common topics of late: socks and monkeys

I hope to have a draft of the sock story for posting by tomorrow. It’s written, but I’m not ready just yet. Stay tuned.

Received an email from a great friend. My response included only the following prompt:

Write me back monkey boy!

His reply follows in its entirety:

Its time for the amazing, fabulous, stupendous, gramatically suspect: WRITE ME BACK MONKEY.
He slices, he dices, just look at that tomato!
He can jump up and down! but prefers not to ever since that botched hernia operation!
Write Me Back Monkey comes with various accesories, such as the Modest Monkey[tm] ass-cover (no big red naked monkey butt here!)!
Write back now and you will also receive:
*A bag of SPAM(1) flavored monkey pellets
*Write me back monkey stationary featuring Write Me Back Monkey fecal art
*A box of tranquilizers for those (frequent) occasions when Write Me Back Monkey gets pissed (or for when one needs a little relaxation of their own)
*For reasons we will not even begin to explore, the Popeil [tm] Pocket Fisherman
Some Restrictions Apply.
Limited Time Offer.
Sentence Fragment.
Some Assembly Required.
This Space Intentionally Left Blank.
This Space Intentionally Filled With Words.

(1) Write Me Back Monkey is in no way affiliated with Hormel, Inc. makers of Spam and does in no way wish to disparage the fine Spam monkey feed product.

too hilarious to keep to myself. really.
(miss you dearly Big Daddy P)

from the closet. door closed. behind the winter jackets.

While the phone rang, I licked my arm. I’d just sailed into the house from my afternoon visit to the gym. Thinking of J’s note and the way things taste. His voice came through as the word salty hit the tip of my tongue. I swallowed hard and closed myself into my closet.

It was Andy who answered the phone, and I immediately had to fight the urge to ask for Paul. I think it surprised him the way I confided the information and as I talked, I heard Paul pick up and so I told them both.

I worry over people and, most of the time, making sure the ones I love are safe, happy, secure, loved . . . is my biggest priority. They agree that Jules doesn’t sound well and they promise to visit him this weekend. It’s a huge favor, but they’re the closest geographically. We’re all probably the closest thing we have to family, in lots of cases, anyway. The last time I talked to Jules’ brother he told me to, and I quote, “fuck off.” He thinks I have motivations.

We go over the details. What’s been said. Recent actions. The note from the mail. Paul and I worry about these swings in Jules’ emotions that have gotten worse over the last few years. Paul makes a reference to suicide concerns. I flinch. Andy excuses himself. I imagine Paul has waved him off. I know it’s something we have to take seriously. It’s why I made the call.

Paul and I agree that we worry too much and that it’s probably just J being J. If it had only been the note, I wouldn’t have worried. He does things like that all the time. It’s mainly the conversations we’ve been having – the fact that he’s pushed everyone away again. I don’t tell Paul how worried I am. He changes the subject.

They aren’t having much luck on the adoption front, but apparently are still trying. He hints, again, about the possibility that I might change my mind – donate an egg – be the surrogate. And I do wish I could offer up my resources and my body in these circumstances. I love Paul and Andy and I know they will make great parents. But there’s just no way I could do it. Not right now. Paul even contacted his identical twin and asked if she would be willing to help, but she apparently wasn’t very friendly. Andy’s family stopped speaking to him after he came out of the closet many many years ago. They feel hopeless and I feel wretched because they are my friends and there is something that I could do – I just won’t. Paul doesn’t try to make me feel guilty. He just sounds sad, and I tell him everything will work out. I know he doesn’t believe me.

I tell him my latest and compiled with the rest of the conversation, I being to cry. He’s furious about what is and has been going on. Screams at me over the line to get out of here. It isn’t that bad, but I understand where this is coming from. He won’t let me off the phone without directions from the airport to my house. Vows he’s getting on a flight this week and that he’s going to straighten some things out in person. I love my friends, even when they’re being unrealistic.

