Monday, December 28, 2009

"Because of the Forts We Built and the Things We Did Inside Them"

A basic reminder to myself:

I read to have my mind changed. To have my mind and ideas impacted by the words of everything from stories written in Chile a hundred years ago, to notes scribbled in margins of letters written by strangers that surface, mysteriously, in the attics of old houses.

I write for escape, survival, and love. Within this understanding, I write because language and images can and do change the world: These are not the words of a seeping poet; this is the truth that any propaganda machine will tell you. My pen and fingers ache to pour out flowers so as to strangle these machines- to create worlds and realities that are pungent with collectivity, collaboration, mischief, love, and the struggles that exist by definition and design of these things.

(pause)

"Our position is that of combatants between two worlds: One that we don't acknowledge; the other that does not yet exist." -- Raoul Vaneigem



Be well; Be loved,

k.


















*************************
(photo: Taken from the 2nd floor of Cindergarden almost 1 year ago)


Title: Line from the poem "Why" by Bob Flanagan (thank you for existing and for writing your existence).

thank you

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cipher in the Snow, or, Being Picky During Brainwashing May Just Lead to Hilarity

My mother called this evening to tell me that the recently-fired priest of her old church has gotten a permit and a gun and is quasi-threatening to kill people. While this phone call comes as no surprise to me on a number of levels, I do think it offers an accurate frame for the unfolding of next few days this holiday season.

(Pause. Insert image of me toasting a chipped wine glass full of apple cider to the ceiling, here.)

Here is to those without shame of what ignites them in life and love.

May the next few days offer you the exact lengths you need in order to feel.



Good luck and good love,


Happy Holidays.



--k.











**********************************************************************************
Current Sideshow:

If you've never seen Cipher in the Snow, it is one of the weirdest films I was ever forced to watch while in the 'at risk youth' program in my school district. As part of an anti-bullying curriculum, I was made to watch this Mormon film. While it is only 24 minutes long, those who have seen it never forget it due to its high content of bizarre-o-ness and 'lesson-by-trauma'. I tend to think about this film in the wintertime for obvious reasons.

(Plot= A kid gets off a bus and drops dead in the snow because people didn't love him.)

Here's a clip:

prepare to be creeped

Monday, December 14, 2009

Warm Your Toes By the Fire While Your Hands Are Doused In Gasoline




In search of the delicate.


Today I took a photograph of a necklace for my friend that he had sent to me. It slipped down my shirt while taking it and so, in the photograph, you can only see its chain. It is a a simple, silver chain and at its end, a silver oval baring an image of Saint Sebastian. On the back it reads, Pray for us. The flat of this side of the oval taps morse code messages into my chest that make me feel protected, somehow.

Pray for us.


The superstition of Catholicism has always haunted me.

(pause)

As with many people brought up with the fingers of violence and violation, I am convinced, at times, that there is something sewn inside of me that beckons brutality. That- no matter how much I wrap myself in the disguise of the delicate- it will sniff me out, sink its blades past ribbons and pearled beads to rip out the red depths of me in its frantic following of this vicious siren song hidden within me.


The other night, I was joking with a friend about how I am a magnet for a particular strand of unpredictable events and people. Sometimes it's funny. A lot of times, it's not. It is a particular type of attention. Unwanted attention. A man staring at me without blinking while his hands curl themselves into fists. Clench, unclench. All the while, his eyes threaded to mine: pulled closer if I look away; taken as an invitation if I do not.

Today, a 50-some year old man came into the library looking at me in this way as he walked towards me. I, too, was walking towards him en route to my office. As I got closer to him in my modest skirt, opaque tights, and heels, he stepped into my line of walking, took the books he had under his arm and punched them into my stomach while attempting to walk through me. It sent me backwards, folding up in half like a faulty rental chair, leaving me with no air in my lungs. I caught myself on the wall next to me with one hand, and clutched at my stomach with the other. When I turned my head to look at him, he was steam iron stalking away without pause. A few minutes later, he would walk by me and command me with "YOUNG LADY" to talk to him and when I tell him "I don't want to talk to you" and try to get past him, he would spit out, "You DISGUST me You DISGUST me" as I break past him to get to a coworker.

