and my worst old times look fine from here

seven objects portrait, no. 7, 4:04:2021
my beloved collection of date stampers along with that butterfly notebook i'm going to stop being so intimidated to write in.... any day now. portrait composed early this month, on easter. easter has always been butterfly soup day, for me.

i got that marble in a little general store in south pass city, MT during our 2002 trip to yellowstone.
don't tell me i laced up

where the dogs of society howl

seven objects portrait, no. 6, 3:30:2021
i'm not sure which special interest came first, dreams or snoopy. here they are together.

in one of the first dreams i remember, my aunt took me to an amusement park. when we got back to the car, i found snoopy's ear torn off. i woke myself up crying, something i found irresistibly mysterious: the dream wasn't real, but my reaction to it was. what's more, it helped me begin to process something fairly sophisticated about the cost of emotional investment: grief. because i love snoopy, the idea of his loss means something to me.

snoopy was alright, though. first thing i did was make sure of that and i followed up several times throughout the following day.

i already had a dream documentation practice by the time it occurred to me to keep a dedicated notebook. wish i'd thought of it sooner. i was fairly sporadic about it until midlife stuff really started kicking in, now i probably average at least one dream a week. i started notebook 5 four days before maryland went into lockdown and finished it yesterday. 6 has only been labeled, so far her pages are blank.
[rs] hug

unobstructed and indeterminate

the convention center field hospital apparently had an overage of the vaccine. yesterday, they very briefly opened up appointments to any baltimore city resident willing and able to deal with the phone system. so not me, but ben.

it took him twenty-two calls.

we'll get our first dose next week.


i hurt my right hand a week or so back, and now i keep making it worse because i can't seem to consistently adjust my behavior to compensate for the injury. the thumb stabilizer is almost as much about reminding me there is an issue before i aggravate it again, but in some moments even that doesn't help.

i keep discovering new ways i rely on my non-dominant hand.
darkest leaf

hoping that you were the healing inside of me

seven objects portrait, no. 5, 2:26:2021


i'm deeply appreciative of the magic here, fed by my devotional practice to one of the most famously unseen icons in greek mythology: eurydice, that thrice displaced dryad fatally ripped from the places she belonged to meet the call of her beloved. since this self-portrait is about my relationship with eurydice, it is also very much about bodily agency, longing, waiting, grieving, and home.

i bought the singing bowl more than half my lifetime ago, my first day alone in iowa city, also my 21st birthday. i played it for my spanish class, wrote about it in letters, use it to cast circle, to cleanse space.

eurydice, cradled in sacred song.

the wood is sliced from one of the apple trees in the backyard of the house i grew up in. both of the trees are now deceased. my father took the second one down this fall and reserved several slices of wood for me. i can feel them waiting for me as i wait for them; my connection to those trees was strong. i believe the second tree to die was the one i was frightened i'd killed several years ago.

acorn friends have come to me over the last few years. top right thunked down right at my feet while we were talking to friends from across 10 feet in our colorful homemade face masks late last year.

that incense cauldron? man, i pined after it for more than a decade, but it was always just outside my reach. the period in which i acquired it was it's own kind of underworld.


light escapes me

the howling of the stray souls of heaven

i dreamed i was playing with one of the feral rescue cats friends of mine in iowa have been caring for since the derecho. we were in blair house, guest quarters for the white house, where in waking life the vice president and second gentleman are living while repairs are being made to their official quarters.

i've only ever seen a handful of pictures from the inside of blair, and anyway, dream, so my mind filled in blanks with my memories of the mansion on o street, here are two links, and know THOSE DO NOT REMOTELY do justice to the weirdness of there. the only place that's infiltrated my dreams deeper is wisconsin's house on the rock, and that has the heft of childhood behind it.

we were right outside one of the hidden entryways in o. there was a cabal of 10 gop legislators having an extremely disagreeable anti-accountability ritual behind the sliding panels. i could hear them chanting. i think the cat heard them too, because she kept turning away from our game to hiss and snarl in that direction.

