Tell Me Where Did You Sleep Last Night

The Wolf

I first saw him when I painted the library black. Space Black” from Sherwinn Williams. Black lamps, black shades, black shelves, black desk and chair, black frames, black pictures. Radiohead’s A Wolf at Your Door” was playing. The only song I couldn’t stop playing. I was manic, keeping myself awake with speed and caffeine because when I shut my eyes the voices came. And when I shut my eyes during the day there was the black creature with a red eye behind my dead grandmother’s armchair long ago given away, house sold. But it was there, on that brown carpet behind the green back, watching near the outlet in the wall. Just a flash. But a flash is enough when it comes to that shit. He was hungry in my paint brush. He was angry. He was at the apex of his prowl.

Or maybe it was before that. Yes. On the rooftop in a bigger city, high on Ecstasy.
Alisha spinning around me in her magenta-red hair and Dropkick Murphy’s t-shirt, singing her love for me. The stars had heartbeats. She kissed my lips. I giggled to hide my terror of the existential leap I was imagining myself taking to the sidewalk. Still wet with cum from the guitar player, rocking on the rough shingles of the roof. This was my third trip and this time my chest was beating wild, my body electric, hers far away and too fucked up to save me.
Then after the painting extravaganza, years after the nights in the mental ward squeezing my sweaty sheets in my fists and praying the Hail Mary” over and over as fast as I could, in case that might work. In case that might save me.
And for years the beast slept. He hibernated as I read my way through brain disorders and chemistry, how-to books and my own pen scratching out my secrets on napkins and notebooks. I had all this energy building, and it came in the ink, it came in the walks I forced myself to take, the dreams I forced myself to forget, the memories I forces myself to accept.
He stirred.

I stirred.

As I started touching the world again with new fingers, something fierce swelled in my chest like a tight balloon. I adjusted and I made more space for it, and it filled my body. I saw the eyes in the mirror–mine–but his.

I met him in the form of a man constructed of straight lines, code, discipline, and the beauty of geometric figures. Cold. Ruthless. Aggressive. Wild. I saw my nature in his words. Just words but all these eloquent words, I gained my nerve, my own sharpness came into focus, my body singing alive, my brain all electric. He had become my 8-Ball. I stretched him across my chest and let myself come through it. And there I was. A woman. He had to go then. I had what I needed–validation that I was of substance.

The wolf follows my heart. My fucked up, dirty, clean, curious, submissive, dominant, angry, wild heart. I thought those things were nouns and I had to live them. I thought I was the stained bed sheets. I thought I was only the experience of leaping off the levee into the waters. I thought I was a creature giving my vulnerability in exchange for release and power. I thought I was the pills I swallowed. I thought I was the diagnosis in the bin. I thought I was an anger. I thought I was the rain that fell on my chucks when I searched for peace in the woods. I thought I was the den to the very wolf I was.
We are creatures–our geometry bottled and shaken. I am a mess. I am in love with the world in my teeth. I will keep my fangs and my instincts about me.

“My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night. In the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shine, I will shiver the whole night through…”


Books Early 2017

…to read about these epic finds go here to Ampersand Books and LitHub Bookmarks

Here are the links to some reviews of the ones I’m really excited about reading:

  • Future Sex (essays): Emily Witt on Love and Sex and Orgasmic Meditationzxxxssssssssslithub review:  “…Does the title of Emily Witt’s new book Future Sex refer to her own, or everybody’s? The answer is wonderfully complicated. Despite the intriguing sex-toy-centric cover art, Future Sex is less an exploration of technology and futuristic pleasure toys than it is a fierce and fearless foray into how our culture’s views about connection and intimacy are changing—and whether or not Witt herself is getting any in this brave new world that has such orgasms in it.However, Witt doesn’t ignore tech in her essays, which include one about that greatest of digital commodities, porn, and how social media shapes what we see as erotic. So it’s fitting that we managed to connect via smartphone through the ether while she was in Brooklyn and I was in France….
  • A book of essays exploring modern sexuality focusing on Internet dating, Internet pornography, polyamory, and avant-garde sexual subcultures as sites of possibility for the author.”–lithub

 

  • For the Woman Alone by Ashley Inguanta —ampersand books
  • (my personal favorite): Enigma Variations by zxxxxxxxxxddddAndre Aciman link here

