Monday, January 31, 2011

Encircling me

I keep waiting for that day when I wake up and think yes, today, but it’s not today -- today I’m sweating. Or, wait -- I was freezing, and now I’m sweating. My gums hurt. I noticed that as soon as I woke up, and then I realized no, it’s not today, that day when I feel better. Or, maybe I feel better, but not better. Anyway, this circular thing is getting on my nerves, this thing encircling me, I’m ready to step out of it, but I guess that’s always the case.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Somehow it's always difficult to get my table much clearer than this...

Snarling

Every night, before I go to bed, I say tomorrow, I’ll feel better. And I do mean better, as in not sick anymore, or almost not sick, but then every new day arrives and still -- well, I guess there’s tomorrow. At least today I manage to take a relatively long walk, I mean not long exactly but longer than my recent walks, a block or two and then back. This is a beautiful place where I live, that’s what I realize, so that means it’s a nice walk. Not like when I’m walking down some beautiful alley-type wilderness place in the back of people’s houses, like the one across the street and it’s so idyllic until all of a sudden some dog starts barking, and then every dog on the block is barking, some of them throwing themselves against the fences, or trying to slide underneath, sometimes peering out between broken parts of one fence or another, snarling. That’s when I really don’t like dogs, although I dislike the people who keep them that way more. Especially the dogs that snarl like that every time you walk by, even if you walk by several times a day and I’ve started to yell at them sometimes because they’re so annoying, why can’t they just relax, although I doubt I’d feel particularly relaxed if I was locked up in some small yard, I guess most dogs are much more easily satisfied than I am, that’s for sure.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The only democratic country in the region

I love it that Tea Party darling demagogue and Republican Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul just announced that he supports eliminating the $3 billion in military aid that the US supplies to Israel each year. Will it take nutcase right-wingers to actually push supposed progressives in Congress to take a principled stand on this issue, or will they remain silent on/complicit with the tyrannical Israeli government.

In another thought, since the US is always saying that Israel deserves all this aid because it’s the “only democratic country in the region,” what will they say if Tunisia or even Egypt emerge as strong democracies? Or, wait -- did Obama just say that Egypt was a democracy? No, he just said that Egypt was a stable ally -- it’s the dictator himself, Mubarak, who just said that the protests wouldn’t be possible without the democratic reforms he has instituted. Um, what democratic reforms, exactly? As his party headquarters burns to the ground, we can at least dream for more than reform.

Still sick

I’ve been sick for five days now, and I guess I’m slowly getting better, so slowly. Today I got to sit out in the sun, took my shirt off and it felt warm, started worrying that my belly was getting burnt of course since it was almost 50 but then I went back inside and immediately I felt freezing. Why freezing inside, with all this heat blowing out at me, drying me out, I’m sick of this heat. But I’m cold -- better turn it up again.

I watch the news about Egypt, people fighting the cops in the streets, hundreds of thousands of protesters in a country where usually a protest draws a few hundred, the same few hundred. Protesters occupy a bridge while the police hurl canister after canister of tear gas down on them. The government shut down the internet, how is that possible? Don’t they need the consent of the businesses that run the internet? Of course, it is a dictatorship, so I’m sure every company plays a role in that. US corporations included.

I love the quote from protesters in Tunisia who brought their dictator, Ben Ali, down with a few large protests: there are 22 Ben Alis in Africa, and they all have to go. A quote picked up by the protesters in Egypt. And how many Ben Alis in the world, almost all of them propped up by the king of corporate tax cuts himself, our own Obamaton. What murderous plots is the US government now hatching to make sure that Africa doesn’t end up the next South America? What will it take for Egyptian dictator Mubarak, a staunch US ally, to flee the country like Ben Ali? $2 billion of US aid per year, most of it military aid, so he has the guns to stay and fight, and I’m sure the US government is doing everything it can to help him.

(If you’re looking for great news coverage of the protests in Egypt, definitely go here, here, and here + an Al Jazeera live feed here).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting for my shirt to get warm

My favorite part of sleep is when I wake up covered in sweat, not sure why that’s so comforting except maybe it means that this cold is moving through me. Yesterday I went on a one-block walk to this photo place to get negatives made of photos I have of JoAnne and Chrissie, but I guess no one gets negatives made anymore, mostly they do it digitally which doesn’t sound as permanent but it was much cheaper for what I did. Walked back, and then I had to get back in bed.

Last night I actually kind of slept, when I woke up I would turn to the other side and sleep more, more pain in my lower back and neck, but not as much in my gut, maybe it was a good idea to stop taking the herbs. I guess I’m going to go to Whole Foods in a few minutes to get a remedy the homeopath just recommended for the cold, maybe that will help. If I get there. I kind of wish someone would call me, and offer to take me there, but actually it’s only a few blocks and I’d like to try to walk anyway. Not that anyone’s calling. And I don’t like risking getting other people sick anyway -- it’s unlikely that I’m still contagious, but still I worry about that kind of thing, don’t want people to hang out with me when they’re sick because sometimes I get sick even though it’s unlikely that it’s still contagious. I’m waiting for my shirt to get warm in the dryer, two cold room temperature for my skin.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comfort there

I thought I was going to feel better today, but instead I feel worse. I don’t know if the pain in my gut in bed is from this cold, or from the herbs I’m taking to get better. Today I decided I would only take the colloidal silver, but then I took the colloidal silver and I felt nauseous, the burping started, the burping that never ends while I’m in bed or actually the burping is the good part because it means release, otherwise everything is stuck. I thought you were supposed to sleep more when you felt sick, just lie in bed and sleep sleep sleep try to get up sleep more. Instead I keep looking at the clock -- 5 am, no it’s not time to get up. 5:35 am -- no. 6:10 -- really, that’s all?

