The Woman Dipped In Ink. (19.2.12)

Red dress. Black dress. White dress.

White dress, black flowers, red petal tips.

She drifts through the world. Rain pelts the glass in fat, running droplets as she watches. Their streams distort light, views through the window. Inside, and out.

Her fingertips trail down the pane. Longing, loneliness in her eyes.

Ink seeps from her. Constant, viscous, pooling. From her fingertips, heels, hair, tear ducts, it seeps and runs from her, pooling in places, sticking in others. Reflecting slick highlights.

As she drifts, the ink runs like tears around her. It fills her footsteps, dissipating in rain and evaporating into black stains in the sun. It’s left dark and unseen on anyone she touches, without her knowing. It bubbles up through the skin at her throat, sliding down her chest through her dress’s weave without leaving trace, but marking the whole world around her.

The rain is a mild, warm background noise in a cold city, accompanying her tapping footfalls as she walks through the alley slow, barely feeling the rain. The edges of petals on her soaked, summery dress the only spots of color in the scene.

Soaked in experiences turned potential, is this

Her beginning or her end?

She walks, a lifetime of untold stories no longer contained, flowing away from her in fine rivulets.

Pockets. (19.3.8)

If there are infinite universes, with infinite combinations of physics and laws of nature, then surely there is one universe improved that there are not only proper pockets in women’s clothing, but also pockets in time where rest can happen without existential dread, missed deadlines, or time passed.

Unfortunately traveling to such a marvelous place is impossible as of yet.

Perhaps, by the time our personal rest pockets arrive, some of this world’s injustices will be no longer.

Brought to you by International Women’s Day, exhausted optimism, and accidentally being on time for a moment.

There are many more serious things wrong in the world than missing pockets. There is more time for seriousness tomorrow.

To all who whose energy is spent surviving, I love you.

Niche Nerdery. (19.2.14)

The world is full of cracks and crevices. They shift and shimmer, intersecting and enveloping each other, each with its own evanescence. They build and erode, with their own personalities and evolutions.

Thousands upon thousands of cracks exist. The maze rearranges itself, new beacons unseen for trips not yet undertaken, no matter the scale.

Adventures await, find yours.


Strange Paths Traveled. (18.12.14)

Shivers run down my spine and across my skin, prickling hairs and cascading in the air around me.

Darkness envelopes me, lights spilling out in front and shadows around all the rest. I can feel the speed and motion deep in myself, but the world is still. Going by fast, faster sometimes.

There’s rain and wind swirling, mixing with the shivers and cascade of sensations.

Can’t tell what’s within or without now, which twinges belong to me and which belong to the wind in the trees in the world.

When the rabbit runs across my lights, motion and momentum jerk at me, warning and reaction in one. Its eyes dart through mine when it turns and runs back into the darkened storm.

Omens and protections set about me, taking turns. Shivers of demons skittering, looking in my bubble of light and movement, then prickling warmth of protection earned, given, even stolen. Rabbits innocent or no, truly omen or simply crossing paths; nape of my neck demands answers I do not have.

My vision swings through the shadows at the edges of my light cast and for one split second there’s giant bat wings, nearly missed, almost imagined.

Caution, anxiety, of travels increase, but the speed steady. Shadows flick and fade, melting up and over me aimlessly back into themselves behind.

I don’t look back at them.

Raindrops scatter across my vision, my light, but are gone in an instant.

Dark red stains in odd patterns disappear, sweeping beneath me on the blackened path.

I don’t look down at them.

The music swells at the background now. Beside the turn there’s twisted remains, flayed limbs of inordinate numbers, all connecting back and shining with sinew and muscle. The viscera that should accompany such a display nonexistent, only clean cut grass, fading into pine needles and dirt of forest edge. Whatever’s inside stays there tonight.

The body’s piled together and barely hidden under a piece of black plastic, stretched taut and shiny over odd, protruding angles.

This is normal, not to be given a second glance.


The sun is shining brightly when I wake, sun streaming across my cheery curtains, my blankets, my bed.

There’s a colds sheen of sweat all over my body, and my blankets looked like they’ve been tossed aside.

I can remember only a warped echo of my dream, but even the brightness of the sun, the chirping birds, with sheer normalcy to comfort me, I can’t shake the dread that grips me.

I can’t remember, in my dream, what was I becoming?

Gossamer Currents. Watcher Garden #6 (19/2/1)

The butterfly with gossamer wings and awkward foal legs so often blamed for grand change.

What of the ant who marches along detritus, choosing to pick up a fallen comrade rather than a speck of food? Of the cats that chase each other up the trellis fire escapes in the city beyond the garden, tripping over each other, not knowing whether in anger or jest til they reach the top? Of the wrecking ball that lays dormant? Of the human’s eyelash flicking away tears but letting through dust?

