Sunday, December 31, 2017
They're wild for me in France.
Because nearly every utensil I own is being corraded in the miniature dishwasher below the two burners, I use the handle of a large slotted serving spoon to stir almond milk into my dandelion root tea.
I have been thinking about it and I don't think I can forgive that easily, even though I have tried on several occasions. It isn't sticking and I'm still really mad.
Last night I dreamt I was a child and I was with a couple of other children and we pushed open the door of the darkened dispensary and ran about reading labels and exclaiming over fantastical products. Then I was my adult self again, and I was quietly placing a few items on a high rotating shelf so that I could come back and purchase them when the dispensary opened again tomorrow.
What I remember next is shopping in a large, fluorescent-lit shop and then being harassed by two young boys as I exited past the red plastic carts. One of them threw something at me, and when I turned to admonish him he rammed a cart at me, full speed, while his friend laughed. I barely managed to swing my ankle away from the cart, and the boy continued trying to ram the cart into my legs even as I exclaimed that I was recovering from a severe ankle injury, and could he please stop.
Next he and I were walking across the moving bridge, only he had not warned me it would be moving, such that I stumbled and fretted with my heart in my chest as steps inexplicably dropped out from under me. I paused and reached for the railing to catch my breath, only to have the whole railing drop away in the split second before I leaned all my weight on it. At that point I started to yell at him--for taking me on this bridge, for not informing me that it would be moving, for not warning me before the railing dropped away--but before we really got into it the section we were on shot up into the air, leaving my stomach somewhere on the grass hundreds of yards below us.
I don't know how we escaped that contraption, but somehow we were on the ground and the dispensary owner--a woman, around my age, dark-haired pixie cut--was hurrying across the field toward us. She gave us each an envelope containing large checks and I don't remember what else, as well as a gigantic, hunter-green sled-bike with a metal basket. I placed my envelope into the basket right before the sled-bike slipped our grasp, careened across the snow, through the busy intersection, and into the parking lot on the other side of the street. I was relieved to see that no one had been hurt--including the sled--but my relief came too soon. As I waited for the light change that would allow me to cross the busy intersection, a young mother hustled her daughter up to the bike-sled, climbed aboard, and started peddling furiously up the road.
I took off after them on foot, calling out to them to stop! stop! The light saved me--she had to pause and I reached the bike-sled and grabbed its basket just as the light changed to green again. Please, I said, just let me get my envelope out of the basket. She had placed reams of her own papers and envelopes in the basket, which made finding my own more difficult. As seconds ticked on and I still hadn't found it, she started trying to peddle away. I grabbed onto either side of the basket, shoved backward, and told her this was my sled-bike and if she didn't want to deal with me, she could deal with law enforcement. She got significantly more agreeable after that and, if I remember correctly, she may have ushered her daughter away from the sled-bike. I don't recall ever finding the envelope.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Last night I dreamt I was a teenager again and that I showed up to swim practice without my suit on. I got into the pool stark naked, with the nagging feeling that something was off. When I realized the issue--that my co-ed teammates were all wearing speedos and I was completely nude--I sidestroked over to the coach to let her know. She said so long as I was comfortable I was welcome to stay for practice. I said I was perfectly comfortable; I just didn't want to make any of my teammates uncomfortable. So she told me to stay, and I did, freestroking and flipturning with the best of them, only I remained completely naked and they all stayed in their swimsuits.
At one point the coach asked me to pause my laps so she could point out an alignment issue with my shoulder. She pressed into the tight spot above my bare left breast that has been tender ever since my lung collapse. I thanked her for the adjustment and swam on. As I and my lane mates caught our breath in the shallow end, the nasty adolescent girl (who had witnessed the coach's adjustment) accused the coach of pedophilia. I said, Listen, I am a survivor of child sexual abuse--in response to which the nasty girl's eyes lit up, and she demanded, WHO? I told her, It was more than one person, and I'm not going to say who. I am also a certified rape crisis and domestic violence counselor. And I can assure you that our coach is not acting like a pedophile toward me. I guess that shut her up, because the next thing I remember is kicking off the shallow end's wall and hoping the cute guy from the boy's team noticed that I made it the whole way across the pool without coming up for air.
Gradually the water started to go out of the pool, such that I'd swim to approximately 10 feet away from the deep end's wall only to discover the water level was several feet below where it should be. I'd kick with all my might, launching myself out of and above the water and propelling my arm into the wall.
I wanted to keep swimming even after the rest of the team had pulled themselves dripping from the pool and headed to the lockers, but when I turned to face the lane there was nothing but a few inches of water left in the pool. The coach pulled a cleaning cart up to the edge of the shallow end and informed me that I and the cute guy from the boy's team would be in charge of cleaning the locker rooms. This didn't seem to bother me; I asked a few clarifying questions, pulled my naked body from the pool, and went to survey the girl's locker room, my heart beating in my chest as I anticipated the arrival of the cute guy, who seemed equally enthusiastic to help me clean up.
