2011 § Leave a comment


Letters from HERE, Sometimes

Pretty girls get ugly here.

They get fat, and they get happy.  They get involved in things that were unbecoming of their sorority sisters back in college, but they don’t care too much now, and they really don’t have to.

They get sick—

But only sometimes.  Here the ladies are nice to you when you talk because they know what you are and they know what they are.  Here big girls get skinny and skinny girls get big.

I don’t know why it works that way but it does—

Here, people are pretty in their own way.  Otherwise this wouldn’t be here.

They walk in puddles, and sometimes I walk in puddles because of it.  They put girls up on their arms so they can keep their hands warm in their pockets.  The pretty girls—pretty in their own way—have hoods anyway, that rain-slick and stay dry.

Even though it’s raining outside, everything’s mostly, always, pretty much dry—

I’ve been outside before but I don’t like it much.

Everything makes you sneeze.  Everything makes you cold, and dirty.  Even when it’s icy, the ground is everywhere.  And we know that—

It scares me sometimes, but then I just look at the ladies we have, here, how their skins sag to hide all those old smiles, how their backs bend to get them back closer to noble, soft animals.  They sip on black coffees like brooks.

They always have to smile, or they’ll start to look old—

They’ll start to look used, and painted—

They’ll start to feel real for the first time—

Like I said, sometimes it scares me.  But I don’t eat much and I’ve got a sweet-faced girl with that youthful weight pushing its way over her jeans right next to me like she’s pluming sex, or whatever we call it here.

Here, we could fuck anytime we wanted, we could fuck right now; shit, I might still be getting mine, but we don’t look at each other.  We haven’t yet.

Girls here don’t stay that kind of interested, but we might hook up anyway.  It wouldn’t make much difference, not to flesh and other stinky things that get wet in warm puddles.  I carry condoms even though I know she’s probably on birth control now.  That’s why she looks so sad all the time,

but that might be the smile—

Here I’m not worried about the warm girl’s like for me, if it’ll even continue after these first, colorful, oblivious moments, because there’s another one on the other side.  I won’t say bigger than the one before, but we have as good a relation.

We’re all on the same bench, in the same safety, the same warmth so I don’t have to worry about the rain on my skin, and it dawns on me that I like this place, like, where I was born, probably the time more than the ground, or whatever cut of cement with its different seasons and effects.

Here I decide to sing, but maybe that’s why they don’t like me; they can’t hear it from here, as dangers are nowadays, and all that really comes out is a status they probably won’t see, maybe a few texts that I’d have to explain after they came back—from close friends—with “Haha, what??”

Everyone knows the pretty girls after they’ve turned ugly, still knows the ugly girls after they’ve turned pretty.

Everybody knows everybody so well here that we don’t even have to look at each other’s pretty fucking faces.

I slicked my hair back.

I did it with rain, and ignored shampoo, and I let it dry that way.

I feel fucking gorgeous—

. . .

There’s a guy in the back that can hardly walk and he has a cane.  Here, people—especially me—wonder what it will feel like to walk like that.  We wonder what part of your hips or legs wouldn’t be working anymore when you tried to work them, but mostly, I like to think, we think about the scenery, how you’d tiptoe over every bump like a root sticking out of the ground, cracking through sidewalk, how you’d trek around every chair like a spanning mountain range, past every waiting, watching person like the standing notion of God, and how you could never look up at that face because it’d be too young and too lush for you to remember shine like that on your own, long living face.

Here, some people live forever.  Their bodies don’t get smaller, but their world does, and they like it even though they forget it sometimes.  They like that the world’s closing in on them, because everything gets closer in reach, and farther really gets shorter.

You’d like watching the floor instead of the sky, to see all the places you go, the little tile deserts they form, and it must feel nice to not have to stop to smell the flowers anymore.  You’ve got time for them to fill your air, and a moment of your rapidly changing memory, time to think and get to where you don’t need to go.

Like every step is a vision—

Here, the men get as ugly as the women, but only because they’re as happy.

Maybe more.

