Monday, December 24, 2012

So there I was....

Story time.....

April 28th 2012.

Let me set the stage a little for you. Here we go.

There is nothing quite like a Russian train. Those of you who have traveled Europe on trains have no idea just how thrilling a night train can be until you have found yourself scrunched up on a 4-foot long plank, crammed into what is essentially a shipping crate on wheels chugging tortuously slowly through a frozen Russian tundra, which is filled with as many other 4-foot long planks as it can hold, all of which are occupied by sweaty, haven't-bathed-since-the-Cold-War Russian people that have no sense of propriety nor privacy as they munch on their kolbasa while sitting in their nappy bumhuggers and cussing loudly about why they are still alive. And heaven forbid the sun come up... cuz if it does then the frozen ice chest on wheels becomes an Easy Bake Oven within 30 minutes. Air conditioning still has yet to break through the old Iron Curtain.

So there I was, young, restless and on train headed from Lugansk to Kiev. That train fell two hours behind schedule... somehow. Honestly, how does a train fall behind schedule in the first place? Did we run out of coal? Maybe we got stuck behind a herd of babooshkas crossing a dusty road on their way to the market. Maybe the conductor fell into a vodka-induced stupor and forgot to push the button that makes the train go. What an idiot.

Two hours behind schedule. Yep. This essentially turned my already 16 hour train ride into an 18 hour hell-coaster full of Russians sweating, stinking, snoring, screaming, swearing, and standing around all fat and naked-like. I was pissed.

*on a side note from when I left Russia for Ukraine:
 The border police from Russia were decent folk, probably happy to have me leaving their country and not stealing their women. The Ukrainian border police stared at my passport for 15 minutes, intermittently looking up at me, probably trying to figure out what reason drove me from my plush, beach-side condo in Florida or California or wherever it is that I hobnob with movie stars on the daily and drive my hummer. They probably figured I was there for their women. Or that I was an international criminal.

Back to my awesome train ride.... So, by the time I arrived in Kiev I had about an hour and half until my flight was leaving for London. This mean I had just enough time to catch a taxi out to see the temple in Kiev. That was cool. My taxi driver even got out of the cab and took some pictures of me in front of the temple and asked some questions. She was a nice lady. I tipped her.

So the time came for my flight to leave. Then that time passed. Then 45 minutes passed and my flight still hadn't left. The travel gods were pitted against me. The delay of this flight was of particular annoyance, and I'll tell you why. The reason this was a big deal was cuz it was my sister's wedding anniversary and she and her husband were going to travel Europe at the same time as me before they settled in Spain for her husband's summer internship, only they had a different itinerary. I was hoping to meet them in London before we went our separate ways since I hadn't seen a member of my family for 5 months.

The 45 minute delay got me into London 45 minutes late, as you might expect. Now, I was already on a touch-and-go schedule to catch my train from London to Hollyhead, which left at 11:30 pm. After my flight delay I had to stand in a line of angry Russians for another 45 minutes at the UK Border Passport check. Once through, I asked the nice British lady at the information desk what the fastest way to get to Victoria Station was. That's where I was meeting my sister and her husband. She directed me to take the Greenline Express. So I did. Little did I know that the Greenline Express made about 14 different stops before it made it to Victoria Station. It took me over an hour and a half to get there.... All the while I was trying to send message on my iPod to my sister over a sketchy WiFi network to let her know of my dire situation.

By the time I arrived at Victoria Station it was already 10:56 pm and my train for Hollyhead left from Euston Station in a meager 34 minutes. The problem here was that Victoria Station is at least a 30 minute drive from Victoria Station, but I didn't know that until later. So I jumped off the Greenline Express bus, and ran in a panic to try and get to the departure board my sister had described to me where we were supposed to meet. Only I couldn't find it. I couldn't even find the right entrance into the station. I ran around outside looking very tourist-ish (touristy?) and surrounded by British accents, which can be pretty distracting.

I looked at my watch after jogging back to where the bus dropped me off and the time showed 11:04. At this point I realized that there was no chance of finding my sister and if I stuck around much longer I was going to miss my night train across England, which would mean I would miss my ferry to Ireland, which would mean I would have to re-purchase train and ferry tickets and also find a place to stay in London. Which would mean a lot of money. Panic set in. The panic was heightened when I realized I needed to find a taxi and had nothing but Ukrainian grieven, Russin roubles, and a some American dollars on me. No pounds. I needed an ATM.

