Morning Pages

Current Jam: “Distress Signal,” Tiger’s Jaw

Do you ever feel like, if you had fewer interests, your life would be so much easier to construct? If you could just narrow down the things you thought were cool, things that you wanted to try your hand at, you would be a more complete person?

I apologize in advance: this post will come off as manic stream-of-consciousness, much like an insane person blabbering at a cornhusk doll… or maybe a can opener. Since my brain is still technically on the a.m. side of things, I’m treating this post like a batch of morning pages, a la The Artist’s Way.

For a long time I’ve been having, for lack of a better description, a crisis of creativity. I’ve been super busy, not carving out enough time to nurture some self-discovery and imaginative exploration, but yatta yatta yatta – I’m always super busy. I heap commitment after commitment onto my schedule, until I feel like Stretch Armstrong, but on the verge of cracking because instead of staying limber, he’s been left in the blistering heat in the backseat of a black Toyota Camry in Orlando for three months. So it constantly catches up to me. I’m frequently anxious, stressed, unsatisfied, exhausted, and ultimately guilty because I do this to myself.

There isn’t enough time or space or energy to dive into all the things I find fascinating. What’s worse, the second I express a particular interest to someone, I’m usually met with a two-fold experience: 1) oh you are? Well what do you think about *insert commonly known or obscure – how would I know which is which? – practitioner of said craft*, and 2) judgment when I admit that no, I haven’t.

I was helping set up stuff for a local play the other night. I’m not an actor, not much of a live theater goer, but a lot of my friends here are, and why wouldn’t I support them? At one point, Ralph asked me if I was an “artsy” person… not only did I not know how to respond, but before I could stammer out an ineffective answer, Sheryl brightly dropped in, exclaiming that no! Of course I wasn’t! Ralph was simply fooled by my nerd specs and my beanie…

I know Sheryl. She doesn’t mean any harm when she makes comments like that. I think at worst she suffers from a head-mouth disconnect, her foot perpetually skirting her lips. I love her, she’s a great person. Now, with all that preamble shoved your way: what the hell, man??

Ok, ok, I know I’m really sensitive about that shit. I suffer from an insane amount of fragile, barely-held together, pride. But it really made me wonder what kind of facade I present to the outside world. I work at a fucking art museum, for chrissakes, yet I’m perceived as what?

And ok, ok, I shouldn’t give a good god damn what people think of me. Just because I don’t flaunt my poetry, my prose, my doodles, the various projects I undertake or burgeoning ideas for new ones, doesn’t mean I don’t wade in creative juices (…ew…). But, I *do* care what my friends think…. I care what my family, my amours, think. And often, I feel as though I’m surrounded with people who are smart as shit, confident, and simultaneously, incredibly judgmental. Which is messed up, man. Why would I show you anything I try to do? The act of creation is submitting to an intense level of vulnerability, and you’re gonna shower that tentativity (yes I just made up that word), with snarky commentary? Fuck that.

I post on here, but even that tenacity has wavered so much lately that I often consider the point of this thing. What’s its purpose, for me? It used to serve one, but I’m not sure that it does anymore. My albeit brief foray into online publishing (here and beyond) hasn’t yielded much in the self-affirmation department (though I suppose it has – ever so slightly – improved my vocabulary, grammar, and vernacular intent).

Sometimes I’m no better, either. I feel that inclination to judge, and not only do I struggle to quell it, but again I feel guilt because I try to be an empathetic person, and that combination? That critical predilection? It does not bravery make, it does not bravado inspire.

And then I think, there’s more to it than this, just this, this sense of imposteriness. It must be some manifestation of life’s regrets as I make the final lap in this decade (the big 3-0 is right around the corner, less than 3 weeks out). I regret not finding a niche when youth made failure (more) acceptable. Sometimes I look at the wrinkles encroaching on my plump, freckled, otherwise youthful visage and wonder if I’d been less lazy, less prone to fantasy (which seems to yield little tangible fruit), and more prone to action, to swagger, to unabashed self-confidence in the face of limited artistic skill, if I’d be happier, more fulfilled, less anxious. If I’d feel better equipped to lead the life I dream of (in which I’m generally like 5 inches taller and don breezy boho inspired frocks that don’t actually swallow my petiteness whole). If at some point I would have untapped a uniqueness.

Yeah yeah there’s time, 30 is not 40, is no 50, 60, and so on. Don’t worry I’m self-aware enough to recognize the absurdity of this wallowing prattle. There’s limitless hope-inspiring online fodder to quell my very un-unique, accomplishment-dawdling fears (here and here, for example). As always, I just needed to get it out of my head so that I could get on with my day, i.e. be distracted from the task(s) at hand by something else, for a change. (There’s your purpose, L’s!) Yeah… I’m not convinced. *closes laptop on a resigned shrug*

 

Random Thought: Augmented

Current Jam: “Family and Genus,” Shakey Graves

If,
If I,
If I ever wander on by
Could,
Could you,
Flag me down and beg me to
Drop what I’m doing and sit beside you

Few things matter more to me, than
when you send a song my way,
something you heard in passing that
made you think of me.

or, even better, the moment it cued on
your pandora or
your spotify or
your google play –
perhaps a spark lit, a twinkle nicked, and I came
smiling into view.
Maybe a slight skip dropped into your step, because
you thought of us suddenly sharing the same strip of sidewalk.
Sharing a memory as it’s born before us.

I’d do the same – connect to you,
wave across that tight rope of time and space and
bring you closer to me, even if it’s only for 3:23.

 

Music > Poetry?

This started out as a haiku and then it just kept going, idon’tknow.❤

Poems are stark, when
they don’t have notes to hold on-
to, don’t you think?

