feasted on consumerist legends. You were convinced the woman was being disingenuous. Every woman protests but she secretly wants it.

She didn’t.

Someday you’ll learn to read the heart without a map. Until then, you’ll just have to learn to read the map.

Destinations made of tin — June 1, 2018

Destinations made of tin

I watched as words strangled. I listened as nights buried. I walked every route back to you but I was always a visitor. Forget the journey, it’s the destination I’m afraid of.

When they say it’s not about the destination, they’re trying to tell you that if there is such a thing as destination, they have never found it. They’re trying to tell you that you will spend your life walking, that stopping to take in the scenery sometimes includes building a house, that building a house sometimes includes pacing empty halls.

To house your sorrows, I have walked. To escape my own, I have built a house from dreams that hardened into corrugated tin sheets. Not my own, these dreams. Not yours either.

 

When I am silent — May 20, 2018

When I am silent

And you ask me where I am,

There is a red umbrella and a green raincoat and a naked sky and I walk inside these boots that never understood breaking in as a process and I keep asking myself if I am too full or too empty but I can’t ever tell.

And you ask me where I am,

There is a ball of letters and a history of abusive suffixes and I mention your name sometimes as a swear word and sometimes in sentimental revelation and I keep asking myself if you are too good or not good enough but I never have been certain.

And you ask me where I am,

There is a fuck you for anyone who claims they have figured me out and a fuck me for anyone who has and future disdain for a past self that required impulse purchases and self-help books to understand happiness and I keep asking myself if I have become a stagnant pool of grievances or if I have just begun to heal but I never can tell.

And you ask me where I am,

There is a small glass of tea and a large puddle of sugared love and my mind is dancing on the barstools because the tables were unsteady and I keep asking myself if others think I am strong or if they think I am insecure or if they don’t think towards me at all but I’ll never know for certain.

When I am silent and you ask me where I am, I smile politely as though you are a stranger, I grip your hand as though you are a confidant and I look away as though I belong to myself. It’s all very civil.

 

Tips for Proper Plant Care — May 5, 2018

Tips for Proper Plant Care

When you speak to the plant you must tell it that happiness is optional, that it can’t expect to bloom all the time, that one of these days you’re going to leave or it’s going to die or you’ll knock it over on the way out the door and it won’t be able to stand up again. And you won’t even know the damage you’ve caused until you come home that night.

When you speak to the plant, you must tell it that love is like the sun, you can never get enough until you’ve had it. And then you’ve had it and you aren’t certain if you’re melting from too much light or too little love. You ask the plant if it can tell the difference between a heat lamp that’s ten feet away and a ten million degree flaming ball of plasma that’s ninety-three million miles away. It might want to tell you that it’s actually 92,960,000 miles away and it’s that forty-thousand miles that makes a difference but it won’t.

When you speak to the plant, you must tell it that you’ve never been able to keep one alive, that you’ve buried two but mostly you toss them out when they start to rot or dry, or some variation of improper care starts to make itself manifest.

When you speak to the plant, you can’t expect that oxygen will be enough, that any words will do. You can’t expect that it will grow legs and walk away when you share a  story that causes root-shriveling agony. You can’t blame yourself for running out of words, for collecting large reserves of anger, for huddling in the far corner with a book and allowing the plant to suffer the wrath of your silence.

When you speak to the plant, you must remember where life started, that it was not in your arms, that you are not a caregiver, a life-sustainer. You are, have always been the steady, and your plant is just passing through.

Something you should know about the gypsy spirit — May 2, 2018
Forever Growing — April 29, 2018

Forever Growing

Between the two of us there are stories shared, built, hidden, treasured, forgotten, forgiven, forsaken. Stories to build a love, stories to fill two inexperienced hearts. Stories to remind us things are better now, we have made them better.

Hieroglyphed on the walls of my ancient cave — April 18, 2018

Hieroglyphed on the walls of my ancient cave

This word: Alone.

Every resting stop after has been a conscious turning away from that first home. Every commitment is a rebuttal to my understanding of where life started and where it will end. You can bury, you can bow, you can dig the word away. It’s fine to avoid. It’s fine to be afraid. It’s fine to create seventy years of distractions. But it’s not fine to want it. It’s not fine to prefer it. It’s not fine to cut it out of the wall of your cave and carry it like a mezuzah, ready made for every home you enter thereafter.

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