The Heart Is A Hunter

Many years ago I read (devoured) Carson Mculler’s The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.  The book itself was lovely, harsh, dark, like a trip into someone elses sadness.  I forgot the finer details of this book long ago.  What sticks with me still is the title.  The heart, the hunter, and the loneliness built into both.  The most effective hunter is one who holds the bow calmly, sharing breath with the prey, relaxing into the quiet, and then releasing the arrow like a whisper.  There is no room for desperation or need in this act.  It must be considered a personal right.  There is no place for guilt or regret.  All debts will eventually be collected.  You must become a part of the circle of life, you must know that at some point you will be the hunted.

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The day will come when you reach up to grab an apple off the neighbors tree, your belly still warm from the breakfast you ate, and in the sights of the predator, you will be.  She will stare at you from the feathered end of her arrow and watch as your arm extends, your pulse slow in your neck, the heart of you exposed.  Without knowing, yet somehow aware, the arrow joins the hunter with the hunted and the circle closes.  There is beauty in this, as there is in all things natural and deadly.

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I have been both predator and prey, huntress, and cowering opossum.  I have begged the universe for a sign that my heart will not always be lonely.  Whiskey nights filled with nameless animals gave way to cold mornings and unkindness.  Acceptance, fear, pain.  Critical parts of the hunt, all.

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Nothing prepared me for the day when I squinted down the shaft of my arrow and saw a hunter staring back at me, bow drawn tight, aim true, breath slow.  You taught me never to flinch, speed is my greatest ally.  And so I let go.  Without hesitation we release a mortal blow, the air ripples, and flat on our backs we sail into the mystic.

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Even the loneliest hearts harbor hope.  Even the deepest of wounds carry the dream of wholeness.  There is no protection against pain and there is no escaping fear.  All that I can do is believe that if someone like you exists in this bankrupt world, everything will be just fine.  We will do everything and hide from nothing.  We will hunt and be hunted.  You will be Romeo and I will be Juliette.

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For Travis.

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Be the.

Be the person that lies in a comatose bed, eyelids fluttering at sounds, hands reaching for the surface at the tenor of a lovers voice.  Be the lonely half that delivers pain stained beggars words to that bed side.  Be those words, beseeching, desperate, unheard, or heard but not returned.  Be the scared and love starved soul on the other side of the computer that cries because they have no love to sit beside, awake or asleep.  Be the transceiver and the emitter in a world of barriers made of keyboards and emoticons.   Be the joiner of solitary hearts, bring them together to build some sort of family, so we are less alone.  Be the movement of comrades, holding each other close, promising to never go to bed angry.  Be the change that follows behind tragedy, quiet, deep rooted in the knowing of our egg shell fragility.  Be the music makers that dig under the wall of silence in order to reach the other side of awake.  Provide the prisoners with soul food.  Be a bringer of joy to all the people, the awkward, the reserved, the freaky, the lonely, the bold, the frightened, and the self loathing.  Be her.  Be him.  Be You.  And, please, to whomever is listening up there, be the road that leads David back home.

divingkisshttps://soundcloud.com/saqi/come-home

To you, from me.

An Open Letter to the Fellas,

I remember the first time my childish eyes beheld a boy, one that I would crave.  That odd moment one has that lives forever, not only in the mind but in the nose and ears, the hands and the lower belly.  The mind holds your face, a pimple or two, eyes wide, a sprig of brown hair.  In my nose the scent of salt water, acrid, familiar.  The sounds of a boy bakers dozen, laughing and skateboard wheels screaming at the pavement.  My hands held the bottom edge of a Seaside Seagull athletics department tee, dried on the line and scratchy, softening with my sweat.  But the movement in my belly will always last, be the most acute.  I feel it now and as deeply as I did then.  I feel it every time my body sees you, then and today.  It is that thrilling pain that like an orgasm comes so fast and unexpectedly, leaving the body weakened and vulnerable to all forms of torment.   It is that Achilles heal inside of me that I endeavor the strongest to bury under miles of earth and wood.  That memory that grows distant with the hours that I pass, only to be shoved into the forefront of my mind, a car wreck, a speeding train.