I ran a little further down the street and stumbled upon the entrance to Victoria Station that I had been frantically searching for, complete with giant departure board where I was supposed to meet my sister. Her and her husband weren't there, of course, but there was a string of ATMs. I hastened over to them and put in my card. I had no idea what a taxi was going to cost, but I figured it couldn't be more than 40 pounds, so that was the amount I requested from the machine, only I pushed the wrong button and requested it in dollars instead of pounds. Crap. So I told the machine that no, I was not finished with my transaction and finally got some pounds to work with. I turned and sprinted out the exit and tried to flag down two different taxis, but they were occupied. The light on the street adjacent to me turned red and I noticed an empty taxi stopped at the light. I ran up to the man and asked him (and I don't know why, but I think I used a British accent thinking he would understand me better) how much to get to Euston Station. The able taxi driver pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and tapped the meter. I hopped in.

I wasn't sure how to explain my situation in British English, so I just clenched my fists in the back seat and would ask how much further every couple of minutes. The nice man kept assuring me that it was just up ahead, but my time was running out. It was already 11:19 pm. I swear we must have hit every red light on the twisting path from Victoria to Euston and I was sure I was going to miss my train. I steadily watched the meter creep up over 15 pounds, but the cost was the last thing on my mind. I needed to catch my train.

At 11:25 the taxi pulled up in front of Euston Station. The total charge of my taxi ride was something like 18 pounds, which I found out later was something like 40 dollars.

I grabbed the two bags I had and sprinted up the broken escalator into the train station. I had less than 5 minutes to get my tickets, find my train, and catch it.

I found the automated ticket booths and spent about a minute there before I realized they were the wrong ones. So I found the right ones, which were just behind the wrong ones, and printed off my tickets. I searched the departure board for where my train was leaving from and it showed A. Turns out that platform  A was clear down at the opposite end of the station.

So with my two bags bouncing around me like children around a pinata, I booked it as fast as I could through the station and rounded the corner of the platform just in time to see my train beginning to shut all its doors.

The station attendant ahead of me saw my situation and that it closely resembled the situation of the Asian man who was 25 yards ahead of me and also sprinting to try and catch the train. The attendant took my ticket, tore it in half with practiced accuracy, told me I better run, and wished me luck with all the sincerity that a British accent can hold.

So I did. I ran.

As the train's last doors closed and the wheels started turning I jumped into the last car. I literally caught my train as it was leaving the station. It sounds cliche, but it happened. Then I shook my fists at the heavens in defiance of the travel gods who tried to destroy my travel plans. Little did I know they would have the last laugh.

Now, the ticket system is weird on the trains in London (but man do they have awesome trains!). For my trip from London to Hollyhead I had about 6 tickets, which confused the bejeezus out of me. My head already hurt from the previous day's train ride delay/the flight delay/the Greenline Express extravaganza, so I  I dozed off for a few minutes... and I missed my stop where I was supposed to switch trains.

Yeah, you can imagine the string of curse words the ran through my mind.... then down my cerebral cortex... turning into little electrical impulses that then reconstructed themselves as actual curse words that were shouted forth from my mouth. Fury. That's what I felt.

*Pictured: Not me.

I comported myself and went walking down the middle of the train to try and find someone to help me. It was the final stop for that train, and I found a bunch of attendant people in the last car beginning to go through and kick everyone off the train. They were really nice, and when I explained what happened to one of the ladies there, she told me that another train would be coming through this station at 5:45 am and could take me the rest of the way to Hollyhead. It was then 2:34 am. Rather than shaking my fist at the travel gods, I decided to offer them sacrifice by way of reading a handful of boring travel brochures and feigning interest. Then I took up a seat on a bench in the waiting room that one of the attendant ladies was nice enough to unlock just for me. Feeling safe, I dozed off again.

At 3:25 am I was awoken by a gentle tapping of a finger on my shoulder. In a hazy fog I came to, and perceived that a family had joined me in the waiting room. I still have no idea why they woke me up, but the mother apparently was trying to engage me in conversation. Trying to. It was difficult. She was from Dublin, Ireland and spoke with the thickest accent I have ever heard. It didn't help matters that she had been pounding a bottle of whiskey and was tossing in Irish slang every other word. Incomprehensible.

