My heart skips a beat a bit too often and it worries me because they tell me the palpitations are probably nothing. But when you are losing trust in all the people and systems which are supposed to keep you safe, yet are crumbling around you like sidewalk falling away from the soles of your feet, you watch your steps more closely, and their eyes, and the fog which smothers your hands as you hold them up in front of your face. What you see is not what they see. What you see they do not believe. What you believe is not held in their hearts or written in their palms, but rather in the sand as you approach the great gray waves, in the sand as you depart along the lonely beach you must walk alone into the cool ocean mist. Removing my clothes I wade into the rushing water. Removing my inhibitions, white robes cast into the wind. Renewal. Reclamation. Intention. Disrobing my fear, setting it aside like a discarded blanket. My nakedness, my beautiful skin, my fragile baptismal bones, I deliver myself to the womb of the tangerine sea. The lakes that I carry become one with the water which holds my body like liquid silk, warm against cold, fire against ice, frothing, bubbling, flashing, washing and burning away my terror of this life, this one life. Sparks, salt crystals flash hot in the orange sun. Finding my feet, I stand and welcome the evening glow all over my body, shining, shining, shining so bright I caress myself inside my own admiring gaze. When they come for me I will be gone. They will never come. I lay down upon the sand, it is warm and grainy against my back. Waves crashing like thunder slamming again and again, pounding in my ears. My heart is skipping multiple beats, gushing, squeezing, pulsing too wildly. They tell me it’s nothing. Just age. Just a random, fleeting kind of thing. You have nothing to worry about. You are nothing to worry about. My mind warps, inverts, collapses. There is no pain. There are only my fingers working my breastbone, massaging my own tissue, wondering if Death may only be peace. If He may simply take me soft like a lover would, into the petal pink tongue of His open mouthed heat.
Click play to hear me speak it, read below for transcript. I’m here. You’re here. This is it for now. I’m thinking of you. Please stay safe…..
So hey there. I don’t know what to say except that I wanted to write a fantasy fiction prose piece but what kept coming to the front of my mind and heart instead was to just say hello to you and tell you I am thinking of you and I hope you are okay. Over the years I have written for so many different reasons. I have written and published two books of poetry and prose for people who like dark stuff, and witchy stuff, and spiritual stuff, uplifting and mind bending and inspiring stuff. I have written multiple blogs, some about art, some about business, some about teaching and learning and social media and all kinds of things. I am interested in so many things, I like sharing so many things. As my tastes change, I have changed my content, my audience has changed. Been through some changes. And people read my works for so very many different reasons. To express, move through, explore or experience love, pain, regret, abuse, fear, dreams, hopes, grief, sex, erotica, fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, what have you. So many many things, for so many reasons.
And up until today, up until this very moment I thought I knew what I wanted to do which was keep writing and reading and sharing as I always have, these short pieces that have brought you into my little wild orbit. Stuff that makes us think and feel and sweat and beg and cry and dig deep down into our bones. And I do still want to do all that. But today as I sit here listening to the wind howling outside my writing room window, and watch the little pink petals falling off of brand new spring flowery trees, I cannot help but think that this pandemic is changing all of us on some very fundamental level. Nothing feels the way it used to feel. What felt right before feels all distorted now. And it’s this weird time where we are forced indoors, afraid to go outside and for good reason. The world has not ever seen anything like this. We have not experienced anything like this ever before. All day wondering what the fuck is life, what the fuck are we gonna do now, and after this is over. When will this be over, right like when. Nobody knows.
And I have no answers. All I know is I couldn’t write anything but this right now and I think it is because I am usually the first person to check out of this world and fantasize or imagine or tell stories about alternate lives, random experiences. But there is no getting away from myself on this day. In this moment I am so very present, so confused and angry and afraid and hopeful and scattered and suspended somewhere between the coffee hours and the wine hours and I am not sure exactly what to write for you. What to say for you. What to offer for you to feel a little better, a little bit like there’s a candle for you here in the dark.
