because around you
I don’t care for anything
         but you
you matter not in distinguishing
the trickling from moments gone
what you know is my own
what you don’t is mine alone
shifting phrases from my pores
become me
         spin from mental fibres of you
you are there, enough of me to be me
enough my own to be with me
in kind, to own me
you are part of the world in which I walk
I’m not afraid of your sensing of my senses
you become a prayer
I commit accidents and they breathe of you
my coincidences seem spun out for you
I read of you in hollow books
you are alive where no life has been
the world peels
         as though away from you
as though you are its sediment
founded in the atoms of a future
where you have decomposed,
and release into the world
your weight
         in the present


Sociology – Trans/National

This is from a slam poetry event, written and recited by an Indian transgender male.  I appreciate this poem because of its link to transgender identity, which is my own identity – but each time I watch it or show it someone, I start thinking about the speaker’s cultural identity, and a lot can be said from that sociological context.

On a micro level, there is the relationship Janani has with his mother and grandmother.  We see his mother’s fear placed on her child, a fear that has been influenced by what she knows of men, of the sexism and racism that she has been subject to.  Janani sees certain kinds of masculine expression destructive, and this shapes how he interacts with other transmen in his community, and how he chooses to express his own identity.  He also has a strong link to his Indian heritage through his grandmother, and we can see that the values of culture and community are stronger than her feelings towards his gender identity.

On  macro level, this poet references patriarchy and the weight it has even within the trans community, where he has seen transitioning men take on the learned behaviours of treating women as lesser even though they themselves have been aware of that treatment.  He talks of understanding this societal norm and not falling into the role of man that is conditioned in American society.  He talks of people “own[ing] their position as white men”, being aware of the privilege they have and not abusing it, and of how “masculinity takes up too much space” in his body because of these social facts and forces.  He also weaves in the gender roles of Indian culture, where playing the drums has a significance to gender, with positive implications.

Globally, Janani speaks of the Indian perspective on the US and Western society, and of colonization.  Speaking at Stanford, an American university, he brings the perspective of someone for whom the “white man” is not something to aspire to, or be proud of.  We see the fear and mistrust of an entire society because of the relationship between countries and across the world throughout history.  He also says his testosterone comes from Israel, and so his identity and its representation in his body depend on globalization and world trade.

Overall, this poem gives a perspective on a single person, whose life is influenced from many angles and who is made of fragments throughout the world.

Maps (3)

“Flashlight” and “Maps” by The Front Bottoms

Diving into this world of university and untethered independence, drenching myself in it, I fill with the overwhelming sense of the world – with all there is necessary to learn in order to stay alive, and all the fresh and brooding mistakes I’ll make.  Simultaneously, I realize that life short-circuits and fades into emotionlessness, if not pursued constantly with a fullness and agitation.  Life settles into the dust of its own long path, and seems ready to fade into a dying world, ready for the sun to smolder and set down its cooling head and depart.  I understand that when that happens, this whole world we meander through will have risen and turned and reached its death for nothing.  All these emotions and plots for the leadership and countenance and vitality of the universe will have caused no radical importance.  I know that in some part of me that is heart or soul or centre at the least, that all that can be done to subvert this feeling (the fact will remain even if we find meaning, but when we look for meaning we can live), is to find connection.  I, and the lucid world, seek to latch onto beauty and subjectively meaningful elements, to thread my mind with lasting conversation, to hand myself over to the sort of youthful, emotional chaos that moves through The Little Prince.

Lydia sent me a message, saying that she didn’t want me to know who she was, or to see her in the place she felt she was most herself.  Earlier, I couldn’t find any reason I could ever be mad at her, but reading her note, I found I was perturbed.  Not with her, but with my brand of almost-fate.  My writing: it led her to find me, and me nowhere near her.  My entire being is set down in the words I write on the back of my mind; the words my fingers grab onto and gracelessly lacerate onto tangible pages; the pages that are ushered across galaxies and into the veins of the world, where they can be dredged up and read by any person who has lived or loved or felt or been in this same world as I.  I’m left with my heart-emblazoned sleeve and the distinct embroidery of my rank and title, surrounded by blank space.  I connect to the world, and yes, I feel the energy spilling from my words and become rejuvenated even as I release my life; I reach out and speak, and can be heard.  I am a silent and anonymous creature in a strange realm with a wolf’s howl instead of known language, but still, someone with a voice.

