thejunipertree: (Default)
Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys show last night.

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane


I stood under a beer tree, feeling the leaves barely brushing the top of my head, and stared up into the oncoming autumn sky with Joanna laughing next to me and a drink in my hand. I smiled at everyone who passed. I saw a man playing bagpipes in the parking lot. Dancing in place, I roughly sang along with what little words I knew.

If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive


I raised my glass to Joe Strummer. I raised my glass to Johnny Cash. I raised my glass to accordions and fiddles. I raised my glass to all the heartache that's coursed through my veins the past four years. At one point, Joanna leaned over to me and said, "There's this one song of theirs that every time I hear, I think of you. It goes: The color of her eyes were the color of insanity." I threw back my head and laughed; the bartender laughed with me. I could feel myself crackling around the edges, swimming hazily through the evening with weary fingers, but I rode the wave and crested through the uncomfortable bits. I was amongst friends.

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life


Now it's today and I'm half hung-over at work. We're not getting our paychecks until five o'clock because money is becoming unbearably tight, but I'm ok with that. Shouting at the CFO won't change anything and it's not her fault, anyway. I try not to shoot messengers down. I'm too hungry to be irritable, too stuffed with endorphins from last night to be mad at anyone for all that long. I want greasy cheeseburgers and Philadelphia maki and pomengranates and the spaghetti sauce my mother used to make on Sundays. I want Vitamin Water (the red kind) and salted caramel and great hunks of goat cheese baked in puff pastry. I want rare beef and Pot Mash and the darkest of dark chocolate.

What I'm getting is Chinese food. I'm ok with that. I'm ok with most everything right now. I may be troubled by my snake dying and my sick cats and my mother's birthday looming and my car woes and my money troubles, but I'll keep putting one foot down in front of the other. There's horror in this world and more sadness than I thought humanly possible, but there is still so much fucking beauty. If I can hold on to that thought, I'll pull through it all with a smile on my face.

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right
Yeah should be alright
thejunipertree: (Default)
I used to be another person.

I said those words to the Engineer two nights ago while talking about what I was like long before he had met me. And I'm still continually struck by how true they are. I used to be someone completely different, totally unrecognizable. It's bizarre to me, that someone can change so very drastically in the course of their life. Within the past six years, there's been even more changes. Hell, within the time since my mother died. I'm not the same person.

Some things about me I miss. Other things? Not so much.

Sometimes I wish I could hold that girl I used to be underwater and watch her slowly drown. She wouldn't have struggled. Just closed her eyes and dreamed the dreams of slumbering mermaids.

And other times, I want nothing more than to wrap her in my arms and tell her that things will change. Not necessarily always for the better, but change nonetheless.
thejunipertree: (sequin tears)
I will wear cathedrals
and bury my face in the rain.
Remember a time when looking over shoulder
wasn't happenstance and commonplace.

This is not the end, not the end.
Unfortunately, not the end.
thejunipertree: (this is not a dream)
A friend of mine, Shannon, used to live in the most amazing loft apartment in the Philadelphia area. Right outside of Center City, in the psuedo-kind of warehouse district, it was probably the best living space I've had the fortune to step foot into.

Tall, tall ceilings. The creepiest elevator in the world. Hardwood floors. A bathroom whose walls didn't reach the ceiling (and while this made it uncomfortable to pee during a very crowded party, I was endlessly fascinated by it).

One night, I want to say it was winter but I don't think that's correct, I was standing on the cracked pavement outside the building with Miss Robin, waiting for something that I can't recall anymore. We had volunteered to help our friend, and at this point I had only met her once before at the aforementioned party, pack up her things for a very quick move out to California. Our volunteering was sweetened with the offer of going through a very large pile of free shit, ours for the taking. One item I took home was the very computer desk I am sitting at now. My former computer desk had been bought from Wal-Mart, all pressed board and missing pieces, and it had been beginning to develop a very distinct lean to the left, which worried me greatly when I remembered to worry about it. I had also scored a fantastic black silk skirt which billows sweetly around my legs when I walk and a complete paperback set of the Chronicles of Narnia.

I digress.

We're standing outside of this building and it's well into evening, on its way to full-on night. We're standing there, staring at the abandoned warehouse/factory/whatever it was across the street. It's all broken brick and hastily boarded windows, there's a thousand other places exactly like this one in the city and we really shouldn't have been as fascinated by it as we were. However, on what was most likely the third floor, there was an open window with a box fan sitting on the sill. The same kind of fan I would prop at the end of my bed on very hot nights in my windowless bedroom of the second apartment I lived in, in the city.

