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selva oscura
13 February 2019 @ 11:48 pm

i thought that was pretty good, for a re-entry entry. i remember feeling so hopeful when i wrote it, but then i stopped. again. oh god, it hurts, this thing called writer's block, and it hurts because i am doing it to myself. i know i am doing it, understand? what i'm not getting is the mechanism i need to reroute. i sabotage without realizing. i paint myself into all kinds of corners. this is because i am caught up in an unsupportive cycle. several unsupportive cycles, perhaps. this block is a form of self-injury. i need to decide to pull out of it, yes. in order to do so, sustainably, i need to be strong enough to bear my own weight once i'm out. so: time. recovery work. coming at the problem with different approaches, some of them not viewing the matter as a problem but a situation that might benefit from a different approach.

from 2018's spring equinox ritual, possibly one of my last public invocations for the foreseeable future: i may not be very strong today, but i am strength.

one of these days i'm going to catch on to my own magic.

music: saint germain - rose rouge
selva oscura
12 February 2019 @ 11:42 pm
oh god the misery of blood work limbo, especially the annual TG count.

i forgot about that.

i mean no i didn't. i have not remotely forgot about that, not for a second. so much of my post-diagnosis experience is basically the grinding repetition of never forgetting that.

sometimes it's nice to pretend.
selva oscura
08 February 2019 @ 02:24 pm
back to the beginning of it, back to the beginning, back to the beginning again. always this same story with you. this same beginning, here each morning, when i walk out of our pitch black sleeping chamber and into the nearly always temperate morning light; the in-between, where i go about my business of eating, eliminating, and anticipation; and then the end, molten at your touch, contemplating nothing, incapable of contemplation, rumination, or assessment. there will be time for that come morning, when i cover my eyes against that sudden shock of light and open our chamber door. how do i even get from one place to the next? i've never once stubbed my toe or bruised my hip on a nightstand and i'm sure there's something like that in here because i've used it, it's where we keep the handcuffs and the blindfold you inexplicably insist on me wearing inside the drawer.

i know. i know that's how you feel about it, and i'm grateful for the information because i really don't have very much to go on here, i don't know altogether that much about you. i mean, yes, i got the note with your sizing and color preferences, thank you, and i think you might favor some kind of strange feather cape, as i've felt you wearing it a number of times. but that's what i know. it's almost all of what i know, if i didn't also know you in a biblical sense.

the phrasing is strange to me as well.

i have no idea what "biblical" means. it might have something to do with what zeus dons the costumes of swans to do to maidens.

you know how i feel about it.

we will see. he will have his day in court

or he won't. so often, they don't.

i was thinking maybe we could make a compromise in the form of a sitting room? you know, subtle, natural lighting. maybe some spot lamps, so i could read before bed, sometimes? i wouldn't ask, but it really is my favorite time to read. i could always wear my blindfold when you are in the room with me, or maybe you'd even trust me to wear - blinders? that way we could - i could -

i know.

i know.

are you really so terrible to look at? you certainly smell divine.

okay, well, if you're going to sulk about it.

i know there's not anything to be fixed here. at least, i believe you when you say that there's not anything to fix. i'm not trying to fix anything. i'd just like to explore bonding with you over some activities that don't involve blindfolds and handcuffs, like maybe we could play parcheesi?


cards against humanity?

right, well my sisters could join us if

sorry! sorry.

no, i just forgot. couldn't you enchant a deck so it was like we had a third player? or maybe one of the teacups, like that time

right. never mind, you're right. you're always right. let's talk about something else.

i don't want to talk about that.

i don't know. i need something. i need to figure something out. something is out of alignment. something isn't right.

if i knew i wouldn't be sick of not knowing.

i guess i could be sick with knowing, instead.

i haven't got any idea. i don't know how you think i'd get one. ideas aren't abundant here, like most other things. maybe there's a relationship between a lack of ideas and a surplus of resources? it's like summer vacation when you're still in school. you always think in may, i'll have so much time! i'll be able to do so many projects! and then all of a sudden it's late august and all you've done is read v.c. andrews books and babysit. all that having so much time seemed to do for me was make me neglect the time i had. there was so much of it. all i could really do with it was neglect it.

are you even listening?

sometimes i wonder.

mood: talking to myself again
music: tryshe dhevney - you have wings
selva oscura
27 January 2019 @ 01:33 pm
eurydice writes her name at the top of a page in her journal and stares at it for much longer than she'd expect to be able to stare at a page with her name written on it and nothing else.

could be a few minutes.

could be days.

eurydice stares at her name until she can close her eyes and see it in negative. who, eurydice thinks, watching her name dissolve into the backs of her closed eyes. who? this seventeen year old catastrophe of incident and emotion? this gathering of regretful need and insatiable aspirations? does eurydice have a soul?

she considers herself, again, as orpheus's girlfriend. she remembers that boundary, such a safe place to land. it was a satisfying form of definition, she acknowledges: sharing the person she believed she wanted to be with someone who wanted her to be that person. it was somewhere to put her identity. it was someplace her identity seemed safe. she supposes this is why she could not keep her relationship with orpheus: it made her complacent with regard to the question of who she was.

who is eurydice? who, again, has eurydice become? she stares at her name. four syllables, it took her a year longer to be able to reliably spell it than her elementary school instructors thought it should. in fact, they brought in the special education consultant, hoping to get eurydice’s interminable set of exhausting and undefinable problems out of their classroom. unfortunately, over the course of the consultant’s interaction with eurydice, it became apparent that someone possessing a phd in learning disabilities couldn't spell or pronounce eurydice’s name either. eurydice taught him how to do it. she sat down across the table from him and fleshed out her clever mnemonics with a blue crayon on yellow construction paper while her teacher stood there watching, sweaty and slack jawed. the consultant left with a dirty look, another 45 minute drive each way to terrorize a second grader who taught herself to read and already had the vocabulary of a eighth grader, but later that day eurydice couldn't remember if y or i came first again and she was so ashamed of herself her she forgot how to tie her shoes.

