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…”


Human Cylinders in parts, Mina Loy

Human Cylinders

(my favorite parts of the mysterious poem anyway)

by Mina Loy

The human cylinders

Although born in England, Mina Loy worked as a poet and visual artist in Paris, Florence, and New York City, where her beauty and outlandish behavior shone at the center of several avant-garde circles. The eccentric vocabulary and syntax of Loy’s free-verse poems and their sardonic treatment of love can puzzle and offend, but no reader can question the work’s originality nor the poet’s fierce intelligence.
1882-1966–The Poetry Foundation

Revolving in the enervating dusk

That wraps each closer in the mystery
Of singularity
Among the litter of a sunless afternoon
Having eaten without tasting
Talked without communion
And at least two of us
Loved a very little
Without seeking
To know if our two miseries
In the lucid rush-together of automatons
Could form one opulent wellbeing ….
Simplifications of men
In the enervating dusk
Your indistinctness
Serves me the core of the kernel of you
When in the frenzied reaching out of intellect to intellect
Leaning brow to brow       communicative
Over the abyss of the potential
Concordance of respiration
Shames
Absence of corresponding between the verbal sensory
And reciprocity
Of conception
And expression
Where each extrudes beyond the tangible
One thin pale trail of speculation
From among us we have sent out
Into the enervating dusk ……
….The impartiality of the absolute
Routs      the polemic
Or which of us
Would not
Receiving the holy-ghost
Catch it      and caging
Lose it
Or in the problematic
Destroy the Universe
With a solution…
Mina Loy, “Human Cylinders” from The Last Lunar Baedeker

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 )

A Poem about You Bloggers, You Might Want to Read This, Fellow Toads

I bet Shakespeare was bad in bed.

I bet Henry Miller began with a cigarette

and ended leaving to write facts,

the vase empty of flowers.

Allen Ginsberg probably annihilated in

the fucking, chanting run-ons, then passed out in another

realm of the subconscious.

Steinbeck, meh, I feel nothing about that.

Hemingway? Far from ordinary but so many lovers

it cheapened his passion.

 

I think about these things. I fall in love

with writers. I do. I have a little black book

between my mattresses filled with

photographs of words. Just words.

Fonts say a lot unless the word hurts me

in the chest or, some, shocking my entire being. Read More

Song of the Day

doesn’t get hotter than this

Writing and Music

There is just something that happens to me with music like this–acoustic and live, the way he spits out the meaning to the song vocally. It’s raining and gloomy today and I am in my element, writing and listening to this over and over. It started with an early morning walk in the rain listening to Radiohead’s National Anthem, and I ended up finding this when I got home. I am smitten. Guitar has always felt like some form of writing to me–if I could make my memoir a song, oh how amazing that would be to create. I was inspired by how acoustic guitar and memoir connect by a video I saw on Vimeo–a beautiful song played as a tribute to a friend who passed away. The song flowed like water, like the sea, like the stories of ourselves.

That Radiohead song is what got me thinking–because I love writing about music, to music, with music. I’ve written many poems and essays that include music and lyrics, like Beauty Walks a RAzor’s Edge (an essay about my best friend with severe arthritis set to Bob Dylan lyrics), Something Dark Like Jazz, She’s Come Undone, and oh there’s more somewhere.  Most all of my essays and memoir refers to music I grew up to, like The Oak Ridge Boys, Eddie Rabbitt, Deep Purple, Carly Simon, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band, The Guess Who (Undun–and I saw them live and lost my damn mind at Rockfest).