But I pretended like I understood and it soon became apparent that I was not from around wherever it was that we were. When I was revealed as an American, things got much more interesting. But this is a story for a different time. All I will tell you for now is that it involved me, a man from Yorkshire who's claim to fame was that he grew up near Sherwood forest and liked to beat his kids, the drunk Irish lady who you already met that tried to spike my Coke with her whiskey, a kid who stole a cell phone and was on the lam from the police, a different guy with weird teeth that acted as everyone's moral compass all Jimeny Cricket style, and a ham-and-brown-sauce sandwich that was absolutely delicious and gross at the same time.

Delicious because I was so hungry. Gross because the angry, drunk Irishwoman made it with her grubby hands and gave it to me. Bless her heart. 

And that was only the first 18-or-so hours of my Europe adventure. There's more, but it will have to wait. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

we'll leave some footprints in the sand, they won't stay, but we won't mind...

I usually mostly always only love to do the things that I am good at. That's why I hate playing basketball. I distance myself from it.

Growing up I always had a comfort zone of things that I excelled at--like eating half a box of Cap'n Crunch for breakfast and finishing the second half after I got off the bus at 2:23 pm, or being able to spell "legitimately" even though I didn't know what it meant yet, or being able to tie my shoes so that the loopy part of the laces were exactly the same length, which always made me run faster. Life was much more complex for me back then. There was so much I could do.

Whenever my brothers and sisters and I would play games in the backyard I always took it a little too seriously. If we were playing army men, then I wanted to be an army man. A real one. So I'd dress all in green, strap knives to my lower legs, shove as many guns as possible down the sides and front and back of my green sweats, and go crawling through the flora and fauna of my mother's garden, getting a ticklish feeling in my stomach that made me feel like I had escaped my 10 year-old life of cleaning my room and coloring inside the lines. Then my mom would call us for dinner or FHE or something else of less importance, and I would have to let go of that feeling. And I was sure I was the only one who ever got it.

Now I'm a Junior in college, and that ticklish feeling never really finds me anymore. I look for it when I write, but I can never focus enough. It would come to me on Friday nights underneath stadium lights, but that was 5 years ago. I felt it when I saw a girl I liked after a while of her being gone, but she's never around. I get it when I read, sometimes, but only if it's something I've never read before by someone I've hardly heard of. Sod was laid where my mom's garden used to be, and shoe laces fell off the ladder of my priorities a while ago.

Different feelings that aren't so ticklish sometimes thump their way down into my stomach, now. Like when I open the door of a dark, empty chapel and see the obedient pews still facing the podium, though no one is there. Or when I come home later than usual and sit in my grandpa's old lawn furniture out back, trying to take some of the quietness and put it inside of me. Or when I see a young, crippled person walking with a cane 60 years too soon.

Maybe those are the feelings I really want, because they find me much more often. Or maybe it's me that seeks them out. Maybe I'm just growing up, but I don't think that's what growing up really means. I don't want it to.

I used to stare out the window of the car and know that I was going to be exactly what I wanted to be, but I didn't do it quick enough.  Now I'm a Junior in college. My life that used to be so complex has become terrifyingly simple. And that ticklish feeling--the one that used to gurgle inside me with a plastic gun wedged somewhere between my bellybutton and the earth--well, maybe I distanced myself from it when I was no longer good at dreaming.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"my three words have two meanings...but there is one thing on my mind" Lego House--Ed Sheeran

The world might not be in as bad of shape as it is if all the people in it were Irish. Not the big city Irish people either, but the ones from the small fishing towns and villages along the coasts. But I'll get to that later. For now I need to get caught up on what happened between now and Moscow. I wish I had the patience to sit and write out all the details of everything I remember, but I don't. At least not for here on the blog.

This past winter in Moscow was the longest winter of my life. Maybe because I was away from home again. Maybe it was because it snowed almost everyday right through the first week of April. Maybe it was because I didn't have a nice, heated car and had to hoof it everywhere I went. Maybe it was all of those things. Maybe there were a few more reasons, too.

It was also the most memorable winter of my life.

Maybe it was because I lived on a floor full of foreign students in a dorm on the campus of the Russia Academy of National Economics under the President of the Russian Federation (pretty official sounding, eh?). Maybe it was because my atheist professor could have doubled for the part of Professor Trelawny in the Harry Potter movies. Maybe it was because I had a German bishop with a Russia-hating wife in an international branch where I was called as a primary teacher. Maybe it was because I was back in the former Soviet Union and this time I wasn't a missionary. Maybe it was all of those things, but there are definitely more reasons, too.

