Longing In LA
I’ve kept that photo album stashed away under my bed for years now. The edges have been chewed by my dogs; the dust nestled deep into the leather grooves. The glue has yellowed from when my mom carefully placed those pictures in so many years ago. But they still look just as beautiful, my parent’s young smiles have never faded. The Pacific Ocean still radiates a dark blue behind my mother. The sunsets still perfectly illuminate their silhouettes. I can feel the soft winter air atop the San Gabriel Mountains. I can smell the exhaust from the traffic. I can see them holding hands against the backdrop of their brick West Hollywood Apartment, the flowers blooming, and the palm trees stretching down the road. Whenever I feel sad I flip through the pages and try to imagine what they must have been like. What was it like to know my parents at 23, what was it like to know them together and happy? Every couple photos are out of focus, some have too much exposure, and some are so pellucid you can almost see the heat. It’s the kind of quality only my dad’s old 35mm camera could pick up. I like to imagine they’re still like that, crystallized in time, forever existing in Los Angeles circa 1984.
But there haven’t been smiles like that in as long as I can remember. California is 2,500 miles away. And I haven’t even heard my father’s voice in years. Yet, despite all this, that old photo album never makes me sad. I hope that one day I can manage to be just as happy and just an in love as they were. I hope I can take pictures in the late Santa Monica sun, I hope my life will be able to remain beautifully captured after decades of decay. Only mine will stay-I will stay in love; happiness’ heartbeat will still pound inside my chest. I can never change their past, but they’ve taught me how to change my future
Never marry an Irish guy because when you first meet them they are so cute and charming, but as soon as you marry them all they do is get drunk and chase animals around the house.
Spell out something beautiful with your tongue
Until it becomes a red quill pen
Run it along the smooth crease of your teeth, so carefully straightened like cream bricks inside your mouth.
Your entire body is the alphabet;
Your nose a curled A, your smile a soft cursive U.
Symmetrical O’s for eyes like two great lakes flooded with clear freshwater and the green from the maple leaves reflecting on the surface.
You are a dead language, too beautiful to be printed, too exotic to be comprehended
So that only the brazen winter snow can scribe it into the soil
And only the warm summer golden rod can read it aloud when the wind whistles through.
Your sentences are a blooming garden suspend between us, wrapping around me like a glowing solar system.
But you have taught me how to decipher the hieroglyphics etched into your skin, how to speak without the T’s tangling my throat, and now the hard R’s dance around my lips like arched carousel horses.
Anyone who thinks language can be taught from a book
Doesn’t know anything about love.
All i’m saying is that this isn’t at all right
Sometimes I feel so defeated. It’s like I’m digging my own grave and I can’t even lie in it. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. I’ve never given up, I rebuilt my entire life, I’ve studied hard, I’ve worked hard, but none of that makes this any different. I’m punished for the mistakes of others. And it’s all so ridiculous and fucked up. I’m denied an education that I deserve solely because I can’t pay for it, solely because I can’t bear to leave college $80,000 in debt. And financial aid is a joke. To think my single moms meager income could possibly conjure up the $20,000 that they want me to pay. But Kerry can slouch by, dragging a trail of mediocre marks, but she can go to college for almost free because she plays a sport. And Austin can lounge around in a pool of his own vomit every weekend but he can afford any institution he pleases just because he has responsible parents. Sometimes I feel so sick, sometimes I feel like the pressure of the whole earth is pressing down on my lungs. And I wish there was someone to answer me back when I ask “why me?” Why do my dreams deserve to be dismantled, why is my future allowed to be ripped apart limb for limb, until all that’s left is tatters that I cant seem to sew back into anything pretty. Our entire college system is broken. And im not wanting to go here for vanity’s sake, I don’t want to go to an out of state university merely because. I want to go there because I want to do something I love, I want to work towards something im passionate about, and the frank state of things is that im limited to such schools because of what makes me happy, as are so many kids. How is it fair that Ill never be able to have the career I want because I can’t pay to fucking learn? How it is fair that even community college would put me in debt? And yeah, life isn’t fucking fair, but how to we ever expect our society, our youth, to thrive when half the population is drowning in debt, and poverty, and corralled by financial limitations? When I see them drive by me in their jaguars and Mercedes and parade around in coach shoes I don’t know how it ever got to this point, how it ever became the norm for lifeless slugs to have ample opportunities and for so many to have none? But if I throw up my hands, if I sit down on the curb and give up, that will get me nowhere either. Really though, I cant help from crying…sometimes…