But then I worried when I came back out of the closet, that I was going to be in trouble for talking to Paul on the phone – and I felt foolish for having hidden myself away. I tried to ask myself what the hell I’m doing, and then got into the shower and let the hot water hit the back of my neck.

post haste

received an actual letter yesterday from jules. it’s strange, these days, to receive things handwritten. notes rather than email. settling, sometimes to be able to hold on to something that real. he gets that and it makes him rare and wonderful. makes me want to bite down on something hard.

and it wasn’t an actual letter, which might be impossible for jules to manage. just words. written in black charcoal pencil on the back of one of those green receipt pads. the handwritten kind. he ordered a bowl of Pho at the place we used to go on the Ave. the edges of the words on the left hand side – slightly blurred. the lettering is small and hard to read. he’s written the word manic in huge block letters across the top. then this:

dolce –

there’s a woman here wearing a very pale violet shirt.
her hair is a mess and i’d rather eat my steaming noodles
than . . .
do you ever wonder how certain colors taste
that l- lavender reminds me of you
but do you think it would taste sticky and sweet like taffy

salty smooth sin
would / you / want to drink it down like warm milk
the word is enough to fill my mouth full stop whisper
it to me over the phone and you’ll know what i mean

this word is in my head. natant. that woman left.
i’m off to buy flowers at the market. pansies.


found out that this password cracking program is and has been installed for a long time on the computer that I use.
what does one do in the face of chronic betrayal?
i bring it on myself, i suppose
all these years of being such a
scum o' the earth
except that i haven't been
and f-ed up shite like this only makes it easier
makes the resolve clearer
like dried glue

until the story comes . . .

What the [?] sock monkey?

i've started looking at things differently
and that feels

too many words than time

my life -- when it wasn’t like this

he writes to say that it was a year ago
when he rode the train every night
in from London
to see me
drunk with the thought of his hands swimming in my hair
filled with anticipation of the scent of it
and the desire to be near the remembered curve of my body

I click delete
and won’t respond
because there’s someone knocking on the door
but he didn’t run ten blocks from the train station in the rain
just to see me

all i want to do now -- is pack my bags and jump on a plane
silly lost memories

just received an email from a great and long time friend with the following auto-quotation under the signature file:

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission."
-Eleanor Roosevelt-


when he calls

he is laughing. and i miss seeing his face in these moments. jules has an extraordinary way of laughing with his eyes. in rare moments that i can only find in scant cherished memories. i admit that i’m feeling mildly obsessed with him, and he enjoys my infrequent honesty of emotion.

he says he is in the mood for change. has broken things off with the latest girl. quit his job. it’s the same story, again. he’s having fears that these people and these things are trying to change him. that he felt his identity floating away. i understand what he means, but argue anyway. i encourage him to consider the choices he makes in partners and relationships, and he challenges me to outline what could be so bad about the women he usually dates. i tell him that these women are like mouthwash. when they first hit the mouth they sting and awaken every nerve ending imaginable. they are supposed to be good for you. but when held for too long – they begin to burn and are unbearable to contain. he doesn’t like my example, but agrees he does often feel like these women have at times been spat out when he’s grown tired of them. i encourage him to tell me what was wrong with this one. he reveals that after only a day or so, he realized that she was completely daft. I remind him that this is almost always the case. he abruptly changes the subject.

he’s been writing again and working on a collaborative project with paul. we talk about writing and he encourages me to share something with him. i do. a short piece i wrote many months ago and had gotten some good feedback on – about loss and denial that isn’t very good and tries to resemble a poem. he’s gracious in his accolades and gives me some suggestions. i want his approval. we agree, always, that i am the lesser writer in the pair.

we don’t often share our writing, and tonight doing so feels awkward and strange. as if i’m standing naked in front of someone i desire for the very first time. the words he chooses to let loose are lovely. preternatural. and i love to hear the way the tones of his voice change in the performative mode. all elements of the west coast snowboarding skateboarding punk fall away to reveal something like the boy i often found next to me under flannel sheets in the dark. at once wispy and confident

later we discuss the concept of humiliation. he wants me to name my most humiliating moment, and i decline. for many reasons this is a question that is almost impossible for me to answer. and the fact that i believe he knows that, makes it even more unbearable to discuss. he’s trying persistently to get at something that i don’t want to discuss. we turn to more broad issues. he claims that humiliation is only something brought on by the self – that it is a choice. i argue that it is consequential. i believe that it isn’t possible for him to understand, i don’t think that he’s ever felt humiliation.