We snowshoe into the backcountry and saw down our Christmas tree at 11,000 feet.
Now it stands by the doorway decked out in lights, golden garland, candy canes, and so many colored balls. At the tops sits the star he made out of cardboard and aluminum foil.
Raffi is singing Christmas songs, Hanna is sleeping by my legs, Wilson is dozing in the crook of my arm.
I crack two eggs into a pot and fry them, place half of a gluten free bagel in the toaster oven and turn it on.
Everything is going well until it is time to flip them. There's not enough room in the pot, so instead of flipping them like pancakes from one side to the other, I must mush them into a jumbled mess in order to cook both sides. The trouble is that I did not feel like washing the frying pan, so I tried to cook two fried eggs in a small sauce pot.
While the eggs finish cooking I put on the water to brew dandelion root tea.
Today it was freakishly warm, to the point that I pulled off my coat while I was walking Hanna and on the phone with my dear, dear friend (for lack of a better word) and I tied the coat sleeves around my waist so that I was wearing nothing but jeans and a sweater.
Meanwhile last week was so cold that every day I wore two pairs of pants, long underwear beneath a wool sweater, a down parka, gloves, a scarf, and my bright red beanie from the tree farm.
I am so sick of this basement apartment with the fighting always overhead. I wouldn't mind living in the poolhouse.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
That title is Wilson's contribution to this monologue, and far be it from me to erase what little paws have written.
The way the game works is this: If you are caught saying the words, somebody else gets to keep your necklace.
She gave me the jam because she knows how much I like jam.
Before I eat dinner, I'm gonna eat a little jam appetizer.
There isn't anything to get back to. You just evolve and you leave it all behind and you take everything with you.
People tell me their secrets.
There is a line in my journal that I didn't finish writing. It starts like this: How many times have I sought com
While he makes toast in the toaster oven she is piping it nicely with a little nozzle, a few roses, and then giving it a good blowtorch.
He has put some corn syrup in there. We'll see.
You just gotta wait for these things. You can't rush it.
I am 90 percent sure it is the chockecherry jam.
God, please care for the Earth and all of her creatures.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
The snow boots sit dripping onto the mat. The ski lifts will be open by the end of next week.
I remember going to that post-modern art museum and I remember walking outside of it into the dark, cool night. I remember being surrounded by other people, maybe yellow lines on the black street, maybe crossing the road to access a lit passageway toward the subway. What I cannot remember is where I was, who I was with, or where we were going.
In that D.C. apartment we did shots of vodka and washed them down with diet red bull, disgusting, then I think maybe we took a cab to a burlesque show and I really loved it and also I felt uncomfortable the whole time, albeit not because of the burlesque.
Walking alone in D.C. I went to art museums, sat on windy benches atop professional buildings, gazed down on the river, walked long through the state park, stood tall in front of those charging dogs, had my ass grabbed, was chased while shouting NO, got called at and harassed on a daily basis, disappeared into that crowd of drummers drumming and acrobaters acrobating, hopped on rental bikes and pedaled all over, walked the rich streets of Georgetown, kissed him by that koi pond or rather he kissed me and I said I didn't think he should, reconnected with high school friends, sang in the shower, sang in my bedroom, covered my bedroom walls with pencil drawings, lived on a mattress on the floor, had sex in my room and then in his room, had sex in the basement bedroom, had sex after climbing up the fire escape and shimmying through the bathroom window, crashed a party in a skintight leopard costume, told him I didn't respect him as much and probably never would, ate a lot of falafel, had my boots on, lent that crying young man on the sidewalk my cell phone and gave him a great big hug, handed out sandwiches, granola bars, money to all the homeless people I met, sat in that literary cafe and dreamt, read my writing out loud to my writing group, read my writing out loud at poetry readings, brought him along to a poetry reading, went to the aerospace museum, ate hot dogs, rode the bus to choir practice, committed to memory that image of him sitting on the bench amidst the greenery and the concrete and the graffitied skate park and the water. I auditioned for a choir and I was one of only a handful picked. I wrote and wrote and read it to other people. I walked and walked and walked all over the city and even though it gave me many reasons to be I was not afraid.
You're allowed to have a little fun.
There is still hope left in this world. When did I start being so serious all the time?
Monday, November 6, 2017
I don't think I can read any more apocalypse stories.
