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102821 (collage poem)

crumbs in my bed, probably toast or something
chris sends me screenshots of things he thinks I will like
docile and helpless, puppy—looking for a smile, so safe to hate
foolish, guilty, and young____just got lucky,____the blind leading the blind!

I do nothing, no contest to my ego____I need no reason to disbelieve
my therapist eerily accurate. my horoscope using me, or im just delusional
I got my nails done today. comprehend the kitsch—

music on my iPod alone in the backseat. k at the party. silly lagoon.
scraped, fucked up, bitten, broken, some feeling of contemporary emptiness
unnerving but oddly comforting____kind of hot, in a sad way

church, emoji, God? maybe if they gave me drugs, I would delete myself.
just kidding. burning the back of my throat reminds me of my mortality
the sound starting glitching—or was that just a remix?
he said I need to sleep.____I convinced myself I took a nap

Catherine asked—why don't we have boyfriends? mouth full of frozen pupusa, I responded—I know, right?
glued to their phone screens at 2:30 am, crumbs in their bed?
he said I was a little phony____I googled him and nothing came up

102821 (expanded sense image)

the air at Newpark mall was always stale, like a movie set. not really in Fremont, not really anywhere, a travesty, a weak facsimile of a mall that appeared in someone's casual daydream, maybe in the 80s. when we loitered there in high school it was more an attempt to claim some fictional youth that had been sold to us on cable TV than a legitimate suburban activity—instead of meeting our friends with a smile at the roller rink, we'd drop things on unsuspecting shoppers from the second floor with a bored anomie, peruse the sex toys hidden at the back of Spencer's. instead of flirting with the boy-next-door who scooped homespun ice cream at the food court, we'd stalk the emo skaters working at hot topic and zumiez, hoping they didn't give teenage girls restraining orders. instead of running into half-strangers from school and getting into drama, we'd linger in the parking lot at sunset after close and wait for something, anything, interesting to happen to us. but somehow this gave us comfort – we were resigned to be surrounded by chain stores and adults that sounded like they were in a Charlie Brown special. the cloying sweetness of mrs. fields cookies (we'd always get nibblers to share while we milled about), the drifting scent of salted butter from auntie Anne's (my mom would always ask me to bring pretzels back for my brother), the unsettlingly neutral smell of the blouses from H&M (like they appeared out of nowhere, from thin air)...some might say mass-produced, we might say 'consistent', defend 'reliable.' it was all we knew, really—even though it was sparse, dated, suited for demolition with half the retail spaces unoccupied, somehow it was always better than being at home, at least before we had cars. the charm of a desultory meander through a dead mall is hard to explain. after coming back from college, I went back there for black friday, and it was hauntingly empty, despite getting a facelift a few years ago. the city of Newark is trying to rebrand it as a "premier, vibrant, local destination," "a vital economic engine for the City." what a bummer, right? I hope they don't get rid of the hot dog on a stick.

102721 (sleuthing the physical world)

friday: snoop dog wine, watered down whiskey on ice, a warm Stella in glass, my friend Jon plays in a band and right now they call themselves plum. when they shouted me out during the show, muffled by my earplugs, I felt happy to be appreciated but embarrassed to be in the spotlight, as if my imperfections and peculiarities would be amplified by the infrared of everyone's eyes...Catherine and I chainsmoked outside on the stairs while I reveled in my loneliness and celibacy. a guy named Frankie started to flirt with me and I felt thankful towards him. a guy named Alex who I thought was flirting with me said he had a girlfriend, and that stung. the girls at the party annoyed me, with their silly haircuts and trendy outfits and drunken confidence, and I wondered if I was a misogynist. Jon and I walked up and down haight at 1 in the morning and discussed the 'scene'. to feel like you are taken seriously for your project, your art is a special thing indeed...

