this is very lovely & honest. two of my favourite musicians in conversation.
we’re all laughing at something here, even the hens are chortling.
cackle snort crow.
fuel to the fire is the thought left unhad.
at what point does alpha become an omega? is the fantasy version of someone more or less than their body? will a tree groan or fall silent? do we know what we hear or hear what we know? why are lullabies reserved for slumber? should I have kissed you when you said that? is it still breakfast at ten p.m.? will the commandments become obsolete? how about mothers? if we have come such a long way how much longer do we have? how much stimulation do we need to be changed? is this all fable? fallible? are we misdiagnosing our plants? how little to keep to ourselves? can a genie be contained? if streets are man-made are we running loops around a periphery? why are drones a more useful investment than hospital beds? dead bodies in your wardrobe? who does pepper spray really protect? can we convict the sun of manslaughter? how about the sea? what does Dionysus think about invitro fertilisation? methylenedioxymethamphetamine? are the good things that come to those who wait the leftovers of those who have already waited? are they still waiting? will I always be returning to hunger? are we cognitively penetrable? was David beyond redemption? do hybrids freeze at their duality or relish it? what is this chasm between my neck and the sheets? how much does it weigh? does a limb know when it is being preserved? does it want to run away? do I want to run away? are heuristic and algorithm manipulating the same input? shortcut or sham? is a photograph embroidered with our trauma or does it recede at the shutter? did you hold their hand before or after it was uncomfortable? are we really no more than the sum of our parts? do we count the parts they have already taken away?
Portrait of Dr. Gachet ~ Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Your life at present as a chapter of a book
a life so simple with nature ~ Megan
chasing the zigzag ivy but also just staring at it ~ Amy
hospitality and unlearning ~ Mina
the hypermethylation of love ~ Chloe
Your life at present as a colour. Describe.
finding my pollinator
colour: plum hits concrete
I don’t have to be sad about my sadness
colour: between the dawn
awaken to potential in reality
colour: neurotic night
a perfectionist’s mirage on a starry night
Sunday evening dialogue at Midnight Espresso, Wellington (the hub of all nonconventional, hard to actually hear conversation). When you’re not sure how to vocalise life in all of its everything and always and how and when and where and why sometimes all you need is a prompt (or some death metal to rouse (or rot) the senses… the prompt-death-metal combo is uniquely illuminating). Life, you are entirely myriad.
‘Nature played a challenging trick on me, didn’t she—putting a bold spirit like mine in this vessel, in which I’m obliged to wear frills and petticoats? Well, I refuse to be cowed by it.’
‘Sometimes if we want to be happy we have to risk getting hurt.’
~ Anne Lister, Gentleman Jack
It is eleven pm and I am sitting on the couch eating the biggest goddamn bowl of pasta and tofu I have ever laid eyes and a mouth on. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t want to cook anything. I haven’t cooked for myself in weeks. I haven’t stood with feet in a kitchen in weeks. But. Some days eating is not about being hungry, or feeding yourself. Some days eating is about knowing you are strong enough to look at food, prepare food, eat. I am so weak in life right now I just needed to prove something. I can’t really taste the pasta. I am not ok with this, I am not, but I am going to be ok, for half an hour, while I eat my pasta, while I tell myself that I am strong.
I am consistently falling in love with in love people. My sister calls this my addiction to wanting what I cannot have. I tell her the best I can that I am simply not a haver of things. I do not wish to possess for this is the job of a demon, the reason for his taloned hands and invisible agenda. My problem of loving is not one of inaccessibility it is one of evidence: the lovers who know what it is to love and be loved back. It is a love of precaution, and injury prevention—I am not a breaker of beginners. It is a curse of evolution for making me so marvellously scattered in instinct. It is because I am a narcissist. It is because every single single person is glazed over in cherry cola, a desperation I refuse to become. And it is because I need it for my writing. I tell this to my sister, over and over, to get it through her skull. She will ask me again tomorrow why I do it. And I will remind her again tomorrow how sure I am of that I cannot know.