when she met orpheus, she thought for sure she'd never remember his three syllables but making it into such an obstacle meant it never became a problem. anyway, their names seemed to go together, she felt. they connected, they complimented, they made a sort of eight syllable song: orpheus and eurydice. orpheus later confessed that he'd felt equally intimidated by eurydice's name and vehement refusal of its most obvious diminutive: dicy. no, she shortly pre-empted. do not call me "dicy." dicy eurydice had been a sixth grade taunt. small and heavily qualified mercy that by middle school, the vocabulary was lost to those unrhymed obscenities preferred by adolescents. it didn't matter which taunt she might have chosen, given the choice of taunts: she was never afforded such a choice and was just happy to not have to deal with both at once.

all the same, it was orpheus who found a diminutive in what she felt was an absence of reasonable diminutives: orpheus who gave her "rue" with their first kiss. she found "ore" shortly thereafter and that was it: they defined each other, they gave each other form, they called one another out of the formlessness of their younger selves.

now again, these months later, these months down a slippery slope of whatever it was eurydice had expected to be by this point in her life, eurydice stares at a page with her full given name written out on it and nothing else.

"you need to be yourself," her grandmother told her, that awful day when she got home from school with awful gossip and couldn't stop crying and couldn't explain why. "you need to be who you need to be," her grandmother said, and eurydice wondered who exactly that was.

because: it could be any number of variables from here to there, from now to later, singular or multiple, unscented or made to order. could be anything, any combination of, the either or the or: or not really, because it is what it is and that's really all it could ever be. what was that, again? does eurydice have a soul?

what eurydice meant to say when she instead said nothing was that her opinion on the matter was important. her opinion on the matter deserved to be heard, and heard by someone who was actually listening. she just wasn’t entirely sure, yet, what it was, her opinion. she definitely had one, though.

people forget or they don’t know or they won’t find out because generally, in this day and age, people are not taught or even encouraged to listen. to anyone, not even themselves, especially not themselves. more or less, that’s the truth eroding our will to continue as a species. we live in a system where the privileged few profit mightily from the majority not cultivating the ability to listen to themselves or anyone else. because of this, many people neglect that aspect of abuse recovery where the recovering person begins to identify themselves as a person again and needs a few trustworthy people in their daily experience to help them integrate this work in a meaningful way.

when you’ve been repeatedly knocked out of yourself by being victimized; when your value has been repeatedly depreciated as a means of harvesting it from you, at least ruining it enough so that you won’t have it either; when strangers won’t respect you as a human being, when other human beings try to force you into a reality where they can revoke your humanity in order keep thinking of themselves as decent folk who deserve nice things in spite of their abuse:

when strangers act as gatekeepers to the idea of being human, getting yourself back from that? it’s not a switch. it’s a slippery uphill climb on unstable terrain. there will be landslides. regressions. implosions and worse. you need a good belay, someone anchored to meaningful perspective, someone who unequivocally affirms your humanity, even when, especially when, you have been trained in several extremely effective methods of denying this yourself.

it wasn’t exactly that orpheus became abusive by the end, not overtly, not exactly. it wasn’t like he ever targeted eurydice directly. it was more that he stopped serving as her belay and became resentful of the consequences of that.

[there's more, but wow, it's hard.]

mood: true stories
music: nasa & the voyager spacecraft - symphony 1
selva oscura
when we forget the path
the path does not forget itself
but endures, in that moment
and in eternity
ready to be remembered.

i remember my path
and my path unfolds before me
and so i endure, on this path
and on every path.

so strange that this is the prayer i started my year with.

i have spent much of my life lost. physically. spiritually. emotionally. socially. medically. financially. lost to a career, lost to the education system. lost to my desires and necessities. lost to my true will. academia is lost on me. publication, too. give me a paper printed with directions of some variety, be they to the forest preserve or a recipe for vegan no-oil pumpkin bread and i will, with very rare exceptions, end up with something that does not even vaguely resemble the expected outcome. sometimes this is for the best, other times it is just as good: quite often it is agonizing, a shame-inspiring waste of always limited resources.

when i was young and more resilient, i made a game of it: set out for blackwell forest preserve. after an hour driving around somewhere in the direction of where i thought i'd navigationally secured blackwell to be that, turns out, was nowhere near even one of blackwell's most obscure tangents, i'd accept that i was probably not going to find any part of blackwell that day and keep an open mind toward what i discovered instead.

so: more than once i ended up in the middle of nowhere or an incredibly bad neighborhood with only a tollway i had no coins for pointing the most reasonable way - not back home, but in that general direction, i... hoped. i made some exciting discoveries. i traumatized myself unnecessarily. i found several relatively astonishing locales i could never, in a million years, find again, even if i really wanted to, even if my life depended on it. i violated quite a lot of traffic laws. still, my first year at the bookshop, getting lost in the general vicinity of a forest preserve i wanted to revisit became a favorite activity for my days off. it was a devotional act in an era when i struggled bitterly with acts of devotion. occasionally accepting a state of being lost, making an occasion out of being lost, this is a kind of offering, a form of kinetic prayer, an eldritch initiation. it's magic. it sure the fuck is uncomfortable like that.

