Saturday, April 21, 2018

Missing Uniform: The Salt on Your Lips

I.

One of the things I love about traveling is the feeling of suspension. Everything back home is a baseball tossed towards an evening sky and then frozen, mid-air, until you are back within a ten mile radius of home.

I currently find myself on white, clean, flannel sheets with a down comforter wrapped around me.  I have been reading, writing, and enjoying the company around me.  There is a creative streak in my blood, and I can feel its boil: 

I welcome it.

II.

This afternoon, I was thinking about Ray Bradbury again.  Thinking about how almost every time I hear or read his words, I feel like weeping.  It is not because the story is sad.  They don't tend to be.  Nostalgic, perhaps, but not sad. It's just that his use of language - his way of describing things - brings me quite literally to my knees. His brain, his words, his ability to imagine. I've never read much of his alien and futuristic stuff.  I've kept mostly to that of his that has rooted the supernatural and glorious in the mundane (Something Wicked This Way Comes), the product of which is a sublime beauty I can barely look directly at. Dandelion Wine is another branch of this that creates a nostalgia drenched in golden light for something I have never seen.

Incredible.


III.

There is magic in the air, tonight. I'm not sure how to explain or articulate it, but it is certainly there. It is not a hint so much as it is a dense syrup around our shoulders tonight. It is nice to be in the company of whatever it is that is in the air.

IV.

There is something to be said about leaning into what feels right.  Leaning into what feels true.  Even when you are unsure.  I have been doing that. The doors that it has been opening have been gilded with gorgeous stories and glorious people. 

I look forward to seeing where else this weird river will lead. 


Perhaps I will see you there.








Be well; be loved; follow exactly what your gut says to you.



k.

P.S I'm going to send you a dream tonight.  The colors will be red and blue and will involve the shape of hands.


***

Today I have been listening to this Kate Bush song covered by Chromatics .
But, of course, the original is better. If anything because of the depth of voice and this video.
(image via anotheratona tumblr)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Last Chance for a Slow Dance: The Art of Savoring All of that Which Undoes Us, or, In Praise of Light Pt II

Up early for departure.

I love road trips in that you can't do much but ponder and reflect en route to the destination.

I did that last weekend.

I'll do that again this weekend, albeit a different mode and in a different direction.



I miss the line of your eyebrows.

I miss how your eyes would widen slightly, and a smile would spread across your face when something was askew. I loved the seriousness of your face.  Even when you were mad at me, I wanted to laugh (and sometimes I would and you would get even more mad) because I find your face so loveable.

Little ALF laugh chasing your cat around with a toothbrush.


The other night I went to meet a friend at a bear bar so that he could drink and I could eat limes.

I had a person ask me if I'm trying to get over someone when I wasn't responding to their flirtations. In that moment I had this memory of me and you starting to make out in my car close to one of your favorite bars and you sliding all over my seats because I had just cleaned them and that McGuire's shit is slippery. You laughed at me about it. I laughed, too. I smiled and laughed that little laugh that is almost a cough that happens at memory.  The person asked again, but I just held their eyes and said nothing.

If they have to ask, they should already know that nothing is going to happen.








I'm going to leave you with a poem by Anne Sexton that has taught me something different each time I have read it, the majority of my life.

be well; be loved,


k.
[title: Last Chance for a Slow Dance is a Fugazi song title]
[image: Fleurs (1994) Edouard BOUBAT (1923-1999) ]

Admonitions to a Special Person (A. Sexton)

Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you'll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.

Watch out for games, the actor's part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.

Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes) ,
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won't be heard
and none of your running will end.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Special person,
if I were you I'd pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
A collaboration.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you'll root
and the real green thing will come.

Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
possible leaves,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
in celebration,
for you,
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon. 



Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Appreciate the Thought But, No, I Can't Go See the Tulips With You


 I get it now: 

Why it meant so much to you that, when we drove to Portland to go and see Neutral Milk Hotel, I stood by you and did my little "guard" thing. You had a severe back injury due to an accident that happened years prior in California. So much so that you couldn't stand for a long time without your legs starting to go numb.  Every time we would go to a show together (all of the time, thankfully), I would seek out a stool or chair and shoo people away from it in order to give it to you. 