I never seek you.  My eyes, ears, hands, belly, brain, look past you, pretend they see the person just to your left.  You came to me.  You make me look and sense.  And then I am lost.  My weakness realized and you strike.  That quiet moment in my bed when my armor is balled up at the base of my bed.  I have barely slept because you are the first man I have let stay over and the excitement and inconvenience of it has my mind and body rearranged.  It was like you trained your whole life to acquire this killing precision.  Not a word or movement out of place.  And so badly I want to believe.  When you hold so much back and work diligently to protect the spark that flickers, a secret part of you prays that some brave man with see it and strike his candle.  You want to be illuminated just as desperately as you fear the light.  So that moment is one of great risk.  Usually it passes with little fan fair.  The walls hold and the banner men keep the war outside.

A women never wants to gut the man she desires.  She wants him whole and godly.  She wants to feed him and see his muscles jump with heat.  I wonder what a man wants from the women.  I feel like the mounted head on a cabin wall.  I feel like the idiot who does not see.  But the truth is, I do.  I see what you are doing and I let you do it any way because in that moment I want nothing of safe.

Truth is not only in the realness, it is also in the consideration of what can be damaged.  We are strong.  We hold the world in our hearts.  But like all stone fortresses, it is the cracks, not the mortar, that define our strength.  Knowing how to get in and ravage does not mean that you should.  Don’t we serve you better intact?

Today I open my windows and ask that if you don’t want to walk a while with me then please let me where you found me.  I was fine then and will continue on far better knowing that I am wanted, not by you, but by the dream of someone like you, someone in the future that wants to not only come inside, but someone who wants to stay.

Dear Matt,

This letter has lived inside of my body for almost a decade.   It’s the words that stream behind my eyes as I unsuccessfully search for sleep.  It’s the box of memorabilia that I pack from town to town and never open.  It’s the aging wound that gapes under even the slightest touch.  I saw you last night in my dream, your pants just inches too short, your Converse feet like pontoons compared to the rest of you.  You were always pale, even in summer, and seemed forever cold.  And I knew.  That I needed to write this.

I was on a bar stool in a long dead bar, next to a long gone boyfriend, when someone casually mentioned that a body had been found at 2nd point.  A suicide.  The son of the middle school principle.  Broadway Middle School.  My middle school.  My former principle.  My friend.  I knew it was you, I have never been more sure of anything.  My boyfriend laughed, you don’t know this kid, don’t be so dramatic.  But I knew it was you.  Without even knowing it at the time I had already felt your flame snuffed.  You were gone to me long before.  Those late night calls, the hang ups, the paranoid messages, and the rumors.  I was past you and tired of the shit.

My senior year of high school was a mixture of thrilling personal discoveries and melancholy, with you and Danny as my sole comrades.  Remember when you shaved my head?  I took one look at myself in your parents bathroom mirror and sobbed.  You brushed the hair off my shoulders, laughed, and said you liked it.  Maybe you made me fried rice.  Maybe we watched Friday, for the 79th time.  Maybe we drank jacked beers, listening for the soft pat of your moms imminent arrival.  I was more alone than I had ever been, but you never let me know it.  I always had partners in whatever crime I created.  You, me, and Danny.  You two boys insulated me from my insane home life and the loneliness of teenager-hood.    I was years away from finding the family that cradles me now and miles away from the place I now call home.  Aside from a few big booms, my body is intact and my heart is vibrant.  And you are dead.

A few of the surfers wondered about the bike that sat, untouched, in the surf parking lot.  Eventually someone realized you were gone.  And then put two and two together.  That stretch of coast is a sacred place to many who live in Seaside.  Many of my memories have it in the background.  The Point is a hostile and majestic country where we surf, build fires, fight, fall in love, and die.  I am unable to go to this place without experiencing a true rainbow of emotions.  It is a touch point of all things in my life.  And you chose this as the last earthly setting in yours.

