Several months ago I met a guy at the Iglesias Garden. He had fallen on hard times after working construction and getting injured. A rogue blade flew off a power tool he was using and sliced through his cheekbone. Miraculously, he kept his eye. He had a number of surgeries and was loaded up on pain meds. Eventually, as the story goes, he couldn’t afford the meds when the script ran out, was still in pain, so took a substance cheaper and easier to find on the streets, got addicted, and his whole life fell into the proverbial gutter.

But he’s resilient and strong and wakes up in the morning for the daily hustle.

I ran into him recently at Graffiti Pier. We walked around and talked for a while. He recounted memories going back to his childhood visiting the pier with his grandfather. Back then, it was in full operation and pretty much open to the public. “The biggest crane on the whole river,” he said. “Seriously, it was enormous.” They used to climb it as kids and jump off into the water. “I almost drowned,” he said. “I went down, it must have been 20 feet, I needed another breath before I made it all the way to the surface. Don’t know how I made it. A lot of people died right here. A lot.”

You can feel the ghosts. The place is eerie and surreal. All the abandoned concrete pillars adorned with graffiti. People go to the pier to swim, fish, barbecue, practice their spray paint skills, you name it. Although private property, it is totally unofficially Philadelphia’s urban sanctuary for artists, photographers, tourists, weirdos, crust punks, neighbors, runners, etc etc everyone steps foot on that pier. It is dazzling. It is dream-like. And it represents something wildly human and free.


It is abandoned, and perhaps dangerous, but that adds an element to its charm.

We continued to walk around as he recounted the days when horse stables sat at the entrance. He remembers petting the horses fondly. He said he hadn’t been there in years. All the memories bubbled up visibly into his eyes.

He said he’s living under 95, but the cops came by and gave them a weeks notice. He keeps getting pushed around. The homeless in general keep getting pushed around. They have no where to go, so they move around like refugees in their own city.

It is sad and frustrating, at times infuriating, to think about folks and how they get to be so down-and-out. A lot of people blame the individuals for making poor choices, but the reality is, a lot of them are unexpecting victims of an uncaring system. The type of healing he needed, specifically, was not offered to him. He nearly lost half his face. He was loaded up with pain killers and sent on his way. When the pain doesn’t subside, what does one do?

Our streets are swimming with opiates.

If you live in Philly, walk down to Kensington & Lehigh and you might just get stabbed in the foot by a needle. People openly shoot up and discard their needles right there on the curb. I’m not trying to be dramatic or hyperbolic. I’m not trying to paint poverty porn. I’m not trying to virtue signal. This is, simply speaking, the reality I see on a daily basis.

Conrail, a division of Norfolk Southern, the same company who owns the pier, also owns the tracks in Kensington where the homeless had been living in a tent city. Philly’s Skid Row. It was pretty much, as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. The people living there got the boot though, and now they live scattered about the surrounding neighborhoods. A lot have taken refuge under the tracks along Lehigh.

One thing that made me take heart: As he and I talked, he mentioned he’s gone back to the garden where we grow food. He said he picked a bunch of tomatoes and squash. It encouraged me to keep growing. I often go there alone, and sometimes meet neighbors picking food, but it’s another thing to hear it from him. A few tomatoes here and there isn’t changing the world, but it’s a means of connection and showing that some of us care.



The Countess

A few years back a friend introduced me to a yoga teacher. She was in her eighties but still going strong. A firecracker if I’ve ever seen one. A stern woman with an incredible will. She was a doctor and a practitioner of Iyengar yoga. She studied intensely with BKS Iyengar in India in the 1970s and traveled just about every year to visit him. They kept a hand written correspondence with one another until his death.

She held private classes from her home. I couldn’t afford her cost, but she took a liking to me at first, so didn’t charge me anything.

Every time I went over there, we sat in her kitchen and drank tea before the lesson and after the lesson sometimes too. She always had a cookie to give me. She was like a grandmother and a teacher. We played chess and talked about art. Especially Aubrey Beardsley. She loved Aubrey Beardsley. I took a liking to him as well.

