saved from my own ways by beautiful boys

sanfran leap
San Francisco 2008

My summer is about to explode. It has already started, a little, (I sneaked into a rave on Friday night, spent Saturday on a cross-Atlantic guitar lesson with Richard, Saturday night with dear friends at a dinner, blowing people’s minds with synchronicity, and Sunday at an epic wedding that involved a boat, a full-sized, bright red, radio controlled dalek wedding cake that shouted EXTERMINATE, (part gluten free, too!), a hexacopter ring-bearer, and friends from six or seven countries), but this past weekend was just the amuse bouche.

My comrade Nathan is taking us to Cirque Du Soliex’s Totem tonight for my upcoming birthday, then we’re leaving on Thursday evening for the Sasquatch Music Festival. The line-up is absolutely fantastic, many of my favourite bands are playing, (Elbow, Mogwai, Die Antwood, The National, Cut Copy, TuNe-YaRds, etc.), and it’s going to be our first road-trip. I almost cannot wait. I feel like a little kid, counting sleeps.

Then, on the way back, Nathan is dropping me off in Seattle and I’m going to California for my birthday, courtesy of my ability to fit into a suitcase AKA a sweetheart’s business trip to the Google mothership! Flexibility pays off. Apparently I’ll be flying from Seattle on the 26th or 27th and staying for approximately two weeks.

I leave Canada in four days, but know zero about my flights or even where or when I’m to meet up with my dear B. It is so strange and yet delightful to know I am to be travelling, but not know when or precisely where to. It’s like a trust exercise with the universe that I am surprisingly completely fine with. Are we meeting in Seattle? In California? Where? No idea. I have zero information, but it’s.. gratifying? It feels proper. Makes it more of an adventure, for sure.

I imagine I’ll be taking the train a lot back and forth between SF and Silicon Valley for the first week and tucking in for work during the days, but other than that, my time is open. B. will only be there for the first week and mostly busy with work, which is a bit sad, he is smart and sassy and wonderful, but I’m still thrilled. Once I wave my kerchief goodbye to him at the airport, I’ll couch-float with friends in the Mission or the Castro or the Tenderloin.

The only plans I have so far: Jed and I are making sultry eyes at Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind on May 30th, (come with us!), and Richard has informed me that must visit him at the Vulcan on the first Thursday in June. And Morissa says I can use her house for a birthday dinner party! (Party date as yet to be determined). Other than that, it’s almost all a giant question mark. Do you know of anything going on in SF between May 26th and June 6th-ish? Let’s adventure!

Then I’m back to Seattle for a week to go to the the Georgetown Carnival and the Power Tool Drag Races and all that fun stuff. Maybe play some flaming tether ball. Mars and I are learning to be friends again, too, which makes Seattle much better to visit. I don’t know if B. will be around, but I hope so. (If he isn’t totally sick of me after sharing a hotel room for a week, that is. “Why are all the towels stained scarlet?”, “Why is my pillow purple?”, “How did the room ceiling end up covered in glow-in-the-dark stars? Are those constellations.. accurate?”)

I plan to return to Vancouver on June 15th, immediately put my passport in for renewal the day I get back!, collect certain papers from my mother, Vicki, that she’s bringing back from Ireland, do all of the laundry in the world, maybe throw a quick Vancouver-based birthday party, then head out to Ontario. The plan is to go to REcon (June 23rd – 29th) in Montreal via Waterloo courtesy of Ian, my besty who wants to drive up from Ontario in my fine company. Improbable, yes. Possible, very. I owe his cat Dewie about a thousand snuggles. And I think he’s starting to get tired of carrying his favourite Internet Girl around in his phone à la Her. And Audra has offered us her charming AirBnB apartment in Toronto for a couple of nights, (she has a cotton candy machine!!!), so we could home base out of Toronto and visit with people and stay up late in the city rather than having to go back to Waterloo. I’m sure we’ll use it, as I’m five or six years overdue for a visit and the good people just keep piling up. I even have an uncle there I’ve never met who seems supracool. Why don’t I live in Toronto? I Do Not Even Know.

We’ll be stopping by in Ottawa on our way to Montreal, too, to stop by the river market and stuff our faces with scrumptious berries and sugary beaver tails and APPLY FOR MY IRISH PASSPORT WITH THE EMBASSY! Happy birthday to me! I’m Irish! I HAVE EU AND EVERYTHING. As of, like, six days ago. My mother, bless her, went to Ireland as part of a Canada Council art project with Paul and took the packet of my needful documents with her, followed the very detailed instructions, and has filed my birth with the Irish government!

