oops, i've gone off and forgotten to speak to you awhile, again. oops oops oops, i say. what has happened. what has happened! evan vendetti and i stood with our elbows on the counter at the rental office window, initialing page after page with little ALs and EVs, until we were fully the tenants of 1/2 west marshall street, a fraction. and then danced around, wide grins for richmond, high fives, exultant whoops. its a three story warehouse, and we're going to live inside of it, with luke and wes and chance and dennis. oh and we will be a big, dirty family! crashing onto things on bicycles, playing records, brewing coffees, stitching fabrics, constructing structures!
i say, i will take portraits, i will sew the boys quilts, the winter will be cold, we'll wear sweaters and see our breath in the air over breakfast. and i will buy my dream bed. and i will live happily ever after!
i play scrabble every day but my mind grows thin, more so by the hour. luke wins by fives and twenties. and i have troubles that i can't talk about, i'm lying by keeping quiet, i'm harboring the enemy; and games are a distraction from the larger issues. meanwhile, everything is beautiful. meanwhile i feel strong and passably smart and pretty allover. each day falls together in some gasping perfect way, that makes you point at it. i took matthew park to the far side of the river and read graham greene stories in the sun, and we have night after night of drinks and crazy maps. the space between. i'm charting that part. what is the mathematical difference between one and another. and on and on and on.
we say like wind up toys. absolutely no emotion, please. and i mean it as well. i'm no dummy. real life attacks with teeth. but when i think of it i get sad for the past, because it seems so obvious that we wouldve had a fine old time togther, if we'd only met five years earlier. now we're old and scared, and scarred and torn apart, and keeping ourselves barely whole. it makes me sad, whats happened to everyone i've witnessed my own age, everyone over twenty-five. you can't help it.
living for twenty-five years itself makes you suffer. long relationships fall apart and never heal. people that love you are suspicious and threatening-faced.
at twenty-seven we're all absolutely ruined.
absolutely no emotion.
i agree to these terms but its a bizarre state of affairs.
yours, amanda L. at 8:47:00 PM [+]
stop trying every day
the last week i've been waking up from conversational dreams, with a feeling that i've slept for hours upon hours upon hours. this is a birthday gift sensation, oh when i've actually fallen asleep at 1:15 with a racing inky heart, and alarm clock at 6am.
i wake up at 5:30 and think, i have been asleep forever. how has the alarm not rung yet?
the wobbly way home. i can't help it and get one more lottery ticket, which draws me into the one oclock universe outside 7-11: a drunken couple and a cop and me. the cop leans towards me in a conspiratory voice and says, listen. you don't need to scratch all that whole ticket. here's what you do, scratch around the outside of this part--- at which point i insist, panicked, that i choose the cards that take a long time to work through so as to get two dollars worth of entertainment and hope. don't tell me how.
she gets a phone call and chats a moment then says in the cutest voice i have ever heard, so bright and hopefully, you want to come sleep with me so i can wake up in the morning? and the drunken couple push each other over and laugh hysterically and tell how they've moved here from charlottesville or the countryside and there is alot more to do here.
the crossword ones and the bingo ones.
last night i visited maplewood avenue, where they have a backyard and own the house and do improvements upon it and throw paint at white sheets of paper in the basement and drink beers and have cigarettes and, sort of, break my heart, but only a little. only
only as much as i allow them to
i drank a bottle of champagne, and told stories to stay in control of my faculties, and played songs off the ipod for anna, and avoided staring at the boy and
friendship. the sewing machine says JUST BE FRIENDS YOU SLUT written in sharpie on masking tape, large black letters, which my eyes immediately trained themselves to slide past and ignore.
so i keep forgetting.
but ohhhh the moments when i do--
and lately i so want to telephone, and say you want to sleep with me so i can wake up in the morning---
yours, amanda L. at 8:25:00 AM [+]
my first grade class as well.