She also sat on the board of a poetry magazine. So we talked about poetry and I gave her some of my writing to look over. One day we sat in her computer room. I was working on some love poetry. She wanted to hear it so I started reciting. Right off the bat, she went in with the critiques. Telling me line after line that my syntax was pathetic and my word choice was silly. I told her to let me read it through. Just give it a listen before we start with the critiques. Halfway through she lost her cool. “That’s it!” she yelled. “Forget it! Forget convention! Let’s hop into bed right now! Take off your clothes!” I looked at her queerly and smiled. I took it as a joke and kept reading the poetry. She calmed down slightly, but still impassioned stated, “Okay! That’s enough! Time for your lesson.”

I thought it rather abrupt, but went along with it.

One day she asked me to meet her at the place where she got her hair cut. It was this enormous row house on Walnut Street near Rittenhouse. She gave me a tour. It looked fit for nobility. Huge chandeliers. Fabulous winding staircases. A library right out of an antiquarian movie set. Apparently one of the oldest buildings in Philadelphia, all the wood still preserved. The moldings. The floors. It was unbelievably beautiful. Stunning, even. Grandiose. When we got to the front desk area, she told the receptionist that I was her boyfriend. I was so taken by surprise, I think I turned fifty shades of red. The woman looked at me in amusement. “Is that right?” I’m not terribly quick-witted, so I just shook my head no and shrugged my shoulders like, “I don’t know what the hell is going on in her head.”

We walked back to her place for a lesson. The lessons consisted of an hour or two holding three, maybe four simple poses for extended periods of time. She used lots of props and let me lie in corpse pose until I drifted off into sleep. It was enjoyable and meditative.

This one day in particular, before starting the yoga lesson, she wanted to teach me something else about life energy. And let me tell you, it fucking weirded me out. I don’t know why I didn’t quit right there on the spot. Perhaps I’m a freak myself.

She brought me over to a mirror that we both stood in front of. She positioned herself in front of me and asked me to put my hand on her back. “Do you feel that muscle when I move my arm like this?” She swung her arm up like a ballerina and I nodded. “Okay,” she said. “Hold your hand right there.” And she began breathing deeper, tossing her head back, and exclaiming, “Look at me! Am I getting younger? Look at my skin! Is it getting smoother?” And as I looked at her like what the fuck, her appearance did seem to change ever so slightly.

I was both revolted and seduced. Who is this woman? What am I doing here? Is she draining my youth from me? Have I met the reincarnation of the Countess Bathory?

Every interaction wasn’t like that, but the narrative was starting to coalesce in a certain direction.

One of the final lessons sealed the deal on our relationship. I sat down as instructed with my legs straight in front of me. I held there for ten minutes or so in silence. Then she began to click her tongue at me. She walked over and lowered herself onto my foot. Specifically her pussy on my big toe. She wore yoga pants so it wasn’t skin to skin. I remember thinking, “Is this really happening?” Then all of a sudden I started getting a tingle in my leg and felt myself getting a hard on. I started breathing deeper and heavier to try and control myself, but to no avail. She stared at me with the face of a gorgon, “Why are you breathing so heavily? Stop that. Get yourself under control.” I thought maybe she didn’t realize how she had placed herself, but then it became clear. “You think you know what sex is?” she laughed. “You don’t know the first thing about sex.” She got up and went into the other room.

On the outside I kept a stoic face, but on the inside I was cracking up with holy shit laughter. I can’t believe I get myself into these situations.

After that, she never called me again. I didn’t fuck her, so she dumped me.

Snake Eyes

Where does romance come from?

I’m specifically interested in the feeling of romance, but my curiosity has led me to take a quick look at the etymology of the word. To break it down, as an adjective, romance describes any language coming from Rome, i.e. the romance languages that derive from Latin. And from that point onward, those who told stories in the vernacular where known to romance. Often those stories involved knights, heroes, lovers, and adventure, hence the meaning we generally associate with it today.