"not all who wander are lost," the bumper sticker on my 1991 burgundy chevy corsica declared: or maybe that was the wagon? anyway, as a personal mission statement, tolkien's infinitely wise insight wasn't exactly a match for me: usually, when i wander, i am lost. and miles to go before i sleep, as it should be, for some of us, at least. there's something here i'm working to learn, and from the shape of it, it's going to take the rest of my life to get there, if i ever do.

one lesson from the chronically lost: if there is a path there, it has not ceased to exist, you are simply no longer connected to it. the path is still there, like it was before, as it is now, as it will be tomorrow. it is obstructed: by your knowledge or lack of knowledge about the region, by your inability to suss out left from due west, by that exit sign that only ever catches up with you three minutes after you've passed your last reasonable double-back. so: sometimes plans change. you do something else instead. go to the record store, if you can find it. see if that tea house is still in business, if you can figure out where it is. stop by a friend's, you might remember the way from here. visit your grandmother's grave, or the general idea of of a cemetery, at least. so: sometimes you cut your losses and turn back for home. if not home, the nearest approximation thereof. sometimes what energy you have left must go into a hard reset. humble up and start over. go back to the store and buy more flour. admit that maybe it's better to explore one substitution at a time instead of several dozen all in one shot. i have time, 2018's imbolc pledge, ambitioning to put down roots in study, in practice, in medicine and recovery. i have time to make the pumpkin bread more than once.

but do i have the gastrointestinal fortitude to consume such experiments? that's another question entirely.


up late i build an altar to orpheus and his periphery, those edges that come up against my own. i'm working our connection, here, making it stronger: not strictly offering tributes of devotion as i am currently struggling - not bitterly, though perhaps with some bewilderment - with acts of devotion. i'm not sure what orpheus wants of me, so i make him altars late at night, hoping when i wander back into the work room some association i've made - one object next to another object, the direction this object faces, that which i forgot to place entirely - will provide an answer, placing me if not where i expected to be somewhere just as good.

the path remembers itself, you see.
music: dark muse - ophelia's refrain
selva oscura
21 January 2019 @ 02:08 pm
unwritten rule

it's always raining this time of year and the half structure in stone sitting by the lake is hardly enough to keep the rain out. wrapped in a denim jacket, curled up on a stone ledge, just inside. tables, two fire places, the black soot dwindling up the walls, the burned scent that never really leaves these places. the rain is soft, soft fingers bouncing over things, soft fingers of rain putting the leaves in their own order. half down my sleeve half wrapped around my fingers the onyx mala counts the moments, structures the stillness, not in a progression, one moment after the next, but in a cycle; OM MANI PADME HUM bringing the same movement again into place. the sound of OM: the hold of MANI: the scent of PADME: the swallow of HUM. i lose track of my senses in these moments, one impression blends into the next: the gray of touch. i pull my jacket tighter, roll my head back on the stone wall, trying to find a place to settle. there is no place to settle. soft fingers of rain but no color; the grass is straw, the trees are scars. early march, rain and no color, no place to settle, i settle in. and in the stillness, the stillness renders a drone, a changing sameness, the sustained hold of frogs. my fingers find the mala's tassel, turn and begin the mantra's count again.

no bells, no incantations, no incense smoke, no wild prayer. just me, 3AM, bent over this page. just me, elbows pressed to folded knees on a bunched-up comforter. just me, a pen, and a book: and you, at least the idea of you, dear reader: if you are here or not, only time will tell.

mixes, an intriguing study: how something that started out as a way to set the mood for creative process can so reliably become a means of taking me out of it. would you let me make a mix for you? i miss making mixes for friends. i miss friends making mixes for me. even if i knew every song, and i almost never did, there was always this sort of magic in hearing it in this other context, as though through another's ears.

            cloaked horizon
            unveiled in slow motion
            march dawn

no, not abiding by syllable count. when do i ever? in love letters, perhaps.

                       your silences find

i'll write about anything, let's say, to keep from writing about something.

music: lovesliescrushing - whitevaportrails
selva oscura
19 January 2019 @ 01:04 am
here is my invocation. my invocation is here.

here, this invocation i am building with my time and experience, here, the ways and means of everything i have brought to this moment, to this location, to this manner of self coming together and falling apart in the same moment.

here. i dressed, i pulled together an outfit from all my favorite cuts and textures.

here. i daubed my most beloved perfume inside each elbow and again over my heart.

here. i picked my necklace for the day, a key, a bird skull, the pewter bar lining up ogham, a cabochon of obsidian set in sterling silver. i catch the clasp over the rise of vertebrae at the back of my neck. i let it fall into place.

here: and then i let it go. i take off my clothes. i leave the necklace on. i take comfort in my anointing rose.

naked but for these little rituals, i walk to the backroom window and lie down on the naked floor boards. i slide my arms up and out, shaping wings in the accumulated dust and dirt. i raise my arms over my head and lace my fingers loosely, not sure, never sure, no certainty but uncertainty, as it should be. i close my eyes.

here is my invocation. i call upon. i call upon. i invite you into my experience. i invite you to experience with me. here is my invocation: i know this for certain, what my invocation is; i simply do not know what I intend to invoke.

i invoke wisdom. i invoke clarity. i invoke a beneficial path: beneficial for whom, I could not say, but i invoke it all the same. i invoke transformation and i invoke love. i invoke transformational love. i invite it into my circle. i call upon transformational love to encircle me. this: that I cannot understand. this: that i should not name. i call upon it to teach me how to call it better, with greater confidence, with something resembling certainty, with some semblance of command. naked on the floorboards, my hair unbound around me in a cracked-up halo, naked on the floorboards stripped of mundane comforts, easy answers, reasons for doing this which i need to do. i do it regardless. i do it because it needs to be done: not because i need to understand why. in this manner, i invoke transformation. in this way, i invoke love. the way i always have. the way i've never been able. this is how I embody transformational love:

by making a mess of it. no idea what i am doing, no reason for doing it, just the knowledge that it must be done. this is what it means to serve as a vessel for the divine. this is what it means to engage in meaningful work: you cannot always have even an inkling what any of it could mean. creativity is a form of magic, then again so is love, then again so is anything worth doing, so don’t stop doing it just because it doesn’t make sense. there’s a part of your brain that resists change by refusing to make sense of anything it does not want to confront: remember that the next time you become very confused. it could be the reason it does not make sense to you is because, at least in part, you do not want to understand it. so, don’t bother understanding it, should it be important enough. don’t force the matter into those parameters you are not yet able to completely understand. that will come with time: or it will not, if that is what the magic needs. simply stop and remember and remember: and remember again

memory is a kind of invocation, as is forgetting. patience invokes, though not always what the practitioner anticipates. grief is nothing but invocation, powerful and inevitably overwhelmingly successful, though the nature of what is ultimately invoked can take lifetimes to comprehend. love is all invocation, every sort of it, every shape and whisper, every manner and delivery method, even the terrible ones, and anyone seeking a meaningful experience of love needs to experience the terrible ones. love is all invocation. all invocations go back to love, in the end.