I’ve never had better jobs than I have now, because really I don’t have any.  It helped me see the lady across the street who sits on the bench.  People throw money at her even though she’s not homeless.  They make her feel like she’s not at home in that way.  She shouldn’t just be sitting there, where people can see that she can see them.  You’re not supposed to stare—

Here, cars bump their toes into sidewalks when they park.  You can sit outside, but you won’t see over the cars, and there’s always awnings for shade.

Sometimes it’s sunny out and here, that’s when you want to be in the shade.

Here the women get tanned no matter how rainy it is.  Some of them turn orange.  Some of them glow when the lights are all out.

People wander most the time, and it looks good.  It looks like they’re going somewhere but they’re not.  It looks like they have friends and that’s true though.  Everyone has friends here.

Nobody needs to do anything—

You smoke your cigarettes in your car because it’s a nice car and you’re bored of where you aren’t staying and you’re not all that excited about where you’re going.  It’ll all be here.  Everywhere you’ll go, you’ll always be here, and I guess that means that you’re never lost.

Maybe I will get a job.  I mean, maybe they’ll give it to me.  I already asked and that’s what I’m doing.  Waiting.


. . .

There are bigger things out there,  but the tastes are cheap enough and you always know where to buy them.  I wore a sweatshirt today because I’m cold and now I feel in style.  Before, I looked good.  Now, I just look, cuz people’ll look at things that aren’t pretty.  They’ll look at pretty things turned ugly even when the ugly things look up at them.  They’ll stare and then they’ll laugh.

Pretty things hurt their eyes though.

Pretty things startle them and make them feel like they have to try harder, when they weren’t really trying in the first place, even though they wouldn’t know where to start and it wouldn’t make much difference if they did.  Pretty things make them think that pretty things are only pretty because they have to try.

The shade is cold and it tends to catch the wind.  It catches my hair and pulls it back the way I wanted, and even though I’m just sitting here, I feel like I’m trying.

Everyone is ugly here because if they weren’t, they really wouldn’t do anything.

Some don’t.

I hung out with this girl and took her to the beach and I decided not to stop at the coffee shop where I started this.  I wanted to get her back to mine because I was hungry for more than a drink and then I’d get to play with her pussy for a while before what little work I let myself do.  She’s too young for me and that’s what makes her young enough; she’s skinny and that means she feels too good to be legal, regardless of the laws.

Here, things that are legal really shouldn’t be, and illegal things are just illegal because they’ve been that way for a long time.

There’s a reason kids don’t grow up to like church, and traditions like that that have traditions that talk about blood that most these kids weren’t allowed to see.

It makes it easy, when I’m alone and getting less happy that I know how little any little girl is capable of loving anything but herself and her ideas, less happy that I got some while she was pretending she knows she falls in love with boys for real, not for pretend, to stop somewhere on the crumbly glued black asphalt and say, like Jesus, “On this rock I will build my church!” but there’s a lot of preachers around here and we all apparently paid for this grade of rock.  Or we should have—

I wear these Jesus sandals that I hate cuz they’re floppy and flat and get my toes caught on stairs and slip off when I walk.  I knew they looked like Jesus sandals when I got them but I didn’t think anyone one else would think just what I was thinking.  They were cheap and I’m poor right now and really they just look weird, but I should stop bitching about this stuff because I could have had no choice but to get these, to make them, you know, if I was Jesus or someone near that in time.

I should stop bitching about all this, but I do because fuck you, I won’t like anyone and I won’t like you only because I’ll think you won’t like me.

There’s too many pulpits where priests and preachers speak into steering wheels and their eyes peer harder through windshields when they can’t get at them through glass, not any better than I can get through breathy air.

I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat because I’m supposed to be poorer than this, and I’ll call it fasting instead of starving and it’ll be as ridiculous as sitting in the shade here even though the sun just broke into bright, clear winds, but most people do that.  I’ll say I don’t like the cold but I respect the cold because I’m a thing made of skin.

