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home, a moving target
by katie king
my suitcase hitting every crack on the sidewalk while walking down andersonville at midnight
that damn wonderful mississippi night owl, wooing us from outside our bedroom window on morrison ave,
the 26 pounds of brown & white fur curled up by my ribcage in the mornings
the sweaty walk to school in heredia post papaya
homesickness: twice. both in 2011:
i- Chicago, a city I had a large crush on. I arrived on Sep 4th, the same day Oprah did but not the same year and slept in my car on the streets for two nights with a rhodesian ridgeback in my lap, and a sense of happiness that seemed like it could mean something.
ii- Guam, because it housed the place where I could find his arms and the seven years spent in and outside of them. Not to mention the young pumpkin in the backyard, the wedding album in the living room, the series of romantic cornball polaroids lining the wall, the fruit juicer in the kitchen and the strange pure idyllic merriment in spite of a slowly slipping hell.
hearing the doorbell ring in the heat of a denver august
the internet, the invisible world
I 70 & I 80
q. "is it safe to go out after 6 pm" Age: 21.
location: 96th street | upper west side
relationship of interrogated: husband
150 + plane flights
heather's lawn chair
pasta, the dog not the dish
the creaking of the evergreen tree too late at night and too heavy for the morning
tall trees. tall buildings. tall men.
my very first movers, signing the lease papers, a 3BD castle with a view and watching Steven shower in the the gutter run off on a particularly rainy day
movement & the rush rush parade
lost items: purses, cell phones, the dirt that piles up in the bottom of your purse that you feel with your fingernails when you are trying to get to your favorite chapstick.
that piano I spent 9 years on ::heated & muffled chords <--- [if there are roots to be had they would be found here]
the place under the antique bench, pressing the pedal for my sister when she nodded her head.
the blood stain where my first dog was run over
the mint my brother & I planted in the front yard
chris & sara
childhood home; the belief that a warm english breakfast tea and three tablespoons of sugar can get you through the woods, or at least to them.
waking up to snow
hostels. hostels in the bernese oberland, in ireland, flagstaff, lautrubrunnen valley, london, costa rica, new york city, hostels with guitars in them, with rock gym/ foot odor in them, hostels that charge you 1CHF for a 5 minute shower, check in check out, hostels with communal meals in them, hostels with kids and families in them, hostels that throw parties with hot tub heidis in them.
those 6 weeks in the spring of 2009 I lived in various navy hotels, washing plastic tupperware in the sink, sharing half ramen rations and the 9 months sleeping on the floor afterwards.
the stomping grounds of unfamiliar head spaces
being a newlywed at 8 1/2 Glorietta Lane w/ orange ice cream smoothies in bed served by a naked chef in the mornings
unusual insensitivity to change of surroundings, natural unmindfulness
camera on the car dashboard. out the window. under the armpit.
anywhere within at least a 45 minute radius of joel
the rootless itinerant. the transplant game
ii. I'm a colorado springs-austin-flagstaff-seattle-girdwood-lugano-heredia-london-olympia-gimmelwald-tuscon-san diego-virginia beach-new york city-biloxi-guam-san francisco-new york city transplant.
iii. begin again
iv. send the flood
solo visits to churches on sunday mornings
that 7 hour china bus ride and the songs I wrote during a 3 hour maintenance delay
walking the path to the 18th hole (with my eyes closed), past the red velvet poppies (with their eyes closed), towards the house with the light on.
a blank piece of paper and a ballpoint pen
the warm smell of the new york city subways
phonecalls to tiffany
// laura’s red hot candy love//
by Katie King
Laura had red hair and listened to really cool music that I knew nothing about. On vinyl. She was talking about our generation when OWS was swelling in the mass press sweet-spot that warm new york winter of 2011. Harping on how our generation didn’t have a single brass nerve to its name, she said we had nothing to fight for-or against, nothing tying us together. That instead of having something to stand for we were all standing up drunk, or trying-going from one hard to find run down venue to another all for the sake of underground music, slowly crossing our arms and pulsing a nodding head bow just to psych the drummer out.
It was, if nothing else…something.
Between the five pets, rats and chainsmoke we were all having trouble breathing. I was staying far away from the only couch in the room, knowing way too much information about the kind of liquids that had soaked into it the night before. Ms Brunch Drunk Laura sat sprawled on a chair Julie had jacked from the mad mckibbin street. There were twelve of us crammed into that wharehouse basement, and we were all paying for it.
