Whatever falls is a thing descending. But
descent doesn’t have to mean to fall. About nostalgia, I am
still against it. By morning, there was no evidence
of what had happened between us, or
not happened. How everything depends. The sound of bees
beginning to stir a last time all over again
in the walls of a house left wintering. A little
wind through the pines in stereo, making the limbs
stiffly rise, like memorials, for
those who choose to remember what’s over in that
particular way, though I’ve never chosen it, and
do not now. My requirements, they’re
what they’ve always been: a name I can use when riding
shotgun; then there’s my secret name. I’m not the man I knew.
And now the rain in soft strokes coming down,
seeming to whisper of deaths that
weren’t that heavenly after all, of lives cracked
open first, gutted — some of us fuck and call it
making love, for some it’s the other way round — then
cast aside. You could do worse, and probably will,
he says to me, I say to him, he says, and
I say back. Even if the skitter of leaves in autumn
can be called proverbial — if I’m not,
for example, the man I knew — it is no less real,
any of it. Otherwise, what history have I got, with
which to shadow us in context, lost
ponies in a storm that’s blinding, blinding. It blinds us both.
I keep waiting for change,
as opposed to the sign for change where it’s occurred
already and I’m again too late. I keep
pretending it makes no difference when the moon
goes that do-what-you-must shade of red that there’s
no real name for. As for how it feels, or
can sometimes: like a life, like like
itself, descending — sand cherry, chestnut, river birch,
dogwood, pear… All night, I ride shotgun side
by side with the ghost I call failure, for whom gesture, if
not entirely the one language left, is the only one
he still trusts, though there are times,
even now, I forget this: he takes my hand, and I hold it —
tight. And I turn my face away.
Stumbling by moonlight upon your shadow self — that
man you knew, or thought you did — see if he
stirs, first. Is he dead, or close to? If so, you could do
worse than to stroke him as you would the brow
of a broken pony, brushing away the flies that
you choose to call, instead, bees as they ascend and hover
slightly above the open wound, its
red business… Why should your requirements change
from what they’ve always been? Stay as blind as
ever to the particular form of failure that is
still nostalgia. Turn his face away. Let memory be
the only piece of evidence that you hold on to. Not leaves,
but — what is no less real — the ghosts of leaves. Do
what you must, but softly, soft as rain just beginning to turn to snow
at the cusp of winter. — Don’t worry. This too is love.
Oct. 16 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY (7:45 PM - All Things Go CMJ CMJ showcase) Oct. 17 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY (10 PM - Windish CMJ showcase) Nov. 11 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY (w/ Anna Calvi)
It may be OK, soon, for a woman to marry a woman and a man to marry a man everywhere in the United States. But it’s not even close to being OK for a boy to like Barbies and sparkly pink dresses or to swish when he grows up—or for a girl to be so masculine that people nearly do a double take trying to figure out which sex she fits. It’s not OK, yet, for someone apparently born male to grow into womanhood, or for someone who started life considered female to make it clear he’s a man. As for the rest of us, we are still, far more than we understand, herded unnecessarily by our sex—by the stereotypes associated with how a woman or a man should act.
It needn’t be this way. And if we as a country make the right legal, cultural, political, and educational decisions in the years to come—if we are willing to listen to, and learn from, those on the gender margins—we can make more room for us all.
This is a long read, but a great one, about why there’s more to LGBT rights than marriage equality. I love when mainstream publications take the time to really delve into issues of gender and expression like this one did. What do you all think? Trans* and gender nonconforming friends, especially looking at you.
If walking, like wine, only abets a sad mood
let’s try it, I said, and I did:
over these hills that have never known sorrow
no thoughtful moon passes. Dig until a hill is level, and unearth
only earth. Take pride in knowing the chemical makeup
of rain, the sum total of harmful vapors in any sunset.
For if you must drag in the old lines
about suicidal willows, star’s stacked for or against you,
you clutter a limitless, soaring landscape
with your own baggage. Night of love,
day of omens of night, great mountain
of realized hopes, valley where bitter winds
blow the dispossessed into raving lunatics—
what are they but shady projections
of passing whims, vastly oversimplified versions
of something infinitely greater? This vision before you
is nothing but a triad of trees, hills, river,
steadfast and eternal. But soon you start to feel restless
and when, setting out to take a roll of photos,
you note the disturbing absence of a road,
your suavity crumbles: you deafen the sky
and serenade the moon, fall prostrate before pines
saying oh, come back, spirit of the place which,
lifeless without you, blossoms into something
sumptuously more than mediating madness;
come back, massive oaks that await our coming;
to carve initials is to be truly human;
the days are dappled with our passions,
the mountains rise and fall with our glories and follies.
n. the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.
“My ears hear what others cannot hear, small faraway things people cannot normally see are visible to me. These senses are the fruits of a lifetime of longing, longing to be rescued, to be completed. Just as the skirt needs the wind to billow, I am not formed by things that are of myself alone. I wear my father’s belt tied around my mother’s blouse and shoes which are from my uncle, this is me. Just as a flower does not choose its color, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. Only once you realize this do you become free, and to become adult is to become free.”—Stoker
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
It’s not paradise I’m looking for
but the naming I hardly gave a thought to.
Call it the gift I carried in my loneliness
among the animals before I started
listening to the news. Call it the hint
I had about the knowledge that would explode.
In the meantime, which is real time
plus the past, you’re swishing your skirt
and speaking French, which is more
than I can take, which I marvel at
like a boy from the most distant seat
in the Kronos Dome, where I am one
of so many now I see the point
of falling off. There’s not enough seats
for us all to attend the eschaton.