I like to write so we can feel the things no one in our regular life lets us feel. I can’t help but think that people who write and share like we do do it because this is the only place, or one of the very few places, on the planet where we can be ourselves without labels or judgments or explaining ourselves to anybody. I don’t normally just riff but today, I can’t help it. This was the only thing that felt real and tangible to me. To say I’m here, and I’m glad you are here, and I am sending you every heartfelt wish for health and safety and the preciousness of sanity in this absolute world gone absolute mad. Please take good care of yourself and the ones you hold dear. I am thinking of you. I am hopeful that I can get my head on straight soon and be able to write some prose that you will enjoy. Meanwhile, feel free to scroll through what is here, there is some written stuff, some audio stuff, there is my book Luminae on Amazon which I honestly do not know if it will ship right now physically but there is the Kindle version you could download if you’d like. Maybe if I make another one of these random pandemic fire side chats, I could read from my book a little bit for you, share some stuff from it, tell you why it is called Luminae, what kind of mood it is, why I wrote it, that kind of thing.
I don’t know. I’m here. I’m trying to take this all in and figure a way through. Just like you are doing. I salute you in your creative endeavors right now. It’s funny – well not really funny, but – it’s funny because before this crisis hit, very few people in the “real world” gave quiet time, or artistic endeavors, or writing or poetry the time of day. They thought art was a silly side bar after thought. But now, look. Now, watch and see. The artists are so important in times like these. So maybe that’s all for today. Let’s just be gentle and humble and honest and if we can, let’s just go make some good art.
Leaning up against a massive gravestone, thick gray marble half as tall as you are, you light up a cigarette and pull the collar of your long coat tighter around your neck. The mist in the air is cool as it mingles with the scent of damp grass, mossy earth. It’s too late to be out here in the pitch dark but as I wind my way through the cemetery, I can just make out the outline of your tall slim silhouette as my vision adjusts. Watching the curve of your hand move slowly from your mouth to your side, all I want is to fall into you like death. Even my ribs yearn for you, even my gums itch for the chance to sink my teeth into the stoic heat of you. I walk with a metallic heaviness no one in this world understands, it is mine and mine alone to bear. Such is this life. Such is the nature of pain. In my soul I carry the bones and the secrets locked away in order to keep pace with a world which has been lobbing off pieces of itself for ages. My heart aches but only as often as it beats. Maybe that’s why this soft wet burial place enraptures me, the cold seduction of the quietness of the ending of everything. I listen to the branches of the sodden empty trees which creak without motion, I can feel their wooden lives stiff and rigid in my veins. Coming up close to you, I take your cigarette between my fingers. Our breathing mingles together. Standing so close to the animal in you is surreal and yet it snaps my entire being to immediate life. Have you any idea the blade that you are, the knife which twists and grazes all over my skin. You touch me without a sound. With your feathered breath you enter me deep and spread your glorious wings until I am stretched with this wild beg I have become for you. You do not say anything because everything that you are pours forth from you without relent, without invitation or coaxing. Cloaked in a black hood, you are a shadow in the flesh, the skin on your face, your neck, your chest, dewy and flawless, your eyes shine and flash like search lights as they flicker over my body. If you are the cup, I will kneel down and drink of you. If you are the answer, I will open my wrists and bleed for you. I watch as you trace an outstretched finger along the name etched into the headstone. With the same finger you trace my lips slow and I begin to tremble. It’s the way you handle me like dangling me over the edge. It’s the things you do to me, the curse of the seduction which I seethe for and I dread.
