Posts in Distant
Distant: Emma Suzanne

01. Writer

Emma Suzanne


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Parov Stelar
feat. Lilja Bloom:
Coco


04. WRITING

An important relationship

Away
That’s you
Far, as in a place
but now also distant
in heart.

Distant,
but distinct.

I don’t resent you
We finally
learned to keep our distance
Still
there's meaning

I remember a time I longed for you
A painful yearning
On the banks of the Arakawa
looking out beyond
where the highway separates
the Naka river from the main
A small island of concrete
in the lapping ripples
The sea river

And I felt the pain
Pain from confusion
At times, intense
Other times distant

It lapped
up and down like the waves
But indeed
a constant tugging on the heart
that admittedly,
took a long time to settle

And before that
The time I met you
when curiosities unfolded

The time I knew you
The bond we formed
Something lost, connected.
A surging, dangerous river
The time I had you.
My soul, unashamed
A slippery animal

We never admitted
The depth of what we forged
Guilt
made it deeper
Maybe

The responsibility we never took

Distance.
The inevitable
that would separate our mess
Our only reprieve
The way out.  

Yet oceans between us
was little relief
from all
that we failed to sort out 

For you too?
I wondered
It pulled on you too
Hesitation
Persistence

But the purpose of us
wasn’t for each other

You unraveled me.
A catalyst, you were 

The waves they rocked
So close to the edge
Only the distance would tell

Make it more distant
the bank
from the waterline

A river calmed. 

Distance is time
Distance is learning
Distance achieved,
Wisdom.

I’m grateful.
I won’t forget. 

Now
even if made possible
our interactions
are all spent

We only exist in thoughts
Recollections. 

An untraditional, but
important relationship.

Distant: AJ Condon

01. Writer

AJ Condon


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Pinegrove: 
Aphasia


04. WRITING

I've hunted your kind for ages.
In a sea where I've fished with my brothers.
I was created in mud
and it's where I belong, 
but you darling, 
The art of your Mother.  
This maniacal world brought together
you’re changing. 
your moods are the weather 
It’s your fault.
You ought to know better 
Like skinny dipping in December 
Our finger tips
They touch 
And yet we are miles apart 
You’re scared 
I'll set up camp and fire
In the layers of your heart 
Chicagos not that far 
California, not much further 
Don't be scared
We'll find repair 
You the wonder
I the observer
I'll have your fears and bury them
In the very deepest well
And plant a garden overtop
you'll never even tell

The Devils breath could never thaw
The pictures of you 
Where you are 
Frozen in my mind 
As I cower down in awe 
Never loved ya past a picture
But I've imagined futures
And still there’s no reaction 
Like a PG kama sutra 
You and I
The dark outside
Cold crystal breath
Fingers pressed against my chest, 
Is this something I could fake? 
Is this feeling just a test? 
it's less than just two weeks. 
I saw you down the street 
You’re worlds away
We’d freeze in Space 
You don't exist to me 

If I could change your mind that fast
The winds would die down 
And the lake turn to glass
You think you've never been worth what you’re worth to me now, in the past.
So send me packing on 
I want what you want
A little piece of heaven
A tunnel to a Con 
Guns loaded 
Like an ak47, Vietnam 
Are you tired, love, my dearest?
Don’t have to be so serious,
Just grant a dying man his wish
For you, it can be meaningless
My friends can’t help but ask 
“is the driving really worth her?” 
I say.. Chicagos not that far
California, not much further.

Distant: Sam Moore

01. Writer

Sam Moore


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Lena Raine: 
Trance State


04. WRITING

            I stared down into a cloudy cup of coffee I had barely touched. Next to it, a plate with some sort of generic pastry with a tiny nibble taken out. I stirred the cup with a spoon and watched the cream swirl and churn like the warning signs of a terrible storm.

            “...Anyway, does that make sense?” she asked.

            I looked up. Her head was cocked slightly to the side with a look of genuine concern. The cafe was mostly empty, minus us, and the baristas. One person, presumably a student, sat in the corner with textbooks and papers that were strewn about in a big mess. An elderly man sat by the window with a newspaper draped across his lap and his head drooped forward. The occasional snore escaped his mouth.

            I met her eyes. Deep pools of dark blue, like the ocean at night. Too deep. I look away. Behind her, rain splattered the windows in a steady, monotonous tone that sounded like countless bubble wrap being popped simultaneously. The world seemed stuck in a groggy, lethargic haze. I rubbed my eyes, watched strange colors pulse and splash behind their lids.