weary of the directions this might go, i change the subject. i always think that bringing up sex will remove me from the equitation with jules. this often backfires. and it does, now. he wants me to tell my most embarrassing sexual encounter story. and like the other, broader category, i don’t even know where to begin. when i say there are too many, he chides and says he doesn’t believe me. i regrettably tell him, one, but not the most humiliating experience. it’s something i’ve never talked about out loud, and certainly have never said to anyone face to face.

i often don’t understand why people like to play games of these sorts. perhaps it’s because their humiliations turn out to be somewhat less horrific than my own. i try to pull out of the tenseness i feel by telling an anecdote about the time that Mister X asked me, very seriously, if i had ever been with an uncircumcised man. i use my best bits of comedy. but aside from slight bits of laughter. he still presses for more. here is what i said:

once, pete made me have sex with him while he held a loaded gun in my mouth.

he’s not expected me to say this. all other mention of my sexual experiences with p have been favorable. of the best kind of chemistry one could hope for in that unintentional intense way. he stammers. says he didn’t know. tries to get me to talk about it, but i deny him the right to prolong that humiliation any further. he says I’m sorry which only serves to make me feel more culpable and tries to tell his humiliation. something about not being able to get it up while trying to f- his boss in the store room – and then getting fired a few days later. i laugh without reason. he hasn’t told the story with any bit of humor. but I can tell it hasn’t hurt him to reveal it. and i feel foolish for having said what i have.

i say i have to go. and he says understands. and we talk for a much longer. of love and desire and things we’ve done to hurt other people. and we aren’t sad when we hang up the lines and i’m no longer thinking about guns or humiliation.

waiting for you to call is like my twice daily visits to the gym
running in an endless straight-line that always leaves me standing in the same place

Into his answering machine. 6:30pm PST.

“At Grand Central Station, I think of you dancing
under that constellation ceiling, spinning across the marble towards
the last train home. I see so many reddish beards and think each time
that you’ve chased my train with your car, buckle first with relief
and then under the retraction of relief. All of our mistakes – innumerable
as stars. We thought I worshiped you in the pity church. And
in the hospital, holding the drinking straw to your lips, doubtlessly
I loved you. Tenderly. But not nearly so much as these last years
Of your telephone songs, of my breath caught in the receiver, the receiver
On the floor – your heroic love singing towards me. How sad for us
That I have made a myth of us when what keeps me from sleeping
Is the memory of leaning against you in the bath,
The bar of almond soap in your hands. Or that last morning,
In the quiet between the train’s whistle. Your honest back
Turned, waiting for me to walk away from you.”
-- excerpt from “She Attempts the Last Word,” Eireann Corrigan

lost and found

was considering writing a story based on this post at comovedy.
[my attempts to link to the individual post have not been successful. go there and scroll down to Tuesday July 23rd. you'll see the sockage.]

it would star, of course, the sock.

because it got me thinking about discovery and the past and things we maybe would prefer to keep stuffed behind the couch or radiator. good or bad.

but then I thought it might make me look like some weird blog stalker
it was an idea, though
and mostly having those are good

on referring to oneself as a hostage

i'm growing tired of this
but to define this
well, then
that involves much more self-examination than i can possibly deal with in my condition
which at the moment is
beat down

sometimes other people’s words are all we have. and sometimes, even, they surpass our expectations.

I think, "At least in my dreams
we'll be able to meet. . . .”
Moving my pillow
this way and that
on the bed, completely unable to sleep.

-- Izumi Shikibu
(translated by Jane Hirshfield & Mariko Aratani)

Why haven't I
thought of it before?
This body,
remembering yours,
is the keepsake you left.

-- Izumi Shikibu
(translated by Jane Hirshfield & Mariko Aratani)

RETURN -- Constantine P. Cavafy

Return often and take me,
beloved sensation, return and take me --
when the memory of the body awakens,
and an old desire runs again through the blood;
when the lips and the skin remember,
and the hands feel as if they touch again.

Return often and take me at night,
when the lips and the skin remember...

(translated by George Barbanis)

courtesy of Poetry from All Over

i haven't been able to get here lately. there was something missing that might have been like motivation.
i think it's back now.
and maybe it's even better.
for sure
it's different

stabbing in better directions

things that are good:
changing your mind
if things don’t pass, the tide might change
hot coffee
cold coffee
ice cubes
lemon drops
silver things
figuring it out
knowing you can’t know/do/be it all
trying to get there as much as you can

things that make me happy

the way non-dairy creamer dissolves into hot coffee
new strappy sundresses with pink and red cherry blossoms
dogwood trees

If you could take a bus trip anywhere, where would you go? Why?

seriously – i want to know.


