Falling Asleep to 1990’s marketing Extravaganza Dick Tracy

The plot isn’t much to speak of
Scattered and hard to follow, but the colorful and garish
Sets, they just soothe the edges of my soul
Eyes adjusting to the darkness ahead of rest

I might always live like
A faceless wraith stalking my way
Through the avenues and alleyways
And haunted spots of anytown, USA

I liked that about the movie
How those obviously painted hulking
Concrete and steel monstrosities
Static and frozen, yet still somehow in motion

Could be a metaphor for the underbelly
Of any city, the concrete canyons of New York
The cold labyrinthine streets
Carving the wastes of Chicago

Okay, those are actually the only
Two cities that come to mind
When I think about just where
“The City” might have been based on

Not nearly enough sunshine
For the soulless sun soaked streets of LA
But I’ve always been such a sucker
For a hardboiled detective anyway

I love the two-dimensional villains
Out to get theirs at any cost
All physically deformed and amoral
Impeccably dressed in tailored suits all the same

After a day’s worth of eating shit and air pollution
Cutting two wheels across cold pavement
For a hundred bucks and some exercise
Knees that creak and wrists that ache

I think I understand
Just how busted hands
Could reach for a gun
Trading the violence wrought

On aging bones
Through toil and exhaustion
At the end of every workday
For the violence of

Striking out into the cold
Of this heartless world
To take what’s rightfully yours
Instead of what those hogs at the top say you deserve

So meet me tonight at the docks
Underneath a yellow moon peering
Indifferently though the smog
Down at streets seeped in soul and sorrow below

I’m a sultry songstress
Bruised but unbroken, just like you
Always on the same side
With a loaded .45

Pressed against my thigh
Sticking to circles of streetlight
Until the hour arrives
To slink back into the shadows

Of The City and strike
Out at its black heart
Because in this life
There are hard truths they teach us

Before we can even grow
First and foremost
We come to know
That only suckers fight fair

3.14.4.18

One.

The first time I saw you:
You were magnetic
With your cracked tooth grin
Tattoos gracing your skin
Your steel toe boot
Stomp across a scuffed
Hardwood floor painted
The color of one hundred
Midnight hours passed
In delicious summer stillness
Your eyes
Catch mine
You smile
And I smiled back
The humidity hanging
Thick in the air
Turned electric, sending
My skin tinging
For a moment
Like an alien
Sensing a kindred spirit

Two.

Two hours later
Dancing at the show
Sweaty and smiling
On the precipice
Of “punk for life”
I wonder
Just when we get
Too old for this
Fifteen years after
I screamed the words
“Young until I die!”
For the first time
The band
Right on the cusp
Of stardom, or what passes
For it down here
On this dirty living room floor
Is giving it their
Absolute all
You introduce yourself
In the sweaty afterglow
Wild hair stuffed
In a knit black beanie
Despite the summer heat.

Three.

Two years on
All fucked up
On sleeplessness and loss
And expensive liquor
Twenty-one days since
A single shotgun shell
Shattered the world
Of almost every person I know
Back home

So I came out here alone
Breaking in steel toe boots of my own
Praying to stomp my way down
Enough strange streets
Turn down enough blind curves
Walk up enough steep hills
To outrun this
Sadness swallowing sadness

We share a drink
And a fierce affinity
For one another
Intelligent eyes
Growing harder
And harder
I look at you
And see a mirror.

Four.

You are my friend
And one of the
Best and brightest
I know
Sitting in your parking spot
Making the most
Of our small hours
Before the dawn

I wouldn’t go back now
To visit those hours
Inhabit those shed skins
But I wish
I could visit
To hear the grace
Of your laugh
And the light
Behind your eyes
One more time

Five.

