Shapes

The movable and unmovable objects and perspectives of Caroline Dupuy Heerwagen

Dead Zones

excerpt 2, Chapter 3

I went to bed that night too afraid to go and watch the darkness at the edge of our yard. I had to count backwards from 100 just to get myself to sleep, but it was no better there. I dreamt I was immersed in that darkness, stepping between the trees to follow a wild dog that panted and jogged between their black trunks, looking back every few steps to be sure I was still there, his high shoulders revealing white luminescent bulbs as his breath slipped out in ghostly clouds in front of his long nose, all lined with teeth that flashed dully in the phosphorescence the surrounded him.
In the chill I could feel that breath sticking to me beneath my nightgown, stealing down my belly and between my thighs, seizing my chest. I didn’t want to follow him. I could feel his excitement and it scared me, but I was more afraid to turn around and try and go back without him. The way behind me was being erased with every step, leaving me no choice but to keep pushing forward, willing my legs to bend and move, the numbers persisting. I could feel myself mouthing them as I went, 76, 75, 74, placing my bare feet carefully on the ground beneath me. 70, 69, 68, the jaunt of him slowed and stopped in a clearing I had never seen. My skin was soaking now from his breath and my hurrying. I could feel my body aching with it, the cold sinking between my ribs and underneath my toes as I edged forward, closer to his pulsating body. I could make out his tongue in the moonlight of the open space, hanging long past his gaping mouth, the yellow of his long teeth dripping, eyes reflecting shapes of men somewhere in the mist that I could not see.
He wasn’t looking at me anymore. He seemed to have forgotten that I was there, his long, pointed ears searching for something I could neither hear nor sense. He wanted me, but I didn’t understand what that meant, and it was dawn when I woke up, still wet with his breath.

I’m attracted to people who are interested in life. Not just theirs, but the whole damn thing. Those are the people who end up being the most interesting it turns out. This is not a new idea, but it’s a good one.

Caroline Dupuy Heerwagen

Love: A Service Announcement

This is a real note. From a real person. Who happens to be a writer that writes about love of the lost variety.

At the end of the day all I really want out of anyone is the kind of laugh that I get when someone is genuinely so funny to me that I can hardly do anything but cackle with my mouth open and to the sky when they’re around. I only want to laugh. I never want to frown or pout. In fact, I find I hardly do the latter anymore. All the more reason… Feed the addiction. Starve out whatever darkness I was convinced I needed in my younger years. I write like that still because I think it means something to, but I can hardly remember what it does or why it was there anymore.

This is a real note. From a real person. All the rest is fiction.

It feels like… Looks like… I let it all go.
I held your burden and came up with nothing.
Whatever words were spoke are not here now.
But mama said suns come up regardless of sufferin.

It feels like… Looks like… I let it all go.
I held your burden and came up with nothing.
Whatever words were spoke are not here now.
But mama said suns come up regardless of sufferin.

Dear Friend

I could have sat there all day and tried to convince myself that you were no good at all.
It never did anything to tell myself that.
I could run through all the rot that had occurred between us, and all the nastiness that spilled out of you in my direction, and how it was not what I deserved and on and on to no avail. And then one day when I was driving in my car, and I was thinking about you as I did so often, this other kind of thought came in that stopped me dead in my tracks… That you are not, you never were, bad, but that I was so much less than I could be with you in my life. It slowed me down.
I am a great warrior, you see, an assassin of the highest order, and this milling about in your shadow was stopping me from getting anywhere other than that. I just kept putting around in the shade of your body instead of walking in the daylight and pushing forward. That’s what I’m meant to do. Go forth and seize this world and every obstacle it can throw at me. And it did quiet my veracity. And it has. And you were the greatest obstacle, but certainly not the worst, and certainly will not be the last.
I cannot be stopped by you because I chose to keep going. Because I knew that I could. Loving you was a barrier, a great wall that shut me in… But I scaled it, and I have carried on with my doing and being. I will continue that way because it is what I am meant to do. I am not meant to love you. I cannot do that, because it made me so much smaller than I was ever meant to be.
It took me years to see it. It took me years to have that thought and to let go of your green eyes and long perfect legs, but I have, and now I can hardly remember why I could only think as big as that shadow between where your body ended and the rest of Earth began.

