Saturday, December 24, 2011

the christmas post, take ii

It's Christmas Eve. I'm serious.

Last year, I posted this Christmas Post, and  I just re-read it and it's awful. But it's who I was.

Here is a misconception that we've been trying to live by for a hundred years: Christmas is perfect. Christmas isn't perfect. It's commercialized and pulverized and slandered and most of all: turned to sacrilege. 

I know about Christmas, guys. I know your fractured hand-holds climbing up the commercial face of Santa Claus and Christ alike, I know the anger you take out on your family: "I'm sorry", and the stockings filled with IVs of your own Type O+ blood because you couldn't think of any other way to say "I love you" besides proving just how gruesome you can be.

I know about Christmas. The same prayer on a thousand lips. The same songs on radio. The shine of it. The way that I could be here and you could be there but there's a phoneline and suddenly I love you and Christmas doesn't break over time zones or language barriers. The way it tastes sweet. And the biblical version, the original tinsel and electrical lights, the "Behold! I bring you tidings of great joy!" The long stretch of stairs before the tree. The waking up.

I've loved Christmas for almost eighteen years, but I don't love it unconditionally. I love it because it's been so good to me. Christmas has always had the softest hands. December itself has never been a real month, but one long countdown, a fifth season, a big inhalation and then Christmas Day: exhale. I like nativity scenes made of wood. I like wrapping paper. I like the smell of it. Even the cannibal consumer's version of Christmas---all price-tags and coupons and Overnight Shipping---is about giving, even in its crude, malnourished interpretation of the word: "giving". I like buying books for my mom. 

Christmas has been, you know, altered. It's not what it was supposed to be, that day in the manger. It's not even what it was supposed to be sixty years ago and "Oh Melvin! A transistor radio of my very own! Gee whiz!" But even this gritty, twenty-first century version of Christmas is, honestly, gorgeous. It's... hopeful? It's hopeful. Bright. 

And I think I finally got what I want this year, even though it's not going to be a kitten. You know? 

-Avery Jalaine

Thursday, December 8, 2011

up from the basement, cold air on warm skin*

*This is not specific. This is not what it seems like. Probably.


You're stunning; trust me, this once.

I know what you keep in your pockets: forgetfulness, pity, rage. And maybe when it's cold outside, you wrap up in a little spite. 

Take it off. Yeah, take it all off. You know who you are: impatient and cathartic, wistful, bored by... everything and amazed by... everything and satisfied by... nothing. Yeah, you really know who you are. You're not very impressed by me. I like it. You're not very impressed by me. I hate it. You're a sort of hard to describe with English adjectives: how about impassive? How about starry-eyed? How about hungry? And how about uncorruptable? Yeah, that. Uncorruptable

I've gotten pretty good and picking out the gods from the peasants but you... you blur the lines. How can someone so desolate want to live so much? So much. I've never seen someone survive the way you do. You're terrifying. Everyone says so. You weren't what we expected. We all know the shape of you. Your hands. You have a really good poker-face.

Stop taking things seriously. And stop telling the truth all the time. And don't cringe, this isn't about you.

Take a raincheck, baby, I'll be here all year.

This isn't a love poem.
-Avery Jalaine

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

this is about my mom. it's that kind of day.

A Poem About My Mother at 6:26 AM

by me

And sometimes when I go downstairs
in the full-moon morning,
and my warm feet ache on the wood floor
because the house has frozen over in the night
and the thermostat is,
it's not on:
there's a mug of hot chocolate already there
by the makeup bag and the toothpaste,
and there are little marshmallows in there.
And that's when I think:
This is love.

Hey, Mum.
-Avery Jalaine

Friday, November 25, 2011

my romance with impatience

I'm going to be a good public speaker when I'm dead. I'll go skydiving when I'm dead. Yeah? And I'm going to eat sushi all the time when I'm dead. Sushi for breakfast. Sushi for dessert. And no California Rolls either, do you hear me? When I'm dead, I'm going to wake up before 2:14 in the afternoon, I swear. And I'm going to answer the phone, answer your texts, answer when you call up the stairs for me, "Avery? Avery?", but only once I'm dead. I'll do my homework when I'm dead. I'll wear gold chains, platinum bootstraps, diamond band-aids on my broken fingers, when I am dead. But not a second sooner. I'll write you a check for my overdue tough love when I'm dead. I'm going to kiss you on both cheeks and wave goodbye when I'm dead, I'm going to take up chess, I'm going to bleed it out, I'm going to give my condolences to Impatience and Luck when I'm dead. I'll stitch up my old wounds when I'm dead.

