Today, I woke at four am, and now as the sun does not show but yet creates a sense of lightedness about me, I can say I could not go back to sleep. I did manage to study for a quiz today, somewhat of an accomplishment – every little accomplishment becomes something, when so much of life is sitting still and then tearfully rushing (which it is).
Lying in bed, I began to think things I thought I had soothed in the last couple of weeks – but more likely, I’ll say now with hindsight, just ignored. It seems a life hangs in the balance, my own, and it is an interesting hanging, stranded as a ceiling plant rather than as an unrooted mandrake beast; the happy mandrake is techy, but able to be planted… I am planted, but my roots do not ground me (if that is a workable metaphor).
The two friends I have most closely, and perhaps most carelessly known, have thoughts of where they’d like to find themselves in space. Neither knows what purpose they have for their life, but they can find meaning in earthly places for their bodies: Canada, the road outside society’s parameters. All the while, I am the opposite, with a keening in mind to reach out to writing, to have it come back to me – yes, both to read and to write, and to take in music and movies and artwork and beautiful clothing, anything that has been touched by the writing, the dancing, the choreography of the mind.
With this, I have no placement. I am without a home. In truth, I have been without home since I first found words – for, maybe, I found the home inside myself and not so much of this world – and since that is so, my body and spirit have been led to be aimless (can one by led to aimlessness?) and no earthly place has yet fed me wholly.
I have found elegies of places, caught glimpses is perhaps more apt: a Japanese garden in the clouds of mid-Alberta, unencumbered and richly organic Vancouver, the sea-swept virtue of Victoria, the imagined hollow breadiness of pure and calm Denmark. Describing these places, I wonder if a landmass and its man-made artifacts can ever please me to the degree I seek with my deep ability to feel. Silent and salient gardens of russet monks, Japanese gardens, well-shelved and laddered bookstores. What is the land of my heart?
What I seek [and need]
—human – alive – connection
This is a paraphrased transcript of a conversation taking place in a cafe, between +, a woman in her late 20s with a strong, clear, intelligent voice and pin curl hair; and *, an Asian woman in her early 40s at best guess, with a a voice like she had a story to tell. I have no say in what went on – I feel slightly disrespectful in this endeavour, but I feel it is a good naturalistic observation of both relationships in our society and of people conspiring in coffee shop conversation, in shared experiences. I do not believe these two women knew each other, or at the very least they were not well acquainted, before they began to share their romantic histories. I think that both persons are currently working through divorce. I hope this will be insightful, or if not, will make sense. The end is when I left.
+ We took a break- he said he didn’t love me anymore – and he slept with her…
I freaked out, because that’s not what a break is – I mean, he was still loving with me, we were still married, and still technically together…
So anyway, for a few months, it was on and off, with me and her – he would be with her, and then decide he wanted to be with me – be with me for two days- then with her for a week – at one point she actually moved in with us…
Because he thought we were done, so I was actually planning to move out – and she gave her notice to her landlord – but then he decided he needed me there – he has severe anxiety, so I decided to stay – but she moved in with us, because she had nowhere to go – and she’s bipolar, so there were so many things going on in our relationship
+ One of the dumbest parts of my life – it was horrible, traumatic…
* He goes travelling, and then says he’s grown away from me – I was thinking, you could not have left, not have grown away – all those years of that, of trying to work it out… – I just feel bad that me kids had to grow up in a broken home
+ Well no, sometimes things just are broken…
I was conceived at a party, when my mother and my biological father were in the process of breaking up – so they broke up, they didn’t know about me – I was a mistake (not a mistake, an accident) – I’m still in contact with my biological father, he lives in Winnipeg…
My mom met my stepdad shortly after that – they’ve been together ever since- so I’ve essentially have had two dads…
I think I’m the closest in my emotions, and the way I see things, to my stepdad… I understand him in ways I can tell other people don’t see?