I don’t know how to describe this sleep, it’s like I fall into a square but also up against a square and then sometimes it goes deeper but only for a few minutes and then, when I do get up, I feel worse than yesterday -- I thought I was supposed to feel better. I kind of want to take a bath to warm up, even though it will dry out my skin, but I don’t think I have enough energy. Maybe just enough to eat something, and get back in bed, if only there was comfort there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

That kind of focus

Oh, no -- I’m sick. Usually I like to say that I’m fighting away the emergence of a cold, but last night in bed there was so much pain in my gut that I could barely sleep, so I guess it’s a relief that maybe that’s because of the cold, hopefully a 24-hour flu. Strange the way I want to sit in different chairs in my apartment when I’m sick, the sofas by the window that I rarely sit on -- at least I got to Whole Foods, bought some greens so that I don’t run out, felt like an accomplishment and then I thought about how grateful I am that I chose such a perfect location, found such a great place to live. Even though I’m sinking into loneliness, the kind that makes it hard to call people if they haven’t called back, I don’t have enough energy to pursue. At least when I’m sick, I don’t feel tempted to cruise online, or wait I do feel a little bit tempted but I catch myself: no reason to go there. No reason to go there at all, really, but anyway now I’m feeling dizzy, kind of want to watch a movie but I don’t know if I have that kind of focus.

Gorgeous!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Independence

I used to think that independent bookstores supported independent authors, and independent presses, but now I’m not so sure. So many independent bookstores seem like showplaces for the NPR circuit, endlessly parading the same authors on their front tables, over and over again, or if not the same authors then the newest authors to be featured on NPR, to win the same awards and maybe even come from the same schools or the same schools of thought. These are the wrong independent bookstores, the ones I’ll still support rather than shopping at Borders or Amazon, but the ones that long ago ceased to think independently.

Don’t get me wrong -- there are plenty of amazing bookstores left, or at least a few scattered here and there -- the bookstores that actually do the job of building community on radical ideas, challenging norms of style and substance, exposing their patrons to new ways of thinking, showcasing books that most people haven’t heard of, but need to. But these bookstores are in the minority, and rarely gain the kind of acclaim that the big independents wield, the tastemakers, the ones where the big authors read, in between their NPR appearances.

Whenever I go to a new town, I check out the bookstores, so of course when I moved to Santa Fe I searched them out right away. Nothing too exciting, really -- two of the NPR-circuit stores: one smaller, with some interesting remainders outside, and one larger, with a café. A few used bookstores with nothing I was looking for, although a few more that I haven’t been to so there’s still time! Actually, my favorite find was Hastings, apparently a big Texas-based chain (over 150 stores!) but a big chain without any stores on the coasts, so I’d only vaguely heard of it. But, guess what -- almost all their books were used, and even though they definitely seem to spotlight the Bible (a whole aisle!) I managed to Discover a book called the Taos Truth Game, a recently-published novel based on the life of a gay author in Mabel Dodge’s circle (Mabel Dodge is the person who started the Taos Art Colony, which brought so many generations of artists in this direction, for better or worse). Anyway, it was a hardback for $4.99 -- and, a book I didn’t even see at the two independent stores selling new books, even though I’m sure I looked at every title in there New Mexico sections, since I was trying to find a book talking about the history of nuclear contamination due to Los Alamos -- environmental, cultural, political -- and, that was another thing: no one working at those stores could offer any ideas, all they could come up with was a new glowing biography of Robert Oppenheimer, or some book that talks about how easy it is to steal nuclear secrets. And that’s the other thing I mean about independent bookstores -- they should exist as a resource, not some snooty high-culture gimmick but a place where people actually pay attention, listen to what you’re saying, know something. I mean, stores don’t even note what you’re asking for any more, even when you’re asking about a local author, or someone reading in the biggest literary series in town, which fills the largest theater downtown.

I might as well add that the snooty independent bookstores don’t tend to carry my books -- even, sometimes, the stores I read at! To tell you the truth, sometimes it takes me a while to even ask, because the way they respond is too annoying, but hello -- now I live in Santa Fe, these stores need to order my books, right? So, at the larger independent I found myself mentioning that I’m an author who recently moved here, and I’d love it if they’d carry my books. The person working there said let me give you our consignment brochure. I said what about ordering them without consignment? He said that’s the only way we do it.

So I took the consignment brochure home, and the first thing I noticed was that it’s a program for self-published and print-on-demand titles. None of my books are self-published or print-on-demand, so I’m wondering what it was about me that made the employee decide that I wasn’t “legitimate” enough to be another kind of author. Was I to close to his age, or too much of a freak? Too young in appearance to be a “real” author, or too queer? Not that there’s anything illegitimate or fake about self-published or print-on-demand titles -- the more, the better! But, the truth of the matter is that my books are put out by the exact publishers that independent bookstores were started to support.

