foxtongue: (Default)
There is an awful, delightful old tradition that women have "permission" to ask men for their hand in marriage on Leap Day, with the added impetus that if he refuses, he must give her the gift of a silk dress and a kiss to soften the blow. So, with the best of intentions, I asked one of my dearest friends to marry me today. (He is pretty great.) This is the glorious, achingly beautiful poem I received in reply, proving, I believe, that it was a win-win situation either way:

Handy Guide
By Dean Young

Avoid adjectives of scale.
Dandelion broth instead of duck soup.
Don’t even think you’ve seen a meadow, ever.
The minor adjustments in our equations
still indicate the universe is insane,
when it laughs a silk dress comes out its mouth
but we never put it on. Put it on.
Cry often and while asleep.
If it’s raw, forge it in fire.
That’s not a mountain, that’s crumble.
If it’s fire, swallow.
The heart of a scarecrow isn’t geometrical.
That’s not a diamond, it’s salt.
That’s not the sky but it’s not your fault.
My dragon may be your neurotoxin.
Your electrocardiogram may be my fortune cookie.
Once an angel has made an annunciation,
it’s impossible to tell him he has the wrong address.
Moonlight has its own befuddlements.
The rest of us can wear the wolf mask if we want
or look like reflections wandered off.
Eventually armor, eventually sunk.
You wanted love and expected what?
A parachute? Morphine? A gold sticker star?
The moment you were born—
you have to trust others because you weren’t there.
Ditto death.
The strongest gift I was ever given
was made of twigs.
It didn’t matter which way it broke.
foxtongue: (beseech)


Bewilderment and sorrow, that simmering concoction, like the aftermath of a murder or the first realization that roses have thorns. I pause, uncertain, blindsided again, memories stirred up, silt from the bottom of the dream-jar. My hands begin to move again, measuring out words, a confused reply, drained of the smile I had been trying to communicate. It is sunny outside, sweetly bright for the first time in a week. The sky is finally open. I had tried to share, some silly self-mockery about depressive dinosaurs and poetry, but the conversation flipped in their beautiful mouth. An invocation of sharp stones, a sudden grappling hook to the chest. Changeling child, fierce, erratic. I remember this, the sound of the crack as my ribs pulled apart, so true it felt like I should carry the scar on my skin.

Those cruel fairy woods are a dark place, laced with private, uncanny paths that I cannot follow, paved with accusation and marrow deep mistrust. I am left behind. The ways in are a mystery. Those roads too foreign, too strange. All I can do is apologize, blindly, astonished, and reach out as they vanish. Perhaps I am capable of some last, impossible action that might save things, a spell, a sacrifice, a gesture in the air, but whatever is needed is not something I know. Too soon, too late, they are gone. The door between us has shut. I am still a moment longer, waiting for what? Inspiration, a cascade of light, even partial understanding, but I close the computer still wondering, wandering among ghosts, no wiser than before.

Outside, at least, the sun continues to shine.

truth

Dec. 29th, 2011 03:20 am
foxtongue: (Default)
"Zilla March", a bone-breaking group in the Brooklyn subways


I didn't think I'd ever return to New York, but now that I'm here, I am glad.

I am lost

Dec. 27th, 2011 01:25 am
foxtongue: (Default)
Each Sound
by Dorianne Laux

Beginnings are brutal, like this accident
of stars colliding, mute explosions
of colorful gases, the mist and dust
that would become our bodies
hurling through black holes, rising,
muck ridden, from pits of tar and clay.
Back then it was easy to have teeth,
claw our ways into the trees — it was
accepted, the monkeys loved us, sat
on their red asses clapping and laughing.
We’ve forgotten the luxury of dumbness,
how once we crouched naked on an outcrop
of rock, the moon huge and untouched
above us, speechless. Now we talk
about everything, incessantly,
our moans and grunts turned on a spit
into warm vowels and elegant consonants.
We say plethora, demitasse, ozone and love.
We think we know what each sound means.
There are times when something so joyous
or so horrible happens our only response
is an intake of breath, and then
we’re back at the truth of it,
that ball of life expanding
and exploding on impact, our heads,
our chest, filled with that first
unspeakable light.