It’s funny to see how strangely things work out.
Or how words can be mistaken.
But that’s the great bit, isn’t it?
For me it is.
That twinge deep in the stomach.
A quick touch of tension –
as if someone put a hand on the place where the neck and shoulder meet.
When you believe for a split second
the you might just be you

Aw, but no. Things never work out quite that way.
Wait. What?

Sinead O’Connor and Total Self-Immolation

He calls to apologize.
There’s been a load of that going around these days.
Talks about how much he loves me.
And I press my palms hard against the concrete and wish I wasn’t thinking so intently about his image.
Or your images.
He asks me if I know what he considers his conversion moment --
the moment that he fell in love with me.
I say I don’t.
It’s the memory of shaving my head.
The factor of trust.
And then he breaks swiftly into an easy rendition of “I Want Your (Hands on Me).”
Not hard and fast like the album.
It’s as if he read my mind. And I fall just as rapidly into memories. Only to realize that listening to Sinead will always be filled all at once with bliss and sorrow.
I say I love you and feel like I mean it.

why do we call who we call in these kinds of situations

[Note: I’m feeling weary and bleary and I’ve only just begun. Please excuse the general wreck this place has become. The template itself is enough to make me never want to read this blog again. Sub-note: Work on the template soonish.]

I’ve wedged myself between the front driver’s side tire and the armoire we no longer have room for in the house. Cell phone, dirty oil stained cement, a long distance hysterical Jules and I’m hiding out in the garage. Whispering comforting words across the miles and hoping that anything I say or do will pull him out of this place. I know it well – the place. And I’ve made the same call. When all you can do is sob until you think your lungs might collapse. I don’t do it anymore. I can’t. But I remember all too clearly how it feels.

I said everything I could. Assured my devotion, love, support, unwavering friendship, but there wasn’t anything I could do or say. It’s something that’s broken inside of him that only he can fix. And I’ll be there and I’ll help as much as he’ll allow. I say these things over and over again until I too am sobbing. Inconsolable. Until we both simply weep for each other and for the things we don’t ever say and want to say but can’t.

Maybe it’s what we both needed. To freak out for a minute without retribution. With the assurance that the person on the other end would know. Could know. Maybe we’re both just pathetic. Moronic. I don’t really know.

When Jules finally pulled himself back together, I asked him to tell me what was going on. He muttered some crazy things that I know aren’t true – about a job and a girl and going on the road. These are the excuses he always offers. They are his version of my, everything’s fine, and he knows that I know it. I ask him if he’s been taking drugs again. He’s sworn that he hasn’t used for a long time, but I know this kind of sporadic behavior. And it scares me. He swears he doesn’t do those kinds of things any more. Swears on Bryan’s memory that he doesn’t. And I want so badly to believe him.

It’s in these moments that I wish it were possible to touch the people I love. To hold them against me and feel their breath – their heart – any reminder that we’re both still alive. There’s electricity in that for me. A healing that doesn’t come as easily through pixels or fiber optics. There have been times when I’ve been in those kinds of embraces and I thought the world might just make sense. And I want that right now for Jules. I need that for him and from him. [Selfishly, I need that for me right now something awful.]

Man, I’m sad. I had forgotten, really, how it feels to be lonely.
But enough. Off to bed and to dream about birds.

note to self
physical altercations are bad
as is the need to raise your voice in anger
even when you're dealing with barmy creatures
and you feel the need to defend yourself

this has been an awfully long day
filled with broken things and flying shoes
and words that can never be taken back
i better retire
close my eyes and never sleep
before i act regrettably and with an angry heart

Bah, forget it. I’m off to read some Collins. Perhaps “Japan” for the 4 millionth time. There’s a poem I’d like to hear read. I’d like to crawl inside and stay awhile.


