Thursday, April 30, 2009

The next step

I want to take a hot shower, but there’s not enough hot water. I’m waiting for someone to finish. The music ends. It’s funny how the same music that gets me wired and inspired at the beginning of the day just brings me further into this hole of longing now, the hole where my energy is supposed to be but instead. When I feel like this, I don’t want to do anything, ever again. I want to do everything. I can’t.

And then there’s the next step, what’s the next step, again? There’s falling into bed, getting out of bed, falling into bed, falling. The next step. If there were a way to swing round and round into the swing into round and round swing round swing I could stand in the middle of the room but I wouldn’t be standing, movement the center of my center. If I close my eyes, there’s all this tension in my neck, mid-back, jaw, above my eyes -- of course it’s already there, but when I close my eyes I feel it, maybe this helps me to breathe, maybe this helps me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lostmissing #33



Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

And here's what lostmissing #33 says:

I hate that when I’m leaving the house I still think what if this is the time when I see you, and am I ready? I’m never ready. Like before bed and suddenly I get all tense thinking about what’ll happen. In a way that makes sense because mostly I see you when I’m sleeping.

I think about calling you, and then I plan out our whole conversation, just in case you answer the phone. You’re not going to answer the phone. Or if you answer, it’ll be a mistake, and then you’ll hang up, like last time. So then I plan out what to say if you hang up, even though you won’t be there so then I don’t need a plan, right?

Maybe I need to talk to a pillow, tell the pillow everything I want to tell you yell and scream and stomp on you and then I can bring you in an elevator up to the top of the Empire State building I always loved going to the roofs of tall buildings when I was a kid even though the elevators hurt my ears. I can go to the top of the Empire State building and throw you I mean that pillow above the security barrier and down down down those hundreds of feet but wait, maybe that would hurt someone -- I mean even a pillow isn’t soft after it falls 1200 feet.

Maybe I don’t need a pillow, I can just close my eyes and kick you into the ocean, bury you in the sand throw you onto the highway into a traffic jam over fences and into the soft cement of a new building before they add layer after layer. Or actually I live pretty high up so I could scatter you over the roofs of Tenderloin buildings I could swing my arms in a circle and fling you everywhere by the time I see you you’ll be so scattered that I won’t notice. I’m ready not to notice. I’m not ready. I can’t believe you’ve become another thing I need to get out of my body.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, right -- and the grass is killing the sidewalk! Fish are destroying submarines! That child ran over my car!

My new cutting

I watch my mother walking up the stairs, the final set because she’s afraid of the elevator in my building and I can’t believe how stiff her whole upper body looks, like one straight line I guess that’s the posture you’re supposed to have and I kind of feel that way around her, like my body won’t relax, there’s not enough room to breathe. Later, we’re sitting on a random corner or actually I’m sitting on some shiny silver fire hydrant-type thing and my mother’s standing we’re taking a break because I need to eat something and she asks me how much it would cost to buy a one-bedroom condo in San Francisco, oh no I figure she’s bringing up this fantasy of buying me an apartment a fantasy that was never part of anything I wanted until she started talking about it. As long as I don’t believe it’s an actual offer, it’s okay.

I say $400,000 is about the minimum for a one-bedroom, and she says but that would be somewhere awful, right? No, she doesn’t say awful -- what word does she use? I say no, it might be small, but there are probably places now for $400,000 that are pretty nice. And she says but a place like mine, that would be over a million, right? And I say yeah, probably something like that, and she says oh, then that would be too much. And I realize she’s actually talking about buying a condo for herself, moving to San Francisco because she says DC is too conservative and I can certainly testify to that, but wait did she really just talk about moving to San Francisco? At least she says: it’s just a pipe dream.

