lost my face

Wednesday night I fell asleep with the skin of a bear’s head draped over my hair and face like a mask and bodies sprawled at my feet. I was an urban medieval Frezetti painting. All I needed was a grand gold spear in the hand that wasn’t sleepily curled around one of the black fur ears.

Last night I didn’t sleep at all. Instead I held someone and let them come back to life. We’re damaged people, love. Yes, I know we are. That’s partially what holds this part of clan together inside our tribe. Family words, meaning country and lover and home. Parents, holding hands. The two of us writing words in the sand, the light off and my glasses by the side of the bed.

When I’m here, so are you. Everyone reading and here I’m sitting, thinking “what is that sound?” It’s people, trying to find themselves in what I write here, as if it were important. Until recently, I wasn’t aware. I’ve become used to being put aside. The world goes around without me, I think, it continues and carries on. I am the merest drop of rain and the rain will fall forever. New creatures will be born, they will have stories, they will stop and stare at the enormous sky that birthed them and think in tones of wonder long after I have passed my way.

I should be at a party right now. David Bloom sent out a mass invite to celebrate the fact that it’s not New Year’s Eve. No resolutions will be necessary, bad behaviour will be accepted, but I’m feeling a little lost for some reason. Alone and not a little intimidated, I want to leave the house and instead I’m thinking softly in excuses, It’s late. I hardly know any of his friends. If Bill is there, I’ll make him uncomfortable. Most of all, it’s late, as if they were real. Yet in denial, I still want to have my shoes on. I will leave the house, wrapped in this feeling of abandonment of not. This is what I want to believe. Make myself over into someone who can be brave with this strange cowardice bubble of uncertainty encasing my heart. (This is what I horribly suspect that other people might feel like all the time.)

Instead, my arms are stretched out, trying to hold onto something beautiful and failing. I’m scanning every face now, trying to see into the future, trying to see who I might encounter as a friend. This city is full of strangers, they look at me sometimes when I walk by them as if I were unexpected, but rationally I know that some of them I will talk to. We will meet some day and speak together, they will tell me they saw me with that hat or the ferret or in bare feet. I’m the red head hippie that girl hated or that boy couldn’t get over. A tragic figure they saw crying. I stand on the street corner like a door I’m looking out of, the traffic a heavy silence, wanting to see that perfect memory unfold before me. The one that I haven’t had yet, because it’s still in front of me, as far away as falling stars.

Before dreaming starts at night, there’s a time when you close your eyes and pictures begin unbidden through all the caring cells in your body. Mine have been providing me with the sensation of my hands on a piano, my body held warmly against the length of a stranger in time to old familiar music. Behind my lids, it’s not my hands I’m watching, it’s not my feet, the pattern on the carpet or the length of the room between me and that place to stay. I’m not re-evaluating my choices, my flight, my desire to meet those eyes across a room again with an impossible question. Instead, I’m trying to explain with equal grace to those images how much my strange days mean to me. It feels impossible, like climbing a rainbow.

Where the hell are my angels?

I am boring, the cards are getting sticky, someone here’s on meth

photographer David Byun
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Sunday, January first, there will be a chill unwind-from-partying party-gathering at my apartment starting at three in the afternoon.

If you are unaware of the address, either e-mail me at bloodkrystal hot-mail or call three to one poem for directions.

It will also be a welcome home to Graham, who finalizes moving in with us on Sunday, and a chance for the locals to visit with James Everett, who’s only in from Montreal until Monday afternoon.

We’re having a hair-cutting party at Sara‘s house right now. The people around me right are drunkenly preparing to play strip poker, I think with the same sense of hope as young boys that agree to play stripping games with young girls who are loaded down with four layers of scarfs, costume jewelry, and gew gaws in spite of the obvious disparity against their t-shirts and jeans. (Though I admit that Mike may simply be playing because it’s poker.) They are laying down rules and trying to pick on the men, who aren’t complaining.

Sometimes I am almost appalled at my lack of interest in these things. Everyone else is rapt, impatient with their cards, (those who aren’t having sex in the bedroom, that is), and I am across the room instead, lost in the laptop screen, feeling uncomfortable in my suddenly short hair and playing with the music, trying to find something that would be suitably amusing for people to take off their clothes to.

follow back because you all asked me to, because this is one way to say yes, will you marry me?

By Arnaud Frich, two panoramic photos of Paris at night: the original and a captioned one marked with major landmarks.