I could have had fur—

Or scales, and shine—

It’s probably one of the few things I’ve ever respected except life that doesn’t breathe or bitch about the cold as it gets fatter, slower, and older.

It’s probably one of the few real things that has made me respect God, along with violence and a wet tongue.

Just don’t tell me that I’m the image of my father, that I have the limbs and the fingers and the skin of my father, that when I breathe I give image to the soul of my father, and then tell me that I am not the voice of God.


Ugly girls get wet here because who else is there?

They get down to what I saw in some dreams as the last night of my life, each night, walking with a new girl and a friend while he tells her things I’m proud of and things that I’m good at cuz I like them.  She’s saying, “I’m less and less interested in you” when usually she’d just be thinking it.

I went down to a place of mist where the grey was too thick for the sky to be all around us and get blue like the sky sometimes gets.

It opened and there I was, in the steamy pond, needing a rowboat.

But this is also dreams—

Pretty girls get ugly because I fall in love with them, and so does everyone else.  Ugly girls get wet because they don’t have to think they’re ugly when they feel that way.  They can turn off the lights and it might as well be dreams

Boys drown for them so they don’t need boats, and the mist covers their faces like make-up.

The girl woke up laughing, “I ate too much last night,” and she means yesterday.  “Drank too much, ate too much,” and she meant last night.

We ran into a guy last night that fell down in the grass.  He was asleep with his legs still all tangled up in his bike and his arms all tangled up in his shirt, but he meant for that.  He woke up with a smile to when I sat and talked him out of dreams, getting more and more sure he wasn’t a log.  He woke up and said, “No, I know where I am,” and I believed him because I hadn’t asked.

A lot of people would freeze if they slept in a summer night.

He looked more comfortable in the soft grass than I was on the carpet of the floor I slept on last night.

But I cried about it a lot instead of going into the bars with my friends (and I don’t like the bars anyway), so it’s not worth talking about here.

I told them to keep walking and I should tell pretty girls that more often.  I want to wash my face with my own mist instead of stumbling to get ugly, and pay the most for it.

, , ,

Pretty girls like pranks and fights.  They like to see boys kill themselves, especially if they almost liked the boys, but also especially when they hate the boys for being assholes.  It makes them like them and want them to die.

Here, pretty girls, getting uglier every moment and every munch, they don’t have to know what they want because their boys are happy enough to let them want everything, which is not what they want.

Here, you’re not supposed to want to see anyone die—

And here you’re not supposed to kill anything unless it’s better off dead.

Don’t you know that we’re going to own this place?—

, , ,

It’s raining and I want to go swim in the waves but

I want to go swim in the waves but it’s raining.  It matters more that we’re wet already than that we’ll be wet anyway.  I think I might swim anyway, go get beat up by the waves, but I’ll wait until I’m with people the people that won’t come with me come back.  They’ll say that it’s not nice outside and I’ll already know.  I’ll get them to come out and stand around on the beach anyway, with their hoods up, and they’ll talk about things I won’t hear under the rush of the waves trying to suck me down and mash me against the ground and turn me into sand.  It’ll still sound like very rough whispers that don’t need to hide under the rain, but will anyway.

I’m hungry only because I’ve been eating.  And still I feel like I’m holding out til after I swim, you know, make this a workout and productive and maybe just so I feel awake enough to swim fast, and warm up when I jump in.  Of course, the more I do this, the more I realize I’m not eating until I’m with people to do nothing.  Otherwise there’s always something to feel awake for, especially when you’re awake to look for it, and to get bored, and quick.  There’s always something to hallucinate about when you’re starving, and there’s a reason people like me turn into alcoholics.  It’s just that we get to our nothing-people time and we’re so damn hungry and we’re too dumb to try and fix our own, disappearing needs.  I don’t feel like I’m hallucinating and I don’t feel like an alcoholic but that’s a characteristic of both visions and addictions.

Besides, you’re not supposed to swim within a half a lifetime of eating, cuz then your fat ass’ll just float, and you won’t have that much fun.  You might just fall asleep, and when you wash up on shore you’ll just wish you had this cramp in Mexico where the weather is always nice to people who aren’t always there.

