Nighttime scene. Popcorn machine painted red and yellow. Smells like salt and oil and everything that’s good with the world. Ferris wheel and the playful screams of children. A sharp ding and someone’s won a prize, changed their life, impressed their friends. Any anxiety I feel is swept away by the adrenaline of being alive, the sugar rush of cotton candy. Pink, puffy, unicorn clouds of pure sugar goodness because heaven is a place that knows no calories. Funhouse, distorted mirrors. Trash on the ground. Heart beats. It isn’t fair that I’ve had no one to hold my hand over the years. But I actually don’t mean that. Everything just actually is. And there’s no use in wishing. Pennies thrown backward in the Trevi Fountain. I’ll keep my money. Even if it is just change. Just change. But I won’t change. At least not deliberately; Meaning, I won’t step into straightjackets because someone told me to, or someone told me that’s how I should be, that’s how I should feel. I can’t do that. But I will change into dress or nice shirt if I like the way it looks on me myself. If it makes me feel good and powerful and nice and decent. Fairgrounds in the day time.


Grasping at straws, desperate and anxious. Trying to make something work, something fit. Figuring it out. I grasp out and your hand catches mine. Holds it close. Pulls me up. I was drowning before in a sea of people. Now I’m breathing sweet, sweet air. You are the one true stranger that saves my life. I can do the same; Grasp my own collar to pull myself out of depression. But sometimes spells are so severe, I can’t figure out where the collar of my own shirt is. Seltzer water and the ensuing carbonation. What happens when you add baking soda? Let’s make some noise. Captain Kirk and Sabotage and Beastie Boys vs. Bill Shatner. Star Trek Beyond and mediocre dinner. Candlelight by the fireplace and we hold hands to say grace. We take it for granted. Circles are holy. Grasp at ideas and past thoughts – history, really. Open the book. “Turn the page” – Jean Luc Picard, baby and I will never go back to the way I was. Stop deleting, stop correcting, stop time, stop everything. Pulling back now, away from Pensieves. Harry Potter and green light. Green light means GO. Let’s GO right now. Anywhere we can. There are no limits, just consequences.


Fall as in season. A mess of broken bones, slipping on leaves. “Don’t you wish the orange stayed forever?” Reds, greens, and golds. Autumn is the best season. X-rays though. Those are falls too. Climbing trees again. Falling off the bed dreams, falling in space…maybe floating. Those are the best dreams. Terrifying, but how do you compare space travel to anything you’ve ever done in your life? Raking those leaves. But maybe just leave them in their mess. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Pumpkin spice. Warm delicious drinks to take your damp soul and give it life again. Mulled cider. What even is bar culture? Where do I fit? Learning to fall. Down the stairs. Just accept it in the nanosecond it happens and relinquish control. You get less injured that way. Karate taught me that. Among other things, I guess. I wonder who I would be if I never took karate for all those childhood years? I’d love to take up boxing now. I just want to punch something in those big gloves sometimes. It would feel good. It would feel powerful. Princeton in fall would probably be magical. Falls lead to breaks. Bone or winter. Ha! Fall means the start of school.


Charcoal sketch by the fireplace. Low light, sepia-colored photograph with blackened thumb and forefinger. Crying tears, makeup runs, mascara turns Beauty Queen into Horror Show. Sleeping in it takes the mask, imprinting it on pillowcase and part of sheet. Hair Metal bands, Green Day circa 2004-5. Jack Dawson Titanic. Back to the drawing. My sweaty hands on homework, on any piece of paper, any book. Pencil strokes become distant watercolors, wet pen marks and the accidental hand gliding across. A+ with a vapor trail. B+ as cascading stars or something. Nothing’s changed except the knowledge that the letters don’t mean anything anymore. But back to the sweaty hands; Embarrassment, shame, don’t look at me. I’m afraid for anyone to look at me. Surprised when anyone remembers me. Don’t you know what it’s like to feel this way?


Circlet, bracelet, mandala. Connectivity. Your mother’s protractor. How does a tree trunk know to grow so round? I had to really think about what a circlet was. A crown of sorts. Skyrim vocabulary. A game I haven’t played in likely over a year. Golden bands. Seems ancient. It would make me anxious to have to wear it, whether jewel-encrusted or just plain. What differentiates a circlet from a tiara? Does it even matter in this increasingly democratized society? Ripples on a pond behold the lake in a similar fashion to the circlet, a crown, on the head of a princess, does it not? Nature rules all. That is one of the many secrets to life. Circles on dart boards, spheres in the shapes of oranges and globes. How did they figure that out? What a marvel. I wonder how heavy a circlet would be? Probably weighted. A sure way to get a headache. Golden curtains, royalty.