The sharpness in
Your words matches
The razor glint
In your eyes
I’ve seen that malevolent
Glow pouring out of my
Own skull, tasted that venom
Dripping out of my mouth
So many times before

Blessed as we are
With this curse
Brilliant minds, that move too fast
And suspicion to match it
Paranoid thoughts pushing
A soul past the red line
Like the time
Our friend kissed
That boy who
Wasn’t your boyfriend
But you wanted him to be
Even though you claimed
It was all no big deal
Later.

You sent a text
To our other friend
Telling her you hoped
Her clit shriveled
And fell off

“Goddamn, girl.
I wish you hadn’t said that.”

“What?
She fucked me over
And now she doesn’t
Deserve to ever
Feel pleasure again
I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Like it was the most rational thought in the world

I shuffled my feet nervously
Beneath the table
Reminding myself
To never get on your bad side
After all
We are so much alike
And I been on my own shit list
For most of my life.

Six.

I have been in bed
For four days now
The diagnosis came Monday
And with it a shattering
A feeling of never being
Able to trust myself again
I could stay here
In this room
Forever
Let heart starve out
Go to oblivion
Nobody calls on the phone
And I feel a loneliness
Like I’ve never known

And then you are at the door
Pulling me up into your arms
And into the world outside my window

“Come on, let’s get something to eat
Your brain may be trying to get the best of you
But this shit doesn’t have to be a death sentence.”

Seven.

Christmas comes.
And you, Josef
And I, are all alone.
Running from the worst
Goddamn heartbreak
I ever known
And the kind of cold
That cuts to the soul.
I made the three
Of us dinner
And we ate together
Thankful for the sanctuary
Found here in one another
From the heartless
Rain of this wretched city

I didn’t take any pictures
Of that night
But now I wish I had
You were too on edge
Looking out the windows
Over your shoulder
As if some unknown enemy
Would cross Eastside Street
And knock on the door

I mostly remember trying to play off the tension
And Josef hating the movie I pirated
And with good reason
That shit was way too violent
To watch on Christmas

And I see now
All the little red flags
I should have seen back then
The Storm getting ready to rage
Suspicion bordering on madness brewing
In the world behind your eyes

Eight.

New Year’s Eve
And We’re fighting
In earnest now
Outside a bar
That I didn’t even want
To be at anyway
Feeling like a thousand
Eyes are staring at me
In judgement
And condemnation
The beginning of
A long and painful
Process of separation
From this city

The same city
We both arrived in
With such cautious hope
Once upon a time
Like shaking hands
With something waiting
To gnaw at your insides

Struggle to comprehend
The reason and rationale
Behind your wrath
But the silence
And the evasive glances
Drive the final nail
In my new year.

Call it good
And leave the party
Before the countdown
To midnight even begins
Walk the tracks
Alone all the way home
In the bitter cold
Which I like
More than rain soaking to the bone
Ring in the new year
On the phone
Sitting at my desk
Staring out the window
Whispering nervously over
The phone to my best friend in this world
Because I got a feeling
That all hell
Might be coming home
For both of us
In the year to come

Nine.

I see you crossing the street
Through the fog
Walking home alone
The rumors been swirling
Around this lonely
Little town for weeks now

We all know
But don’t know
How to hold
Or how to even sit
In proximity to your pain
And the paranoia that follows
Praying to all the gods
Above and below
For your freedom
The best lover not a one
Of us ever got to know
From sorrow
Thirst
Hunger
Want
And loneliness
To wrap you in its arms
And bring you safely home.

Ten.

You are my friend
And still one of
The best I’ve known
Pacing around in the back yard
Pointing the finger of suspicion
In every direction
We’ve all known loss before
But goddamn,
It never came to me
Quite like this
There’s a first time
For everything, I guess.

Watching the mask of sanity
Slip away not with a whimper
But with a plaintive wail
And every accusation imagined

I drive home
And want to cry
I want a flood
To fall from my eyes
To wash this city clean
From all the bitterness
And all the fights
And all the plots contrived
That drove us to this point
That we may finally sleep
Through the night

Twelve.

