⌘ tamer animals ⌘

handmade | illustrated | found | curated design

November 11 2018

Taylor P.Comment

Just a quick update. I’m going to continue adding things (mostly old right now— it’s as much a backup for me as anything because I have several external drives with folders upon folders of writing.) Most of the newest stuff is in the first post I made so feel free to scroll back if interested. As a reminder, some of it IS based on actual events and some of it is more creative and just from my head (before anyone potentially gets their panties in a wad or anything.) Some of it IS explicit— I’ll try to warn you in the title so if you are easily offended you can just bypass it. Thanks!

(more) quiet years lyrics

Taylor P.Comment


Forward march, and I await on the east side
In late March, we landmark on the great divide

When we walk, it is always on the river’s side

Bayonet, I leave you to turn this eager tide

Soldier’s waltz
The blood streaming from my lungs
raise your guns
and shout at the lonely sun

oh oh oh, oh oh oh
break x 2

Take your men

under ramparts and tattered flags
soil soars beneath the feet
of millionaires

Spoiled fun
we believed all that we had seen before
now our guns raise up the furies
of this bitter war

oh oh oh, oh oh oh

In late March, we landmark on the great divide
In late March, we landmark on the great divide

some old quiet years lyrics

Taylor P.Comment

deliberate plans

You’re telling the truth
You’re telling these lies
You tell it so well
so well to disguise
You’re telling the truth
You’re telling these lies
You said it so well
You seemed to disguise

Everything right
and everything wrong
you scream like this wind
you scream like this song
you scream like the thunder

you scream like you shake
you try to destroy
everything in your wake

You wanted to love

you wanted to feel
decided, divided
divide what is real
You wanted to love

you wanted to feel
You failed at your failures
and now you’re a heel

You said goodbye love
said goodbye life
All when I can’t seem to realize

what you say and what you do
are different, different for you
And all that you love
all that you lust
all that you lost

You planned it so well
planned it so
Planned it so well
planned it so
You know that it, know that it’s old
Know that it, know that it’s gone
You planned it so, planned it so
You planned it so, planned it so
It failed before it could grow
It failed before it could grow

You planned it so, planned it so
You planned it so, planned it so
You know that you know that you own
You know that you know that you know

intersecting lines

Moonlit sky
You follow
so high above me out my window
through the night
Summer breeze
won’t you please
don’t you plead
It’s ...finite

Oh what I won’t take
‘till I’m buried before your wake
Oh and I was shaken like
Sadness, who could feel so
Be-cause the wintertime subsides
and milky pines
wave beyond the icy routes
All I could not follow blind

Fear is just the breaking dawn
taken on a soiled palm
Oh, and all the darkened light
Cold in all the words we sighed

Even though these hearts may break
Fallen, I can’t seem to shake
In the bottom of the whale
In the bottom of the well

Said behind
Ivory towers
Owed am I?
No one mind

In the mines
we would find
oh we’re blind
over wine

Even on the dawn that breaks
Taken for our father’s sake
Oh, and I could even see
Light above the silver trees

See through leaves
See through walls
You might find the bitter call
Even when our hearts may break
Owed are all the simple things

So they laugh
so they sing
Carried me, a starlit swing
Woe am I, woe am I
for these lofty words will sing

Little doves
float above
but they know what it’s made of
In the word, and the tower
that which I might try to surmount

Oh and the heart it stings
bees that plunder in the night
Oh and I take my leap
only when my thoughts take flight

Oh and when my heart it breaks
so and when the words do shake
oh and when the icy swells
fall beneath these tender tales

Oh and I would say to you
In our long-gone rivalry
Anyone else is, but me.


Winter’s fading
Do I stay in
Can I hear your voice
In the pines

Do I hear you
Longing, still do
Am I foolproof
Or am I full of proof
In the pines.


Can’t keep walking
Can’t stop talking
Do you wonder where we are
No, not I!

Summer’s waiting
Do I stay then?
Can I hear your voice
In the pines

Do you love me
Hoped it could be
Ancient history
Made in the pines

street signs and boulevards

I can see two wires
Open my eyes
I can see two lines
In perfect guise

And beneath these words
I, I could hear
And I might shiver
But shed no tears

Winter is whispering
I have no fears
I will run silent
Chasing my years

Wordlessly weeping
I find my key
Silence is desperate
So I must sleep

Beneath the skyline
Beneath the street signs
All ready, wait ‘till I can
find my way

find a way
find a way,
find a way

Find me.

secret garden

seven years
I’ve been lying
beneath the hell
inside my head
I could see
bright lights
But I can’t
seem to hide
On my own
In my dreams
forgotten words
split at the seams
But I tried
to believe



made to last
oh, but we for-got
our pasts
our pasts

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh...

Seven years..

that I’d wait.
That I’d wait.
That I’d wait.
That I wait.

cold climate
Weather is still
In cold climate
Every last breath could be “the one”

Be still, my heart is finite
The terrors that lead in
the darkest sins of old
The error that cleaves to this climate

Weather is wet
in cold climate
Tear-stained and soiled at day’s end
Keeping our lives shut like closets
The echo of our speech drones
on and on...
on and on...
on and on...

We have been mislead
Oh! We have been mislead
Oh! We have been mislead..


Weather is death
in cold climate
I can almost taste the stench
by moonlight, we baptize our profits
saved progress for indifference

etude et altitude

Taylor P.Comment

I think this “script” was for an art school project that took a different direction. Clearly it is awful and I just only vaguely remember writing it.

The characters present in this are mostly unnamed. I'm not sure if they should have names or not,

actually. The main character, "He/Him," is masculine in a broad sense, but there is a certain sarcastic

element in his persona that makes him seem more temperamental as a boy-child in some instances. He is

very hard to please, exceedingly serious, and somewhat arrogant in his inherent preoccupation to him

self and the inclinations of his fortitude. The eternal skeptic. He seems chaste and contained by his

own inability to relate to people outside himself without regard to his innate cynicism. His polar

opposite and potential love interest, "Her/She," seems to embody everything that he is not: Laughter,

optimism, fun, a free spirit, and love unconditional. She comes into his life to show him what it means

to play again and be childlike and in the process he unfortunately shows her the underside of the world

and crushes the innocence she feels is such a precious possession. This leads both, in the end, to

reverse roles. Through her, he gains innocence and happiness and she gains some of his cynicism and

stoicism. Yet, in that respect, the longevity and love they both share for eachother seems to bind them

together in a relationship of freedom vs. restraint that overrides any logic that the two may possess.

Combustible but highly evolutionary, the story will show the beauty of freedom and restraint through

vivid imagery, beautiful places, passionate scenes (both negative and positive; extroversion vs.

introversion) and all the little love notes we leave behind.  

<OPENING CREDITS: An old propeller spins and we, the audience, are staring straight into the nose of an

old war plane, it pans out to an airfield and we see planes taking off on a cloudy day. A young man, in

his mid-twenties, is sitting near the landing strip, next to an older motorcycle, with big headphones on

and a small radio. We hear traffic controllers over the radio in the background. The only other sounds

we hear are the planes taking off and his repetitious breathing. He is sitting there, looking serious

and somewhat sullen, as a guy about his age walks up to him, motions for him to take his headphones off>

Friend: Wanna go grab a beer?

Him: Sure.

Friend: Cool. You're buyin'.

SCENE 1: The downtown bar

<The scene pans from one end of the bar to the other, as we are active participants in the random

conversations of its patrons. When we reach the end of the bar, the focus turns to a booth behind the

bar where the leading male sits with his friend. He is more uptight, hunched over his glass, and his

friend is sitting back in the chair, looking casual and relaxed; the conversations have the general roar

of people of various people talking at the same time and there is very light music playing in the


Friend: Jesus. 

Him: What?

Friend: <eyes him through the empty glass> Nothing. You just always look like you have a stick up your

ass or something.

Him: Oh. Yeah. ...Molly's on her way here.

Friend: ....and here I thought you liked her?

Him: <shrugs> She's okay. Not really my type.

Friend: Oh. Well, *I'd* do her. Speaking of doing something productive, I think I'm going to head after

this last one. Gotta work in the a.m.. <This guy is fucking whimsical as hell, kind of nerdy in that

typical "I played waaaaay too much Magic the Gathering in High School" way and a bit on the portly side>

<Karen Dalton's "Something on Your Mind" is playing during this time. She walks in and grabs a booth a

few spaces down from Him. She has a book with her and she orders a beer. We see a close-up shot of her

and see that she is a bit on the short side, somewhat eccentric in dress, but something about her seems

pretty; maybe even "fair." She seems very free and happy and she jokes with the bartender. She sips her

beer and stares across the room at all the bargoers, curious. When she sees Him staring back at her

momentarily, she immediately looks down at her book, losing her page in the struggle, and feigns


<He stares at her, a sardonic smirk on his face, as we hear the Symphonic Suite Op. 35 from Scheherazade

in the background; His gaze is broken when Molly enters, slamming the door, who seems to be the opposite

of Her. She is tall, blonde, and somewhat loud and crazy. The audience can tell she is already drunk.

His friend gets up to leave and we follow his gait out towards the door, seeing the people in booths

talking and laughing. She seems engrossed in her book but looks over briefly as he passes. When Molly

passes by, she looks up and her gaze is transfixed. She knows her.>

She: Molly? <quietly>

<Molly turns briefly and nearly does a doubletake when she sees her> 

Molly:  "HEY _________! I didn't know you would be here! Hey, ______, let's sit with _____. You aren't

waiting on anyone, are you? <she shakes her head and mouths "no" slowly> Good!

<He walks over casually with his drink and sits next to Molly across from Her.>

Molly: ________, this is my friend ______. We went to high school together!

<He casually says hello, and she only smiles knowingly and looks back down at her book. She dog-ears the

page and orders another drink.>

Him: You know you aren't supposed to do that. Librarians would come after you with butcher knives.

Her: Oh, I know. I'm a librarian, actually.

Him: Oh. <He twirls his glass around, subconscious, as Molly grabs his arm, seductively. He seems

completely disinterested in this.> What are you reading?

Her: Oscar Wilde. I love hi- 

Molly: -OH my God! WHAT SONG IS THIS? I love this fucking song!! <she starts dancing in the booth, which

makes both He and She smirk a little. Their eyes meet>

Her: So..... what do you do?

Him: Oh, I work at the airfield over by _____.

Her: Oh. Neat. <She mumbles something under her breath and rolls her eyes a bit. We never know what that

something is>

Him: You come to bars alone often?

Her: Oh, yeah. I like to watch people having fun. I find it interesting. 

<classical music continues to play. The camera circles around them and we see them talking, laughing, as

Molly continues to get more and more plastered and walks over and hangs all over some guy.>

Her: Should I take her home? She doesn't look so hot.

Him: Nah, it's okay. She lives near me. I'll take her home.

Her: Okay, well, it was nice meeting you. See you later, Moll. <she signs her tab and walks out into the

night, and we see a close-up shot of him, looking after her, as Molly kisses his neck> 


<He is sitting at the airfield again, in similar attire, watching the planes come in. His friend comes

over and sits next to him in silence for a while. He then turns to him>

Friend: So, didja fuck 'er?

Him: <takes his headphones off incredulously, even though it is obvious he heard him) What?

Friend: Molly?

