A conversation: Or, being loved and being mad 2013

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I want to tell you what is wrong but words are so flat and two-dimensional and no matter how much I try to explain and describe what goes on in my head it never makes sense to anyone
I don’t even know how to shape it or say it or metaphor or anything
Trying to do so makes me want to laugh because my brain has no way of dealing with it, no reaction to what I feel, no recognisable emotion.
I keep going to people to get them to understand to help or to understand but it’s never there, I can describe all the other things all the symptoms and the side-affects but that one thing that really gets to me it never comes up and is never seen or described and I feel very, very broken.
I don’t like looking at the world and I like being close to you because you shut it all out, the dark shuts it out and I’d go lie down but then I’d not have anything to distract from the things in my head and they’d play over and over and over and over again and get louder and hotter and more pressing until I just want to claw my own brains out
I simultaneously want to exist and don’t because it just taints everything I see and do and feel
There’s a barrier between me and everyone else and I don’t know what it is, I can’t figure out what this thing is that makes me react differently, why I don’t understand or why they don’t understand or why it happens or why I feel like this and I don’t know what to do or who to tell or how
Everything that comes out of my mouth when I talk about these things feels like a lie so I’m typing it because typing it stays true, the moment I hear it it’s fucked.
I love you, you know.

 

I love you too, with all of me. No matter what you think or feel, I love you, Chanel.

 

How are they going to fix it if they don’t even know it’s going on?
If I can’t tell them what it is how will they know? I’m going to be locked inside like this forever unless someone has a;lijgsigjsjkg enough to know anyway and I don’t trust anyone enough to believe them.

 

Trust me. Over time, through typing, verbal or image. We’ll get through it together. And if needed, ill be your voice if or when the time comes.

 


I feel like if I speak or look at you or do anything then all this will suddenly be un-true.
I feel okay though, I needed to say all that and now I want to do something else but I’m kinda a little bit stuck.

 

How about we go lay in bed, you can look the other way and I’ll comfort and snuggle you.

 

Fidgety, nothing to do in bed. Wanna game instead?

 

Sure, what game

 

Masquerade.
Or portal
Or something like that

 

Suck some blood dolls ;0)

 

Okay. Can talk through Steam too.

 

Tea?

 

YES. YESYESYESYESYES
And thankyou for this. I am glad you understand.

 

Anything for you, anytime, my love.

A clunky unedited book review!

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Sacred Band, by Joseph D. Carriker jr.
 
Where to begin? I am emotionally compromised, that’s where.
 
My favourite thing about this novel is the characters. I’ve been thinking about how best to describe them, but then, describing people has never been my strong suit. I describe characters well enough, using the labels assigned to them: troubled, gentle, loving, queer, trans, motherly, a person of colour, powerful, traumatised.
I struggle with describing the powers at play in this book because they’re not characters. They’re people. They’re alive and delightfully complex, each one more than their assigned archetype, each one richly developed with backstories that are not laid bare and tossed in your face for easy consumption. They tell you as much as any person would, and in ways that people do: in action, in small talk, in expression and emotion. Their defining traits aren’t tossed and jumbled into a single paragraph early in the chapter. They’re complicated in the ways I am complicated, or you are, or the ways the people you love are. They’re messy. They grieve. They get scared. They can be irrational and clingy. They can project their insecurities onto others. They also love and feel in a very, very real way, and that is the core of what makes Sacred Band so brilliant. A superhero is a symbol, a representation of a concept, and it’s important that you understand the face beneath the mask before you can begin to grasp the hero. These people are heroes, and not because of the (overly tight) outfits.
 
