Monday, March 28, 2011

Daffodils

I wake up early even though I went to bed way later than usual, not necessarily a good sign but I kind of feel okay -- let me try a few things before I get up: a body scan, starting with the toes that I can never get quite right, up the legs to pelvis, there’s the bloating, burping but it doesn’t exactly hurt, arms, hugging the body pillow, chest, neck, yes I still think I feel awake. Let me sense into my breath, belly, the way my tongue goes in as I inhale, out as I exhale, I’ll try that technique where you press your tongue against the corner of your mouth when you inhale, let it go as you exhale, reversing the pattern, a technique to fall back asleep and yes my eyes go dark, I sink a little but then my head is awake again, doesn’t feel wired and desperate or wired and crazed, so today, I’ll get up.

Outside there’s a different experience of the light, filling my eyes so I almost can’t see what’s up ahead in one direction, so many birds even more than usual and then when I turn around there’s a whole different tableau, because my chair as a different angle I always face it right into the sun or right away, and before when I noticed the daffodils coming up in my garden I was kind of annoyed -- who ever heard of desert daffodils? Reminded me too much of the East Coast and childhood, but now I realize they’re kind of pretty, just two blooming for now and I guess there’s going to be a lot of blooming here, how is the pollen count already so high when nothing is blooming?

Okay, I feel myself crashing but I don’t fight it, go back inside and guess what? There’s a cancellation of the doctor’s office -- I can actually go in today, before Randy arrives from San Francisco, and figure out what the next step is for treating those glamorous parasites. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, daffodils are starting to bloom -- oh, and I actually had a hot hookup from craigslist last night, a nice surprise and that’s why I was up late, also because I kind of got wired from the party and that’s what led to craigslist, thought it was a dead end like usual but no, a cute guy who likes my apartment and at the end we even end up talking about Joanne and Chrissie, he notices the pictures in the front of my apartment and so I tell him about my dead friends, he asks about Make/shift too because the new issue is on the table and he wants to know if I’ve heard about Butch magazine, is that what it’s called?

Butch -- no, I don’t think I’ve heard of it. Oh, wait -- you mean Bitch, right?

And then today I wake up early but not too drained yet, I’ll get ready for the doctor’s office and hope that the medication doesn’t poison me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yes, I do believe it was this cat, this cute cute (and smart) cat telling us STOP SUSANA (the governor, that is)



Residue

Wait, what happened -- could this be possible? I went to a party, got home and I actually had energy-- now it’s starting to fade, but for about an hour I was wired, of course started to cruise craigslist, kind of ironic because I was talking with Aaron at the party about how craigslist never leads anywhere -- well, now here I am, experiencing the inevitable firsthand.

But still -- I left with energy, that’s pretty impressive. I was starting to get worried because I left my coat in the car and the car was elsewhere, I needed to leave because inside there was pot smoke or pot smoke residue from the smoking in one room, outside cigarettes and the grill, I was worried I was there for too long, body starting to ache and then of course the worries about a possible headache soon, but just then Von arrived and we fled, or I fled and he gave me a ride, now here comes the back pain but I’m going to lie on the floor and listen to a feldenkrais CD, okay? Let’s go for okay -- even the bloating doesn’t seem terrible right now, although of course there’s still time -- soon I’ll be taking some kind of medication for parasites, hope it helps. And, Randy arrives tomorrow for a one-week visit, yay for a one-week visit -- we’re renting a car, and I’m sure some glamorous adventures will ensue -- I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Balance uneasy

In order to write about this piece of art, I need to tell you about the kitchen. The kitchen was where we argued the most. No, that’s not true -- we argued everywhere. What made the kitchen special? Maybe because it’s where we had our family dinners, Wednesdays and Sundays, we sat together so that made us argue more. On Sundays we would watch Murder She Wrote, or if that was a repeat then we would switch to -- what was it called? You know: the hour-long news show, why can’t I remember?