We sit in the sun
In the bed of my truck
Outside the storage building
Where we both rent units now
You smoke a cigarette
And we soak
In that familiar
Feeling of defeat
Staring down the barrel
Of uncertainty and instability
For the hundredth
Time in this life

When you sold
Most of your stuff
I never told you
How I raced down to Rainy Day
And begged them to sell
Your records back to me
“Look, my friend is just
In a very dark place
I’ll pay double whatever
You gave her for all this stuff
So I can keep it safe for her
Until she’s well again.”

I threw my hands up
In exasperation when the
Guy behind the counter
Offered to sell me the
One of your records I
Could even identify
For seventy dollars.

You give me your bookshelf
Saying you might come back
For it someday
Even though I know you wouldn’t
And we carry it into my unit
And I padlock the door behind us
I see the resignation
Like set deep in your eyes
And feel a morbid sense
Of relief at what
That resignation replaced.

Thirteen.

You send a text message
To my phone right before
You get in your car and drive south
Straight out of my life

“I’m sorry.
I know you did your best
And you’ve been such a good friend
I just don’t know what’s real anymore
And I have to go.”

Fourteen.

Everyone hates what happens next
All the worry
And the wishing
Praying to the gray
Sky above us
Even though we
Are no longer certain
It even listens
For you
To just
Make it out
Of this.

Fifteen.

The last time I saw you
You were scared
And all alone
Smoking a cigarette
Flying a sign at a rest stop
Outside your busted car
Somewhere along the I-5.
When I stopped to piss
I had a feeling I would
See you standing there

I said hello
Gave you fifteen dollars
Told you I loved you
I didn’t try and argue
Or even address the demons
Taken up residence
In your head

I got back in my car
Drove and drove and drove
Away from Washington
Through Oregon
Straight to California
Luna and I didn’t stop
Until Los Angeles
Where the sun finally shone above us

Standing at the observatory
above the glittering ocean
Of electric starlight
I wished for a way
For the light
To wash away
The resignation
That comes with
The knowledge
That you can love
Your friends
As hard
And as true
And as purely
As anything you have
Ever loved in your life

But sometimes that love
Is not enough
To keep a flame alive.

Untitled

12:42 AM
Drunk, but not too drunk
Just marveling at
The taste of alcohol on my tongue
After five years of
World crushing panic
Every time I tipped a bottle back

Lying in bed
With candles lit
My last great love’s
Scent lingers on the pillow
Long after the echo
Of their laughter
Exited the room

Lingering on
Like cigarette smoke
Permeating hair
Painfully aware
Of toil dragging a body down
Taste the weight of age
Gravity gripping my face
Fear the grave
Lick my lips
Taste a long kiss goodnight
With all the beauty and bitterness
Of mortality languishing on my tongue

I don’t Know What To Say

I was six years old the first time I was sexually assaulted. I can recall the majority of the details with clarity and alacrity. This is a blessing and a curse, I guess because the memories have stayed strong and present with me all these for the past three decades. I have spent the majority of my adult life wrestling with them. Like many survivors, the memories often come bursting out of me with little warning, and at inopportune times. Sometimes during the summer if I am sleeping in a room with a ceiling fan, I wake up with a start thinking it is someone’s breath on the back of my neck. I have spent much of my life in and out of various states of dissociation and bottomless rage. I have spent much of my life like I still don’t know how to say no, and often find myself intimate with individuals who know just how to exploit that.

On the other side of that survivorhood, I distinctly remember being thirteen and my male friends and I figuring out that that there was a blurred line between persistence and coercion. To our young minds, the absence of physical violence somehow differentiated us from the individuals who assaulted me years earlier. Furthering that idea, when I was fifteen, a group of boys abducted one of my friends and took her to a party where they assaulted her. This crime was never reported, but served as singular turning point in the young lives of my friends and I; a reminder of sorts of the secret truth we had always known, encoded in our young bodies: The bad men were real, and they mostly got away with what they wanted. My best friend and I walked around school carrying knives secreted away in our pockets the rest of that year, swearing that we were going to stab the one perpetrator we could identify to death the first chance we got. We never did. He went on to live a normal life until dying in a car wreck on the run from the law ten years later. I was at a party when I heard, and I laughed audibly, comfortable in the certainty that my friends and I were so different from this sorry, dead asshole.

