i began to feel that home was not a place.
home was wherever my love was.
for a brief time, home was a person.
i want to say that the home i have now
is just as good.
i began to feel that home was not a place.
home was wherever my love was.
for a brief time, home was a person.
i want to say that the home i have now
is just as good.
i’m drinking a tangerine Italian soda at 11:20 at night. the apartment is messier than usual. it doesn’t matter. there’s no good enough reason to be motivated to mind. it’s been one of those days. it’s gloomy out. nothing better to do than create things. supplies scattered around everywhere. computers. books. papers. i live here. fully live here. nobody is in my way. but i kind of wish there was.
there are those who would have you believe that doing this sort of thing makes you selfish. selfish to spend so much time on art, like you’re so important. selfish to write about yourself. no, selfish to not be writing about somebody else. talking about somebody else. existing as if you value everything else more so than what is inside you.
as if every other activity out there isn’t selfish. as if watching tv isn’t selfish. the person who assigns worth to something is yourself. the person who decides something isn’t worthy is you. but it feels like it’s everyone else who decides. decides that their meaningless and half-assed pursuits are somehow okay but yours isn’t.
am i supposed to just let the ideas die? what happened to the life of the mind. i literally have nothing better to do. i could make more money and work myself to death but i already have one job and i like it. i just don’t watch tv. i don’t want to. it’s boring. there i said it. it’s fucking boring. except when there’s company. when there’s company, it’s entertaining and enjoyable. that’s how i feel about it. maybe if i really loved alone time with my tv, i’d be too busy for art. it’s practically sacrilegious to say that out loud. i wouldn’t want tv gone forever. it’s just not what every person who exists on this planet is here to do with their time.
making art is not selfish and self-centered just by default. art is for others. as much as for the self, maybe more so. art is made with audience in mind. with communication in mind, however abstract. i use myself but i am not writing to me. I am writing to them. i am writing to you. i am writing for you. when i write, it is you i am thinking of. art is made because humanity desires it. humanity needs it. but i fail. like anyone i fail. so i keep doing it. i show up to fail. i hope the next time i will get it right. it takes a lifetime. but that’s okay. art is made to make the world a better place. a richer, more beautiful and more honest place. imagine a world entirely devoid of art. seriously.
you can be a megalomanic doing any sort of occupation in life. not just art. look at the world’s wealthiest people and how we admire them and excuse their flaws. and then look at poets. it’s really fucking hard to be an egotistical poet. maybe for a short time but it wouldn’t be sustainable. poetry is humbling. nobody fucking cares at least in real life. “nobody” as in, society at large. in most cases it doesn’t pay because the world does not respect you enough to think that you deserve it. it’s even harder to please a crowd than in music, or visual art also. but these are all tricky occupations. you do it because you want to and you feel it is needed. you need it. others need it too and you know it. even if it doesn’t always seem like it, others need it.
you show up as your inadequate self. you may never quite match that pre-filled idea that someone else hopes, and you are passed up for better investments. you are rejected over and over, and in so many nuanced ways. and you show up.
you know that the rest sucks even more. the alternative fucking sucks. so you get up and you start again.
–Thoughts from October. I dig up this saved draft I’d hesitated to share but now it’s wrapping its arms around a sleepless night and my travel bug, that escapist impulse to jump in a car, on a plane, a train, a boat, anything–
All that really needs to escape is that toxic tendency toward self-censorship.
Writing is still elusive. Writing is hard, unforgiving in a way at times. Writing involves so much organization, I often can’t even handle it without also making visual art. Words have felt like pressure cookers, images like rivers. Images like relief.
It’s said that words, language, are limited and inadequate – but which mode of expression isn’t?
Images aren’t enough either, as enamored as we are of them. There’s things that pictures just can’t do, can’t show the same way. Pictures can not take the place of words. So then it’s the writing that happens by surprise in the midst of creating art. Writing is the relief. Out of a sudden desperation, exasperation that can’t be expressed immediately enough without switching mediums, turning to words.
Images and words have never been separate to me. Two sides of the same coin.
There’s the times none of it seems to satisfy – images, words, whatever. The moment’s raw and the only thing to do is keep going. With the current project, with any project. Whatever’s in front of you. The medium hardly makes much of a difference. It might make you feel better, or just more like crap but you don’t stop. I feel strangely serene now in the face of intensity when it’s there. Its presence doesn’t scare me as it once did. As if my brain partitioned into two coexisting sides of reality, dark and peaceful.
When the inspiration gets intense, weird, dark, I imagine some of the reactions and opinions those pieces could incite. Oh well.
Mixing beige paint in my room and laying it over black I contemplate my favorite person to be with. Wanting this man is futile. Will you leave once again and call me months from now, and what will I say then? No more? I love you?