Him: Jesus...<he just looks at him with a glare and gets up to walk the field>

<He is walking around, looking at the planes. He hops into one and pretends to fly it. His friend

follows him>

Friend: Got your pilot's license yet? 

Him: Nope.

Friend: How many more hours you got?

Him: About twenty, give or take a few.

<Classical music. Everything is poetic, with the planes aligned in perfect symmetry. We see Him drive

the plane around, with his friend waving a piece of cloth (like the lightsticks airports use). They are

like young boys playing. There are smiles and jeers. We then see a plane come in to land next to them as

they drive theirs around on the ground.>


 <aerial view of the library (downtown) inside. The view pans over bookshelves where people are reading,

the circulation desk, etc. We see a close-up of her sitting at a desk on the second level with a stack

of books and making paper airplanes and origami birds out of sheets of scrap paper. She looks bored;

listless. She is dressed unusually  She leans her head on her hand and sighs. It is very quiet in this

scene with no music at all. The camera zooms to see her writing notes. She is writing little euphemisms

and sticking them in the books while she is reshelving them. Just as she is doing this, she hears

someone exclaim about one of the notes that they found, holding it up proudly, like a treasure. She

turns back to her work and smiles. She glances down to the first level and sees a familiar face (shelves

blurred but we see His face clearly.) Close-up of her face. She visibly brightens.>

<He is not really sure what he is doing there or what he is looking for. He walks the aisles for a

while, in a slump. He walks to the computer kiosk and begins to type. He decides to look for "Oscar

Wilde." He jots a number down and is walking towards the fiction section when the camera follows a paper

airplane. The plane descends through the air into the aisle and hits him in the ear. >

Him: - the fuck?!

<he looks down at the crumpled plane on the ground and then looks up to see her standing above him on

the 2nd floor.>

She: ...I thought you said you were a pilot? <several people below shush her>

<He grimaces and walks up the stairs> 

Him: So you're a librarian. (a statement rather than a question...)

She: Only on Tuesdays and Columbus Day, Captain Obvious.

Him: Right.

She: <starts to grab some books to reshelve> What are you looking for? You don't seem like the bookish


Him: Gee, thanks. 

She: No, really, you can tell a lot about people by what they read (or don't read). You'd be surprised.

I bet you read aviation magazines mostly?

Him: ....No! <He is obviously lying>

She: Hmm.... <she looks through the stack she is carrying and pulls out a book. She jots something down

on a piece of paper and shoves it in before he notices> Here. Read this.

Him: <he holds the book and watches her walk down the aisle>


<Classical music. We see an open book and the sky above it. He is sitting at the airfield, book in palm.

He has yet to put it down. Several shots of him reading. One shot focuses on the book itself; the words

blur in and out of focus. Suddenly, his friend knocks the book on the ground. He picks it up, dusts it

off, and sets it to the side of him. It is then that he notices a piece of paper has fallen out. As he

tries to pick it up, the wind hits it. He walks after it and manages to pick it up. We see a quickly

scribbled note from Her that says, "If you like this book, meet me at ______at 8 o'clock Tuesday.") He

looks at his watch.>

Him: Fuck! <He picks up his stuff, gets quickly dressed, and hops on his motorcycle, wheels spinning

momentarily, leaving his friend standing there in the dust.>


<A coffeehouse. Classical music. We are following from his viewpoint as he enters the frame, walking

down the street. He is looking in the shop windows at his reflection, checking himself out. He looks

serious and slightly dissatisfied. He walks into the cafe and we see her sitting, prim and proper, with

a ball of yarn, furiously knitting away. She gazes up as he enters and smiles.>

She: You got my note, after all.

Him: So I did. You organize, you knit-- what other domestic attributes do you possess?

She: Well, I can't cook worth a damn. I can make a pretty spectacular bowl of frosted mini wheats


Him: <stone-faced> Really? Me, too.

She: <laughs and sips her coffee> I didn't know what you wanted to drink. I didn't even know if you

would show.

Him: Oh. Okay. <he walks up to the counter, tapping his hand lightly on his side. He seems unusually

nervous and nearly jumps with the barista asks him what he would like. We watch the process of coffee

bean to consumer in a span of twenty seconds, ending with a heart-shaped crema on a latte being

presented to him. He looks slightly disgusted and he takes it, holding it up a bit, eyeing is


Him: ...Thanks.

<We follow him as he walks back to the table to sit down, and she sits her knitting to the side.>

She: I figured you were stalking your favorite librarian, so I considered returning the favor. I didn't,


Him: Oh shit. I need a spoon. Hold on. <he walks back to the counter and we zoom in on her looking at

him. The room is colorful and calm, with the sun still peeking a bit through the large-pane the windows

(Java might be a good place for this, or Izzy's Coffee Den in Asheville>

<he sits back down and "Got a Way" by generifus begins playing. She smiles at him and they sit there,

talking and sipping coffee. Big mugs of coffee. Many scenes with close-ups of their faces sipping

coffee, laughing, smiling, talking. She hears a commotion outside, it seems, and looks out the window.

She freezes. Suddenly, she grabs his arm and pulls him onto the street, seeing a parade of some sort

outside. She is ecstatic; she is electric. He grabs her hand to slow her down and they walk together

down the sidewalk, watching the spectacle. He pulls her close to him. >


<"WAR PAINT" is what the small canister says in her apartment. He opens it, looks inside, sniffs it,

then puts it back down rather quickly. She walks out of the bathroom and opens a bottle of wine.








She: C'mon! What, are you afraid of flying or something?

Him: No...not afraid of flying, necessarily. Afraid of looking as ridiculous as you do right now, maybe.

She: Oh? Where's your spirit of adventure?

Him: I left it at home, along with my sanity, apparently.

She: <rolls her eyes and grabs his arm> Come on! Just try it once. I promise you will will have fun! If

not, at least *I* will have fun seeing you do it! Live a little! <she laughs>

Him: <pulls his arm away and crosses them> Well, now I definitely am not doing it.

She: Come onnnn!! 

Him: <stubbornly stands as she attempts to drag him into action> No. It's stupid. You are being such a

child right now. 

She: Pfft! You're no fun at all!<she grabs his hat off of his head and runs across the field in the

sunlight, arms spread wide, and he grimaces and watches after her, somewhat envious at her freedom>

Him: <he looks around for witnesses> Hey! Where are you going?!

She: <she stops, nearly out of breath, and raises her arms in the air to gesture at the majesty of the

sky, nearly yelling> To the moon! To the stars! <she puts his hat on her head and grins> You're so far

away! I think you look mad but I can't see the details of your face. What's the matter?

Him: My hat. You are so strange. Don't you want to fly in a *real* plane?

She: <she laughs> Nope! .....I'm afraid of heights! <she flails her arms out, making airplane noises and

continues across the field. He looks annoyed, looks around once more, and then he raises his arms to his


Him: Okay, this is totally stupid (to himself)......(to her) I'm only doing this because you want me to!

She: <yells over the approaching sound of a plane landing in the distance>... I know! 

Him: <he runs after her, weaving around the field, his arms out. He is smiling. He feels free for the

first time in ages>

<a shot from above of them flying at each other from different directions, passing one another, as

classical music plays> <shots of them chasing each other across the field in the sunlight> <She runs

toward him and wraps her arms around him, laughing, and they collapse into the grass>

<Joanna Newsom's "Bridges and Balloons" starts playing while they lay in the grass, staring at the

clouds. They are sprawled out, breathless, holding hands. She looks at him, her eyes glowing. He lays

there, a stern look on his face, staring into the abyss> <a time-lapse shot of them standing, shifting,

talking, connecting>




flame + fortune (yet another unfinished short story)

Taylor P.Comment

     The etching on the glass read "Waypost." I muttered it to myself, a mixture of grimacing blind optimism and stale curiosity. I sat at the table, a delicate array of vintage pieces from time's past. The red and chartreuse tones seemed to resonate some minor understatement that I could not obey, although I maintained my simplistic notions about the world. I had just lost a job for the third time this year, due to a disagreement with a coworker. I have always told myself that everything happens for a reason and that even if it doesn't, there is probably some purpose I am only vaguely aware of. Sipping tea, I recalled my path up until this point, maintaining a fractured and somewhat biased reflection of my circumstances. I held my young but work-weathered hands to a candle's flame, recognizing the state of oneness that my new life represented. Much like this flame, I would flicker in and out of situations that were not a perfect fit for me; were not my cup of tea, so to speak. But over time, I would burn brighter, resonating some curtailment that sought attraction and attachment, yet ultimately dwindled into isolation and prospective ambiance. In truth, my life was very much symbolized by this flame: a flame (my life) given from a fire (my parents), a troubled lighting of the wick (a troubled and tedious childhood), the flame engulfing the wick (my puberty and rise to adulthood), the flickering of the flame as it burned brighter (the many rises and falls that situations in my life represented, and oddly the bettering of my circumstances and mentality over time), and the departure of the flame as it flickered for the last time on the wick that had all but ended (death). My girlfriend and I used to come here every Saturday morning, but that was back before she left. She ran off with Jeremiah, a 31-year-old, down-on-his-luck IT Tech who had a horrible garage band. They had been high school sweethearts, apparently, although I found it odd that she never mentioned him before up until the day prior to her departure. I am, of course, a bitter man, albeit the better man, in my opinion. She stuck me with the lease and the rest of our bills, saying she would pay me back as soon as she got on her feet. She never did. Six months later, I am sitting at our old hangout, holding her postcard in my hands.

The postcard had her stringent cursive on it; a difficult task for me as my penmanship is not the best. I thumbed the card around in my hand, flipping it over and over again. I had read it several times since that morning and still failed to grasp its message, although my intentions were good. It was amazing to me how bad news comes in threes and fours some days. I wanted to strangle her, not literally, of course, but in a verbal sense. Verbal chokehold.  Why was she telling me she was getting married? She stuck me with everything else, including our failed relationship of four years, so why then was she telling me something that she knew would hurt me? I flipped it over again and again, pondering what emotions I had left, if any, and if this would affect my balance in life right now. 

"Hey Carlisle, you don't want lettuce on this, right?" Mike interrupted my thought process, behind the counter, pointing to bizarre mix of sprouts, bread, black beans, and hummus that graced the countertop.

"Yeah, thanks, Mike." He had been asking me the same question for seven months now, ever since Kaley stopped coming in with me. She ate the lettuce; I didn't. He still gets the two confused, even now, no matter how many times I come in, and we repeat this process over and over again like a broken record.  It used to be somewhat painful to venture in here after we split, but now it is more amusing than anything else. Mike and I worked line together at a sub shop in Alberta a while back and became fairly good friends during that time, so that made it a little bit easier as time passed. He keeps trying to get me to date girls he knows, such as the sister of his ex-fiancé' or the girl that works stock at Safeway, but I can't bring myself to do it. Despite the fact that she made me a miserable wreck, Kaley contains every ounce of me that was good and pure. Even after six months, I have not been ready to accept that we wouldn't find each other again; That was the plan, anyway, until the mail showed up today.

