aSoSS 25 | Terminus

Here, sign it.

[Reading card] “Thank you for everything, you’re a great teacher and I’ll miss you.”

Angell Hall, 1:30PM, 4/19/2024

often we spend the ends in a state of regret instead of relief. in the corner of my room lies a box of blank paper: memories that could have been made, people that could have been approached, bucket list checkboxes that were discarded. i still carry the weight of the paper, but there is nothing to look back on. instead i am reminded that i could have picked up a pencil and created a masterpiece. why didn’t i try harder? why didn’t i? why? what grief lies behind a touch-starved heart!

so hug your favorite teachers and keep in touch with your friends. smell the sunshine and taste the earth on the air. plant flowers with your smile and paint meadows on your conscience. make the world a better place, even if only for yourself.

The end of the year is upon us! Here are a few more collected fragments from the semester that I did not get the chance to use. Enjoy your summer and remember to look and listen for modest wonders–life is too short to walk with your eyes glued to the ground.

Until next time~

If you were a windup toy, you’d be cranked up to the max right now!

Pierpont Commons, 5:30PM, 2/6/2024

I’m good at slogans, in middle school I used to sit in the car and recite all the slogans I heard on the radio…

Target, 10:00PM, 2/16/2024

I think this bus has a jerking problem!

Yeah I think I had it the other day too.

I remember you saying something like that…

Blake Transit Center, 11:00AM, 2/19/2024

She will attend to any name as long as I call her Cookie… she’s so big! I wanted a chihuahua and [points to Doberman] look what they gave me!

Green’s Antiques, 2:00PM, 2/28/2024

That’s the only non-Newtonian fluid I know.

What about Jello?

Pierpont Commons Murfin Outbound, 7:00PM, 3/7/2024

It’s a bread place, and you’re getting noodles?

It’s a bread place, and you’re getting soup?

It has bread in it!

GG Brown Laboratory, 11:30AM, 3/9/2024

Would you rather have super intelligence or lightning speed?

Super intelligence.

So a hundred times smarter than you are right now.

Oh… never mind then. I want the super speed instead!

Central Campus Transit Center, 7:00PM, 3/14/2024

I’m going to the bathroom. If I’m not back in ten minutes, get a plunger!

Duderstadt Library, 7:00PM, 3/21/2024

It’s for kids with cancer, they don’t have hair so they make wigs for them, and I go in and donate my hair.

Yeah, hair is a commodity for those patients.

My hair is valuable too, ‘cause I’m a redhead. Rare hair color.

City Hall, 2:30PM, 4/3/2024

Fish can’t jump.


No one’s keeping salmon in a fish tank!

Traverwood Library, 3:30PM, 4/3/2024

aSoSS 24 | Snooze

[referring to how late she woke up] I can only have one bad day so I have to be on top of it today.

Well, I’m young and stupid, so I’ve got more time to waste.

BMV, 6:30PM, 2/28/2024

two voices, mine and yours.

and why should i? you’re chasing your dreams while i’m chasing my tail, spinning in circles, dizzy from embarrassment. too proud to look you in the eye. it was always a game, wasn’t it? get off the playground. swing and miss, face-up, the sky salting the wound with its mosaic of stars–

my alarm rings. every morning i notice how there is only one voice, how it only speaks when spoken to. i don’t know who wins; i never do. if a thought had a mouth, would it scream?

I need melatonin to sleep. If I don’t take melatonin, I get nightmares.

Mosher-Jordan Dining Hall, 6:30PM, 3/29/2024

i am greeted by the clothes deforming like plastic in the sun, an uncanny valley of furniture molded around the faces, your face, no face at all. i unbutton my shirt and count eight scars splayed across my chest, as if a creature had climbed the ladder of my ribcage from the inside and latched on to my heart. i feel the irregular beats now, a warning that my pulse does not pump alone. i make my breakfast in silence and look at the window. i see a single spider sitting in its fractured web, watching. waiting.