It has found me again. Or perhaps it is something else. Something else. It has to be something else.





Pray for us.





**************************************************************************************

Listening to:

Oscillate Wildly by The Smiths on repeat.

Also, reminding myself of how and why I walk:

This is an acoustic version of a song by a heart who has inspired me for a number of years in a number of strange-weathered cities.

here

Thank you, John. Somewhere, sometime, I will see you again.




(top photo credit Dark Daze Photography)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Street Spirit (Fade Out)

A few weeks back, a favorite person of mine rolled through town. Every time he does, it serves to remind me of the patchwork that makes up 'home'.

The smell of gasoline. The hollow-strong bounce of a basketball. Grease under fingernails that will alway be there. The grit texture of Lava soap, and the waterless soap that now comes in orange-smell. The crunching of tires on gravel. Matches. The smell of Marlboro Reds mixed with beer mixed with the warmth of skin that presses up against the shirt collar. The slight weight of frozen breath leaving parted lips. Burning leaves. The bang of a screen door. The rattle of a chainlink fence at night.

It's not just sights, sounds and smells. It's the way people *are*. The way they talk and carry themselves. The way they support you, and the way that they don't. The people I love support me in all sorts of ways~ but there are particular ways that reminds me of home. When being sexually harassed and fucked with at work, it is the difference between someone offering to go with you to talk to your supervisor, and someone offering to "take care of the fuck who is doing it". Both are arguably valid forms of support. One makes me feel safer.

I remember the exact place that I stood on the end of my driveway when Dave told me he would kill my father.
He wasn't angry while saying it.
It was a discussion.
I decided against it but from that point on,
I felt safe in a way I never had.


I've never been able to articulate this particular piece of home. I've been rolling it around on my tongue for the past lifetime, but have yet to come up with its language. If were a split second of late-80s-cusp-of-the-90s imagry, it would be split second 4:09/4:10 (almost 4:11) of this video. [This video was- as most things in life-influenced or replicating the Fritz Lang film, Metropolis.] It is the hands, the grease, the pull. More than anything, it is the exact moment that grease smears satin.


smear



(pause)



Jeff


I've been reading Fromm lately. Love being a form of art. Jeff telling me that I *am* art. That letter he wrote to me, got to me. Man, who did he become? The same dude who was always so comfortable. With sex *and* with farting. He's the kind of guy that isn't afraid of blood- both as a nurse and as someone who fucks women on their periods. He holds his daughter with the ease of a pro holding his football. That old Escort wagon. Dark blue. Tapping at the window, 3 am. I have a memory of standing out in front of my parent's house on the driveway. It is broad daylight and I have on a skirt, knee highs, and a thin, kelly green v-neck cartigan sweater. Jeff is slant-lounging on the sidewalk, and I am standing above him. He is looking up at me while he's talking. His hand is on my leg while looking up at me; his fingers on my pussy through my panties while looking up at me.

I liked looking down at him.

Perhaps that's when it started. Perhaps that is when I learned that I like looking down at people during sex. Mike, Eric, Erik. We all tangled at some point, but none of them held a candle to Jeff. It's not because I was in love with him. I never was. I was in love with the safety. I was in love with the comfort. I was in love with cumming as hard as I wanted to because I could with him. For all of the above listed reasons. I always felt safe with him. Maybe it was because of Eric and him being former best friends. Maybe it was because of his wide smile. Or the way his eyes (fittingly midnight blue) would narrow when he wanted me. Maybe it was the "Who would have ever imagined such"? he scrawled on my bedroom wall with a felt tipped marker. Maybe it was the roughness of manual labor fingers. Maybe it was the mole on his cheek I found sexy, or the way he wanted to kill Jon for breaking up with Renee because she ended up killing herself over it.