I sense there is some patriarchal dismantling to be had given its formation during the days of chivalry, but I’ll save that for another time when my thoughts have delved more deeply into its origins and connotations.


For now, let it suffice on the surface, the feeling of romance arose from a walk through the city, a section known as Kensington.

The night air remained chilly, but not terribly freezing. Nice enough for a walk under the El with the train rattling overhead. The floodlights along the avenue showcased storefronts, most closed up for the night. The metal shutters rolled down to the ground with a clang covering up the glass windows and doors. Barbershops stayed lit up with lights and music and customers into the later hours.

I was on my way to grab a steaming bowl of noodles.

I passed an AA and NA recovery building. People hung outside. Chatting lively. A fenced-in yard stood next to it. Wonky, wooden crosses dug into the ground erected on slanted angles. Across the street a Franciscan soup kitchen loomed humble and unnoticeable save the people always around. When the weather is warm, people hang there for hours on end. Even tonight, a person slept curled up tightly with blanket, snuggled into a nook between the steps and a wall to stay protected from the wind. How tired must one be to fall asleep in the cold?

I served food there once or twice. I remember talking with a monk brother about meditation and psychedelia. In his deepest trances, he saw images of Christ meditating before him, emanating blue white and golden light. I didn’t doubt his experience. He called it visceral despite it being a visual hallucination. I just looked at him like, “You’re tripping.” He traveled with a number of other monks from Wisconsin to Philadelphia stopping at other soup kitchens and churches along the way.

I find I’m often in similar places.

A few years back I attended a Quaker church hosting Buddhist monks. They wore robes like the Franciscan monks except different colors. The Buddhist monks traveled around touring cities and sacred spaces meditating through the creation of sand mandalas.

I found it fascinating.

On one night in particular they planned to play music. I arrived early with a friend, her kids, and their friends. Right away, they ran off to explore the church. I sat with the sand mandala on my own and stared into the patterns and colors, the infinitesimally small mounds arranged so delicately, appreciating the elusive magnitude of it all.

Not soon after, a grandfather and granddaughter walked in.
“Make sure you don’t stare them in the eyes!” He warned. He carried a balloon in one hand and her hand in the other.
“How come, Pop?”
“They’ll hypnotize you!”
“Oh!” The little girl looked surprised yet enchanted, filled with a million lovable questions. She couldn’t control her excitement and interest, so all those millions of questions condensed and funneled into a simple exclamation, “But how?”
“They have snakes in their eyes!”
“Oh!” She hollered again and pointed at me from across the room, “Is he one of the snake monks?”
I smiled at the question. Her grandfather looked at me and nodded his head, “Look at his eyes. He’s got snakes!” I didn’t know what to think about that response, but it amused me. They walked over to a nearby pew.

People slowly filed in. Everyone quiet and whispering. Even the kids kept their cool for the most part.

The monks ushered us over to a different area for the music. We sat in pews and they faced us. I don’t know what I expected, maybe something relaxing or soft. Which it wasn’t. These instruments, which I couldn’t name other than brass, a shaker, a scraper, a drum, probably another horn, in addition, an interspersal of throat singing, made so much clanging and discordant nonsensical sound, it jolted me awake. It crashed into my peripheral understanding of meditation and smashed it up, dancing all over it like a danse macabre. The kids kept trying to stifle their laughter, the parents kept trying to shush them, but the laughs just bubbled up and out like a creek unimpeded and joyful. It was great. The playing. The jolting. The meditation. The laughter. It felt like seeing an abundantly playful noise band.

In all my explorations of meditation, juxtaposed to what we expect, I find the nature of violence to be a consistent theme. One full moon many moons ago, I attended a chanting meditation of the Rinpoche lineage. So much of the language described how dastardly corrupt the world is, and how strong and prevailing in spirit we must be to walk through it.


