spit-smooth

we are sitting around the dining room table trying not to think
about how it is the last time we will. the ceiling hangs over
our eyes like a cloth so we touch hands, cheeks, lick salt
and dirt off each others noses. it tastes too good to be
the last time we all come to rest between my teeth. the mouth
is not made a place to keep things but we have given it
our best. we are worn spit-smooth, good under thumb
and tongue. i have done nothing that matters more than making
this, this object shaped like a good skipping stone built of our bodies,
of my little black dog, a hundred ripe bananas and the way we insist
on brushing our teeth at the same time. i want to draw in each
of us where i can’t imagine us not. it’s hard to lose something
all at once that you gained little by little. though i am not sure
it would be better to lose every piece of this house, this life we built
at the speed we made it. to wake up one morning with a hole
where the stove was. the next day, we undo our laundry and bicker
for the first time. some day the hole will be one of us. no, it is better
like this. there is a joy in seeing how far you can throw even
the afternoon’s best stone.

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StorageSpace

a new place to be stored when you sleep:
space that makes skin taught,
air-broken flesh shade of stop sign,

you do not stop.
I am kept inside bathtub drain
when you eat, chin familiarizes with knee caps,
toes with glutes fingers to shoulder blades
chest thighs introduce yourselves –
like a paper crane creased to stiffness.

once you left me sitting stove-top
pink-soft skin needing days of licking.

There are six drawers beneath counters,
insulation spills into your closet shelf,
leaves me glittered with glass.
Your thumb smears shards above my eyes.

A number can always be cut in half.
you say, one body should be no
different, feeding me
down the neck of your beer.

 

Afternoon in the Mountains

Yesterday I took the afternoon and went up to the mountains with one of my best friends that I have been close with for a long time. We don’t get to see each other often, so having a whole day together was really wonderful.

We drove up into the mountains in search of a river that was fairly accessible, and didn’t require too much work to find a good area to climb on river rocks and wade around a bit. After some initial exploration to find somewhere without any people around, we found a lovely little spot to spend the afternoon.

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This was one of the highlights of the afternoon – we found a hellbender salamander! These are the biggest Salamanders that live down here – over a foot long! This guy just crawled up right next to us while we were hanging out on a rock. I picked him up and he was the squirmiest, gooshiest thing I have ever felt. That is the face of pure joy.

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I swear mandolins sound better in the mountains.

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Ways to See

there are ways to see him that do not involve his hands.
the soft bones in his wrists, the invitation of his veins.
The sharp points of his grin, the way continual
expansion feels inevitable, but the vaults in his cheeks
pick up the slack.
The cusps of the toes he rises to, catching
the note he’s aiming for between his teeth,
falling back on the haunches of the breeze.
There are ways to hear him without imagining him naked,
but not many.
The tension of skin over bone or a flesh painted skeleton
with dried heaps of acrylics in eye sockets.
The space that connects his thighs and pelvis
where I imagine my nose would fit well.
I am again imagining him naked.
There are ways to feel his body without the use of my hands.
when i kick him beneath the conference room table
i can feel his bareness.
when i lick his condensed sweat off the walls
of the hallway, i am reminded of
unsweetened coffee and melting plastic.

Southern Utah & Boulder

I haven’t given an update in a few days because I’ve been pretty much going nonstop. It’s been a pretty amazing few days.

So, the last time I posted I was still in Salt Lake City. The next day, June 5th I believe, I set off for Canyonlands national park. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was incredibly beautiful. I did several small hikes, all of which were incredible. I was in the northern most district of Canyonlands, Island in the Sky.

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Upheaval Dome.

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Initially I had planned to do some more intensive hiking in the national parks, but after the hard hike I did Saturday I just wasn’t up for too much more than a couple 1-2 mile hikes. After spending the majority of the day running around Canyonlands, I decided to drive about 15 minutes up to Arches National Park. Although Canyonlands was beautiful, I actually thought Arches was considerably cooler.

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Unfortunately, after about 2 hours of walking around arches, I started getting a really bad headache and feeling really nauseous. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I decided to head out as I still had to find a place to sleep for that night. It got even worse in the car, and after a few minutes I realized I might be dehydrated and too hot, give that it was 97 degrees and I don’t handle heat well. After a lot of air conditioning and water, I started to feel better. It definitely made me more aware of how easy it is to get dehydrated and too hot out in the desert.

June 6th, I headed to Boulder , CO. I took a meandering route because I wanted to look around Aspen and drive Independence Pass. The Rocky Mountains were so beautiful. I got up to 12,000+ feet, well above the tree line. Up there, there was still 3+ feet of snow, which was awesome. I made the very poor decision to try and climb up part of a mountain for a better view…in three feet of snow…in Birkenstocks. Not my brightest moment. I ended up with very cold feet.

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On top of independence pass.

