The Feeding

It’s 3:47am and your eyes blink wide as saucers pooling under the moon glaring in through your dirty bare window. With only the glass and the cold and the sweat trickling down along all of the places on your body where the skin creases against itself. Everything you feel disgusts and intrigues you. You are too high. Sensations much too erect for this time of morning which bears all resemblance to the bottomless panic of the night before.

When I write, I pull from all time and space. All of the things I have ever been through or read about or watched happen or experienced through or with others, my dreams, my fantasies, each is alive as a fluttered heart beat within me all the time. We live together in our own place and answer to no one.

What I mean to say is that it is today but it is not today. It is any day, any night, any season, past or present or future. I am here but I am not here. I am with you so close you could almost reach out and caress the heat of the fragile bones in my throat, but I am not there. I do not even exist.

Some people journal. Some people write exactly how it is, when it is. That doesn’t do it for me. It doesn’t matter. Not here. Anywhere else but here. In this sanctuary where I need to be seen and not seen. Touched and remain untouched. Do you get that? This is where I can be virgin, pristine, innocent, even as the violation occurs. Even as it is happening, the devirginization, the corrupting of the purity of the emotion, of the feeling which is not words. It is never – nor can it ever be experienced as – words.

The words are mine, of course. Everything here is mine. Even as you try to take it and make it your own. Of course you do. That’s why you’re here. You read me not for me but to find reflections, glimpses, of yourself. Your own sexuality, sensuality, your own beauty, your own filthy neediness. Perhaps the filth most of all because that is where the deepest truth resides. In your hidden desires, your most luscious and forbidden wants. All those needs that are clawing at you from within but you aren’t allowed to talk about. They don’t disappear, though, that’s the catch. They just get pushed down deeper and deeper until they become an entirely different kind of trouble, kind of torment.

You have been trying so hard for so long to discard them, to rid them of you. And so maybe, just maybe, if you find them here in me, they can be outside of you even just for a little while. And that is why I am here. And that is what I do because I can’t help it and I don’t want it any other way. I’m a masochist or a sadist or a nut job. But even so, maybe now you can finally sleep instead of watching the heavy blades of the fan in your bedroom as they whir and spin in the dark. And cut and slice at the empty air like the blades of a knife.

Before Anyone Can See

There is a stillness in the early evening air, a tender bite through the damp coolness as it descends in shadow across each building on my block. Brick and mortar and tiny blue rooms inside of empty people.

Hearts shriveled and shaking and alone. Funny how loneliness can feel. How a void can feel so full, how the longing fills the nothingness and takes your shape.

There is a small white dog looking out of his window across the street. I am looking out my window, too. I look at him as his little wiry head follows the bounce of a squirrel across the pavement. Wild geese cry overhead, out of sight, and I wonder how the wonder of some things, some sounds, some movements, can stay so fresh and clear for season after season.

To never get old. To never let up. To never say never even when you stopped believing long ago. There is a young girl in her upstairs bathroom studying the lines on her face. Washing small hairs down the drain. Trying to brush the tears and the stains away before he sees her. Before anyone can see.

Does life see itself in itself? Are there notions of familiarity even in creatures who have no words at all, and no dreams?

There isĀ  a way the fading indifferent light holds on to something curling inside of you which is closing, as is its time, as is its season.

And this, too, is an ending that you hold in your palm.

And this too, a beginning.

And once more the night slides over as the moon sails up into the midnight black. The piercing of the stars like ice cold twinkle lights.

Remember snow globes? How you were just a child and marveled as you shook and shook the glittered underworld scene.

Kissed a plastic girl who was not breathing. Cursed a severed sky, stone white.

Until the castle disappeared.

Until the looking glass went blind.

Sometimes the Body Stays

You braid your fingers into mine and bite my lip until I whimper just enough to get you off. You insert two fingers into the swelling place where I can’t help but come undone and you know it and I hate it but I want it just the same only worse than usual tonight because tonight I cannot bear the thought of tomorrow. I catch a glimpse of us in the mirror on the wall as you look at me without seeing anything I wish you could.

But I can’t see myself all that clearly these days so to blame you really isn’t fair although who’s to say what’s fair and what isn’t in a world so complicated, trembling, and half destroyed.

As you suck my neck like you’re thirsty for someone else’s blood and press your hands to spread my thighs I am reminded that beauty and filth are a similar kind of artistic expression if you think about it wrong. It doesn’t matter and you needn’t dwell on it, I am a thousand miles away from this disheveled cave, conspiracy theories stalking through my manic head. Take the whiskey, take a drag, take the hand which reaches to pull me high above the thunderous clouds.

I can see inside the souls of the frightened ones. The sweet apocalypse like candy fire sliding all over their forked tongues.

