Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm alive

I am finally home after spending a month in the hospital. I actually decided to write about my time there and hopefully submit it to a writing contest. It will be the first thing I have ever submitted even though I have been writing for years. Hopefully this isn't a let-down...
I was in the hospital due to a gruesome car wreck which wasn't my fault and I was alone. I was also the only one hospitalized which is actually a blessing because the other car was a van full of kids. I would have had to live with that the rest of my life...the old truck I was driving crushed up like an accordion and I found out later that the engine ended up next to me on the bench seat, the gas tank was located under the driver's seat and that I suffered from a brain hemorrhage. I knew none of this..
Due to the crash and my multiple injuries I had to defer my fall semester at Mills, which of course I was upset over. At first I thought I would be able to take a class, especially the class taught by Kara Wittman, whom I had never had before. She was teaching a class called "Story and the State" which was built on the theory that novels were written due to the political atmosphere of the time, which I agree with and was looking forward to. I bought all the books for the class so maybe I will still read them. One of them is To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf which I have always wanted to read.
 I guess that's all that is really new. I am happy to be alive and excited to write my first book!
Well, as promised a while ago I will include a poem with each of my posts.
This poem is actually by a classmate I had in college and this poem was featured in Calpoly's literary magazine the Byzantium, which I worked on my senior year. I loved this poem and I think it encapsulates loneliness perfectly. If I remember correctly, it won 3rd place in the Al Landwehr writing contest, where the winners were then published in the Byzantium. Soledad is a small city north of San Luis Obispo and is not very big...


I haven’t talked to anyone in weeks.
Well, not more than a few words.
I tried to start up a conversation with a guy
in a New Mexico diner the other day;
I was hauling a load of horse manure downstate,
and he dabbling in tax evasion.
Well, that’s what it sounded like to me, but
that’s as far as we got.

I can feel the tiny veins in my eyes
poking out like parched flowers in a drought.                                         
Weak headlights and the soft drone of
an aching cowboy and his guitar.  He’s
wailing that breed of sorrow you can’t help but laugh at.
Which, I suppose, makes it all the more sad...

Loneliness, Mr. Alvarez had said
with a sad, knowing wink as he’d handed over the keys:
Loneliness comes with the job, brother.

I roll down the window and the cool night breeze
hits me full in the face.
I’ve forgotten how cold it gets out here.
I light a cigarette in my right hand and hang the other out the window,
arm bent at the elbow.
The glowing stick feels good in my hand, almost like
its warmth could be traced to some living, breathing center –
some reassuring pulse that might keep me awake with a story,
or lay soft on my shoulder, yawning and happy
as the vineyards blur into muddy brown streaks...

But it doesn’t, and the nicotine drains from my brain
like sand in an hourglass, counting the days ‘till –
I’m tired again.

I pull into the next rest stop and kill the engine.
Christ, what a name.
I don’t stay long – gas station coffee,
chips, and more cigarettes – but before I hit the freeway again,
a sign catches my eye.

I chuckle.
At least someone out here has a sense of humor –
what exactly is happening in Soledad?