five bottles of things going wrong

Heisenberg, Goedel, and Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg says, “From the fact that we are all here I can infer that this is a joke, but cannot determine whether or not the joke is funny.” Goedel says, “No, we can’t tell if the joke is funny because we’re inside it, if we could observe ourselves from outside, we would know.” and Chomsky just shakes his head sadly. “No, no,” he says, “The joke is funny. You’re just telling it wrong.”

Language source root map.

Crossing the park outside the train station to buy our tickets back east tonight, the night smells like dark, warm grass and marijuana under the broken lights. A man on a park bench to my right sings a snatch of song as I pass, though with a falsetto woman’s voice, sweet, light, as if they were secretly a ten year old girl in a ratty disguise of fourty years of hard drinking. Inside the train station, I don’t see David, who’s to meet me here. The building is mostly empty, the sort of vast space which hushes conversation, forces everyone to talk a little quieter as if our voices might be swallowed by the square footage if we were to speak too loud.

I walk past the bench with a young dreadlock-attractive couple, the sort that are nationally recognized as being from British Columbia. They both look like they should live starring on Folk Festival posters, but a little more tired, a little more worn around the cuffs of their sweaters and indian cotton shirts. The next bench only has a studious young man all in black, with a pair of new wing tip shoes in a box resting next to him. I sit on that bench, after pinning him on my mental map as the least likely to talk to me, and take out my book instead of strike up conversation. David has thirty-five minutes to arrive with our cash, and then the discount on our tickets will vanish.

The clock ticks..

After every page, I look at the clock, trying not to fret, but thankfully, it all works out. David arrives with our money, the man behind the counter apologizes for the flawed website and the terrible help-desk women who hung up on simple questions, explaining that the help desk offices are located in Dallas, Texas, Nova Scotia, and Bangladesh. He is generous, kind, and completely helpful. (Thank you man-behind-the-counter, you’re excellent.) We buy our tickets, I shake his hand, and we walk off into the night, three minutes to spare.

Wagons ho, we’re going on the 18th.

the trials and travails of nothing in particular

Anyone want a chandelier? How about a lamp? Please?

The weekend was spent moving David from his cave apartment of the mysterious smells to a pleasantly crooked #9932CC-darkorchid room in an old heritage style house on Arbutus street, right across the street from the Ridge Theater. It was an alright move, as such things go. Nothing irreplaceable was broken, nothing precious was lost. It involved many, many boxes of books, one might say too many, really, a veritable library of books, and little else. Some clothes, some furniture, two rabbits, but mostly boxes and boxes of books. I drew a floor-plan before we moved anything, so the chaos was almost instantly organized. Already it’s a habitable room, minus the stuffy proximity of the rabbits, who are currently living under the desk. I feel I should be proud of what I accomplished, though right now I’m too tired, too worn out, and too absently annoyed at my life. (I’m not sure I would date the man who would bring me back to that room.)

My house remains untidy, though order has been emerging in leaps and bounds. It’s possible to see how nice it will look when everything is done, which is new, as before I would examine the apartment and see only disaster. Boxes of extra kitchen stuff, old clothes, and unwanted books have left, either given away to friends or donated, and what’s left is shrinking almost daily as we recycle, sort, and dispose of what we don’t need, want, or could possibly use. It helps, too, that our landlord has finally given in and provided our building with recycling. Where there were piles of folded cardboard and plastic containers, now we have floor-space. It’s almost novel. I’m only sorry I won’t be able to finish everything before I leave for back east.

I’m packing too much into too little time, with too little money, and not enough resources, yet somehow, I plan to survive. To start with, my next two weekends are going to be spent in Seattle. This weekend, I’m biking down with my mother to visit with Kyle “freaking” Cassidy, (who has just proved himself to be utterly fantabulous YET AGAIN), and his lovely beau Trillian, who are in for a wedding, and next weekend I’m going down with Nicole to shot-gun shoot at hipsters with Eliza, who has an art opening. Then, I’m gone for two weeks as I travel by bus to Montreal and Toronto and pray to whatever is available that I’ll manage to pay for it all and still be able to eat.

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.

emotionally satisfying music

“A toddler whose remains were found inside a suitcase in Philadelphia in April was starved to death by members of a religious cult, including his mother, in part because he refused to say “amen” after meals, police said.”

Listening to the Kronos Quartet covering Sigur Ros’ Flugufrelsarinn, music as quiet, rich, and thick as the calm pumping of blood. Sound like running hands over sheets, straightening them out on a September morning, as leaves fall outside, golden and red and silent in the gutters. I’m letting the cello soothe out the jangled nerves of today’s news, of going to bed at three and waking up at eight to the telephone ringing with police on the other end wanting to talk about permits and crowd size and kids running around with replica guns.

Karen is considering moving out the end of October. She misses Main St, hopes to find a nice flat there, something vintage with wooden floors and windows that get stuck when it rains. I’ve been worried about her lately, she’s been absent from the house a lot, and I know her family isn’t as supportive as they could be, little things that add up into hoping she’s okay, so it’s nice to know that she’s well and together enough to keep on top of things. Plans will coalesce, they will calcify, they will become fact. It’s one of the nice things about living, how we continue to change and transform and become more of who we are as we become who we think we need to be. I hope that wherever she finds, she gets to paint her room again, whatever shade of light, minty lime green she likes best.

