Posts Tagged With: love

Oregon Trail: List of Follies 2


I am not bear meat. Seriously, I made it out of bear country alive even after all my unbelievable blunders. Those bears will have to go hungry this winter, I guess. Poor bears ūüė¶

These last few days, I’ve felt so liberated. Not liberated in the ecstatic, transcendent, and joyous state of existence we normally associate with that word, but more “liberated” in the sense of being free of any sense of belonging and identity. Well, not quite, but I’m in the habit of brewing a mug of melodrama each morning I wake up along the cold, wet streets of Portland. It’s an existence that others would consider depressing, drab, and dangerous, but in many ways its not all that bad. I get to eat out a lot, spend time at the library, do a lot of walking around the city, live at a more leisurely pace, etc. It’s a bit exciting at times. More on this later.

How did I end up here, you ponder to your little self as you impatiently skim through this introduction for the “good part” in your pajama bottoms? I’ll tell ya’ eventually. In the mean time, my “List of Follies 2” is an excellent spark notes version for you internet-junkies. Consider it an instruction manual on how NOT to behave if you want to have slightly important things in life like a job, somewhere to live, and someone to love you.

What do you think: Did I fuck up more than I did during the first part of my journey? Have you made any of the same mistakes? Would you like to share or give your own two cents on the good life?

 

THE LIST OF FOLLIES:

  • Day 46: Touching the Oakland Inner Harbor without proper sanitary footwear
  • Day 48: Taking a beautiful, radical, poly chicana (who would later never respond to my friendly texts) out to an expensive organic vegan lunch.
  • Day 49: Buzzing around Berkley to find chili garlic sauce for the dinner I was supposed to make for my host in West Oakland two hours ago.
  • Day 50: Getting lost in the neighborhoods of Twin Peaks and subsequently killing my feet, freezing my ass off, and practicing my urine retention skillz.
  • Day 50: Not signing on as a “Sex Model” at Kink.com.
  • Day 51: While in a time crunch, taking two extra hours pondering life and justice at Alcatraz, an hour detour to Berkley for vegan ice cream, and taking the wrong exit/bridge back into San Fransisco during¬† peak rush hour.
  • Day 46-51: Driving up the curvacious CA-1 in sea mist at dusk (and well into the night) because of having miscalculated the free days I had in the Bay Area before spending two full days with an online friend.
  • Day 54: Passing up all the ancient forests of Redwood National Park because I became overly indulgent in the morning.
  • Day 55: Freezing-up in horror as a van engulfed in 10-foot high flames rolled in reverse towards Catbird and I.

The Era of Asshole-ness

  • Day 4/59: Freezing-up out of intimidation when my amazing date tossed my insinuated-kiss challenge back at me.
  • Day 5/60: Making up for the past night fuck-up by going with my heart (vs. ego or brain) to make a (successful) move on someone I would be living and working with for the next three months and hardly knew (even though I promised myself “never again” to living with a lover twice before)
  • Day 4-6/59-61: Polling friends on facebook for advice on and interpretation of my romantic life, (polling that reads a lot like obnoxious and inappropriate bragging and bro-ness)
  • Day 8/63:¬† Sleeping over at another person’s house less than 24-hours after sleeping with someone else for the first time.
  • Day 9/64: Thinking being open and honest would be a good idea.
  • Day 13/68: Inviting someone with whom I share mutual affection (a someone who is very insecure and also someone I cannot get a good nights rest with) into my bed to cuddle before going to sleep to wake up hours later.
  • Day 21/76: “Correcting” a sensitive someone by suggesting that she should use gendered pronouns for nonhuman animals.
  • Day 21/76:¬†Asking someone who liked me when she was planning on leaving my bed with her dog, (a dog whom had just snapped at my face in her bed).
  • Day 27/82: Absentmindedly shutting a dog into his crate while another was already inside.
  • Day 31-32/86-87: Immaturely withdrawing because of someone’s lack of faith in my knowledge about tick removal, escalating a mutually infuriating conflict to the point of no return (or so we thought)
  • Day 38/93: My grandmother slipping on a sidewalk, hits her head, and does not return (not my folly, but a very sad, unexpected death)
  • Day 46/101: Returning to a hospital with a reputation for having dickhead doctors for a medical checkup.
  • Day 2011: Taking on an extremely ambitious project, procrastinating a year, and moving somewhere 20-60 minutes from an available library whose resources I can’t access because I am not enrolled there.
  • Day50ish: “Accepting [a film review] with major revisions” for an academic journal from an author who is not fluent in English.
  • Day56/111: Snapping at that someone for “stealing my fan” from the communal/study space for her cabin.
  • Day 73/128: The first time ever telling a woman she is “being a bitch” for unproductively (hostilely and sarcastically) referencing everything I’ve ever done wrong while I was chatting with a friend.
  • Day 86/141: Selecting a Thai restaurant as the venue for a date, only to read that “No meals can be made Vegan” on the menu immediately after my date arrives.
  • Day 91/146: Poorly anticipating how much cleaning up I had to perform before leaving the sanctuary.