Besides, I deserved this, or at least I thought I did. Mike brought me my sandwich and I sat, staring at it, getting my mind ready to dissect the specimen. Olive oil, a drop or two of tarragon vinegar, soft bean sprouts, roasted black beans, homemade hummus, a wry tomato, and a thin slice of roast beef, served in slabs of whole wheat bread from Kern's.  I found it ironic that I should have an appetite now at all, considering this was part of the last $100 I had to my name for a week. $100 for a week in Alberta simply was a drop in the bucket. I knew I would have to look for another job in greater Portland, maybe south to Hawthorne or further west to Hillsboro. The reality of this made me a bit nauseous. I was that guy, the one who completely sucked at job interviews. The one who bombed them to the point that it would be an absolute miracle if I had a callback. The idea of starting over was devastating to me, but there was very little I could do. My coworker had set me up, plain and simple. He had been making up things about me, behind my back, in order to get me fired because he wanted my position. Unfortunately for him, they fired both of us because they didn't want to show favoritism and wanted to secure a little extra money in their expense accounts. I call that divine justice; he thought it was an outright tragedy. 

My parents named me Decca. Decca Andrew Carlisle. My father was British, my mother East Indian, so it is no surprise that when they immigrated to the United States back in 1976, they would choose a name of a record company because they liked the sound of it and felt popular names of items in the US were very "American." Needless to say, I preferred to be called Andy. My mother was a musician, an avid fan of Elvis Costello, and she hoped I would become a famous rock star or equally artistic person. Instead, I became an accountant who masqueraded by night as a sandwich "artist" and barista at a local beanery. But, hey, it pays my student loans, so I have a good excuse.

"Much love, Kaley" it read, written in the same sprawling cursive that I had seen time and time again. The same positive phrase that she quickly penned as she left a note for me to let our dog outside for its rituals. The same phrase that she wrote on the little notes she left in my lunch box for work. The same phrase she wrote on the letter that announced she was moving out. I scrutinized the phrase, wondering if she really did love me still, or if it was simply something to say to pass the time; A force of habit, a creature of comfort, perhaps? Maybe, she surmised, by showing that she still cared, I would gladly send them a bottle of wine or a small token of my approval, to curtail the awkwardness that surrounded the subject of the postcard.  I nearly crushed the postcard at the notion of this, as it greatly infuriated me. Even now, she still couldn't seem to take anything seriously. Not even my feelings on the subject, although I'm sure she felt I was detached. I was, at the time, so why would she expect me to be any different now?

In fact, my exact words to her when she told me about her and Jeremiah were simply: "Our lease is up in 8 months, Kaley. Are you planning on paying or what?"

No emotion. No begging her to change her mind. Just the plain facts of life.

It was about a week after she moved out, when some old photos fell out of a book I was re-shelving, that I recognized everything that had gone wrong and how much I did miss her. I saw her in the Polaroids, the girl of my dreams, smiling frantically and superficially, clearly surprised, as I had ambushed her four summers ago. I always liked the way her hair fell over her eyes, her awkward wry smile, the way she would put her left foot in her shoe first, then the right one in the other shoe, even though she was right-handed. She was a horrible cook, an amateur kite-flyer, mildly tone deaf when she sang, and she would leave little shards of hair in the sink after she trimmed her bangs. She had a blood-curdling growl when she was angry, she would throw things at times, and she rarely ever wiped the soap residue off of the dishes. But I loved to watch her sleep, that huge grin on her face when her sleepy eyes would open slowly, as if from a dream, and she would whisper with a tired but comfortable tone, "Hey you."

She used to knit me scarves and socks every year. I, being craft-illiterate, would buy her a box of wine, a CD or book she had been coveting, and send her flowers (her favorites: ranunculus and poppies). Every year I was fairly predictable, but so was she. We worked this all out when we started this venture; this relationship. We told each other everything- I still have no secrets left to tell. I told her all about the ones before her, the one-night stands, the things which I benefited very little from telling. She had a way of getting the secrets out of me, so it was useless to argue with her or hide any information. I thought I knew her quite well, too, so it was quite a shock when it occurred to me those many months ago that who she truly was and who I perceived her to be was a different story entirely.

She works at Saint Cupcake part-time, so I've heard, although in my harried ventures down to Belmont I have never seen her in there. I would briefly glance in the window and her friend Marnie would stare out, unsurprised, and usually would give me a ridiculous grimace. She never liked me, complaining that I was too boring for Kaley. "You could do better," she said. It was she, the vile creature, that reintroduced her to Jeremiah and thus ended a relationship I considered impenetrable. Kaley and I had talked about getting married and were going to wait another year, until she finished her degree. Married.......how could I forget? I stirred my second cup of tea in wonder, amazed that such a simple admission could dredge up such nostalgia.

And she was admitting it to me in this card, it seemed, in some strange way. Not only was she getting married, but Jeremiah had a new job in Billings, Montana. They were moving away. She wanted me to have the dog, our dog, the one we bought together a year after she moved in to the apartment. The one she begged and pleaded with me to have, even though I wasn't even remotely ready to pay $600 for the puppy. And now, to start her new life, she was giving it back to me, as if to say, "Here. I am done with you entirely, now. No hard feelings, right?"

I remember a few months ago when she called me one drunken night, pronouncing me still her friend. I hung up on her. I am not usually the type of person to impulsively do something like that, but I was very angry at the time. Now I had to wonder if we could ever be friends again, or if it would always be such a bitter affair. Once you have had sex with someone and lived with them, it can be pretty hard to go back to a normal friendship. There is always that fear that it will happen again and the jealousy issue is always present. It especially didn't help that Jeremiah was pretty much a loser, in my eyes. Why she left me for a schmuck like him, I will never know.

Mike waltzed over and planted himself casually in the seat across from me. He glowered at me dully, speechless. Without warning, he spun a can of PBR across the table to me. Reflexively, I grabbed it and popped the top, a light sizzle escaping as the particles diffused into the environment. Mike brought out another and opened his as well. This was our usual ritual since we became friends. I remember sitting out with him in my old Volvo in the parking lot of Burgerville, drinking PBR, the King of Cheap Beer, and talking about alternative bands that were coming out of Seattle.

I grew up in Tacoma. We moved to Portland when I was about eight or so, I guess, although sometimes I would like to tell people I have always been here. Stumptown has primarily always been home to me. I’ve lived in Richmond, Los Angeles, and Baltimore a few years in my life, but Portland is where I hang my hat. I always come back, regardless of my destination.  I, like many of my friends, am a transient. There are very few “locals” here- most of us come from all over the world. It is the resting place for invalid artists, fledgling performers, renegade indie superstars, new age hippies, and…accountants. And people like Mike, who defies all logical explanation. We all have these really abstract titles, like “Laurie: mechanical engineer, cyclist, and burlesque performer, “ or “David: writer for Willamette Week, circus performer, and singer-songwriter.” I don’t know too many people in town that don’t have at least two jobs, and I know many people that have four or five. Honest.

Mike grabbed the post card from my hand before I could complain otherwise, and reading it, he smirked, giving a chortled laugh. I glared menacingly at him, “What?”

“Man,” Oh great. When he starts with a “Man” or a “You know….?” I know I am in for a lecture of sorts. He sighed, “You need to forget about Kaley. She is just….I don’t know. Not worth it. “

This is the world, according to Mike. He always has such eloquent euphemisms. I smiled, “Wow, that was quick and painless. “

“You know, it’s girls like her and Marnie that give women a bad name.” He turned the can up and chugged the rest of his beer as potential customers stood in the doorway. They knew each other, apparently, for the couple hugged him and I heard the girl say,”Hey brother, how ya been?”
He greeted them and proceeded back behind the counter. I wondered if that was actually his sister, if he had one at all, or just someone he knew. People spend so much time calling people by family-related nicknames that it is hard for me to tell sometimes. She sort of looked like him, so maybe. She reminded me more of Marnie than anyone else, actually. That seemed to be his type, anyway.

Mike and Marnie used to date. In fact, they not only dated; they were engaged to be married. But Marnie was a bit crazy, in my opinion. She could never figure out what she wanted or who she wanted to be, so living around Mike was a constant state of ups and downs for a while. Mike is a good guy- a really good guy. I don’t think in all the time I have known him that he has ever cheated on a girl, stolen anything, or said anything bad about anyone that wasn’t completely accurate. Where I overdramaticize everything, Mike tends to keep everything on an even keel. Except for drinking. When it comes to drinking, he tends to go overboard. The situation with Marnie was different from my relationship with Kaley. Marnie is very self-centered, so it is no surprise to me that she really didn’t love Mike. It was just something to pass the time. I hated her influence, although without her I probably would never have met Kaley. Sometimes I wish we had never met, but I know it had to happen. Everything happens for a reason.

Kaley and Marnie were in Jackpot Records one day, searching through albums for something new, something different. I met Mike there, for we were planning on spending the day at Powell’s hunting for books on bicycle maintenance (Mike had recently converted a fixed gear bike) but he had wanted to stop in to see if they had a G.G. Allin documentary that had recently been released. Marnie and Mike were visibly smitten with one another, judging by the fact that they couldn’t stop staring. Marnie would smile at him and then turn away, still smiling. Mike would be stone-faced and wide-eyed yet he would steal little glances at her whenever possible. Kaley and I would exchange looks of bewilderment, but I was equally dazzled by her. But, being the idiot I was, I had a pretense of ultimate disinterest. She didn’t seem very phased by this; in fact, she was pretty much indifferent. I took this as an immediate challenge, and proceeded to take my Polaroid camera out of my bag and snap her photo. She was certainly surprised, but she flashed me a tenacious smile, her eyes narrowed mischievously, and that sealed the deal for me. She chased me around Jackpot for the photo but I refused to return it. I still have it, even after everything that happened.

Marnie introduced us, I introduced Mike, and that is how Kaley and I met. It was because of Marnie and Mike that Kaley and I went to double dates with them. It was because of Marnie and Mike that Kaley needed a place to live and ended up moving in with me and thus began our lives together.

I stared into the mirror at the far end of the room, my features clearly exposed. I looked like a mad scientist or something, hair disheveled, beard slightly unkempt. My mustache was curling at the ends. I looked every bit a bum, I guessed, with my checkered turquoise western shirt and dirty jeans. My eyes were darker than usual today, less vibrant, as if they had lost some of their copper luster. They do that when I am depressed, I’ve noticed. It was nice, though, to dress down today and not have to wear the tie and slacks that governed my appearance at my accounting job. Job. I didn’t even want to think about it again. My job at a Stumptown Roasters only managed to pay the rent, not all of my other bills that my primary occupation took care of. And my third job wasn’t even worth mentioning, as I only worked it one miserable night a week. Hydan told me that I could come in for a shift tonight if I needed it, but part of me felt like just going to sleep. While I didn’t mind playing coffee champion for the night, I had other obligations to attend to; Mainly, that I needed to get this situation with Kaley out of my head for good. She was getting married now; that much was true.

“Hey Carlisle, have you met Lainey and Chris? Guys, this is my friend Andy.” I was so glad he introduced me as Andy and not Decca, I always worry about that when meeting people. I nodded a casual greeting and proceeded to scribble drawings on my napkin, mostly of Godzilla attacking buildings and dirigibles and old rail yards. Although, to be honest, they really didn’t look like much of anything but it helped to pass the time.

