The Containment of Multitudes

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Come on, Fred.  Come on, and make your presence known, please!

I wore the witchy poncho today.  I didn’t think anything in particular about this beigey chenille, fluffy, blanket style poncho, until a former co-worker said it made me look like a witch.  I was thinking about that adjective today, as we are on the eve-ish eve of Halloween, and I am entirely sans costume and really, sans any sort of spooky spirit.   I was thinking about it and a memory I’ve held closely, the memory of the girl in the mist.

I only saw her once, I think, and she sat in the middle of a very suburban park.  She was, in the terminology accessible to me today, probably just a vegan who was into grunge.  I remember she had a plaid shirt tied around her waist. But as a 2nd-grader with an endless imagination, the college-aged girl who had a pan flute and sat cross-legged in the park was some sort of nature spirit.  Lithe, thin, pale, with wild hair, she sat in the middle of the green playing this eerie, magical music as the mist moved around her.  Who was she?  Where did she come from?  Was she real?  I remember being very clear that when I grew up, it would be necessary to my happiness, to approximate that aesthetic, that state of esoteric relationship to the world.  To expressly not spend my time at any sort of desk.  To be free and immune to any brand of cultural conformism.  To evoke magic with my being.

I wanted that.  There was no part of me that found it laughable, or anything other than the highest, truest, most holy calling.  It is hard to sit here on this couch, cats rambling and banging into walls with their raucous fighting, all the while thinking about the day I had loading vans full of vast tubs of paper to be shredded, the grumpiness that appears as fact, the stress that is invading my body, and dream. To luxuriate in dreaming about being barefoot in cool, dewy grass, wearing flowers and gauzy fabric and talking to the moon.

It is hard to accept the true juxtaposition of these things within me now.  But even when do so much as lean towards the Stevie Nicks-loving, flower-chattering, candle-burning side of myself an inch, I do feel better.  I do feel more hopeful and less like everything is so far out of my control.  A witch is a woman who is dangerous and sought after not because she can change the universe from what it is, but because she can make it bend out of its pain.  When things are hopeless, she has, at the least, a path that can be walked.  She is not contained by the appearance of physical laws.  She can make you believe that there is no smallness about you, that your wills are the same as those of the universe.  That where you are kind, the universe is kind. Where you are patient, so are the flowers that lie buried in wait within the earth for the right year of rain.  That where you love, some spirit startles awake and begins the long journey of seeking your sanctuary.

The things you can’t think when you are being ground into powder by what would make the world move easiest for others.  The priestesshood of breath, of force, of self.  Those are the magick spells we have been passed down.  I do not mind being a witch because I never was anything else.

Henotia

It is not impossible to siphon off a bit of brain and bobble it around, spin it and aerate it.  Make the story of things as they are and serve it up yet again.  Just a stretch.  It’s late.  I am tired.  I am thinking about so many things that I have not thought of in a long time.  Justice, wedding dresses, walking the rest of the way on my own.   I am also choosing to set all the thoughts aside and just listen to the trickle of worries spill until I hear the thoughts behind all that.

You’re alright.  You’ll bob back up.  You’ll come a’right.  You’ll end up alright.  You are all right right now.

Dinner with the sisters.  Monte Cristo sandwich that tasted light and fluffy. A fifth of whoopie pie that tasted like a sugar brick.  The things I would do for ice water.  It is my singular desire and I never look after making it ready when I should want it, here as morning rushes towards me.  It feels somehow, at 11:30p.m. like you are sitting on the day’s windowsill as the earthly set designers change the scenes around you.  Draw in a tree and drape blue and purple leaves on its arms, pull out a curtain of evening sky and stud it with zirconia, paint the middle distance until it pulls the eye into infinity.

It was Friday and somewhere on the periphery, a terror, somewhere further out, a war, somewhere at the furthest edge, an end.

But here, we put dresses on drunk women and sent them careening down the street in new, orange-brimmed sun hats. Here we send women who might have been ourselves away empty-handed, shrugging as they offer themselves up.  Twenty pounds, they assert, and I’ll be back.  No, I say, you won’t.  But…for a moment, we hope together for something that gives you some illusory pleasure.  We try together and we don’t judge the reason we’re trying.

Isn’t it funny how the things we swore we would never do come to us so easily now as a way to get by, pass through, ease the coming and the going?  We don’t question it.  We just softened in our insistence until the demand to be upright is taffy to the touch and the demand to make life go just that little bit easier is as hard as diamonds, inviolate.

This is growing up.  You say it won’t be like that for you, Peter Pan, but it would.  This is the ladder and we are the salmon.  We only know what we know to know.

