Current psychological latitude: gratitudinal.
(Current linguistic attitude: I will fuck with you with love in my heart, language, baby. Now and forever.)
So many boats in my dreams, this last while. Boats and boats and then again boats. I like boats, always have (particularly those powered by muscle not motor), maybe as the result of having for a father a man who in his youth was a sailor or maybe as the result of my Piscean nature.
After the Alphabets
I am trying to decipher the language of insects
they are the tongues of the future
There’s no rational explanation for how much I love frogs. I mean, there might be a rational tidbitual oddment I could lay down for you but all the tidy, comprehensible bullet points in the world wouldn’t do justice to how deeply fascinated and charmed and shivered I am by those little half-blood princes, those darling swimmers who leave the water to tuck the soft green of themselves into the grass so they can lie in wait for me, so they can leap in ambush and make me bark a laugh of surprise at their ridiculous bodies, hurled up from the grass, bounced high, airborne.
when twilight grass looks the way velvet feels or the way warm smooth metal can seem in a dream
when you sit outside in a day that’s almost night and the fireflies arrive
all the other places you never know in daylight open out to you
there in the glow
Once I woke up with the words “your fried arm” stuck in my brain so I looked up how to say “I love you” in as many languages as possible, to make myself feel better. It worked, too.
Brokeny can be a good thing. Brokeny can be a thing I like, and often is.
When the big tree came down, I lost the sound of water.
I would be brief on the day I didn’t have a lot to say or, really, had a lot to say but wanted to make the thoughts in my head all compact the way a wintertime child can take a puff of snow and squeeze it into a ball of ice, to make it all hard and small.
So yes, I’m making a beautiful bookthing. It’s that wondermental thing known as: a labour of love.
What I’m doing right now is I’m writing a thing, a beautiful thing, a bookstory thing. It’s hard going — oh god, it is — and for all the wild-ride moments of outpour, there are many many — many! — ice ages of brainfreeze. When you write a thing as a pen-for-hire, you push through the brainfreeze, because money and somebody else’s deadline are great motivators. But when you make something with joy in your heart and when it’s a collaborative effort to boot — I’m making this thing with James Cook, whose delicious photographs will join up with the words I write — you let the going be slow because you’re waiting for a strange kind of knowledge — epiphany, I guess you’d call it — waiting to see in a way you’ve never seen before, waiting to understand, waiting to make connections.
You know how much I love words and the physical act of writing, how much I love the graphemic grace of the thing that is written? Yeah, you do. And you know how much I like holding a pencil in my hand and making marks on a paper with it — marks with meaning, I mean — and also how much I like reading a paper full of writing from someone else’s hand? Well, I like all that very much, you know I do, but I like something else too:
I don’t know how it works, how to do the math, but it’s like every emotion I’ve ever felt somehow gets wrapped up in trees. Trees become some kind of conduit for thought and feeling, for understanding, for epiphany, for optimism, for love.
think of awaking one morning, some morning
with the tail of a fox
or platypus feet
with a hard crunchy shell
or suction-cup legs
with a body of quills
or a soft feathered belly
with a set of long antlers there on your head
I like the notion of the skin being breached so that change can be rendered to the organism. I like the idea very much, altho’ I fully recognize the malarial reality of the wrong kind of puncture, the bleedout reality of the wrong kind of slice. But here in my metaphorical LaLaLand, sharp things are pretty things that are also agents of change.
You know what I love? I love “yes”. I love “yes” so much, and so hard, and also its more boisterous adjutants “hell yes” and “fuck yes”.
A couple of days ago when I was stopped at a street corner waiting for the light to change, a man walked up from behind me, stood beside me, looked at me, smiled, and said, “Nice legs, librarian.” Now, I’m really not a woman who enjoys strangers making commentary on her appearance but he didn’t have the stink of testosterone poisoning about him so I didn’t just default to my “Fuck you, you fucking fucker” setting. Plus? He called me “librarian”. And oh good lord, I do love me a librarian, so very very much I do, and am always so happy to meet a fellow member of that tribe, which obviously that man was.
The world spins on its axis, on and on and on, no matter who comes here or leaves here, no matter how happy or sad you are, no matter, no matter.
I make playlists on my iPod and they’re often very theme-y because I am nothing if not a theme-y woman — I like to group and organise. I like to find patterns, or, in their absence, make them. Maybe that’s the curatorial urge. Or the librarian’s urge. Anyway, I have a playlist on my iPod called “river” and I listen to the songs on that playlist a lot, especially when I am despairing because those songs are very cathartic to hear and especially when I am all joyed-up because those songs are very cathartic to hear.
I read a blog (very intermittently kept) written by a Korean artist who writes in English, which is not her first language. Her tiny strange observations are often very beautiful and made more so by the flaws in her English, a lot more so, I think, because those flaws can be very illuminatory — that skewing of language can make you look at a thing from a whole different perspective. The accidental nature of some of the beauty she writes makes her observations fresh and astonishing.
If you read here fairly regularly, you may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a consciousness kick lately, posting about dream and nightmare, acid and ‘shroom. It’s a subject that’s still very much on my mind and, in my mullings, I have thought mightily about trepanation, not for the first time in my life. Good old trepanation is, as Wiktionary has it, “The practice of drilling a hole in the skull as a physical, mental, or spiritual treatment” and it’s an activity that first crossed my radar close to 30 years ago, when I read the book Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions by John Michell. In that book there is a whole chapter, “The People With Holes in Their Heads”, devoted to the subject. Now I’m not suggesting I’ll be taking the old drill to my own head (or anyone else’s, for that matter) any time soon, or even any time not-soon, but for all it’s absolute crazy, awful grossness, I’m deeply, weirdly compelled by it. I love Cynthia Girard’s poem “There is an insect” because I swear to god it’s about trepanation.
If you take away my periodic PMS madness and my 92%-of-the-time short fuse, I’m a pretty fun gal.
Sometimes I think it might be enough for the wild things of your brain to assert themselves sufficiently that instead of pretending they don’t exist, you have to turn your gaze to them, even if you can’t classify them. Taxonomy is good and useful — delicious, even — but maybe not always necessary. Maybe you don’t always have to be able to assign a clear name or narrative or meaning to a nightmare. Maybe the beast that rises from the deeps when you dream a dream like that doesn’t have to be a beast you recognise. Maybe not being able to speak the creature’s name is not only okay but an important component of baddreaming.
Dock Ellis Pitches a No-No on LSD
By Jilly Dybka
From Elysian Fields Quarterly
The ball’s big — like lobbing a volleyball.
And the batter’s box is so far away.
Tiny ball, red ball, white ball, rainbow ball.
Wasn’t even supposed to play today.
The batters are whiffing in slow motion
Because their strike zone is five miles wide.
The catcher is wavy like the ocean,
Before my release, have to time the tide.
Straight bat, bendy bat, big bat, little bat.
Feels like I’m pitching inside of a dream.
I’m flying as high as an acrobat,
My fingers feel every stitch in the seam.
I wonder what all the fuss is about?
I’m just trying to get the guy out.
I like the feeling of dream, the look of dream, the words of dream, the music of dream, the LSD of dream. I like the blur, the opacity, and the glow of dream. I like the strange wrong flawed perfect images of dream that sometimes tell a strange wrong flawed perfect truth.