annapaulinasuszynski

When you rest, you rust.

Fisherman

There was a man

They thought ugly

Because his pock-marked skin

Threw shadows across his face

When the sun lit up those eyes.

 

Look deeper,

There are bits of shine in the hallows

Where scales used to be-

The most beautiful face of blue

Sky and green,

He could breathe beneath the depths

Of the ocean and his body shimmered

With the waves.

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Vietnam: New Beginnings

There is a man in the sludge of the river under the bridge I cross to get to school. He has built a home in big leaves and trash that people throw into the water, maybe the trash simply swims downstream like oily river eels. I am not sure what to feel when I see him, if he wants me to cry more water into the humid air or pass on my way. There is a detached doll head on top of his home so I think to myself maybe he sees the humor in things.

I bought a plane ticket to Vietnam as if I knew the world. I thought to myself I can handle it all until I cannot. Maybe the man in the river thinks the same thing or maybe he sees my weeping as evidence of my weakness. My tears taste different in my mouth like the fish oil and rice noodles have swam their way into my brain. And I think to myself are these my tears or has somebody passed them on to me.

There is a little girl who says to me as she waves ,”Hello” as if it meant everything in the world. As if it meant you are welcome here and do you like it. Do you have a boyfriend and does he see all that you feel. The man down the street gave you a bad exchange rate. The Vietnamese think the city center is expensive but here it is not. The dirt is like dust that covers the bad memories. Do you have memories like mine. Do they drip and steep in sweetness and condensed milk like our coffee. Are there words at your fingertips and do you feel you must bleed them onto the page. Where is your head dear girl. Do you feel alone.

I tell her things with my eyes as I do the man under the bridge in the sludge water. I tell them things but I do not know what I am saying. Or what I should say. There are bottles and the stems of leaves that float on the water that is thicker than my blood. It coats the man’s legs as he carefully steps from his kitchen to the bedroom. I feel the sludge on my own legs and I wish for clear water to clean myself. I keep wishing for clear water.

I walk home early, wishing to be productive. I pound my head until it rings and I have made my own ache. There is merit in individualism. My sheets have become dirty because the floor is dirty, grains rub against my skin making it rougher. A rough skin is the skin I came here to make. The sounds of my breathing echoes against an indifferent wall, with a loud rooster on the other side.

22

Sometimes I want to scream for the

Loss of stories.

I bang my fists against pieces of burnt toast and

Small red doors on the sides of mountains.

We smear jelly on things that taste bad–

I want to stomp until I

Fall through the layers of bullshit until I’m buried

And the dead know my words weren’t in vain

That I cried and yelled for the time I never had

Until eating became spewing words on the

Coffee table and my job was dust and broken CDs.

Sometimes I am so angry that my head grows upward

Toward an indifferent stupidly blue sky

Because I look at my story and think it’s raw dog shit.

 

I want to scream for the

Loss of stories…

I love them so that when I speak

Of words and sentences then paragraphs

And the way that his mouth turned down in the corner

Or the way that he didn’t know how deep it runs

Tears are proof that I’m here but they pool behind my eyes.

The bad watercolors and how I used to be good, I used to be

Something was really just when I used to have hope

And emerald green eyes and a dress with a map of the world.

 

I want to scream for the

Loss of stories–

Because there are so many here inside me

And I can’t find the time to let the ink run dry

Onto the paper when everything else is painted in jewel tones,

The canyon is not open but it has a roof up there

I’m on the ground wondering what it looks like from the outside

A small turtle maybe.

I lizard with gold teeth.

 

I scream but my throat feels

Like mothballs and almond butter with the oil

On the surface;

I swallow lemons and ginger root to make it feel better,

I crush garlic and rock salt and rub my pink cheeks

To confine myself to a sick bed in which I can finish the

Work I wasn’t meant to do because I need to pay for bread

That expires in two days

And the words that lay like cracked pieces of mud

Whine in my underwear drawer like raisins

On a broken windowsill.

 

Dear Mr. President–

To a world that thinks me weak,

My teeth are made of horsehair and dogwood

I am the trees and the mountains taller

Than your childhood dreams are buried in my bones

I rise from their ashes and spit at your ignorance.

This body of mine

Is made from the women before me

And their blood flows as rivers in my veins

Will not stop rushing until we have made ice

From your saliva so that your dirty words may catch

And freeze as testaments to your brutality.

 

To a world that thinks me weak,

I will not laugh or cry or let you see my broken rib

For I will use its ruptured edge against your hate

So that you may see your fault

In assuming my long hair was always meant for pulling

And my long legs were never meant for running

But sprinting toward a future that will be mine.

