Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Autoportrait 1.6


[I'm hopeful that this random mishmash of words came all in a row for a reason and so as I try to make it into something that makes sense and has a point, the version number will increase. Larger numerical changes reflect larger changes in content and structure. This here be Autoportrait 1.6. - shifting notes around -- Feedback is welcome & appreciated -- there's parts I wanted to cut that I didn't 'cause you said you'd liked them, so it's good. You can tell me anything, clearly I will tell you anything I mean look at this carnival.]

It begins last year. It's April. We're in Malibu and the wind is as perfect as wind has ever been. She's looking at the beach because she recognizes a celebrity and her dog down there and you're huddled in her hoodie, your whole body squeezed up inside it 'cause you're always cold and colder now smack between the pool beside us and the ocean below. We put rocks atop our construction paper and our crayons throw caution to the wind.

I come back to this beginning [Malibu, April] because this is the scene that opens the novel [fictionalized, of course, with everyone playing someone else, including me] I assume I'll eventually finish, otherwise this is kinda anti-climactic. In this novel's opening scene we're in Malibu and I get an email from my other half -- I've lost him, that much is true -- and it turns out he's in LA but doesn't know I am to. When I tell her and her, she says, Clearly we are going to stalk him right now. My friends love me like that, drive faster for me. It's a novel. This didn't happen.

Malibu in April was a place where everything felt perfect except me. And you and you and you and you and you. It was like when crying and laughing at the same time, which's something all people should be able to do, in fact I require my loves to be capable of doing the following things simultaneously: cry & laugh, fuck & laugh, yell & laugh, hurt & laugh.

Oh my G-d. I've just realized it. The air, and the sky, and how at night the stone floor would get so cold, and how I slept so easily next to her because I trusted the silence so bad. I was torn up from all sides, like a fistful of frayed rope. Hoods-up, phones out but easily forgotten, dream on, shades shading.

The three of us in the sunshine; three jellyfish. It was a reunion with her, and I needed it. But almost nobody knows how I self-destructed in New York during those warm dumb almost-spring days before Malibu and the week after.

In Malibu we spoke in little bright charges of electricity and then retreated like lights going off.

I've just realized I remember Malibu because of where it sits smack perfect between those weeks where my heart crashed. I don't mean broke. I mean everything breaks my heart and my heart still works though, I mean that my heart crashed. I was alone at the time.

Something changed that week inside me. I mean it changed before I went. In a way I knew what I had to do but I decided instead not to do it because I was scared that if I did what I had to do that I would end up alone and heartcrashed. I mean that writing this I have to pretend like you'll never read it. You, and you, and you and you and you and you and you it was not just you, or even just you, vosotros, you, you ah'tem, ah'ten.


In the past week, three people have mentioned to me that it's still hard to see themselves, here, sometimes, in the right kind of light. If I get you at a bad angle. If I was in the right place at the wrong time. I was, I guess. I love the wrong time. I am the wrong time, you're a circle and I'm a fist and an angle. No, I'm a circle.

It's just that I don't know that much about the right time except that I'm determined to prove to you that right can come out of wrong, that right doesn't need to be new. Like I don't trust my own decision to always prefer the blank slate. Like I don't know what I want so I just feel like right now I am trying to remove myself from everyone who could be impacted by that decision.

I'm in her basement right now as I write this. We were talking about the way we were, back then. Before I knew the jellyfishes I know now.

The red light bulb in my Brooklyn room which was fine, because benders look good in red -- all dressed up and no place to go. I don't think I could do shit like that anymore, I said, I mean. Now you can't pretend like you don't get what you deserve when you get it.
Dra-ma, she said.

I don't want to do anything we won't remember, I'd said then.
But it's fun, she'd said.

I don't know that girl back then. I was all desire, no want. I was patient and fast. I dug that Radiohead last night, she said the next morning a chunk of years ago. I love the things there isn't time to say at the time. That was years ago.

I was someone else. If you knew me then, I wouldn't want to talk about you. I wouldn't want to ruin what's left; or spoil what we did. It was so sweet. It was terrible, I loved every minute.

I was born with three wishes, but I didn't know any words. My head like a cannonball and flames to the brain. I wasted my first wish on words. My second: no one can leave before I'm ready. Third wish = Infinity.

