Life in Bodies

I forgot how much horror I experienced when I was little over the whole big mess of birthing and killing and dying and eating, being parasitized and parasitizing, the awful closeness of being glued into meat and stuck in a world where meat reigns.

I forgot until yesterday! When I found a segment of tape worm on my cat and it all came rushing back. Yech. Yechyechyech. Why is it so maddening? Why does it make me shudder? I thought at first, you know, it’s just gross. But why? Is it the invasion of something else living inside you? Is it the lack of control over a space you have managed to con yourself into believing you own? I don’t think so.

I think it’s the intimacy. We pretend, especially in America, that we can sanitize our houses with Lysol, tidy up our minds with therapy, defeat fear through breathing exercises and books on how to dominate in business. We take every Eastern mystic practice and try use them against their very natures, not to bring us to acceptance of cycles, but to lock us away from the truth of our existence. We put up straw stakes in wet sand to keep us safe from the consuming touch of love, nature, death. And we haaaaaate it when something (and there is always something. Every. Single. Day.) knocks down our lovely straw houses and we are confronted once again with the fact that we live in violable, dependent meat.

I may be projecting. I may be the only person who feels this way. But I don’t think so.

Anyway. The cat has a tapeworm. I freaked out. I stood on my tiptoes and hummed and shivered and gagged with the ickiness of it. And today I feel better! More alive. More able. Ready to work, for the triumph of the cat and the defeat of the tapeworm. Ready to work for the triumph of myself and my sweet, gross meat, and the defeat of isolation and immobility.

Which is pretty annoying. I see you, God. I see you. And you’re annoying.

Life in Bodies

Back Home Again

Way Hey, New Orleans! The scintillating siren of semi-colons and sauciness has returned to the embrace of your moist folds! (Note: There should be a semi-colon in semi-colon. Not a dash. It’s just embarrassing. Like someone who advertises for Ivory soap blatantly using Irish Spring.)

I am super bummed to be back for the following reasons.

1.) It is not cold here. Turns out I feel very very powerful in the winter, in the cold specifically. Up in Minneapolis, I was polite and pleasant about the 35 to 45 Fahrenheit range but it was only when we got below 20 degrees that I started to scream into the wind. And that’s a good thing. Sorry, might not be clear. Me screaming into the wind is like a dog having a cold damp nose. On other beings, it might be a cause for concern, but when you see me do it, you give a thumbs up and a smile and say to yourself, “Gosh, she’s doing alllllright.”

2.) I was living alone in Minneapolis. My partner is friendly and pleasantly warm from being full of living blood (note: never describe him that way in front of him) but I surely to God hate to wake up next to any living thing. I like to fall asleep next to him, hate to wake up by him. It makes my thoughts go all compact and wodgey. Also, he demands respect and insists that as a human being, I shouldn’t force him to stay completely still while I put cat treats on his thighs, collarbone and elbows. I think this is unreasonable, because how else am I going to get him a handcrafted cat massage? He says he doesn’t want a cat massage, he wants to go about his day. I start crying, which I now realize may be a slight overreaction to not getting to give someone a cat based massage first thing in the morning.

3.) This is sort of a footnote to the above. In Minneapolis, there is no one who is either close enough to me, or not sufficiently scared of my vengeance to tell me I’m doing something wrong. In New Orleans there are lots of people who tell me I’m doing things wrong and I hate it.

4.) Cafes. This one is EXTREMELY petty, but pertinent to me because I’m engaged in a writing project. Up in the old frozen north, there has been a renaissance (naissance? just a naissance.) of pastry. Kouign amanns (folded sugar dough mouth-heroin), croissants, pull-aparts, Danishes that broke the mold when they left the old country, all these things are in the meanest and most paltry of cafes. In New Orleans, home of Actual French Descendants, I gnaw sadly on sugar covered bread roll.

5.) i.e. Probably The Real Reason. This is where my life is. When I’m somewhere else, where My Life is on hold, I feel better. Less afraid. Less battered by the imminent future, by the things I’m doing and failing to do, by the person I ought to be (which is who exactly?). I don’t know who that person is, but she definitely doesn’t cry because she can’t give her husband an unwanted cat massage.


When good things happen to me, people ask me if I’m happy about it. Or tell me they’re happy for me. And I have learned to nod and say yes, I am happy. But I don’t really know what that means. I know the glorious, bloody feeling of victory. I know the emptiness of peace. I know the muscle ache of laughter with my brother. I know the rushing voracious hole of anxiety. I know the awful wave of Being Wrong.

And all of that is fine! The only really nasty one is not feeling ‘happy’ and thinking you ought to!

So, no. I’m not happy to be home. And that’s okay.

Back Home Again