21 May 2009

Sidda clutched the stone side of the church. Her fingers scraped at the grain, and her brittle nails cracked. Her thoughts swirled with visions of the whitewashed slats on the house, the curling, browning vines. She licked the seeping blood from her fingertips and cringed. Her hair hung in her eyes. She rubbed them. Red and tired from the night before, her eyelids fell like sinking ships when she collapsed on the church steps. How silly she was; how suspended.
Raindrops slid from her forehead, slid over her eyes and through her fingers.
The trees ahead of her fuzzed and danced in her vision, colored and dizzy. Her fingers scanned and explored her scalp, searching for any bumps or bruises. Sidda felt along the tree trunks towards the park, carefully aligning her steps so to avoid another fall. 
Kaleidoscopic dreamscapes and twisted figures drifted through Sidda's eyes and mind. 
Her dress was dirty. Gravel stained the front, and dirt from the shoes of church-goers left prints on the hem. Sidda dropped to her knees. Crawling towards the play structure, Sidda heard a deep sigh. Pausing, she cooed. 
A pudgy hand gripped a clod of dirt and crumbled it. 
Sidda pulled herself towards the slide, red and glaring. Her lips felt the cool metal. 
A body stirred under the slide.
Sidda was feeling so dizzy that she sank down in the ditch with her legs twisted under her. 
A pudgy hand fell softly near her head. Sidda's head turned slowly. Her motions, syrupy, were slow and deliberate. She peered under the slide.
The old woman's eyes drooped. Her lips trembled, then fell.
Sidda leaned towards her, humming. She felt the woman's wrinkled face, traced the lines gently.
Sidda melted into the dirt, then threw up.

06 May 2009

inward and outward to northward and southward curblines dip and swim along the street sidewalks lingering she steps on the edge and slips, dribbles, over the side tumbling tumbling TUMBLING
the grey dips into her and cradles her close her heart it swaddles until sidda gurgles and laughs with the honey air she laughs
her tomato vines keep strings in her and curl around her veins and tentacles stretch round her birdbones, so delicate. gauzy white flutters over her shoulders and sweeps across wet grass tawny grass teatime colored
her mothers lips sag and melt into her waxy face screaming yelling chiding holding groping flinging heartpieces and slippery wishes into siddas resistant arms her heavy arms her lanky arms
teawhite antique white beige taupe peeling taupe from her walls her grey self falls into the wallpaper and soaks it with sweat and eye juice, soggy
donald donald she grabbed his wrist that day on the curb the bench she gripped held tight
whitewashed slats cover rotting walls filth filth FILTHY SHE IS you belong to me she said YOU BELONG not here TO ME
wine-o lips kiss kiss kiss hang loose spidery threads tie tiny knots
this knot is used to temporarily secure a marlinspike, a device used to splice rope, to another object. it is a useful knot if the sailor needed to hold something and wanted to be sure the marlinspike would be safe
and tangle her limbs with the vines and leaves and hairstrings and her mothers words that sink her heart and crawl into her ear
velvet swaddles her face flushed. the puddles glint in fleeting light that gleams for a MOMENT she grips the pavement traces the lines with her fingertips smoke curls from her nails and through her palms and she crumbles

