the privilege of being yours

This time I whisper it, at about the violin’s volume: “I love you.” No one hears, no one sees, but the tree falls in the forest just the same.

– David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks, page 192.

I’m scribbling in that book. Marginalia in black ink. The pages are almost as pale as my skin. The words that spit from my pen are tiny, nearly incomprehensible, bumped from the motion of planes, trains, automobiles, streetcars, and an actual boat. They are call-backs, snippets and snatches, and awful jokes. “Like that time in the hotel lobby the tourists thought I was a prostitute.” My lines tilt. The words jog, my long-hand atrophied and atrocious. But this is how we will read the story together. Written time-travel. I only write to share.

We sing together. The words are slightly unfamiliar, so we play the song again, the better to affix it to our tongues. I am better at the lyrics, he is better with the sounds.

Claire takes my arm and we move forward, a cascade of notes and torch song lyrics. She and I have missed the second half of our flight from San Francisco to Vancouver, but it’s going to be alright. We missed it because of true love and chocolate and it will make a good story. We will be fine, we still have care on the line. Hers is driving down to Seattle to get us, mine is sharing music on-line and going to pick us up from a train station and offer us shelter. Their arms and our mouths. Their grace and our soft thanks. We are so grateful for how rich our lives have suddenly become. I am so grateful I cry.

My life has never been as rich as this. I have never traveled as much as I have this year. I have never felt so cherished or so rewarded. I have climbed ruins. I have walked into a warm sea. I have been to the tops of mountains and pulled with two hands from the depths of despair. He said, “come”, and he fetched me, for I was fetching, and I felt loved and I was loved and I loved him and I love him still and his eyes haunt me the way the clouds came over Chicago, the way good art can make me ache, the way it was glorious to be a passenger as my ex-boyfriend screamed us across the ridges of L.A. at twice the speed limit in the middle of the day.

“I love you,” I said. “I admire you and I like you and I appreciate you, too. All of these things are separate and each needs to be said.”

(The sunset is also beautiful, the moon also outstanding, but those are apparent and do not need to be mentioned.)

He is so pretty to my eyes that it seems absurd. I trace his face with my fingertips like I am a cartographer trying to memorize his topography with my nervous system, embed him like a program I can replay at will. The line of his side to his hip while he stands in a kitchen, his back to me, his smooth muscles sliding under clothes that I would remove. I want to taste him, I want to keep his skin on my tongue, I want to know the texture of every whorl of his fingers in my lonely mouth. I want to feel him shudder, I want him to take my face in his hands as if I were porcelain and kiss me so softly I might shatter. I want, I want, I want.

How he looks at me. I am greedy. I cannot get enough.

The annotations I am writing are mostly sweet and/or silly, but each tiny desecration is founded on affection. Even when the writing borders on the divine and all I can do is leave a mark next to a line in quiet, pure appreciation. When all I can do is put a tick next to a particular note. “Look at this, this is what I would read out loud to you, were we in bed together, were we in the same place and had enough time for books.” A lot of things are underlined.

It is autumn. I feel the dried leaves of the photos I am sent. I hear the crackling swish of what it used to be like to walk through such things, the sharp scent of winter under the softer air. There is a blurred shoe in the picture, blue jeans, and it is exactly right. It is what I need.

The ceiling over his bed is decorated with plastic glow-in-the-dark stars that I bought from a dollar store. I spun a story of partners and physics, the harmony of two lovers who came together in such fine frequency that their flesh reorganized, and placed stars on the ceiling. “And this is my hand and this is your hand and my:body and your:body became our:body and the atoms danced together in forever:true. It is like they are dreaming. It is like they are the same. No longer a man and a woman, but the same.” Sometimes he takes other people to his bed, and I hurt when he does, but the sweet, artificial sky above it remains mine anyway.

I fall asleep with the book under my pillow and I wake up sobbing like my heart has been torn out so hard it has taken my voice, like I am a child who has just discovered death. I had dreamed about when my white cat died and I clawed her body out from the grave my mother put her in. How dark the dirt was on her fur and guts. I want teleportation. I want time-travel. That feeling of want, that quivering feeling of fury, large enough that by all rights it should have warped the world.

