day 35: Tri
A triptych is a work of art (usually a panel painting)
that is divided into three sections.
“I’ve seen this one,” I say.
“In person?” He asks.
“In person, yeah.”
The title is The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch
and it was painted in 1490(ish)
“Can you believe his name is Hieronymus Bosch? Hieronymus Bosch.
It sounds like something out of an Eva Ibbotson novel.
Dianna Wynn Jones. Well, maybe not her. Someone like-”
“Where did you see it?” He asks.
“I don’t remember,” I say.
“It can’t have been London. Maybe Italy? I only saw those cartoons in -”
“Madrid?” He asks.
“Madrid. Can’t have been. I’ve never been to Spain.”
“Then you haven’t seen it,” He says. “It’s been there since 1939.”
He closes the Wikipedia tab.
“Hieronymus Bosch is a good name though. Want to go to a museum?”
“What, now?” It’s raining, although it’s always on the edge of rain in London.
It’s the only thing that feels like culture shock to me, in England.
Developing an understanding of the London rain.
I was told for years that it’s always raining, and I didn’t realize people mean it’s never raining.
There’s mist and constant drizzle and always puddles and holes in my sneakers that lead to wet socks.
But never rain.
Once, there was a lightning storm and we sat on my bed half naked to watch it,
Electricity forking across the sky.
The glass doors out to the small patio created a triptych I liked
Window blinds, glass door with skyline, glass door with skyline.
I don’t want to leave my house today.
He doesn’t live here, he’s only visiting and can do whatever he likes.
“Yes, now.” I’ve almost forgotten what we’re talking about.
“Don’t you want to do things? I feel like we’re always just sitting around when we’re not at school.”
It didn’t used to be like that before I started dating you, I don’t say.
I used to go places all the time. Like the zoo and the opera and the late night museum openings where I did my fingerprints at a forensics table and left so much oily residue that the man running it told me never to commit a crime
Walks to Camden along the locks, never actually took a boat, or did I
Social dances where I spoke to more people in three hours than I would a full week of school and
“I’m tired,” I say. It’s both true and not true and some other third thing.
“Try being twenty-five sometime.”
Sometimes he thinks this is funny and sometimes he does not and sometimes he looks at me with some other thing in his eyes that forecasts the day he will leave me.
“I think I’m going to head out,” He says.
The few times I visit his house, I am shocked by the walk.
Even if he never loved me or if he only thought he did or if he did, it’s a hike.
I think of him walking and me lying on my bed and school
the point around which our obtuse points triangulate and think of how words have multiple meanings or one or none or-
no my cabbage flower patterned sofa in my London flat
that I share with two roomates I hardly see but resent
Perhaps the feeling is mutual, I think, as lightning forks across the skyline in my memory
We three moved into a two-bedroom flat with a living room, after all.
Guess in which room I live.
The year is anything but quiet.
I can hear the animals eating through our food stores even now
Rat teeth clicking on corn
Bear teeth ripping into cabbage heads
Teeth I don’t even want to think about, dripping with the salt of the deepest sea water
And who knows what they make off with?
There is less food, we know.
And noises at night.
Speaking of noises at night:
One time one of the older fellows caught his ankle in some low-lying coast rocks
And he moaned, lowly, over the ripping of the tide and the whipping of the wind.
And at night, the gaping wound in our earth moans, like a quick broken ankle.
The children gather around, asking questions
Things that no one ever felt the need to ask aloud like,
“What is that sound? What do you think is down there?”
Before we moved to the coast, we carried these children in slings on our backs
Across terrain which would just as likely see you dead as alive
And didn’t have time to ask a thing.
Just kept moving forward.
In summer, the ocean waves destroy an entire row of houses.
One time I thought I saw a bird in a tree - blue.
I blinked and it was gone, quietly.
This was not like that.
A wrenching, grinding of jousts and metal bits
The supporting wall, clinging to the others like a leader line to fibers
And the loom spins backwards and everything unravels.
It is loud. I can hear it even as I put the final nail into our brand new food storage.
The animals don’t come around at night as often, anymore.
day 33: Revénge
This is some Count of Monte Crisco level bullshit.
An apple pie you can feel all the way to your toes.
