Crazy is just a word for nonstandard to shame those who don’t fit into the societal models that make it easier to be profited off of as a minor, unimportant, disposable role in a screenplay written by a “god” you don’t even know. It is a word given to those who reject the idea of sacrificing their own life to a culturally defined idea of sensibility. Good. I shall be crazy. I shall live like every day is my last. I shall caution little to not at all. I shall never fear death, but I shall flirt with it. I shall speak the words I want to speak. I shall scream when I feel like screaming. I shall sing when I feel like singing. I shall dance wherever and whenever the hell I want. I shall run into the rain. I shall travel by the thread of my pockets. I shall love who I want to love. I shall cry for the reasons I want to cry. I shall drive into sunsets that lead into oceans. I shall wake when my body tells me to wake and sleep when it tells me to sleep. I shall dive from hundred foot cliffs and swim in shark infested waters. I shall burn money like tinder and trade in words, music and wisdom. I shall sustain myself on the blood of fallen schools of tyrannical thought. I shall light fires in forests, in city plazas, on skin, in hearts. I shall lay with whom I want to lay and leave when I want to leave. I shall feel soul searing passion; for people, for humanity, for the world, for the universe. I shall embrace the wild depression, the manic anxiety, the blazing fury, the endless and limitless love, that rips its way through my conscious body. I shall leap from planes and crash parties. I shall live as a party that rages against twilight, that rages against the rising sun, that dies when I say it dies. I shall trade my soul for a motorcycle and ride into the horizons of foreign lands. I shall trip through alternate dimensions until reality seems unreal. I shall camp in forests and ride railways to unknown destinations. I shall romp naked through the snow of mountaintops. I shall bathe in waterfalls of tears of joy. I shall rethink the impossible. I shall rename dreams destinations. I shall give breaths to the sunrise. I shall lead my loved ones into the landscape of imagination, revelation, evolution. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live. I shall live and I shall die with a knife gripped between my teeth and a song in my heart, having no regrets and nothing left undone. I shall have lived fairy tales. I shall have written myths about the woman who used to be. And she shall live on in the lives of every other being she chose to live alongside. And I shall never, never fucking apologize for my insanity. You’ve only got one shot to make it count. You’re with me or you’re already dead.
Still learning how to let go. I’ve got this ache, this – ribcage spreading. I never want to leave and I never want to stay. There is too much sidewalk these feet haven’t touched yet. There is too much world these eyes haven’t absorbed. There is too much experience this body hasn’t held. These hands have touched so many surfaces, held so many moments at their fingertips, made connections and gripped, overflowed with seafoam, run through pine needles, caught raindrops. These hands have held snowflakes for brief half seconds and caught me when I’ve fallen. These hands have caressed and loved. These hands have fought and held on for dear life. These words do so little justice to a life lived – expansive. A body knows. A body feels it – to bone center, marrow deep. This heart has enveloped and closed off. What would it not give to be again – nostalgia. A draw backwards from the center of the chest, tightening and prepared for a snap as the body pulls forward from the navel, desperately trying to take another step. Stasis is discomfort. Emotion lies in the past as thoughts reach for the future, but the body is caught here – wherever and whenever here at any moment of time might signify – I am a divisible creature. Attempting to coagulate, spread thin and separating. Losing bits here and there while collecting detritus, collecting pearls and hording. In this. In these words. It’s all right here. A body open on a table – dissection. Picking at, reviewing and pushing things aside to see effect. She can’t sit still, doctor. She keeps saying death is waiting somewhere and she can’t find him. Her feet keep twitching. And when I went to check on her she was gone. But she left me a love letter.