The End?

  • Day 56/147: Forgetting to print out a map of Crater Lake National Park (where there is no cell reception) before I arrived at night (when the visitor center is closed) with no available campsites, and no cash for the Wizard Island cruise
  • Day 57/148: Forgetting to submit my payment for my Lost Creek campsite and possibly having my tent confiscated.
  • Day 58/149: Relying on a flaky stranger (who told me before he went to bed that he’d kill me if I touched his daughter) to host me for a night in Eugene, OR.
  • Day 59/150: Taking home a drunk young woman covered in chocolate vegan pudding into my new car.
  • Day 60-68/151-59: Prioritizing sex over Portland job searches.
  • Day 65/156: (Too stupid to even mention) on Alberta!!!
  • Day 69/160: Dehydrated and ill-fully bumbling around southern Washington.
  • Day 72-73/163-64: Inefficiently purchasing food and materials for my solo wilderness Olympic NP trip.
  • Day 77/168: Impatiently speeding to the Hoh rainforest and barely missing a bobcat.
  • Day 77/168: Temporarily moving in with my present lover until I find a job (even though I promised myself “never again” to living with a lover three times before [see day 60])… Oh, the heartbreak.

To be continued…..

With Love,

Dean

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Categories: Oregon Trail 2012 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Road Reflections: Sex, Death, and Love


Introduction:

The solitude of the open road can be an experience rich in thought and emotion. Being alone in on the rorad can be a meditative exercise. The zen of driving, if you will.

It’s sometimes surprising how many prematurely ended thoughts bubble up to the surface of consciousness during moments of solitude. Yet, people do not expect this and perhaps even fear it. I’m going to refer back to Sherry Turkle’s TED talk on being “connected, but alone.”¬† One excellent point she makes is that many of us in smart phone and facebook society are anxious to be-by-our-self. In this condition, people are afraid when they are not connected, afraid perhaps to think and reflect.

My first day on the road was not suffered with the boredom and exhaustion that others thought I’d experience. People were shocked that I wanted to travel alone over such long measurements of time and space. Driving alone seemed foolish to them. How exhausting! How boring! Iowa and Nebraska would surely put me to sleep. There was nothing around to look at and I had no one to speak with. Well, no one but myself.

I put my Samsung Galaxy SII to some good use by hitting the memo and voice command buttons to record short quips, and used the voice recorder to archive longer ones. The following “aphorisms” are more-or-less transcripts of I archived during those first eight hours and 500 miles:

On Insecticide and Responsibility:¬† As I drive through Iowa, my thoughts lead me to the concept of responsibility as dozens and dozens of insects splatter across my bumper and windshield. Can my road trip justify all this death? Is driving ever justified (if we take these insects into serious moral consideration)? Then again, isn’t death inevitable? Everything comes at a cost. These animals’ deaths seem excessive as I’m not even making use of their bodies, but I’m not sure if that makes much of a difference. In the end, lives are taken in the process of all lived experience.

Responsibility is thinking through that. When we want people to be responsible for killing animals, we desire that humans be social creatures and have in mind the consequences for other beings, which is itself an ethical relationship which is itself a social relationship. How do we inhabit the world with others without the same language? It’s a difficult question to answer. We are not able to talk with them in our language or relate to them in the same social manner as we do with other humans. Nevertheless, there is something already fundamentally social about the effort to empathize with and take others into consideration. Empathizing with animals requires a pre-understanding that we have a social relationship with other animals, but we disavow this at an early age. We don’t take this acknowledgement to its end as veganism. We want to feel good about our responsibility without taking it to its logical conclusion.