Everybody is afraid of the end, all convinced it’s here or will be any minute. And so vigilance. And so the skittish and the paranoid and the constant riot inside the rib cage and the screaming. It’s the waiting that disturbs them most. They cannot stand that they cannot stand not to know what they can never know for sure and so the guns and so the neon faces and the dislocation of limbs and brittle minds and fragile bodies.

And somehow you finish. And somehow I can tell. And somewhere deep inside my blood begins to rush again through my veins and my ears and my eyes are filled with mysterious tears I imagine are sacred like the stars. But the stars, of course, are empty. They’ve all but gone out a long time ago.

Sand pours through the slender neck of time. Space cradles the tiny erosions which scratch at the skin of the moon. Sometimes the body stays in place of the heart, covers for the soul. Sometimes the only thing you are desperate to hold is the thing that’s falling apart.

Some Unholy War

It won’t matter in the end, not as much as you think it will anyway. But what do I know, I’ve not yet been. All of these voices, all of these people, telling you what to do and how to be, what makes you trust them more than you trust yourself? How’d the bar get set so low for what matters and what doesn’t?

Or maybe it’s the opposite problem. Somewhere underneath the scuttled noise of your arrogance or theirs, the bar got set so impossibly, irretrievably high that even to reach it became nothing more than the failure to clear it all together. We fear the fall and we fear the fear to take the leap in any case. Maybe that’s why you trust them. At least then they can’t peg any of this on you.

When I light the cigarette I’m not myself. When I swallow the gin I am more magic than sin. When you speak at me like you think you’re gonna teach me something I don’t already know, I spit on the concrete sidewalk and twist my thick heel against the stones. You don’t take the time to think it through. You take half the time it takes to make any sense at all and I wish somehow inside I could separate my frustrations from the wild tentacles of your charm. I wish I could untangle your endless wandering words from the silence I so desperately want to drown into in my own deep dark soul.

For all the “man-made” advances we congratulate ourselves for making in technology or science or war, an erosion takes place little by little within us collectively. I feel it in the pit of my stomach and try to numb it with all the wrong things. Looking into your eyes, I see blue skies which never end and twisted feelings which somehow always do. I’m unsure if I want to pleasure you or tear you apart piece by piece. Perhaps a little bit of both because what good is one without the other.

You’ve seen it before, you’ve felt it in places you’d rather not admit to anyone. The sweet, sweet anguish of destruction in the palm of your very own trembling hands.

In a dream, she was soft as a feather as her bare breasts brushed against the open heat of my mouth. She gives me a tiny book of matches with a darkened navy washed image on the front. I cannot recall what it was exactly, a typewriter maybe or a peacock, some wild, exotic, beautiful thing. We blew clouds of smoke into the velvet drapery and plush carpeting. We slid our fragile hands all over each others’ smooth pale skin. When her eyes flashed like fire on water, mine did the same in response, I could feel it. No words only laughter, only touch. The liquid of the dream giving way to pure ocean glow like crystal in sunlight, the soft hazy burn of the salt of desire.

I could not tell you where my dreams come from and I cannot tell you where any of the folds of my mind begin or end. What they will expect of you are answers you cannot give. Don’t even try. What they will try to trick you into spilling are the secrets you were meant to keep all to yourself. How many kisses are apologies planted right square in your dying mouth? It gets complicated like that, but mostly because we set it up to be.

Everything Could Be Different

I never really spoke that much in grade school. I was never a storyteller, unless I was lying about something generally insignificant and then again when I had to confess my minor transgression to an old obese white man, wearing a black shirt with a tiny white square in the center of his neck, while we were both tightly suffocating in the oppressive heat of a small dark wooden box. I was too young then to make the connection between this small wooden box and a casket but in hindsight it’s pretty glaring, the nailing together of sin with eternal damnation.

I remember there were velvet drapes in there, a good bit of thick blood-red material hanging all around and the smell of incense which I wanted to be soothing but was more like the invocation of the sensation of the masking of a trembling kind of trepidation. The seedy scent of humanity: sweat, gingivitis, hair, teeth, fingernails.

Which is all simply to say that I was quiet when set out against the outside world. My mother would have said I was shy, in a way which more than suggested I should apologize for existing inside my own silence, but really I was just discerning as a scrawny timid kid who was taught that the universe (and maybe Jesus, but I never could quite get a handle on that) was trying to harm me at every turn. But in my journals I would tell stories through words, poetry, whatever. I guess it’s just inside you when you are born. A natural obsession with the way language works and how you can play with it. It all starts out as play pretty much.

All across the budding trees, the rain is coming down steady and heavy, creating a meditative atmosphere in my writing room. I have so many books that when I want to find any particular one I am just as likely to find it on a proper shelf as I am to find it cob-webbed and teetering in a corner stack of novels which are propping up a potted plant or a tiny lamp, or nothing at all – just teetering and helping the dust to settle.

