Say It Straight and Humble

I'm Alison. I'm twenty three. I live near the ocean. I'm trying to learn how to be a writer.

"Present the luminous detail and do not comment." - Ezra Pound

July 16th

The full moon, egg-moon, searchlight-moon. The too full, leave me alone, get out of my face, moon. The moon huge and unashamed in the charred black sky, the moon looking at me with a raised eyebrow and a frank expression on her face. The moon always tired of my shit. The blonde boy sprinting down Telegraph Avenue at a quarter to midnight on a Sunday night, carrying sunflowers in his right hand, his backpack bouncing wildly on his back. The look on his face: huge, unashamed. The concrete sidewalk warm beneath my bare legs, warm like the earth has a low fever. Brushing my hair out in front of the mirror, stroke by stroke, my hair more straw than silk, dry and staticky, listening to Danielle talk to her ex-boyfriend on the phone for the first time in the next room, her voice rising and falling like waves: wind-chime laughter and dragging desperation. Not knowing where you are tonight, knowing that you are somewhere on the border of California and Oregon, knowing the ground is hard beneath your back, knowing the way the moonlight is falling on your freckled shoulders, remembering (that fierce scrape of memory) the first time I woke up, panicked at four in the morning, and saw you sleeping next to me: freckles and moonlight, the soft dip of your upper lip, realizing that I could run down every backstreet, could ignore every ringing phone, I could try my hardest to keep this from happening and I would always end up here and here and here.

it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world

mary oliver

(every morning, when i leave for work, when i open the front door and step out onto the porch and breathe in, this pops into my head, like clockwork)


I’m sorry to all the blades of grass I have picked and pulled and split open because I was bored or anxious or distracted or didn’t want to look at someone’s face while I was telling them something important.


I’m sorry I have a heart so big it could fill an elevator but the doors open on every floor and it is always too scared too scared too scared to get off.


I’m sorry that I don’t trust my mother to be stable and whenever we fight, as I turn to walk away, I worry and worry and I feel the soft tug of fear pulling me back towards her like a stretched out rubberband.


I’m sorry that I’m just as unstable as my mother but nobody knows except me and I keep it wrapped rubberband-tight around my big elevator heart.

I’m sorry that I’m so sorry all the time. I’m sorry that I was taught to fold myself neatly against everyone else, I’m sorry that I taught myself to swallow everything sharp, I’m sorry I swallowed so much that I should have spat out, I’m sorry it all lives inside of me now.


I’m sorry that I hurt the boy who loved me when I was my sharpest, who loved me when I had a mouthful of rocks and a clenched fist where my heart should have been, who loved me for two years as I darkened like a wine stain from sweet to bitter, who always answered the phone, who always opened the door, who always walked me home, who watched me stumble through my twentieth year of life trying to find some brokenhearted way to love the world again. I’m sorry you weren’t there to watch me find it. I wish it could have been you.


I’m sorry I almost hit a dog on my way home because I was driving without my glasses and I wanted to get home quickly because I was hungry and I wanted to make a pizza. I’m sorry I scared you, dog. I promise to be more careful.


I’m sorry you died.

I’m sorry you died and I still get to live.

I’m sorry you died and I still get to live and I’m sorry I’m too scared to even do that.


Last week, I read an interview with a woman who said, when I write, I am an ugly woman. I’m sorry I can’t find a way to love and respect this ugly woman that pulses inside of me, wailing and wiping her snot on the sleeve of her sweater. I’m sorry that sometimes I try to make her quieter and prettier. I hope someday I will be less scared of her, that I will forgive her for being ugly, that I will embrace her for being ugly.


I’m sorry that there are people who still feel sad while looking at mountains, who can think only of the canyons of loneliness inside their own chests.


I am sorry that you’re dead and I am crying in a botanical garden staring at the green swelling wall of mountains in front of me and worrying about my mother, her thin skin, her tired mind, her collapsed lung, her soft heart.


I’m sorry I judge people who call their husbands “daddy” instead of their actual name. I’m sorry that makes me assume that you no longer have sex with him. I’m sorry I can’t stop listening to Cat Power in my underwear long enough to live my life. I’m sorry I felt a small electric flicker of happiness when I heard your new girlfriend is boring. I’m sorry your new girlfriend is boring. I’m sorry I always hoped we would end up together. I’m sorry I always knew we wouldn’t. 

my favorite thing is when a sassy queen does a cover of another sassy queen and the whole world seems to make a little more sense

summer, hurry up

summer, hurry up


and i got nothing to be nervous about

hungering over you

May 1st

In April, we fight. My horoscope tells me I will be batshit crazy and I am. My breath is thick with jealousy – I am drunk off jealousy, drowning in it. I avoid your calls because I remember that feeling molding in the pit of my stomach after we hang up. I sit on my front stoop late at night and put my head in my hands. I run my thumb along the underside of my forearm and try to remember what being alone feels like, the rawness of it, the tenderness of it. I get pimples and canker sores; my skin is blooming and red and violently angry. There is a lunar eclipse one night in the middle of April, the moon blushing deep pomegranate, the moon carving a faded wine stain into the velvet sky. Everyone calls it blood-moon, grapefruit-moon. Everyone tries to take pictures but it doesn’t really work. I spend thirty minutes on my porch trying to find the moon through the fog before giving up. My horoscope tells me I will continue to be crazy and I do. I am silent and sullen. I catch my reflection as I am walking to work and I think, stony. I bare my teeth in the mirror after lunch and I think, rocks. On the way home from the bar one night we pass a homeless man sitting in an abandoned red corduroy armchair on the corner of Mohawk and Sunset. He is singing Love Me Tender low and growling, his voice slow and scratchy with drunken sadness. “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go.” For a moment this feels like the saddest thing I have ever seen. His desperation is huge and empty and almost magnetic. The stench of his sadness is almost sweet, almost perfume, like spring morning flowers so goddamn beautiful they make you want to cry. For a moment, I want to turn back towards him. For a moment, I want to stand still and listen. He is giving it all he’s got and I am giving so little. He is giving it all he’s got and I can’t even look around and see what I have. My horoscope tells me I am crazy and to be patient. The homeless man on the corner of Mohawk and Sunset begs someone not to let him go, howls it into the night sky like he is trying to sweet-talk the moon. The moon, the blood-moon, the batshit-crazy moon, stands still, listens.