And then I realize she keeps asking me if I think people are friendlier in San Francisco -- no, not really -- what do you think? She says I haven’t found that -- maybe it’s something from the past. And I hadn’t thought about that -- I mean of course it’s the West Coast mythology but maybe there was some truth when San Francisco was actually a counterculture town. But now I realize she wants to know if people are friendlier, because since my father died my mother has found herself in this new realm of trying to make friends and she doesn’t exactly know how.

Later, we’re walking to the restaurant and my mother says you have a lot of knowledge, do you know that? I guess so. She says: you really have a lot of knowledge. I say what makes you think about that now? She says that’s a good question, it’s just something I’ve noticed -- you could do a lot of things. Oh, no -- she’s going to start talking about job fantasies, but instead she says: do your friends know you’re smart? I guess so. She says: but do they know you’re smart? Yes, I say. She says oh, no -- that sounds ridiculous, that sounds like something my mother would say!

At dinner, I get her to try a cucumber from my pickle plate and she can’t believe that she likes it -- she says: you got me to try different foods, a pickled cucumber! But she’s eaten pickles all her life -- it’s strange the mix of sophistication and confusion that she constantly exudes. She wants to know if there’s anything else I want to talk about. This is our last dinner. After this, she goes back to her hotel and then in the morning she flies to LA to visit Allison. Of course I think: yes, I want to talk about incest. I want to talk about whether you’re ever going to acknowledge anything. I want to say that I wish you could provide the security that you offered. I want to say that our relationship could be so much stronger without all this weight crushing me.

I’ve said all of these things. I’ve said all of these things so many times. Do I want to say them again? Does it matter?

I say I don’t know, is there anything you had in mind? She says: what do you think of Barack Obama? What? Is that really what she just said? And then I’m saying there’s no hope in Barack Obama, there’s no hope in this political system there’s just no hope. And she says: what do you think would be better? The classic liberal trap, because if you don’t like what we’ve got then you have to know what you would like better. I say we need to get rid of the whole system, and then I feel like we’re having the kind of conversation that I hate listening to, if I was listening to myself right now I would think oh no!

I switch gears a little, and say the problem is that people think he’s a liberal, but he only represents the status quo. My mother says isn’t that what a liberal does? And I say yes, but that’s the problem -- a liberal is supposed to be someone from the left. I mean a basic reformist agenda would be universal single payer health care, free education, housing for everyone, an end to the requirements of citizenship -- and all of these things would be so easy to do, so easy just cut the military budget by 75% and bring back the troops from countries all over the world but it’s never going to happen and that’s why I’m not hopeful, I’m not hopeful at all because I look at Obama and sure there are a few useful gestures, and in some ways it’s like nothing could be worse than Bush, right? But then you look at the bailout and the way all the resources are going to the bankers who have destroyed the whole economy and it’s not even going to work by their standards and it’s just this hideous façade and people don’t challenge Obama or even ask questions.

My mother says I don’t think anything could be worse than McCain. Sure, that’s easy to say, and it might be true, but why are we having this conversation? And she says: I agree about health care, and education, but housing? I say: yes, housing for everyone who needs it. My mother says: I like Obama. I realize I didn’t say the part about an end to the requirements of citizenship, it’s something I added now, something to say next time I guess, next time we talk about politics instead of talking. I go to the bathroom -- I like this bathroom because the walls are marble and there’s a sound system playing jazz, I dance a little to loosen up my body.

In the lobby of my mother’s hotel, there are all these gorgeous plants -- I already know this, because I look through the windows a lot, and when we’re inside I walk over to this one succulent that kind of looks like green branches growing in all different directions I remember when they had one like this at the plant store but it was huge and something like 75 dollars. My mother says you know what you can do, and she looks back at the desk just as I’m leaning down to grab a cutting -- it’s funny that we both thought of it at the same time. She says: did you get one? And then we’re in her room, she opens the curtains so I can see the view, kind of like my view from only two blocks away because she’s on the eighth floor and we’re facing in the same direction but here we can also look towards Union Square and we’re in the midst of things it’s a different kind of downtown view. I suggested that she ask for a view and then they upgraded her, she says you’re the one who got me this view.