A pond that freezes with the winter’s cold is no less

A pond than in the summer, it is deeper.

You will catch a cold in the water below the ice

Even though I have lived in the cold for twenty-two years.

 

To a world that thinks me weak,

My skin is made of pine beetle wood and indigo

I am the thrush of thyme and oregano

In the soup your mother made and set out in the window

I am the curl of warmth that pulls your young bones in

And I never asked for more than your happiness.

 

To a world that thinks me weak,

Still I rise

As they build me in with bricks of toothpaste and swollen dreams

Of a world where I can ski down a mountain faster

Than you say I cannot.

There are cathedrals in these lungs that chime

As the wind bristles,

I spit mortar and stained glass at your feet

As you shove my face into the trampled ground.

 

To a world that thinks me weak,

I have trampled this ground with chants in my collar bone

You break chicken legs between your chin and neck

And I save the wishbones under my pillow for the tooth fairy

She collects my severed roots and replants them among the stars.

There will be a great work of art for wars like ours

And we will fund it with blood and the sand between floor boards.

 

To a world that thinks me weak,

My weakness is my private struggle

My weakness is my own,

And I will swim into the depths of a frozen lake

To find the key that will break you

As your teeth clatter in disbelief.

I Go. I Come Back. I Go Nowhere.

The grass is so frozen

It is ice and knives that try to dive

The flesh on the palms of my feet.

 

I peel my clothes off like dry layers

Of skin and parts of bone stick too

Until they form what look like snowflake

Constellations on my skin with blood speckled

Eggs on the ground, robins blue.

 

I said I would find a place to hide

And yell at the world

Teeth bared and blistering cold winds trapped

In the pink of my mouth.

 

But when I open my lips that are too often

Closed there is no sound. There is no anger.

There is a sadness that I cannot tell you a thing,

Like a heart beating underneath a crystalline ice.

 

Even though a good thing was born in an easy place

I make it difficult to breathe when I clench my jaw

Shut and blow cold rivers into the places between

Your shoulder blades that you thought I held safe.

 

I run into the landscape of white so blue

It hurts my eyes until you cannot find me

This is the place where loneliness kisses

My eye lids whispering sweet nothings

That I think sound like promises.

 

I am here in an ice castle that I have built

Out of words that I never said, they reside hollow shells,

Of my finger nails look prettier in a blue hue

I have an excuse here:

My lips are too frozen to open.

 

But I feel horrible because I do not know my

Way back– I would ask you to help me

But as I try to touch your cheek, I forget

That warmth hurts when you have shut yourself from it.

I say. i Say-

i want to be. a writer– she say with quivering

lipped finger but i was never good

at grammer in 7th grade

ms told me i wouldnt get anywhere b/c

i couldn’t even spell it.

i am good– she say with teeth

like a horse voice; nobody listend.

b/c i can tell you about threaded wings in windowsills

are so beautiful; quivering lips are too

that were wonce painted red

Delicious Apples

remember to retain a quirky voice

with perfect punctual punctuation

these are the days of social. media.

so twit twitter twittering away on fb

until the world screams! you never wanted this

you wanted to {write}

I say. i Say–

i want to be a writer

but the world is softly biting my bone

and that is where I have stored by stories.

 

Spines that Shiver

When sourness and sweetness and the -ness of those Summer

Evenings are cool like skin before bed

Like soup before the stove

Coffee set and waiting, steam on

The bottom of your chin is soft and pointed

Toward the sky, look up

Snowflakes and snow lakes and snowed in

Until we are all mice in a field of white on white.

Every time I open the door

Leaves have spines that shiver

Shake and sea shore of the mountains

High above the apple cider and worn boots that

Are still dripping from when I fell in the snow

It hurt like you loving me hurt

A hurt that has soft landings and a boiling point

A freezing point, a constant point

A point of convergence and diverging

Leaves fall from the last aspen tree

They settle in constellations of seasonal promises

And the threat of being buried

While their spines still rattle

And shiver.

 

 

Sweet Things

I don’t want us to be a poem. I want it to be longer and jarring and hands on my spine. Fingers in my vertebrae. Have you ever felt that? The absorption plan. Until our bodies aren’t just you and me. That maybe there’s a word out there in the universe that’s more than “us”.

Wouldn’t that be sweet. We could be a short narrative. A prose poem with paragraphs of stanzas and pillow talk when your words fall short and roll into my mouth. I can taste them. I can taste you.

But I’ve only written one novel. It turned out fine. I’m still working on it. Working. If I were to start with you. It would go like I miss you. Already. And I like when you say come here when I really want to curl up into my hair and disappear. But when you say come here the feeling dissipates. You say it so softly.

