My Days of Awe: Part II {part i)


After being stunned by the man who managed to create explicitly pretty music from a jacked-in cowboy boot, (seriously, what?), it was time to find a way to say hello. So, blood still ringing, I did the only proper thing to do – I offered to haul gear. “Hey, do you need a roadie?” For those not familiar, the Railway Club has stairs where high heels come to die, or at least twist some serious ankle. Thin, narrow, legendary killer stairs. (On rainy days, they’re a toss-up between murder and suicide). Stairs unfriendly to performers with large, heavy cases, for example. Like someone I could mention. So after helping tear-down, carrying said cases through the line-up of drunks shoving their way in to the next show, and guarding the gear on the sketchy street below, my help was more than appreciated – introductions were made and kept. I was In.

Which, to be honest, was the entire point.

The van was loaded, the blinkers tossed on, and plans for dinner bravely made, then we went back inside. I wandered about while he was sucked in by fans, trying to find friends who hadn’t fled the mediocre following band. (No worries on being left behind by this point, carrying cases that heavy awards Honorarily With-The-Band.) On the porch, I found my luck. And more besides. Shane was out there, as was Jessica and River and Michael Campbell, a few other folk, and a thin, blonde woman I’d never seen before. She gasped when she saw me, her entire face going blank. “Are you Jhayne Holmes?!” I blinked, startled, but not terribly surprised. So I said, “Yes.” I assumed she was from the internet, a reader maybe, or someone following Heart of the World. It happens. But then she started crying, looking as if she’d been struck by stones.

“I was a friend of Jon Gaasenbeek.”

This, to me, meant a thousand unsung emotions stopping my heart, but, I’m sure, tells very little to you. Let me fill you in: Jon, dear heart, was my boyfriend who hanged himself a few years ago. It’s not something I generally discuss, and his name isn’t one I’ve heard anyone speak in years. When he died, it was a strangely isolated event. In spite of knowing each other for years, we were taking things as slow as humanly possible. The few people we had in common were mostly not speaking to us, hardly any of my other friends had met him, and I hadn’t been introduced yet to any of his. It’s been one of the strangest traumas I’ve carried, this solitary and unspoken lance through my heart. To have a stranger suddenly drop his name on me, let alone claim some sort of kinship, was tremendous.

So we had a bit of a Moment, out there on the smoker’s porch, us crying and people edging away, trying to give us space in the crowded din. Turns out her name is Stephanie and her long-term ex, John, was Jon’s best friend. Twenty years, they grew up together. She has contact info for his family and his old bicycle, the black one I helped him build five years ago, the one that came up to my solar plexus. She asked me if I wanted it. I asked her how on earth she came to know I was connected with Jon. And this is where it blossoms past merely improbable into a full fledged soap-opera list of associations, as if my night hadn’t been ridiculous enough. (Remember, this is the same evening that started with a transit stabbing.)

Stephanie found my post about visiting Mackenzie, who lives on the block Jon did, through the blog of the woman who used to roomie with the love of my life, the one who slept with him as soon as I went out of town.

Right. Now that’s over with, let’s get on with the rest of the night. I’m not even up to midnight yet.


“No reason to be scared of other people. We’re the ones who carry the flame, the light.”

Sunday – we were still a city burning, but now on the horizon, as if the time between us were embodied in distance, impulsive steps out into a desert. Persepolis, though his name might be the name of my next god-child, I was never certain if I would wake next to him again. Enchanting, built of admirable social immunities, a strange ruin painted with glyphs that I desperately want to run my fingers over. Even in the bed, under familiar strings of lights that sang starlight like blood-cells, wrapped around a body that felt like evolution’s most satisfying proof, I didn’t know if he would keep me safe in the morning. He did today. I know I want him to again.

33 writers. 5 designers. 6-word science fiction. The old meme is back, what’s yours?