I was looking for a certain collection of poetry for a friend the other day, one I have yet to read myself. I have had the thing for years but I am absolutely terrified to read it. I know it will be so cripplingly beautiful it will kill me. Can you imagine that? Afraid to read a thing for fear of how it will wreck my entire being, change it, cut it open and crush it until I can’t be put back together the same way ever again.

Writing is a wicked trick and impossible to unhook from your own veins once it’s been dug in. It all starts out as just messing around. You tell things on a slant and the slant becomes a distortion which feels so delicious and so right even though it’s wrong until it becomes a story which becomes an alternate world where it can become the truth. Even if only for a while, everything can be different. Even you.

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Photo by Emma Simpson

Alone In Here Anyway

What would you say is the worst of it?

The way I laugh when you mention the sins of my past or my insatiable passion for the things you refuse to understand?

When I was young, I used to lie in bed in my thin pink nightgown, listening to the night creatures make their crickety nocturnal sounds until the last of the summer sun’s light disappeared into complete purple glittering darkness. As the sweet soft air caressed my tiny body, I imagined the angels came down and opened up my ribs like opening the golden doors of a small cage which was a house, a stained glass temple reflecting every color of the rainbow, constructed in the flesh of all creatures who fall to this earth against their will.

A fire was placed inside of me. The ivory gates were closed and locked around its precious reddened flame. And even after all these years and decades I have spent attempting to make a life I swear is mine and mine alone, that other-worldly flame sparks and courses all through my veins. I go blind in the daylight if I just close my eyes and believe. I glow like the stars all through the night when everyone else is fast asleep.

When you look at me, what is the deadness you feel and why? I can see the way your eyes shut down as mine flicker open, hungry, eager, pleading. Where has your light gone? The light which slips out the back door of your spirit. Why does it recoil?

This world can be so bitterly cold and unfeeling and what frightens me more than the bony fingers of Death itself is a life devoid of feeling, so I place my hands on your chest anyway. When you slip the straps of my dress down my shoulders, I cover your mouth with my mouth anyway. When you offer me what is left of your body and your strength, I claw my nails down your back anyway.

Perhaps what I think is love is really just a prayer tenderly, secretly spoken by the child who was an angel who never knew anything other than to place her trust in mysterious things. An attempt, doomed maybe, but true nonetheless, at soul to soul resuscitation.

Is it your fear of burning which keeps you close but not close enough to taste the risk of ruin by the viciousness of a love as thick as mine? Sometimes I forget that you can’t see the things I see. Sometimes I pretend I don’t remember. That you can’t fathom the terrible beauty of this fire coaxed to life inside of me. I guess I could say that maybe that’s the worst of it.

 

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Photo by Kristina Stepanidenko

 

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What They Never Tell You Is

The sweet soft air of springtime slides in through my open bedroom window and I sit up to inhale a deep drag of it, hoping secretly it will come inside my body and heal it. All my bad decisions. All the ways I wanted nothing but to obliterate myself entirely. The little tiny kills spread out across a day, an evening which picks at your skin like pock marks on the face, shameful, obvious, but even that doesn’t stop you from the gouging.

Maybe I wanted help as much as I wanted to be left the fuck alone. The little tiny kills that happen and happen and happen and accumulate over a lifetime, only the life is still happening while the time, well, the time is anybody’s guess, except to say it’s moving on with or without you.

Rising from my bed and taking a few steps into the light of morning, I am surrounded by rays of silent sunshine and the glowing flecks of dust which hang suspended in the air like pollen hovering, waiting, static impregnation, it feels alien to be among this brightness. I am remembering what it is to want this. For so long the darkness was the only thing I could trust.

I do not reach for the cigarette which burns in the front of my mind. I swallow gulps of the late March breeze, and water. Lots and lots of water these days. I raise my hand to touch my face, to reach for the drink, to reach for the self-loathing I know and love so much, and stop. Beyond the sickness and the shaking, beyond the bones in the river by the houses lining the bend in the street, there is something heading toward me and I want to welcome it in.

There is something already inside. What they never tell you about is the quiet. They only tell you about the noise, which is easier to deal with because noise is something which has to be dealt with. But the quiet, well, the quiet, it just stays as long as you can stand it. And once it’s got you, you and it are all there is.

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Photo by Darius Marshall

You Push and You Pull

I know you want me to come closer to you and I know I’m not going to. Say what you like. Strum those thick beautiful fingers along the wood like you’re keeping time with my pulse even though we both know you have all the time in the world for these games and I’ve just about run out.