I think it’s all in my head.

I think it’s all in my head.

Realism

She turned her head towards me restlessly, both arms buried beneath her hips, her feet crossed over one another as she sighed and shook.
“I’m not sure when things changed,” she said, her silhouette bending the dim light behind her, “but it feels awful now, you know? I can feel the space between my organs, and it hurts. You used to be there and now you’re not, and I don’t know what to do about it because it feels like I’m missing something and I don’t know how to go back to being me without you there keeping everything where it’s supposed to be.”
Her mouth was dry. I could hear her tongue cracking as she spoke into my pillow. I wanted to reach out and tell her, but I couldn’t. I wanted to reach my hand across her back and push her hair off her neck and tell her it wasn’t true, but I wasn’t sure, and the silence within me felt like a knife in my hands. I was tearing her skin to pieces, and I knew it, but I could do little to stop it. Whatever I had become in order to pull myself away from her, in order to be something other than what she needed could not soften itself enough to clean up the aching just so she could sleep. This fragile thing that I had held so carefully in my chest was breaking in front of me now, and I felt nothing.
“Can’t I do anything?” She whispered, her voice trembling beneath the weight of her phosphorous heart. I could hardly utter the words. I could hardly hear myself say them, but she could feel them and I saw her beauty disappear before me as they slid out across the darkness to her.
“I’m sorry.”

Face 📷 by the great Kevin Stapleton

Face 📷 by the great Kevin Stapleton

Anonymous said: I have fallen in love with your writing. It's some of the most beautiful sentences I have ever had the joy of running into. Whenever I see you my face couldn't get more red. I couldn't be more awkward. If I were to fumble over my footsteps anymore I may just end up on my knees. And this whole cycle couldn't possibly get anymore embarrassing. But, I think you're great.

If there’s anyone in the world who could appreciate expressing your feelings despite embarrassment, it’s me. Thank you so much for telling me. Made my day. :)

Lightly lightly she steps and sways • under darker shadows and ghastly shades • sharp words allay her rattled mind • to burry those she’d left behind •

Lightly lightly she steps and sways • under darker shadows and ghastly shades • sharp words allay her rattled mind • to burry those she’d left behind •

Tides

I had to get out of my house that night. I felt the walls caving in around me and I knew I had to escape the monsters of my own mind. I travelled down the road a bit, hardly knowing to what ends I was, and came upon a little dive some mile off my front stoop. I walked in and sat at the bar by myself and was waited on by no one, but I didn’t mind it. I just sat. And twisted my shirt up in the palm of my hand.
An aging woman with smeared lipstick and heavy earrings that pulled down her lobes to her shoulders was sitting at the other end, her hazy eyes set on me. Her head was bent, her swollen hands tight around a glass of brown liquid. After some twitching where she was she could no longer wait for me, and slid like a serpent towards my undulating body.
She sat there beside me for some time before opening her crusted and feral mouth, eyeing me carefully to suss out the fear that swam beneath my skin. When she spoke her words slurred and spat into my lap, damp soliloquies of death, “The story goes that I was like a glass of warm wine.” She said to me, leaning in close, her body grazing my arm, “That was the story. But nothing stays the same, you see, nothing can… The way this universe is set up things will pull after they push, and when the time came I was a dagger in the side of it all. I became an aching tooth, and what do you do with a thing like that? You pull it out.”

I said, “You’re like a sunburn baby… I bask in your heat with a smile on my face, but damn do I ache the next day.”

I said, “You’re like a sunburn baby… I bask in your heat with a smile on my face, but damn do I ache the next day.”

The light out here casts long shadows that break on skin like glass, making shapes that feel like a knife in your gut. Making sounds that tear then fall flat. #sleep

The light out here casts long shadows that break on skin like glass, making shapes that feel like a knife in your gut. Making sounds that tear then fall flat. #sleep

I’m not scared of you. I’m scared of me. I’m scared that what I become when you look at me will disappear when you stop.

Caroline Dupuy Heerwagen

Snow or dandruff… You decide. #survey2014

Snow or dandruff… You decide. #survey2014