When you are a young person, especially when you grow up in punk, you define yourself by what you are and what you are not. You delineate everyone into a clear “them” and “us”. You surround yourself with other freaks and outcasts and convince yourself you somehow live outside of the unrequited-blood soaked horrorshow that is life on this planet. My friends and I naively believed we were somehow different, all the while shutting out the voices of the women and queers in our lives who have been imploring us to just fucking listen and do better. The few deeply intimate relationships with I have had with men have been with fragile boys with fragile egos, unable in varying degrees to examine hard truths about themselves, always wondering why their lives are perpetual disasters and their exes fucking hate them. Don’t worry. I am counting my relationship to myself in there too.

I wrote letters to two of the individuals who assaulted me at the beginning of my thirties, never having the nerve to send them. Two years back, I decided to send them while trying to reconcile and change my own patterns of abusive behavior towards intimate partners. I held the naïve belief that maybe these two men would hear me out and open a dialogue and that maybe we could sort out some of this mess together. One of them responded. I obviously could not hear the tone in their voice as they composed an email, but I am fairly certain it differed very little from Brett Kavanaugh’s as they berated me, simultaneously calling me a liar and weak for still feeling the effect of their actions thirty years later. They included their phone number in the email, demanding that I call them, which I never did. I have no doubt that had we spoken on the phone, they would have sounded *exactly* like Judge Kavenaugh did on television the other day.

This individual also came out to me as trans in their email. Two days later, they committed suicide. I blamed myself for the death of another trans woman, and wondered what kind of common ground we could have found had they just listened. I wondered how similar the paths we had walked really were. I spent the next week certain their ghost was in the room with me at night and slept very little. I left my room only to eat or walk my dog. I told my friends I was sure that they would be waiting for me in hell when I died. The crushing feeling of guilt stuck with me until I thought about what an utter fucking chump move it is to hurl yourself into whatever afterlife will claim you rather than take responsibility for your actions.

My heart feels ripped out of my chest this week. My heart is broken for all the people I love who are survivors (and that is almost everyone I know.). My heart is broken for all the people I love who are raising children, especially daughters in this thresher. My heart breaks for the kids who come after us, who were supposed to inherit a better world. My heart breaks for the people I love who live the duality of being both survivor and perpetrator this week, because every person I have loved the most has endured/is capable of/has inflicted some serious harm, and we have to live the lives we’ve made and pick up the pieces. My heart breaks continuously thinking about the people who I have done harm to. My heart breaks thinking about what it is to live in a culture that benefits you so intensely that your hard-learned life lessons usually come at the expense of the people you love the most, and that is treated as normal.

I am tired. We are all tired. We are all tired and heartbroken, and I have no optimism with which to end this post, only a small body filled with venom and unwavering love for my friends doing the best they can.

Annihilating The Void.

I love my bedroom right now.

It’s warm.  I’m safe, though I wish my door locked.  I’ve always preferred to have bedroom doors that locked.  My sheets are clean.  My dog is snoring on my baby blanket next to me.  I’m in my underwear I’m splitting my time between working on a poem, and trying to write the most heartfelt apology letter I can write to a person who really deserves it.  I periodically stop what I’m doing to do push-ups.  Trying to fight through the depression fog and get back into training for real.  It’s funny, they always talk about how good exercise is for depression.  I feel like everyone neglects how hard it is to want to exercise when you’re depressed.

I feel a little lonely.  I feel content.  I feel hopeful about the future.