When I first moved into this basement apartment I was apprehensive about using the two burners sunk into the narrow, poorly constructed countertop on account of the fact that something in them doesn't work quite right; the burners will not light on their own, even though technically that is what they are meant to do. Thus anytime anyone desires to use one or both of the burners they must turn on the gas and put fire to it in the form of a lighter or a match. I was apprehensive about lighting one or both of the gas burners with a lighter or a match because I was a bit worried that I'd blow the whole place up. Consequently for several months I did not use the burners any time I was alone in the apartment; I would use them only on weekends, when he was available to help me light a fire under my scrambled eggs. On the other days I ate most of my meals cold.
At some point, I suppose, I must have forgotten all those nights I cooked on the little gas campstove from the pack on my back.
These days I must be back to remembering. I turn on the gas, jam my fingers between the metal spikes that suspend pots and pans above the flame, and flick the lighter. I put the water on to boil and it is not until several minutes later, when I sit down at this borrowed laptop to write, that I realize I am no longer afraid to light one or both of the burners on my own.
I am making a mug of chamomile tea.
When the water has come to a roiling boil I wrap my shirt sleeve around the pot, lift it from the burner, turn off the gas, and pour the still-boiling water over the tea bag, which swells grotesquely and spasms a little in the water.
Humans boil lobsters alive, and snakes swallow their prey that way too.
Today he waited in line at the post office to retrieve my new book and my flower essences. Supposedly they will help my body heal from the trauma of having snapped my ankle and hopped on one leg 5.5 miles out of the backcountry.
One of the weirdest parts is that it still does not quite feel like my leg, my foot, my ankle. It feels a bit like somebody has sewn a new leg, a new foot, and a new ankle onto the right side of my body while I slept, only the parts aren't all from the same factory and they don't quite go together.
Luckily I have found a woman who is helping me. She travels down into the deepest layers of tissue and invites my body to let go of its clinging so that my leg and my ankle and my foot can return to where they used to be.
I cannot resent my body for getting so out of sorts. It was simply trying to protect me.
I owe that brother and sister and that old wilderness ranger and that smiling golden retriever a great debt of gratitude.
He was going to patch the backside of his pants yesterday, but he didn't do it.
I don't think I have had sex under the covers for going on a decade, if ever.
I am hopeless for you. I melt to a warm, gooey substance seemingly incapable of making major decisions.
Also I am so stubborn. I obsess over this more than anyone I know.
I could look for an ambient tape hiss.
*with great thanks and admiration for Silver Jews
Sans serif fonts are in.
The doctor has left the building.
We went to the meadow and it was even more magnificent than expected. How to put words to it: Hanna cozied up in that plaid flannel shirt, chasing through the snow after wherever her legs carried her. Scooping clusters of snowflakes off the tips of overwintering shrubs and blowing them from my fingers with a wish. The sun so powerful I felt its intensity growing from behind massive plumes of cloud. Hiking up to the overlook just as the wind blew the entire snowstorm away to reveal layers of blue and green and white and gray mountains in front of me.
I am reminded of the parable of the sun and the wind, and who could best convince a man to take off his coat. Open up let the light in.
Our lives need fantasies in order not to ruin them.
I am lying wet-haired on the blue flannel sheets in a baggy blue t-shirt and a pair of gray and pink-polka-dotted boxers.
My feet and ankles are still sore but I didn't feel a thing while I was walking. It was simply too beautiful, and too cold.
I watched the temperature drop, counting, and looked up just at the moment that rain changed to snow.
I remember driving alone through those quiet country roads in east prospect, the sun settling over farmland, and feeling for those minutes dialed in to expansiveness and possibility.
What is the guitar not playing. Act one scene twelve.
The drying rack is broken beyond repair. At this point I've spent as much on duct tape as I would on a new drying rack. My laundry bag, also, has ripped to the point that it is hardly functional. Yet I cling to my stubbornness even though I already have not won.
Some days I think Noel has more integrity than any other member of his friend group; other days I think he is lower than dirt. Which is it, Noel.
He reminds me that I contain multitudes and it is exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes it's simply everything all at the same time.
As usual, the heron chooses this time in the evening to take flight over the closet.
I am going to start painting again. I have my PA license plate tacked up over the doorway into the kitchen.
Though I still do not much care for the taste of regular Coca-Cola, I do concede it is better out of the glass bottle.
And why is your coat hanging in my living room, holding space on that coat rack I picked up more than four years ago for $15 in Queens.
When I went to the library to cancel my membership, they seemed shocked by the idea that anyone would leave.
The rabbit sits, as always, beneath the moonlight and the snow-covered boughs.
I'm a different person now.
I trust that there is nothing to get back to.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Once you have felt it do you ever stop feeling it. Do you ever want to.
Sure it's a little daunting but it feels better already, doesn't it?
