I have been to the east in autumn. The air crisp, streets golden, leaves constantly falling. There isn’t much red or orange here. Not in the tones found on so many kinds of Maple trees in other places. This western desert shaded nuance. Instead, that color blue, intensity of sky into the horizon. A cloud becomes translucent. Some days I wander, and other days I walk. Scanning landscapes. Toward or away from stories that resonate. Imagine a violin that plays in a post-romantic fashion (like Beethoven’s innovative pre-romantic concertos). Or Prokofiev. Deep notes. Dissonance. Perfectly unexpected. A pressure against the inside of my chest.
Under my eyelids, grey. One morning rolls into another morning or the same. Blow dry my hair. Make an attempt. It’s better to look good. But I have never understood hair. What is good hair after all? And what does it have to do with the mystery of romance? Or contentment? Or easing life’s difficult situations? What about online dating? Where mysterious men linger. They are beautiful and exist inside their minds. I digress. Sexually transmitted stress. Virtual. Literal. Good hair or bad. And this has nothing to do with the color of the curtains. I bought those at Walmart. It’s the first thing I see when I open my eyes. Whether or not I decide to get out of the bed. A certain mentality. Pinching pennies or looking for dates at the virtual bar. The curtains are a bland gold color, believe it or not. A dull sparkle. Lackluster parade. Men with slick hair run the world. I’m just talking out loud here. The answers that lie in the neatly tangled coiffure of man-brain somehow twisted away from the ordinarily accessible. Political men. Business men. Online dating men. Forget the blow-dryer. Crawl back under. Read a book. Disappear. Obviously a metonym. They remind me of you.
I am reading about Ebola. About insecticides. About the chemicals used to make grass green and fluffy. I am reading about bombs and dead children. I am thinking that I like the grass brown in February. There should be snow but since there is not I’m enjoying the grass reminding me of the desert. A self-imposed caravan led me to the Midwest. Over some months. Sun on the brown grass. Thinking about people who believe in Billy Graham. Women are the second in command of the world. Second out of two. How many women have pinups of Billy graham above their beds? Deflect power while pleasing themselves. Some men use body space as power, arrange their bodies accordingly. Some men use monosyllabic words. Some men are in charge of our country. Some men in charge of our country are killing people in other countries. Some men keep history going. Some men haven’t read any history and so keep repeating it. Some men prefer to wear t-shirts to be political. Some men are only political. Some men don’t know about the delicacy of sentences and the structure of many sentences together in a paragraph and paragraphs together that offer something to the world. Some men continue taking up as much space as possible. Some politicians cause noise pollution as well as space pollution. Some cause mothers to kill their babies or kill themselves. Some mothers listen to Billy Graham. Some folks don’t understand how words are put together to mean anything. Put words together. They will mean. And you will see.
Of course, there are other stories. Beside Ebola and global politics and power. Please turn to Chapter 8 for more on this before you are disillusioned. Though aren’t we all. I’m afraid no chapter will make any difference in that regard.
Nostalgia Interlude: I know where your shadows lie and how to stand away from every inch of your voice. At some moment you will look for me and I will have moved to another square, calling your maneuver into question. For so deeply I fell into, and could not retaliate with words. Until now. Having relocated your scents to more useful places, conjure you at will, clearly intending to expose the scales of your flaked and failed sentences.
Schoolchildren can generally compose delicate and fanciful lines of poetry. I have seen it. On Saturdays, when the sky is perfectly clear, the traffic seems to stop for a time while notice is taken. At this hour of an evening, however, even the phone rings a little more slowly. Someone earlier thought they had called the wrong house, but I convinced her I was the one she was looking for. After some discussion of the issue, we agreed to meet for lunch. This is one way to get dates. The other ways will be published soon in my new book: getting dates without leaving the house. And there is not one internet gig included in any of the 346 date-encounter possibilities.
The only leaves these days, leftover, never having fallen, are brown. Multiplying socks becomes impossible. Hoping and avoiding at the same time the early moments of a Monday. It is hard to tell which is more dreadful: the beginnings or endings of spaces between days. I try to make it blur before the onset of definition, yet somehow granules of instant rise up and pinch me unaware. By the end of these days I will have forgotten your name completely. Until then, you rub inside my wounds, and giggle.
The shivers on my skin, a late hour, months running out of daylight. The clock gone wild. I wear special teeth, hoping to sink in thoroughly. But I am beginning to come around. This is not a tale of cryptic violence. We are all much more than that. Remaining on the silvery side of the clouds, I will come out the better person. Reciting hopes and wishes for the best of your health. For the best of your desiring intentions. Cannot hear your reserved speech. A tale of longing after all must include some element of the generous, some sort of altruistic sorting of detail. A bettering of what otherwise becomes the indescribable.
Jill Darling has published poetry, fiction, and creative and critical essays. Her books include (re)iteration(s), a geography of syntax, Solve For, and begin with may: a series of moments as well as the collaborative chapbooks with Laura Wetherington and Hannah Ensor, at the intersection of 3 and The First Steps are the Deepest. Other work can be found online at sites including Something on Paper, The Quint, Ethos Review, Hybrid Pedagogy, How2, Aufgabe, Horse Less Review, Two Serious Ladies, and Unlikely Stories. Darling teaches writing at The University of Michigan-Dearborn and lives in Ypsilanti, MI.