REcon is apparently a marvelous time, too. It’s run by Hugo, who I love to hang out with at CanSec. I’ve never spent as much time with him or his friends as I would like, so this is perfect. And apparently the Circus Festival starts in Montreal on July 2nd, so maybe we’ll get away with sticking around for a day or two longer for that. Either way, I plan to get fat and happy on delicious food, hug a lot of people, dance my face off, and ride a lot of city bikes. Christine wants to go to the new Cirque show, Kurios, too. I approve. There will also be chocolate and a stop by Santropol. Oh yes.

And no, I don’t know anything solid about flight dates on this trip yet either. IT IS ALL A FANTASTIC MYSTERY.

And then I’m in Vancouver until ToorCamp. (That might be for less than a week, oi). ToorCamp is another hacker event, but in Washington State on July 9th. Nathan wants me to go with him, so of course I said yes. Hopefully my passport will have come back by then and I’ll be good to go. I don’t know much about it, except that the people I know who’ve gone in the past are all excellent.

I have also been tapped to work as the Art Director for Hacked Festival, another hacker event from August 11th – 14th, but this one in Vancouver. It’s their inaugural year and maybe I’ll be able to help, even though I’m barely going to be around for the next few months. (Apply to be a speaker or an artist naow!) I’ve told them about my travel schedule, but the founder met me at BIL and he seems to want me involved anyway, so I might end up going through with it just because. If that ends up being the case, that will fit in right after ToorCamp. And right before Burning Man.

I have a number of options for Burning Man this year, but I think I might be tossing a bunch of them over to stay with a lawyer friend from Seattle. Not only do I appreciate him a metric ton just in general, I cannot get enough of his art project, an infrared photobooth. People step inside into pitch blackness, the infrared flash goes off, and though all they see is a small red light, the pictures look like they were taken in daylight.

And then, come September, rest. Playing with ferrets. Adventure is fine, (dying is fine)but Death), but I’m going to miss my ferrets. Pepper and Selenium are the best.

TLDR; If all goes well, I’m going to live out of a suitcase this summer.

just one of those things

His body shifts and I wonder if it’s automatic, my mind almost on other things. Abruptly, however, a flash, headlong, hurried, intense as something, suddenly, is very, very right. It is like a switch has flipped. I am concentrated. My body becomes fierce and my words slip away, pushed away by this unforeseen, lovely surprise.

(It doesn’t last, of course. There’s never enough time to get it where it needs to go, but that’s another story.)

I read about sex in novels, in science studies, in stumbled little webzines and in You and Your Body books pressed into my hands by worried boyfriends, (hoping, I suppose, that I shall discover how to fix how I am apparently broken), and never do they describe the immediacy I experience, the severity, how fast it happens, how disengaged I can be before. Always they write about sweet climbing momentum, gentle swells, an upward glide into pleasure leading like foothills to some final poignant apex no one seems to have words for, as if sex were oceanic and mysterious instead of a cliff. Or they write about fucking, fast powerful sex that racks the body with rushing orgasms, rapid spasms of keen, overpowering whatever it is. “Waves of exquisite pleasure overwhelmed her body” it says on page 45, but nowhere in my history can I find a similar sugar crumb trail of slow sticky nights or sensuous afternoons. Instead, if I am very lucky, there is an absolute point of sudden, violent desire. A severe, immediate, precipitous change when things get interesting. It is swift and always unexpected, a quickening that hits quickly, and without it, sex is only exciting for other people, something to smile with, about, yet through.

I check the name of the author. Female, same as the last few times. I wonder again, as always, how it is that I have been doing it wrong.


The newest update at The Secret Knots.

Scientists Create Fake DNA

The letter arrives as an unexpected gift, the writing inside looping with the earnest sincerity of reaching out with not much to say. Concern, care, an anecdote misremembered, a stamp very carefully picked. My reply is more dense, close packed words scribbled under pressure, hurried with the knowledge that people-are-going-to-want-my-time-any-minute-now, difficult truth compressed into just under one small page. I barely find space to sign my name. It’s a haunted torrent of words, something released under pressure, as if I’d been holding my breath, waiting for someone to say my name.