Do you know that feeling when you're not sure exactly what music you want to listen to, so you pick an album that seems like maybe-kinda-possibly it will fit the bill, or at least won't terribly offend your sensibilities in that moment, and then WHAM! it's exactly what you needed to hear?
Today I danced for three consecutive hours and then (after drinking one of those protein shakes and eating an almond and coconut energy bar and sitting on the outdoor bench for 20 minutes even though it was gray and cold) danced for another three and a half.
This is why my feet are raw and my back is aching, and still my body can't stop moving to this album even as I lie here on the pulled out couch. Once you find the music in you it keeps bubbling up for as long as you don't slam a lid on top.
It used to be that I did not move my arms; now my whole body moves.
I remember walking around that road in my parents' neighborhood vividly, I remember it being a common word in the household growing up, and yet for a moment I can't remem--Crestlyn!
Yes and walking down the hill to the small woods. And discovering the old ruins and thinking I was the first one. Trying to pretend to myself that I hadn't seen the beer cans or the graffiti. I was nine. I yearned to discover.
The archeologist did not wish to purchase the boots after all. He had not realized they were insulated boots. He is looking for a boot he can wear during the summer, when it is too hot to wear insulated boots.
I can't believe I have a day off tomorrow. It has been so long.
The first night I wore jewelry but today my fingers were naked; my wrists were naked. I wore a flowy tank top over my favorite strappy blue sports bra and my favorite pair of yoga tights and that was it. I didn't even paint my toenails even though I had intended to paint my toenails prior to today, although in retrospect I'm not sure why I had created such an intention in the first place given that I so rarely wear toenail polish. Perhaps it's because I knew my feet would be the focus of so much attention, what with dancing and all.
The carrot mug sits coffee stained on the messy table. Also Hanna's harness and a set of keys.
We are going to do something in 15 minutes.
This music is so pretty I feel like I'm going to explode.
How do you say my name. Everyone pronounces it differently. My parents can't remember who I was supposed to be.
The time for over-thinking is over.
This will be the best part of my day: Walking down the hill with Hanna trotting beside me, the leash looped in her smiling mouth, as a gust of wind blows up from behind and a wave of rustling Aspen leaves overtakes us like a golden river flowing.
And this: Whirling and twirling to the rhythm of my feet until I lost myself, until I found myself.
What I remembered is that I am safe when I am in me. What I remembered is that I still know how to be free.
Tomorrow I had planned to take Hanna for a long walk in the meadow above 10,000 feet, but the bottoms of my feet are raw and my ankles stiff and maybe even a little bit swollen after a bath. We shall have to wait and see.
I appreciate your honesty.
For a late-night snack I am tipping my neck back and pouring frozen fruit from my water glass into the back of my throat. I catch a strawberry between my molars and pause, letting my breath melt the thin layer of ice still coating its skin. I chew it lightly and swallow.
This song was unexpecting.
I remember running up the long incline past my high school, so far removed, finally, that it hardly feels like it was me who used to be trapped behind those walls.
You just keep peaking and peaking.
I think I helped them feel good with my offering. I think they were smiling at me because I was beautiful.
What I remembered is to keep moving.
I mean really sit and think about it!
Thursday, November 2, 2017
For most of my life I have lived a very solitary existence surrounded by family and friends.
This will be the best part of my day: Ten a.m., standing at the trailhead, I tell Hanna to sit, unclip her leash, and then administer her favorite command: Go play. She takes off down the trail in front of me, then bounds with great determination into the scrubby sage beside the barbed wire fence--as if she has known all her life exactly when and where to orchestrate this departure. Suddenly, a loud sound emits from the construction equipment in the distance. She pauses, nervous, and scoots back to the trail, where she waits until I have caught up to and stepped in front of her. She has gotten so much braver over these past seven months, but she would still like me to lead the way when things become scary or unfamiliar. I oblige, boots striding out over the dirt beneath my feet--because I can do that again now, on my ankle's best days, striding--and make my way past the chicken coop. I turn to watch her staring up at a noisy crow perched accusingly on the telephone pole above her. She is trying to make sense of it. She notices me watching and charges to my side for praise and treats. We continue onward down the trail, her hop scotching through the sagebrush behind me and me looking forward, listening for the jangle of tags that lets me know she's not far from my side.
So many small holes on the bottom of my flip flop, the result of Wilson venting his frustrations. He resents very much that Hanna gets to go outside all the time, whenever she wants to, and he does not.
I am trying to make this a normal day, although it takes me a whole cup of coffee (more coffee than I usually drink) to feel like I can converse successfully--which is to say, convincingly--with all the people who come up to say hi to me at the coffee shop. They ask me how I am and I want to tell them, Today I am feeling really desperately hurt and sad, but people don't come to the coffee shop for heartbreak.
