a.e. hart's sketchpad

Category: insomniac files


i quit writing, and started painting
so now im always waiting for things to dry

in particular
since you stumbled into a puddle
and are drying your shoes
somewhere alone

i am reconstructing my home
and my heart
in case you dont come back

i took the pictures off the wall
in the kitchen
took them out of their frames
and cut my own artwork into
a series of simple shapes
painted the frames
red and yellow and blue
these are building blocks
now the glue is wet
and im back to this state
i cant seem to avoid

if there were more space
in this apartment
i would move on to another project
but the space i gave over to you
was more than i had room for
and besides
there are jewels to collect
here in the settled oxygen



thats where ive been since you passed away
i hate that phrase
passed away. died. as if you just dissolved somehow.
i wouldnt know. i wasnt there

you were more to me, maybe, than i could ever be to you
i will say that i was suprised
sitting on the bottom bunk
at an ashram
knitting you an unbelievably long scarf
to discover that i loved you

it was the endlessness of the object
that made me query
look into the engine
that kept my hands so busy

i cried then, knowing that i seldom loved anyone
that i wasn’t fucking. or hadn’t fucked, or wouldnt.

this is what we had

the cold cackle of our voices against concrete walls
with you i was angry for hours
sustained in the most haunted melodies
my admiration of your hands, which at times bordered on intimacy
the sound of your breathing at night
which never let me sleep
always those gaps in your breath

i was afraid then, that you wouldnt wake

maybe my heart does have a crystal ball
the worst kind of poison
when you see heartbreak in every heartbeat
how can you ever trust this life

but i digress
i havent written a word since you died
not really
not willingly
i wrote two term papers
and i gave a eulogy
to an audience of future pastors
who didnt know you

i have been watching veronica mars reruns
the gilmore girls
the usual drugs
but they are not working
every so often my left shoulder seizes up in unspeakable pain
and i have decided it is time to go back to therapy

i am writing this down now, because if i dont
i will turn on the television

losing you rests closer to the heartbreak of losing my father than any heartbreak i have known since
you win, asshole.  you made me love you
the way i loved the sound of my fathers voice
the songs that kept me breathing as a child

this is not poetry
its processing
its vomit
my stomach is so close to turning these days
that tonight a puking scene in a comedy
made me vomit quietly into my empty soda cup
you would have found this hysterical

no one noticed, but the way
and i magically had tea tree oil toothpicks in my pocket
rinsed my mouth in the bathroom
and cleaned my teeth

the rest of the night i kept chewing on those damn things
until my lips felt dry and raw
and i sat in an aa meeting
clutching a candle, a gift from the eccentric man sitting next to me
who also brought me a paper towel
when i fell apart
after speaking the words
“my best friend died last month”

a best friend

its different you know
not like kate with our ups and downs and our depths
or molly with her steady love and support

you were to me, what my godfather was to my dad
you were my partner in crime
my headache
my sense of humor

and even though you pushed me away
even though you hadnt been around
the love was as big and old and angry as family

so there.
tonight i wanted to go outside and scream
the way i did when dad died
and justin was still alive
he just let me scream
didnt tell me to worry about the neighbors
didnt tell me to calm down
or try to hold me
when i was wild

he just stood by and watched
and handed me a beer

we could get away with a lot back then
tonight i didnt know how
to lift my feet
to walk out into the city air
so i sat there
with my feet glued to the floor
and stifled my rage
let it form tears
walked around with my face red and swollen

you would have bought me coffee
made me sing
i guess
to be honest, i dont remember
if youve ever seen me cry

but now

the other night i was sitting at the old piano
after hours
when there is no one at school, i have that room to myself
my very own chapel

you were there, your arms somehow solid
and your fingers weighted with mine on the keys
you even edited my writing
added some flourish i could only call yours

there you are. a fucking ghost.

and it doesnt make sense
because you were too young
and because we hadnt spoken
in a year

a year of silences
of sadnesses
of me not letting go

jessica says you got my texts in the end
i hope thats true
i hope i said

“i love you”

to get it through your thick skull

theres no way to end this
because its not over
i have novels full of grief to write
and for now they are disorganized
and i want to be happy
maybe just for a minute
maybe for a day
i will kiss my lover
when i can
and read my books
i will try to trust in some new and growing life
and remember to write to my godparents
every so often
call my sister sometimes just to talk
i will read poetry again, instead of the news
and go for walks
eat something green

i remember the last time i saw you
you slipped in the door of Living Room Lounge
and hid in a shadow

you had not come one of my solo shows
in years
and my feelings were sore from it

i was in the middle of a song
and considered inviting you on stage
but felt it was unprofessional
and that maybe, i just needed to stand on my own two feet
for that one night

and there it was
i took back my power
my art
my voice
and you

just disappeared


i follow the follower, and kneel before her wandering footprints
any altar can exalt what is unified (la ‘ilaha ‘illallah)
the worn boot of a mad lover
kicking the moon from a stargazers perch
the best medicine is love
and i recommend this work
if you wish to return
to where you are


last night you slipped into my life, irrevocably. no matter what happens next, you will leave a stain. its not the storm of your brown eyes following my movements. i have been admired before. it is the thin blue line erupting between us. your ability to enter where my words begin. this terrifies both of us.

you see me now as i see myself. someone both ancient and ordinary, straddling worlds.  you stepped out to steady me there, and the entire landscape shifted.  now where there were doors, there are hands. where there were limitations, there is a precipice.  i am loving you when we sing together. i am fucking you when i lay my voice against yours.

from the bed to the piano, a dangerous symphony, no matter where we stand we are slipping deeper. i tread gravity. i somersault and float.

you fuck me like a scientist one minute, turning me over in your hands. the next minute we are two birds bargaining for the same breath.  i am holding your ribcage together with my hands. mine is re-imagining itself; a black and white photograph of a blackbird.

i havent sung this deeply in awhile. i walk tightropes with my words. you threaten thunderstorms, in a glance. i am at your mercy.

