aspiciat

a girl in her city, watching the sunset

RSVP

Heavy and empty at the same time, I got into bed late last night, probably justified in feeling hard done by.

I woke up earlier than the first alarm clock goes, blurry and soft and half-grinning. My mouth isn’t screwed up and clenched. I shuffle/stumble to get water and head outside to smoke and decide whether I should re-sleep or make an honest woman of the day.

“Fuck yes, Monday. Let’s have a dance.”

The extra-full-glorious moon illuminates the backyard with blue/white/crispness. I come inside and drink a pint and a half of water. I haven’t kissed my kitchen goodnight in any way all weekend or so, and before I can deal with much more than the kettle to get coffee going, there’s dishes.

I’ve explained poorly why I love doing dishes, why I love cleaning my kitchen. What it isn’t about is tidiness. It isn’t about hyper-organization. The acts of sweeping and mopping are really a rosary, though I’ve never been Catholic.

Technology, a liquid unconstrained, covers most of my life. I make plans to launch code for a living. I send sextastic messages via digital means to arrange my free time. I know everyone socially because I found out online there was somewhere to go, something to do, people to meet.

Housekeeping is more or less by rote, and there’s no puzzle to solve, no invention demanded. And because of that my muscles, hands and back take the wheel: my head can do whatever it needs to sort out whatever there may be.

And I again realize that I can control my floors and my dishes. I can make my bed in fresh linens, and I can manage only so much as my aspect, the extent of my reach. I cannot control traffic or damned near anything to do with anyone else. The exception to that is my ability to ensure the clarity of my communication. You know I love you, right? If you need me to say it differently, please let me know.

The moon is setting now, dawn twilight hemming the indigo sky, half pink with the lights of the port. Today.

Fuck yes. Let’s have a dance

Flight Gear (or: somewhere betwixt muzzled & dressed out for roller derby)

I denied the declaration that I was a brat with such vehemence that I stomped my foot.

This makes for good comedy.

But it’s not untrue, that adamant denial. The truth isn’t that I’m a brat – it’s that I’m scared fuckless of doing what I’m told.

I’ve been healing from a weird injury that seems to have slammed me at a weird time. (This seems digressive. It’s only a little.)

A few weeks ago, I scheduled a massage for a Saturday; I knew my arm/neck whatever wasn’t altogether sorted out. Eight or ten weeks of 60+hrs of work (a new thing) was maybe holding on too hard and twisted up a bit. The day before that appointment, I got to work and dove into a right fiasco of emails, but then struck half blind by panic: my hands went numb, then burning, then – fuck this, I’ll take a sick day. (It may be the first sick day I’ve ever had?)

“Massage” has such soothing connotations. There was someone I once knew who called it “body work” and someone else who called it “manipulation.” The nods those words make are more mechanical, and also more accurate. It’s not that I’m carrying a bit of overtime tension; I’m in some measure of disrepair. After the first, I booked four appointments, weekly.

Week 1.  (An email exchange with the massage therapist/torturer) 

8L: I have been so close to crying, which I think would help if it wasn’t stuck. Thoughts?

CB: Go talk to yourself in the mirror about what you’re feeling…not what you think you’re feeling, but just the feelings.
Give yourself permission to feel those feelings.

8L: the mirror I have at my place only shows from my collarbones to 18” above my head. heh. I’m no help with all your good words.

CB – that’s a fine mirror…this isn’t a body image exercise…this is facing yourself eye to eye exercise…:D Use a compact mirror if you have to…lol

8L: Dammit, that excuse was supposed to get me out of doing it.

Week 2: (written after I planned to sleep off a headache/hot day)

It didn’t happen — that sleep. I couldn’t lay still.

I got up, frustrated, agitated, too too too near that edge of panic; taking the hot weather so very personally. I drew a bath with lavender and rosemary oil. I twisted and growled, I cleaned my whole place, cooked 3 days of lunches & dinners. I cleaned more. I took out trash, did push-ups and squats;  I cursed and found myself standing in front of the only mirror I have.
No, I can’t I can’t do this I don’t need to i don’t have to I don’t want to I can’t I can’t- I turned away and looked at the wall.
goddammit.
I faced my reflection. I spoke.

I am good at what I do.
I am very tired.
I sometimes feel really lonely.
I am a triangle.
I did this on my own.

