Sarah Elizabeth Blake
and and/or or
We will write letters. I will tell you who I am. You will tell me who you are. Truth and lies intermingle so subtly, in a way only distance can create. A veil of words. We choose what to tell each other. We choose what to believe about each other. We give each other a series of options, separated by “and/or”. We make our choices. Yes or no, circle one.
Mirror: In you I see me in me you see you in me in you. The penetration of similarities. Here I raise my
hand and watch you raise yours. Here I speak and find I'm being spoken to. Here I look and see
you looking back, or avert my gaze and know you've turned yours. But this mirror is warped, a
piece of metal can only be polished so bright, and we are still two different people, who cannot
see each other clearly.
Blank stares: I just don't know what to think of the things you say.
Hairline Fractures: Subtle injuries. Tiny slights. Miniscule teardrops. Red eyes hidden behind dark
glasses. Secret wounds covered by long sleeves. Teeth marks and scratches and missing hairs.
Words that cut without even knowing they have edges.
Linear: Chronology brings us forward, or so it would seem. One after the other after the other after the
other after the other after … the one. Old thoughts, old feelings, said in new ways. New
thoughts, new feelings, said in old ways. Things move forward and backwards, loop around,
double back, jump up and over one another, and in the end, nothing we ever say is new.
Nicotine: Days without word. I sit, waiting. Pretending I don’t crave it. Pretending that even half a
letter would be enough, if only it would come sooner. When word finally does come, I try to
wait longer, put off the craving until it passes. But it doesn’t pass. It never passes, and I’m
addicted to your words.
Aphasia: What we say is not what we mean. What we mean has no words. Have no words brought
truth to our ears? To our ears everything is complete and utter nonsense. And utter nonsense
is the only thing that conveys what we mean. What we mean can then, finally, be what we say.
Wanton: He said, “You don't seem like the kind of girl who would have a lot of lovers.” I said, “You
don't seem like the kind of guy who would judge a book by its cover.” Sometimes only
strangers can see through our disguises.
Valentines day: Mine. Not Mine. Mine. Not Mine.
He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not.
Sometimes I forget you aren't my lover.
Candor breeds intimacy breeds candor breeds intimacy,
breed love, breed hate.
Sometimes I forget I'm not your lover.
Wormholes: Shortcuts through space and time which find their way from me to you and back again by
pathways of wire and waves and bits that flow so smoothly or perhaps in great jerks one after
the other moving and then waiting until you or I can find the time to read and write and read to
time the find can I or you until waiting then and moving other the after one jerks great in
perhaps or smoothly so flow that bits and waves and wire of pathways by again back and you to
me from way their find which time and space through shortcuts through space and time which
find their way from me to you and back again.
Heavy Eyelids: Writing at night can be dangerous. You let your guard down, things come out that are
better locked away. You come too close to saying the things that have always been – should
always be – left unsaid. The hidden words come to the surface. It's like drunk dialing, only
worse/better: you know you mean things you say, say the things you mean.
Papercuts: Why slice a wrist? Not for pain, surely, but to bleed. Open the heart, pour its contents upon another body, another heart. Use it for ink. Write the heart. Use red life to write the heart
upon the heart.
Refuge: I feel safe as this woman I made in my own image. She moves through the realm of words,
ink, paper. I send her to you. She meets the man you made in your own image. You sent him to me. She tries to read you in him. He tries to read me in her. They return to us, reporting back,
and the distance bridged is distance made.
Infinity: I could write you forever. I could speak uncountable words to you. I could spend a life time or
two or three or four or hrair telling you my heart, and hearing yours. I speak words you will
never hear, more words than I can count. Behind them lie the same three, masked by more
complex constructions, repeated, over and over, “_ ____ ___ _ ____ ___ _ ____ ___...” ad
Pornography: One of the lucky ones: you exude sex whether you like it or not. You infuse sensation
into every syllable. They roll over the tongue like so many inches of skin that you’ve never
tasted. They pass through lips which have fallen into disgraceful disuse. They are heard by ears
that lack licks and lovebites. They are typed by fingers that cannot caress, on a screen in front of
eyes that dare not undress anyone, not anymore.
Heaven on earth
grand mall seizures
wor won ton soup
you want it...you
gan mao ling
a deer, a female
a drop of golden
Sarah Elizabeth Blake is a very nerdy person who lives in San Francisco with her cat. She sometimes funnels her high anxiety and obsessive tendencies into writing things. Some of those things have been published, by Omnia Vanitas Review, Green Lantern Press, and The Walrus. When Sarah is not writing, she can be found running D&D, knitting, and teaching 4-year-olds to fight the patriarchy.
hearts and/or stars and/or kits and/or swings and/or ropes and/or chains and/or crosses and/or swords and/or martyrs and/or gladiators and/or jihads and/or fatwas and/or grand mall seizures and/or Molotov cocktails and/or hallucinations and/or panic attacks and/or sacrilege and/or refuge and/or guns 'n'/or roses and/or serendipity and/or talking kittens and/or blood and/or guts and/or mirrors and/or voids and/or blank stares and/or wormholes and/or monarchy and/or dance revolution and/or either and/or neither and/or heavy hearts and/or tiny bubbles and/or ermine and/or mink and/or hairline fracture and/or needle abrasion and/or gay robots and/or british robots and/or tooteloo and/or haberdashery and/or biscuits and/or gravy and/or diary and/or contraband and/or taxes and/or death and/or gargoyles and/or apaches and/or heavy eyelids and/or numb toes and/or tree talk and/or faceforest and/or granola and/or ground up hippies and/or ERROR and/or ERROR and/or ions and/or isotopes and/or foreheads and/or spleens and/or BIBS AND/OR PACIFIERS and/or wires and/or pointy sticks and/or grease and/or weasels and/or wanton and/or garden and/or wor won ton soup and/or gan mao ling formula and/or K.O. and/or match point and/or oblivion and/or heaven on earth and/or Chandelier and/or Haus and/or infinity and/or zero and/or serenity and/or hero and/or papercuts and/or rockpaperscissors and/or Ford tough and/or You want it... you got it... Toyota and/or 214 mph and/or 344.39962 kph and/or 747 and/or 909 and/or airplanes and/or hrududil and/or valentines day and/or venereal disease and/or sweaty homoerotic competition and/or pornography and/or linear and/or blitzkrieg and/or nicotine and/or caffeine and/or insignia and/or aphasia and/or abomination and/or wraith and/or jockos and/or homos and/or shaking and/or scratching and/or nymph and/or node and/or knit and/or crochet and/or A and/or B and/or pliers and/or pyres and/or doh and/or ray and/or a deer, a female deer and/or a drop of golden sun and/or sketch and/or skew and/or mastermind and/or magnavox