I wake up long before first light, make my coffee and fire up my laptop. There are things I share and things I keep to myself and each time I sit down to explore this unknown with you, I wonder how we will fall into the abyss together. I suppose I am the lead, I am the one offering my hand to you, inviting you in to the mood I occupy, the worlds I create. Perhaps there is a hopefulness to it. A dare. A question. A promise. An illusion. Perhaps there is a rawness here in this place that you are not used to experiencing in your day to day life. And this is where we meet. In a field of twilight stars, far enough away from everything else to be ourselves. As I sip my coffee and type, the birds are awakening, one by little one, beginning their individual songs. Last night was a flurry of terrible dreams. Dead bodies along the side of a highway, I looked out the passenger side window to try to understand how many there were but it was dark and there were too many to count, all scattered across the concrete, some in burlap type bags. I did not scream. I did not turn away. I could not tell if I felt anything except confusion. The faceless man who was in the driver’s seat, he told me not to look. It’s just the way it is around here. I ignored him as he careened the small car through the human obstacles. Too many people in my life think the answer is not to stare down the agony, not to look the cruelty right between its eyes. They don’t want us to see. They call it protection, they call it help. They will call it anything they need to call it in order to maintain control. Keep you placated. Distracted. Optimism is a game they play and sell it to you for cheap. Now I’m sifting through some new material I’ve written for a reading I want to pour my soul into fully. I think I must have been born this way, with a deep desire to give myself completely to the creative work that I do. A lot of people can understand that, but only up to a certain point. The sensual realm, the erotic expression, is a dark power for a woman to possess. And what they do not understand is that the erotic is not a separate category, that my sensuality cannot be severed from all the rest of me. Darkness is a part of the mystery of me which courses through every single thing I do or say. Darkness to some is evil, is frightening, because of its rugged unapologetic power. This is where shame is born. Where the imaginary chains of modesty, morality, and religiosity tighten around the flesh of the spirit, the mind, and the body. Darkness to others is bliss, is pleasure, is heaven, is beautiful, is life giving, is seductive, haunting, twisted, welcoming. Beckoning. What many cannot understand is that some of us want the fall. We want the shadows to penetrate us deep, we adore them. We spend our private time inviting them in. We want to possess the intimate feelings which churn within us, make them dance, make them poetry, make them come to life. How much of the song of my soul must I suffocate in order to fit in with those I do not respect. How much of my wilderness must I leave unexplored, sacrifice, death before death. It is raining now out in the street as the blue gray fingers of the dawn rise up toward the tears in the sky. I won’t get to read this one aloud and it breaks my heart a little. I love to read for you. It is one of my very favorite things. But I couldn’t not write it. The more insane the outside world becomes the more I need this one that you and I occupy together. More and more, as I live my strange life, my imagination is the only place I want to be.
Please turn down the daylight, please shut out the noise streaming through the blinds. A single lonely jet rolls by overhead in the sky which is obscured by heavy clouds, I hear it rumbling the glass of the window pane as I sit motionless. As the world stands still amid the tumult of crisis with voices mingled in between hospital beds. And all of its lonely people sit motionless. Few things are more sinister than an entire population sunk in their sinking seats. Mouths pursed. Wide eyes protruding into a blackness which has no end, no beginning, no intent. It is a silence veiled over a scream which is featureless. My mother used to tell me I was boy crazy. My mother used to tell me I was rude. My mother did not like that I was shy. Or pretty. But secretly she did. I found out later, much later toward the end. That for her I was a beginning of something she never got to finish, she never got control over. Grabbing my keys from the bowl on the side table, I’ve no where to go and finally everything is in its place. For a long time now, maybe, set in its place, as the dust sifts in through stripes of evening light. I watch my reflection, decide it is the age of the woman and I will be everything a woman needs. Soft. Supple. Willing. Are you afraid and looking for something to do with your trembling hands? Give them to me now. Feel the warmth of the beating of my chest. This is what we have in the darkness of days which have lodged themselves in time like logs in a dam in a river. What we have in the hallways of the minds we sit reverently trying our best not to take leave of. I curl my body behind a curtain like a snake. There is a small corner of the room where I hide when I cannot stomach the day. There is the smell of old coffee in semi cold rings, the hope of a tiny flowering seed. I keep track of the minutes as they tick around the face of the clock. I think of the man who liked to watch young girls at recess. I am reminded of the temptation I once was. And something inside me begins to ache.
