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selva oscura
23 January 2017 @ 07:07 pm

Help Judith Get Workshopped By Her Hero, pt. 2

part two of the crowd funding campaign for my upcoming (four months today) pelee island retreat with margaret atwood. note for anyone who is a lot like me: a higher resolution of my 10 to 15 year old assortment of "scraps scribbled at work" may be obtained by clicking on on the picture. and as some of you i bet are probably guess, i have indeed already thought: "there's a project in that there assemblage," though i couldn't possibly tell you what just yet.
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.


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
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
side project to my project of asides. sometimes characters only give you certain elements of their story if you make an offering of time and energy to them, such as designating one of your many unused notebooks their diary and letting them document the period of time you haven't been able to get information about through your usual methods. so: this is eurydice's diary, starting shortly after her and orpheus broke up. for those not following along, the couple had sex the first time on the fourth of july one year earlier.

7.3 4.17AM

maybe it's absurd but i want to pinch the clock hands into silence. make time stop. pause it, at least? hold it somehow in this dreadful stasis of the last few days of not-just-yet, which, while painful, have at least been manageable. tick, tick, tick, it's there, of course it's there, of course it is going to be there: just, please. mask the tock. mask the anguish of the actual anniversary. i keep looking at the calendar. i looked at the calendar until i tore it down and stuffed it behind the laundry basket. i can't stop comparing what was happening last year with what isn't happening this year. and time is relentless, it keeps getting closer to tomorrow night. and here i am, realizing again: the one year anniversary of: then it's like i am smelling the shape of his scent, though not his actual scent; i can feel all my old responses and longings. it's as though his weight and presence are here in the room with me but absolutely nothing else. what will i do to survive tomorrow night? i can't sleep, maybe i won't sleep. ever again. i remember sleep, remember the necessity of it, i feel guilty for the lack of sleep in my life, or i don't, really, as it was taken from me, and there's little else to say about that. hello 4:30, hello lightening sky. hello brand new day (though i broke your seal 4 1/2 hours ago) in a brave new world. i stood on my desk and i cranked the ceiling vent shut. i opened the window and turned out the lights. i lit candles and laid on the bed. every car that drives past, you know? every pair of headlights that spills the opposite wall of my room. maybe. maybe. maybe.

the fucking curse of maybe.

i wanted to listen to music, but all of my music is associated with him, even the stuff he doesn't like. especially the stuff he doesn't like, if i'm honest. but then again, especially the stuff he does like. and, again, the stuff he was indifferent to, for it was so rare. all music relates to orpheus in some way. is that fair? is there a versa to this vica? has he gone off reading books? stopped listening to stories? does the sight of words sculpted into a narrative make him go all queasy? i can't listen to music, music makes me go queasy, and it is already the third of july. it's only the third of july. it's the third of july and i can't even listen to music to comfort myself: it's all about him, it's all about him, i should just fill this entire fucking book with repetitions of his name, that's all any of this is anyway, over and over again, here: orpheus! orpheus! orpheus! orpheus! orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheus orpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusorpheusor

the phone rang.

that old blue-violet aura* i'd stopped picking up because he called so much

but more importantly:
4:48 in the morning
who else, right?
who else could it even be
but he'd deny it
he always denied it
he has that right, i guess
maybe it wasn't him
maybe it never was
maybe he doesn't remember
maybe he's over it
maybe he doesn't care
maybe he never did.

silence and click
into: click and silence

the outside air has that humid predawn chill about it, like an external fever: cold shakes, cold shakes, remember sitting with him last winter while he was sick, stop it, pressing my hand to his forehead and getting so scared, stop it, remember wetting down a washcloth and holding it to the edge of his hairline, stop it, joking about how he needed to stop thinking so much for clearly it was overheating his brain. remember him clasping my wrist like that, meeting me in the eye and calling me by another name. remember understanding that he was serious, he wasn't just playing back something he remembered me saying: i never told him any of our names. but he knew. he spoke it himself. he brought it up. i sat by the bed wetting down his forehead with ice water and he clasped my wrist, called me by another name - not a wrong name, simply a different one - three days after christmas. how he drove all the way over here by himself, feverish and shaking, sweat slick palms slipping off the steering wheel. nobody in the place where he lives could be bothered: because he was only ever alone there, or worse still, alone with his brother, or worse even, alone with that surplus green metal lock box under his bed: so he came here. of course he did. i took care of him. of course i did. i told him stories, when he could hear them. i played him tapes and listened for his breath. then after school started back up, i got sick with a lesser version of the same ailment. he cut school to take care of me. he heated soup. he made me tea. he did my chores. he played for me, lulled me to sleep with song; while i slept he wrote the longest and strangest letter i've ever been given and reading it still makes my own brain overheat, still loosens the elastic of my panties with that old orpheus swelter. that's who were were, that's who we were capable of being, stop it eurydice STOP IT or you'll never make it out of this holiday alive