More than likely, it had at least something to do with the fact that he was a man's man who wanted to be a nurse for the elderly and never had to defend it because no one would dare challenge him on it. And so he became a nurse: his trajectory so clearly marked. So obvious.

I wonder if it feels that way to him.




(pause)



Andy

The last time I saw him was the year he, Rob, and Duncan came to my parent's house for the first and only time. We walked through the house like a crime scene: Careful, but with heavy-footed detachment. When we made our way back to the living room, we found Rob huddled against the wall, and he asked to wait outside.

We were 18 then.

Twelve years has grown ivy of the same roots that connect us. He is glass ground in honey; he is black eye removing hat when I walk in. He is home. You know the kind. The kind that loves his friends and his kids with every piece of his heart and, at the same time, has 'ASSHOLE' tattooed on the inside of his bottom lip.

That night, we were years later, sitting inside a borrowed pick up truck. The night was cold; his bus would leave in 20 minutes. He offers a way to contact him, and we make the pact of sailors.

He reaches into his pocket for a pen, and as he pulls it out, a pair of brass knuckles falls out onto
split leather
of the bench seat between us. There is a
split second delay as the air rearranges itself between us.

"Can I see those?" My voice is the lick of a reed and before he even answers, I am turning their weight over in my hand. Sliding stirring straw fingers through solid brass. He watches with eyes ready to catch me. I am not looking at him, but feel myself transform into his son riding by without training wheels for the first time. The brass is wrapped in a thousand different rubber bands- a muted rainbow criss-crossed and stretched.

I run my finger across them.
cold dull cold dull
I clench my fist and imagine.

"What are the rubber bands for?" My eyes leave brass to meet his. Blue gold safety nets worry back at me and, again, I am reminded that the angels watching over me have always played dirty and with knives. "They make it hurt less when you use them", he says

and I am barely aware that he is slipping them off my fingers.



(pause)



It has been a month of writing, reading, poetry, and gossamers of symbolism the size of an auditorium. It is because of this that I am in the mood for the primal. The crass. The uncoated emotion. I am craving the abandon of throwing concepts of 'truth' out the window in order to appreciate the rawness of what someone is feeling in a particular moment. The abandon I am craving is not that of anyone, however. I'm craving it from people who are usually so careful and eloquent in their speech and/or art. Poetic, even. Chomsky, belching out "The United States is a fucking joke" mid-lecture. Yo-Yo Ma breaking a string and saying "Arghh...that fucking RUINS it." Edward Said (retroactively) saying "No, ASSHOLE, I would prefer to NOT DIE and continue working/writing" to the interviewer who asked him in his last interview before dying if he felt a sense of peace because he had accomplished so much in his lifetime. Saying what is true without impulse control. No filters.

With that, I will leave you with a line I've been appreciating in this way. Blake Schwarzenbach is one of my favorite lyrcists when it comes to imagery and word choice, which is what makes these lyrics fit so perfectly into what I'm craving. It also makes it just fucking awesome/hilarious. Imagery of broken hearts and thought-out ideas are tossed. What remains both feeds this craving and also serves to illustrate my never-ending preference for beauty mixed with a broken bottle.





Be well; be loved~

xx


k.



They're playing love songs on your radio tonight

I don't get those songs on mine

YOU KEEP FUCKING UP MY LIFE

YOU KEEP FUCKING UP MY LIFE

YOU KEEP FUCKING UP MY LIFE



song


full lyrics


(photo by me)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

With Godspeed and a Lawnmower (12.3.07)




I am roughly 13 years old, stomach-down on the floor in the dark with the rest of my family in the same position in the living room of my family's home in Livonia, Michigan. Robbie and Tommy are violently "shhhhhh!!!!"-ing each other. My mom is saying "Robbie! Tommy! Cut it out!" with the hissed seriousness she saves for particular situations that we do not understand the seriousness of.

