it will feel like injustice when the sun begins to rise

One of the brightest spots in my entire life has just been torn away by a car crash.
I am really, very deeply, not even a little bit okay.

Michael Green was killed in a car crash this morning.

CBC news has some of the details.

It’s very likely that very few of you know what our relationship was or what he means to me – as very public people sometimes do, we had a very private connection – but Michael lines this journal like silver. He is, in many ways, why large swaths of it exist and why I have persisted in spite of so much of the pain that has come my way. He lifted me out of darkness. My darling Michael Thomas Green, one of the most important people in my adult life, his care and support, even at such a distance, sometimes have been my only secret weapon against the coming of the night.

I don’t know what I’ll do now that he’s gone. I’m in tears. I’m in shock. I am scraped raw.

a higher fidelity incantation

  • Here With Me – Susie Suh x Robot Koch

    Now that I have returned to Vancouver my days are spent, again, tidying house and looking for further work. Selling things, making charity bags, writing cover letters. The details shift, move, and fade away, but the general thrust remains the same: find work, leave this place.

    I was recently disrupted, though, by a simple thing; an old greeting card with a picture of a leopard-print rabbit that fell from between some books in my closet while I was struggling to put my suitcase away. It’s from a lover I was with in 2006, a man who was almost exactly twice my age at the time, who I still think of with affection when he comes to mind. We haven’t been in touch since January of 2012, when there was a brief flurry of five or six e-mail that died in his court.

    Inside is a lovely little note, sweet, hopeful and warm, from a time when we still felt protected by each other, even after the close of our relationship. Time travel via information packet. Memory conjuring his voice, his toothy smile, how bright it was the day we walked in the fog by the water, how much I mourned when the silver and green amber brooch he gave me was stolen and lost. (There’s plenty of writing about him in this journal, actually, tucked under a code-name tag, just like everyone else I’ve shared my life with since 2003.) I do not think of him often, but when I do, I wonder where in the world he is, what lunatic art he is birthing, who he is currently inspiring. I hope his family has healed. I hope his head and heart have found peace and delight. I hope, as he inevitability swans through the world, (and swans, he does), elegant and full of light, he does so with gentleness, ferocity, and grace.

    So I wrote him a letter, the contents not much different than what I’m sharing here, and I put the card up on the thread I have on the wall above my desk where I keep emotional reminders. It fit in nicely. Such good company on that length of string! Photographs of photographers, snippets from writers, postcards, and similar paper miscellany. All of it positive, but all of the people gone from my life or far away.

    It was interesting to find myself writing again to someone I haven’t spoken to in so long. So many commingling layers of motivation! He was the center of my life, the vortex of everything spun around him, but I’m in my thirties now and I don’t think we’ve been in the same place since I was twenty-five. (Seven years is a fairy-tale number. Even with seven league boots, I’m still so far behind that it’s almost a fifth of my entire life.) It’s so peculiar, that such distance could come into play, that such distance is what became ordinary.

    As I clear my life, hone it down like a knife, I wonder who else I will reach out to.

  • with me through victories and every time I stumble

    We are all china barely mended,
    clumsily glued together
    just waiting
    for the hot water and lemon
    to seep through our seams.
    – Toby Barlow

    He walked from the apartment in the direction he always did, like a recording of the life we used to have, and with a pause and a wave, that achingly familiar wave, a chapter of my life slipped behind a corner and shut, as firmly and finally as anything ever is. Goodbye like a relationship on fast forward, my cheeks so hot it looked and felt like sunburn, my hand still splayed on the chilly glass of the balcony’s sliding door. I was supposed to be finished crying for him, but he is moving away, back south, family matters, a phone call from his mother, an inherited house, and his name remains holy. He hurt me terribly, but he is not a terrible person. We were in love once. Probably are still. The worst thing about losing my wallet was losing his letters. Sometimes that is all that matters.