I wouldn’t mind you turning up now, peeking out and climbing to sit with me here on the windowsill overlooking the new day.  It shall not be, but I would not mind it.  I wouldn’t pine so hard, I think, if you had cut the cord betwixt us and let the lie be the blade.  But not three ago you insinuated, you inveigled, you turned up. Now, I have truth and a long chain on this particular manacle.  And a key in my hand if ever I care to run away from it all.

I will, when I care to.  I will.

 

Pink Abstract Guitar Background

Fuuuu-ck!  I have so many words and it’s getting so late and I’m tired of giving you half the right amount of attention, blog.  I am tired of being dismissive of your role in my life.  Of betraying you by writing elsewhere, of not bearing my soul into your passive, peaceful, restive arms.  I am here, my darling!

Watching the marvelous Focus Group by the marvelous Sara Benincasa for the second time which I backed and now has come magically to life.

The Focus Group (2016) from Sara Benincasa on Vimeo.

I don’t know what to say.  The things I talk about elsewhere I suppose I could talk about here.  I suppose I could talk, but it’s not like it’s something that I can explain without using language I don’t care to use.  Also, it’s not like it’s something that anyone needs to worry about, that alters anything, that need be noted anywhere.  So we will sink into frippery and vague claims.

I have certain places to put myself now that make me distracted and jolly.  You, sir, for whatsoever time remains us before we tire of one another, of the ruse, of the whole kit and its caboodle, are one such place.  A Mr. among Misters.  Chief in a few ways, mostly you’re just here and I am just here and that’s odd that there’s no there there.  It’s just a lot of here.  Too much here? It has not yet been determined.  It’s just wild, lacking even the fearful brand of symmetry.  It’s one of those situations that you think you understand while it’s happening, but can’t, can’t until you get far away and very still and very quiet and then you just laugh yourself awake.

I feel a charge of the ars poetica.  I feel like I climbed through a dark tunnel, and there’s a thousand more to go, but, here, in between, we’ve got open air and moonlight.  Both are dark, but one is free.

It’s this and it’s the filibuster and it’s the way I feel after reading the poem that everyone’s reading today and loving it in my own Good Bones, (thank you),  I remembered that I wrote poems.  I looked back and read a poem I wrote about how I wrote poetry.  I have a lot of poems about my love of poetry.  Poems that I believe no one has ever read.  They are not great poems, but they feel great because they are tied to memories of hope, quilted to other poems that meant other things.  I remember and it’s not a bittersweet remembrance because the desire has not diminished or been thwarted.   It just finds fresh fuel and burns all the brighter now that I’ve cast my attention on its eternal flame.

The muse does not give you up if you do not give her up.  She will chase you down alleys and dive off of parapets and clobber you if you smile twice.  If you tell her she’s pretty or she’s got a thrilling turn of phrase.

 

Unaccountably Peckish (Here’s Hoping)

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And now we wait.

For boys to wake up, for cards to turn, for time to run out, for hair to dry, for itches to take to the scratch, for London to rise, for bravery to outweigh procrastination, for earworms to crawl toward their exits, for the revelation to be revealed.

Boys that aren’t boys.  Boyz that have gone through the whole process and have properly turned 2 men.  Ahem.  Sorry.  It’s late and I have a sugar-headache and there’s no shaking it as I took some aspirin and quickly had a nosebleed so I am just going to drink some water and stop my excessive thinking.  Boys.  Men.  Ones who have expressly stated that they need to be bonked on the head to realize a girl might like them.  A lady.  A woman.  Funny how funny that feels, like five glass marbles I’m trying to mumble through.  A woman and a man called so by virtue of nothing, really.  I’ve always prefered being a girl.  Ah.  So, it is entirely up to me if I feel anything whatsoever to Charlotte Lucas it.  So not my strong suit.

And in the wings, a kind person I feel, completely arbitrarily less for.  Hovering.  Curious.  Asking how I am doing and I care, but on several orders of magnitude less that I do for this man I have arbitrarily decided is the pick of the litter.  Neither of whom are in anyway positioned to knock on my door and invite me to dinner.  All of this is talky-talk trouble.  But that’s where I do my worst and best work.  Where I conjure marvels, where I skin my palms and knees.  He just wants me to say hi.  I feel like saying hi is a minor betrayal.  It ain’t, but I got my plans, and this is a complication in that it requires me to grow some parts and say, I am delighted for your friendship, but we’re both here for the purpose of finding someone for whatever lies beyond friendship and I don’t want to waste your time when I am pining…waiting…scrying out a good moment for someone else that will probably come to naught and yet, even then, I don’t think we’re compatible anyway so don’t be mad at me for letting you bark up this tree because it feels nice to be appreciated.  Just because friendship itself feels warm and nice after so many long years out in the open air.