I stood on the street and it was like an entrance. Breath like smoke dedicated to signaling the weather instead fogging a mirror like the corpse in an Agatha Christy we all had to read in high school as part of English class. From their offered hands to their accented voices, there’s no turning my back on good people. I felt like my happiness had exploded out of some strong box that I’d thought was hidden enough to be dead. That breath again, that mirror lying about the most beautiful woman who ever lived in the world, in this terrible after dancing cafe french fry restaurant dipped in grease and gravy. Too bright lights and scribbling word games on napkins, little finger trap puzzles. The alphabet in spanish, in french, and in effects, hands describing functions and sounds that can only be explained without language in common.

Kick me out of here, kick me out of all my data hacking at my heart that’s been bruised beyond clear definition. I could sing you a sea if you would only remember to talk to me. Off of the street, we’re singing, plates of something congealing that looks like it could pretend to be food in a seventies television commercial for something magical and space-age worthy that comes out of a box. Just add water. This is only for after dancing, I am reassured but already understand. This could only be for after the body has been wrung out in fun and tired, not enough sleep, but this is the lion and this is the lamb. I dig my fork into the detritus and try to remember that last time I’d felt like I’d been let off a leash without suspense. Ah, right. That buggered up. I should never have let him without more clarification than “Are you married?” You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. This however, this could rock me to sleep like the greatest band of all time, Robin Hood taking me in hand to show me the equation that gives me the time in musical notation.

For immediate download, some essential holiday listening: Peter Sellers – She Loves you (the nazi version)

The lines on a sheet of music are like the aggressive lines next to the highway that mark the fences that keep you from spilling your wheels off the side and wrecking your car. When we left the plastic tabletop full of drunk girls stumbling past, after fencing poses and flushing excavations into personal history waving conversations, it was decided we would go to a house in Outremont for coffee because there was a piano. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know who I’m with, but it’s enough to end a war, this sort of delightful finding of company on the side of the road. St. Laurent is behind us and we’re not slipping on the snow around our ankles, instead they’re letting me steer the car. My hands leaning over Cristian, the music conductor, his hands back and away and refusing to touch the vehicle, my body a curve like the road around Mt Royal. It’s not quite a mountain, it’s not quite a hill and on top there’s a cross all made of lights. White unless the Separatists are putting the shoulder to some action, then it turns blue. Politics, left, right, I don’t want to drive into anything, this is already crazy. It’s lucky I’m used to drivers who roll drugs into joints in their laps, but ice is confusing. The tires are lying different contact patterns to stop on the street. I make it past all the stop signs, it’s not my feet on the pedals and it’s all straight and I’m laughing, refusing to look backwards. There was no map, only instructions.

Because sometimes everything you need is in front of you.

It’s time to fake the knowledge of how to write a book

audrey-kawasaki – grumpy girl
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Living here, it doesn’t come easy, but I suppose it’s what I have to do until I find the funds to permanently leave.

Time slowed in the dark bus to the dark trickle of molasses. Travel encased in warmth and looking out at cold, the perfect orange of sodium lights, dirty highway, I felt my chest packed with string. It unraveled as we drove, sliding roughly out of a tiny hole in the center of my back, as if one end was tied to a rib and the other end behind me in the city. Oh the snow, the light crystals of shine that I would gather in handfuls and toss in the air.

I wanted to run.

Last night, for the second time in a week, I was to be found spending the night up in a home that was built from the bricks of a tax bracket that lives indifferent to my existence. But unlike the bed in Outremont that felt comfortable, redolant of music and welcome teeth, the bed here smelled like a museum exhibit, like I had crept into it past glass or a red velvet rope, all untouched history and neglect.

I fell asleep as the sun came up like a stone, trying to remember Sylvia Plath:

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Soon I’ll have to explain about Outremont, the people who saved my trip and forced me native overnight, breaking my heart and the language barrier with letting me drive, a grand piano, tango lessons, and singing.

I’m still irritated that I didn’t bring anything back with me.

all counting out musical two three six nine


Plane touched down and homogeneity was there to catch me. Hello Vancouver. Where is your snow? Your corniced buildings? Your attention to culture?

Thank you so much to Ray for being there for me.

My camera’s died an inexplicable death. Pressing a power button does nothing to dead electronics. I wish it were possible to hard boot a photograph.

There is more Japan in my room then when I left. Ryan‘s been unpacking. It clarifies my idea of what needs to be thrown out. Slimming down impedimenta is essential.

I need to be away.

The ferret feet wrapped around my wrist are charming, his earlier prancing dance welcoming me here tickled the eye. Skatia is novel because he is a surprise. He was left behind when I went native.

These letters are the ladder I use to claw my way up to sketching everything as well as I see it. When I do it right, you can follow the path to where I was feeling, to the people I dreamed with. I’m too tired for anything complicated right now but these words are kicking out of me, a last ditch hazy attempt at packing some meaning into me before I promise the bed my body.