I remember the tension -- I remember anger and anxiety and hopelessness and disgust and sadness and loneliness and nervousness and helplessness and exhaustion and battles over how much I was going to eat, this was when I was anorexic and I remember deciding I would do my own dishes, my mother shouldn’t have to do them, I remember watching my father crinkle up his greasy napkins and put them on my placemat, I remember throwing a whole chicken into the trash, I remember my sister screaming that she was going to chop my parents up and put them in the frying pan, I remember Angela Lansbury’s expression on the TV, I remember running from the room to lock the door of my bedroom as my father pounded come back in here. I remember my mother licking her fingers after digging them into the grease of the mini-grill and of course I remember my father screaming at anyone, everyone, trying not to feel, everyone screaming, trying not to feel, everyone. I remember the kitchen table, round and white with a Jetsons-style round base, something from my grandmother, made bya famous designer, I remember the placemats, pliable plastic mesh in bright colors, rounded on the outside, also from my grandmother. I remember the kitchen cabinets, an aged mustard yellow, copper handles that I chose when we needed a replacement, I remember the cookies that I would eat much later, in the middle of the night when I was craving sugar, and then I would have to throw the cookies in the trash so I wouldn’t eat more, but then I would pull them out so I had to soak them in water and then once I smoked I would add cigarette ashes, just to make sure.

I remember the tension between my parents, the tension between my parents and me, the tension between me and my sister, the tension between my sister and my parents, the tension between my father and everyone else, I remember the knotted pine walls on the side of the kitchen across from the cabinets, and I remember the art, two small watercolors of dancers, another gift from my grandmother the artist, and a larger piece, that’s the one I want to tell you about, it says I love you.

But it also says -- BALANCE UNEASY. Just below I love you. That’s the key. That’s what made me want it, knowing the uneasy, wanting the balance, even now I can say: finding it so rarely. And so, when my father died and my mother moved into a smaller and fancier place, a condo downtown in a recently gentrified neighborhood, and she asked if I wanted anything in particular, I asked for that art piece. I knew she would give it to me because it was damaged, something about how they framed it wrong and maybe the paper even ripped. It took her four years to send it, but now I have it here: I love you BALANCE UNEASY -- lopsided letters printed on thick textured paper, and a quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, a book I loved as a kid but probably I remember it most from the quote in this piece of art, a quote handwritten in a rounded green section on the side:
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.

Before I was thinking about this quote in the context of the rest of the piece, mostly as a challenge to realness even while invoking it. That’s one of the things I love about it -- it seems simple, but it’s not. I mean it is simple visually -- text in something of a pop art style, a few printmaking tricks. But so much in the layering of the words and the image of the text.

But I hadn’t read that quote in a while, years I guess, and now I also see the places where I related as a trapped child. I mean I feel those places. That’s what it means to have this piece here in my house -- feeling the complications of my own history, not just that terrible kitchen of my childhood but the failures of my dreams so recently and the potential, still, of an uneasy balance.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Watch out -- it's the first blurb for Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots!!!

This book plumbs the most important question facing queers in the 21st century: how the hell did we go from forming a crucial part of the '60s “lib” rainbow, and from mastering, refining, and successfully deploying nonviolent resistance with ACT UP, only to end up creating for ourselves a world of martial and marital law every bit as sterile, constricting, and amoral as the world we once fled like the plague? I'm very grateful that this brave book exists to help us figure out how to return to liberation.
--Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men



(The book will be out just in time for Valentine's Day 2012)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blowing in

What am I’m doing walking too far on a day when I already feel so awful? I’m trying to get to the office of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, so I start by walking down unpaved alley that becomes nothing but dirt and weeds at the end, beautiful except I’m on edge, waiting for the barking dogs -- luckily no barking, then I’m in the parking lot of a strip mall with CVS, why are there always so many cars here? Approaching the mailbox place -- oh, that’s probably the office, just the mailbox. But no -- a bit further, all the way to the end of Cordova I guess, literally the last building -- there’s the street address: vacant.

Oh well -- of course I could have called first, but I was fantasizing about meeting someone really engaged in the office, asking all my questions and finding answers, simulation, new books to read. Now I’m on St. Francis, the ugliest and busiest street in Santa Fe, at least this part, trying to go behind the rare bird shop but no, the parking lot just loops around, through the back of McDonald’s and oh no, it’s fenced in -- no, wait -- I can get through over there. Okay good -- back to my usual back roads, there’s someone walking four dogs from Santa Fe Tails, you can tell when they keep the same breeds and sizes together, these dogs don’t bark, they’re trained.

The wind is blowing everywhere and today the humidity is 7%, I looked before I left the house. Yes, it does feel dry. Too dry, and my head is aching, yes the pollen count is 11.3 out of a total possibility of 12, wow, that’s way up, I can definitely feel it. I look up at the sky and the clouds look strange, not like the use puffy things here, just a stream of white, all in one direction and I can’t help thinking about the radiation from Japan, blowing in.