About two weeks into my stay in Moscow I went and bought a $40 guitar to give me something to do in my down time. I don't play very well, but that guitar made more friends than I did. It all started when the rest of the international students got moved in to our floor and decided to get together in the commons area and drink. Me and my roommate (2 of 3 Mormons living on the floor) got a knock on our door that night and invited to come out and drink with everyone. Well, we didn't drink, but we ate a lot of chips.

After about an hour or so of people drinking and me eating chips, the other Mormon lad on our floor asked to see the guitar that I bought. Before long we had 17 people from 10 different countries crammed into a tiny dorm room singing "Heart of Gold" as loud as they could--over and over and over. We must have sung it 7 or 8 times in a row. This taught me one of the great truths of this life: that good music and enough alcohol can bridge any language, cultural, or age gaps.

The dorms in Moscow made our social life loads more fun. Because we were on campus so much we were able to meet lots of the students, who wanted to hang out with us because we are from America. We even got to "teach" two classes of students studying English. And that was where we met Anna, who in turn introduced us to Seva and Vannya. These three people are some of the greatest that I know.

The first time that I met Seva and Vannya was when they picked us up and drove us outside of Moscow to a foster home for young boys. On the way we stopped at a supermarket and Seva bought a bunch of juice, cookies, crackers, notebooks, pens, crayons, and play-dough to take to them. I found out later that  Seva and his father have been doing this sort of thing for years, and he brings his friends with him whenever he goes.

While on the way to the foster home, Seva told me about a conversation that he had with a young black student living in Moscow who's father died recently. His father had been the one paying for his tuition, so when the payments couldn't be made anymore the university kicked the young man out and gave away his spot in the dorms. I listened, and then logged it away in the "Sad Stories" part of my brain.

The day after we went to the foster home, Seva took me and my Canadian friend Simon (who lived on the same floor as us and was one of those that got super drunk the night we sang "Heart of Gold" a thousand times) and treated us to a game of Russian billiards. While Simon and I were playing, I eavesdropped on a call that Seva made. Seva, in less than 24 hours, had found a place to stay and a job for this young black student. 

That story is the best way that I can describe Seva. His friend Vannya is cut from the same mold. And I found myself wishing I was more like these two Russian 20 year-olds--wishing I would do good things for people just because I could and wanted to, and not because someone was expecting me to. They drink, smoke, swear, watch what would be R-rated movies if Russia had any kind of a rating system, and do just about everything that would be condemned by any Happy Valley-an.

But more than that they are good people.

This post took a little different direction than I intended. I'm tired and going to bed. Looks like I'll have to catch up on my Moscow adventure in periodic installments.

I'm not even close to telling you why the world would be better if we were all small-town Irish folk. But I'll get around to it--maybe in a month or six. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

"sweet dreams all met with derision, this train it was armed for collision..." State of the Union by David Ford

There was a little quote magnet that used to hang on the fridge in our house. Or maybe it didn't hang on the fridge. I can't remember. Maybe I just heard my Mother say it a few times and it glued itself to my subconscious. This is it:

People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

I never really thought much about this little gem until a year or two ago when people that I wished could have stayed in my life for a couple more seasons started to leave. Then I started looking for the reasons, knowing that the lifetime was still a long way off. Or at least I thought so.

It's the natural way of things, I guess. You meet people. We all meet people. Some people meet more people than other people, and other people meet fewer people than other people. The point is, there are a whole lot of people out there that we meet. Sometimes they come into our lives for a while, but leave no trace when they slip quietly out the back door. And we couldn't care less most of the time. We forget about them until someone mentions their name, or they pop up on our Facebook News Feed and we struggle with the decision of whether or not to delete them in our semi-annual Facebook friend purge.

Then there are the people that come into your life and it's like they bring the world with them. And when they go the world follows after them, leaving you with an empty space that I guess we call miss. And it's not a casual sort of miss. Not the I miss you every once in a while when you cross my mind sort of miss. Heavens no.

Because these are the kind of people that your life doesn't just let slip out the back door unnoticed. Rather, it barricades the backdoor, probably with a heavy piece of furniture like a wardrobe, or maybe even a fridge. And once all exits are sealed, your life (if it's as courteous as my life is) probably sets out tea and crackers, or puts a chocolate cake in the oven, and all but begs the wonderful person you now know to stay for just a bit longer--a season, maybe. A lifetime, if they could.