When she hugs me and says I love you and I say I love you, and then I step into the hall and I don’t immediately feel crushed, actually I feel okay and I walk to the top of the hill but not all the way because then I’m tired so I walk back home and put my new cutting in water.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

House music, more or less

There’s this moment when we come back to my house because I’m too exhausted to function and I ask my mother if she minds if I put music on while I’m stretching. Really I’m doing feldenkrais, but it’s easier to say stretching. Then my mother sits on the sofa facing the windows and closes her eyes, and I lie down on the mat and I think maybe I should get up and change Danny Tenaglia to a feldenkrais CD so I can go deeper but the floor already feel so relaxing. Stretching or feldenkrais or whatever I’m doing helps and when I get up my mother’s eyes are closed she’s doing her own resting and that helps too. Then I fix my hair and change my shirt and socks and underwear and I still feel tired but calm, the calm is the important part and my mother asks what kind of music this is.

House music, more or less. House music -- h-o-u-s-e? Yeah, house music. What kind of music is that? This kind of music, I guess.

And then as we’re leaving I say usually people listen to it at this volume, and I turn the music way up and my mother is almost dancing and I think of dancing too, for a moment, something I’ve never done with my mother, but I’ve already put on my coat and scarves and mittens so my body might be too constricted and I’m not sure if I want to dance with my mother. But it’s an interesting moment of something like vulnerability that doesn’t feel crushing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Exactly



Olives

When I was a kid, my parents and my sister were always eating olives. Or not always -- because whenever there was a jar or a can they would gobble them all down and I could smell the olives in the air or on their hands for a while afterwards I couldn’t stand that smell it just got in everything. It’s why I hated olives I couldn’t remember the taste. Or even whether I’d tasted them.

Their favorites were the Greek olives, and we were always going to Greek restaurants so there were a lot of Greek olives. Not until a few years ago did I decide that I kind of like olives, especially freshly pickled ones on some kind of gourmet plate, just a few at a time. So when we’re at Millennium I ask my mother if she’s going to order the olive plate, but she says no, they make me blow up. I say what do you mean? She says my cheeks get all poofy and my skin turns green and I feel totally out of it. That’s an allergy, I say -- you’re probably allergic to olives, you shouldn’t have any ever again. My mother says really, that’s an allergy? I say yeah, and you love them too, right? She says yes, I say that’s exactly what a food allergy feels like -- it’s something you think is totally delicious, sometimes your favorite food, but whenever you eat it you end up feeling awful but you can’t stop eating it your body reacts like it’s a drug.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wanting

This heat wave is so bizarre -- 1 am and I’m outside in just a t-shirt and pants and I’m almost too warm, in Buena Vista the mosquitoes are out in full force, I keep walking around and saying to people: I hope I don’t get too many bug bites, I’m meeting my mother tomorrow! My favorite part is the conversation I have with these two guys about how someone should be serving tea, yes let’s have a tea party, and they think I’d be a good businessman but no, I would give it all away for free! Up at the very top, past the cruising, so these girls wouldn’t get too upset, okay?

There’s this one guy who was there last time, I mean the guy I kind of bonded with after he tried to swallow my come but then turned to the side and vomited -- I guess we were bonding before, but that was especially cute, right? So then we walked down together and he gave me a ride home, this time he asks my name again and I say Mattilda, we met before -- remember? And he says Mattilda!

This time we try to take the same route down but everything’s fenced off to repair the erosion so we end up on the exact opposite end of the hill from his car, oh no, and I think about jumping into a cab instead but we’re kind of bonding so I walk all the way around with him and by the time we get there I’m so exhausted it’s funny but why is it funny I guess because I’m in this funny mood, the mood I get when I start suggesting to random guys in Buena Vista that we need a tea party, and my new sort-of-friend remembers I live on O’Farrell which is cute, he wants to know where I’m from again. DC -- and you’re from Colombia, right? Oops -- Manila, must have been someone else I met in the park from Colombia but I don’t say that.