Thus, we say we care about animals, but without ever questioning where that care begins and ends. To “care” about animals without an effort toward veganism is mere rhetoric. It’s as if to say “I am human, thus I care… but I don’t care more because I am human and thus have a ‘personal choice’ of whether I care or not.” So care comes naturally as a byproduct of one’s humanity, but the negation of that care is even more decisively human because it’s an exercise of the agency of the liberal individual. Of course, this rhetoric is not “human(e),” because to care in such a way is inconsistent and obstructed by an illogical prejudice (specisism), which is a threat against reason which allows us choice and agency in the first place. In the end, caring-to-reason is trumped by rationalizations against caring, against thinking.

Meaningless Death: Death is just so abstract. How can one understand it? One can understand other things that seem incomprehensible, like the creation of life and life itself. They are pretty absurd, but at the same time we are living life. We see people born, and we can experience the miracle that life is, the unfathomability of chance is before our eyes. But we never live death. It’s never before our eyes. There is no reflection on death. One is just reflecting into the darkness. So maybe there is something profound there, realizing the inability of being able to comprehend death. People fool themselves into thinking they know what death is. There is an afterlife or we return to the earth. Spiritualism and materialism. But is there something beyond both those explanations? Is death incomprehensible beyond scientific and religious discourse? What’s difficult about death is the impossibility of making sense of it. And that’s why death is so threatening: it resists any attempt to make sense of it. It’s like yelling into an abyss. There is no answer, but only the echo of our voice whispering back in our skulls.

Love and the Proximity of Nihilism: I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of love. It seems like it has as much to to do with proximity to a person as their identity. Is that all it is? Is that meaningful? Isn’t our “love” different from the affection animals feel after being fed. We want something more transcendent and deeper, but what if that’s all it is? And maybe that’s what’s sad about it: maybe it’s my realization that that’s all it is and trying to make meaning of it without falling into cultural cliches of thinking “this is my mother so I must love her,” or “this is my mother and that’s why I love her”. There is the difficulty of accepting that if that’s what it is. But it’s very real. It’s not insignificant. Love is sharing one’s life with others. That’s who one is.

I think back to that post I wrote about my grandfather. My concern was that maybe I didn’t love people in my family because I didn’t feel how people are expected to feel as “good people”, and that if I felt anything it was because I could’t get past my narcissism–my sadness for myself that I cannot feel sad for them. But my perspective is changing today. Perhaps I’m afraid of expressing and experiencing that emotion, or maybe I do experience sadness in the face of another’s future death and its a very profound feeling. Perhaps, I understand death more essentially than others, as something more than the superficiality of an end of life. And if so, I shouldn’t assume I’m not capable of feeling love.

Motherly Love. Strangely, I’m prompted to reflect on my relationship to my mother as I listen to the soundtrack for the first Kill Bill. My mom went to see the first film with me, and she knew it would be violent and wouldn’t like it (in fact, she walked out at the beginning because it made her sick). Yet, she wanted me to be happy. She is almost always supporting me and doing everything she can. I would just hate myself if I didn’t appreciate all of it. But I don’t, and this insufficient appreciation is hard for me to accept.

What makes it difficult for me to appreciate is her babying me. You begin to resent someone who doesn’t let you be you. She thinks she always knows what’s better and safer for me. And yes, sometimes I mess up because I didn’t t take her advice. But I’d like be allowed to mess up. And I’d like to be able to discover things on my own and earn things on my own. So I think what I really resent is not her, but any felt dependency on her, the feeling of not being able to be my own person and that all the great things become spoiled by her overbearingness.

And that makes me think of my ex–how I gave her lots of advise and encouragement… like my mom… and could have been overbearing at times… and I feel really bad about it. This is a really profound and dreadful realization. It’s devastating because I was the culprit, and I played a role in obstructing my exes love of me, and now we can’t be friends anymore… And I can empathize with the last person I want to empathize with. What I realize now from all the pain I’ve experienced from my ex is that I need to treat my mom with more respect, so that I may be better (more responsible and empathetic) than my ex and myself. But it’s difficult to do that when someone persistently does not respect your integrity.