-::-


There was a kiss that tasted like reëntry, the sky hitting the brakes with a roar, that blazing, intimate acceptance of a spacecraft into atmosphere, every unlikely angle, one head tilting to another, a scorched, soft light jet-stream wish to return home. History made and slammed back like a shotgun round. A promise on the wing, the ground salted, memories buried. The cast lines up, takes a bow, walks off stage, and leaves their shadows behind as the curtain falls, and it tasted like hello as well as goodbye. My apartment is choked with memories, my neighborhood is a cemetery, same as the highway south, much like my life.

He asked for my writing once, to permanently tattoo, something short, beautiful, meaningful. "Between our hands, we could have made fire". To the death, he said, to the guttering of the sun. (The next one, he gave me nothing I have not been able to give back.) In the archives, our shared love, deliberate and valiant, a blazing comet made of fiercely bared skin, and the small delicate jewelry we wore in our ears, drops of garnet dipped in silver, lost but unforgotten. I send him a message just after midnight, from a number he doesn't know: I am still wearing your name at the base of my breath.
foxtongue: (Default)


“We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.”
— Anaïs Nin

Part of me knew I would never stay, that every moment should be crystallized in amber, trapped like the genetic blueprint of actual happiness, ready to be cloned by some mysterious future tinker, lamps for sale, the escapist cry under the window, rub the brass to recall a broken sugar landscape, an electric vision of what it was like to be young and finally glad of life. Every atom shining. Quotations and fabricated salvation, the canned replies of pop song poetry, always and forever, forever and always, roses are red, except when they're dead, the way our footsteps matched in time, the way our voices rose together, the silliest song, that tricky bit with the bridge. In the back of things, back on the beach, my body still lay crumpled in a street, left where it had been dropped, a life abandoned like an unwanted chore. At the core, even as I found a place to walk forward, it remained the death of my joy.

Prelude, fast forward, in fine literature they refer to it as foreshadowing, (three times before, midnight gypsies knocking at the door), a trivial divergence blossoming into the most expensive explosion, blinding as a blow to the skull. Divergence, silence, a rough handed, hard, concrete truth I had tried so hard to ignore, that trust, at the base, is a wretched and foolish game. No matter how far I go, it will still be towards the funeral of my dearest friends. Every tomorrow will come, but the sun will be no more. I have been amputated. My heart no longer alive as a vessel for golden light.
foxtongue: (femme)

Love is Like Life but Longer from Poppy de Villeneuve.

-::-


From Portuguese - Saudade. According to Wikipedia:
"...a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return."
Photographs of you make my heart hurt, as if I miss you the way I'd miss my second self lost in an accident, as if my heart is no longer a gift, but only a muscle slowly closing and unclosing with a strength too small to taste, too unhappy to sing, a shout in a room that will never be heard. This is a funeral, a year as hungry as an empty highway, a broken radio, days numbered, months stretching into false dusty infinity. Every morning I wake up the same way, watching for reality, waiting to be. I was there, where were you?

She opens her bitten, rose-petal mouth and rain drops spill out. She opens her cloud blinded eyes, now the colour of steel locks, and the sound of torn paper falls from the air. (Your city is still carved in the nape of her neck.) Walking out of sunshine, a stolen, wilted flower in her hair, into life the texture of bone, there was something about his smile, eyes always as bright as unexpected lightning, something about his body standing cynically by the side of a road, that was held sharply enough to slice through glass.

There are certain roads I hesitate to step foot on, the same way I try not to look down your street, as waves of pain constrict my soul, as I resent your vacancy, your undeserved intrusion into my life. Memories float to the surface, all wax on water, like bruises swollen with a tender, fierce regret. Should I have come out swinging? It was unnatural how fast you turned, changling child, honey tongued fairy fire, a shape-shifter in the clothes of a friend. You were faithless, even as I relied on you, a star that burned a dirty hole in my trust, the deep-language reason my laughter started to feel so much like lying.
foxtongue: (femme)
'You don't seem to understand, sir,' the worthy Lyon, my teacher, used to often say to me, 'that certain words are made to go with others; between them there exist certain relationships that must not be changed.'

'I can't help it, dear teacher, but for words too I am a firm believer in the virtue of bad company.'