You want to play? Ok. I’ll play. I’ll pour myself another and I will tell you everything you want to hear, which is something other than telling you everything you want to know. But it doesn’t matter to you either way because the one thing you need is the one thing I cannot give you because it doesn’t exist. We do not exist anywhere but in your mind.

And, oh, that murky uncertain mind of yours, always running, always ticking like a clock or a bomb or one of those cheap kitchen timers your mom used to set for your hard boiled eggs as a kid. Aprons and cigarettes and red and white checkered tablecloths. Someone to take care of you. Someone always to take care of you. That has been the craving all along but you never could name it. You never could see past your own needs to get to the heart of a tender thing.

We blow smoke into the empty air of the small kitchen in my apartment and stare at the peeling daffodil-covered wallpaper. I remember that disturbing piece by Gilman I read in college, The Yellow Wallpaper. The poor chick went completely insane under the treatment they swore would heal her entirely. They tried so hard to paint her as a feminist but that shit got complicated as it often does when you try to make a thing or a person into something bigger than they are capable of being, or ever becoming.

Proximity to power is not the same as power. Walking in step with something strong is not the same as being strong yourself.

You think I want closure with you, that’s why you attempt to withhold it. You think I need you to agree with my decision to end things but I don’t. Taking a deep swallow of the whiskey you love so much it hurts, you take my hand and look straight into my blue gray eyes, and say the bit you swore you never would.

Baby, I can’t change the past but I would give anything to do it over differently if I could. She was nothing but a meaningless kiss in crowded house on a drunken night I barely remember.

And as the silly words tumble out of your ridiculous mouth, I can feel my own indifference slide smooth as liquor through my slim blue veins. The way you think it matters flickers into a blaze against the way it doesn’t matter at all. In your eyes I can see us both burning all the way to the ground. I don’t want your sadness and I don’t need your story any more or less than I want you sitting here across from me in this creaky yellow stained room above this snuffed out city street which might be dirty and dark but it leads to something better. I’m sure of that now.

 

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Photo by Davide Pietralunga

Has Mask Wearing Messed With Our Brains? Will We Miss Anything About Quarantine? New Podcast Episode!

What will it be like to emerge without masks one day? What has mask wearing done to our brains after all this time and how has it warped our impressions of each other? What is a naked mask nightmare and have you had one? Is there anything about quarantine that we will actually miss? How did this all feel at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago and how does it feel now that the vaccines are (slowly) rolling out?

My cousin co-host and fellow writer Mark and I answer all of these pressing questions on our latest Spacetrash episode which is now available on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts! In 2021 we are doing short 30 minute *space nugget* episodes that drop every other Friday where we hang out and riff about the creative life and pop culture, and we laugh, which has kinda felt like literal survival during this past year. Cheers and thank you for giving us a listen!

 

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Photo by serjan midili

 

As Long As I’m Here

At the end of the day… don’t you love when someone says something like this? At the end of the day, it is what it is. Nuggets of wisdom lost to the wind if only we could have learned faster or thought harder about the things we had when they were right in front of us.

It’s impossible to tell you just how very many people have come into my life all frantic with admiration and accolades only to eventually – sometimes… actually, often times – completely disappear. I mean one day here, gone the next type deal. And I used to think to myself, what did I do wrong, you know like was I offensive in some kind of way? Disappointing? Rude? Thoughtless, careless, mean?

But now I see the truth and the truth, harsh as it may sound when I say it, which I’m about to do, is that these people conjure up their entire relationship with me in their minds and it was always going to end the way it does no matter what I would have done or not done. I was some kind of movie set or stage or painted backdrop they came and acted their shit out on or in front of for whatever reason until they finally exhausted their little precious selves and fell off to the side like a dried up moth never to return. Possibly even wondering what it was they ever liked about me in the first place. But I will never know, because gone they are and gone they stay.

Isn’t this a rather disconcerting way to live? The ghosting and the hyper-charged entanglements that preceed the eventual and inevitable neglect? No wonder we don’t trust each other. No wonder we are wracked with jitters and anxiety and fear. We do it all to ourselves. We do it all to each other as if it’s normal course of the business of life. It’s as inevitable as it is ridiculous.

There are the few though, the very very few, who stick it out with you. Who actually entrench themselves into you and your world because they want to be in it. With you. You call them out on their stuff, they call you out on yours. And you wrangle through the laughter and the muck until you come out on the other side, maybe dirtier, maybe cleaner or brighter, or not, but you come through and you move on together.

I can count on very few fingers who these people are in my life. They are not perfect and neither am I and maybe we know that about each other and about ourselves and that’s why we can tolerate and celebrate the sticking around. Because we can bear to lose our footing but we can’t bear to lose that kind of convoluted, complicated, hilarious, miraculous, generous, messy, beautiful devotion.

 

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Photo by Rich Lloyd Judd