Metal blades, metal exterior. Large and square. It had three speeds: low to the point of basically being turned off; medium, which was actually pretty fucking powerful; and goddamn hurricane wind tunnel. I would make a fort with one of my bed sheets, heavy books keeping it in place on top of the fan, and completely unhindered on the other end. Turn the fan onto the blow-you-out-the-fucking-door setting and attempt to sleep through another sweltering night, cursing my decision to pick the bedroom with no windows. Cursing my roommates for having the only window unit air conditioner in the apartment. Cursing the summer. And cursing the misbegotten city I had chosen to live in.

I digress again.

This fan, which looked exactly like the one I had, sat in the window of this horribly decayed building. The interior beyond it was completely black and blind, no evidence of anything else in the room except for this fan. And as we stood there, it began to turn. Lazily, by some unfelt breeze blowing north, the fan's rusted metal blades croaked slow circles.

Watching this, a strange and irrational fear dances up my spine and onto the back of my head. All the closely shorn hairs of my undercut tried their damnedest to stand on end, to no avail and I suppressed a quick shudder. There is zero reason to be afraid of this anonymous inanimate object doing what it was built to do, but afraid is exactly what I was.

It was a hundred horror movies, the good kind that make you get up in the middle of the night to double-check that all the doors and windows are locked. It was a thousand bad nightmares, where you wake up in your bed panting and unable to move, paralyzed by fright.

It was the deepest primordial instinct telling me that something was bad and wrong and that I should stay as far the fuck away from it as humanly possible, if I wanted to continue wearing my skin on the outside, where it belonged, and my insides on the inside, where they belonged.

Miss Robin and I giggled nervously and made the very wise decision to go back inside, post haste. We finished our volunteering and went out to dinner in New Jersey, where I was would pick a ridiculous fight with my boyfriend which caused us to not speak to each other for the rest of the night.

Shannon still lives in California, where the sun shines, and I do miss her presence on the East coast. But, I am so very glad that she doesn't live in that loft anymore and that I don't have to ever set foot on that sidewalk again and see that dismal entrance into God-knows-what-Hell.

Although, after coming across this website while mucking around online this evening, I'm half-tempted to go back there to photograph it for submission to their archives.

However, that brief and fluttering temption has been very quickly tamped down into that box in my brain labelled, " BAD FUCKING IDEAS, NO REALLY". And I've spent the last half hour wondering if my apartment door is locked.

disquieting

Sep. 8th, 2003 01:31 am
thejunipertree: (Default)
Friday night, I'm standing in a crowded room with a mediocre band thundering through my chest. I wrap my arms around his bulk and shout over the music that I'm leaving and if he sees the Commander, to tell him that I'm sorry I couldn't find him to say goodbye.

He leans down to me, still a great distance away despite my five inch platforms. In my ear, he says/shouts: "I just wanted to tell you that you look good." I peer up at him, surprised at this. "No, really." He continues. "You were smiling. A lot. And you look happy. It's a good look on you."

I hug him again and leave, before he has the chance to see my face fold in upon itself.

Happy. That's an unusual concept. I'm more inclined to blame it on the three Red Bull and vodkas that I knocked down my throat, in rapid succession. Or I could blame it on how I just get disoriented whenever I come back to the city, especially when I become surrounded by so many faces from my past. But, happy? That's not normally an adjective which many people would apply to me.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Standing in the rain this weekend, water dripping from my braided hair. My eyes. My face. It's night and the clouds above have obscured any light I might have been afforded.

I came across the most beautiful, perfect luna moth.

Light green, swallowtailed. Moving its wings slowly in the downpour we're all stupid enough to be out in. He's easily the size of my hand, bigger.

Carefully picking him up, I examined his markings, the lazy movement of his wings, and the slight trembling throughout the entire body of this achingly gorgeous creature.

I'm breathless.

This is like seeing God.

And I sing under my breath: I, I would be king. And you, you would be queen.
It's been stuck in my head all weekend, to the point where I had to dig out the album just so it would finally leave me be. and nothing would tear us away.

I raise my arms and watch the moth fly off my hands and onto the leaves of the bushes I'm standing in front of. He's safe there. In the morning the sun will come out and dry the delicate wings, enough to where he can fly away. Back to whatever business moths have when they're not being picked up by silly human girls with overlarge hearts and too many dreams.

We could be heros. Just for one day.
thejunipertree: (Default)
I hope that when I die, someone stages an opera in my honour.

God.
That was intense.

