ANYTHING AND EVERYTHINGPosted: April 10, 2014
I was traveling on a bus, and we stopped somewhere on the highway, and everyone got out to stretch and buy sandwiches and smoke, and I had a bottle of the coconut hand cream, and its smell mixed with pillow hair and bad breath and fingertips reminded me of our conversation about climate zones and geography, and how fast everything can change in just a few short miles. Like that morning I was running around the park and I paused at the bottom of a hill to knead a cramp with my knuckles and control my breath and all around me the grass looked vaporous, like it had been crying on a curb outside a bar, or it was huddled under an umbrella with lots of friends all smoking under their palms, but really it was just hot and the air was just cold and it was just people, standing alone, spread out over a field, watching their dogs play with the others. Like when we were broken teenagers at a party in an empty basement out in the country, and everyone we ever knew looked like they were aging and shrinking and almost dying, but it was actually just the lighting, and they were actually just laughing, and we weren’t able to stand up to cross the room to speak because all of the unsaid words tunneled in our throats were hanging in front of us like drooping wires, so we forever believed it would be our moment of electrocution and untimely death. Like that afternoon I lied down in bed and couldn’t get back up again, not for anything, ever, because anything that was everything had already happened and what had already happened was the snow slowly eating the tree branches outside of a classroom window, day after day, until all the smallest parts of this full, living, eating, speaking thing, were gone and not even the sun could figure out where they had disappeared to. Like that extra hot day in spring when the door opened and the couch was gone, and the blankets were gone, and the books from the bookcase were gone, and all that remained were really clean pink spots on the walls where photo frames had been and a coffee table stained with eighteen years of circles. Like that sweater she had got from a salvation army when she was twenty-one or twenty-two and wore whenever she cleaned the washroom or painted or cried, and she’d roll up the sleeves to wipe the sweat or the splatter, or roll down the sleeves to wipe the tears, and then hang it out to dry on a clothesline where anyone who was living or eating or speaking could possibly see, which I didn’t understand because she rarely spoke and mostly hid and always said not to worry and that everything that came out of her was made of the most truest, touchable, colourful, honest to god happiness. Like last week when I got out of the shower and stood wrapped in a towel, holding my breath and staring, at the bed which was unmade, at the corner of your postcard curling, at the dust just dripping in the line of light through the window, and all I wanted to do was take a picture, to keep anything that was everything in that one moment, falling into place on the yellow bedside table, the leaf of the orchid, before my eyes turned it all into just questionable shadows and dirt. Like that rat that was living laundry room, unnoticed, for weeks, probably months, who sneaked upstairs to eat all the fruits and veggies we left lying around like we could take anything we wanted and turn it into something granted, who we hated, and who finally showed his face on the last night of his life, running like he hadn’t run in weeks, probably months, through the chairs, around the table, up and down the hall, until finally his seemingly huge but actually very small body just gave out and he collapsed beside the fridge, and you killed him with a frying pan, and then we both just gave out, gave out, gave out. Like that month where I let myself smoke again, because everyday I let myself sink again, and everyday I let myself down again, and every time I let myself speak the words smoke or sink or down I felt sick or weak or fake, but I couldn’t help it, because everyday was just another day of everything, of opening eyes and being thirsty and needing to talk, of running in circles around dogs, of cleaning and painting and sometimes crying, and hanging things on clotheslines and watching dust fall. And at one point, it all just felt like that night I first heard you sing. And I listened through headphones, over and over, until my appetite was shot and I thought I’d be sick but was actually just left somewhere between forcing tears for twenty minutes into an orange pillow and forcing myself to believe there was no such thing as boredom, because how can such a thing exist, when beyond your brain there is a skull, and beyond your skull there is a room filled with noisemakers and clean clothes, and beyond that room there is a house filled with people and clothes and dirt and smells, and beyond that house there are even more people and clothes and dirt and smells, and beyond anything and everything else there are more and more smells, and so I boarded the bus again, to go find them, or come home to them, or love them and ignore them and be them, anything and everything, just filling and leaving all the smallest parts of a body, like traffic, or the time, or the breath.
Anything and Everything – Sara Flemington (2014)
ps: Sara is my roommate, and she’s also done me many a solid and contributed this poem to the Sophisticated Boom Boom zine, Issue #1 Spring 2014 and was a feature reader at the Sophisticated Boom Boom reading series in December 2013.