I’m going to regret this later, on the toilet at 3 AM but right now I’m in heaven.
The neon letter E gives one last precious gasp and flickers out.
OK. Make that Heav’n.
Touch everyone, but make eye contact with no one. Or vice versa.
I put on new socks today and my shoes squeak with every gummy step forward.
A murder chorus of mice beneath patent leather heels. Squeak squeak squeak.
Would I like to dance? No, I wouldn’t.
What’s my name? I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.
That’s a joke. Or is it. I don’t know. Did you laugh?
day 32: down the green hill
down the green green hill
by the dirt dirt path
through the stone stone gate
past the snarled snarled hedge
round the still still lake
in the grim grim shade
of the gnarled gnarled tree
lies a cold cold grave.
day 31: a conservative ghost story
This is a ghost story.
It is also a true story.
There are some frightening images.
And an ending that makes them worth it.
When I was young, I felt normal.
Nothing about me seemed out of the ordinary.
I wore pink and ribbons in my hair
I was seen and not heard
and went to church on Sunday.
Just like you.
I played with dolls and dress up and make believe
And stepped on legos in the basement.
And was afraid of the dark.
Just like you.
One day, my sister trapped a tiny spider under a cup
And while I screamed “KILL IT”
She gently placed it outside in the sunlight. Of a crisp autumn day.
And I screamed “WHY DIDN’T YOU KILL IT”
and wore pink and went to church on Sunday
and learned the pledge of allegiance
and felt mostly normal.
And the shadowed things inside me sharpened their teeth.
As I grew up, I felt mostly normal.
I celebrated Columbus Day, and went to church on Sunday,
and pretended I was interested in chasing boys on the playground,
and stepped on small spiders because I was scared.
Just like you.
And the shadowed things inside me licked their lips and sharpened their teeth,
my what big teeth you all have
and swallowed me down whole.
We’re in the belly of the beast now, the very witching hour of night, when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world
facts made of fictions and fictions spun like so much fools gold
look at the birdie, look over here
while the sharp teethed beasts eat your life, your soul, your future over your shoulder
and we kill each other on their command, so they don’t have to
a graveyard of frightened things, stamping on each other’s happiness like so many
young children crying over the tiniest spider
but i’m normal, i feel normal
just like you
i’m just like you
i can put pink ribbons in my hair and dissociate through church on sunday
while a pastor thousands of miles away screams murder on my head in the name of nothing
and an army of conservative ghosts flood the frontlines
to give you orders and tell you where the enemy is - it’s them! it’s there! it’s you!
and i wear pink and play with dolls and kill the beautiful frightening things that
threaten a victory without a fear
a victory without conquerors
just a moment where we stand and i see you
and you see me
and you realize
i am just like you.
i am just like you.
and soft! i scent the morning air
the sun rises.
And the conservative ghosts which once haunted the shadowed parts of my life
Proved to be weak and insignificant, fearful, trembling things
Lies told to a frightened, grasping child
only ghosts, only specters that died shrieking in the sun
And were replaced by something brave, authentic, warm, substantial, full-fleshed
Something like this.
these days, i don’t feel normal.
i feel like me.
i wear whatever color i feel like.
and sleep in, my cat curled warm on my chest on sundays.
and i will live.
i will be happy.
just like you.
day 30: the nothing
There’s a pain in my right eye.
It’s been getting worse.
It could be nothing. Or.
When I was a kid, reading stolen chapters under covers
flashlight tucked under my chin or gripped between teeth,
keeping quiet when I heard my father climbing the stairs,
holding my breath as he switched off the hallway light.
Were such things here as we do speak about,
or have we eaten on the insane root that takes reason prisoner?
I click into WebMD. Where is the pain? I click head, then eye.
Add Common Symptoms (2). Eye hurts and eye pain.
It’s enough for a FAIR match. (5) Fair Matches.
Sty, Dry Eye, Acute Sinusitis, Pink Eye, Chronic Sinusitis.
What is left out: the pain gets worse at night, the flares around streetlights warping
even when I wear contacts.
After I weep, my eyes are drier than they’ve ever felt and stick under my lids.
I stare into nothing and the pain sharpens down to a point, until I can’t keep my eye open any longer.
