“you look fabulous”

Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

A polyglot of limbs, tongue twisted in front of a film, I remember this room better than I thought I would, the incongruous poster on the wall of dancing dolphins, the shelf with less books than I would have assumed. Somehow, I am sorry that I do. Situations have shifted, dried like parchment, a fact more important than anything I felt when I woke here a different butterfly Sunday, months ago, tangled, content, and terrified, my fists full of hair and red between my legs, teetering on the cliff edge of falling in love. Certain doors have slammed. The blood I left has either been washed away or covered by a sheet, erased into history, like the skin of our relationship, something no longer demonstrably in existence.

Outside, it’s raining, so we’re cozy inside on a bed made of pillows that takes up half the room, watching Oldboy, a Korean masterpiece of paper doll romance, revenge, kung fu, and dark, bitter humour. It’s one of my favourites. It slams out of the screen, shaking us into screams and laughter, revulsion and sympathy. I can almost ignore his hands. My Seattle friends had never seen it, so at certain moments MaryJane squirms, impressed into squeals, and Adam crawls farther up the bed, away from the screen, but we’re loving it. The film is a beautiful bird of prey, gracefully eviscerating a small furry creature that completely deserved it. Possibly it did something bad to the bird’s mother. It’s fun, full of blood, and a horrible mystery, all at once. Wicked, it goes over well, and then it’s time to leave. Evening, my bus, don’t want to get stranded for the night.

Work would forgive me, but I might not.

I’ll embed myself later, for now this is the surface I work from

A list of common misconceptions.

Something is falling. On my desk, to the left of my keyboard, is a small plate with meat, a pen, a cup of red tea so dark it’s ox-blood, and David’s hat like a black ikon, the object everything else is arranged around. Today I wore it like a talisman, not against the weather, but against myself, as a ward against memory, against remaining asleep. I missed him when I was gone, but couldn’t imagine how he’d fit where I was, where his place might be.

I arrived late by five hours, and felt lost, though my mental map of the city is beginning to be more accurate than that of some people who live there. The accident threw my nerves, the never-ending wait at the border had softened them, and my head hurt from hitting the window. Thankfully, I like the city I was left in, like it better than the one I currently call home, so I stayed happy, refreshed by the place rather than the trip to. Joseph didn’t pick up when I called, but Adam did, and plans were made to meet, to find haven up on Capital Hill. By the time I got there, however, what with Seattle transit only running on a half hour schedule, (which is mad), Joseph was on his way. Clever boy, calling my obvious second shot in the dark.

By the time I got to Broadway, we were four over dessert, sitting as two couples, but three relationships. Cousin/not-cousins, ex’s who never were are’s, connections described in tiny arcs, sparking, amused, created from joyful assumption, certain history, and fact. Over cake we decided to head out to a birthday party, a burner thing up on yet another hill, new people, a new house, somewhere I had never been. I rode with Adam and Anna, as Joseph was nervous of me on his new bike. He’s only a neophyte driver, two months in, on a bike I wouldn’t call a starter. Later I would ride with him, later with less people on the roads, less complexity to our uncertain route.

The party was nice, pleasant people in a pleasant house owned by a famous circus performer who was unfortunately out of town. We sang Happy Birthday, ate cake, and sat in the attic, then in the hot-tub, and got used to being in the same place again, our names transformed into something more colourful, a little more happy, flowing like water from each other to ourselves, warming the hollow under my ribs. Life as a you-had-to-be-there joke, like the importance of soapy water and “thank you, I work out.”

By the time Joseph and I peeled away, it was late enough to go dancing, a staple of our visits, something I haven’t done since I was last in Seattle. We went first to Noc Noc, where we spent an entire night once, but the music was terrible, so we headed off soon to the Mercury, the private goth club, where we had spent out New Year’s, back before we knew each other. Unfortunately, it became private to skirt smoking laws, so it might have better music and friendlier clientele, but that only goes so far when it comes to dancing in carcinogenic fog. It was wonderful to finally move, but eventually I had to give up, so it was there in the black nail-polished dark that I finally pulled out Joseph’s lap-top and got in touch with David, somewhere around three in the morning.

I kind of like this guy. He just seems happy.

post midnight update from a nightclub

Quick version: Vancouver->Seattle bus hit by semi. Result: a five hour border wait and a nasty knock to the head. Missed NZ David, was rescued By Adam. Okay now. At the Merc with Joseph, who is a darling.

Now to get back to dancing until I drop from smoke inhalation. My lips have already begun to tingle.

my heart the hunter

Walking across the street in the rain, there’s someone in front of me with a spiderman brand popsicle, the blue eyes two wan gum-balls that look like they were manufactured years before I was born. “Where did he get that?”, I wonder, searching my mind for available corner stores and coming up with nothing. Downtown east side, one block from the epicenter, I try to imagine what it tastes like as I step over a gray man slumped wetly on the sidewalk, dead aside from his lonely muttering.

