i poured all of my change out of a zip-lock baggie and found two crumpled dollar bills in my purse. my cash is always crumpled. i was on an amtrak train leaving albany. i had a pretty good buzz from the three shots of jim beam i had just to get on the thing, just to get to the station with the giant AMTRAK STATION sign outside that i stood and stared at for awhile, to really try and grasp the situation, just to pay for the ticket and walk onto the car, three shots of jim beam. i found the trains 'bar,' a tiny counter with a microwave behind it for the five dollar burgers. a teddy-bear looking amtrak employee stood behind the counter. he looked ready for anything. i wanted to know his secret. i looked for signs. an 8 x 10 sheet of paper was thumbtacked to a blank grey wall. 'spirits - $5.00' it said in tiny times new roman. i looked at the teddy-bear guy, 'so when that sign says spirits does it mean...' we both said 'whiskey' at the same time. i showed him my wrinkled two bucks and handful of change 'yes. that. thanks.' 'so where exactly are you heading?' he was looking me right in the eyes in that way you know is stronger than the usual way. how many times does this man ask that i wanted to know. i told him syracuse which was only half true. 'why not further?' he half smirked. the question hit my skull over and over again in my head like a drill sergeant. he looked at my ID and then back at me. why not further? i put my money on the counter, he said 'god you're adorable.' i thought about the million god damn stories i'd find working on this train. they'd be pure gold. the teddy-bear told me to keep my money, but to come back to the bar. i told him that wouldn't be a challenge but i never went back. i took the drink and sat in the dining car alone. there were six tables and a single person took up each one. two tables over a kid in glasses was reading a book with his ipod on through a speaker so everyone could hear it. the douche-bag had on some god awful version of that italian opera song 'con te partiro.' i wanted to kill him. 'you are a villain from a disney movie' i wanted to say. not even the cool kind, an anti-hero or a tarantino bad-ass. no, you're a disney villain with no interesting motive. directly across from me an older man with a skinny ponytail down the back of his neck right out of 'no country for old men' sat quietly at his table. i wanted to know him. when i walked in everyone stared at me, i felt lost. i was for sure very, very lost. i sipped my whiskey and coke. the train was moving and i watched out the window without ever really looking at what was on the other side. i had my brain for that. i'd never been on a train like this before and i wanted to know if that was weird. everyone on it was going somewhere. i felt foggy, i'd been in this fog for weeks. i wasn't going somewhere but i was moving, like the train was, moving just to move. my thoughts went in and out like shitty radio reception. they got hard and then very soft. they'd suddenly jolt forward, out of nowhere, like waking up from a falling dream. i took out my little notebook and a red pen. the other people were still watching me. the notebook might hide me. i hadn't written in a really long time, way too long, i remembered a story i was told when i was little about a woman i knew that had to choose between passion and safety. the woman chose safety, but i couldn't decide how i felt about her outcome. the open notebook sat there, adding another life to the train table even though the little pages stayed blank. it felt like halloween in my head. i sipped my drink, crushed the ice up with my teeth, i relished the melting whiskey crushed up cubes. i realized that i already knew the teddy-bear employees secret, in fact, i had the ready-for-anything look down to a T, it was the actually ready for anything part i wasn't so sure of.
- i'm in panic
i see panic
it isn't something you just feel
its every single thing ever
in one place
i can send you that song i told you about if you like
i just put it on and i shouldn't have, i'm hiding in the bathroom with the door locked
i can't breathe even a little
i can't breathe even a little
what is outside this bathroom door,
what is life what is it? i dont mean it the way they do in those videos
that they play for adolescents, i mean it like the panic i mentioned
who are we to have any choices ever when we all know its not up to us, really,
how does anyone ever know what it is to really want or anything at all, fucking anything?
where do we go when we go?
look i'm going to send the song because i know i should give it to you
but i am afraid it wont be what it is for me for you. i am babbling i am panic.
-may i ask you something?
yes , always.
-you'd probably punch me in the face if i was next to you
-is there anything in the bathroom that is pretty?
-god. just the song, i guess. that question just helped me breathe, a little, it was a good one. do you remember that three wishes song? if i had three the first one would be that you would know how gorgeous everything that is you is.
-that is a word, i think.
-yeah, panic backwards.