Anyway, I did read that the consignment program gives you 60% of cover price, instead of the usual 7.5% that you would get from a publisher, so that sounded all right. Until I noticed that they make you pay $25 for six months, in order to shelve four books. $25 doesn’t sound like that much, except that they might not sell a single copy. And, even if they do sell all four copies -- let’s say your book sells for $15, so you get $9 per copy, but then that really means you only make $11. Does that sound fair?

But, it gets worse. For $100, they will feature you in their email newsletter, and allow people to order your book online from the bookstore website. That’s like giving them $100 for nothing. I even signed up for their email newsletter over a month ago, and I haven’t received it once! But, here’s the best part: for $200, they will arrange a reading in the store with two or three other local authors, space permitting. That means that the big independent bookstore in town is charging self-published and print-on-demand authors up to $800 for a reading. And, presumably making more money off you when people come to your event and buy things! And, they do all of this while pretending that they are supporting local authors. But, they’re only supporting local authors who pay them more than they’ll probably ever receive. This is what independent bookstores have become.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Toxic overload

When I get this tired, it’s so hard to do anything really -- the day passes and I wonder, what was that day? Did it happen? I don’t even want to call anyone because then they’ll ask how I’m doing. I’m terrible! Most people can’t really deal with that, and then I end up acting like I’m okay anyway, or talking about things that are day, to make conversation, and even if they can deal then I end up doing that anyway and the result of all of that is that I just feel worse.

Although, sometimes I feel better too, I mean talking to people and not feeling so stuck, trapped, in my world. Today I had a phone appointment with a naturopath in San Francisco, and he was asking if there was anything that changed right around when I started to feel worse a week or so ago, when the sinus headache came back, when I became more exhausted, and I didn’t think of it then but now I realize oh, that’s when I went dancing, right? Maybe that was it. So simple and tragic and maybe not even true, I can never figure out exactly what’s true, I mean some things I know for sure: smoke ruins my life. Here comes in through the windows, courtesy of other people’s chimneys. Indoor heat destroys my sinuses -- here it comes through my vents. Oh, what else?

I was just thinking about how, when I first got here I was taking all those baths -- I would get so cold, and it was the only thing that would warm me. Now I can imagine -- my skin, poor skin, it would get so dried out! I wanted to go soak at the tubs at 10,000 Waves, but now that sounds like a hazard too. At least I’m acclimated to the cold -- I even catch myself thinking oh, it will be nice when it gets a bit warmer, something I never thought in San Francisco, so maybe my strategy of moving here for the winter, winter that I love, is working in a way that already are don’t feel quite as afraid of the warmer weather.

Oh -- the naturopath went over this porphyrins test with me, and I don’t exactly understand it, but I guess what it indicates is that probably I’m dealing with a lot of mercury toxicity in my body, plus something else -- dioxin or ethanol is what the lab was guessing, although I’m not sure where I would get dioxin or ethanol. I used to have tons of mercury fillings, and I had them all taken out and replaced right before the pain overwhelm began about 10 years ago, so that part totally makes sense. He started to suggest some tests where you use the chelating agent to measure the amount of heavy metal toxicity in your body, and I just got more and more exhausted thinking about how draining that would be, and I guess he realized, and said maybe that’s not what we should do right now, suggested some supplements that I’ve tried before but maybe this time, right? His theory about why I can’t digest oils was interesting -- what was that theory, again? Something about how your bile travels from your liver to your gallbladder, and when you eat, everything moves into your intestines and that’s what makes oil absorbable. I don’t think I’m summarizing that quite right, but the basic idea was that when your liver is overtaxed trying to deal with a toxic overload, as I’m sure mine is, and has been for a while, then it can’t do the work to help with digestion too. Or, I’m not sure that makes any sense at all. Oh, no -- here comes the fireplace smell, filling my apartment -- the naturopath suggested an air purifier, but I already gave up on air purifiers, although then I was realizing how small my bedroom is, and maybe that means an air purifier would actually work. I gave my other one away. I don’t know -- something else to buy, first I need a shower filter. No, first I need to get out of here and go on a walk.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wait, did I show you this scam? See, it looks like these are grown right in Albuquerque, but then on the back in tiny tiny letters it says...

Product of Mexico, stamped in black on clear plastic, I mean can you even see that?



Briefly

The good news is that the rash is gone, or almost gone -- all that remains is some dried, yellowish skin and a bit of burning sometimes when I go to bed. But, it’s no longer scary to take a shower! Or, not as scary. Here’s what I think worked: homeopathic rhus tox, chlorella, and a ton of fresh aloe applied directly to the skin, over and over again. Unfortunately, my feet still feel swollen, pretty much all the time now. Does that relate to the altitude? The dryness? Does anyone know?

Meanwhile, the sinus headache is getting worse. I guess it wasn’t the humidifier, because I turned it off for the last few days. Maybe not even the smoke from everyone’s fireplaces, since I haven’t noticed that the last few days. Maybe it’s the pollen count, let’s check: that’s gone down a bit, but it looks like cedar/juniper and pigweed, whatever that is. Or, it could be the accumulation of drama from the heat in my apartment, combined with everyone’s fireplaces. The problem with the sinus headache is that once it starts, oh no -- It feels like it will never go away. Today I have feldenkrais, and I’m so exhausted that I don’t know how I’m going to walk there. I guess I’ll just start, and then finish. The good thing about feldenkrais is that then I get to lie down, so if I’m really really exhausted then at least that helps. I mean usually.