  • “A novel divided into five novella-length sections, each focused on a different erotic obsession and possibility….”
  • and
  • The project is one of recognition and revelation within the reader: the book wants nothing less than the dissolution of your consciousness into its pixellated moments of psychological precision … the third section, ‘Manfred,’ grows a little tedious. Unlike Aciman’s steamy first novel Call Me by Your Name, most of the skin-to-skin contact in Enigma Variations occurs in the narrator’s head, and in ‘Manfred,’ Paul wallows longwindedly in the agony of delayed avowal … Intriguingly, as we witness Paul repeatedly rearrange his life around a new magnetic north, it becomes clear that his bisexuality abets his serial monogamy … Aciman has captured Paul’s bridge life delightfully well.
  • A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women  –Siri Hustvedt

    Siri Hustvedt’s essay collection–A collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy from prize-winning novelist Siri Hustvedt.a-woman-looking-at-men-looking-at-women_siri-hustvedt_cover

“Siri Hustvedt, an authoritative and independent-minded writer on the arts and sciences, brings the felt experience into her smart, stimulating and hefty new collection of essays … What’s exciting about Hustvedt’s work is her desire for us to see the world anew … Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt … the strength and lucidity of Hustvedt’s good thinking calls us to have confidence in our own instincts, to be alert to delusions and inherited traditions, and to realize that many truths are fiction, and only exist to the extent that we believe them.”–lithub review

  • The Refugees by VIET THANH NGUYEN:

    The Refugees, is as impeccably written as it is timed … This is an important and incisive book written by a major writer with firsthand knowledge of the human rights drama exploding on the international stage — and the talent to give us zxxxxxcinroads toward understanding it … There is no effort to avoid the identity of ‘refugee’ — this book interrogates the term on political and spiritual levels, and the results are saturated with pain, memory and beauty … In this collection, towns are altered by war, relatives by time. In some stories, decades pass between letters home to Vietnam, as in ‘Fatherland.’ There is a thorny dissonance between past and present. The living protagonists are often forced to carry traumatic visions with them as they try to make their way in a new country … Nguyen is skilled at making us feel the disorientation and alienation of these characters navigating displacement … The Refugees is a surprisingly sensual book, despite operating in difficult political and emotional terrain. Nguyen crafts sentences with an eye toward physicality and a keen awareness of bodies and their urges … In an era where writers and readers debate who gets to write what, it is refreshing and essential to have this work from a writer who knows and feels the terrain on an intellectual, emotional and cellular level — it shows. Nguyen offers stories of aftermath, but also of complexity. He gives us human beings weary of pity and tired of sharing rehearsed stories that make them seem like ‘one more anonymous young refugee.’ In topic and in execution, The Refugees is an exquisite book.

(featured image http://sissyjupe.blogspot.com )

Water of Memory

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 Lidia Yuknavitch has written a memoir (also the author of The Small Backs of Children–here’s a link from the review by Electric Literature-“Novel As Self…”) that has struck so many nerves in me I couldn’t write for a week. Absorbing. Shocked. Mystified. Ever read a writer like that? It’s called The Chronology of Water  (that will link you to Huffington Post’s review and how this memoir is going “viral”) and I’m going to share a couple of lines from the book, a link to my essay reacting to it, a video from Lidia speaking on TED, and other random thoughts.Go look around and read the reviews, she has made ART of madness, sexuality, abuse, war.

Her voice in Chronology. You will never forget, maybe I’m so overwhelmed because it feels like I have, my entire life, been on the verge but not ready to write something so close as to how I feel. Here’s a video from TED Talks “The Beauty of Being a Misfit.” I dare say, this woman has inspired and changed my writing. This should be my damn home page.

Lovely Lines–because what she’s saying is stronger than words can even hold:

Lines/Quotes from Early in:
Under “Metaphor”:
Have endless patterns and repetitions accompanying your thoughtlessness, as if to say let go of that other more linear story, with its beginning, middle and end, with its transcendent end, let go, we are the POEM, WE HAVE COME MILES OF LIFE, WE HAVE SURVIVED THIS FAR TO TELL YOU, GO ON, GO ON.
You will see you have an underlying tone and plot to your life underneath the one you’ve been told. Circular and image bound.
Something near tragic, near unbearable, but contained by your irreducible imagination–who would have thought of it but you–your ability to metamorphose like organic material in contact with changing elements. The rocks. They carry the chronology of water. All things simultaneously living and dead in your hands.
From “on sound and speech”:
It was my voice that left. In my house
The sound of leather on the skin of my
Sister’s bare bottom stole my very voice
Out of my throat for years. ..Alone in my room, I drew on the walls knowing the
Punishment–pushing the waxen color as hard
As I could against the wall, until it broke…
 MY VOICE WAS COMING. SOMETHING ABOUT MY FATHER’S HOUSE.
SOMETHING ABOUT ALONE
It was my voice that left. In my house
The sound of leather on the skin of my
Sister’s bare bottom stole my very voice
Out of my throat for years. ..Alone in my room, I drew on the walls knowing the
Punishment–pushing the waxen color as hard
As I could against the wall, until it broke…
MY VOICE WAS COMING. SOMETHING ABOUT MY FATHER’S HOUSE. SOMETHING ABOUT ALONE AND WATER.  –Lidia
*reminds me of end of my poem “Reflections” –the doll/father/self/blood and “she’s beautiful….” losing voice/beauty to my power and destruction=self-destruction, perverse and all turned inward –amy
~my essay (first draft) is here, called “Reinvent Yourself Endlessly”, which you will hear in the TED talk:

REINVENT YOURSELF ENDLESSLY:

Every time a professor asked me or my peers what my poems meant–I never quite knew how to answer. They’re comments led me around and around the center of how I always felt about it but couldn’t word,  I just acted like I already knew. That’s why it was written–those were the words to what it was, what the truth to me was. It’s not that I didn’t know but that my body or mind seems to piece things together with words and images before I can catch up. My first poem I ever wrote was Vapor in 2005. And I’ve held onto it. It’s even been published. That poem still holds true–it’s some kind of core belief I have but I didn’t have a rope down into that well to truly grasp it. I am writing to you guys tonight because this is happening again in a way–I don’t know what I am thinking until I write it down; I have to write to a someone, and I hold you guys with affection, because I am not willing to write to just myself. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my honest attempt to stop escaping myself. Because I try to be as honest as I can on nights like these. I’m so tired, but I can’t stop feeling words that are coming that I am trying to prepare for. I’m not eating, I’m not sleeping. This is what happens every time before something real is written, and I don’t know what it is but I know my fingers will type it out for me.

Everything I have written so far–planning my grand, tragic memoir–is/was really, I am realizing, a desperately structured narrative so I could validate it the events, find order in the chaos, and so I could actually feel for the girl in the story because I have a hard time doing that for myself. Or I did. That’s changing. I am changing, and everything I’ve written–none of it is going into whatever it is that I am compelled and pulled to write. What pulls at me has been pulling for almost a decade, but it’s even stronger now, the words waiting, because I have been watching it unfold and the words only gradually come.  Call those vignettes, that attempted narrative structure, a healing process, call it a coping mechanism, call it a perceived truth (as all truths seem to really be), it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because how I write it and how I remember it has been two different worlds. The memories and images, feelings (mostly physical, body feelings, frozen emotional states of the past, etc.) and events of course are as true to myself as I can be. But my life is not a linear, chronological tale-it is a history of flashes out of order. And the flashes are what I look to when I write, involving my one fail-safe–my senses and body memories. I’m more tied to the smell of lilacs, tractor oil, Old Spice, the weeds along the path to the baseball games I went to all summer when I was a girl, the milkweed, trains, the iron ore at the dock, old books, the perfume I wore when I was being abused, the feel of water and wet skin on me, physical alarms and instinct, than I am tied to actual happenings or events. And that is a blunt truth: dissociating your whole life–you live in fragments, just like how I remember it. And I have changed and do so constantly into something that makes me feel alive–and I never really felt alive before, not for this long of a period. I am in love with the simplest things like blue, deaf mornings in the winter, the way the telephone wires reflect in puddles, the smell of a storm coming, white seagulls on dark clouds–I actually stopped my bike on my way down to the shore to watch them-and all of these are very simple and right in front of me. The colors and sounds and smells and sights don’t have intentions. They just are. And I can relax my mind around things like that; nature is like a fact, an unwordable cause and effect that has rhythm even in its own chaotic events-it’s all one thing sliding into and around the other. Motion. Repetition. Change.  Recycle. Like music.