He has attached a linen tarpaulin over his truck, to better offer privacy to the make-shift bed I requested that he make in the back. It’s a two-hour layover, long enough for us to curl up together and bathe our hearts in each other’s regard. It has been over a month we have been apart and sometimes it has been hard. Our hearts are wet and warm and slippery. We talk softly and he tells me what he has learned in my absence. Last time the new word was “love”. This time the lesson is commitment. I ask him if he wants to make us all official-like. He says yes and asks what the fine print on the back of the boyfriend card entails. I will have to get back to him. I cannot yet read the writing on that wall, but even though he has hurt me before, I am sure he will do fine.

We sing together. American music. Bruce Springsteen, half of an album I have never heard through. It is like being wrapped in a blanket of safety, a black blanket pulled from the trunk of his car on a date we had once in Seattle, half our history ago, the city spread out sparkling in front of us, the expression on his face in the shop when I insisted he help pick out our foolish ice-cream. His ultra-organized “Have you even met me?” at odds with “All of this is new.” He is an artifact of his culture, parallel yet almost completely foreign to mine; of guns, bullets, and punk rock. It used to be that I did not want to care for him. Now we are apart, I would go blind for him. Now we apart, I am furious.

I stand with my bare feet on warm, dark earth. The water is a blue I have never seen in person, so clear it fractures light into rainbows as it moves. The stars at night shine brighter than our own sun. I hold a plastic mask in one hand and the straps to a jangling, industrial body-harness in the other. I am an angel of change. Somewhere close, a mountain discreetly explodes. I take pictures no one may ever see. The flowers that sprout from my skin are tropical, my heart is a greenhouse. I am actively looking for more laws to break. And the drums keep beating. They have been beating for months. The drums are huge, the light-show spectacular, and his body is pressed against mine in the crowd. We are hiding in plain sight. I do not have even a skerrick of doubt left. I am a valkyrie. I moan with relief, as he does. My forgiveness is larger than the sky.

I am so grateful. I am so grateful, again, that I cry.

what a lovely idea

Not for the first time a fantasy occurred to me: before people make pronouncements on what sexual behavior society should tolerate, they ought to make the clearest possible statement of their own sexual experience, what they have learnt from it, and how it might colour their attitudes. “I have a horror of penetration.” “I am involved with someone who satisfies me sexually.” “I would rather have a backrub than make love.” “I’m only sexually attracted to other women.” “I feel free only when I masturbate.” “I have never had an orgasm and don’t understand what all the fuss is about.” “I was molested as a child and still see men’s sexuality as furtive and monstrous.” How would it change the way we talk about sex and power, if we had the self-awareness and the honesty to acknowledge psychological states as such, instead of passing them off as pure intellectual beliefs?

– Helen Garner, from The First Stone: Some Questions about Sex and Power.

Prosecutor: Teach sex ed, go to jail!

A Wisconsin district attorney is threatening teachers with criminal charges for teaching sex-ed and following state law:

A Wisconsin prosecutor is warning that teachers who teach the state’s new sex education curriculum could be arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of children.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth told the Wisconsin State Journal that the state’s sex education law, which was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle in February, is a “sick and shameful piece of legislation” that encourages illegal sex among minors. And he sent a letter to five school districts urging them to temporarily drop all sex education classes until the Legislature can repeal the law.

“Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender,” Southworth wrote in the March 24 letter. “It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks.”

just one of those things

His body shifts and I wonder if it’s automatic, my mind almost on other things. Abruptly, however, a flash, headlong, hurried, intense as something, suddenly, is very, very right. It is like a switch has flipped. I am concentrated. My body becomes fierce and my words slip away, pushed away by this unforeseen, lovely surprise.

(It doesn’t last, of course. There’s never enough time to get it where it needs to go, but that’s another story.)

I read about sex in novels, in science studies, in stumbled little webzines and in You and Your Body books pressed into my hands by worried boyfriends, (hoping, I suppose, that I shall discover how to fix how I am apparently broken), and never do they describe the immediacy I experience, the severity, how fast it happens, how disengaged I can be before. Always they write about sweet climbing momentum, gentle swells, an upward glide into pleasure leading like foothills to some final poignant apex no one seems to have words for, as if sex were oceanic and mysterious instead of a cliff. Or they write about fucking, fast powerful sex that racks the body with rushing orgasms, rapid spasms of keen, overpowering whatever it is. “Waves of exquisite pleasure overwhelmed her body” it says on page 45, but nowhere in my history can I find a similar sugar crumb trail of slow sticky nights or sensuous afternoons. Instead, if I am very lucky, there is an absolute point of sudden, violent desire. A severe, immediate, precipitous change when things get interesting. It is swift and always unexpected, a quickening that hits quickly, and without it, sex is only exciting for other people, something to smile with, about, yet through.

