Friday, August 26, 2011

The Scientist Pt. 7


XXXXXXX
"I don't even know who you are anymore"
As soon as he says it he reaches out to grab the words hanging in the air, to push them back into his mouth, to take it back. And it's completely false because he knows exactly who she is, always. But she's oblivious and drunk and she's leaning over the toilet and he holds her hair back, a quiet gesture of unlimited compassion, he fights the urge to make her
hate him, because she's hurting so much and he can't stop himself, he can't stop destroying her.
Presses his forehead into her shoulder blade and breathes in,
smoke, liquor, sweat, desperation.
"Am I ugly?", wiping vomit from her mouth and swaying her head back and forth as if she was trying
to keep him in frame despite how fast the world seemed to be spinning. She's got makeup trailing down her face like black little springs, sweatpants on and hair plastered to the side of head,
"You are more beautiful than anything I could create."
He carries her to bed with a bucket and sleeps 
in the bathtub.

XXXXXXX

They never changed the locks which convinces him that breaking into his old lab
is perfectly acceptable. Microscopes and culture samples and the sterile comfort of a second home. But that was before, this whole places reeks of 'before' and there's a framed picture of June at the lake sitting on his old desk.
He works there at night now, coming in after they've all left and synthesizing, compressing
chemicals, the dream of building something[anything] capable of fixing all the mistakes, capable of retracting every single wrong second. The schematics of his own brain plotted out on a graph and he leaves his research there, open. 
Everyone catches on eventually and they
stop locking the door altogether.

XXXXXXX

"This is my most favorite place in all the world."
They're sitting in a field in her home town and 4th of July fireworks ring off into the night like
a continuous sounding bell. Upscale neighborhoods and precisly trimmed yards, she hated everything about this place. See, she had never wanted before she met him, all her 
Christmases were perfect and desire was foreign as gifts and private educations were
fed to her with a silver spoon. He had made her crave. 
"Have you ever taken anyone else here?"
And he makes it sound curious but there's fear at the bottom of the words, fear that someone else
had touched this part of her heart.
"Only you, it wouldn't be my favorite place anymore if you hadn't been here."
He swallows hard and holds her to a symphony of crickets.

XXXXXXX
"Where are you?"
The ghost has been gone for seven days.

XXXXXXX

It's January and they both know that something 
has broken between them. The days turn to a death march and she
abandons her notion of love like a puppy in the 
alley. A terrible sort of 'giving up' that breaks his heart even more
than he thought possible. And nothing feels real anymore, she half expects
everything to dissolve at any second and to open her eyes to the man she
knows. 
"I really love you. Did you know that?"
"Yes."

XXXXXXX

He still hasn't slept.
Sitting and staring at the wall all day, counting to 1,000
over and over again, just waiting for the night.
The ghost still hasn't appeared and he thinks that if it could break his heart anymore
that it would.
 "Michael, it's Jacob, I've finished it. If anything goes wrong, there's a will in my desk."
"Jacob, wait-"
The line goes dead.

XXXXXXX

"June, please. Be reasonable. It's raining, let's talk about this in the morning."
"You're a fucking robot. Say it, say that you love me."
"June, please. You're drunk."
"Say it."
And the words are in his brain but his throat is frozen, a solid block of ice freezing his lips shut. 
"I fucking hate you. I hate you so much" 
and she's grabbing her keys and stumbling
into her shoes and she really shouldn't be driving but he doesn't care. It's terrifying, he can't
make himself stop her because it's true, he really doesn't want her there right now and she's
walking out and it feels like a forever this time. As if the door closing will never
hear the scratch of her key again but he doesn't want that either. He doesn't want that at all and he
can't move. He can't just reach out and grab her and she leaves
with a click.

XXXXXXX

"What were you thinking, Michael? Encouraging him like that, and time travel? Really? Don't you think it's a little cruel, he's been through so much. He'd believe anything at this point."
"He needed to feel as though he was doing something, anything. I thought it might 
keep him busy."
She paces, her mind spinning furiously. 
"And how long has he been talking about this 'ghost'?"
The doctor sits down, he's exhausted by all of this. "Three weeks,
maybe? But it's not malicious, it was a comfort to him in a way. You have to understand,
he's mad with grief."
"Exactly, he's not rational. You took advantage of that, you sent him on a wild goose chase that centers fully on the past. He's not stable, and now he's about to take an unknown drug with no toxicity reports and talking about a will? And how do we really know..."
"Jacob wouldn't do that."
"And your son wouldn't have either, right?"
That stings. 
"My son didn't- it was an accident."
"He accidentally fell onto a razor blade then? Did he accidentally write that note? Who are you trying to convince here, Michael? I have no sympathy for you because you haven't changed a bit, you'll do anything to help yourself sleep at night. And does Jake sleep? Do I sleep?
Of course not, so how is it fair? How is any of this fair? He's all I fucking have and you drove him insane. There's a difference between being compassionate and complacent. Just let them do what they want, they'll work it out on their own, right? But we can't. We can't do this by ourselves."
"And where have you been this entire time? Have you been with him, have you been sitting at this table talking to him? No, when she died you left him too. This isn't my place, this isn't my problem. I shouldn't have to take care of a grown man."
"Fuck you, it's called friendship."
She spits the words at him.
"You're way out of line, Hannah."
Desperately,
"He's all I have."
XXXXXXX

