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selva oscura
that abyss of:

anything could happen
at any moment
(anything.)

that abyss of:

any moment
could be my last
(any moment.)

that abyss of:

writing over my own words
to obscure them from view
(who?)

that abyss
another abyss
(who?)

that abyss of:

piling up my words in boxes
labeled “i need you to destroy this
if i am not able to”

(who?)

too many abysses
too many sinkholes
too many places i’ve left myself to

too much unspoken
and too much unspoken
and too much unspoken again

magic magic magic
are you in there
is that a pulse, or





the ritual lists to the side
our allies have something to say about that
our magic is not enough against

not enough against
not enough again
never quite enough

the roaring abyss
of the indifferent and placated
of the walking dead

who want and want and want
and want and want and want
but refuse to receive

not so much that i wasn’t made for this world
as it is that i was made for a world
that then changed its mind
 
 
music: dark muse - ethereal alchemy
 
 
selva oscura
06 July 2017 @ 08:13 pm

whoa, that new post editor. i am tripping balls over here.

not that these statements are necessarily related. on that, i'll leave you to your own conclusions.

 
 
music: it better still let me type whatever i want to type in here
 
 
selva oscura
10 June 2017 @ 01:53 pm


i sat on the shore. i sang to the water, i sang for her. i sang to call her home.

i found a large rock for an altar. on my rock altar, i placed my obsidian skull besides an iridescent ammonite.

i asked: who am i? who was i then? who am i now?

i supposed: flesh and bone, ear and eye. breath and beat. taking it in. letting it back out again. i am here to convert matter into energy and energy back into matter. i am, as all living organisms, a running process. energy taking form. energy doing what it needs to do to stay embodied in form. we are always running our own processes. whether those processes make us healthier or whether they cause us to break down; whether we are moving to the center of our power or running out past its furthest edges; we are energy embodied. part of everything, bound to everything: lake eerie as well as the cigarette packaging and plastic tampon applicators littering her edges. the water and the shoreline, the sun crowning that blue horizon line. everything that i am. everything that i am not. everything i am and am not, this being, this person i have made, this person i am making, it's all processes. it's all processes. i am a living process.

i could feel her hovering. i’d been feeling her get closer for weeks. margaret atwood, you say. hmmm. quite a lure i’ve set up for you, eh?

she came closer. she circled the scene where i sat, but she didn’t sit down with me yet. i told her to hang tight. i got up and gathered twelve rocks from further down shore. i stacked them up next to my altar, seven in one, three in the other two. she liked this, right away. i could tell. she sat down next to me, but only looked at me when i wasn’t looking at her. i know this game. i’ve played it before. it’s not the funnest game there is for two people, but if it’s what you want, little one, we will play.

only looking at her when she wasn’t looking at me, i took my cord from a few years gone ritual cycle and a key that serves as a traveling representation of the key that was hers, the key that i lost. one of them, anyway. my promise to her, upon her homecoming: this is mine. so i say it. i say it so she will hear it: this is mine. we no longer give up what has meaning to us just to lull dangerous people back to sleep. i let her watch me twist the cord into a lemniscate beneath the skull and the ammonite. i pressed the key into place first between then behind them, so it was touching everything it needed to touch. she might have nodded with approval, i would like that to be mine, also, but i don’t know. it wasn’t my turn to look.

i asked: what do you need to step back into this circle with me?

she didn’t respond, only filled the air between us with questions while i was looking away.

do you remember the moment you first felt the call of spirit? what was that moment? how was the call made? did you hear it? did you see it? did you dream it? were you already remembering it? what called you to this work? what brought you into the circle in the first place?

at first i thought: i could say something really deep here, maybe about spiders. i could do a little prose dance, throw in some fun facts about weaving, show you a picture of my dog i don’t have. describe a vision i had as a toddler at the very least. but that isn’t what occurred to me, you know it and i know it.

what i got was trauma. trauma, trauma, trauma.

fuck.

i thought of names, i thought of narratives. i remembered stories i couldn’t carry to term. i remembered stories that were taken away. i remembered stories i let spill out of me unmourned, well if you don’t want me then i don’t want you.

but i did want you. and you wanted me. i remember that. somewhere, i remember that. do you?

i remembered years of broken shell fragments in between, when there wasn’t a story or there were only broken shell fragments of stories. where there wasn’t a story, there wasn’t a story, and there wasn’t a story again. i remember losing myself in bitterness and retail, a storyteller with no story to tell, a writer who only sold other people's books. i remember not writing anything and i remember writing nothing, words and words of nothing, for weeks, for months, for years.

i remembered since estranged friends, plagiarizing my broken shell fragments, all i had, not enough, but all i had: sometimes where i could see it. i remember not feeling like i was important enough to such friends to call them out on their theft: even now. because they did better at school than i could. because they had advanced degrees in a craft i’ve struggled to even describe as my own. because they deserved it.

i remember letting myself be made small by mfa holders, phd holders, people with agents. real writers. people with published work and publishable work, people who can start a story at the beginning and write it through to the end. real writers. people who feel enough pride in their work to show it to people, shop it to people; people who aren’t mortally terrified of something they’ve written falling into the wrong hands. of their own work coming back on them in the worst way possible.

i remembered when that happened on livejournal, but i’m not ready to talk about that. i did not handle it gracefully, but what else would you expect? i believed what happened was what i deserved.

and then i remembered something i’d almost blacked out: three in the morning, the night after i graduated high school. drifting off to sleep, i realized something. all at once, i understood the wicked vow of my classmates: judith lloyd doesn’t deserve that.

