Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Even the gestures of intimacy

Did I mention I’m against the law? The problem with the sentence is that it’s always words. Thoughts on a new day: wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to go anywhere? And, why does my hair always look so good before I put my contacts on? Do I put my contacts on, or in? If someone had told me 15 years ago that people would be on their phones all day, but would never answer them, I would have been mystified. Maybe I still am. Today’s cooking tip: if you don’t turn the stove on, nothing will boil. Although it’s important to always use sturdy pots, because that way if you leave the house for several hours and forget to turn something off, when you come back, it will only be burnt at the bottom. I’m trying to get enough energy to go outside and lie in the sun. Writing that sentence made me so sad. Do I have enough energy to call someone? What happened — why am I such a mess? One day I will succeed at naming all the forms of exhaustion, but before that day comes I would like to feel better. What did I ever do before to erase and re-record press three?

          One day maybe I’ll figure out what separates the days when I wake up feeling awful from the days when I wake up feeling okay, but then feel awful an hour later, but before that day I would like to feel better. One day I’d like to live in an apartment where I can turn the heat on and off. At least right now I can turn it off. That’s what’s most important. A gray shirt that says LOVE PINK is not really doing it for me. Unfortunately I live in a world where it’s unrealistic even to dream that one day there won’t be any more fabric softener. Yes, sometimes while I’m in the hallway locking the door to my apartment I think: did I remember the keys? There must be another word for another word.

          If I think long enough about this sentence, maybe it will become something other than what it is. If this sentence become something other than what it is, maybe I can think about something else. If I’m not thinking about this sentence, then I’m thinking about something else. Watch this sentence for me, okay? Too much time to think is a myth, but I’m not sure who started it. Maybe I should do the dishes.

          I remember when faggots kissed hello. On the lips. We had so much to fear and so we feared nothing, I mean we feared one another but we feared fear more. Kissing one another on the lips, this was joyous and commonplace, a legacy we were inheriting, sometimes from people we hated and sometimes from people we dated, sometimes that queen on the street that you can’t believe, and sometimes the one you grieve, this doesn’t have to rhyme, what I’m saying is that we kissed because we had to. We had to know that we could kiss like this, just a simple greeting but something splendid and transgressive even when mundane, this was what it felt like. Yes, there were the ones who turned their cheeks, and we thought they were shady unless they explained this by mentioning a cold sore, one just starting or one in the past, whichever way we hoped we were taking care. We didn’t know we were the last generation to do this, to kiss on the lips all the time, people you knew and didn’t want to know, the ones you loved and the ones you didn’t even like that much, even the ones with bad breath, too much garlic was never a problem, we kissed anyway. We kissed the living and the dying, knowing that the dying are part of the living and we wanted to keep them with us.

Maybe this was a dream, I mean it wasn’t a dream, but maybe it is now. Now we’re more afraid, afraid of one another, more afraid, so even the gestures of intimacy have disappeared.


Jed Walsh said...

mattilda, this made me cry in the absolute best way yesterday. it's really beautiful. thank you for writing it. see you soon.

<3 <3

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh, thank you!!!!!