All these things I’m worrying about before seeing my mother -- I hope I don’t injure myself, and then end up in more pain than usual. I hope I don’t get too many bug bites because then she’ll think I’m dying of AIDS. She used to think that when I had a lot of acne. The funny thing is that I actually end up without a single bug bite, and less pain than usual, and then I’m on the phone with my mother, who asked me ahead of time to make a list of errands we can do so she can buy me things, so I made a list and the first thing is underwear from the hideous corporate department store right by my house and then my mother is already saying let me see if I have enough cash -- I say of course you can use a credit card -- and she says: credit cards are money too.

Oh, right. I’m certain that it’s going to be a disaster, but then my mother’s over my house and she’s all compliments: she likes the colors, they’re very soothing; she would never have thought this would be a good way to set up two sofas but it’s neat. She likes the chandelier, she likes the lamp, she likes the way I’ve organized things and she even wants to know about the distorted photographs repeated as a frame above the molding on the walls -- those are enlarged and distorted pictures of my eyes, with makeup and fake eyelashes under sunglasses on that one -- with glitter on that one. And the other wall is a distorted enlargement of a section of an image from ‘70s porn. She likes that one the best, I’m not sure if that’s just because it’s not me with makeup, or whether she notices the come dripping out of the guy’s mouth. Probably not -- but I’ll take compliments.

I’m figuring maybe we’ll just hang out here until dinner, but then my mother says when are we leaving? So I guess we’re going to get the underwear, and then a comforter that’s light enough so that maybe I won’t get so warm at night, even when it’s freezing I’m burning up, and then we’re at dinner and it’s funny because it’s always sweltering at Millennium so I was worried it would be too hot to even go inside, but actually it feels the same as always and since it’s so hot outside it’s not so unbearable. And the food -- there’s only one main course I can order because of all my allergies, but oh these braised carrots these roasted beets these pickled vegetables, everything turns out delicious and I don’t have to rush to the bathroom to shit from an allergic reaction, yay!

The conversation is a bit surreal, about my mother’s new gay maybe-friends and what she’s trying to do to meet new people and of course the best part is when my mother starts comparing herself to my grandmother and how the difference is that my mother is generous, there’s not even a comparison she’s always generous. Somehow I feel calm anyway, and I’m trying to remember if this is always how it is, I mean when it’s not horrible and contentious -- I see my mother and I kind of like her, even with her ridiculous contradictions, but then when she leaves it all feels like some hideous illusion and I sink immediately into a bottomless despair that surrounds me no matter what, that despair of childhood and everything since, that despair of what my mother could provide and doesn’t, that despair of what I want but don’t want to want or even when I decide I’m okay wanting it I still end up wanting. That despair of depending on her. Even when I decide that maybe it’s okay without the security I asked for, the security she tells me she’s giving me -- at least I’m stable now I don’t have to worry financially so let me appreciate the comfort that I do have. That despair that she’ll never acknowledge the core of it all, that childhood where he split me open, taught me how to play chess, we went furniture shopping together while she disappeared or asked for that washcloth, held my head to hold it all in, suffocation. There are so many ways to crush a child. That despair that still it’s hard for me to voice the specifics of what exactly she held and crushed. Sometimes I’m still suffocating. That despair that here I am, wanting to love her, wanting not to love her, and wanting.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dreams that hold me