See, my time tells me that it’s three hours more into tomorrow morning. It’s like I’ve crawled from the sea in some kind of discovering dream. I look at the clock and it lies to me. Time here is without teeth, unlike the racing exhaustion cradling my eyes I use to scrape my surroundings. That is teeth with a mask. If I wore make-up, I would think that if I were to strip off my face, my skin might feel the sunlight that’s creeping over the curved edge of the earth somewhere far away. I’m changing the numbers in my head. Three to Montreal, Toronto. Five to the Greenwich. The ones I do automatically, as if my cells were vibrating on a frequency that might drag snow from the sky to blanket me, make me feel at home, instead of just here.

I should be asleep, but I am left alone too long.
I am wondering how to describe how implausibly and importantly I am missing someone singing.

My lips aren’t afraid, only the words trapped behind them.

Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

I leave today, it makes me feel like the sound of rain on pavement. I wonder if I can hold onto this place. I wonder if when I step on the plane, I’ll be able to breathe. I will sit next to a window and consider what options I had while I fly away from here. This was no vacation, this was touching flesh into gold. There was nothing unconquerable, my only pains were usual. Small situations that always start late at night. These streets have transmuted into a home. How did I fall so quickly? How did I let go?

Quietly now, come upstairs. Quietly now.

Every tapestry, when unwoven, will come down to one thread.

I miss you.

If I had the chance today, I would not hesitate to say yes before it was too late. My honour can stand up to life’s offers of warmth now that I have vision and the capacity to give up my fighting. I have turned my back long enough, it’s not crippling to pull your body into mine and ask you to tell me stories, it just feels like it.

This city continues to delight me. It reminds me of my voice.

like a vessel
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

In the wake of spending the night up with three brilliant Argentinians, (bless them and all their lives), my english has been shot all to hell. This entry’s going to be skimming the depths of my language conscious mind trying to keep me on english, pues no he dormido todavía y había muchas tazas de café italiano negro. (James has been very patient and smiling a little too much.)

Running into Cristian, Hernan, and Martin outside of Rouge was like being agreeably attacked by a very vocal choir of sweetly strange muses. An orchestral conductor, a PHD in Literature, and a Haikido expert. Music, Writing, and Movement. I said later that all they needed was a painter to be complete. They were standing outside when the club closed down, a cheerfully noisy trio who liked the hair that was peeking from my hood.

I am trying to get my hand co-ordination back by juggling small oranges in between tiny spurts of typing. I wasn’t sure it was working until I remembered after five minutes of successfully keeping them in the air that I don’t actually know how to juggle. I think it’s just going to be one of those days. Damn, it’s good to be back.

I’d decided to go to the first club on the left side of St. Laurant that had a line-up, as a guarantee of people and quality, and I suppose the red lights and walls inside should have tipped me off, but I was far too involved in random conversation with the airplane designers that I’d attached to in the line-up to pay much attention to where I was. In a strange city, I find the names don’t matter as much. The music on the first floor was painful to endure, so upstairs I found a corner and kicked off my shoes to dance. The wooden floor was dominated by people dancing in little social circles. I felt like an apprentice to aggression, trying to find space where I wasn’t likely to tread on broken glass or get cracked in the face by drunken elbows. Everything that was playing was nostalgic to a generation that I’m not a member of, but I wasn’t going to care. The atmosphere was fun and friendly and the people I’d met were introducing me to their friends at a mile a minute. There was nothing abrasive for once, which was nice, as my week’s been a strange social mash-up of scintillating discoveries and heavy disappointments.

Speaking of which, guess who works at Rouge on Thursdays. Oops. Back and forth, little snippets of conversation that finally culminated with one of those little Talks that decides things. I never knew I could encapsulate so much in such a short space of time, but I’m not above admitting to grieving in a corner. Nightclubs are good places for it. No one will notice in the dark and flashing lights, and if they notice, they won’t care. Shhh. Hush now. This isn’t the time to care. Let’s do it later, when I have scientifically shamed my thoughts into subservience again.

Lights up, the pebbles of glass on the floor finally shining so that I could see them, time to go. Scrape the black tar off the bottom of my feet and find my coatcheck ticket, stop in the washroom and do one final look around. Nothing but a strong nostalgia for my old nightclub job in Toronto working for The Russian. The stairs let out onto St. Laurant and spit me out into enough of a crowd to hold me. I looked up at the windows and saw nothing. (There had been a moment of light earlier, a flash that dazzled my eyes in the dark enough to sting my eyes. When I saw who was carrying the sparkler I thought, reality has to stop providing flesh to metaphor around me.) Hood up, I was getting my bearings, deciding what to do next, feeling like I’d just been written by some cruelly urban Hemingway, when they found me or I found them. It could be an argument. I only know that I met a pair of pretty impish eyes underneath the brim of a cap some five feet away and the voice they belonged to was trying to discover my name.