After a while, I decided to take a walk to clear my head. It was in the upper 40’s outside, so I put on my thick jacket and wrapped my scarf around my face like some desert-dwelling goat herder. Then I added my cap, an old military issue, for good measure. The air was dry and crisp, which is not a rare occurrence this time of year. We get a lot of flack for having a lot of rain and cloudy days, but it really isn’t as bad as one might think. Regardless, I wished it had been a tad warmer today and that I wasn’t near as tired. I had wanted to ride my bike out to Skidmore Fountain and walk around the Saturday market, but even though I am used to the weather most of the year, my heart wasn’t in it today and I knew that. I clutched the post card in my hand, walking up past S.C.R.A.P. to my apartment. I waved at Sarah, who was working today, although I don’t think she saw me.

The apartment I lived in was part of a triplex, a shabby affair: an old 1960’s building with perforated wall sculptures and those old metal rocking chairs, rusted from age. I parked my bike outside, careful to lock it up with the rest of the bikes, as the theft in the area had skyrocketed over the past year or so. I already had my bike stolen once and had to walk all the way back home. The best thing about my apartment was the floors: rich mahogany. It wasn’t a bad apartment, even for being a 1 bedroom. At $600 a month, I wasn’t about to complain. It was off of Williams and my landlord let me generally do whatever I wanted. I, of course, took this as an opportunity to paint the walls and spend reckless amounts of money furnishing it from IKEA and some of the local thrift stores and yard sales. Kaley was really into living “green” so most of our stuff tended to be recycled, thrifted, or environmentally friendly. When she left, she nearly left everything. I am still sorting through everything, even now. Some things hold so many memories for me that they are hard to get rid of. I still find myself separating papers and plastics into the little bins we bought together; a constant reminder of our time together.

I was never very emotional or sentimental until I met Kaley. Perhaps I had always been a little bit but fell into that stigma of being a guy. Guys aren’t supposed to have emotions or be sentimental about things, or so I have been told. If anything, I have usually been underemotional. For instance, when my great-grandmother passed away, I didn’t have any shred of emotion at all, even though I knew her very well and we were quite close when I was growing up. I justified it by the fact that she was old; we all have to die sometime. Most of my life has been like that. When Kaley left, I didn’t shed a tear. I justified it by the fact that she had betrayed me. It was only months later that I realized that she didn’t love me as much as I loved her and I shouldn’t ask someone to stay who doesn’t want to and the realization of this brought tears to my eyes. I was pretty torn up for a while there.

When I received that post card today, my first instinct was to move back east, back to Baltimore or maybe somewhere else entirely. I had gone to school in Baltimore. Ana, my first live-in girlfriend, and I used to make spontaneous trips to Philly and sometimes even ventured into Canadian territories. Ana was my first “love” (or “lust”, depending on which way you look at it) and we were very much incompatible. Ana was short for “Anatolia.” She was Turkish and Irish with thick, heavy lashes and an amazing body. She was going to school to become a botanist and we met at a local library while researching for a Molecular Biology class (which I had taken as an elective-- stupid, I know). She was from Brooklyn, with a thick accent, and we would spend hours making light of our differences. I have a very American, Pacific Northwestern, laid-back tone, where she had a wild, crazy, loud New York dialect. She was athletic, always wanting me to practice ashatanga yoga with her; I hate exercising, although at times I desperately needed it with all the beer I drank during the frat days. She had two cats, both of which I was allergic to. Her hair always smelled like rose water and lavender although I could never figure out when she applied this; I began to imagine she naturally smelled like the Ottoman empire without ever using perfume. She had a toothy grin, her canine teeth pointed like a vampiress would have, or something. She was very catlike, lithe and fair, often traipsing around the apartment with an air of utter amusement. I often imagined I could see her playing with a ball of yarn, for she was so easily amused with life. At night, we would often sit and play board games until well after midnight. In fact, I am pretty sure she is the primary originator of “Strip Scrabble.” Most nights we would spend on the couch, watching movies, drinking our lattes, and occasionally drinking beer until one of us fell asleep on the other. Life was very much perfect and perfectly boring.

Her parents adored me and often showered me with Turkish foods and stout beer. I thought I had met my soul mate. My parents did not share my enthusiasm, but they graciously accepted her into their home when we visited that year. She found so many complaints to address, primarily concerning our finances. She came from a well-off family in Brooklyn (they had owned a bank for over 80 years), so she expected my family to be as financially supportive; they weren’t. My family tried to keep things as simple as possible; Although we had stable income, we wanted to really be just like everyone else. “That is the American way, son,” My father would often say to me. My mother found Ana to be selfish, conceited, and intolerable. And, truthfully, the girl did behave like a spoiled brat, throwing tantrums and cussing like a sailor. But I was so much in love and love was blind.

The night we split up was a blessed event. I came home from my classes to find her drunk, passed out in the floor, and half of our furniture was broken or missing. As I went into the bathroom to get some cleaning supplies, a guy walked out, half-naked and clearly shitfaced. I recognized him from some of the soirees I had attended with her. He was the guy that had shares in a pharmaceutical company and drove a Jaguar.  That guy I kept running into in the hallway some nights but couldn’t quite remember who he was. I threw all of her things out into the hall, the guy included, and as soon as my semester ended, I packed up and headed back to Stumptown.

I guess moving doesn’t really solve anything anyway. At least Kaley was moving away for the while. That would probably help heal me some, seeing as how we run into each other quite regularly. Sometimes it is very awkward, especially when I see her with Jeremiah. Every once in a while, I see him walking past Stumptown Roasters toward Saint Cupcake and I cringe. I really don’t like that guy, not that I even know him all that well. I just know his type. He probably won’t amount to much of anything, Kaley will end up pregnant, and he won’t want to pay for raising the kid. 

Sarah is supposed to come over later, although I am never quite sure what we might get into. She is a wild card, of sorts. She is constantly doing something, obsessing over the little things, yet always amiable enough for an adventure. She is kind of a loner and doesn’t hang out with the usual people I associate with. She is very plain, in a cute sort of way, kind of like a kid sister, but I have to admit she can be very beautiful at times. We have a very strange friendship. She will often call me up, out of the blue after weeks of no contact, wanting me to drive out to Astoria with her, even though it is 20 degrees on the coast and the roads are slick with ice. She is the one who I am driving out to Crater Lake with, when and if the lake ices over, just because she wants to take pictures on the frozen slabs. I would do anything in my power to make her happy. There are times I make her so angry she won’t talk to me for weeks, even though I can never recall what spurred her into action in the first place.  It is a weird mix of polarities. When things are going good, they are really good. When things are going bad, they can be really bad.  I always get the feeling I could love her, if I can ever get over Kaley and get out of the rut I am in.

I sat, surfing on my Mac, looking at job ads and filling out applications. It is always a really tedious concept, the searching and contacting of potential employers. I feel very hungry, but I haven’t been to Whole Foods in about two weeks now. What I wouldn’t give for a doughnut from Voodoo Doughnut, though!  I would order my favorite, in that tiny place, a cake-like doughnut with icing and Oreos sprinkled on it-- some obnoxiously clever name attached to it. Although there are so many listings, finding a job in town is nearly impossible but it can be done. Part of it is that half the time, you can be overqualified for a job. Otherwise, there is simply too much competition for a good job.  I stared blankly at the screen, recalling that I would have to find a job that is close enough so that I can let our/my dog, Abigail, out, since she is coming back to be a permanent resident in my apartment ……again.

I could never understand what made Kaley so irresponsible. She had all the trappings of a modern girl who had her life under complete control, yet she behaved so irrationally at times that I had to question if she was the same person or not. She would forget to pay bills, sweep things under the rug- stuff like that. Sometimes she would forget her age, which was amusing but also annoying at times. I remember many times she would sing (or scream, rather) in the shower to old Motown classics to the point that our neighbors would knock on the wall and yell in protest. She never locked her motorcycle up, which drove me crazy because I was always afraid it would get stolen. She was a free spirit in many ways, although when it came to me she was specifically a hardliner.

After about an hour of limited results, I turned on my Ipod and immersed myself in the Pixies. They were a band I always went back to, in times of trouble. “Velouria” was always a favorite of mine. I flipped through the list, finding some of Kaley’s old Riot Grrrl music on the playlist. I really should have deleted the songs by now, but in some weird way I liked these little reminders of her. They made the apartment seem a little less empty and dreary. To this day, I can’t hear Sleater-Kinney or the Slits without thinking of Kaley. In fact, much of the music I listen to now I can attribute to Kaley’s good taste.“There is more to life than the Melvins,” she said to me one day.
She was right.

I heard a huge crashing noise and woke up on the couch. I could not be sure if it was truly some sort of crash or simply my half-sleep/half-aware super-hearing getting the best of me. Staring at the ceiling, I had no concept of time and space. My little heater was making popping noises, the coils restless after prolonged hours of usage. I sat up, looking around the room, the stale odor of old garbage and incense smoke lingering in the blues and grays of twilight. I adjusted my pillows and sat back on the couch, staring at the faint blue light that leaked through the curtains. It was when I noticed the red flashing lights that I became alarmed. I decided to glance out the window, so I stood up and raised the blinds just barely. A car crash, I presumed, judging by the crunched car near the entrance to my apartment complex. Black ice causes this all the time. I don’t know if the natives ever get used to the winters here. Last year we had an ice storm so bad that cars were practically sliding into one another and it looked as if they were ice skating gracefully into one another. It was mildly amusing, actually. I stood there, gawking in fascination at all the lights and fleeting events that were playing out before me, wondering why human beings are so curious that they watch things like this with such morbid fascination. I glanced out at my bike, frozen solid in the sheets of mixed precipitation that fell darkly to the black basalt driveway, and heard a strange, muffled electronic noise. It took me a few moments to realize that my cell phone was blaring under the blanket on my couch, so I then ran, awkwardly, tripping over my birch LACK side table and knocking over a cup of coffee from earlier that morning.

“Fucking shit!” I growled as the phone became quiet. When I finally made my way to it, the missed call icon was flashing. Sarah had called.

“Hey,” I put my fingers around my neck apprehensively, even though I had no reason to be so nervous, as it wasn’t like she was there.

“Hey Stranger…didn’t I see you walking by my place of employment earlier?” She was sly, this one. She had see me, after all.
“Nope, it must have been some other mustachioed man in a parka.”
“Ah, I see. I am stuck in traffic. Apparently there was an accident or something? Do you still want me to come over or what?” She sounded a bit perturbed, so I slackened on my banter for the moment.
“Yeah, yeah, there was an accident in front of my place. The ice, I guess? I don’t know if you can get over here, actually. It looks like they are blocking off to road. Want me to meet you at your place or do you have something else in mind?”
“I’m just kidding. I went the back way. I am in your driveway, Dork. Didn’t you see me waving at you earlier?” She laughed, and as I walked gingerly to the window to peer out, I saw her laughing at me as she laughed into the phone. I grimaced, hung up the phone,  and met her at the door.

She was a whirl of color against the dreary night sky. Dark auburn hair, a red jacket, and polka-dot galoshes met me in a flurry of movement as she loaded two thick fabric grocery bags into my hands.

“Oh, no…what is this?” I peered at them skeptically, fearing the worst. She laughed, her blue eyes smiling, and proceeded to dump the contents out on my coffee table.

“Okay…first up, we have a bottle of Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, some blueberry brie (imported, of course), vegan sesame crackers, and……..Blue Velvet!” She grinned widely, looking to me for approval, Good, yes?”