We had a conversation, with me as an adult, about it – it was hard for me, learning what, what my life has been – it was something I had to come to terms with
* It’s been hard, having to be on my own – learning that that’s how it’s been (For many people, it’s a hard process)
It was physical – he couldn’t mentally abuse me because he didn’t have the mind to do so – I could have fought back, I know jinjitsu – I did block him a few times – but I didn’t – I don’t know
+ At times, I just knew it was done – I was paying his bills, he couldn’t find a job – I actually paid for his bills, after he moved to Victoria, with her – I didn’t want to hear him bitching…
Around that time, with my best friend – he had actually just broken up from the most serious relationship of his life – suffering alone, no one understood what it was he was experiencing, that depth of emotion – and he knew what I was going through, when I had…
At some point, we decided to get together – we’ve actually been together for two years now – it’s his longest relationship – I’ve been in only long relationships – a year and a half, six years…
* My kids are like that – my son is in his third relationship, he’s very happy (so am I) – I had so many boyfriends, my family was worried about me
* When we’d get into fights, I’d say, you stay here – we’ll fight this out
+ At some times in arguments with my ex, it was just name calling – (I just wanted to figure out what was going on) – as soon as it got to name calling, and it was hurtful, I’d say I was going for a walk, just to get out of there – and he’d freak out – get really angry, not let me leave – because he’d have to deal with what he said, and the feelings, instead of having this random rage outlet
* With my husband, I’d just wait for him to leave – there was no name calling or anything – I’d just wait for it to be over
+ Once he said he wanted the bed – I said no, I’d decided to get the bed, and I asked what he needed with it – and he told me he wanted to sleep with other girls, on that bed – I started crying, why would he say that? – I think he just said such things like that, to be hurtful
+ Guilt trip, guilt trip, guilt trip, actual information, guilt trip, guilt trip – so I responded to the actual information, said I’m sorry this happened – and he responded with a guilt trip – so I thought, we’re weaving information into this, trying to make it look like my fault – I said, there’s a problem here, I’m trying to work it out
+ Later, he came up to me, he said “come out with a smaller gun next time” – I thought, sure, next time I’ll come with explosives – but I just worked it out, said the truth
“Devi?” I called to him, quietly, matching the hushed stillness emanating from inside his room. Rolan was showering. Standing outside Devi’s door, hand curled shyly like the pillow fingers of a baby- waiting- and he inside, between hearing and answering- basking- I again though of his proposal. It had been two years, and I had diluted it in my mind; it had become part of the melange of senses and expressions we shared. I often didn’t think to consider his wanting, his physical yearning, when it was completely blended with… you couldn’t get away from how much I loved him. That was in the spaces between atoms, in our make up, in everything we did. Not in the atoms themselves (not in the identity of us), but in the places where atoms weren’t, between the links of my flesh-made body. I could not exist without knowing he was inside me, in the places where nothing else was. Nor was Devi who he was without my name whispered, flowing between the micro beads of his makeup. That always had been. His need, as it was, was a different thing.
Becoming something of a tangible reality was something Laure was not expectant of, not sure of. Something other than the flurid, innocently caring relationship of mother and adopted child. In the two years since he had chosen to bring it to the open- not knowing what he said, she was sure- she had found herself thinking of it, irresistibly, deftly, turning it over with skill and calmness as though something that was hers, that she was familiar with. Often she became sidetracked, and only wondered at Devi’s intuition. The moment she had touched him, he had known the feeling, had known he longed for it; though he knew not what that feeling described in the larger world, she felt that he had understood the profundity of his hovered, soft-spoken words. He had known that she was there for him, and that knowing provoked honesty. Even without comprehension of all that asked traversed, he had known that she was so inclined to love him that he could ask- for that love to be connected to his body. He had known she was his. And he had given himself to be hers.
Laure struggled with the weight of Devi’s feelings, for she perceived them as heavy, heavy in their implications. For all intents and purposes, he was her son, she his guardian and mother. She had never struggled with the weight of the boy himself, much as his mind swirled around her consciousness and his thoughts unraveled the fabric of a million worlds. She had never needed to know where he ended, what he fell into when he left out-loud speech, and his eyes clouded into visions of universal continuity. She struggled with knowing the after, what might conspire for him, where it related to her. Laure was unafraid of what might come of Devi in the world, for his depths made him a wunderkind. There was only one depth which she needed to understand, and that was his lust- it was so simply and elegantly impossible, in all that she had learned of how relationships worked, but that was what it was.
Laure stopped for a moment. There she stood, on the threshold of a room in which a boy sat, waiting for her. This boy loved her, and she him, more than anything. And he longed for her, for the touch of her body. There was a question woven into this storyline, and there were only ever two answers to a questions like this- a yes, or a no. Yet so many fractals met and twisted within.
His answer came, and she felt the breathlessness of her spinning mind fade into the sound of his voice. Entering, she closed her eyes, wanting not to see him, to react to his small doll form. She wanted to caress his voice, let it become her senses.
Laure didn’t know what Rolan did for her, only that she liked it, as a warmth under the cold plates of her armour. Feeling Devi, his voice wandering her bloodstream, she knew he did everything for her. Though, she could not say what it was, there either. She sank to the bed, her eyes still closed, and his hands- he was only eleven, even though his hands were gentle and smart, sensing her with their energy, she could feel that they were small, long-fingered, young hands- took hers. With his touch, she felt a new strand of connection, opening spaces within the already formed bands of their togetherness, where possibilities breathed like saplings. He coaxed her, blind, moving his hands up to her shoulders, and pressing their bodies to embrace.