And it reminds me all the more of my drive to get my mortuary science degree. I want to give people those kinds of moments. The perfect going away party. The penultimate in farewells.

I've already had mine.

When I thought I was leaving for the UK for a four month or so stay, my friends gave me two parties. One right after the other. We spent the first one in my favourite bar. Me, getting tanked and bleary eyed on endless whiskey sours and all the cherries I could possibly desire (Sarah is the best waitress in the world, she even bought two rounds for us that night). We played "Brother, My Cup is Empty" on the jukebox over and over, until the rest of the bar patrons began to look badly on us.

We ushered in the evening with singing and kisses, then saw last call out the door. With the group of us spilling onto the street in song and alcohol smeared blur. We ended up at a park, in the rain. I perched on the back of a bench and felt the world changing shape around me.

I was silvered in the waning moonlight.

I was golden.

I never felt so many different and warring emotions coursing through my veins. Love of too many and fear of the unknown. Regret, for the first time. And self hatred. Pain and milksweet sorrow. I fell on the knife.

I was a bundle of kindling twigs. I was the spark to set them aflame. I stepped into my future, but refused to let go of my past. Everything, everyone was dear. I wanted to leave them all behind and I never wanted to leave.

That one perfect moment.

The next day, my throat was on fire from all the cigarettes and whiskey. I felt scoured smooth from shots of bourbon. I was the drowning victim, found face up to the sun with reeds twined in her drifting hair and clear water in her lungs. It was a new day and I watched myself open my eyes under the firey hand and fingers of Jack Daniels.

I sat on the curb next to the Cheshire Cat and stupidly asked him why he kept pulling from me, though I knew the answer. Off limits now, he didn't want to touch me. And the only person I could ever gain reassurance from, him, was the only one I couldn't go to. He was verboten. Forever, now.

A twisting in my breast. The knife, again.

And even in those hurting moments, those cold and sick times?

I was perfect.

Those two days were the funeral for the girl I was once was. Requiem and memoriam held in the ivoryhard hands of God. All we needed to complete the moment was calla lilies and prayer cards.

My going away. My send off. My farewell.

I arrived back home, a handful of days later, a different person. The girl who sang to the stars and poured whiskey down her throat is gone.

And a better funeral could never have been held.

The Queen is dead.
Long live the Queen.

Shivers

Mar. 4th, 2003 12:51 am
thejunipertree: (Default)
Nick Cave and the Dirty Three. Shivers.

I light another cigarette with my sacred heart Zippo and stretch my legs slowly under the cheap, ramshackle desk.

This is the song that is played at the end of the night in a run down sleazy club with beer sticky floors and broken locked bathrooms. This is the song the pours from the doorway as some hipster drunk back spills into the alcohol sodden night. This is the song that played as I leaned my elbows on the pockmarked bar and realised that my life wouldn't go anywhere unless I pushed it.

So many years ago. Too many years ago.

I skittered through that night (was it spring? was it summer?) with the careless ease of the blissfully unaware. Laughter spiraling through blue grey smoke until the sounds were indistinguishable from the bass thrum of the band playing. I decided to write my life story. I decided to dance with the bartender. I decided to be invincible and strong.

What happened to that girl?

I lost her on a plane. I lost her in an airport. I lost her in the heat of a decision that was supposed to change my life. I lost her on so many sleepless nights spent alone in a queen sized bed. I lost her on the jagged shoreside rocks of someone else's stoic heart. I lost her during the first dance. I lost her during the last walk away.

Well, yes. It did change my life, if you must know. And I reckon I got what I gambled for.

But, at what cost? And it surely wasn't what I had been expecting.

My sharp city mind has been lost, flailing pitifully, in the suburban soft sprawl of tree lined streets and big girl jobs.

I need to get back that predatory spark, that cold diamond shine.
I'm sure it's still there, I just need to dig down far enough.

snow

Feb. 7th, 2003 12:06 am
thejunipertree: (Default)
Driving this evening, with the new snow blowing across the road looking like nothing more then Scottish fog. I could almost lose myself in the drifting patterns, in the cold and white softness of it all.

I was almost overpowered by an urge to pull the car over and get out. Lie down by the side of the road among the skeletal winter trees and let the snow build up around my prone form. Covering my hair in bridal lace and clinging desparately to the fragile curves of my skin.

Lying there with my face buried in the night air, headlights splashing my body with occasional illumination, I could find a certain kind of peace. A quieting of the thoughts, the stillness that I've searched for so many, many years.