The clock struggles against the four a.m. mark, throwing it's dim light into the complete darkness of 
the silent room. The buzzer rips them both from sleep and he's wiping his eyes and June is stepping into shorts and then Hannah is there in the hall. A modern day gypsy, gliding over state lines, she follows flocks of birds and send letters 
when she has the time. 
"Dad disowned me."
There's more than a million little reasons why this would occur and they all fit together like a mosaic,
"What'd you do?"
"Slept with his girlfriend", she's shoveling food into her mouth as if she hadn't eaten in days.
It went on that way for a few weeks that way, June and Hannah and him, all bunking into their little studio apartment. He thinks back on them fondly, an aching in his gut like the memories of childhood, a dull pain for something comforting. She leaves without saying goodbye but
draws a picture of some birds on an old napkin with
a little ink heart on the bottom. 
He still has it.

XXXXXXX

"It's my last night."
"Don't ignore me please" and his voice echoes into the empty and it sounds more pathetic than he wanted it to but he knows that this might be it. He might not make it back and he wants the ghost to appear, to drag him back into the memories and to hold him there for 
awhile. 
But nothing happens.

XXXXXXX


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

he clipped your wings and borrowed someone elses words to buy your love,
big bound books of purchased prose and stolen stanza's.
he tells you
you're beautiful like the ocean

i write shitty poems and 
nail them to your front door, slip them inside your pillow
to sleep-whisper
'choose me, choose me'
you're as beautiful as 5 a.m. 
you're as consuming as the ocean and
you make my insides numb.



tell me that you want me around 
maybe i could be a bird too.




she was summer dried grass and when we kissed she would
smolder. 

i was a husk, every step i took left memories behind, shedding them like a winter coat.
i was raw, a dried up oil lamp-;
old yellow newspaper and kerosene.

she touched me like a match.
[may '1o]

The Scientist Pt. 6

"Okay, Okay, Okay. So this cop is on his patrol and he sees a truck driver with a bed full of penguins."
"Penguins? Where is this even going?"
He smiles and it's easy, it was always easy around her. He thinks later that maybe
she might have been the only one who could make him smile like that.
"You'll see. So the cop pulls him over and says, 'Sir what are you doing with all these penguins?'
and the trucker says, 'I woke up and they were all in my truck, just like that. I couldn't get them out,
I don't know what to do.'"
He looks up from her lap, there's a scar on her chin from when she fell off her bike at twelve and she's still self conscious about it. The cracks, the little marks in her skin feel like
braille under his fingers and he can't think of a single thing more perfect than
that little scar.
"Okay. So the cop says 'Well take them to the zoo.', the trucker agrees and drives off and the 
next day the cop sees the same truck with all the penguins only they're all wearing sunglasses
and he says 'Sir, I thought I told you to bring these penguins to the zoo.' and
get this, the trucker says 'Oh I did. Today we're going to the beach.'"
She laughs with all her teeth and puts her hand on his head, praising him and he 
drinks it all up, drinks her all up until he's floating.
High on her.
"That was the worst joke I've ever heard. Congratulations."

XXXXXXX

"It's getting worse, we don't have much time. She's fading."
"There is no 'she', Jacob. There is no ghost, and when you say that I start to seriously
doubt your mental state."
Progress had been monumental, they've already completed things that, by both medical
and scientific standards, were impossible. A plan to take an idea, a pipe dream, a hope of 
a man turned mad with regret, and turn it into a pill.
"You wouldn't understand, I was thinking, it should affect the cerebrum mainly, it should extract the
memories of times and places and recreate them, transfer the subject to the desired time,
once there any movement or motion would change the future, would mold it."
"Don't explain it. It just sounds even more insane when you do."
"Look, if you're not in this then you're not in it. I don't care if you believe me, I've got
more than enough research here to finish on my own."
 "I think maybe, you should leave."
And he shudders, a hollow sickness starting in his own chest- a fever waiting
to run rampant. The ideas gnaw into him, right down to the bone and sleep means nothing
when every single chemical brings him closer,
immortality.
She would have hated who he's become.