things are quiet here.
and I am restless.
one part calm
ninety-nine parts indecision
or maybe
because I will always speak too softly and
have bad posture
and weigh too much
while I wear the wrong colors
always and

not enough


too much

just enough so that I am worthless to anyone else
so you’ll have to keep me
your own personal self-sacrifice

and when will that end?
the illusion that if you weren’t there I would fall apart and die?
that you, somehow, possess all the strings that hold me together?
Maybe it isn’t even that complicated.
And has more to do with the fact that you are there.
An assurance.
Like clean socks.
Like always having a place to rest my head between your shoulder blades.
But even that isn’t quite right either.

oh, god no.
this will never do.

too tired to mess with it any longer.

template attempts

note to self
don't mess with blog template after many drinks

on the morrow, maybe

to end in smoke

We’re talking over the phone about a piece he’s written. Something about the treatment of foreign women in prisons. He wants to test the argument and is asking me questions about his rhetorical stance. He rarely waits for me to answer. I already know he just wants me to tell him it’s amazing writing. I don’t hesitate to say it, because it is.

When he sent me the words, I was angry with him and didn’t want to help with edits. People get paid to do things like this, I fired back in an email filled with expletives and insults. But in the end I agreed. He knew I would. There’s something about him, his character, that I can never resist.

I was at first struck by the writing style. Concise and eloquent. His points made clearly and without clutter. And then I realized there was no reason for amazement. That his writing should be as crisp, fresh, and unfettered as he is when he’s close to me in the dark. That perhaps there isn’t much distinction between the way writers move their thoughts across a page and the way lovers move their hands across a thigh – an arm. Both blank canvasses waiting to be written upon. To have their composition irrevocably changed by the remaining impressions. Hands. Lips. Ink. No matter.

He’s still talking and I am still providing affirmations on cue.

He drops something, a few hundred miles away, and swears in a language I don’t understand. A subtle and unintentional reminder that I am an outsider. Someone who belongs on the other side of a phone. A few hundred miles away.

I already know we’re going to hang up soon. And it makes me remember our always-eventual good-byes and the ache that remains. Leaving me like a struck bell.

I hastily apologize for my behavior the other day. For acting childish and spoiled (these are the words he used against me at the time). I tell him that I understand what he meant. That the appeal always resides in the fact that I can’t attach him to anything. That I’ll never look at his face and see a mortgage or a car payment or years of emotional deprivation. He is silent. And only his breathing fades occasional over the line. He whispers my name as if I were in the room and he were holding me like a small child. I am drinking in the tones of his voice. Savoring each syllable as it drops through the line. I’ll miss him more than he knows.

“You are the tree,” he says, “and I am the smoke rising above your image. An exact reflection in shadow of every singular branch.”

After we hang up the lines, I think about how long it’s been since I’ve seen a smoke tree. How I’ve sat under them in the desert and let my thoughts roll up and get lost in their branches.

i meant to say that i wrote the last post after consuming an entire bottle of red wine
(not just this afternoon, of course, but the other night)
so forgive it
at least a little


I often try to convince myself that it couldn’t have been those few hours I spent in Baltimore that sent my life spinning in inordinate directions. That it isn’t possible for a rational person to be so changed in a mere seventy-two hours by strangers in a strange land.

My colleague and I flew first class on a business trip there and connected during that short time over late night drinks, too many cigarettes, and correlations about failed relationships, abortion, and abuse. It was the first time I felt like I had told anyone the truth about anything. It was the first time that anyone else looked me in the eyes and called me a survivor, and I didn’t know what to do with it all. So I kept ordering gin and tonics until I didn’t have to think about the words I’d already let spill from the recesses of my throat to someone I’d only moments before considered my friend.

Late in the trip we frequented a local bar. Some kids that we met at a baseball game had propositioned us to come. Said they would be bartending and the lure of free drinks pulled us both into the heart of a city we didn’t know very well. We sat there drinking for hours. Gin. Tonic. Lime. Boys. We lost sight of the morning meeting. Of the afternoon flight that would return us to the fabricated lives we had constructed.

I never saw the man who eventually approached and tapped me on the shoulder. He introduced himself as Pablo and instantly sent a line of questions at me like rapid gunfire. I was hesitant to reveal any personal information, but was ultimately persuaded by his artist’s looks and his persistent charm.