saturday: the rain was beating down hard saturday night, and I almost ran over someone because of the low visibility, like Mulholland drive. I went round and round the mission looking for parking, finally I got lucky across the street from the knockout. juggling the ethics of home-wrecking with an ounce of sincerity, I got a gin and tonic alone at the bar, watched my friend Daniel's band play. they're called Goodworld...how sweet and aspirational, right? the bar was cool, cheap, tattered, a vestige of some long-gone culture that probably used to run through the veins of San Francisco before 2010. an AC/DC pinball machine in the corner lit up the whole room. a girl with a shaved head wore a garish fur coat and writhed about in front of the stage—I couldn't decide whether to respect her audacity or consider it self-serving. I tired of my company and went next door to get some nachos, rang up aditi who was working on phd applications, we talked about how my best friend is in love with me. I felt like advancing my night so I picked up a guy who I met online...
mr. New York is a flaneur with a thick accent and a Leonard Cohen vibe. he listens to cat Stevens and Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones and when I picked him up at 11pm he was coming down off acid and painkillers and somehow already drunk. he looked straight out of 1950s greenwich village in a peacoat and a scarf, tousled and maybe thinning hair, did I mention he was 30? I guess that's not that old, but I feel meager at 23... mr. New York kept telling me how beautiful I was, and so I let him stick around, even though I couldn't decide whether I found him attractive. (Jon says I need to be more in touch with my desires, I've made it too much of my personality to be accommodating, to go with the flow...) mr. New York claims his name is Henry, but I can't find anything about him online. the details of his life are ludicrous and the stories he tells sound larger-than-life...his profile says he went to an elite university, he says he works as a studio musician but I dont trust he is who he says he is...when I kicked him out at 5am after he finished half my makers mark he stumbled down the stairs into the stormy night, I asked him if he wanted me to call him an uber and he bristled, said he wasn't a little boy, said he could take care of himself. he told me I was lovely, so lovely...I cried next to him in bed—he was too drunk to notice. he said I looked like I needed some love...I bristled but I let him give me a hug...

sunday: I finally slept on saturday night, no doubt because I smoked weed all day and got drunk with mr. New York. I smoked more weed on sunday, painted a bit, farm came over for purple latkes and to drop off his sleep book...nothing much to report here...

monday: I got my nails done today at the nail salon on haight street but I didn't like the color. I decided it was better than whatever was on them before though. scraped, shameful, fucked up, bitten, broken, uneven. embarrassing, im glad my mom didn't notice them. the rains were crazy yesterday—today was clear and bright, a nice fall day, as those go. fall reminds me of my dad and also of being sad. Jon said maybe this time makes me feel some type of way—it runs through my bones, or something, like a 6th sense. when I was little I went with my family to the Tonga room at the fairmont. I don't remember anything about where it was other than the golden lobby—sumptuous, glittering, elegant, like the home of royalty. then the Tonga room—too young to comprehend the kitsch—or will I ever be old enough? I'm a sucker for the tiki theme, the silly lagoon...I want to go back with my friends and get totally sloshed. I worked on my paintings recently—trying to capture some feeling of emptiness that is contemporary, only possibly engendered by the complexities and sad focus of life today....my painting is (maybe) about faith, about faithlessness. maybe I am fearful that if I write about what it means, it'll become painfully apparent that my thoughts are trite, and not quite as deep or as revelatory as I would like....easy to hide in abstractions, or else just let the paint do the talking, what to do with such words as church, emoji, God? maybe you can't write paintings, but then surely it must be that you can't paint writing? that sounds like it makes sense in my head....the nail salon is always unnerving but oddly comforting at the same time. the most egregious daytime dramas play on their mounted TV, or else fear-mongering liberal news channels—in the day, cable television is an amoral place. today I watched a woman cry about her baby daddy ('I hope he never finds out bailey's not his!') and some engrossing footage of cars being whisked away by the recent storms...I saw a tree fall on someone's car in the Pacific Northwest, and swells looking mighty dangerous on Lake Michigan, at the Gold Coast...I miss chicago a little extra these days, maybe I just selfishly want my alone life back, where I could pretend nothing had ever happened to me, because everything was so unfamiliar, so new...only Louis breaking up with me and me crying in harper 140, alone...
gin and tonics are my drink of choice—stylish, simple, variable (can range from inexpensive to expensive), versatile (can satisfy a number of situations), skinny, dependable, clear (no worry of stains). I drank two gin and tonics and took two shots of fernet and ended up in bed with some guy who I'd totally written off a week prior for dropping off the face of the earth in the middle of making plans. he wasn't so much of a character as mr. New York, so I have less material, but he was a little cheeky and I liked his style. im kicking myself for having such a type, but I decided a while ago that nothing matters anyway, and so the wound of my predictability aches a little less. Jon says, why do I always end up hooking up with the most bizarre people? the answer is not that I feel seen by them, at least not actively, but somehow I feel a truth to their strangeness that resonates deeply with me, as if everyone else who we would consider 'normal' is just pretending, and I can't bear to be confronted with the notion that just like them, I am pretending, too...

