Tuesday, April 28, 2009

and then nothing turned... and then nothing...

i laid on my pillow
my vacant hand next
to my ear full of music.

this isn’t about music
and its magic and
the way it makes me feel.

i was breathing just
breathing in time.
feeling my fingertips

fill with air. and
the air slipped out and left
my fingertips cold and tingling

it felt like five little
ribbons, sliding out
and emphasizing the hollow.

and this is distracting.
and i am not sleepy.
and won’t someone hold my hand.

i like this.
this being alone.
this weight of my cd played

on my belly
slowly rising and falling.
spinning that burned cd

you thought i should listen to,
i guess. probably because you
like it. i don’t know just yet.

i wish i could fall asleep because
i know i should
but, really, i’m

happy just
to stay in this limbo,
because this is better

than sleep, because
i can remember it
and how i feel here and there.
_ in and out.
_ okay.

it's not the next four years; it's just the next one

guess what i did.
go on.
okay you’ll never guess.

i sent in my deposit to sarah lawrence college.

i’m going to college.
i’m going to sarah lawrence.
that doesn’t get any less
scary by saying it more.

i sent in the deposit yesterday.
and then,
yesterday afternoon,
i checked my e-mail and
there was sarah lawrence
with a revised “financial aid statement.”

okay, okay,
i thought. they’re
giving me more money.
okay, okay,
maybe this is the right thing.

one thousand dollars less.
can they do that?
take away $1,000
from what they gave me before?
i know that when talking about college tuition,
when you can’t possibly pay anything to begin with,
the money seems like play money.
and one thousand is nothing.
and i hate thinking about money
and talking about it
and writing the word.
just writing it feels
and materialistic
and greedy.
but if i’m going to go to college
then i have to accept that part of the world
paying-too-much part.
the being-in-debt part.
the worrying-my-parents part.
the using-up-all-our-money-and-sorry-little-brother part.

look if anyone out there reading this
has any sage advice,
i would love to hear it.
am i doing the right thing?

my mom’s friend called our house the other day. i answered the phone. “hello?” “hi, emma?!” “yes..” oh no, who this? “it’s ____.” “oh hi!..” “so where are you going to college?” “um, i’m thinking sarah lawrence.” “OH, emma! you’re going to be a sarah lawrence girl?” “yeah, i guess so.” “wow.” “yeah.”
i like this woman. she’s always been really cool. she’s a writer. she’s kind of like an aunt, in the good way.
adults are proud of me.

when i tell students, my peers, all they say is “isn’t that a girls’ school?”
no, i say.
it’s, like, 75 percent girls.
end of conversation.

will this feel right?
i think, when i get there it will be like summer camp.
i’m good at adapting, i think.
i’ve never had a problem with going away for weeks to wisconsin to sleep in army tents and wake up every morning and look out at a tiny lake that isn’t a hazard to my health.
but i’m a bore at summer camp.
i become someone i don’t want to be.
i’m really dull. because i don’t like the people there.
i like the nature
and i can deal with the people,
but i’m not an interesting person.
i’m a wallflower
and i idly count the days until i’m back amongst the skyscrapers and bicycles.

and i’m scared that that will be
i don’t want that to be college.
i want to be interesting and creative and smart and loved.
i want to fit in and i want to be on the fringes.

please readers,
speak now or forever hold your peace.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

when you walk a mile in the cold, cold rain and wind, and you finally get to peel off you jeans, do your thighs itch? mine do.

and i scractch my thighs until they are bright red and raw.

i haven't told you about this blog yet, darling. but i will in due time. it's a secret and i like that. in a month or two or three, i'll let you in on this secret.
when i do, you're gonna:
...at first think it's all an elaborate joke.
...sit staring at your computer screen with a look of mild shock and disbelief.
...wonder "how?" and "why?" and, most inexplicably, "what?"
...read and read, through the first page and then through older posts and you'll come upon this one and think "what?" and then you'll page father back and realize that i used your name on the internet. without your permission.
...then be sure that this isn't a joke. it's real. as "real" as any not-actually-physical thing on a computer screen can be. real in that, yes, this is me, emma, writing this and not telling you. real in that it can be no one else but me writing this.
...wonder why i didn't tell you.
...think i'm a terrible hypocrite because i waste so much breath on my dislike of the internet. and what i say about what a bummer and time-waster the internet is true, i'm not lying, i'm just indulging the teeny tiny part of me that likes the internet and the sad impersonalness of it all.
...doubt other things i have said.
...hopefully realize that i like to be honest.
...realize that i am honest; like when i can't say "i love you" to you or my mother.
...get past all of the questions and the no-big-deal lie that isn't exactly a lie because i'm not saying i don't have a blog; i'm just not saying anything.
...enjoy that you can read things that i've written. whenever you like. without me knowing.

and you'll wonder if i was planning on writing this while we sat hand-in-hand at golden angel, looking out at rainy, rainy lincoln square.
i wasn't.
i planned this post in the shower as i scrubbed my thighs raw.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

lunch period. april 20, 2009.