My second favourite thing about this book is the sheer diversity of cast. Gender, sexuality, race, and background mix and merge to bring people from various walks of life- with respectful appreciation of the reality of their existence- into eachother’s company. Each has different strengths and different obstacles. Sometimes they chafe, sometimes they soothe. Difficult situations are dealt with in unexpected ways, and I’m not just talking about the fight scenes. A friend of mine uses the phrase ‘A balm to my soul’ and that’s exactly what this story has been for me. Familiar struggles (especially the queer kind) played out on these pages are mysteriously lacking in mass-produced media, and although that issue is slowly improving, the representation of queer culture in these pages is so much more satisfying to me than the token gay characters popping up in our standard superhero fare. Here queerness is written the way most of us experience it. It’s every day life. It has events that mark our history, and sometimes they can define our personal narrative, but for the most part it’s just part of who we are. For the characters in Sacred Band, it’s just part of who they are, but within that, they give voice and power to the inherent rage against inequality and oppression common in the queer community.
We’ve all heard about those who are not so lucky as to be born into a safe environment. Those who have been disowned, discarded, abused and tortured and even killed for who they are. The fact that the novel begins in Ukraine and mentions the unrest in Russia hits a nerve. The villains in Sacred Band are real. We’ve all felt their touch, one way or another. From those who fought hard in defence of DADT to those who beat frightened transfolk and post the videos to youtube, we know these villains. The pain and anger in Sacred Band is all too real.
This novel gifts us with the superheroes that Hollywood pretends could never be: the queer, the underfoot, the outcasts, doing what they always have. What we always have. Fighting for our own, for the lives of those like us.
 
When I first settled down to read, I had no idea how sorely I needed that.
So yeah, I’m emotionally compromised. Read the fucking book. It’s worth it.
 

Trigger Warning

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Hunched in the seat in the stains of all who came before to- sex crimes division, glass door, bullet proof, sharp black lettering on the wall behind, locked tight with a bell to ring that only rings if you press it for five, four, three, two, one–  look at the file, the tissue box, the bland bench, the white wall, the Duress Button, red and hemi-circle. Feeling oddly little, well, not oddly, you know this ritual, distance so that you don’t cry. The predictability of that feminine display of emotion is extra humiliation under his blue-eyed stare, blue-eyed like him, like- “You’re a girl, it’s what girls do” when you comment on how many messages you have to scroll through to find the evidence, thick, dripping, distant rage flares and dies and you don’t cry. You don’t say a word. You read the blue bubbles like clockwork for the fourth time, hand the phone over, already violated, privacy is nothing now that you gave them username and password and everything you ever said in the name of evidence, of proof, of please for fuck’s sake someone fucking believe me it was real it was real it was real it was-

He hands the phone back and you exit the screen, flip it closed, flip it open again, flip it closed, and open one more time before clenching it in your fists until they ache. Bite down hard on antipathy the way he bit your thighs before you knew when a chuckle precedes “I hope you’re not into any of that nasty stuff like the cutting, disgusting what we get in cybercrime,” conversational like his revulsion at your being isn’t something you can taste behind your teeth.

Recounting it takes the taste and slips it into narrative, this you know, this you do well. Absence again, watch his face carefully blank as he types what you say, intentionally getting details wrong for later, when he prints it, and you have to read and correct, like critical thought is something anyone can do. Her name doesn’t have an e. That’s the wrong date. Yes, he was naked. No, I slept on the couch. Yes, they knew I was there. No, I didn’t tell them.

He’s typed it all like it’s jealousy. They’re dating again. You try to correct him. They post photos, together on beaches, smiling like he didn’t do it and she didn’t know. He amends some sentences, but the story reads the same. He’s not sorry. You’re exhausted. You don’t try again.

“You have to understand” You have to understand, you do understand, you knew before you made the decision opened the door stepped through and spoke, “That most people on a jury will think like me, they’ll see this-”

Gesture at the file, the statement, flicking through earlier he let slip the photo of her, the closest one, who in one breath said It’s not your fault if he took the bait and in the next said well you brought it on yourself-

“- And they’ll think that you got what you were asking for, it’s what you were talking about after all.”

No it wasn’t no it wasn’t no it wasn’t what about this do you not fucking understand

Sharp smile, practiced, your voice is strained and you hate it. “Well I have to try anyway. Someone else might get hurt.”