Devi placed his hand against my lips, and my eyes opened. They opened to see the array of light wave colours that banded into a person I could call my own. Devi. It was difficult to talk of moving to new things with Devi, when the world was such a solid place and we such gaseous forms; but it was also odd for me, suffused with our companionship, to think of parameters, a world where lines weren’t waved as though under water, dancing and looking away when rightness overcame the world.
I think, then. I think that was when I allowed him to lean forward, allowed my lips to touch his own, allowed my eyes to close once more, and my mouth to taste him.
It’s amazing how you can never stop emotion. Have you noticed this? Some things stop in the summer, some when you go on road trips or vacation, some as you get older, some the more tired, alert, drunk, high, crazy, unruly, tame, the more sleep you get, the more beautiful or less attractive you become; but feelings and heartfelt wants, they never. fucking. stop. I’m counting lust; addiction; those evanescences that bring you serotonin; the wide-eyed wonders of oxycontin; euphoria, joy, hunger that doesn’t reach you physically until its ravaged you mentally and has no other place to turn- I’m talking sadness, self-loathing, depression, loneliness; I’m talking about fear. You could live a thousand years and never would you find a place or a second absent from emotion.
You can’t escape feeling something. It is feeling- having something inside you, that feels- that makes it hurt, makes it hard to live. Emotion makes the world go, around on its axis (an important quotient in the universe), and around in its brilliant cycles (living humanly, affecting each other). However, it exists to be emitted, to be sent out from its body, and received in another form- like energy.
When it is kept in, pent up, misunderstood, misidentified, not shared, or unable to find a pathway out, emotion eats from the inside. It needs to give and receive, or it cripples and ravages its host- as though a possessing spirit. Exactly like that.
Emotion is a drug, yes, but it is also an animal, one that is somewhat able to control us. The chemicals released and taken up in our bodies often work off other people and outside elements. As we are a social species, and we live in a world that thrives off of connection, emotions need to be let out, allowed to leave the shells of who we are, and in the same token allowed in from the outside world. We swallow feelings from without [where we arent] and speak, love, sweat, bleed feelings from within [where we are]. All of this, cycles of releasing and regaining, in order to find a balance between the acid inside us and outside, an equilibrium on either side of our barriers.
I think that all happiness is released as it comes. It has its own energy, does not need or want to be kept inside. We each have a channel for emotion, and happiness is the river on which it flows. Happiness, by this or another name- energy, love, the life force, drive, optimism perhaps- is easily released if it has a clear path outwards, but all other emotions move on this channel as well; they can both create temporary obstacles for this initial river, and can mix in with it, like oil seeping in. Those emotions that become part of who we are, mixing into the current, and much harder to clean from our systems. It seems, though, that happiness is always there, sent from some basic part of us, like the soul. True happiness comes in a torrent, when no obstacle is large enough to stick, to pull down into the mud and dam the blessed, easy way; when no chemical or toxicity is in the stream to eat at our hearts.
Feeling is the thing that makes us alive. I have a theory, which solves, for my own mind, the question as to the purpose of conscious life. I believe that the spark of consciousness came about, through evolution, and because of the needs and subtle triggers of the universe. Life is a weak form of energy, relatively speaking, but it is an energy that creates and understands itself, and that causes movement in the universe. Happiness, ecstasy, the feeling of enlightenment, euphoria, everything like this- it is a form of energy on a much higher level than simple action and reaction. There is something about pleasure, either from doing good or from receiving great, that has more meaning and more life to it than tasks that simply allow us to live and continue our lifelines. This occurs in non-human animals as well, a sense of play, and of pleasure, that is more than routine, more than goals to eat and breathe and procreate. I think the consciousness that we have, and emotion as a part of it, exists because feelings such as this spark the universe’s movement, and create change of their own.
So going back to the level on which we live, it isn’t emotion that calms us, but the ability to share it. Each of us, sharing love, sharing happiness with and for the world. Feeling the pain of injustice and sharing it through anger- individual traumas and heartbreaks that follow a universal code of hurting. To bond in sadness, to feel together, in order to work together. It is the absence of emotion, when we have released it from where it was stirring and clenching and devouring inside us, that gives us freedom, a sense of calm, a sense of simplicity and a feeling of divine rightness.
Nobody ever notices anyone else’s wars
There are always wars going on, but not ones we can see
But my proximity to your spirit has always been a crying, cawing thing for me
To understand how you mix up your mind and turn out the sweet possibilities you do
I’ve always just wanted to understand what mechanisms and brazen gears are inside you.