My father is sprawled out in his underwear, daring to lift his head to the ledge of the picture window that rests barely a foot above the floor. We see headlights hit the window and move across the wall. "KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN!!" he yells, although his own head is as proud as a peacock, turning from side to side at its station in the lower, righthand corner of the window ledge: He is obviously the man of the house. Had this story taken place centuries ago, he would be killing all our food for us and chopping wood to no end, and we feel all the safer because of it.

An entire family of five on the floor of their living room afraid to speak; afraid to move.

"What are we looking for?" , I ask in 'regular room voice'. I am met by four heads turning to look at me in panic and betrayal.

My chin has gone numb from the rough carpeting; I reposition myself so that I am face down on the floor. It is yet another night of father-mandated, entirely silent, night-time spying on my next door neighbor, Shelly, the mother of two who has boyfriends who have motorcycles- the obvious ruin of the neighborhood.

Exhausted, I chew bits of the carpet to pass the time and wonder what this living room floor looks like from an aerial view.



(pause)



For those of you who knew/know my father, you understand this scene. Years of him throwing people off my porch, out of my house: friends faced with either jumping out a window or having to hide under beds until they could escape. (Nett, you remember that? Being under my bed all night just to have Robbie drop salami on your face because he knew you couldn't move your arms?) It was all such a fiasco when I think about the lighter parts of it. About a year ago, I talked with a boy who, back then, had come to my house to tell me he had a crush on me. When I answered the door, I opened it, looked at him in panic because my dad was home, and blurted "I've got homework to do!" and slammed the door in his face.



Ahhh, Freddy Mack. I'm thinking about you. And although you're back in the Detroit area, perhaps tending to the home-made spaceship you kept in our garage, or walking around in your drooping underwear complaining about the state of the house, I am thinking of you tonight: You who ate scallions raw and forever stank of them; you who drove the 4 AM high speeding car trying to take me to the police station before I jumped out at Plymouth and Farmington (you hit the gas), you who vacuumed the entire house with the tiny tube of a Sears wet/dry vac at 1 AM (my ears are still ringing), you who performed the same, non-consentual science projects at every family gathering, you who has separate handwritings for each person you are, and you who can stack piles of paper more meticulously than any man can.


I am thinking of you as I am sure you will be waking around now, 3 AM your time, to do the dishes and yell at things that aren't actually there.


Love to you and your skinny old man legs tonight, Dad.


My 'unique social skills' and I are picking our teeth and toasting the moon as we ponder where we are from, and from what we are born.

And for a moment- just barely- I can feel the chafe from the carpet underneath my chin once again, and I think of you.






-- k.




(photo m.schmidt)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bela Lugosi's Boner



Perhaps in the spirit of Halloween, perhaps in the spirit of total fabulousness:

I don't claim to be in the closet about my goth leanings, although sometimes I pretend to be. Being dirty, punk, slightly too lazy to do much of anything standing under the umbrella of 'household chores', and being an ASL interpreter have all been frail excuses I've used for predominantly wearing black most of my life. The truth of the matter is that the gender that goes on within goth scenes/communities consistently blows my fucking mind and leaves me wiping drool from the corner of my lips across my sleeve*.


(pause)


Kalamazoo, MI, 1990-something. I am working at the Comet Cafe; Citizen Fish is playing there that particular night. I am taking my turn working the door as people pack into the narrow rectangle of a cafe, when a ghost-couple glides in through the door holding money. I look up and my jaw drops slightly at the sight: Their faces as smooth and as pale as dramatic eggshells; expressions so slight I do a double take to see if even their mouths move while they talk. The girl floats past me and into the crowd; the boy turns to face me. He is wearing some kind of makeshift cat suit: a stitching of black stretchy canvas material suctioned to his body. His tiny hips are accentuated with some sort of dangling metal; his chalk hands peeked through the black lace of fingerless gloves. His eyes glint out a hostage-helpme green, and from the corners of them, black eyeliner draws itself out and across his face in perfect curves that sprawl and expertly spill just shy of his jawline. Through a charcoal bow of a mouth, he asks me how much. He blinks delicate, mascara'ed eyelashes as he counts his money, places it into my hand, and steps back. "Thank you", he says. There is one half of a white parenthesis smile on his lips as he turns, and is instantly absorbed by the crowd.

