Sick

I got a fever that makes my feet ache when the ibuprofen wears off. I expect it’s from moving the desk and couch and all in the pouring sub-tropical rain. I thought I got off scot free, sickness wise, just maybe wrenched my lower back a bit. That back pain spread though, up into the shoulders, down into the thighs and calves. Fever. My eyes are boiling gently in their sockets.

We have to be out of here by midnight tomorrow. I am choosing to not think about that, because snivelling will be a sure result and I can’t afford to lose water.

It is not the leaving of this place that does me in. It’s the sheer amount of unnaturally tiny boxes of miscellaneous crap that I know I must cart off to the storage unit tomorrow. I can almost hear my joints whimpering.

In spite of said fever, which I managed to pretend for a good two days was nothing but sore muscles, I’ve managed to record a Klezmer EP, play in a pick up band with some Frenchmen and tall smoothie of a professional swing dancer, dance with a ginger who ended that dance by basically doing a controlled leg sweep and forcing me to cling to him like a sloth to a rocking chair, grace many fortunate individuals who cross my path with my mysterious (delirious) gaze, and cry on the street. (Fever.) The crying on the street was highlighted by two photographers coming along and commenting on the potential of the shot I would make. “There, look at that, that’d be a great shot, see how she contrasts with the awning? ah but she looks too sad, off we go!” I eyeballed them into the distance.

The sentence “I have a fever,” seems wrong. I feel like all my bits have little individual fevers. My nose has a nose fever. My neck and chest have their own fever. My knees.

QUICK SOMETHING FUNNY AND/OR SELF-DEPRECATING.

Nope. Maybe next time.

 

Sick

Tiny Pep Talk

It is the pulling away and the hiding that hurt us longest. Painful emotions are ephemeral, if, IF, we let them go through us. But we are so afraid of pain and what it will do to us, of the changes it may wreak, that we slam the doors closed to hide from it and in so doing, seem to store it somewhere, like a Who’s Who honeycomb of suck. You can enjoy your bad emotions. I think maybe if you set out to enjoy them, that doesn’t work. I’ve tried that and you just get in deeper. “Hahah! I will just be a decadent, Marquis De Sade, nihilist type individual! I will embrace pain and then nothing will be able to hurt me!” Wrong. Wrongwrong, and then you invite in more pain, which you still haven’t figured out how to manage and the Sucky Honeycomb gets more and more full until you begin to realise that you don’t have access to certain parts of your body anymore. Your breath and your consciousness won’t go there. It is Forbidden Territories, There Thar Be Dragons. So you live in ever decreasing space in your own body so you won’t have to think about What You Did At That Party. Or Why I Feel Funny When I Look At Other Boys.

Or The Time I Stole That Knitted Snail From Kindergarten and Kept It In My Closet For Six Years.

And it makes you tired! So tired. It’s so much work to hide things from yourself. Don’t bother. Be honest, with yourself if with no one else. It’s okay for you to be anything that you are. I still love you.

 

Tiny Pep Talk

Moving

Is what we are doing. We are movin’ out. *cue that song, probably called Moving Out, from the eighties. Yes. The annoying one*

Our house is a massive, high ceiling-ed, gorgeous, mouse and mould infested palace with a broken cat statue out front, well graffitied in flowers and suns. The backyard is a jungle. There is a bird of paradise and creeping vines that bloom in bright yellow, lavender and mint that I planted at the expense of my poor itchy skin. An empty lot on one side that grows over within a week. A broken hacienda sort of affair on the other side, with a green balcony and the vine octopusing over it. A wheelchair and a chessboard on the broken deck. Beads, of course, because this is New Orleans. I love this house, despite its trials. Despite the way the hall floor was collapsing for awhile. Despite the mouse poo daily discovered in new and exciting places. Despite the itinerant pothead saxophonist living on our couch. Despite the way our room is both colder in winter and hotter in summer than it is outside.

You know what? We can move. That’s okay. That’s great. But this will always be the first house I lived in with Aaron. It will always be the place of our courtship, of me fleeing every morning and being sucked back by evening no matter how I tried to talk myself out of it. This is the house I drove to at one in the morning to return a shirt to him so I could have an (admittedly thin) pretext for seeing him without confessing how much I wanted to and thus, in my mind, dangerously exposing myself. I’ve had a lot of drinks in this house. We cooked together on its wide counters together. I did not discover that a turtle lived in the upstairs passage for a good four months after I began to live here. I did not manage to feed said turtle (Millie, a retiring creature) until a few days ago, when she consented to take a spinach leaf from me with her neat turtle tongue.