I knelt, wrapping my arms around my middle. I grabbed for and sobbed into my skirt, so confused. What am I still clutching? What’s in my fists? Why?

Week 3: The Braces.
I think I’m improving, but my job is not slowing down just yet, and doing no overtime means I’m falling behind. I know it’s a season, but I’m told of my hands: “they’re not going to last much longer.” Get wrist & elbow braces, he says.  Wear them.

Fuck fuck fuck. The fucking things work, they’re bloody Pavlovian.  The first day, I keep yelping, “ow!fuck!” and half trying to convince myself “that hurts because the brace must be wrong.

I say I feel like a muzzled dog dressed out for the roller derby.

It’s a huge revelation: the stays (they are metal) kept hurting as I moved in one way or another because I am digging in and pitbulling, bending in ways that hurt not because the brace is bad. How many other things do I dig in about without assessing the part I play in making things difficult? To what else am I beholden for no good reason?

During the last appointment, there was some moment I slipped away. I remember thinking, “I could just let go instead of being terrified of what happens if I do.” The bit of my side – top of my rib cage, behind/below my armpit? That’s a scary place – why does a girl with wings keep all the things she’s afraid of right beneath them? How much further could I fly without that weight?

This is the long way to come round to say that I’m afraid of doing what I’m told because I did that before (not a new story, I’m not the only or the last one to have it to tell). To comply, I wagered the fortune of my security and happiness. And I lost it.

I’m not afraid of someone else telling me what to do, I’m afraid I’ll forget why I’d do it, who I am.

But I am in love with the taste of the sky when I can let go instead of being terrified of what happens if I do.

I don’t want to be your gd girlfriend

He wasn’t at all cool about his intention.  But, I wasn’t interested in his cool.  All I wanted was a fuck.  Tonight.  He’d do fine, I’m sure, he was certainly eager enough.   I whispered the question to my friend the Mothafucka, “Hey, is this fella alright?” The Mothafucka replied, “Amuse Bouche?  Yeah, he’s a’ight.”

I go back to the table, and lean toward him.
“So, you wanna fuck me?”
“Yup.”  He’s shiny.
“ You square with the ‘tender?”
“Yeah, I’m all set.”

An uncommon rain fell in Los Angeles as we walked back to my place.  It was chilly and my umbrella got  forgotten somewhere during the wherever I went that evening.  Amuse Bouche wrapped his arms around me and kissed me, which I didn’t expect.  He commented on the romance of walking at midnight in the rain.  (I wasn’t sure what the fuck at all to make of that.  I don’t do this for romance.)  I tucked my glasses into my bag, they were useless with the downpour.   We stumbled, both of us drunk and I couldn’t see much, but I could stagger the route from that bar to my couch if I was blind and deaf on top of the usual shimmery with drink.

We got to fucking shortly after reaching my doorway.  I think it was a matter of my helping him off with his wet jeans, you know, but, oh, while I’m here I might as well suck your cock. Maybe?  I confess, I don’t remember much, but he called for a cab three hours later.  I went to sleep mostly satisfied.

In post-coital smoking-and-chatting, he stunned me by revealing his age.  A lot younger than me, and younger than guys that usually gain my interest.  Ah, fuck it, maybe it’s no big deal.

I see him at the same bar maybe a week later.  He’s not as forward. I figure he’s not interested, or I lack the allure I have when viewed through the bottom of an empty Molson.

Another week or so goes by and the bar’s owner calls with a last-minute invite to a concert.  I’m thrilled yes, ok, yes.  He is generous beyond the ticket, buying me drink after drink. I know the band, I sing along with strangers: it’s an awesome time.  We go back to his bar for a half-after-party, and Amuse Bouche is there, working maybe his fourth or fifth Canadian.  I’m trashed, for sure, it’s late.  In not too long, the Amuse Bouche is obvious about wanting me.  Fine, I’m cheery and rosy, let’s.  He calls a cab this time.  He’s very into it.

It’s mostly OK.

Except the part when I realize he’s fucking my ass.  Well, OK, but isn’t that something you might want to warn a girl?  It seems like it is.  I find out weeks after the fact he did this without a condom, making issue of the surprise buttfuck infinitesimal.