When I drive home for lunch is when it hits me again, weeping into my salad such that I can no longer eat. After last night things cannot be the same.
I get myself back together again, hand over my mouth. When the computer screen turns black I am startled by the sadness in my own eyes looking back at me.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Do you want to buy a house in Colorado I am looking for someone to split the mortgage, cooking, maybe some sex or cuddling on top of the unmade bed if we get lonely. It doesn't need to be anything fancy; a cabin will do--a log one, preferably--most especially if it has a wooden porch with a rickety rocking chair and is surrounded by trees.
I am not supposed to run as much as I ran tonight I couldn't help myself. Four miles and yes it hurt a bit but here is the thing if I hadn't run that far I would not have been able to listen to the song that made me cry twice back to back; listen to nearly the entirety of that old favorite album of mine; stare up at the giant snow-capped peaks bobbing along to my steps; stop by my favorite creek spot and let the sound of moving water rush over me; turn around from the creekbed to see the sunset clouds like a glass of spilled orange juice seeping across the sky.
What happens when you change your behavior, she says, is that you change the dance. And that means everything has to change.
Well I have changed my behavior and everything is changing. I had not penciled in on my calendar that everything would change on the late afternoon and early evening of Wednesday, November 1, and consequently I am not sure I have time for this.
That isn't necessarily true. Secretly I think I have been preparing for a good long while.
Sign the petition sign the petition sign the petition sign THIS petition sign and sign and sign and petition and petition and petition
How much energy could be saved if assholes didn't run the world. If we all agreed that taking care of each other and the Earth is worthwhile.
That we cannot agree on this makes me want to abdicate my title as a member of the human race. Better to be a wolf, or a bumblebee, or a great blue heron rising up out of the water.
Of course, tell that to the hare, the stung child, and the silver fishes.
For more than six years now the pain has been hitching a ride like a baby kangaroo in its hidden pouch. For more than six years now I have carried it quietly with me wherever I go. I am ready to put it down, now, the only thing holding me back being what kind of mother leaves her child in a ditch on the side of the road.
Then again I never asked to be a mother. Having a uterus doesn't make me one. I will be, maybe, if and when I'm good and ready, and even then it will have more to do with taking in a child somebody else couldn't or wouldn't love than it will to do with my uterus. She's been through enough.
The point, of course, is that I am hurting quite badly.
Do you want to buy a house in Colorado? I am wishing to buy a house in Colorado.
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes
They clanked steins and his dad said something sexual about me I have tried to forget it.
The mustard is tipped upside down beside the new bottle of sriracha.
I wonder if he ever made it back to Haiti.
The soft animal of my body wants the soft animal of his body.
Yet we walk around hard so much of the time.
I see it and I am choosing to ignore it.
Not much gets past me, Sherlock.
I have eaten the grapefruit and the gluten-free crackers.
I have remembered climbing up through those green aspen trails.
In late spring we traveled to Moab, Capitol Reef, Pink Coral Sand Dunes, the Grand Canyon, the reservation, Mesa Verde, Telluride, and that scorched desert trail not far from the Palisades. I love this country, the land of it. I love sleeping in a tent night after night and living out of a cooler and a duffel in the trunk of the car.
I have decided I will be returning to Pennsylvania, if only for a week; too many days away from the mountains she will be gasping for air.
mustard green jacket with red and white flannel lining
flying squirrels, industrial bridge, two egrets standing in blue water
We will not be seeing them for Thanksgiving I am sad about it.
He is going to find somewhere to volunteer. I am going to drive back across the country with my best friend. We will sleep in tents under dark southern skies as we did when we were 17 barefoot and dirty in Tennessee and again when we traveled to Washington to see him and then recovered from our mosquito bites by shopping for hand-thrown pottery in Arkansas
Now I am contorted uncomfortable over the loveseat listening to the Talking Heads.
I did not become the ice dancer instead I taught quiet yoga class, drove home past clusters of masked hooligans, hugged my dog and kissed the soft orange head of my cat, watched a few episodes of Bob's Burgers, ate a dinner of kale, broccoli, onion, red potatoes, and peach jerk sausage, read a little, ate the grapefruit, and then picked up the laptop to write. I suppose I am either growing into myself or becoming far too insular. I think the former, he said and I realized how rarely the former is emphasized over the latter.
Wilson has moved onto my chest and liquefied there, his face disappearing beneath my right boob.
I have been experimenting and I think it's more than placebo; I think those clear and mossy green beads are really onto something.
Oh I am so excited at the prospect of seeing my friends.
I remember running together through those sketchy research trails behind the college baseball fields; on the dusty trails beloved by local mountain bikers; through the dense foliage of the state and county parks
Too many of my supposed friends have tried to kiss me and become enraged when I said no.