XXXXXXX

His mother used to make him wear a suit to church. He detested everything about the whole place from the
loud man blaming him on the altar to the huge statues of a bleeding, tortured
messiah, hanging on the walls, a perpetual guilt trip.
On his birthdays she'd take him for a haircut, every year, until one year
she didn't. He sat on the porch wearing his church suit and keds
waiting for almost nine hours. The neighbors didn't have the heart to move him and he fell asleep
there, on the porch waiting, pretending she would come back.
He promised himself he'd never go to another funeral after hers and he didn't.
June's service went on and he sat at the diner across from the cemetery watching out a window.
Sitting in his church suit, hair growing a little too shaggy,
ignoring a waitress who kept asking him if he wanted another coffee, 
as his soul was covered up with dirt merely 500 feet away.
That night he got drunk, cut his own hair and fell asleep on her grave marker.
No one had the heart to move him.

XXXXXXX

"Jacob, some of your friends and family are worried about you. Everyone in this room
just, loves the heck out of you."
"It's true, Jacob."
Her mother spoke and it actually took him for surprise. She was a quiet woman, drowned out 
by her husbands booming personality (which June had definitely inherited) and he 
always thought she hadn't liked him very much. Michael sat in the background and tried not to draw attention to himself but eye contact told the story, betrayal. The rest of them in 
plastic chairs, focused on him but he was watching his sister, 
same eyes nose mouth as he, he had loved her from the start. His baby. She's older now,
in college? It's been so long and he feels this, itch in the back of his throat for 
childhood Christmases and for home.
"Ever since June di-"
"Stop. Don't even say her name."
"Jake."
And only two people were ever allowed to call him that.
"We can't lose you too."
"Well, you won't. I'm going to fix this, all of this. And everything will be okay and then you all don't have to pretend to love me. Everything is going to be okay. I will fix this."
He walks out and slams the door 
but this time, by accident.

XXXXXXX

He wasn't so cold always, in fact it had been near
one hundred degrees that day and he retreated from the heat 
and spent the morning indoors, face pressed so close to the museum glass
like a little boy, completely captivated.
He'll never forget the day for the rest of his life because she rounded the corner
and he fell in love. Instantly. Right then. Now, she's always rounding that corner in his memories, with the same
expression and the same smile.
"You must really like that mold, huh?"
Her voice, her voice, if he had only known that it would become 
everything to him he might have paid more attention,
appreciated every note her laugh hit.
"Oh, yeah. I'm studying penicillin. For class."
"I'm June"
"I'm Jacob."
"So Jake, correct me if I'm wrong but you want to take me out to dinner. Tomorrow at seven.
Java's coffee?"
"What? Yeah, I mean of course. Yes. I'll see you at seven then? Oh, and no one calls me Jake."
"Maybe I do"
and that's when it all started.

XXXXXXX

The light from his digital clock casts a glow around the room, eerie and green, like radiation.
2:37 A.M.
Sleep hung right out of his reach, tempting waves lulling and bringing him back fully alert,
barely rested. The mirror is taped over with newspaper, blocking the truth of a bruised 
jaw and dark rimmed eyes. They say you don't have a reflection in your dreams so he
avoids it all together, avoids the flash of pain
from being reminded this is all real.
"But you didn't bring a sled."
He head shoots up and stares at the apparition,
"Of course, I love you always."
"What did you say?"
"Come catch me!"
"What are you talking about, catch you? What's going on?"
"Don't take the pill, Jake."
and then she's gone.

XXXXXXX


"You don't remember much of last night, do you?" and it's a completely
rhetorical question with words made of ice.
"I remember when you said you didn't see me in your future."
Equal malice, shot back and forth making the tension toxic like
stale smoke, just hanging around in the room.
"Surprising, considering your blood had it's own proof last night."
"Surprisingly that you even noticed me."
And he feels guilty again, looking at her.
"Look, do you want to go sledding or not?"
He sees her groan inwardly, the relationship like an old board splintering while he
piles rocks right in the weak spot.
"Everything is a hassle with you, Jake, spending time with me is such
a fucking chore, isn't it?"
His name in her mouth comes out angry and it's the first time it's ever done that and it 
scares him.
"Look, I'm sorry. I'm stressed, you're hungover. Let's just go, okay? I'm sorry. I love you."
And he doesn't know if he means it when he says it
and that certainly scares him.