In the past day, the same solicitor has called me twenty times. Finally I answered and she said I was a past customer but she won't even tell me what I bought. She wants to give me gas cards, I don't have a car, she says it's their way of thanking me for being a preferred customer, I say what did I buy, she says it's privileged, like you, our privileged customer, I say I don't even have a car, she says my friends and family want me to buy gas for them.

That man yelling in the stock-trading room or whatever, that man confuses me. I mean I'd like to see you take that to Camden and interview someone and see if anyone is audacious enough to declare want so loudly, and now, and I promise you that they wouldn't, because you know what they never thought anything would be that easy.

It's funny. Money money money. I don't know why I continue to refuse to take it seriously. I'm stunned at very basic symbolic level that it exists with such subjective power, and so consistently. I am interested in going back to a trade system.

I made an appointment with my local H & R Block Professional today so I can get my shit together for real this time but I don't know how to explain what I've done. I mean 2008. 07. 06. 05. I mean really all the way back. I just don't know what to tell you about what I've done, but I'm hoping for some stimulus.

I don't know what to say for this world right now, it's like we're all at a manic low secretly grasping for shooting stars and scared knowing they aren't there, and what exactly are we supposed to reach for if not stars.

Ultimately most education is traditional, life has its likelihoods, this is the national crisis. I don't love or hate it. I don't even know if I like my life. I've never been so detached from my own opinions. Not my feelings -- I'm down with my feelings. I'm confused about my opinions.

And we're pretty sure the sky's falling, we're just trying to figure out exactly how many hours we personally will be required to put in trying to hoist it back up. Pretty much since the year I graduated from an institution that had the balls to tell me I was preparing myself for a world where art matters I've been painfully aware of how little it ultimately does. I mean tangibly. First and foremost people need to eat and need to be safe I want art to be the safe part.

Now she's picking glass out of her foot with tweezers.
I missed the part when she stepped in the glass.

"Don’t hurt me," she says.
Her first wish.

Is that what you want.
You want me to buy you gasoline.

When I wrote a letter to my father, everyone with a stake in my heart read it and that letter was addressed to a ghost. No. It was addressed to a dream.

I mean everyone. I mean everyone who shared my blood or fucked it, a boring biological bond I've always disregarded in favor of the bonds I choose, which are many, and changing, and when she wrote me and said It's stagnant, and you don't like that, I said you're right even though I'd never really thought that before. I never thought I craved change because I didn't like staying still. I always assumed I craved change because where I am never feels right. By "assumed" I mean "I've always known."

They all read it and that surprised me. Things have been different since that time around Malibu when my heart crashed. But did I tell you about how the air in Malibu was so perfect, how everything was so perfect and airy, how slippery it is on top of a rainbow and skating.

She just came down with a sandwich and asked her if she wants a the middle or the end of the sandwich
and she says she wants the end. She says she likes the ends of things.
"I like pretzel ends, I like hot dog ends, Twizzler ends. The ends of things."

I'm telling you the air was perfect. I mean it when I tell you that I think it was in the air. In Malibu, remember? Where we were when this story began, and a place we will never be again. Those were the last moments of that dream. So there it is. Behind me. I had mentioned, after all, the ocean.


I've never been good at describing the weather 'cause it always just seemed so obvious. Now I'm obsessed with it. I want to know about the wind and the ocean and all the things that people who like life like to be close to. I mean. I dunno. Maybe that was because that was the week I realized that everything was so much larger than me. The good and the bad. That's when things started changing in me. In the fall I decided I wanted to be infinite. In the winter I hid in the middle of everything.

Now there are so many yous, there are so many shes, it's like the universal you. The universal she.

What scares me is not what is said publicly, but what is said in response to what I said publicly when we're alone. It doesn't seem fair sometimes. This has gotten difficult at a remarkably easy time. It is never an easy time. I was in the wrong place at the hard time, the right time can appear similar to the wrong time at the time. But isn't the moonlight terrible.

I think writers feel like they'll have a chance later to re-write it, so they're more comfortable with shit not making sense at the time.

When I re-write you, I will make the breeze breezier. I will make your eyes bluer even if they weren't blue in the first place. I pick blue because it's the color of sky. You will laugh at me when I say this. I kinda feel like one of you laughed at me from above me and the other laughed at me from below which means obvs I am in the middle laughing at myself and I can't hear.


Which is to say none of the pronouns I so carelessly employ necessarily apply to anyone specific, I mean that.

I wish we had a proper vosotros.