“Yes, you have done well, grasshopper.”

She bowed, praising the very nature of her conquest, and proceeded to my kitchen to search for the corkscrew. I always envied her ability to enter someone else’s home and know exactly where everything was located.

I remember the first time she came over, awkward and fumbling with her keys. There were several lapses in our conversation, we couldn’t look at each other for more than a millisecond. She stood, pigeon-toed, gazing at her feet with confusion, as if she was desperately pleading with me to do something to right the situation.

Then, out of nowhere, she asked meekly, “Can I use your bathroom?”
I nodded and she walked directly to it. The girl has intuitive superpowers or something. When she walked out, she danced into my kitchen and brought out two beers and sat down on the couch. After that, my world was never the same again. After one beer, we both felt more at ease and began to bond, a bond that would probably last a lifetime. She and I are so horribly alike mentally it is uncanny. I once asked if she was related to me, jokingly, of course, but she moved here from Kansas or Missouri or something, I think.

She was your typical All-American girl; she grew up watching Jem and She-Ra, parents were hippies, went to school in Eugene, and went through a multitude of phases before finding her niche (as a scrap-hoarding, cello-playing, music-obsessed veterinary tech). She told me she really wanted to be a graphic design artist, but that was before…the accident. Actually, there was no accident. It just sounded more dramatic that way. I apologize for misleading you in my narration. She actually just decided she liked animals more, instead. Boring, I know.

She came back and took off her jacket to reveal her figure, which was ultimately a fine one. She has wire frame cat’s eye glasses, the kind your grandmother probably wore in the 1950’s. She lived in a unique state of dress, although to see her at work she seemed more librarian-like. She reminds me of a little bird, like a sparrow, perhaps. She is always taking everything in, always questioning the state of the world, always watching. We sat on the couch, drinking our wine, eating our cheese and crackers, and watching the movie. I hadn’t seen it in a while, but it was just as good as I remembered it. When it was finished, I glanced over and noticed she had fallen asleep on my arm. I gently moved her under the blanket and turned the DVD player off. In the process, I knocked over my glass of wine and it went tumbling to the floor in a sea of red. Her eyes opened and she grabbed me, before I could react, and kissed me. We collapsed to the couch, the wine all but forgotten, and I reminded myself to thank God that I had hardwood floors.

I woke up in the middle of the night, her sleeping form lying next to me. We had somehow made it into bed during the night, although due to the wine the events were a bit hazy. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, but definitely just as memorable and wonderful. I had yet to show her Kaley’s post card.  I tried to push it out of my mind, to remind myself that this life is better. That this one might have a future someday with a little time and patience. Sarah and I like each other, but I don’t know if either of us will ever be ready to take the plunge into a relationship, at least not with one another. I ran my fingers through her soft hair, wishing so desperately that I could fall in love with her. She was perfect in so many ways and a delightful person, yet I couldn’t get my prior goals out of my head.  “Andy….” She sighed. “..I’m sorry that happened again. Well, not sorry necessarily- you know what I mean.”
“It’s okay, Sarah. It’s perfectly okay.” I kissed her forehead and we fell back asleep, wrapped up in each other’s arms. I felt like I could sleep there for a thousand years, if given the chance.

We awoke to a knock at the door. I had no idea what time it was, but the sun was out, so I took an educated guess and assumed it was past ten, as the sun doesn’t reach this side of the apartment until then. Sleepy-eyed and scowling, Sarah glanced over at me, curious and a bit hung-over.  I paused, stepped out of bed, and nearly leapt back in. The floor was freezing and I was in my skivvies. I grabbed a pair of socks and threw on some lounge pants and a thermal shirt before bounding to the door. I yelled at the intruder, “Just a minute!” and proceeded to unlock the 3 deadbolts on my door (not my idea). As soon as the door opened, Abigail bounded into room, nearly knocking me off of my feet. She was a Great Dane and not small by any means. Kayley stood at the edge of the walkway, a picture of perfection.

She walked up to me and gave me an awkward hug from the side, which made me grimace.

“I hope you got the card I sent you. Otherwise, this must be quite a shock, huh?” She smiled warmly, although her eyes were not smiling.

“Yes, I did. Congratulations.” I turned to walk back in to the apartment. She grabbed my arm.

“Andy, listen. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. This is for the best- you’ll see. Some day you will laugh about these past few years, especially when you find someone special to share the next ones with.”

“Andy, dear, who is at the door?” Sarah bounded over to stand near me, the pajamas she borrowed from me nearly engulfing her slender frame. “Oh. It’s you.” She glowered at Kayley, a mixture of disgust and triumph.

“O-hohh!” Kayley seemed a bit surprised and she took a step back. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you guys.”

Sarah spoke before I could gather my words properly,” Oh! That’s fine. Thanks for bringing Abby by (Kayley hated when people called her by her nickname)! See ya,” She spoke this very dryly before slamming the door in her face with a dull thud. Then she locked the deadbolts and lumbered back to bed, leaving me nearly speechless in the hall. “Uhm….Thanks…?“

After Sarah left for work, Mike came over and we sat outside, working on our bikes. He was trying to convert his with new gears and cable brakes so I told him I would help him. I knew he was going to ask, eventually, and after a solid 30 minutes of reminiscing about stupid inside jokes we had and headlines he read in The Onion, he finally became somewhat serious, “Sooo… Sarah, huh?”

“What about her?” I nonchalantly took a wrench out of its container, adjusting a bracket that had loosened.

Mike cleared his throat and continued, “Well, was that or was that not her leaving when I showed up?”

“Yup.” I pretended to be very intent on what I was doing, and of course slightly unconcerned.

Mike dropped his front tire to the ground, “Does Kayley know?”

This made me grin a bit wryly, although I kept a pretty good poker face, “Yeah, well, I assume she does by now. I mean, what’s the big deal? She’s getting married and moving to Montana anyway.”

Mike laughed, “Yeah, but you know how girls are. I bet it will piss her off pretty bad.”

“Oh well. Did you get those brake cables yesterday or what?”

It was all I could do to go to work that night, although a big part of me would have rather been home drinking, sitting on the couch, and relaxing. Abby was playing with a chew toy when I skimmed the door and headed out to my bike. I knew that it was foolish to ride my bike with it being so cold outside, but I figured that the less money I spend on gas, the more I will have to eat on. I rode down Williams, the wind shooting an icy mist against my face. My hair was frozen in place and I knew by the time I arrived at Three Rivers, my hair would be a solitary, tangled mass unsuitable for viewing or consumption.  I would speed around curves, so fast at times that I feared my hat could fly off into the intersection. This was my freedom. Regardless of what anyone has ever told you, there is nothing more comforting than being able to move at your own pace. I had a good hour to get to the hole-in-the-wall place I worked at (Three Rivers Bakery 1 night a week and Stumptown Roasters 3 nights a week), so I took my time and took in the sights. I stopped at Laurelhurst Park to catch a break and saw Jimmy and Alana heading out for their usual evening ride. I rode down through some of the neighborhoods, remembering apartments where my friends used to live and crazy photos we used to take of random street objects.

Most of my old friends are gone now, their nomadic genes launching them into the far West and Midwest states. I remember one time Jill and I got so drunk that we would run out in front of cars on Anderson, screaming at the top of our lungs that we had seen aliens in her backyard. The ironic thing is that some of the people got out of their cars and joined us in our quest to stop the aliens. Portland is funny like that; you never know what to expect. I remember fond things now. Like when Paul and I joined in a big pillow fight in Pioneer Square. When Aaron and I parked outside the Turkish grocery store and used to drink sodas from there.  And when Lucy and I camped out on the corner of her street in Milwaukee, drank Red Stripe, and watched the stars. Jill got married and moved to Alaska. She has two kids now, I believe. Paul joined the Air Force and I think he is based in Hawaii now. Aaron ended up getting hit by a car and is still rehabilitating in his hometown of Laramie, Wyoming. I have no idea what happened to Lucy. She was there one day and then she was gone, but she was rumored to have headed down to Phoenix where her aunt and uncle lived.

I couldn’t help but feel saddened by my inability to cope with so many losses, so I was glad that these happened vaguely over time. When I met Kayley, everything came at a standstill. Her world consumed me. Her friends were my friends. Her life was my life and I felt like I would spend years to get mine back. I was determined not to let that happen again, no matter who I end up with or what I end up doing with my life.

Carla greeted me when I arrived. She is very motherly, despite her 35 years of age. She reminds me very much of my own mother, although Carla is half-Arabic and a quarter Lakota. She is the manager at Three Rivers, although her husband Sam Cho, begs to differ. They both grew up here, like me, children of parents who immigrated to the US during the 60’s-70’s.  Carla is short, mildly plump, and wears very simple clothing, which is not surprising considering that she co-owns an organic bakery. Sam is the more flamboyant of the two, surprisingly, although I rarely ever see him anymore. He opened up a bakery/café’ on Burnside and it is taking up most of his time.

My co-worker, Jeff, saluted me. Jeff was the tall, gangly type of guy; a pioneer in the art of being lazy and getting drunk at work. I can guarantee you that any time Carla turns around, Jeff is drinking a shot of tequila or a bottle of Michelob. He can practically engulf a six-pack in 2 minutes if given the chance. His hair reached down to his shoulders, so he had to wear it pulled to the back of his head in a ponytail. Carla’s insidious bitching at him is unparalleled. I am surprised he still has a job there, all things considered. He was heavy into southern rock bands of the 80’s so he is constantly singing lyrics to them, despite our protests. All in all, though, Jeff isn’t a bad guy, truthfully, so working with him isn’t too traumatic. I am just glad I only have to deal with him one night a week.

I was rolling dough out on the wooden slab, 100% organic semolina. Carla was mixing another batch, her skilled hands stirring with the spoon in a practiced motion. She smiled at me momentarily, her thick accent softened by her years on the west coast:  “So, how’s your momma?”

She asks me this every week. She and my mother met when we moved here, so despite the fact that they don’t keep in touch as well as they would like to, she still never fails to care about what my mother is into. I tell her usually the same thing every week.

“Oh, she’s really good. Her and dad have just been busy camping, enjoying their time off. “

Carla always smiles, thoughtfully, and then the second question is evident, “And how are things for you?”

She witnessed the downfall of my relationship with Kayley, how much I suffered even though I didn’t want anyone to know. It was she who first guessed that we had split up and why. A mother of three, she had almost a sixth sense about people and immediately had known what exactly had transpired.

“Oh, things are good.”

“You’re seeing a girl?”

“Yeah, sort of.”

I hadn’t really told her about Sarah yet. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to know, so much as I didn’t know how to convey that it was nothing serious.

“Sort of, huh? Anyone I know, Andy?”

“It’s not Kayley, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“Well, does this girl have a name?” She spun the dough in a circular fashion, causing it to fall out of the bowl with a light thump.

“Sarah.  Her name is Sarah.”

“Ah, that is a pretty name. So what does this Sarah do? Would she meet my approval?” She eyed me warily, a smug smirk causing her dimples to stand out.

I filled her in on the most basic of details (for fear she might use them against me at a later date, otherwise) and the night went by monotonously and without any more pressing questions. Carla seemed satisfied with my answers and moved the conversation to political and social dilemmas and mentioned different rock stars and artists she would like to see run for presidency.