            “I’m sorry, I--”

            “This is exactly what I’m talking about,” she interjected. “You seem so...distant.” She said it without any trace of malice or indignation, as if she was simply stating a scientific observation. “Are you even here in front of me now? Sometimes I’m not so sure.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She considered it for a moment, glanced down at her hands like she was looking for something that wasn’t there as she organized her words exactly how she wanted them. “It’s like I’m talking to a fragment of you. A shadow. Like I simply think I’m speaking to you when in reality you’re in another world entirely, and this is just the residue that got left behind.”

            Lush keys and a subtle beat droned over the speakers like a gentle wave ebbing and flowing through the room. I swirled my cup of coffee again out of nervous habit and stared down and through its murky colors.

            “I’m pretty sure I’m still here,” I said half-smiling. “More than residue. Flesh and blood, right? Drinking a mediocre and overpriced cup of coffee and enjoying a rainy day.”

            She didn’t smile back. In fact, she didn’t do anything but patiently wait in hopes that I’d say something more substantial. At the bottom of those deep pools of dark blue I could see her grasping for something. Something to hold on to, something she could take away from this talk. Noiseless walls closed in our conversation, walls I couldn’t very well push away.

            “Look,” I said, filling the palpable silence. “I’m still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m just tired. This happens sometimes. You’ve known for me for, what, how long? A long, long while. It’s like a cycle that comes and goes. You’ve seen it. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Sometimes I just have to thaw out, so to speak, the same way the branches do after winter so they can sprout leaves again. No need to worry.”

            Something told me she wasn’t convinced. Maybe she was still waiting for me to say more. Perhaps she was trying to get a read on me and see if I was convinced of what I’d said. The student in the corner was rapidly flipping through the pages in their textbook, evidently searching for an answer they missed. The old man by the window was still sound asleep, his newspaper having slipped off his lap and onto the floor. Another song similar to the last one played on, like one continuous blend of sonic waves. Noiseless walls, closer.

            “Really, I mean it,” I added.

She cupped her hands around her mug of tea, absorbing its warmth. She looked like she was formulating a response but simply, finally settled on “Okay” and took a sip of her hot tea. Was that all? Should I be relieved or worried by how quickly that ended? And why couldn’t I tell?

“Want to try it?” she asked, scooting her mug across the table towards me. The tea smelled like earth and flowers and tasted similar.

“It’s not bad,” I said.

“You ought to be a professional critic.”

“Maybe I will.”

We chatted for the duration of several more songs, catching up for the first time in a while. The conversation was much more relaxed and casual from here on out. This was her last semester before leaving for Europe to study abroad. I’d known for some time, but she didn’t talk about it much. When I asked her about it, she offered up only surface-level details and tried to sound modest. Underneath, though, I could tell she was about to burst with excitement. Maybe she found it the polite thing to do.

“Anyway, I have to get going,” she said after some time. “Closing shift tonight.”

“I hope you make tons of tips,” I said.

“Not likely. But thank you anyway.” She grabbed her umbrella, put on her coat, and stood up to leave.

“You know, even if you’re not here, it was good to catch up from a distance,” she said. Then, she was gone.

 

I stayed for a while longer. The rain continued to fall, warding off any more potential customers. The student left soon thereafter, leaving just me and the sleepy man by the window. I imagined he’d be there all night until the staff had to awkwardly wake him up and ask him to leave.

            I turned in a couple assignments online and tried to do some pleasure reading, but my mind was elsewhere. I’d reread a page several times, but none of it was being absorbed. Her words lolled around in my head, knocking into any other thoughts that tried to pass through.

            “...you’re in another world entirely, and this is just the residue that got left behind.”

            Residue. Was it true? If I wasn’t here, where was I?

            The groggy, lethargic haze the world seemed to be stuck in was lulling me into a tired staleness, like I could pass out any moment without even realizing it. I decided it was time to leave. I was no longer being productive, and trying to read was about as successful as trying to water a plant through concrete. Nothing was getting through. I still had barely touched my coffee or pastry and felt bad about throwing them away. To alleviate my guilty conscience I took another bite of the pastry so I wasn’t wasting quite as much, and I asked for a to-go cup for the coffee even though I probably wouldn’t finish it anyway. I packed up my things and left.

            The moment I stepped outside, it stopped raining. Or, to be more accurately, it hadn’t been raining in the first place. Not here.

            Instead of stepping out onto the gloomy, rainy sidewalk…

 

            ...I found myself in a vibrant, thriving forest.

Endless trees loomed like giants with outstretched limbs, splashed in heaping doses of glossy green. I watched leaves bud and spring to life before my eyes, like time was passing through them and speeding up the process. As real and unreal as anything I’d ever seen. I plucked a leaf off a branch--I had to see if it was real--and no sooner had another leaf sprout in its place. The wind made the forest appear as if it were taking in large gulps of air and letting them out slowly. A living, breathing haven. Almost as if it were sentient. I let the leaf go and watched it float off, carried away by the gale.

