like being slapped

Courtesy of Ursula Vernon of Digger.

You know what’s painful and awkward in the in-box? When you sweetly purchase a surprise Valentine for someone special right before they dump you, then the nice little Etsy shop you bought from sends you an adorable follow-up email the day after the holiday (which was difficult enough to get through without howling at the moon in the first place) which really nails home that, oh right, that happened, and also, ouch, because the recipient wasn’t even polite enough to let me know if anything arrived, let alone give me information enough for feedback or a review.

Hooray the future.

Related Reading: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.

like hearing that pitter pat after a dead line of silence

Happy Holidays!
Enjoy yourselves, whatever it is you’re doing!

I have to admit that this December wasn’t looking very good. Bad luck was piling on bad luck, until I felt like I had somehow started an invisible count-down to an early grave. It seems, however, that everything was just clearing out of the way, leaving space to celebrate new, better foundations. There has been a bright side to every disaster. Because I was let go, I’m able to spend the holidays with Tony, who’s been saving up his use-it-or-lose-it Microserf vacation, and go with him to San Diego to see our friends, Mutaytor, perform with Rabbit In The Moon on New Years Eve at Evolve. Because my life crashed down all at once, I have been surrounded by love and care and support beyond my wildest dreams. I’m currently wearing a little silver frog ring and a pair of swooningly soft groverskin socks from Karen, for example, who sent me such a beautiful treasure package that I came down with a mild case of the weeps as I was carefully opening all the enchanting layers of ravishing colour and glee.

Thank you, my loves, my friends, my acquaintances, and you strangers. Thank you for everything!

a modern horror epic

video found via Kevin

Names Of the Dead:

Every year, more than 44,000 Americans die simply because have no health insurance.

I have created this project in their memory. I hope that honoring them will help us end this senseless loss of American lives. If you have lost a loved one, please share the story of that loved one with us. Help us ensure that their legacy is a more just America, where every life that can be saved will be saved.

A simple yet spooky and powerful little website, Names Of the Dead is collecting precisely what it says, the names, ages, and hometowns of everyone who’s died from being unable to afford healthcare. They scroll in a list on the left of the screen, white on black and gray, and it seems the names are almost endless, as every time you refresh, new names have been added.

I just signed Congressman Alan Grayson’s petition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding he move the Senate forward and pass health care reform now.

I hope you’ll sign too.

standing up, being counted

“We stand awed at the heights our people have achieved. No gods, no religion. Us.”

The cult of Warren is strange and bizarre – standing in his shadow, I attract my own miniature flock of digital stranger crows that flap and holler. They pool in my footsteps, inky comments on breast size and comic book lines, and hop from medium to medium, trailing like shreds of three panel love songs cut with rusty scissors and animated comedy quotations.

It happens sometimes, that my friends are made larger than life, puffed with their creations into parade balloons that float on the hot air of media, swearing, writing, and song, mossy with articles, bright with light, and loud, that I get caught in the slipstream, somehow. I flutter, attached, back stage, in the green room, in the booth, behind closed doors. Crew, countryman, friend, lover. I look out and see eyes, lines of them waiting, eager, like drugs waiting to be born, delicate membranes of gossip, admiration, and downright lies, torn between trying to keep the pedestal up, balanced, and meaningful, while wanting nothing more than to climb on top. Disparate options with similar needs.

I do my best, but I can’t relate. We sit in restaurants, months out of date, how have you been, me too, this place, that bit of news, how is it, how was it, I’ve missed you, say hi to the wife and kids. We eat, trading knives like we trade stories, smile, and sign where the waiters ask us to sign. I loved that movie you were in. And I get the smile too, as if they should know who I am, what I do, why I’m here. We lie in bed together, on top of the covers, clothes on, flipping through television channels, ordering food from room service we will finish eating in the morning, after we wake, bleary, uncertain of the city, uncertain of the beige pink walls, the cold marble floor, how we’ve moved to hold each other in our sleep. We are not these incantations written on message boards, names attached to more meaning that stone. We are people, as difficult and as holy as everyone else. We make what we make, create when we can, scrape a living out of it, barely, and rinse, wash, repeat. Glory is rare.