We often have this idea that peace of mind is accomplished high up in the mountains far away from society, and that’s true, it can be glimpsed at and cultivated there. But what happens when the practitioner returns to the poverty of the city? It’s a whole different world. The subtle and overt violence is striking. The gentle mask is ripped away. The air is dirty and the water’s poisoned. Are we trying to expel the darkness of life or understand it? We often have this idea that we must always be standing in the light to be healed, to acquire knowledge and wisdom, to live righteously. I think there is merit in that, but I believe wholeheartedly in living with the darkness, in continued confrontation with our demons, treading the shadowed waters. We have to be honest with ourselves. The day falls dark. The moon disappears once a month. The stars shine thousands of lightyears away. How many of them have already exploded into death?

My last semester at school, I volunteered at a soup kitchen in downtown Boston. I went once a week just about every week for a few months. We prepped food, served those who were living there and a few others who came in off the streets. It was a halfway house, so a lot of the folks were either addicts or coming out of jail or both. After serving, we ate with everyone and conversed. It seemed just about everyone wanted to talk about god. They spoke intensely and wild-eyed about their journeys discovering the divine. It pummeled them with inspiration to talk and read until their heads cracked like lightning. I was there for it. No doubt.

When we got to talking, everyone assumed I was there for a class requirement, so they acted surprised when I told them I was volunteering simply because I felt compelled. Good for you, they said. It’s not really volunteering if you’re required to do it anyhow. During that time I found myself buddying up with all kinds of people considered degenerates, drunkards, addicts, criminals etc etc more or less the demimonde, the underworld, the subterranean of castaways and outcastes. 

One day I remember slicing my thumb open terribly bad. We were cutting bagels. Blood dripped onto the table like little ink blots. The pain sat me down for a long moment. I got woozy. The blood rushed from my head. Everything flashed white.

A woman stared at me smiling, “It makes you feel alive, doesn’t it?” I looked at her bug-eyed and she smiled wider. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up. I felt sick. But her suggestion took my mind a different route. I recovered the ground under my feet and got back to helping out.

That weekend, I drove to White Plains, New York with a friend, hopped a train to NYC and a bus to Philly. My thumb throbbed and yelled at me the whole time. I tried to practice my breathing while repeating the mantra, “Pain is an illusion. Pain is an illusion.” But that worked only vaguely. The pain faded in and out slowly, without warning, and when the pain returned, the intensity didn’t subside.

That night I arrived home, I stayed up staring at the gash, wondering about the healing process. I wanted to watch the mending occur. The coagulation. The scabbing. The slowly closing up of skin like a flower opening and closing in tune with the sun. I didn’t have the patience to stare at it that long.

At one point, my cat walked into the room. I must have been in such a daze. She appeared to motion me to follow. So I did. She sat down next to an aloe plant and looked at me in that peculiar way cats do, aloof yet expecting something. I held my hands out like, “What?” So she licked my thumb and it all made sense. Of course. Aloe. I broke off a tiny piece, spoke with it, and asked it to heal my thumb. I slept with aloe that night and the following night, and in three days time, to my amazement, the cut healed like magic. I still have a little indentation on my thumb from that.

Since that time, I’ve never experienced such quick healing with aloe specifically. I continue to use it when it’s around, but tend towards other woundworts like St. John’s.


Only one other instance have I personally experienced rapid healing of that nature: I was pounding rebar stakes into the ground with a metal mallet hammer and it slipped down the side of the rebar and smashed my instep. Everyone knows how sensitive that area is. I yelled fuck! and took long, deep breaths. I went back to work, and afterwards, took a trip to the garden to pick a couple comfrey leaves. By the time I got home, my foot turned red and was beginning to swell. I didn’t even crush the leaves up into a poultice. I just wrapped my foot with the clean, intact comfrey leaf, securing it with an ace bandage. Before going to sleep, I brushed up on my study of it and stared into the other leaf I harvested. If you’ve never stared into a comfrey leaf, especially when you’re under the spell of pain, I recommend doing it. It is a deep leaf. It penetrates. It’s also called knit-bone. When I woke up the next morning, I had no pain in my foot and no evidence of swelling or bruising. I could walk on it with ease, but it was still sensitive to a heavy touch. It healed within a week.