But not until I'm dead. 

Don't change me, don't color me in with a black magic marker and call me beautiful. Don't wake me up early. I'm ready to sleep. I'm alive so I'm going to run myself ragged. I'm going to stand on my tiptoes until I can take the moon and crumble it in my hands. I'm so sick of medicine. I'm so sick of standing on each others' shoulders to try to reach the top shelf. 

I want to write something that's going to change your life. I want you to Like it on Facebook, you know?  But maybe once I'm dead I'll finally look up a word in the dictionary that's long enough to say everything that I mean.When I'm dead I'll finally be able to brush the dust off my face and work up an appetite. I've got this big life and I don't have time to spell the words for you that I use and you don't understand. You want to waste your life? Fine. Don't change me, though. Don't pickpocket me of my aggression and my cynicism, don't strip me of my diseases. You want glory? Fine. You want romance? Fine. 

I'll show you just how glorious, I'll show you just how "romantic" I can be when I'm dead.

If looks could kill.
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, November 21, 2011

what i meant to say was "shut up"

I'm very sick of words lately. And all boys. And I probably have appendicitis.

How very unlike me.

-Avery Jalaine

Sunday, November 13, 2011

If I was God, I'd write a new blog post everyday.

But alas, I'm only human, and a teenager in high school at that.

I have a novel to write. Don't bother me for 17 more days.

I know, I know.
-Avery Jalaine

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

what it's like to be invincible

You are seventeen-years-old and you are invincible. 

Invincibility has made you reckless. That's why fire doesn't scare you. That's why you don't remember to turn off the lights or dot your i's. That's why you fall without fear, and the end of the world can't come soon enough. Your bones will never break, and neither will your heart. You are invincible and you take a bullet to the head like a kiss there, right there, right on the temple and straight out the other side. Your blood is just sugar water, you can fly if you want to. You laugh too much. And since you never have to stop running, why stay here?

You're young. And your voice sounds better loud. You don't want to grow up, so you don't have to, at least not today. Death is funny because it's so simple. If you're about to starve to death: don't. If you're about to jump: don't.

You wear your invincibility like a pair of wings, or a strike-anywhere match. And when you fly, your long hair will not get caught in the airplane's engine. And when you sing, the whole world will fall at your feet. 

You get away with everything. You're immortal. You're a young god, and glorious and terrible as a new sun, with more gravity and righteous fire than anything you could have made up on your own. You're timeless, so you have all the time in the world. And you waste your time. You waste your time gracefully, because time is something for the weak of heart. Even the shape of you is apocalyptic.

Open your veins and your wings and your mind, you can live forever. You can live forever.

Society wanted me young: here I am.
-Avery Jalaine

Friday, October 28, 2011

listen up, i didn't write this

Here is a poem that I love. I highlighted the parts that I adore, and I didn't highlight the parts that I love so much. You know. I can't say what I want to about this poem. Because, hey, it says it all for me. (There should be a regular post coming soon. Or maybe not. My words are fairly limited lately.)

How To Like It
by Stephen Dobyns 

These are the first days of fall. The wind
at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
A man and a dog descend their front steps.
The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.
Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find.
This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
until it seems he can see remembered faces
caught up among the dark places in the trees.
The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just
rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.
Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
he says to himself, a movie about a person
leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
on that road and the dusty smell of the car
heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.
The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff
people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.
In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark.
Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
shine like small cautions against the night.
Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down
by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
one state line after another, and never stop
until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before
starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill
and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
of a city entirely new to him.
But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside.
Let’s not do anything tonight. So they
walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
How is it possible to want so many things
and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
and wants to hit his head again and again
against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich.
Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.
And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s
wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
as if into the place where the answers are kept-
the ones telling why you get up in the morning
and how it is possible to sleep at night,
answers to what comes next and how to like it.

And I just shrug.
-Avery Jalaine

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

because this isn't getting published in the school newspaper

How to Be a Future Cat Lady of America*

*Or Future Cat Gentleman. We are not gender-biased sexists here at the Future Cat People of America Association (the FCPAA).

Are you a social recluse? Do you detest the company of human beings? Do you ever say to yourself, "Ag, why wasn't I born a cat?!" If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then this helpful how-to guide is for you!

Step 1: Adopt as many cats as you can. Black cats. White Cats. Asian cats. Mixed race cats. Big cats. Skinny cats. Carrying a little bit of weight cats.

Step 2: Cut ties with every friend you've ever made. you don't need friends anymore, remember? The cats are your friends!