André Gide, 1911

Under the surface of the conversation lives another set of words, ur-homonyms, post post modern, the secret referential dialect of poetry birds, blue and gray, alike in species, but not in feather, the language an echo of captured ghosts. We are eye contact, insinuation, the rhythm and flow of a secret river covered over. He fiddles with his phone, pulls up a memory, a beautiful mention of jewelry and bones, and unobtrusively places it on my side of the table, the better to keep it between ourselves, the better not to interrupt. It is the best sort of message - silent, apt, instantly understood - spun from the fearless perfection of falling stars. It was confirmation of an unlikely truth, a gesture clear and unmistakable, almost but not quite an apology. We had thought ourselves as solid as stone, but then we crumbled like plaster under rain, our gestures blurred, our voices unheard and stolen by a sudden, dangerous misunderstanding. It was terrible, ragged and abrupt. We became a fire guttering, giving off no warmth and even less light, but this, I thought, looking up to meet his meaning, and its depths, it justifies what came before, this is why I thought it was safe, and why I will again.

confluence

Jun. 5th, 2011 11:08 am
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Sweetness, sunlight, warm days and two wills held up like a slightly cracked mirror. I stayed up late, walked everywhere, and, for awhile there, I did not feel so fragile. On my second day, we went out on a lake in Central Park in a little rowboat like the owl and a pussycat singing handfuls of song, and posed for our very first photograph, magical, digital evidence of our parallel lives finally coming together. It had been shocking to see him at the airport, standing casually by the side of the baggage carousel as if he could have been just anyone, instead of my dearest friend. Two weeks later, drastic change, while on the surface, things are the same. I am back on the west coast, still reverberating from my trip.
foxtongue: (beseech)
morning

Happy Birthday to Me.


I went to Coney Island today and sang on the boardwalk and had my picture taken in a photobooth and saw the sideshow and went on a ferris wheel and battled with brenno at two rounds of disco bumpercars and remembered all of the lyrics to a thousand pop songs. Earlier this week I went rowing at central park, enjoyed a late night circus arts show, danced at an interactive media chiptunes concert, answered questions at a quizbowl, took self-portraits with cornell boxes, rode the staten island ferry, saw the statue of liberty, conquered half a sheep's head for dinner and kept the skull as my only souvenir, and had my very first art gallery showing. It wasn't all that I wanted to do, I haven't been dancing yet, haven't been to any all-night beauty bombs, but it has been enough that I feel alright closing today like a book and going to bed. Tomorrow, hopefully, my birthday, will be even better, as will the day after that, and the day after that. Every minute here has been a tiny miracle even when I've been unhappy, flowering, blossoming, treasured, better, and that, in itself, is truth.
foxtongue: (Default)
It's a long time since I wrote to you, Frau Milena, and even today I'm writing only as the result of an incident. Actually, I don't have to apologize for my not writing, you know after all how I hate letters. All the misfortune of my life -- I don't wish to complain, but to make a generally instructive remark -- derives, one could say, from letters or from the possibility of writing letters. People have hardly ever deceived me, but letters always -- and as a matter of fact not only those of other people, but my own... The easy possibility of letter-writing must -- seen merely theoretically -- have brought into the world a terrible disintegration of souls. It is, in fact, an intercourse with ghosts, and not only with the ghost of the recipient but also with one's own ghost, which develops between the lines of the letter one is writing and even more so in a series of letters where one letter corroborates the other and can refer to it as a witness. How on earth did anyone get the idea that people can communicate with one another by letter! Of a distant person one can think, and of a person who is near one can catch hold -- all else goes beyond human strength. Writing letters, however, means to denude oneself before the ghosts, something for which they greedily wait. Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts. It is on this ample nourishment that they multiply so enormously. Humanity senses this and fights against it and in order to eliminate as far as possible the ghostly element between people and to create a natural communication, the peace of souls, it has invented the railway, the motor car, the aeroplane. But it's no longer any good, these are evidently inventions being made at the moment of crashing. The opposing side is so much calmer and stronger; after the postal service it has invented the telegraph, the telephone, the radiograph. The ghosts won't starve, but we will perish.

~ Franz Kafka, from a letter to Milena Jesenska, whom he met in person only twice.
foxtongue: (Default)
David and I have had a house guest this week, Andrew, a nice stranger from Montreal, a friend of a friend who, when moving here, suddenly found himself without a place to live. He was going to be here two or three weeks, but he's already found an apartment, which means he moves out today. Serendipitous, as my uncle John arrives from New Orlean's tomorrow, so now we can offer him a place to stay, too. Only the couch for the first while, but then my room while I am away.

Strange to think that I'll be flying to New York in approximately ten days. I'm still utterly fuzzy on what I'm going to be doing there, besides visiting with Van Sise and Vitka and Mordecai. I have a few things solid, like visiting the Guggenhiem and MoMa, making sure to catch the Alexander McQueen exhibit there, and trying to score cheap tickets to Fuerza Bruta, but I'm still searching for suggestions.