Insomniac Files

Sometimes at night, in my ritual refusal to sleep, I think about you.  My houseguests, both stricken with the ailment that has had me down in bed for days, are breathing somewhat labored on their air mattress. I am sitting in bed, crosslegged, half staring at my houseplant, half towards the closed blinds, as if I can bore through to the window behind.

I am typing on my phone.

You seem to fit in my life. My sleeping friends could testify that I do not share my life easily, if they knew about this blog, or knew that I was still awake. Despite the cold medicine, the illness, im awake. As per usual.

Yesterday I slept until two pm. It was a miracle. I left the house once today, to buy toilet paper, and have one entirely inappropriate cigarette. You  texted once or twice, to make plans, to check in.

We are not having sex. We make out like teenagers, take our time like christians. This is unfamiliar. I know your scent now like a little wild bobcat stalking prey. You are my new favorite thing. Shiny, and most likely sharp, troublesome.

We make music together like two small doves, lifting our dark secrets to the moon. Shyly, we dive into the mysteries together. We talk about getting dirty, about camping.

I can imagine us in one home. This is unfamiliar. Unwelcome. We both need space, endless space. I imagine extra rooms.

“Cause its not hard too fall, but I don’t want to scare her….” d.rice

So for now, secrets. The labored breathing of my friends, and the quiet thought of your body, here with mine. Eventually.

insomniac files

no attempt to be a writer tonight, just need to keep the pipes greased. as soon as evening fell, i was exhausted. i daydream about the girl i have been kissing the past few days to keep myself awake. the older man with ptsd in my kabbalah class in driving me insane. every word out of his mouth twists my insides.  i watch the other seminary students navigate around his presence deftly. i have to hide the cringing. i feel childish, and judgmental. but there he is, typing too hard on his keyboard while we try to learn something so esoteric it can not be taught.

i have a jesus band-aid on my left index finger, and typing is a chore. im not bothering with it due to any real injury. i had a hangnail, and it only bled for a second. i was keeping the bandaid because i found it so humorous, and now that ive used it, id like it to stick.  i doubt it will last through this post.

there is a whiteness in the way people try to disperse the wisdoms they believe that have gained, spiritually speaking.  not a racial whiteness, a chakral whiteness.  despite all our talks  about transcending dualities, spiritual teachers mostly seem to believe that their virtue is rooted deep in the white.  its not how i operate, and it makes me cringe.  i read leonard cohen’s “leaving mt. baldy” and only there do i find real solace.  those who seek G-d and fail, or realize their own impotence, seem to have far more to offer than those who take to the pulpit.

i sneak outside for a cigarette, and stand where my landlord wont find me.  i dont need to hide, but his best friend died in his arms from lung cancer, and i think living here is going to help me quit. again.  i think of Cohen, old Jikan, and his obsession with cigarettes, and I feel both less and more holy.

what was that he said…. “when you’re not feeling holy your loneliness says that you’ve sinned”. something like that anyway, and i dont know why i needed to mention it.  my back hurts and i still have this band aid on.  tommorow night i can kiss that girl again and set down the books, for a few hours a least.

…. the poetry isnt coming, and im not going to force it.  ive been telling complicated bedtime stories. i guess thats all i have to give, for the moment.

insomniac files #1

the trouble is, i don’t want to sleep. i tell everyone im trying. that the insomnia has gotten the better of me again. truth is i never lay down. i scribble for a few hours. cut and paste useless pictures, artifacts of my time spent in exile, out of rhythm.
sitting with the television as if a novel has run off with itself, left me to dwell in the pages… the more realistic, the more it reminds me of my own life and losses, the more im glued in.
i feel british tonight from all the damn television, and i don’t feel like writing. i’ve got this checklist in my head of things i have to do each day. so consider this a check-mark in a box. and no, im not putting any thought into it, so please toss it off.
im not in love with anyone. not really anyway. i dont feel like jerking off.  im disgusted with porn and my imaginations shot, so there’s not a chance in hell, anyway.
i need white paint.  everything i put together is solid and bold. garish. i need something to carve out the variables.  yellow is fucking useless.
everything is a performance, right?  it could be 7am, and i could be pulling on a coat and tie for work.  i could be a corporate lawyer, on my way to fuck some poor sod of some house of cards hes collected and built. so fucking tender.
im just saying, be careful. the screen is glowing and im convinced im allergic.  my old friend is dead and sometimes lately i miss our jokes.  my dad is dead and right now i dont miss him at all.  i will miss him tomorrow, or on sunday, unexpectedly. and maybe then ill sleep.
people can be fucks, but they can be perfect, obscenely so.  a little bit insane, obsessed with the beautiful details, so much so that they grow to hate the broad strokes of society. the noise of it all.  i feel like that now. its 330 am and im still narrowing it down, carving out the details. im addicted to night time. to the sleeping city. to my own waning sanity.
she loves someone else now, anyway. and like i said, im not in love, not really anymore, not enough.  its just when i finally go to sleep, i will feel her hand rest into mine. thats when i know somethings wrong. its the fucking bat signal, that hand showing up in mine.  her jealous lover missing the mark again.  shell draw a lavender thread between us, just like shes always done, and well both sleep, eventually.