(I knew sometimes it was awkward for you because people read you as a young boy- both 'young' and 'boy' being 'reasons' you should not need to sit down, let alone have someone bring you a chair.)

When there wasn't a chair around, you would sit on the floor in a sea of standing people, and I would stand behind you - one foot on either side of your hips- forming a little human guardrail so that no one would step on you.

I didn't think of it much at the time.

It was just a second nature taught to me by folks in my life with various disabilities.

But now I get it.  

I get why it meant so much to you.  

I get how it took pressure off of you. I get how you weren't put in a position to feel broken or like a drag or like someone who couldn't keep up. I understand now why you would get emotional about it sometimes- emotional in the good way. 

You deserved that. 

I'm glad that I gave that to you.

 I'm glad that you accepted it. 

It's odd to think that I understand why it mattered to you more now than I did at the time.

***

Tonight I sat at a metal table out in the light rain with a friend of mine and we traded dreams and insights. The air has been smelling so beautiful as of late starting just around 7:30pm. 

I wish I could tell you all of it.  For now I will just say that things are more than well. They are beautiful and calm and inspired and way too influenced by the Spring. There's a joy in my heart I can't quite explain. 

And, at the same time, there's a pinch in my heart.

There's room for both.

The joy is many things,
 one of which is watching your influence inform my actions.

The pinch is not so many things,
one of which is experiencing this joy without you.


Be well; be loved,

k.

[image: Consolatrix Afflictorum: A street shrine for Our Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted in Savona, Italy. via allaboutmary tumblr ]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Crunch of the Snow, or, The Clearmindedness That Accompanies Drinking Water and Eating Well

.a poem.

We shall have beds full of faint perfumes,
Divans as deep as tombs,
And strange flowers on shelves,
Opened for us under more beautiful skies.

Using their last warmth in emulation,
Our two hearts will be two vast torches,
Which will reflect their double lights
In our two spirits, those twin mirrors.

One evening, made of mystical rose and blue,
We will exchange one flash of light,
Like a long sob, laden with farewells;

And later an Angel, half opening the doors,
Will come, faithful and joyous, to reanimate
The tarnished mirrors and the dead flames.

--C. Baudelaire

.a list.

No FaceTime
No Pop Overs (showing up unexpected at her house)
No pain meds except for Tylenol
No driving under the speed limit on the freeway
No nightshade allergies
No inky pants on sheets or wall
No starting to say something and then stopping
Yes to gerber daisies
Yes pot
Yes 


.a performance.


This performance by Chelsea Wolfe of  House of Metal (Live at KEXP)  from the tour I absolutely loved.




be loved; be well,

k.

(Italicized text: Death of the Lovers, translated into English. From Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire)

(Unitalicized text: A list of the likes and rules of a tender heart I kept on my phone while trying to learn it.)

[image: Francis Bacon - Two Figures at a Window (1953)]

[Currently reading: Gone to Dust/Matt Goldman. It's surprisingly good so far. Well written Minneapolis noir from an author that worked on Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and, evidently, wrote for Sienfeld)]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

White Tiles and the Bathroom Rug That I Bled On


I.

Tonight I went to meet up with an ex and long time friend of mine who is in the country from Spain. Leave it to such visits to make a Monday night feel like an adventure.  Walking through downtown from just North of it back to my car in light rain in the part of the city owned by La compaƱia.

I will see him again on Thursday.

These years have made many good chapters of us.

I'm proud of who we have become.

I have a lot of respect for how he dealt with a particular situation many years ago. I'd like to think that I would do the same.

I'm mostly convinced that I would, but, who knows.

It's weird how geographic distance can expedite growth, or, at least make us get to the point quicker. It shines a light on how time is of the essence and that we should be as honest and loving with those we want to be honest and loving with as possible.

When he moved away last year, I remember the goodbye being hurried and dusty on a warm day in an industrial part of town.  A few days later, when he was on the plane leaving for Madrid, he wrote me a text from a phone he told me would no longer be good once he got to Europe. It was long. It was beautiful and appreciative of who we had been and, from afar, continue to be to each other.  It meant a lot.  I could picture him taking a last look at the city from the plane while composing it, knowing that from that point on, he would no longer live here. From that point on, he would always be a visitor.