from the floorboards i build my invocation, impromptu and largely unskilled but of potent intent. i build my invocation, i become my invocation, my invocation is all i know. holy, holy, holy, holy. what is here and what has been here all along. what surrounds and what suffuses. what we come to, full of light, filled with light, married to light, mired in light, marred by it: here again, brought to light, open to light, in ecstatic consummation with holy darkness. here again i look out over it and return my own gaze. every syllable spoken in relation to invocation, language not simply humanity’s demonstration of its prioritization of desire but evidence of heaven, the body of god. we speak the body of god into being with tongues aflame. we draw god into form with words. we pronounce god, we exalt god, we question and extort god with our verbal craft.

though we cannot always see the figures and containers, the rivers and eddies, the roaring and receding tides banking every distant shore it is our work, our most holy work, what we want and what we make, who we are and who we might be, who, who again, who, speak this invocation, know the names and comb its energy up from everything that was and all that could be. all those matters we invoke simply by realizing our will to language: our most sacred impulse, our manifest will. i never know what i will say until i take the sacred risk of saying it: and so, i let the words come: my first magic working but, then again, every magic working long after the last.

music: vidna obmana - reflecting deep stars
selva oscura
15 January 2019 @ 02:52 am
shots outside, then helicopters. multiple shots. a full round, maybe. no idea what went down. so often there's no closure on these matters. neighborhood listservs more agonizing than helpful, the police scanner archive only grants free access until the moment i remember the resource, news? news. gunshots in the baltimore city limits? i guess the involvement of helicopters might increase the chances of someone reporting on it eventually.

i asked ben: do you think that was gunfire? the question is pointless. relative to this specific matter, suspicion does not exist. it is the rare urban binary: if you think you heard shots, you heard shots. something inside you knows and knows instantly. like an earthquake, like certain phone calls. however, the incredibly loud HVAC was running and ben was in a different part of the apartment when it happened. he heard something, he was pretty sure he heard something, but thought it was probably someone breaking up snow on a resonant surface. could be. we just got a bunch of snow. maybe it was more that he didn't want to hear shots. i didn't want to hear shots either, so i went into denial of the urban binary. i nodded and tried not to think about it. then we heard the helicopters. i looked at ben and ben looked back at me and took my hand. it is what it is.

a few minutes later, j.j. texted ben asking if he'd heard the shots, if he knew anything more about it; it said on the neighborhood listserv she follows that it happened in our general vicinity. so often there's no closure on these matters.

i wonder if that has anything to do with this nausea flare.

goddamn nausea flare.

water does seem to be helping. water and writing shit out.

you'd think i'd learn and maybe i am learning, but the process is slow and there are obstacles, matters i'm not sure what to do with. such as: this misalignment with my body and how it yet ravages my will to text. such as: my ongoing drama of identifiers, the spiritual crisis i'm soaking in, the bloodwork order i keep "forgetting" to schedule. my hands are chapped. my lower lip is worse. maybe now i'm stable enough to try for sleep? it is what it is.

music: sounds of nature - crackling fire & rain
selva oscura
09 January 2019 @ 08:36 pm
- chocolate
- lentil soup
- not enough water
- internet connection
- agonizing device of your preference/necessity
- endless fucking presidental temper tantrum

1. eat too much chocolate early in the day. also lentil soup. don't keep up with your damn water.

2. read an article about our national parks containing way too many instances of the phrase "piles of human feces." read several articles of this nature, in fact. keep reading long after you probably should stop.

3. goddamnit that this administration is throwing our national parks under the wheels for sake of public complacency. goddamnit that people are still going to national parks, introducing their shit and gods know what else to vulnerable ecosystems without protectors. i keep thinking of those kids at yellowstone, making a game out of shoving each other into restricted areas while their parents argued about what dvd they were going to watch in the minivan. i keep thinking about people trying to pet buffalo. i keep thinking about morning glory pool, all those miracles i will never witness; that we, as a species, will never recover.

4. i'm terrified about wild fires, also.

5. will we ever learn?

6. probably not.

7. goddamnit.

the ritual is complete.
music: i remember when i could listen to music
selva oscura
08 January 2019 @ 07:17 pm
Nutze dien Schicksal, widerstrebe ihm nicht!
use thy destiny, do not strive against it! - guido von list
selva oscura
07 January 2019 @ 06:51 pm



i suppose this might be why my guides advised me against taroting about the government
mood: nauthiz
music: john broaddus - three
selva oscura
02 January 2019 @ 02:57 am

i know. though i've recently made posts, i haven't been super forthcoming with personal updates. i haven't been super hyped to talk about it. i'm sad and sick and scared that this is just how it is now or, worse, that i will soon be looking back on my current problems with longing for how much easier i had it back when. so: here's the update window. gonna ramble. like the old days, i guess.


i started this practice of drawing a single tarot card, researching it, meditating on it, and writing a small prayer at its prompting last january. as a practice, it lasted... largely through the month of january; then i switched to drawing the card, noting it and leaving the rest of it for the next time i crossed that same day. wasn't quite feeling verbal with my prayers. wasn't exactly feeling prayers at all, as my anxiety amped up and my soul's night got darker. goddamn it's been weird. ultimately, the whole thing got derailed a little bit with shame, but i'm (mostly) over it now, having re-centered myself in the spiritual practices i need to do in the way i need to do them. now, i've been getting something out of reviewing last year's material. hopefully they'll be good prep for when i start making new prayers from these old draws in february. unless i am again derailed by the shame. the shame, it is so very helpful.


