The Chair

From the thrift store on South
we lugged the old thirty-dollar armchair
past the late summer idlers
to the car, strapped it to the back
and carried it off to a new
seventh-floor dorm home.

It graced the corner beside the rug,
swirls of green and orange
velvet print made louder
under a cheap lamp, tamed
to a vibrant clash in the wash
of morning light,

its hideous brilliance forgiven
for the plush dimensions
and stout, loving arm rests.
“We might need a slip for that.”
My roommate upon one look at it

wrinkled her nose. I laughed
and we took turns sinking into
the ugly chair and throughout
the year outside the tall windows
the seasons changed. In the chair

quiet things were done —
brief naps, love letters,
books studied, poems copied,
written, read. By night our neighbors
came around, sat, made us
die of laughter. The marching band

boys waged war in the hallways,
and their hostages fled
to our room for safe haven —
all night the doors slammed,
hearts broke, alcohol ran.

Our wardrobes changed.
We hardly looked back.
And whenever I think of the past
I’m convinced it must still be
happening somewhere, somehow
on a distant fabric of time

the sun is still reaching into
all the corners of that room,
she is still translating Neruda
on the bottom bunk
under a yellow floral quilt.

And I’m writing about how
much I love that cellist
and if he feels the same,
cradled in the armchair
which we never did cover up
with anything pretty after all.

Advertisements

Footprints and Discoveries

Someone told me the other day that he had randomly encountered my blog while perusing the net, without even knowing my last name. And my first reaction was panic: which blog? what sort of embarrassing drivel about me can be easily found and read? What kinds of footprints have I made on the world wide web in my last ten years of internet life?

I did a search with my first name and location and encountered a few pictures,  my YouTube channel (lord, must delete that soon), the link to this blog, an interview, some articles, and years worth of funny quotes. Remember the days of Xanga? High school and first year of college, first boyfriends, endless instant messaging, belly-deep laughter, procrastination, crazy youth.

I spent all night last night dying of laughter while rereading all of the quotes we put up on Xanga our freshmen year of college, that year of music majors on 7J and unbridled insanity. That spontaneity is what I miss. Being young, living with crazy people, not giving a shit, making the wrong decisions, growing from them, meeting the right people at the wrong time, recording quotes because there were just so many things said that were worth remembering. There were so many unexpected lines. The first year of complete independence out from under our parents’ roof, still young but taking those first steps towards reconciling our egos and insecurities with the real world, with new people.

Among all the remembered conversations were also poems, a start of a long, continuous process of feeling and how I wanted to recognize those feelings with words –well-chosen words. Poems that I’d completely forgotten about. An age that I’d forgotten about. The years I turned 18, and 19. And the updates which back then were so banal, so un-meditated, and yet which constitute a considerable part of my life hidden in the virtual pages of an old, obsolete online diary.

My roommate Lauren and I shared a love of writing down things, remembering things, especially the ones that gave evidence to happy, had-to-be there moments. Real and unrepeatable moments. We harbored a life-long relationship with sound, shared a pair of speakers, admired Pablo Neruda, e.e. cummings.  There are some things that surprise and delight you when they re-surface in your brain; other things are just impossible to forget. Tact, joy, weightlessness in love, music.

There are times when I write more, and times when I don’t as much. That year it was non-stop, I devoured pages like I usually do when a sensation has been deeply ingrained in me, when a feeling is newly ignited, when a bit of pain or desire makes me remember how alive I am again.

 

An untitled poem, written May 11th, 2005

this where she slept –
where the fluffy yellow floral
comforter bore her abrupt naps –
this where day sprawled its
gentle face and the
broiling dark grey of dusk
and rainy days sought a
place in our room –
our room –
where out of habit we knew
which drawer kept our socks
and skirts and –
how the seaons did rotate
in our closets –
the mornings of her early showers
nights of quiet “petalling”
of our pens clicking of
keyboards or raucouses in
the hallway –
how does habit become
something you will miss
and forget as years erase them –
little things so crazily dear –
like the door snatching at the
sometimes-compliant rug
neighborly noises – her laugh and
her fingers when she
played