    Once upon a time we were beautiful, a miracle, stronger together than the sun, living incarnations of joy, swimming lions against the storm. I named him, the power of sharp teeth, the domesticity of myth, and he crawled into my heart to sleep, safe and warm, and so, more importantly, to wake. When he betrayed us, it was like he’d chewed his way out. Such a surprise to discover him there still, even after so much pain.

    In it to win. We talked a little about it this evening, what we used to be. The french man on the bus who gave us a speech about how nice it was to see people in love, the girls at the sandwich shop who openly cried when informed that we’d broken up. He claimed his responsibility and apologized once again, forgiveness, that tricky thing, welling up like clean water through the barren places he left behind. “Of course,” I said, “it is so very good to see you.” I only wish he’d been by sooner, when I’d asked him to, after I took both of his hands and said, “Life is too short to stay afraid of me or of hurting me.” But instead he put it off, and now it is too late, another piece of home flaking away, he has to leave.

    “You are beautiful,” he said, “Thank you for everything. For being you. You are amazing. For bringing me back to the light.” He will be gone by the time I return from my trip, so I will think of him when my plane takes off, maybe picture him behind the wheel of the moving truck, marveling at the beauty of the drive, solid as my faith, as our understanding of each other, as he drives toward his chosen exile, an endless, sunny suburb with his family, as both deathless and lifeless as only California can be.

    “Listen”, the line says, “I never dreamed I would learn to love you so.”

    Love is Like Life but Longer from Poppy de Villeneuve.


    From Portuguese – Saudade. According to Wikipedia:

    “…a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.”

    Photographs of you make my heart hurt, as if I miss you the way I’d miss my second self lost in an accident, as if my heart is no longer a gift, but only a muscle slowly closing and unclosing with a strength too small to taste, too unhappy to sing, a shout in a room that will never be heard. This is a funeral, a year as hungry as an empty highway, a broken radio, days numbered, months stretching into false dusty infinity. Every morning I wake up the same way, watching for reality, waiting to be. I was there, where were you?

    She opens her bitten, rose-petal mouth and rain drops spill out. She opens her cloud blinded eyes, now the colour of steel locks, and the sound of torn paper falls from the air. (Your city is still carved in the nape of her neck.) Walking out of sunshine, a stolen, wilted flower in her hair, into life the texture of bone, there was something about his smile, eyes always as bright as unexpected lightning, something about his body standing cynically by the side of a road, that was held sharply enough to slice through glass.

    There are certain roads I hesitate to step foot on, the same way I try not to look down your street, as waves of pain constrict my soul, as I resent your vacancy, your undeserved intrusion into my life. Memories float to the surface, all wax on water, like bruises swollen with a tender, fierce regret. Should I have come out swinging? It was unnatural how fast you turned, changling child, honey tongued fairy fire, a shape-shifter in the clothes of a friend. You were faithless, even as I relied on you, a star that burned a dirty hole in my trust, the deep-language reason my laughter started to feel so much like lying.

    I have always been this fragile.

    …But That Was [Yesterday]

    Song on repeat, fingers frigid from typing, everything around me perfectly still. We’re talking about dying, about family in the hospital, about relationships that never were, chances that perished almost as quickly as they had become. I think about fire, about how much tragedy stains my heart, how much sorrow clogs my breath. The boyfriend who committed suicide, the woman who was almost my mother, dragged to death, pregnant, under a truck. Family wrapped in white sheets, counting minutes. A different parent, one of many, confused, waiting to die. There was a phone-call. Later, at some unknown time, there will be another, and perhaps the person on the line and I will cry together.

    I’m helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.
    Helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you.

    Outside is cold, the rain has half frozen, but I expect colder still. Clothed in frost, in the shirt of someone I used to love, winter is crawling through the windows, offering loneliness in place of flowers, memories of years when I still had a future. They play out like beads on a string of days, tallied in small bursts, bright but too long ago. How is it that days are so long, while years are so short? Fractions of lifetime stretched out over bone. Cells replicating. I used to believe that one day would be easier. Soon I will be too old for it. I will be done, the last page written. The book closed. Somewhere out there, past the glass, there is snow.