The only thing, we’ve never been at the same place at the same time.

Our friendship might be an odd one, growing as it did out of a completely chance on-line encounter, but it feels like home, spilling quarrelsome affection across the planet to someone I’ve never met, flirting, arguing about our friends, fording the unavoidable textual misunderstandings, allowing complexity to flourish long distance. (If it felt strange, I would be someone else.) He seems so familiar, I speak to locals as if he was only just here, though sometimes I wonder details, the gestures of his hands, or the way he might smile, human ingredients only available face to face, how they carry their weight through space.

(I never, for example, would have guessed at the incredible presence commanded by Steen’s hair, no matter how many pictures we might have shared.)

It occurred to me, writing my letter, this might seem strange, almost unfathomable, and yet, here I am, holding closest people who exist father away from me than the end of the sky. Among my papers are other written letters, unsent rough drafts meant for South America as well as New York, aborted confessions, cafe conversation arias scripted as short stories, she said, he said, fictional encounters, scraps of meaning as solid as mercury, certain only in that they prove I care, that I wish we were closer, that I wish I knew a better way for us to meet, as if we are kissing cousins, family unrelated, hiding, seditious accomplices rebelling against our current distant state.

Further Proof that Early Risers are Mutants.

(he is still in the air), this is a gift, {welcome home}

Winter creeping back in, as if it forgot something in the front hall. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Our card keys not working two nights in a row. Black suitcases, brocade. He bought me a corset, he did, my heart glowed. It blazed from my chest, a red light to guide the blind, but it didn’t fit. They’re tricky things, all boning and busk, slim lines and I’m ten inches too wide, too thin, too shaped already. An hour and a half at the shop for them to take it back. An hour glass slumped in an old diner on Davie st. falling asleep on a shoulder, yawning wide, teeth shiny like the chrome lining the tables. Formica, red seats, milkshakes, it’s been here forever. Everything already ten years old. This place, these people. I never told you his name. Words flashing by, sparking sweet recognition, laughter. Clouds, muslin, always, always writing about the sky. His brown eyes. I am a gosling, torn. I can feel my heart like a light, blazing, bright, and happy. Inside my chest is thin starshine, the dust we are made of, picture perfect, luminous, shining, only imagined. Plastic bags of yesterday’s dinner, breakfast. It blazes, burning my skin. Stopping in to buy more cigarettes, more prophylactics. Two boxes and one. Our gratitude no less than our compassion. It’s the best shopping list. On the magazine cover 10 THINGS HE CRAVES IN BED. Denied. Trees sway when we laugh, damp with warm Vancouver rain. Nick is down the street, waiting, walking. I recognize his stride, his big black coat flapping. Spring steel, dark with light purple, Valentines, Elizabethan, so my middle name. We shared a taxi up to Broadway before I tried it on. The mirror lied. Construction zone jack hammering on a Sunday morning.

Opening envelopes, my house slowly being buried, neglected, unseen. A bracelet, a pair of earrings, a card, two stories, my name. Green, green, so messily written, so charmingly crafted, a treasure trove. My name. It’s official and legal and I already tore the paper pulling it from the envelope. My birthday present from last year. My Name. I turn to him in bed to say I don’t like how if movies were true, all men would have a father complex. Suicide, murder, be proud of me pops. Gonna be a soldier, gonna take down the man, fight for my country, stand up and be counted as another worn hero, broken bones and shallow dialogue. Don’t like it, don’t want it, don’t have to have it, but here, I insist. Paperwork, with years, with spelling, I erased my parents. Created only my mother, mouse haired, we don’t look alike, to have and to hold, to protect and cherish and yet my last name is mine. Always will be until I can pass it on, give it over, give it away. here, a present. My name. Amazing what spelling can change. Two letters and already I am disconnected from my family. A million cousins, a thousand brothers, stories from farther away than outer space. Sicilian mob bosses, gypsy queens, grandfathers wandering the wars. When she was rescued, she was told she couldn’t eat more than a single slice of bread. Everyone who tried to carry gold was shot crossing the river. Vanished now. Wiped away. My name is mine. These are my hands, capable, but unattached.