What he really wanted to know was where I had lived during the summer of 1991. When I told, him he exclaimed, “I knew it. I knew instantly that it was you!” I stammered something, then, about never having met the man before. He cut me off. Rambling about how he had taken pictures of me in the park with a man. Described the scene as if he had been there – holding my hand instead of my boyfriend. He said he couldn’t believe this was really happening.

Through our subsequent conversations, I began to discover that he had been a photographer in the area that I was living and had somehow stumbled upon my boyfriend, Simeone, and me on a date at a local park. Simeone was leaving soon – a foreign exchange student from Italy with no more extensions left. We had come to the park as some kind of diversion from the impending departure, and he had given me the silver ring he always wore on his left hand. Had placed it on my left ring finger and asked me quite seriously to marry him. To move to Greece (where he intended to go next and live with his mother and stepfather). But we were only in high school and hadn’t even said the words I love you – even though I had felt them on the tip of my tongue.

Pablo revealed that he had taken several pictures of us that day. One of us kissing – with my hand in Simeone’s thick black hair (he called him “the boy”) and the silver ring shining in contrast. One of us afterward – looking in opposite directions – me covering my mouth with my hand – only the back of his head exposed to the camera lens. Pablo said that after he developed the pictures – they haunted him in many ways for years to come. That in a few brief glimpses he had seen what it might feel like to experience great joy and great sorrow in the same moment. That from those photographs – he thought he might know what true love really felt like.

I didn’t know what to say. Still don’t. He kissed me on the cheek and held my hand across the table.

He promised to send me copies of the shots, and we exchanged contact information. A manila envelope arrived a week or so later at my office containing the two or three stills we had discussed and a letter about love and losing it and the way that makes us feel. I read the words and thought I might love Pablo, right then, for seeing something incredible and for finding me years later to tell me he hadn’t missed it. And that possibly, even though it may feel like it in the present, I hadn’t missed it either.

I contacted a friend. Got the forwarding information for Simeone – who had recently moved to Paris – and sent him the pictures. I enclosed a note explaining the 72 hours in Baltimore that lead to the chance discovery and included the original letter from Pablo.

I wonder now what lead to me to send those captured moments from my past away. Without a trace of evidence that that kind of joy existed to begin with. All I know, in answer, is that when I had possession of those shots – I had an overwhelming urge to run at full pace. To scream at the top of my lungs until someone strapped me into a chair and locked me away. Mostly, I just knew I couldn’t hold them against myself for a moment longer. I had them for less than 24 hours. Had them less than the time I took to cry in the bathroom after I forwarded them in a fresh crisp envelope to Paris.

there isn’t much to say
so, get out of here
go read someone else who’s actually doing something productive
and has important things to say
and knows how to say them well
someone who isn’t stuck in the same place
spinning in endless useless circles

I feel a template update coming on
getting sick of seeing that hand outstretched
it means too much of the same thing


I thank god for this
jazz hour on NPR
iced coffee

no, no, no
I say
Much louder than I intend
But it sounds good to hear my own voice
louder than normal
without me
flying through the air as if it has some kind of intention other than to hurt someone else
which is what I hope it will do


no, no, no
I say
I mean this all as explanation
I mean to say that I don’t want to be your
that I can deal with being
that you can label me in any way you choose
and make suppositions about my life
based on the way I part my hair
the way I whisper when I’m afraid or tired
or because when we met
I was sitting on a park bench reading a book written by an unpopular communist leader
but don’t tell me I’m that
because fascinations are things we attach to
pop artists
shoe styles
video DJs
and other things that expire faster than dairy products
Fascination is what you have for the cute Starbucks barista with brilliant green eyes who always remembers your drink order and winks when arrive to take it away – like there’s some secret only the two of you know.
That’s it.
Because you’ll be sad the day you go in and he isn’t there. Replaced by some skinny girl with a ponytail – who won’t even notice that you come in every day. But you’ll still get your coffee, and you’ll probably forget about those green eyes before you’re finished drinking it.

I am not take-away
meant to be consumed after a late night binge at the club
and forgotten

always like a fumbling idiot . . . i swear you grew more limbs when the lights went out

I’m never quite sure how these things begin.