I check the name of the author. Female, same as the last few times. I wonder again, as always, how it is that I have been doing it wrong.

If you only read one article today, let it be this one.

There is a fury and and sadness inside that I cannot express., by Classically Liberal:

I want to grab our “society” by the shoulders, shake it violently, and scream at the top of my voice: “Don’t you fucking understand what you are doing? How can you let this happen? How can you demand that it happen?”

Here is the photo. I’ve looked at it again. I can’t look at it and type at the same time, it is too upsetting. This boy is one of the many kids that our society says are sex offenders. The interfering politicans, the would-be Nannies, do-gooders and passed ill-conceived laws to protect our young, and instead, they are devouring the young and sacrificing them to the god of safety.

What was once considering a normal rite of passage, typical curiosity that the newly sexualized young have about themselves, their bodies, and the bodies of others, has become a heinous crime. Not long ago a curious adolescent or child, caught exploring, or playing doctor in the back yard, was given a talking-to, sent to bed early, and warned to not do it again—a warning most heeded for at least another few years, after which time warnings were useless. Today, it has been criminalized, and criminalized in a way far exceeding crimes of violence. A youth who has sex with another youth, even if voluntary, could well face legal sentences far worse than if they had killed their friend.

Also of note, this follow up post, A partial listing of our material on teens, sex offending, and the infamous registries, which offers proofs of evidence to the substantial minority attempting to defend these atrocious laws.


He kisses me, and I thrill. “What about over there?” I ask, pointing at the tall stone cathedral across the street, “Those confessional things you were talking about, they have doors, right?” He looks at me, shocked, amused, and laughs. His body twists, he mimes my body on top of his in the cafe seat. “Oh”, he says, panting, “Father,” a gasp, “We’re sinning!”

Thank you, Michael, for letting me make this up

I am proud to announce the winner of Your Best "O" Face ’09 is Michael by an incredible seven votes.

He will be presented with the coveted lesbian porn chessboard by local artist/girl-about-town, Tillie King, in a private ceremony later this week.

crash into blue

For your further entertainment, I conducted a short interview with our illustrious winner, Michael, this morning, before his busy schedule called him away:

Jhayne: What brought you to the O Face arena, Michael? Your work is impeccable, your poise and display are the best I’ve ever seen.

Michael: Well, you see, I actually come from a long line of "O" Face artists. My father and mother met while on the promenade, competing against each other in the Welsh finals. It was very romantic, apparently. They even turned it into a double act later, which also runs in the family.

Jhayne: That’s fascinating! I had no idea.

Michael: Oh yes. I was told that one of my great aunts even "O" Faced Queen Victoria.

Jhayne: How juicy. So is that how you began your studies? With your parents?

Michael: At first it was my parents, but I didn’t really feel a connection to the art until I was older. I can actually pin-point the exact moment it shifted from being something I practiced at home to make my family happy, to something I was doing for myself.

Jhayne: Can you tell us about it?

Michael: It was at a competition on the Drive, the local neighborhood where all the poets and hippies hang out, kind of an open mic gig where people would go up and do their routine for, like, 30 seconds and then be rated on their technique. Very tongue in cheek, and I could tell the people up there weren’t really trying. It was a joke to them, you know? Something to film and put up on the internet to laugh about later. I think that’s part of the problem these days, part of what I’m trying to do now is create more of an awareness, that this is a real art that people take seriously. Anyway, I never really practiced my “O” facing out of the house in those days. I mean I knew I had the background and I would always be practicing with my parents and stuff but I never thought that this was really for me. But when I went up there, it felt right. It felt like that was what I was meant to do. When I was finished I looked at the judges, and you could see it. You could see that they had witnessed something really special, that this wasn’t just someone’s hobby, it was real.

Jhayne: I’m familiar with the recording. It’s grown to be quite a popular bootleg, and cited as an inspiration by some very influential people.

Michael: It’s lost it’s grandeur these days though. You go into a coffee shop, meet a nice girl, tell you that you spend a lot of time pretending to have orgasms in front of a mirror, and she looks at you like you just fell from space.

Jhayne: And what effect has that had on your career?

Michael: I don’t do it professionally anymore, just, you know, charity gigs, stuff like that. I went into philosophy because I knew I couldn’t cut it as an "O" Facer, what does that tell you?