I feel like ... I have some questions for you, readers-you, internet-you. Some other stuff. More general stuff. Bigger stuff. About what you want. Some things to launch.

The world stuff.

We'll see.

A break from mememe.

I'm sort of on my own right now, in a weird way. Not for reasons I can explain. But I am, in my head. Oh, no one ever makes sense.
I think of Neal Cassady,
I even think of Old Neal Cassady the father we never found,
I think of Neal Cassady, I think of Neal Cassady.

The ends of things.

Then she left, and I wasn't ready.


green said...

well i want to say something here but i hate being first. or second. and what i want to say isn't full of insight because you already did that. and really it's just what i thought when i was done reading what you said. and i thought you'd like to know. so here's what i wanted to say -

can i keep you?

panouli said...

I'm not sure what to say. I feel weird commenting on words that are personal, but at the same time I feel the need to let you know that the words I just read seemed really profound.

Like, truly.

asher said...

it took me a while to hit my stride reading this just now.

the first few bits, i couldn't comprehend. or i did SO easily, SO effortlessly i had to go back. like trying to remember what i'd just eaten. i was torn in many directions, so many things vying for my attention, but it was to your words i returned. my world quieted once more.

then we both pulled it together and started to skip in synch.

you were talking to me. and i was hearing you, and my kitten sneezing in the background.

and it's beautiful. it's the kind of poetry that makes one write more poetically. or try. and fail. or long to, at least.

and it makes me wonder if maybe art is only really a necessity to the others out there daring enough to call ourselves artists. it matters to us unlikely few. struggling to live in a world where nothing else matters - the rent, or how it's paid. the rules of how we should be.

we strive to define our world through the beauty we long to create. for only we truly see the void we hope to fill. and the greatness to which we can only aspire.

e. said...

<3 (That is supposed to be a heart, but it looks fucked up. Apropos.)

a. said...

I love this.
All of it... especially this, as it pretty much sums up all my feelings about life right now:

"...right now it's like the whole world just got major depressive disorder, but like the highs too -- the we're so low we can do ANYTHING from here! -- place, and so I'm totally flabbergasted about what to do with this world right now. I don't love or hate it. I don't even know if I like my life. I've never been so detached from my own opinions. Not my feelings -- I'm down with my feelings. I'm confused about my opinions."

I'm always amazed how you make these rambles feel as personal as those drunken conversations with strangers as the sun starts to come up, and everything is so complicated, and deep, but all you can say is "you get it, finally someone else gets it!"

Anonymous said...

Beautiful as always.

Something you might be interested in:

It's about gay blogging and feature's Pam's House Blend.

Lady Psyche - The Frog said...

Intense. That's all I have to say about it. Intense...

f. said...

i don't know you and you don't know me but you just broke my heart, and it's both a sweet and a terrible thing. i suppose i should thank you for it.

sherri said...

"Then she left, and I wasn't ready." Neither was I. Maybe we never are.

What I love about your writing is that although I might not know exactly what you are referring to at all times, I recognize the emotions behind it, and that's what I can relate to. As others have said, it's like you get it; like you say the things I can't say. It's awesome.

kpw said...

This is almost unbearably sad/beautiful.

laura said...

this is so nice. there were two parts of this that i read and just thought "that's exactly it":

+It's just that I don't know that much about the right time except that I'm determined to prove to you that right can come out of wrong, that right doesn't need to be new.

because i'm addicted to fixing things. and

+I never thought I craved change because I didn't like staying still. I always assumed I craved change because where I am never feels right. By "assumed" I mean "I've always known."

because i keep finding myself in places that aren't fixable.

i also enjoy vosotros.

Anonymous said...

I've read this about 5 times today, I have a lot of feelings and I don't know what to say, but this is great, I've said it before, but I can't wait to read your book. Love!

Bren said...

Sometimes I think I’m not smart.

Then I read your blog and I know I’m not.

K said...

This is brilliant writing. I love your style. I really enjoyed the sentence about "if I could re-write you I would make the breeze breezier and your eyes bluer..." it went something like that. this post has an awkward yet understanding flow to it. its great.

Mercury said...

I love it when you write like this, I mean, I love it when you write like anything. you sound so much like me, it's funny. kinda validating. or I guess I mean I sound so much like you.