I remember bending over to retrieve the railroad spike in that run-down town in northern Maine. I am homesick for it.
Tomorrow I must commit to deep breathing.
I purchased the smallest canvases I could find and I painted each of them a different ratio of yellow mixed into purple and purple mixed into yellow.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
It has been so long since I climbed a mountain.
In reality it has been a little more than three months. It feels like an eternity.
Yes I am grateful.
In my dream several people told me that I had chronically bad breath, and I was deeply embarrassed.
It has been so long since I dreamed of crocodiles.
Sure that song may have been a hit but in order to make the music video they collared and leashed a real live leopard and for that I will never forgive them, I will never respect them, and I will never celebrate their song.
I am remembering baking those butter-and-bourbon-filled nectarines in that small upstairs apartment off Dupont Circle, and I hope you're doing well wherever you are now.
He has purchased four almond poppyseed muffins for the low low price of $1.49. I will enjoy them vicariously when he warms them up in the toaster oven, slices them in half, and melts a pat of butter on either side. Meanwhile I will slather almond butter onto a large organic banana or glug down one of those pea protein and collagen shakes I got for free in the mail. For dinner this evening I had wilted spinach cooked into dairy-free, gluten-free rice mac 'n "cheeze," which is kind of outrageous.
I am learning about sweet and bitter and salty and boiling. He removes the candy thermometer from the syrup and adds the heavy cream. Cyprus flake salt is very dramatic looking but surprisingly mild in flavor.
How is it after 10 pm already. Today has been a busy day.
I had hoped to purchase an orange this evening, but there were no oranges at the grocery store. There were only grapefruits.
Monday, October 30, 2017
I think I'm too close to bed for that.
I am eating a melange of vegetables coated in Lite Italian Dressing.
Tonight at the disc golf course a dog with red eyes started chasing sweet Hanna. At first she thought they were playing, and so she played along, and then he lunged for her neck, and he tried to bite her, and he kept lunging even after she dropped to the ground with her tail between her legs. I shouted OH NO YOU DON'T and I kicked my legs between them and I pushed him backwards and I used my body to shield her. I am trying to teach her that she is safe now, and I will kick any mean dog that I have to in order to help her believe it.
Tomorrow is Halloween and the last day of October, which is normally my favorite month, which did not connect with me this year in the same way it usually does, which is maybe to say that I did not connect with October this year in the same way that I usually do. Which was and is sort of unsettling.
I think I have just been sorting out so much in my own head that I haven't been as connected as I normally am to what is going on outside of it. Also my ankle snapped, and it has kept me inside for so long. I started taking my cues from my inner world because for months I was no longer part of the outer one.
I suppose this is not a bad thing. It is simply the thing that is going on with me this October.
In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:a thing is brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us
It’s hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they’re put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.
The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Suddenly I remember him whispering in my ear, as he lay on top of me with my shirt off, that I was lucky he was choosing not to rape me because there was nothing I'd be able to do to stop him, and I am filled with so much anger that I finally forgive myself for ceasing to answer his calls.
The depth of sorrow and rage that I feel over what these hateful, voracious men are doing to the earth is perhaps the greatest sorrow and rage I will ever have the experience of feeling. There are no words.
I must not be beaten by 2011. I will write and write and write and enjoy it too, the sound and sensation of fingers flying over a keyboard always strangely comforting to me.
Here are some of the images that come to me running on the combined baseball/field hockey field at my old high school, dressing up as an elf to dance dirty in the narrow, darkened, sweaty hallway, biking to DC dubstep parties through the most murderous neighborhood in the city, having beer-fueled sex across four apartments, sneaking down to the kitchen for bowls of ginger and raisins and grapes, laughing so hard on my back with my best friend in a tent beside the reservoir, lying out on a colorful quilt in the dark grass of the Christmas tree farm, the whole class listening as I shared my thoughts on Transcendentalism, watching the video of two-year-old me taking my father on a walk, playing that weird audio recording of my writing project mashup while sitting in front of the class, locking eyes with Wilson the day we went to pick him up from the shelter, pushing the bounds of so many new neighborhoods on two feet or a bike, the river water sloshing against the concrete breakers at Astoria park, standing under that sand beach of stars in Maine, getting drunk together under that tree on the edge of the lake, sipping whiskey by the fire at the Nature Inn, climbing into the backcountry, flying down hills on my cross-country skis, Hanna trying to eat that big hunk of carrot.
I remember when I was younger I dreamed of being cool enough to wear a hair style that was longer in the front than it was in the back. I subconsciously thought I would never be confident enough to go for it. Now I have worn my hair that way for several years and it doesn't even cross my mind.
The vacuum R2D2 goes erp, erp.