Sexual Dissatisfaction: Listening to the sexually vulgar lyrics on the final track on the second Kill Bill soundtrack, I reflect on my childhood and how much I wanted to have sex. My life was so focused around it. Much of it had to do with my identity as a male. I felt that a successful male was someone who had sex with lots of women. It’s now obviously how hetero-normative this narrative is and it’s inability to be relevant for all men. More so, however, I believed in that narrative because I was¬† really into “science,” especially evolutionary theory: having more sex meant more potential for offspring, which signifies that one is more fit, that one is a better person, that one has been chosen to have a stake in the future. So I felt like a complete failure within the evolutionary and patriarchal narratives by not having any sex.

Even to this day, I sometimes feel unsatisfied with the amount of sexual partners I’ve had. I think people place a great deal of value on their sex lives like I do because of¬† an insecurity with their self-worth. (So it’s not necessarily a masculinity issue. Today, women are judged for having too few and many sexual partners). So I think my high sexual drive is due to not only a desire for pleasure and experience, but also because of an insecurity with my self. Though, I don’t think these two things are so inseparable because I feel less valuable the more I “miss out” (i.e. the fear of missing out), the less “experiences” I have. But sex is different. It’s not just an experience, its about desire for another and their desire for you.

It feels so good to be attractive to a person you are attracted to and have respect for. It validates your self-worth. And when we discover someone slept with us as a means to an end and not because of the person we are, it feels “dirty,” or rather “meaningless.” We become so vulnerable in the act, emotionally and physically, that we open ourselves to hurt. We become even more humiliated because we feel not only undesired, but cheated and taken advantage of–duped into thinking that someone else thought we were valuable as a person, as a self.

I think back to that previous song on the soundtrack by Johnny Cash called “Satisfied Mind.” As long as I continually compared myself to others and understood myself through others, my satisfaction with life would be contingent upon circumstance and not with life itself. Having more or better sexual partners would never be sufficient. My worth has to be self-sufficient. And it’s that feeling of self-sufficiency that we call confidence, that quality which breeds sex.

Categories: Deep Thoughts, Essay, Oregon Trail 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Ties


I. Tied-up in History

I didn’t realize how much history branded my existence until my first major relationship. As different of a person I was from my parents, I did not escape the patterns of their relationship.¬† I was rehearsing the same stage moves as they had performed in front of me for the 18 years before I left home for college. I caught my breath after every realization that I’d inherited the neuroticism, guilt, and frugality of my mother. My lips clenched amidst realizations that I’d become impatient, stubborn, passive aggressive, and coldly analytic like my father. These are aspects about myself I’d like to crop from the image of myself. There is something revolting to children that they have become like their parents, that they inhabit that which they thought only belonged to the other. We’ve resisted theirs worlds, recognizing their grand faults, yet even after decades of criticism and rebellion, we are unable to escape our fates. We have fantasies of liberation, but history hugs to us like a shadow at dusk.

After researching counselors for my partner (who was diagnosed with chronic depression) to see, I finally decided to see one of my own. I used to think I could reason my way through my issues, but it occurred to me that if I was going to work on my relationship, I was going to have to first work on myself. Almost 15 months later, a year after my partner and I had broken up, my counselor asked me if I could delve deeper into a comment I made about my childhood. I laughed. Are we really going to start digging through that dusty basement of memories? I thought. Hadn’t I already organized the whole damn thing? Hadn’t I grown tired and bored with it? She sat patiently. A chill crept up my chest and released a stale breath from my throat. I haven’t thought about my childhood in years. How odd.

What was I hiding from? What was it hiding from me?

During all the years at school, my family was not something I thought much of.¬† Aside form calling my parents and grandparents once or twice a month, memories and interests seemed to have just disappeared. I would become so preoccupied with the present and future endeavors at school and work that it’s as if the fact that I even had a family was lost to me.¬† I was living in so many spheres or responsibility: teacher, boyfriend, scholar, activist, student, local friend, long-distance friend, and family. Each of these identities competed for priority and family lingered at the back. It was the least important spheres of my life, but why?

When I could not meet my standards as a teacher, a student, and a scholar, I stitched myself into my relationship and local friends for security, but the more my partner tore away from me, the more she tore at the string that intertwined my existence with my friends. My quilt had been ripped into patches, and I was left as a pile of worn string. Where was my family in all this? They, of course, were there behind me with a pair of needles to knit me back into their blanket, but it wasn’t a blanket I seriously considered crawling back into.

