So long…

•May 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Remember the early days of freedom? I can’t remember now how it happened, I maybe didn’t have to work as often, or cared less about exhaustion?

The apartment on Clark — the orange walls, remember? — around the corner from everything before everything left quietly in the night. Not sleeping because some wrong combination of pills had been left on the nightstand to collect dust and you didn’t have the money to repair the record player, simon reminded you recently, you weighed the records down with a sock.

Inside the sock — matchbooks. Light enough. Heavy enough. Eventually everything would scratch.

Staying up all night, not sleeping, smoking cigarettes. Everybody smoked nobody thought about death, or anyway they feared it in the darkness of their rooms but invited it with the smoke. Writing all night with the eternal gauloises burning and l.cohen on the record player croaking away to show you the way to light and darkness and back again.

I outgrew L.C. because his poetry is always tainted with himself. Oh, solipsistic idols! Kill you indeed.

It’s almost six now and I haven’t slept. Once I decided to — a crack of light in the curtain, birds awakening, the rattle of tin cans on the curb before recycling comes to take away what rightfully belongs to the vagrants of the night — a huricane of morning blurred the need.

These lines stay with me. In classic L.C. fashion, they begin with something stark and poignant, but quickly descend into a weaker version of the drink you started the night with. I quote only the first lines…I don’t care about the rest:

 

You went to work

You went to work at the U.N.

and you became a spy

for a South American government

because you cared for nothing

and you spoke Spanish

 

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On death and rebirth (or why I choose to live out loud)

•May 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

In a room full of people, somebody finds their way to me and confesses they know so much about me already. Is it weird? That they’ve followed me on facebook or twitter? Maybe they should feel dirty? Like a stalker? Should they be telling me this?

Or

Through a friend or acquaintance I find out somebody I met once two years ago at New Year’s in a crowd of strangers followed my blog until the updates stopped coming. They liked my writing. Or else something attracted them to what I was putting down. Disconnected from my audience — now an imagined blur in my mind, scanning the internet waves for random words I’ve spilled across them somewhere off in the distance — I wonder: What did they like about me? Did they find my writing too personal? Am I just a fascinating wreck?

Have you seen me naked? Was my skin stained in unexpected places? Did my lip quiver right before you turned away?

Somewhere in a book I didn’t like it says “There are two types of people in this world. Those that live their lives with clothes on, and those that take their clothes off for the world. To show people what it means to be alive and human.” Or something like that.

If I didn’t like the book, it wasn’t because I disagreed with that sentiment. I am a public figure. I have been taking my clothes off for the world for years. Recently I stopped.

I had my heart crushed into awkward shapes. I had the scar on my back quoted without my consent. I had the beauty mark above my pubis used to make a killer case against my perfect. I let you into my room but I found you rooting around for gold while I was not looking.

And a woman I respect told me in no uncertain terms to stop.

Dear Doctor: I make myself vulnerable by exposing myself compulsively. The tools I use to teach the world through my body are not enough to keep them from cutting my skin to get closer to earthly fantasies. I am not the world. I am an individual who suffers. I teach the world to abuse me through my constant reinforcement of how much, how far I can bend before I snap. I am strong but I have a tendon that cripples me. I collapse with the softest breath. I am vulnerable as all fuck and I’m dying because I taught them how to kill me. I am nothing, and nobody cares at all in the end, when they go home to a television that buzzes and a need to be something bigger than themselves.

So why take off my clothes at all? If I had wanted to be a hero, I might have tried, at least, to save your life?

There is something inside me that is elastic and unpredictable. I cultivate it. If there’s resistance, I step back. In another time I might have been a poet. In another body, I might have been a writer. In another life, I might have had a more resonant name.

Sometimes an image, a collection of words, a scent, a touch, a flash in another’s eyes is so beautiful I crumble under the weight of the instance and the world. I can cry at anything. A glance in an elevator. An intense emotion of any flavor. A glimpse of the candid being stripping away the layers.

It wouldn’t be fair to experience the world with such crushing love if I didn’t also experience it with equal rage. What would I be if I couldn’t fall into the devil’s arms with the wrong combination of words or gestures? I would be some happy fool. I would be ecstatic, yes, but what would I do with it except sing praises to the universe? I might have had to be a saint.

It wouldn’t be fair, in light of such widespread suffering. But mostly it would not have been fair to me. Me. Me. Me. Miss Lonelyhearts.

Miss Lonelyhearts has to suffer. Not as a martyr to the world, but as a martyr to herself.

Because in my quest for truth — for some chaotic purity — as deluded and misguided as I am, I know at least that it is not one-sided.

I have problems with my family. I am the black sheep, and if that isn’t it, then I am the sheep without any skin at all. They took a different turn somewhere. I am inappropriate. My morality wanes. I make hasty decisions. I love reaction, provocation, challenge. Whatever you think I should be, I will prove myself the opposite.