I have two job interviews today, one with an e-music company I’ve done temp work with, one with Kokoro Dance, a butoh group I deeply admire. I’m looking forward to both of them, as they present vastly different challenges, and can’t help hoping I do well at both. It would be the greatest of blessings to have even one regular job. Living freelance has been hurting, especially considering how much flaky management I’ve had to deal with. I want it to be over with. I’d like a desk again, please and thank you.

In more good news, That Mike called from somewhere between Chicago and Madison yesterday, (on tour with Buckethead again), sounding so sorry he forgot my birthday that the earth might swallow him whole. It blows my mind sometimes, how nice he is. There’s a depth to his sincerity far past anything I can match these days. It seems to go one for miles, far past any horizon, glad for the world without end.

I still need to call him back, actually, him and Adam both, but for that I need a calling card, and for that I need to find out what in sam hill is going on with my bank. I wired money to someone in Alberta, only to find out that it was immediately rescinded, and the ATM wouldn’t let me take out all of my rent. Bah. Trouble. Not everything this weekend was good news. Almost, but not quite.

a cure for summer (for adam & david & juan)

pluck nine shiny yellow lemons from the pile, put them in your basket, find the strawberries, try to decide through the clear plastic clamshell boxes which ones contain the best and most delicious strawberries, put two of them in your basket too, and one pink grapefruit, then purchase them and leave the store. peel what needs peeling, tear them apart, lick the tart juices running down to your elbows, smile, laugh, (try to find someone pretty to help), put them in a medium sized pot, then rummage through a kitchen drawer until you find a neglected potato masher, one rarely used no matter how delicious mashed potatoes are because there is just never find time in a busy life to make them, and use it to squish the pulpy sour lemons and the pink grapefruit that squirted while it was being skinned until they are mostly juice. while doing this, the pretty helper should have washed the strawberries in bracing cold water, clear and fresh and cool, and begun to pry the stems out with a fingernail, delicate and certain. they should then open the berries as if they were lips, something sweet to kiss, and toss the pieces in with the wet and acidic mess in the pot, brightening it with berry blood the colour of love and good music. when the first box of plump and perfect strawberries is gone, pressed into the rest of the liquid, take the pot, thanking the pretty assistant, fill it with beautiful water, enough to cover the mixture three times over, and put it on the stove to boil like a mysterious teenage dream of summer. when the mixture has begun to boil, possibly stir in with a wooden spoon, cracked perhaps from being left in the sink too long last month, a cup of the darkest demera sugar, as unprocessed as sugar can be, flavourful as honey. after thirty minutes of bubbling, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom, take the pot from the stove and place it inside the fridge, as arctic and pale as fake fox fur. the frost will lick it clean. when it is cold, it is ready to drink. enjoy.

An impression on a surface of the curves formed by the ridges on a fingertip

365 day eighty-four: wrap me up
365 day eighty-four: wrap me up

View On Black

Lay me fluorescent against the gray of this sky which breaks open like the sound of a radio played against the mountains, filling the valley with an absence of memories, drowning the city in white rain that falls like ash. Weather traffic, jammed at the mouth of a river, trapped between north and west, connection made, obscuring the setting sun, it tastes like the ocean. Did I give him my number? My words broken, his tangential smile. When I throw my hands towards the clouds, sparks filter down too fast to see. Where did he touch me? Skin stripped with cold, the punch-line is I can still recall. “You don’t understand how nice this is for me.” Pinned to the stones at my feet, under my fingernails begins to darken, my skin begins to shake, but I’m still waiting until it comes again, lips parted, rolling from the ocean, an impossible number of stones tumbling together above me, a love affair in three point six seconds. Cutting teeth, serious, studious, and calm. A voice for me to feel in my bones.

I stand in the wind, unable to find my face.

“thanks, I’ve been working out”

365 days seventy-four: getting better

From where I sit at my computer, I can lift my left arm up to point at the sky and directly impale the moon.

I came out of Seattle on the wings of swords, dizzy from lack of blood, thin with anemia, in love with long hair and laughter at three in the morning. How is it that we slept so little and said so much? Sheets stained, a hallway, dancing in the main room, ghosted in, refusing to exist for three days running, the colour of his hands in the sink. Revitalized, starving, everything blurring into a week of living out of town, trying to learn where all the streets joyfully go and how they knit together. Red like bricks, white like sheets, windows running, the darkness of a night-club, an arcade of easy decisions lain out to take, simply, delightfully, right.

Monday I arrived and Monday I left, a line on the calendar, traditional and far away, a sweet stretch of time, between an inhale of wind and exhale of sunshine, just long enough to remember what I want and how much of it I can create.

Back in September, the Brickhouse was crowded with loud, unexpected, off-season patrons, drinking while on their way to a club. The bartender glared at them as I took Mike past the main area, the 70’s upholstered couches cluttered with shaggy pillows, a short row of inaccurate pool tables, to the close seats lining the back where our group generally collects. There’s a Ms. Pacman there and murky fishtanks in-set into the wall full of dubious looking fish we always feel mutely sorry for.