It is pretty exciting that I’ve been walking so much, I mean today doesn’t sound exciting at all, but it has to be helping in some way, right? All the fresh air and cardiovascular exercise, the way the light enters my eyes and everything I get to experience. Oh, but this headache! Ouch, this headache -- I hope it gets better once I go outside. I mean I’ve already been outside, for my first walk, a short one today, and it did clear my head, briefly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One of the problems

I will push through this sinus headache to try to tell you about something before, my walk on the way, exciting to go in a different direction, hadn’t thought of this one really, but I discover Jake’s Upholstery, and the building with letters on the windows that read “HAND FOR HAND ARE,” a raised sidewalk with steps to walk up like you see in places with rivers that historically flood, I can’t imagine that happening here. And I might as well tell you that once I finally feel like I have a libido, something coming from deep inside and not just surface to try and escape, well that’s when I want to keep it so I’m heading over to this guy’s house because he wants someone to suck his dick while he's blindfolded and I don’t know anything about what he looks like really, the only thing he said was 30, and we already know that 30 is the new 29, or maybe what 29 means in San Francisco, an uncreative fiction, but he actually gave me his phone number and his voice was queeny on the phone, here’s his house, in back of another house, brand-new Santa Fe realness -- classic adobe, they say.

Then I’m in the wrong porn video, big screen TV, blindfold that can’t possibly do much, poppers, tanning salon nudity, all hair plucked, why am I doing this except that I’m here, like turning a trick without money but I guess so many experiences will always feel that way and it’s quick, the house is like a showroom, small but spotless and bright but why has his voice changed to dude talk, at least I get to pet a cute cat afterwards, have a nice day.

Or, even before, someone posted about Borders at lunch, a full nude picture which seemed pretty bold and when I replied to him he replied “Omg you are incredible,” which sounded promising, so that’s what I said, and eventually he sent a real picture, admitted the earlier picture wasn’t him but someone at least 20 years younger and even a different race, strange there because he’s white but I guess we see his attractions, and I appreciate the apology, humans online are rare, I mean human-like behavior instead of what we’re conditioned to accept, everything we hate and I guess that’s called human too, and maybe that’s one of the problems.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Connections

I leave the house to get dishwashing liquid, but there are so many great mysteries in the world and one of them is about walking, through the railyard because I want to go on a second walk before dark, that’s the best way but really I don’t have any energy and when I get to the end of the railyard I can’t decide whether to just go to Whole Foods across the street or keep walking, no I want to keep walking, the way the light changes, sparkling, and I can follow the tracks to avoid the roads and at a certain point I think either I’ll turn around and get dishwashing liquid, or I’ll go to Borders to find the gay/lesbian section, because two people told me there actually is one, and I didn’t see it before, and I know you’re thinking about the other gay/lesbian section, but first let’s talk about the books. There’s a new book by Simon LeVay, the person who did that stupid study in the ‘90s about the gay gene, they still let him write books? Of course they let him write books, a hardback, on one of the multinationals. What else do they have? Something from Southern Tier Editions, a long-gone imprint of Haworth, now also gone, so you know that book has been on the shelf for a while. A few sex work anthologies, although that must be the gender studies section -- oh, I see, they are only about 15 books in the gay/lesbian section, Andrew Sullivan, of course they have that, but anyway you were waiting for the bathroom so let’s go, I have to shit anyway.

So here’s the mystery: all that happens is that I look at this guy’s shoes, super-shiny and black and slightly square at the end, that hard kind of leather, gray pants up above but he’s not moving his feet to indicate anything and you know how you always go to that place where you think maybe this one is the cop and so I continue studying the shoes, the shoes become the attraction almost and I look under to see his pale calves, can’t detect required movements but eventually I’m moving my hand anyway as an invitation so he does kneel down jerking off, in fact he won’t stop jerking off to let me so I hold his balls and rub his legs and then someone comes in, or he thinks someone’s coming in but not really, at one point he grabs my dick really fast, quick like it’s forbidden and that’s when I figure he’s straight, but especially when I say let me suck it, or something like that, and when I lean my head under the stall I see him start to come, just like that, but especially when he waits to leave the stall until no one’s around, no one except me, even though he finished zipping his pants a long time ago.

But the mystery is the way that feeling this guy’s calves and thighs, just for a few moments, the way that becoming a part of whatever it was that he wanted, something inside me lifts, what the hell, a window out of exhaustion depression headache heaviness and when I walk outside suddenly everything feels so relaxing, I look up at the moon, almost full and the sky looks thick unless that’s just my contact lenses, yes I still need a new prescription but no, I think this is some kind of desert fog. And right then comes the real sunset moment, the fire at the horizon, you see how you can have two totally different pictures here, the moon over there and then I’m walking towards those bright reds and oranges, even over to get dishwashing liquid and then I’m thinking about the way sex opens something up, I mean when it feels like some kind of connection and now I’m talking about yesterday, someone off craigslist, and yes he really did say are you clean just before we started, almost under his breath. But I actually felt horny, not just searching for something to bring me out of exhaustion overwhelm, funny how he was talking I mean writing earlier about wanting my cock but he barely touched it, worried about that clean thing, didn’t matter to me because you know how I like to suck and then afterwards when he was telling me about learning a Mac because he wants to change careers at some point, accounting to architecture, but also he was saying how he wants to retire to Phoenix, he likes the hot weather, he’s lived here all his life and he needs a change but 12 years until he can retire. Of course in his posting he said he was 30, but I knew as soon as I looked at the picture what 30 meant, someone in middle age looking back but he’s sweet, a lightness to his laughter, even if he asks about my real name, but anyway my question, how sex can open something up and even if it rarely does, then when it does I start to wonder again about these connections, one to the next I want more connections.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In a circle