tuesday: I read online that ordinary people cry a few times a month—for the past month, ive cried at least a few times a day...we dressed up for dinner because I thought it would lift my spirits. after dark in the embarcadero I was walking to the restaurant in my dress and strappy heels and some men hanging around a parked truck wolf-whistled at me, and how deranged that I felt kind of flattered to be special? I always feel especially fatherless in situations like those. Jeffrey drove around the whole South Bay looking for his favorite champagne, Krug grand cuvée, and he finally found it, at the vintage wine merchant in Santana row (where my dad and his friends used to go to get drunk and be merry). they asked us if we were celebrating anything— I said 'life'—I told Jeffrey that when class war happens we will be the first to go. Jeffrey brought me the most thoughtful gift that I dont even want to write about here, it was too special...
I could go into the flavors, the warm and pudgy house rolls that tasted like bulbous mouth clouds, the cidery notes of the 169th edition Krug (less good than the 168th), the butter vermouth sauce that we mistakenly forgot to put on our whole grilled sea bream, but none of that really interests me. what seems more worth noting was the small black service worker sitting alone across from us and eating her Michelin seafood; the strange European couple to our right with a visible age difference and little to no conversation, fervently glancing over at our too-close table whenever we touched a taboo topic like the four seasons, gay sex, or my self-diagnosis of bipolar. we ordered two each of the kusshi because they're my favorite. the woman accidentally brought us a second caviar that we didn't order and said, 'well, I already put this on the table, so enjoy' (we remarked, 'on sale!'). everyone was dressed to the 2's but for once instead of lamenting the general lack of style in San Francisco I felt glamorous, young, and misunderstood. I expected a little more finery, a touch more polish, like providence in LA, but we joked that they were gunning for a 1, not a 3 (Michelin stars). after half a bottle of Krug and a supplemented tasting menu, I drove home hitting my dab pen and listening to bladee, impressing myself with how well I could function and how easy it felt to be honest.

wednesday: strange wildlife on the balcony at my penthouse office in union square today, almost like a whole different cast of characters occupies San Francisco when you get up to an elevation of the 17th floor. Nicole saw a hummingbird with a hot pink head, I saw some yappy, energetic birds swoop down from the roof, a fat orange spider perilously swaying in the wind on its artful web. I heard a buzz while I was eating my club sandwich and brushed my head with my hand, no response. I brushed my head again, figuring it must have been some cheeky bird, and a stinkbug lands on the wax paper in front of me, crawling its way up to the brown bag. I couldn't scream at my office, so instead I urgently moved away, calling for help from Andrew, my replacement asian dad...
union square is timeless, and inspires a sort of retrospective feeling in me. walking in the sun I listened to heavy California by jungle, who im seeing tonight, alongside the cable cars on Powell, looking up at all the old hotel signs lit up neon despite the broad daylight. the buildings are so intricate, adorned with flowers, angels, patterns in stone, a treat to the eye on an afternoon walk. I wonder what the insides of all these buildings look like, who lives in the apartments above the ground floor, the secrets they hold within their towering walls, their peeling linoleum floors...


maybe feels like im coming up for air, but everything feels so different now—who was I before?—I made an egg today, Jon said congratulations—today I decided I would make another piece of toast, instead of eating it black and burnt, like I have done everyday for the past 3 weeks—I like the taste of carbon, I blame it on my mom (a scorpio)—im using my body to feel something—im entering a manic phase—this is the new normal?—maybe, maybe, maybe...

once upon a time, I didn't eat toast...🤡 flies buzz around my room deranged like I am an unholy carcass 🪰 I have freed myself of expectations and I owe nothing to anyone, not even myself

I miss him so much...

102121 (ripe fruit)

the loss of love is one of life's greatest tragedies [...] such a simple sadness [...] a beauty to the melancholy, a melancholy to the beauty [...] do any of my friends know me? [...] it is freeing being at rock bottom — there is no where else to go from here [...] men are a distant notion, an alien concept [...] every day is endless toil [...] a strange sense of solace [...] when everything is dark, your eyes adjust to see [...] so poignant, so raw [...] a silent companion [...] my backpack is wearing a backpack [...] a backpackpack [...] God is testing me — but I have no god [...]