Even the worst of you could not make me cold for long. An inescapable fact, love. I want out of here, too, restless. It’s the middle of the night.
I toss this whole situation into question. My job, my expensive life here in Oakland. What am I doing? This art. These photographs. This writing. How much could I sacrifice to be able to do this all the time, nothing but this for as long as it takes? Almost everything, I’m thinking.
What if I just said, everything? What would everything look like?
Let me whisper. Let me bring these words to you, let them turn yellow then purple like light diffusing through polluted air. In a sound of voice I long to hear and embrace floats near me. Connect these words in us through this space, not by chains of past offenses identity crises and grievances. Let them feel comforting and welcomed, not as wounds, feel like birds at dawn singing through cold air or a bell tower carillon drop notes over chaotic streets on the way home from work in the evening. Let these words mean nothing, let them be nothing, let them exist for no indisputable purpose or explicit reason, yet not be treated as meaningless. Let them not be crowded out with opinions, nor create such crowds. What makes such opinions more meaningful?
What if I have no history anymore. What if I claim nothing. These words have tongue in them, lips, lungs, I want for them to not be pushed to sting. Let me kiss with them. Let me exist with you as if there were nobody else before us, and nobody to jump down our throats after. I have slept with these words when hungry, when lonely, now let these words take company. Let these words be a place to land, not just a springboard to and from troubles, not as an opiate either but a place to be fearlessly awake together. Let these words be a world that’s not too smart for romance. Enough views crowd us one after another, it’s blinding. If we come from nowhere beyond this moment, if only by sound we could touch these screens delicate as paper, what if.
Your voice alone is wonderful to me. Carillon notes blending and separating over rivers inside sending little messages barely heard, grow more resonant. I long to hear beauty instead of these arguments. Then these words will not chase you down, will not hunt you. For truly I long for you and for no opinion. I long to hear words exist less for the purpose of proofs, divisions, violence, information. Thus let their intelligence here stake no claim. Let these words be unimportant yet significant. Be available and abundant. Let them be valuable.
Yes I admit searching for your face in crowds afraid of what I’d see. You came in closed the door leaned your bike against the armoire put your keys and wallet down on the dresser and stay
ed. We listened to the same musical refrain over and over after the film credits stop
ed since you made it last
er than needed that evening, years
your presence melts resentments and smile fades priorities then there’s only innocence in us. I’ve felt long
ing and awe and dread since childhood toward everything in life and everyone I’ve loved. This is why poetry picked me without asking. I’d eventually tell the truth, sometimes incredibly pained and sometimes without flinching in a way that served an art. I was less than eight when I knew I was alone. I see her walking slow
in memory, eyes locked down at the ground watching feet move mechanically, but once she stop
es to stare at a glow. Strange. A mesmerizing purple hue around a shadow, circling the contour of the dark form in the sidewalk – was this some prophecy for today? Six brothers and sisters new lives pop in and out of dreams like a vague connective tissue. Purple orchids sit in the windowsill wait
ing for water don’t need too much attention, bookshelves crammed with ideas and lyrics and pictures don’t make this old, maybe ancient ache better when it visits, or easier the exceptional courageousness it takes to care. Beyond the selfish, superficial, convenient or practical no bar, text box, or website brought us together. You said you noticed I always look at the poem during critique instead of up at the group, you stay
ed long enough to get to know me a little but not very deep. My most entitled and arrogant phase featured this loss although I couldn’t explain how much loneliness this arose from and alienation. I still can’t keep up with demands in all directions by myself but who really can or how long
can we pretend. Later on we leave after a short time. Except in rare circumstances when we see differently those places in them that we fear. And those elements in us embracing those who just don’t want to know, and those who do, and we take all of that. All of it. A fantasy is not a knowing. A knowing says, this does not have to be so exciting. A languishing calls in all of us. Saying stop
by, hang out we are just talking. It is not about being so impressed, it is beyond bodies, and we are not rushing out of here either. We are not on our way home because there’s nowhere really to be, nowhere like here at least because why not with you, why not here making something, building something beyond our outfit and our face and our credentials? I am dreaming now. But this is the future of our yearnings. Why not the freedom in doing nothing also, to stretch out in the grass for hours or lounge on the patio quietly, why not cooking and talking late into the night, where are these people?
Those who don’t mind the time?