not talent. not friends. not love. not nice things. why? it’s judy lloyd. she’s weird. she's crazy. she’s poor. she’s a slut. she’s a prude. she worships the devil. she doesn’t care enough about fashion to be able to write like that. look at her shoes, those are stupid shoes, real artists don’t wear shoes that stupid. she’s a fake. she’s totally a fake! real artists have way better hair. let us all agree to let her starve to death in relentlessly criticized isolation.(1)

i fell out of myself for just long enough to see some of what had happened in making this promise accomplished fact. some of it by my closest friends, even more of it by myself: because of my conditioning, because of my abuse history, because i go limp, because i go nice, because of who even knows. because of my talent? no wonder i’d almost blacked this memory out.

my best friend was asleep in the room with me, so i left the room. i was violent. i was angry. i wanted to kick the shit out of something. myself, for the most part. i fantasized about stealing the keys to that navy hatchback that would never officially be mine and driving to the high school, driving into the high school, ending it somewhere between the car that wasn’t mine and that goddamn school i would have thought i’d feel relieved to have no more obligation toward. my death could be a statement, performance art, the twelve-year intention of my classmates realized: judy lloyd, getting what they always wanted for her.

but i didn’t have my license yet and i didn’t trust myself to get all the way to school without killing innocent bystanders, some of them possibly cute babies,(2) so i considered my alternatives. i wanted to slash up my arms. i wanted to tear out my hair, bruise myself over and through, riddle my flesh with tangles of scars. at the very least, i needed to scream. i stumbled downstairs and locked myself in the bathroom. i pulled a hand towel out of the cabinet, my mother had appliquéd it with an owl. i pressed my mouth to the owl and screamed. and screamed again. and screamed again.(3) screaming, i felt something break. i felt something leave.

i wonder: was it you, little one?

so: why did i step into this circle? why else would i have stepped into this circle?

i am a living process.



and so, on the shore of pelee island, on a writing retreat gifted to me by loved ones who have, over and over again, helped me break my classmate’s wicked vow, i sang her home. i drew her into the ammonite. i held the ammonite over each palm and blew onto its center. my arms tingled. i felt lighter and more substantial at the same time. i didn’t have time to even think it: welcome home, everything within me already sang.

maybe, right?



_______________________________________________
(1) not verbatim
(2) shut up, cute babies have saved more lives than any of us could ever know.
(3) “family inheritance”
 
 
selva oscura
my dreams slip past undocumented: that odd movement where such decisions are made, to not document the dream. whether it's because it will take too much time or you've already forgotten it or it didn't seem like anything significant, you know i can't be writing anything down if it isn't significant, and for some reason i believe i can take pride in my ability to discern in advance whether or not a matter is important enough to document.

it's waking logic assaulting the unknown, the completely unknown. sometimes a significant dream won't reveal itself as such for years into the distance, sometimes decades. who knows if it really will anyway, mean something i mean. anyway, i need to check my email so let's not worry about getting that one down.

it's not just time or importance that can stop things. sometimes you're uncomfortable with the thing that you've dreamed. sometimes you're left wondering what kind of emotionally sick person would dream a thing like that, much less write it down? what, so i can return to it years in the distance and marvel at my own metaphysical anguish? or

1) it doesn't make sense, or
2) you don't feel like you remember enough or
3) i don't know!
4) what's the point anyway!
5) there will be some new ones probably tomorrow.

stall, diffuse, distract, deny. it's a process. it's a slow and arduous process. for which we are fundamentally engineered to emphatically subvert. you know? you think: i really don't think there's another alarming epiphany to be had on this matter, and yet, here we are. here we are again.

it's the dream forgotten in the wake of a since forgotten dream that at the time seemed so much more significant, it's the dream you got down but in faint pencil, in an agonizingly tiny hand. it's like i was trying to prove something, how tiny my handwriting could get. it's like years of self-loathing regarding my awkward gaffing horrifically misspelled cursive exploding all over the page in this minuscule and meticulous slow crawl down the agonizing page. either i was trying to prove something or i was trying to make up for all those pages i wasted in my younger years, back when i'd commonly fill an entire sheet with thirteen words. thirteen words, nine of them spelled incorrectly, five of those to a rather excessive extent, three of those meriting an uncertain kind of interpretive theory

what's going on here? what do you think i was getting at? oh, shit, marty? not that marty! you are not telling me this is back to the future mary sue fic

but it is. at a rate of four correctly spelled words on a thirteen-word page. dream text can be a little bit like my seventh grade fascination with trying to place myself (literally) within a loved narrative. i mean, i had something to contribute. i mean, i had a voice in that landscape. i mean, i could vanish into that for hours: and it didn't even bother anyone, nobody else needed to know. i self-medicated with such writing; now i dream. dreams give me an authority in texts i would otherwise have no point of entry into. for instance. so you say. you never can tell.

but then again: i get scared that many of the dreams i've (at times inadvertently) chosen to dis may have been important, may have been a missing piece, part of my buried history abandoned on the study hall floor because when the bell rang i was too eager to get out of that stale silent room and hear people's voices again, even if they weren't talking to me. what a symbol to come back at me, at this point. wonder what that's about?
 
 
music: bruce springsteen - tunnel of love
 
 
selva oscura
10 May 2017 @ 12:59 pm
down at the bottom of it.
down at the bottom of it.
down at the bottom of it.

of what? i don't know.

four corners around me. four corners that are a circle, that make a sphere. four corners around me, and the above, and the below. i'm down at the bottom of it. down at the bottom of it, looking up over it. i'm not sure where i am. i'm everywhere. i'm nowhere. i'm everywhere, i'm nowhere. i'm in a simple dress. i'm in a simple dress, lying down at the bottom of it. and i feel my limbs. i feel the four corners in my limbs. this corner, that corner, another corner, one last corner again. i feel the ancient energy of that which i haven't experienced yet. i feel the ancient energy of that which i don't know: and i don't know. i don't know. i don't know where this is going. i don't what my intentions are. i don't exactly know what i want, here. just this crushing, this obliterating, this tsunami of desire. of unnameable desire. of unclaimable desire. of desire that i have no place feeling. and i have shame because of it, and i'm tired of that shame. i'm so tired of that shame i won't even feel it anymore. i refuse to feel my shame, but it's still there. why? why am i ashamed of this? why do i feel like want makes me a lesser person? why do i feel like i have any less right to that which i desire than anybody else that i know?
 