Lonely little words,
stuck dancing stag, without a
partner to waltz with.

You could say it’s sad,
phrases forced to soldier on.
Heartbreaking, really.

But then again, I
can’t read poetry without
humming in my heart.

Not so solo, then
are they? Supporting instead
a “silent” partner.

Leaves on wind, floating
on an invisible high
they’re singing inside.

Muses

 

trueromanceheader

 

I could look at pictures of you all afternoon or
videos. Maybe it’s
The way you stare at the camera, bare or
even when you look away. You’ve got some kind of smize and

Sinewy arms and
stark tattoos and
dimples beneath beard hair and
time ticks away and still I could
crawl over every millisecond of your exposure.

I keep thinking of Patricia Arquette in
True Romance (you know the movie, with
Christian Slater and
Elvis and
Gary Oldman – I know I never recognize him, either)
and she coos at Clarence,
“You’re so cool. You’re so cool.”

Widow peaks and
combat boots and
knuckles, wrinkled and worn despite your youth and
dirty and beautiful.

And I keep humming Tigers Jaw, that one song that Ben
sings and he coos at me
“It’s a cruel world / but it’s cool” and

You and I I think we think the
same but somehow sometimes things get trapped in the
space in between and it’s like
we talk in different dialects, but still that’s ok –
it’s cool

because you radiate in my world and I can’t explain why but
I think, I don’t know, but I think I don’t know if I could handle more of you.

Sunday Morning

“You are the leaves at my feet.
You are the hum of electric heat.”

Current Jam: “Hum,” Tigers Jaw

I’ve been craving attention. Emotional, yes, but physical too. I’m not even talking about sex, per se (though that would be nice). I’m talking about intimacy. Lying on the couch with an arm slung around me. Someone to come up behind me while I’m poring over whatever, to rub my shoulders and ask how my day went. Watching shitty TV together. I miss those little moments.

So I dunno here’s a poem about mornings and breakfast:

Wake me up gently,
quietly.
Whisper my name with your
fingertips
sliding
leisurely
down
powdered slopes.

Smile into my neck,
make me stretch.
Lengthen my limbs, pull until they
push into yours.

Skate through my hair.
Stare
at that freckle, the one
you love. The one that’s always
flirting with you,
coyly catching your eye,
winking.

Slowly sink,
drink me in.
Make a river out of me.
Make me
rush –
Gush —
ERUPTme.

Good morning, my love.
How did you sleep what did you dream?
Tell me as we
come back to earth.

I’ll make us breakfast hot coffee pressed
black just how you like it,
black as that night that snuck past us,
left us unawares, tucked, until the sun-
ny side eggs sizzle up.

What was that?
Oh of course I recall
what you like and how.
Tit for tat, mon deux,
you give to me I’ll give to you.

The Shadow

“It’s the shadowy whisper that brushes my leg
Or sends you shooting it through my brain
It’s the way you back up into my veins

it’s a cruel world / but it’s cool”

Current Jam: “Cool,” Tigers Jaw

Hey Guys, all aboard the brain train.

So, occasionally the research I do for the museum sends me down some…. ahem, cray cray rabbit holes. Case in point: I am currently digging up artists whose work falls somewhere within/around the ven diagram queer/utopian/distopian. Which eventually led me to the discovery of Greasetank. Google away for some visuals, just make sure you’re no where near impressionable youth. Because it’s some heavy shit.

WTF I love my job. I love what I do because it occasionally brings me up close and personal to alternative, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes weird, stuff. In discussing his work (and the vehement reactions against it), Greasetank references Carl Jung’s notion of “the Shadow”: “I believe there’s a largely unexplored region in the human psyche, something Jung called “the Shadow,” that many of us are reluctant to face. It isn’t pretty, but it must be examined at if we’re to gain control over it. Until we do, it exerts its influence in secret, which can lead to real-life violence of all kinds.”

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist. He’s considered the founder of analytical psychology. His concept of the Shadow is essentially how Greasetank describes it: it’s an unconscious aspect of the personality, which the ego doesn’t realize is there. It’s our internal nemesis, our “dark side.” Since we tend to ignore those ugly parts of ourselves, the shadow exists in this liminal realm of our subconscious. However, Jung also believed that “in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”

Oh how I relate to that.

So anyways here’s a poem I wrote the other night during a flurry of creative activity fueled by insomnia:

That shadow; it follows me everywhere I go.
is it mine? Perhaps so…
ohwhoamikidding I know you. Old “friend,”
you strut along side,
always toe-to-toe in stride
Each night creeping,
You prowler! Plotting, scheming.
Changing shape whilest wickedly grinning.

What are you wearing today, surreptitious self? Let’s take those
skeletons out of the closet; fuck, off the nearest shelf.
Let’s break open the wardrobe, play real-believe:

Layer after layer, apply them
thick like
caked makeup over wrinkles.
Bolt them in behind cotton and lace.
Suffocate them, choke, almost, until they’re
ready to explode.

Where are you hiding, Shadow? Bound to me, strapped fast to my throat?
Emotional ropes, you
assault my surface and below and I
let you.
let you “tease,” “misuse,” and “abuse,”
But that’s not all of me; another ruse? A store-bought brand, a copy?

What say you, Shadow? What game to play today?
Trace those trails down my cheeks, connecting black, runny dots between pleasure and pain
While you slumber in my shadow,
Head in my hands, swaying away in my haunted hotel.

You called me cold, because I wouldn’t unlock for you. You stuck, treading,
Because my swell wouldn’t break

I’m sorry, but there was too much at stake