I’ve made so many mistakes since having him… he’s five months old and doesn’t like to sleep, which means I don’t get to sleep either.

AADL Downtown, 12:00PM, 4/20/2024

it seems humans are born with the innate sense of death. sometimes i equate the resistance to sleep as the resistance to death and i wonder whether a child would make the connection as well. we cannot recast reality in our sleep; we cannot extract truth from our visions. our dreams lie with the size of a single breath. perhaps death pays a visit every night and pulls against the thread of the universe. pick a card, pick a side, pick your brain. the dice clatter against the floor, but when i open my eyes there is nothing there. we are all alone in the night, sleeping among the silence and the spiderwebs.

aSoSS 23 | Tongue

One AirPod is gonna be like a hundred dollars so I might as well buy another set.

Absolutely not. Whenever I think of Apple I think of that one show where he says, “oh Apple just came out with a new phone, guess we all have to –“ and then the phone breaks.

Denver International Airport, 4:00PM, 1/8/2024

the phone rings and i let my fingers strum the notes of your ringtone, seeing your face mouth the words that vibrate in the air. you are calling, of course, but the day is just begun and already it seems half wasted. my fingers tremble, holding the backspace key like a pillow over the face. the words disappear, screen stripped to its underside, neon flashes imprinted behind my eyelids. there will be more days and more nights and the creek will thaw and the birds will sing and i will persist. you will persist too.

You’re so opinionated about it!

Well, there’s a lot of opinions to be had…

Dow Building, 10:30AM, 3/4/2024

how can there be new stories without new words? when i was little you told me that each human is unique. i asked what made them human and you did not answer, as if caught in a lie. perhaps you are not human yourself? now i know there is no new dna either. our mouths, conduit of thought, a polymerase of sorts, runs untamed because who is to tame the creator? i smiled and it was easier to observe your reaction, as if a mirror would do an unjustice–we were never meant to see our own faces, after all.

I told her to do her own research and she was like, [growls] “I have!”

Hill Auditorium, 2:30PM, 4/10/2024

the sun does not want to stay. sometimes i see her struggling through the fog, weeding through the clouds, condemned to rise every day. she will smile if she sees the moon, splashed across the blue like a birthmark, calling her name. poisoned tongue, toxic attraction. on earth we soak up brackish water from the roots and spit them out to the sky. the earth spins around and the ants watch from below and marvel at the flatness, the emptiness, the center of the universe visible to only those who wish to see it.

aSoSS 22 | Shadow

So I told him “let me look into it”… and then I looked into it and I still have no idea!

Cardiovascular Center, 6:00PM, 3/11/2024

[son of absents] wedged between the post and the poles, black hair and emaciated letters askew. nyx shades her face out of shame. the ballot drops to the floor and deposits a list of names in the mud, puddles formed by the scars of the horses long asleep. the reflection casts empty against the sky, shrouded by percentages, gone but not gone enough. i point up and you put glasses on and something shifts. the voice in my head fades to black, drowning.

as if–

I only started wearing makeup in college so I kind of missed the middle school-high school experimenting phase…

Traverwood Library, 6:00PM, 3/17/2024

–the water would support the weight, even though we both know memory is the price to pay, ouroboros would not be so kind, an ever-consuming serpent chasing its tail, shrinking like a lasso in the wind, because the wind, like sand, penetrates the corners of my conscience, crevices never cleaned and skin never washed, wasted on whispers like close your eyes, it will be okay, the mask is lifted and the sponge comes off and the smoke clears the air, a mirror in its wake, a brilliant light, blinding, suffocating, and i scream and turn away–

What do you mean you can feel the moon coming? Are you a werewolf?