The red switch inside the clear plastic frame and the silver hose curled alienesque across the black shiny exterior.
I have dusted the record player and the bookshelves.
Wilson is perched on the ottoman even with my left shoulder. I am sitting on the floor beside Hanna, who is sleeping deeply such that her exhales breeze across my thighs. My left butt bone is digging into the thin rug.
There is a green fan by the doorway.
There is a fuzzy white dog toy lying in front of the bookshelf.
One half of the bottom shelf is lined with records, the other with books about wood-frame house construction, sewing, rhetoric, kombucha, harmonica, mountains, geosystems. On the shelf to the right of that one sits the record player and stacks of colored pencils.
Above that shelf there are two sections of shelving lined with books, and on the top shelf there are black speakers, black headphones, a local trail map, and a busted headlamp.
Then of course there are the birds. They cover the wall in pencil colors, birds of the forest, the wild meadow, the lakes, the sea.
Wilson has decided to lie down. He rests his eyes with his face pointing directly into my cheek.
All of the shoes we own are piled underneath the table inside the door. The seasons change by the day here, so there's no use in putting anything away: flip flops mingle with snow boots, rain boots bump against worn-soled kicks, hiking boots shed dirt onto pink and gray running shoes. I'll use them all in a week, save the rain boots, which are required far less often than they were on my commutes to the large brick building back east.
The two moose sit on the log bench, lost in each other as always, whispering love secrets such that their nose presses into their ear.
Behind them: Bright pink, orange, red, and green stationery. An unusual pick for me.
Dinner was a whole organic chicken cooked down amidst carrots, celery, onion, hard cider, red potatoes, and butter. Oh me oh my.
Now I am sitting here on the floor with a borrowed laptop, looking at a butterfly and listening to the Grateful Dead with a dog's head in my lap.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Incredible update. He has purchased me a full set of ice dancer's regalia for $6 at the local thrift shop.
I am either too chicken or too sensible to wear it to the local brewery's haunted Halloween party, but I intend to wear it to Tuesday night's house party so long as I have an opportunity to get good and drunk beforehand.
Truth be told I feel a little too old or simply too introspective for it all, retreating to the edges of the patio outside to nurse my two gluten-free beers. Inside it is loud, and so crowded, and that man in the baseball cap won't stop staring into my eyes even though his girlfriend is standing near the foosball table in a penguin outfit. When he makes a joke I laugh too hard and I don't say anything because I have either forgotten how to do this or I am no longer interested in doing this. Someone is dressed up as Marge Simpson, someone as a meatball, the pizza delivery driver comes up and gives me a big, drunken hug, everyone around me is drunk, I do not know them, it's all a little too much.
When we return to the basement apartment Hanna has strewn the entirety of the trash can's contents across the living room rug. After picking up the chewed bits of trash I fall asleep on the loveseat and I don't wake up until I am confused in the dark at 1 am.
Today I go to the bank, the post office, the laundromat, the grocery store, and the local disc golf course, where Hanna bounds around picking up sticks and reveling in smells. She has earned her off-leash privileges in certain circumstances, and even though technically I don't think it's appropriate behavior for her to gallop up to the fisherman as he walks along the trail, I only call her back halfheartedly because to see her wag her tail and initiate hellos with a stranger is a small miracle. For so long she has been scared of anyone but us.
Granted, the fact that he smelled of fish probably helped quite a bit.
My creativity is my birthright and so is yours.
I am listening to the Microphones and sitting on the loveseat in the 10X12 foot living room/kitchen/office. I am eating baked lentil bean crisps; Wilson is curled up on my lap; Hanna is curled up with her tail in her nose beside me. Because of these animals every day I know that I am loved, and that I give love, and boy howdy doesn't that make living more worthwhile.
Friday, October 27, 2017
What I have been writing is changing again. I am like the wood chopper, metal fangs gleaming.
A can of Hunt's tomato sauce sits red and green on the table beneath the windowsill.
Wilson's small nose smooshes into his chest, my arm resting lightly across his torso. We are sharing the afghan my mother made when I was eighteen. Hanna sprawls out at our feet atop my brother's old throw rug--blue and geometric, it is fitting.
Yesterday I spent three hours teaching and practicing yoga and today my thighs are growing. To look at my legs is to see what it is to work toward building muscle all the time, and to see what it is not to use them. My right leg is still so weak. My left leg is stronger than I ever knew my legs could be.
My fingers remain as spindly as ever. The numerical looks harsh and so I replace it.
That was all so long ago.
I make chia pudding and I eat it for breakfast every morning. It is kind of bland because I didn't feel like hunting down the vanilla extract from the high shelf above the kitchen sink, and because I didn't feel like buying a whole bottle of maple syrup when I only needed a quarter cup. Luckily I have a penchant for bland foods, my friends teasing me for the fact that I hardly ever add salt.