This  uncool has no measure.  I am nothing but clear: I don’t fuck without protection.  I get tested every three months, male fuckmates wear condoms.  It’s just how the fuck it is.  You want to put your dick in me?  Suit the fuck up, sailor.

And then?  He fell asleep in my bed.  Picked a side, got cozy and started to snore.

When I share my bed, it’s with a woman I have known longer than Amuse Bouche has been alive, not with boys collected from pubs.  That night, whatever sleep I get, it’s on my couch.

Some weeks later, I text him what seems to me is a purely randy: “when can you bring your cock over here?”

In reply, he sends a half-lecture in all earnestness about how he’s not keen on multiple “hookups” ‘cause that’s too relationshippy.

I read this on my phone as I’m walking north towards Wilshire and I cannot stop laughing.

Really?  Relationship?  I gossip about this with people who know me better.  Amuse Bouche is all kinds of double standard.  It’s fine for him to want to hook up – but if I do, he has to fend off my relationship advances?  We all laugh at him.

Because we all figured he’s going to roll back around, wanting some snatch.

And, wise with our age, we are all correct in this.

Intervening news of a friend’s deteriorating health and his decision to enter hospice cancels my desire for sexywants.  Amuse Bouche manages to text me the night I learned of this.  So at midnight, under pretense of offering company, but too blatantly unconcerned about how I am doing really, Amuse Bouche comes over with a bottle of wine.  He has no idea how easy it was for me to regale him with story after story after lurid story of my sexual history.  Kink and more kink, group sex, gangbangs, girls I’ve fucked, girls who fucked me.

I did that entirely with the intention of inviting him to leave without fucking him.  Which I did.  For three nights in succession.  Each night talking about sex, each time declining.

“I know you might not feel up to it, but the offer stands.  I’d love to fuck.”
“No, thanks, not really up for it at all.”   I said.  Every night.

Sometime later I want the D.  I answer his inevitable text, inquiring as to my plans for the evening.  “I want to smoke a bowl and get fucked into the next area code.”

He’s over in 90 minutes, I think.

We talk some.  He orders in Thai.  We go get wine.  We get it on.  He wants to lose the rubber mid-fuck.

What?  Now you bring this up?

“Yeah, well, I haven’t fucked anyone since I did you.”
“That’s nice.  You don’t know who I have.”
“C’mon, I’m clean.”

Allow my redundancy: mid-fuck.

This is sheer-cliff immaturity, regardless of his tiny age.  Sometime in the last however long it’s been since I didn’t know this, I learned negotiation.  All my best sexual experiences come from excellent communication.  I want to be explicit – I do not mean that all my best sex is with people I have known forever or have been in love with or married to or relationshipped with or whatever;  I’ve had wildawesome wham-bam-thank-you-mans that were exhaustively orgasmic because we knew what was going on.   It’s not an issue to me if you want to fuck me only once, so long as you speak plainly.  (P.S. maybe I want you only once.)

Amuse Bouche, reclining on naked my couch post-hoc, explains that he’s mostly done the sex with exclusive girlfriends, so he isn’t fond of condoms.

I don’t care.

In the very least incredulous I could make my tone, I try to explain about his assumptions.  I chatter as jocularly as I can manage about communication – which one does before the fucking.  Like, don’t fuck someone’s ass without asking.  Fuckdates don’t sleep over.  Let me reiterate: I am not pairing off with anyone.  If you want to go skin on skin, find a fucking girlfriend.

He tries for levity and mentions the disparity of our ages, and it comes off as a swing-and-a-miss at cool.

Which is how the whole bullshit started, anyway.

Monthly Recap Because Salami

For a long time, if there was anything in my fridge, it was salami and mustard.  It’s still mustard.  But I went a long while with no salami, except I didn’t plan that.

I didn’t plan much of this but I discovered recently that salami doesn’t suit me any more.  I just.  It isn’t tasty?  I don’t like how I feel after I eat it?

I’ve become a clean eater.  The most processed thing I consume is bacon.  (Which I do at some 2lbs/week.)  I eat fat and protein and green veg.  I have squash sometimes, but not that frequently.

I took a good amount of codeine the 10 days preceding & 20 days following the extraction of my wisdom teeth.  (Fully bony, btw.  FULLY.)  The last week I’ve been feisty.  Tonight I’m more calm, partially to do with chemical intervention (and temperanillo!) & a chillout with Tiomio.   I think the grindy/grouchy comes some with feeling enough more alert to know I’m not comfortable, but not wholly better.