Wow, I’ve gotten so much more tired over the last few days, and unfortunately it probably relates to going out dancing. Now I’m so exhausted, I don’t feel like doing anything. Except that that sounds exhausting too.

I wake up with the worst sinus headache since I’ve been here -- what is that from? Maybe the soot from everyone’s fireplaces, getting stuck in my apartment. Or maybe the humidifier -- the plastic it’s made of, mixing with the water in the air. Or maybe there’s a new allergen in the air -- I did look that up, what could it be in the middle of winter? Now I can’t remember, but I did notice that the pollen count was a little higher.

The snow has melted in the Railyard, so you can see all the textures right at the surface, geometry of cement and dirt and stone and fake boulders and that foam stuff on the ground in new playgrounds, this is my playground, I walk in a circle. And then the other park, where I also walk in a circle through the grass, looking at the architecture and trees and sky, that’s the park that’s just one block from my house, less than a block actually, and then the Railyard is just around the corner -- I did choose the perfect location, although not the perfect location for typing, I mean using this voice activation software, staring at the computer, because in the corner my sinuses dry out, time to chop vegetables for more beans.

But there was something I wanted to tell you about walking, and the light, and the sky, and when I feel this awful, but now I just feel this awful.

Friday, January 14, 2011

That's right the elevation

When was the last time I went to a gay bar -- or any bar, actually? Maybe that time when I went out with Randy, when was that -- six months ago? This time I’ve arranged an outing with three friends, we’ve planned it out so that we’ll get there right at 9 pm when the dancing starts, and then leave around 10:30, since none of us wants to be out late, but then it turns out it’s just me -- like old times, I guess. At first I figure I’ll take a cab, but then I realize this is one of the few places where I can actually get pretty easily on the bus, so I rush out to catch the 9:04. Of course I’m early, and I forgot how freezing it can be waiting on the side of the road without shelter, but then the bus comes, all the lights inside off but it does stop and I get on, the driver and the one passenger look kind of confused and “Shout Out to the Devil” is blasting on a sound system or some song about the devil, is that what it’s called? I’m laughing in the back, realizing I’m wearing all red and the heat on the bus starts to make me tired but then we’re there, just a block walk through the cold and I’m inside.

This gay bar looks like an upscale airport lounge, and maybe that’s exaggerated by the tall, skinny blonde woman bartender and there’s Justin, they haven’t started the dancing yet, and just as I’m taking off my 16 layers Jess shows up. He’s one of the people I called to invite, but he couldn’t come because he works early tomorrow but however, here he is! Of course he knows people all over the place since he grew up here and it even turns out that he was a candy raver starting around age 12, so we can talk about dance music, hello.

Conversations at bars are so strange, I mean conversations with the people you meet and you’re trying to assess whether there’s anything interesting about the conversation or that’s what I do, in between talking of course, and getting excited, and I realize I don’t really like talking about San Francisco but it keeps coming up because I say I just moved here. Then I hear all the connections -- some of them are interesting, like the person who says he lived at Post and Jones and I say that’s my favorite part of San Francisco and we seem to agree. But someone else asks me about the breakfast place down the street from me, always a line of tourists in the middle of the day and I say I never went there because I wasn’t one of those tourists. And he says he and his friends were the ones who made it popular, a dubious distinction to me for sure, and then he’s telling me he worked at Club Townsend, the Powerhouse, and the Café at the same time so he saw everyone in San Francisco and I say you must have done a lot of drugs. Later I realize that maybe I’m the one who started the tone of the conversation when I gave this guy shade about the breakfast place and it’s strange how sometimes shade feels like connection, not in this case but when I meet Desmond who says Mattilda, I must’ve heard you wrong! She’s a queen of a certain age and so I don’t hide that I’m incredulous that she’s incredulous and my queeniness in response to her feigned or maybe genuine confusion makes it all fun. Maybe it’s also because I can sense that she’s an outsider as a middle-aged black queen in Santa Fe who isn’t passing as middle-class like everyone else in the bar and I recognize people like her from the clubs I’ve gone to more than some of these other people, but anyway Jess even has a story about Desmond, who comes in to Starbucks where Jess works every day, first thing in the morning, and then sits there all day, knitting.