Saturday – a different house, one letter different. I literally vaulted over him to get out of bed when I realized we’d slept through the alarm. Over and out, into the rest of my clothes and up the stairs, without even saying goodbye, leaving only a kiss brushed quickly on his cheek, too quietly to wake him fully. My last glimpse of him, through the closing bedroom door, was one of a selkie trying to hide under blankets. It was only at the bus-stop that I realized I was going to be fine, I wasn’t even close to being late. Tea could have happened, breakfast even. I wondered, belatedly, if I should have woken Mark-with-a-K for his audition and mildly cursed the erratic illusion of clarity that comes from waking in unfamiliar surroundings. Early mornings after late nights, working seven days in a week, it wears – I left my mother’s umbrella behind in my abstracted rush.

more on heart of the world when I am awake

how on earth can I sleep with nightmare tectonics

Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

It’s the people absent from my bed who are changing my name, eroding at my identity like a negative space sketch of rain. I can’t help but recall my conversations, the blankets inspire me, the delicate, familiar movement of taking my glasses off and putting them on the windowsill. I’ve been setting my eyes down on various surfaces every night of my adult life, slowly evolving into someone who doesn’t like to be on top because I can’t see my love’s face from so far away. I remember Marc’s laughter, his climbing strong melody as he cradled my glasses and explained to me very carefully where he was putting them down. Another windowsill. Like mine, to the left, but not the same at all. A queen size bed but we still managed to fall off the sides. I remember Lidd crying, viciously attacking the life given to him, threatening to smash my vision to the street below. Too much alcohol, too little faith. I could see myself in a mirror then without them. Worse now, my astigmatism, my trained lack of sight. I remember lots of things, voices attached to shining blurry faces. Different colours. Lindsay, he had a desk with a computer from 1995. I put my glasses down next to the keyboard, under the red guitar that hung from the brick wall. Lindsay, whose chocolate hands made my skin look like iridescent milk.

A flash to Lung taking a picture down his pants on a dare, how we discussed Oliver’s skin tone as something to photograph nicely against mine. To my silver haired scientist twisting away from my camera, hiding under the blankets, breaking my heart. The beautiful images Alastair would send me long distance, driving my adoration from over a thousand miles away. Kyle was so beautiful I could have cried.

Repetition with improv over the top. Notes of fire, of searing words. Burning too hot, too fast, too aware of the desperation inherent in oxygen, a poison gas when taken straight. I didn’t like the wall sized mirrors in that fugitive hotel, how they turned my blurred body into a pale shifting ghost, messy hair and all. Not to say I don’t find hotels mirrors friendly. The man who is named the evening star, he grasped the delicacy of my blindness right away. Gently murmuring about his father’s death to the glow of craving a cigarette, he ran his hands along my arms, guiding me to where I needed to be. I took a picture in that mirror, wearing his shirt, my hand upraised, a final thank you and eventually, later, a good-bye. He undid the buttons and every doubt I had about my body fell off me in shards, never to return again.

These are the things that stick, a hundred final scenes. Kissing a man in a restaurant, only a few blocks from my apartment. Touching his tattoo and wondering briefly, the closest I’d flirted with infidelity, if anyone would see us. All a long time ago now, these memories held like dried flowers, delicate perfumed things, willing to break details if handled roughly. Photographs seen from the wrong end of a telescope, out of proportion, fading when the phone-calls do.

The Moon Festival starts tonight at 7:00. Renfrew Ravine Park, at 22nd and Renfrew.

Easy to get to by transit: Take the skytrain to 29th Ave. Station, then take the Arbutus bus five minutes to 22nd.

My fire show tonight starts at 7:30. There will be fireworks, an underage contortionist, a band made of eight trombones, a percussionist, and an erhu, and half my crew are delinquents, including one multiply convicted arsonist.

If any of the fire people on my list would like to come perform, I can toss you into our finale if you check in with me early enough.

it’s been a busy week

Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Last year, they said, they were crying. They didn’t know what they were doing, if who they were was worthwhile. I can’t imagine why. They haven’t told me yet. Last year, I was so happy that I ran instead of walked. That my feet were faster than my thoughts. Last year at this time, the boy I was trying to be in love with, he was so far away that I couldn’t sleep, knowing that we were living in the same time-zone wasn’t enough. This time last year, there was a painter. He would trace my body like a sculpture and we could never find enough to talk about. We were just tying up loose ribbons of who we used to be. It was enough. This time last year, I was up until early morning because eight hours difference was perfect. I used to watch the dawn lick the sky when I was talking in fingers. Last year was freedom before I went to L.A.