            Above was cloudless twilight, the sky perfect nightfallen blue. I looked behind me--the door I passed through in the cafe was replaced with an old, worn-out one the color of dead leaves. It stood there, detached from anything else, as if it had blossomed from the ground as a natural part of the woods. If I turned the handle and went back through that door, would I find myself back in the other world? Something held me back. Perhaps I didn’t want to leave the tranquility, or maybe felt that it wasn’t time to leave. Not yet. I turned and left the strange door where it was, guided by nothing so concrete as consciousness, but something deeper. A sleepwalker in a waking dream.

            If this is a dream, I thought. I’m not so sure. Why does it feel so strangely familiar?

I waded through this strange and peaceful forest, unsure of where I was heading, only knowing that I was supposed to be heading somewhere. How did I know this? Logically it made no sense, which, for some reason, didn’t alarm me. The illogical seemed to flow smoother here, and I was swept away in its current.

A gradual change started to take place, like a mask slowly being peeled off. The comfort of here started to drain. Something churned inside me. Worry? As I progressed further and further in, the vibrancy of the forest seemed to dwindle as if it were dying right before my eyes. Gradually, at first, as leaves changed from greens to reds, before plummeting into lifelessness and barren branches. This is when I realized--

            “This is where you’ve been going, isn’t it?”

            She was sitting on a tree stump as if she’d been waiting for me. The color had been completely sapped from every particle now, a black-and-white lens placed over the vibrant one. The trees looked were inky silhouettes, like shadows I could put my hand right through. The air had a cold greyness, and the moon above was crumbling concrete.

            “I get why,” she continued. “Why you’ve been coming here. Why you’ve been so distant, slipping off somewhere else. This place is really far away. It’s nice at first. Peaceful.Tranquil. A haven...”

A black leaf fluttered off a branch, but disappeared before it touched the ground.

“...but there’s nothing here for you.”

            Behind her a tree started to disintegrate, wisping away like ashes in the wind. The particles fluttered for a moment, and then were gone. It left an emptiness in its stead, like someone had rigorously erased reality.

            “I’ve been here many times,” I said, more to myself as a sudden realization. “I’ve never seen this happen before, though.”

            “That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening. You just haven’t noticed it. Maybe you haven’t wanted to.” Behind her the erasing picked up speed, an encroaching wave of emptiness that made a noise like crackling fire as it removed everything in its path.

            “Why wouldn’t I want to notice this? It’s all going to be swallowed up. Then what will happen? Where will I go?”

            “I don’t know,” she said as the next line of trees disappeared behind her. “That’s not for me to say. I’m just glad I found you here. Like you’d finally let me find this place. And find you.”

            The erasing was louder, closer, right behind her. An invisible inferno eating everything in sight.

            “It seems like I was too late,” I said.

            The tendril-like roots of the stump she sat on started to fade. “I don’t think it’s too late,” she said as the erasing grabbed the base of the stump. “But you can’t stay here anymore.”

            I tried to respond, to say anything at all, but before I could she was gone, just as everything else was going, and I was hurtling back through what remained of this place like I’d been tethered by a long string and violently yanked backwards, the trees turning to comets of light trailing beside me and the crackling invisible inferno swallowing everything up just as I reached the door I arrived through that was already open and waiting and I fell through into a shimmering glow--

 

            --and groggily churned to life like an obsolete machine, rubbing my eyes and seeing more strange colors pulse and throb and then wash away as everything clicked back into focus. I felt like I was coming out of a dark tunnel and seeing light for the first time in days.

            “Ah, there you are. Welcome back,” said a voice. It belonged to one of the baristas. He was wiping down a table a few feet away. It was dark out, and the rain had stopped. There were no other customers, not even the old man who had passed out earlier in the middle of his newspaper. My book lay open, exactly where I’d left off, the same page I’d tried reading over and over to no avail.

            “We’re just about to close,” the barista said. I must have looked very disoriented, because he was holding back an amused smile. “You want a to-go cup for your coffee?” he asked. Some sort of vaguely-human noise must have lazily spilled out of my mouth because he returned a second later with my drink swapped from a mug into a paper cup. I thanked him (I’m fairly certain), and stumbled out onto the wet, grimy sidewalk. The jarring, cold night air swept away the lingering grogginess as I felt myself return to concrete, flesh-and-blood personhood again.

