it must be three in the morning there

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.” – James Nicoll

When the Anti-Choice choose abortion.

Your cathedral eyes, I can see them through the telephone, carried by the documentary grain of your shaky hand-held voice. The subtle circus is in flames, tonight, with me here curled up like a teenage child and you on the other end, my mirror. It’s ridiculous, our travel backward in time, as if I should be wearing a poodle skirt, something light, pink. Black shiny shoes and pastel socks. My knees bent, my arms wrapped around them, I am an unembellished postcard, a childhood that not even you remember.

We are talking quietly, as if not to wake our parents, the non-existent neighbors, the hush of sleep come crawling, come knocking at your chamber door. It’s a lot of information, the image of your black hair wrapped in your little stories, the memory of saying goodbye like gritty sand, all of it leaking long distance. Our words have the antique innocence of empty bottles stamped from a factory and abandoned in a cheerful whore’s attic, they wear garters for the hell of it and lay hands on to heal. Good night, we say, and we mean it. I can’t sleep. My bed is cluttered with books in among the covers, paper reminders of then versus when versus me and now. We make your apartment an area of darkness, blank, fishbowl wish you were here, welcoming and new. We make you a thick furred cat, rubbing against my legs and glittering verbal sparks. Briefly I wish I had a cigarette but can’t place why.

For those interested, there are only two Ceilis in Vancouver this season.

Actually, that was a few nights ago. This evening I celebrated Friday the 13th by going on a Girls-Night-Out, (possibly only the second time in my life I’ve been on one), with women from the Moon Festival. We went to Avanti’s, the strange little pub up on Gravely and Commercial that feels like it’s been transplanted from some tiny redneck Oh Canada town, then to the Portuguese Club. A very drunk old man tried to attach himself to Beth there, (I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures. She was amazingly dressed as a dutch milk maid, complete with red checked table-cloth bloomers and a fake flower crown), and I was asked to dance by a handsome man who sent a friend over with his phone number on a scrap of newspaper. (When we left, he blew me a kiss.) It was very traditional, somehow, all of it. Even our stumble up to the Havana for chocolate pudding. We told riotous stories about drunken evenings on nudist pot-haven islands, people attempting to snort lick-em-ade, misdemeanor moments on public transit, and having to slide down pyramids in Cancun.

did anyone get pictures?

Oliver made our relationship over into a self-fulfilling prophecy. (The only person to dare claim I would ‘understand when I was older,’ he would constantly harp on my age, instead of realizing that his sheltered, unscarred perception was the emotional problem). I realized I had his number when my friend Stephen, Michael‘s father, asked after him last night. One of those well-whatever-happened-anyway questions. Tears sprang stinging to my eyes and I quietly said, “I didn’t expect him to be so faint of heart.” The instant I made my reply, the curtain sighed as it fell to the stage. I grasped the explosive charge and extinguished it with my bare hands. Stephen looked up from the ice-cream he was inspecting in time to look at me, understand, and say, “I don’t know you incredibly well, all things considered, but I do know that you’re most certainly not for the faint of heart.” The release, a statement of the obvious, as I rose out of my post-glory depression from Saturday night. (It’s terrible, how after I felt like falling down and crying. I wanted a kiss so bloody badly, some way to celebrate, some incredible smile to drown myself in, to let go of the show by unwinding out of my body around someone else. I’ve never had that, you know. No one has ever stayed long enough for me to share a victory. Not once.)

The fire and fireworks went so bloody well that I was almost amazed. It was a potential disaster of the worst sort. We almost didn’t have a finale. Those rather essential things we needed to make a show? Gone. All our fire torches, staves, etcetera, got themselves misplaced between Thursday night after dress rehearsal and when I arrived Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock.

No one could tell me a thing. I arranged search parties for hours, grasping for any clues, any ideas as to where our kit went. After I vowed vengeance several times, and condemned our ridiculously poor security to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, we managed to borrow some odds and ends off Elliot Neck at the very last minute. Less than twenty minutes before curtain, gear finally arrived. By the time gear arrived, we’d used all our fuel filling Tiki torches. Which meant that we ended up lighting with Citronella. Yes, Citronella. That’s what the gas station had. As if to add insult to injury, the delinquent half of my crew didn’t arrive until five minutes before call. Except the arsonist, who’d been there since five in the afternoon. It was like I pulled the entire show from the air.

It was amazing.

However, so was my show.

I won.

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.

I’m still processing photos from before my camera was stolen, it feels like I’m lying

Let’s all give a big hand to Neal Stephenson for forecasting Reverand Wayne’s Pearly Gates Franchaise.

I want you all to come to the Moon Festival. Saturday I thought I had rehearsal, but instead of explaining how to safely set fire to things, I ended up arranging and directing the choreography, making it my own show.

I have another class to teach today, (they’ve put me in charge of a team of maybe twenty people), which is something I appreciate saying. It feels right. I’m trying to get ahold of myself, like I’m calling through lines that have been torn down in a wind storm. The power lines outside look dead and brown and organic. (Leftover’s from a childhood memory of nightmare). Something this appropriate is grounding. I start to feel like I understand all the people who try to tell me that one day I’ll be famous.

Saturday morning was strange for me. The clouds erased any city farther away than three blocks, emphasizing the Twilight Zone feeling of disconnectedness that I woke with. The only sounds were those I made and the traffic two blocks away. If I closed my eyes, I wasn’t around to talk to, like a crumpled piece of paper thrown into a fire, the same interpretation of the world that led me to try and walk off the edge of the city when I was younger, out into the dark of nothing in particular. I think of once where I meant to go to work and found myself in Victoria instead. Taking busses at random brought me to the ferry terminal and then in a line-up, then on another bus. My wings were too small to fly, I guess, so I skimmed above the ground, going where other people were going, losing individuality in Brownian motion. Not one person said a word to me that entire day. I was cut off, a few hundred miles didn’t matter. The temporal world had nothing to do with me. Postal service lyrics: “I was the one worth leaving.”

Listen to the The Culprits.