19 April 2009

Sidda felt the sagging fabric, rubbed it between her fingers. She sniffed the musty lace and holey velvet. She held it close.
The woman who'd let her in sat on a velveteen stool, tinkering with a necklace of gaudy costume jewels. The fake diamonds glittered. One slid to the end of the string, away from the others, held to the wire only by a small metal clasp. The woman gently pushed the jewel back in place. A cigarette burned in a teacup next to her. Leathery lips spoke first; Sidda's hair tickled at the woman's voice.
"Silk feels warm, to me. The thin lushness, the dew of the fabric, slides cleanly and feels close. It slips so softly, it's as if it weren't there," she said, pausing to take a long drag from the cigarette nub. The bright end burned close. "Have you ever frayed silk before? The fibers mesh tight. It's like they're inseparable. When you catch a thread, though," she paused, tinkling the glass jewels together, "it splits quickly and smoothly, leaving the others to fray slowly. Take the first, and the rest are sure to feather." Her dark nails scratched the teacup where the cigarette lay, burned out. The woman flicked ash from her fingertips, then placed the necklace delicately on the counter.
The door tinkled as it opened. A thin, dirty man stepped through the doorway, holding a paper bag stained with oily wetness. "Ronald," the woman nodded. The man nodded back, then noticed Sidda. He glanced at her, then moved toward the counter where the old woman sat.
She reached under the table, pulling a small metal box to the tabletop. The dusty light glinted off the face of the box. The man called Ronald reached for the box, but the woman's weathered hand reached out and stopped him. After a minute of silence, Ronald leaned into her ear, murmured, then placed the box in his coat pocket. Turning to leave, Ronald lingered near Sidda before jingling the door.
Sidda let the worn velvet ripple out of her hands.

08 March 2009

Her mother'd sent a letter.
How's the apartment? Drab, no? I told you it would be. I'll send some paper and canned soups. Heaven knows what you've been eating. Virginia is gorgeous this time of year. Ethan says hello. Love,
Sidda dipped each corner of the notebook paper in her teacup until the words blurred together and the red and blue ink of the paper slid down the sides. She wouldn't eat the soup when it came. She'd throw it down the fire escape, or leave it in Felix's tunnel. Her mother's good intentions made Sidda cringe.
Sidda was nineteen last year, when she'd left. She'd never left Virginia before; the tomato plants and curling vines had kept her occupied, blind to opportunity. Blind to monotony.
She felt the paper fibers sag and melt.

Outside, the streetlamps made the street glow. Like long glowworms, Sidda thought. She dipped back into the alley, where'd she left her things the night before. As she turned to leave the dingy, dark corridor, she passed the noodle stand. The dank smell of soggy noodles tickled her senses, and she grinned. Unconciously, she ran her fingertips along the stand. Her nails scraped lightly. The man watched her curiously as she stepped out of the alley, back onto the glowing streets.
Around the corner, Sidda rang the bell. The door to the costume shop creaked open, the musty smell curling out of the crack. Two beady eyes, glazed, peered at Sidda before the door opened a little wider, just wide enough for Sidda to slip through the crack into the shop.

13 February 2009

Sidda sat on the curb outside the bookshop. Her shoes slurped slush from the street; sewer grime soaked into the soles of her shoes. Her feet wrinkled, like wet book pages, and felt numb. Not felt at all, rather. Her feet numbed.
Wind slapped her cheek, stinging. Sidda appreciated hard feelings. She liked sharp feelings, sharp slaps and rude awakenings. Soft glances and daintiness made her weary. She lived within soft edges, and the occasional corner made her tingle.
Sidda twiddled a bent, crinkled card in her hand. She'd found it on the sidewalk: an advertisement for Le Royale. She flipped it over with her thumb and finger, then flipped it back. Over, back. The edges curled and split. 
Lu rounded the corner. He threw a glance over his shoulder, to make sure Ms. Li hadn't followed him. His fingers dug into his pockets, pulling at the skin beneath the thin cotton. His shoulders twitched. He glanced at the sky, blue today. Slush crowded the sides of the sidewalk.
Sidda leaned back on her hands. Her fingers dug into the slush, melting the watery snow so it dribbled through her gloves. She glanced at the sky, grey earlier.
Sidda didn't feel Lu step on her hand. The pressure felt good: the numbness felt. 
"Oh!" Lu gasped. He knelt beside Sidda, then hesitated. "Uh, are you okay? I mean, uh, are your fingers okay?"
Sidda's lips curled. "I couldn't feel it, anyways," she drawled. Lu's brow wrinkled. Her accent startled him. Unfamiliar.
Lu noticed the card beside Sidda. He wrestled a hand from his pocket, and slid the card into his coat pocket, for later. 
Sidda stood, embarrassed now. Lu stood with her, and nodded tersely. Sidda turned. Lu hesitated, then turned back towards his shop. Dead leaves swirled in the breezes around their heads.