This morning when I woke up, the void felt like it was filling every fiber of my being, just that inescapable and inexorable emptiness that is constantly fighting to fill my body.  One of the BPD traits that I struggle the most with is a constant feeling of emptiness.  I decided to just name it.  “The Void”.  Like, if I give that sense of emptiness a name, then it I can identify it as an enemy.  After that, I can learn all of it’s weaknesses.  Once I have learned the void’s weaknesses, then I can destroy it.

In today’s mission to annihilate the void, I managed to get out of bed and go to work.  I managed to do some solidarity work.  Then I got to see my sweetie and one of my best friends for a few minutes.  After that I spent time with a new friend learning about making music.

In a few minutes, I’ll put on an episode of the twilight zone and fall asleep.  Mission accomplished.  Another day survived.

Journal 1/23/17 – BPD Confession #3.

walk-softly

I have had this taste lingering at the back of my throat for three days now, bile and bitterness. I feel like bile is trying to escape my body, crawling upwards from my stomach and out my throat. The taste is accompanied by an ever present feeling of nausea. I cannot help but wonder if my body is involuntarily responding to the state of the world we live in, sickness being met with sickness. Every now and then, as I write this I feel like my hand almost involuntarily wants to slam against the table. My body contorts in on itself. I clench my fists, and wonder if my soul isn’t so sick of this shit that it’s trying to crawl out of my skin. I feel like a monster. I think about everything and everyone that I would like to leave in destroyed ruins. The list is currently as monumental as my memory is long.

And I wonder why I don’t get invited to parties.

This morning I woke up feeling invisible, in a cold room and ink-vomiting out the most vulnerable shit I can pull out of me into these pages to hurl into the void of anonymity. I mean, isn’t that what we all want, to have our experiences seen and validated? I fancy myself an archivist, documenting my own insignificant experience of being crushed by mental illness as humanity wars, progresses, exploits itself into screaming extinction. This is what I do on my good days. The bad days, I spend in bed not writing, reading, or otherwise nourishing my soul. I spend the bad days torn between the two very distinct opposing forces. On one side of the polarity I feel completely forlorn and alone, like none of the very real sweetness and love I have experienced is has any substance to it. On the other side of that spectrum I spend, I find myself wanting to annihilate the people I love for seemingly being more happy and successful than I feel like I will ever be.

I feel abusive and hate myself into sleep filled days for this one.

Meanwhile, all these positive thinking motherfuckers talk about letting the love in, or accepting the love we think we deserve, or love trumping hate, or whatever. While they are saying this, I’m trying to remember the last time I felt any sustained amount of empathy or softness. I’m pretty sure it was Friday or Saturday when friends who were hurting needed someone. I mostly have felt lost in a swirling labyrinth of my own pain, scarcely able to notice, let alone empathize with anyone else’s. I hate myself for this as well. Gifted as I am, with a detailed memory, I can remember when sentiment and warmth practically overwhelmed me. I have a harder time remembering precisely when they rotted out of me though. I think it might have been somewhere in North Carolina, or maybe Oakland, Maybe even on the 9th Street Bridge in Minneapolis.

This is the fucking season of collective suffering too. I have been trying to remember the last time the world felt this dark for me. Maybe there is a certain privilege in that, not noticing how dire the situation is until it’s choking the life out of you. I know that is one of the big critiques I’ve heard of the anti-Trump mobilization that is currently underway; that too many of us refused to acknowledge the clear and present danger many marginalized communities have been in for a long time. I am not saying I woke up on the morning of November 9th and suddenly realized that I lived in the belly of a racist, imperialist, and misogynist horror show. I’m just saying I can’t remember the last time I saw so many people around me so hurting, and so scared.

That pain and fear is crushing me. So I stay in my room with the same two Joy Division records playing over and over, and replaying old memories over and over. My current favorites are “Times you mistreated the people you love most of all that you want to remember forever and punish yourself with.”. I compose beautiful and vulnerable apology letters that I might never send. The sound of a person I loved deeply crying into the phone at the sound of my unforgiving words replays itself over and over in the dark, taunting me, nearly drowning out the music. That phone call was years ago now. Lucky me, I still remember it clear as day. I count my blessings. I’m working on learning the lessons.