He looks at you like you’re lying, and again you feel filthy, and somewhere far away the rage burns in a small glass bottle, growing dimmer.

You go home and have nightmares for the 14th night in a row.

Minotaur and Other #Dramatic Poems.

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I lay with your weight upon me and
All I could see was a hand that was not my own
Stroking your shoulders, dazedly, hazily
An echo of my own movements
And I could have screamed.

There’s a heaviness on me that now
(in your absence) feels fuller than you did
I’d push my fingers through the flesh above my breasts
And tear them from my body
But I cut my nails in preparation
For this just in case.

Hands in my mouth
Pushing from the inside out
A retching that never ends and chokes me
And stifles
And ruins
And mangles
And I heave

In my mind my body can be discarded
A heavy overcoat made sticky with wet and slow rot
I’d grasp my heart and wrench it
And fling it from my chest in one great gasp
And be free again of you.

A snarl rises now and I bare my teeth
Expressions of an animal shape
You savaged inside me
Where ‘girl’ and ‘good’ and ‘whole’
And other such words once
Shaped this creature I called me.

Cavities and wretchedness and rage
And hanging flesh describe now
The minotaur you made of me.


It always amused me
When they- you- never considered me dark enough.
I always wondered what enough could be-
Did it have to be blackness and exhaustion,
An obsession with the sucking absence of light?

I am a thing of flowers,
I love a queen of flowers,
And both of us in our petalled glory have the taste of
Death
On our lips.
In my body an aching inch of time,
A slow decay,
A steady treading from spring to summer,
Summer to autumn,
Autumn to inevitable winter.

I always felt your darkness to be stagnant.
What is the dark without the bright,
The life, the living,
The brilliant dazzle of energy you work so hard
To forget?

Beautiful Persephone,
Immortal and mortal in her own way,
Taught me darkness like language.
Every breath a word, progression,
Marking a step toward the finish line.

We are all the living dead.
Flowers plucked and wilting.
She in her mistold tales
Rose from her kidnapping to become queen of the underworld.
Bruised pomegranate in veritas:
Vanitas, memento mori;
She is both alive and not alive;
She is thriving life and enduring death.

And so am I.
And so am I.


 

It’s like memories
Slipping my hands across your chest
Up your throat
Pressing and feeling you let me

Arms pressed down against the sheets, scrunching maybe, but still
Resistance-less, I press, and watch
And release to see the parting of your lips
As you take a breath.

Memories that never happened,
They’re rich like the chocolates I never ate
Or maybe I did
I think that I did,
They were wet and foul and turned my stomach
But they were something
And I swallowed.

The touch of your tongue to your teeth
Is particularly endearing.
I fantasise often
About the trust it would take to let me hurt you.

It has always been about trust.

Always memories that never happened-
Backward and forward in time.

There is discomfort in this confession.
It’s not pleasure. It’s not sex.
Understand that this format is never poetry,
Understand that these forms are timed
Linked to
Tied up within
My hesitations,
Each new line a caught breath,
An ache in my throat,
Waiting for fear to crest and ease
Or for my stomach to stop turning.

In my mimicry of you,
It’s your tears that pique my interest like
No one else’s.
In my mirrors and reflections I can see
This is not what you want.

But this is in you, too.

Observations

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You asked me to write you.

You asked me to write you and yet

And yet and yet

Here I am writing but it’s not what you’d like-

Not what you asked for, I suppose, not what you can use-

But that there are blue veins beneath your skin

Blue eyes to match

Blue lips- cyanotic- too long apnoeic

You play the role of the dead too well.

 

I wrote once of a girl who explored her insides

She was dead too, you know,

Preserved but cold; slippery and wet, still,

But yes, very dead.

For her traumatic, for me erotic,

Rather like you, like you,

You drive me to lick my lips

But I don’t know why.

 

I see, I see,

When I close my eyes I see

The imprint of your skeleton against that void

Not empty, but vast, vast, so vast

That any glimmer of anything else gets lost

Minutiae before- within- the face of god.

