Sunday, September 9, 2012

you are a strange melody
following, following me
a puppy without a leash
down and down the
ladder
through the streets and the window
sills
you wag your tail
and graze my legs
settling like a stash of rags.

and oh my bones
how they yearn
for your song to take its turn
haunt me haunt me incessantly
to the grave of creativity
where i rise where i rise
oh you are relentless spies
picking out my hair, my clothes
old torchons and dictionaries
begging for attention.

a siren call in the snow
underneath the stone cold
so sad the passage of time
a tragedy engraved in rhyme.
so i wander through the streets
cobblestone, the scent of meat
postcards
peeling skins of history
tattered flags
my heart remains a mystery.

but you, my love, have never left
waiting for me on baited breath
a saint, a swami on the corner
with each return we greet
another.

please stay please stay
you do say
come back again another day.

and yet i part and yet i
part
and leave you with a broken heart.

my mind runs bloody along
the river and bleeds into
the muddy stones
gravity snatching it to drink
and licking all like an icecream cone.

and yet i go and yet i go
oh how cannot you love me so?
a phantom on the borderline
a wretch twisted reverse
through time

down the docks and between the
stairs
turned on their lovely hairs
speckled with the flesh of geese
left alone the world does cease.

and yeats and eliot comfort me now
left along the lonely plough
surrounded by a hulk of solitude
i do smile, and lie to you
and you
and you.

crowded among the lonely books
backs breaking, death with looks
aging, aging ever younger
above the bed, over the clutter
in this silent room with music
the beams of wood above
abuse it.

and yet i go, and yet i go...
torn between the world so.


a poem.


I have sat by the Buddha’s trees
And waited for the depths of night
In the engine room of reality
To come and save my soul.

Shall we go then, shall we go then
I do say
To attempt and sway
You to come along with me. 

On the streets and in the alleys
I have waited for your shadow
Been crushed by the weight of silence
with the fleeting echos turn. 

Along the seine, along the seine
i walk and wander, wine in hand
speaking of my fantasies
my artist heart to beat again. 

But you are coy--oh how you are coy! 
You tease and tempt with all your might
and i am left with none but air
and broken glass and fickle clocks. 

in the nooks and through the crannies
i hunt for you, ephemeral
but labrythine you ever taunt me
creep and crawl up through my spine. 

shall we go then, shall we go then
i do say
to attempt and sway
you to come along with me. 

i sing of love and a girl at war
on the picnic blankets of the shore
in dentist's chairs and libraries
in the musky scent of old book stacks
on the steps of the bridges 
under the rain of hallowed months
with bending, breaking umbrella backs. 

up the mountain, in the plane
over to the sea again
i flit and flicker through my days
searching for the endless ways
to stitch and sew you to my brain. 

but i am but a clockwork orange
ticking ticking ticking still
oscillating between high and low
between the segments of split personalities
do i stay or do i go? 

shall we go then, shall we go then
i do say. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

a thought

On grey mornings like this a breathless solitude washes over me. Today is a homesick day. An uncertain day. Today I feel like I have nothing to offer the world but a twenty something with little job experience, a mind with no other certain gift to society. Why is it that this century makes me feel like a commodity whose only value is what she produces for bigger, greedier, money hungry machines?

The job market depresses me, the state of American politics and society depresses me, and my sense of helplessness to change it depresses me. It is all so pointless.  I want to retreat into my words, this language called English that nobody around me speaks or understands, and create something of beauty, of wonder, that makes the world wake up and see what is going on.

i do not have job experience. but i keep telling myself to follow my pen, because my pen and my words have always worked, unfailingly, for me.

so my pen and i go forth on this icebox of a morning into the grey abyss.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Possession: Portrait of the Artist

There must be a well inside of me that has burst.

I have started writing and now I cannot stop. It's like I am a flooding river who cannot be contained, a dike in Holland that has burst and refuses to be rebuilt. I am absolutely manic and producing thousands upon thousands of words, and I cannot control them, they are not coming from me but someplace beyond my grasp, I am just a vessel.

I am writing in my head, characters are speaking to me, I am a woman possessed.

Proust wrote himself sick, to his death, him too a man possessed and writing, writing, writing all night.

I will finally profess and proclaim it, this thing I have never been able to admit to myself nor declare to the world:

I am an artist, and I paint with words.

Ut pictura poesis.

Thank the heavens I live in the country for whom the ultimate artist is The Writer.

il faut faire la po├ęsie comme la peinture. 

There is no going back now.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bullets to the Heart

     The last time I went ¨home¨ to California was in December. Winter in my hometown felt like fall in Paris, was no where near as cold as I remembered it. It was the day after Christmas and I was eager to see my family and my friends. Of all the things I have missed as an ex-pat, people are what I missed the most. You certainly fell into the category. I was impelled to take the long flight home with you at the top of my visit list. I had to see you; it had been so long.