 
mood: mental training for insomniacs
music: dark muse - queen of the world of spirits
 
 
 
selva oscura
05 May 2017 @ 12:29 am
the song i am not singing
the song i do not sing
but that is stuck in my head
like a shard of glass
that wounds me again
and again and again
with its memory, cutting into me
every time i remember

i do not sing this song
this song is inflicted upon me.
i do not live this song
i am being killed by it slowly

but that’s okay
that’s why we’re here
that’s why we’re here
we are all here to be killed
slowly
by life

the meaning of life
is to use life up

echo it back on ourselves
echo it back and hear

what did not come from my understanding
what has nothing to do with me
what consummates other people’s affections
other people’s afflictions
some weirdo’s stopgap solution
to navigating the void

they’re really going somewhere
but it’s not where i’m going
at least that’s what i tell myself
when i’m pretending
it has nothing to do with me

where is this going?
tell me: where is this going?
and how could it possibly go any more wrong?

no, don’t answer that.
please don’t answer that.
i know it could be worse
you don’t have to prove it.
 
 
mood: BEEN BETTER
music: eduard artemiev - stalker 1
 
 
selva oscura
holy holy holy holy.
holy fuck and holy failure.
holy half beast tearing at the seams.

holy desire
holy desire
holy desire held in the palm
held in the sweaty palm of desire.

for years i thought: desire is only what feels good. i am only supposed to desire that which makes me feel pleasure. it was a bad promise i made to myself, a wicked vow. for years i thought i could only desire what made me feel good so: i didn’t believe i wanted anything, and so: i didn’t want, and so: eventually the idea of desire, simply the idea of wanting something, it caused pain. it caused relentless, agonizing pain.

because it was the idea of desire, a hungry ghost out in the barren wastelands of my lived experience: what was possible and what wasn’t, what had hurt me in its unattainable reality, what i couldn’t have, what i’d never have, what tried to kill me in my sleep. so i killed desire, or i tried to, so i abandoned abandoned in a room without food or water and cried myself to sleep with my desireless misery.

what i didn’t see, what i wouldn’t see, what i couldn’t begin to recognize is that the idea of desire is not desire itself, but desire’s ghost. haunted by desire’s ghost, i believed there wasn’t anything i could want.

except maybe what i needed was a boundary.

material to bounce off of. something coming into form. and maybe it didn’t make any sense before, maybe it seemed shallow or childish, but maybe that’s because it still needs to gestate. anyway, my relationship with desire can be immature. it is several things at once, my relationship with desire, as it should be: but what it really needs? my relationship with desire can and should bring out what is delighted and playful, what occasionally speaks out of turn, what laughs too loudly, what cries too easily, what can be a total brat: what forgets to dust and drives off to the michigan dunes for the night where all of a sudden at two in the morning a green meteorite streaks the sky, turning everything green and it's magic, all of it is magic: desire is magic. desire is the reason magic exists.

it's not a sin. it's not something you discipline yourself out of. it's not something you pray into silence.

it's a survival instinct. in order to get anything out of our lived experience, we need to want something out of our lived experience.

*


then again: have i looked at humanity, lately? i used to think people were trying to initiate themselves, trap themselves in awful situations that forced them to grow up a bit in order to reclaim their lives from this minotaur-bearing labyrinth that is contemporary living. it's what i did. in the incredibly slow and still ongoing process of recovering my self, i recognized that attempting to conquer desire meant destroying every aspect of my life that was keeping me above ground. the writing, the art, the magic, the love: of nature, of kin, of self. that wasn't going to work.

i used to think people were trying to initiate themselves. it was my understanding of Why Smart People Do Stupid Shit. why we're killing the planet. why we put an orange minotaur in office. maybe it's a mistake to think that. probably it's a mistake to think that.
 
 
music: allotrope 1 - alex theory
 
 
selva oscura
15 April 2017 @ 02:54 pm
the eye, the staring eye. the staring eye of the wounded. of the injured. of the neglected, washed out and bleached white and abandoned in a place where only the dead belong. are we the dead? am i the dead? i mean: am i dead to you? every sword's brutal intention. every blade cutting through. the eye is open, the eye stares. the eye stares, what does it see?

we arrive at the threshold of those things about ourselves that scatter unacknowledged through our fields of perception: that which we see or hear or feel, that scent that just catches the edges of our breath, that taste that sours the very back the tongue. do we let the pain in? do we welcome it into our stronghold? do we let pain become part of that which sustains us? or are we afraid of it? embarrassed by it? guilty and ashamed? do we believe not letting the pain in makes us better, makes us stronger, makes us more of an asset to the people we care about?

because a person who is lying to the people they care about:

a person who is lying to themselves:

these people are not assets as much as they are challenges. in order to tend to the wound it must be acknowledged. in order to acknowledge the wound, it must be revealed that a wounding incident occurred. and i struggle to bring it into form. i struggle to give it a name. i struggle to navigate in a world where people i love have hurt me and i have hurt people i love:

but that's the thing of it. how do i name this? how do i introduce this wounding matter to a world that rewards ignorant optimism with decadent spoils, with easy answers, with lots of friends and material resources? how do i introduce this wounding matter to a world that punishes insightful pessimism with poverty, neglect, and facebook blocks? with friends who view you as a chore? how can you be who you need to be when everyone around you has been programmed to invalidate and punish the less desirable qualities of that free-thinking authenticity we all claim to at least admire, but who can live like that?