The lower left side of my jaw isn’t right yet.  It still hurts, there’s still swelling and I’ve done another course of antibiotics that were rx’d at the ER.  (I drove to the ER (instead of home) in a slight panic because I hurt so badly I couldn’t see straight and was contemplating whether I could succumb to said panic.)  So, it’s not right, but it’s not as bad as it was.  My apartment is illogically warm when I’m here, and I cried this weekend because I pay to live here and for the love of fuck, I want to hang out, but omg it was 97f.

I’ve had a few ocean swims.  It’s glorious!  I called a hiatus until my constitution is entirely hale, though; it seemed that every time I went playing in La Pacifica, I wound up tired, happy, and a lot more sick.  But holy fux.  We’re together again, she and me.

Work is worky.  I think I’m doing well,  it could be the shimmer is enough worn off that I just do it and try not to reconcile it with real life.  When I was doing stats at the retail shop last year, I got sick a lot.  Staph & strep & diabetic events?  It wasn’t faked, but neither did I dig in and do what I could.  There was no willingness to suck it up.

I have my own car.   She’s a mini cooper.  I named her Ollie.  The interest rate is insane, but she gets nearly 35mi/gal.  She needs some attention and I hope she’ll hold on for the next month or so.  I want to sort out my rent & pay back the uncle & the G and the Muchgrrly.

I meant to talk about eating but I went all tangent-style on this.

I’ve been writing long hand.  But not really fiction, and not really essays.  I have ideas and snippets of good things to say.  I have flights of sheer bliss.   I have a dear friend who hopes to do a gallery showing (when I’m famous) of my oddly organized to-do lists.

I don’t notice the date in terms of how long I’ve been back in Los Angeles so much these days.  “I’ve been here six months + twelve days!”  isn’t really my repertory redundancy.  I just live here.

So.  Clean eating.  I don’t realize that the fillers in the meds I have (mostly for pain) might be souring me.  I don’t pay enough mind to the hundreds of mgs of ibuprofen I toss back daily. (800 every 4hrs or so).  I can’t abide salami.  I think it’s the nitrates.  When I went to ER I had enough sense to temper my defense of knowing my body.  When the ER dr asked if I wanted vicodin, I said I’d rather T3s, but can we fix what’s fucked up?  I’m tired of codeine.  There’s two or three still left from that rx.  He shot me with novocaine or lidocaine or whatever and I made a face when he withdrew the sabre from my mouth.  He asked if I needed somewhere to spit.  I nodded and when he returned with a weird bowl, I expelled blood and sour and presumed this is how novocaine shots worked, since he said I didn’t seem infected.  I mentioned the taste.  Apparently one doesn’t usually have to expectorate following the administration of this nerve blocking agent.  So then I got more antibiotics.   And more codeine.  Which I needed for a while.

I had a sad Monday a week ago and realized that it was the beer I had overserved myself the previous evening.  Shaking that was difficult.

I’m churning.  I hope this settles some, it seems daily better since last Thursday or Friday.  But I feel fairly sure I’ll get there.  I just won’t be eating salami all the time.

I  AM NOT REALLY TYLER DURDEN

I AM NOT REALLY TYLER DURDEN

those eight years i want back

It isn’t that he systematically destroyed me.

It isn’t that all that time was spent decaying rather than progressing.

I was hungry and fat at once.

I’m so frustrated today because I caved in to his coercion, time and again.

He got his daddy to bail him out when he couldn’t bleed my mother for loans.  Pressured, I pursued an exchange so he could catch up on the rent. Except he bought a car.  Another car.  Because he had ruined my credit so beyond with something approaching 10 repossessed cars (several at second-chance places), written off credit cards and bills and loans, he leaned on the credit of the other girl. (“See, I don’t need you, 8th Letter, I have her.“)  He isn’t a legal resident of this country, piggybacking in and then lying to me about his marital state the moment he realized if he wasn’t married to an american he’d probably get tossed.

I should divorce him.

I should change my name.

I should file bankruptcy.

I can’t figure out what first.  I need a car that won’t fall apart in three more round trips to/from work.  One without flagging electricals and without rusted brakes.  I can’t get one.