What was it that Socket said about community? A community that takes care of you, because that’s what community is for, and I feel so far away from that dream. Even in the sense of the people you hold around you so that you can all hold one another, sometimes I feel like I’m losing that so fast I don’t even know how to grasp for it. Or, that I sense it with people on the phone or from the distance but then here in San Francisco sometimes I feel like I’m retreating further and further into this place of my own, a place where I can relate to people but I’m separate and there are so many reasons, starting with the pain and exhaustion and overwhelm and continuing with the original people with whom I dreamed of chosen family, all disappeared, and then there are the friends who I once felt closer to but then I collapsed and now any intimacy feels bounded by annoyance on the way to despair and in some ways I just don’t care, I mean I don’t care about these friendships they don’t mean what I want them to mean. And then there’s San Francisco, my original place for making dreams into something like hope but now I’m not at all hopeful about San Francisco, and then when I’m also not hopeful about the people in San Francisco, then I wonder why I’m here except for familiarity, a sense of place, interactions on the street with people in my neighborhood, walking uphill for the view. I must ask this again and again: do I live here for the view?

So yes there’s Derek who dropped me, really the last friend left in San Francisco from that time when I hoped for chosen family, more recently Benjamin made me wonder if family is such a polluted word that isn’t something we should even be looking for but what about some kind of structure that lasts, the buildings can fall but still there’s the sky inside you. I don’t feel that. Sure, sometimes I get totally wired by the tiniest connection and then if I don’t crash I realize yes it’s giving me something that lasts. Sometimes it feels more exhausting to try than not to try, or more inspiring to create something that has a communal effect but I only have to rely on my own inspiration to get there. Like with lostmissing -- even the tiniest interaction with someone else about this personal project that also exists in the realm of the public, sometimes that connection gives me so much.

Of course inspiration is the other thing that tires me out, sometimes it’s the only energy I have and it saves me but other times it’s what drains me. Those inspirations late at night or whenever it is I’m in bed trying to sleep and I wonder: where are my dreams? On my book tour, someone asked me if I still believed in the possibilities of radical queer politics and I said yes right away, but sometimes I look around and I’m not sure that’s true. I mean it’s true that I believe in the possibilities of imagining, conjuring, creating and transforming everything, but most of what I see seems so corrupt or misguided and even when it’s beautiful sometimes I don’t know how to reach out.

I need to remember that when I came back to San Francisco at the end of 2000, I looked around and saw nothing but a hideous scenesterism, a where’s-the-party apathy in the spaces where I once found my queer dreams of challenge and accountability. The only thing that made me feel hopeful was starting Gay Shame with a bunch of other people who also felt culturally homeless, all of whom were also scenesters in our own ways but we were working on this project together and that’s what helped me to dream again. To feel like San Francisco meant something to me, to us, to the queer imagination beyond. Those times when we put something together that glowed with all of our voices, whether a piece of propaganda or a satirical newspaper or a night of wheatpasting or a moment of public pageantry. And then, when it seemed like we could no longer do what we wanted to do, whether it was because of our own limitations or the lack of support from inside or outside or our own fears and critiques, even then it still felt hopeful because of the relationships I was building between politics and a hug, coping and the imagination, and when those relationships fell apart and I realized I needed to step back from Gay Shame, since then I haven’t felt as hopeful. Of course I get excited about ideas, there are moments of inspiration that sometimes shelter the charge of challenge and intimacy at once, but overall I feel like I’m on a balance beam and it’s sinking.

