scraps collected from the floor

The polished cement floors and tall white walls of the The Dance Center foyer give an impression of being professionally vacant and irrepressibly busy, all at the same time. I like it. The desk I sit at faces a long glass wall that I watch the street through, its beveled edges act as rainbow prisms on sunny days. I am mostly here in the evening, however, as the dinner-time crowd travel undistractedly past in long black coats and oversize hoop earrings. Sunday nights are traditionally unexciting.

Occasionally a man comes in who looks homeless, long scruffy gray hair, a bright yellow rain jacket with a small hole over one elbow. He collects all the new reading material that’s accumulated over the week, pamphlets, brochures, upcoming events, and sits quietly reading them at the table, one after another, until either he is finished or it is time to close. I don’t mind, it keeps him warm and he seems inoffensive. I only wonder what he does with them after. A favorite idea is that of a small cooking fire flaring in the dark back doorway of a rich downtown hotel.

Jenn’s party last night, I felt like I’d wandered into three years ago. I wanted to be wearing something improbable, a snakeskin dress, a PVC corset, something with unlikely handfuls of feathers, just to put myself off balance, to rid myself of the feeling that I will never escape this place, that I will always return to these same people year after year in these similar places. That I can’t evolve or forget.

Even dropping by Oliver’s birthday party on Saturday after going to see The Prestiege did not feel so alienating. Of course, I’d made sure to arrive as late as possible to ensure that the guest of honour would have been steadily drinking himself into inoffensiveness since five in the evening, and I’m certain it helped. That and Mark dragging himself out of bed at two a.m. to threaten making me dinner after to fix how I might be feeling.

This year’s global ecological debt day, which fell early on October 9th, symbolizes the day of the year when people’s demands exceeded the Earth’s ability to supply resources and absorb the demands placed upon it. This means that it would take the Earth 15 months to regenerate what was consumed already this year.

My ecological footprint, last time I delved into this, turned out to be surprisingly small, (minus that I live in a first world country), so omitting some regrettable things, like not being able to shop organically or fair-trade at two in the morning, I think I’m doing okay. What’s your excuse?

finally home after four days

Red cape, red hair. I don’t know what I’m doing, but what time is it mister wolf? has found me on a doorstep at two in the morning. There’s an engine running metaphorically behind me, I had to force myself to go to Oliver’s party, I had to force myself to leave. Ginger beer in a keg on the front lawn where we fell dreaming together. There was a woman asleep in the bed. Brown hair, I don’t know. I hope she’s less threatening.

Finally it’s not raining, the weather this week calling for cold sun and circles of wind. Leaves making doughnuts in parking lots, perfumed drunk little devils throwing a thousand colours at the air and attacking my ankles with damp. The soft unbiting scent of alcoholism floating across the mulch and exhaust of the city. I like the fall, it’s not as unrelenting as the other seasons, it allows for mercury. Silver shining from puddles, from the sky, spitting on water to make it wet.

  • Richard Dawkins on The Colbert Report.

    I let someone kiss me this week. I don’t know why yet. I’m wary.

  • 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.

    tomorrow I start work & dance for DJ Krush

    Another lonely night and I feel like a bad rip-off of a well crafted pop song. When does the hurting subside? It’s like I’m going to rhyme. Oh, too late. I’m repressing the urge to swear now in spite of the fact that this is text and I could always go back and edit all that out. Stress talking, stress guiding my fingers over the keys. They’re half worn away on this keyboard, letters and fingers both.

    It reminds me of the root of scrupulous, being the Latin for a tiny stone that was the smallest unit of weight. Thus, a scrupulous person was a person so sensitive they’re irritated by the smallest stone in their shoe. It reminds me of the unintentional pacing of our lives with poetry that happens all the time. Bless used to mean to redden with blood as in sacrifice, giving a nice mental picture to the common western response to a sneeze. These are the things that occur to me late at night, when my topic tracking gets shaky, when I can’t pick threads so easily from the loom of my mental perspicacity. Loom, what navigators at sea call the halo of lights.

    Which makes me think of celestial navigation, (celestial – residing in the heaven), which translates basically to pretending you know where you are until you’ve proved all your fictions wrong and you actually know where you’re bobbing on the ocean, which leads me to both treacherous waters, (Seattle, that bridge, meeting Eliza), and watching all those shooting-stars shining at Clinton, (just the faintest smudge of finger-painted Northern Lights on the edge of the sky). Two things that bring me back to my sudden ex-relationship.