I wouldn’t be in this place without his efforts.  I wouldn’t be as fucked up as I am right now without all the bullshit he said would be fine, would work out.  The 50 jobs he quit/got fired from.  The endless lies he broadcast.

And all of you say this -

“You consented.”

And I did.

And I hate myself so tangibly right now.

At least you fucking assholes have the pleasure of being right.  I consented.

This morning I threw away the pot of miniature roses that sat outside my door

My landlord painted the balcony and stairs last week.  He had moved the large-ish pot of roses that someone had given me as a housewarmer.  Except, he placed it upon my desk.  My desk is a door on top of two filing cabinets,  shimmed with one volume (there are 2) of the 1979 Compact OED.  (Garage sale find for $2.  This is the edition I got for myself upon graduation from UCLA.)  Anyway.  The desk is at a bit of a slant now.

He said I needed to get a dish for under the roses.  I tried to source on craigslist and freecycle but not with overmuch gusto because I would have to go collect it from wherever (nearest & best bet was Calabassas, and I’m tired.  It didn’t work out anyway).  A week went by and the roses that were in thick and in bloom had turned crunchy within my place.  It’s not usually sunny in my front room (I put them on the floor after a few days) and I wasn’t watering them.

Sweetbest told me on 14 Feb that she didn’t really want and/or need me in her life any longer.  She hadn’t answered much (in months) in any of my attempts at outreach, and I feel rather sure she accepted my offer to visit her (that day) whilst I was in the OC on other business just as a way to break up with me in person.

While she shared intimately with me during the few hours we got to spend together, the ultimate message was that she had no time and no inclination to pursue any relationship with me.

I mentioned it to a mutual friend who suggested the three of us hang out, but I may have been half drunk (and I was certainly nearly asleep when I answered the text).  I haven’t said much of this to anyone else.

When she and I had dinner on January 9, 2012, she reached across the table, extending her little finger.  “Pinky power, Weenie [her nick for me].   It will never happen again.  Never apart. Never again.”  I teared up and linked my pinky with hers.  She was fucking radiant.  Her wide, beautiful, unforgettable smile was for me.  My hope exceeded any limits at that point.  The world was ours. I could do anything.

It is probably childish to believe that people mean what they say; and even more so this vow taken in the most solemn oath of our adolescence.  There we were, women of 37 & 36 years, chatting over wine and Italian food, swearing by our little fingers.

The pot of roses were among the items (tokens) she brought one Saturday last March.  I don’t know what to do with the other things she gave/left.  Some seem trivial (pile of hangers).  Some seem positively looming (a gorgeous duvet cover I would have wanted my whole life and never gotten around to getting, bowls and plates and all the flatware I use now, a blown-glass lamp from one of the nurseries).

It is her way to attach significance to material items that may otherwise be overlooked.  (Previously discussed, but I’m not going to bother with the link.  Short version: she is avian (nest) and I am serpentine (shed skin, regenerate).)  I doubt I’ll toss most of this, but I’m leaning towards acquiring some kind of trunk, tucking the things she haunts into, locking it and forgetting where I leave the key.

I have learned that most people’s shit isn’t mine to manage.  I don’t take things personally the way I did once (read: was nearly everything).  Admittedly, of late I’m quite tender  because I have erupting 3rd molars (YAY June 19th for insurance!), constant headaches, achy-sore muscles, rapid weight loss and stretchiness.   I’ve been hungry a lot.  Or not at all hungry and consequently not eating, I’ve been inconsolably insomniac;  I’m all too aware.  If something rankles me particularly, I may take a very deep breath and walk away so I can try to sort (the usually nonexistent) reasons I have taken offense into some reasonable order.  (Some of you have patiently counselled me when I’m completely at sea.)  Frequently, I can talk myself out feeling maligned, generally fairly quickly.  I don’t demand of myself that this roll-with-it is immediate.  I may get there, but I’m pretty well triangular and I’m good at not giving much of a fuck.

I crack the following joke with my boss – about things like ugly spreadsheets, questionable statistics, invisible project planning, or poorly done powerpoint slides: “Oh, fuck, man, that hurts my feelings.”  It’s not for serious. He appreciates this quirky levity.   (When he yells for me or approaches my desk, I have been known to reply and/or greet him by bawling “O Captain, My Captain!”)  