I’m starting to think that this is one of those times when everything falls apart and maybe that’s okay because of what I can build in the ruins, that was the idea of Gay Shame anyway -- to build defiance in the ruins of gentrified San Francisco -- but here I’m talking about myself: the structures that have held me are no longer, the people who I’ve held are no longer holding me. And there are others -- other structures that can hold me, other people who are holding me, even if it’s from the distance but it’s so much harder from the distance. I wonder about the last time when everything fell apart, really everything, and that was probably when I remembered I was sexually abused; when the relationship with my closest friend, the first person who I trusted, collapsed into something tragic; when my relationship with my first boyfriend fell apart; when I first glimpsed the hideousness of the culture that I thought was my community, the ways in which radical queers fucked each other over with as much intensity as the people we were trying not to become -- yes, all of that happened at once, 15 years ago. And I try to think: how long did that last? That falling apart, that feeling that there wasn’t enough to hold onto, and I realize that lasted until I moved back to San Francisco, and helped to create Gay Shame, and of course there were incredible relationships and amazing direct action organizing and writing all throughout, but I think it was the combination of this new activist group and the books that I was creating and maybe the years of experience both hopeful and heartbreaking that fused my politics with my dreams and abilities and the relationships that held me and didn’t hold me throughout -- all of that helped me to feel like maybe I wouldn’t always be falling apart. I wouldn’t have said that then, but I’m saying it now. It’s possible that I’m wrong, that there never was that point when I thought maybe those dreams could hold me, or that yes, of course I’ve felt that because otherwise what would be the point, but it’s possible that I never felt I wouldn’t always be falling apart. There are ways in which I’m stronger, so much stronger, and there are ways in which I continue to collapse and I wonder if it’ll ever end, this collapsing. But today, at least as I’m writing this, I’m ready to dream again, and I need help.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Someone else's energy

One a.m. and I actually have energy -- I just wish I could go somewhere and listen to music, or chat with someone vaguely interesting or even someone completely boring but interesting because of that, at least for a few moments and then bye-bye, the bar’s closing, whatever -- but we all know the possible destinations without smoke, or smoke residue, or a smoke machine. So of course I go to the usual place where talking isn’t allowed, I’m listening to the music for advice: “Georgy Porgy puddin’ pie, kiss the girls and make them cry, Georgy Porgy puddin’ pie, kiss the girls and make them cry, Georgy Porgy puddin’ pie, kiss the girls and make them cry, Georgy Porgy puddin’ pie, kiss the girls and make them high.” Or something like that. And: “You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice, I know-ow.” And on and on, until “Heart of Glass” comes on.

Of course there are other things to do with your mouth, we all know that, and that’s where the magic of this particular venue comes in, this guy’s moaning yes, yes you’ve got me hard like he’s just discovering something, me, and I’m rubbing all over his chest and between thighs and around ass to give him more it’s funny because at first I was glad he was on the other side of the glory hole because when I passed him in the hallway I could smell his cologne oh no but up close in this booth it’s fine, looking up he’s a bit too drunk with eyes leaning back into head and then eventually he says it: I’m too drunk. Steps out of the booth but then immediately there’s someone next door sticking his dick through, must’ve been an audience I saw him outside in the plaid, skinny and aging, tweaking or not quite tweaking I couldn’t decide if I thought he was cute but he wasn’t paying attention to me anyway until now, the curve upwards and into, yes, my mouth -- and I decide to truly savor it, not just the neck pain in the future but now now now the present I’m staring at the shaved hairs growing out just at my eye level yes yes yes it’s all hot but especially mouth up to the wall I always worry about the wall against mouth but then I’m always there anyway and eventually I do get to say something -- do you want to come over here? And then he pulls up his pants, I watch him buttoning, door open, and I hear him walking away. That’s okay -- I was getting to the point where I would’ve hurt my neck for sure, now I can just sit back and relax for a moment, all that energy someone else’s energy no longer in my body so I’m not in the mood to come anymore, I pull myself together and step outside into the hallway where there’s the original guy, still stumbling, and I rub his chest and say I thought you left, and then he does.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lostmissing in New York!!!





Lostmissing #30



Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

And here's what lostmissing #3o says:

We’re in a room where someone’s showing us a bunch of film equipment, an endless array of insanely expensive gadgets, one after the other, and I turn to you and say: this is ridiculous. And you say: what do you mean this is ridiculous -- it’s how you make film, it’s just the way it works. And I say: that’s what I think is ridiculous. And it’s then that I notice your face is contorted in that sudden rage and I’m so upset that you’re ruining my dream like this, this night of dreams that flow so smoothly they almost have a beat but then suddenly there’s something pounding in my chest so fast I wake up and wonder if this is what a heart attack feels like.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Right outside the Nob Hill Theatre...


