What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

Four from the floor…


All of these were written on the date listed. Life intervened to keep them from being posted, but here they are now…


Friday, 7 December 2012

I was in the clouds for hours, hungover and above the city of Zurich and I just couldn’t look out that window anymore at the white, at the blank space where trees and roads were supposed to be, I cupped my head between my palms, closed my eyes and counted to 40, hoping that when I returned to sigh, I would be met with more than a wing stretching out into nothing, an unfinished pen sketch on a rough canvas, the plane wrapped up in a poorly-stitched duvet that only keeps in cold, I felt a descent but there was no sign of ground, my cloud falling down to collect there and build up, until just before the wheels bumped against the slightly-padded runway with an unmuffled jolt, Switzerland was perfect for hot chocolate and a fire, but lacked the traction for timely flight, and so that’s what I’ll remember of Zurich, the collecting cloud, the delay, a missed connection for sure, such a shame, so next year, darling, let’s go back, hit the Alps and hope for much better…


If your true love is a birdophile—it’s called “ornithophilia”, I guess—beware because Christmas could be loud and costly—seed isn’t exactly cheap, not with 23 new mouths for feed, but if you hand in there, bear it all, you might get a ring (or five) out of the deal…


I just want to write to write to lick the sticks together and hope some spark ignites, some floating ash will touch down on this dry field and clear it all away, clean it out for the next harvest opportunity, knocking against the temple of my head instead of wood, and would you love to teach my class tomorrow, appear, show up enough and say some words and by the end, I’ll say I love you a lot, casting stones for more than a king’s clothes, the door should stay open in case the fireflies want to come in and recharge, barge right in while her hands are full and pull your pen across the page of her shoulder blade, write the name that you heard gave her the moment you met or maybe the moment after, but regardless, don’t leave the entrance unprotected lest an undesirable wanders in and cause us to question too many answers and see what happens when the pen takes it’s own temperature, when the others are drinking, or drunken on sleep, and the desire to keep writing through, though I can’t possibly stay awake, wait, what, to do away with the runaway ink pen on these pants and how


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Out of one context and into a new other, it feels like vacation, a long—very long—trip, a gritty dreamland journey, and sitting in the O’Hare airport food court, eating perfunctory Chinese food (on Panda Express par) I wondered if I had ever actually left, and if so, for just how long. Ukraine feels like a different world, dimension, reality, life, and without trying too hard, I could probably pretend that it never happened at all—yes, there are moments of revelation, but these come as only flashes which I know may soon strike deeper  and more painfully, but for now in my jet-lagged, no-sleep, only-been-home-for-twelve-hours state of mind, I feel like I could just fit myself back in fine and dandy.


I don’t know if it was the combined 24 hours of travel and waiting time, if it had anything to do with waking up at 5:30 am (drunk) in Kyiv and not landing in Indy until after 11:00 pm (6:00 am in Kyiv), with being waylaid by snow in Switzerland or landing in utter fog back home (and thus missing the Indy city lights after seeing them smoldering in satisfaction coming in over Chicago), I don’t know what exactly it was, but I did not cry (very much) when I came around the corner and saw my mother for the first time in two years, I was shaking and nearly hyperventilating starting from the moment I walked off the plane and into O’Hare, but I did not cry (very much)


