Archive for December, 2012

You seem less perfect, she said.
More human, somehow.

That’s a good thing, I know. A true thing, I hope. A real thing, I imagine.

I don’t resemble the reflection she recalls. The mirror cracks, and the fragments spill out like marbles from some cosmic bag of psyche. I pull myself apart like cotton candy – unwhirling, whirling, snap.

I am not that man anymore. Or we disembody like disassociate like internal magnets. Like wiping the slate clean.

My beard is so much thicker now and when did you start wearing glasses? When did you learn the words for all these questions? Will I ever demand more of myself?

I am glad for the time you hit me in the face and the lens scratched my cheek and I felt like dying. I knew then I should not have snatched your blood-red tongue.

I am glad now for the swollen ache of your side where I pushed too hard and threatened to snap something. I know now there is nothing beneath the six mile marker in the ocean.

I am glad now for the endless fire spilling out of your back, and your collapsing neck, and the way you remind me of a crumbling statue on the island of Crete. I know, now, there are heights I cannot climb.

Cleansed, here, like the last thaw. She saw, in me, something like transformation.

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“And you
don’t need
to know
that much
about me.”

– Jeff Tweedy [You & I]

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4 years old:
I wrap a warm, red blanket around the tiny swell of my growing body. Around the right arm, draped before me. It is natural habit.

5 years old:
While driving in the Illinois country-side I get the strange sense of deja-vu. In a new place, I feel familiar.

6 years old:
The Dalai Lama waves to me. Something in me recognizes him. The event will mark my life, like karma, for years to come.

9 years old:
A woman walks up to me in a restaurant. I don’t recognize her face. She says – there you are – and walks away. I never see her again.

11 years old:
I see ghosts in Gettysburg. The energy of the place haunts me. Like thousands of souls crying out together for recognition.

15 years old:
I regularly feel the presence of something beyond me in my room. I spend those nights working on my writing. I can’t quite place the essence.

20 years old:
I meet the reincarnation of a raven. All of her is painted red, and she comes undone. She reminds me of glass fragments, and like a broken window, insinuates herself into my fingernails.

All of this,
I remind myself,
has happened before.

Most of it,
I remember, is
still happening.

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From you, my love, I learned the sacred art of hands.

To pull the mountain,
break the ocean,
pull the body,
apart and open.
All of me is
washed by you,
reflecting the
eternal symmetry
of giving –
the open palm
of your heart
extends to
my body / beyond

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He will ask you one day, after class, what it is like to love someone thousands of miles away.

Encouraging him, your arm on his shoulder, you will talk about noble and ideal things. Smiling, he will leave class understanding the work ahead of him.

In the quiet of that moment, you will realize you are just as lost as he is. Maybe more – adrift in front of overwhelming certainty.

If you’ve heard the diatribe before, you know all too well what it means – the difficulty of being present.

Buddhist monks believe that life is suffering. They also believe that we must be present in every moment to achieve mu – nothingness – and the reduction of self.

When I give them my bounties, my treasures, it is not because I have achieved something. My voice does not ring through the hallway because I have mastered speaking.

I will tell him that love is the most complicated of the forgotten arts, and he was trained to be a painter.

I will tell her that I, too, know what it is like to hate your father. And promise her that she has too much work to do to dwell on hatred.

I will share with them, my final lesson, the dread of loneliness. That in an inauthentic world they are not too weak to care. Their bravery is in their humanity, a reflection of temperament and weakness.

We were meant to be weak only until the moment we realize the difficulty in becoming strong.

You were born from weakness, I know. You father was a lying scumbag. Your mother doesn’t always remember your name. The world owes you something.

But I ask that you help with the dishes.
That your repeat her name back to her when she forgets.
That you burn your family name, if you must, but do not forget that while there is no such thing as being a man – or being a woman – I want you to be a better human being.

You can be better than everything that came before you. You can let go of anger, and hatred – cyclical diseases of your heart.

Realness is responsibility.
Please be real for me.

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2 years ago: Sitting on a bus on the way to a midwestern state, someone innocuously asks what we’d do on our last day.

Even though we barely know each other – my answer is direct and simple. I tell them I would spend it with you. I would see my mom, yes, and tell her she has meant everything to me. I would finish the manuscript, quickly, of course – I already know the ending.

Most of all I spend it on the picnic with you. And your eyes, which have the glint of a great explorer. And your cheeks, rubbed red by time and excitement. The lilt of your voice. We may finally have the time to talk about everything before the Earth unspins an axis.

As everything is perishing and falling away we become the final, real, new thing born out of a dying cosmos. I imagine us alighting into the stars – more beautifully, soundly than each asteroid and orbit.

In that moment, knowing only how longly I would hold you, I say that my final day would be spent on you.

6 months: I stop in a hallway I will never revisit. I see a face, hair brushed sideways, and live out twelve minutes of my final day. The overwhelming beauty of the moment is simple, elegant, art. I expect it to dissolve like something cast out of me – beautiful and alone. The day continues on.

Today: Could very well be my last day. As a believer, or a skeptic, or through the death of something old.

I know there is no way to know what the Mayans knew, what they believed, but I do believe in rebirth. I believe that the only thing that need die today is an older, uglier part of myself. A fantasy, perhaps, will extinguish. And I will feel the real weight of your soul more clearly. I will wear your heart like a heavier coat. I will check my tongue against the wall-paper of your neck and call it home.

I will make this skin a home, I say. As every day before it has felt alien.

I make promises to myself in the darkness. But it’s the reality of you that helps me keep them.

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The overwhelming image I have of that time in my life, and those two in my life, involves my right hand – pressed like a glove to their breasts, their backs arched like first-born curves, the swell of their wholeness pressed up against me and daring the wind out of my lungs.

They took the scale of my fingers and pressed it tight, rigid against the firmity of their skin. I asked for their bodies and they gave me their heartbeats. We told stories as one helix, an always turning miracle of connection and tightness.

They made me whole through the process of becoming. I kneel at the altar of their words and glory – admit that they took me into their flesh when I stood like a faithless pilgrim.

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