II.

In the mornings when you would wake up, I would note no resistance to your rising. Moments later, I would hear the force of the shower turn on.  I would hear you draw the curtain back- more slack a sound than sharp. Within these sounds, during the fragility of the 5am hour, I would find myself moved to my core.

How did you learn to take care of yourself when no one else was?

Your father gave you routine; your mother the shape of your eyes.


III.


In the meantime, play this loud enough that you begin to feel the bass in your chest.


Ring (Featuring Kehlani)




be well; be loved,


k

(Photo: I like a decent number of the rings that Hvnter Gvtherer designed in collaboration with Chelsea Wolfe for their Farouche collection a number of years ago. This is Double prick ring from Hvnter Gvtherer rings.)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Twin Tailors and the Art of Being Kept Without Leashes

[Tonight's phone date cracked me up.

There's been a lot of joy to absorb lately.

Sometimes, it comes in the form of long distance phone calls.]


Let me tell you about Geminis.

We are fiercely loyal, committed and true.

It's a preference of ours.

And it's not that only if and once those commitments are officially over that we can be dirty, filthy queers.

It's that we are both at the same time.

That, too, is a preference of ours.

Things get mistaken, however. People assume that our filthiness contradicts our loyalty.

Recently, a lover pointed out this seeming contradiction.

We were talking about sex. How connection and honesty is important, how the slow burn is usually the way I go.  And then, mid-romance trope, she interrupted and was like (I'm paraphrasing, here), "Um...yeah, but you also will fuck dudes in the ass that you don't even know/have some big connection to...".

And I had to laugh.

She was absolutely right.

We Geminis tend to have such a seemingly contradicting nature.

But it's all true.

We do run wild.

It is less about promiscuity (we aren't) or even about sex (it's not). It's about living two lives worth of life.

Enter the Gemini:

We get bad reputations.

We also cause them.

We aren't liars.

We just have multiplicity of desire and fascinations.

This is as true about our brains as it is about our bodies.

They are connected, after all.

***

Earlier this week, some rings that I had ordered a few weeks back finally arrived. They were ordered to replace one of a set of rings I lost.  These are plain black heavy but thin bands.  One for my index finger, and one for my ring finger. I like to think of them, as per usual, as two wedding bands. Instead of them being on separate people, I wear both of them. (Cue Bjork's Isobel , here.) I wrote a bit about my feelings on marriage here back in 2013 .  There are reasons I would consider doing it. It's just that none of them have to do with societal or familial acceptance as much as access.

Nothing is more loving than access.



But when has the state ever truly offered that?




Be well; be loved;

k.


P.S. One thing I am celebrating lately is that I can *finally*, officially and certainly state that I am back to 500% normal, health-wise. Holy hell. I should have realized something was off just based on when I completely stopped writing (back in November).  That in itself should have sent me straight to the doctor.

It has been a long, long, long ass journey.

I feel like kissing the ground, the air, and the hands of everyone around me in being thankful.

Instead, I will just fully enjoy every aspect of the synthesis of my body and brain. I just can't wait, and can't believe how much has has been completed and has been felt in just the past few days, alone.


[photo: Alicia Burke for Glass Magazine (Spring/Summer 2018) by William Lords (via Shadesofblackness Tumblr)]

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Poise of Passion; Private Weirdo Gorgeousness: PJ Harvey's Gender, Unapologetic Lipstick and Lack of Teeth Showing Smiles



I've been listening to that collaboration that happened with PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke, This Mess We're In , quite a bit this morning. PJ is someone whose gender makes sense to me more than most, somehow. Dressing in suits, dressing in micro skirts while staring deadpan at the camera, a fuck-you-I'm-not-contouring-shit incredible nose and stretched putty mouth. There is something about her that has always read to me as gender gorgeousness more focused on art and music and her passion than on paying much attention to the social expectations being handed out around her.

Fuck yes.

Separately, I'm trying to follow up on the lifesaver that was thrown to me Friday night. Angels don't knock down your door.  (Except I also know that this isn't true: They will. They do.)