The downstairs is bigger than I thought -- I thought it would be the same size as the upstairs, but it’s probably twice as large -- sleek and clubby, everything all-black of course and the DJ booth kind of large in the back corner, blue lights flashing from up above. It’s quiet, just a few people -- Jess and I are the only ones dancing except then the music changes dramatically to something with a ‘70s flavor -- the kind of thing a DJ will play to get everyone onto the dance floor, but all it does is get us off. Jess goes home because he has to get up to go to work at 5:30, so then it’s me and Desmond and Justin comes on, a song about house -- and you know I like any song about house, and then it one point Desmond says jumprope! And we fling it for a few twirls, you see how we both know the ropes but I don’t want to get too carried away with my hands because then that would mean pain for sure and yes the beads are getting harder and this is when I decided to just let it go, flinging myself around the dance floor like I could flip or fall but I’m just in the music, two women are dancing on the sides, two fags in the corner and a few people sitting in the booths watching and I’m flinging it out, head down towards the floor and then body around, even onto the floor for a few stops and then up and swinging upper body into lower, twist around and around and then I realize I better take a break. Into the bathroom where my breathing is fast, that’s right the elevation, I’ll do a forward bend, this is when I better leave because I feel like I could dance forever, or maybe not forever but at least for a few more hours and then my body will be wrecked, I take my shirt off so I don’t get too cold, I mean the sweaty one, back into 16 layers and when I say goodbye to Justin one of the fags from the dance floor says you’re a great dancer, which is funny because I was trying to bring him into the movement and I thought he was giving me shade, I appreciate the affirmation because sometimes in a quiet room no not a quiet room I mean a room with space and beats where everyone is watching but you can’t exactly tell what they’re watching, sometimes I wonder if people are just thinking what on earth, what on earth is she doing, which of course some of them are not fine but I also do like hearing a little positive feedback, right? Justin says he’ll give me a ride, but actually I can feel my legs getting a bit tense, probably good to walk even though it’s a mile, and it is good to walk, until the last two or three blocks, but I was expecting that and then I’m home, better eat something, take a shower even if it will dry out my skin, I think this might have worked, this might have worked this time, please.

Look how pretty these beans look...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

At the top of that tree

What happened? I mean, how did I get so tired, sinus headache spreading in the front of my face? Why the sinus headache, now? I mean I guess I was already tired, starting the moment I got up really. Wait a second: the humidifier just ran out of water, and now it’s beeping. Stop beeping!

I don’t even know if the humidifier is helping, it doesn’t seem to do that much, and this is the third one I’ve bought, so I think it’s going to be the one, regardless of whether it helps. The one in my bedroom does do a lot, but then I’m worried that it does too much, and there will be mold. Maybe that’s why I have this headache today.

Or maybe this headache is from my walk. The walk was so much fun -- I went outside, headed towards the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, but when I got there I felt like I wanted to keep walking, so I walked over to Cordova to get the Reporter, back down Don Diego where the air felt so fresh that the car exhaust wasn’t even coming close, and then just before my apartment I turned down a street I hadn’t noticed before, even though my walk was getting long, but then I decided no, better get home, I mean I’ve already walked a mile and I feel okay so I better stop now, right? And then when I turned back, there was a whole different view, the mountains into directions and the light on Don Diego suddenly seemed spectacular and then I was home.

And then I got this headache -- maybe I walked too far? Time for a feldenkrais CD in a few minutes, but first I want to wonder about seasonal affective disorder -- this is the first winter since I was a kid when I actually get out of the house during daylight, not just rushing out a few minutes before sunset to try to get something into my eyes but I actually sit out in the sun in the morning, go on a walk around noon, and sometimes even another walk before sunset so I wasn’t thinking much about seasonal affective disorder, but suddenly I started to wonder: maybe that’s an issue, in spite of all this sun. maybe I should bring out the seasonal affective disorder lamp, the one that made me to wired in San Francisco so I couldn’t use it, but now I actually get up in the morning so maybe it wouldn’t make me wired. Although it does seem like there’s plenty of light here, maybe it would just make this headache worse.

But did I mention the birds? That’s the best part about walking around, you hear all this chirping and then you look for the bushes and there, yes right there at eye level all this tiny birds. Maybe that guy I was following him into the dark parking lot, but I was looking for the birds. And then, in the other direction -- squawk, squawk -- a crow. But where? At the top of that tree.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Waiting

Here I am in some vague space of exhaustion and not-quite-loneliness. Maybe in San Francisco I would end up at the Nob Hill Theatre, and I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than turning on the pointless cruise sites, and then turning away, waiting to see. Much better than browsing, if someone wants something then they’ll write to me. Or, I mean, if they think they want something. Or, if they think they don’t want something, but they want me to think they want something. Or, well, I don’t know.

There is a porn shop here, but it’s way too far for me to walk to. I guess there’s a bus, but that means waiting alongside stripmall hell and endless car exhaust, and at night the bus rarely comes, so then I would be waiting there too, afterwards, so that’s never really going to happen. I don’t even think of going there. I mean, if someone said let’s go now, I’d jump in the car, but I don’t know if there’s anyone like that in Santa Fe. Someone honest enough to say let’s go to the porn shop. Or, there’s probably someone, but I definitely don’t know that person yet.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Creativity and madness

So I’m looking through the unframed art I have by my grandmother, trying to figure out which pieces to frame. I have a box of these crayon drawings, layers and layers of color and gorgeous scratches, I ended up taking six of them to the framing place, or maybe it was seven. Probably I’ll end up bringing more than I can put on my walls, but at least that will keep the art safe.