       I was afraid before boarding the plane that I would somehow be different, unrecognizable to everyone back home. The changes were not merely physical, but invisible, hidden inside my being. I was hesitant, afraid I wouldn't know you anymore, but when you showed up on my doorstep and crossed the threshold into my family's house and smiled at me, a full body smile evidenced by your posture, I recognized the you I'd known forever: the you I'd known as a child, as a teenager, in college. The you I knew I'd always loved and loved still. You disarmed me right then and there

         When I answered the door, I felt as if I'd stepped out of Wonderland, out from behind the looking glass.  You saw me and through me simultaneously, the transparent remainders of the pre-France Lindsay you had known mingled with this new Lindsay. You hugged me and I felt safe in a way few people make me feel safe, but I could not deny that you were and are an emotionally loaded gun for me, with your hand on the trigger and the muzzle pointed at my heart. You cocked the weapon silently when you entered my home, threatening to tear through me with your bullets at any moment.

           The illusion, though, of thinking that I knew you still, was lovely. A beautiful drug, it is, the ability to deceive oneself. I should know. I did it for you for seven years. That night when you sat on my couch and talked to my mom and my stepdad and my brother, it was like I was seventeen all over again and wanting you to see what I was so convinced of: that we were it for one another, that we could work in the way I wanted to. I felt it so instinctually in my gut that I forced the illusion on myself until it became my reality. This is the power of an artist, to create stories where there are none and see patterns that don't exist, to create a fiction. My fiction was this:  all I had to do was wait until you outgrew yourself and figured the puzzle out on your own while I stood right in front of you with the patience of a saint.

             One day I gave up hope that you would unpuzzle it all. I forced you down to the place you always told me you wanted to be in my life: friends. But damn the doorway, because when you came to see me that night in December, I saw the shift in your eyes and the smile on your lips and knew I was living a lie. I'd flown 6000 miles and come 9 hours of time difference to have it confirmed in my foyer.

               On the cusp of a new year, things got complicated. We were both tipsy and drunk men say what sober men think. I managed to hold my tongue. You did not. You asked to speak to me, alone. And you did. And you told me exactly everything I'd been wanting to hear. Spell broken. Puzzle undone. You'd woken up, or so I thought. You'd seen what I'd seen. You told me you wanted us to be more, that I was everything you'd ever wanted. Said you'd known all along what you were doing but had been too scared to ever admit anything. I had always forgiven you because I thought you were ignorant of your own actions, ignorant as ignorant can be and unaware as the only the best of fools can be. This was the first bullet sliding through my chest at 900 feet per second. I resisted the urge to cry in front of you. I let it lie in silence, tried to play it nonchalant. My heart ran figuratively bloody around my feet.

               You still took me aback. I waited for you to run and retreat. I didn't say anything. You pursued, gun to my heart. You told me the next day you meant every word, when I tried to slip out cleanly and like nothing had happened. I told you we needed to talk.  You were my emotional assassin.

                My best friend told me I was going to break your heart. I truly believed her. I believed that this time, I was the one with the power in her hands, the power to inflict upon you every thing you'd ever put me through. I didn't want that for you. I didn't know what I wanted, to be honest, at least not right away. But I didn't want to hurt you.

                Then you put me through the ringer again.

                I returned to France. You could not decide. You wavered again. You did not know if you wanted me. I thought you'd seen with clarity, had finally seen what I'd seen in the looking glass. You couldn't decide, so I decided for us, because I finally realized after all this time that I had let you treat me the way you had. I had spun the illusion and made myself believe my own fiction. That could not excuse your behavior and still doesn't. I figured I could forgive you, though I would need time. Bullet number two to the heart, but I was still breathing.

                 Then you had to go and commit. To her. To a stranger I will never meet and do not ever want to meet. I had to find out in that way too? Bullets three and four in rapid succession, through the ribs and out the back, slicing through me as if I were a paper doll and my heart were nothing but flimsy canvas. The you I trusted, the you I thought was you, the you I thought existed....vanished. Every bit of you I thought I knew became my own lie. I had constructed you, you were my greatest fiction yet. I had made you so real I believed in the character I'd made of you. I'd managed to fool myself.

                 On nights like these, seventeen year old me lives in the depths of the many layers that, like thin flakes of filo dough, band together to form the person I am now. Seventeen year old me is innocent and just wants to love you. She is too naive to know any better, and her benevolence make her forgive you. She holds on to you for nearly a decade and never gives up hope on you, her one flaw is that she trusts too easily and is far too loyal to you because she believes in who she thinks you are. That character she thinks you are is a lie.

                  But what is not a lie is that you wrenched her through seven years of indecision and did not care to put her out of her misery. So she did what only she could: she took the gun you held to her heart and turned it on you. She cut you out of her life. She was pained to pull the trigger, but knew she had to do it: it was her or you, and for once she needed to be selfish.

                  The bullets are gone and my heart has stopped bleeding. But the scars are still there, and my fear is palpably real. I do not want to craft fictions in my head anymore about anyone else. I am scared I will wish something into existence so badly that my artist heart will craft a fiction that it will believe, make someone into something they are not because that is how I perceive them. You have made it difficult for me to trust my own instincts and gut feeling from this day forward. Perhaps this is why I am so afraid right now. I know what it's like to take a bullet to the heart.