When my shift was over, I was throwing my apron in the laundry hamper when Jeff walked over to me. He looked at me incredulously before speaking plainly, “Were you talking about Sarah Madison?”

“Yeah?” I wasn’t too sure where this was leading, but considering it was one of the longest sentences he had ever spoken since I started working here, I listened intently.

“Oh, well, cause….you know she’s got a boyfriend, right?”

Boyfriend. I was blind-sided entirely. Sarah who stayed at my house. Sarah who seemed so independent and easy-going. She had a boyfriend. I squeezed my eyes shut and grimaced, “Are you positive?”

“Yeah, she is dating my brother, dude. I knew she wasn’t that great of a girl, but shit.”

“Man, wow, I’m sorry. I had no idea. She never mentioned a boyfriend or anything so I just assumed.”

“It’s cool, man. Listen, let’s just keep this between us, alright? The last thing I need is to cause Kyle any more problems. He’s had enough bad shit happen to him this year.”

“Yeah, sure, “ He nodded, waved, and walked out the door, leaving me motionless and brooding.

Son of a bitch. I kicked the sanitizing bucket, causing the liquid to slosh inside. It wasn’t like we were in a relationship, I guess, but it was fairly aggravating that she never mentioned this illusive boyfriend.  I would just assume that if you were going to be intimate with someone, you would disclose that information. She didn’t seem like the type of girl at all to behave in that fashion. It was really very hard for me to believe that such an innocent girl would be capable of such behavior. Who did she think she was anyway? Knowing what had happened with Kayley, what right did she have to treat me in such a way? It was humiliating, even if Jeff and I were the only ones who knew about it. I wanted to punch a wall or something. I dreaded the next time we spoke, for I would have to break everything off with her. It was so frustrating, because I had actually been growing attached to her. For the first time since Kayley, I’d found someone I felt at ease with; that I could have considered a large part of my wonderfully destructive life. But I was blind yet again.

As I rode home, I began to dissect our very relationship, or lack thereof. I began to think about all the times she wouldn’t answer her phone, how it would take days sometimes for her to return e-mails or text messages, how certain days I couldn’t find her at all if I needed her. Jeff must be telling the truth- why would he lie to me? But why would Sarah lie to me? If she had a boyfriend already, what would she want with me? There wasn’t anything special about me. I was your typical, boring guy. But there wasn’t anything particularly special about Sarah either, so why would she feel the need to have two boyfriends? To overcompensate for her own awkwardness? I cringed at the thought of what we had done, for it was at someone else’s expense. As a guy, I knew I shouldn’t have a conscience. I should laugh it off as a good time that wasn’t meant to last, for that was all it was to me, right? And it wasn’t like I was jealous. I don’t even know the guy. He might be even more of a loser than I am, especially considering he has such an obscene amount of drama, according to Jeff.  But maybe I’m reading too much into this…

But why did Sarah do it? What was the point in getting me involved in all this, if she cared as much as she said she did? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I thought about what happened just before Mike came over. She had warmed to Abby immediately and was playing with her on the carpet in the living room, rolling around on the floor like a child and giving her loving and motherly attention. It was as if Sarah had always been there, in my life. It disturbed me now to think that she would never again grace my presence because of her atrocious lies. And maybe it was partly my fault. I had yet to make any effort to make any claim on her, as if to say: “Me? Man. You? Woman.  My Girlfriend.” Had I, would she have told me then? Would she have sat me down, sullenly, and said, “I’m sorry, Andy. I can’t see you anymore. I have a boyfriend.”?

I growled. My pride and fear had stood in my way. I could have easily swept her off her feet, if given the chance. Had she just been seeing the guy on occasion, it wouldn’t make me so angry. But the fact that she has an actual boyfriend is a deterrent for me now. It had to be true, too, as there was no other explanation for it. How disappointing it was to realize that I had been duped by another girl. Only now, I got to be on the other end of the spectrum. I was the Jeremiah in this situation. I was the lousy son of a bitch who was banging this guy’s girlfriend.

I rounded the corner to the apartment, dejectedly, and noticed there was a small box on my doorstep. It was always a shock to get packages, especially since the postman just leaves it on the stoop for all to see (and steal). I slumped over next to it and read the sender’s address.

There wasn’t one, which I deemed as bizarre. It appeared to have been torn off during its voyage. There was a customs form but it was written in what looked like Sanskrit. The box was small, maybe about 6” x 9”, made of pale perforated cardboard with several cuts and bruises. My address was visible in barely legible handwriting, with the name Decca written clearly on the top.

My first instinct was to chuck it into the nearest dumpster, mostly because I feared it might be a bomb or something. Instead, I brought it inside and sat it on the desk next to my laptop. I stared at it not as an innocent, inanimate cardboard box but as a life-threatening, dreaded succubus. I stared at it for a good half hour before finally taking it, chucking it in the container on the back of my bike, and riding slowly away from town.

There is a place near the Willamette River that I used to go to when I was younger. There, the fir trees stand tall; their silvery, drooping  branches reaching upwards to the sky like sleeping giants. The abundant moss is green, almost fluorescent, billowing this way and that through the dense foliage. In the summer, thousands of tiny wildflowers sustain themselves on the rich soil, their little heads gracefully rising to the dim sunlight. Tiny, glossy mushrooms pop up on old fallen trees from times past, the loggers long since retired. It is more barren in this season, but I can still see remnants of the warmer seasons languidly filtering through the trodden earth. For some reason, this is the place I chose to open the box in. At worst, I figured it was a bomb or anthrax or something and in the last moments of my life, I would be in a peaceful place. At best, I felt perhaps it was best to open it in a place where I felt most at home, for I knew not what it contained.

I took my pocketknife and gently, carefully, removed the first layer of tape, then the second. There was a light puff of dust as the air escaped from the box and I coughed. Ricin?!
But I persevered and soldiered on, removing the remaining pieces of tape. What I found was shocking, at best.

In sepia, my grandmother’s haunting eyes stared at me, fierce and intelligent. Kaja was a beautiful woman in her youth, a vibrant girl from New Delhi. Her hair fell in soft tresses, arranged for her first and only wedding day. She sat next to my grandfather, who my mother took after more physically than mentally. Kaja’s face was very still, soft, for her 17 years of age. She was nervous, probably, as this was only the second time she had met my grandfather. It was an arranged marriage. I studied the lines of her body, the way the fabrics and beads draped over her arms and legs. Something about the way she sat reminded me of a portrait my parents took of me as a little boy. In that portrait, I looked nervous and frightened, yet my eyes carried a sense of animalistic mischief.

I set my jacket down, placing the photo on top of it for safe-keeping. As I placed my hands in the box, more photos surfaced, some tintype and very old. My mother as a child, her brothers, and my grandparents as children. My great-grandparents. I struggled to make sense of this. Below the photos, there was a shawl- my grandmother’s. Below this, an old, battered leatherbound book with yellowed pages. I pulled this out, studying the fine penmanship. It was in English, amazingly, but I could not tell what it was at first.

It appeared to be some sort of journal, although I couldn’t say for sure. It was dated sometime in the 1940’s, a decade before the time my grandparents were wed. After careful searching through the print, I realized that this was my grandfather’s journal. Hibi, as my grandmother playfully called him, was a mystery to me. I looked back at the wedding photo, marveling at how much older he had been than she. My mother had told me that he died 13 years later, of a heart attack, although I found out later from a cousin that he actually died of alcohol poisoning.

The yellowed pages cracked, some of the edges falling away as I turned them delicately; Each in exotic penmanship, somehow characterized in indentations and afflictions similar to my own in some strange way. The dates were haphazardly disjointed, as if he would randomly pick a page and start writing. The first entry was a simple reflection on his childhood and his first day in college.

“June 12th.  Father gave me this journal, so I suppose I better put it to good use. Ashora and I are to be married in a week and I am nervous. I know so very little of the world and I fear a great deal. My parents told me it is simply my fears that will disable me and that I must overcome them. I began courses today at the Bengali Institute of Human Science to study medicine. I was an artist when I was a youth, so it strikes me as an oddity that I am to be doing such mundane tasks. My sisters are all married now, one to a rich doctor in the city, and I like the idea of having a bigger house for my family. My first class was a biology course in which we discussed the innards of a dog. It disgusted most of my classmates but I honestly found it fascinating. I am not really sure what I should be writing in here, so I will write as things surface into my mind, I suppose. I am meeting Ashora for the first time tomorrow. I hope she is as nervous as I am…”

Ashora? I had always assumed Kaja was his first wife. Of course, I was losing interest overall, despite the visual of dissecting the “innards” of a dog. This guy’s journal made him sound like a total tool. What was the point in sending me this? It was cool, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t grasp the meaning behind it. I was still in sell-out mode, anyway; still stuck in this maelstrom of confusion about a stupid girl that I didn’t even think I cared about until she was out of my reach. Typical behavior for me as of late, I’ve noticed.  I’ve been accused of being overly emotional at times, but this jealousy crap has never been my strong point either.




cieran (character study)

Taylor P.Comment

Filled with just this incredible amount of self-loathing, he lets his history write his future and fulfill his destiny as everything ruthless and cowardly he sought not to be. He alienates and seeks to control the object of his affections, so clearly blinded by his quest for power and the belief that he is doing what is good for his country. In trying to forcefully cement this bond with her he creates a chasm a mile wide between them instead. He is a foil unto himself. He is the opposite of the traditional narrative in that he chooses a poor path. 

in too deep (new "idol heart" song lyrics)

Taylor P.Comment


In the flood

we were all born

carefully seeking

a hand to hold

All these miles
that I’ve walked
Lead me back to you
to my home

In the flood, runs so deep
I try to keep my head  above it
but I’m just too weak

I want your mind
deep in my soul

I want your body
Your hand to hold

In the flood
I’ve always known

that maybe time
makes it easier to let go

And the flood,I’m in too deep
I try to keep my heart above it
but I’m just too weak

I want your mind
I crave your soul

I want all these things
I cannot hold

In this flood
I’m all alone. 

hidden (new "idol heart" song lyrics)

Taylor P.Comment

i want to feel your lips on mine

i’ve dreamt about it a hundred times
i want to feel close to me

to taste the violence in your lips
and see the devil in your eyes, baby

i want to feel you deep inside
inside the hidden parts that no one sees

inside every part of me

i want to feel our hearts beat in time

but i wake up and it’s all a dream

funny it’s just the sort of thing

that will keep me up at night

turn out the light

i want to feel your body, bathe in your scent

feel all of you to my detriment

every atom in your vestige

blending in to you and me

i want to reach you deep inside
inside the parts that you always hide

inside every part of you

i want to feel your rhythmic tune

i want to feel your lips on mine

i’ve dreamt about it a thousand times
i want to feel your body and mind

to taste the sweetness of your lips
and listen to the longing in your sighs

but i wake up and it’s all a dream

funny it’s just the sort of thing

that will keep me up at night
turn out the light

i want to feel your lips on mine

i’ve dreamt about it a million times

turn out the light

turn out the light

turn out the light


Taylor P.Comment

I fell in love with the sound and the sound found me.

It split the heavens. It split me down the middle like a lightning bolt.

I fell to my knees and prayed to the assaulting echoes— the hollow drone of the transistor drumming.