This ecstasy that plants beauty
on my tongue, so that if it were
a wing, I’d be flying with the quickness
of a hummingbird and grace of a heron,
is so much mercy in light of the darkness
that comes. Who would say consolation?
Who would say dross? Not that anyone
would blame them. All night I hear
so many echoes in the forest I’m tempted
to look back, to save myself in hindsight,
where all I see is the absence of me.
Where all I hear is your voice,
which couldn’t be more strange.
How to go on walking hand in hand
without our bodies on the path
we made for our feet, talking, talking?
don’t buy that “love is a serious word” crap, love freely, love carelessly, love yourself, love that lady bird that just flew past, love that cutie that served you lunch at a cafe that you’ll probably never see again, love every single cat you see and when you stop loving someone or something, don’t fight it. i don’t know what love is but i know it’s not serious.
The day my body caught fire
the woodland darkened. The horizon
was a sea of maids, rushing to piece me
back into a girl. Out of the girl came yellow
flowers, came stem & sepal.
You never happened, they said.
The meadow was a narration of lessness.
Inside the corral, horses fell
from the impact of lightning. They broke
down. I heard gunshots in my sleep.
I was a keeper of breath,
of hay. I walked a field, collecting bones.
You can build a house out of bones.
You can stand at the doorway
quarrelling with your legs to enter
or run until you turn to ash.
It was dark this morning when I woke up. Usually my dog is the one who nudges in and says let’s go the world is waiting, but this morning I was the one whispering come on, time for a walk. I love watching the sun come up on the days that are mine and the bedroom upstairs was too warm and stuffy anyway. I had tried opening the window and even though the air outside was cooler, it refused to come in and play nicely with the warm air, so I went out to meet it along with the sun and the birds and all of the other glorious morning goodness. The next street over from mine has a name but I don’t know what it is. That street also has many feral cats lording over it. Every now and then one of the cats succumbs to what must be its nature and dies, right there wherever it is. I see them melting into the asphalt or disintegrating into the weeds and I think, isn’t there anyone to take care of you? But I know there isn’t and I know the dead cat will occupy the center of that parking spot, with the car parking and going as it always does, noting but not caring, until a particularly heavy rain comes along and washes away what remains.
"What do you think you’ll do to me, that you have not already done?
why don’t you try sticking your dick into to all the things that you bought
with your hard earned cash, you don’t know what trash is.”
"Think about something so much,
you should know me better than that.
Start to slide outta touch,
you should know me better than that.
Tell yourself it’s only noise.
You should know me better than that.
Learn to appreciate the void.
You should know me better than that.”
"It isn’t complicated; you just don’t care
You attack me by not saying anything
You say that you don’t bring your anger to me
But it poisons every fiber of your being
Now you started something that you cannot finish
And left me standing in the wreckage on my own
And the only thing that brings me any comfort
Is the knowledge that no matter who you’re with
You’ll always be alone.”
"half of the time I think I’m in some movie, I play the underdog of course
I wonder who they’ll get to play me, maybe they could dig up Richard Burton’s corpse
I am not who you think I am, I am quite angry, which i barely can conceal
you think I hate myself, it’s you I hate, because you have the nerve to make me feel
but I am the greatest motherfucker that you’re ever gonna meet
from the top of my head down to the tips of the toes on my feet
so go ahead and love me while it’s still a crime
and don’t forget, you could be laughing sixty-five per cent more of the time”
I’ve known you since high school
and you were with her because she was safe,
there was about as much passion between you and devil woman
as a bloody rice cracker.
I mean, they’re very nice,
but I don’t want one in my vagina
and I’m absolutely sure that you don’t either.
And you know, I know that I’m different,
I go through them like socks in a draw,
but at least I get to feel.
I gets highs…lows…shmucky,
and all good and fucky.
It all started because I wanted to fly. I remember the barn swallows on my grandparent’s farm, fork-tailed acrobats of the sky darting in and out of the rafters, following roads only they could see, living life just ahead of their bodies. God, I wanted to feel that, a foot in two worlds. So I got a motorcycle.
“I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?”— Voltaire
There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
the desire. Pushkin said, when he saw his portrait by Kiprensky,
“It is like looking into a mirror, but one that flatters me.”
What is the word for someone who looks into her friend’s face
and sees once smooth skin gone like a train that has left
the station in Petersburg with its wide avenues and nights
at the Stray Dog Cafe, sex with the wrong men,
who looked so right by candlelight, when everyone was young
and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes, painted or wrote
all night but nothing good, drank too much vodka, and woke
in the painful daylight with skin like fresh cream, books
everywhere, Lorca on Gogol, Tolstoy under Madame de Sévigné,
so that now, on a train in the taiga of Siberia,
I see what she sees — all my books alphabetized and on shelves,
feet misshapen, hands ribbed with raised veins,
neck crumpled like last week’s newspaper, while her friends
are young, their skin pimply and eyes bright as puppies’,
and who can blame her, for how lucky we are to be loved
for even a moment, though I can’t help but feel like Pushkin,
a rough ball of lead lodged in his gut, looking at his books
and saying, “Goodbye, my dear friends,” as those volumes
close and turn back into oblong blocks, dust clouding
the gold leaf that once shimmered on their spines.
Despite the few superficial benefits,
I’ve never truly appreciated the invisibility cloak.
Choosing to hide from life is
a weak disguise
a cowardly rationalization
of a desperate existence.