i keep trying to gently prompt myself back toward accountable writing, but i appear to be angry about and/or afraid of something so the process stalls out. for weeks now i've been making pretty fantasies in my brain about writing in my paper journal. you know, rose petals and candles and shit. it doesn't get beyond the "wouldn't that be nice" stage, lately, and i mean, this happens. i've been here before. it would be funny if it didn't so much feel like it's killing me. thankfully i've found some solace in visual work, but i'm pretty sure not writing has been contributing mightily to the anxiety loop that's the lead contender for what's been making me sick. yee-ha!


so that's where i'm at. still haven't dyed my hair, still haven't recovered the workroom from the summer solstice incident, still a little more concerned every time i brave the scale. as the list of what i can eat without pain means i just laugh uproariously at the suggestion of doing something so reckless as, you know, eating at a restaurant (kids these days!) i'm not surprised. i brought all my own food everywhere for the holidays and if you come at me with "but don't you think you should be pushing a little more" i will run upstairs, slam a door and sob embarrassingly for several minutes because OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS IS HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT THE ADVICE OF PEOPLE WHO WON'T HAVE TO PERSONALLY DEAL WITH THE GRAVE CONSEQUENCES OF CITRUS, OKAY? things have been improving, it's just more like, a months-long gradient, not a week's course of antibiotics. i'll confess that it's been fun to tour those parts of my wardrobe i very nearly jettisoned for emotional health reasons at the end of 2015, sorta. not that you can tell from my costco men's large fleece lined flannel here, oh god for those long-ago days when restrictive clothing only tripped up my cognitive sensitivities.

lost an earring recently. wonder if that means i get a wish.
music: karma moffett - boundless
selva oscura
23 December 2018 @ 11:48 pm
i couldn't take the porny holiday piano muzak this pluto channel insists on playing over the log (give me asbestos glitter snow spattered anonymous studio recordings from the 1960s over that shit any day) and so have been watching it instead with orbiteer. gotta tell you, this stuff works pretty well with fire. like it does everything else.

a very merry whatevermas to you, livejournal readers.
selva oscura
21 December 2018 @ 05:00 pm
sunday 17 september 2000
3:00AM bedroom

tonight the moon is high and bright and the sky is faint with stars. the wind rises and the leaves rustle so it could almost be waves crashing to shore. it isn't cold, but it isn't warm. autumn is upon us. autumn slips away.

when i was twelve years old i sat in a seventh grade reading class it was ridiculous for me to be in: i could polish off six girls of canby hall books in a day. i’d recently put away my sweet audrina in a weekend. not a year earlier, i’d tested reading comprehension on a twelfth grade level. i did not need this class. they made everyone take it. thankfully, it was only a semester long. i was twelve years old and not listening to the instructor even a little when my eyes fixed on the calendar. i realized that it was april. april, april: april already, and it barely seemed, time-wise, like we should be in november. the instructor is explaining not to run our finger under the lines as we read them, to move only our eyes - not the head - and this was causing confusion, she had to demonstrate these fundamental reading techniques to kids who regularly called me the r word - but this knocked even the irony of that right out of my head. i wanted to raise my hand. voice my alarm. when did time start moving so swiftly? is anyone else in this room aware that we are already in APRIL? or are you all still on christmas break? is this cause for panic? is there someone here i can call?

at the time i was pleased with it because i thought the calendar was rushing to spring and those autumns i disliked so thoroughly would start to diminish in significance - at least length. the problem is, time kept moving and moving, going faster and faster - and here we are, thirteen years later, and i don't think i should yet be eighteen. i accelerated right through spring.

does time move differently for different people? is everyone around me five years back or eight ahead? more likely, is everyone in some different time, some days away, others decades? can i stop it, can i change this, or am i doomed to watch my aprils rush away like water through my fingers?

we bring it upon ourselves. i bring it upon myself. this shift will be over soon, this package will arrive tomorrow. focus on that future point two hours or two months down the road, and let expectancy cost you your life. pay for fleeting pleasures with your most precious, non-replenishing resource. tomorrow i'll do it, and since i might as well wait for my next day off to do it let's not do it today, or instead? spend money. i’ve always got time for that. how can i slow time down if i am always reaching for some future point? the only time i stop is in these desperate pre-dawn hours, where i grasp for that meaningful moment that always slips through my fingers.

i can't hold on to it, though. i have to let it pass. if i strain to keep it in check, it goes faster, like lunch break. my effort gobbles that time away.

what if it really is going faster than it used to and nobody has realized it yet? at least not consciously? what if my problem isn't that i suffer from a perceptional disorder but from an adjustment one? i'm not speeding up with everyone else, i can't synchronize with the cosmic clock; i'm going to be used up and vanish into a few scraggles of lint?

stop it, stop it, stop it. maybe it's a dam we've forced over the collapse of the universe, and the chaos is building up behind it with unimaginable pressure. maybe time is symptomatic of this problem, more and more of it crashing over at a more tremendous velocity. maybe it's just everyone else can swim better than me and isn't aware there's a problem in the first place. maybe there isn't a problem at all. it's just me. and i'm not right. after all. as we all know: i'm left.

wicked creature!

this potential relationship
that i guess i have to admit is no longer a potential relationship
that i guess i have to admit that i’ve been grieving
shit, okay, it’s been well over a year so

perhaps more honestly than all the pheromones shit… more emotionally plausible for me under current conditions, anyway, what i long for is the friend he couldn't afford me. the camaraderie we’ve lost. we could’ve had a very decent friendship. it seems he understood me on some levels where i’ve needed understanding for a long time. maybe it seems he appreciated me in a way no one else is able. that he described beauty where others saw chaos. that he described beauty in that chaos.

also that he got more than, like, 30% of my jokes. that alone.

but whatever it was to him, he left it, and that's the end of it. for him, at least. for me, the reality of this moment is: i grieve. historically, being around him does seem to make time larger, though, if not slower. grieving makes time slower. grieving makes time very slow. i regret his absence for that.

on both counts.