So, beautiful people, I'm going to be in New York from May 21st to June 2nd. Where should I go?
foxtongue: (Default)
Given that my recent job interviews have all fizzled, my relationship has horrifically dissolved, and my birthday is fast approaching, I have decided it's finally perfect timing to use up my plane ticket to visit Van Sise in New York city*.

I fly out of SeaTac to NYC on May 20th and return June 2nd.


I am going to miss Rafael's Folklife and a few other things, (my original birthday plan was to set up a Whole Beast Feast, hit up the 40th Annual Folklife for a day, then hitch-hike with some strangers to the 10th Annual Sasquatch Festival for the rest of the long weekend), but given my present circumstances as a connoisseur of sad situations, it just seems like a better idea to be gone. Every night my dreams ache, my body wrenches with unhappiness, yet in the morning, I can't seem to find reasons to be awake. I lie there motionless, wrapped up in nothingness, unable to conjure any appetite for life, any thread of grace, any desire at all for my bland, banal hopes or disembodied future. If I had a job or were in school, I'm sure it would be different, I would feel that my life was moving forward instead of slipping away, but as it currently is, a lonely narrative of inevitable failure after inevitable failure, all I want is to be away from here, all I want is escape.


*Originally we were going to wander around the southern states, visiting Atlanta and New Orleans, rounding off the trip, if we were lucky and it was delayed, with the last Space Shuttle Launch. Instead his work got in the way and the already-purchased plane ticket was cashed in for credit and put aside for a visit with him later.
foxtongue: (Default)
Hey everyone, I need to know if you live in or in between Orlando and New Orleans, so I can come visit!


I'm flying out of Seattle on April 13th to Orlando, where I'll be meeting up with a TOP SEKRIT FREINDZOR, and from there we're spending almost two weeks in the Southern States, driving from Orlando to New Orleans and back, with stops in Charleston, Savannah, and Montgomery, with everything else being flexible. (I fly back April 26th.) Considering we've never met, and I've never been any of these places, I expect this is going to be a very interesting trip.
foxtongue: (femme)
...But That Was [Yesterday]

Song on repeat, fingers frigid from typing, everything around me perfectly still. We're talking about dying, about family in the hospital, about relationships that never were, chances that perished almost as quickly as they had become. I think about fire, about how much tragedy stains my heart, how much sorrow clogs my breath. The boyfriend who committed suicide, the woman who was almost my mother, dragged to death, pregnant, under a truck. Family wrapped in white sheets, counting minutes. A different parent, one of many, confused, waiting to die. There was a phone-call. Later, at some unknown time, there will be another, and perhaps the person on the line and I will cry together.

I’m helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.
Helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.


Outside is cold, the rain has half frozen, but I expect colder still. Clothed in frost, in the shirt of someone I used to love, winter is crawling through the windows, offering loneliness in place of flowers, memories of years when I still had a future. They play out like beads on a string of days, tallied in small bursts, bright but too long ago. How is it that days are so long, while years are so short? Fractions of lifetime stretched out over bone. Cells replicating. I used to believe that one day would be easier. Soon I will be too old for it. I will be done, the last page written. The book closed. Somewhere out there, past the glass, there is snow.

Well I’d wait ten thousand picks for just one more chance, just one more chance to see your face again.

The people around me do not know how to cure this sorrow. Tender, they insist on holding me or pet my hair, as if rocking silently is enough. Shivering, I require more, to engage, to pull my intelligence out from my pain. Perspective as everything. (Not everything broken can be repaired.) On the east coast is a grandfather, lungs filling with fluid, and a boy near the phone. We write back and forth, filling the void with comforting words, distractions, poetry, and rough jokes. We write back and forth and I do not know if I am helping. I do not know if I am like my friends, heartfelt yet inadequate, offering solace that would comfort me, but not them.

Well I’d pull, teeter away, at the earth with my teeth, the earth with my teeth to touch your face alive.

The piano kicks in, quiet, insistent, with a sound like birds. I am collapsing, fracturing, splintering, shivering into pieces. If someone were to touch me, I would explode, shrapnel embedded in every wall, with a sound like a wounded animal, terrified and very, very young.

You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.
You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.