london towne elementary. my teacher was named mrs williams. she was the mean one to get but she loooooooved me because i was the fastest to finish my math every day and also i went to the leaving-the-class reading group with kelly odonnell, gina cravato and karen pearlman. karen and i were friends because my mom babysat her and her older sister afterschool. i knew her my whole life until the end of highschool and now she is a photographer with a photography business.
the leaving-the-class reading group was sweet because we were three books ahead of everyone else (the book was called sun and shadow and had a photograph of two dogs on the cover. the rest of our class was reading one called sun up, with a picture of a bear on its cover) and it was all girls. the next year our reading teacher added kenny lane and zach somebody to our group and we didn't like that so much.
in mrs williams's class we all had these folders with a grid drawn on them and if you were the fastest at stuff or had the nicest handwriting or was the quietest in line or brought your homework in signed, you'd get a sticker to put in one of the rectangle spaces. i was pretty obsessed with getting those stickers. halfway through the year i had to get another folder because i filled mine all up. the stickers fit perfectly into the spaces and had little rounded corners all close friends know i have a lifetime love affair with rounded corners and had animals on them or shooting stars or bubbly letters saying GREAT JOB or TERRIFIC. eventually mrs williams ran out and kept forgetting to buy more so she's use those square stickers with the red apple on them that say VERY GOOD that all teachers get in sheets from the VEA and are still the same (i've stolen a bunch from teachers' lounges allover richmond) but looked shitty on our folders because they did not fit into the grid spaces.
i missed the class field trip that year (it was to great falls) because i got the chicken pox which i then gave to karen pearlman. that was good because we got to stay home togther and play all day and not itch our pox if we could help it. then we gave the chicken pox to our sisters and they got to stay home togther as well.
on the school bus i sat in the back with my neighbors nicole loder and april whitsman. nicole was a sixth grader and extremely grown-up. she liked to visit my house and "pretend" to babysit me, saying to my mom do you want me to watch mandy while you get things done? and because of this let me sit with her on the bus and all her friends would dote on me like i was their little sister. the girls in sixth grade wore these niecklaces made of lots of little necklaces twisted together to make a big thick necklace and then clasped with a golden shell part. they had feathered hair and black eyeliner and polo shirts.
my best friend was named kristy fisher and my other best friend was named leah kadolph. they lived across the street and had bothers who made them tough and able to play football and such. i was scared of getting hurt then, and wore dresses mostly, and was extremely girly; and their brothers tormented me whenever they were around. they always wanted to play army or war games or football and i hated that shit.
afterschool i'd go over to leahs house sometimes and watch 3-2-1 contact on tv and then reading rainbow. if i stayed longer than that her brother would want to watch star trek but star trek made me afraid of the dark so i didn't like to watch it so much. that creature that one time that had suction cup fingers and would suction out your life and not only leave you laying dead somewhere with big suction marks allover your face but then had the powers to change into you and look exactly like you and fool the others to then get more victims!! kept me awake all night forever.
yours, amanda L. at 2:06:00 PM [+]
during calender i let cheyenne go to the window to tell us what the weather is outside today.
it is cloudy. how many cloudy days have we had since school began? three. how many sunny days? threeeeee. and how many rainy days have we had? th...threeeeee. three? count the raindrops with me. one...two. twooooooo! okay! good job, friends!
JAIA. criss-cross-applesauce, please.
friends: i like how nicely robert is sitting. he's quiet and facing me. everyone show me how we sit when we are on the carpet. jaia! lets not start the morning with a yellow card, mister.
its grey and quiet. no one is where i am, just houses and frontyards which i daydream right into, and walked from ginter park to barton heights because i didn't have anything better to do. when the bus coincided with me passing a bus stop, i got on it.
sat eating free soup and cakes at the french pastry shop, and reading a children's book about mice and rats and princesses that tim carroll pulled from his bag and lent me on the spot. the pink bike, which is missing its back fender and misaligned somehow so that the basketry scrapes the wheel, kicks up black grime from the streets onto everything around it. and i'm tired faced, from the dirt and the studio and the all of it. i'm angry at myself, and my throat is dry when i try to talk, and i crave comforts and dinners and boardgames and rest.