I’m not saying plants work like this all the time, but it does happen.

When my friend broke her hand, I wrapped it with a comfrey poultice. Before doing so, it looked like a baseball mitt. She could barely move her fingers. Within an hour of applying the poultice, the swelling completely subsided and she could gently and slightly close her hand. When she showed it to her aunt and mom, they looked at me like I was some kind of witch.

I know it’s hard to believe, but plants really do work wonders with our bodies.

White Rabbit Composite

“I got this voodoo. Yeah. You should see it. I went to the voodoo shop. Uh huh. And late last night, like 2 3 4 in the morning. Yeah. You should see their doors now.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, other than voodoo, or who he was talking to, but it piqued my interest. I only caught snippets of the conversation as he rode his bike by. I didn’t catch a face to gauge his expressions. I only guessed he was talking on the phone. It brought so many questions to mind. Like, what voodoo shop? What magic supplies did you buy? Who are you? Can you tell me about your goddesses and gods? To be honest, it sounded like he was proud of a hex. Can’t be sure though, like I said, I only caught part of his story.

Communication is like that sometimes. Like dreams. Like memories. We fill in the gaps with our own imaginations, delusions, and ramblings.

I stood on a ladder, painting the side of a row home. My thoughts generally caught in the wires, sometimes traveling with the clouds. It’s odd. These days, for extended periods throughout the day, I feel like I am a composite of people. Like, I’m in there somewhere, but others are in there too talking their talk and sharing their memories. It comes with living in the city I suppose. And probably the collectivity of the internet too. The rapidity of messaging. Memes. Pictures and captions. The viral ripple of snapshots and hot takes. I often wonder how we get anything across at all. It’s a deluge.

When I get a moment, I like to sit and see how long it takes to reach a place of silence, and then, of course, I start hearing neighbors talking through the walls.

I had a dream last night that I went to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. I went there of my own volition. I sat for a while, writing down conversations. No one bothered me or asked me why I was there. It felt inspiring, like I was exploring the collective unconscious. Taking important notes. Studying the undercurrents. My mind started blending with the minds of patients and doctors, which triggered a different dream sequence:

I was at the house I lived in for 4 years. In a large park. The sun was setting so I laid down in the tall grass and watched the stars come out. Very suddenly, snow blew over head. I thought it rather beautiful. The snow intermingling with the twinkling of the stars at dusk. It had this As Above, So Below quality of experience to it. I wanted a photo, and tried to capture it, but the moment lasted so briefly. I sat up, and when I did, I saw the house had burned down and the shed was on fire. I went into a panic thinking I had caused the property to go up in flames. “I’m not even supposed to be here. I don’t even live here anymore. They’re going to think I came by and set the place on fire out of revenge. What have I done?” I flashed back to the psychiatric ward where I was now talking with someone. “The house is still there,” they said. “You just had a schizophrenic episode. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I flashed back to the house. It hadn’t burned down after all. A wave of relief washed over me.

I wonder about memory. How true to life our memories are. How colored in they can be by all sorts of various outside and inside stimuli. By dreams. How people can influence one another. How propaganda affects the reconstruction of our memories into misleading myths about the way things are. How rapidly the internet slings thousands of stories and narratives. It often feels like the general consciousness is falling apart. It’s on overload and bursting at the seams. Like everything we once believed is collapsing and people are picking at phrases and empty rhetoric to keep themselves afloat. Like people take to social media to be reaffirmed that their construction of language, their semblance of memories, is real and valid. And it’s true, you exist. All of you in your wondrous unfolding. All of the thoughts and images that arise into your expansive consciousness. But deep down, there is still that panging truth. It’s a losing battle. The ego can’t survive as it once did. The foundations of our story-telling, the way we understand society and how we belong in the world, are being swept up and drastically shifted. This, we know.

And yet, there’s always absurdity; I still sit here and write longhand.

