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.

wrecking all things virtuous and true

“I have stopped paying a whole lot of attention to what is being said verbally at the federal level right now.”

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady to Washington Post reporters Isaac Stanley-Becker and Lena H. Sun

but my friend who had a brain tumor was vaccinated yesterday and my friend who works at an ALF has an appointment to be vaccinated this week: so at least there's that.
don't tell me i laced up

i need help reacting to something

i didn't know the my pillow guy was an elected government official.

or a formally appointed government official.

or an informally appointed government official.

or a shiftily appointed government official.

i did not know that the my pillow guy had anything to do with the federal government at all.

i thought he made pillows that he sold through creepy commercials for pillows.

holy shit what does this even look like in a history book if there are even going to be history books after all of this
when you reach for me and i'm not there

getting no higher from the ground

“My view is what the President should do is finish the last ten days of his Presidency. The President touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) CBS, "Face the Nation," Sunday, January 10 2021


"I believe that the president has learned from this case. The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson."

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell, Tuesday, February 4 2020


the most horrific aspect of both these comments is how recklessly they minimize the crimes to which they refer; how they make 45 sound like a naughty little school boy instead of a corrupting influence destroying millions of lives in the course of getting whatever it is that he thinks he wants, which is as much everything as it is absolutely nothing.

nothing will satisfy 45.

listen to me: nothing will ever satisfy 45.

part and parcel to that, 45 did not "touch the stove."

45 wasn't even in the same building as the fucking stove.

45 incited hundreds of thousands of devoted followers to throw themselves on the stove on his behalf.

now, many of their lives will go down in flames because of it. they will lose friends, family, community, jobs, livelihoods, health, freedom, trust, relevance, and maybe even their lives for 45. it was, of course, not anywhere near enough for this hungry abuser.

nothing ever is.