the man-boy

March, 2014.



ssht. A man — accurately, a Boy: still self obsessed, cocky, insecure — had gotten into my head. On our first date, he told me: how he had fowled up all of his relationships, how estranged he was from his family, how all of his friends are recovering-somethings. How he was recovering. It was overwhelming, having someone’s life laid out for you like that, up front, for me to take or leave.
“I just didn’t know people were actually up front like that,” I said, “I’ve never had someone just tell me all of their secrets.”
“I don’t know why you are surprised,” The Friend said, “you interview people.”
The Boy who had gotten inside my head and into my bed was strange, at least to me. He was young and hip but worked a blue collar job that required physical labor. He had done all the things I made a point to avoid: he had struggled with addiction, he had slept around, he had gotten in fights. This Boy was immediately interesting, if only for his novelty. I want(ed) to break him like someone does a wild horse.
I wondered what warped this person next to me talking in his sleep. I traced the tips of my fingers over the tattoo the boy had given himself, imagining the home made tattoo gun. Did his hands shake as he tattooed his own chest? Then they wandered down his spine, lingering on the bump between two vertebrae where his back had been broken.

I wondered which came first: being broken physically or mentally. He was a wild thing, something I didn’t understand and tried to personify. But I wanted to tame him. I wanted to have him curl up in my lap and eat sugar cubes from the palm of my hand. He was a raccoon digging through my garbage for treasure. I wanted him to love me.

After watching the way the boy half smiled and ruffled my hair, saying: “Well aren’t you cute,” I knew he wasn’t just wild, but a predator. I am out of my depth. I wasn’t sure how this one ended— hopefully, not like Timothy Treadwell. (Shit.) My bet is that he will get bored and find something else to chase, but I will have mixed feelings. I will be relieved, for sure, but I wasn’t his wild thing either. It won’t be the first time I felt discarded this way, nor the last. My friends say I was spared, but I feel forsaken by the shark that didn’t bite me, but the surfer further down the beach.

Should a predator be frowned upon for doing what it evolved to do? Should I assume that every stray dog will bite? Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, some sort of consideration for their feelings. But this seems like more credit than the man-boy earned. There’s a fine line between optimism and foolishness, and it is one I have too much pride to cross.

What to Expect:

nothing but the worst.

“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”

― Lady Gaga

In the long run, none of this will matter. Leave your feelings at the door. It’s okay to learn lessons twice. Set backs are to be expected. If only one: your personal life, or career can be going well, choose the career. People never change, and if anything, I can count on you to disappear and to hurt me. At least this lesson was much quicker to learn than it was last time. But it doesn’t stop me grinding my teeth whenever I think of you.

In other news, I joined a gym.


“you should tell me a story!”
“you know, I could just tell you when I post something so you don’t have to keep that tab open all the time,” I said.
“I’m not willing to take that chance,” you said, and I know you meant it.

February 2015.

Space Cadet

I dreamed of being an astronaut,
drifting through space like floating
through the sea without salt water.

I still dream of seeing the Earth from the Milky Way.
Of exploring space, free of constraints,
the laws of physics.

and alone.

I stare into the stars from the sea,
immersed in the salt water.
Rolling with the waves,
suspended in the current,
holding my breath till my lungs ache,
alone with my thoughts.

“Your head is always in the clouds,”
lost in imagination.


Hey Future Lauren! (alternatively, Dear Reader)

It’s a late April evening and you are trying to reflect on what you wrote for this semester. I am sure that you (well, me.) will look back on this and say “god lauren why were you always such a dweeb?” You’re not a dweeb, you’re trying to be genuine. You had feelings that matter, damn it! And you wrote about them! Maybe not well the first time but that’s what drafts were for! I’ll look back on this letter and say “were you drunk?” to which I will answer my own question: no. I’m not. I’m exhausted and burnt out.

I have been in school for 16 out of my 21 years on this earth. Not even 21 years! My birthday is the first which is before this will be due. Keep this in mind as you read your own writing, and cut yourself some slack- you don’t know what you don’t know yet. Long division scared you once and that passed, so this will too. The burned out feeling will pass. You will get some of your traction back, you will hopefully feel like to start to matter more. Hopefully you will stop grumbling at people who tell you to stop stressing out. They try to care about you, they just didn’t have sixty pages of revisions to do in less than a week. They just don’t understand. Cut them some slack.

As far as writing, you did pretty well as far as you can tell. You struggle with poetry but with every draft, you tried to write more images and put them in there. You tried to show a lot and tell less than you had in the draft before. You strived especially to be concise in your writing, which you struggle with in other classes. You hated poetry significantly less than you do with other classes. Your rhythm is still off but hey, you will survive. You can always revise. You probably won’t, but you can.

Go take a nap or something.


Lauren J. Hurlock
April, 2013.

to stumble

I’ve never been known for grace,
walking or waltzing, stumbling, recovery,
an expert at saving face,
skinned knees, cut palms, hurt pride.

But I had trouble keeping pace,
trying to not to forget your tricks, or
skinned knees, cut palms, hurt pride.

But it’s the thought of you
that had me stumbling into love, unlucky.
I’ve never been known for grace, nor
for skinned knees, cut palms, hurt pride.


up to date(s)

I haven’t written for fun in a long time. I have excuses and reasons why, but do any of them matter, really? (No.) I always try to do and be better than I have been.

I ended up sitting and reading a coworkers blog for a long time… Not reddit, or the news, or even something remotely educational, but just her personal blog. I have always wanted to be able to see into someone’s head– I spend so much time in mine, I wonder what it’s like for other people. Do other people end up almost trapped in their thoughts like I do? I’m sure they just aren’t as obvious about it.

I’m always amazed at how powerful writing is, and how much good it can do. But really, writing only matters when someone reads it.

blood moon

December 31st and January 1st are just a sun set and a sun rise apart, although they feel so different. You could be someone different with the new year: someone who went to the gym, someone who didn’t worry, someone who ate more vegetables. But you still don’t go to the gym and I still worry myself sick, but we do eat more vegetables. You win some, you lose some.

Time pauses once you step on an airplane and the earth just spins beneath it. The time at the destination changes, the time at the departure changes, but I notice no change except for the aches in my muscles from sitting still. Then you’re in a time zone between the two, and it’s hard to go to sleep and it’s even harder to wake up, and then you’re wearing the sad, tired eyes, too.

“Did you hear about the blood moon?” I asked. There were only a few more hours left until the lunar eclipse — morbidly, the Blood Moon.
“Wasn’t that yesterday?” you asked.
“Nope, it’s tonight. At 3:40, if it’s clear out,” I said.
“Hopefully we will be finished by then,” you said.

I was driving home, flying around winding curves, but slowed to a stop when I saw pairs of reflective eyes from a thicket of trees. A fawn stood, knobby knees pointing inward, ears at awkward angles. It was small enough to have just been born, the mother standing behind it, watching my headlights. “Born under a blood moon,” I said to the fawn, but really just myself. It’s a phrase I haven’t quite been able to shake. There’s something beautiful about something so innocent born with a curse.