The opposite at all times of exactly that which one thinks an individual should seek to be.

What the fuck is up with that? I don’t know. It’s about rebellion, as an easy out, but more than that, it’s about getting right down to the truth — some kind of truth that is constantly slipping through and eluding — about human existence.

The truth about human existence. enormous thoughts. enormous pursuits. I’m going about it all wrong. But there’s some desire to uncover how nuanced it is. There is some lunatic need to prove that it twists and that it will not, can not, must not be captured in rules. And so, they call it rebellion. And it started when I was in the womb somewhere hot and sticky 28 years ago.

I like attention. I like being rewarded for being quick on my feet and quicker with words and slippery when wet. Merci. But also, I want you to know that I am dying everyday. I want you to know that I suffer with every step, just like that fucking mermaid who wanted too much and got so very little. A punishment for your ambition? A curse for your greed? Sedation in the arms of love? Oh, mon amour, I open my arms so wide to you.

Here’s the thing. To be human, for me, is to walk home in the fog and find 20 dollars rolled up by the curb just when you’re thinking oh fuck it’s all in vain. It is to sleep for 48 hours and miss the entire world because you’re tired. It is to cry in peals of horrible thunder because you are alone. It is to laugh hysterically when whatever you’ve been working on is garbage and you’re going to have to cut apart the entire film again. It is to discuss things that ought not be discussed, for example, the fact that I have hammertoes and my podiatrist cried at my feet (that’s a favorite, you will hear it again).

If I don’t take being human by the horns I will evaporate. I’m sure of it. Because sometimes, getting out of bed will kill you. A look will kill you. A misunderstanding will cut you in the vein. But other times, the light will be a spectacular burst that fills your every cell and crumbles your knees to the ground. People will be so insanely amazing and loveable, and desirable in their flawed states of unravelling, that you will have no choice but to give them your entire heart so be it you can always grow a new one back.

The most amazing thing in the world to me is when another is so human in their ugliness, uncertainty, honesty, and desire to be good. I can’t turn my back on that truth. I’m hunting everyday with my nose to the ground for that honest moment. Lie to me if it means you’re letting me inside. I’m sniffing coat sleeves and collar bones for any trace of truth. I’m letting my tongue parch and curl up from the salt along your back. I will follow my instinct to the grave.

It’s better to have lived and died than never to have been alive at all?

Bringing it all back home

•December 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

Is it resolution time? Because I don’t have any resolutions this year.

Which is not to say that I feel perfect. C’mon! But somehow, perfectly content?

Which is weird, right?

 

At dinner, on the verge of turning thirty, Leighland turns to me and asks “so, do you have anything you feel the need to accomplish before you turn thirty like me?” It took me a minute. I mentally ran through lists that I’d formed in my head, at some point or another, sketching out things I felt I should do, or be, or say before those landmarks: 20, 25, 30. I looked at him. “Why do you ask?” “Just making conversation. Being silly.” Very simple. And it was simple. I was simple too, right then.

No

No with no punctuation. Just floating out there (like a cloud of exhaled cigarette smoke, or a kiss that hit the wrong mark, or an inverted question, or…) and perfect all its own.

And then I thought. And explained. If he’d asked me a year ago, I would have exploded with anxious ramblings of things that I just needed to accomplish. I felt like a zero. Sometimes you do that to yourself. And sometimes, others do it for you.

Why am I drawn to people who, in some way or another, drag others into their battle zones? Or do I draw them in? I’ve felt a lot of pressure in my life, mostly from women invested in seeming intelligent, powerful, talented, and together. I’ve been messy but they’ve taken me along for the ride. I too have wanted to be together.

Are you a manipulative freak? A pathological liar? A silver-spoon-baby? An overly-ambitious-yet-real-girl-next-door? Do you want to contrast and compare? Honey, I am there. But it’s not that I think there’s something wrong with you. Or rather, it’s wrong with me too. We can talk for a long time about the role of women in our current state of society. We can talk about ways to reverse, invert, subvert, deter that. We can put on combat boots and eyeliner. We can decide that cleavage is tacky. We can decide to own it. Either way, you’re fucking my shit up.

 

I still haven’t figured out how to get off this board. I’m beginning to believe we can’t ever really. Blackandwhite. Black. White.

 

Imbalances in power are constant. They are real. They are ugly and dirty. For now, I just want to do my own thing. I don’t want to worry about somebody swiping that out from under me and presenting it to me with ribbons. I don’t want to be afraid of being nothing. It all seems so irrelevant to happiness anyway. Happiness? Well, you know, not being in a hospital with a knife to your own throat.

