This Is a Prayer to Aphrodite. This Is a Prayer for Resistance.

Perfect.

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This is a prayer to Aphrodite.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for love and beauty.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for wine and roses.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for orgasm.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Turning my eyes from ugly times, I cry to the Goddess of Beauty.  Beaten down again and again, I cry to She Who Enjoys.

“Aphrodite!” I cry.  “You wear sea foam, You stand on a shell, You are surrounded by cherubim.  Send, Great Goddess, Your cherubim to bring beauty back to the world.”

My Goddess lifts Her left foot, Her left foot covered in foam.  She shakes off the foam and begins to dance.

This is a prayer to Aphrodite.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for mirth and irreverance.  This is a prayer…

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brutality, truth, and movement

the ides make me think of what i would do
to your heart or your back if exposed to me
in a square before all of your followers

march marches, each one new and strange
the mingling of spring and winter weather
not unlike the twisting of your temperament

each march is different and, in this one,
i find myself devoid of you, fantasizing
about all the things i never said that were
too painful for you to hear. me, your grand protector
valiantly succumbing to the ground beneath your boots

in my dreams, i picture my dagger in your back
retribution for the impact of your fist on my skin
and the delicate intersection of scars left by your words
laced and interlocked against the softness of my belly

New Years resolution:

Say “always” and “never” less
promise absolutes only
to those you can follow through for:

The dying,
the dead,
and people you’ve made up.

I am tired of
dying on altars
crafted of words
no one meant.

“I love you”
is not a thing you say,
it is a thing you do.

And “always” and “never”
never are
not really.

January 20, 2017

I spent my day today surrounded
everyone around me ebbing and flowing
and me, a jetty, stoic and unmoved.

That’s how it is for me, PTSD
pushes me from one extreme to the other
so emotional I cannot be touched then
so far removed nothing can touch me.

Today I let the salt run down me
and I stood in the midst of it
eyes dry and heart still
trying to find a way to reach
out from the haze surrounding me
to touch each and every one of you.

All I want to do is enfold you
take each trembling drop of you
and press you into stillness in
each of my cracks and crevices
build a home within where you can
rest your weary bones.

You have been breaking for so long
I don’t remember a time when I
didn’t hear you, didn’t register
your cries in the night, cold fingers
of your hands grasping at me only to
slide back into the sea and recommence
your crashing melody.

Today I spent my day surrounded
wanting to reach out, to do more
but unable to shake myself from my
foundation.

All I can do at times like these is
stand. And hope my stillness gives you
something you can safely break against.

Kintsugi

I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’.
There is, of course, the laughter. Laughter is a big part of it.
I cannot make jokes and have a person sit still and stare and blink.
Because I’m fucking hilarious. Just ask anyone. They’ll tell you.

The laughter is a big part of it. There is, also, the understanding.
The person who holds on to me in the darkness and who lets me see them.
Letting me see them is important. And, though it is difficult, having them see me.
The seeing and the being seen is paramount. Bigger than laughter.

Then there is the hard part. The part where the world sometimes tips.
The part where I sit vigil over a telephone or a hospital bed and worry.
The part where you answer the phone and I am weeping. That part.
The part where one of us cracks open and the other fills the cracks with gold.

Standing by with precious metals is the hard part. Having metals melted.
Having tongs to hold the dangerous, hot things away from yourself.
Finding a way to fill in the cracks without getting burned. Without hurting.
Without hurting more than you have to, anyway. Without adding trauma.

I am sure that my definition of friendship is different from most peoples’.
I am so grateful that some people have written the same dictionary as me.
Some people, when they look for that word in their private libraries
find melted gold. Find laughter. And a telephone they always answer.

1.1

i am not sure
this
will be the year i look back on
and say
               “that was the year everything
               changed.”
but it feels like it is
i can almost hear the narrator
feel
the         shift
great plates
               aching
               against each other
grinding out a world
beneath the surface
their movement so potent
i can already see evidence
in the set of my shoulders
and the planes of my face

entrances and exits

if a person is a continent
their borders delineated on a map so that
one can traverse a boundary and
find oneself in
some strange country, a
traveller, the tongue foreign
the food and customs strange
excited feet drawing the traveller inward
enticing them to explore
to learn
to grow

if a person is a continent,
my love, you were immense
your borders manned by
soldiers, their eyes hard,
their judgment final

i found my way in on a short term visa
and stayed long after it expired
wandering labyrinthine streets
i made a home in the artists corridor
it was small, but warm

i strove to make a life
within your borders

i tried to love the people,
with their hungry eyes and hearts
i even joined the protests
cursing daily the despot who
set such cruelties on them at so young an age
who placed the watchers on the walls
brought attack dogs from
far afield and,
when they were starved
and neglected
released them
without mercy
on the innocent