Jhayne: Yet you’ve kept your hand in, continuing the small circulation specialty magazine your parents founded, Le Petit Mort, and turning it into quite the success. It seems like you’re actively cultivating a burlesque cult of personality.

Michael: It’s true. When Le Petit Mort was founded, it was very DIY. We would spend our evenings hand setting the type for the printer we kept in the garage. Our clothes would always smell like ammonia. It was pretty punk rock. Now, though, with the advent of the internet, I’ve been managing to expand our subscription base. Offering a forum where "O" Facers can find each other and connect, share tips, it’s like a miracle. All these people thinking they’re laboring alone, and I get to offer them a community. It really made me, as a celebrity, in a totally new way. I’m hoping to eventually gamble on that, and try to expand our web presence, maybe push our tiny empire back into regular public consumption, restore "O" facing to its former glory as the face of American culture, back where it belongs on the front of every magazine, like the good old days. Sex sells, after all, even when in caricature.

Jhayne: You’re saying appearances are more important than objective truth?

Michael: Yes, definitely, though I don’t mean to say "O" Facing is insincere. It certainly isn’t. Making an O face isn’t just about sex, it’s about life.

Jhayne: Enjoying life, maybe.

Michael: Ha. Yes. Well it’s like we’ve always said in the magazine, it all comes down to the core rules of the “O” Face: Concentrate. Build. Relax. It’s true for pulling off a good “O” face, and I think it’s true for everything else, too. It’s about empowerment.

Jhayne: It seems that’s an interpretation that’s been lost in recent years, replaced with the idea that it’s no longer a lifestyle choice, but an eccentric hobby.

Michael: Very much so.

Jhayne: Did you feel any sense of regret about that, or was it a relief to say, "Okay, this is how we have to do it"?

Michael: It was weird, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I was finally coming into my own as a person, reinstating myself as the defender of the "O" Face. I could feel that I had a responsibility, that I couldn’t let the tradition go on like this. All these amateurs, mocking what used to be a respected institution.

Jhayne: Was that part of what’s prompted your recent re-emergence as the undisputed master of the "O" Face?

Michael: Completely. I’m a veteran "O" Facer with a loyal following. I couldn’t just walk away from such a public challenge. If someone else won, I’d have to start over, building my cred from the ground up. I’d rather step in to stay on top, even at the risk of being made fun of, then fade away, forgotten except as footnote. “O” Facing is important, and I’m glad for the chance you offered to showcase talent.

Jhayne: Well, thank you very much for showing up and giving us your best!

Michael: No, thank you. It was my pleasure.

Thank you to everyone who participated, with a special mention to Chris, who actually got naked.

make me proud

Awhile ago, (a long while now), Tillie had the presence of mind to drop off a porn chessboard at my home, because she didn’t want it anymore, and if anyone was going to know someone who would, it would be me. Since then it’s been taking up space behind my bedroom door, neglected, ignored, and never once used. This is a shame, as she put a lot of work into making it, so to make myself feel better about my recent awful discovery, and because I do not want a lesbian porn chessboard in my house anymore, groovy as it might be, it’s time to prove her right.

Therefore, in the spirit of V-Day and the Internet Being For Porn, I henceforth declare a hilarious and comical contest, as suggested by Lung Liu:

Show Me Your Best “O” Face.

Post your best O-Face in the comments, win a lesbian porn chessboard.

This unique wooden chess board, made of decoupaged lesbian pornography on unfinished plywood with distressed black edges, is approximately a foot and a half by a foot and a half and signed on the back by the artist.

A winner will be chosen next week once I get back from Portland.

when this is done, I’m going home (thank you interscope records)

Actual lyrics from a song I’m testing today for work:

The Chorus: “But you feel so clean. Well she craves affection, so I use protection, and I know she loves me, she loves everybody.

The First Verse: “You’re just a little girl now, you’re just a girl who misses her dad, and all the toys that she had, thought I could make you older, thought I could keep you out of harm, but now you’re caught in my arms.

The Second Verse: “Now that we’ve made it this far, now that we’ve made a mess in the car, you ought to give it a rest.

He then repeats the chorus about her feeling clean, but using a condom because he doesn’t want a filthy, filthy STD off the adoring yet slutty jail-bait he’s using as a Kleenex, because he knows she must have something besides love for him tucked away in that little girl skirt, no matter that the last iteration of the chorus doesn’t repeat the line, “she loves everybody” as a nod to her clubbed to death child-like innocence. End scene.