/a body of feeling/currents rage hot/
/I am an eye bloodshot in salt water and stinging/I am/
/today I beg you to die with me/I want you to lie with me/
/every morning I mention your skin/damp on a spin/
/heads twisted and refused/stale and abused/it sits/
/thoughts stick/did you wake up like that or did I just dream it/
/a killer dealing/caged want/reaction compulsory/
/a pulse I feel/stealing breaths/a fast stop/
/a bigger tear drops/it’s how I felt it/bone deep/
/caught in heat/a haze more heady/action more fitted/
/confused and a little lost/a smile feels unnatural/
/everything feels more/
/I used to be a straw/the last/generations late/
/camel backs and dead pines/mountains I used to call mine/
/stealing metaphors from a Valentine/
/I keep waiting for something to give me a reason to live/
/when the reason is/it just is/life like/
/like life on last legs/I am hunting for something deeply/
/sticky eyelash clumps/sleepy/I opened an extra eye today/
/saw sights sick/stomach melts to thoughts bitter and tame/
/blame is an elusive trigger/in breathing/breath is bigger/
/ceilings loom/building abomination/standing/
/stand for so much or stand for so little but at least stand/
/a body is a sweeping landscape/a sleeping mandate/
/associations run thin/I can no longer hide that I am feeling/
/a body is never still/it rides tides/lunar and light again/
/blood is thicker than water/rain is more abundant/
/I wonder when my time lies/time sits to stave lies/
/this has gone on far too long for sense/qué piensas/
/a thought is bodiless/a touch neither smell nor taste/
/waste/I have woken up alone again/at home again/
/and no home feels quite like this home/no home has/I have no home/
/I build homes for a living/giving/another piece of soul like pennies/
/rust blood/wandering on legs ill fitted for travel/
/too impatient to allow time to unravel/
A street is movement, where people meet. A mass of skin and hair and cloth and purpose. Chaos is necessary for order. Charred feet pit pat atop other charred feet. Air is a viscous grey, swirling and toxic. Breath is toxic. Ashes stick to the insides of lungs, bronchial tubes, coughing is a natural process triggered by unnatural means. Bodies are tired, exhausted things, but they continue a violent dance. The buildings are burning. Supports buckle in integral places. Ceilings fall inwards and walls fall outwards. Exposed coal. Heat wave. The smell of burning flesh is a substance. Pour on more petrol.
Concrete is fully oxidized. It will never burn, but its mechanical strength is lost above a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit, shortly after all the water is baked out of it. Typically, failure of concrete structures due to overheating is caused by the differences in thermal expansion coefficients between concrete and its reinforcing rebar. The rebar ends up shattering the concrete. Ripping loose from intimate contact; rejection. Then the whole structure collapses. Dust. The ash of superfluous material falls slow through the smoke, landing on sweat soaked bodies that roll off of each other, smash into each other, push away from each other.
A white smear on dark skin. Knees buckle under heat and sinewy hands slap street pavement as they catch falls. Vérinage; a quick, symmetrical collapse. And plumes. Running through broken glass, partially softened and black from carbonization. Melting fingerprints. Bodies stretching across baking asphalt. They’ll stand again. They just need some rest.
the pigeons in this city are ballsy
they hardly budge when you walk towards them
if they fly, they fly towards you
is this your world
or is it theirs
ambling like conscious bipeds down the sidewalk
an air of confidence
looking at you as the intruder
as you disrupt their luncheon
the sidewalk belongs to the birds now
they’ve colonized what you thought was yours
and shit on your icons
there’s no place for your feet here
WARNING: This might make you uncomfortable.
I recently, in the last month, began working with primary students at the school that I volunteer at. The first couple days terrified me; I had trouble even making eye contact with the kids. I often just assume I don’t know how to interact with children, but that’s not really the case. It’s that every time I look into their faces – all innocence and pure love, all joy for life and unknowing; I feel this overwhelming sense of sadness, anger, and protectiveness. This is not the sort of “it’s my late 20′s, baby crazy” kind of protectiveness. This is the kind of “please, don’t let anybody fuck this up” kind of protectiveness.
The first time I was ever forced into sexual acts beyond my will I was 6 years old. I do not write about this often, and I never write about it publicly, because the experience has never really stopped hurting. It never stopped humiliating me. It never stopped tainting the way I look at every day life. It never stopped defining a piece of me. Because I wouldn’t let it stop. Because ever since those weekday afternoons throughout kindergarten, life was different for me. I was different then. I understood things about people, about adults, that other people my age didn’t understand, that I wasn’t supposed to understand. My purpose had shifted. This followed me as I grew into the world. I developed a very distinct disconnect between my body, my mind, my soul, and the world. Suddenly my body was an offering that was given up to the world and my mind was mine to reconcile the purpose of this. And my soul, well, my soul was lost somewhere in the process along with my innocence.
I have spent 21 years of my life attempting to reconcile the purpose of this.