I could see the taxis had been quicker, already our friends were there, a pitcher of dark beer resting on every table. Our evening, as the only people who didn’t smoke, the two playing accordion with language, slid from them into late dinner at a Pho place that played porn on a small television in the back next to a table of beat-boxing Korean boys. Laughter, neon, mirrors along every wall. With dawn threatening, the clock reading older: “Where are you staying?” “Nowhere yet.” “So what you mean to say is that you’re staying with me.” Four hours in a bed together before working up to the common revelation we call a kiss. He looked at me like a child who’s seen something truly marvelous, like the astonishing miracle of a talking sock. I felt like a gift, a treasure worth having, a lesson learned well enough to speak a new language, which was an old language, which was exactly a story waiting to bend itself to fit the confines of my personal mythology as well as my bed.

Seattle, where we met-went next, as architecture, as a patch-work of memories I am beginning to sew from day to day. This is where I took a picture of a walk/don’t walk sign, next to where someone grinned and played the rake, taller, thin, dry, not as everything as I knew before, but better, improved. This is where I stood for the bus that took me to Ballard, where the streets are paved in brick, Norwegian History, a story of a dead son, an Italian dinner, and the sound of back-stage banter at the Tractor, “give me your hand”, climbing the fence and staring down at Nicole as she argued with the buttons of my camera, as I wore Mike’s hat and smiled as if the expression were newly minted just for me. How everywhere is named the spot or the dot or the spatter, from sex clubs to breakfast places to all night diners, dark, noisy, crowded, and low. Dancing all night, walking past another day, sitting on the floor of the beating heart of the downtown library, knowing which bus route will take me back up the hill. Refusing to use anything but his full name, two syllables, originating in Hebrew, meaning “he will add”.

365 days seventy-eight: what happens at half ten?

Who was that naked in the fountain? It’s doubtful we’ll ever know, but it is a friend os the family who lives in the pink house basement a block away from the full force impact of forgetting how beautiful his eyes can be, I’ve never seen him need such a shave, December could never be so far away as this moment here, again recognizing my lover and finally feeling my heart breathe.

I am meshing with the city, overlaying memory with memory – a hotel, how strange, sleepless long nights, better than last time, the changes in my life forcing me into a little more. This time with friends, watching my ties as they grow, thrusting roots into the unknown pattern of streets. Eyes stinging from the water as the stars walk by, lights I can’t even pretend to see. Blind. Sitting in a car in a parking lot, realizing that I’m apparently talking to a Jewish martial arts expert composer who runs a store where everything sold is purple and thinking that’s entirely normal and more than a little bit okay. Obviously. Evident like walking through snow, the shape of movement imprinting in the weather. Fire in a room, the shivering unlikely, improbable, and unexpectedly matched up like polarized film. Collected moments accruing into a future avalanche, an altar to where we’re all be next year.

It was nice to meet you, I hope to see you again. With love, and everything else the heart needs around. Knee deep.

people keep asking how I am

Fondue was a success thanks to Ryan, Eva, Silva, her two friends, Ian, Ethan, Lung, Michael, Imogyne, Mike, Nick, Duncan, David, Beth, Mike, Alice, and Adam. At one point, the teahouse ran out of seats and I stood, leaning over people to get at the tasty treats.

  • The origin of HIV has been found in wild chimpanzees living in southern Cameroon.
    we look like we're related

    It doesn’t seem real that my birthday is so close again. Just Monday, Monday and the number clicks over another digit. Three to four. My mother got it wrong, thought I was older. It was her graduation from the University of British Columbia yesterday. I got the day off work to watch her walk across the stage to receive paper proof of her achievement. The pride that thrilled through me was burnished bright by the satisfied smile on her face. I took pictures after of her in her cap and gown, holding the blue folder that contains her degree. Then we took pictures of me in the gown on the basis that it’s very likely the only chance I’ll ever have to wear one. Driving home with her through the sharp rain on the motorcycle, I had to lean forward and hug her, the love and respect simply swelled to more than I could contain. She’s survived a ridiculous amount of harm to get where she is, and though it’s not ideal, she’s still scraping to get by, it’s a testament to her tenacity that she persevered and put herself through university as a single mother with three kids. It’s more than most have done.

    Tonight I have dinner with friends, tomorrow I have dinner with Silva, Saturday Ray is rescuing me possibly from my masque-panic hell and sweeping me about town to try and find something to wear, (suggestions bloody appreciated), and there’s (as yet unverified) rumour of a second SinCity to be held at Richards on Richards. (If there is no Sin, who wants to have a party?) Sunday I’m still planning on being down in Seattle with Eliza, though it’s looking less and less likely as the day approaches and no rides have been forthcoming. Monday my mother is bringing me to a soiree at the Mansion, and Tuesday is the last May Mandarin Movie Tuesday.