Friday, March 18, 2011

So much to figure out

Well I’m on my way to the office of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, just to see what they’re up to -- I want to find out more about the history of anti-nuclear direct action in Santa Fe, which seems to have disappeared. And, more information about all the risks from Los Alamos, the risks from the unfolding catastrophe in Japan, the risks from the ground and the groundwater here. I guess I should’ve called first, to make sure it’s actually an office that you can go to, but I wanted to go on an early walk, so here I am, worried that I’m getting sunburnt because I didn’t feel like wearing a hat-- it’s only in the 50s, and only partially sunny, so I thought I would risk it. Feels fine until the sun comes out strong and then I get to Cordova and see that this block is only number 200, I have to get to 559 so I turn down the street without a sidewalk, walking on the shoulder towards the mountains, no numbers until I’m almost at the next corner and I see 111 -- oh, no -- it’s the other way. Not enough energy to get there and back home today, that’ll have to wait for next week.

The succulent that grows everywhere -- yards and cracks in the sidewalk even -- the one I want to plant in front of my house because it grows even through the winter, I keep studying it to see if it will pull up by the roots, probably need a shovel but I’ll try you little pieces just to see. Yellow flowers blending with the green now -- at home I study my face in the mirror, no sunburn. Just a hint of color -- what a relief. Can’t tell if that’s dry skin on the sides of my eyes or if my tears from the wind dry out and it’s just salt -- so much to figure out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Again

Oh, no -- why am I so wired, as soon as I get in bed? I guess it started before, but it was a nice feeling, like I was finally feeling energetic, calling people up and leaving long messages, trying to fit everything in. Then I thought I was tired too -- I mean I was tired, but now I’m wired.

Which is nowhere near as bad as the later, lying in bed planning an editorial about the demise of Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco, and then when that fades I’m planning something else, what was it? I can’t remember now, fatigue closing off my head, but I know that after that something else, there was something else, and then eventually I fell asleep, woke up at the normal time, which I guess is now an hour later, because of the time change, and then when I got up I had the most horrible abdominal cramps that I’ve felt in a while, walking around to try to help, but nothing was helping. Pain all the way back into my sides, even once I started eating. The only thing that helped was lying down on the floor and doing some feldenkrais movements for my jaw, that released my intestines I guess, then I went on a walk to St. Vincent de Paul, where I got some postcards and envelopes -- 50 cents total, that put me in a good mood and then on the way back I was actually smiling, in spite of the wind that blows my hat all over the place, I have to keep pulling it down so that it doesn’t blow away, the wind that dries out my sinuses, oh no, and then I’m back at home with this abdominal pain again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Comfort

I see him coming down the street, or I see someone coming down the street so I assume it’s him and I turn away from the window, press play on the music, get some water and yes, there’s a knock, I open the door and before I get a chance to close it we’re already making out, that moment when you dive towards what’s possible just to make sure it’s still possible, and I say I guess I should close the door. He’s this type of fag that I certainly don’t see anywhere in Santa Fe and he actually lives just down the street, where does he hide out? Curly red hair arranged in some sort of ‘80s hybrid, the oversized scenester eyeglasses, faded gray skinny jeans, maybe in the past I’d be embarrassed of my attraction to someone so trendy but the past is the past and we’re making out, cigarette breath that’s okay I’m just thinking yes, because you know how this kind of sex can sometimes I mean usually be so distant there’s no possibility of kissing or if there is kissing then it only goes in one direction. And here we are pulling off each other’s clothes, first my hands under his jacket through maybe a sleeveless shirt to the surprise of skin then his cute skinny body pale pale skin with a tattoo of words on the left and hips and the smell that means he doesn’t shower all the time, not always my favorite smell but yes, this is the kind of sex that feels like sex, a discovery, there’s even that moment when I’m not hard because I’m feeling something away from there, nerves I guess and then there’s the sucking, no more nerves, we’re going back and forth I can tell because neither of us wants to come yet. But he keeps going for it so eventually I’m there, hands all over his head, hair grease, pushing back then pulling forward holding him right there yes there and he’s choking then pulling back to jerk off, I say no -- come all over me -- and there his face in that contorted place between forward and back, the stickiness and then I motion with my fingers for his lips to mine.

Turns out he’s from Santa Fe, grew up just a few blocks away but he doesn’t live here anymore, his father had a heart attack and he came back to help take care of him. Now he lives in Olympia, but he just moved there around when I moved here -- guess where he was living for the last 6 ½ years? That’s right -- San Francisco. I say I don’t think we ever met, did we? He says no, where did you hang out?