I suppose that I am angry.  You broke my heart in a way that will never be repaired.  I will never stop missing you.  Even though, if you were still alive we would have lost touch long ago.  I just felt better knowing  you were there, somewhere.  Your skinny, alder like limbs folded into each other.  You seemed like an origami man.  All angles and edges.  And now you are bones.  And dirt.

I understand.  I am angry, but I understand.  Your life was too much to bare.  The weight was heavy and your road seemed too long.  And you chose to end the suffering.   Sometimes I dream about you.  I can see you so clearly.  And it fucking hurts.  And I miss you.  And I love you Matt.  I always did.

-Josi

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Battle Cry

I have been meaning to do a little something on here about our political scene at the moment.  Every time I log on with the intention to do so I realize that I really don’t have anything new or unique to say on the topic.  The outlandish amount of ‘memes’ and the like concerning our presidential candidates are suffocating.   The Romney/Ryan ticket is, well, a one way ticket back in time.  The Obama/Biden ticket is weather worn and riddled with disenfranchised head bowing.  Neither have much a leg to stand on at best and at worst, both have a nearly insurmountable pile shit waiting like a bloated dead body in the oval office.  I am at the point where I just hope that I don’t loose my right to choose what I do with my vagina.  The bar on our civil liberties is so low at this point that I can only hope to be able to slip one unruly pubic hair underneath it.   It is an alien feeling, this hemming in of collective social and intellectual growth.  The country that I was raised in was racing towards racial and sexual equality, higher education, and freedoms aplenty.  And though I am loathe to hop on the fear bandwagon, I won’t deny an icky feeling of worry is setting in.  I know how powerful our country is when united on a topic.  I also know that we are being fed so many tasty bits of distraction so as to prevent any kind of oneness amongst us.  It is hard to not think that there is a bigger animal orchestrating a coup of not only our government proper but of our humanity as well.  It used to be live and let live.  Now we feast on each others differences, using the carnage as a reason to withdraw further in the splinter cells of ignorance.  Why in this day do we even speak of marriage as some sacred union under god?  It was a shame that our parents barely suffered through, like theirs before them.  My generation is trying to take a broken, empty hearted institution and give it some new life.  Shake off all of the detritus of yore and marry the person you love.  What a miracle of life that this crusty, almost meaningless idea has been given a second chance by a group of people who are willing to fight for the right to marry?  It is this battle that has reminded me why someday I want to walk the isle.  Because god knows I wasn’t inspired to marriage by the lack luster shams that I grew up witness to.

We go forward with technologies that cleave us from our fellow man, we rocket untold monies into space while the future cosmonauts sit in stuffed classrooms with ancient books and one harried teacher, we sit by while talking puppets convince us to hate the hillbillies in the south or the liberal faggots in the north,  we turn off our compassion because we are told it will do no good.  When I close my eyes and the veil falls I way I am reminded that through us runs a common thread.  We as women fought for our freedoms, we as men armed ourselves and died to preserve our freedoms, we as the young generations pushed and pushed until our music rang out, our sexuality ran sweetly through the streets, our dreams were allowed to burn so bright that the sound of freedom heated up every breath.  I am tired of fighting but that doesn’t mean that the battle is won.  We are all tired.  But this is when it matters the most.  We have got to keep pushing or every inch will be taken by back by the angry lonely souls who see nothing but silver and gold.  This is our battlefield, this is our fucking house, and I will not sit by, sedated by rhetoric, and watch it burn.  You don’t need to grab a pitchfork and march on city hall, though the sight would bring me joy.  What you need to do is pick a fight with any motherfucker out there that even thinks of messing with your humanity or the humanity of your neighbor.  We have been fighting for our rights since the first ship hit the shores of America.  Nothing has changed.  And we will keep fighting.  Because our freedoms were, are, and always will be worth it.  Get off your computers, go outside, and show some kindness to someone who needs it.  Especially if that someone is not like you.