Stamps Courtyard, 3:00PM, 4/8/2024

–and yet:

when i leave my shadow grows stronger, absorbing the darkness you left behind. weak of muscle and wide of belly, the sun lies stagnant. we only look for it when it disappears, i think. you fashioned a suit from the feathers of my pillow, flying too high on borrowed wings. the moon passes in mourning, threading the needle, as the wax melts and the brown turns to black, a fall from grace. too proud for light, your presence goes unnoticed under the [absence of sun].

aSoSS 21 | Check

Let’s do a practice run so you know you’re not wasting the good paper…

I don’t think I have the patience for that though.

Pierpont Commons Bonisteel Inbound, 3:00PM, 1/22/2024

walk into the deep end, clothes on, mind off. let the water wash over you. feel the gills split the side of your neck, the rush of oxygen in your veins. countercurrent exchange. i remember that from a textbook. the diffusion of pixels across gradients, pages bursting with color, paper airplanes in mind and motion. your smile transcends eras. i look up, out, on the breeze, ashes scattered on the wind. a kite blocks the sun for a moment–the child looks up with dinnerplate eyes at a diamond eclipse, ephemeral in every sense of the wor(l)d.

I hate walking between cars.

Why? Is it because they can’t see you?

Walgreens, 5:00PM, 2/22/2024

it’s a game we used to play when the branches were frozen and winter stretched beyond our imaginations. you would crunch your way into the forest and disappear with a cry of glee. i would follow your footsteps but they marched in circles and made me dizzy. you won every time–let’s play something else, this is too easy–until i discovered that you were climbing the trees instead of braving the snow. today i look at the cream-crusted treetops and pray for a shadow–groundhog or otherwise–even though i know that it is futile, that the feet of the lantern-bearer are permanently trapped in the dark.

I got paid a hundred dollars, and the instant I had it I blew it on clothes…

Exile Vintage, 5:00PM, 2/27/2024

a walking chiropractic, turning heads and cracking necks. balance the heels, skip the flannel, crunch the numbers. he picks out a suit and she grabs a sweater off the rack. the price tag bears the date of acquisition, a reminder of the shoulders who have shrugged past wear and the fingers that have picked at the hems. blueprints of humanity can be measured, like tree rings, by counting the colors and the tears and the cigarette burns on the sleeves. lived-in is good; the scarred fox foes not get skinned. you pull your sleeves down and pass the store and i crack my neck and catch my breath against the window. i wave to the mannequin, delirious, and the mannequin waves back.

aSoSS 20 | Reality

It’s fine. Whatever happens is meant to happen. Nothing more, nothing less.

East Quad, 2:00PM, 1/11/2024

we are in charge of our fates in a perverse kind of way, in that we circle the inevitable like a marble in a funnel. it is easy to do what is easy, to let gravity take control, to appease the vultures that accompany death, to look back and say that it was going to happen anyway. we only resign ourselves to fate when staring at failure–would we ever attribute our success to the stars? the sky clears and for a moment the earth is sprinkled with starlight: a reminder of magnitudes, of multitudes. nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t know if I can watch a show and go, “that was in the book! That wasn’t in the book!”

EECS Building, 11:30AM, 1/30/2024

i tell myself i would watch an infinite number of realities with you but we both know that’s not true. it is impossible to write a future identical to the book in the same way it is impossible to direct a life identical to a movie. you tell me about your life and i hear you but i don’t listen. shuffle the deck. the tarot reader looks up and then looks away. perhaps she sees everything and perhaps she sees nothing at all. you can always tell when a chapter is about to end. who is to blame, an unreliable narrator or an unforgiving audience?

You’re going to be polite and smile, and let it roll off your shoulders, because that’s life. That’s just how the world works.

Crisler Center Lot SC-5, 2:30PM, 2/23/2024

the rain is black, heavy, foreboding. the magazine betrays a tragic parlance and you stop reading in between the lines because they blur into a single sentence. i turn the page and point to the cartoons, figures distorted from the damp ink. the uncertainty is memorable. i crawl through a tunnel of nostalgia, the sapphires, the jade, the rubies. my heart races from the effort of keeping up. the tunnel ends and i turn back but there is just a pinprick of flame, snuffed out by the rain before i can blink.