Over 35 years ago, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed that it took his patients 21 days to stop feeling phantom sensations from lost limbs. After further research, he came to find that it takes only 21 days to form a new habit. In fact, if patients worked for just 15 minutes to form a new habit every day, without skipping a day, after three weeks it was actually harder to go back to their original behavior. He wrote a book on the subject called “Psycho-Cybernetics” and accidentally founded the self-help movement.

I wish more people knew. It’s proven, too, that everything hones with practice – research, accounting, programming, painting. Even dry talent, art learned from a book, can be added to, can better itself. With the advent of the net, it’s possible for everyone to have an audience, if they only try, use the tools available.

The only way to climb is to stand on a pile of your own creation.

To live, learn, and strive.

I’m just twisting inside, uncertain how I will ever sleep again

(I’m not giving up. I don’t feel like crying.) My restless heart is awake tonight. The love of my life so far called up from Los Angeles where he lives and works in Hollywood, tonight fixing the green screen behind a mechanized animatronic badger some pool soul created for a Wisconsin lotto campaign, because that’s just how the world is some times. He moved a few months ago, changed apartments, because his roommates were having a baby, and tonight she’s gone into labour. The father was text messaging him the scale of dilation as the news came in as he and his wife prepared in the same room Angelina Jolie gave birth to her baby twins in. Strings to my heart from his, I’m not sure how tonight I will sleep. David lives here like a knock-off imitation of the real thing, flushed with sleep in the bed behind me as I chatter, endlessly, joyfully, down south, a river of miles away. I wake him, briefly, when Antony’s iPhone runs out of batteries, and he’s grumpy with me, annoyed, red-eyed, and I wonder if he feels as displaced as I do. I still think of Tony as my boyfriend, my skinny mad lover too rich and too clever and too handsome for anyone to live up to. He’s a couple of weeks recently only a month begun dating a performance artist, some woman named Michelle, I think, with a mad friend he doesn’t like. He didn’t tell me before for gentle worry it would be cruel to send a note. Deliriously, he is right. (We are declawed, yet holding back our teeth, soft like cats, cinnamon and sweet.) He tells me that she isn’t very attentive, a whole week went by without a call, without contact, and I feel justified, while I laugh with him about fallacy, how we get caught in these dramatic traps like early twenties, just teens, just out into life. Before me, there was no-one for ten years, a decade alone, and all these details, streaming through my blood like jade in my arteries, not jealousy, but something more mundane, a sallow sadness, not very good at expression, that loves him like the sky, oh loves him still, and stronger than I care for anything else in my life, the one here I have been trying so hard to build, so keenly, like he’s a knife I hold in my hand to keep myself safe, the city nothing to me, the distance, the far flung dreams of walking, of taking one step after the other, until I find myself there, waiting at his door, flowers in my hand like a scream.

the music of our art

I made my last memory box when I had an abortion after getting pregnant on the pill. I was that point oh one percent which keeps it from being completely effective. Still a teenager, if barely, in a long-term relationship with a man almost twenty years past my age. The timing couldn’t have been worse. We’d been fighting, I was about to move out, sitting on the bed with supper, “My period seems to be late”, didn’t even break the silent treatment I’d been receiving all day.

I took a small, square, Cuban cigar box from my mother’s basement and blackened the outside with permanent marker, then enameled it black. I crackled the enamel, then did it again, and repeated that, then buried it for a week. Once I brushed off the dirt as carefully as I could, I painted it again, then began work on the inside. The outside looked as if it had depth, by then. It glowed like it was made of stone.

Inside, I lined the box with perfect blood red satin, a colour rich enough to fill your mouth. I wanted the effect of a thriller movie coffin, but without the puffy quilting of a tacky television drama. I stitched tiny clear glass and pewter beads into the fabric and some lines of poetry in silver thread that I no longer remember. I wasn’t satisfied until it was flat, shiny, smooth, delicious, and very carefully glued at the edges so nothing would fray. There was to be no chaos in cloth. It was to be as precise as possible, to emphasize the medical tones the box was to frame.

In the center I affixed a tiny baby doll to the satin, likely the off-spring of a Barbie or a Skipper, with the palms of it’s hands and the soles of it’s feet painted a delicately pale robin’s egg blue. Over the face, I affixed a silver mask in the shape of a steer skull that I had carved from a craft store lariat pendant. While I had been killing the growing knot of cells inside me, my then partner had been neglecting me to work on a show called Bull In A China Shop. It was meant to be his big break, though it never panned out that way. The mask was my required embodiment of death, not for the incorrectly labeled ‘potential child’ which I never thought of as anything but a parasite, but for our relationship. All fall down.