Anyway, I remembered this one drawing on some kind of translucent paper, almost like tracing paper but thicker, and my grandmother outlined something that looks like a letter, at the top that says Creativity and Madness. But I didn’t remember what it says below -- Santa Fe! I look at the back of the piece -- oh, it’s a conference that took place in Santa Fe in maybe 1992 or something. When I saw the part about Santa Fe, Creativity and Madness, well then of course I had to frame that one, even if it’s not one of my favorites visually.

That I’m talking to my mother, and I mention this piece, and she says Creativity and Madness, that’s a conference I was thinking of going to, I have the program right here, but it doesn’t look that interesting. But then she ends up reading me the program anyway, to see if I’m interested in anything, but it’s a therapy conference with a $500 registration fee so of course I won’t be going, but I say I guess I could just walk in, and those kinds of things they don’t usually notice. But actually they probably would notice, since I don’t really look like a therapist -- I guess I could say I’m a survivor of two therapists.

My mother says no you aren’t. What do you mean I’m not? She says let’s not talk about that, and I realize she interrupted me right when I said survivor, which kind of surprises me actually -- I mean it’s not like she ever acknowledges the abuse really, but usually she avoids telling me it didn’t happen, but here it’s kind of funny because all I was saying was that I was a survivor of two therapists, and my mother does acknowledge that that was true, right? And right then she got defensive. I wonder what that means exactly.

A few developments in my apartment...




Saturday, January 08, 2011

What I'm used to

Maybe I’ll become one of those people who writes the same letter twice, then realizes. Oh. Because of how I write notes over and over again in my head, notes that might take me months or even a year to write am I actually write the note it feels so familiar that I’m not sure whether I’ve already sent it. Emails I guess, since notes -- well, you know. Letters. Phone calls: that happens too. But I call more often. Some people call me back.

Coconut milk. This magical kind that someone makes from scratch, I mean from the coconuts. Then he adds probiotics. A secret recipe. Down the street at the yoga studio ayurvedic juice bar. I tried it once, I don’t think it made me sick. So I thought maybe this is it, the oil I can digest. Two weeks later: I try it again. Delicious. Then I’m burping it up all day long, here comes the bloating.

And then whenever I get hot, and my toes start to swell. Somehow I’ve been in a relatively good mood the last two days, in spite of relatively disastrous sleep. I like the way, when it gets dark here, it gets really dark. I mean all of a sudden. Or, I guess the sun sets for a while, setting setting setting but then boom: dark. So much darker than in a bigger city, what I’m used to.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

For now

You wanted to know how tired I am: how tired am I? Way more tired than I’ve been in a while, the last two weeks has been downhill for sure. I fell asleep a little bit during feldenkrais, which is a good sign, I mean a good sign for feldenkrais, but then afterwards I just felt more tired, which often happens with feldenkrais, but when I’m this tired already, and then I get more tired, do you see what I’m saying? Wait, I need to eat more, even though I just ate more. Okay, I ate more, read all the ads on the back page of the Santa Fe Reporter, a paper that I keep trying to find interesting.

There was something else I wanted to tell you, but first I need to eat more, study the hygrometer to see what the humidity is -- the hygrometer is the device that tells you, in case you were wondering. I got it when I got the humidifier that says it lasts for 55 hours, but then I went to bed and when I woke up it was out of water. I don’t think that was 55 hours later, do you? Wait: I already told you about that. I’m going to leave it anyway, not sure why exactly. But maybe all this distraction is a burst of energy, maybe it’s time for another walk. My walks are better here, I mean I walk further; I can walk further. Usually. To the feldenkrais practitioner I think it’s almost a mile, and I always walk both ways. That’s pretty exciting -- let’s leave it there, for now.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

About everything

I wanted to say that I’ve always loved taking a shower, but first there was childhood and my father so let me say that since then I’ve loved taking a shower. Sure, there’s the thing about purity, and cleanliness, but also calm and nurturing and by myself, in my body, in my body with all this water around me and yes. But now I find myself grinning my teeth, trying to figure out how to wash my hair without using my hands too much, ouch that burning ouch that burning OUCH, maybe if the water was cold but then I’m cold and at least it doesn’t seem to make my feet too much worse until I notice that yes my toes are swelling and I’m holding my fingers in weird positions to try not to use them, gritted my teeth instead of just closing my eyes in beauty.

After I shave, there are all these bumps on my face -- that’s because I haven’t shaven in a week, usually it’s every other day and I think a week is too long because look at these bumps. I don’t even want to do my hair, because then I’ll have to wash my hands again. Is this aloe helping, or making it worse? One of the few things I could depend on for peace and calm and clarity, a space to dream and relax, now it’s just another ordeal. I wish I could wash my hair, body, everything, without using my hands, now the rash of my pointer finger is darker and bluish and I think about syphilis again, except syphilis rashes are not supposed to burn, they look gross but they’re painless, that’s what they always say. And then they go away. This rash isn’t going away, of course I’ll get an STD test just to see and I’ve started a new homeopathic remedy for the rash but of course there’s no way to tell if it’s helping since I just took a shower, dangerous shower, dries out my nostrils too and I tried to get the whole house carbon filter installed to do something about that but first they couldn’t connect it to the cold water but I thought let’s try it anyway, but then they couldn’t find the main shutoff valve for the water and ouch, now my feet, ouch I want to itch my fingers, I haven’t soaked my feet in vinegar in a while, would that help her make everything worse? I mean isn’t that the question

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Not to notice

The honeymoon is over: I have no energy, and a new health problem. This rash in my hands, burning at night, in my feet too, toes swollen almost together. From the dryness I’m guessing -- the dryness inside, today it’s not even dry outside, snow flurries for a moment, 69% humidity it said when I looked. But I can’t go on another walk -- I’m too tired. I went on my second walk when it was still light, the way I like it best but often don’t manage, made it to a bank but I was too tired to go inside to find out what they offered, a credit union, I’m trying to transfer my money to a small local bank. Then I decided I did have enough energy, since I was there, so I went inside where it felt just as alienating as any bank, less upscale. I got some information.