Shoots and Ladders

Before some fool let me know that you boys have dicks, I thought the only thing you carried was a stick, and me, a doll.

It was then or shortly after that I knew we where never going to be on the same side.

There was never again to be balance.  However slight the difference, one side would always be raised by the weight of the other.

When I was on top…

He would be at the bottom.  Climbing up.

I stand there, looking down at you, looking up.  And I can’t help but think, will we ever stand on even ground.  Play by the same rules.  Fight for the same prize.

We know that a game requires two or more, must be 8 years to play, must be this tall to ride.  What the instructions neglected to impart is how bad it feels to win and how glorious loosing will be.

And like age and like our childhood boardgames and like all things ancient and profane, we tire of paying it any mind.  This love game. So the rules change.  Our actions cloud with the residue of time.  We become opaque.  And again, the game is renewed.

Now I find that the rules bend just like my back.  Real or a lie, the word is only a sound made by people who sadly believe they have mastered a game created by gods who crave folly like humans crave love.

What fools we mortals be.  The pawns in a war of our own making.  Slaves to an invisible master.

Delayed

“Till now, man has been up Against Nature; from now on he will be up against his own nature.” ~ Dennis Gabor

14 I Can’t Quit You Baby

But I liked the whole fate thing, or thought I did.  Destiny- the idea of having one took away from accountability, which I wanted in a deep and desperate way.  According to this philosophy, it didn’t matter what you did, how you screwed up- things worked out the way they were supposed to.

He’d look up at me, turn onto his back with a sigh and look at me, an extremity of tenderness filling his face, and say,”I want to live a life filled with regret.”  I thought it was a beautiful thing for a twenty two year old man to say.

Out in the park, across the bay from the foam and bubble gum colored structures on the islands, I’d sit with the Cuban gents, these men who were going nowhere, and let the afternoon get huge around us.  Each afternoon the sky put on another of its theatrical productions, promoting the idea that amassing then clearing everything away was the solution to all ills.

“You wanna know what love is?”

“Sure, tell us you a-hole.”

“Love is bucket on your head, banged by a bully.  You all know that.”

I write about you and you become this girl without restraints or difficulties.  There’s nothing off-key between us except what happens in the story.

“Is there anything you want to do?  Instead of take drugs and write for a newspaper?”

“Sure, I want to live on a bluff and see two kinds of weather at once and I’d like to insert myself head down into the heart of the women I love.”

“That wouldn’t do it for me.”

“What would?”

If you left me, I would fade out like a dying Indian Tribe.  I’d disappear like the ivory-billed woodpecker.  They’d see me, near the end, standing down on Calle Cinquo wearing one of your nightgowns, explaining things to the traffic.

01 Howlin’ For My Baby

Despite everything, she saw herself as a fortunate person.  Someone born under a lucky star.  You wouldn’t think a person angry all the time would think of herself that way, but she did.  I saw myself that way too.

(Words screwed and chopped from “Three Delays” by Charlie Smith.  Images harvested from far and winding cyber roads.  Tracks are highlighted blue.  Click to play, ctrl click to download.  All songs are for your listening and downloading pleasures,  so please do.)

Confidence Confidential

Whether I like it or not, writing is personal.  As hard as I try to keep it apart from my state of mind, there it is.  Me.  All up in that shit.  This post is going to be about me today.  Not gonna fight it y’all…