Before the word apocalypse came to mean judgment day, it described the uncovering of a vision. A hallucination, rich with meaning, brought to light. The fault lines cracking and the spirits of the earth arising within our minds bearing prophecies.

It’s not like that anymore. Apocalypse connotes catastrophe.

There’s this other phrase. Folie a deux. It literally means madness of two. More generally, it means a shared psychosis. I think about that a lot in our given culture.

“You think the paint will dry before the rain comes?” A woman hollered from across the street. I didn’t turn around but caught a glimpse of her from the corner of my eye. She pushed one of those fold-up laundry carts, the klinky metal ones.
“That’s the hope.” I responded.
“Supposed to be what, 6 7 8 when the rain comes?”
“I’ve got my eye on the sky.”
“It looks nice.”
“Thank you.”
“The clouds are coming,” she said.

I saw the mailperson down below. I didn’t see his face, but it looked like he was smiling.

It was a pleasant day. The calm before the storm.

As we sat down for lunch, an old guy drove by with his window down. Leaning out the truck, he hollered, “It’s not going to finish itself!” He cracked a boyish smile that reminded me of my grandfather. He laughed at his own joke.

The radio kicked in every once in awhile, interspersing the sound waves. “When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead. And the white knight is talking backwards and the red queen’s off with her head. Remember! What the dormouse saidddd! Feeeed your headdd! Feed your hhheadddd!”


How often am I with women who cry, but rarely, if ever, am I with men who genuinely let go and cry it out. How often am I alone when I shed my own tears?


“I wish I had more freedom.”
“Me too.”
“Then we could fuck on this couch… or something.”
“AND something. Fuck on the couch and more.”

We talked over drinks. At one point, she shed tears. She apologized for crying, but it turned me on. It’s not always an emotion that arouses; there are times it weighs me down, or lifts me up, or catches me off guard and I don’t know how to respond. But this time, I saw a welling up of her livelihood expressed through sadness and tears. Emotions flushed her face. I wanted to hold her arm, touch her hand. I wanted to kiss her lips. I told her this, and she laughed.

“I can’t believe I’m crying.”
“What’s wrong with crying?”
“My whole life I’ve been told it’s no good. Whenever I cried as a girl, someone always asked, ‘What’s wrong with you? Pull yourself together.’ How am I supposed to think otherwise?”
“Tears are good. Your whole face is filled out. Like a shadow lifted. More of you is shining through.”
“I’m a mess.”
“You’re incredibly pretty.”
“I’m crying in public.”
“Remember that time I came over and you were crying in your tub?”
“What? I can’t believe you remember that. I must have been disgusting.”
“What? Of course I remember. It was beautiful. I wanted to take a picture.”
“Oh my god. That would have been something. That big, claw-footed tub.”
“I imagined there were petals floating all around you. Like you were dying. And you said, ‘We have a really strange friendship.’ And I responded, ‘What’s so strange about this?’ And you said pretty simply, ‘I’m naked & hysterical in a tub and you’re just sitting here acting like everything’s perfectly normal.’”


How far into our own darkness do we dive before coming out on the other side?


She heaves and shakes. Another panic attack. “I don’t want to cry anymore! I’m so sick of feeling like this!” The words meek out like tears and spit and snot. Everyday. Every other day. Once a week. It varies. It can be a news article about upstanding families forced out of the country. Another black or trans person gunned down on video. White domestic terrorism mowing down the lives of many. It can be the reminder of personal trauma. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, the reminder of joy and the subsequent desire for things to always be, or at the very least, more often be, easier, loose, and liberating. It varies, but the tears are all around, creating whirlpools and eddies. Moments spent heaving, shaking, questioning.

Why do we ask what’s wrong with people? Why are we not asking what’s wrong with the societal conditions we exist in?


Darkness surrounded her. A black moon swallowed the night sky. A sole light came from the flicker of a large fire. The flames so colorful and all consuming, the adorning night disappeared imperceptibly. A reverberation of drums pulsed lightly at first, and then more deeply, touching the core of her body.