And drumming.

It found me in deep silence and echoed within me, reverberating and multiplying.

I fell in love with the sound and the sound found me.

psyche (2012)

Taylor P.Comment

As a kid, I had a lot of weird things happen. I wasn’t an too much of an unhappy kid, but there were many unexplainable things that I would see or feel, and if I was brave enough to bring it up with other people, usually they

would discount it as my imagination simply being overactive, which made me rather sullen at times. I became more rational as I grew older, and other than some random events during my teenage years, I would quickly

rationalize anything that happened as an anomaly or that I simply misunderstood what was going on— hence, there was a “rational” explanation for everything.

As a kid, things I can remember are that I could see what almost looked like a “grain” in the air. All the time. Even now. I never told anyone because it doesn’t really affect my vision. It is just almost as if everything takes on an

energetic glow, as if I can see tiny electrons or something, regardless of whether it is day or night. They always seem to be active but I just attributed it to lack of sleep, or caffeine, or any other excuse I could drum up to explain

something that most people probably don’t experience.

I always felt like I could communicate with animals. It is obviously unspoken, but animals tend to be drawn to me and even feral creatures tend to stop in their tracks when I am near and simply stare at me. I never found this

weird because it has been like that since I was a babe, but apparently people have remarked on how strange it is in recent years when they are out with me.

I found out a while ago that I am probably an empath. I thought it was crazy at first, but I can either feel what other people are feeling or experiencing. I catch flashes of imagery while speaking to them, sometimes like mini-films

that last a few seconds and then fade out, but I always attributed it to an overactive imagination or just wishful thinking. If I am in crowds, I become horribly confused and have trouble focusing. I FEEL what others are feeling or

sometimes thinking and it makes it extremely difficult to do public speaking especially as I have gotten older, whereas I didn’t have any issue speaking in front of people up until a few years ago. It seems like it jumbles my

thoughts and there is so much background interference that I usually try to block it out but it doesn’t work very well. For the longest I thought I just had some sort of social anxiety, but I am not thinking it is actually the fact that I

seem to be processing lots of emotional energy. Going out tends to drain me very quickly, especially as I have gotten older. Sometimes I have to recuperate for several days because if I take on too much emotional energy

from a person (especially someone who is angry or sad), those emotions are magnified within me. Negative energy literally makes me physically ill. I always thought it was just a mental hangup but even when I don’t

consciously take on these energies it is as if my body absorbs them anyway. I can’t read people’s thoughts per say, but I can read them very well generally— I just assumed I was extremely analytical, although 9 times out of

10 I have been right about what people were experiencing.

When I was ten or so, I began experiencing dreams that had a turn-around of roughly two weeks. I will have told someone about them (for they were usually quite strange) and conveniently forgotten about them, and then

within a few weeks the exact events would happen. For a period of time, I had several dreams about a specific person and a few years ago he told me that all the events I saw came true— it just took a while.

I can sense when I am about to see certain people (not necessarily people I am extremely close with, either). One person in particular I can sense within about 20 minutes of their coming and going, no matter where I am or

what I am doing. I am eerily aware of their presence and run into them at the most random places or times, which can be a little freaky (I believe they also have the abilities I do, if you could call them abilities.) I have never

been able to see aura colors, but I do see a faint outline (sort of a gaussian blur that seems a bit lighter) around people and animals— I just assumed my eyesight was faulty.

I was born on the Libra-Scorpio cusp. I had read that we can have a health crisis every twenty-nine years, and although I didn’t make it to twenty-nine before I had one, I became very sick about a year ago and almost died. I

didn’t go to the doctor until I had fought through much of it, but my doctor was very shocked that I was able to fight it off as most people my age would have likely died from it given the severity. But, since then, my intuition has

began working in almost miraculous proportions. I can “feel” when something bad it going to happen, although I can’t always separate who it happens to or the severity of what happens. I can sense this usually a day or two

before and it makes me very withdrawn and sad. I am rarely surprised anymore when things happen because I have learned that when that feeling hits, I just have to expect the worst and be glad if it isn’t too bad. My boyfriend

thinks it is absolutely insane when I can predict things that will happen or tell him about my bad feeling before something happens. Sometimes I can even predict what people are hiding from me, and this drives people nuts,

especially when they are planning on surprising me somehow.

As a teen, I explored several religions and philosophies and settled on having faith in life. I honestly never really thought much about anything like this in depth— the very idea of these strange planes of existence, life after

death, being psychic, etc., never really seemed sane or logical to me, so I disregarded anything unusual as being “in my head” and generally didn’t talk much about it and eventually it went away. I am in school for a

professional degree, nearing thirty, have a stable job, a house, and typically pretty reserved and stable, so while I don’t deny the existence of things, I never really took it seriously.

Until I saw a ghost about a year ago. Well, it wasn’t exactly a ghost, but an energy signature, I think. It appeared to be a figure, and while I had some friends over, two of them apparently also saw it out of the corner of their

eyes, because one of them mentioned it aloud (I was surprised, because I simply disregarded it as a trick of peripheral vision.) Then it started appearing in my backyard for a couple seconds at a time every night at a certain

hour, and then I started getting the feeling that I was being watched. All the time from a certain area of the house. I tried to disregard it, but after a few months of feeling completely eerie, it got to a point that I had a friend from

the church come to check out the house, and she immediately went to the area of the house (I hadn’t told her where it was) and cleaned it out of my house, basically. I had a few experiences at my mother’s old farmhouse,

where we would sometimes hear men or women laughing, see shadow people, and occasionally hear Big Band music playing. For some reason I didn’t feel this was weird and didn’t feel threatened, and they have simply

gotten used to having house-guests that walk up and down their stairs all night (and that the dogs seem to see walking around the rooms.) It wasn’t until a little while ago when I was going to my mother’s house by myself that I

experienced something I felt was nonsensical. I always juggle the handle on the door a few times to make sure it is locked. When I did this, the entire door began shaking back and forth towards me forcefully and their dogs

began howling and barking like crazy. It scared me enough to run away from the door, and when I mentioned it to my stepfather, he laughed and said it has happened to him before and he thinks it is the ghost’s sense of

humor, but obviously I wasn’t amused.

I went to an Intuitive last month because of all these strange happenings (and the prompting of two people, unrelated, who at random said I should meet this woman), and without me saying a word, she pretty much confirmed

that I am clairsentient and claircognizant. She mentioned several of these things in depth without me telling her, and explained that my energy signature is very strong so these things are drawn towards me because I put off so

much energy. I won’t go into detail (because I could write an entire novel from the information she gave me), but it was a very eye-opening experience because I just assumed everything was still all in my head up until that


The kicker for me came with the passing of my cat (who was my son, for all intents and purposes, and lived with me for almost nineteen years.) I am extremely close with my two pets, probably moreso than I am with most people,

and we both sensed his death, which came on in a matter of a week’s time. My grandfather had passed away last year, and I still occasionally feel his presence when I visit my grandmother, so I had rationalized that when we die

we are still around in some way and so death to me wasn’t really that big of a deal in terms of existence.

The last day I spent with my cat, I didn’t even get up to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want him to die entirely alone, and I spent those last twelve hours with him in my arms, trying to keep him comfortable and in as little pain as

possible, telling him that I would be there with him every step of the way and that I would do my best to protect him. I have planned on cremating him, but had an image in my head of a burial instead (I assume this was from him or

some higher power, because I had no intention on burying him before.) After sitting with me for several hours, he wanted to lay down on the ground next to me so I put together some blankets and he laid down on them. I sang to

him because he always seemed to like it and got him to drink a little bit of water but he was past the point of wanting to survive— I feel he had decided he was ready, because his personality completely changed from fighting it as

he was the day before. As it became night, I started noticing him becoming increasingly distant, and looked into his eyes, which had become almost as dark as the night sky (his eyes were usually a light blue.)

And then, the craziest thing I have ever witnessed happened: My eyes were slightly unfocused because I had been crying, and suddenly I saw the reflection of three lights (that looked like stars) in his eye, from the side. At first I

assumed they were just a reflection of some sort from the light above us or the street lamps outside, but then I noticed that with the angle he was sitting at, both would be impossible. As I stared at these, now curious, they began to

pulse (like stars do with our atmospheric changes), and then they began to move around very quickly and disappear only to reappear again. I thought for sure that I must be hallucinating!

He seemed unusually calm and appeared to be focusing on whatever these were that he was seeing. I even looked above me in the air, thinking maybe there was something in the room with us, to no avail. I looked away and

looked back, and these calming “stars” began swirling around briefly in this reflection and then froze in a bright arc. I then noticed these shadows started appearing with the arc and they appeared to be human faces, or figures, in

movement, but then they disappeared into darkness only to reappear in another bright span of light seconds later. This continued for almost an hour, and he seemed very happy. At first I thought he was communicating with other

people, but I saw a “face” that reminded me of someone and realized it looked a lot like me when I was rather young. I honestly became so engrossed in this unusual event with all of the pretty lights that I forgot he was dying— it

was so terribly beautiful and calming. When the “stars” left as quietly as they had come, I knew he was leaving. Within five minutes, his body went into convulsions and I felt the back of his head (where his brain stem was located)

get really hot and there was a popping feeling as if something had exploded (I have been told later that this wouldn’t have happened from his kidney failure, so I don’t know what this could have been.) And with a few cries and

convulsions, he died in my arms and his presence completely vanished and I have not felt it since. I have no idea what to make of this and despite all of my searching, I feel forever changed by what happened. Not a day goes by

that I don’t miss him, and our bond was so strong that I don’t even know if death would be enough to separate us for too long, but I am am wary of the fact that I can’t feel this connection with him at all.

these kite strings: the funny papers (for a longtime ex-lover and others like him)(a.k.a. i'm the asshole)

Taylor P.Comment

I spent a large portion of the past few years dating the lot of you cool, hipster douchebags of Knoxville. I was an easy target, apparently, because I was a tourist to the snobbery of Knoxville's finest and a purported

"hipster" myself. Growing up with cool parents and a love of mail-ordered music, vintage kitchenware, and recreational reading, I was immediately drawn to you and your charming facades and appreciation of all of

the things that I enjoyed.

But while I can greatly commend the majority of you for your love of old mint 45's, your handmade haircuts, your eclectic vintage fashion, your iPods that practically were glued to you (and whatever the newest or

most expensive phone was on the market at the time), your Macbooks that your parents bought you (for school, although you dropped out "to focus on your art/music"), your organic lattes from Earthfare, your noncapitalized

texts (because good grammar and capitalization isn't "cool" apparently), your knowledge of popular culture and tall tales from living in Brooklyn/Philly/wherever for all of two months before you had a panic

attack from being homesick and had to have your folks wire you money to skip town, your fashionable home decor that you thrifted from Amvets (or said you thrifted and actually bought at Nostalgia with the money

you made off the last bit of your student loans or the semi-part-time job), your wide range of friends who you never get close enough to because you're afraid they might find out your dirty secret of superficiality, your

frequently-updated Facebook photos of you performing at a show in someone's basement to show off your incredibly obtuse ego, your interest in modernist architecture and postmodern philosophy, your proclaimed

aversion of faith in anything, your fixed-gear bikes, your oldschool dance moves, your frequent name-dropping, your well-stenciled tattoos, your love of gourmet and ethnic foods, your constant lack of funds and

failure to pay your bills, your frequent library trips (to use the free internet or hit on the hot librarian in the media room), your status as one of Knoxville's best lead singers/guitarists/drummers/artists/etc, your love of

astrology (which you hold great pride in being a Leo, we've noticed) or other metaphysical subjects, your supposed devotion to the book "Geek Love" and cheap beer, your notorious one-night-stands and various

friends with benefits situations (because you are too much of a pussy and loser at 28–35 or whatever to actually be devoted and faithful to one person and have to have the constant attention of bar sluts who attend

your shows and will only have sex with you because they are wasted at the end of the night), your knowledge of classic literature and Dali, blaming your ED or other problems on a long-time ex-girlfriend that

supposedly treated you lousy (just to make us feel sorry for you)...