I am using fewer em-dashes than I ever have before. Perhaps it is because I am less anxious.
This afternoon I will see the bodyworker for my ankle and do more yoga and then I will meet the people who are becoming my friends at the local brewery where I can drink locally brewed, gluten free beer from the tap.
Tomorrow I will research human anatomy, go to the laundromat, and contemplate a temporary return to Pennsylvania. I have been away longer than ever before.
There is only one part of my life in which I frequently feel like I am delusional, and that is in romantic relationships, which is to say intimacy, which is to say whenever I start thinking too hard about certain situations. Which is to say whenever I wonder what other people think of me.
I have started to believe that I am worthy of pursuing. By that I mean I am in pursuit.
It is time to carve pumpkins again. Whatever will you be for Halloween. In the past I have been a peeping Tom (only everybody at that DC dubstep house party thought I was the dude who founded MySpace) and a children's pumpkin costume from the Lancaster Salvation Army. The orange fabric digs into my armpits and I wear a green sweater underneath so that three quarters of my torso isn't exposed. I bobby pin the green top into my hair and get drunk with my friends.
I think I have forgotten to bring my pumpkin costume to Colorado. Whatever will I be for Halloween.
Soon enough I will outgrow this basement apartment.
It has taken three hours for the temperature to rise.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
He didn't mean to do it, but he did it.
My ankle hurts hurts hurts and I take to my bike anyway. I can no longer stand all this stillness.
I ride and I ride and I ride and my lungs burn and they burn and they burn. I have forgotten my water bottle.
It has been a long seven weeks.
When I was six years old, I had an ant farm.
Case in point this week I cannot run, as I have not been able to for seven weeks now, and this week I have worked less than I have in at least five or six years, and here it all is. I do not sleep without the assistance of drugs. I write down story ideas every 20 minutes, it seems, and I write and I write and I worry about the news and I think about you and I regret and I ache and I doubt and I am afraid it's going to kill me I remember I remember I remember I remember
Here I am listening to Carrie and Lowell and even though I've heard that Sufjan is kind of a douche and even though he does look like kind of a douche, frankly, in that yellow frat-boy hat, it is making me cry like it usually does
I am picturing taking flight again. It is a 14-hour drive to Oregon and 24 to PA. I need to change up my life, again, because long ago I made a promise to myself that I would never spend my evenings watching TV and also because I am queer and he will not talk about it; he's afraid I will leave him for a woman
What I can no longer abide is making myself smaller for someone else's comfort.
What I regret most is not taking the time to define what love means to me.
Meanwhile he goes to meetings and tells everyone he knows that I am a love of his life.
That love can be so easy, and so hard, is one of the many things that confuses me. The man in the live video recording says, I had this anger problem, but I was only ever angry with my intimate partner. Never with anybody else. Just her.
I am the him and the her and the anger and the intimacy.
I am embarrassed of my googling, a private window for my private inquiries. Only they may not be private; only they consume me sometimes such that I cannot breathe; only I do not know how to tell you that I miss you so that you hear it
We watch Brokeback Mountain and he weeps and he weeps and he weeps. Here is the flesh and the blood and the fighting and the salty tears. I cup his temples in my palms and I stroke his sweaty, curly hair. I feel such tenderness as I cradle him. And still too I am wondering: How many men have I held in my arms? And will I ever be given a turn to be the one weeping, and the one embraced?
Suddenly fall arrives.
Of course it has me homesick, as fall always does, that breathless sickness for both the woods and farmlands of Pennsylvania and a vague something that leaves me wanting. Fall is my season of yearning.
This explains partly why I took to my bike yesterday, and it is nearly all of the reason why I will ask my physical therapist at tomorrow's appointment when I can run again. He will remind me, as he did on Monday, that I have asked him this question repeatedly, and that it will still be quite a while before I can take to the trails. This is painful to me. I am trying to get somewhere.
One of the things I remember is how you smiled the first time we dropped down in that pirate's ship out of the sky.
One of the things I remember is how he speculated tenderly on top of me on that quilt in the dark night Maryland grass.
One of the things I remember is having sex on the futon in the upstairs of my parents' house, climbing on top in that long, blue dress.
One of the things I remember is smoking weed in his parents' house and staring at the seaside screensaver, swearing that I could see the little surfers dashing across the waves. The image of that room forcing me to confront, every time it appears in my mind's eye, that I am a survivor of every category of abuse.
I am working to integrate this. Here is another sentence.
I have let the arugula go to flower. It is for the butterflies and the bees.
I am drinking room temperature water out of a giant plastic beer stein.
You are 5.5 miles into the backcountry when you hear your ankle snap.