out west

i woke up in tucson to the the cactus's arms waving goodbye at us.

i woke up in a car in santa monica's $7 overnight parking lot and walked to the edge where the pacific ocean starts. i couldnt stop singing "under the boardwalk, down by the sea..." i wanted to be the girl who passed us, running barefoot by the shore.

i woke up on the top bunk to sounds of cars and bums haggling outside our window. we drove up to twin peaks and i could find myself searching for that street that will one day take me home. the street that as i imagine would house the best indian and pakistani restaurants, near the sea lions on the wharf, and our skinny apartment would have guitars and melodicas and jars of jasmine rice and jade walls. i could see myself waking up with 2 suitcases and departing from the state ive only known to be home to the city on a hill, the town by the bay, the land of earthquakes.

i woke up to the redwood forests swaying above me as the campfire stayed warm and cooked us breakfast in a can.

i woke up, shivering, to the oregon coast raising hell-- serious dune buggy riders equipped with bumper stickers galore beat us to the sand.

i woke up after a night of twilight and song with the music still ringing in my ears. i had found a stranger's printmaking studio and saw that their screen was named "bones" too. i tried the couscous-looking silkworm maggots on crackers and weird garlicky fruit as my new friends grilled octopi and baked pig's head. everyone looked like a strange gatsby scene, wearing zoot suits, 50s diner attire covering war wounds and tattoos, a silken romper with a golden metallic apron and heels, panty hose with high-waisted shorts, see-through dresses and oddly-shaped noses. i imagined myself living near the house with a garden in the front as i lit a fag and swooned.

i woke up and climbed to the top of multnomah falls. i tried to imagine myself being a water molecule, falling 80 feet below with millions of my molecular friends.

i woke up in the mountains and crossed the skinny bridge above the gorge to washington. in those bubbly hot springs near the near-freezing river rapids, jimmy prescribed himself with hot and cold water therapy as i daydreamed of india, climbing and waving to dhanan's elephants and tigers inked on his arm and back. we sat like mermaids on the rocks and sung about spiders and bugs until our hike of poison oak and turquoise mud sirened.

i woke up in red satin sheets to the one-eyed pug snoring like my grandma used to.

i woke up in the clouds. i woke up and the clouds outside the plane's window were moving like a theater's set, stage right to stage left. i had this familiar feeling of vertigo, and i wanted to grasp its vapors.


the vacuum.

i cant stop thinking about that couple.

it was el chilito chow down time on manor, and i dug myself into some fish tacos in that setting east austin sun. when i looked up, i smiled at a girl holding a vaccuum, walking toward me. i didnt think anything of it at the time... as i sipped more of my horchata, the thought of a girl holding a vacuum cleaner in a parking lot of a taco stand didnt phase me. by the time i almost forgot about her, hayley turned around and said, "ah man... look. theyre breaking up." i turned my head to see the same girl glancing at another guy as though they were both about to die. they argued a little, and then she handed over the vacuum to the guy behind his corolla, trunk opened and vulnerable. they embraced, but only for a split second. as the vacuum became exchanged from one shared owner's hand to the next, the guy fiercely looked at this woman, shoved the cleaner in the trunk and slammed it shut with a swift one-hand movement. hayley turned around facing me and mumbled a, "dude, breakups are so sad." im sure at that moment, she was completely done with thinking about the couple, but i couldnt take my eyes off them. they got in their separate cars playing their separate music trying to soothe that separate but equal ache that no shared vacuum could suck up. as the cars reversed and parted opposite directions on manor, i wondered if that was the last human kind would see of those two people together, in the same vicinity, or, if they are like the rest of us, if the two were quivering with their cell phone's opened speed dial, waiting to dial that number they knew they shouldn't.