There is a medical complex going up near this neighbourhood. This, the oldest black-owned neighbourhood in America. This, this neighbourhood, the acknowledged birthplace of jazz. Middle class families are moving in, fixing up, making it tidy. Slowly, it is becoming a Disneyfication of itself. The colours remain, the beads and the architecture, but the quality that makes it special is the people who live here and they are being forced out. Priced out, really. And when people are being priced out, musicians are some of the first to go. This house has been home, however temporary, to at least ten different musicians just since my advent. A little under a year. Goodbye, dear house. Thank you.

 

 

 

Moving

Our Room

We have to leave our house in two weeks and it was the first place I lived with Aaron so here is a GENYOUINE VIDEO PROOF that it was real and we lived here and it was cool. I tried to do you a whole long video but was too lazy to get out of bed for most of it, so it turned out that all of that was too mumbly and crackly to be comprehood.

 

Our Room

The right tone

I got home from Winnsboro, Louisiana to find the lilies she had bought herself were drooping from lack of water.  Well, to be precise, I got home from the bar at 4am after a two hour traffic jam. I clipped the stem of the largest and most snaggle-toothed blooms and they seem now to be flourishing while their sisters wilt away like a couple of overwrought debutantes calling off the cotillion.  While another set of twins refuse to reveal themselves to the world, locked in the dream of childhood.  This is hardly even a comparison, flowers and debutantes might as well be interchangeable synonyms.

Also clipping the stem has tidied up the bouquet, imho.

The feather doesn’t hurt either (he agreed with himself privately, parenthetically,  in type, on the internet)

When I woke up this morning I was thinking of you, my beloved, and a genuine shock of inspiration grabbed me by the brain and said, “hijack her wordpress account, she’ll totally understand, as long as it has the right tone.”  I know this to be the voice of God moving through me because parts of my brain are cowering on the other side of my mind.  And the lazy part of me is trying to coax those parts into a voting quorum with false arguments that can be reduced to: you should respect her virtual space by going back to sleep-possibly masturbating first.

So it’s against my nature I am doing this.  Moving in faith is something I’m getting used to.  Bike riding is a pretty good analogy, even down to the first time you crash really bad and are a little afraid to get back on.  Your faith is a new kind of energy in my life.  It has changed the rhetoric of my day to day.  It’s a fact of you and a beautiful fact of our life.  It is a font of stillness and compassion that wants me to drink long and deeply.  It is always there, for everybody, forever.  It is something I still don’t feel comfortable talking about.  I’m not sure if I’m talking about God, or faith in general, or your faith.  I’m not sure if they’re separate things.  But I do know that you will understand the confusion of sensual and spiritual joy that drives me.

Because I know that you know that every single letter contains a poem to you, beloved.  I get to imagine you writing this as I write it.  And the math is elegant and simple.  The longer and more beautiful this poem, so my joy increases. (At this point I just started blubbering thinking about how how our life can be a poem and kittens and trainwreck, and then I realized I stink and I’m supposed to go busk)

IMG_0009

Note: Aaron merely wrote this as a draft, informed me of it, and let me do with it as I chose. I was the one that posted it.

The right tone

Transitions

Edited to include photos.

Transitions. I suck at them. Even small ones. That’s a big part of why I spent the first 7 years of my adult life moving every chance I had. To try and scour out my fear of liminal states.That didn’t work too terribly well, it just made me afraid of myself as a harsh and arbitrary mistress in addition to being afraid of liminal states.

  There’s a quote from The Places That Scare You. She was mildly complaining to her Buddhist teacher that she had trouble being in transition and he looked at her blankly and said “You’re always in transition. Once you figure that out you’ll be fine.”

  So I guess as long as you know that you’re not secure and you don’t mind not being secure, everything is okay.

We got back from Minneapolis yesterday afternoon. It’s hot here and smells like growing things, a smell I hate and have always hated. I don’t always understand things until I say them out loud, and yesterday I said out loud, “I associate the smell of spring with violence.”

“Physical violence or just the violence of the living?”

“Both.”

He said, “I think you have a lot of heat. I like that growing smell, it makes me get out and do things. It makes me rrrrrrrrh! Mrr! Arh! It makes me want to fight things. You’re already there all the time.”

I am. I regularly want to fight things and the sensation that the entire planet wants to fight too is unnerving. I’ve learned though, that as in a storm, everything feels worse from inside the house. Once you are out in the rain, out in the peculiar violence of grass growing, it’s not that it’s less but that you are a part of it. The separation magnifies fear. It can be so hard to go outside though, you are so cozy and hermit crab in your little room, that it is a positive act of heroism to open the door. And once you do you feel okay! Not great, necessarily. Not all better. But no longer like you’re going to burst, or cry, or have your whole body spiral down into your own belly button from sheer strangeness.