When I began to read rorschach’s poetry – the crop circle emanations that shed from him – I didn’t understand them.  Even today, I read them and I find it difficult to step inside them, to know what he feels and is as he writes.  But it entrances me, and I can tell it is his soul, in far purer and more vulnerable form than my own.  It has sharper edges, whittled to keep humans away, but where souls can touch his.  This is why we write, this is why I read, this is why our worlds continue.  This is why I’m so saddened, so afraid – an emotion that becomes one and the same in this instance, and perhaps this one alone – that my writing is readable, but the soul of a human is not.  We hide so well, and the world, it turns to beautiful, wind-carried, clear sky dust.

When I don’t write, I become afraid.  I think what I’m afraid of most is losing myself.  I flit between chaos and order with overcompensating dexterity, delving into the minds of people who can’t give me what I expect, losing my heart with relish, and scrabbling back up into clean white spaces, wary of drinking and smoking and sex and TV, wanting to keep myself sane.  I’m wary, too, of losing the connections I have, foremost to the earth and its spirit, and to Loki.  I need these spirits to keep my ethereal soul churning, and to keep my human essence growing and becoming brilliantly human.  Of losing my writing ability, or on the opposite side, of losing life before I have said all I feel I must.  John Keats writes of, “fears that I may cease to be, before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.”  This speaks to me, stirring with thoughts that smoke up, bottled, which I hope to set out.  I hope that when I die, I will be empty.  In that regard, I do not fear death, but I fear too much order, too much normalcy, and too little chaos shared with the world.

And dear god, I fear apathy.  There’s too much to say, and I’m too close to the end to say it, but I’ve had friends who have no passion.  I’ve known people who would rather not feel than become hurt.  For me, it is necessary to find the tiny world where everything matters, and it’s necessary to keep caring.  I’ll give my heart to a million people who will never love me, because in some moments it makes me happy, it gives me something to find beautiful.


Lydia (2)

(I couldn’t think of anything non-cliched to name this).

It isn’t something I’ve noticed in exactly this way, but I do become attached to people, with an almost total inevitability. Or rather, that’s the case with the very few people who are alluring to me, whom I’ve had the good fortune to meet. There are, from my current perspective, three kinds of friendship. This is within the same universe where I have trouble differentiating between different kinds of attraction and relationships, and again in the same universe as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wise words, “There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.” Contrasting things happen within this world, and within my own mind; my world is not my world, I am sometimes not who I am. In truth, the only realistic narrator is an unreliable one. There aren’t three kinds of friendship, but here they are.

There are friends with whom you end up eating lunch with, who you hang out with when both of you are free, because you get along and can laugh together and have a lot in common. An interesting thing about these friends is you aren’t trying to change them; if either of you is too unlike the other, you drift off. You see each other at work or school or parties, and you might learn from each other, but it’s fun, it’s fun, you’re good.

The second, middle one, is the good one. Last January, I had two classes with Cameron right in a row, we walked the same path between them, and I considered how easy and normal it would be to talk to him, and the fact that he seemed quite interesting and I didn’t know anyone at all. I stayed silent, but thankfully, he said hi. Cameron is one of those people with unstoppable energy and life, who has ideas and talks fast and doesn’t stop. One trait of both people and relationships that always draws me is when they tangent endlessly, never circling back to the beginning because there’s always more to share. Cameron has that. This level of friendship is most healthy and most sought, where you spin through the layers of connection. Cameron makes my darkness light, because we walk towards it together, and as it cycles to that point, he understands how and why, and he supports my past as we go.

Secrets are less those things which you do not want to say, and more those which [you figure] people don’t want to hear. Each time I have confided that the cuts on my skin I wrote there myself, I’ve been met with horrified disbelief, with sorrow, minds twisting to take in the information. I don’t keep this secret because I don’t want the world to know, but because the understand I have of this action is not the same as what others will take from it. Because I’m the person you see me as without knowing my ‘secrets’, more than the person I become to you after. But the friends that have uncoiled string and followed the maze of your past, they will wait as you explain. They’ll give advice, but will only judge you honestly.