This does not have to be so exciting it just has to be true. I want to go find them and set down my keys on the table, turn off the internet and TV, to tell me their stories or notice the majestic shape of a tree reach in every direction for the sun to form such pleasing angles, am I crazy? I am angry because there’s no antidote to the recklessness of others. To the tyranny of business, being busy and making things happen. There’s no pathology in craving more significance to our company — is it so dangerous to desire this today, feigning instead to resist real feeling as a means of self-improvement? I have feel
ings. That need not be cute or palatable. Take no hallucination of ideals, that aesthetic is so tired. The end is coming soon, dears. Come by my love because fifty thousand options, fifty million options are not you, because fifty billion other options are still not who you are and because it does not matter about tomorrow, even now doesn’t matter because there’s nothing to do. In truth, there is real
Drink tea with me, no pool, no bar, no fancy food, no nice clothes, no entertainment. I’m up the mountain pass now sipping the tea, bundled in wool, iron and wood and smoke billowing from fires in the freezing cold, there is no service here, and everything is free. I long for you here but will find somebody to come with me, somebody along the way who wonders what it would be like to set their keys down anywhere, anywhere, and love those you find. I create no words, no art to sell truly, I make piece after piece for those I hold and a place for us to exist in is all the same affair I work for, beyond the obvious yet not beyond those held in the middle of the darkness because the only thing we have that’s free in this world is each other and we know it. This is why poetry is not endangered. Is this not the belief anymore, here – what happened? Nothing is just only ours. Everything is for each other. This is one truth of mine among many. I wish it weren’t so sometimes. I’d like to need no one, but this contemporary promise is a false idol of sorts. I unpeel bananas
in the kitchen for breakfast, oranges
in the afternoon and adore them in solitude. I don’t really adore french fries, though they taste good — body is treated like this too. It matters how you see
things, when we unpeel and also when we don’t. I’m still being with them, still in love irresponsibly on paper and on screens and whatever and it’s great. For us cyc
ling colors through bay windows, stay
ing up all night. I come here to write for tears of long
ing to watch icy blue rivers in us melt
from ancient glaciers — they need a job. In this moment as with most that matter nobody knows this about me and it’s okay. I am the same as everyone. You who recognize this thing.
You, taking heart
I wake up to recognize my room, my bed, myself. The ceiling, the highboy with drawers still open, piles of stuff everywhere for lack of time and energy per high season at work. Nobody to judge me for this mess, I’ll let it wait for a day off. My body feels good moving and stretching from biking and lifting two days ago.
Something inside me wants to cry, terribly, but I don’t even feel like going there. I’d better get to the cafe early, not worry about how I look, what I’m wearing. Just get a cup of coffee. When I get there I’ll feel. I know I need to write. To put the feeling into action.
I lie in bed a bit longer not wanting to get up and face the day. I miss you, I miss you. Do I? I don’t know. I want you. Do I? I’m so lonely. I think about my brothers who seem to have each other. My other siblings too, who also share both their same parents.
I probably think of you almost every day, but don’t call because why would I do that to myself. When was the last time I saw my friends?
I think about my job and everything I’ve been putting into it, get a text message and lately it’s like I can’t do anything right there.
I want to get on the bike later but accept that my body’s maxed out today.
I get up and walk to the bathroom. In the mirror my eyes look tired from the six nights a week racing around work. Yet still bright from all the exercise and the sun during the days. I’m hungry, starving yet can’t imagine what I’d be willing to stomach this morning.
I could handle holding you in bed, I could even imagine sitting in your lap and kissing you, but then I might have to be somebody for you, somebody you want.
I think about my writing and how much I want it. I think about how afraid I am to do it. I think about the pictures I want to make this winter. The photographs and the mosaics and the painted collages. The clothes I want to learn to sew for myself sometime, done with feeling frustrated at my own shape instead of at average sizing.
I think about the seagulls I want to watch at the beach.
The languages I want to study.
Of all the things I’ve hoped for myself, I rarely think anymore about actually putting in effort to seek a partner. What I’ve got left in me to give, I don’t want anything to ruin it. Not another judgment, not another comparison, no disappointments.
I will no longer need to be anybody else’s dream. Nobody will need me to be larger than they feel in order for them to love me. Nobody will expect me to walk on their stage either. Nobody will fit me in or drop me at their convenience.
Today I will just be a random woman at the cafe drinking coffee. I am small and I like it. I want to want myself more than I want anybody else to, anyway. I lie to myself but this lie is like medicine.
It’s okay for me to have some tears under my sunglasses feeling lonely, missing you, and others who came and went. I choose it. I choose this.
It’s really been this way since childhood; I just never believed it was all that significant. I didn’t want to include it, didn’t even want to know. I didn’t have to. I was in my twenties and I got all the love I wanted. Love was desire.
All the love I believed I wanted. My mind wanders into its broken second language that I can write but barely speak which sometimes feels like a safer, more comforting place to be. Chaque nuit je rêve seule, chaque matin je me lève seule. Sans personne, je me sens presque comme une étrangère tous les jours.
Le désir, il vaux mieux l’éviter. Il m’a faite sentir si invisible.
I lie to myself but this lie is like medicine.