102021 (sleuthing the physical world)

Thursday: my shitty overly-sour creamed, unripe avocado’ed bland-tortilla’ed burrito; the bleak floodlight above my family’s garage that shuts off when you’re crying in your car because it thinks no one is there; the lack of a centerpiece above Leslie’s fireplace, instead two furtive mirrors.
Friday: my sweet old grandma on an elevated yellow stretcher, carried in by two men who complimented my car; the huff and puff of the plastic oxygen machine, like an iron lung keeping her alive; the flamboyant lead singer of deafheaven, voguing for the crowd like a modern-day Gerard way.
saturday: the honest heat of the sun in the Indian summer of San Francisco, beating down on me laying on top of my car at ocean beach; the grungy, hip, cramped little coffee shop on judah where skater guys served me a cold brew and I felt embarrassed to be perceived; the rainbow of oil paint left on my small hands after finishing a painting for the first time in a long while.
sunday: the way the fresh mozzarella on the pizza we ordered at gaspare’s strung away, tenuous and rubbery, when Catherine lifted the first slice; the soggy cardboard napoleon we got from the next-door Russian bakery; the indigo mystique of the inner richmond on a rainy night, like the sponge bob episode where they go to Rock Bottom.
monday: the humor, talent, and dexterity of wilco’s live show, secretly emo but emanating a depression-curing, all-knowing positivity; the sound of bluetooth bladee through an open sunroof echoing through downtown oakland; the absolute and unrelenting pain of having to do laundry when you’re depressed.
tuesday: the way my grandma’s face animated with a cruel humor saying they told her she had to wear her tubes or else she would go into a Coma!; at night, my grandma’s face lit up only by the indian dramas on her tv screen, a melancholy flickering blue; the focus and intent with which my brother stared at his lab experiment, which he of course started only when it was dark outside.
wednesday: the comforting taste of my mom’s khichdi, with cumin, ghee, fried garlic, and achaar, which reminds me always of the summer before my dad died where we ate it all the time; the mind-numbing wait in an urgent care, ears perked for various mispronunciations of my name; the standard and familiar drive to a chain coffee shop with my mom on a cold early afternoon, down the same, unchanging suburban streets.


crumbs in my bed probably toast or something [...] to pretend that life would ever be happy is a useless charade [...] fuck being evolved [...] when the cigarettes burn the back of my throat and it makes breathing hard it reminds of my mortality. shit is serious and anyone who isn't sad all the time is pretending or just got lucky [...] everyone fucked me [...] I miss Aditi [...] that shit fucked us both up [...] and they expect absolutely nothing from me [...]

101421 (ripe fruit)

what a peculiar space to be occupying at 8:30pm on a Thursday—a warm clear evening in San Francisco, everything a dusky blue and lavender in a melancholy light. the house is old, and this woman peculiar, like the house she's lived in for 27 years, or was it 28 [...] sometimes even though he reminds me of a puppy, docile and helpless, meaning well, I feel a deep connection to him and I feel seen, though he says such few words [...] I feel foolish, guilty, and young [...] I do nothing, and it affects me so deeply [...] but perform I do! like Aditi said, at least im not a heroin addict—where's my trophy? [...] why was I so quick to brand myself an outcast? why is it so safe to hate? [...] today I feel I have lost my grip on reality. I am in an unfamiliar place with my shoes off and if I stop writing someone will squid game me [...] the sound started glitching, or was that just a remix? [...] my horoscope has been eerily accurate. I need no reason to disbelieve. [...] my pity party brings no boys to the yard, no sir. Catherine asked—why don't we have boyfriends? mouth full of frozen pupusa, I responded—I know, right?


the inside of the muni bus looks like a deconstructed minion—at 11:02 p.m. on a monday a sharp man who looks like he lives in Berkeley gets on the 5—he tries to pay twice (to his credit) but throws up his hands (comically) when it doesn't work and sits right down—he wears a blue crewneck sweater with a crest, starched collar, and is carrying an almost-empty liter bottle of pink lemonade...where is he shuttling to, so deep in the richmond, so late at night, with so little lemonade? once, soft r&b plays out of someone's shitty phone speaker, but when the bus comes to a halt it is so silent you can hear me gulp...everyone is so quiet that they come into full focus, in themselves as individuals, each a quiet soul in the night, a start and an end on this eerie ride...my key is in between my fingers, it feels like a toy that I can bend if I will it hard enough, like somehow the amoral strangeness of this empty-ish bus has bestowed me with a curious superhumanism...I did not pay my fare this time, but I do sometimes...