Camouflaged your heart

I can’t see it, but I’ve a fist that fits

Within your chest to feel it.

 

I’d suck the sun from your lips I’ve written

As good as saying it

Almost as good as feeling it,

But you, an autopsy scar,

I don’t know if I want to tend you or rend you.

You want to break open as badly as I do.

It’s almost like you invite it.

 

It’s not sex, understand,

It’s far more guttural than that.

 


Sit back and wonder
And wonder, and wonder
If the heaviness in my hands as I bring them to the keys is simply
A lack of practice or an absence of feeling.

I’m tapping an invisible pen against the back of my teeth,
The distant knocking of words that yearn to be written
But they’re invisible to me
I feel them
I feel them

Stilted and jilted a love song I can’t quite provoke
Words of regurgitation,
Of abstinence, of the guttural and distant
Nothing here comes smooth
No trance to suck it from my gut
No passion, no inspiration.

Every word a tired, dull thud upon the page.

If you have to push for it,
It’s not worth it, right?

Give me my words.

I will wrench them from the universe if I have to.
I will write trash. I will write paragraphs, solitary paragraphs, with no end and no beginning.
How dare I be given the need but not the substance.

Here with no stories.
Fierce passions lost to the ether,
Nothing new to explore,
A burning I smother by spreading my legs and opening my mouth,
Loud and proud and still

Silent in the only way it matters.


Angel.
I would call you angel, if he hadn’t
Hadn’t been the first, I mean.

Initially an antithesis, you,
Chin dropped, brows heavy, an unconscious manoeuvring
Of limb

You seem nothing of an angel.

But if they were wings you hefted upon your back,
Instead of the weight of your world,
You could be Michael or Lucifer
Or Uriel lamenting, your sword in flames.

You think fire does not become you.

Cloying smoke and burning ash
Seem dark enough to me.

 

Red Dust Lover

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I wrote this in response to this beautiful post by @inkskinned.
It started off as a comparison between ‘seasons’ for the rest of the world and the Australian seasons. It ended up becoming a sort of therapeutic self-love thing. My healthy self writing about my sick self. Shh.


When they say their lovers are like the seasons, it takes me a moment to remember that their seasons are not like mine. I’ve never thought of her as being like the seasons- but then, I have, I have, I’ve thought it to myself on quiet nights when I watch her sleep, her expressive face stilled, body sanguine, naked, uncovered. Sweat-slick at 3 am we do not touch, the overhead fan creaking with exertion. Our seasons are not divided into quarters. There is no clear winter in her, no autumn, no falling golden leaves.

My love, she’s red dust and blooming acacia. She’s a wide sandy grin on the coast at sunset, in September, when it’s warm enough to swim but not hot enough to coax the cicadas into song. Her laughter is the creaking of the gum trees, and her kisses, her whispers, are the susurrus rippling through their leaves. She is soft and precious, like the orchids we find on our evening walks.

By November there’s a cloying stickiness to her love. She grasps for my hands despite the humidity and overhead the clouds rumble. It’s hard enough to breathe and like the flies she clings to me and I slick her from my skin- I love her, yes, I love her, please, enough, enough already, enough!
The sky flashes and over the crashing waves I hear her thunder, a crack in the depths of her that shakes the windows of my soul. Unbeknownst to me, lightning far away strikes bright the first bushfire of the season.

As quickly as they came, the storms pass, seemingly overnight. Left in their wake is a dryness that yellows grass and leaves me rasping in her presence. Her eyes are hard. Her voice is something crueller than cold. At least cold is wet, at least ice will soothe the parched lips of the lonely and the lost. I seek her but I am blinded by the brilliant light of her; I reach for her and find only vapour. She is a mirage, far from me, beautiful and devastating. The crispness of her conversation pricks me. Her barbs hook and catch and carry with me through the days.
We fall to silence. It’s too hot, too dry, for me to speak.