seriously: who can live like that? what am i doing wrong? my only close friend in good standing from before i turned twenty, dead at his own hand. dreams of people i've loved since the first instance of eye contact injuring themselves intentionally, ending themselves intentionally. yet another musician who helped us come out the other side of the volleyball unit alive, dead, and so young! and so terribly! i'd say it's the rapture. i'd say it wasn't a coincidence that it was paul who first showed me that film, the woman in her endless expanse of nothing, forced to choose between ignorant optimism by denying everything she's suffered for and that insightful pessimism that made her overall living experience meaningful, resonant, worthy of documentation.

because that's the story. that's what makes good writing. that's what makes people want to read: pain. knowing that you're out there. knowing that you've been there. knowing that we aren't so alone. the story is pain. pain is the story: the creative irritant, the way things get done. the eye, the staring eye. the stories we place around what is absent, what is broken, what has led us astray. astray in a weird territory, where the things we look at are not always the things that we see. where is your pain, right now? where is the pain telling you to go?


 
 
mood: until further notice
music: igneous flame/disturbed earth - v
 
 
selva oscura
06 April 2017 @ 07:56 pm
kind of got stuck in the transition from bargaining to depression on the matter, but it isn't like i didn't have warning. it hurts to nearly a physical extent, is the thing; these non-existent pages have, in many ways, become an extension of my body. but i'm increasingly concerned: i'm increasingly concerned. let's leave it at that. more loss in a handful of years that's been bitter with it.

black's sweet sixteen would've been this may.

i really hope anybody who still follows me here is up for some bookmark adjustments. details to follow, so long as the technology falls in line.
 
 
music: deepchord - night transmission
 
 
selva oscura
28 March 2017 @ 08:21 pm
I am secretly obsessed with sounding the boundaries of my perceptions: the taste inside my mouth, the reach inside my fingers, what my eyes see looking into nothing. The places my energies go when I begin to sense a situation crumbling. What can I patch, what can I move to safety? I try to understand that I don’t need to remind myself to breathe, but then again so often I trip an unanticipated stair down at the very bottom all alone in the dark. I am a slow spiral, perpetually self-renewing, moving inward with the same momentum with which i am moving out. At regular intervals I remember that every action requires effort, even inaction, especially inaction, sometimes, or have you never braced yourself at the door against another’s charge and wondered at how little it would take to put you down? At the beginning of stillness there is often violence in long need of being stilled. At the beginning of stillness is a wounding, a place all the pressures in the room rush toward. I’ve broken the seal, the seal is broken, the night gives out beneath me in a spray of bolts and splinters: nothing’s up to code, but then again not too many can be bothered to work that encryption into a message even an eleven-year-old could explain. There is no sure key to it, I thought to myself, fighting to open our vandalized mailbox again. What I mean to say is I am secretly obsessed with keys, things that lock, things obfuscated to the four corners of the earth, but so often I meet these matters with as much delight as sorrow. What I mean to say is I am secretly obsessed with secrets, those occult gathering at the edge of a glance. After all, haven’t we all needed to reduce a few tones from the final print? Conceal some matter from the ages, press it into our most fundamental structure, our defining essence, our armature, our frame.


 
 
music: paul horn - meditation, psalm 2 (vocal)
 
 
 
selva oscura
09 March 2017 @ 01:20 pm
what else can i do? what else can i possibly do?

i don’t know. i don't. what's to know?

what i want is acknowledgement. all i want is acknowledgement. all i want is acknowledgement, but acknowledgement is one of those things that has an entire ecosystem beneath it: to acknowledge someone means to intentionally speak truth to them. in order to intentionally speak truth to someone, you must respect them. acknowledgement is a fundamental demonstration of respect. it means you value this person. it means the value you place in this connection exceeds any anxiety you might have about openly expressing your feelings.

by its very nature, acknowledging me means you cede some degree of control in our relationship. because i mean something to you. because you want me in your life. because i matter to you. because my acknowledgement matters to you,

(right. basically? i’m boned.)

and the thing i can tell you about going through important relationships unacknowledged? my hardest earned wisdom from growing up queer in a world that hated my queerness so much i tried to hide it (however unsuccessfully) even from myself?

in this sort of power dynamic, a power dynamic where acknowledgement is sealed up in a tight jar on the highest shelf of a locking cabinet only opened for people deemed more worthy than me, in a dynamic like that, my ability to acknowledge is suffocated. following that, my patience. following that, my kindness. following that, my willingness to even be around that friend anymore. my love doesn't go anywhere; once i'm truly in love with somebody i'm there for life. however, my ability to express my own feelings has been eroded away and all that love feels like is resentment, fear, and eventually rage. the only meaningful gift i can offer my friend dwindles away to nothing. worse than nothing, a few times.

it's a form of erasure. it's making me disappear: and i hate it. i fucking hate it. ending up in that kind of emotional sink hole with somebody i love, it's traumatizing. it's soul death. especially because the exchange is so simple as saying you want me as a friend when you want me as a friend, or, less simple, it's true, but easier than soul death at least: i know that i hurt you and i want to do the work i need to do to earn back your trust and make things better between us.

it seems like an awful lot of mess for

what.

i don't know.

never mind.
 
 
mood: again again again again
music: dull repetitions
 
 
selva oscura
24 February 2017 @ 02:02 am
it’s old i’m cold i’m blue, blue, blue

remember when we had a name for this? remember when we could afford to deny it, pick other opportunities, wait for better friends?

remember when we thought we were going places but we didn’t have enough momentum or gas or we did get there but what the hell is this place anyway just a merciless suck on energy and resources that’s blocking us from something we could have that might just be a little bit better and we think that’s all we need, just that little bit, just that smidge to the left, that slight step back from the center of the room and everything looks so much better! at least for a day or two. we’ve never loved like this before! we’ve never known this kind of love! love pours out of us, thick and iron rich, we’ll never know until it’s much too late what exactly it is we’ve been spilling away.

