Thursday October 10, 2019
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates
turn the lights off
flash the head lamp
talk about what might
happen during a camping
say these bulbs are only
bright enough in a power
outage to wear until
the candles are located
that’s what you get for
spending 10 dollars less
and for never going camping
the other one in this room,
the light decider
prefers fairy lights for their
name and for their hue
it must be slightly hard to
see at all times
in the morning
Is this OK? is asked
without really caring if it
is okay because if more light
is needed then the failed
headlamp can be re-visited
since that is already deemed
successful when used in
the confines of our
1 bedroom apartment
The fairy lights sometimes
stay on all day because
ambiance is an inside out
kind of thing
Monday June 24, 2019
from an old vision board
I stuck a mirror in my makeup bag in case your aunt doesn’t have any mirrors,
or in case I can’t go a few days without looking at myself.
You are cool with this no electricity, no running water thing, and I am cool.
I am very cool about it. I have only thought about how I will dry my hair once, and the answer is AIR.
So that’s cool.
I have never showered in a lake before which I think I’m going to like.
Unless your aunt and her people all go down their naked together?
They’re not going to ask to shower with us are they?
Never mind, don’t answer that. I am very cool.
I also packed some pads. I’m not looking forward to having my period
on a paper plate again, so I’ll just..free-bleed..so all good.
Oh the plate? Yeah that was at a different cottage with running water and stuff
just the pipes froze over and we couldn’t use any of it.
I was bringing my blood on a plate out into the snow and burying it like a squirrel.
I don’t know if squirrels bury things like blood, but if so, we are all cool, all of us.
I wrote a note to our former selves because I’ve heard that living without
wifi for more than 24 hours really changes a person.
I wrote: You love each other, just because you can’t upload a picture of this
doesn’t mean it’s not happening!
Sunday December 30, 2018
When I was nine we went on an overnight camping trip with our church friends. They were church people, not quite friends, to be honest. Jesus thought it would be good for us to be around all the right-hearted youth so we could learn something. I learned something. I learned I could pee in the middle of the night very quickly. I learned that I was a quick night pee-er when my tent mates told me so. I learned that I could walk in the woods and sing at the same time. I learned that some people are better than me because of their relationship with god.
On the last day our leaders gave out awards to the ____est camper. They gave me the award for “happiest camper”. I was thrilled until Julie Perna got “friendliest” camper and I realized that my award was total bullshit.
Wednesday August 8, 2018
I sleep in your bed when you’re away and I toss and turn and have nightmares about people breaking into your apartment because I’ve done something wrong in a past life to ruin the trust you have in me. On a different night I dream of having to find an outfit for prom. 13 years later and I wonder what I have accomplished since then. Still trying to fit in. Still worrying if I will be perceived by them as I perceive myself. On the night with the nightmares I am landlocked to the bed. I can’t rise. I can’t wake up. Sleep paralysis plays a slideshow of disturbing footage and I’m not allowed to leave. I’m not allowed to leave. Your bed used to be softer. I think you gave that one to our parents. I think your heart full of tenderness gives everything to everyone. I’m sorry my body heavy with jet leg and self-doubt can’t ease into the gift. You’d be sorry if you knew it was hard, and it shouldn’t be hard. It should be soft. You’re sleeping on the cold ground right now and I pray that your bones aren’t wet all the way through. I hope you’re sitting on the garbage bag instead of a damp log. I hope you find peace in the stillness of the wilderness. You impress me. Someone who knows when to say yes.