As humans we try to master outcome. We try to master choice and effort and even failure to make sense of the things we cannot hold, of the things that happen to us.  “Events don’t have cause and effect relationships the way you wish they did,” Lidia Yuknavitch writes. And that’s true right through my gut–life is fragments and patterns and repetitions that do not hold true to the words we use, to the scenarios we build, words are just metaphor; we are of an imperfect nature-we don’t have natural disasters, we have trauma and loss and all those kinds of events at random, no one is picked out and chosen, and we’ve spent millennia trying to prepare our reactions and behaviors for these things. And it isn’t possible. What is inevitable though is that we will come out of it changed–“to something new, something strange,” (Longfellow? Not sure). But before we understand and are aware of that change though, somehow our natural systems undergo a small microscopic atomic evolution–or what I think of as the nightmares during the sleep of adaptation. Also called, in a flimsy, whimsical word, “healing.” And that is the perfect part of our ourselves–we’re part adaptation and evolution, but the rest is a blank slate.

I believe I am becoming who I am because I scribbled on a blank page my words and crossing-outs of what others had scripted on that slate-who I used to be, and becoming anything but her, for me, is a gigantic relief and forward motion–not towards anything, there is no goal, but into something I can’t describe yet. Into what–myself? Is it predestined that I would find this? Is this who I was before I hid away in my mind as a girl? Or did she all together vanish, and that’s why I had the breakdown and it took seven years to repair–because as an entirely naked being I had to start over? I don’t believe in destiny. I used to with a sort of romantic twist on it. I believe I am almost atheist in my perceptions. Or views. Or…something.  Scientific facts, math, denominators, constellations, physics–these are things with solidity. They cannot be moved. And maybe people are afraid to be moved; people are afraid that what they base themselves on in the private parts of their minds is illusion, and it can be terrifying-even if you are  used to a lot of change inside. We find religion. We find atheism. We find addiction. We find facts. We find knowledge. We are constantly looking. We seek other people, looking for strands of ourselves to keep aligned inside–a shared bit of the stars we come from–so as not to feel alone. Connection. Gravity. We think we need it. That it is necessity. Maybe it is, but going without it opens up a world’s worth of information. Gravity, connection–losing that is to study yourself as a microbe. When all connection is cut, when you lose your belief system so ingrained in you, when you find yourself no longer cursing a god for damning you but beholding something much scarier-that seemingly factual, unmoving reflection in the mirror of you dead inside–these are the facts, these are the equivocations of what you’ve totaled into, of who damaged you–all you felt, all you did, all you endured and you just weren’t able or built to survive that way at that age. You see yourself as just another product of a common tragedy all over the world–and it is not a pretty thing to see.  Being out there, weightless in space and only time will help you get used to, it’s fucking terrifying, losing that person. That illusion. It’s Theodore Roethke’s “In a Dark Time” —…pinned against the sweating wall/a man goes far to find out what he is/Death of the self in the tearless night/Dark, dark my light …It is, as he says, a death of the self. I never forgot that poem. But after the terror, after time-the only thing that keeps you-you gain so much more.

Maybe I poetisized the stars all along, because I no longer believe things happen for a reason.  I was not destined for this, I was not, as so many people say “becoming the person I was meant to be.”  I no longer believe that my dead father is the middle star in Orion’s Belt. He is gone. His body is part of the elements now, back to where it came from-into the patterns and rhythm of nature. But his essence is inside me, I have, from him, his voice telling me I’ll be okay. I remember many times looking up into the night and trying to rationalize with my brain what Catholic school had been teaching me, but at that age all I got out of it was an old man up there watching me to make sure I didn’t fuck up, and to make sure I loved. The contradiction was as easy to believe as it was believing all the other contradictions that were around me. What isn’t contradictory to me is that death, be it of the self or of the body, does what nature tends to do–breaks down the matter, recycling parts and pieces into different directions, different things, new things, and each finding a way.

I was afraid of suicide-of the actual act itself. I believed with all I had that my body would commit the crime against me.  So they tranquilized me on Seroquel for a year and a half so my body wouldn’t die. But it’s not how it sounds. A sort of mental or more-so a spiritual death is not specific, it’s not a quarantined moment. It’s sort of like the way dammed water floods. That time is a fragment to me now, but it’s quite concrete compared to other memories but it only has a linear order for a brief period of time. So. It is, after the frightening adventure of losing everything, including faith in religion, it’s an awakening. It’s a cold, cruel way to get to it, but it is an awakening.

I am not going to force my words into a frame anymore. My mind certainly doesn’t work that way.

I’ve known that Roethke poem almost by heart for years. Once you experience it, it is only understood by others that have. And their are easier ways I’m sure. But I’m going to add that poem, so that you can see. He describes it better than I can.