I'm obsessed with the weather too. Well, I'm obsessed with the beauty of things, and the size of things, and obviously that leads to being obsessed with the weather.

anyway, I feel like a macho man who has a tender heart or whatevs cause my eyes might have each relinquished a salty bead of water and it might have been related to the calmly emotional tone of your post or to the fact that they begrudge me forcing them to remain open. Either way, I'm touched, I man, I remember why I feel connected to you.

MoonKiller said...

i connect with this on so many levels, just like a sentence and i'm like 'yeah'. especially the bit about change. everything in my life is about changechangechange right now and don't know when it started going that way but it has.

and don't stop talking about 'mememe', i like it when you ramble, just throw words out there and hope they fit. these sort of ones are my favourite.

also, this is really lame but my myspace name the other day was neal cassady, now it's truman as in the truman show. i think a rereread of on the road is in the cards.

Barbara said...

I don't know you and you don't know me, but I had a really bad day and I can't sleep. And you made me cry, of joy, I think. Just saying.

Abby said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year now. I've never commented before, and I guess I should have, because honestly, your blog has sometimes given me the hope in humanity I would like to have, as a natural cynic. I just wanted to say that the way you take in life, it's beautiful. Really, really beautiful.

Anonymous said...

you're something beautiful,

a contradiction.

Duck said...

When words cannot describe your emotion,
When music cannot grasp the notion
When emotions leave you in constant pain
When thoughts leave you insane.

Finding the right words isn't always easy but you seem to hawe what's needed to touch people. And I admire and respect that.

a;ex said...

You're really something...
I pass out exhausted while you typetypeidytype something like this. It's slightly overwhelming, in a good way.

Also I agree with Bren, obviously.

Anonymous said...

I've never been so detached from my own opinions. Not my feelings -- I'm down with my feelings. I'm confused about my opinions.

I can really relate.
Heartbreaking writing.

Haviland Stillwell said...

I need a grammatical explanation of "vosotros" -- obvs looked it up, but as I don't know spanish, i need help! explain, love?

loving this more and more, especially bc it's making me remember things. sometimes when you write about things, about moments we shared, (and i mean "we" as in you and me, you and us, you and the rest of the world) it's so interesting to see how you were thinking about it, and how different or the same it was for me. Malibu.

Also, ALL of you are smart. Don't doubt that.

Brynne said...

+ She's looking at the beach because she recognizes a celebrity and her dog down there and you're huddled in her hoodie, your whole body squeezed up inside it 'cause you're always cold and colder now smack between the pool beside us and the ocean below.


+ In the past week, three people have mentioned to me that it's still hard to see themselves, here, sometimes, in the right kind of light. If I get you at a bad angle. If I was in the right place at the wrong time. I was, I guess. I love the wrong time. I am the wrong time, you're a circle and I'm a fist and an angle. No, I'm a circle.

You write with rhythm and with grace and it's beautiful and it's captivating and makes me think and makes me wonder and makes me want to shoot more and to write more and to dig both hands into life and come out with fists full of it.

Keep writing.

Jo said...

Sometimes (most of the time) it's hard for me to comprehend how you are able to so accurately express apparently universal emotions that I never realized I had until I read your words.

Haviland- Vosotros means "you all" in spanish, as in "como estais vosotros" means "how are you all."
(Disclaimer: I haven't taken a spanish class in 4 years, so I may have conjugated estar incorrectly, but I think my explaination of vosotros is accurate)

ian. said...

i wish i could leave something of substance, but i'm afraid that i'm not yet to maturity. I loved nearly all of it, description, reptition, details all of the colleged ruled boundaries; the one thing, that i loved, was the passion. i think most of the worlds writers are missing that. I'm not sure what exactly is coming of your writing, but its nice. i enjoy it.

riese said...

You guys are all 500 times too nice to me seriously. Erum that's why I love you!

In times like these I never know exactly what to say, because saying thank you to compliments over and over and over makes me feel like I'm a basketball player slapping everyone's hands and sweating all over the floor and stuff.

I am too touched to know what words to say, but i feel it might seem cheap for me to just be silly, but i feel bad not responding when everyone said such lovely things.