- god damn. you're so good
it also means something, spelled different
'synapse' i feel like it means the jist of a story i think or,
oh wow i just looked it up. --- "In the nervous system, a synapse is a structure that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell (neural or otherwise). The word "synapse" comes from "synaptein", which Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and colleagues coined from the Greek "syn-" ("together") and "haptein" ("to clasp")."
my god. "to clasp". i only recognized the word from all the doctors.
- i'm here.
to clasp. the song is on now.
- i have had it for awhile, i put it on a mix and then left it on while i showered. i heard it from inside and i came right out and walked out into the living room with water dripping off me, nothing was dry, no towel, the water was still running but i needed to get out there. i had to feel it for myself as close as i could, i couldn't believe what he was saying and how it sounded when he said it, i couldn't believe anything, i kept it on repeat for at least two or three hours. but it's hard to show someone something that is like that. especially because i think things are always debted to timing.
- that is a good way to put it, debted to timing.
god, the way you spelled panic backwards for me, the way that it is c-i-n-a-,p the way this sounds like synapse, the way a synapse is essential to neuronal function, to give signals and pass them around, the way my synapses work, or don't work, or criss-cross, both fast and slow, i want to hold my neuronal functions in my hands and squeeze really hard, throw light against walls and make a sound, i want to crush it the way it crushes me. the way that i am sitting on this bathroom floor pretending the air in here is warmer and just making you listen and listen. listen, the organ in this song, it's both fast and slow too and i still can't breathe, why cant life be like a song.
they used to use organs in church but they were all fucking wrong about it.
why didn't they do it like this? if they had done this i'd believe in god by now.
-i think we'd all believe in god and maybe ourselves if people could see this, that this is what should be done, like when we are little and even when we get big.
-little is done for.
everything is done for.
do you know i know you're a poem?
- because when i'm around you or talking with you i'm in one and you make me feel like i am one. thank you for the poems i am sorry for the panic i am sorry for organs in churches i'm sorry to go now, to just leave to never say everything i miss you.
at 3:30 PM
1. i just spent ten minutes examining a chamomile tea bag. i did, honest, i played with the tea leaves in their skin, moving the tiny pieces up and down like sand in an hourglass: ba-a-ck and forth. i touched the silk tea bag so lightly with my fingertips over and over. our fingertips are the second most sensitive body part to touch, after our lips. naturally.
2. i licked some drops leftover honey off the polished ceramic rim of the mug with my tongue and kept the little tiny golden crystals in my mouth.
i pretended i was god.
3. i watched the water boil and then bubble loudly til it settled down and grew hazy and calm and ready for anything. i thought about the future but i did it very carefully. very carefully. i came up with nothing.
4. i soaked a chamomile bag in cold water and pressed it to my belly and on the inside of my thighs and wrists, my ears were ringing, steady. i don't think they ever stop. i wondered what sounds deaf people hear, like is there a static? are there ghosts? of course, there are ghosts, of course. the water became air and i envied it, i watched the steam. i put the tea bags on my eyes and thought about time but i didn't do it carefully. not so carefully.
5. ten minutes, sixty seconds each, were just fucked by someone who didn't really love them. they call this rape. 'non-consensual sex'. those ten whole minutes were gone now past the beginning of innocence and past any sort of growth or understanding. there was never a moment of consent or of wonder or grace or of love. i put on that one song about slowing down and i laid down on the floor. in fifty minutes it will be an hour and all i'll have is this tea and the ten minutes and i will be completely negated and de-virginized and dirty, maybe there'll be proof but i doubt it, i have to doubt it. the ten minutes and i are tired and if we're being honest we are really melancholy and a little lonely but we are not crying. the ten minutes and i smoke cigarettes and blow the smoke all around and i want to give them some of my tea tea but i know it won't make a difference, after everything that happened.
'you're finished' i say from the floor out loud to no one at all. there is nothing.
at 7:13 PM
look i've never, ever had a nose bleed my whole god damn life and that is why i'm here, at your house, knocking on your window. don't look at me like that, all confused like. i'm here so you can fuck me up and you know it. you knew it as soon as you looked me in the eyes. i'm here so you'll hit me in the face really hard, black eyes, fat lips, you know, but listen, god damnit, do it right. hit me perfect, make sure you really fuck me up good. i came here so you could help me show a little blood and i know i could do it myself if i wanted to, sure, but whats the fun in that? again and again? it gets boring, so i'm here to ask you to do it because i know you will and i know you'll do it so, so good.
at 5:44 PM