My stress betrays me. Inside of my belly, chemicals misfire, hormones fail. I do not release an egg. "Progesterone secretion is prolonged because estrogen levels are low". My womb is lost, continues singing for fertility, even with the map misplaced. The walls thicken, then slough. Bleeding seven days, eight, now thirty. A flood. I grow pale. The red spills like an endless creek, enough to fill a pail. I am a tributary, coloured scarlet. Chunks of flesh escape me as big as the palm of my hand. My breath vanishes, the world glitters, and suddenly exhaustion, fatigue. It is too much effort to ask my heart to beat. I cannot move. My body is a heavy as lead, my veins filled with gold.

With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.
With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.


With my blood, so sleep. I am awake in the dark, endlessly so. My breath solidifies, but my dreams do not. Instead I write, I reply, my back-log of messages attacked, finally, until dawn, the sun a smudge of gray the same tenor as a cough. To a former lover, lost for too long, I write, "Your silver hair makes me think of feathers, of flight, and the purity of light seen through the fractures of a crystal. Perhaps you are, in fact, slowly turning into a dove, one the colour of lightning, a tongue like glass and a brain ripe with electricity." Our love was a wonderful thing, poetry balanced on edge, the quirky, deprived, and mad meeting together as one. Maybe somewhere is a world where it worked out.

Well, I can make your face brand new.
Well, I can make your face brand new.


We stay up late, my current love and I, an ordinary history of affection warped by misunderstandings, his lack of experience, the way he abandoned us the first time we fought. Where do we go from here? Defining what is wrong is only a first step, almost a year late, too late, almost a year since it all began. My eyes are glued shut with salt, hot and sad. His arm bleeds where it scraped against the side of the bed. My role has been counselor, not partner. Tearing words from his tongue has been almost impossible, the squeezing of blood from a stone. Together we have been teaching him responsibility, and though he is quick, he resists.

La da la da la da da da da da da da da da da

Dawn painting the top of the mountains, the world's orbit sliding day into place. The urge to shift from bed, to draw on the window, withers against the memory of warmth, of shifting discussions, the lace of conversation drifting over my eyes like something imagined from a far away land.

You are warm, you are warm

There are only four ways for a relationship to end; stuck together or split apart, drowned with misery or flavoured with subtle joy. Duality doubled, basics, building blocks, the future laid out as cabled strings that tie lives together. Abandonment, paperwork, making tomorrow always better than today. I fought for us until he apologized, truth the most harrowing weapon of all, and then my heart burst, as if there was nothing left inside the pain but exhaustion, terrible, cruel, but free. Even so, we are lucky. Now, no matter how it turns out, as a couple or merely friends, we will find peace. We'll love each other until death do us part.

Come take my hand and I’ll take your hand
And I will bring you out
Come take the line and I’ll take the line
And I will pull you out
In the sun
.
foxtongue: (beseech)

Go forward and forward by Ryohei Hase

Perhaps I should be ashamed, says the back of my brain, as I reach out for reciprocity. Perhaps I should fall down, check myself in to the lost and found, say there peacefully until claimed. Kick my heels, properly tagged, next to a small box of forgotten apples, two overdue library books, a rain ruined Klimpt print, and wait.

This part of my brain is obviously insane.

Instead, when I am nervous, I want them to be nervous too. I wish us to match like a pair of jittery, colourful addictions, ready to dribble words the way a cork pops from bottle of something bubbly, ballistic and driven, dangerous in the wrong hands. I want us to assume and feel unsafe doing so, to tinker, to rewrite boundaries like history and we're the last ones standing. I want to be saturated in it, that understanding, that shared, halting drive, the cartilage landscape of unknown territory. Feel the certainty of it swelling in my chest, devouring my entrenched dragons of well trained doubt, dispelling the honeymoon aura of dread, and trust where I stand enough to take root in the sediment we've accrued, tall as a birch, as practically imperishable as the same.

It's primitive how I find the discovery of shared fear to be soothing. It triggers something deeper than sleep, more important than the shape of bones under skin, like being able to see the basic geometry of need, the invisible pillars upon which we build our waking dreams. I am reassured instantly as somewhere in my genes a fatal desire to know is fed. Such moments are a gift for which I do not know how to say thank you. They remind me of fire escapes in the same way they represent a way down from a burning building to solid ground. Effective, quaint, and incredible.


Uninterrupted chain by Ryohei Hase
foxtongue: (Default)


Nikki Jaine, filmed by the dear and the ever inestimable Kyle Cassidy

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