This year, I’m going to Montreal. The play I was in has kicked me out for it. I will be gone too long, nevermind I have my lines and planned on forcing Michel and James to play parts for me to work blocking around. I understand. Time is time, and it’s unreal. It only stops in hotel rooms. (It’s like my childhood didn’t exist). This year, I’m pearlescent with the heat of events hitting me, like if I were into that sort of thing, I wouldn’t sit down for weeks. Winter is upon us, fog has eaten the city for three days. Thick ashes of potential rain billowing across every street, erasing the world in portions of thirty feet.

I walked past a murder scene at two in the morning on Saturday(Sunday). It unfolded like the pages of a book, every increment walked giving me another details. Trees coalescing into police, all the sounds of the city being replaced by a constant quiet chattering buzz of ear-beads and car radios. No one was talking. The street was lined with officially identical cars, every one empty with a laptop glow.

Last year, they said. Last year, what? Everyone has little stories, it’s our dream. I want to collect them all and make them matter, but I have no idea how to do that. Last year I was living, this year I haven’t been. Last year turns into this year, but when? There’s some period of time, like how August brings change. I think I’ve been partnered, but all I know is that I’ve a lover. I think I’ve found family, but instead they were tribe. I think I’ve found my friend, but I’ve been introduced by others as their significant other. Instead of meaning, I’m just watching. Hoping with a terrified heart that they still like me, that I’m not the imposition that I think myself to be.

because I missed him

Persepolis burnt me to the ground, dark gray marble eyes leading me like paths and stairs to a treasury trap of words. I felt bare, richly carved with splendid relief, “Five years is a rock hewn tomb, too long to be without the silk cotton of skin.” His hair curled as inscriptions do, written to ward off misfortune. “I enjoy the silence,” he said, and he laughed, lambent pearl. My heart was caught in the light of it, a hidden thing suddenly unshadowed, becoming a lantern to hold in my hand. A wet red ruby to guide me to Thoth.

“What is the geography here?” He asked and gestured, his hands describing the arc of mythical heroes. “It is tumbled land, fit for caves and caverns. Happy alone.”

I’m staying in tonight. I have been moving too often for sleep to find me and I wish to be claimed for decency’s sake. Whatever strange endorphin level I have arrived at, it’s not feeling anymore like home.

hubris justified

I approve
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

Sunday was an insane day for people. At first it seemed as if in among the thousands of people thronging Commercial Drive for Drivefest, Dominique and I were not to meet anyone we knew. It was fascinating to walk among so many and not have our names called out once. We were beginning to feel odd, in fact, as we were almost at Venables before we discovered friends. I was bolstered, however, by the unexpected pleasure of encountering David Garfinkle at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. (Matthew and I had arrived in time for tear down, missing the show entirely, but with time enough to gather up Dominique, Rowan, and Anna.)

David is an old friend, originally an associate of my mothers, who I’ve known since I was ten or twelve. Later I met him again as one of Bill’s best friends, (he being the catalyst for my meeting Bill), and I suspect that he and I get along better than he and my mother. We lost touch when Bill and I had our common law divorce, as I have with a few people, so when we met at the park, (he played the King of Hearts), we immediately sat down with smiles that tried to touch our ears. I’ve got a number for him now and I’m going to call him after work tomorrow for tea. It will be a treat to catch up. The notes of the dial tone and number pad, they are music. They are rings in water to grasp onto and kick.

I met another member of the Tea Party later, a girl named Burrow, who by coincidence is staying with my friend Kyle. Incestuous City Syndrome hits again. We ended up at Kyle’s place, the two of us, and he and I stayed up attempting to watch the Dr. Who that James gave me until three:thirty in the morning. (They were too badly scratched, so we only made it through one episode. We gave up when Kyle was literally losing the gift of speech.)