The aforementioned bon mot may go like this:  

Bossman:  So, H, I wanted to share a document I got this morning to do with [TrainWreckProject] …
Me:  [Maybe cringing]  Shit, Captain, are you about to hurt my feelings?
Bossman:  [Nodding, smiling like a grave] Yes, H.  This will totally hurt  your feelings.

SEE?  IT’S FUNNY.  Really. 

But I’ve sat with her rejection for two months.  I don’t care to pursue her, begging for her affection or attention or kinship.  She simply doesn’t have this to give me, or has no desire to draw it forth.  I know I’m tired tonight, but it’s been around that long.  And while I don’t dwell so much, (sometimes only grasping at huge, blinking question marks), I cannot fathom what math to employ to figure this one.   I don’t know how to run this analysis.  The formulae are always slightly beyond my comprehension.

And that’s Wednesday.

Because fuck you.

This is a partial transcript of an email exchange I had with someone who is a liar.   I’ve been thinking about this since last night, when I cooled off after I left his place upset and queasy, carrying my boots for four blocks on Main Street in Santa Monica.   He “thought [I] wouldn’t mind” if he invaded my body.  I told him, “you didn’t fucking ask,”  among other things, mostly that I don’t remember, except I called him a fucking liar a fucking lot.

I would like to direct the reader’s attention to the emphases which I added.   They are bold and underlined and italicised.  (The first email refers to an exchange we had that I abandoned months ago).

From: Baranov@aol.com [mailto:Baranov@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 9:00 AM
To: [OctavaLittera]
Subject: Re: for real ? massage?

If you were still interested, you had e-mailed me about a massage. I give free massages in Santa Monica.

In a message dated 3/7/2013 8:43:01 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,  [OctavaLittera] writes:

Are you horny, is that why you emailed me?  I can’t imagine you lack for volunteers.

From: Baranov@aol.com [mailto:Baranov@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 8:57 PM
To: [OctavaLittera] 
Subject: Re: for real ? massage?

No, you e-mailed me after seeing my ad, we just lost touch. No need to be rude.

In a message dated 3/9/2013 7:06:41 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  [OctavaLittera] writes:

Really, I wasn’t saying that to be negative – I thought that was the purpose of your offer for free massage.  I attached no judgment to the question whether you were looking for sex, I just wanted to know if that was the case.

From: Baranov@aol.com [mailto:Baranov@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2013 9:17 AM
To: [OctavaLittera]
Subject: Re: for real ? massage?

I don’t advertise for free massages in order to have sex. Ever. I don’t charge because I am not licensed as a CMT (legal and ethical reasons), and I want to practice and be better at massage. If I charged, why would someone looking for a massage choose me over a licensed CMT?

In a message dated 3/9/2013 9:23:03 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  [OctavaLittera] writes:

But there are people who barter with sex.  – I don’t think this is bad or wrong, personally, I just didn’t know if that’s what you meant.  It isn’t unheard of on craigslist.  

On Mar 9, 2013 10:03 AM, <Baranov@aol.com> wrote:

Well, I’m not here for a general discussion of what’s on CL…only about what I do. Other people don’t concern me.

In a message dated 3/9/2013 10:07:00 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  [OctavaLittera] writes:

I appreciate that, but I was explaining where i was coming from.  I’m sorry you were offended, I don’t know you at all so I assure you it wasn’t intended as a personal affront

On Mar 9, 2013 10:08 AM, <Baranov@aol.com> wrote:

OK, I get it, it’s all good. If you are ever interested in a free massage without any sort of extracurricular implications, let me know.

[I say I am]

On Mar 9, 2013 10:23 AM, <Baranov@aol.com> wrote:

Yes, that’s fine. Today right? I’ll be home by 3-4 pm from errands.

 2315 2nd St., between Hollister/Strand, in Santa Monica. Permitted parking on my street starts at 6 pm. You can park on 4th between Strand and Ocean Park, 2 blocks away, and not worry about permits or meters. When you get to my address (it’s a house), enter gate to the left of the mailboxes, use code 1896, walk all the way to the back, I’m the cottage on the right.

 Let me know a more precise time you’d arrive.

 Adrian

510 388 7642

Could someone please now explain why I feel like it’s my fault this happened?