I had the good fortune recently of coming across some old photos of the Mustang in high school.  Wow.  What a pioneer!  Malcolm X hat, Cross Color pants, crop top, shell toed Adidas.  Mix in a shaved head with a septum ring and you have one hell of a beacon of strange.  And I wondered why I had no friends in my hick-a-dick township.  In all honesty it was a miracle I made it out alive.  I was perfectly sure that I was meant to be born black and in the band SWV, not white in a town that should have been sponsored by Keds and/or Wrangler.  After some rumination on the hows and whys of my colorful teenagerhood I came to this conclusion.  I have lived my life back to front.  I started out in a place that didn’t understand me and because of that I adapted into a unit of one.  I was the judge and jury of my life.  The more I got fucked with the more I knew that I was doing the right thing.  I was CONFIDENT!  In a time when my peers wouldn’t even buy a pair of socks without the approval of all the Heathers, I would spend my weekends hunting matching jumpsuits and mothy old fur coats.  I believed in what I was doing.  It made more sense than my family and school life.  It made me feel special that people stared at me, even if the stares were hard and unforgiving.  Any press, right?  The odd part is that at some undefined point I stopped.  I find myself buying socks and wondering if my friends will dig ’em.  The things that guided me to this glorious life have become funny historical anecdotes.  Confidence and conviction elude me like that mythical 1986 pure white with kelly green piping Adidas jumpsuit I coveted so fiercely in my formative years.  Most kids build themselves into powerhouses, not the other way around.  Can’t I do anything the normal way?  Now do not fear loyal readers!  I am excited by this realization.  I have been wondering what evil little goblin has been behind my gray state of mind as of late.  Now that I know what needs to be done, I can do it.  All I need to do is look back at the gangster me and be reminded that I can pop and lock the crap out of my life if I want to.  And so can you mon amour.  We are not just catering to our inner child, we are cultivating our outer child.  It is OK to cry in the grocery store because you don’t get to eat the candy bar before you pay.  Feel good.  Do what ever it takes.  Or just eat the thing and pay later.  I know I will. And if you are real good, one of these days I will post some old photos and you can have a hearty laugh on me.

Rock the boat bitches!

A Tale of Sound

Once upon a time there was a little girl.  She had one dad who said “Because I said so” and one aunt who fed her quartered and peeled grapefruit pieces.  I could tell you about the metropolis of imaginary friends she had but there is no time for that now.  As she got older the “I said so”s turned into silence, the dad was afraid of little girls who get bigger.  And the grapefruit was replaced with long drives that peeled and quartered the small town where she lived, the aunt refused to loose a minute because little girls get bigger.  The fatherly silence was filled by the aunties words of wisdom, so the girl barely noticed the quiet.  The city of ghost friends who only she knew stayed with her, never becoming any more alive or any less real.  All of the silence from her lost family and her mute school mates became normal, when they did talk it was too loud and the girl’s ears would ring.  Only when she shut the door on the world and opened up a cassette tape did the noise start to make sense.

Years passed by and she got bigger.  Little girls who get bigger always find other little girls who are getting bigger too.  This girl found a town of real live girls whose voices calmed her, voices that put the city of ghosts to sleep.  As the days passed she no longer needed silence to feel safe, she wanted LIFE!  She craved boys and mothers, kisses and secrets, the world ripped itself open and revealed something pretty.  There was breath that smelled of candy and whispered of joys untold.  And yet, dear reader, we know that it’s those cravings that while they open the world they also let in the monsters.  Even the chorus of her new found angels couldn’t keep her safe all of the time.

Once the girl was full grown and her life was a symphony of highs and lows, she found herself dreaming of tranquility.  She dreamt of the silent father and the generous aunt.  They had been drowned out by the glamor of sound and she longed for their kind quiet.  She knew that in order to find true happiness she would need to find them again and show them how peaceful they were.

With the help of both her real and imaginary friends she put one foot on the path towards home.  There was only one way to get there and it meant walking back exactly the way she came.  The journey took 33 years but the road was always clear and the company keep her fearless.  On the day she made it to her childhood home it rained so much that the house was starting to float away.  After walking for 33 years she had no energy left to run for the stoop.  The house shifted and swayed.  It bobbed and rolled on the water almost in reach.  She was about to give up hope, part of her already had, when she glimpsed her father in the window.  He was sitting on the couch waiting for her to come home.  So she swam.