You shouldn’t swim after eating because you’ll realize how little you really have to do to survive here, and that it just hurts not to breathe, about the same as swimming hard enough to keep above the surface.  You’re going the same direction, and the waves are stronger than you, and really it’s just up to you to pick which hurt you like more.

I think it would be nice to die in the ocean.  If all these other lives I remember are real, then I think that would be the next location to go see, and take a short eternity to live in it, like this tourist town I’m sitting in.  I feel like I look like I’m from here, like even though I’m just good at finding a nice spot to be, I belong here.  I look like I belong in a place where no one’s really supposed to belong.  If I died in the ocean today, the only thing I’m worried about is liking it so much I’d never come back.  Right now, I like the idea that I wouldn’t rot.  If I rushed around and salted and left to dry and swallowed back up again until I was spread too far to feel those waves, except maybe down towards the bottom where they begin—

I like that water is what it is because it is always cleaning.  No matter where it’s at, rushing over big rocks in a river, up in the air and trying to rain, to slip around your fingers and split, split, split, or out in the stillness.  The biggest stillness like this, where the water finally can’t slip any lower, any smaller, any cleaner, turns to salt.  I wonder if it would feel like this all the time, in the bellies of fish and the bones of corral, to shift and wait for where we’ll sink next, starving and knowing it, but knowing we’re going somewhere soon that all we’ll have is food to salt and swallow and leave behind cleaner than before.

After we’re clouds climbing mountains—

I don’t want to leave myself to my people.  They’ll bury me or burn me so nothing awful’ll happen to my remains on the surface, out in the grass.  I’ll end up in a landfill or graveyard or being chewed first by fat white worms instead of big hungry animals and even just a few feet down I’ll start to sink instead of being pulled back to the top in flesh and chemical nutrients and all that we know about.  I worked hard to get here, I think, and that’s why I’m worried about eternity, why it seems so long and dark and scared.  I wonder if the rotted animals, long crushed into black oil deep, deep, deep, even remember what it’s like up here.  I wonder if they remember how it feels to be alive like they were, a lot of eternities ago.  I wonder if they’ve forgotten that there’s a surface to most everything, that it’s always going to hurt either way, and that they’ll wake up to this place eventually—or something like it.  I just don’t want to wake up to the fire of a car engine, frying me, lighting my pressed oily flesh up for faster time than I can remember, faster time than I’ve ever seen (I’d think after forever), and as I puff out in black exhaust I’d think that that was definitely Hell, after purgatory, just like I was told not to believe in.  The clouds might be heaven.  They might really be, only because we got it wrong thinking it was behind them at all, not splitting and spreading and cleaning so light that they finally float more than flying, diving, and sinking.

I could end up in hells of starving salt, fires of cooked meat, ices too cold to even shiver, to sleep instead of still drifting, and cutting down into the center of darkness with the rest of my cohesive kind, too cold to escape each other or even notice we’re there, that we were told there was Hell and now found it.


But which one, I guess, is not really all that up to me as much as the way of the world and surfaces a lot like rushing waves.  I bet here’s a lot more spirits in that water than we think, and that’s why it keeps us alive.

The same way we could end up in hell after this is the same way we could end up in something that would feel like heaven, something we wouldn’t have to call the presence of God to explain.

I’ll end up there anyway, but I want to pass through places I’ve never been, places that give me a rush only cuz maybe I’ve never died there.  If heaven and hell is where I’m going regardless, and I don’t have much of a choice once I swim out too far and see the wave sink and pull and rise in front of me, over me, and bring me down with it, I at least want to get there through places I’ve never felt, and look like I belong.

I’m still not gonna let the ocean take me easy—

It’d better be hungrier than I am, and we all chose this.  We all chose to be here.

The ocean looks like a better eternity, right now, than a surface I’m too sleepy and filled to ride.

I’m so fucking happy I want to die–

–Austen Szott

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