stuff left over


(… Gratitude journals are for the weak.)

I am so happy and grateful….. you pile trash outside the apartment complex, your junkie delusions, your cutting of limbs, of branches. There’s old furniture in the laundry room, a table beneath the mailbox piled with junk, old computer keyboards, and pants? Were those old clothes? The vines growing up the brick, termites in the wood, an old BBQ pit, the vines beginning to wrap around – like opiate den, like why me lord? Like what have I bought myself into, this cheap apartment complex on 1.7 million dollar lot, slum raised cared of. 

So one sweaty night, a walk up north loop to the edge of Mopac, the bridge, past the scientologists with odd requests for stuffed animals, signs outside asking for donations. 

It was the way the sweat had built in my leggings, the way it felt trapped in crevices and caused the skin to rub awkwardly, so upon return, I threw it all in the dumpster. Every junk load pulled in off the streets and stashed in closets or beneath the stairwells, under the mailboxes, and even atop the boxes, the baskets and glass, the vines and everything.

Maybe you don’t care to live anymore, neither do I but if I’m going out, I’m going out clean – freshly shaved, bathed, – my belongings stored, labeled, boxed and packaged in their proper place, the finest clothes folded neatly. The underwear folded in tri, a three fold an ex-boyfriend showed me. The walls scrubbed and floors scented of biodegradable neutral oils, citrus and basil. The litter box cleaned and cats wiped down. If they find my body dead and rotting on this dank carpet, bikini lines will be clean, toenails and fingernails clipped, skin food lotion beneath the eyes and on creases of the lips, shoes put away, dishes put away, and lipstick carefully applied along liner lines. Mauve pink lipstick, the color of my fading cheeks, clean underwear, and — to hell with your junk trash state of mind.

Gratitude 2


– The shore was warm, the water cool to the touch, too frigid for swimming. The motel appeared lived in, as Co-Vid brought people homeless, brought them a life of transitioning and hell, gave them illness and lack of commitment. Co-Vid left us begging to be released. From night sweats to night terrors, we cried and crawled on our hands and knees across floors to bathrooms or to lovers for help. Had a fever topping hundreds, the aches and pains, the flu of dying. News channels perpetuated the fear with global warming, mass shootings, and further spread of Omicron, BA 4, BA 5, BS, and Defcon down.

Two shots to the arms and free to fly across country, to the northwest.

The motel dank but clean, the windows facing the breakers running parallel the runway of the San Francisco airport. Watching the planes land, the stars behind the fog and breeze. Feeling nothing but the desolation and freedom, feeling the need to never go back, to find a new peace. I ordered coffee and went for a walk along the broken sidewalk at the breakers edge. A sidewalk built across an older cement ledge. There could have been something there for me, another credential, another job, if I had the money to move. Take the Co-Vid unemployment he kept reassuring me the government would provide, even though this chaos was their idea.

Seaweed piles, a soft froth along the beach, people casually wandered in and out, masked faces: six feet apart. We still remain six feet apart, unless lying next to each, speed dating, Co-Vid desperation dating. This one led me to the northwest, to lofty thick forests of pine, to cooler air and hidden coves. Where the sea lions lie on beaches, flippers wet with ocean, sand beneath their overgrown bodies. They still lie in news media, create chaos and havoc, and wreck our minds with stupid. Only the strong survive.

We did not play cards, sit cross-legged asking each other questions with interest, have a cocktail, dip sushi, or feel as if we couldn’t live without one another. That teen angst and longing receded like hairlines and the tide.

I am grateful I fell apart at the end.