i slept until two once i finally slept. walked down the stairs in his workshirt, nothing else: in his workshirt, nothing else, i walked down the stairs. this is hard. this is so fucking hard. it seems like the harder i push him back, the harder he comes back at me. he's not going away, i mean, unless i decide i'm okay with his presence; then he vanishes without a trace. i walked down the stairs at two in the afternoon in his workshirt and nothing else and grandma was there waiting, sitting in my seat at the kitchen table, but turned away so she could face the stairs. she sat and she held some pulp lawyer paperback before her, opened with one hand, not even pretending to read it: her lips clamped and her eyes burning a hole through the book's spine. friday afternoon, we had an appointment, didn't i remember? an appointment at noon, she was going to let me drive her car around the subdivision for an hour, then she was going to let me drive us to lunch. so you can imagine how that went: with an argument, her flash temper, my too-long suppressed temper under strain; me with this whole entire ecosystem of that which i will not explain.

so: i did not drive around the subdivision for an hour. i did not drive us to lunch.

i argued with grandma and grandma left angry and i cried bitterly into a saucepan of plain-as-day rice and once that was half-eaten and scraped into a tupperware bin i called grandma, explained, explained, explained my explanation with alarmingly little crossover in accuracy that:

orpheus and me, we'd had a really bad fight! and now we weren't speaking! and i've never had to deal with this sort of thing before! i don't know how to deal with this sort of thing at all! i've been really out of sorts, you see, not myself, you know, and i was very sorry, so sorry, of course i was sorry, of course. sorry grandma. so so sorry. sob.

miraculously, grandma heard me, believed me, and let me off the hook. said: oh, sweetheart, it sounds like you weren't in a good place for a driving lesson, anyway. you could've just told me, she said. i would've just come over when you were feeling up to it, she said, i would have taken you to lunch. we're trying again on monday, though she made me promise that if i wasn't feeling up to it i’d give her at least an hour's notice, after all, it's a 45 minute drive from her house. i've stuck many reminder notes to many things. the thing is? that gets to me a little? that creeps me out a bit? grandma sat here for two hours. why on earth did she just sit here for two hours? i think that one time she showed up unexpectedly, nightmare scenario of orpheus and me in my room with the door shut, i'm sure there were sounds, but orpheus made himself disappear (he can do that), and grandma couldn't figure out if he was actually there or not. i think she decided i’d been entertaining myself and didn't want to embarrass me in case it was that, as she is a liberated woman who does not want to discourage safe experimentation. so she didn't say anything and i didn't say anything and orpheus didn't say anything and it's just one of those things. grandma knows something about me that my parents do not, or at least she thinks she might. probably why she sat here two hours. maybe she thought it was more of the same.

anyway, it was almost 4 by that point, so i got on my bike and rode to the video store. figured: if i can no longer listen to music, i could at least distract myself with movies, tomorrow night i mean. i chose a movie about lesbian vampires and another about nuclear war. also a third about aliens who infiltrate the new york art scene and kill people with sex. seemed resonant. “three at once,” said the clerk, “that’s a record for you,” and we changed smiles. then he asked about orpheus. i like the clerk at the video store but he always asks about orpheus, who once impressed him tremendously with knowledge about doing something with guitars.

i don't know if i can even stomach fireworks - not because of last year, with this one issue fireworks were the furthest thing from both our minds, but because of the year before that: he walked all the way over here, we walked to the big field by the elementary school with our beach towel and romantic bug candle. we hid from my parents but were utterly disgusting to anyone who could see us, and from the “DID YOU HEAR ORPHEUS VOGEL FUCKED EURYDICE DERRYTH (horrors! unimaginable horror of horrors!! not eurydice derryth!) IN A FIELD" rumors still circulating at the beginning of sophomore year, someone most certainly did. but no, we did not. there was no field fucking. that day. ore slipped his fingers into my bra. this was still a very big deal. i noticed - or understood, for one of those first times, that he was hard. neither of us really knew what to think (or do) about that, and o. was still mortified by the prospect of having his arousal discovered, so the actual experience was not nearly so fun as i wanted to remember it being. all the same, for months afterward, any time i wanted to get myself hot i thought of that night, and the smell of gunpowder still has some remarkable effects on me. or it did. or it still does, but in a different way. i caught a whiff of some less-than-legal explosions on my walk a couple nights ago and felt rather ill around the cognitive dissonance of it all, the grating of beloved memory against disappointing reality.

