1. Close (But Not Quite) 




You pace around your empty apartment three or four more times before you finally get back to writing. It’s still early so you don’t bother to check the time. You walk out onto your cramped balcony and sit in the white rocking chair, your black journal on the foldable table to your left. You only write in journals because dead poets didn’t use word processors. You lean forward and look at the oncoming cars below and wonder if they’ll ever stop. LA is beautiful but it’s always trying. You begin to sweat so you take off your white shirt. Even if nothing comes of this, at least your shoulders will be tanned. You prop yourself up to stare at all of the empty pages in front of you and think of what could happen. You flip through what you’ve already written but your handwriting is indecipherable--a terrible left handed mix of cursive and all caps. Your biographers will probably hate you for it. You forget your pen inside. It’s a uni-ball ONYX micro point and it’s fucking great. You go back inside to get the pen but you get your phone too. You stop to sit on the couch for a little while and look at photos of people you’re not close to. It’s not so early anymore. You head back out to start writing but you make a mess instead, filling pages with awful caricatures and scratched out first lines. You wish it were easier to be Virginia Woolf or Frank Ocean. You stop again. You grab the broom from the kitchen and sweep the balcony. If your mother saw how dirty your feet were, she’d kill you. The cars are still coming. You replace the broom with your acoustic guitar. You play folk songs from the 60s and hum the words. It comes easy and you don’t think. You even close your eyes. You put your guitar down to try writing again.You sit in silence and scribble nothing wildly. You begin to brood a little but mainly you check your email inboxes on your phone. Your English teacher said to write while uncomfortable. Maybe you’re too comfortable. But you’re never comfortable. You turn to another page as the cars continue to hum below.

***This piece can be found in-print in The Paper Mixtape Issue 006. 
Mark