In my early 20′s, a small series of events occurred; awakening in the middle of the night to a man uninvited in my room, one of my roommates laughing from the doorway; a night that I have absolutely no memory of, just blood and a burn on my left thigh. It was as though life saw me putting myself together and decided that that was not how it needed me. The disconnect I thought I had been overcoming returned. It was clear that something within me was sacrificial, and that the outside world recognized this. And I was okay with it. The world could have my innocence as long as it gave me something I needed in return – profundity. At times I was even happy, in a sick sense, that these things happened to me; I felt a responsibility for it, righteously warped thoughts that – had any of this happened to somebody else, they would not have had the strength, not the sense to accept. But I did. I do. I can understand all of the terrible bits about this world and still love it. I can experience the worst aspects of humanity and still be absolutely enamored by its possibilities. I can still find beauty in the dirt and ash of bones.
Thoughts of sacrifice took seed in my young mind; I began to go as far as seeking out the corrupt. I obsessed over destruction. I mirrored the world’s chaos. I lost myself in the pit of humanity. It seemed at points that I was never meant to live a pretty life, had even given up on it. My delusion was that, perhaps if I accepted all of the bad in the world, took it all upon myself with purpose, that perhaps nobody else would ever have to experience suffering again. I was constantly testing myself - mentally, emotionally, morally, physically – I tested the limits of my soul and came out in pieces and I came out bleeding and I came out haunted, but I came out, none-the-less, intact. I came out with profound perspective on the state of humanity.
I think I was afraid to be around small children for a long time after that period of my life; afraid that something about my very being might corrupt them, might ruin them. That maybe all of that shit stuck to me like something that wipes off on other people. But the first day I walked into a first grade classroom, half of the class stood up and hugged me. They hugged wherever they could reach me, grasping a leg, my waist, a foot. They did it unprompted. They did it unknowingly. They did it purposelessly. They were just full of such undirected and all encompassing love. I cried. I couldn’t help it. I felt something that was so foreign to me at first that I couldn’t pinpoint it; it appeared as a very personal sadness with unknown origin, but then I realized that it wasn’t that, it wasn’t about me. I cared about these children – without even knowing them, I wanted everything wonderful in life for them. They were beautiful, their innocence was beautiful, and I wanted them to stay that way always. I was terrified, or perhaps enraged at the possibility, that somebody might ruin that; determined that that could not happen. To simply be in such close contact with pure tenderness. This is where the beauty of humanity lay. This is what needed to be nurtured in every soul in the world; a return to innocence.
I no longer hate the exposure that I was presented with too early in life, nor that born upon me later. I haven’t for a while. I do not regret anywhere I have taken myself into the depths of humanity either. Rather, I feel as a born pioneer, who throws themselves into the wild, alone into the perilous world, in order to bring back perspective and lay down profound foundations; to preserve the clarity and distinctions between the morbid and the spirited. Because I know that I can encompass this. These events have shaped me into an interesting specimen of humankind. I can face a horrifying world at will and tell you exactly why this is the most wonderful existence that has ever been and may well ever be. I can show that life doesn’t have to break you. I am not corrupted, I am not broken, and I am still capable of being a source of love – of pure love. And if I am capable of this, then surely everybody is capable of this. And surely, to show people this is not such a bad reason to exist.