An elder sat stoically, as if in trance, beating a drum in his lap bap bap tap tap bam tap bam beat. The ghosts of ancestors sat in the ceremony too, populating another dimension present and called forth through the medicine of song. Although only one drummer, the boom boom echoed an entire village: people danced, characters, archetypes, warriors, animals, lovers made shapes in the night. Arms outstretched, legs prancing, necks craned, enacting stories & myths made all the more vivid by those nonliving beings who, under sacred circumstances, are still very much all alive.

The rhythm of the drums sunk into her soft skin, into her organs, into her bones. At first, it tickled, and then more deeply, throbbed. The inner flower of her being awoken & seduced into petaling, opened with mandala zeal. A wellspring of eroticism exists therein – that storehouse of infantile energy slowly maturing through our experiences. Like an acorn bearing & sprouting the bark, the leaves, the branches of a 100 foot oak tree.

But too often, especially in the cultural milieu we find ourselves in, there are long moments, eras even, when eros gets arrested and stagnates; out of fear, pain, hurt, trauma, and, of course, the push for progress is wrapped up in there. Play becomes toil. Dreams become nightmares. The mind & body stand aloof, very minimally participating in the urge toward life. When we are cut off from the depths, our lives become convoluted & perverted versions of the subconscious. Evil lurks. Ego rides out. And the shadows, especially of figureheads, manifest in monstrous ways. When handled ignorantly, eros arises & subsumes waking life in very violent & destructive ways.


She sat close. She kissed me on the lips. Goodnight, she said, goodnight, and smiled. I kissed her back. Is there much anything kinder than the softness of reciprocating lips?


I want to believe we can change the world by going into our own psyches and doing the hard work of self-reflection. To look at ourselves honestly and make the necessary adjustments to our behaviors and speech. To crystallize like a diamond compounded. It is scary, no doubt, to go inwards. If it was easy, everyone would be sitting in meditation for hours everyday.

But I don’t think individual struggle suffices.

There are oppressive systems in place, and people working daily to keep those chains tied down & restrictive. They don’t give a shit about your peace of mind. They don’t give a shit about you. Especially if you are are queer or trans or gay or immigrant or native or black or poor or woman. The suppression of diverse existences is rampant.

Surely, an individual can meditate herself out of a box and find liberation, but sections of society don’t have the availability of time & resources to make freedom a daily reality. And it’s not that people are stupid or less-than by any means. People don’t need saving. It’s the fact that we live in a capitalist society that is predicated on extraction – extraction of time, energy, whatever can be turned into money. And those at the bottom suffer most. Why? With each decade and era, technology becomes more efficient, and yet people are still working just as much or even more.

There needs to be active political struggle on multiple, collected levels.

Resist. What does it mean? It’s in everyone’s mouth, on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it’s becoming a trumped up idea. There are people choking on its reactionary emptiness.


I smashed my face into her back, kissing her with my nose, my forehead, my lips, my tongue. My whole face mashed into a kiss. Cheekbones pressing. A contorting seizure of pleasure. Body twisting, borderline violently, thrown into ecstatic convulsion. Groaning like the minotaurs of Picasso’s sketches. Beast and woman, monster and man, a painting of legs and breasts, lips and hair and armpits collaging into sensuous disambiguation. Fears arising. Uncertainty. The thrust of ego. Burning in the flaming thralls of passion.


She wanted to collect her tears in jars. But every time she started crying, she forgot wholeheartedly to take out a little glass bottle. What would she do with them? Simply hold them to share with others? Send them out to sea? Display them like a work of art? Add droplets to potions to transmute her despair and sufferings? Would she separate the tears out, and label them to denote different moments of crying?

She pointed to a shelf lined with bottles. “This is when my cat was killed by dogs. This is when the family dog died; we collected everyone’s tears for this one. This is when I had my first child. This is when my mother passed. This is when I was physically abused.”


She cried. Are people listening?