            Hazy images drifted in and out of my mind that night. Images of a strange door and a familiar face, of green being eaten up by emptiness. A place I’d been slipping away to too often without even knowing. That dream (if it was a dream--it felt more like a place I had actually traveled to while my body remained here) had jostled something loose in this world; a cause and effect that stirred something up inside me. Residue or not, I couldn’t ignore the feeling that something was changing. As I drifted off to sleep I thought of doors closing, of distances disappearing, of leaving empty places behind.

Distant: Michelle Lukezic

01. Writer

Michelle Lukezic


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Explosions In The Sky:
It’s Natural to Be Afraid


04. WRITING

Understand who you are. 
Decide what you want. 
Do what needs to be done.
Be the person you want to be. 

You’re afraid; do it anyways.
You’ve made a decision; a commitment.

Distant, distance.
Over 26 weeks out, over 26 miles ahead.
A long journey.

Practice is mandatory.
Action over mood.

Don’t react how you feel you need to;
react how you would like to.
Be the person you want to be. 

You are several positions away from your physical body. 
There is value in training the mind.

You start talking to yourself.
Stop it.
You have a choice. 

When you say you are going to do something; do it. 

Sacrifice whatever it takes to make sure that the one thing you promise yourself, actually happens.
Build evidence of your capability. capacity. consistency. confidence.

You are in control.
Stick to your word.

It’s never perfect.
You were destined to fail.
Life is about screwing you up.
You will get crushed, and when you chose to quit, that’s on you.

Be aware.
Be grateful.
Be grateful that you are aware that in this moment you have a choice.

Keep moving forward.
Be the person you want to be.

It will be uncomfortable.
Impossible.
Stay the course.

It will hurt.
Feel it. Embrace it. Fall in love.
The taste of sacrifice like metal on your tongue.
Evidence of dedication to your word.

Lean into the pain.
It will be over soon.
It will be over too soon.

55,000 steps.
It’s not easy; it wasn’t built that way.
But that’s why you decided to do it.
You were afraid; you did it anyways.

Follow your dreams.

Man, fuck that.
Find your fears.

Hunt them down.
Don’t hide from them;
don’t let them hide from you.
Expose them; expose yourself.

Identity is not fixed.
Story not permanent (nor pertinent).
You get to chose who you are.

You grow, you change, when you train;
when you stretch yourself. 

A glorious victory.
I know who I want to be.
I am who I want to be.

Distance, distant.
You’ve crossed the finish line.

Remember what you’ve accomplished.
How far you’ve come.
How far you are willing to go.
Let those markers of success ring-the-fuck-out.
Let the stories in accordance with the character you want to be resonate the most loud.

Distant: Robb Anthony

01. Writer

Robb Anthony


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Dr. Dog: 
Listening In


04. WRITING

You said you wanted light
Mine has never burned brighter
Instead you choose the dark
So I put out the fire

You write and say you miss me
Your words leap out and kiss me
Your actions speak louder; they scream and yell
Your silence, overcoming like the tide on a swell
I thought I knew you well but you always prove me wrong
I try to speak and tell you but I can only write this song

Your mystery is beauty and yet the hardest part
So I relinquish these feelings and admire your silent art.

Distant: Ethan Ehlers

01. Writer

Ethan Ehlers


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Dexter Gordon: 
Affair in Havana


04. WRITING

It’s a Cold Island

The 50s darts around like a thief's
cover blown at the premier’s banquet.
Clanging and sputtering in the sparsely
lit streets, in desperate need of cobbles.
And so on it goes crashing into
decades to and fro totaled beyond
recognition save its charms. 

The 60s far out,
push it to action

The 70s smoke,
lamely in its wake 

The 80s scorn,
the lemon to scrap 

The 90s admire,
the rust 

And we take it all in like water takes
salt into its body and throw it at the land.
Ah to be an island once it’s turned to sand.
There we still stand in Cuba, the Bahamas,
Jamaica, Aruba and most of all Haiti
Cursing the America’s for their fucking
romance.   

What do they Know?

Distant: Kathryn Gillespie

01. Writer

Kathryn Gillespie


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

The Smashing Pumpkins:
Heavy Metal Machine


04. WRITING

221 

steps through the park 
to the railroad tracks
with my dog every morning

wait for her to shit 
bag it up 
and fling it at the train 

don’t give a damn what I do 
in this ending world 

know the conductor 
hates herself as much as me 

know I’m only writing this poem 
because I’m angry 

because I’m sick

because I stopped on my walk 
to watch two monarchs flirt

thought 
you’re all supposed to be gone 

by now

Distant: April Daggett

01. Writer

April Daggett


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Snow Patrol: 
Set the Fire to the Third Bar


04. WRITING

Waiting on the balcony

These brown eyes,
They only see you.
And when I’m alone on the balcony,
I wait here missing you.