thatstheendofthehoneymoon.jpg


spill it, spill it now.

tell me where this is going.

tell me where i am going.

something like exactly, in the general vicinity of absolute precision. do i belong here? i don’t think i do. where else is there for me to go? just a merciless suck on energy and resources but aren’t all of us from time to time, at least when the path is clear, the girl is gone, the stairwell is empty as it ever was and nobody is taking your calls. double it over, double yourself through and wait, and wait, and wait and wait. there’s always more time for waiting. there’s always a chance that this time, it will be something. everything. anything better than this.

rattle out the memory
rattle it on down the line
 
 
music: popol vuh - brüder des schattens - söhne des lichts
 
 
selva oscura
19 February 2017 @ 04:43 am
my four-year-old niece navigates the fringes of that horrible realization waiting for every last one of us, whether we dare to approach it or not: there is no such thing as an assumed audience.

yes, there are always people around to care, but they aren't required to, and you might not be able to make them. people can take their audience away, and they can do it when you are breaking yourself in half trying to keep them. what's worse, many people won't notice that you are suffering because of this; many people won't care even if they do.

in part, it's awful: like an existential horror film where the vulnerable innocent is confronted with some monstrous allegory for original sin that they must accept as truth if they want even a chance at survival. even if you don't believe in the catholic presentation of it, original sin offers a profound insight into the canvas painted to match the world it conceals that is the human condition. you may not want this, but there it is. you know? i don't deserve such misery, and yet: clearly, i do. if not, what the fuck do i do with any of this? resentfully wallow in it for the rest of eternity? blast myself to bits over those catastrophic system failures that brought myself and everything i love into being?

in part, it's beautiful, and funny, and sad: because i've been there, and i am there. i'll be there tomorrow, as well as the day after that, and the day after that as well. all the days i am here, i'll be there. like falling in love or encountering true mystery, it's the stuff that binds us, that which cuts us from oblivion's swath and folds us back into it again. it's the world we're making, like it and not. it's the world we're making, 'til death do us part. it's that which does not go away.

i have no idea how to nourish that which does not go away, especially when i'm not really given any viable way in.

what about you?

what are you thinking?
 
 
music: pteranodon
 
 
selva oscura
10 February 2017 @ 07:57 pm
15.  
5. is this yours?
6. was this yours?
7. was this meant for you?
8. the holy moment, that coffin's nail, that love gone too far. into the reaches of space, into the far reaches, into the slow spiraling in of our slowly spiraling galaxy. in those split milk arms, in the milky pale arms of the mother, the mother i never was, the mother i'll never be. in this, solace. only in this, solace. only solace in this.
9. what means solace?
10. what means solace, after this?
 
 
music: tangerine dream - rubycon, pt. 2
 
 
selva oscura
06 February 2017 @ 04:50 pm
we burst with fire, we burn at the seams. we fill the night sky with obfuscating matters. we see, we cannot see. we breathe, we cannot breathe. the smoke is heavy and fades the night's resolution to a smoldering palette of ash.

how long can i hold off on writing about ashes?

there's a story in it, of course there is, but maybe the story has burned through. there's a story in it, of course, but is it my story to tell? in a desperate hour, perhaps. in an hour made strange by the passage of time. in an hour anointed with holy oils and incense smoke, consecrated in a kiss on the crown center, chanted over, sang over, wept over, wailed over.

the clamor of death among the living, the noises it makes, the attentions it gathers. sirens and sirens. sirens and songs. here is another story about the dying. here is another story summoned from the land of the dead. we are witnessed, we are always witnessed. it is the indefinite purgatory of those with unresolved business to witness the dying and the dead, at least for a time. it is the nature of inconclusive terminations. why was this life stopped? why was that heart broken?

if i am a witness, if i am a witness from my own inconclusive termination, if i am here witnessing this stranger's end i can grieve them as one of my own: though i won't know their whole story, i will only know this small part of this one aspect of their conclusion, which is for the best because i will not need to negotiate my grieving around a larger context. it is only: this passage. this transition. this coming into going out of form.

who were you, lost stranger? what did you look like before this moment of your demise, scrubbed of context, of associations, of experience and desire? what did you enjoy reading? what did you like to eat? what had you accomplished in those years since birth, what did you lose out on? what broke your heart, broke your resolve, broke you and broke you again?

these witnesses, these alignments revealed only in death. these holy mysteries anointed over and consecrated through by what cannot be known. the world of the dead is not the world of the living. the world of the dead is not the world of the living. there are no guest rooms for one in the world of the other: only day trips, only nightly rumination; only technical tours with extremely limited access. intermediaries of unattended death. death conveyed in fragments. no one being has the whole story, especially not the one who dies.

this side of infinity's twist, i light a candle and enjoy its burn. i light a candle and shortly become anxious about the candle's impending death. so i witness the flame closely, doing what i can to prolong the burn. i trim the wick. i drop in wax from other candles. i snuff the candle out long before i am ready: and then i do it all over again. i lose my meditation to the tending of candle flames: this is because, long ago, far away, i lost myself on the in between. i let myself slip into a weird atmosphere, seduced bodily by the strangeness of it. i let my candles burn into five inch flames, burn long leaking wounds into each pillar's side; i found perverse satisfaction in the sick wax splatter onto the jeweler's traveling sales case that constituted my first unintentional altar. i laid on the floor. i brought my knees to my chin. i let the candles bleed or i left them anemic, weak, barely a moment left in each flicker, a horrible loop of the end that never quite comes:

and i became entranced. i became ecstatic with the carelessness of it. at last for once certain in my greedy burn. a goddess of willfully unknown variables: and then, the next morning, it became apparent what had happened to someone i cared about that same night while i was off by myself burning candles: it nearly killed me. i wouldn't light candles for a month after. a month became a year, a year became a decade and i still will not give myself over to candle flame, i still only rarely use pillars. at the sound of bleeding wax i go into a panic, i perform surgery, i salvage the wick, i tend, i tend: all this is anymore is tending.

last january, i called the fire. last january, i screamed the fire into form. "burn it," i screamed into a suddenly silent room. did i know what i was doing? do i ever know what i am doing?

oh, holy disconnect. heart performing that ritual the head is not ready to understand. my hardest lesson: sometimes i act in truest harmony with spirit before i even understand what i am doing.

we are
as we've been
as we always will be

(except not.)