XXXXXXX




Monday, August 22, 2011

"just write about what you know"
see the thing is;
I don't know what European sand feels like or what an old man in Spain did
last night. I don't know your first kiss or your last, 
I don't know what songs make you
smile. I don't know how many freckles dust your shoulder 
and I don't know your favorite food and I don't know 
your favorite side of the bed. I don't know 
that one place that always makes you feel safe.



but I'd like to.
I want to know everything
that makes a 
'you'



I've seen the coming and going of too many airports, I've felt 
my heartstrings pulled miles 
on departing flights.
I know the safety of a guitar and what 
driving late at night on an empty stretch of road
cornered by trees, eyes strained searching for deer
in a shitty upstate town 
feels like.
I think fingerprints are beautiful and I can't sleep without the door cracked and I 
probably think too much and I 
still have my first lost tooth hidden in a box 
somewhere, because I was afraid the Tooth Fairy would 
steal it.
and I cry whenever I hear 'My Girl' because it 
was my father's
song for me.



my memories are your memories are all
memories
swimming around in a bell jar.
please touch me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


listen. everything is going to be okay for you
eventually. i promise.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sometimes I lay in bed and think about all the things I didn't do, all the what-ifs and the chances I didn't take. Re-watching memories and breaking at the exact moments where everything changed. All the words that I should have said and whole scenarios imagined 
if I only had a second chance.


See, it's not the things I did that haunt me, it's everything I didn't.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm cold and it's dark and I think I'm all used up, a cored apple. 
She called me beautiful and I wanted to feel what love was- an angry hornet 
in the chambers of my heart.
 
Everyone speeds here and they don't care 
that I am hemorrhaging I am bleeding out on their sidewalk
I am surrounded by ghosts.
 
They taught me how to survive plane crashes and terrorist attacks and nuclear explosions
but they never taught me what to do after
when I was all alone.

I am an oil fire I am a day old snake bite
I am a hanging deer draining into the backyard.
I feel dry.
we try to be happy, we settle back into routines
we sleep with our backs touching and kiss
with our teeth.

you push it all down and you push it all out of your mind
so it sits by the doorstep and it waits
you tell me to smile more and force the shine back into your eyes
but i see the way you look at my hands and 
i know you remember.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

she excuses herself from the table when she
just can't stand it anymore
babygirl in front of the mirror
trying to convince herself it's all worth it.

anchored down by the pearl necklace [that must have been very 
expensive], pointless lace pulled tight against her throat.
'stay here forever. stay here forever. stay here forever'
diamonds whisper into her ears.



there's a dead debutante in the bathroom i just thought you 
should know. the parties been great but i've got some
writing to attend to.





Monday, August 8, 2011

if you let me i'd
treat you like a masterpiece. see;
you've got oil paint for blood and canvas bones and i could write an anthology
to every breath you take.

oh, beautiful girl-
our love would outlive us in
the history books.
i have divorced my own mind and
i am going to do something reckless.
the 'go' in your bones and wings
itching under the surface.

my town is a dead-end street full of kids that
never cared enough to try.
my bags have been packed for months, i just
didn't see them there, sitting by the door.

i bet you'd be proud of me,
smoking and laying awake in bed all night
aching for 24-hour traffic and dirty sidewalks-
aching for a blank page of a new chapter.




Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Scientist Pt. 4

"I always wondered why the calculations were off. See, right there. We worked on the assumption that time was analog, even cyclical. We cannot use infinity in the equation because infinity is based off the principle of the 'never-ending'"
"So we go back to the root, replace it with something independent, something we can always prove true?"
"Exactly. Something elementary."
They both huddle over a desk, coffee left out and cold, morning as a threat against the shades.
"Parallel lines. We replace the margin for error with-"
"Christ! How did you even think of that, Jacob? Parallel lines, it's genius."
"She used to say that we were parallel lines."