I've been listening to a lot of music lately that reminds me of a particular house I lived in in Columbus, Ohio.  Not so much the house, but the people, the art, the relationships, the heartaches and the discoveries. We were (are) all so obsessed with music.  Every time an album worth its weight would come out, you could hear various songs off of the album being played from 4 or 5 different rooms at the same time.  It was funny, and beautiful:  There are two albums in particular that I know we all agreed on by virtue of this simultaneous and staggered play.

Yesterday, while driving home, I realized that there is a stretch of the highway about thirty minutes outside of the city - Westbound- that reminds me of a stretch that comes into Columbus.  It was a stretch I would only see when I would take somewhat far away beginning interpreting jobs. Although I lived in Columbus for, relatively, a short amount of time, it was formative in so many ways. It haunts me sometimes. In a good way. It reminds me of potential and aim and friendship and how I have grown and how I have kept that which was gold that I found there.

It may be time to return.  Before Casey moves away, and to remind myself of the details in the eyes that social media erases.  The eyes of those I love and haven't seen in person in far too long.

In the meantime: I'm being fed by the beauty of seclusion and connection - the feeling of home that cloaks around you when you find yourself celebrating your oddities, quirks, perceived gender inconsistencies, social faux pas and unapologetic garishness in art and interaction.

I'm off to follow up on this angel stranger:  Here are to those who steward you through shit you want to do that you are completely lost in.


Be well; be loved,

k

p.s. Bye bye mercury retrograde

Saturday, April 14, 2018

I've Seen Too Much; I Haven't Seen Enough





I woke up this morning and listened to  this song  on repeat.  It's my anthem right now.  (And no, not just because there is a Little Cesar's reference, although, I mean, come on...)  Just a reminder that I'm livin' my best life...

(pause)

There is an electricity, of sorts, in the air whenever people get together for a common good. Unpaid, un-obligated, just straight up community collaboration and organizing. It's a high of sorts.  You see the best in people because people kind of fucking glow.

The past 29 hours have been beautiful. Even the traffic jam that happened on the way down that turned two hours in to four and a half still managed to have hilarity because all of us in the cars speckled in different spots along the way spent the time texting immaturity and bad jokes to each other while we waited.

Today was Spanish-speaking families, their Deaf kids (and hearing siblings) doing art, climbing rock walls, having discussions of Deaf Latinx identity, tons of interpreters, food, games, laughter, and an army of folding chairs and tables.

Some highlights and images and/or commentary:

Meeting new folks and seeing familiar faces and chatting art, family, language and connection.

Standing in a field in the rain wearing a helmet and being surrounded by harnesses in a way I've never experienced. (Sorry, rock climbing types. You've got the wrong kind of 'butch': I only associate harnesses with sex so, throughout this whole ordeal I just kept kind of immaturely snickering.)

The smell of the air. Holy, holy, beautiful holy: It was grass and straw and dirt and flowers.  I haven't tasted and smelled air this fresh in so, so long.

Meeting a Deaf Queer Latinx person I had never met before who just moved from Chicago. We chatted midwest, following your gut, and the necessity of art.  (Always.)

The science experiments, the messes they made, and the look on the youth's faces when solid-to-gas was demonstrated with dry ice in water.

Taking a risk and voice interpreting for a community leader (ASL/ENG) in front of a fuck ton of my peers and a lot of ASL students.

I'm not sure if I can articulate this, but, the feeling of seeing people I work with all of the time outside of our usual contexts. It felt like one big, loving summer camp being two hours away from home in the middle of some mountains. Is it weird that seeing people simply in a different context makes  you all a ton warmer/closer with each other? It's not the distance or change of environment as much as the intention:  When people show up for shit that is thankless and without pay, something changes. Is that weird? It shouldn't be. It's been going on forever. It's hard to be a bullshitter or be fake with your intentions when you're all fried at the end of the day and covered in mud because you believe that supporting spaces like this is important.

Lastly, and aside: Out-of-the-city butches are some of my favorite.  They all kind of dress the same: Backwards baseball hats, some kind of 90s gauged earrings and a swagger in their step that is just the tad bit overdone. (They're my favorite because when they cruise me, the second I meet their eyes and cruise back, they blush and try to collect their swag back together.  I find it harmless, sweet and awkwardly charming.)