 

Eulogy – For Joe

O mighty, O treacherous bodies
You summon my belief in miracles,
Then destroy such juvenile faith.
O things of beauty, O conceits of being.

- Let me arrest this flirtation with regret,
however mitigated;
this is not my memorial.
(Though I seek not to dishonor, by the pretense of ease, the imposing and haloed example here.)

Profound and improbable that
kinship, as
a priest/teacher, his warrior years behind him,
walking with and in awareness and
with no expectation,
is well met by an anarchist/naif made from saltwater.

Our companioned journey emboldens my steps, my willingness becomes hale.

(What words are left to write of the love an acolyte bears?
Though unimagined combinations of metaphors are yet uninvented
that might sing spirits to rally.)

He, with the noises of train whistles
and ageless patience, he with unhurried speech
spoke me no words of spite, brought no harm,
cast no judgement upon my threshold,
wishing only the best-most-highest.

At the opening of my heart (where I might for some little time indulge anguish)
I keep a map of languages, and stow the geography of all wisdom.

Of those spirits dancing around me,
yours maintains
in the constellation
of
the best advice given,
of great tales shared,
of kindred minds,
of kindness
of beauty.

(Doubtless other aspects turn a world on her axis)
In all the evers, we’re there.

Hopper James
10 February 2013

Out-coming

It is no secret I am queer.  And I don’t mean only in sexual orientation.  I’m generally opposed to classifications/stratification/castes.  This, also, not a secret.  Part of my opposition to putting things in boxes or categories is admittedly defensive.  I don’t fit in them.  They do not work for me. In order to fit in anyone’s proscribed comprehension of one or another label, I have to contort my very being in manners that do not become me.   (OMG, that’s such a profound sentence, check my shit out.)

So.  I have this awesome mother.  I call her The Moth.

(For the record, we weren’t always close.  We got to be friends around the time I was 25 or 26 years old.)

She’s built from different things than me.  Where I am saltwater and glass, she is ether and moonlights.  My spiritual grandmothers are elephants, hers are swarms of butterflies.  We still understand each other.  She gave me the tools of analysis and criticism.  She lives feminism and ferocity, but does not preach.  Her example is kindness to everyone. No one is worse or better before she knows them.  (Caveat: right-wingers are always deserving of dismissal.)  We differ in that she is superstitious and I tend to derive my routines more from logical process engineering.   Even with her superstitions (which aren’t of the usual variety, to be sure), she is thoughtful and can debate.  Superstitions for her do not enter into things like politics.

When we lived in Austin, she moved into an apartment that was for the older-set.   As is The Moth’s fashion, she makes friends everywhere she spends any amount of time.  There was another single woman there, divorced, retirement aged, adult children, etc.

Let’s call this new friend Alice.  Not that there’s anything incriminating in the following.

Alice and The Moth share a similar political philosophy and if memory serves, Alice had work experience in government, like The Moth.  They get along famously.  The Moth tells me how she and Alice went to get french fries at Sonic one afternoon, how they took in an art museum another day.  The spend free time together.  The Moth reports that Alice invited her over to eat dinner and she made steaks and they watched TV together until midnight, as they enjoy the same shows.  “Alice got us ice cream and we made sundaes!”

So one day I say to her, “Hey, The Moth?  Is Alice your girlfriend?”

The Moth is funny. “Well, she’s a female friend.”

“No, no, The Moth, I mean, are you seeing her?  Like love/relationship/dating shit.”

The Moth sounds flustered.

“H,” she begins, drawing a breath, “I’m just…I’m…not gay.  Will you accept this about me?  I’m straight.  It’s ok, it’s who I am.  There’s nothing wrong with it!”

We stutter with giggles at the reversal this is for usual comings-out.

The Moth’s open-mindedness is a thing of beauty.   Her ease with the existence of alternative sexualities, or body-mods, or weird haircuts, or, “ok, sure, if you want to wear that scarf as a turban, go right ahead,” or her grace in allowing me to make and learn from what choices I may;  this has all been tender and instructive.  She maintains a sunny outlook without drenching anyone in pollyannaism.   I can’t say enough good things about her, or relate how grateful I am for her patience and support.

Of things I do not expect.