    Well I’d wait ten thousand picks for just one more chance, just one more chance to see your face again.

    The people around me do not know how to cure this sorrow. Tender, they insist on holding me or pet my hair, as if rocking silently is enough. Shivering, I require more, to engage, to pull my intelligence out from my pain. Perspective as everything. (Not everything broken can be repaired.) On the east coast is a grandfather, lungs filling with fluid, and a boy near the phone. We write back and forth, filling the void with comforting words, distractions, poetry, and rough jokes. We write back and forth and I do not know if I am helping. I do not know if I am like my friends, heartfelt yet inadequate, offering solace that would comfort me, but not them.

    Well I’d pull, teeter away, at the earth with my teeth, the earth with my teeth to touch your face alive.

    The piano kicks in, quiet, insistent, with a sound like birds. I am collapsing, fracturing, splintering, shivering into pieces. If someone were to touch me, I would explode, shrapnel embedded in every wall, with a sound like a wounded animal, terrified and very, very young.

    You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.
    You lie helplessly still as your face falls apart.

    My stress betrays me. Inside of my belly, chemicals misfire, hormones fail. I do not release an egg. “Progesterone secretion is prolonged because estrogen levels are low”. My womb is lost, continues singing for fertility, even with the map misplaced. The walls thicken, then slough. Bleeding seven days, eight, now thirty. A flood. I grow pale. The red spills like an endless creek, enough to fill a pail. I am a tributary, coloured scarlet. Chunks of flesh escape me as big as the palm of my hand. My breath vanishes, the world glitters, and suddenly exhaustion, fatigue. It is too much effort to ask my heart to beat. I cannot move. My body is a heavy as lead, my veins filled with gold.

    With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.
    With wax and wires and hair from the back of your head.

    With my blood, so sleep. I am awake in the dark, endlessly so. My breath solidifies, but my dreams do not. Instead I write, I reply, my back-log of messages attacked, finally, until dawn, the sun a smudge of gray the same tenor as a cough. To a former lover, lost for too long, I write, “Your silver hair makes me think of feathers, of flight, and the purity of light seen through the fractures of a crystal. Perhaps you are, in fact, slowly turning into a dove, one the colour of lightning, a tongue like glass and a brain ripe with electricity.” Our love was a wonderful thing, poetry balanced on edge, the quirky, deprived, and mad meeting together as one. Maybe somewhere is a world where it worked out.

    Well, I can make your face brand new.
    Well, I can make your face brand new.

    We stay up late, my current love and I, an ordinary history of affection warped by misunderstandings, his lack of experience, the way he abandoned us the first time we fought. Where do we go from here? Defining what is wrong is only a first step, almost a year late, too late, almost a year since it all began. My eyes are glued shut with salt, hot and sad. His arm bleeds where it scraped against the side of the bed. My role has been counselor, not partner. Tearing words from his tongue has been almost impossible, the squeezing of blood from a stone. Together we have been teaching him responsibility, and though he is quick, he resists.

    La da la da la da da da da da da da da da da

    Dawn painting the top of the mountains, the world’s orbit sliding day into place. The urge to shift from bed, to draw on the window, withers against the memory of warmth, of shifting discussions, the lace of conversation drifting over my eyes like something imagined from a far away land.

    You are warm, you are warm

    There are only four ways for a relationship to end; stuck together or split apart, drowned with misery or flavoured with subtle joy. Duality doubled, basics, building blocks, the future laid out as cabled strings that tie lives together. Abandonment, paperwork, making tomorrow always better than today. I fought for us until he apologized, truth the most harrowing weapon of all, and then my heart burst, as if there was nothing left inside the pain but exhaustion, terrible, cruel, but free. Even so, we are lucky. Now, no matter how it turns out, as a couple or merely friends, we will find peace. We’ll love each other until death do us part.