I’m sitting here as my roommate packs up all of her worldly possessions. It’s a familiar feeling, except I’m on the wrong side. This is a heavy lesson in the permanence of relationships in a foreign country. Over the past couple months, my roommate, she’d hate me using her name so let’s call her Scrubs, has sort of defined my life, my patterns, my social sphere. There’s something about meeting somebody who speaks your native tongue in a country where you are passing days not understanding most of what is happening around you. Much of the first six months of my life in Colombia I had the feeling of floating through a sort of half life. I would often realize that I had gone days without speaking outside of my classrooms. I spent much of my time reading, sometimes writing, having so little to convey that what came out was vague dribble on the theory of existence. Was it even important? My existence felt unnecessary and forgotten. In which case, what was I doing? I wanted to leave Colombia. I wanted to go back to a space where I was comfortable, if unsatisfied and likely destructive. I had felt important in my old life. Since those hazy months early in the year, so many things have changed. One was my move from the far north of the city into more of a downtown area. I thrive on the movement of people. Hearing the bar play music across the street every night was calming. The yells on the street staved off loneliness. The horns honking reminded me that life was still going on. Through my new space I was exposed to a far more inclusive environment of roommates. My new roommates were expats from Europe. They introduced me to a new style of life in Bogota. We went out and I met new people; met one in particular that completely turned my experience on its head. That person showed me spaces that felt like home, introduced me to people that felt like old friends, and listened to me like nobody had listened to me in months. This story is not about that person, though. That person had to leave, but left me with a taste of how I could fall in love with Bogota. Soon after that person left, Scrubs moved in. She was from Portland, I was from Boulder, we spoke English, it was an easy friendship. Living in the same house, we soon fell into a routine. I would come home from work, we would smoke a cigarette together in my room. We would break to go do our own things and come back together later to make dinner together or decide where we were going out. We liked the same sort of places, the same sort of events, the same sorts of foods. We were quickly inseparable. In two months, she knew nearly everything about my life and I knew most everything about hers. When people messaged us, they messaged us together. These are the sorts of friendships that I build with people I expect to keep around. These are rare friendships, particularly so far from what was once home. So as I sit here watching Scrubs pack, I am coping with the fact that another person whose friendship has shaped a piece of my life is leaving, as everybody leaves, as I have left so many times; with a vague promise that we’ll see each other again, but the constant feel of unease that that may not be the case. Not only am I sad to lose a good friend, but I am caught in the nostalgia of the act of leaving. I am remembering packing a U-haul in the Minnesota summer. I am remembering the last tearful hugs of friends and family in my parents’ kitchen. I am remembering saying goodbye to a shared bedroom and looking into the eyes of somebody I loved for the last time as their lover. I am remembering donating most of my worldly possessions and jumping into a stranger’s car headed for the northwest. I am remembering seeing my best friend off before she hopped a plane to Alaska. I am remembering my last party in Boulder, how we did it right. I am remembering the tears that came the last time I pet my cat, having stopped to do so on the way to the airport. I am remembering the last Ozo coffee I drank. I am remembering all of the lovely faces I’ve known in my life and realizing that I’m always saying goodbye to them, and it is always to the exact same uneasiness that sits in my chest now. Will I ever see you again? And it is so easy to say yes, but sometimes it’s a lie. And sometimes you even know that and don’t want to admit it. I’m sure I’ll see Scrubs again. We’ll be in the same part of the world come January. But then there’s all of those other people I kept saying goodbye to, and not meaning to say goodbye forever to. All of the people I will still find myself saying goodbye to. My heart is heavy and it is all encompassing and it resides all over the world these days. And I don’t know how to reconcile my physical presence with this.
I woke up this morning and felt a sudden responsibility for my own life – to stop drifting, to stop relying on the external to dictate my state of being, to stop making excuses in order to justify waste. I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and the person staring back was not the same person she was ten years ago. She was not the same person that looked back five years ago, she was not the same person who looked back one year ago, and she was not the same person who looked back yesterday. Every new moment of every new day creates a minute shift in self. As conscious creatures, we are constructions – personal creations. We surround ourselves with different circumstances, with different environments, with different people, with different ideas, with different options; popularly mistaken for an act of “finding oneself”. So far from “finding oneself”, we are rather building upon a foundation; constructing skyscrapers of identity. Never lost, always building. Humanity is an art of design. In this respect, the greatest favor you can do for yourself is to seek materials that strengthen this construction.
Earlier this year I posted a piece about what my idea of art was, and it is that thing that evokes humanity. Our ability of expression, in all realms, is purely a human ability, what sets us apart. We are the only creatures on Earth with the ability to wonder at our existence. Art is the manifestation of this. My idea was that the more “nude” your art could become, the truer it was, the more impact it would make, the more lives it would touch, the more accurate of a form it could take, the more we can use it as a tool to grow. Though confession is a wonderful avenue that this form of exposure can take, it is not the all of art, because sometimes what we do and what happens to us is not what we are, is not what embodies our humanity, is not important even. Rather, what manifests after these actions, after these happenings, after these events is what accurately represents why it is different to be human. The everlasting effects, the stored feeling, the development, the building, the growing, the creation. This is what we translate through art. We are creators and we are communal creatures. We grow as we share. I want to share. I want to be shared with. Art is communication. The communication of what it means to us to be alive. The more we understand that, the larger life’s possibilities grow. In this realm, we are limitless – stunted only by what our minds cannot yet imagine.