Therefore, I have to bid farewell to you, because, as cool as all of these things are, you are an empty and lonely person inside who will spend your life chasing the impossible in order to satisfy the void within your

pathetic life. Because, in truth, you are just living day to day in order to avoid the responsibility of adult life and would rather spend your days in pleasure and decay. But if you don't know this by now, listen up: You

are a user and unhappy, selfish person who avoids peace and thrives on drama because it makes you feel a wee bit better about your role in society as a slacker-loser. Until you change that fact about your life, you

will continue to be complacent but not fulfilled in your existence and a pain-in-the-ass to people like me who actually want to find someone of value and substance. You will spend the rest of your ridiculous life

growing older and uglier with your impending beer belly and thinning hairline, your inadequate surface knowledge of what is unique, maybe pop out a kid or two (because you got too drunk and forgot to put on a

condom...again), and wait until your parents pass away so that you can live in your childhood home rent-free, unless you are fortunate enough at 40–50 years old to find a girl gullible enough to take care of you,

since all of you tend have Peter Pan Syndrome and need a Mommy or a babysitter anyway. You will probably contract a bunch of bad STDs from all of your unprotected drunken nights on the town and then, sadly,

your obvious alcohol problem and addiction to smoking ("because it looks cool") will be the least of your worries. Even if you mean well, you are only getting by with some innate luck and a good understanding of

how to bullshit and deceive people on a regular basis to get what you want or need from them. If you don't know where you are when you wake up in the morning (or afternoon, since you usually sleep until 2 or 3

o'clock anyway) or who you are sleeping next to, there is a good chance that you need to grow up and stop being such an idiot. "Free love" is only a mentality for people who don't care about themselves (or others)

enough to have something sustainable and creates longevity. And just a little FYI, if your band isn't touring in the next 6 months (or 6 years), please refrain from telling us about it like it is actually a selling point.

“Touring” does not count if you are just driving your friend’s van to Chattanooga for a day trip.

But, alas, hipster Knoxvillans, I am not here to satisfy your shameless vanity and substantial egotism anymore. As cool as I once thought you were, it didn't take long for me to flesh out that you were all talk and you

would always plan to be a big fish in a small pond without aim or alternate destination. All of your surface influences were just a ploy to get the intelligent and sophisticated girls into bed with you, when in reality you

spent weeknight after weeknight eating old twice-refrigerated party pizza and learning about all of these things through the internet or emulating your best friend (who did actually know about all the "cool" stuff)

before heading off to a show at the Pilot Light or Barley's. And, it's a crying shame, because when you first swept me off my feet, we seemed to have so much in common to the point that it appeared to be kismet.

Your aloofness at first and then loving gazes got me hook, line, and sinker over the many months as we sauntered off to go home together night after night. And it seems like all of you are like this— it is like you took

a course at UT or something about the art of seduction and destruction. But beneath the layers of vintage western shirts and black-rimmed glasses, the LP's and good taste in indie bands, I found there was nothing

else there but a shallow and insensitive asshole who can just barely take care of themselves, much less anyone else. I would like to think that one day you will grow up and submit to some form of normalcy that

doesn't include degrading other human beings and being a general waste of good clean oxygen (which Knoxville barely has to begin with), but I doubt it.

So, farewell to you, my hipster boy-friends that time begat! Maybe someday a plague will wipe out the lot of you scenester jerks so I don't have to see you toting your records and messenger bags of books around

and being all cute and shit, but for now I can just bask in the balmy glow of that professional, hot, hard-working neighbor (he can cook, too) your age that actually OWNS a house down the street. Ciao!

ghost hunt

Taylor P.Comment

 I can't really explain why it happens. I feel compelled to act on my instincts and in doing so, I

cause myself more problems and controversy than inherently necessary. There is a sense of

idealism that I can't seem to shake. I find myself inconsistently evolving and devolving into some

sort of transposed state of adolescence. I laugh louder and cry harder at times when I would rather feel nothing at all. I am forever seeking ghosts and living beyond my means and my heart. If I feel fenced in, I break the wooden planks into splinters. I want freedom and I equally want to belong and those are both detrimental states that exist at cross purposes.

censored sensory (warning: explicit)

Taylor P.Comment

I find myself unravelling before him. He has a way of reaching deep into my psyche and entrapping my logic in a faint cloud. I feel pulled into the murky depths of my lower conscience only to find myself again not long after. When he kisses me, we devour one another in a frenzy, although time tends to pass rather slowly. He bites at me, kisses me tenderly, and our bodies speak in the rhythms that our minds cannot assimilate. For that small fragment of time, we have reached an understanding; that we are free yet we are never free from each other. I push and he pulls; I move away and he brings me to him. The dynamic that exists between us becomes a stationary front. In it, we see all the things we want and need and it provides us comfort, even when we feel obligated to other matters. We tell each other that it is what it is, yet on some level it is more than fucking. We want to ravage one another’s scientific minds. The love has outlived the lust and is immensely powerful, to the point sometimes it leaves us shaking. He pulls me close to him and begins undressing me, which I allow. I am submissive when I desire to be. Normally so independent and capable, it is a pleasant feeling to lose myself him for a while— to just be a woman for a change. As his hands wander I am at his mercy— and in a state of complete ecstasy. His fingers against my clit are warm and familiar; sometimes it feels almost as if that is their home. As he feels around, he breathes against my neck and begins kissing my neck and ears. I feel overcome with an amount of emotion and desire I have never experienced in all my life. We taste each other and marvel at the wonder of everything. We can’t seem to stop kissing and touching; it is a powerful addiction. He is hard, I have noticed for some time, and I proceed to massage him. He pulls it out and I take it in my mouth, licking and sucking the smooth surface for a while and wrapping my tongue around the circumference. He bends me over and pulls down my pants, biting my ass which causes me to squeal in delight. He then rubs his fingers up and down my clit before entering one in my ass, causing me to moan. We sit down and I straddle him. As he enters, I become frenzied and ride him mercilessly.


Taylor P.Comment

From Chief Shitting Bull to Champion Tigertongue:

"October 14, 1898.

The first day I knew with certainty that I was falling in love with you.

It is a year later and my love and admiration for you has only grown.

Circumstances change day to day, but one thing remains certain:

Despite all we have been through, and all we will likely go through over the years, this love is a constant. It is something that doesn’t not change. I cannot revert my heart.

If there are many levels of love, we will probably encounter all of them. It will continue even if we have other lives in passing years.

I somewhat believe it may continue even after we are dead and gone. I venture to affirm that it transcends time, morality, and

mortality. The day we met was one of the most fortuitous events in my life, and the day I fell in love with you served as a

confirmation of that.

You are like a wildfire and have spread to every part of my life- building, destroying and enriching it symbolically, dynamically, and

irreversibly. You have seduced me from seclusion and have given me the strength to keep calm and carry on. You inadvertently

gave me a purpose and showed me reserves that I did not know that I had.

You have seen me in the highest spirits and you have seen me fall apart. You have seen me at my most guarded and most

vulnerable. You have shared the intimate moments with me, the moments of discovery and childlike wonder, and the tumultuous

words and passions that nearly brought us to tears. You have brought out the best and worst in me, inciting me to extremes of

love and hate that I never knew were possible. Words cannot express how grateful I am for these things. Maybe no one else would

understand, and oftentimes I don't fully comprehend this either, but everything you do and are means so much to me.. A year

later my heart still skips a beat. So, thank you, my kindred spirit; my lover; my friend. Thank you for being the fire. ♥"

“Why are we so attracted to each other?” He hissed. “I have never been so attracted to anyone in my entire life.”

this was not mine

Taylor P.Comment

But a beautiful, painfully honest sentiment by someone once very dear to me and I think it deserves recognition:

”It seems like the more we get done, the more we have to do. I want to wake

up just one day with absolutely nothing to do, waste the day, and not feel

one bit of remorse about it.

I put a To-Do list together and I almost cried.”

emulsion: a divorce in retrospect (one of the first quiet years songs)

Taylor P.Comment

 Our marriage was a sea of emulsion. Like the ship, it was

weathered and tattered by sand and salt, by time and

circumstance. It has broken like the swells do, crashing to the

shore and bleeding into itself. I was broken bones, antimatter,

lost in a changing sea. I had no voice, no purpose, and I was

born to die. I once believed that we all must die alone, but now

I know we are never alone.

When the old seas were formed

on the way, thieves were certain

So we sailed to the ocean

follow back, these devotions

All we know, we call home

to the swells, but they're broken

oh this home, once was board but

now it's dull, like the ocean

And these swells

fall in pain

bitter words come mid-age, dear

Oh we sail with our sparklers

write our words, pens a'knocking

to the drum, of what may

cometh fast, these divulsions

heed my words, all well said

but we can't speak these motions

of our hands, of our eyes dear,

of our words

soft and beauty

so we say

one two

one you

said I


On the bow, careful planning

kept us back, to the the dawning

of the reel, how our hearts melt

keep our eyes, to para-mount

Bantered war, oh so heart-less

bite your tongues, to our speaking

clever verbs, saucers passing

to the birds, they shine like belfries

And these swells

fall in vain

trifled terms, come with age, dear

hands surrmount, stable crafting

to the sound, of the mast weave

cheap perfume, in a phone booth

but in vain, we've yet to pursue

heed my words, all well meant

but we can't reap these sources

of our tongues that are wordless

and our eyes

harness duties

so we say

one two

one you

said I


To the swells, lead the oceans

but like ours, it has broken

forgotten home, deep emulsion

breaks like swells, in an ocean

We're like swells, in an ocean.

august ink

Taylor P.Comment

 I love the smell of ink in books. There are certain books, made by Phaidon, I believe,

that have the best-smelling ink in the world. They smell like Anthropologie catalogs...soy

ink...I also like the smell of old books, clothes, and hosiery factories. I am all about

awesome smells. I used to come up to Old City often when I was in high school just so I

could smell JFG roasting on rainy days. I love the smell of a sprig of rosemary and

lavender. I also love the smell of Manhattan after it rains, especially in Battery Park. My

favorite smell is the air in August in Portland, especially towards Mt. Hood. It is so crisp

and clean and beautiful. It is something I miss very much.


Taylor P.Comment

 I drew a broken heart on my right arm. It was small and not much

bigger than a thumbprint, with large neatly-bled lines of a black

sharpie and red prismacolor. It was a simple design, really; nothing

to write home about. I hoped that as it faded away, I would forget

him. He, the boy who broke my heart.