I know how this shit goes.  I had to throw one tormented artist to the proverbial curb to take up with a devil-may-care, honey-addled jewel thief.  It’s the chase! We wish to be better than that, but ah, life is meant to be fun at some point so it might as well be now.  At least it’s not a Rubbery Man.

Ah!

We had all the cupcakes and frappuccinos and tacos and orzos and oh nos that exist in the world if you end up looking for some tomorrow.  I also have a Chipotle gift card I attempted to give away five months ago.  Once that is spent, I believe I will also be well and truly done.

Here’s hoping!

The Red X

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I am sitting at my desk to type this post.  I am going to sit here and type the whole thing whilst on my less than comfortable chair.  I am not going to pull the laptop back to my lap and sit back on the bed.  I bought this desk for a reason.  I think I am becoming Quasimodo, hunchback-wise (his most salient descriptor, I suppose, aside from the ugliness we conflate with hunchbackery) and I think it’s unhealthy.   I know it is because it causes me pain in my shoulders as they wrap around me. I feel the straitjacket of my own ribcage, my own arms protectively surrounding me, squeezing my heart.   There are no breasts, there is no body, there is just a shape.  The shape that holds the phone up to the face and takes in cat videos and shimmies fingers to set timers that are inevitably ignored.  The inertia is profound and negligible.  When I can’t, I don’t.  There have been so many days when I don’t, though, that I stop asking whether or not I can.

I will stop when it hurts enough.

I am noticing today how much better my mind feels when I read, when I listen to intellectually provocative material, when I engage myself in an inquiry not just of self, but of the media I take in.  When I push.  Laying/sitting/reclining in the bed day in and day out has some sort of knock-on effect of relaxing my ability to coalesce thought.  I am not treating my writing as the honorable, necessary exercise that it is.  As the lover I love, who loves me so desperately that he calls to me at all hours, murmurs in my ear, pets my arm and says “Let’s just try, it’s only just for us.”  In response, I shift and turn my back and say, just one more video, just one more act of creative voyeurism, the release of looking at worlds made and projects lifted up to the light.   I know the muse feels the coldness, I know the muse feels regret.  We could be so good together if I could just let it in.

Every now and then, though, I sit up and I say.  Okay.  I say, if you’re sure we’re not going to make this a big deal.  If we’re just going to play.  The pilot light bursts forth in a shroud of heavenly blue, the shoulders release, the dancers stretch their legs.  The muse and I climb beyond the bay window and walk down to the water and watch this far-distant ship slowly turn and bring itself into the harbor.  After what feels like hours of waiting, it finally drops anchor and all of the pirates jump over the the hull and swing ropes onto shore.  The dancers emerge and guide them up off the beach and in the rough-hewn, thatched-roof cantina, we drink with them and listen to their adventures.  Their hungers, their thirsts, their old shanty songs and we take notes.  They don’t mind us eavesdropping, not so long as we let them dance with the dancers and drink all the mead.  Eventually, they drop, drunk, exhausted and drained of all their stories and we crawl away so as not to wake them.  There are only a few hours left until sunrise and they won’t be here in the morning.

Every now and then, the notes are readable, they make a sort of map.  And every now and then, the muse and I climb up over the bluff, and eastward, and south-south-eastward, and look for the stand of three threes that reach up as if in prayer.  We use branches and invented shovels, and sweat away just at dawn, just as the sky moves from its groves of oranges and violets to that first breath of heavenly blue and dig at the red x.  Deeper and deeper into the sandy soil, until there is a thump.  We’ve hit something.

Every now and then we open the chest and it is not empty.  It carries in it another map that the water and acid of the soil has not tainted.  And every now and then, though our arms are tired and we’re keen for a picnic, the muse and I will follow that map to the next.  We will go until once in a very great while, when we’ve forgotten the clever pirates’ great claims of riches and spoils and are only concerned over discovering the next Red X, and we’ll use our dirt-stuffed fingernails to claw open a chest that holds no map.

It will seem empty at first.  But we’ll sit still, blinking at it and at each other for a very long while.  It feels different, the muse will say.  It does, I will say. It feels like an ending.   Satisfied, aching, under a heavenly blue made dark save for its map of stars, we’ll head back to the shoreline and try to sleep.

And The Sun Burns Into Your Eyes

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I write to you today as a doer of deeds.   Some less ably than others, but all of them noble enough.