I was so very taken by Anna Jackon’s new approach to counting thoughts she posted on her blog today that I thought I would take a moment or a few to note down some of my own in a similar fashion. I am having thoughts now about the sea and how it is so fantastically turbulent today and whether the creatures inside of it are excited or unsettled or comforted by its rage and how perhaps the sea is not really raging at all but feasting on a new energy, delighting in its storm; on how the people behind me on the bus are also on a bus for the purpose of going from somewhere to somewhere else which is itself a thought that must be had before getting onto a bus and how I saw buses with no people in them only a few weeks ago still going places so I am thinking I need not always be so immobilised by my emptiness; on how I really want to get another tattoo soon, maybe with my sister when she visits; on whether Sadie will want to play puppets with me again today or if she will want to go to the bottom pitch with the big kids who are so giant in her world but not always very nice so I am secretly hoping she will choose the puppets; on how my sister wants me to pick up some jeans she ordered from a stranger on Instagram yesterday and how happy it makes me to participate in her shopping that is both sustainable and adventurous; on how all I have been able to stomach today is a coffee, apple, and some nicotine, and how I am trying everyday to be better but how tired I am of trying to be better; on how I am thinking of the rain hitting my face at an angle and what angle it is hitting me at and how it is fogging up my glasses and dripping to a ground that is so goddamn thirsty and I am thinking how I would open my mouth and drink all the rain I could if the earth didn’t need it more; on how I am so exhausted today because last night I couldn’t sleep for all my thinking about one person and how I am thinking of this person again today and how I took two extra tart cherry capsules to relax myself last night but couldn’t for all my thinking about this one person and what these cherries were doing to my nervous system and how I am still thinking about this now and wondering why I am always fighting or flighting and never quite settled with anything; on how much I would like a pot of kawakawa tea to soothe me and a body beside me to hold me tonight and make me warm but this other body I want beside me is the body of the person who does not let me sleep so I wonder if I would still be kept awake thinking about them if they were here beside me or if I would take comfort in just knowing they were here and this would be enough; on how I find making conversation with someone my own age not nearly as interesting or as easy as making conversation with someone twice or half my age and how people my own age don’t really understand this and how I don’t really understand this either and I am thinking how I don’t understand why one’s age is always more salient than one’s humanity; on how much I miss Kate and Caroline and how I would give almost anything to be by the fireplace playing a card game or writing poems with them right now; on how I should really make myself a sandwich once I get to work; on what it means to be truly present with someone when you are with them and how I want to work on being a better listener; on how the book I wish I had with me in my coat pocket as it is usually tucked away for me to pull out when I need it is sitting on my bed at my flat because I was in such a rush to gulp some outside air and how I just remembered I also forgot my keys on my bed fuck; on the tree branch that just fell to the ground with the wind reminding me of the tui back home that sung me songs every morning as I sat quietly on the deck with my coffee and journal with a voice not quite woken from its slumber and how if I had to pick one thing to take with me from Auckland back to Wellington it would probably be this; on how I used to play piano and write and sing my own songs and wondering why I ever gave this up and wondering why I give up almost immediately on something I cannot be immediately good at by my standards and thinking it has something to do with my standards; on how falling in love is so common to me; on how I am noticing my thoughts over the course of my writing as less narrative and more abrupt images that do not have a string of association already built into them but that just are and how I am thinking more of the original image now and how many of these images I am writing down are a convergence of information thrust into associative memory by my medial temporal lobe and how I so miss my neuroscience course for teaching me so intricately about myself and how I am going to take another of these courses out of interest next year if I can; on how I must finish writing because I am going to be frowned at by my boss for standing in the kitchen and counting my thoughts instead of slicing apple for the children.