Theodore Roethke: IN A DARK TIME

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;   
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!   
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.   
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,   
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,   
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.   
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,   
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.   
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,   
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

and here is my poem, VAPOR:

This body’s breath
caught sharp and held
I hold it and like water
it escapes my fingers and spills
over my toes
when I am thirsty
asking too much from my body
when I am not enough
I give it tea and fruit and poisons
I exhale the fumes of the vices
herbal or smoky and fine
licking at these wet fingers
that let a pen scratch
let a word be plucked
from a curl of steam
this body’s breath
will learn it can’t hold what is borrowed
and maybe then stop
cupping and drinking
hold and take nothing
it’s enough just to breathe

let the vices unthread from the seams
of the spine into origami wings
taking flight in paper vees
and leave me in the water
enough

The Gray Areas

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My post after considering “Kerry’s Word Family Post” at Real Toads.

I am going to run with this idea because there are two things I want to write about (and each one is a prompt from someone or someplace else).  I am going with an ambiguous scene between two potential lovers, also using the word family of “Ambiguous.”

here goes, not sure what I’m going to do ….first draft :

We are in that grey area aren’t we, I am asking. In the beginning it was easy-applying the hard fact of you to a tender space in my toughened gut, not as a salve, but as if it had belonged, all along. And I question now if what had belonged all along is really only the part of me you brought out, and I hadn’t seen it. And to resemble what is in your eyes–that is something.

Calculated and cool, punctual and all equations, coming through the theater doors up the aisle from me, I see your dark silhouette from this empty stage with the curtains left open for you  –the dancer sitting at the lip of the stage, shoes off, hair undone, audience dispersed, incandescent lighting turned to the stark overheads that show every blemish, every wrinkle. You see me this way and I hold my breath, the ever-present fear a lover will see nothing and you have made up an illusion, a self-evident pill you must swallow that you may have stopped being honest with yourself. It happens, when you depend on someone to charm you–as you age the real charm is the ambiguity and complexity of being an honest, real, flawed, disordered, loud, quiet self.

I see myself clearly through your eyes, and as I am only learning to love and appreciate what I have become by my hand’s design, you, though have I never admitted, have rendered me speechless and swelling when
you value my worth in comments you do not realize you are making–as if you know deeply that I already know these things–that I am smart, that I understand, that I …am maybe beautiful. We do not question each other, but challenge only ourselves. To be better.

You move toward the stage and then it is not a stage but we are on a steady plane and no one else is there, dropping my notions of romance and love long ago, I merely want to be seen as an equal, exposing every scar, every embarrassment, every vulnerability, every secret of a strength to you. Not for you. To you. And that is the difference–your reactions are yours and I am not to be measured by them. I am not asking you to accept me, I am saying this is me, these are the facts, these are the equivocations of all I’ve been through, all I’ve felt, and beneath those there is much more, as the evidence cannot lie, and maybe

maybe,

maybe you’d like to see what happens within a mind and body when it decides what to do with all these fragments and parts that make up my mind and heart. Maybe you are curious how I love. You missed the recital. But maybe.

I’ve watched you watch me for a while now. And we still circle the arena, perhaps both a little too cautious for something that feels far too good.  And this distance, and stance, I find I am not pulling myself together because myself is this solid thing now, sutured together at the many people I thought I was. And you’re the first person that sees me. You see me. And it’s enough to catch my breath, knowing I am not invisible. That I am somebody.

And the dance of words begins, every secret we tell is behind the letters–hidden in word placement in the sentence, in the alliteration and roots, in the tone of voice, in the cadence, in the best words not chosen so as not to reveal too much.

I cannot tell where these conversations stop and I start; I cannot tell if you worded my mind into collective adjectives or if I want to kiss you.

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Paramour, My Lover

A poem written for and inspired by Real Toad’s “Sunday Mini-Challenge: Paramour“, the amazing challenge written and designed by Brendan over at Oran’s Well.

(photos of eduardoizq)

 

It is like shedding light, and looking into the mirror

Naked and burning and unashamed in fever

Drop the platitudes you hide in like you

Dropped your panties onto the tiles.

Drop the cage you have lived in like you

Dropped your bustier.

Touch your curves not shyly but curiously

Looking at your body like he does. Look at it

The way you always should have, through your nature—

That wild forgotten forest.

 

The ever present burn he has shot you with-

an injection of a fine heroin

Heady and lost, but found in some

Kind of ache

An ache you’ve always had but silenced

And his mouth has opened yours

And his words that fall read like a promise

You are about to lose a virginity

You didn’t know you had.