“recall that in a line six inches long there are an infinite number of points, and in a line one inch long there are just as many. well then, how many moments are there in fifteen minutes, or five, or ten, or forty-five? it turns out we have plenty of time, if we are willing to hold any moments at all in awareness." - jon kabat-zinn

maybe the time given to me by the people i feel closest to is bigger because i make it that way, because i have reason to make it bigger. i take every moment to the xerox and enlarge it 100%. 25 or more times. some of these copies are better than others, not because they are more clear or defined - but because, as you can see, the distortion adds a distinct visual interest, a texture that gives the image a certain uncanny depth.

maybe i'm just terribly undisciplined and cling and cling and cling to what i have no business clinging to - exactly like my ex said.

hold on to each moment until it passes, and then let it go. no, don't swim. don't try to swim faster, don't swim at all. time moves through you, becomes part of you, time never touches you at all. it's four thirty now. i've been writing for an hour and a half. a half and an hour for which i've been writing. been houring, for half a write. been writing half for an hour.

wednesday 20 september
1:00AM bedroom

okay! next insight would be: no more bleachy fun in the journal. it was an experiment, and it failed. horribly. i've loved, i've learned, and life goes on.

music and time. music and time. how music affects time. how time is affected by music. music is created from time and artistry merged, and it's existence both keeps time in itself as much as it diminishes it. the headphones went on as soon as i sat down on the bus to make the trip a ritual unto itself. it’s not very punk rock to admit this, but so long as i had a seat to myself and music, i enjoyed taking the bus. i knew the songs and i'd slip into them like a favorite flannel work shirt; though my fond attentiveness, actually stretching the time out by making the vanishing point timeless. once i was in a song, it didn't stop. everything was motionless as it moved. mindfulness. twice i marked a wild brimming euphoria - twice at least, on the bus with the headphones on, the landscape sped to a blur through my window. "head over heels" one time, "sweetness + light" another: i felt like i was lifting out of myself, like i was filling with a million lights. like my breath was my flesh, that's how i felt.

but soon enough, it was over. the songs ended, marking their passage in my deliverance 5 minutes and 19 seconds later in my life. music is constructed of time. music is a glorified clock. you can accurately time yourself with a CD player. mix tapes cut out on you if you don't plan them out. then, i don't. that so many of my mixes end safely before the tape runs out escapes me completely - those that don't miss usually by just a second or two. internal clock, or is it like those odd moments in beading where i need five white beads and draw seven blind - only to find two defective, and wonder - did my fingers know that? is my sense of touch so distinct that the thumb and index would know on their own that a bead is defective and draw the replacement without my even trying to pull exactly five beads? that my ear would know 49 minutes and 30 seconds even after stopping, starting, rewinding and forwarding a hundred times?

when i was young my mix tapes were wild collages of tape-from-tape-from-tape-from-radio, library copies, fragmented radio selections stabbed through with interference, recordings made out the bedroom window. here and there i'd forget what i'd laid out on the tape before, and a dirty cut would reveal the previous layer, only to have it cut away again before it made any sense. tape is not like paint, there is no excavation. no secrets hidden beneath. just old time obliterated by new: thoughts, studio recordings, rain. once it's going, it's gone - only on a rare occasion, combining bad tape with a dirty erase head will the previous experience bleed through the new, consummating time in an unnerving marriage.

10- -2000

i can't presume you'll have nothing to do with me because you don't call. i can't presume anything, because you don't call. the path winds before me, certain of a madness i'm not certain of. the path knows the madness that will come and embraces it. me, i keep telling myself i'm above all of that. i'm not, you know. then, i'm not above much of anything, these days.

[interlude the first: chipmunk/across the path]

i want a physically tangible translation of the twisting dark road i've embarked upon. i want to feel someone next to me, not just sense it. i want to feel i'm on the edge of something impossible, fill my lungs with insane beauty, and plunge into it.

i want to have that plunging option, is all.

autumn is spring this year. what i'm saying: i'm convincing myself it's the start of things, when it's coming to an end.

tonight we breathe for air: our lungs
can't have all of what we want

if i could keep a fragrance like a photograph. exact nuance: if i could have held you once. wind rattles leaves. my lungs can't have all of what they want.

mood: solstice blessings
music: jeff strong - focused attention
selva oscura
19 December 2018 @ 12:06 am
especially after transcribing far more recent paper journals that left me wondering why exactly i feel the need to transcribe all of my paper journals, i was dreading returning to journal 3 somewhat - 2000 to 2002, started a handful of months before i found livejournal and finished a year into my time here. what i'm finding is someone i am proud to witness in this way, which is good, because she could use the witnessing. thought i'd share a few entries from these early pages. more tomorrow, probably. edited somewhat for clarity, names changed for privacy, some content entirely removed.
4 september 2000

violet fretted tonight that she, who has also finished a journal in the last few days, will not have near so intense or important a relationship with the still-wrapped spiral on her nightstand. she knows as i know as do you this will not be the case. we return to you and need you, and that need creates intensity and importance. the rules of that relationship change, with them your format: she wondered about deliberately and dramatically disrupting them and i don’t think i want to push too hard on that. i tried it, it didn't fly. formats evolve enough on their own. unruled pages might be enough of a disruption, for now. there are not days or years but hours between you and your predecessor, a rarity, though not as rare as the fact i wrote your predecessor through. it gives me an authority here - “author” being a large part of that word, more than half! sister, we two are one. your cover stretched over with flesh, as is mine, though in your case this is different as one died for your cover. i write, then, in tribute to the animal that made you: may my words, the words this book gives me a chance to find, be holy, be worthy of that ultimate sacrifice. may that being who crossed over in your creation retrieve words and visions from the other side. lead me to the darkness, lead me through the darkness, bring me to the light.

and judith. as for you:

you will write. you will write here because you need to, even when you do not want to. no matter what waits on the other side of this darkness, a life has been lost for you, and to honor it you must return to the page.

home away from home. you are loved here, and accepted, even if:

        1. you are 25 and have big zits;
        2. you cannot maintain a straight baseline on an unlined page to save your freaking life;
        3. you do not keep a strict vegan diet;
        4. love does not find you easily.