XXXXXXX

"It's always building with you, isn't it? Building and math." She wrapped her arms around his neck from behind. 
"Write an equation about me!"
And he smiled because she's so excited, all the time, excited at the prospect of 
living. Excited about him. She danced off into the kitchen and
he commits it to memory, the way she didn't belong to the world.
She was something better, something that was
beautiful.
Later, he handed her a simple graph with two opposite lines, gliding along with each other
endlessly. She squealed with delight and crawled into his lap and he tried
to remember every little detail
forever.
XXXXXXX

He stands behind the Doctor, looking over his shoulder at the work. His old arthritic hands still
as delicate as a surgeon's, scribbling numbers and letters as if possessed
by the thought of mastering death. 
"If you can prove it's possible, I can compress it."
 He sets the pen down like a scalpel, blade out and turned to the left. 
"Jacob, if this even worked, if it were even possible. How far would you go?"
"Far enough. A year, maybe. I need to redo the winter"
Hope passes over his face like a shadow.
"If you went back a few more months-"
"You want me to save your son, Michael."
"Well what the fuck do you think I want? If it hadn't passed my mind you wouldn't be
standing in my house."
"It doesn't work that way, we both know that. It wasn't an accident, I can't change free will."
"I know. I know. Just, tell me to call him. Even if nothing changes, just make sure I call him."
"Why have you never tried to go back before?"
"Because what if it didn't work? To live through that again, knowing that I somehow
could have stopped it, that is the worst sort of hell I can imagine. And you have to understand, 
even if you made it back there, it might not change."
"That's where we're different, Michael. You would never forgive yourself if you tried and it didn't work, I'd never forgive myself 
if I didn't try."
"Can you blame me? Can you blame me?"
"I'll make sure you call your son. Don't worry."

XXXXXXX







The Scientist Pt. 3

"I need you to help me."
He stands on the townhouse doorstep, dripping rain with barely a voice. It's a nice neighborhood outside the city, a big empty house. A solitary retirement.
"Jacob? What are you doing here? How did you get here? It's 4 am, Christ."
"I ran. You know why I'm here. I need your help."
"You ran 30 miles? How is that even pos-"
The Doctor had been at the funeral, had seen her body lowered into the ground. And now he stares at a shell of a man and sees no hunger for power in his eyes anymore, just a desire as vast as the ocean
for what he used to have.
"I can't, you know I can't. It's not possible. Death has predated humanity."
"Don't talk to me like a child, we were close. We were so close before. You know we were, and you made me promise. The moral repercussions, you made me promise we'd never tell. You owe me, I need your help. And if you won't help me, I need the journal."
"Even if it were possible, they'd have us both arrested. Be rational."
"Do I look like I have anything left to lose, Michael?"
"Jesus, it's been six months. When's the last time you've eaten? Showered? You need to let this go, you need to let her go."
"Fuck, I can't. She's, she's still here. Don't you get it? She's still here."
"She's gone, I saw her buried. There's nothing we can do. Jacob, please."
Medical eyes soften, a beaten puppy sits before his door and it might just be
the saddest damn thing he's ever seen.
"If you don't help me, I'll turn us both in myself."
"You've lost it."
 "What do I have to lose? What else can be taken away from me? I have nothing. Nothing."
The Doctor rubs his brow and pinches the bridge of his nose. Aged by the fear of his own findings, a literal skeleton in his closet. 
It sits in a locked box, a journal that was supposed to die with him, a secret
never meant to be found. He sighs, years of tension have done his heart in and he
really doesn't need this stress. 

 XXXXXXX

He remembers the old Jacob, drinking champagne in the lab when they
isolated the virus. He remembers that one night, 
"We've got to tell someone, don't you understand? We could be Gods."
"Enough", the Doctor grabbed the pages as if they could combust, "We never speak of this again."
Jacob lit a cigarette and pushed back into the chair, the Doctor straightened-
"Are you insane? There's oxygen tanks in here!"
"So? We blow up and all those months of research burn away with us. Isn't that what you want?"
He was young, drunk, forceful with the world. 
"Even if we followed this, do you understand what it could mean? Overpopulation, famine, with no fear of our own mortality, what keeps us in line? The world is not ready for this."
"No Michael, you are not ready for this. You're an old man, so ready to die. How do you not crave life?"
"You still have so much to learn, Jacob. Go home to June, tell her that you love her. I'm taking the schematic with me, my letter of resignation will be on your desk tomorrow."

XXXXXXX

"Please, Michael. It's only for her. I just want her."
The Doctor sighs and rubs his eyes one last time-
"Come in."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

in the day i read Bukowski to you and
scowl a lot.

at night i whisper e.e. cummings to your sleeping skin 
hoping that the words could
convince you.
salt and sea, the ocean always makes for better
writing 
and the thoughts, ghosting over the back of your neck like the irrational fear
when you see a spider.

you evolved on the bathroom floor and 
all the atoms of everything separated from themselves and colors
proved false. the knowledge as stilts and all the rest of the people
like wind.
how lonely it is to wonder while everyone else
sleeps easy at night.

and for the first time you understood
what it was to live.