Lostmissing #29



Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

And here's what lostmissing #29 says:

In the next dream you’re all tan and smiling you grab me in a hug and we’re walking hand in hand in the sun through the grass and I say do you remember you’re not talking to me, are you talking to me now, and you laugh and we’re walking onward. When I wake up I can’t decide if this is comforting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hate crimes against homeless people -- is there a solution?

Recently the LA County Board of Supervisors made the decision to start tracking and reporting attacks against homeless people as hate crimes. Bias-related violent crime against homeless people for no other reason than their vulnerable status is rampant -- during the past year in LA, homeless people have been reported beaten, stabbed, set on fire and shot. But will adding homeless people to hate crimes enforcement do anything to prevent this problem? Let’s think about it for a moment…

Who commits most of the violent crime against homeless people? When you see a homeless person kicked in the face while sleeping, beaten with batons, hogtied on the ground, or dragged off into a van, who instigates this crime? Oh, I know -- our lovely law enforcement officers!

In LA over the last several years, there has been a dramatic escalation of the war on homeless people, as part of the city’s quest to gentrify the downtown area, as thousands of homeless people have systematically been harassed, arrested, brutalized, and displaced to make way for property development and real estate speculation. Adding homeless people to the hate crimes roster will only put more resources into the hands of the people committing these violent acts. And, while it’s difficult to figure out solutions for many hate crimes, with crimes against the homeless it’s quite simple. Let’s brainstorm -- what would prevent these hideous incidents from occurring? Oh -- I know -- housing for everyone who needs it!

That’s right -- I guarantee you that the vast majority of homeless people would love nothing more than a place of their own -- and, guess what? If they weren’t forced to sleep on the street, then they also wouldn’t be subjected to routine and systematic abuse by cops and other hooligans. LA, like every major city in the US, has more than enough empty buildings and vacant lots to support housing for every person who needs it. Instead of arguing for homeless status to be incorporated under hate crimes enforcement, we should be fighting for a redirection of resources to actually provide for the people most vulnerable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A lostmissing series by Rachel Ours!!!









Critical engagement

Things you might learn, if you learn things: reading a book of poetry is not always less painful than a book of prose. Especially narrative poetry with only 20 words per page, because you want to turn the pages faster, and the turning is what hurts your hands, and then you’re craving a larger page with more text, not as much turning.

Critical engagement can go either way: after the first phone call, editing discussion and he compliments your editing skills and you wonder about the editing family he mentions. What does it mean to come from an editing family? After that conversation, more energy but when you have more energy it’s important to prepare for the next conversation, don’t lose the energy. Then it’s harder to focus on the discussion, fatigue making thoughts stop halfway and you’re trying to get them out, push but they still stop and then afterwards you’re looking at the large pages of text but the text is too small so your neck hurts: you want to go back to the poetry, stop before it hurts.

Onto the mat for stretches, but wait this one involves pressing finger against nose kind of like turning a page -- let’s go back to legs swaying. Okay, legs swaying, legs swaying -- all to find the center but then there’s the center of your head, closing. You still want it to open.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lostmissing #28


Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

And here's what lostmissing #28 says:

When I see you in a dream again it’s more stressful. I’m doing this dance move in a huge white room, white so high up it’s like the sky and I start on the floor jump to the ceiling the hard part is staying up there without hurting my shoulders against not-quite-sky and then back down to the floor and up, people are impressed most by the jump but remember the hardest part is the smooth roll of the shoulders up top. When I’m done I head upstairs to wash up and there you are at the gym in your workout clothes, back to me, I turn around. I’m at the checkout counter but there’s no one around, I pile groceries and cosmetics and everything I can into bags I don’t even know what all of this is but I walk outside it’s New York I figure I can jump into a cab and if someone says did you pay for that I can just hand them a credit card. The street is further from the door than I thought and businessmen are running out ahead of me, when I get to the corner I realize it’s the highway. I’m trying to get out of the elevator, but the bags are stuck in the door, the door opens inward not out and then finally I’m out into the abandoned gym of security checkpoints, emptiness without space and finally the locker room, some friendly guys are taking the goods through the backside of the locker but how will I get out?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tears that burn