The cover of the album is a black custom condom wrapper.

forgive me for the sirius pun

I am reincarnated again. I am a lost love repeatedly, a concubine clean, a dead child who didn’t waste her life through her veins. Fate tells me like a skein of sparkling thread, but I am bound tighter than any trinket, harder than any stone. This is Merlin’s tree and an offer of freedom. He takes the Crows commission and takes it for his own, twists it to take me, this forbidden fruit to innocently taste.

It started with dinner, looking out over a strangely private slice of the city from the Cin Cin balcony, red blood pooling on the plates. The music, incongruous renditions of a certain look at classic rock, was at one point an insouciant pop style rendition of Moondance with italian singing. Actually it started before that, with meeting someone on the street and deciding on Robson street. Preceding that was my apartment and asking hard to answer questions like, “where do we go for dinner?”

The staff treated us like we were honeymooning. Careful bowing out just on the edge of vision. Our waiter whisked plates away and laughed with us like a delighted friend. Dressed in black and matching again, outside alone in the cold, our silverware not warmed but inconsequential. I had a query to answer about travel. Would I go with, if circumstances permit. It’s across an ocean, it’s across a language. Culture rift, a plane a raft. Somehow later they were surprised when I offered them a key to my apartment. Logic failed a little there, I think, but anything it might occur to me to need was met. I remember Marissa listing out her haves and have nots. “He must be smart, have a car, and have brown eyes. No idiots.” I never could list my own, I would try to make up things to placate her. “Er, long hair, intelligent, um, a sense of humour.” I guess it was a date, but I think too, that we skipped that part. Six months in two weeks, like last time I was in love, but better because we trust each other.

I’ll never find someone quite like you again.

This was a living inkwell of liquid pain, searing in my fingers and bones. A painful dream of needing to touch you. Attraction unhealthy, wanting you to slide with me. This is your name tattooed on my skin over and over and over again. It won’t let me alone, not alone, not without you. It’s history stained needles bright with Procyon heat, it’s a binary. Spinning in tandem, serious as the brightest sun in its divine constellation, you burn me. An animated tremor of painting my cusp with your breath, you inhabit or reside within as such a spirit, force or principle that it takes me and blinds my tongue as deaf as my eyes. When you stay it is a carnal victory, an unexpected reprieve from trembling in darkness, curled in a ball. This is a heart implant, a sighing beating force of body breeding and delicacy thrown away. Archaic temptation satiation, driving spikes into my mind. The sweetest stigmata craving release into blood in the palms of our hands, all curling fingers and sweaty seer visions. The sound of arms bending in unconscious ballet grace to knead you closer in to me. After a while the word with becomes to.

It’s not a fabian policy, but basic violence. Pointing the way to greater good through biting my lips and drawing your tears in linen sheets. No strategy past honesty, past asking please. There’s no compare for my witch eyes. The worst is not so secretly accusing you of incubi, sensing somehow that it might be true. The nightmare is needing you, requiring something beyond myself and unrequited for honey tongued evenings. I have a sense of justice because I know the taste of rage. This is strings music, soft orchestra humming along to the rhythm of pride. If I were myself of a year ago, I would be ashamed.

There’s no reason I should say your name in Russian, you pull tongues from me. It’s a pun, meaning both mouse and bear depending on the language. I suppose I’ve named you. An issuant creature, mighty when it roars. Portraiture of everything that everyone else sees, like a private joke of my ability to stare past it all to look out through your eyes. I don’t know what kind of tree hasn’t any leaves or how I see the beach but I know what the sand feels like on the bottom of your feet. The tremor is abusable, but this time the shifting earth sends its regards. A richter scale heard through walls to cry out muffled into pillows and mouths. Doppler collision of breath and body. A cello sweep of hair, I said, and I stand by it. Thick like the smell of wine, I want to lick every tousled strand of white. I can never explain, not properly, though I’m more than willing to try. It’s like a practiced first, everything leading up to your moments, your lucid voice. Snick into place, like a well honed blade. There’s no ballot here for intimacy, the mannerisms married without us. In transit there is choice, but your kisses taste of storm static. Birth of the universe desire, the crackle of snow on the dead channels. White and black chaos patterns, feedback moments scientists dream of and touch themselves in their sleep.