    I think it’s going to prove to be a long night. Counting sheep means tooling about on the internet, digging up articles on the first zero-gravity surgery set to be performed and useless first-world restaurants. I think I want to walk out my door too much, arrive at a house up the road a bit and to the left, (always my joking directions to find the g-spot), knock at the door and see myself reflected in a pair of welcoming eyes. (Seeing that effect, the Roman’s created the word pupil, which comes from little doll). This is my brain pretending to know where it is. This is my heart pretending that I haven’t been breaking down crying every day, the classic sextant based three-star triangle giving me a space the size of a city block, his block. The one with the house that I dangerously dreamed was orange and liked me. Something about driving on the wrong side of the street. I picked out the right paint chip and scared us.

    Memories that I need to learn to dull. There is enough about poetry in my head to know that life’s seductive habits can be broken at will. I need to shepherd myself, write a palinode, relocate emotionally back into the damage, out of the alluring panoramic idea that I would get away with being allowed to do otherwise. That’s the worst, knowing I don’t need to love someone, that it’s just bloody nice to have something alive and pure and nice, (from the Latin nescÄĞre, meaning to be ignorant). Needs are air, water. A place to sleep alone, (meaning unwanted, not desired, and dispensable).

    don’t you remember?

    011 by Lung.
    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    I walk by the house like hanging up on an answering machine. It’s dark and I’m too delicate for this. Easier to walk home, continue, and not dare to put my hand on the gate. Footsteps the tempo to an old slow song. Lyrics winding through from my feet through my spine. “Hello, I’m so lonely, And it feels like disease, Come and stay, stay beside me”. The air like velvet wiping my face with the back of my hand. Child’s play, this is easy as child’s play. Something I never could understand. Tag, you’re it. My books were always thrown into puddles. My desk always full of sticky wet chewing gum. A young man walks past me, tastefully dressed in an unexceptional way, and offers me drugs. I hesitate and wonder what to say. I tell him that he’s not what I need. He looks offended a moment, as if I’d insulted his hair, then shrugs me off and walks on. I can’t wake up from this, because it’s not a dream.
    Britain art project photoblog: “Little hand-painted people, left in London to fend for themselves.”

    Talking with Alastair earlier on his black leather couch, the one I have the photographs on, he said, “All I offered you was stability. I think you wanted more than that.” I replied, “Stability was nice, I appreciate stability.” “I think you needed more from me. I think you needed romance, attention, affection.” “That last one, yes. That was what I needed the most”. A little peculiar, it was a miniature revelation, realizing how that’s the only base-line of my demands, just like he used to always give me. Two years almost and practically nothing’s changed. He’s better at communicating as I am more sad. He was never scared of me.

    the instinct to run, to be gone before harm can come again, mixed with ferocious recklessness

    Yesterday there was a foxrain, where the rain falls through a sunny cloudless sky, bright and beautiful, the light illuminating every drop, limning the world. Everything was splashed with intense rainbows, the sky crammed with stunning arcs of the purest colours. Uniquely beautiful, it is one of the most precious events I can witness. It felt like the world was attempting to bless us, clean us all of darkness. In Japan they call it the kitsune no yomiire or ‘fox’s wedding’ rain. Mythology has it there that foxes may only marry during sun-showers. More importantly to me, however, it is not only Japan that has that story. Linguists have found references to the same belief all over the world. It is Iranian, Armenian, Finnish, Bulgarian, Indian, Portuguese, Korean, Welsh, Fijian, and Malay. It is found wherever there are foxes.

    Here sun-showers only occur only once a year, generally in the late summer or fall. They are rare and naked jewel days, times so full of personal wonder that to witness them alone feels like a crime. Last year when it happened, I was walking up the Drive, having to go home after dropping Andrew off with Karen at the J.J. Bean. The water fell so heavily that I was soaked within minutes, but I didn’t care. I tore off my shoes, took off whatever clothing I could (and still remain decent), and put everything in my bag, all the better to experience this wonder that nature was giving us to be in. I laughed and I danced and I cackled.

    This year, my options were less. The joy that lit the sky only served to illuminate the ache in my chest. I wanted so badly to share the glory of the weather with Oliver that I made the mistake of borrowing Robin’s awful phone and calling him. We weren’t together long enough for him to understand how much stories mean to me, how much legend and world mythology I carry inside myself. I was on the bus, hardly able to hear him. Over the phone, too quiet, crackly, threatening to cut off at any minute, I couldn’t explain. When the line went dead, I cried so hard I was blind, and I felt everything within me that had brightened with the sky, simply die. Cut off for lack of oxygen, lack of anything meaningful.