She burns.
We are taught in summer to clear a boundary around all we hold dear. We strip the land of life, we soak it with water, we plan our escape. We burn in advance. We pray that this year we will be passed over for the inevitable destruction. I follow the guidelines as closely as I can, careful to maintain control as I lay my boundaries before her. The silence is stifling. Across my lonely distance I watch her tremble in the sunlight.
When finally she does erupt, the flames are devastating. She is summer in full swing: the fire in her obliterates all it touches, and spreads, and devours. She rages without cease. Charred scars remain wherever she sweeps, smoke billowing on the horizon, and when her gaze settles on me I am already choking long before I feel the searing pain.

When January comes, and it does quite suddenly, I find her smouldering in the remains of all we built together. Her face is streaked with ashes. She is dripping, almost extinguished, no longer considered a threat now that there is nothing left for her to burn. She looks about herself like a child. She doesn’t know why she razed so much. She doesn’t even know what sparked the onslaught. All she knows is that it began, and raged, and ended.

More fires spark, here and there, as the months cool, but none of them with anything of the devastation of her summer fury. We sift through the remains of last year’s world, listing the names of those lost, salvaging memories. We lift water to eachother’s lips as the cleansing rains sweep in again. The Doctor, that ocean breeze named for the relief it brings, cools our skin. I hold her as she trembles through the shock of cold nights. I braid white wildflowers in her hair with each new day.
Those who survived the bushfires return. They survey the damage just as we did and a few of them leave, finding little worth saving. Those who do remain, however, band together. They help us rebuild.
In March, when the heat finally breaks, she sobs an apology.
They chuckle gently and murmur, “This is part of loving you.”

You don’t live in Australia and expect safety. You take the suffocating heat and deadly summers with the balmy days and sweet blue beaches. I love her even though she is like the seasons because when April and May roll around, bursts of hardy green break the scorched earth. Seeds released in the flames- seeds that are only released in the flames- sprout and bring new life to the ragged landscape. Our autumn and winter are not seasons of death and stillness. They are rich with new life. They are the salve to the aching wounds of our summers. They are resilient beauty, thriving in the chaos.

And there is nothing more beautiful than my red dust lover after the burn.

My love is not aesthetically pleasing.

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I offer only gristle
Because in bleeding there was nothing.
There were no flowers in our lungs,
No sweet green tendrils twining our lips and tracheal cartilages;
My anatomy is not so illustrated
Ill-defined and wet,
A mess of acrylic red and kidney maroon.

And my tendons twanging, twinging,
Stretched taught against yellowing bone-
I am not clean and sun-bleached.

I wrote a poem once of lovers in the kitchen,
Dusted with flour, a delicacy.
In this body a slab of meat, calf muscle and tender heart,
But fat and connective tissue also;
The less palatable with the rich and bloody.

If there is art in my physiology I struggle to find it.
There is no melody in my movement,
No marble to my flesh,
No recycled literature to be splashed with paint
In depictions of my ribcage as a vase.
Rough-hewn I am rickety
And stagger in the dance.

Even with flour and a sprig of rosemary
There is little craft in the making of me.

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11 pm and mulling warm tea, contemplating my perversions – garden variety, darker and richer perhaps than some would be comfortable with but nothing overly problematic- and a hollow-eyed Dionysus comes to me, rising like a marble statue from a black fog. Around his head are living ivy wreathes, straining, dancing as though for the sun. His lips are curled in a grimace stolen from the countenance of Adam, his brow heavy bit still beautiful, his cheeks stone white but growing ruddier the longer I gaze upon him. It’s as though he’s the metaphorical to my thoroughly literal. I am sore from my dancing, and aggressively ignoring as usual my fears of abandonment- he did not come, not when I painted myself red with crushed berries, not when I swallowed the wine, not in the hours I flung myself rhythmically to madness–

But that was the problem, wasn’t it, it wasn’t madness. I could never leave the confines of my thoughts. Locked in my head I may as well have been dancing alone.