The second attempt fit better, a satin shell. It creaks like a ship. Sailing, the sweep of hip, memories of leaning out to catch water in my hand, so blue in my head it looks like the sky had drowned there like we can’t breathe, like we clip our fingers together above his head. No one in the world could echo in such slow motion. Sailing, one of those strange skills. We’re full of tricks. Destruction and beauty, everywhere I swerve, he is straight. Never before have I been so aware of the word flesh, his lack of it. Sticks and stones, my body the anchor, softer, heavier, more capable of balance. I carry him. We are a Waterhouse painting. Idiosyncratic, aberration, he calls me improbable. He tells me I am to die by vanishing in a puff of logic. The pattern of our presents drips off my tongue, the hollow of a thought, the success of clear thinking. The girl at the shop had a tattoo of a heart beaten full of nails, she stays open an hour after close, as he peers in, asks questions. We burn my back tightening the cord. This was my place. Walls lined synthetic pink, soft jelly plastic, PVC on hooks, cheap zippers, bright wigs. Bones. Glad to be gone. Trapped, caught, tying me into another one. Too long, too short, nothing’s just right, velvet, no velvet, we’re on a time-line. He leaves on a plane. Flies away. Don’t let your arms get tired, we’ve got one on the counter, spread like wings, untying, tying, these things take time, grace. Our impatience crawls. His hair like feathers, it’s just a little wind. Outside, we won, satisfied. He flings his cigarette into the street, it arcs, splashes sparks, any minute now, he’s gone.

Personal mythology, the bits and pieces, trapped in amber, rising like liquid. It’s a battle against clocks ticking, this emotional arsenal, holding his hand on the way to work in the morning. Every day back to my life, the shadow of a girl filled in with colours, traced on paper and brought back to life. The crown of my head, a picture on the screen. Smiles that cover my eyes, the lines defining how we fade into one expression from another. The shutter flickers and I keep another breath. It’s important, lining, tracing the slow blast radiating out from his chest, quiet, mine. Safe from sun, safe from dissolution, memory, considerations falling apart. This place, this locket we make of fingers he wears in his sleep, my hand as a bracelet, safe. The unfamiliar feeling. Kind desires bubble under my skin like blood crawling under dew, breaking our bodies into confusion, stroking mythical bees over my shoulders and belly, cool and soft as a swarm of blossoms. Clear, particular, apparently we’re dangerous, wicked spirits, too welcoming. We don’t follow the instructions printed on the box. Housekeeping must hate us. In a way I am writing a eulogy, dramatic music, a canvas of kind words that might glitter the way I see us, might explain what has happened, how ten years out of date, out of synch, our cities matched up, found their names. We’re reflections on still water, a moving knot of stories, my faith restored, an inhuman sound, this comfortable glide from one moment to the next. The last time a long time, five years, seven, we’re moving cities, changing places. Our friend’s wife, she doesn’t understand how much is unspoken. We’re too easy, too familiar, it’s the greatest thing, his leaning over to brush my hair with something clever, sarcastic. We laugh, electric, the three of us, shutting her to the side. We are a postcard. I keep this. It feels important, this odd situation, necessary to get it precisely correct.

This is a pleasure, healed, to be human, flawed, merciless, and embraced. His voice, memorized, I can pull it from air to read my books for me. Inflection perfect, the tilted angle of his head, so fragile, the secret heart of bravery. Experimenting, an inadvertent witness, it changes how I move. There are seams in the edits, wafting hints of his cologne, indications, evidence, digital pictures, him on a beach somewhere in Calfornia, another on a red carpet, the opening of his film. A collection I am creating. Out in the world are wonders, full of third and fourth chances, ocean backdrops, doors opening, alarm clocks in the morning, sunsets, inspirations dramatic and banal. Whispered stories of light and wind, architecture, as escape from sick green glass, the scratchy hotel towels. We are subtle, traveling on each others clothing, creating lines and sine waves on the side of shower walls, not a future, but a conjunction of trust. We are concatenated, tied from every side, unlikely and appropriate, suddenly dead centre. Stories made of endless threads pulling in every direction, the way he looks at me, how I am distracted by the shape of his thinking. Dinner with different friends every night, angles of incidents, who did what, tighter, charming and expressive, radiant. Rock solid truth.

At the airport, sunlight, security. We smile. Quickly, have a bad habit. I live in L.A. That will do. Hug. Hold. Our pictures are few, hopeful and happy. We kiss.

Every journey should be so well lit. (Welcome home).