Jules and I are having a conversation over the phone about sex. It’s not uncommon for us. Although it does feel a bit wrong at the moment, as we’ve both been placed on the off limits lists by the other people in our lives. We’re talking about his new girlfriend . . . candy . . . or melody . . . or some other offensive name that shouldn’t belong to a real person. [That’s overt jealousy, by the way, and something that I only allow myself to feel for Jay and the women he consumes. It’s because I love him tremendously, and know, at the same time, that I never ever want to be with him.] I ask him if he enjoys having sex with her, and he says,

Well, what do you mean? Yeah, sure, I always get off.

And I shrug at him through the receiver and close my eyes, even though I understand very clearly that the gestures, like my question, will be lost on him. He’s saying other things about her “smoking body” and offering other details about their lovemaking that I’d rather not ever revisit. But it’s an honesty that I appreciate and hold to dearly. These are the kinds of conversations I can deal with. I know how these physical things work. I try to ask him if there’s anything else there – if he sees a difference between “getting off” and sexual experiences that go beyond that. I say,

I could get off with lots of people, but I wouldn’t really want to.

We argue for awhile about sex and what it means and if physicality is always a manifestation of other deeper emotions or if it is mostly just bestial urges that we’ve attached significance to. In the end, we both agree that even though we’ve been in situations where we’ve convinced ourselves that we never want our partner to touch us again. That the idea of being under those hands or being kissed by those lips makes us want to hurl ourselves from the top of a building – we always cave at the idea of having the sex itself – however wretched it might end up being. He snorts and tells me that I am being wishy-washy in my position and that at the base of it all – I only care about getting off too. It’s really more complicated than that and has a lot to do with time and progressing and knowing how to make all the buttons work quickly – instead of fumbling around like an idiot. But he won’t understand that right now, and I can’t hardly disagree.

I tell him that I woke up this morning from a dream in which I was having an affair with one of my recent professors. It was a sexual dream, but not an erotic one, and it confuses me quite a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever had waking or sleeping fantasies about someone that I hadn’t already seen naked. And I don’t really have a crush on this person. Well, maybe an intellectual crush. Yeah, maybe that. But all Jules really wants to talk about are the sexual benefits of his new partner. I could set an egg timer for how long that fascination will last. Instead, I put on the kettle to make tea and sit and listen – because he says he’s happy and that makes me happy too.

We have to get off the phone quickly when she returns from aerobics class or church or some other unrealistic activity, but I don’t mind. I drink my tea, blackberry sage, and think about the way Jules used to kiss me when we thought we might want to make something other out of ourselves than friends.

thinking about those 72 hours in Baltimore
but i can’t post about that
no i really shouldn’t
maybe afterward
maybe later


this morning he said that his fascination took hold and continues because i am


i suppose that’s better than being an anathema or antithetic
maybe it’s the fascination that sinks in it’s teeth and pulls at my skin
once the mystery’s been revealed
all the power’s left out of the awe, the terror, the attraction to the strange and unusual
what are we – without stretches of lands that appear unknown?

white wine and independence

i'm filled with blank pages. i don't even have the desire to do it. like smoking cigarettes -- i lost the pose somewhere between here and there. or maybe it has something more to do with volition. or other things that burn from an ember and go quickly out before they're ready. i don't know. but maybe writing here will help. will get me back into the neediness of smashing out black symbols on a white page to make sense of anything and nothing and everything again.

which way to go

There wasn’t much doubt in my mind a few weeks ago. This was definitely it.

No other way.

But now I’m sick with that ache that rises straight out of the diaphragm and into the back of the throat. A sting that couldn’t be shaken by any manner of coughing. And I don’t even try to soothe the reminder into submission. It’s the evidence of leaving something good. Of letting go of people who’ve mixed themselves into my dreams – who I’ve held much too tightly – until each to each we tore the reality of the other into bits and scattered the remains into the air – inevitably racing in different directions.

I know it’s loneliness and the reeking of decisions made for all the wrong reasons that keeps me up late at night. Wishing there were a way for me to pace the floors. To make hushed phone calls or smoke a cigarette.

I haven’t even been writing all this time. My journal – filled with blank pages. And I wonder sometimes if that doesn’t stand as a metaphor for the life I’ve now chosen to protect. To serve. All blank pages and superficial scars.

. . . gaaaasssp . . .

i think i might finally be back

here's to things that take much longer than expected
cheers -- until there is time for the inevitable more later

missed you