II. I love you Knot

Well, I tried to anyway. I packed myself up in a box and shipped myself home. There I could un-reel and -wind for a couple of months, teasing out the painful knots of memories that clotted my heart and mind. There I attended family events where the obvious was foregrounded. I couldn’t be loved more by my mother. My grandparents are outrageously generous and the rest of my family is very supportive. Minus some torn seams, we are close knit. Yet, despite all this, I felt just as estranged from them as I had two decades before.

It was uncanny being back. In some ways it’s as if nothing had changed. The same people, the same problems. And at the same time, we were so different. Some of us had gotten new college degrees, a few were starting a family, and others were deteriorating with age. There was the excitement of birth–the first great grandchild and several future husbands–and the looming of death.

My grandfather in particular had become something else. He was the same, but without much of a center. He had lost almost all the power of his sight, hearing, memory, and thought. It was a chore to talk and listen. One had to have an impressive level of patience. When you finished talking, he’d jump to a new topic and had already forgotten what you had just said sot that the next time you’d have to say it all again. Understanding was futile. Whether he had much thought left was difficult to tell, but you could still feel his warm heart. He cared and loved everyone. I watched sullenly as he procrastinated on his goodbyes. He talked at my uncle. My uncle kept nodding his head. It was a pathetic situation. My guess is that my uncle loved my grandfather, but there was nothing else to say, nothing else to do but nod his head.

As I witnessed this and my grandmother and aunt escorting the poor man toward the car, a deep sadness spread over me. Why am I so sad? I asked. It would have been a strange question coming from anybody else. My family is dying before my eyes. Lost memory, sight, speech… life. Am I sad for him, sad for his loss? Or am I sad for myself, that I’m losing my family, my blanket? How can I be sad for either when they hardly pass through my mind?

I’m crying for humanity, I thought.

I‘m sad for our fragile state, the decomposition of our integrity. Death was such an abstraction. I doubted my capability to care about the death of individuals. So I wept for humanity, an even greater abstraction.

Is this not more than a facade for weeping for myself? Yes. I weep for myself. I weep because I cannot feel for him. I weep because I cannot weep, because I am isolated. Alone. I weep from loneliness.

I stand here, an animal-machine witnessing¬† the impermanence of my family, and I am powerless. I am out of touch. I can’t relate. I don’t know what to say. I fear saying anything, fear thinking. I just want to go, move on, care about something. But I’m almost crying.¬† Powerless. Alone. Sad because I cannot love. I cannot transcend myself, my narcissism. I am not present. I am crying because I don’t care, yet I want to, but I don’t care enough to do even that. What a sad and pathetic person I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. Childhood is messy. When I was a child, I liked to play with string. I would toss balls of brightly colored yarn across the room, watching it unroll, leaving a trace of where it had been before. After a few tosses, I’d wind it back up. The loose strands sprawled across the floor was sore on my eyes and I liked the feel of the ball full and complete, soft in my palm. But I could never wind it up quite right. Loose loops dangled down and slipped off the round surface and knots had begun to form. I carefully tried to pull them loose, but if i pulled too hard, the string would snap, and I’d have no choice but to knot the two ends back together to keep the ball whole. The knots were so tight that I could not get them out, so I gave up on trying and left the ball behind.

Our house was always a mess, string scattered everywhere, all knotted. No one ever seriously tried to wind it back together. When I lost faith in my family after each false attempt, after each night it was thrown across the house, I gave up and withdrew. I found a different ball of yarn to play with fabricated by my imagination. Now here I am, trying to make sense of it all, embroidering this bright screen with ancient, digital characters. A writer, a weaver.

The knots don’t go away, no matter how fast you run, no matter how well you hide, no matter how much you cut. We have left a trail of string and will inevitably cross its path wherever we hide; we will inadvertently snag ourselves the farther we run; and we will never cut ourselves free so long as we live. As far behind us as they may seem, they are the centers of our string. They immobilize our love, choking it off from breath.

To liberate ourselves, to liberate love, we must think through the knots, untangling string with sharp and precise thoughtfulness. But in deep thought we subject ourselves to risk. The risk of freeing secrets and the risk of freedom itself. We even risk knotting ourselves more tightly in. So perhaps tracing string is not the best trajectory. Perhaps we should fabricate new string where the last one’s left off seeing how far we can sew. I just don’t know.