  We rode bikes along the greenway to the grocery store. The greenway looks like the future. It is an asphalt path winding between abandoned hospital buildings and barbed wire fences, brand new beer/bicycle shops and dazed empty fields. Sometimes there is a subterranean canal. Sometimes there are houses and strangers on porches, although I suppose they are on their own damn porches and so I am the stranger. There is someone in this city who spray paints manicured monster hands on those abandoned buildings in pink and green, sometimes with hand bags in them, or the words, “You go girl.” I suspect it’s advertising, but I want it not to be so I don’t look it up.

There was a Rumi poem I read on the train, about not squandering yourself on distractions, so that your longing for the divine will remain “rich and musky.” Everything smells like that, like it’s getting stronger, and building up and has no release valve. There will be a storm.

This morning was strange too. I slept in just the sheet, and dreamed about being so tired I was tipping over, but staying awake (in the dream) to hunt for giant tree turtles. I think it is very unfair to dream that you’re tired while you are asleep.

  I woke and sat up and did my practice right away. I had a mission to get up and out, onto the bike again, but I waited too long and lapsed back into bed because I was trying to want things that I didn’t. Silly small self deceptions can do us in just as bad as big ones. Figure out what you want and want that.

I managed to get out eventually, by limiting the horizon of things to do. Water. I needed to buy water, because our tap water is a little suspect. I went, I bought water, and en route I was mugged by a bouquet of lilies. I brought lilies into my parents’ house last year for Easter, and it was by them that one of our cats died. Here there are no animals and so I will have flowers, even if they make me think on death or fault.

  I took clothes to Goodwill and tried to find flippy floppies (hot. hot hot hot here. hot.) but to no avail. I had smiled at the security guards as I came in and one of them came prowling up to me in the shoe aisle, asking my name and where I stayed and if it were with my boyfriend. “Husband,” I respond sunnily. (Legally, a lie, but for all intents and purposes the truth.) He is hurt, disgruntled, says, “I was gonna try and see you.” What a mess. If you don’t smile, you’re a jerk, if you smile you’re inviting attention and are a tease. I tried not to feel guilty and succeeded after a minute. What business is it of his? I may smile as I please and have it mean nothing except that I’m happy. You can tell from this tirade that I still feel uneasy in myself about the whole exchange.

  As I left (flipflopless) I veered briefly and with great concentration into evening gowns while he passed me by and then slunk to my car.

  There was a plastic water bottle of sourdough starter in my backseat that I’d forgotten for about a month. I scavenged it out looking for things to give away. Aaron and I had a sort of, hmm, audition? Hanging out? People trying to steal our songs? Some sort of something with a couple in Uptown, who kindly gave me the starter, which I naturally forgot, because you can’t remember everything after all. I had the good sense to open it, not actually in the car, but neither having got out of the car. It exploded, as I knew but hoped it wouldn’t. The inside of my car door is spackled now. 

  I went to Flora’s Cafe then, to try and write all this to you, but I met Jones. She’s from New Jersey and we know each other because she was walking down my block one day with a ukulele on her back and one of my neighbours buttonholed her and brought her into my backyard where I was standing over burning yard waste, like an extra from Wuthering Heights with a hoe in my hand and a cigarette in my mouth and a flowered dress flapping around my ankles. He knew we were a musical household and as such decided that all passing musicians should be brought to us. I gave her tea and a ride to a hostel and so we are friends now. Ali, who owns Flora, loves Jones and he brought us free burritos and salad. We had both eaten but I am loathe to refuse kindness and Jones is not possessed of a loud voice so we sat down to our burritos. Mohammad, Ali’s friend, brought out the detached hood of a car painted with an enormous phoenix and leaned it against the dumpster. Jones and I went to examine it. He may have managed to pawn it off on her, I left before that business was completed. Ali prodded Mohammad to sit down with us, “between two angels,” with a box of food Mohammad did not want. “Ali, I have told you, I have told you, I just ate, I’m not hungry, you must ask first.” Ali picks up the fork, spears a piece of chicken and puts it gently but firmly between Mohammad’s lips. They complain at each other, with Jones and I as stage props for their interdependent monologues. Mohammad pronounces google as “googly.” I am charmed, but I want to work, so I eat half my burrito and get a box. I am labeled as ungrateful by Ali. I call him a grandmother. I go get a box, and he gives me a kiss, and I give Jones a kiss, and I run away.

  I went home and managed to mostly avoid all the musicians in the living room. I put the lilies in a vase and our room tastes green now. I overheard that a bartender at Mag’s has killed himself. The one with the moustache. I express regret and am told that he was a racist and probably killed himself because he couldn’t take being racist anymore. I bite my tongue. Better to not be racist but I won’t celebrate a suicide, no, never.

  Now I am at Envie, a cafe bar with a bald barista in a mesh poncho presiding. I’ll go soon, Aaron is playing a show and I’ll be playing on the street til late and when he’s done we’ll be joined again to go home to our hot green bedroom to try not to hear the dryer squeaking and to look into each other’s eyes as often as we can muster the courage to be loved.

 

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Transitions