This is ridiculous. I wake up and my whole apartment smells of pot, reeks of it -- it’s so bad that I open all the windows but nothing changes. I go in the hall to see if that’s the problem -- yes I still smell pot, but not as bad as in my apartment, where my eyes are burning, forehead crinkled into pain, nose and throat filled with so much snot I just keep trying to blow. I mean I blow, and then there’s more. Keep blowing. I’m sick of blowing.

I try to figure out which doorway the pot smoke is coming from, but nothing gives it away. I go on my fire escape and look downstairs -- every window is closed. But what if it’s my next-door neighbor? I look at his windows: all closed. What’s the point of trying to feel better, when there will always be something assaulting me? My eyes are still watering and I wish I had some kind of tool to open other people’s windows, although that would just hurt my hands. I could climb down the fire escape and try to pull from outside. I could ring their doorbells -- delivery: snot, tears, fears, can you please help? I know it’s allergy season, but please don’t make it worse! It’s the middle of the day; probably no one’s home. And I don’t want to ring anyone’s doorbell before I’m dressed. I don’t want to ring anyone’s doorbell to talk about pot smoke anyway -- it just sounds so uncomfortable and annoying. My eyes keep watering, the kind of tears that burn. I need more air; the air doesn’t help.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet potatoes

It’s the first foggy day in a while, and I wake up wondering about the sweet and sickening smell in the corner cabinet, yes I’ve convinced myself it’s the downstairs neighbors’ cooking but why suddenly on the first foggy day? It’s mold, today I’m sure its mold in the walls and so I realize, again, that eventually I have to leave, but I have no idea where I’ll go or whether it will be better and I’m not sure I’ll ever know. Outside, on every corner there’s pot smoke hanging over, but it’s in my apartment where I’m always sneezing, or not always sneezing but in my apartment where I sneeze, which makes me think about the mold again -- none of it is visible, which makes it harder to decide anything. I’m waiting for the sweet potato to finish baking, even though I don’t like sweet potatoes.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The best book I've ever read

But sometimes there’s so much going on in my head it’s like another world, here in the shower another world and even when I leave the shower it’s like my apartment is an extension of my head the fire escape a place to think but then I wonder what happens when I step into the hallway, into the elevator, downstairs to the street where it’s windy so that’s a good sign but it’s not another world. Music, another world outside my head into my head like today when I’m thinking about starting that club that’s just a runway so you have to walk through that bang clang flashing lights that pounding beat where runway is whatever you want to give give give whatever. I’ll walk around with a microphone pinned to my collar giving instructions turn burn shake it out and learn yearn or maybe stand upstairs where people can change in an out of costumes and outside someone will keep the smokers at a distance. I even start thinking about spaces that would work, but then there’s the other side of my head, pain stuffed into sleep without sleep without sleep this world no I’m not ready to go outside yet.

I’m too tired to talk on the phone but I’m talking on the phone -- I’m not sure if it makes me more tired, or just more aware of how tired I am. I finish the book that I wanted to be the best book I’ve ever read, and it isn’t. Of course, I want every book I read to be the best book ever, but this one has so many gorgeous lines carrying so many layers of awareness but then there’s the cheesy part too and I don’t like the cheesy part.

Lostmissing #27


Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

Here's what lostmissing #27 says:

I found you in a dream, chased after you and said what I wanted -- you kept walking but then stopped and I kept talking and then we were talking and it felt like a relationship again, funny how it’s more comforting in my sleep. I woke up thinking maybe it’s not over. Am I trying not to give up, even while I’m trying to give up? Seven months now and sometimes I still wonder when you’re going to call me back. When you’re going to answer.