tick tick tick

*back in the days before caller ID was commonplace; eurydice intuits specific bursts of color as a tell when someone important to her is calling.

music: ry cooder - nothing out there
selva oscura
1. we are experience, coming into form. we are form, seeking out new experience. the experience is on it’s way, the experience will be here shortly. the experience is coming into form. as for us:

2. we are moving out onto the surfaces, into the fringes, into the borderlands. we are ever moving out from center, because that is what we are supposed to do: move away from our origins, move out into the world. lose ourselves to ourselves, to failing expectation, forgetting what matters, what we need, who we thought we would be, imagining ourselves from the sweetness of center: gifts become vices, what nourishes us becomes what we are addicted to, what we barely let ourselves have, what we are drowning in. so for me, physical intimacy. altered states. the pleasures of motion, of contact, of alignment, of diving deeper. the pleasure of expressing something, of having something to express, of having someone to receive that expression and return it in their own way. the pleasures of the body. these things have been damaged for me, so much of my life has been spent negotiating the lack. sex was the most urgent - “surprisingly,” i wrote first, when i clearly meant unsurprisingly:

3. sex was the life-or-death matter, that thing i most needed to pull together a plausible, workable place of restoration for: sex is what i altered gravity in order to save. thankfully, eventually, found a partner i could trust enough to stabilize myself with, so i could finally begin to explore, move out from center. until we found one another, i was working my path of steel-re-enforced abstinence. not because i was afraid of sex, but because i couldn’t seem to protect myself from getting raped. that’s the thing about rape culture: it silences. it stops. it self-perpetuates. it most harms those of us willing and able to work sex in a transformative way, in a healing way; it makes us more walking wounded who either fold in on themselves and die of starvation or expel themselves meaninglessly in excess. neither situation is prudish. neither situation is debauched. it’s simply two of the typical ways the injured cope with their injuries. it's simply two of the typical forms our stories take. another way i do it: by telling stories. by re-routing killing trajectories. i’ve saved paul through my words so many times over the course of this last year, though i never use his name. i've saved others, sometimes those in no need being saved. i’ve remapped relationships, changed one telling variable. if, you know? if only. what if? i don’t know. i don’t know. i don’t.

4. it's that place where want becomes addition. it's that place where desire remains unrealized as the first stirrings of love:

5. it’s me with less information. it’s me without an important experience. it’s me before i worked at quest. before i started at livejournal. before i’d actually understood anything about the ways in which i was already working magic. it’s me, long before i became who i am. before, became, because. such different words, but then again, not really. before i became who i am because that’s what my experience used to be, that’s who i was when i was so much closer to center, when i still had a few whiffs of that new incarnation smell. back when i was so incredibly ignorant of cancer and, believe it or not! the cruelty of others. i thought every friend would stand by me in my breakup with someone who had clearly proven themselves as (at the very least) abusive, especially those friends who made noises along the lines of our not being a good match from the beginning. i thought, at least, that friends who had also endured abusive relationships would stand by me. it's what i’d done for them. instead, no friend stood by me. instead, several of my oldest and closest friends indicated that i was being unreasonable, no longer wanting to maintain even very tangential social connections to someone who’d so visibly plugged quite so many resources in exacerbating my pre-existing condition of worthlessness. instead, i had to go back to the places where i made the mistakes that trapped me in that relationship and release a great deal of what i'd made in my life to that point. this is because my life, as it was, was no longer safe or enjoyable for me: if i'd kept living like that, i wouldn't have lived for a whole lot longer. of course i lost friends. many of the friends i lost weren't really my friends in the first place. i see this now, but at the time it just seemed like unnecessary destruction; setting fires to watch them burn. that's how it has to be, sometimes. in beginning to heal what i could of my wounded sexuality, i had to move out that much further from center, i needed to move out that much further into who i genuinely need to become.

6. i don’t know and i don’t know. i don’t know why and i don’t know who. i don’t know where i’m going with this, i don’t know why i keep ending up here. the candle burns, like the candle does; the candle could offer such solace if i only allowed it to. and then. and then. and then and then.

the experience is coming into form.
the experience is coming into form.
the experience is coming into form.