My mother had some of her artwork in an exhibition fundraising for the MS society a number of years ago (you can take a stab at just how many years based on the picture, I hope) and I remember with such clarity waking up each morning that week and thinking I was the coolest, most cultured twelve year old to be getting out of school to support my artist mother at her artist event. I still wake up and think about this sometimes, a number of years later. My mother is a beautiful artist, with paint and with words, and though her MS prevents her from doing either of these now she will always be a beautiful artist, perhaps not of a poem, or a painting, but a life, her life, but also my life, my sister’s life, and all of the other lives she touches with her thoughts, words, and presence. I am thinking now about the intangible and how separate this is from what we can see with eyes, hear with ears, and smell with noses, but also how inextricable this overt sense of the world is from the covert, what we can feel with a heart and know with a soul, or something other immaterial. I am wondering whether I feel and think more than I physically know, and can know, and I think I do, and this overwhelms me often to the point of alienation, and yet I feel closer to myself and other people for these thoughts and feelings and directly implicated by this intangible sense more than I am ever implicated by an eye, ear, or nose. I wonder where the threshold lies between thinking and overthinking and if overthinking is as detrimental as it is made out in the literature or therapy session or if it is necessary to the sustaining of a self, and understanding of self, and presence in the world. If I did not think and feel to such an extent would I dream? I don’t think I would, at least not so vividly, and it is my dreaming that reveals so much to me about how to be covert in an overt world; how to know people I may not ever get the chance to converse or spend time with for their living oceans or lifetimes away, literally or figurately; how to know my own emptiness, or fullness, when it is not clear to me whether I have the capacity for both or either. But I am also thankful for my primal body and its sense, and for not being locked away without this sense but able to witness, even participate in the tangible that can be so very intimate, beautiful, and reflexive. One of the few things that actually gets me out of bed in the morning (and there are few, most days at the moment) is my looking forward to the art I will find in the world that day. I saw a piece of ribbon, the silver shade of grey, hanging from a tree on my way home from uni tonight and went in for a closer look to find the word ‘whole’ written in sharpie pen down its middle. That was exactly what I needed to see today, and worth getting out of bed for definitely.
I’d like to say I’m clutching a copy of The New Yorker here because that would’ve made me an even more cultured youngling but no, I think it’s just a magazine with some crossword puzzles I probably invented some of my own answers to, convincing myself the upside down answers on the next page were absolutely incorrect and that I should send a formal complaint to the editor for their weirdness and wrongness, not at all like my answers of course. I did actually send a formal complaint to an issue of Woman’s Weekly my family featured in when I was twelve, thinking my face looked overly rosy and photo-shopped, but as it turned out it was just the blood rushing to my head on the monkey bars. My parents didn’t explain this to me until after the complaint was sent, taking pride in this injustice their sensitive as a pea daughter was so determined to stand up to. Much gratitude (and I am still a sensitive pea).
13/06/20 seeing myself there
I am thinking today of what it means to be un-caged. I caught up with some friends last night for a drink, or a few drinks, which was in itself an un-caging, and we talked for a while, mostly about books and the endless string of conversation that comes out of talking about books and it was precious but heavy as it always is with me. I arrived back at my flat at the quiet hour of 3 a.m. and collapsed, with many limbs, onto a clean duvet not very welcoming of my thick, coal tears. I was so tired, and heavy. It is so heavy to put yourself willingly into the presence of people whom you love but know will remind you of everything you wish you were and could’ve been and might’ve been if… It is so heavy to give yourself to someone else’s breath and be reminded of everything you do not know and could not know and really wish you did know and probably could’ve known if… I am thinking tonight of what it means to be un-caged because I thought I was, but I’m really not. I am not un-caged, I am attached to a cage with a leg rope, staring into the cage from a distance and wondering how the hell I survived so small, so long. I am staring in at the space that did not let me eat, or sleep, or drink, or sit down, or read, or write, or love, or talk, or know myself enough to do any of these things. A therapist once told me not to ask the ‘what if’ question because it is dangerous, but what if I did? What if I had asked it in the cage? It has been three years since the cage. It has been three years and I am listening to a world but still not hearing myself in it. I am talking to people but still not able to speak or learn their language. I am eating and drinking but still terrified of feeling anything other than empty. I am not un-caged, I am attached to a cage with a leg rope, staring into the cage from a distance and seeing myself there, still in the cage.