 
 
music: wdo - rise 10-15
 
 
 
selva oscura
11 January 2017 @ 12:38 am
1.
the broken spell, the spell broken, the broken matter of what was spelled out and smashed to bits then abandoned: to the elements, to the elemental forces, to the shape of things to come that came and did what they did and now they are gone and cold blows the wind, the wind blows cold, cold and sharp around every fractured corner, in through the window cracks, blowing again blowing, whistling through, whispering through: but then again you know but then again you’ve heard, at least you had the opportunity to hear, did you hear?

have you heard?

have you given this information a chance? listen:


2.
we are blown by the wind or we are blown through. we are blown out, wick deprived of purpose, left stiff and blackened in a molten pool of wax. we are, as we are, as we’ve been, as we’ll be, until we are not and then who even knows.

i bring the pen’s tip to the page.

i hover the silence.

i wait and see. i wait and wait.

i wait and listen - listen - listen

but then again. and then again. again, again, again, she screams. o god, she screams. burn it, she screams. take who you were three minutes ago and


3.
the spell is broken. the broken fragments of spells: elemental invocations, bits of string, needle stems of herbs sealed in splattered candle wax: listen, can you listen? do you hear what’s calling, what’s been calling, now that there's a crack, now that crack in everything has let the light in? but you can’t listen to light, can you? not with our factory standard sensory capacities. not with our common sense and this-is-really-for-the-best, you’ll understand one day, you’ll understand someday, what i’m saying is: who’s reading? who’s reading and why? again:

i listen for the light. i listen for certainty. i listen for some subtle change, a telling displacement of the waterline, an unanticipated component in the local bouquet, an unacknowledged frequency moving the needle in strange new ways. one year ago yesterday bowie died. one year ago today i'm a black star, i'm a black star i sat next to ben in the mezzanine, doubled over my notebook, suddenly desperate to describe a miscarriage i’ve never had. bowie's death knocked it out of me. bowie's cancer knocked it out of me. it’s just a story, but i’m twitching with it. it’s only a story, but it’s making the corners of my vision spark. it's a story, but something about it has broken skin. my pregnancy stories do not end well. only one in memory carried to term and technically. technically?


4.
i burned the physical remains of my incomplete first novel in a friend's fire pit. she left me alone for this. she is also a witch, but, moreover, she is also a writer. a fellow witch and a writing fellow, she knows the basic shape of where i am in this moment if not the exact contours. she has also lamented lost creative projects. she did not need to hear my lamentations to know they occurred.

and so the book burns, at last. sixteen years. twenty, really. twenty-one years. the book burns: the printouts, the composition notebook, fifty odd scraps of ingram status reports freehand inked with wistful fragments, beautiful stray lines that got stuck at the shelter for much too long, trying again trying to get me to: write the damn book. but no. and no. and again, no. every time no. fifty odd failed attempts. thousands upon thousands of failed attempts. and then the workshop handouts, my revision notes, my session notes, feedback feeding back on itself until i collapsed at the keyboard with the shakes, all i could ever hear when i reached for the next word. the next word wasn't there. the book blew town. the book never looked back. the book died.

all the same, i carried its corpse with me everywhere: for a year, for two years, i carry this book with me still and it needed to stop: so i burned it.


5.
and i say this like it is accomplished fact, but it is not. right now: it is a story. that's all a ritual really is, in the end: a story told, beginning, middle,to end. a story told with the body instead of words. so here is my ritual, and here is my story: the story of my first miscarriage. the story about a miscarriage that i failed to carry to term. it's a droste effect narrative. the book that died like that on the workshop table: it will happen a few days into the waning moon during the upcoming venus retrograde. i will burn my incomplete first novel. i will put the ashes in a silver flask and drive them to delaware, or i will hold on to them to release off pelee island at the end of may. release them back into the wilderness. release them back into the wilderness they never really left. will that be the end of it? will that finally be the end of it?

probably not, but who could say.


6.
my most significant offering, to be sure. listen: where is my book? and listen: where did my book go? we haven't got all night. we haven't got forever. we do, but we don't. forever doesn't present itself in a way most of us can easily grasp. it's a tease, a shameless flirt, trust forever and find yourself alone at the coffeehouse all night every fucking time. forever doesn't tender in temporary. forever doesn't even follow whatever it is us temporary residents think we are talking about. but that's because forever has that kind of time. forever has all the time in the world.


7.
and the wind whistles, the wind whispers, the wind blows. forgetting and breaking, breaking the shore, breaking the spell, the spell broken: gentle child of words, you didn't deserve this. gentle child of words, i have failed you.

and i'm sorry

i'm so sorry

i'm so fucking sorry.