    Come take my hand and I’ll take your hand
    And I will bring you out
    Come take the line and I’ll take the line
    And I will pull you out
    In the sun

    not one day goes by that I don’t know I’m dying

    I leave accidental trails of scarlet across the backs of my boys, red lines thinning pale into permanent fingerprint slashes of I was here, explicit, accidental, time travelling primal distraction, as old and new as the universe, stinging salty in the shower, an archaic, elemental writing sliced into flesh, coloured in with the body’s most basic ink, traced by my fingers and the sullen edges of uncertain t-shirts, to bleed later, or ache again when leaned upon, a raw, gentle reminder of my skin and theirs pressing together.

    He likes them, he says, wry, “these are the scars that separate men from boys”. He likes them, he says, purring, “this way I am never without you.”

    like hearts swelling

    Betty Hutton, once the favourite doll of Hollywood.

    Transparent as sound, we are pieces of the human engine out of old mythology, pet children decanted from bottles of blood. After the boy is blown from this city, I will stand alone by the side of the road, and even if he does not look back before walking through the gate, my legs will continue to hold me up, I will continue to breathe.

    That was always the worst lesson, that I will remain alive in my chemicals, wrapped in nerve endings, a collective rumbling of infintismals, (creaks, exhalations, needs), no matter how much my offerings to the gates have been smashed. The modern world is very bad at silence – cities do not hold their breath except in the moment before a bomb falls – but there are occasionally words I feel I should almost kneel to speak.

    I’d like to say our first kiss was a special thing, a low slung howl of discovery, but it’s never been like that. That road’s been washed out, (if there was ever order there), replaced by brittle grass made straw in the sun, such-a-shame at-so-young-an-age blame-yet-another-hotel-room-romance damn-those-older-men. I almost don’t care anymore. Instead I count first glances, first realizations, that pause between what I know now and what I knew then. What is more important? The date we met or the amperage of comfortable electricity that ran through my fingers the first time I touched the middle of his back with bare skin?

    The proud cities I have built with people, some of them are still standing, giant proud machines of words that circle the globe like air currents of what colour my hair, how long this correspondence, I had a show, they had a child, no, yes, you can’t come visit now. We are stories, novels, little threads in vast pleasing shapes. None of my relationships have been film-noir construction kits. We meet in cynical places badly lit, smoke cigarettes we take from small cases. This is just another connection, another spirit made flesh in the network. All we’re missing is the small confession of where we were the morning of September 11th, year 2001.

    This morning he was beautiful, a misplaced dream left over from 1985. Sitting on the bed to put on his boots like having Lost Boys on the record player; leather jacket, long hair, I used to clean my saddest house to that soundtrack album. No one wears slimmer dark blue jeans. In my head, “I like my body when it is with your body” and the memory of his eyes flickering from mine to my hands on my stockings like they do under his lids when he’s dreaming, conversation not missing a beat. This is our generation gap, that I can write this here, display my day, my meaning, my worth. I grew up here, on-line. He didn’t.

    I can barely believe how much I still want to go back to L.A.

    One of these days, I’m going to have to learn to find a home.

    That and he’s beautiful like a jade fire.

    Yelena Yemchuk
    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    A pleased yet raffish smile deepened the perfectly etched lines around his face, around his closed eyelids. A sigh, and he looked up into my eyes. His own were very light, a sensuous honey infused with the essence of dead cities, empty of orthodox sins, and extremely open in a sense that has nothing to do with age, but with the eternal youth of ancient things. I thought of gods, the old greek imaginings that drove women to madness. I thought of braille and souls.

    I could describe him more, but I don’t know if you would recognize him walking down the street. He wears t-shirts and black pants just like everyone else. If he wore his hair unbound, then I might have a chance to let you stop, say hello, and examine him, see him for how beautiful he is under the poorly worn cover of being unexceptional. His hair is an inky explosion caught by a very clever illustrator, someone who fell in love with myths at an early age and let it reflect in every halo they ever drew. It’s exceptional. When his hair is wet, it catches in my throat and fills my lungs with the need to say that I am drowning. Maybe if you saw him in rain, drops caught like cliché jewels in his lashes, there might be a flash of recognition, a glimpse of how divine.