David will be moving soon, too, though more immediately, at the end of the month. No longer will he be staying with me as his place becomes piles of boxes full of books, instead the two of us will be staying up too late, unpacking his life-things into a nice, wine coloured room in a big house across from the Ridge Theater on Arbutus. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to teach him how to make really nice, to-the-ceiling cinderblock shelves, (remember to pad the ends of the blocks with hidden felt), and lie in the garden with the rabbits hopping on leashes as the city drowns around us in every day, ordinary life. I might not have very much passion these days, but I can see putting a mild time aside for just that sort of thing, and being okay.

I’m just twisting inside, uncertain how I will ever sleep again

(I’m not giving up. I don’t feel like crying.) My restless heart is awake tonight. The love of my life so far called up from Los Angeles where he lives and works in Hollywood, tonight fixing the green screen behind a mechanized animatronic badger some pool soul created for a Wisconsin lotto campaign, because that’s just how the world is some times. He moved a few months ago, changed apartments, because his roommates were having a baby, and tonight she’s gone into labour. The father was text messaging him the scale of dilation as the news came in as he and his wife prepared in the same room Angelina Jolie gave birth to her baby twins in. Strings to my heart from his, I’m not sure how tonight I will sleep. David lives here like a knock-off imitation of the real thing, flushed with sleep in the bed behind me as I chatter, endlessly, joyfully, down south, a river of miles away. I wake him, briefly, when Antony’s iPhone runs out of batteries, and he’s grumpy with me, annoyed, red-eyed, and I wonder if he feels as displaced as I do. I still think of Tony as my boyfriend, my skinny mad lover too rich and too clever and too handsome for anyone to live up to. He’s a couple of weeks recently only a month begun dating a performance artist, some woman named Michelle, I think, with a mad friend he doesn’t like. He didn’t tell me before for gentle worry it would be cruel to send a note. Deliriously, he is right. (We are declawed, yet holding back our teeth, soft like cats, cinnamon and sweet.) He tells me that she isn’t very attentive, a whole week went by without a call, without contact, and I feel justified, while I laugh with him about fallacy, how we get caught in these dramatic traps like early twenties, just teens, just out into life. Before me, there was no-one for ten years, a decade alone, and all these details, streaming through my blood like jade in my arteries, not jealousy, but something more mundane, a sallow sadness, not very good at expression, that loves him like the sky, oh loves him still, and stronger than I care for anything else in my life, the one here I have been trying so hard to build, so keenly, like he’s a knife I hold in my hand to keep myself safe, the city nothing to me, the distance, the far flung dreams of walking, of taking one step after the other, until I find myself there, waiting at his door, flowers in my hand like a scream.

just one of those things

365 days one hundred & seventy: between the lines
365 days one hundred & seventy: between the lines

David is going brown in the sun, his pale becoming tan, becoming sepia, a colour stolen from the ink of squid, then fractured, chemically converting silver into sulphide, toning into something more resistant to breakdown over time. Our bodies contrast, as if we’re different genres of the same animal. I wonder what he’ll look like the other end of this coming up Folk Fest weekend, where people take off their shirts and get happily dusty walking the Jericho paths. I wonder, too, how he’ll get on with Mike, how interesting and odd all the interactions will be. There is an anticipation building inside me, bubbling like water over stone.

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.

run away to spain

365 day one hundred & twenty-four: cover letters

California lifts the ban on gay marriage, becoming the second state to do so.

From the tongue of bees, I step into the warm night, instantly reminded of living somewhere else, a towel around my waist, soaked to the belly, thinking of humidity, how it used to be impossible to see the sky in summer. (At the store, the clerk said it made him happy to see young people in love, “I miss my wife.”) The water on my skin evaporates as I count footprints to the porch, wondering at the heat, and listen to the siren that comes up from the water. Three years I’ve lived here, almost four, and all I know is that it’s from the docks.

David is still in the shower, rinsing bubbles from his hair, I can almost fancy he is quietly singing, though he is not. I stand a moment on the porch, listening to the places I used to live that are suddenly humming under my skin like oxygen, gathering momentum, feeding on the thick texture of the air. I want to have him there, where I once was, in the dark, watching lightning blow in from a roof eight years ago, hair whipping up to blind the clouds that looked as gray as stone, as solid as paint, hands out-stretched, as if with my hands I could catch every drop of rain. I want myself there, but now, like a match-stick struck, flaming into travel faster than thought, as if we could fly on the fire of our belief.

Maybe this will be alright, perhaps I have had my fill of mad genius for now, this could still all work out. Two writers together, mild and bright, making a joyful life, walking, hands held, alright with ourselves, our places, our names. I love him. Already I think in we not I, in us more than me, as if the habits of relationship were merely waiting for me to assume them again like a ring I had merely misplaced, not slowly destroyed or completely forgotten how to wear.

This morning when I woke folded against him, my head on his chest, not yet sleepily reaching for the alarm, I smiled – there was a dried flower petal pressed, like a good luck charm, perfectly in the hollow of his throat.

Campaigners on the Greek island of Lesbos are to go to court in an attempt to stop a gay rights organization from using the term “lesbian”.

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.