 
 
music: life garden - ahitanaman
 
 
selva oscura
02 January 2017 @ 09:40 pm
it falls apart it comes back together it rocks it rolls it splits in two again it splits in two again

i used to think about it like this: i don't know if i used to think about it. i did things, i made things, i put things together. there are a lot of things like that, things i didn't think about, things that fell apart before i'd even realized they needed to be assembled. i used to think about it like this: there wasn't a damn thing to think about. i took a shower, i put on a skirt. i found one combat boot near the closet or maybe not even, at times these things end up in strange places. at times i end up in strange places. strange places, strange times. strange times for strange places. i took my shower without a second thought i put on a skirt without thinking about it real hard i did what i did and i said what i said and there was not this panic, this awful encroaching shame, about the resources i was wasting or the destructive gender norms i was enabling and where the fuck did my other boot go? i did have two of these things, right? i started out with two? i think?

space dyed fuzzy socks or kmart moccasins from 1989 aside with the rest of it, with the buttons-short flannel work shirts and the strathmore toned gray sketchbooks, the miso cup packets and elastic hair bands, the out of date library stamp, the empty pilots, half-knotted cords and partly burned sage bundles, lodestone scraps and scrapes of iron, the cracked up candle cups and everything else i intend to eventually fix, and books, and books, and books and books and books always more books, my books, his books, your books, with the things that had meaning and the meanings that had things: this meant something you know this was important this was something i was going to work on, something i needed to address, something i needed to put in the mail or make a call about:

now, where was i going with this? because i'm always going someplace from somewhere, whether it's to the kitchen or to austin, whether it's up the concrete stairs or around and around the roland water tower. i'm not always sure where it is i'm going, but go i do. hello again hello. hello again hello. hello, again, hello?

my first altar worked like this: i bought a seven dollar assemblage-required round lamp table from, let's say, target. possibly with a couple two foot tall unscented pillars and as many virgin vigil candles as i could reasonably fit in my canvas shopping bag. i screwed all three legs into that infinitely depressing pressboard non-construction and covered it with a black cloth. i placed on it, according to instructions: a green glass water goblet from the kitchenware store at the mall where i worked, an olive tree branch fallen at my father's recent pruning, a wood circle from frank's made into a pentacle with a wood burner purchased from same, an eleven dollar boot knife proudly mail ordered from the azuregreen print catalog and subsequently ruined with my enthusiasm for entry level wood burning. it should be simple, right? you plug in the thing, you let the thing get hot. then you use that hot thing to make marks on wood surfaces. the thing about wood is that it is all very different. some of it has been treated. some of it burns very fast. some of it hardly burns at all. one's first projects should possibly not involve quite so much intricate celtic knotwork, but go ahead and try to tell me that when i was a teenager. go ahead. i'll wait. or whatever, just go ahead and do it, i'll keep writing for now, maybe this entry will be finished when you get back. or maybe i'll still be adding to it, you never know with me.

the thing about making marks is that it is never nearly so easy as you think it should be, at least when you are trying to do it deliberately. deliberately, you say? deliberately? should you really be trying to do that, in this day and age? isn't there enough of that going on as it is? can't we leave one matter unspoiled? let it live on in our memory pure, virginal, unmarked? i might not be the right person to ask about that. hey, i didn't get to be a virgin. lots of us didn't. we lived. it only fucked us up for life.

whatever the case, i assembled my tools, the tools i was supposed to have, and i bought my circular table, the shape an altar was supposed to be, and i arranged my goods on my altar the way i was supposed to arrange them: this at an exact measured angle from that. it was my most minimal altar ever, including the one that was just a rose and a candle. it was my most meaningless altar ever, and i hated it. let me repeat that with some emphasis: i hated having an altar. let that sink in. it took up space. it got in the way. it showed every speck of dust. it looked like a cheap horror film prop. it offered no solace, just served as a reminder that i'd decided to be a witch but didn't really know what to do about that. all the same, it's what i believed i was supposed to have. in order to be a witch. so i dutifully set it up in my room at my parent's house; a year or two later, i dutifully packed it up, drove it to iowa, and set it up again in my first dorm room. woke up in the morning, looked at my altar, thought: there's my altar. the altar i was supposed to make. went out to class, came back from class, thought: there's my altar. i sure did make that.

when my friend brought over her current sort-of boyfriend one night before he took us both out to dinner, he walked right over to my buckland-perfect spiritual practice uninvited.* without a word, he picked up my athame, unsheathed it, and twisted the tip of the blade into his left hand. not hard enough to draw blood, i don't think, he would've had to work a lot harder than that: but still. i sat on my bed with my mouth hanging open. this is not a thing random visitors are supposed to do, whether or not they are sort of dating college bff. college bff noticed, but did not say anything: we were processing a thing where i'd accidentally convinced her to let me put a single wash-away streak of “deadly nightshade” manic panic in her hair and she did it, she went along with me. then she had remorse, extreme remorse, passive-aggressive remorse, remorse to an extent that seemed ridiculous in light of my full head of gloriously deadly nightshaded tresses, but nevermind about that. she felt it looked tacky. i felt bad. also tacky. all the same, she got me back for it, several times in fact, starting with her now-i-wouldn't-say-boyfriend desecrating my elemental tools while i sat there silent and gape-mouthed.

"you know i regularly anoint that thing with my menstrual blood," i thought about saying, but then thought better of it. not because, you know, way to find out more than i was ready to know about the iowa city fetish community and hey judith, think you could anoint some stuff for me? but because i didn't really do anything with witchcraft with any kind of regularity. clearly, i was a poser. clearly, this peculiar violation of my privacy - key word: violation, for i felt violated, i felt very violated. the athame represents the will. you use it to direct your intent. to establish sacred space. to banish that which you don't want: nineteen year old boys, unsheathing your consecrated object without your consent and twisting it into their palms -