Because these are the people that come into our lives and leave us a little bit better than they found us.

And when you miss these people it's the I miss you still sort of miss. The kind that sits with you at breakfast in the morning where you reach for the sugar yourself. The kind that waits for you on the other side of the door when you come home. The kind that will tap you on the shoulder during moments when you are pretty darn sure you're happy, just to remind you that things aren't as good as they could be. The kind that started when they left, or you left, and won't let up until they're back again, bringing the world with them.

There are few people I miss like that. Thank goodness.

And I if I'm lucky then you might be missing me like that. Just maybe.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I started writing yesterday, not really knowing what for, but there were words inside me that kept pushing and trying to get out. So I let them. Halfway through a wonderful sentence that was carrying itself very well and had commas in all the right places, it suddenly came to a full stop. My pen got stuck for a period of time circling in that little black dot until it got bigger and bigger. I sat there for a minute, trying to get my pen un-stuck, and it hit me: my pen was doing warm-up laps.

The next sentence took off in a flash and began to run and run and run and run, back and forth across the page, snaking its way left to right, top to bottom, as fast as it could go, so fast that my t's became plus signs, a's turned into o's because there wasn't enough time to put the little tails on them, v's and u's and w's all blended into a series of indecipherable check marks, my R's warped into P's and my C's into parentheses, M's and N's got scrunched down so tight they looked like I's, B's got tipped on their sides and squished so they looked like badly drawn hearts, G's became Q's and Q's became G's, X's and Y's turned neuter, Z's and S's lost their curves and edges, and by the time the sentence stopped running all my words had changed. It was an absolute mess.

I tried to get my words back in line by using some expletive symbols ($&%@ and !*#@ and the like) but that only got my words even more riled up. Before I could try anything else my words took off again. Only this time they didn't run, they started dancing across the solid blue lines in my notebook. Charleston kept it classy while Foxtrot wound his was through words caught between doing the Twist and the Hand-Jive. It was fun, but pretty chaotic. And to make matters worse I had to keep an eye on Bump & Grind to make sure they never got too close to each other. Ya know, prodding them with my pen and what not so they knew I was still watching. Then a word came on the page that made every other word stop what they were doing and turn to look.

It was you.

Spotlight turned and shone, Hush tripped and fell over Crowd, Breath held his own, and no one made a sound. You were there. You took my pen by the hand and led it across a row of awestruck words, setting it down gently somewhere in the margin. And then you started to dance. Alone. I tried to follow you with my eyes but the page opened up and you filled all of it, bits and pieces of you in every word. You were everywhere. You danced and all the words inside me no longer rushed to get out. They were gone. You danced and everything became calm. Quiet. All my mixed up letters turned back to who they were supposed to be. You danced and I realized that none of my words mean anything. Except you.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You Can Tell the Truth, right?

I'd rather be alone.
I'm lying if I tell you
that I need you in my life.
It's time that you knew
who I really am without you.
The truth is, I dont know
why we came together.
It doesn't matter now,
as long as you are gone.
I'll be falling apart every day
if you stay.
I will show you I'm better than this,
that I just needed a chance.
You saw the truth-
I wasn't good enough.
But you refused to believe
that I didn't need you.
I tried so many times to convince myself
that you are her--the one I want.
It took a while, but now I know
You're gone.

*(now, starting with the last line, read the poem backwards--from bottom to top)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

".....a friend calls me up with her heart heavy still..." Hammers and Strings-Jack's Mannequin

So, I saw a man wearing UGGS with his jeans tucked into them. Cool. I should have told him but I didn't. It's best if he doesn't know.

I buy a ticket about every other day to the concert hall between metro stops Okhotny Ryad and Teatral'naya. I pay 98 cents. This lady stands at the end of a long corridor that connects two metro stops and plays her violin. She turns what would be a monotonous, slightly-uphill trek into walk-through concert. It's Moscow, and like any city with over 13 million people living in it, everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. But all the passers-by slow their step on their way to everywhere else and listen a little longer. I like that.

I've really missed talking with drunk people. The other night I talked to a pair of them; a drunk duo, if you will. Or possibly a duo of drunkards. Take your pick. Anyways, I spoke with them and told them I was from Australia. My mom told me that if I have to speak with strangers, lie to them. When I told them I was from Australia that made them happy for some reason. So happy, in fact, they asked me for money. I handed one of them a couple coins to congratulate him on his honesty in confessing that he would use them to buy vodka. Hopefully it kept him a little bit warmer during what was a below-freezing night. I mean that.