(pause)



To the goth gender-bangers that have inspired me,

Thank you. May I never find my way out of your eyeliner mazes.

A quickened, less lonely heart to you,


--k.


*= Lipstick smudges confidently hidden by the black of the material, of course.




THE PICTURE: Okay, okay,...so it is obscenely high-end goth. However, one *must* note the lad-ly looking, stiletto'ed charmer on the left. And by 'note', here, I mean truly study the amazing gender of.

For more of the photos, see:

this site

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ascots as Charming Tools of Slight Restraint

I used to think the reason I dragged half of my friends growing up into my den to watch My Own Private Idaho was because of the sex scenes. Being a blossoming art fag, I appreciated the stills they used to represent the sexual exploits of the movie's characters. Years later, when I would push people to watch 20 Centimetros, I thought it was the costumery and musical-meets-alleyway quality of its composition. Of course, it was obvious that part of the attraction was the validation of my own desires and realities: the ability to execute seamless hiding places outside at night, flamboyance, cavalierness, learning a construction of 'woman', and being a male hustler. But that wasn't even it. It wasn't until all these years later that I realized it was also the pass-out-dream-induced relation to reality that pulled me so obsessively towards these two films. Mike (My Own Private Idaho), Marieta (20 centimetros), and I all are queers with a particular relationship to narcolepsy. Who would have known?*

(pause)

In any case, above, you will see my red-legging'ed left leg that ends in a leg warmer curled up on my comforter. It is fall at last. [And yes, this is false advertising. I still have no mattress to speak of after 'the incident'.]



Be well. Be warm. Be loving enough to invite those in who matter~


k



Current soundtrack: The xx: XX. It is something between a dream, and being consentually trapped inside an aquarium of warmed gel infused with light roughly the same color as the ring in the attached photo.

*= Most of my co-workers, a decent number of my bus drivers, the housemates that would find me asleep with a burrito in bed, and any person who put two-and-two together to realize I would only hang out in strangely brief intervals.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let Em Try: They Will Cut You If They Think You're Filled With Gold

My mother and her friends, when they were children, used to pin fireflies to thier sweaters to be seen at night while playing tag. They would blink in midwest black until the light of the fireflies had faded. They wanted to be seen- to play in the facinating light of these little bugs (which would at times smear across their chests as they ran), not giving much thought to the toll on the bugs themselves.

I have been thinking of this memory that is not mine after bouts with selfish and suckerpunch hearts. Hearts who don't get what they want from me or can't catch me in the glass jar they would like to to keep by their beds at night and so become cruel. Laced in the smoke of mutual agreement, people 's disappointment can reach for the sharpest knives.


And so tonight, I am thinking of every hilarious and beautiful heart in my life (regardless of distance or lackthereof) that reminds me that an open heart is always worth it, even if you *do* feel the suckerpunches more when they happen.


I am thinking of: The hooligans with arms linked, heads tilted together watching what is left of the moon. The beautiful minds. The unfolded tents of our hearts passed out on the lawn holding bottles of sparkling fruit juice. The slant-grinned pirates who steal me instead of taking me home, and the laughter I choke on instead of resisting. The itchy feet that recognize there is moonlight to be seen and dance moves to be practiced within it.

Dear You: Through dreams, I hear the codes your hearts beat to me. And sometimes? They wake me up. [This morning: roughly 6:43 am.]