Shoes squeak on the polished wood and could you please at least speak Polish when you ask me how I am and where my last two years went, were spent, Clark Kent now again, against the grail of the most divine wounds, and soon, you intolerable cur, I will take the time to find out exactly what that word I called you means, come quickly, Bean, I mean, sooner than you can and plan to stay until the very end, the finales of variants, and veriest of ends, and all you others, spare me your sighs and the rolls of your eyes, I’ll take biscuits instead or better yet burritos, I buried these cravings well until they sat straight up in front of me and didn’t let myself miss root beer until it touched my tongue this morning, didn’t remind myself to mourn my lack of real fake cheese, ranch and refried beans until I got around to eating my tasty cold Taco Bell early this morning—a warning, new pen, make sure to last, just last, do good work and follow through or you will be writing out your own obituary sooner than I’d like, I rescued you as you rolled to nowhere at the end of the moving sidewalk, saw you but kept walking, then came back even to claim you, so I won’t blame you for being distraught over your abandonment, I don’t know how much life is left inside of you, but I can promise you a place in this document of modest immortality, if you will but fill your role nobly and push your share of the load across these pages.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Applesauce for a happy boss, raucous renegade to abet the set of twins, peek under the tableclothes to spy the sort of evidence that every unhungry kid want to hide and once I was intrigued by a tattoo teaser, tempting a tantrum out of the spectrum of Shreks over the years, beer bubbles bailing out in search of freedom in the rest of the air, and there we find the odor of overreaching underachievement, cement your place in the wall and wait for bears to come and ring the bell even though you don’t want to welcome more ruckus into the world, twirl your girl across the ball-field and feel the thrill of thawing, thrusting against the trust given by Father Time, Cuervo with lime and licking the rime formed in place of a rind, stuck tight and ground down to a purple haze of minorly memorable days and Danes will be famous enough if given a lamp instead of a spotlight right up against the face to trace thatches along the skin in pink then read against the falling flyers so that birds won’t choke on emotional rice, twice, nay, thrice we spent an hour powering through the sour sweat smell of angel’s breath and even if I said I’d write every day, now I say that good boys don’t promise before they know which damn grotesque burlesque will pull the pants tight, pant away and light them all on fire wired to explain that nothing works worse than a brain left desperate for sleep or sleeping or slept, with or in or on to under, and while we’re here, through…


Monday, 10 December 2012

Breathe in deep and close your eyes. Relax every muscle in your head and marvel at how well you still type these words, part of the process of reentry is knowing that it won’t be possible really, or suspecting so at least, leaving everything behind felt like a dream and dreaming I woke up in the Chicago airport and said, “Darling, you’re not in Kyiv anymore” but it only felt like a long trip and there were no drugs involved even…or maybe this is the vacation here and I somehow suspect that I am headed back to Rivne soon but either way, I can’t keep my eyes open even in moments unlike now when I really want to, I covered the wall today with blue over yellow and hung frames full of my students, my accomplishments, Bean and I and words I’m starting to be unable to read, even after only three days, ok…maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic, but I don’t know what else to say now except that I saw this all before it happened, me sitting here on the couch was a surprise but I knew I’d feel what I feel right now here and knowing did absolutely nothing to prevent anything, to help me or anyone else, and I have my eyes closed still, but it’s all blank and I could soon fall asleep and if I did, would my fingers keep moving of their own accord…that ‘s what I’m training them for right now, so that I can write even in my sleep until the REMs take over and then even I don’t know what kind of shit will come out of the deeper parts of me, I’ve seen this literally and it’s not pretty, I’m not pretty in the head right now, though I do plan to get my hair cut tomorrow, at my childhood shop, Ed is still there, but I’ll sit for Steve and have no expectations after all that Ukraine has put my scalp through, and in my estimation it will cost more here if we go in terms of dollars rather than gryvs, that transition hasn’t been terribly difficult except that I no longer know the value of those narrow green bills, and I can’t tell them apart, I’m dollar-blind and fancy-free, so I have to keep myself here on this couch with my eyes shut tight, the pantries shut tight, my truck keys tucked in between the cushions and if I keep typing typing typing, I won’t bloat, with possessions or calories, I won’t do anything but what I’ve done every day for the past, what, like 60 or so. Yes, I wrote every day that I didn’t post, and though it may not be good, it exists and that, my friends, is always the start of something…whether it’s good or bad, well, that’s for later, for now, I will just keep wiggling these fingers with my eyes closed, tasting Wheat Thins on my tongue and using it to pull tasty little crumbs from between my teeth, and that is the yeast of my worries, by the way…
All I want for Christmas is my baby here with me…


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What Direction Now? Life at the intersection…

About Andrew.

Andrew Cartwright grew up in Indianapolis, IN, but has lived over the years in such places as Denver, CO; Fairfax, VA; and Rivne, Ukraine. He is a former nonfiction editor for both Indiana Review and phoebe; he has also worked for the intersectional feminist journal, So To Speak, and the national literary magazine, Electric Literature. His work has appeared in The Normal School Online, Copper Nickel, Esquire Ukraine, Literary Hub, and Word Riot.

For more information about me and links to other writing, visit my author page at cartwriter.com





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