I think I sometimes forget that the drunk bums on the streets are people. When they sleep I bet they still dream at night, even though their bed is different than mine. But I still forget they are people. They seem to me more like part of the scenery. I avoid them the same way I avoid a mud puddle or a patch of ice. That's wrong. There should be a difference.

I also want to stop thinking I know everything... but that is gonna be hard.

 I remember when I was little the world was mine. Everyone was an American, everyone lived in Utah, everyone went to Orchard Elementary School, and everyone was in love with Michelle Duncan. Me too. But I remember picking up a copy of War and Peace in our school library and just knowing that Tolstoy was an American. He had to be. After all, the book was in English.
 Mexicans were also from America, even though they were from Mexico too. California was just an extension of Utah and people smoked cigarettes in Vegas just so that I would know I was on vacation when I smelled the smoke. Oh, and everyone was Mormon, too.

When I was little everyone that drank was going to hell and my world shook and groaned under the weight of finding a 6-pack of Coors Light in my Grandpa's fridge. I didn't mean to. I had opened the fridge and got on my tiptoes to see if he had any more Shasta diet-grapefruit soda cans left. In the few moments after my eyes read and my mind processed the words Coors Light I tried so hard to lie to myself and say I didn't see what I saw. Back then I was still an awful liar. So I tucked my hands into the pockets of my shorts made in Malaysia, which was probably somewhere on the East Coast, which was still just an extension of Utah, and walked back into the house to ask my dad who my Grandpa was.
On that day I had to wake up a little more than I wanted to. I yawned and stretched my mind in a way that I didn't really like, wanting to go back to sleep. There was an actual world out there. There were places that weren't Utah, or extensions of it, places that weren't America, filled to the brim with everything that I didn't know yet, couldn't know yet, and didn't want to know yet. It was like just getting a grip on long division only to find out that things like the Pythagorean Theorem and molecular physics exist.

It was too much. Daunting. Stifling, even.

It was going to take way too long until I could know enough; until I could know anything. It was going to take time the same way that growing up takes time.

Believe it or not I have grown up a little. I realized that California was California, that people don't smoke just to let me know I'm not in Orem anymore, that God can forgive people for drinking, and that my Grandpa is a man that I want to be like. But my jeans made in Taiwan still feel like they come from America. See, growing up takes time, but actually growing takes experience; which is limited when you spend your whole life in Orem, Utah.

Life is a lot different for everyone. I spent 10 minutes talking to two grown men that spend their nights sleeping in a dark stairwell and trying to beg enough money for food and alcohol. But they dream when they sleep. I know that. Because if I was one of them I know I would still dream, even though my bed was different.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Poem Post

*This poem is called a ghazal. It's a traditional poetry form from Pakistan, Iran, and northern India and it's way fun to try and write them. It might read weird at first, but give it a chance. :) I won't explain the rules for it, just look them up on Wikipedia (as long as our stupid government doesn't destroy the internet). Anyways, here it is:

Here’s to You

I wrote you a song, but you might never hear it
There's a box of your things, not a chance I'll go near it

Now I question the questions 'bout you in my head
If my thoughts were a playlist I could just clear it

If we were a sandwich, would you be the jam?
I'll be peanut butter, just try not to smear it

Or if you weren't a vegan and we were a steak
Would you brazen or broil or pan-fry or sear it?

And if our love was a fish just floating along
Would you admire or feed or simply just spear it?

Well, the rudder fell off the love boat we were on
But with all hands on deck I bet we could steer it

So I'll raise half a glass to the long-shot we were,
If love is a battlefield there's no reason to fear it

A Poem Post

I Never Wanted to Fly

I never wanted to fly--not just because
I'm scared of heights
but because what if I tried and didn't get quite high
enough to be part of the sky. . .

And for the rest of my life I'd have to lie and tell you
I'm fine, while I look back and die
a little each day.
Regretting that this dream of mine
shriveled and shrunk to two-thirds the size
of what a dream ought to be.
That might kill me.

Like the morning your eyes reached
for my throat and I wished. . . I wished
I could go back and tell my first lie all over again.
Make it much more grand than it wasn't me
I'd say that it was.