7. stay warm today, stay nourished. try to rest. sit quietly with a loved one by whom you feel held. think twice about substances of any variety and remember: the experience is coming into form.

music: robert rich - spectre of lost light
selva oscura
11 January 2017 @ 12:38 am
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:

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 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

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
26 December 2016 @ 03:41 pm
mood: ENYA
selva oscura
19 December 2016 @ 07:22 pm

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
selva oscura
06 December 2016 @ 08:39 pm
deep inside my certainty i find a sliver of doubt.

music: grouper - he knows, he knows, he knows
selva oscura
03 December 2016 @ 01:19 pm

i continue to wonder if anybody is ever going to want to read this thing.

music: kohachiro miyata - sanya
selva oscura
01 December 2016 @ 12:51 pm
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

                                                                                                 - Jiddu Krishnamurti
mood: nobody's got a story for me, huh.
selva oscura
28 November 2016 @ 07:25 pm
tell me a story.
selva oscura
26 November 2016 @ 02:43 pm
out in the miles from it, out in the long-way-home.

the radio station gone abstract in the distance between. the night sky ancient in its visibility. utility poles lining the highway, one's only companion, one's only reminder of modern invention.

it's night and the road could be straighter.

it's night and it's cold and we've got nowhere to be.

it's night and we could be driving faster, i mean if there were any purpose to it, i mean if the place we were going were any better than the place we left behind. it's night and the radio has become a texture. an atmospheric augmentation. an augmentation of the atmosphere: sonic pallet in gray, nothing ventured, nothing gained; nothing offered, little observed. what had been a news report about death on the high seas now crashes in on an indeterminate shore. what had been a song about falling into something the songwriter originally understood to be love turned into avalanching falls of waste water from the nuclear power plant. what had been a traffic report. what had been a preview of all tomorrow's best shows. the story, the signal. the broadcasting tower just barely in sight. i remember. i remember.

the sky is old and getting older. the night is dark and clear. in the old sky, things are remembered. count the stories: the stories about personalities, heroes and villains. the stories about relationships, mothers and daughters, the discoveries of young lovers, the assumptions of old lovers, the hanging ellipsis of lovers that never were. a boy and his cat, a girl and her dog, the mistake and necessity of a hunter catching the eye of that animal he has most recently exiled from the living world, vital essence leaking out the spear's wound. we are all ever always at the whim of another's survival. we are all ever always living on borrowed resources. driving long distances in unfamiliar territory. driving at night under a clear and ancient sky. driving with the radio on, but what's the difference? driving with the radio on, but then again, who could say?

in this story, there is no protagonist. it's a story devoid of earthly structure.

in this story, you are a protagonist, but you might not realize it in time.

you've decided from this moment forward that all your stories will be about the elements of a story that are overshadowed by the devices of narrative: the quality of the light, the flow of one space into the next, the journey at night, alone on an empty highway, a utility pole another utility pole, the radio an experiment in abstraction occasionally stabbed through by incomplete thoughts.

jesus is watching, the radio stabs through each hand, all at once out of an opaque field of static. then: what will she see? maybe somewhere, maybe someone, maybe something will come to light. will she see?

the story, the signal. the broadcasting tower just barely in sight. headlights set every stage they skim over, ever en route to anywhere but. sometimes one cycles the windshield wipers just to give themselves something to do. the path is clear and then it isn't and then the path is clear again: squirt squirt, squeak squeak, all the while driving along, all the while just passing through. it could be about the destination, but tonight it's not even about the journey. it could be about the shape of things, the shape of time, but then again, what do you even know?

in the making of a story there are offerings to be made. people want to know: what is the purpose of this? and people want to know: what's the point? people want to know. isn't that always the way of it? so what's the motivation here? what's this character's end game? why did you construct this image, to what other images does it relate, is the character's reaction consistent with what we already don't really believe?

i used to believe i was driving to someone, when i'd drive alone long distances at night. i used to imagine this as embodying my longing. sometimes i saw it as an offering to my longing, giving it some purpose, giving it somewhere to go. instead as ever it went nowhere. instead as ever it was always a story without real purpose, no protagonist, no plot, the only stage i'd ever set a pair of headlights passing over a landscape i never really saw, a landscape i will not ever see again.

music: tor lundvall - blue room
selva oscura
22 November 2016 @ 03:02 pm
a pair of bird's wings on the sidewalk


the wings

stuck to the sidewalk
in the speckling shadow of trees
gray and white feather wings stacked for flight
folded into a peak
severed joints exposed
flesh rain-washed to bone

how the wind blew this weekend
how the wind kept blowing
the corners shrieked
the bathroom fan squeaked
i spent the weekend in a low-grade mid-western panic of relentless wind
every couple minutes realizing i still heard it