I got there without a shitton to work with. I was going through a personal crapshoot of a year myself which I nicknamed my party year since I didn’t drink until my divorce. And I didn’t stop screwing every brown haired brown eyed thing that moved (and some that didn’t even) till I got married so it wasn’t too much of a memory jog to start right up where I left off before the stainless steel vows whose current state of stale left not just the ripe raw wounds of heartbreak, but something much, much worse:
hope that the bastard sailor would come back on his weak addicted knees.
I didn’t care if it took 5 months or 50 years, but I could smell it in my bones like the sweet scent of savory smoke lit on some mountain top somewhere that I couldn’t see, but had only heard about in crusty library reference books-
you see-steve and I’s history was just so. 7 years of come and go or rather, well, you know & go left a smart stain of repetition on my genital parts at least..there was a fire between us that no amount of lovers, cocaine, deep seated city flesh or hurt could water down. the question was whether that fire was good or bad.
The rest of my journey was about how I managed to get my kicks while I waited for him to return from his latest adventure: hating the living shit out of me.
In the meantime I wanted something tough to chew on so I didn’t join in the family chorus of Drugs, Murder & Childbearing. Not right away at least. So I moved the two dogs with me to brooklyn new york where we tried our best to chill the fuck out and bring our dreams to fruition while ending most days by spooning. Most nights I slept naked in a mass pit of dog hair, bone crumbs, and paw dirt. I loved those dogs like I loved my own skin-they were the only things left from the life I lost which I so loved creating.
I had been a military wife for the last 3 years, so moving to brooklyn was like staring my own generation in the face and forgetting we had ever met. These people were all born within two and three years of me, but instead of not knowing what to do with their lives hungry for the next pleasurefest, they had come to all sorts of conclusions about what to believe, what to eat, what gender they liked to fuck best, and where to buy their clothes.
I was strange in the sense that I hadn’t come to conclusions on most of these things yet, so these people seemed to be faking it. I wondered what sort of free course on early twenty decisiveness they all must have taken to come to so many hasty conclusions in such few years. They probably wondered the same thing about me and my marriage. But anyone who wondered had never been in love.
I arrived as bushwick’s latest plaything. Attention starved enough to appreciate the applause, but fragile enough to play into it, I managed to make a whole entire mess out of the first four months of my return. Brooklyn took me under it’s stinky armpit. Mistook my implacable nature for a free spirit, blood-given southern charm as sweetness, and my sad sad story as a hearthrob. As usual, I let people pin me as whatever they wanted because it made me laugh. I knew what I was. And I was one broken piece of work.
Everyone was trying to get famous fast, of course and it took me four months to become totally sick of it all. Everything for Everyone-was a graffiti quote I saw outside my work which called the kettle black. My own personal hang ups of greed & impatience made this a pretty easy tenure to cling onto for dear life. Newly cynical from my past slogan of One thing for One person, all it took was a pair of leggings and a triangle-shaped necklace to fool these folk into thinking I belonged here. Instead of back in the wild west canyons or rocky mountain reservoirs where I’m afraid I may belong.
Either way, one of my main prerogatives in this town was to see brooklyn get up and dance. To move those busty hips and get it on.
But Laura was on the road. Jet set on the west, she left me hot & heavy for her return.
I’d be dancing alone with the thirsty city in between my thighs.
by Katie King
and what if the white fire was made of breath. Or white wood. Christ's breath or the scent of wild snow, what if the white fire was built longways, like a key. Like a bird standing. Like an upright coffin.
I'm building this fire. It's making the migraine go away. The migraine has a TV face but the white fire is all static and I love it. I cherish the fire, and I can see it expand in the back of my brain-it's coals are behind my eyes.
What if the fire was made of sheep's wool, or laughter. The laid -back kind. An appreciate chuckle of an old joke you've heard your lover say a million times but you still think its a good one.
I'm building a fire in the center of my core and it is lit. It's arms spread out through the throbbing veins of my body. What if the fire was made of listening.
I collect materials for the fire, I expand it's shape with health-the ingredients of health. Shelter. Water. Commitment. Miracles. Have you ever wondered what vices it would take to make as much time pass as quickly as possible without you knowing any of it was passing at all? I do. But that has nothing to do with the fire. Sometimes the only thing that gets me to smile on stage is thinking about if I was performing for my hometown. Yes, the one I rejected. The one I ran from and didn't look back with a 30 miles over the limit criminal speeding ticket charge. What if the white fire was made of speed? Of looking back? No. The fire can only be made of constant motion. It's wings need inspiration. What if the fire was built of learning. I read somewhere that in heaven there are smart buildings. The fire is definitely made of stories, stories or silver spoons, I can't make up my mind.