    You and yours, and theirs, and theirs, we make a horizon girding the earth. We make a line of communication that spans our entire globe. Through all terrain, we hold down the sky together. Anousheh Ansari just arrived at the International Space Station, and she’s blogging from orbit. That is foxrain to me, that wonder, that inescapable future. We are a line and somewhere, someone is singing.

    domni: “you do rather throw yourself into things with impressive abandon.”

    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    I feel as if I were planted in a warm garden only to be drowned in someone else’s story, some thick memory of another woman’s legs wrapped around him and how that tangle painfully untied. This feels like it has so little to do with me that I don’t understand how it came between us. It makes me wish I were a drinker, have the ability to blur my sold-out world, so I could take that fourth drink then try to drive to some mythical home. My heart is heavy and red, holding me down like a lover with their hands at my neck. I wake up raw, my nails having clawed into my sides when I wasn’t paying attention.

    I know that come some far tomorrow, I will learn to break yesterday. Dismantle what I cared about and wish instead for something else, but right now I wake up with my eyes watering, exhaustion paramount, only knowing that I hurt and that there’s nothing to hold me up, nothing to feel right.

    Tyler brought me to the opening of a comedy club tonight. It helped. The last man on, Marc Maron, strangely reminded me of a welcoming yet possibly unsettling-only-if-I-consider-it mix of an ex of mine and my not-godfather-seriously-people, Michael Green. In a charming aside, he explained from the stage why he and I shouldn’t go back to his hotel room and have sex. How it would only end in tears. His painted image had a lot of the intense flavour of We-Both-Have-The-T-Shirt.

    Walking through Crackton to the bus-stop, I wondered what it would be like to live in a building with a lobby and an elevator, a swimming pool in the basement that’s always watched by a security man on the other end of a camera. See, I know there’s an enormous sun-dial on top of Tinseltown that’s always wrong. It uses the apartment building as a gnomon, but it doesn’t account for any time in the world. Useless thing, I love it. It’s not even pretty. It’s just this tacky secret for everyone who lives in a certain half of the building.

    Stephen sez: Here’s a low rez picture of the Tinseltown sundial.

    (Oh, right, and I figure I should mention this because there are people here who would appreciate it: In spite of the fact that I have been barely sleeping, barely eating, I still scored apparently far too high (only 155) on an IQ test, resulting in the people testing me refusing to hire me on the basis that I would “get too bored”. I also “did them too fast” no matter they gave me half an hour to fill out only 80 questions. Oi. Shoot me. Least it’s Rosh Hashanah tomorrow, which means a delicious dinner at Silva’s.)

    this is from august 9th

    and so she wakes again with the feeling of crows wings,
    feet in the corners of her eyes,
    like her gaze was walking in her dreaming,
    seeing and being in places she’d never been,
    never thought to be.
    Sky reflections of water falling,
    rain green instead of silver,
    the sound of a shower in the next room.
    Tile floor, a dressing room table with claw feet.
    Old, all old, and comfortable,
    the wood silver washed,
    as if surviving generations of children had
    worn like water
    and made the furniture friendly.

    It will all pass, they say,
    we have more time than you,
    so come and be merry,
    and we won’t have to notice you again.

    and so she wakes up with the feeling of being there again,
    that place that is no place,
    that name without a name.
    Cliches, all of them,
    and all of them true.
    Waking to the sound of a shower in the next room.

    the last link in this post is one of my universal favourites

    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    Lung is picking me up this afternoon, a break in my transcription work, to visit the Fox Adult Theater. He’s always wanted to go, but no one was ever willing to go with him. Spur of the moment planning, we’re going to dress up in evening wear and take lots of pictures. I have to remember to dig out my bow-tie for him before I settle too deeply into my work and lose track of time.

    Superflat Monogram, an ad campaign for LOUIS VUITTON by Mamoru Hosoda.
    Music by Fantastic Plastic Machine.

    I search the tangled mess of my room for traces of you as if I might unearth a shrunken head. Somewhere here is a silver hair, a pack of guitar strings, an earthquake. It’s true though I’ve said it before and not to you, I want the taste of your fingers trapped in my hair. Between my sheets I find your fingerprints. I think I see you creeping past my door in the corner of my eye like a pet that only pretends to be kept as it hides some sticky dead thing under the table in half a tin can. I know better than to look.

    There are frozen images of you trapped on my computer, pixilated views into memories that don’t whisper for more than a few seconds long. I long to tap on the glass and hear it crack. It feels like your ghost is flying to me as if it lies on the wind as a bed and the wind obeys my needs.

    I trust you. In times of disaster, you would let me climb the burning buildings.