So in times like these I have to call in my new personal assistant, Tinkerbell.

green - hello green this is tinkerbell. firstly nice photo. secondly i think you are good at being first you should be more cool with being first. i have asked riese and she said yes you can keep her. also i think personally as me tinkerbell that is a very perfct thing to say.

panouli - hello panouli this is tinkerbell i also feel that riese is very profound, almost like a goddess.if she were here she would agree about the truly.

asher: Hello ASHSERRRRR!! it is tinkerbell and as a dog, i feel that art is important to most people who are smart. i want all the dogs to be as smart as i am. i realize this is difficult. all of these things you have said are very beautiful as well. i feel reading your comment that now i do not need to read the blog itself which is very good because the blog is very long and i am very small.

there are stupid people who do not think it's art that is important, the same people who thought episode 606 of the l word was good.

e.: <3 that is indeed what my heart (tinkerbell) looks like.

a. i believe what you have pointed out is the point of what riese wants to do with her life and if she were here she would smile. unfortunately she is on the fire escape smoking. she gets it sometimes i feel like she gets me because i am a dog.

burninsteady: hello burningsteady this is tinkerbell rocksteady. Pam is an IT manager by day and a blogger by night that makes me very in awestruck. you are also beautiful i am guessing.

the frog: hello lady psyche the frog. this is tinkerbell the dog. let's get together and make a rhyme, it will be intense.

f. hello f. this is tinkerbell. sometimes riese gets super humbled this is one of those times.

sherri: hello sherri this is tinkerbell. i never know what riese is talking about either and so i am very pleased in my heartstrings that it touched your emotions as well yes i mean that.

hot laura: hello laurita this is tinkerbell. i am wondering if you could fix my eye. sometimes when riese thinks she has figured something out in her headskull she goes "eureka" to me, and i say, cover your piehole.

jersey: hello anonymous this is tinkerbell. i have a lot of feelings too, i don't know what to say too but that is mostly because I am a dog. I hope I learn how to read and write so that I can read the book when Riese writes the book.

bren: hello bren this is tinkerbell you are a very cute dog. you must be very smart.

K: hello K now you have made tinkerbell blush. i am even cuter than normal when i blush luckily.

Mercury: hello Rachel my old friend this is tinkerbell. rachel you have a young body and an old soul. also there is great beauty and weather in the alaskas where you are from. maybe one day i can ride a snowmobile there or fly and you can tell me all about your connectedness, and how you sound like riese or riese and you both sound like the same sounds. like the eskimos.

Moonkiller: hello moonkiller this is tinkerbell. when you say yeah does it sound like yaur because of your cute accent. although i have just learned to read i can say this much and this much is that the original scroll of on the road is worth a read, a re-read and a triple read. all the energy and the memememe.

Barbara: hello barbara, this is tinkerbell. i like joy at the end of a bad day too, and tears sometimes when it happens.

Abby: Hello new abby this is tinkerbell. what you have said is more than a dog can handle, because it is so nice and beautiful.

Anonymous: hello anonymous, this is tinkerbell. you are correct.

Duck:hello duck this is tinkerbell. i know what you mean. I can never find words and riese just talks crazy all the time. thoughts leave me insane too, but they arent' even my thoughts. i admire that.

a;ex: hello a;ex this is tinkerbell. tegan & sara say i wake up exhausted, it's not morning, and i go back to sleep to re-dream me. i like that part of the song. also you are much smarter than me tinkerbell and most people in the world. i mean you are still here after all.

anonymous: hello anonymous this is tinkerbell. can i touch your heart with my paw?

Haviland: Hello haviland this is tinkerbell. "vosotros" is spanish for vagina. just kidding haviland you know me I kid. It means "you all," or y'all, or "you guys," or in tinkerbell language it is a series of noises. i also like to see how you and riese see things differently or the same. also my love for you grows deeper every day, with all of your pretty hair. i am also not smart.

Brynne: hello brynne this is tinkerbell. all day i sit here with riese as she speaks the nonsense, and i can say with certainty that she will never stop writng because otherwise she will just be talking the nonsense all of the time which will be very exhausting for me tinkerbell.

Jo: hello Jo this is tinkerbell. if that is what you feel that riese does then well that is amazing. pesonally i find her quite annoying but i will do appreciate the other outlook on her person of the universal emotions as this is a very nice thing to say.

ian: hello ian this is tinkerbell. I am also not yet to maturity. i enjoy it too and i am happy that we are all here to enjoy it, and the passion, and all the passion in the world.

mindy said...

When you write like this, I want to take snippets of it and put it in the "write something about yourself" section on my facebook, but I never do. Feels like it might be weird - they're very much YOUR words.

Anyway, you're pretty amazing. Keep on keeping on.