Of course I walked over. Wouldn’t you? Soon they were singing like a kindling bonfire, sparks flying and shining on the street.

snow is like lightning

Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Though I walk through the valley of strange holidays and mouths that ask me for change in the name of a dead man that people believe in like tables and chairs and truth, to this world I say, “You can not take the wonder of snow away from me, for lo, it is powerful and bright and slides under my feet.”

You Are Beautiful.

My flight leaves from the airport here at five:thirty and arrives in Vancouver, though the strange vagaries of time-zones, at only eight o’clock. I imagine Ray will be there to greet me and whoever else would like to be there should contact him. I understand the Twenty-fourth is traditionally a family evening, so I won’t feel slighted if you’re busy elsewhere. However, if anyone has any parties, get-togethers, pot-lucks, or general meanderings that are open invite, I would like to know about them. I want to continue moving when my feet touch the ground, to distract me from being there and to remind me why I stay.

You Are Movement.

It’s thirty and ten steps to the corner of the street. Another fifty to notice the absence of good friends in the crowd, another fifteen to secretly smile at a pretty stranger. Six backwards and it’s possible to fall into a dream while you’re counting paces. Three, this leg wakes the dead whenever it slips on ice. Three is all stories, three then two, the pair, the holy lovers falling together though all the skeletons that live in the closets that were born in the suburbs. Back and forth, bodies and warmth and winter time is here, not there, but right in this very spot that I am looking up in the sky and trying to catch flakes of alien ice on my tongue and inside my smile. This smile, right here, this smile is wintertime. My feet hit the cracks in the pavement but my mother doesn’t die, only the little sheets of I want to turn back and explain myself. Take away my forgiveness and rain down ambiguous threats of calling you on the telephone until I have a map to follow back home, that mythical place that you all seem to have that I never found. I imagine a hall full of doors, a place of a thousand keys but no, I’ve got these three steps, now two, now one. My schedule is walk under this tree, walk forward, swing my feet like the water crumbling a sand castle by the sea glued together with my lipstick smelling like me.

Swinging like the back door, this is the final part of the operation, setting my feet straight on the slippery street.

I’m so tired of being the responsible one. The star in my heart wants to go out.

A. FOUR JOBS YOU’VE HAD IN YOUR LIFE (all previous jobs):
1. He sent me a letter
2. I met him dancing, I was sitting on the stairs
3. Brought to his theater, we had a friend in common
4. It was a new place and he was standing by the bar

1. When I replied, I laughed, he thought I would know him
2. He tapped me on the shoulder, acted like I knew him
3. I took him up on a roof, surprised he would not know it
4. We went home together, though we didn’t know each other

1. Smiling, we corresponded every day
2. I was stunned to discover he had a wife
3. Standing outside his window was so difficult and necessary
4. In the cab, his english was better than mine

1. There were happy pictures, and clever sounds, and fun videos.
2. I kissed him on the cheek and told him to ask permission first.
3. My lips were hungry and two years later, so were his
4. His apartment was neat, plants in the window, books in the glass table

1. I ran home through the park to meet him on-line
2. We held hands when we walked and strangers told us we looked good together
3. Curled up on the couch, slowly we curled into each other
4. I sat on the counter and he explained his red wine

1. Description sufficed to make my bed less lonely
2. When I slept over, it was on his side of the bed, not hers
3. Queen size bed now and we still almost fell off
4. There was a wide mirror above the bed framed by two guitars

1. johnny boy – U are the generation who bought more shoes and u get what you deserve
2. lamb – gorecki
3. emilie simon – graine de etoile, lamb – gabriel
4. marvin gaye – let’s get it on

1. Then the letters came less frequently and I didn’t know why
2. Eventually I couldn’t deal with the fact he was married
3. He was so beautiful, but I knew he never loved me
4. The next morning wasn’t too late, but there was a phone-call

1. Hurt, I assumed that work was taking his time
2. Hurt, I broke down, dissolved, died.
3. Hurt, I tried to tell myself not to believe in illusions
4. Hurt, I explained to myself that it’s what I should have expected.

1. Then I finally went for a surprise visit.
2. He divorced the wife, I took him back, he went away on a trip.
3. He never calls, so I walk over to his house at night.
4. Today he called me back, canceled our plans.

1. There was another woman.
2. There were two other women.
3. There might never be anyone.
4. There’s another woman in potentia.

1. He never apologized.
2. I’m fragile too.
3. Living with little is better than nothing.
4. At least he’s sorry.