Causal or coincidence, free will or predestined, it all looks the same. Patterns only engineered in hindsight.

The garden, reflected in the eye of a bird balanced and swaying at the top of the world, keeps memories not in patterns but in pools. Not water, but vastness in information. No piece more important than another. No organization, no constants.

The catalyst for sequences, prophecies, cannot be found in the ancient books. They did not know the chain anymore than the butterfly, pressing its wings into the calling air currents to fly.

Nonplussed. (19.1.11)

Emelie jumped at the sight, stumbling backward over the carpet, staring. Her eyes flicked back and forth, as if looking for an answer or an exit, the expressions on her face spinning through a multitude of moments.

Timothy, on the couch, glanced up once and returned to his attention to his game, barely stirring a muscle.

I shake my head, of course they would have the same reaction. But I was hoping for something a little more interesting than nonplussed.

This Girl. Watcher Garden #3 (18.7.27)

This girl sleeps on protected rooftop, under awnings and brightly colored fabrics. Her light flicks off at the first sign of dawn, to bring morning light into her space. The others who sleep on the rooftop do not rise so early, and rarely see her leave. They are her friends, most ways. But perhaps not yet allies.

When she leaves her rooftop she’s wrapped in dance of fabrics and spaces. To keep out the sun, to carry goods and possessions, to allow her breeze. She slips over the edge of the rooftop, to the balconies connected with leafy trellis and precarious ladder stairs.

She doesn’t pay them any mind, this is the part of the city she grew up in, and this climbing is faster, quieter, and much more fun than tiptoeing down the inside stairs. Her footing is sure, and when her fabric wrapped feet touch down in the soft earthy garden below, she wiggles her exposed toes into the rich ground.

Her appreciation only takes a moment before she’s off, light on her feet, and quick. To the market, the streams, or the build sites, to make her day’s earnings. This part of the city is hers, undoubtedly, and always has been. She rarely ventures into other areas, she finds no needs there.

Though, this girl, has forgotten she once knew of other places. She lives happy and free. The wind tumbles her hair around her face and she laughs.


Lights Dream. Watcher Garden #2 (18.7.27)

Lights in the city below twinkle. Marking Progress and imagination. Some buildings dark, too old, tired, or unwilling for lights, some simply sleeping.

The city is a jewel in the darkness of expanding plains in every direction. Recovery from this last kind of apocalypse. Watcher Garden remembers ancestors of this disaster, recognizes the pieces that are being reconfigured in this new springing of life. Watcher Garden will welcome this generation, as it has all generations past, remembered or simply seeming ever present.

The wind washes through the city. Lights don’t flicker at the source, but through the thousands of leaves of the garden, the lights flick, dim, and dance as if dreaming until they wake.

When You Meet Harry. (13.3.27)

Harry changed my life. I was nineteen and stupid, mad at the world. I’d told myself I’d change the world one day, just by existing. But no one sought me out of the crowd, and most barely remembered my name. Every time I realized I told someone I saw everyday my name for the third time, another little bubble of rage welled up inside me.

When I slammed to a stop on the side of the street that day I didn’t bother taking the keys out of the ignition. I didn’t bother locking the equipment box with the best piece of writing ever written; what I thought of people, the world. They could take a hike. They were all ignorant morons who couldn’t be bothered to see the world even when it fell on their head like the lucky shot of seagull shit.

I just left the whole stinking lot on the street, my faded red yard sale helmet swinging a sultry beat on the handlebars of my sickly orange motor bike. I stalked through the sticky heat toward the coffee shop, my battered low heel boots tapping sharply with each step. Barely anyone glanced up from their straight, even strides down the street, staring at the sidewalk. Those who did just had an expression of irritation on their face at my diagonal disruption of their predestined traffic pattern. I didn’t give a damn, but the looks fueled my anger. Everything fueled my anger those days.

Sweat covered a sheen over my whole body. I didn’t care that it probably shown through my button up shirt, the dark green camisole underneath. My black denim coat was slung over my elbow, and the black miniskirt over my jeans, was covered in silver studs and a chain belt. I perched my sunglasses on top of my messily piled hair and shoved open the glass door with the irritating dingle bell that announced my presence.

It wouldn’t be good to strangle an inanimate object. Instead I inhale the spicy scent of piles and piles of exotically spiced cookies, muffins, scones, and pastries. The bitter tinge of coffee over the air only enhances the good affects of sugar pastries. A good metaphor to the world. Bitter overtones on too pretty too shiny people.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of tie dye pants. I turn to look more closely, and I see they’re flowing sweatpants with a slit cut almost up to the hem of the lycra short shorts worn under them. The person they’re attached to is a slim guy with short hair and soft angular features. His thin gray tank top didn’t hide smooth collarbones that reminded me of a dancer’s chest.