When people who have known me for many years ask me simple straightforward questions about my life these days I want to walk away, with haste, I want to build a white fire.
Freewrite on the C Train: Brooklyn Bound
by Katie King
The intense need for immediate comfort. Subtract the usual men, money, mother that momentarily work. [the first come and go, & she wasn't picking up the phone]
No where near the mountain. What's left is spirit, covered in mood. If I could just see it simply.
I need to learn how to not be mad at myself and now not just the lesson, but how to teach it. How to model how to accept weaknesses-like uninvited cousins that somehow always still have a seat at the table. Comedy helps, writing soothes. There are a few apps for this I'm sure...
Attention to inconsequential details alleviates. The way her dress moves. The way his walker gets caught in the subway doors because he is old, slow to move and sir the time has passed but he knows how to block it-hurrah! The metal walker blocks the metal doors in triumph. He has done this before.
The fact that, late to yoga and 30 blocks away I become another person angrily muttering to themselves on the street before a nice "om"..that costs half of what I make per hour. Half hipster-half homeless, all frustrated me, I walk every block.
2 hours of my day are spent on trains. 3 spent walking. 8 sleeping. Not enough are spent playing fetch with Ansel. Finally having a yard does not match up with how many times that orange toy has not been thrown, simple action meaning so much to the only soul that's stood by me for 4 years, and countless things to count. His hope hits home.
I don't know yet how to not constantly hate my indecisively greedy, lazily uninformed core parts. Yes there are things in my core that I love. But these I could lose.
When people leave my life these days I don't even flinch. I've been practicing since I was 8. But this isn't strength. It's only how an empty echo chamber answers back. Salt numb.
The future excites me. I have been given an incredible range of life experiences, more than most for my age. I dream about the pace slowing down.
I used to think that it would all somehow end up balancing out in the end. Equalizing standing ground. Today this became an old thought.
Still one of the most painful things is literally & absolutely not knowing what to do. It hurts. When my mom says "you always know what to do in your heart"-it only makes it millions worse.
Every day since the first sail out underneath me! Swim large, sweeping strokes! Settle far and make few the memories that link us!
I accept that while complication may follow me , it doesn't have to lead me.
But you. You to come
You are only ever too cool to me.
if my wayward path led to you -
Hallelujah for every late, lost, broken comfortless step.
You are not my triumph, or will to live/but I totally dig you already.
And your will to live lightens my load.
Signs Of Acute Loneliness
In the Late Summer of 2012
by Katie King
| and what about the loneliness. it feels like burning on the fringe. a grey tone, ashy viscosity-i think that's what they call a dull ache. it feels a bit, tingly. really. it feels like someone is pushing my groin even further into the ground. not firmly, not a viscous shove-just more like a tectonic plate pendulum tendency to droop towards the floor. like someone is kind of hardheartedly redirecting it there every so often. There are a lot of half hearts in this. the next 20 seconds are ok to go through. things could be ok. but the next evening or few evenings are boulders or rocks. Even doing things I enjoy. Its what will happen after them that's grueling. Maybe other people will be there, but no one that cares. What I'm feeling is a non existence of investment. I know what that means, that I should sow into others even more. That I should invest into what they are doing. This helps; this is the only way. But it is such a long time, or writing like this that it takes to get to the point of remembering that. It's not like the world feels heavy-I like the world. Well. Whatever. It's not like I can't get through the next two days. It's just that I've got to pile all the things that could have the potential of distracting me all up inside a bag that I'll need to carry inside my heart before I can get through them. I think of the closest thing that could distract me. A thought. A fantasy. A possibility. A plan. And I dig into and dwell on these till as much time passes as possible. Possibly, the time passes and I think. Phew. I made it. I got here and I'm ok. I did it! I never have to go through those two days again! But then there are just more days. Or even, parts of days. When I know there are friends to come home to it helps. Or other things. Free food can pass the time. Describing it helps to feel better as well. And then it just repeats. You repeat the prevention: you pack the bag. you seal it in your heart. phonecalls from old friends help magnificently. My friend said to stop packing the bag, to leave it empty in the heart and open, and say "I am at peace with my state of discontentment. I notice the discontentment. I see that it is there. And I will sit with it and learn it's name. I will greet it's face with my tongue. I will greet its face. This does help. The thing is: these things I will do or have to do or these things in my future-I just don't like doing them at a basic level. I do not enjoy doing....things. Things that are not making or hiding or being held quite close. Or maybe eating. I guess. Eating is the best. Especially at restaurants. Or dreaming about being safe or ok. It may sound to you like this is a dark place to be in, but it isn't even. It's actually just grey.