I met Marc on the street as well, which was a Joy Incarnate TM moment. It’s unlikely that anyone who didn’t know me last winter could understand how giddy I am that I’ve collected again this member of the Lost People. I invited him to Korean movie night. In my life, Marc’s been missing for about a year. It took a lot of effort not to bury him in kisses. He’s brilliant. We would go for long walks and discuss too many movies. He was Placebo Cine, but some time last spring his e-mail address changed and he stopped answering midnight pebbles at his window. I’d assumed he’d moved, leaving me with his camping tent and favourite shirt. However, it seems that he hasn’t changed address, only rooms. Apparently it is no longer his window, but Paul’s. I am genius.

I can wait forever for you to say you love me

Ah, the subtle joys of computer hell. Sympathy for the devil if there ever was such a thing. I’ve tried posting six times and a freeze and shutdown every time. *shakes head* Luckily, I still have sleepdep happiness to stave off the virus related depression.

There is that particular absence of taste on my tongue to remind me I have yet to properly sleep, a not quite metallic unavoidable sensation, but somehow, I don’t want to. I have that bouncy energy what comes from staying awake with my favorite things. Last eve Jeff  & I went to see Marc and it was refreshing. Jeff met me with flowers and I ran into Sophie at the Skytrain. It’s a confirm, she’s moving in with Mike and Dominique, thus resulting in Jhayne’s almost ultimate friends house. I’m going to have to start a set of visiting hours. I have been waiting for such a long time for a week such as this.

Right off there was a cat. A black cat, not silky, but with fine textured hair. An adorable kitty, full of furpurring and love. Another in the countless line of Loki cats I am sure to meet in my lifetime. Capricious is lovely. Then after awhile we went to Joe’s to delightedly discuss film and philosophy. We could have levitated on our cleverness. Then to gelati, up the drive. Pink grapefruit topped with Passionfruit for me, the sweetness accented by tart. (Somewhat a descriptive self-mockery, come to think, but I digress). I thought it was perfectly clear we needed somewhere to go, some adventure to embark upon. It was that kind of evening: barefoot and civil all at once. Dancing for the joy of it air. Springtime the new prosecutor, putting us on the stand for not doing anything.

So I brought them to the roof of Brittania. Tresspassing climbing one-oh-one. (There are 10 sorts of people in the world – those who understand binary, and those who don’t).  There is a view worth the climb up top the highschool. Jeff was seemingly a slight hesitant, but Marc was more than up for it. The schoolboard has kindly made the ascent much simpler than it used to be. The fearsome scoot along the top of the wall is no longer needful as there is now a railing that puts the roof within easy reach. The last three steps were surprisingly simple, though I did something utterly foolish and Marc has some bruises. I say to anyone, be willing to climb up with a picnic some evening when the wind is warm. The feeling up on rooftops is different from the ground. There is an intimacy with the city one lacks on the ground. The traffic shush in the far distance only brings everything closer.

We spent the night at Marcs. First watching Rosencrantz & Guildenstern in a stacked cuddle, which segued terribly into Willow, which left us with dawn peering it’s brightening skyfingers through the winndow. Jeff crashed finally near the end of the second film, but Marc and I survived. We curled up and talked until well into the morning. Falling perhaps vaguely asleep only around eight in time to wake at nine:fifteen. I simply refused and buried myself in the scent of that five year bed with a graphic novel for another quarter hour before emerging into the next day’s official morning. There was breakfast at Cafe Du Soliex, more of friend endless conversation and a walk to the Skytrain. Jeff caught the B-Line and Marc and I exchanged official contact onformation. I feel this is a step of some sort, but the dance is too pretty to bother examining. I liked holding hands for a second too long. I think it’s allowed.

There is a certain satisfaction is ending a good book on the way home to the internet after such a day. Course, it’s driven from me with the realization, that yes, it’s friday, and yes, I was to be picking up the boy an hour ago. Add to that it’s Dereks birthday today. (Beastmaster is NOT a birthday movie you guys! And I can’t find my ferret puppet.) and I suppose I really should creep out of the apartment, (Adrian is still sleeping), pick up the Boy and fetch him a present.

like eyes suddenly open and I saw you in front of me as you are

p.s. has a new one today

how is it possible that I never knew about this?

I have been informed about something wonderful. Something stupendous. Dammit! If it’s been only a few weeks earlier I could have seen Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead!

There is a theatre in vancouver that I could LIVE at.

We must go. We must go and go and go and go and become so regular that they let us go for free.