Although I know I'm not what you want I was once
what I wanted to be.
And then I turned six and tripped and fell
on a playground of stones and sticks with words
that hurt more than I'd like to admit
with kids in their cliques where I never quite fit.

That's when I think my dreams began slipping;
sinking into those cracks where I began tipping
way too far towards insecure
and I lingered--
and hope fell through my fingers
like the books you saw me drop that day.
I'd say it wasn't me you saw,
but you were there to see
firsthand that I wasn't what you wanted,
So I told a new lie--I never wanted to fly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

" kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you'll wait for me..."

In about 8 hours I'm heading to Salt Lake International airport to catch a flight that will take me away to Moscow for a bunch of months. Naturally I've been listening to John Denver's Leaving on a Jet Plane to psych myself up for it. But it's not working as well as I hoped. There are some things that have always been hard for me--leaving is one of them. It's always been like that. I'm not really big on change.

I've got this thing where I get attached to people really easily. Sometimes I try to not get attached but some people are sometimes so attractive--gravitationally, not necessarily physically--that my efforts sometimes are sometimes in vain. And that's a lot of sometimes. It adds up. Then, before I realize what's been going on, I'm all wrapped up in a bunch of people that have no clue that I feel this way. I'm really good at keeping it hidden since I never really open up. These people I speak of are the ones that make saying goodbye hard. God bless them. Hard goodbyes are some of the things I like. I even said a goodbye to my favorite bench on campus.

Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to my travels. It's going to be quite the experience. I'll see to that. All I'm trying to say is that I love that I love some places and people enough to miss them when I'm gone. Even if it is only for a bunch of months.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Things I Like

  • Yellow sunsets (makes me feel like I'm in a sepia tone photograph)
  • When you can see the moon during the day
  • When spare change from the front pocket of my backpack turns into an orange juice
  • People that laugh super loud in movie theaters
  • Knowing someone so well you can hear their thoughts
  • Singing alone in the car so loud you lose your voice
  • Singing with your friend in the car so loud you lose your voice
  • Parks and their benches
  • When silence is ok
  • When your iPod plays the perfect song all by itself
  • Getting a text from someone you're thinking about
  • Keeping other people's secrets
  • When it rains and the sun is shining
  • When it rains anyways
  • When free songs on iTunes are really good
  • When you hear and like a song months before the radio beats it into an early grave
  • When little kids act like grown ups
  • When grown ups act like little kids
  • High heels and when girls are bad at walking in them
  • Reflections of me. Its cool. That's what I look like
  • Deep philosophical conversations that only make a difference to the people having them, but that's enough
  • Eavesdropping on those conversations
  • Changing shirts 3 times in the morning cuz somehow it matters
  • Having awkward conversations just loud enough to make people around you uncomfortable
  • When you lean forward in church and the girl next to you just starts tickling your back
  • When a friend asks you for help
  • When a girl looks at you and smiles
  • The way my backyard smells after the lawn gets mowed
  • When someone cares about you so much that they stop being polite
  • When someone that you think doesn't like you or know who you are actually does like you and know who you are
  • Liking someone so much you can't put your words together the way you'd like to
  • Saying the perfect thing
  • Sunburns
  • People that dress like its the 20's or 30's or 40's again
  • Driving with the windows down in a summer rainstorm
  • Knowing they would really like you if they knew you
  • When the more you get to know someone the more wonderful they become
  • A smile you can't help
  • Deja Vu
  • Dark haired girls with brown boots up to their knees
  • Blonde girls with huge sunglasses
  • People that forget the punch line to the joke they're telling
  • Not being able to tell your own joke cuz its way too funny and you're laughing way too hard
  • Seeing my friends in plays and performances
  • When tears and laughter happen together
  • Knowing my eyes are my eyes and only I can see what I see, but still wanting to share it
  • When other people share what they see through their eyes
  • Trying to think about everything and only being able to think of one thing
  • Trying to think about only one thing and thinking about everything else instead
  • When old people still hold hands
  • When the wind blows fall leaves around your ankles on a sunny afternoon and you feel like something great is about to happen
  • Making awkward eye-contact with a random stranger and noticing how quickly I look away
  • Learning knew words
  • Fedoras
  • Moments when your life feels like a movie, except its your life so it feels real, and realizing that things like that really do happen
  • The way my Grandpa's eyebrows stick out at weird angles
  • Listening to his stories
  • How songs and memories sometimes are inseparable
  • When goodbyes are hard
To be continued someday....