             
             


     

If I Ever Get Around to Living

    Summer nanny duty means highs and lows and frustrations all around. Like my boss thinking I don't understand her rapid-fire French when I do, and me reminding myself to not interpret her very sharp tongued frankness personally. Sometimes it makes me want to retreat into the comfort of America, to the land of Americans with easy dispositions and carefree manners. It's funny that such slight comments make me feel so vulnerable, cut me down to size, make me feel like coming to France, trying to do what I am currently doing, is a mistake. That I am a fool on a basic level for this experiment in all things French.

     It also means me feeling burned out as hell on kids. I like kids, I do. I have always liked kids. I was nearly a second mother to my own sister, who is twelve years my junior. But I'm starting, after two years of being an au pair, a nounou, a general kid watcher, whatever the hell you want to call it, tired. I don't want to spend all of my twenties taking care of kids before I happen to have kids of my own...
Apparently it's supposed to be different when they're your own...I will have to get back to you on that one.

       It means that I am starting to feel trapped, but it is such a hard thing to feel when it is I who have knowingly walked into this trap. And I now fully realize that I, indeed, work for the one percent. No, in fact, I work for the 0.01 percent. I work for the mondain, the socialites, the people Marcel at once admired, detested, and attempted to cotoie in A la recherche du temps perdu. These people who pay me--and I admit I have agreed--to exchange much of my decision making freedom for money. I miss my liberty.

        I feel in so many ways that I have not been living. That instead of living I have opted for the security of planned futures and easy roads that avoid any and all types of conflict that might make me uncomfortable. There is a strong wind of fate blowing and there is something around the corner that I sense coming, but I am admittedly terrified and feel like a child who wants to retreat and hide behind her mother's thighs.

         For instance, this afternoon, ¨my¨ ( I call my two young girl child charges mine as a matter of affection), wanted me to call Frenchman. They were being girl children as only girl children can be and laughingly imitating me kissing said Frenchman as a matter of spun, Disney-esque fantasies. So I caved and texted him and said they were giving a beau ¨spectacle d'amour¨ in the pool. Apparently this insinuated a sexual sort of spectacle, which is not what I meant at all, but alas I am not French and while I have a more than solid grasp of the language and culture, this was not what I wished to convey.  Face palm numero uno.

The girls then wanted to ask him lots of questions and be general goofballs when my eldest girl child charge asked to ask him a question.  I conceded. Frenchman said she could ask but he might not respond. She promptly blurted out:

          ¨Have you ever had sex with Lindsay!?¨

          Faee. Fucking. Palm. NUMERO OH SHIT.

         He responded that that was an indiscreet question he would not respond to.  Face fucking palm for King. This is the part where I RUE ever agreeing to send the text that made him call me to talk to my girls. I did it in my moment of weakness and to please them, but now I am banging my head on the wall.

          Why?

         Because the French are probably the most private people I have ever met. You do NOT ask questions like that, you do NOT share unnecessary private details with just anyone. I am terrified he thinks I blab non-stop private things to just anyone, or worse, that I have told anyone and everyone about things we have discussed in private. Or that I have assumed that we are together or that we are something that we aren't because hell, I do not know and it's still early. I realize the irony in posting this on a public medium, but rest assured, I do take some fictional liberty and I DO NOT SHARE every last detail. OH dammit. Dammit.

           I could barely hear him at the end of the convo because of the shitty network on this tropical island on which I am stationed and I am super afraid I upset him, so I sent him a text apologizing at the end there and for putting up with the kids. Goddam it now I rue everrrrrrr texting him. I want to run and retreat and bury my face under a mask and a mountain of blankets, to hide behind my mother the way I did when I met strangers for the first time.

            I am somewhat aware I am probably making--as I am the champion of doing--a slight matter into something bigger, a mountain out of a molehill. I keep telling myself to quit dwelling and let it go, I can hear my mother telling me, like she did my entire childhood, to do the same thing, but instead I obsessively brood and repeat over and over and over in my head.

             FUCK.

             He is the last person i want to fuck anything up with, and that scares me. I realize how illogical I am being right now: a little gaffe or faux pas or something of that sort is not going to scare him away or really anger him in the long run if he is truly interested. I guess I'm more ashamed about what I deem a mistake in cultural sensitivity. But part of me wants to turn, bolt out the door, and run back to America with all its Americans who speak American English and drop every idea I ever had of staying in France and surviving. Or of having a relationship with a Frenchy. Part of me wants to slap myself and ask myself WTF I am thinking, am I out of my effing mind? Don't I know this is a bad idea?

             Most of all, I know I feel this way because i feel so, so, so incredibly vulnerable about so many things right now and I'm just terrified of messing up somehow. Afraid of exposure. I am above all scared of this Frenchy, of where my life might be headed. So instead of being brave, I want to swallow myself whole and disappear. Sensing the beyond insane urge to retreat, run, retreat, run run run run run. Run faster.

             I know, though, logically, that that is not living. And it's high time I get around to living. I just hope I have enough courage, to said goodbye to the things that hold me back and embrace those that set me free.