scraps of paper

I’m moving again soon. I haven’t even totally completed the last move, boxes stashed in former buildings, boxes taped up in corners. I have lost track of how many times I have moved in the last decade, but it is perhaps approaching twenty. I am hoping, I am crossing all my fingers that I give myself the time to make this new place a home. I’ve now committed to spending at least the next three years in this city–sort of a daunting thought, but also one that is both stabilizing and exciting–and so perhaps it is finally time to stop running around for a little while. Perhaps, however, I’ll hold on to the habit of periodically purging objects, even without the moves to motivate it. I’m a hoarder by nature, scraps and scraps and scraps piled together. I don’t have a bed frame that fits my bed, but I have sheets that fit mattresses of both a larger and a smaller size. I’m not very good at judging what to leave behind. I’ve abandoned beautiful pieces of furniture, odd musical instruments, things I would love to have now, because I simply had too much and whatever was last on the gangplank went out with the bilge. Instead I’ve kept a thousand little useless things.

Clothes that no longer fit, or never did, but that remind me of the man who took them off. A single bead from a bracelet long since broken, the elastic snapping on the wooden floor, the vending machine in Utah. Books I have never read but think one day I might. Cassette tapes of Apollinaire’s poetry being read, and no tape player to play them.

I don’t know how to throw away. I throw away so much. I feel trapped by all my objects, but I miss them when they’re gone, like an unhealthy lover. My memory is too faulty to go back digging through the trash of my heart, and so I need each box like a scalpel to open me up. I remember my dreams better than my days, and so I need this molding notebooks to remind me who I am. I reread my own words and rarely recognize them.

“a girl afraid of her own thighs. she whinnies blonde hair across her face, her rhythm jolting the redhead beside her. the shrouded, effeminate man who joins them, he shows no fear. I picture you dragging me on stage in a bloodied burlap sac, tossing me before the microphone, settling yourself behind the drum kit before I crawl out and break glass.”

Perhaps I should date my papers better. When I find these words floating in a box of a million myriad things, I do not know the woman who wrote them. I recognize my handwriting but not my intention. 

“the slight change of time, adapting to your conditions–the tragedy, really, is that this work of mine, the years of slow shifts of the heart, this heard-earned suitability–this labor benefits me alone. If only my son, my son’s sons, could be born without hearts.”