i visited your museums,
empty as they were,
the war had cost you so much
i tried, during my stay,
to fill them, to make up the difference
instructing the curators
from my own country
to lend you all they could
but the halls were vast
and even my curators
could only do so much
with our limited means

every day i set out
feet carrying me along
streets without names
no map could help me sort
the nature of the cities

try as i might
i could not find the center
nor a post box, to register my concerns
and eventually, i fell in
with the other citizenry
in their grey drudgery
dragging my feet
through days
and weeks
and seasons
my protests growing weaker
my determination subsiding
with my strength

i left by a different route than i had
entered, picking my way through the barbed wire
along a stretch of unmanned wall

reluctant, i watched
your soldiers patch it
from afar

clutching momentos
to my chest
thumb on the stamp
left in my passport
years ago
no exit marked
and entrance no longer possible

Things are looking up!

I started my new job two weeks ago. It’s been great so far. The new department is small and I’m an integral part of making everything work, which feels really good. I love feeling helpful every day at work and it’s been super good to wake up and feel energized to start my day rather than dreading going in to work every morning.

Don’t get me wrong, the old job wasn’t as terrible as a lot of places where I have worked. Not by a long shot. I had health insurance, I was able to work during the day and had a reliable schedule. There was free coffee.

But that whole department was so dysfunctional that it would have been laughable if I hadn’t been in the middle of all of it. And I was so lonely sitting up at the desk all by myself. I’m an extrovert. I need human contact to be happy.

Now I’m sitting in a cube and I’m surrounded by humans and things to do all the time. I have a bunch of pretty things in my desk already and it feels good and comfortable to come to work and sit here all day and do my job. Because I’m busy, time goes by faster and I feel satisfied at the end of every day.

And even more importantly than all of that, gentle readers, is that I am significantly less depressed than I have been. I feel more energetic. And my urge and ability to write is returning to me.

I cannot tell you how good that makes me feel. My creativity has been so stifled that I was starting to think that it would never come back. But it has. And I’m feeling more like myself all the time. And it’s wonderful.

In other news, the girl and I are preparing ourselves for our trip to Germany in the fall. All of that is coming together nicely. The budget for when we’re there as well as the supplies and things that we will need for the trip.

I published an article in The Establishment back in April, so that felt really good. I have another one coming out in the next week or two. It’s way more raw and personal. So I’m nervous about it. But I am confident that the editors wouldn’t push it through unless it was good and ready to be seen.

Summer is FULL ON here in Philly, and our plants and such are blooming nicely. I will have some updates about the Grave Gardeners project soon, as the plants over on Mary’s grave are coming along pretty well.

I’m just… I’m really getting back into a good place. It feels great. And I wanted to share that. I get really tangled in myself when I feel badly, and I’m trying to fight against all of that by sharing more good stuff when it happens.

So yea. That’s all. I think. For now.


Header image is a screen shot from Only Yesterday.

A hundred words on the smell of you.

I close my eyes every time as I inhale the soft skin of your neck. The atmosphere of your pores rushing through me softens the inside of my mouth and shivers the deepest part of my stomach. You smell, my love, quite simply like the deepest, hottest summers of my childhood. Like ice cream melting across my hands and the rising heat of asphalt too scorched to press my naked feet against. You smell, my dearest, like endless afternoons spent lying on the couch, wrapped in each other against the winter cold outside our small apartment. You smell like home.

A call to empathy

It’s so easy to sit in judgment of parents and children and zookeepers and strangers. People who you’ve never met.

It’s so easy.

It’s infinitely harder to person up. To pull loose your heart strings. To release the strict hold you keep on your borders and really look at another person.

Because really seeing means letting yourself be seen. Means being vulnerable. Means realizing that the things that we judge other people for are things that we do all the time.

Who hasn’t been guilty of letting our guard down for a moment? The only difference between all of us and certain mothers and zookeepers is that we weren’t the ones taking our eyes off of our child at that crucial second.

We weren’t. But we could have been.

And that fact is the thing that keeps us from true empathy with other human beings.

Because acknowledging that the only thing separating us and them is a cruel blend of circumstance and blind luck is too terrifying to handle.

So we blame. And we stand up and call for the heads of people who have made the same small mistakes that we make every day at a critical moment that ended in tragedy.

Blame is easier. Judgment is easier. Hatred is easier.

Love is hard. Empathy is hard. Compassion is hard.

Within those three things dwells the sharp knowledge that we, in all of our convictions and certainty, are as fragile and as vulnerable to harm as the people we are so quick to villainize.

Empathy is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. The easier it becomes to do the hard work of looking at another person and recognizing yourself.

Try it. You’ll see.