write the letters to yourself if there's no one to write them to you. sympathetic magick, these secret letters may bring others. do not fret, the day is young. our eyes are wild, the day still shrouded by the caul of night. birthing is obvious, conception more subtle. i conceive of you, precious little book. we shall birth each other with time.

wednesday 6 september 2000
6:45PM b. dalton

not so nearly profound or insightful today. kind of feeling like chewed up gum with a hole in my shoe. felicia is getting her dinner, then i am going home to bundle up in an old flannel work shirt, burn some incense, listen to my new sigur ros CD and sleep... or at least this i will attempt to do.


much later/bedroom

so what happened was violet came over and we watched cartoons. followed by gel pens and lite banter. now i am listening to my sigur ros CD and no, no opinions just now, other than a firm pointer in the "not sucking" department.

few stars, cool night. we sat on the swing set steps while violet smoked her cigarette. the trees have offered their earliest hints of changing over: dry year, comes so soon. every now and then, a strange murkiness overtakes my body, some unnamed engagement to mortality, some fearful tumor vision tingles through the deepest part of my breast. it washes away with simple loneliness. 25 is not young anymore. i feel like my life should have begun.

that's not what i mean.

i don't know what i mean. if i could get my thumbs into it i could reshape it, make it something useful.

nothing useful, i suppose, is what i am feeling.

monday 11 september 2000
bedroom 11PM

rain tonight. listening to it deep into the distance. miles in the distance. the sky fills with suicide lights. do i sound blue? maybe i am. blue girl. quick! someone get me the black tape!

note to self:

must get out of this rut. not half a page into this entry and even i'm bored with it: going nowhere, going nowhere. light some candles in the rain, thunder over guitars and pretty vox drowned in reverb. four candles lit and wet hair. swaddled in a blue flannel, i kneel at the head of my futon, bent over the notebook, two o’clock in the morning. the guitars know what they mean.

water is so important, so essential an element. no wonder so much music is about it. colorless. dangerous.

she vanishes on the tide. take me alive.

        wishing to see him,
        to be seen by him--
        if only he
        were the mirror
        i face each morning.
                - izumi shikibu

oceans of uncertainty on a lonely rain drenched night. will dawn come? eventually i'll need real light.

everything clear in a lightning stroke
everything white & frozen

deep in the blackest blue recesses of this sodalite stone the light refracts, splits a million thin lines as if underwater, layering the blue as though in storm heavy clouds. white veins split the blue suddenly, lightning in night skies. so i turn this chip from the storm in thin fingers, again and again in the room's low light. it's raining again, it stops and starts. a hundred years, a hundred years go by, a hundred more and the night slips by faster - soon enough it will be three and i'll remember wanting to go down for tonight at two. there have been no storms this year, and i need storms: disruption, destruction, desecration. thunder to arouse and call to action.

how frustrating is it: to see yourself writing things you don't like and keep writing them?

how frustrating is it, to see yourself living a life you don't love and keep living it?

thunder. arouse. thunder. arouse. thunder. arise. the night splits before us with eyes. the night splits before us. the night splits and a hundred years ago a hundred years from now a hundred years and a thousand strands of pink blue and green satin ribbons in my hair. the rain falls in sheets torn to ribbons. something like that. my hand meanders the page, unclear of itself, my writing short and unevenly spaced. this no line thing? remotely frustrating, okay? not digging it a hundred percent.

rain's stopped, for now...

music: trance to the sun - cauldron street II
selva oscura
09 December 2018 @ 01:16 pm
in an absence of acceptable poetry, we are left
to ourselves and at times with each other: reconsidering
the proportions, the scale in our lives
                                             i could put down cards about it
                                            i could fictionalize and imagine
                                                                   i could just let it be
                                                                                        that's the thing of it
                                                                                                   i could let it be.
                                                                                        it's a strong option
                                                                                        perhaps the best

                                                       but i can't.
                                                                  at least that's what
                                                                  i keep telling myself

so long ago
so very long ago
           i'm not even sure
                      i understand
                      the era's chemical
                      composition                        and yet i return
                                              i always return
                                                        i return and return again
                                                                   i don't know that it's even
                                                                   the idea of it at this point
                                                                              more the shape and texture
                                                                                         the humidity
                                                                                                    the fall of light
                                                                                          it can't be changed
                                                                               and yet.
it's sad and i'm tired of it
it drains me, it leaves me
                      it just
                                 leaves me
                                            like everything from
                                                                  that time
                                                                                        and yet.
           i don't know. i keep
remembering. i don't know
           what i am remembering.
                      just the mechanisms of it.
                                 the emotional movement.
                                            the simple comfort
                                                       of thinking about this
            again           and again and again        again                       again

in an absence of acceptable poetry
           we must become poets ourselves
                                 so let's begin
                                            if you could
                                                       say something to me
                                            if you would
                                                       say anything to me
i wish you could have seen me
in one of those moments
           when i was something to see
                      i wonder what you saw instead
                                 i wonder what you remember

           and how you lingered in my periphery
                      and how you remembered my presence
                                            with your touch
                                                       it would have been something
                                                       to be held by that
                                            to hold it myself
                                                       it would've
                                                                  but it wasn't
                                                       i can't keep thinking like this
                                                                  i won't live out the year
                                 but what else
                                 am i going to do
                                            my daily practice
                                                       what i do to remember myself
                                            how i touch myself into form
                                                       oh if i could i might
                                                       oh if i would i shouldn't
                                                                  who am i even anymore
                                                                  who was i
                                                                             where is this going
                                                       if only i knew
                                                                  what i needed to find out
                                 in an absence of poetry
                                            we cannibalize ourselves
                                                       from our own histories

                                                                             no gain
                                                                             no pain


mood: might want to try turning your device sideways for this one
music: orbiteer - descent
selva oscura
30 November 2018 @ 06:52 pm
so often they come out of nowhere, the things that matter to us or the things that could matter to us. sometimes i think our most inexplicable matters could actually be preparing us for the things we'd not readily see coming under our specific concern, but this is a hypothesis, and one still under evaluation at that.

