There is always something wrong: the paper is too thin, the margins are too wide, the staple isn’t on the spine, the fold is uneven, the print quality isn’t sharp, the story is too bare, too detailed –
It’s never perfect in it’s imperfection either and every month I bite my lips and hold back tears and tell myself to send it anyway.
Because it’s all i want to do these days.
Knowing the recipients doesn’t change anything.
The stamp, the envelope, the mail is enough.
It’s better than the internet.
I can hold it and then
How could I ever forget? Art is the answer. When it is broken, the whole world, my heart and the only question is, “What have I done, what have I done-” art is the only answer.
I want to move toward it, the intricate, the simple, the beautiful even in the sad, especially there…in the destruction.
Dali and Gala.
Roark and Dominique.
Alex is right, I am less crazy when my world is breaking. Do I do this? Take apart seams, untie knots? There is no use thinking about what i do and don’t do. I focus on work. I focus on animals. I focus on poems.
“If we accept everything, nothing can hurt us”
There is nothing to be done.
In my notebooks I’ve said all my brilliant things, but in my head I repeat:
ADAPT. ADJUST. ACCOMMODATE.
BEAR INSULT. BEAR INJURY.
This morning I have sutra in my coffee.
I watch the puppies, I take the makeup off my eyes with thin cotton and they close.
I’ve been clapping my hands viciously to keep the quiet away. The noise comes with me (the funk) and it makes my eyes unsteady when I tilt my head back, swallowing sweet. I know this part so well; in my labyrinth it’s where I turn and walk back out, over the stone in the rundown part of town, with my cigarette and my black notebook and my bare feet. I throw my arms in the air.
That was eight years ago and it is the same now, the pattern. I spiral up I spiral down I twist to knot, I untie (my favorite place).
I love I lie I love I lie.
and always at the end, with my head bowed, I make noise to keep the truth away, i rage.
But if we accept everything, nothing can hurt us. Not your ego, or mine. not even that I feel I’m living the same memory over and over again. I open my hands to my place and everyone else’s, all action, reaction, games, all honesties, obligations commitments freedoms-
esse quam videri.
to be rather than to seem.
When I flirted with the bartender, the one I always flirted with, I did my research.
I went to the internet like any good side-fling and I looked at life outside the dim light
and I found his wife.
And she was covered in crystals – her hair was dotted with them. She had crystals on her toes, she held them between her teeth and explored them with her pink tongue.
And I backed away with my hands raised. That is a woman you can’t touch. That is a woman you wouldn’t know where to start with. She is standing in the bright light, she’s awake under the moon while I’m drinking bourbon in search of wedding rings. It didn’t matter how young I was or how tight my pants were or how well I’d mastered my eyeliner. She was doing sex magick while I was in doggy style.
I’ve touched that power in myself and there aren’t any more excuses. My body has grown them both and altered me and I’ve found my altar. My power is waiting for me to wrap up in it. I’m done asking for permission.
Now I grow it. I grow. I grow.
I’m waiting for the thunder from the porch. It called me outside in a deep rumble and I answered. I sit and wait and hear nothing and think of my father and hear nothing and look up at the light grey clouds disguising their power behind sweet white lace.
Then there’s a diagonal flash, not the cloud to ground strike, but a cloud to cloud, but low to the ground and I sit still, knowing its coming – waiting waiting, it’s been so long – ten minutes – it’s been five years. Then crack, grumble, deep in my stomach and from somewhere up high a branch blows free and falls and I think of my dad.
I think of the way all descriptions of the truth are like new-age poems about energy and ghosts. But it’s the truth that life is looking all of the time at things you can’t see, feeling your way through things you can’t name, with small bursts of bright.
It’s been 10 minutes again, and now five crows dance in the trees above me. They’re chasing a hawk that could kill them if he cared. He doesn’t care. He swoops through the trees and the thunder’s moved on too. That one diagonal flash was waiting only for me. We were looking for each other, waiting for the moment we’d both recognize the other, to burst free.
You can hear the ocean even from here, echoing down the alley like a train.
You can hear the waves curling over themselves and hitting the sand – I’m going to it.
My house in the city sits by a highway and if I cup my hands over my ears, it sounds like the ocean. I sit on the porch with my hands like two echoing conch shells, wishing I could see from where I came.
The night is perfectly clear and the beach is empty. No clouds, no people, just the waves and the wide dark ocean, lady moon and I.
She shines right down on my skin, she breathes into me, she is awake in the quiet. Pastel clams dig down into the dark sand under my feet.
I walk home down the rough road path – down past four teenage boys in a go-cart, in the dark. I brought back a smooth shell for my fingers to touch. I’ll use it to remember the moon like this – just me and her – and the ocean, sand, sky.
People don’t have enough examples of bearable things. Everyone around them is falling apart and acting like it’s a big deal. It’s a normal deal.
That’s what I thought when I found myself clutching my confused jumble of feelings again – how bearable. That’s what I thought when I found myself hanging on the lips of friday-night-poems with my eyes half closed – how bearable. That’s what I thought when he stabilized in a low and told me again how I’d just have to deal with it – bearable bipolar shit. Bearable.
It’s fucking fine to not be fine. It’s the normal deal. The breaking down around it, grasping at the clean world you thought existed and the fantasies you were sure were achievable if you could find the right person or craft the right life is all a result of being well-loved.
Your parents fuck up even when they don’t – and that’s bearable.
when i get the chance to touch you in the morning i’m overwhelmed by the distinct feel of whatever part of you I get.
a wrist, with its particular width.
fresh from dream and body relaxed, i want to hold it – cupped in my hands – and examine its hair follicles, its pigment, its shades.
i do not have a day (with its many responsibilities and tasks) in the way of seeing you. i do not have my physical discomfort, my mental chatter (my build up and up and up) in the way of loving your wrist
that blesses me with being there
when I wake up in the morning.
it starts when we open our eyes at
different times. we each have
a routine and it’s efficient.
my hand goes left over his right,
my head tilts down and his turns outside.
it moves each day. four arms to hold
two babies, he lets go and
i pick up.
there are clouds of smoke and
clouds of steam as we
smoke and cook and smoke
after lunch, sometimes we dare
glance at each other just to see if
we’re still awake.
are you here?
can you go on?
then evening where it gets
a little harder –
i chop onions until i no longer
he reads in barely light while we
listen to the children falling
down, down, down.
bathtubs, stories, milk, rocking chairs, but
oh it’s not over, no – even when their eyes are closed
we must then draw our own outlines around the
house like ants. back and forth,
in and out, again, again, again.
can you go on?