    I feel so antique, describing a lover in terms of looks, but I am always transposing feelings, depths of emotion or dialogue, and yet so few ever know who I’m revealing, even when it’s myself. Earlier in the car, when I tugged on Andrew‘s hand and said, “Oh! I have news! Persepolis has fallen.”, he understood what I meant, but Tyler did not. “We talk in shorthand.”, Andrew explained, and it occurred to me that here I write in it. A code of association so baroque that only by reading for any length of time will meaning emerge from the tangle of references. Truthfully, I find myself most comfortable with people who can follow abstract trains of thought without effort, but I’m beginning to question if it’s fair. I’m wondering how often my privacy is misread. (Graham got the impression somehow, in spite of my practically rabid monogamy in the face of people like Dominique and Christopher, that I was promiscuous.) At times, it’s been psychotically useful, but part of why I continue to update almost daily is that I want to explain to my friends and family my keystone ties and transformations.

    Matthew hated when I wrote about him but he would never tell me a decisive why. He would spin gluey reasons that would change, but always, (no matter how mutable), they were negative. I think, now, especially near the end, that he was trying to hide his whereabouts and actions from people who might possibly read this. After he came back, he attempted to expressly forbid me from mentioning that I stayed the night, and was upset when I ignored his injunction. (I still don’t know who wasn’t supposed to know this time. Last time it was Sarah. I know his wife used to drop by occasionally to catch up on things, her best friend tried to step in and defend him once from one of his first terrible injunctions against my decency before she understood what my complaint was, and there are other people. Friends, family maybe. I don’t know, they just show up on my counter and leave rare anonymous comments from IP addresses located in Perth or Sydney.) My next closest relationship, they were always delighted when they could find reference to themselves in my entries. It filled their heart, they said. Made them feel exponentially appreciated, like every letter added to their worth. My friend Wilhelm, he complains that he never appears here, that I only write about people I can hyperlink to, but I know that I put his little misdemeanors of complexity here quite often, so how else can I reply except by becoming, if only briefly, a more concise exhibitor?

    We used to talk until the sun came up, a confused tangle of how a head will fit into an arm, how the angle of a bent leg will comfortably into the slant of another leg of a different shape. His bed was small enough for both of us, and it was going to eventually be summer. Visits were too rare, for they were addictively pleasant, and I fell very into liking him. His casual strength of thought, his delightful leaps of imagination. Ostensibly, I was living in another part of town, staying on charity at a friends apartment, but as it gradually becoming more intensely uncomfortable to stay there, this small room full with its tiny bed became my home. I would always feel welcome, but an imposition. When I visited, I would stand silent in the street with my terrified heart, trying to collect courage with the pebbles I would find to throw at his window in lieu of a doorbell. Once Loki the cat found me and sat purring at my ankle, almost causing me to cry. I wanted to feel safe, and it was ten feet away, and I couldn’t move. My housemate had pulled a dirty conversation on me earlier, full of tense demands, and I was so nervous of the world that just this little cat being kind to me was enough to unbalance me. When I crept in, quiet as to not wake the baby, I hoped he wouldn’t see my hands shaking.

    Loki is gone now, replaced by two cats. One black and one white. The baby is gone and my lover’s switched rooms. His window is an undeniable bitch to hit with a pebble now. I tried the other night, failing, as it turned out, not because of my aim, but because we wasn’t home yet, and I worried with every stone about hitting the neighbors house on the rebound. It didn’t help that my hands were shaking again, my adrenaline screaming at me that I was being an idiot. Years pass and yet I stay the same. He claims it’s brave of me. To do something I’m scared to do because I know it’s the right action, but I’m not so sure. I’m expecting to have to apologise with impeccable courtesy for merely arriving while my heart is craving vindication, some forgiveness for the hour. If I’m scared, then I’m not being brave, am I? Being brave might be writing this down, not knowing what side of the disclosure line he stands on.

    reminder: KEEP JHAYNE FROM JHAYLE -a party of proportion- #340 – 440 west hastings, Friday, November 25th, 9:00 – onward

    forgive me if I want to chew out your eyes

    Photo from Underground
    Originally uploaded by Frankie Roberto.