But here I feel him, swaying, aching as I ache but differently. The hangover in more ways than one, the greenish tinge to Caravaggio’s Bacchus, a hint of the slouch in Rodin’s bronze, the hands to big, the face too pained. Marble and flesh, this half-born, thrice-born god-man-child. His festivities, his beauty, his rage, but so rarely we see the shuddering breath that comes after. The fall beyond the crescendo. He’s there too. There’s madness in grief as much as there is in ecstasy. I wonder now if we confuse the Dionysian with the Apollonian in our manic golden age. No more the maenads alone: He rides the world. In every city his festival roars to life with the sleep of the sun, on every crackling screen his ithyphallic countenance groans and moans and rolls, rushing, languid, spent.

Alive – The Glut

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I like living, I really do. I’m hopeful. I hope the world learns from history and things are actually getting better and we just can’t see it yet.
I’m hopeful for a future where things are different and good and that humanity is evolving toward a better, kinder existence. I don’t actually believe so, but I hope so, and that’s close enough.

Today is a nice day, it’s sunny and clear and I’m talking to a beautiful woman across the other side of the world who tells me she loves me and has such a big heart and is excited about going to dinner with another beautiful woman

And there are colourful yarns and I’m listening to music, music that is so bountiful I could listen to a new song every three minutes and never ever have to repeat one

And I am healthy, and relatively young, and I have touched and been touched by some of the most brilliant minds ever to be totally unappreciated by the world, and there is art, centuries of art, cataloguing all that the human race has ever done

There is architecture and philosophy and poetry and cooking tv shows and Gordon fucking Ramsay and christmas carols which I hate except for when I don’t and people crying at airports and orgasms and news anchors who burst into tears on live television because they saw a picture of a dusty young boy pulled from the wreckage of his home and

metal rulers and movies about slavery that make me cry at 2 in the morning and memes and stupid articles about Apple headphone jacks and beach breezes and a Cute Pancake Girl who may stay or go but right now she kisses me

And family, blood and found and chosen, and pretzel sticks, and drinking water from rivers and bacteria and very pretty rocks and very plain rocks and wine bottles being recycled into glass walls for glass houses and cruel politicians and the goddamn KKK and whirling planets and songs about Voids and boys with body issues and girls who write porn

And dalmatians and pallas cats and wine and anthrax and
This world is a glut, my loves.

None of it matters, and all of it matters. Everything hurts and there is joy all around. We’re all going to die someday. The whole human race will die someday and all of this? Everything? This is all history that we’ll leave behind, and whether we’re alone in the universe or if there’s some kind of life out there, these abstract passing functions of our existence will outlast us.
Is there a word for being simultaneously hopeless and hopeful?

This is what we are. Neither good, nor bad, just… Alive.
For a brief moment. Alive.

Harmonising

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And again, and again, the nowhere place, the liminal space,
Again with these halfway words
Within, without, holding, beholding, witnessing I suppose
But what
What beyond fixation and fascination and the push
This the pressure inside me that builds like orgasm
But when I grasp it, it fades, it eases, it
Falls folds up into itself.
Like towels being pulled from my mouth it heaves up from my stomach
Behind my ribs
Suffocating and thick, scraping
Each retch like forceps, metal at my teeth, fabric in my throat.

Urging me to sleep
I’d rather make use of this
This, I waste on vomiting words to friends
Describing prophesy, watching like birds
The non-fluid dribbling from my lips I offer, cupped in tremble-steady hands,
Palms upraised, wrists dripping, water or blood or something else altogether.
Like dreaming this, absence, I think, focus
And nausea and hunger and
This desire to tear out- at- my womb
Self-evisceration.

Clarity of vision like lucidity but
Alice down the rabbit hole
He never described the way it feels like suffocation
Lungs pulling hard on mirrored glass before it bursts

Peaches and cream fingertips
Cold and welted
Pull through or push against.

Spine screech
Like trains on rails or a fumbled bow on too-tight strings
Do I arch my back and offer my throat or
Do I curl over and inverse-gasp groan
Bite down hard, grind teeth, rend flesh or
Crack open my ribs and expose cat gut-cardiac muscle to the air?