I arrived in Boulder in the early evening. I stayed with one of my friends from childhood, Grace. We were best friends when we were younger, but we haven’t seen each other in years. I was nervous, just because it has been so long, but it ended up working out wonderfully. We have always been really goofy when we get together, and this was no different. There were many laugh until you cry moments, lots of catching up on life, and reminiscing on the weird stuff we did as kids. It was a lot of fun.

June 7th, we spent some time wandering around downtown Boulder, having breakfast at an adorable little Cajun-influenced breakfast spot called Lucile’s, and then going on  a hike. The hike we did was about 5 miles long, up in the flat iron mountains surrounding Boulder. The wild flowers were out in full force, and it was a beautiful walk. Plus, even though I didn’t get any pictures of them, we saw two bears! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bear, so that was pretty exciting. 

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Today is my last full day in Colorado. I’ll be staying in Denver tonight, and then heading North from here tomorrow. It’s starting to feel like I don’t have a ton of this trip left, which is very sad. Trying to focus on continuing to explore instead of jumping too fast into the future.

 

 

 

 

Nobody ever wants to head back east

And neither do I. I know this trip is about movement, about change and new experiences. But I really have loved the first half of this trip, which included this time on the west coast. Leaving San Francisco tomorrow feels like a bit of a turning point in the trip, San Fran has been incredible, but sadly today was my last full day here. Luckily I managed to pack a bunch of good things into it.

This morning, I met up with Ryant and Eli, the two friends I made earlier in the trip. Sadly, we met up for lunch/some exploration as a way to say goodbye. Although I met them barely a week and a half ago, I never would have guessed how much we would all bond. Wandering San Francisco, hours spent watching the sun set over the ocean at Big Sur, fighting the waves in San Diego, nude beaching and karaoke in Austin, a music festival in NOLA- alright, I’m making it a little cheesy, but really – I really was sad to say goodbye to them today. They are both incredible people, and I feel like I learned so much and had so much fun with them during our travels together.  Saying goodbye to them is part of the reason that this feels like a bit of a turning point for the trip. It feels like we all reached sort of this end where normal people stop, and then I’m the one that’s pushing on.  I’m trying to focus on the ways in which that is exciting – the adventure is only half over.

anyway, walking around SF with them was a nice way to start the day. On their way out of town, they dropped me off in the Mission to do some cruising around that area. My Uncle picked me up from there, and we decided to go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which was incredibly cool. It has just been redone and expanded in the past few years, and then it opened again last month. The building itself was very cool, and the art was phenomenal. Really an awesome collection of contemporary art.

This evening I went to an excellent sushi place for my last meal in the city. Sushi is one of my great loves in life, and I was not disappointed.  San Francisco has treated me well.

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Posing with an Alexander Calder sculpture at the SF MOMA

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Ugh these views could never get old

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Wandering the Castro

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Eli and I waiting for lunch. Really going to miss this dude and his squinty smile.

Coastin’

The past 5 days or so have been just magical. I have always loved California, but this has definitely cemented it for me. Being near the ocean just immediately puts me more at ease. Life seems to operate on a different schedule – a slower, more deliberate one. One that I really enjoy. I’m attracted to both ends of the spectrum: I love the bustle of New York City, the feeling of always moving, the energy that comes from the constant friction of bodies against the earth. But I also love the way beach communities move. There’s no rush. The ocean will be there at 11 am, at 2 pm, and so on. While there are a lot of outdoor activities and stuff, there doesn’t seem to be the same sense of always moving toward another place. people spend more time just being.

I spent three nights in San Diego. I visited Balboa Park, got sunburned at the beach, wandered around the beach community La Jolla, and did some hiking at Torrey Pines. The friends I met in NOLA and then hung out with in Austin (Eli and Ryant) ended up in San Diego as well, so we fought the waves and the freezing pacific and had a wonderfully exhausting beach day.

leaving San Diego, Eli and Ryant and I decided to caravan up the coast and do some camping in big sur. I had heard a great deal about big sur, but it managed to exceed my expectations none the less. We snuck around on some private property in the name of finding views and climbed out onto some cliffs to watch the sunset. I don’t know that I have ever felt so purely happy, so at peace as I did sitting out there on those cliffs, watching the sunset in silence with two people I’ve hardly known a week. It’s strange how travel does that. We ended up camping a couple miles off of highway 1, overlooking pine-covered mountains. I couldn’t have asked for is better experience.

Yesterday, I got into San Francisco. I’m a little bit obsessed with this city. I love it’s unique architecture, almost painfully hip neighborhoods, and perfect coffee shop/bakeries. I’m excited to spend the next few nights here.

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Balboa Park, San Diego

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Climbing for the ocean views at Torrey Pines.

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Eli looking majestic at the beginning of the sunset.

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Big Sur

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Big Sur.

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Making breakfast after waking up in Big Sur.

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Waking up to this view was incredible.

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SF architecture never ceases to amaze me.