    Yesterday was a long test of my breaking points, from every trying direction. An exercise in self immolation. I had put all my energy into preparing to put Matthew on a plane, I had nothing more. The bomb blast in London was not as shattering an event as it’s perpetrators were perhaps hoping for, (nice of them to choose a date which makes sense both sides of the water, I thought, very considerate), but they have managed to wash our increasingly small world with justified concern.

    At work I checked my e-mail, the early morning having been spent on a death grip attempt to hold onto my last vestiges of restful sleep then by airport checks, is this going to delay his flight? Change his flight? and was informed that an old friend had died. A pilot from Hope had a heart attack and didn’t make it. He was a good man, watching out for Marrissa and I when we were much younger and more liable to sneak off to the other end of the airfield at night to watch the stars fall down and sip at Chetan’s family stash of Sweet Cherabim apple cider. I’ve been absent there for a long time, several years now, but I’d known him since I was ten.

    The next letter was worse, a discovery of trust violated. There were other things in my in-box, a few girlish letters I was happy about, I’m pen-pal-ing someone like I promised, and that’s pleasant, but they were all overwhelmed by one tiny note. I had to excuse myself, leave my desk and sit instead on the floor of the lavatory with my head on my knees. The day I put my love on the plane should not be the day my trust base is assassinated, but it was.

    This was where I began to be disturbed at my ability for composure, at how quickly I’m able to simply eat what’s hurting me and continue, as the day before was less than great as well. In fact, every week lined up since the beginning of May has had tiny shattering disasters scattered about within it. I’m half as worried about myself as what’s been going on, because I’ve no clue what to do with stress. I’ve no one I may talk with, no hobby that vents anything. No outlet. At first it was tucked away in small corners of my mind, goading me to cry when I was tired and alone, then I began to find it in my body, I would tap on things and flick my fingers, pressing my hands into fists and releasing them over and over. Now, I don’t even know now. My teeth are stones, my tongue contains acid, and I am so very careful not to let it show. Someone said the other day that I’m going to die of machismo, and they might be right, but I don’t know any other way. I only want my hands to stop shaking.

    I was controlled by the time Sandi came to pick me from work. We made small talk successfully in the car on our way to Matthew and I even managed to laugh a little when we arrived. He was packed, his entire life in a giant black suitcase open in the middle of the floor. The rest of the apartment looked exactly as it always does, a hotel room set-up with a futon instead of a bed, all the personal touches looking committee approved. Even under the crushing weight of Matthew’s departure, I was glad to leave.

    The airport was simply that. A hiatus place, where the food is merely something to do until enough time has passed and the people aren’t real, but props with which to make meaningless conversation. I’ve kissed three people goodbye there now, though never when I myself was leaving, only when I was being left behind while they continued their lives without me. he’s been here too Part of the reason why I haven’t applied for my passport again is that I know if I have one, I won’t say goodbye and leave through the doors, instead I will walk up to a counter, any counter, and buy the cheapest ticket possible rather than return to Vancouver proper. That’s dangerous behaviour and it’s good to have a yoke for it.

    A baggage handler smiled at me fondly when I saw Matthew off. He looked over and you could read in his face that he thought we were sweet, our kisses seen with nostalgia. I wanted to hit him, but instead I turned away. I found something to take with me from the kiosks, a tradition of mine to keep balance, a mental koan of departure, and caught buses back to the office.

    After that was my first day of work at the chocolate shop.

    I was half an hour late but my supervisor decided to mark me down as on time anyway, my co-workers are the most friendly people I’ve ever worked with, (if a shop were to be run by the people who stay at global backpackers hostels, that might be similar), I must have had a quarter pound of chocolate and a half pint of ice-cream and gelati, rounding it off on my way home with a frozen chocolate dipped nanimo bar, and I still came home depressed.

    The next five weeks are going to be long.
    I wish I knew how to let people be nice to me.