Saturday, November 29, 2014

Los Angeles.

Los Angeles.

View from the covertible.

It's literally a dream come true.
It's literally paradise.

The hills
and the green
and the palm trees.

It's the type of beauty
that has a touch
of charming arrogance to it--
like it knows how perfect it is
and it's pleased with itself.

As it should be.

The billboards.
The twisting knots of freeways,
always crammed with people
that I look at, thinking,
"You live here.
All the time.
This is your life."

It's hard to believe.

These people.
All of them.
All types of them--
not just Caucasians.
Not just Americans.
Murmurs of French heard
in the strangest places.
People working in Italian restaurants
a block from the beach.
People who live
just between the Pacific Coast Highway
and the water.

And sunshine.
And amusement parks.
And naked people
on the side of the highway.
And teenage boys surfing
and ladies cursing at each other
in the Costco parking lot.
And Koreans with cute babies
studying at UCLA.
And men that walk around
just dressed like Charlie Chaplin.

all of it.

It buzzes with all the electricity
of all the people
whose dream it is to be there.

And when you're there,
you understand why.

The Puritan.

This is Katie.

And that's Jonathan.
They're going to get married.

Katie is my roommate.
She wasn't originally going to be,
but I think it was meant to be.

An example with explain everything.

One morning, I woke up at 7 am
and went down to the kitchen.
Katie was there.
She ate a cold leftover hamburger
and I ate ice cream out of the carton
and we talked.

But it's okay,
because with Katie,
it's always a judge-free zone.

And mornings and evenings
in the kitchen with Katie
are something to look forward to.
They make every day feel like
I have something really special planned.

She lets me try the health products
from her work--
even one called "intestinal cleanse."

And she dresses like a dementor
most days.

It's incredible how well she listens.
And how many nice things she says.

If she and Jonathan
can't find an apartment,
I'd be cool with that.
Then they could just move in with us
after they get married.

I'll miss her.

And I will also miss him
teasing me about boys
and sometimes having a Hitler mustache.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How I Felt at Church Today: The Snow Globe.

Today at church,
I started remembering
all these times
from when it was warmer.

Sitting next to Bryce,
eating pizza
and wanting to be his friend,
but not having anything to say.

Standing in a circle
and eating Creamies
in the Alders' basement.

Sitting in the grass once,
talking to people
that I didn't know well.

Driving into the mountains
to chase the Northern Lights.

There was
a strange sense of pain
in all of these memories.


But as I thought about them,
I felt a circle of joy
surrounding me like a snow globe.
The joy of all these memories.

Bryce and I are friends now.

The Creamies were good
and the friends were better.

Sitting in that grass
with those people I didn't know well
meant that the next time I talked to them,
I knew them better.

We didn't find the Northern Lights
but we laughed in the car
and sang Taylor Swift.

I felt like
I was in a snow globe.
And those memories
had been lying around my feet
and I thought they were broken
and sad.

But then someone tipped over
the snow globe,
and the memories flew around me
like snow
and I could see
that they were joyful.

I could see
that everything in the past
that had brought me pain
was now made of joy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Brother.

I have
one brother
and one sister.

And I really can't imagine it
any other way.

I have one of each.
How could I have
more than one
of each?

I've been noticing something
more often than usual.

When I see a boy
out of the corner of my eye,
there is always
one split second
when I think,
"Oh, that's my brother."

It's the movement of a hand
when he's talking.

Or when he's sitting next to me
and leans forward.

I have one brother.
And growing up,
he was the one
whose hand I saw moving.
Who leaned forward.

In my life,
I learned about
what boys looked like,
what boys moved like,
what they thought like,
through my one brother.

And they will always hold
a little bit of him
in them.

See also

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beautiful bits of life.

Arguably my favorite part of each day
is putting on thermals
and sweatpants
and socks
and slippers
and a sweatshirt
and getting down cozy in my bed
and going to sleep.

My second favorite part of each day
is waking up
all cozy
and letting myself
lie in bed
for a while.
Today, it snowed.
And that made me laugh a little crazy.
Looking up at snow as it falls
is literally magical
because it's perfectly still
and full of movement
all at once.
I just watched Taylor Swift's new video
for "Blank Space,"
and it also made me laugh
a little crazy.
But now I just want to watch it
over and over.
Sometimes I look at my text messages
and the last six people that I've texted
are all people
that I love so much
and that makes me smile.
Yesterday I went inside
a Tudor Revival style house
and now I think I'm obsessed
with half-timbering.

Yesterday there was also a Black Keys concert
that I secretly wanted to go to
but I knew that wasn't going to happen.

Even knowing that it happened
less than an hour away
is still beautiful.
My friends were teasing me today
for the number of browser tabs
that I keep open.

It was 38 at the time, I think.

And I told them
that I'd kept a tab open
for probably more than four months
because I liked this picture
and I didn't want to lose it:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dia de los Muertos.

On Dia de los Muertos,
Amy and Emily and I
got Mexican food
and Jarritos
and ate in the cemetery.

We spread out our blanket near a tree
next to Henrick and Bodel Jensen.

And as we sat down,
I felt instinctively
that the Jensens were glad
that we had come to visit them.

It was chilly.
We ate and talked
and took pictures.

Piña, Toronja, y Limón

I read a poem out loud.

And then I looked around
and thought,
When you die,
they'll put your name
and some dates
on a stone.

And somehow
that feels like a fitting reward
for having lived a life.
Once I saw mountains angry,
And ranged in battle-front.
Against them stood a little man;
Aye, he was no bigger than my finger.
I laughed, and spoke to one near me,
"Will he prevail?"
"Surely," replied the other;
"His grandfathers beat them many times."
Then did I see much virtue in grandfathers--
At least, for the little man
Who stood against the mountains.
Stephen Crane

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's You I Like.

Dear friend,

Today I asked God
what I should be
when I grow up,
and He said,
"Nice to people."

Which is pretty easy
when it's you
that I'm trying to be nice to.

There's this thing that happens
when I think about you.

It's like my heart burns
and then explodes.

Because look at you!
You sure are something.

I could list the things
that I like about you,
but it's simpler than that.

I just like you.
Whatever it is exactly
that makes you you,
I like that.

I love it, actually.

So sometimes I say to you,

"You just be you,"
"Do whatever you want.
You won't make a mistake,"
"You're really really trying,
and that's so admirable."

Because sometimes you tell me
what you're going to be
for Halloween.

Or you tell me about
how you're not sure
what to do about this boy.

And I just want you to know
that I love
whatever you're going to be
for Halloween.

And I love
whatever you're going to text back
to this boy.

Because you're you.
And when you make choices,
you're being even more you
and putting more of yourself
into this world.

And more of you being you
is exactly what this world needs.

And look.
Mr. Rogers wrote this song
that I wish I had written
about you.

If I could have written this song
about you,
I would have written it
the same way he did.

Because it really is you
that I like.
Not the things you wear.
The way you are right now.
The way down deep inside you.
Your skin. Your eyes. Your feelings.

I wish I told you that more often.

But sometimes when my heart explodes,
I'm not eloquent enough
to say all this.

And you can't always interrupt
a conversation about Halloween costumes
to tell someone
how much you value them
just being who they are.

Some days I will come up to you
and say,
"Here are four things
that I like about you
that I've been thinking about."

On all the other days,
just reread this letter.