I reel my attention back from the seas of dream and illusion it was beginning to drown in. Pressing my foot harder to the accelerator, I flee from comfort.
thejunipertree: (Default)
Here we sit, at the kitchen table again. She's got her tiny little feet propped up on a tackle box and I've got my own tucked underneath my body. The chairs we sit in are not conducive to sitting comfortably, though neither of us adjust ourselves very much.

She has multiple piles of brilliantly coloured beads scattered in front of her and is sorting them out into other little piles by colour and shape and size.

Out of boredom and a tremendous attraction to the different shining colours, I move a pile over to my own edge of the table and begin to sort my own sections. Head bent, purple hair falling in thick eggplant sheaves over my shoulders. I slide the beads under my fingers, memorising the slick sensation and the light winging from the facets into my eyes.

I sing under my breath, to myself and quiet-like: "I don't love anyone..."

iron wool

Sep. 27th, 2002 02:49 am
thejunipertree: (Default)
My head hurts.

And it's a strange kind of hurting. Not your normal, run of the mill headache. It's not even really a headache, if you look right at it.

It's more like the memory of pain.

I have a dim memory caught in the whorls of my brain of when I was four or five. I was at my father's house and sitting on top of his sideboard for some lost-to-time reason. And I fell off. I remember my head hitting the ground. The dull thud of bone striking floor. And the fog filling my eyesight slow and sinuous like an enormous grey serpent. They rushed me to the emergency room, with two black eyes beginning to form. It was the first of many concussions I've suffered throughout my life.

I remember car crashes, this is how they feel. The smack of my head against the passenger side window. The sudden black and red flowers blooming in my vision. My jaw clenching tight tight tighter.

There was also a time, when I was a bit older, that I was attempting to hang upside from a metal bar in a department store. One of those smooth markers that line the cash register area and keep the carts together. I hung onto the bar, threaded my knees inbetween my hands, and flipped over. My head struck the tiled floor. The only time in my life that I've been too tall to accomplish something. I closed my eyes and moaned, feeling the copper taste of blood fill my mouth from my bitten tongue.

A pulsing, growing...something. It doesn't even qualify as an ache, really. It's just there. And it won't go away. Driving in the rain, it was a constant reminder of what would happen if I let my attention stray from the road for just a second. The blurry windshield, the wind buffetting my small form back and forth across the black mirrored asphalt.

And all the while, the iron wool stuffing filling up my skull. The dense thudding of blood behind my eyes. Starbursts of light in the quick and temporary blackness which oozes Turkish coffee thick whenever I blink.

A memory, that won't go away.
thejunipertree: (Default)
It is Christmas night, circa 1996, and I am living in South Philadelphia. This is our dining room, which is really only a second part of the kitchen. No walls seperate the rooms. No walls seperate my thoughts in this house.

I've had a nasty fight with my mother over silly and stupid things, as most fights usually are. And I'm sitting on the our beautiful mahogany and black dining table with a bottle of vodka in one hand and a tightly rolled joint in the other.

Across the room, only about six steps away, are Donald and Anthony. Two of my many and numerous roommates. They sit on an old brown couch that we fished out of someone's trash once. Who keeps a couch in their kitchen? Well, we do.

They're as drunk as I am, I can see it in their faces. An hour ago, Anthony had gone upstairs to fight with his girlfriend and came back down a single man. We are celebrating/mourning this with another round of vodka.

I tilt my head back, relishing the feel of newly cut swinging against my neck, and examine the ceiling in detail. I laugh, I drink, I take drags from the joint. I pet the cat and talk to my rodents and friends. Inside, I feel a twist in my heart. A gentle stabbing. A turning.

Her words hurt me so badly, but I'm not letting it show. What hurt me worse was the things which I said and which she did not reply to.

I hate myself.

Earlier in the evening, I had sat on our front step in the snow without a coat and tears freezing on the planes of my face. No coat, no key to the house, and a fire of anger burning in my belly. I shook and cried and seethed.

You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot.
Happy Christmas, your arse. Oh, thank God it's our last.


It's the fifth time that we've played this song. And after each succession of the drunken Irish lyrics, we grew quieter and more subdued.

This is no longer a celebration, but a funeral of the heart.
thejunipertree: (Default)
"I have dreams in my head," she whispered. Stubbed out her floundering cigarette against the edge of the curb she was sitting upon. Scuffed boots and black stockings that were beginning to ladder up one side.



"These dreams are people. And they're walking around. Just like you or I. Only you can't see them. And I can only see them when I close my eyes." She drew one hand over her face and I was briefly reminded of a woman closing the blinds on a window. No one is home, the motion said. So, there's no use knocking. "They have lives and hearts, just like anyone else. But, it's such a fragile existence."