In my place, I know what and where everything is.  I’m closer to minimalist than anything else in these terms, though I don’t necessarily embrace austerity in this.   I have a pouch of things I might consider sacred.  I’ve reduced this from a rather over-taking-everything kind of altar to a satin bag that the moth gave me for travel.   It has feathers and train tickets and various memento that probably mean nothing or not much to anyone else.  There is a lovenote from Sweetbest to her younger daughter on a bit of paper from a takeout joint in Pismo Beach that was left in a book she gave me.  Things that may be cast offs but beautiful.  A shred of tissue paper that Manda used to wrap a present, on it are the words “She has the gift of sight.”   Atop this pouch sits a tiny figurine of the Venus of Willendorf.  (Also a gift from Manda.) She was a on a keychain fob, but I released her from that so she could rule over my shelf thing.  (Or just sit there being pretty and relicky and royal in her art history.)

I made friends with Randus last year around March.  He may have been my first independent/new L.A. friend.  We had a long talk one afternoon that buoyed me for days.  I wrote about it.  Since then our camaraderie has developed.  I am honored to be his friend, I appreciate him at every turn.   

I asked him to give me a lift to an interview I had on Tuesday to which the public transpo was nearly intractable.  He spent the night before on my couch, because mornings aren’t his thing and we had to hit the road by 8.45a, (which is practically lunchtime to me and in the realm of “RUFKM?” to him).   I was asleep when he arrived, but I knew he was coming so I left the door unlocked, pillow and  blanket on the couch, and a note that said have a beer if you want, man, they’re in the fridge.   I woke for a minute or two around 3a and he was here and I was glad he made it and I mumbled something silly and went back to bed.

We chattered on the hour long drive there and back.  He reminds me that learning myself is not a one-shot thing.  He reminds me that keeping a good outlook is an undertaking in mindfulness, and mindfulness touches my whole life.  The easy way he and I get along reminds me that there are always wishes to manifest and while setbacks may come, they also ebb.   I appreciate his honesty with me, I appreciate his strength.   I am grateful for his company, I am touched he shares things with me.   

So I was eating an apple a moment ago, and I wandered over toward the shelves of the things I keep.  Housed here are nearly all of my possessions.  I think I was on my way outside but something caught my eye and then got my full attention because I did not know what it was.  I was alarmed.

A tiny piece of paper, 2×3 inches and it’s not blank, but I can’t see very well, and I know it’s not mine, and I didn’t put it there and I’m suddenly concerned and curious.  I took up this foreign, interloping scrap.

I made no sense;  comprehension escaped me.  I stood holding my apple, regarding.  Suddenly, I acquired focus.  With alacrity, the whole thing sharpened and I saw it all.  My breath caught.  I turned the leaf and the meaning of it occurred to me in that blink and I instinctively sunk to my knees.  The overwhelm took away my balance.  I couldn’t stand.

From Randus

From Randus

This was me.  These words is how he sees me.   I’m still teary and stunned.  I think of all the ways people in my life reach me, how I am so lucky and profoundly thankful for everybody.  I haven’t considered with any weight that I might be touching others.  That need for recognition/approval isn’t on my mind.  It doesn’t motivate me, you know?  I don’t feel like I have to say to anyone: “and you think I’m lovely, too, right?!”   I used to exist entirely in abject desperation that I was of any small import to anyone at all, “please someone, someone tell me I’m cute/sexy/funny/smart/anything.  Please someone say you see me.”   

But somewhere in the last year it went away.  If I feel now like I am not seen, I go out and meet people, or visit Sheddy’s and say hi to the kids there, or descend upon Tiomio.   I take it upon myself to do something about feeling invisible. The “pleasepleasetellmeIamsomeone” thing faded.  I giggle over beers or coffee with whomever and stumble home, and I don’t think as I walk, “I wonder if they’re saying nice things about me now.”  I got over it.  Sure, everyone likes attention, and sure, I like that the people I meet seem to think I’m cool enough to chatter with for a while.  And I don’t think I give off an aura of IDGAF, because I like pretty much everybody with whom I spend time.  Because I don’t care to surround myself with anything otherwise.  I enjoy you.

It just might be the case that everybody I like feels mutually.  And that isn’t so bad at all.

2013-01-30_18-06-29_632
Thank you, Randy.
Thank you, Everybody.

Yours,
h

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