1. get off the computer.
2. find hugh.
3. (hugh, who found me before my lunch period and asked me what I was doing, so as to open the door to being a social human being and spend a lunch period with a real person rather than just myself and the mind-numbing, eye-glazing blog writings of a dozen lovely internet-writers.)
4. “hang out.”
5. chat.
6. ask him what he thinks of the idea of having a company (“drama club”) prom.
7. be a social human being.

what actually happened:

1. got off the computer.
2. located hugh, who was sitting, not alone like i’d hoped, but with a group of friends, in a circle at a lunchroom table.
3. walked on past.
4. walked upstairs, looking at the toes of my boots, noticing the salt stains and how the worn leather bent; hoping my skirt wasn’t rising to an indecent length (because i felt a little too exposed, though i really like this skirt that i made last year).
5. sat down in the back corner of a different lunchroom, with my back to everyone else.
looked out the window.
6. noticed a tennis ball on the roof of a shorter school building.
7. listened to the screams, chatter, and laughter of those with friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

much to my father's dissappointment, i'm not even a registered voter.

another election.
another day of election judging.
fifteen hours at my neighborhood polling place.
i have decided that the bathroom is the most pleasant place in the building.
i want to crawl inside the radiator next to the sink.
i stood next to it and gave a shiver as i felt warmth fill my upper arms and cold slide out my fingertips.

fifteen hours of the wnua.
i hate smooth jazz.
it was noon when i wised up and pulled out my cassette player.

it's not like anyone is voting anyway.
thirty-seven voters in six hours.
that's about one-twenty-third (1/23) of my precinct.
(i've never been able to figure out tough precentages without the aid of a calculator)

awake since 4:30.
this is not what spring break should be.
i sit here pulling woodchips out of the crappy plywood table and i can't think of what i would rather be doing.

i might be in college in a few months.
i might not be in chicago, this time next year.
i only have a few more weeks to decide.
to take the uncertainty out of the situation.
i don't know what i'm doing.
everything feels so dull to me.
i get scared and retreat from the things that demand decistions and i just shrug my shoulders or wave at the other things.
maybe i do need to start again.
this life isn't working.
nothing feels right.
or, rather, not much feels right.
i bought a cd a few days ago.
ice cream spiritual by ponytail.
and i can't put my finger on why exactly, but
it was exactly the music i needed to hear.

i don't know the girl who peers out of
mirrors and dark glass windows.
i've learned to identify her as "me" or "emma".
but to me she is "her".
i make sure she looks okay
before i leave the house.
i pose her in the mirror.
i can't put a "personality" with her.
i don't know what music she listens to.
i don't know which books are her favorite.
she doesn't look like she thinks what i think.
she doesn't look like she doesn't care.
she doesn't look like she bikes.
she does look like she wears cardigans, i'll give her that.

today i have written her name on a "republican judge" nametag stiker and affixed it to the left side of her cardigan.
it's okay, she isn't voting anyway. she hasn't registered.
anyone who judges her as a republican, doesn't know me.
maybe i'm playing into stereotypes.
like, "people who do x,y, and z should look this way".
i don't think that's what i'm doing.
i just don't know who i am.
i've never know.

people say college is a time to find out who you are.
should she try it?
should i try it?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


i gave myself a haircut today.
i saved a good portion of the hair i cut off.
i listened to crooked rain while i did it, just to hear "cut your hair."
i wish i told better stories and gave better haircuts.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


yesterday was a sad day for many a college-bound high school senior.
yesterday so many classmates walked home with a sense of dread of what had been left in their mailbox by an apathetic u.s. postal worker with a bad back.
yesterday envelopes far too thin to mean anything good were ripped open by reluctant hands aching for news.
today a whole lot of "u of i" was delivered with a shrug and a sad little smile at the prospect of spending the next four years at their "safety" chioce, far enough away to be "going to college" but in a location far more boring than and still fairly close to the one they are leaving.
admittedly, i felt a twinge of pride that i did not even apply to the university of illinois at urbana-champagne.
that's my record.
6 accepted.
4 rejected.
1 offer to be put on the waiting list.

and i still don't know if i even want to go to college.