He wants to know why I moved here, how I’m liking it. I say it’s hard to find fags around here, especially queer fags, I wonder if he has any advice but he says he has no idea. Olympia has that same problem -- I’m sure. Then he has to rush back for dinner, but there’s something in this exchange of immediate comfort, both of us queeny and queer and not hiding it, holding it, holding each other and now, time for something to eat.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

As the light is softening

I guess I go back and forth between thinking it’s incredible to be here and thinking how the hell am I going to last here for much longer? I don’t know what to do with the contradiction exactly, except to find more excitement here. I think the most alienating thing is feeling so separate from a sex life, any kind of sex life, or any kind of life with other fags who I can talk to really -- I mean I’m excited about several new friendships, but no one seems to know any fags at all, aside from cursory acquaintance level. I mean, I talk to the fags at the antique shop, and even made friends with two fags who were shopping at a thrift store one day, but then one of them called and oh my, that conversation. I mean it wasn’t a conversation. There was no hope for it to become one, even.

But then I get so tired I can’t even think -- that’s the biggest problem, really -- a familiar problem, right? Since I’ve already listened to a feldenkrais cd and I just finished the book I was reading, and I listened to almost 3 hours of news coverage on the horrible nuclear catastrophe in Japan, I guess it’s time for a walk yes a walk as the light is softening, my favorite time, let’s go.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dreams, sleep, rest

Oh, right -- I shouldn’t have gotten up at that moment to turn off the air purifier because it dries me out if I leave it on when I go to bed, turn off the air purifier and open the door to get more air, just a few moments that took and I kept the eye mask on, but then sure enough as soon as I got in bed I was wired, mind racing further into the conversation that started earlier, talking about our formative years, in this case up until 18, to get to know one another better. So then in bed I’m trying to finish the conversation, every little detail, racing in all directions and trying to stop, which never helps I guess, no maybe eventually it helps because then I fell into deep deep dreams that of course I can’t remember now thinking yes, how deep, yes more of these dreams, sleep, rest, and then I guess today was kind of okay, I kind of okay until now, now just a headache face wanting to fall forward eyes drifting maybe this will be okay, okay for getting used to the time change at least, maybe I’ll go to bed earlier and rest yes rest, we shall see.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sitting in exhaustion

Here I am, sitting in exhaustion, trying to do something, anything, or nothing, and then I realized maybe I can go sit outside in the sun, even though the sun is down in my driveway/yard it’s still out on the sidewalk, I’ll drag one of the chairs over there. Oh okay, this is beautiful, bare feet on the sidewalk, sun hat protecting, I can’t even see the looks on the faces of the people who pass, mostly in cars, oh no car exhaust, sometimes on foot.

So then I get a little bit of energy, sun lifting it into my body and I meditate on the light hitting asphalt, cracks in the road, ants crawling on the sidewalk, weeds, something like childhood the memories of these things. But then almost as soon as the energy starts I start to crash again, trying to bring it back but there’s dry wind too dry this dryness, suddenly sun feels overwhelming but I don’t want to move until I feel a little bit better, it’s after 4 pm and only 60° in March so I know I’m not getting burnt. Eventually I give up, too much wind, I go back inside.

I guess that was one of the things about Albuquerque: no wind. Everything felt still and framed, somehow my allergies weren’t as bad it felt calmer there in a way, the weather not as extreme. The neighborhood that’s supposed to be gay just another postcard of LA, falling into decay as soon as you leave the main streets but on those main streets straight and white and normal and boring, maybe the gay part is the part where the glistening ends, the opposite of in most places and I didn’t really get a chance to explore that much, crossing the big ugly street in the hot sun, back in forth to look for what I didn’t find. West of downtown seemed more interesting although mostly abandoned and I was only there briefly, discovering the books and music store that Justin recommended and I loved, it’s mostly when I asked if they had a bathroom, he said sorry, not a functioning bathroom, and I asked what about a functioning alley, yes, rushed outside and then back to look at the books for a moment before catching the bus back to the train.

And yes, I did like that bus, the #66, I took it four times -- always it was crowded but there was a seat, it came frequently, that was my urban fix I guess and then when I got back to Santa Fe I couldn’t figure out what I was doing in Albuquerque, it just seemed so strange to be there, wandering around although why exactly, strange to be back too although I did notice the dramatic shift in the air, oh this incredible air when it’s not choking with car exhaust or fireplace fumes or allergies -- soft and clearing and then when I got into my apartment I thought oh, this is incredible, I love this, but here I am again loving my apartment and I’m not sure about the rest.

A trip to Albuquerque...