20 January 2009

Sidda's fingers left damp smudges on the papers. The ink curled under her fingertips and bled into its neighboring word. Her brow furrowed. Her tongue slid over her cracked lips. She sat under the window, near the floor vent. A thin blanket lay, draped, over her shoulders.
Her grip tightened. The papers, limp in her hands, creased softly, tugging at the corners. Her throat growled and Sidda crumpled the papers in her clammy fist.
She crawled to the kitchenette, where the tea kettle whistled. Her apartment was, for the most part, empty; she'd brought her small things (a kettle, terry sheets, the Lamp She Loved) and three cushions, to sit on. The rest of the dusty furniture had belonged to her mother's friend, her mother's late friend. An iron bed sat against the wall in the middle of the main room; a tiny kitchen sat to the left and a small bathroom with a view had its door in the back corner.
Sidda poured the water into a chipped teacup, and slid to the floor. She blinked, tasted. Blinked, sat still. The steam from the tea made droplets to slide down her nose. The lamp crackled, then went out. Sidda flipped the switch back and forth, but it was dark. She shivered. It was getting dark outside; streams of light faded from the window. 
Sidda sighed, placed her cup on the floor beside her, and stood to leave. She wrapped scarves around her neck and slid her fingers into the wool gloves her mother'd sent. A thin cockroach skittered in the corner; even the roaches were cold. Sidda slid her keys off the table into her pocket, and shut the door behind her.

Sidda felt her way down the stairwell. The cold rail of the metal stairs warmed to her touch. She hated the cold; Virginia hadn't ever been this cold. It made her ears ring and her eyes water. She pushed the side door open, slid against the metal door and stepped into the street.
Rounding the corner, Sidda fingered a loose lock of hair. Her hair hung wild around her head, like a lion. She watched the cracked sidewalk as she walked, her eyes turned low and nose burrowed in her scarves.
She was close, now. Pools of water and scum hugged the steps leading down to the tunnel. Faded, once bright graffitti sprayed like wallpaper on the tunnel walls peeled back to reveal dirty cement and hard grime. Sidda placed her feet carefully on each step, pausing before continuing down the short flight.
Light from the street poured into the tunnel. Crouched near the wall, a man sat, twiddling a twig in his dirty fingers, dirty nails. She knew him; Felix had always been there, since she'd moved in. The two had an arrangement: Sidda would leave lines of poems she loved for Felix, and he'd stay silent when she passed through the tunnel. Sidda wasn't one for small talk, or any talk at all.
Sidda stepped daintily over the puddles and scraps, careful not to make a sound (in efforts to avoid disturbing the quiet peace that whispered in the tunnel).
When she emerged from the tunnel, she sighed. She'd held her breath.

13 January 2009

A Light Introduction

A thin layer of dust, like silk, lay over the dim apartment. Thin rays of light filtered through the windows, peeking through the holes in the once regal, now ratty curtains. Gold thread tied tightly held the heavy drapes to the windows, making them difficult to push open. Dust outlined the folds on the floor.
Silver spiders spun light strings of silk in the shadows of the fabric and starved when no flittering wings caught in their alluring traps.
On the window sill above the sink, she had lined up little glass bottles in a row. Light filtered through the eerie green and brown glass and made the kitchen feel less real. More romantic, almost. A thin thread held to the window glass, electrified and suspended.
She hadn't lived there for long. A friend of the family had died earlier that year, and the apartment, 1112C, had been left to fold into itself, rest in its unimposing, unsupposing state.
Sidda turned the keys in the lock, pushed the hollow door open and dropped her bag on the floor next to the piles of crumpled paper. She was alone.