Lydia asked me to tell her something I’ve never told anyone (Lydia, interestingly, asks for my whole life, while saying it’s as real to her as the invisible gauze threads which you walk through in the forest, brush off, and don’t give thought to whether they were there at all); without probing my mind at all, I could tell her is was no such thing. After unhappily turning away from Friesen, and even four years later when I could honestly say I’d forgiven her, I said I didn’t trust anyone. I found it difficult to think about giving parts of myself to other people, I was so terrified of the repercussions. Nevertheless, I did so with rorschach, and from then, I opened up to Jj. I began to think about these people in school, in everyday life, wanting to tell them what I learned about and the minutely important thoughts that came as I washed the dishes or stared in the mirror or sat among friends I’d known for much longer. Without admitting it to myself, I trusted them with my entire life – and this is what is meant now in saying I become attached. I trusted rorschach with my entire being, and was hurt in my entire being when that trust was unsupported. But I found a way to weave friendships that knew mutual trust, people who knew how to see me with judgment that was honest, and based on my reality. There is a lot about me in the corridors and vaults that the average person would be shocked and hateful of if they knew, but which I have told my best friends, and which they understand.

That draws close to the third type of friendship, which has all the depth of the second, all the secrecy of anything, but rather than easing into blacklit conversations, they’re the starting point. It’s easy to do this online, to find out what your anonymous friend is most afraid of, and what he believes, how she thinks of people, what hurts him the most. You’re part of their struggles, you are called upon to help them through their pain – and they’re who you talk to when you’re in the same position. You become each other’s second skin, they fade into you, you’re attached before you stop to think about whether you even particularly like them.

The first type and latter, you often need as friends. You need people to keep you away from loneliness, to be with you when you step out of the house and live a social existence. On the other side, you need people to feel your pain, to talk you down from various edges, to stir you to comfort and collect your tears. Through time and the spiraling nature of change, some of each move from the sides into the middle. It’s these friends whom you most want, who have all the importance.
Cameron is someone I’ve devoted myself to knowing and caring about, but whom I’m happy to be around, playing board games in Starbucks and arguing over how to study before deciding maybe we shouldn’t do so together. I can’t imagine him ever hurting me, or being capable of hurting me, because I understand him and his motivations, and that is mutual.

It’s so difficult to quantify a friendship. All it is, is shared interests, and being able to connect about them. All love is, is shared feelings and a way to express them. But it’s become more complex as I’ve grown older, as I’ve begun wondering what makes me interesting outside myself, not just in my own mind. It’s been years of being obliviously loved, obliviously admired, only understanding that I was strange and smart. Of course, it doesn’t matter until those you’ve been admiring notice. Then: why?

I’m not answering, I’m only familiarizing myself with the question. I’m only just familiarizing myself with having friends whom I can discuss as a unit, a group of people large enough to be more than isolated individuals.


Lydia (1)

I’m back at school now, having spent the summer away from… everything. I began this post on university library computers, having walked back to school in the definite cold and almost rain after I realized I’d locked my key inside.  I was ringing with Lydia’s words, you might never see me again, and I sat down to figure out if and how I cared.  It’s turned into multiple tracks about friendship and her in particular, about school and my current life. On twitter,, I’ve been describing the same things in a different way. This is Lydia, a week after I met her:


I’ve forgotten how to begin this.  To start with what I know: Adam, brimming with tenacity, reminds me of serial killers; like that, I have these drifting links to her, and I’m looking to understand what she is.  Given that Lydia and I have worked opinions and stories and conversations from each other’s heads, and given her calmly original androgynous appearance, and given how easily I become attached, which she’s already realized and is backing away from – I should have loved her already.  But if I did, I loved her a moment, and knowing her, released it.  There’s a thought I’ve had about love; I’ve never been sure if I believe it, but it comes back often.  Once you’ve loved someone, you never cease loving them.  If you can stop loving and forget them, you didn’t truly love them to begin.  But love doesn’t mean possession, and given the likelihood of this relationship ending before it exists, I love her in a way that doesn’t ask anything and doesn’t even touch her.

