Wearing the hot pink faux fur coat yet receiving compliments only on the hot pink sequined sneakers one intended as mere complement.
Eating a food, the ingredients of which one cannot identify; it scarcely matters if the food is delicious, mediocre or repugnant. One seeks orientation to maximize fulfillment: to play up what resonates, compare it to memories and ideal standards, minimize less savored aspects, use the imagination to perfect its recipe, adjust the seasoning. But without knowledge of what is in it, one flails; unsettled, disoriented, unsatisfied, motion-sick and nauseated.
Sweating beneath the hot pink faux fur coat on a cold winter day: simultaneous burn and freeze, clammy stickiness; impossible to regulate one’s internal thermostat.
Going to a concert and perceiving the songs as performed in the wrong order: the order could be that which appear on one’s recording or one’s own sense of what makes the most appropriate mix were one to make a mixtape for someone one wishes to impress: the arc of lyrics that tell a story of rising and falling narrative, the rhythm of a workout or a session of lovemaking. One’s mind rattles to reorder the songs, detracting from the present experience and creating a longing to be home, listening properly and bittersweetly dreaming of the live music experience denied.
The winter day that melts and releases too many smells all at once: dog feces and urine, but also rotting vegetation and a mélange of garbage. What dissipates in warm months overwhelmingly asserts itself in the cold.
Unsuitable people who find unsuitable what one also finds unsuitable: where is the error?
Julie Benesh is author of the chapbook About Time and the forthcoming full-length poetry collection Initial Conditions and has published work in Tin House, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Another Chicago Magazine, JMWW, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program and recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant. Read more at juliebenesh.com.