in 1997, before i left for wales, school started here but i still had a month to waste time. nicholas and i were in love and i lived in his apartment, and it got cold immediately, and he kept the windows open; every morning he would wake up early and go to art school, and i would wrap the blankets around myself and barely listen to him leave. then after awhile he'd come back and wake me up with a big hug in his ridiculous grey sweater and climb back into bed, which was a single mattress on the floor, surrounded by stacks of national geographics and my typewriter and weird-looking cameras and last year's scupture projects, and we'd sleep until whenever.
the past stuff wafts around and gets to me.
yours, amanda L. at 5:38:00 PM [+]
at school, the room is a computer lab and every chair is a fancy rolling office chair. each class has about twenty kids. they spend the entire period scooting the chairs around and crashing into one another. i look at them and it takes me three seconds to realize that the slightest mention of the chairs, or damaging them, or anything remotely sounding like don't scoot around in those chairs, angels will have an instantaneous and opposite effect.
anyway, they crack me up.
the days noisy. there's alot of windows and me and the other daydreamers stare out of them. sometimes i look at them staring out of the windows and they notice me looking and then make an elaborate show of flipping pages and pencilwriting, or say aloud to no one oh thats the answer right there and point blindly into the textbook.
i'm sorry everybody
ohhh my fucking heart
yours, amanda L. at 5:03:00 PM [+]
those of us that sat on the wall in front of 318 harrison street and marked a careful chart in a book of who biked past. we're so bad at productivity that we invent and are satiated by pretend tasks, pretend work; and we're little kids playing House who've been given old cancelled checkbooks by their parents, which they immediately commence filling with cryptic pencilled symbols. that's us. we do this awhile, say hi to some types, finish a whole crossword puzzle, retreat to the house for dinner. thank god we're hungry, because dinner is a finishable task we are skilled at
its seven pm. i wander by myself in a spiral, narrowing in like a moth to 1118 grove avenue, and give in to the telephone. it works, and i leave my umbrella behind on the corner with distraction. more coincidences and sharp delights. i don't want to write about this. i'm going home to lay my head on the table and consider things slowly.
ohh, i don't need lottery to know that i am lucky
yours, amanda L. at 10:04:00 AM [+]
what happened in new york i will tell you about because i forgot to; because i am distracting myself from distractions that there are in this town; because because because
we again took the rented autorent bus, dennis laid on the ground with tools making a ring around him and detatched the bumper and attatched our rented trailer via a homemade hitch and freddie's u-lock, everyone cheered and it was the middle of the night. i stood on the hood and taped over the logos with masking tape, writing visit lovely richmond, va in cursive. grape juice plus in a gatorade bottle and thirteen bikes plus a tandem, and singing songs, and sleeping like cats in the front seat, curled into a little ball. and then, seven-thirty in the morning. it makes for a red-eyed stringy daytime, and those of us that fell asleep in every single brooklyn park. luke and i became experts at the tandem, won the lottery with freddie, drank chocolate zen soy, joined 5,000 in a snaking bicycle ride throughout manhattan. we hoot and holler, give up a few times, snap photos, eat indian food at the taxi stand. its a repeat performance of more successful times, at times. while we rode the tandem: my favorite bike was stolen out from the bus. luke's as well. our punishment for having so much fun, or maybe our soiled homewrecking hearts. be better, try to be better. don't try. it doesn't matter. i never worry anymore
in the daytime wes and i decide to take the metro around aimlessly, maybe trace every route, but end up immediately at coney island in the late afternoon, staring at things incredulously, rolling up our pants to wade through the water while chubby little girls leap around in the waves shrieking and holding their eyeglasses onto their face with one hand. what is going on? we ride the cyclone and get headaches, and stagger away humbled. we sit in the park and a strange boy with a rose tattooed onto his neck appears from the shadows and begs cigarettes, sits with us, rhyming words and telling stories about revolution, tells us how to say take off your underwear in polish. which i forget now. he writes my number on his socks and i am in love, my friends. in love.