There was a list and I look around and I know that I worked hard with the time I was given.  I did not throw it away heartlessly and blearily stare into my screen.  I want to do that, and usually do.  But I think that perhaps relaxing in the security of the middle distance would be more satisfying if I wasn’t too petrified to look around and see the odd, stilted creatures that make it their home.  Not looking is not easing your eyes.  Not looking squinches other muscles: the inner eye is lidless so there is considerable effort required to draw one’s self around it and blot out its sight.

I have been waiting for signs, omens, help, lighted walkways, arrows, marquee listings, maps and miracles to divine my way.  I’ve been waiting for someone to walk first or walk with me or yank my wrist and pull me into the street.  Now, I’ve been waiting to hear, it must be now!  And every now and then, nowadays, I hear, it should have been then.  It should have been and if it wasn’t, it won’t.

It is enough to make you stand stock-still, and let your eyes peel and turn, as if you’ll get that message you’ve been looking for and not risk getting hit by the everything that has already decided its time is now.   This, I have come to believe, is only one philosophy.  And the rightness or wrongness of it is only measured in whether or not you are satisfied with the standing and the seeing.

I am no longer satisfied with what I can see from this bed frame.  From this hallway.  From this solitary plot I happened to happen upon.

Those hopes to exist without risk, without presence or engagement, or bearing the weight of being the object in the lesson, they’re actually as unhelpful as a bathing suit in a blizzard. Because this isn’t that kind of life.  As painful as the change thus far has been, it is not even the beginning of it.

So I realize now that the plans I used to make on my own, I need to make again.  The closing around myself, swaddling myself with stillness, looking past what looks at me so that we don’t connect – there is no story there.  The heroine has to look the villain right in the face and know his weakness and how to break it.

Today, I’ve done things I didn’t want to do.  Made 30 phone calls to strangers who all had opinions of me that I will never know.  I let the caffeine get to me and then drank some more.  I exercised and tracked my food.  I looked at myself in the mirror, sighed, and then used that body to load the dishwasher, to type this report, to flip the pages of a book that thrills me.

Tomorrow, I demand the same.

You didn’t love me and I will never know why.

Instead, I walk off the mark and love the trees budding a lime-bright green, the stem bent that bears a daffodil cup full of dew and honey, the air that lifts a seed up into the air and twirls it as far as it needs to go to find an open space to live as it was meant to live.

 

Little Kitty

pexels-photo-28347We are here.   Time is so damnably fluid these days.   Are we coming or going at any given moment?  I thought we were going at the morning time after an announcement last night so I am up and dressed, but we’re actually not leaving for another half an hour.  I also have the option to drive in on my lonesome three hours from now. But I’m up and ready for action so I might as well get this slice of effort knocked out of the way.  I would like this to be one of those days – despite it being a Friday – where I think up things I need to do, like clear off my desk, and then actually do them instead of sighing longingly as though I had asked myself to pole vault over the moon.

So, yes, my list of bad ideas I actually knew were bad ideas and have confirmed via experimental testing multiple times but am trying out once again has expanded to include: drinking coffee at 11pm and then watching some scary Let’s Play videos on YouTube.
Saying aloud that it seemed that there was light at the end of the work-related tunnel.  That was definitely just an oncoming train.  Sigh.  Big, handwringing sigh.  Well, I refuse to let it get under my skin.  Too many other mysteries are hanging out there for me to write over them with upsets I have no facility to alter or remove.
Getting Timehop.  It essentially allows you to relive every hope and excitement that is now converted to a pain or a regret in a convenient digital package.  Oh, he uses modifiers like Aristotelian and he thinks I’m swell?  It must be love…or not, it might just be a really awkward and heartbreaking bit of nothing.

Ah.  That place between the teeth and the inner ear is just full of these things.

That said.  I am still in a decent mood that memory cannot tear asunder.

Good ideas: for whatever reason, the self-esteem muscle is flexing today and I feel alright about the whole being alive in the world problem I have.  Maybe we can blame it on the seductive powers of a workable pair of pantyhose, but whatever’s the cause, I like it.  I need it.  I want some more of it.
Going to Writers Group where even if they don’t necessarily help you and you struggle to understand the goals and experiences of writing that others strap themselves down to, you can come away wanting to write.  And that’s all I need in the end.

Last night, after not being able to sleep,  I had a dream about Mr. Rochester.  He was running a food cart in the middle of a big open field which is probably metaphorical for his last venture.  Pleasure and satiation and nobody to stroll by and buy it.  I strolled by, though, because that’s my metaphor and recognized him beneath his hat.  He was happy to see me, but not so happy as I was to see him, hugging him as if his good opinion of me was my lost pair of lungs.  I wanted to get close enough to it to get some air.

I really wish I didn’t wake up.