Radiohead’s song “National Anthem” is truly art in my opinion. The backdrop, steady bass is the only sane part to all the chaotic jazz letting loose in the song, but eventually somehow that steady heavy bass becomes the insanity. It reminds me of how you feel like you are holding it together, and the very steady thing you tell yourself to make yourself feel right and true to yourself is actually a rhythm you dissociate in, like that bass, and your thoughts are that chaotic mass of jazz and trombone and sax. But then a moment hits you–you are walking in the rain downtown at five in the morning and you are suddenly just a bystander–a camera to the landscape, the feel, the smells, and your own solitaire body in the street. And that always brings a kind of calm, and then a bit of awareness. The bass I’d been guiding myself by for a little while was far more fucked up than the truth, and the truth is that I am a chaotic person–in an organized way-ahahahhah. Okay, let’s just say I am a late bloomer, I am 35 and only now figuring out who the hell I am and I am solid and confident. I know it’s a lifetime’s journey, but it’s nice to finally own myself. I am also awakening to parts of myself I never knew existed. I am also finally well enough to note my responses and behaviors and reactions and accord them to how I want to be and feel, and I adapt to what serves me. These are all big new things for me, so yes. The “healing” has been well on it’s way for a long time. Now I’m sort of… I wrote a sexy, dark poem the other day (Paramour, My Lover) for the Real Toads blog, and I am surprised first, by how quickly and naturally it came out. I wrote it seconds after I read the blog prompt, it’s the first draft, and I hit “publish” before I could think twice. And I am glad I did. My appetites are…peculiar, but in no way does my past cripple me sexually anymore. Nor fear. I am…hungry. There is something so freeing for me now that I am finally opened to what I’d always been afraid of–sexuality. And back to the Paramour poem, I am also surprised I am not ashamed or embarrassed to share it. It’s a part of me.

I have rambled long enough but it was nice. Take care everyone.

 

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.

Sex, Abuse, Dreams, and Taboos

My hands are actually sweating writing this.  I’ve wanted to write it for a long time but how do you talk about it?  Well–you don’t.  So you write about it, and then no one 11111111111111111111111111111111111111can look at you.  Childhood sexual abuse, a well-known internet topic, but not-so-known is the secret many victims share–the abuse aroused us.  Maybe not all, but many, many, many survivors share this shame with me.  My therapist wasn’t surprised when I told her about it–which is the only reason I didn’t puke.

I’ve been looking around and found this place helpful–Pandora’s Project.  The opening of their page on Sexual Abuse and Arousal states:

A sexual response or orgasm in the course of sexual assault is often the best-kept and most deeply shameful secret of many survivors. If you are such a survivor, it’s essential that you know that sexual response in sexual assault is extremely common, well-documented and nothing for you to be ashamed of.

and I liked this as well:

If you were sexually assaulted as a child, you were victimized by somebody who had knowledge of how to touch and manipulate you to the ends of their own gratification, and ensuring that your shame and (false) sense of complicity rendered you less likely to tell. It is another dimension of the abuse, and not a statement of you being bad. As you heal, you will come to give the abuser back the responsibility for all of the abuse, including the responses.

However, even though knowing that this reaction is normal, I just can’t accept it, and for very good reasons.  But before I get into that awfully private shit, I want to talk about shame.  I don’t even understand what the word means and I want to know why I don’t.  It’s not in my vocabulary.  I don’t feel like I caused the molesting in any way.  I did not provoke.  I was four for Christ’s sake.  Then why do I hate myself for it?  I don’t understand.  Like this part of my brain is blocked.  I want to do more EMDR.

I have dreams where I am being molested or raped and I wake up in an orgasm.  And the worst part?  The “dirtiest” part? Is in the dream…I like it.  I wake up nauseous and cry my eyes out, wondering what kind of person am I?  And it take A LOT for me to cry.  I have nightmares all the time but these ones kill me.  And then 11111111111111111111111111111there’s the other reason I was hinting at before–my sexuality.  I am a submissive heterosexual bordering on bondage.  Utter submission.  And there are fantasies in my head I’ve only shared with one other  person, and luckily he’s as fucked up as I am, so there’s that camaraderie, lol.  OK, why am I making jokes.

I know arousal is a normal response.  I know that.  But what about now?  What about current sexual desires? –the submissive, bondage, etc.  And is it normal to be having these sick dreams at the same time that I am figuring out my sexuality?  yeah, I’m a late bloomer.  I was very…inhibited and numb until my thirties. 

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