It’s everything. Snow. Early mornings in your car when you laugh at my sleepy eyes. When you had to ask me on two dates because I didn’t know how to say yes the first time. Your head on my stomach. It’s knowing how to care for me. Teaching me how to care for you. Ain’t that a sweet thing.

A New Year, not in a nutshell…

I’ve been struggling with time lately. How to think about it, if it’s even worth thinking about. I’ve been struggling with what I want to do with my time too. I read a book this year and this little girl, the main character, was telling me how to be a time being. She has this grandmother Jeiko who lives on top of a mountain who tells her things about the world. Once her grandmother made her breathe in every moment of the day so she became aware of how many moments really exist, the time lost, the time spent.
The other day I was looking up through the trees at the sky and wondering why I seemed to be filling with dissonance lately and how strange that feels- as if the world were pulling me in two directions, maybe even three and I wasn’t quite ready to make the decision to go either way. So I touched the snow with my hand and let it float to the ground. And as the snow descended I realized that maybe that descent was the part of life that I was stuck in, like Alice when she falls into the rabbit hole and notices everything passing her on the way down. That awareness.
When I think about this year, I think that I’ve grown but maybe not so proportionally. That maybe I’ve learned a lot, like when I was on the Camino- I shared things with so many people and when it was time to say goodbye it was okay for them to leave because we were both leaving with parts of each other. Or when I was in Istanbul and Morocco and they showed me their cities with such openness. The hamam, getting scrubbed down by women laughing at my skinny arms. When I was dancing until six in the morning in Spain and walked home with shoes in my hand and a silly look on my face. Or when Casper told me to sit down on the sand and be quiet as he told me why I was special, that I was a weird quiet person and that was a good thing. So yes I’ve grown, Isa and I biking, man did I grow but I thought I could get rid of this restlessness. But that same struggle with time, with the dissonance pooling and spilling is still here, it’s building again. As if I am breathing in every moment and it’s filling me up.
 It could be a good thing. Sometimes I use it to write and I’m always surprised by what my thoughts look like on a page. Sometimes it makes me sad.
Oh and the people I’ve met. How I miss them. The ones I met far away because sometimes I feel as though the people I came back to aren’t the same. Or they traveled too, but in a trajectory that only moves forward in this straight bold line when I was sprinting and jumping and falling and skipping down streets that sometimes lead me in circles. So I am in between again. In the unbelonging I guess you could say.
 The unbelonging means so many things though. It means you are aware of everything and those around you can’t listen. It means you want to reach out and touch but your fingers curl as if hit by fire. The pause in a song that isn’t really a pause, the song continues, but when the song ends you want to be back in the pause even if that’s where the dissonance resides. The unbelonging is a place of utter awareness and sense of space. The space of time. The space of yourself.
So….Hi 2016. Help me to grow proportionally. I feel as though I have folded into myself again. I truly, wholeheartedly, ardently lived my life this year but tomorrow I must do it again in a different skin. I guess what I’m really saying is I’ve changed, maybe fractionally but I’m proud of that change. Tomorrow I’m going to have to change even more. The next day too. There will be days that I must do it alone and others won’t be so lonely.

I guess the struggle with time is, I’m never sure how to move within its boundary. By calling time, time I am already prescribing to walls, to boundaries, to borders. The struggle is time moves infinitely backward and forward from the very place my feet touch the ground. So maybe 2015 is also moving infinitely backward as I move infinitely forward and I can stretch my fingers infinitely to the side and upward and downward. This dissonance, the moments squandered, what old Jeiko says on top of the mountain are merely symptoms of feeling the infinity of the space we occupy, not the infinity of time because that does not exist. But the infinity of self. Of myself. Of the space I am.

 

So.

May my and your 2016 be filled with in takes of breathe.

Peaks

I sleep under a bed with wood on the bottom

Not the old bunk beds with wood slats

But one big piece of extra long twin bed sized wood

Holds my dreams down as I close my eyes.

Now every night I put my hand up to the wood

I don’t have to arch my back,

And I trace the lines

As if they were a topography I couldn’t figure out.

There are swirls and pools, stagnant waters

Long listless days and stops and turns.

Sometimes thick lines just stop abruptly

With no indication that they were ever growing thicker

And stronger,

But they don’t pick up again.

These darker holes have rings that flow around them

As if everybody else knew not to fall in-

I always loved the darkness.

But I also love the shore and tracing my finger

On the bed above my head until my hand falls by

My side,

Until the wood grain seems to be the same as

My very fingerprint.

Peaks in my hand.