i knew the cat had a residual pulmonary disorder from COVID-19 and anxiety spikes could be extremely dangerous for her, so i tried to keep her happy and engaged with the flat braided cord i use as an anti-anxiety fidget. it sort of worked, but i eventually decided it would be better for both of us if we went to another part of the building. i coaxed her onto my lap so i could cradle and comfort her as we walked away. "i'm sorry, sweetheart," i told her. "we deserve better. it's who they're choosing to be. it's not our fault and we can't fix it.* now let's leave those awful men to worship the devil."

i snapped awake at that line and stared at the ceiling, thinking about it.

postscript: our current apartment is in the attic and the ceilings are slopped at sharp angles. earlier this week it snowed, then sleeted, then snowed again. as the accumulation of skystuff reaches critical mass it slides down the roof with an utterly CATASTROPHIC CACOPHONY. every time my partner or i hear it, all we can do is laugh, it's so bad. an auditory horror flick. so that happened, right then, as the words "worship the devil" still rang in my head.

i haven't laughed that hard at something my brain did for weeks.

i don't even know how to fit this on one of the 2x1" slips for my gratitude jar, so i'm posting it here.

*i have a long history of taking emotional responsibility for abusers. maybe it's a sunk cost thing, the result of repeatedly violated boundaries i never learned how to establish in the first place, unclaimed agency, i dunno it's a major issue that repeatedly comes up in therapy and there's always another fucking level. a few years back, in crisis, one of my guides broke in on a shutdown episode and gave me this affirmation: "it's not your fault and you can't fix it." i've been working with it since.
then again maybe i won't

inside me there's a separate girl

seven objects portrait, no. 4, 1:30:2021

the candle was documentation of my 2001 new year's ritual, tentative movement toward recovery from what had been my hardest year to date.

the "21" was the house number on the cabin we stayed at in the badlands on our trip in 2000.

all the rest were me goofing off with a polaroid izone over the summer in 2001 in the hopes of making a picture cute enough to capture the imagination of one of the relentlessly beautiful folk i'd fallen in love with on the internet.

two "short" years later, mission accomplished.
buddha nature

if it's not one thing

so the "maybe shingles?!" thing, still going on. probably not shingles, then. probably. shingles can be, like, super weird.

other theories: dry skin, scoliosis reboot, gallbladder....nodules, did we maybe both have asymptomatic covid really early on?!, strain, hernia, cancer.

doesn't hurt except in rare electric prickles, no visible rash, no fever, no gi symptoms, no weight loss, not really progressing, not going away (except when it's barely noticeable or gone). sometimes i feel like i notice it more after i eat certain things, but not consistently enough for me to discern a pattern. can't find anomalies in the region with my fingers (but my palpation skillset is limited.) sometimes it definitely feels like a neurological thing, other times it's gotta be skeletal, then i'm convinced it's a mass, still other times i wonder if it's just friction from my bra. liked shingles cos shingles can manifest in weird ways/it's along a band on one side of my body like that/also shingles is not cancer.

i do not like it.

i do not like it, but i have no idea what my level of concern should be. ben had basically all these same symptoms in september. he saw the doctor, got a sonogram, everything seemed okay and it went away after five weeks. i've been dealing with this to some degree since right before the election. sometimes i think it might be concerning, sometimes i think it's just a thing.

don't know when or how to talk to a doctor about this, don't really have anything to talk about except sometimes there are unfamiliar sensations in this part of my body but other times there are not and the location of the sensations are only broadly consistent and i don't have any other symptoms except when i might promise me it's not cancer?

because yeah. based on my year of undiagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning, when i at least had describable, consistent, progressing symptoms going for me and there were not super contagious variants of the surging deadly pandemic for which i will probably not be vaccinated until at least the summer i hope i hope i hope by then inhibiting my already handicapped capacity/desire to see extremely dubious specialists who increasingly told me it was either "anxiety" or "my imagination," that'll go SUPER WELL.

medical trauma is no fucking joke, folks.