And now?

I have a long date with my bathtub.
 
 



But never did I change, never been ashamed
Never did I switch, story stayed the same
I did this on my own, I made this a lane
 

Y'all gotta bear with me, I been through some things.




Be well; be loved,

k.




title credit: from some Radiohead song I was listening to on the way home
italicized: lyrics from Best Life (Cardi B/Chance the Rapper)
photo credit: Me. This is the sky above aforementioned field.


Friday, April 13, 2018

The Romance of Language, or, Slide Your Finger Between the Petals


It almost, almost, feels like Christmas.

This morning I woke up so excited. There is an event that combines the three languages I have been playing with and learning in a way, or in a capacity rather, that I have never experienced. It got me thinking about the parallels of what I love about language and what I love about and need from the people in my life and the people who I date.

Put succinctly?

Language has rules and consistency without being inflexible or strict.

Think about it.

In relation to language:

One wouldn't be able to say dog when canned difficult soaping the and expect anyone to make anything out of it. It doesn't follow the rules of the language. The English-speaking mind can't make sense of it because it falls outside of the agreed upon expectation.

Yet at the same time, language is incredibly and gloriously playful within its rules.

(pause)

Suppose I asked you if tongues dance.

You might go to the dictionary, read definitions of tongues and see a bit of variation - the thing in your mouth you taste with, the part of your shoe that is underneath the shoelaces, a word used to describe languages, etc - but there would certainly not be any indication that any of these could disembody and go dancing.

And yet:

My tongue dances up the side of your neck, and you turn your face deeper into the pillow that rests upon your bed in your newly reconfigured bedroom.

My tongue dances.

Even in structure and placement it can press a different feeling.  The difference between:

I don't need anyone but you. 

and

I don't need 

anyone 

but 

you.


In ASL, I think of the way language play and flexibility can create a visceral response in its visual form.  I think, here, of how one way to refer to the sharpness of "Deaf eyes" (the sign for DEAF signed over one's eyeball) immediately makes me giggle, and of how the sign for one way to express "colonization" (a simulated and simultaneous ripping out of one's heart and mind from a power above) leaves me gutted.

I think about this playfulness in language often, and how it comes with practice and time.

I'm sure everyone has heard the idea that one knows when they reach a particular level in a language when they are able to understand and produce humor within it. For me, however, it is more the play that shows that.

It is similar to relationships and friendships.  One knows they have reached a particular level in a relationship to another when they are able to understand and produce humor within it.  But more so, it is the ability to have and play within limits. Within rules.  To improvise. Be flexible. Riff off of each other. To become more than just yourself by virtue of and conjunction with, another.

Both with language and relationships there has to be rules and consistency.

But the finesse comes with following - and sometimes intentionally breaking - these rules and limits while enjoying and playing within them. 

A bit of an aside: "Grammar Nazis" have nothing on me.  They lack this flexibility. The second someone starts making fun of someone's grammar, I just think to myself, "Damn. These people have no fucking clue about the art and intelligence and perspectives that exists outside of their boring and elitist rules."  Because when you do that shit, you miss out on all kinds of poetry: From Neruda to Cardi B's Instagram account posts. They are on par with each other. Don't hand me elitism. Beauty is as much in the glitter of sun on water as it is in the glitter of the moon on spilled car oil on blacktop. Designer perfume and the stench of fucking have equal merits in what excites me: I'm here for all of it.

Wisdom and lesson doesn't come in the form you always want it to.  And sometimes? It can make you nervous at first.

But that, too, comes with time.

As with any language:

Stick with it.

It will come.

(pause)

Have the limits and have the rules

but have the openness

to play

and play

and play.

It's incredible what you will find.

Underneath and

between

the rules

there is release

there is consistency

and there is love.




[Here is to 'love letters' as things written on paper and put into envelopes
but also
here is to 'love letters' that are those who allow love to happen.]


Be well; be loved,

k.


Playing with language to learn. This is a clip of a geography teacher who re-wrote Bodak Yellow to help teach her students geography. Fuck YES. Love. : here

(image credit : Silent Beauties, photography by Leendert Blok (1920’s) via blackbirdspots tumblr)