Crawling out of bed and into the light of the soft pale moon, I sit at my open window gazing up at a gray swatch of clouds moving past. The truth about me lives somewhere deep inside but all my life I’ve had to try very hard to get to it. You might think as a writer it would come easily to me but it doesn’t. I circle too much and never seem to land. Hovering above the world as if on a string, I observe the madness down below and lose my sense of self, which is disorienting because your sense of self is all you ever really have in any given moment. Thinking of you while smoking a cigarette, I tap the ashes into a small flat tin on which is painted some sort of an exotic bird, blue, purple, and golden feathers draped long and elegant over the branch of a pink flowering tree. There is dirt in the beautiful and magic in the filth and no one showed me the splendor of that sultry paradox more vividly than you once did. In your hands I became the muse, in your gaze I became the apex of all creation. You had a way which was sinister, devastating, alluring in its dark command. You could reduce me and raise me up in the same heartbeat as you took me to the edges of my very being, pushed me just to watch me fall. Cut me just to admire my pieces, one by one fondled my vulnerabilities under dim shadowy light. How I worshiped the devil in you, how the smell of you ruptured me sweet. But even in bad dreams the clock strikes twelve. My richness turns to rags and the empty streets begin to twinkle in the gray morning silence. In every lover a tsunami swells. People change and bodies disintegrate. The way of rebirth is the way of destruction and history is bound to repeat itself even despite our best intentions.
If you had one hour what would you give to it? If you had only one day where would you live in it? The sky is underground today. My sighs are long and low and grieving. It is a regular day in an erratic time where we seek solace in other people we cannot touch. I touch the light as it suffuses through my window. I wear a sundress in the middle of winter. I touch my own hands with the colors fading in and out of the dreams I’m escaping to. I once knew a man who told me I tasted like poetry, pressed my long hair back behind my neck. I looked at him with hope filled eyes, told him I know I don’t belong here as the tears came flooding through like knives. If you found an hour falling like rain, would you open your mouth and drink of it. Would you like to watch me dance, would you like to know if I can still laugh after all this is over. I would like to know one thing: what are you reading. What are you doing behind that door, behind those eyes which gaze out across an empty landscape. In the story of my life I weave moments together and then pull them apart. I look myself over in the mirror. Place my necklace on the dresser. Wait for answers to invisible questions. I am afraid to move. I am afraid I will burn. I am frightened of the things I need. To say. To need. Across the globe, they climb into their beds. The stars blink anonymous overhead. I could write for you, would that change anything? I could read for you, would that make it easier to breathe? If I had an hour what would I give to it. If I could only say the words. If not poetry, what else is there to be.
As the rain comes down angry and hard against my window, I curl deeper into my cocoon of warm blankets and pillows while attempting to thread through the million thoughts gripping my insides at once. In between the rooftops scattered with pigeons shuffling for space among their dirty huddle, the sharp point of a church steeple pierces a dark low hanging cloud, as if probing it to unload its heaviness onto the sleepy streets below. Behind the weather, morning creeps, slowly turning the driving rain into a thinning drizzle, the crystal droplets intermingling with the wafting white smoke coming from multiple chimneys across the way. The sky is charcoal gray, back lit with an eerie yellow light which makes the atmosphere feel unpredictable, unfriendly. Full of voices struggling to be heard. They are as sinister as they are honest. In every swaying branch there twists a ghost come alive from my haunted past, still shallow breathing, still waiting to take my hand, to grip my throat. Last I saw you I had been impossible and knew it. Sometimes I can’t help the way I shut down like a vault, trapping all of my feelings inside. For someone so blindly obsessed with words, my tight lipped demeanor doesn’t make any sense to you. You are pissed, certain I’m withholding on purpose, locking you on the outside while I am conniving on the inside, but your anger only fuels my refusal and the air between us becomes a fuse. Love is a ticking time bomb, love is a train gone off its slippery rails. When it all feels helpless, useless, desperate, there are no guidelines, no rule books, no referees. And if there is one thing a human being is good at it’s being stubborn, I’m no different and neither are you. As I sit in clipped silence, my mind flashes back to that night in your apartment, as you poured our drinks I sat comfortably in a bra and leggings on the edge of your couch near the mirror, lining my eyes in onyx liquid ink. As I traced my blue eyes until they were black as midnight I sipped on gin and tonic while imagining us naked, our bodies entwined in positions I’d only heard about but had yet to explore. Back then everything was so loud. The drinking, the music, the anger, the passion, the sex that shook the walls and split us both in two over and over again. I wonder when you look at me can you see it in my eyes. That freedom is just as hard for me as captivity, and in some ways just as sweet. That all my life I’ve been hunted. That even on a cold wet morning which threatens a snowfall that will have us stuck inside for days, my heart still burns with the fire of a young girl who knew what she wanted as soon as she saw it and took it without asking a single soul for permission. I hold on and I hold back. I want to be consecrated and I want to be shattered into a million pieces, thrown out into a wild winter sky. Lost and found and missed and deserted. Words can heal, words can obliterate. Please be patient. Please don’t go. I am a chapel as much as I am a cave, and what I explore in the darkness is the only light I ever learned to trust.
