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  • Writer's pictureSarah Rose

Look Up (an Anecdote)

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

I could see the stars tonight. Well, not all the stars, but enough of them to notice them, and that's really saying something. Sometimes, things need to be extreme to get noticed, especially here in Southern California where millions of dimwits descend like rabid hornets to sting each other into a better life. "That's a bit cynical," you're thinking. And maybe it is. But it may also be foolish to think that 25 million people could live in peace and sanctimonious harmony. The threat of anyone knowing who you are is so low that the potential rewards for being a total douchebag are pretty high.

The other day, I saw a homeless man singing and dancing beneath a street light in a pizza parlor parking lot. In Southern California, it's just as easy to find a multi-millionaire as it is to find a swinger couple as it is to find a homeless person as it is to find a drunkard, a snake oil salesman, a family of immigrants, a starving artist, a detestable tech bro, or a reality TV personality. It's all so exhausting to be awake sometimes, which is why the stars were a nice touch. "Good going, God," I thought, unsure if God heard me, if he exists, or if he cares. If there is a God, he might not even control the stars, I thought, which of course makes no sense. Is there a separate star God then? Really, there might as well be.

I saw the stars because I left my tiny, grey hovel of an apartment to find my car, which was parked on the street, very badly I might add. If someone hit my side mirror, it would completely be my fault. I was going to my car to find an apple that I'd tucked into my center console. "Aha!" I exclaimed when I found said apple, as if the apple had been hiding from me, which of course, it had not. I put it there at some point in time, for some reason. The fact that I remembered putting it there at all was more shocking than anything. But I was deeply craving an apple, and the best apple I could come up with was this, a car apple. In hard times, we make do.

I noticed the stars because I happened to look up, although I can't for the life of me remember why. Maybe the tofu and red wine I'd had for dinner fuzzed up my brain enough to think that I should look up, that up was really the only way to look when looking for a white, mid-sized SUV on a very dark, albeit very safe, residential street. The street I live on is very quiet and very safe and very accommodating to any assortment of rodent. I've seen skunks and large rats and small mice and a possum. "If you're seeing possum, you're up too late," you may be thinking, and you may be right. My neighbor got sprayed by the (quite inhospitable) skunk one night when he was walking home from a game of billiards. Why anyone would play a game of billiards is not understandable to me. There are also many cats that lurk around my street and in the gardens outside my windows. I enjoy their existence; their resourcefulness, their brazen disdain of others, their mouse-catching capabilities. Animals make places feel warmer. So do plants. Try to argue with me.

But anyway, I saw some stars and a tiny sliver of the moon and thought, "how nice." Then I retrieved my car apple and retreated to my over-priced, dilapidated apartment to scratch my cats ears and slowly inhale his fur. I look down so often, into varying screens. It was nice to just look up and breathe. If I were you, I'd give it a try.

Extra Credit Poem: I asked the moon to marry me

he said he wed the sun

but I can shine too

just as brightly

just as warm

I never should have been

the first to say

I love the way your beams

creep through my windows

gather in bundles

beneath my bed

and howl

I can't stand to sleep

in the morning

when I turn on my shower

it sounds like a scream

I would make coffee

but the sink screams too

and I can't drink coffee

from the mug you gave me

without pouring you a cup

I can't sleep with the blinds open

without feeling your gaze

and even if I cover you

with my thumb

I can still see the edge

of your glow

I asked the moon to grant a wish

he told me in good time enough time for you to

sneak out side doors

that don't squeak anymore

enough time for me

to dream of nothing

wake up next to nothing

feel the bulge of nothing

punch my throat

I know that you know

what I mean

and if I were the sun

I would give you my shine

never cheat with the moon

I know how it is

to never win gold

I must reek runner-up

bleed silver

like second's my job

you don't know

that it haunts me

how peaceful you sleep

beneath the smug

sideways smile

of the waning moon

P.S. Read about apples here, read about historic rental rates here, or buy my poetry book here.


Sarah Rose

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