michael king

stack of stained pages, redacted love letters, spilling ink, pressing it into tomorrow

book club: ‘a little life’.

‘I have a book for you,’ a friend told me, ‘but it will very likely break your heart.’

I took him at his word, tracking it down immediately –– A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara –– and setting it in my Amazon cart. ‘I’ll get to it,’ I promised, ‘when I’ve got time to have my heart broken.’

I was, at the time, poised to close my second chapter in Muncie, facing my own series of heartbreaking goodbyes. I would move home, savor a few fleeting weeks in the warmth of my family, and then move my life to New York. The months would scuttle by underfoot, my legs stretching to keep pace, and I would all but forget A Little Life.

Then, one afternoon, I reviewed my Amazon cart and found it there, nestled between a piece of wall art (Indiana, by county) and a pair of happy socks. Feeling ready, I clicked it into existence, unboxing it a few days later, beginning.

IMG_6853

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monday post: letting wounds.

Sunday Post Red

Happen

I was eleven the first time I figured out I’d made a habit out of holding my breath.

It was a muggy June afternoon, smacked in the middle of a week at camp, and I was on a hike with about six other boys my age. We came to a river, and they all broke into motion, water parting and spilling against their reckless limbs. I watched them, frozen, and scanned the surface for rocks. Testing them first, I stepped slowly across, tiny ripples and silent steps.

I made it across, caught up to them once my feet found solid ground. Our entire hike followed this pattern. Later, as we sat around our bunks eating fruit snacks and granola bars, they poked fun at me. “If we didn’t take Michael with us, the hike would have been five minutes.”

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sunday post: people who stay.

Sunday Post PWS

When people leave us, no matter how tidy their exit, they scatter behind them a trail of heavy absences. The drawer, top-left, we cleared for them to keep their things. The corner of the mirror we crowded with photos of them. Songs they sang to us, emerging suddenly at coffee shops and pulling us back to times we imagined them forever. Where once there were good morning texts, now we find our screens empty. The message is cruel but clear: We are responsible for our own rising.

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sunday post: soundtracks.

Sunday Post Surfaces

Big New Day. May of 2014, summer stretching herself sleepily across the Midwest. I’m pacing my apartment, pulling things down from the walls and bundling them in boxes. Two years rose and fell, graduate school already blurring at my fingertips, a Polaroid shaken perhaps too emphatically. Now I’m here, hands shaking, heartbeat a steady thrum, learning again to breathe.

Against the wall, my CD player occupies the bookshelf alone, pouring music like sunlight into the cluttered apartment. The playlist is hopeful, heart first, a series of anthems about the magic that just might come if we’re brave enough to be seen. Brave by Sara Bareilles, Luck by the American Authors, Pumpin Blood by NONONO, Something I Need by OneRepublic, Invisible by Hunter Hayes, This is the New Year by A Great Big World. I tiptoe around a maze of my own creation, bobbing my head all the while, every last lyric like a love letter to this, the age of learning to want out loud.

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muncie.

nowhere town, i
have the habit of
showing up to you
broken and hopeful,
suitcases bursting at
the seams, seven hundred
stories in every corner

nobody tells you
this about the spots
you mark as ‘home’ onto
the maplines: this is
the soil that will
cradle you in your
days of breaking, and
these are the skies
that will whisper you
back together

poetry

i love you.

I love you. Here, now, this very second. I know, I know –– there are a million metrics, a multitude of ways we convince ourselves we’re not measuring up, but you’ve got no argument to make here. Right now, as you are, I love you.

_\.. /

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sunday post: roses.

Sunday Post LW

the white rose,
evoking innocence, charm, purity

It took months for me to feel clean again.

That’s the trick to love –– we spend years figuring out how to stand tall in ourselves, training our hands self-sufficient, learning to grin at the hard-won person staring from the mirror, and a single human stumbles along and shatters the whole illusion.

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