all night 

sweat

room full of magenta purple 

bright light pans every corner

tiny moving reflections circle the room

expanding into points warped by their orbits

and 90s house beat

vibrating basslines that carry us across

warm mid levels

with synthetic piano 

dancing shadows move in a small room

crowded 

empty

each one alone even in the of warmth of togetherness 

while the beat goes on

singer calls over the anthem something we can all relate to

but the joy is personal 

we hold it in

don’t express it except through

constant movement 

as the music builds

beat gets thick

basslines so heavy that it would be impossible not to move

filling every corner

every cell

every thing

even the floor

the light

imbued with sound 

that becomes the bodies

becomes the space 

becomes each movement

burning strong

the beads rolling down sides of faces 

until eyes begin to realize where they are

music transforms

a gust of air spreads love

relief

and then the people dance not too the music

not just to the music

but the moment of connection 

when eyes are seen

hands are felt

smiles are revealed

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bed under starry skies

She had a dream of being in a house. 

She had a dream of being surrounded by loving, welcoming, smiling people.

These were not the same dreams.

She felt safe again. She wasn’t sure if she should, but in the dream, she realized both in the house and at the place with many people, that people were welcoming her. Were taking her in. Were giving her a place. Wanted her to be there. Wanted her to feel comfortable. And happy.

And the tightness in her throat was not from the kind of hurt that normally came up. Rather, it was a release. It was overwelming. Encouraging, but overwhelming as she stood there among all the people who wanted to embrace her and greet her. People who wanted to know how she’d been. People who were familiar because and yet not at the same time.
The same with the house, which had been given to her. There for her as long as she wanted to use it. Always open. The door was never locked from her. And whether it was in between things, just a temporary spot, or some place she wanted to be indefinitely, she didn’t know. Only that she felt comfortable here. The kind of comfort, deep-seated like things were finally settling down.

In the middle of the night, all around her in the forest, insects chirping to one another. A bed of green below wide, ever-expansive starry skies. She stirred, and then was quiet. She slept soundly throughout the night. 

the girl in the forest

This was the 102nd day she traveled back to the house in the woods to wait for whoever or whatever kept the light in the window going. She sometimes let her imagination wander and like a group of little sprites it would send her down a path wondering how it happened. Was it a spirit or a human? Was it an animal that wandered in? And if it was a person, what was this person like? Were they mad that she had used the place for shelter from the heavy rains? Were they coming back? Did they know she was there and was she being watched?

Out in the forest, she knew that something was always watching. Always listening. Always present.

But maybe this wasn’t a person at all. Maybe this was a spirit. Maybe it was her guide or maybe it was a trickster. She couldn’t tell. All she knew was that she never saw the light go out or on. But if she left or fell asleep dreaming or looked away, even sometimes for a half beat, there it was… the opposite of what she had seen only a moment ago. 

And this kept her guessing.

The girl didn’t remember that someone covered her with a blanket in the middle of the night during a particularly cool night on one of her watches. The girl didn’t know that when the scent of incense flowed into the air, if you followed it, it would lead you by the house. 

There was a figure who watched the girl from far off. In the shadow of the pine tree and crouching very near to the ground, someone watched and waited. In the breeze, long silver hair fluttered.

He was amused and he chuckled to himself. He supposed now was as good a time as any.

She stood suddenly. She decided to investigate the house. She walked up with authority, hesitating before opening the door. She exhaled then turned the door knob. 

Inside there wasn’t much. Of course, the bed, there was a chair. There was a table and on it the ash from a used incense stick. She touched the little pile of grey powder, drawing a small line upon the surface. 

She looked at the light in the window and decided to be near it. She stood looking out at the forest smelling water and greenness. Watching a set of clouds as they swept across the sky.

She turned and saw the man standing there. Her heart lept and if she hadn’t been so startled she would have screamed. Instead her hands went to her mouth and she jumped back.

“Hello”

She didn’t know what to do. She was breathing fast and looking for a way out. 

Her eyes darted to the open door behind the man. Maybe she could run. Maybe she coukd slip past before he got remotely close.

“What’s your name?”

She realized he wasn’t going to move. She shifted uneasily. 

“uh…”

She heard her voice responding and she wanted to tell herself, no! run and hide! he’ll never find you! just go through the window!

But she didn’t. 

The man’s face had been hidden. With light from behind, he was underexposed and she couldn’t see his expression. As he stepped into the room and sat on the chair by the table, getting much closer to her, but at the same time the door was no longer blocked. She could run.

He seemed to know this and he watched as she looked from him to the door. Gauging distance. Gauging what she was capable of.

The man had an odd expression. It wasn’t exactly a smile. But he didn’t seem angry. Instead, it was his eyes — they looked caring and soft.

“Who are you?”

“I live here.”

“oh…”

but she thought of all the times there was no one around. Why hadn’t she seen him before? 

“No one is ever here.”

“I leave my little light on. Sometimes I walk into the forest. Do you ever do that?”

The girl was confused by his questions. Why did he care? Ehat did he wasn’t to know?

“…well, yeah…”

The man nodded as if he already knew.

The girl leaned back onto the wall. She decided after looking at him for some time and watching him take out incense, that she would learn more about this strange man who lived here out in the wilderness. 

The man said nothing, but seemed rather pleased with himself. He knew she was watching him, but he pretended like it had no bearing on him. 

After a while, she sat down. She decided she would wait until he spoke. She could be very patient, after all.