And when they are closed,
I picture your face.
Memories with you,
They will never erase.

And if I was blind,
I’d feel your handsome face.
Kiss your soft lips,
They could never be replaced.

These brown eyes,
They only see you...

I found my one and only,
It’s such a beautiful story.
There are endless pages to be written,
Say goodbye to being lonely.

I am here always.
My heart will stay true to you.
You chose wisely,
Because I will always take care of you.

Listen to you on your hard days,
Hold you when you need me.
Listen to you on your good days,
Because it warms my heart knowing you’re happy.

I am here always.
You’re everything to me.
So I will stay patient,
Waiting here on the balcony.

Forever she said.

Distant: Zak Anderson

01. Writer

Zak Anderson


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Kudasai: 
Dream of Her


04. WRITING

I am the air that moves on the sea.
Wind blows, I hope you miss me.
I’m never gonna see you again. 

5 am,
Open eyes, awake
You’re there, behind you, all the things you’d take.
Need I remind you of what you would leave?
Changing of season arrange me in grief.
Falling leaves I would wear as a wreath.
Bereaved trees and me standing beneath.
You took what was yours. You took it all.
Displaced and wasted, I gracelessly fall.
I wonder if you ever think back
To kingdoms of sprouting sidewalk cracks,
Long walks over endless train tracks.
We would dance to no music and make love to relax.
We had built a life, in word and in deed.
There are only weeds where we’d planted that seed.
I am the air that moves on the sea.
Wind blows, hope you miss me. 

I am the air that moves on the sea.
Wind blows, hope you miss me.
But I’m never gonna see you again. 

Wrath feels like justice until I am wrong.
I’ve always put my rage where it doesn’t belong.
The closer you are, the greater the heat.
My heart pushes magma with volcanic beats.
Sometimes I speak a language of flames.
I cannot extinguish the anguish of shame.
To have respect, be correct at all costs,
I’ve paid in friends and loved ones I’ve lost.
I am the monster I’ve forced me to be.
I’ve created distance, insistent, empty.
I am the air that moves on the sea.
Wind blows, hope you miss me. 

I am the air that moves on the sea,
Wind blows, hope you miss me.
But I’m never gonna see you again.

Distant: M.J.

01. Writer

M.J.


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

Thom York:
The Clock


04. WRITING

You say
you say
You'll come over today
And so casually
I wait
Seconds into Minutes,
become hours and then
Months again
The minutiae of a promise
Unkept, propels me backwards
And downwards
Hands on the clock
Stopped at midnight
And may have stopped
(stop)
stop
My heart
The receiver swings until
I can't dial again
Fingers numb remembering
Our line
was disconnected
decades ago

Distant: Brian Stout

01. Writer

Brian Stout


02. Theme

Distant


03. MUSIC INSPIRATION

The National:
Light Years


04. WRITING

It starts easily enough. Not innocently, but easily. It might be a fight that neither person wants to back down from that ends with one person going to bed.

Never go to bed angry, I heard. How is that even possible without feeling like you’re giving in all the time?

It turns into staying up later. Falling asleep on the couch with a laptop. A half-remembered episode of some series only you want to watch or songs only you like playing through headphones.

You’re not the only one feeling it. What about those books? The therapy? The articles you read over lunch? It’s like you’re not speaking the same language.

Then it spills over into the next day. Quiet morning coffee and a halfhearted well-wish.

A couple meaningless texts during the day. Maybe about picking up something or the weekend’s plans. That one is especially comforting (or constricting, depending on your mood). This will go on at least through the weekend.

By the time you get home from work, it’s not active. It’s lingering in the air, resentment bearing down on shoulders. Maybe it’s more like a land mine that’s buried beneath the couch or carpet, waiting for a wrong response to blow the whole thing open again. Maybe it happens months from now. Maybe you step on it on the way to bed or when you’re getting ready for sex or right after. It might be a word or a thought that takes your mind out of what’s happening. If you’re always ready for battle, you never recover from the fatigue.

Sometimes it gets better for a while, but it’s hard to trust. You wrack your brain trying to crack the code. How do you make this stay? After a while, you just assume there are landmines everywhere. Some are dormant, some are live.

And the worst part is, you’re better than this. You both are. There are years and years of memories of things you never thought you’d be, never thought you’d say, never thought you’d do. And you’re not the only one.

For some reason, you’re not able to connect the fucking dots. It might look good on paper or for a few hours when there’s company but that’s it.

 A lot forgiven, little forgotten.