soft

Touching plush. Smoothing my hand over smooth fabric, so soft. The cushion gives as I sit. Feathers, college egg crate on top of a mattress. Pillows and blankets. Soft serve ice cream. It has to be extra sprinkles. Rainbow. Soft as in not emotionally wrought in iron. Emotional, delicate. Extra ripe fruit. The dough-y part of freshly baked bread sliced open with steam coming off the top. Room temperature butter ready to be spread. 7-11 bagel and cream cheese. Morning serotonin. Pancakes, french toast, and Belgian waffles. Mashed potatoes sans-wisdom teeth. Avid NAB carpeting. Biscuits atop chicken pot pie.

paint

A plum hue replaces the bare white walls. It’s in process. Clear up and down deliberate strokes. She likes the smell of fresh paint. It smells like starting over; Renewal. Every time she moves into a new apartment she repaints it, fully making it her own. (And she’s lived in many apartments.) Today’s mood felt like plum. Dark, mysterious, secure. It’s difficult for her to explain. She inhales the sharp fumes deliberately while she turns up the radio and attaches herself to the sound of the saxophone coming through tinny speakers. The windows have been opened. She accepted no help when offered. This was her time to be alone. When she was done, she’d take a seat on the canvas-draped couch, pour herself a glass of red wine, and gaze about the room at her handiwork.

Smocks in art class. Big t-shirts and aprons. Putting paint on them on purpose – because that’s what they were supposed to be for. Getting in trouble by the substitute art teacher I didn’t like. Likely went toe-to-toe for peer acceptance, not because I actually felt a certain way. But maybe because I was too much of a goody-two shoes – perceived like that, anyway. The freeze of fear and panic being caught saying something I shouldn’t have. The choking feeling of being caught in trouble. Art class. Maybe 6th grade. Maybe 4th. An even number. We might have been coloring or drawing. It was something not very involved. Panic choked me, but I talked my way out, feigning innocent. Starting to build on a life-skill no one ever told me I needed. The art of bullshit. And it was a shame the sub sucked because I really did like art class.

What if every paint can at Home Depot opened up and spilled its contents onto the floor? Would it be declared a state of emergency art project? Would there be too many colors that they would just blend into a murky black and be nothing? Or would we discover some new color, some new combination? Brave new worlds.

The smell and feel of new paintbrushes. Untapped watercolors. It’s just like starting over; Renewal. New supplies. The promise of redemption.

owl

Two big orbs glow in the dark. A flutter of wings pans the forest, but the eyes remain. An owl hoots lowly, perched in its treetop, unafraid, scanning the ground for mice in its night vision. An wise, unassuming predator that unsheathes its claws for its dinner. Beady-eyed vermin are toast, as the lift up their heads and wiggle their whiskers; It is too late. A shard of moonlight allows a better glimpse of the owl – It is snowy white, flecked with grey. There is fresh snowfall on the ground and I have done my best to remain stock-still, my footprints likely covered over. How will I find my way back? The owl takes its wrought-iron, copper beak, lifting its wing to gnaw at an itch. Then it hears something. Jolting up quickly, it begins to turn its head all the way around, scanning its perimeter. What fresh meat has cross Nature’s security threshold tonight? Suddenly, wings expand with intention and the owl flaps finding a wind current and gliding elegantly to find it’s prey. I, alone in the cold, have gone numb and now have nothing else to look at but darkness.

breath

Invisible life force. Unseen to the human eye, except in winter. Foggy breath exits my hesitant nostrils and mouth as my legs go numb and nose gets cold. Shivering snowflakes fall in a rhythmic pattern. Barbed wire frozen to the core. Blue lips, alone in the dark. Human self-made wind life force. Through tunnels and fans. Through my lungs. It hurt a first. Atrophied pulmonary devices pumping oxygen at greater volumes than before. The first time I meditated. It was like I didn’t know my own lungs’ capacity. The air pressing against hesitant cilia, damaged by a few years of welcome smoke. Taste of foreign dust. A muscle I forgot how to use. Hurt to swell. Swell to hurt. I forgot how the body is a temple, a kingdom. It should be treated as such. On a plane, then balcony. Starting my first simple steps of meditation, except every time is the first time, you know?

Family vacation trip to New Hampshire a few summers back. Climbing heights and breathing in that fresh, evening mountain air. It was unlike everything I had ever experienced. The air was clear and sweet. Passed through my lungs and bloodstream faster than ever before, with such fervor I inhaled. The next week in Cape Cod, breathing in that evening shoreline off Hyannis. Made you want to be a Kennedy. Simpler times made more complicated by choice.

Feeling the breath flowing through me in downward dog and when it gets harder I breathe deeper and louder and with intent. I do not care what anyone thinks, because if anyone pays me mind that person is doing themselves a disservice by not focusing on their own breath.

ego

Descartes sipping lemonade in sunglasses on a beach laughing to himself. He has long brown locks that curl at the bottom – about shoulder-length. Cogito Ergo Sum – I Think Therefore I Am. In my teenage troubadour years, I once wrote a song entitled, “Cogito Ego Sum”. I think it was about me commenting on the all too selfish nature of a boy I had a crush on. The lyrics are upstairs in my room somewhere. I can’t remember off the top of my head how it goes, but the lyrics are in this great big red binder where I keep nearly everything I’ve written, especially the bad stuff. It reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much songwriting has been such a huge part of my life since I was teenager (and honestly, even before that). If I saw the lyrics I would remember how the song goes. It’s almost on the tip of my tongue.

Ego, superego, and id. I remember reading about these elements of Freud, possibly in a time management book I read when I was younger – definitely way too young to be reading about Freud. But I never forgot these elements. Frasier Crane. The 90s were a wild time to be alive. Berry Blast fruit punch. Capri Sun’s as religion. Descartes in sunglasses again. His legs are hairy and he is burrowing his feet in the sand.