As I ordered, I noticed he wore the kind of shoes with individual toes, the ones that look pretty ridiculous on everyone. There was a slightly flirtatious green scarf knotted loosely around his neck, and he was talking to a woman standing beside him. They were both a little older than I was, I think. His voice was musical, cheerful, and he was smiling.

I walked by him to get to a seat at the window, and the energy around him was infectious. A quietly humming enthusiasm, I think. It seemed to emanate from him in waves. His chocolate brown eyes scanned the street outside the window, not meeting mine but giving me a glimpse into his life as I imagined it.

He was pride. He stood tall, though he wasn’t tall. He was shorter than I, and slimmer. His presence was the kind you remember as tall and boisterous. His chin was tipped back with a kind of warning. Like he’d seen things so bad, and he was still standing taller than before. There was a dare in his stance. Delicate vulnerability covered with a layer of challenge. He was the kind of man who could take anything you threw at him.

I noticed he wore eyeliner, and probably a touch of shadow. His short hair had a streak of dark blue in it, another dare. A silent fuck you to a culture who’d screwed him over. I wondered how he could be so cheerful and seemingly carefree with this woman he talked to when the stress of his life seemed to hum under the surface of his enthusiasm. I wondered how he could survive.

He carried a beat up green denim bag with brass buckles, and there was a thin strip of leather around his neck, holding a mother of pearl flower. The makeup, the way he moved and gestured, the sound of his voice, every instance of it practically screamed at me that he was gay, but I wouldn’t let myself assume. I refused myself that ignorant indulgence.

Whatever he’d survived, I thought I would have liked to know. I would have liked to know him.

I was nearly finished with my pastries when the woman bade her friend goodbye, and left the shop. The guy turned towards me, and the window bar I was sitting at. He smiled when he saw me, and caught my eye. He hiked himself onto a bench one down from me, and set his bag on the counter next to him. He glanced up and smiled again, extending his hand for me to shake.

“I’m Harry.”

His voice sounded like a warm breeze of refreshing personality. When I shook his hand, the warmth of his palm radiated up my arm. The bone deep cold I hadn’t noticed melted away. I smile back at him, feeling as if I’d forgotten how.

“Zandra.” I said softly.

I’d forgotten how much people long to be touched, to have any kind of physical connection to another person. It felt good, remembering that. He asked me if I was new around here. I asked him whether he lived in the area, and whether he liked it. He told me that it was a neighborhood, and that people worked together. That he loved hearing the stories of people. He asked me what my story was. We talked for maybe five minutes, and new life breathed into the stale shell of myself.

When the ride he was waiting for pulled up alongside the road out front, he turned to me smiling, and he said he hoped we’d meet again. When he stepped down from the stool, he bent to pick something up. He handed it to me, a shiny new penny face up.

“Good luck.” he said, and was gone.

I had to rethink everything. Everything I thought I knew about people, and how they treated each other.

I chose an apartment on that street to stay for a while, see what might happen. I went to that coffee shop nearly every morning. I volunteered for a teen shelter, got a job at a local restaurant. I was happy for the first time in a very long time. It was a beautiful place, and the people were better here somehow. Better than in any place I’d ever been before.

During our five minute conversation, it was never the place to ask whether he was gay or bi. We barely talked beyond mundane talk of the weather and the neighborhood’s stories, its people. I sometimes thought I saw him on the street, walking in his own world created by his life, the tough place tinged with the wholehearted enthusiasm and delicate feelings, and the beat of his earbuds. Sometimes when I imagined his latest choice of pants, I couldn’t help but laugh, and admire anyone who could wear them in the city that turned into my home. Not a perfect place, but certainly enough for me then. Once I saw in my mind the man standing in the doorway of another apartment building, kissing another man. It answered my curiosity well enough I think, because later I thought I saw him kissing a woman he’d just given roses to.

Harry changed my life. I’d been a sick at heart girl, he helped me grow. He surprised me. I still don’t know what I might have done that day if I hadn’t met him. If he hadn’t stopped the boiling fury inside me. That day had felt like an end to me. When I met him, the kind of end changed. Now it has just the end of an era of hate, anger, and bad luck.

I never did talk to him again, and I never found out if any of what I thought I saw in his eyes the first time was true. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who Harry was, who he is, or whether I would even like him if I met him again. He helped me get my life back. He helped me put away the shit I wrote in despair so I could move on.

He made me want to see if more people could surprise me like he had. And they did. For the last ten years since I met Harry, people have surprised me every minute with what they think and say, and how they reach out to each other. I learned how to see people surprising me that day.

I hope that every person who needs him, will meet their Harry. The Harry Ideal. The person who surprises them out of their own darkness.

I’m glad, so glad, that I met Harry.