Out vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now?
All dark and comfortless.
These days, scrolling stolen chapters under covers
iPhone gripped tightly in my sweaty blanket fort hand,
keeping quiet when I hear my mother climbing the stairs,
holding my breath as she pauses outside my bedroom door.
And the pain in my right eye gets worse.
It could be nothing.
***I wrote this about three weeks ago. Got diagnosed with an eye infection this week lol we are slowly healing.
day 29: JFK
I fell in love in JFK because there was a terrible windstorm and lightning
And our plane was delayed for over 3 hours.
We all had to get off then, because of some rule:
if your plan is delayed for over 3 hours, you must get off the plane
(i don’t know why)
It’s lucky, because:
A plane left right before we were scheduled to take-off
They made it out and we were next
And then we had the announcement “We’ll be returning to the gate”
People were fine for the first thirty minutes.
After that, it was all rising annoyance and pointed questions for the air stewards
And a baby crying and more annoyance
As if babies can help it, when they need a good cry.
Three hours isn’t that long, in the scheme of the universe
And I’ve never minded waiting
So I did some Sudoku and tried to listen a book on tape that I’d been meaning to read but couldn’t bring myself to focus on, and found that I couldn’t bring myself to focus on the tape either, despite literally having few other options
Maybe it’s the book, I thought, then:
Or maybe it’s just me.
At three hours, the person in the seat next to me was ready to mutiny
Talking about lawyers and refunds and an outrage
I distantly thought about this news story I read, about this plane that got struck by lightning mid-flight
and crashed… I think, somewhere over Portugal
Only one passenger survived, a young girl, whose row had gone into some dense shrubbery
And she walked away with only a broken arm
She walked, literally, away until she found a cloister of nuns
Was it nuns?
Who brought her to hospital?
Or maybe it was just a hospital.
I can’t remember.
Either way, I don’t worry so much
About outrages when the alternative is flying hazardously through a windstorm.
And after all,
if we had taken off on time
If we had chanced it, squeezing boldly through the burgeoning winds into the open air
I would never have fallen in love at JFK, with you
Standing blearily at a generic coffee stand, the sign fluorescently declaring
“I LOVE NEW YORK”
with a magazine under your arm and a caterpillar neck pillow cradling you softly
it's almost like an alternate life when i'd planned to finish this trek on day 10. i am only grateful and delighted about my decision to extend my trek a day. it means that i've gotten to slow down and look around on my walk today, which has been nice. waking up to the news of the overturn of roe v. wade was so sickening, it was almost a relief to get out on the road and spend some energy pounding the pavement. here are some thoughts (from the middle!) of day 10:
for you: we will keep fighting, we will keep organizing, we will keep pushing back against the facistic mechanisms of oppressive systems until we achieve liberation, equity, happiness. i know we will! i love you! and i'll see you tomorrow!
day 9: i want to give the person who invented the wheel one million kisses on the head
day 9 is done!!! done!!! this day has been looming over me for a few reasons: it was my longest distance day, the forecast showed rain, and i’m getting pretty dang tired lol. i’ll tell you all about what went down in this blog post! (excuse any weird formatting, im writing on my phone instead of my laptop - details below!!)
if you’ve made it this far in my blog, you get a special little piece of trivia! obviously, long island is 118 miles long. i have been telling everyone who will listen lol but - because of the interviews and the zig-zagging from here to there - my walk will be MORE than 118 miles…….HOWEVER! today, when i arrived at my final interview, i’m happy to say i hit the 118 mile mark of my specific journey since leaving brooklyn!!!!! i can’t believe it!!! keep that in mind when you leave your guesses on the total mileage……
see you tomorrow!
day 8 dawned with a lot of promise. i've been feeling trepidatious about day 8 (and 9) since almost the beginning of my journey because these are the two longest distance days of the entire journey! back to back! who planned that? let me at them! regardless, i started the day really well....and finished it crying on the side of the road in brookhaven. let's dive in, shall we?
as always: i will check in tomorrow! just in case: does anyone know any good bike repair shops in suffolk county? hit up my instagram and keep an eye on my story!
new creative challenge to write a thing a day. just a ten minute thing.