When the baby was done and glued in place, forever reaching out diminutive plastic arms, I filled what space there was left with crushed flowers, the hearts of roses left over from our failed Valentine’s Day, black and silver thread from our clothes, and strands of our hair stolen from our hair-brush, mine plum purple and his chestnut brown. I closed the box when it was finished and never made another, though I used to fill my shelves with them like the captured shadows of saints.

Lady Anomaly, dear creature, has sent me a memory box without knowing of my history making them. Opening the box was like drinking forgotten water. What she sent is love and thankfulness and enigmatic sweethearts curled in bed together in night-dark places.

There is a walnut shell inside, split in half and painted inside with the colours of an abalone seashell. I’m not sure how she did it, (perhaps it is nail-polish.) There is a tiny tube of paper curled into a fitted into a piece of vine as if the plant had been coaxed to grow around it. When slipped out and unrolled, it has two elegant hands gesturing in black and silver, with the words THANKYOU FOR YOU PRETTY. Everything tangled in a soft bed of dried flowers and lilac thread beaded with amber.

Wonderfully, oddly, delightfully, our boxes seem created from the same language, (which leads me to wonder if it’s a girl thing or if her and I are simply the same species). Even the ambient spaces are filled with a similar mixture of petals and vines and glitter and wire, and as with my memory boxes, there is a definite centerpiece. (Without any focal points, the sensual riot of colour and fragile textures of memory boxes tend to be interesting but not compelling.)

Hers is a lovely coup de grĂ¢ce, a reconstructed silver locket in the shape of a heart. On the front are two flowers, like something a grandmother might give, but inside, she’s glued subtle little cogs, transforming an innocuous piece of jewelry into a clockwork heart, amazing and perfect in every detail. Aged and burned and polished again. Examining it, I can taste how much care it must have taken. The song of it fills my entire room.

I wonder now what happened to my boxes. If the man I gifted them to kept them or if they found their death in an alley somewhere. I wonder, too, if I still have the skill to make a new one. It’s been a long time. I don’t remember anymore why I ever stopped.


I have a weakness for pretty. I wanted to dance tonight, move myself in ways I’d forgotten how to, grind my hips in some suggestive way and take my time remembering the swing or rather the knack to flying. My toes curl at certain media, little snippets of lonely sandscape and all of the sudden I want someone, I need someone, and it feels like I could find a little death. In my eyes are the reflection of a fictional world where people when they cry remain beautiful, obviously not anywhere I’ve ever lived. The luxurious cruise liner launches from the great shipbuilding asteroid and takes my hormones with it, a surge of warmth engulfing my heartbeat in palm sticky ways.

Korean movie night hit the little button tonight. That language switch I have, it wanted badly to be flicked. I’ll be set once I figure out how to make repeats a reliable thing. As is it’s hit and miss, more likely to miss, like everything else in bed. A very great pleasure until it isn’t, just the same as the other way around. To console me, however, from almost falling off my seat in public, I have discovered a song which rapes the seventies like it well deserves to be. It’s erasing the gorgeous fleet of ships from my head and should let me sleep without difficulties. Otherwise that sort of thing tends to be a noise slightly overpowering, an exercise in writing later and wishing I knew the right kind of self to Berlin my spray-painted mental walls.

Less out the window, my head. I turned around, knew you didn’t see me. More does a whisper like feet on a bland carpet. Nowhere again. It’s a hallway, ten steps long. I need ten such steps, strong as a dream. It was an acreage, the land I found you. A square of honesty. Wish fufillment, has it ever happened before? One a year, like a circle, I expect somehow. I will bring roses next time. Next minute, this minute, the colour of what’s under my skirt. The apple a surprise to us both. Bite, the sky will erase it. We don’t wear bands, we wear music. Tense, tenses, the letters, the words on glowing thighs. Red stains, where are you? Appearing miracles. So low this quickly, but it doesn’t apply. Gave your rules the board, the west too far away to care.

edit: as well, I have been sucked into MySpace. Add me at your inclination.