I am shoving my hands in my pockets to make it easier for you to hug me. I am wrapping my arms around you to show you how Eric Markiewitz taught me to hug. I am feeling your hand around mine as I draw these blueprints, and I am touching your face as you sew your blueprints with mine: A map for us to follow, or to cover us while we sleep.

At long last, I understand the phrase 'thick as thieves', and there is nothing in the world I am more sure of.




k.




Sunday, June 7, 2009

(letter to be tied to the tips of trees)

At the library, hiding back among empty weekend offices and a locked door.  The library is open, but from here, one would never know it.  It is as quiet when it is open as when it is closed:  Perfectly still but for the scratching of pencils and the falling of dust.

I have been thinking of you and, still,    Galeano's words.

Mirrors and Other Things We Look Into

Alexis, Napal and I went to see Eduardo Galeano speak the other evening, and I've been thinking about it ever since.

(pause)

Thursday night, there was a wind storm. While walking down 15th, walking past two EMS trucks and person collapsed on the ground at 10 pm, there was the taste of storm in the air and gusts of spearmint wind that sent sand and pavement into my mouth and eyes.  It was incredible.  

Perhaps I am homesick. Back home, there is a particular way that storms can begin with the smell of trouble mixed with tension: a red bra'ed woman two split seconds away from smashing a wine glass in a living room that is not yours, or hers.   Sometimes the rain comes; sometimes it doesn't.  In this type of storm, it doesn't, and leaves you nervous- wondering if it might.

k.

In process of reading: The Balcony/ J. Genet
Beginning to read: Discipline & Punish/M. Foucault


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shirt Stains Are Part of the Package


It's a Sunday of large sky, sun, and decent wind.  I've been reading my friend Travis' zine that I got from my friend Mary while she was traveling through town:

"In the meantime, let's act like what we do matters".                  

And so I shall, again. Reminded.  Thanks, Travis.  And from the other side of the county: I love you, and your words matter.

I've been thinking of hearts and compasses as of late.  I'm convinced that there are compasses in our hearts that lead us back to each other and ourselves when we listen to them enough to feel them: their silver needles unsteadily swiveling until they connect to their destined, but temporary, direction.  

That's all for now.  Let's build in the way that makes us rely on strangers.

xx

k.



On a personal note, I've realized that the smell of the rubber on gym shoes turns me on.  Perhaps it is the scent in and of itself. Perhaps it is the anticipation and threat of warm blacktop. I am, and forever will be, a sucker for everything so soft and seemingly cushioned that will also totally fuck you up if you fall.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Raphael Saadiq and the Ring Around My Heart

I've been listening to a lot of R&B and looking at the tops of trees lately and, in this moment, have Dwele's "Find A Way" stuck in my head.

In any case... I've been thinking about Derrida again.  Not his hair or his pants, but rather some of his ideas related to language and meaning.  They have been keeping me company lately: wrapping their strange warmth around my shoulders into a hug and, when I'm least expecting it, placing their fingers on my chin to tilt my head in a different direction in order to look at the world in a different way. Again.

There has been a strong theme of reconciliation going on lately.  People popping up out of nowhere.  I will be staring off into space, only to realize I am staring at the sky through the spread fingers of a friend from another chapter standing right in front of me.  It startles me for a second but, in the end, seems so obvious and right- in a simple way.

I am learning. Growing. Listening to R & B.  

What else is new?


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Damp Hands In Dirt

I have been making out with my coffee cup when I drink from it again. Springtime is here, and I've been slipping in the practice anywhere I can in preparation or daydream of the endless crushes I have this time of year. It's not just people I have crushes on. I fall in love with every proud bloom showing me its cleavage from the gardens I walk past; the laugh lines on the faces of every friendly bus driver. I have afternoon romances with the sun on my stomach, and the part of my forearm that catches the drip of my multi-scoop cone. I fan myself from the flirt of the soil collectively turning over on its back to show the world how alive it is.