These strange days crawl into the palm of your hand like little wild animals hoping to be tamed. I can’t get your voice out of my head and it’s making it hard to breathe. What was it you said to me that split my heart in two? Something about love, something about forever. The taste of it is still stuck between my teeth. As I sit on the steps in front of an old church, I watch the people shuffling by with dreams in their pockets, echoes of lifetimes crowding at the heels of their tired feet. If I don’t write I can’t think and I don’t know what I think if there are no words on the paper in front of me, it is a lonely feeling, well, lonely and not lonely. I think it was Audrey Hepburn who said, I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone. That’s about right. My head hurts and my vision is pained. Too much light, too much wine, too much darkness coursing through my veins. How much money do you have to throw at the problem to make the world stop spinning. How many boys do you have to kiss before you turn into something you think they might want. We turn ourselves inside out. We turn the pleasure into pain and the pain into an excuse not to explain why we do the stupid things we do. If I don’t write I can’t see. If I don’t write I can’t get out of my own way. But it’s you tying my hands behind my back. It’s you piercing roses against my wrist with a look in your eye like you need me so badly you can taste the tears inside my mind. It’s you lodged in the back of my throat. Tell me, sweetness, tell me so deep. When is forever and if it’s forever is that all you need.
The morning sky is surreal, virgin blue linen draped in dark lavender clouds of a strange heavy elegance underneath a full white moon, hovering just out over the horizon of gray stick figure trees. It is too warm for winter, the squirrels and birds chirping and running all about as if nature is unsure of herself but plays among the earthy sights and smells of the pale pink dawn in any case. There is a softness inside of me I’ve long been afraid to touch. Life has been brutal and beautiful and I’ve seen so much I wish I could forget but that is the stuff of nonsense, you have to take what comes and swallow some things down hard. I don’t say that to elicit pity but I do say it because it is true that I do not often offer myself much compassion or room to grow, I am tender with affection for dangerous things. I am blind, I am naive with no excuse to be. I tend to think or feel that I should always be a good deal further ahead than I am even though ‘ahead’ is an immeasurable illusion. And I know it. All the broken hearts, broken by me, with my own complicit, reckless hands. As I pleasure you I crawl inside and tear your heart out in tiny small bites so even the pain feels like little pangs of ecstasy. I make you tremble, I make you crawl, I make you say my name. I don’t want skin, baby, I want blood. Poets are the death of me, their succulent words in my throat like poison nectar, I lap it up sweet, lethal. My own poetry has splayed me and buried me countless times. I possess an insatiable desire to speak of beauty, to worship at her altar, though she cuts me deep. Though she breaks me I only return for more. I am sacrament and sacrifice. I wish I could tell you a story about me that were true but the truth gets in the way of what I want to say. I don’t fit into the designs of this world. I don’t see things the way the others do and I cannot believe in the things they believe. Mostly I keep that to myself. Mostly I smile and you would never know. All the bitter cold, I see it. I taste it, drink of it, I let it seep into my aching bones and pretend I am made of ice. It’s like how they say that nothing is urgent if everything is. Nothing can hurt me, maybe, if everything does.