Save

Dear Talya.

It’s that time of year again, where I write about you, or write to you.  Four years ago tonight you texted me, late at night.  I didn’t answer until the next day.  By then it was too late.  I hope you at least read the reply before you went.

I still have two bottles of mead that Roth and I brewed with the last of your honey.  We brewed them in that awful haunted apartment on Grail Street that you and Adrien helped me move into. I’ll never forget the look on your face when we walked through the front door the first day and saw the acid-nightmare graffiti that the hippies who lived there before me left scrawled all over the walls.

“We need to paint all over this shit before it comes to life at night and eats you.”

We all laughed.  It was funny in that “Maybe it can’t get any worse than this” way.  There were a few months in that apartment that were alright.  I liked living alone there.  Some days I hid too much.  Some nights I was really good at keeping myself occupied.

It was sweet when Molly moved in too.  You only came over once more because the place was so creepy.  I always look at that summer now in that like they were the last few good months we had before you died.    You know how it is, when you end up dividing time in that before and after a person died way.  Everything before they died just looks pristine and feels light, even if that wasn’t actually the case.

I felt haunted by the spectre of your death and it’s aftershocks for a full year.  It manifested it self physically and I had to leave North Carolina.  When I left  North Carolina, the mead continued to ferment with Roth in the home they took me into when I got too sick to stay at Grail Street.  I came back a year later and we bottled and labeled it.  Then we spent the night we creeping around town like nocturnal fairies in the late night heat, delivering the bottles to your friends and loved ones.  I think you would have appreciated the design.  There was a lot of glitter.

I still have mine.  I haven’t drank them yet.  Whatever broke in my heart and brain in the aftermath of your passing still won’t allow me to drink alcohol, despite the fact that I maybe stayed drunk for an almost heroic three days straight in the immediate aftermath of your passing.  Now I just can’t do it.  I’ll start to feel sick and dump the rest of my bottle out.  Even last summer, I tried to drink a bottle of hard cider on the banks of the French Broad with Ed.  One of my favorite places, with a person I cherish.  I took two sips and felt nauseous.  I dumped the rest of the bottle into the the rushing water, thinking of it as an offering, and feeling comfort in the thought of all rivers leading to the Ocean.

Or worse, when the alcohol hits my bloodstream and I start to feel that sinking terror that I felt in the aftermath of your passing.  You know that gnawing, deep dark existential terror we all feel at some point.  We stare into nothing and worry that maybe just maybe, we live our lives for nothing, suffer, and then go into oblivion at the end.  There is nothing else.  No rhyme or reason, just chaos, violence, and darkness.  That feeling happened a lot after you died.

The winter after you died Adrien and I had an end of the world party for ourselves on December 21st, 2012. You know, the night all these annoying ass new age crackers were telling us that the Mayans said the world was gonna end, or change, or whatever.  It seemed like nobody could really decide which.  I wasn’t sure if I cared.  I just knew I was in pain a lot of the time and I hated everything.

We sat in my room on Grail Street.  I was cleaning.  Cobwebs lined the corners of my room.  I didn’t knock them down.  I thought of spiders as company.  I put things that had belonged to the boyfriend in boxes to throw out.  You had lived with him when you passed away.  We broke up shortly after your death.  It wasn’t sad.  I was just ready for something else, and clawing to get away from him.

After that, then I read the runes.  I can’t remember what they said.  I only remember that it was no comfort.  It thought back to a few months before you died in the summer.  The day was too hot.  You were crying alone in your room.  I had never heard anyone be in such pain.  I asked the boyfriend if he thought we should go comfort you.

“She’s fine.  She just does this sometimes.  I’ll check on her later”  He said indifferently.

I had to leave because it was too agonizing to hear you hurting so much.  I will probably regret not saying anything, or at least offering to bring you snacks, water, just fucking anything for the rest of my life.  I thought about that day, and told Adrien I’d be right back.  I took the boyfriend’s stuff out to the curb and threw it unceremoniously into the garbage.

