One Month of Observation
Selected text from One Month of Observation, a singular edition artist book with type by typewriter on tea stained paper, in a hand woven cover. I wrote every day for a month, and these are the edited results. The numbers refer to the day of the month each observation was recorded.
The clocks are all set an hour ahead to keep concerns away.
I am laying indulging in dangers. Free online shows, take out and the large mouth of the couch. It’s as though I have no legs, have forgotten how to stand and cook, and will never know again.
A: The morning was wrung with worry. It spread across my bed like sun and woke me in a thick sweat. I stuck a worry stone in my pocket- the kind you rub when you’re concerned and it’s supposed to calm you, but found that a watch already occupied it.
B: It is late November in Baltimore and I am wearing shorts. It feels as though the calendar has rolled back and tucked in on itself. Men are hooting about soda on the street and the sounds of car engines hit like waves on the pavement. I picture how Brooklyn must have looked in the eighties. My parents’ faces, stances, as they fell into New York and each other. How they raised us and forgot about themselves.
C: I am thrown about the patio with a summer sun across my vision and dead leaves all over the ground. 80 inches of snow and November sunning sessions suggest that the world will end in both fire and ice.
A: I think the landlord painted the stairs white because he wanted them to be spotted. I run with my coffee.
B: My desk, my couch, my chair, my floor are extra shelves and closet space.
Sometimes we project movies in our living room. We hang a sheet on the brick wall and keep it up with the door closed. I came home late and walked into a screening. My roommate was twisted with a man on the coach. I proceeded to my room underground and heard small taps above me . I saw them through the ceiling passionate and smiling, sat under my covers with a book and felt, even in spaces of silence, that first cursor to love, mixing in the room above me.
A: The cigarette is timeless. It’s a visible sign that someone is in deeper thought than logic, the kind that grabs binds and seeps without our say. We slip and ignore definite disaster for some kind of minute satisfaction. We are flawed but dealing, human.
B: The pizza box is brilliant when it first slips through the door. Our mouths dampen. Boomerang hands. And then the patio recycling bin, seven greasy boxes punched in.
A: Opportunities find us fraught with nerves, the endings extra delicate. We are constantly standing with our hair on its’ ends, our eyelids tied up, and mouths thin chattering. We retreat, scraping our front teeth on blacktop all the way home.
A: Some days the dryer runs slow. Other days you haven’t even gotten out of the shower and it’s done.
B: They say that every effort is worth it, but what about the non-efforts that make four days feel like ten.
We must live modestly until… we must always live modestly.
The empire state building is a flicker of red green and gold against the night sky. The city lights parade in bursts across the darkness and intersect with invisible objects that are commonly mistaken for open space.
Some days yield great progress and past night fall our eyes are still in our palms. We have forgotten rest.
A: The street lights hang like charm bracelets.
B: Two women in patterned winter sweaters are sitting in lawn chairs next to a pile of leaves. They are at the base of their driveway, probably reflecting on the holiday.
We never want what we have. We are running to a place we know not the name of. A destination that keeps changing. One we will never reach.
The rain came in bullets this morning. All my plans fell with them and I drew the morning to the afternoon, half in pajamas, half clothes from yesterday, with a spatula in my left hand.
It’s hot like an uncertain future, a big meal, and contact lenses of an incorrect prescription. I am sitting waiting in a room almost silent save some murmuring voices and clicking keys. There is an anxiety present, but it’s quiet, rising and bothersome like hot air, blowing up and around my face. There are tens of thousands of voices closed between covers and spines around me.
I see her walking toward me. She hasn’t in over a year. As she draws closer, she makes some movement I know she never would. So I forget the gesture and blur my vision, so I can still believe it’s her.
It’s a gradual deflation. The kind that itches and knocks until it surfaces in front of your eyes and you are staring at a wall. An hour later you are thinking of everything you could have accomplished. You sit and wait and stew in needle minutes, needle seconds, needle seconds.
Sounds are jabbing in all directions and solids dart above our heads in some gravitational miracle. They’re all taking charge. And in the chaos, there is a subtle solid spot made of some dense gem light. A pinhole promise of a world you’ll never want to leave. Nearly an apparation for it seems so simple and brainless. You complicate it with your breathing.