Her skin is warm and smooth, and meaningless.  In knowing her, watching her with endless curiosity, I’m questioning myself.  This energy she overspills, this shrewd emptiness that sprints off her; I want to take it all in, with the hope that it means something, and has a strength to it.  She feels like the wind that blows swift and cold and brushing past unawares, that sweeps the weight from inside your chest and blasts your warmth and the whole of your emotional integrity away, into air.  She’s like the sun that beats into bodies, heating human hearts, unnoticing.

When I met Adam, it took very little time for me to see him as a staying thing, and not only that, but the most present person in my life this year.  I thought often in high school that Finn (Imp) was the most like myself of all our shared friends, and he’s the one I still talk to most.  Rorschach scared me from his first words, a fear that ran down my backbone and called me to it, and that kept us for a long time, with strings connecting our beings.  Looking now at Lydia, I’m squinting, wondering what we are.  She’s has an unequivocal light that draws not only me, but everyone to her; but now there’s a strange colour block order, and a subsequent hollowness to the relationship.  I’ll say more in the next post, but having grown older, I search for deep roots, real meaning, turning away from simple things because they seem to blow away and carry no worth.  I wonder what I’ll discover she’s made of, and how long I have to ‘get’ her, before she stops finding me.

Lydia talks to many people, and tires quickly of many people.  She needs stimulation, new personalities to bat against her, to take in and appreciate, but she grows bored, and soon leaves.  And then there are many who question her, their friendship, what’s happened.  In a way my writing is that search for stimulation and satisfaction.  The main purpose in my world-bound soul, though it is also the calmest one, is to find another who connects fully to me, and who understands what my soul is say and how I am acting.  Logically, I have set this path aside as one I won’t ever complete.  Still, I want to be read and understood, to have feedback on the words I say, more than the syntax and creativity I use to do so.  Like Lydia, I often find people lacking in this regard.

I’m wondering if she is afraid of attachment, or just uncomfortable around it.  If she truly doesn’t want people, by her nature, or if it’s a corner she’s been pushed to.  The friends I’ve had the last few years, Jj and Friesen, rorschach, Adam, they’re made in part by plasticity, molded into shape by leaning away from their parents or their friends or their world, away from living as they do.  They have been extreme characters, in some ways, because of this, and while I realize that we are all built by moving in the space we are born into, by taking on and twisting out of the elements around us, I wonder what else they could have been like.  I wonder what Lydia’s soul is like, what drives her and shaped her from the beginning of her humanity.



I’ve been away, I know that. My psychologist is saying it might be a good thing, and brings up how much pressure I put on myself. It’s interesting to see, the balance of pressure and of letting go; cycles of contract and release that fill out inside my head. I’m not sure how much I’ve done in the last little while, if it could be considered a lot. I spend a lot of time and energy catching up, moving into the recent past and trying to catch sight of the webs of movements, to then sort them out. I don’t want to say I have decided anything, figured it out to move into the future. Life is how it is. I thought, just now, of all those things people tend to regret when they die, that they’ve run out of time for. What am I sorry for? Having just finished To Kill A Mockingbird, it comes to me that children know something, they know how to fill out their days and not dwell on it, not think of having wasted time. I have spent a lot of time, and I have also gotten a lot done. These are two different scales in my mind, and achievement isn’t something to be measured against time. Time does its own thing, and achievement is measured against the self.

I won’t ever be a reliable person, in regards to deadlines and checking off lists and knowing what to do when. Recently, I was overcome with shame at a stupid mistake I made, a place where I miscalculated the world, and it complicated things for me and made me both disrespectful and irresponsible. Loki came back then, and it was comforting to have my god, a love who had disappeared from mind for a few months, stepping in to assure me. Moving forward is good even if my trajectory is wavering and I struggle.

It is not hard to be a person. Looking forward, I don’t fear the coming year. I don’t fear my prospects or my sanity. I believe in my ability to talk, to make acquaintances and develop friendships. I believe in my psyche, that I can go alone and enjoy as much with myself as someone else. I believe that the friends who now surround me are strong, are good, and offer something.

There’s an odd incompatibility in what I am saying and what I have been. I can be volatile, I can despair, I can obsess and lose control from obsessing. I don’t know how to stay happy. There is great strength for me in the idea of the Phoenix, a creature that burns up, and falls away, and is then reborn. I don’t know that shape of my life, or who I am within it, but there are two things I am aware of: that in some way, I’m always trying, and that I never cease to come back to a place of possibility.