Adrien sat in my bed drinking beers.  As if he could tell what I was thinking, he mentioned you.  Of course.  It had only been maybe four months at that point.  We talked about you a lot.  All of us did.  I’d like to think that you could somehow see how utterly beloved you were.  I mean, seriously..  People were literally painting the town with your name.  I also think you might have been embarrassed.  I don’t know.  Adrien was so sweet and assured me that they didn’t believe in oblivion, and that you were finally safe.

I just didn’t know.  I just didn’t know anything except I missed you and you were gone.  The nagging feeling that you had gone into oblivion just wouldn’t subside.

That darkness and emptiness swirled around the apartment all winter.  We saw ghosts, but they were all scary, and none of them were you.  Maybe you were just so ready to leave earth.  I never really blamed you.  And who would wanna spend the afterlife visiting the fucking Grail Street apartments, anyway?  Sometimes I worry that I spent so much time being miserable in that building that my spirit is just going to gravitate back there when my time is up.  Don’t worry.  I’m doing everything I can to avoid that outcome.

That last summer in Asheville, mold sick and more depressed than I had ever been, I’d think I heard voices in both my waking hours and my dreams.  I never knew if I was hearing an actual malevolent force, or if I just had to personify something that took you.

I got too sick and lost too much of my mind to stay at Grail Street.  I moved in with Roth.  Sometimes the voices and the panic would come to me there at night.  I would lie in bed and claw at a now irregularly beating heart and pray for it to just beat right again.  Some nights it just wouldn’t stop raining.  The terror would get to be too much and I would lace up my boots in the night and speed over to Ed’s house to hyperventilate in their bed until daylight crept through the blinds.  We were both terrified that my heart would somehow stop and death would come for me as I slept.

When I did sleep, I started to sleep with a loaded gun under the bed.  I kept a baseball bat in the passenger seat of my truck.  I would walk through downtown like a ghost haunting myself; eyes to the ground, fists clenching and unclenching.  It was time to move on.  It’s not that you were Asheville, but the pall your death cast across everyone I knew became to consuming to stay.

It took two full years of you being gone and a move across the country to feel any sense of lightness about you.  Rachel, C-80 and I climbed a mountain on the anniversary of the day you left.  We got to the peak late in the afternoon.  You cold see for miles around.  I whispered hello to you, and I told you how much I had loved you.

And that it was nice to see you again.

Maybe it took going to a place that was just too beautiful for words to feel like there had been anything else but pain and death for all of us.

And I hope you could see it.  I really do.  Because places this beautiful deserve to be shared with the people you love.  And goddamn, were you ever loved.  Not just by me, but by everyone who encountered you.  Nobody had a bad thing to say about you.  That’s a rarity in something as viciously petty and rife with shit talking as the radical queer community.

Every year, I write about you or I write to you.  I post the same haunting photo of you.  This year won’t be any different.  I’m not ready to drink your mead yet.  Maybe I’ll give it another six years.  In 2022, it will have been ten years since you left.  You’d be turning 38. I’ll be 41.  If you were alive today, you’d be turning 32 this year.  I still don’t resent you for choosing to go.  I say it every year.  Your death and it’s aftermath devastated me in a way that was almost awe inspiring.  It broke me down and left me in pieces in a moldy room.

It broke everyone.

The only choice as to forge ahead through the ruins and reconstruct ourselves into newer and better people.  We’ve all got to do that work for the rest of our lives.  I know my works in that realm are far from complete.  If anything was to be gained at all in the aftermath of your death at all, it’s to be inspired by the level of kindness, deep love, and humor you brought to your friends.

I hope to one day be able to bring even a fraction of the kindness and light to those I love that you showed everyone around you.

It hurts to become.  It hurts to outgrow.  It hurts to grow back.

Losing you wasn’t worth it.

 

that picture of Talya
Talya Shira Mazuz

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