I need to find some healthcare practitioners who I trust here -- I have feldenkrais, but that’s all. Tomorrow I’m talking to the homeopath in San Francisco, will that help with this rash? Now that I think about it, I wish I had my homeopathy book available -- there is probably an acute remedy that would help. But that’s somewhere it accessible in my one of my twenty-something boxes of books. Oh, the books -- the last thing to organize: first I need shelves with glass doors, I guess I’m going to order them from the Swedish sweatshop, since I can’t find them anywhere else. But what happened to my energy? I mean, I was tired before, but not tired like this, tired in the way that everything feels draining, the end of the day comes and I’m just waiting to get in bed, my hands and feet are burning, what can I do not to notice? Suddenly the burning gets worse, in that way that means I have to yell, then grit my teeth, move away from the computer.

But wait -- I’ve written the contents of all my boxes on a list, glamorous list, and guess what? Books -- Health is box number two, relatively convenient under box number one which I can push so that it falls against the wall and then yes, I am actually able to locate the homeopathy books, search for rashes, apparently any rash coming from an internal cause and not contact is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, at least according to this book, which also says that eczema is a chronic condition and should be treated constitutionally, contact a homeopath. Well, I guess I did that.

Oh -- and they also say to avoid bathing too much, which I’m trying although it’s annoying not to shave, then my face starts to itch but not in the way my hands are burning, why did they get worse when I went back to the computer, maybe because it’s hotter and drier over here, time to go back to the kitchen table with the humidifier nearby, just got it yesterday and it says it lasts for 55 hours but then the one I put by my bed was off by the time I woke up, I mean out of water, maybe that one doesn’t really do anything because it’s right by the open window anyway, I’m not sure but ouch, my hands, I better move away.

Shadows, in the snow...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Burning

All these chirping birds, even in the freezing cold -- I keep wondering about these birds, how do they do it? It’s harder to take a walk at night when it’s 7 degrees out, but I guess today it’s 20, so that’s almost warm, right? Oh, my -- it’s treacherous out here. No one shovels the sidewalks, and only the big streets are plowed -- everything else goes back and forth between snow and ice, a little cement or asphalt here and there but what am I doing walking so far? I guess I wanted to get somewhere I hadn’t seen yet, here’s a cute park all snowed in, pine trees and benches and oh, there’s Alta Vista where the boy who wanted to be friends lives, I mean the boy who probably didn’t want to be friends and that’s why he said so, or maybe he wanted to be friends at that moment but the strange thing is that instead of fresh air I just smell the smoke from everyone’s chimneys, and then in the park it smells like cologne even though there aren’t any footprints at all, How could that be possible? And that’s when I realize oh no, it’s not just logs that are burning, but scented logs -- that’s why sometimes it smells like someone sprayed Glade on my windowsill

On the way back, I’m walking in the street because it isn’t as slippery, but also I have to be on the lookout for cars, walking faster and faster because I’m so far away, so exhausted it’s so cold that it doesn’t even feel like my mittens are working, somewhere I have a pair for hiking in the mountains or something but I never wear those because they’re huge although I should look for them for these nighttime walks, right? There’s my place up ahead, finally, and inside smells like everyone’s chimneys, maybe I should close my windows but it’s already in here but yes, at least my walk distracted me from the rash on my hands, a rash from the dryness or the cold I guess and I keep putting everything I can think of on it -- shea butter, fresh aloe right from the plant, aloe from a bottle, calendula salve, calendula in olive oil, some ayurvedic salve that smells too much like vetiver, too strong again, I mean the smell’s too strong, stopped that one, moisturizer, the aloe made it burn more, not just the calendula salve, no not the calendula salve the calendula in olive oil, but at least after my walk it’s not burning like before, maybe circulation is what I need, until I get in bed and start to warm up, and then my hands burn again.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A town of trucks

So many of us have terrible fathers, and we go back to them. So many of us have terrible mothers, and we stay with them. Tell me the difference. It’s New Year’s Day, and snow is blowing off the rooftops like glitter. I used to wonder about people who got up before noon on New Year’s Day. I used to wonder about people who got up before noon.

This is a town of trucks, and I wake up with so much pain in my gut. You know: pain. This is a town of trucks, and I don’t mean that in the way you think. I’m not talking about class, maybe not even masculinity, not right now, anyway. I’m talking about driving, gravel, ice, exhaust. This is a town of trucks, and the snow is blowing off the rooftops like glitter. It’s New Year’s Day, and I’m thinking about everyone I’ve lost. 7 degrees outside, but it’s so sunny. Why are there no postcards of the desert in winter?