its sunday. richmond arrives in force to 21st and 7th ave, to rub sunscreen onto one another and unfurl homemade signs. helicopters filling the sky. i sneak away right away, limping on my ugly leg, fall dead asleep from exhaustion in union square while the entire universe marches slow-slow-slowly, chants and squints in the sunlight.
this is not working. okay. here's a tangent: saturday night, last saturday night that is, and sunday day. i: had conversations where you say yes, yes, i feel the same way, i think those exact thoughts or say those same phrases. met people and drank in the yard and ate fish and let the night spin out of control. had specific precise moments that replay over and over whenever i shut my eyes. committed fearful acts-- the kind that make me sit on my hands all day and eyeball the telephone and construct letters and ride the bike in a fever. jesus. it doesn't stop for me, at any fucking age. A WISH FOR SOMETHING BETTER.
in our town that scares me. just when i think i own the whole goddamn place. i just don't. i let myself.
yours, amanda L. at 10:08:00 PM [+]
it has been awhile.
the week in a serialized way:
when it flooded, amy and i and celie ran about until soaked through, and took molly's car to kroger, filling the basket with any every thing we wanted. the word of the month is indulgence. o the most delicious things. an assortment of us watched romantic comedies to exhaustion. some kind of wonderful. singles. it was late when i realized it was late and celie and i talked about buying houses as we walked past the park, with students calling to one another out from the windows and trees. it is late.
tuesday stephen and i go to the thrift store and i buy colored tapes and a book of bad jokes (how does an elephant climb an oak tree? he sits on an acorn and waits for spring) and sit for long while on the floor of goodwill paging through the awful trash novels looking for the filthiest of them. something awful but hot, in the lonliest way. you know? later wes and i drank a bottle of pink wine and read the jokes to each other. i took the bike to holly park with a hammer in my hand.
the movies stick with me and i wake up all new, and run out the door, i am eleven years old and scrappy and gonna get breakfast from the grocery store. something green or orange. itching the sleep from my hair. and a boy walks past me and time slows for a moment, and out from the blue his name i know that boy wells up in my mind from highschool! from forever ago! and i follow him and i am still clutching the hammer. i've lost my voice from cigarettes, i say his name out loud and scare him a little, make awkward small talk and force my number and address into his hands, run away and forget to buy breakfast. i am outside ukropts holding a stupid hammer, the little bike falls apart, i feel crazy. this moment.
then we all eat eggrolls, roll eggrolls at celies. its pretty matts birthday and there is a party at donna's, we squish eggrolls into plastic sandwich bags then shove them into our pockets and take the bikes down grace street looking for it; at donna's pretty matt has not shown up for his own birthday party and instead there is a houseful of punks, his best friends, explaining to me how they are going to kick his ass when they see him next and all the presents have been opened and defaced. luke and amy and i hand round the eggrolls. we are drunk again. saints above, beautiful us. on the church steps i stop to play the lottery and the police arrive and transcribeme a yellow papery summons for trespassing.
thursday is for sewing. luke and i try to screen print, i cut apart large clothing and remake it into smaller clothing, he paints a painting of some sort of lizard, stephen sits pensively smoking and we all down cupfuls of boxwine, in the new style; andrew is leaving and there's a dressup party, i pull my prom dress down from the ceiling and stop breathing awhile, and when luke gives me a lift on the handlebars we have a boombox crammed into the baskets and i say, i wish we were really going to prom like this, that you were my highschool boyfriend taking me to prom on a bicycle and i almost mean it, at sweetly as i can muster. we're talking about our objectives, he's looking for a toothbrush for a girl--- which is adorable and sort of tragic as well. we go our separate ways: i'm enveloped by amy and her roommates coated with a shiny layer of powders and cremes, and luke disappears into the night to cause more damage to himself and others.
i wake up every fucking day like a gun.
friday the studio gets put back together.
yours, amanda L. at 11:19:00 PM [+]
anda gail lewis 2005. stop crying every day.