Irony, a little bit of it
There are always wars going on
And nobody ever notices each other’s wars
But in our own, oh how we notice ourselves, and how strongly do we notice other people
(of our own world)
[It is coming back to me, strongly, air releases with solid gravitas : the most normal of the insane, and the craziest of the sane : something so]
it is still not the case that I have found the same;
and they smart like hell.That’s a key point; you’ve had a girl, and loving a girl or loving a boy, if they do right by you, is the happiest thing you can do. I’ve had dreams in so many times past, an endless path, of grass clipped until it turns out green, of smooth skin smiling at me with a storybook unconflicted connection, of brown eyes like a horse ready to go on an adventure, and dark hair smooth and mussed, and wisdom of he who I can laugh with, and looking at him with a finding that sunshine with a book to read will be home. It’s that kind of feeling I’ve woken up happy with, that sunshine house inside yourself and just rightness.
Having them be real for you doesn’t matter so much as that, but the body begs, and the heart begs, and there’s the kind of love people write poetry about, that’s defined closer by pine than cedar, that’s the river (calmly bleeding out) and not it’s energy (cool against the tips of your laughter), that’s soaking in dye and crawling into bed and wrapping up in a person in a way that you can, you must, feel the pressing, the blankets of their love. No longer running in dirt and no longer telling each other about books and no longer high fiving just for the feel good moments of wesaysuchridiculouslyyouthfulfreeuninhibitedyellowthings and yougotmeadfreeinternetaftermoaningatmyincompetance and conversationsbuildonthelaughterthatcomeswithfakeangerandoveruseofthewordfuck.
We get caught in the artfully twisted sheets of tomorrow, when our skin is heavy warm and your kisses are puffs of furnace air and we must dance to Celtic ballads as opposed to the Beach Boys and triangle sounds.
For the last few years of my life, since Winnipeg told me in ratchet winds how cold cold can be, I’ve bloomed heat around my body, hoarded it; sweaters sticking to sweaty exertion, face swirling blush brushes around, carrying water into dog days and accepting fainting over frigid toes that sing like marble on my feet. I’ve turned up thermostats and needed heavy blankets to make comfortable admittable to my own mind, and I’ve drawn away from sleeves that end in places that don’t brush against wrists. Covering my body from the exploitation and ogling of cold. The comfort of close close and warm warm warm.
So I know, I know what it feels like to fall asleep better in darkness, this is what I mean, when you think of desperate iloveyou’s and unending late night longings and daytime fatigued distractions as necessary heartsongs. In The L Word, Jenny writes a letter to the man she has forgotten how to be with:
“Tim, for you my heart,
ripped from my chest.
Eviscerated I am,
and if I could,
I would plunge my fingers,
through my chest,
and rip out my heart,
and give it to you.”
and he says to her, “I never wanted you to rip your heart out…”
They go easily, and the relationships that were not meant, they also go easily. It’s simple, squeezing drops of yellow lemons until there’s a pure and cool and ice-doused pitcher of drinkable heaven, and that’s what I mean in how easy it is for untied humans to untie.
It’s the pain doesn’t go anywhere fast. It’s the comfort of warm, the thickness of warm, and the touch in heated places.
But we don’t want her back, we don’t want loves like that back (fun while it lasted inevitably means the fun turned bittersweet like gingerroot but more like the slight dissatisfaction of an apple gone bad or the aftertaste of spinach (I’m not getting this right, am I?)). We don’t really want the lost, gone, out of reach ones, not like we want to wear ball caps backwards and learn how to skateboard with hair blowing in our faces. At least, I do.
Quotes and references : Eleanor Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andrew Jackson Jihad (I Am So Mad At You), reading and thinking on Murther and Walking Spirits, and The L Word episodes 1.06 and 1.07
He sings about anger
to write about heartbreak
labels cold feelings as flurid and mean
–something like that
couldn’t hide his dreams
dreams like the waterlogged insides of caves
and he is]
but they, his dreams
fall asleep with him
–at night, future memories
leave him alone
god doesnot help his longing
the world does not help
(that is what we’ve been afraid of)
longing comes in winter
and in summer the wood no longer
needs to be
chopped up and laid adjacent
in summer he doesnot need to be
in summer he leaves a guitar
and his heart behind
he leaves that place
that place where longing was
that place where longing
could sometimes go away
wisps from his body
in light-touch answer
brushes against his hair
we cannot bring him back
more, of questions
in a single mind,
than in god
than of the world
The world was turning
I told him of salt
and salt flat winter eyes
I was saying to him
we beat out the same dust
from our cloaks
to brigade as human
I was proud of him
he wrapped corner cobwebs
’round his shy flying words
and wore them aloud
It was raining
sliding through children’s hymns
with spider plant hair
little girl voice
echoing silver like
dimes run over on
He implored me
love seeps out of his pores
calling sharp as birdsong
I was alone
there are no words, he said,
how we feel inside our bodies
fashioned by the thoughts
that lead us on
The world was turning
I told him of ink
and ink letter rituals
written down today