Museum

you were taught to love with your arms
by your sides.
very few acts of affection can be performed
without the hands.
Think of love-making: two bodies,
snakelike.
Nothing good can be made like this
But that does not stop the body from making.

If there is a chid, you will first see the ways
in which it is lacking through the holes in yourself.
If will grow into the failures you have provided,
as children grow into all hand-me-downs.
The gaps in it will form this way. The same
as cloth tears when pulled too tight.

If there is no child, you will try again.
Love-making:
Arms by your sides, hands clasped
behind your back, as if inspecting something behind glass.

Home Again

After a month of traveling, I am back in Knoxville, Tennessee. I got home the day before yesterday – I meant to write sooner, but it has been challenging to think of what to say, and I still don’t really have anything concrete yet. That, and the last couple days have been kind of busy. Yesterday was my birthday (I’m not a teenager anymore!) which was celebrated with an afternoon in the pool, dinner downtown, finished off with carrot cake. It was a nice way to ring in the next year of life.

Getting home after a month of traveling has really allowed me to appreciate all of the things that are available to me most of the time: daily showers, good refrigeration, hugs whenever I need them. It was a long time to be mostly alone. It was a long time to be out of any sort of routine. It was a lot of granola bars, a lot of meeting new people, and a lot of days spent with a sore back from nights in the car. There were a significant number of downsides related to living like that, but I think overall it was positive. I feel different. More self confident. More aware. Readier for whatever is next.

Which, immediately, means heading out with my brother tomorrow morning to Rothbury, Michigan for Electric Forest. I’ll hopefully have a more comprehensive write-up about my trip at some point. But for now, it’s on to the next adventure!

 

Minneapolis

I loved Minneapolis. On the two and a half hour drive from Minneapolis to Winona, I tried to decide exactly why I liked Minneapolis so much. There was no one thing that really swept me off my feet- no one neighborhood that I fell in love with, no particular perk of the city that won me over. Still, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about it.

The overall vibe of the city was just really good. It was really cool but didn’t feel at all pretentious or overly full of itself. Each little neighborhood has a sort of central gathering place- an ice cream shop, antique store, and a corner store – or some other pairing of a couple interesting little shops grouped together. I loved the community vibe that created- which isn’t always easy to do in a bigger city. I loved that the downtown was a real downtown- big buildings, lots of people bustling around, a little intimidating. All the things a big city downtown should be. I liked that even in the summer, the nights are cool. I liked the lakes. I liked the people, the coffee shops I visited, the selection of independent bookstores- it all just felt very comfortable to me. I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I am there again, but I feel like I’ll definitely be back.

Now that I’m looking at my pictures, I took almost no pictures in Minneapolis for some reason. Oh well, enjoy a couple random pictures anyway.

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I promise there’s coffee beneath all that whipped cream.

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A cute little alleyway.

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Feelin traveler-y

 

a road trippers response to the Stanford Rape case

The thing about the deer strewn across dashed white of the two lane highway is that you don’t really see it.

the deer with its head cocked at a snobbish angle as if to ask, “how do I look for two days dead?”

the deer with tire tracks through its thin neck, bits of entrail spread down the length of highway on display.

The deer with its tongue drooping out the left corner of its mouth to acknowledge the heat of the day, the deer with one eye rolled back and the other bulging, the deer with splintered hooves and a body that will never be whole again.

The deer who wasn’t born fearing cars, but had to be careful walking alone at night.

If only the deer had been more afraid, if only the deer hadn’t gone off on its own, if only the poor, poor dear had been more responsible.

The dear – with her knees parted and tongue drooping out the corner of her mouth, tucked behind a dumpster – is told she should be glad she is not strewn across the highway.

The dear with bits of her body open to air, spread down the length of lacking consent, mouth and finger tracks on her cocked neck. The dotted lines of a ripped zipper.

The poor, poor dear who wasn’t born fearing men, but should have learned to be more careful alone at night.

Snippets

These are two Little snippets of writing from the past few days – clearly unfinished, just wanting to put everything out there.

The two of them walked into the Dairy Queen I was treating as a cafe – curled with a book in a booth – it’s the closest thing to a cafe in Rapid City, South Dakota. Their skin coated in tattoo, the kind that seem to be ripped pages from poorly done comic books glued to their arms. Their bodies bounced strangely, as if they have too much electricity in them to limit their movements to the horizontal. The man had a large bleeding spot behind his ear, and as he ordered some oversized blizzard he dug his fingernails into it, trying to reach inside his skull-

 

The rain hung from the clouds like loose threads- the sky itself unraveling Beneath the weight of the water-

Denver & South Dakota

I hadn’t been to Denver for probably ten years, and the last (and first) time I went was with my Grandmother. The experience this time was a little bit different. I got into Denver in the early afternoon, and spent some time roaming around different neighborhoods. that afternoon was not particularly fun, but I think it had more to do with me than it did the city.

Traveling, especially less luxurious traveling alone, requires a certain kind of mindset. It requires you to be flexible, to be creative in your exploring, and it requires you to be positive. For that afternoon, I sort of fell out of that traveling mindset. I was tired, Denver felt bland and uninteresting, and I was craving private space. It was a little frustrating, but luckily I woke up the next morning with my head in a better place.

the second day in Denver was fun. I wandered the 16th street mall, people watched, and then ended up at a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coor’s Field. The baseball game was a lot of fun- and the Rockies won, so that made it even more satisfying.

The next day I headed up to South Dakota, where I visited the Crazy Horse monument (which is still in the process of being built), and Mount Rushmore. The idea of carving people’s faces into mountains is a strange one to me, but I appreciated the historical significance of both places. After a touristy morning, I decided to get away from everything for a little bit. I hung out by the water on Horse Thief Lake – reading my book, taking a little nap. It was very quiet and peaceful, and made me much happier than being surrounded by tourists with cameras clutching at their overpriced souvenirs.

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I stayed just outside of a Rapid City, so the next day I was tasked with driving across South Dakota to Minnesota. It was an uninteresting drive for the most part. I stopped at this place called Wall Drug – supposedly a semi-famous place in Wall, SD? It was incredibly touristy, but still nice to look around. They had everything from gold panning go fresh house made donuts and five cent coffee. And they had a cute door, so I was won over despite the touristy feel.

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I stayed outside of Northfield and got impressively deep sleep for being in the back of my car. It was a cool, cloudy morning which allowed me a few extra minutes of sleep since I wasn’t woken up by the sun or heat. This morning, I walked around downtown Northfield a little bit. It was a very cute little town – very picturesque and old fashioned feeling.

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Today, I’m heading into Minneapolis. I’m incredibly excited to be back in a real city. I definitely thrive on the big-city feel, and Wyoming & South Dakota have definitely made me feel out of my element. Just two more stops before I’m back in Madison, WI.

 

Burial

the women beat their fists against the meat of the earth. The bare skin of their faces has never met the sunlight but their hands are familiar with the gold-sand ground. The scream in a language that has no name, their fingers scraping like animal paws. The hole deepens.

the men carry the body. Wrapped in black their cheeks are dark with desert sun and their shoulders take the weight. The body is too light, there are too many men to carry it.

The edges of the pit are heaped with stone. The men place the body like porcelain. The women’s faces are black cloth, but the grief is imprinted in their palms.