Sunday July 2, 2017
Singing in Dark Times-a Manual for Encoding Dissent
We sing Forever Young around the campfire and then it’s just you and me and even Orion is hiding and Mimi has gone to bed and the mosquitoes aren’t biting and you lean over and you tell me that you can’t stop thinking about my body my body my body body and I’m pulling away and the fire dies down and the cloud cover thickens and it’s too late to be out and Mimi is probably wondering where you are and tomorrow you’ll blame it on the beer you’ll forget you’ll see me at the waffle station batter spilling all over the place and you’ll say morning how’d you sleep what a night oh what a night
Wednesday June 14, 2017
From an Instagram post
Remember the time we got caught in a lightning storm in the woods? It was just Dad and the two of us. Mum never came camping. It was the kind of storm where there isn’t rain, just thunder and lighting. But you know it’s coming. We stood under the tarp, strung up with bungee chords (it was before all the literature came out about how dangerous they are), and watched the storm move across the pines. Before the rain started, we brushed our teeth (peppermint Tom’s) and peed, squatting down and feeling the grasses tickle our bums.
Tuesday April 19, 2016
from an e-mail
I am wearing the friendship bracelet you sent me in your last letter as I write you this letter in response. It is beautiful. You have such knack for colour coordination and choosing the coordinating colours that suit me best. My favourite part is the little H stitched in. How did you do that? You must send a tutorial for me to try in your next letter. Before I forget, I wanted to enclose some photos of me and my family while we were camping at Driftwood Beach this summer. I think you’ll find a pleasant surprise in the photo with me and Elsie holding her fetch ball in her mouth! Won’t spoil the surprise but I wanted to give you a heads up to look for it. Joshua tried to kiss me again behind the big elm tree in my backyard. I told him that if he keeps doing it I’ll have to find someone else to be in my play. I heard Benjamin and his brother, Nick, wanted to be in it but are too shy to talk to me. I wonder why that is? I like talking to everybody! I hope that you feel like you can talk to me? I mean I know you do because you always write back! Well I hope you know that I want you to feel free to talk to me about anything. Even this request!
Until next time,
Sunday April 10, 2016
from an email
Mia and I have plans on the weekend. She wants to go camping and I want to go where Mia goes. So we’re going camping. She says it will be really easy if we just pack a tent in my car and then sleep in cornfields or daisy patches or whatever the fuck she actually said. I said yes. I said, I love camping, and I’ve been camping many times, and I am not afraid of getting caught by police or bears or raccoons or snakes. Mia wears an anklet that drives me wild. It’s a gold infinity rope thing and I didn’t know I liked ankles, but fuck hers are nice. She asked me recently if we could squeeze one more person in the back. I heard myself say yes but my whole body was screaming no. My body was too late to the party. It was distracted by the smell of her ponytail.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 at Culprit
A notice from Google
Paddling down the river, I shout at the top of my lungs, “BERNADETTE!”
We’ve broken up three weeks ago and there’s a haze of grief and longing between me and the Algonquin wilderness. I want it to go away, but I also clutch to it. If I lose this, I’ve lost her.
Marc makes s’mores and says he’s “never seen me so blue.” He hands me a perfectly melted marshmallow and I put the whole thing in my mouth. My tongue chars.
“Man! What the fuck?! I just took that off of the fire!” He passes me his Nalgene. My eyes tear but I don’t feel anything.
On the water the next morning, we see two loons. One calls for the other despite her being right there.
Thursday, December 27, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
No, a shit-hole would be more accurate. I told Rich that if we had to stay away from the city for eve one night, I would only do it if we could sleep in an actual structure. I told him hotel, motel, or condo, pick one. Now of course, given the option, Rich would choose a hotel too, but since he was convinced that this was a camping trip, of course he’d have to go ahead and pick the dingiest and most degrading motel in the history of the universe. He pushed open the jammed door to our room and I swear to you that dust mites multiplied. He was all chummy, trying to get me into a good mood, but all I could see were what appeared to be blood stains around the bed, and the fact that the mini bar looked like the last time it was stocked was 1993.
“Nice, isn’t it babe? I chocked on the cloudy air. I said, “Hurry up and die already so I can run off with all your money.” He laughed, pulled me into him, and kissed the top of my head.
“Ugh!” I said. “We’re already starting to smell the way the walls feel.”
“You’re being a baby.” He said to me with a smile. “Don’t worry about your nails, we’ll get you some new ones when we get back to the city.”