but clearly, this peculiar violation of my privacy had occurred: to call me out as a poser. to put me back in my place. stop having ambitions toward positive change, woman, it only gets you violated in the end. that's what getting noticed does: it gets you violated. so do not get noticed. do not make a mark. do not make that entry public. do not even try to publish that thing. college bff waited until not-the-boyfriend had pulled the knife back to bump him in the arm. they made eye contact. their eye contact smirked at me. worse, their eye contact smirked around me, belching up memories of every grade school smirk around i’d been bruised with since judy germs eats the worms. why the fuck do even the people i thought i could trust respect me so little that they do this shit so i can see it? and then the awkward silence, the should i say something? the no, i should not say anything, the i only have a few friends, i should keep the few friends i have, i should keep my mouth shut: so shut i stayed. but i decided, right then, that i would work to not use eye contact as an act of violence against another person. around another person. i would not use my eye contact with another to make a third party understand explicitly that they were being excluded. i would not turn everybody else in the room against somebody with a glance. so i'm grateful for that, that realization easily compensates for my awful first altar experience: but i still didn't say anything to my triggers. the labels-are-so-limiting-boyfriend re-sheathed my dagger and dropped on the altar (no longer my altar) with a dismissive thunk. then we left for dinner.

i let the altar gather dust for another week and then i broke it down. i put my tools in storage or whatever passed for storage at the time. i gave the crappy lamp table to my then-boyfriend's mom. coincidentally, tellingly? she loved it, though she did use it for its intended purpose, which, to be honest, always seemed kind of wobbly and meaningless to me; as much as i liked her, that was her demonstrated aesthetic. eucalyptus swags in the bathroom. inched off the slippery couches by slippery throw pillows. everything rattling in a slight breeze. clean lines and way too many damn mirrors you were openly critiqued for standing in front of too long. i was always a little nervous in her house, but then again, that had absolutely nothing to do with her. i used to think about it like this: i don't know if i used to think about it. i did things, i made things, i put things together. there are a lot of things like that, things i didn't think about, things that fell apart before i'd even realized they needed to be assembled. i used to think about it like this: there wasn't a damn thing to think about.

so think about that for a change.

anyone seen my other boot?





* do not do this.
 
 
music: quiet evenings - the other shore
 
 
selva oscura
26 December 2016 @ 03:48 pm
Subject: A secure message from your provider's office

Message:
Your Thyroglobulin levels have decreased beautifully. this is very good news!
Your TSH is 0.2 which is in the goal range of (0.1 - 0.5). So I'd like to keep the Synthroid dose the same for now. But if you have any symptoms of hyperthyroidism i.e. tremors, palpitations, insomina, then we can decrease the dose.

Let me know if you have any questions.


*

wow. i forgot air could even get that deep into my lungs.
 
 
music: the chemical brothers - let forever be
 
 
selva oscura
19 December 2016 @ 07:22 pm


from THE SECRET DAKINI ORACLE, 1979
nik douglas and penny slinger



white lady, white lady, white lady. woman of the white waters. woman of pearls. mother of pearl. she who obfuscates the functioning surface with the very function of that surface: gossamer and pearlescent, the way color can be a factor of white: the way pearls come forth from almost nothing, from irritants and parasites, flushed over the surface flushed over the surface again.

white lady, woman of waters, mother of pearl. you are autonomous and you are desolate. you are tuned in to eternity at the expense of the here and now. wrapped in a sheen of a scarf and nothing else you wander the caves, caves in the mountains, caves beneath the sea, caves of limestone and dripping, caves of volcanic glass and wavering light. the earth beneath your feet is always gestating some thing, think of it as the earth negotiating an irritant, think of it as the great mother building up her proud pearl.

in the waters we are equals, in the waters we are sisters, in the waters where we came from we face off, we mirror, we bring a color forth on that strange surface: we make a pearl between us, in our shared gaze. in our shared gaze, in that place where our gaze meets. in our shared gaze, in that place where, all at once, we both know everything demonstrated back to us in the other's gaze.

sister of waters. mother of pearl. the straight blue weaving, the spiraling in. how a surface changes in the depths: here. here. the pearls gathered together, the pearls clacking against one another in examination. imperfect pearl, not quite a sphere, a hint of topography, of distinct locations. the pearl will not roll straight. the pearl will roll off into a digression. a digression of pearl: that milky white silver, bright as a full winter moon. and the chill of it, the neglected parts of it, the layer upon layer upon layer of it, the we are always this one thing and not quite another, the stumble and upend, the moment the moment the moment. the holy moment. the holy fucking moment.

did you know? did you hear? the white lady, that woman of waters, holy mother of holy pearl. fucking mother of fucking pearl. she is childless, for her womb is a labyrinth, a spiral spiraling in on itself, chamber again chamber again slightly smaller and smaller again chamber. chamber where matters are held, where matters occur, where things come together to be made into something greater than they once were. woman of waters, where are you going? and woman of waters, what does it mean? you are a woman without children, you are a childless woman, like me, in resonance with my own distinctions, and yet:

pearl calls you mother, pearl is made of that same silver milk that drapes your nudity into something more sensual than nudity, that draws the eye and trails your path through the great roaring caves of water echoing the sound of water: of water wet with the shapes of water: of water, water, again water. the ways water knows us, the way water makes us, how we are the shape of water, perhaps to say: the shape water takes. and yet there is something i have forgotten, and yet there's a note i've forgotten to make my words tumble out of me after years in her womb: my words that were irritants have become pearl. so listen then, to the sound of them, the rise and roar, the coming in, the going out, and out, and out yet further: the white lady watches as i stir this cup of pearls, mixing my words, making a sound, making a path through this mystery of mysteries, this mystery of me, this that will remain a mystery, this wrong that must never be put right.

do you hear it? again, i said, do you hear it? did you hear? are you listening? are you listening, still? what are you listening for?


 
 
music: tor lundvall - two stars remain
 
 
selva oscura
06 December 2016 @ 11:32 pm
dancing girl press will be publishing my second chapbook, comprised of work from last summer's android trance poem experiment, in summer 2017. more details as they become available.
 
 
music: rameses III - across the lake is where my heart shines