Categories: Essay, Original Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Love is a Beautiful Fiction


I. Why “Love”?

Her soft voice had me falling over her every word. My eyes were transfixed on her smile, my ears tuned into her story. She apologized for talking so much. I told her I love to listen. It’s how we get to know one another, I said.

Something was happening. Not any something, something exceptional. I was not going to censor how I felt. I was going away soon and had been too long bound to fear. Excited and curious, she encouraged me to speak. I said I had never felt this way in a long time. My knees were shaking. I wanted to lunge over the table and kiss her. I had never felt so connected to someone for years, so attracted to who they were. She said she was feeling something special, too. She smiled.

She asked me what I liked about her so much. I didn’t know, but I felt obliged to respond, so I foolishly tried to capture my feelings in words. It was a beautiful story if I ever heard one. A sincere and seductive fiction. She said I was sweet.

Moments later we were making out on Michigan Avenue right outside the thrift store she worked at. She said I was beautiful, that someone should paint a portrait of me. Near the end of our date, she said she didn’t feel the same about me. In the minute I had taken to use the restroom, she lost confidence in her desire. She may have been afraid of being in a long-term relationship, but she was also afraid of feeling used and of growing close to someone who was leaving so soon. She said she needed more time to assess her feelings and that we should get together again another night.

When I returned home, I did what every internet junkie does. I logged onto Facebook and “updated my status:”

¬†Mutually “falling in love” (or whatever the fuck you want to call knee-shaking intense attraction) with someone you just met is super amazing

Why had I chosen those words, “falling in love”? Yes, I had put them in scare quotes to emphasize my suspicion, but I had never thought the word “love” during the entire experience. Only after it was over did I choose those words. Why?

 

II. Who Loves Who?

By morning, the previous night seemed relatively uneventful. What had just happened? Why had such a powerful event been diluted with a few hour holiday from conscious thought? Was I protecting myself from being hurt, or had I ever really felt those feelings in the first place? Had I interpreted my attraction to her, my shaky knees, and her attraction to me as “love” for the sake of security after heart aching reflection, indecision over a car purchase, intoxication, and anticipation for sexual commencement?

A thought darkened my image of myself: had I only said what I said in order to fuck her? Was I one of those douche bag guys who would say anything to get in a girl’s pants? I was concerned the previous night that that’s what she was afraid of. I reassured myself and her that I was being sincere and I sincerely believed that! But I can be a manipulative person with plans below the surface, acting and desiring to be considerate but not without a more primal underlying desire. Was I unaware of my subterranian agenda? Had I fooled myself the night before that I wasn’t one of those guys? I wanted to believe I was better, but the question presented itself to me: was I?

But that sketchy story is also a fiction, a story just as much as the previous one about falling in love. Just as there is no one ultimate meaning to life and the cosmos, there is no intrinsic meaning to our affect and actions. Whether I narrate myself as sincere and sweet or stealthy and seductive, when it comes down to it, I am both and neither, for all “I” am is a fiction with no author. “I” am but a translator of actions and affect of the practices of my-self-formation. To translate oneself to oneself is perhaps our most fundamental responsibility. Who is self? Not “I,” but self-conscious autopoesis–life becoming conscious of itself, naming itself as such, and narrating itself into existence through its bastard child be call language.

It’s a scary thing not knowing who we are. And that’s why we write. More fundamental than being sincere, sweet, stealthy, and seductive, I am a sorcerer conjuring new identities and worlds to inhabit. These are not my creations, for I do not simply precede them as a cause to an effect. For the very “I” who has crafted these narrative dolls is itself a doll woven by yet a doll before it and the one before it and is contingent upon whatever string and instruments those dolls have been enlightened to use. We are driven to translate our affect and actions to others in conversation, to share our-self-formation and to be recognized as such. So “I” can never be sufficient. There must always be an other who precedes, exceeds, and lives amongst my presence.