She said being an adult means being flexible. I’m still thinking about that. Because I haven’t wanted to be an adult. But I have wanted to be wise. It’s the thing to be, you know, to either counter or supplement your good/bad looks. Hi. Are you playing? I’m playing too.

That’s ok, superwomen. I know why you do what you do. But I don’t want to do it anymore. ‘Cuz I know you. You’ll take everything I have and make it yours. You’ll eat me for lunch. You have to, to stay alive.

 

Sometimes everything. And sometimes nothing.

•November 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello world. Where have you been?

Much has changed. People have been asking about me. People have been writing to me. People have been ignoring me.

I don’t know how long I’ll stay. But I thought: OK, an update. That is harmless.

It’s hard to be anything these days. I’m doing a lot. But are we the things we do? Some seem to think so.

I sometimes get the impression that people think I am like a piece of very tough gum. Bubblelicious? Resilient even after the flavor is gone. Likely to snap, but usually as a result of some abusive teeth and fingers. Easy to squish back together. Tiresome on the jaw. Best reserved for short bouts of bubble blowing.

I see myself as being very open. Very accepting. Very forgiving. But with terribly severe limits. I’ve only recently begun to define it. It’s a feeling of hugeness and consequence. Pick it up from there.

Question: Is it because I am such a misanthrope that social relationships are so important to me?

My schedule has been interesting. Restrictive. I haven’t seen much of my friends. Forget about family. But I’ve been choosing privacy. Can you believe it? This is what intensive therapy gets you. But I’m tired of the madness without borders. So few really get it. Why should I continue to live my life out loud? Suggestions accepted.

The illusion of openness has begun to irritate me. We select and select. We try to push ourselves in certain directions with the world behind us to egg us on. We put on our disguises and open the front door. We exist as creations of our own words and minds. We share the choice bits to distract from the acid within. We seek redemption through call and response.

The girl with the movie camera. Doesn’t really capture very much.

The lights are harsh in the new office. I wonder about my eyesight. I miss my old friends. I feel guilty when I stop in to talk to them. I should keep moving along. But I’m making myself less vulnerable. Do you hear that?

It’s a problem. Give them an inch…

After 5:00 I hang around and try to push everything into place with an orange stick. Shovel all the leaks back into the appropriate compartments.

I seldom make it to class on time.

I’m absorbing things. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the lost highway. I’m crossing reality twice.

A woman in an elevator with open toed shoes and a run in her stalking. I reserve that. I’ll come back to it later.

Once again I am the outcast. Always the outcast. By now it’s become more of a comfort than a burden. I can’t help but see the world as a fool in the eye of the moon. So I keep my poetry a secret. I celebrate myself only on Sundays.

Wording

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Don’t you hate it when people interrupt every single thing you say to interject because they, of deep and profound wisdom, already know every single thought you are trying to express? Or when people absolutely have to prove that they know the answer to everything? Or when people have a story or statement that is oh so much more important than anything you could possibly be saying?

Oh. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Pale Fire

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My new neighbor is from Cherry Valley. No, he isn’t. He reminds me of someone from there.

I don’t want anything. No, I want a lot, but I’d be willing to trade.

I’m angry. No. I was. But now I feel resigned to change.

Take everything you want.

I’m afraid to use my voice.

I don’t need my words.

Everything is as it appears.

I’m not made of blood.

I’m not trying hard enough.

Trust.

The difficult part is behind us.

Life is simple.

I’m fortunate not to have to…

Alone and tired of it.

Weak.

Your face.

Define good and evil.

I’m winning.

If you try hard enough you will succeed.

I (don’t) dare you.

This post hasn’t disintegrated into a strange high school poetry class exercise.

Mouth Off

•September 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I suppose I do have style, don’t I?

I’ve been carrying a tantō around for a long time. Being misunderstood, or partially understood, has always been an issue for me. Probably as a result of having lived the first 18 years of my life among a herd that spoke a different language. It seemed I had mastered all the same words they had, but had an entirely different palate shading the letters. Like having a kind of synesthesia a textbook couldn’t explain. Texture. There’s texture in your language.

Literature, university, life. These things camouflaged the discordance in communication by providing different ways to shape thoughts and introducing people with a sensitivity to layers. And yet, still, walking around with the feeling that myself, my real self, has only partially been actualized.

People are walking around like broken machines. They have an edge that’s missing, or the marrow has been sucked from their bones. Who will give them a transplant? You, the lonely.

Is there something strange about me? Something you can’t put your finger on? Or have you got me figured out? Do you know why I do everything I do and can predict when I’ll do it?

It’s only one incarnation of the beast and those strings are loosening. Something isn’t working. I will disappear into the rabbit hole and you never know who will come out.

I will not be a person tricked by fear into giving up their life. If you ever thought I was, you were thinking of somebody else. Your shoe in my face means nothing.