i am scarred inside and out with the ways i have survived my own affections. oh, god, i think, paging back through old journals. oh, god. love isn't intrinsically tied to suffering, i hear, but they maintain ties.

there are so many things you'll never know about me. i'm saying that as generally as i am specifically. in the specific cases, i suppose some part of me acknowledges that you are choosing for it to be this way and, also, that this should influence my behaviors and feelings related to you in some manner.

but, then, who knows.

you know, it's an echo chamber. you know. you know? i can't even call them conversations with myself any longer. i say something and i listen to it repeat over and over itself until the boundaries come loose and the words twist themselves into their opposite. again, hearing the opposite, i must start again from the beginning of my grieving process. or i'm further along in it than i've ever been before. it's a hard call. maybe both are true, probably they both are. maybe i need to get out more.

and we live with our sadnesses or we live in spite of them or we ignore them completely and keep living regardless. good people suffer. bad people thrive. the people who love you go on with their lives in spite of your mortality. in the end, all the people who've loved you and hated you outside the boundaries of reason are just other processes, ever running toward that last line of code.

always the longing: as tiresome as it is satisfying, as absorbing as it is alienating. in so many ways i am out here alone, further and further from familiar things. there isn't a way back, there isn't even a language to return. echoing old and frail, barely a full word pronounced to ourselves by the end of it.

putting the chaos into the form of a question: what i need to know about this, a sort of distancing from the formless hunger of desire. asking about it is an attempt to contain it. define. learn its rules, its boundaries: make boundaries. perhaps because the notion of a question can only survive with the possibility of an answer, perhaps this is why asking a question is so disquieting. if it is one thing, it cannot be another. not in a binary sense, more a sort of balancing. there are things that it is and things that it isn't. a veritable cityscape carved out against the night sky.

but, then. who knows?

music: elaine radigue - triptypch part 1
selva oscura
27 November 2018 @ 02:21 pm
who is your loudest omission?

is it who you think about most or who you don't let yourself think about at all? is it someone you block or someone you can't reach?

is it you?

"i am my loudest omission."

that seems unlikely. i breathe, after all. i clothe myself and eat. such activities require a certain level of investment. but perhaps in all my effort to take care of the baby (so to speak) i've neglected the greater needs of spirit and mind. i mean, i take care, i nurture. when i do this for another it's so they can thrive, trust the stability of their immediate resources enough to examine and explore what the world means to them, what they are capable of, who they need to be. i do what i do to help them grow. so often, amongst those old enough to handle basic accounting for themselves, what that means is: i let them account for themselves. I do what i can to demonstrate myself as trustworthy and then step aside until i am asked for. how i doing this for myself?

we are all of us composites of everything we've learned and experienced. we are, all of us, shaped by the negative space of that which we have not learned or experienced. the way we love has something to do with how we've been loved. that might not be a clear path in some cases. it might be a rebellion or an unanticipated side effect. it might be that we offer, attempt to offer, try to figure out how to offer that which we always longed for but could not find: or we might, instead, do to others what we fear most.

it might be that suffering is our only opportunity to comprehend and inform the value of compassion. it could be that's a lesson we avoid over and over again: because we think that love is a quantifiable resource, a knowable supply, we want to believe that love always feels like a good and positive thing. we think love is a thing, something that's there or not, something offered out like candies at the halloween bell. really, it's unstable, it's always changing form, matter into liquid into vapor into vapor into

love could just as easily swell forward in a glance from the beloved as it could in a thought, a process, or a situation, surrounding some personal demon you will not abide. love is chaotic. love is terrifying. the grinding abyss. the great destroyer. love dances the universe into form and burns it out again to ash. it's agonizing, but how could we expect anything less? goddess of crossroads. the crossroad itself. which way will you choose?


blonde now. at least at the roots. for a few more days, anyway.
hairdye sure is a lot of freaking work.

music: a produce - land of a thousand trances
selva oscura
22 November 2018 @ 12:55 pm
maureen, what do you think it’s like, being remembered?

miriam, you know what that’s like. you’re continually remembered. it’s an aspect of basic cognitive function, that the people you have contact with remember who you are.

no, i mean — like, for lydia, now. what do you think it’s like after —

don’t be morbid.

not in a morbid way. we have these bodies and brains, you know, these materials partitioning us off from the people who hold us in their hearts. i wonder if it’s — if that’s different, after we die. after we lose those partitions. or even just when we stop being active memories. because we stop being in someone’s life for the rest of their life. when we — i don’t know. what do you think that… feels like?

maybe it’s like stars.


you know, they’re out there. or we believe they are. you can look at them, you can remember their position in the sky. you can navigate your boat by them. but sometimes what you’re looking at? it isn’t even there. it’s just the light of something that disintegrated thousands of years before still moving toward the earth. but most of us can’t know that. most of us will go through out entire lives not knowing if a star is alive or not. unless the light runs out. or you’re an astronomer. probably astronomers know which stars are still there.

does it matter, do you think? if we can still see it, whether it’s actually there or not.

for the star, yeah.

but the star is gone. it — isn’t.

i mean, in one form. but the light keeps going, you know? it eventually passes us by, okay, but that’s just earth. light doesn’t stop just because it passes the earth. it keeps going, right on past us, forever. we just can’t directly experience it, any longer.

but we can remember.

and we can know that in some way, that star is still going on. even if it’s in a way we can no longer understand.


i know your light’s still out there
selva oscura
query: what is the effect on one's mind of constantly walking about amid the utter ruins of lovely or familiar things? - vera brittain, from diary, may 19 1941

so many relationships of which i can basically say: well, we survived it. for the most part.

but then again.

i want to write about sex but i do not want to sexualize myself in so doing. i cannot stand the thought of becoming an instrument of my own objectification, yet another instrument of my objectification: and yet, what do i do? that's just what i do. i objectify myself. i sell myself out. i do it for cheap, in certain scenarios. i could probably hold out for a bit more. at least enough to be comfortable, right?


music: aphex twin - mould