 

“I own you.”

 

Hands, his hands everywhere, in your hair,

On your throat.

 

“Your heart and body belong to me tonight.”

 

Submit yourself like a fallen bird to something

So hungry—someone as alone and ravenous as

You are—both of you ripped open to your

Secret desires.

 

He assaults your limitations and spreads you like night,

Jabbing his arrow into your center

And giving you peace in annihilation.

 

Look into the mirror, your eyes two black

Solitaire spheres, lost in the pool of lust,

Lost in thinking how your minds unravel each other’s,

How his certainty and control only gives you

Permission to let go and be taken

Entirely, trusting the hands of your captor.

Lost in how you are driving him into

What he needs—no control, no limits, only nature.

Lost in how he is driving you into

Your needs—relief, a breaking, a release

–release from all the mirrors you’ve held

Up to yourself, back when you didn’t

Even know you were suffocating in

everything you have judged

Yourself on, everything law you

Have been governed by.

 

“You. Are. Mine. And I am going to break you.”

 

And then his sweet murmurs, whispers that

Remind you of how he read you poetry, the

Two of you naked in his white sheets.

 

And hunger grows like wildfire, you cannot get enough

Of this intoxicating strangeness, drunk on this existential

Affair, this music.

Hunger must be fed, wildfire spreads in that forest

He made you remember, forced you to look at.

 

Force yourself to keep looking into the mirror,

Imagine those dark eyes are his, imagine looking

Into him,

And it is you.

Madden Me Back

I have lost the need to be someone.
It’s strange that when
You have one piece left of so many selves
And it breaks, shattering your familiar
reflection, You–annihilated in the howling–
and a certain amount of time
will stop mattering as it goes on, and
You pool into something–a fine new liquid–
black beneath the swollen moon,
and then, a tender solid thing.
An awakened body and mind
Cast about in the water’s mad rush,
not afraid of its depth anymore.
A woman now. And a fire stirs–a heat
I’ve never heard of.
No one ever told me I would rise to
occasions On my own accord.
No one ever told me the soul
Is a hungry, insatiable thing
That pulses so right Once
the wounds and lesions Turn to scars.
I am thirsty. I am watching. I am waiting
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You a City

I’m standing on the roof of a four-story building downtown in a city.  I’ve just taken Ecstasy.  I don’t feel ecstasy.  I feel what I learned later to be verging on psychotic, panic.  I’m going to jump off if someone doesn’t stop me, if someone doesn’t touch me.  These arms aren’t mine. The sky is clear.  Alisha spins and spins, her arms out “Amy, oh Amy I love you,” her red hair flashing.  I feel like the roof is going to tilt and my body will let itself slide to its death.   I’m too embarrassed to speak, the stars pulsating in time with the veins in my temples.

It intensifies.  I feel the depth pressure when I look over the edge and then run back to the center and fold, wrapping my arms tight around my legs.  Alisha is sliding all over in smooth colors.  She’s scaring me.  I am a bottomless void.  Nothing can fill me.  I take and take and take until I reach near death, until my body cripples under the pressure, and once that passes, I take again.  I’m a train.  I need the ultimate climax in everything I do until I’m repelled by fear.  And it’s hard to scare me.  Alisha takes my hand and pulls me through the thick air and into the stairwell and kisses my cheek “Let’s go,” and I hold her hand and crash into another night.

I find myself rocking in the dark wet grass behind my apartment.  I don’t know how much time has passed since the rooftop.

…this is too much, this is too much

The night is warm but the grass cool beneath me.  I comb my fingers through it like hair and it waves and gleams.  I had demanded that “Jason” come outside with me because I was freaking out.  Again I’m a train rushing toward a peak I’m too weak for.  “Jason, Jason, Jason,” I can’t speak lovely enough in that beautiful fucked-up way back then.  “Jason, I need you to take me inside I need you to touch me hurryupJasonI’mnotgoingtomakeitJasonIcan’tfeelwhenpeopletouchme-did-you-know? I-want-you-to-help me talkmethroughitJasonmake lovetome.”  He takes me to my room and plays Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” and spends the next four hours talking me into a peak neither of us had ever known.  My body a city beneath his, an empty city with all the lights on.   And I find myself lost in the tone of his voice, “now I’m going to…” I’m a train again, finally hushed on a long, lonely track beneath the cold stars.