Step 3: Make cat-attracting, human-repelling wardrobe decisions like sweatshirts with bells on them.

Step 4: Show your devotion to your cats by knitting them sweaters that say things like "foxy" or "wild thang" on the back.

Step 5: When friendly strangers try to speak to you, ignore them in favor of muttering. They'll give up soon, I promise.

Yes, I did try submitting this to my high school newspaper. Luckily, I came to my senses and wrote something else about lonely girls and quiet boys before the editors had to murder me for my own good.

-Avery Jalaine

Thursday, October 13, 2011

four-wheel drive

I wish people had windshield wipers, like cars do.

And we could walk around on sunny days and take the top down and leave everything up to the transmission and the radio and when bugs hit the glass --- everything's fine --- we let the bugs hit the glass.

But when it rains, it pours. And it's a torrential downpour of indecisiveness and what-if's and paper cuts and dirty looks from pretty girls and bad grades and snagged tights and let downs and confusing boys and self pity and could've-been's should've-been's would've-been's and regret and rain rain rain; raining so hard that you can't see two feet in front of you, you can't see where you're supposed to be going and you're so afraid that you're going to hydroplane that you're not even paying attention to the road anyway. It's getting chilly in your car, it's getting very hard to tell between dotted white lines and double yellow lines and you know that there is supposed to be a difference, but it's raining the word "why?" and you can't seem to remember what that difference was.

Yes, windshield wipers would be nice. Because you turn them on --- it's that little lever by the steering wheel, just there --- and then, whap!, all your heartache is gone. And, whap!, there goes your embarrassment, your apprehension, your heat-damaged hair; whap!, there goes your intolerance and your lack of faith, your fear of small spaces and children and spiders alike; whap!, your self-loathing; whap!, the chip on your shoulder and the fight with your mother; whap!, your incompetence; whap!, everything you never did because you were afraid. If it rains harder --- everything's fine --- we've got a higher gear for that. Loss? Heartbreak? Doubt? Guilt? Whap! Whap! Whap! Whap! You can see for miles. The rain barely even touches you.

I wish people had windshield wipers, like cars do.

That way, we might not run into each other.

And when someone I hate walks up and says, "Hrm-rm-hrm-Avery-Do-What-I-Say-grrh-grrmm-Don't-Talk-Back-mmrmmrm-Cheer-Up-Be-Nice-Do-Your-Homework-grm-hrmmr-Look-At-Me-When-I'm-Talking-To-You-hrm-ghrmm..." and suddenly it gets rainy enough that I'm having trouble seeing straight and breathing correctly...
I flip on my windshield wipers.

Whap! Whap!

And there they go.
And when the AP homework that is due-at-the-end-of-this-term.. due-next-month-sometime.. due-in-two-weeks.. due-one-week-from-now.. due-the-day-after-tomorrow.. due-tomorrow..... doesn't get done, that's okay that's alright that's fine...

I flip on my windshield wipers.


It's gone, too.

And when the alarm clock goes off when it's still dark outside and I'm expected to drag myself out into the frigid morning air and make myself somewhat presentable for school...
I flip on my windshield wipers.


6 AM and that alarm clock are certainly gone. They don't even exist.
If I don't want to deal with it, whap!, I just don't.

I wish people had windshield wipers, like cars do.

I'd never get lost, or wet.

I'm not going to apologize for behaving badly.
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not-Blogging for Dummies

How to Not Blog

A Tutorial by Avery Jalaine Taylor

How to Not Blog
Step One: Read books.
Step Two: Don't write a blog post.
Step Three: Eat soup.


An addiction to hands & feet.
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, October 3, 2011

with lips and teeth to ask how my day went

Sometimes I stand on my tiptoes because I think that someone will take me more seriously if I'm an inch taller. 

But then nobody takes me seriously. Because I'm standing on my tiptoes for no apparent reason, other than I'm short, and I'm trying to force you to understand that I'm not joking, this time.

I'm usually joking. Because it's easier to. I'm bad at taking other people seriously, so why should I expect anyone to take me seriously?

This post is almost joking. I can't make it sound like I'm really wounded by anything. I cry a lot, but I laugh even more. I laugh softly and I laugh viciously, I laugh at the wrong time and I laugh when I try not to and I laugh at everyone else, at least I'm good at laughing at myself.

No, I don't take myself seriously.

Sometimes I take not taking myself seriously too seriously.

I stand on my tiptoes, though. Trying to force you not to laugh. "I'm not joking", but I am. "I'm serious", but I am not.

"On October 3rd he asked me what day it was." 
"It's October 3rd."
-Avery Jalaine