 

III. A String Theory of Love:

The compulsion to feel complete and connected is a human one as¬† is the suffering produced by it. In an impermanent world in which we are all by natural law unraveling, the concept of “love” as that which binds is very securing. But love is not the stitches, nor the stitching. Love is the gravitational force that spins the soft string so that it contacts and caresses other string. It pulls us closer to others while not binding one to the other so that me may slip in and out of our identities, unraveling into and out of one another. There is no inherent meaning to the string of love beyond the pleasure, desire, and joy of love’s contact; and whatever meaning there is, is woven and rewoven.

Love is a craft out of our control. To bind ourselves to ourselves and to those we care about is not always an affirmation of love, but more often an act to protect ourselves from it.¬† To love self and other is to allow slippage into and out of one another, reducing friction. At times, the discomfort of friction and puncturing is necessary to free others who have been tied up by the hands of others in the cat’s cradle of oppression. To love, then, is not to secure and design, but to ride along the sensual flows of soft fabric that rips, tears, is punctured, and patched up. This is the life of string.

So-called “love” is a beautiful fabrication. It’s not something that exists prior to linguistic craftmanship of the materials and instruments we’ve inherited from past experiences and techniques. It’s an art form of the deceit of security. When I say “I love you,” I am translating my affect and self into existence, weaving the strings that pre-exist me into a doll in relationship to another doll to make myself whole, to complete “me.” So it is true that “love” makes one complete, but only true as a fabrication. The reality that underlies it, however, is that “love” is not love. It is us who does the stitching and the knotting for love is always in motion, not stasis. It is an unnameable excess through which “we” come into existence.

Categories: Essay, Original Writing, Social Conciousness | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Solar Eclipse


Moon.

Encompassed within the gravitational force of your love,
I spin in circles.
Or is it you
shyly spinning around me?

Who is acting on who?
Are we equally subject to a force beyond us,
Spinning,
Dancing,
Entranced?

When darkness stretches across the horizon,
you shed light upon earth.
We share the spectacle of each other’s contours,
peaks and trenches.

Under the fullness of your explosive luminosity,
I am blinded to an unfathomable number of stars.
Their distant calls from the abyss, muted in your competitive glow.
In presence of your light,
I cannot face your dark side, which cannot face me.

Over days, your presence wanes,
your darkness grows.
Days become apprehensive,
out of fear that you will not return,
of the loneliness under an abysmal horizon.

Abandoned, I try to forget you,
but your rhythm haunts my harbors,
fingers combing through still sand shores.
Love’s tides roll in on the tempest,
it’s ebbs and flows erode my being.

You think you have left,
but you merely lurk behind the clouds
on a mischievous trajectory
to intrude into my daylight.

Neither simply light nor emptiness,
you are a stain in the sky.
An inversion of sunlight,
a vindictive hole
that has colonized what light I had left.

What is left of me?
a delicate sandstone arch,
hollowed out by the forces of love,
standing hold of the earth
under the light reflection of your iron indifference.

Categories: Poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hate is Love’s Indigestion


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I.

Hate is love’s indigestion. It is love that has spoiled and gone sour. No matter how much rumination, it is bitter rejection.

Hate burns from the center of one’s being. A furnace of destruction. It destroys because it hangs in suspension, trapped above the bowels and below the throat. It swings like a fanatic pendulum, pulled in every-which-way. Hate’s torque unhinges one’s being. Sick and agitated, the whole body quakes. It’s muscles pulsate, it’s stomach walls lacerated. Blood and acid kiss, walls wrench.

So nauseating is bitter love. Self-preservation requires it.

II.

Love is not a tasty morsel. The hubris of the tongue, to taste so! Love is inedible, eternal motion. It cannot be captured by the body, for bodies are captured by it.

Hate is only the symptom of the disease of Self. To emancipate love, one must emancipate one’s Self–to empty a stomach-full of pretensions. “I,” vomited. Self prolapse into the flesh of the Other. Inside-out, outside-in. Starfish becoming plural in their destruction. Trans-generation.

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Continental Drift


When continents drift, mountains will crash.
Ablaze and distorted, the subduction of one feeds the callousness of the other; but
Beneath the volcanic surface of disdain lies a dying yet persistent love.

In the violent eruption from its abuse, this fragile kernel of love survives “me”.
The earth’s skin tears and the ocean’s water breaks.
From love’s cracks bleeds new continents to chart, new territories to traverse.
Rafting on rivers of red rock, we embark into new epochs of self, born-again from the gifts of the earth.

Categories: Original Writing, Poetry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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