"I'd like them to leave." She looked up at me. And I could see the age in her face, something which I'd previously thought I'd never see. Not in this lifetime. The girl had always possessed such a young and wide open face. With clear eyes and smiling lips. She was of the type to bring to mind an opening flower, just at the morning and raising its arms to the coming sun.



Her eyes were drawn away from me just then, drawn down to her fingers where she proceded to pick apart a hangnail forming on her right pinky nail. It was the movement, the motion, of a trapped animal. A caged creature who knew in its very bones that rescue or escape was not coming for them.



"See, sometimes these dreams go away. The people in them go away. I don't know if they're dead or tired of me. But, they're gone. And I can't quite take that. Every single time I close my eyes to sleep, I'm left wondering who's still going to be in attendence. Who's going to remain?" She picked more at her nail and I watched a bead of blood, dark as dirt in the failing glow of the streetlamp overhead, rise up and stretch itself towards the outer boundaries of the skin's surface. Such a raw spot, I knew how it was throbbed in time with her softly beating heart.



"Such little deaths. I want them to stop. I don't want to dream anymore." She turned her eyes up to me again and I saw how they pleaded.



Please make it stop.
Help me let it rest.
Just make it go away.



Oh, darling...
thejunipertree: (Default)
I feel strange. Like I'm going to fly apart at
any second. I can wrap my arms around myself,
but I don't think it's going to do me any good,
really.

Last night, I went to a carnival with the
Engineer, the Wee One, and the Sensitive Artist.
It was being held in my home town, which was
strange enough for me. I don't like going back
there. It's empty and holds nothing for me.

Four tickets. Four fucking tickets. This is an
outrage! We pay up anyway and crowd into tiny
cars, two by two. It swoops down and up, side
ways. The Engineer is shouting that he's going
to be violently sick. I can hear the Wee One
giggling quite maniacaly behind me. Another
swoosh towards the ground is coming, I lean up
in my seat, as much as the g force will allow me
to, and greet the wind in my face with a
soft cry. My hair is in my mouth and I'm laughing.

It's the next day now and I sit here in my
silver rings and poppy dress. Shifting in the
seat, I watch the clock. I stare at the wall.
I examine my fingers.

I'm wondering if I'll ever feel as beautiful
as he says I am.
thejunipertree: (Default)
There is grass. A dark and clear night.
No bugs, for once. Which is good because
the last time I sat out at night,
it was in an Indian burial ground
and my legs were eaten
by ravenous mosquitos.

A blanket. My frozen Chai slushie,
which is quickly melting. Cigarettes.
Three candles. An Othello board.

I haven't played Othello since I was
about ten. It's rather simple. Remember
the advert? "A minute to learn, a
lifetime to master." I'm not very
good at stragety, but I manage to give
my opponent a run for their money. The
last game of three, I come very close
to winning. I lost by two points.

When it's not my turn, I stare out past
the bubble of flickering light which has
been created around us. It's strange how
when your eyes adjust, it just seems
like nothing spread out around you.
I can't see anything, not even vague
shapes of the trees and headstones.
How very goth. I smirk. I'm playing
board games by candle light in a cemetary.

I drift, waiting. My mind begins to wander.
It bypasses the pain of the past few weeks
and turns in upon itself. I stretch my
legs and toes, as my feet have fallen
asleep yet again. My ears strain for
the slightest sludgy footsteps and
hoarse heavy breathing which would
have me take to my feet, pins and needles
and all.

Lying back, I stare at the sky. The
stars are cold above me, they do not
wink in recognition. They spin. I
spin. My world spins. Shooting tingles
up and down my arms, racing up my spine
and through my bones.

Over the past year, I have contemplated
so many religions. None have come par
with matching the whirlwind in my
brain. I have studied and theorised.
Read until my mind wept and my eyes
begged for mercy. Le belle dam sans merci.

Are those the wrong words? I don't much
care anymore.

The only thing I can say that I truly
know and have learned on my own is
that I am raw power. I am energy. I
can shape it to my will, if I liked.
I can beg it to follow my whim. This
is my body and this is my blood. I'm
not a paper doll. I'm not a mirror girl, reflecting back everyone else's
expectations. This is my skin and this
is my soul.

I follow the paths that I do because I
choose to. I don't have to listen to
anyone. I never did. And I never will.
You can't tell me how to love, or hate.
Or how to be angry. Or how to be joyful.
This is me. I never forgot who I was or
where I came from.

I am chaos. And I burn brighter than
any star in the heavens.

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