Psychological warfare distorts reality. How often do we close ourselves off from the feelings of others to protect our already fragile beings?


“I can’t believe I’m that person who cries after sex. Like, I’m really that person.”
“I don’t think you’re alone in that. I don’t mind. I like it. There’s so much emotional upheaval during sex. A lot wells up. It makes sense people cry afterwards. It’s probably healing.”
“I know but, oh my god, I’m crying!”


What is sadness if there is no shoulder to cry on? What happens when no one is there to catch your tears?

I often cry alone. I feel comfortable, as though there is more space to express myself. To just wallop and heave. The tears often turn to laughter. Sometimes sleep. It is always a letting go.

Three of Hearts

I am a relatively reserved person. I keep my expressions calm. Yet I feel often lustful. Moments exist when I’m scared of my own heart. Not that it will stop ticking, but the wilds she speaks.

We spent a couple hours talking at the coffee shop. Mostly about relationships and illusions. The way people feed into one another and create groupthink. All these little cliques of belief. The masses. The contingents. Securing a particular language. A secret code only for the initiates. If you don’t speak it, or attempt to learn, you are as good as gone.

I kept looking at her lips. Kissing them. My eyes betraying desire. I try not to stare, or ogle, but I do enjoy welcoming beauty into the dark wells of my sight. To see souls. To see into, more fully, the life of a person. She has a little goddess etching of birthmark on the underside of her chin near her neck. I remembered kissing it and gently nibbling. Running fingers through her hair, scratching lightly the back of her head. Pressing forehead against forehead. Seeing her eyes. “What do you want? It’s okay. What do you need?” I fell headlong. I kept seeing her teeth, scrunched up like a groundhog close to the earth. The fragrance of soil on her lips.

“You love being a poet, don’t you? Everyone must want to know who you are writing about.”

Lightning sparks from foreheads. Thoughts kiss. Like the rapidity of electric currents. Third eye linguistics, enmeshed. Timelessly conspiring, the telepathy of ancients. Entangled in breaths.

Veronica went on an interview at a sewing & design school. She unofficially received a job as a professor within minutes of the directors seeing her work. She spent hours making a bra. This is magic! She kept yelling. Until it wasn’t magic anymore. And then she let out a string of expletives. Honestly. She’s probably one of the best stitchers in the city. I’m proud of her for that. And humbled by her craft. It’s not terribly difficult to spot someone who holds mastery of an art upon seeing their work. There’s not a certificate in the world that can do that for you. It’s a gift.

I get so frustrated when I read the news, especially international politics, the continued destabilization of countries for the sake of oil. Power. Money. Control. The willful blind eye, American as apple pie. I ask myself why? Why do I keep reading. It’s maddening. Yet I have this urgency to stay informed. To shout into the abyss. A drop in the bucket of worldwide corruption.

I’m all for lowbrow art. But the esteem for being a dolt, it breaks my heart. There’s so much at stake. How easily will people be swept off their feet?

How do we speak a common language without losing the cut of a subversive tongue?

She grabbed my hand and put my fingers in her mouth. Tasting them in the early morning. Wetting them again. We pressed into one another. Gently at first, then more roughly, I wrapped a hand around her neck.

The largesse of an artist. The utter frustration of the writer whose pen keeps running out of ink. How are we supposed to communicate with one another profoundly if we haven’t dug out & filled in our own trenches?

She stepped out of the car, and I could smell the lingering of blood.

Every night she stayed over, the next morning I dreamt of animals. Horses. A large goat. They nuzzled me. We looked into each others eyes. They, always much stronger than I.

Interludes of a Winter Blues

I carry a lot of tension in my gut. My whole life this has been the case. So much so, the majority of times I’ve visited an urgent care, a hospital, or doctor, it has been related to the gut. Thankfully these visits have been far and few between, and none have been terribly life altering.

I sit and meditate. I like to listen to that part of my body. I enjoy hearing and feeling my intestines talk. They make wild noises, like wolves snarling, frothing at the mouth with digestive salivas.

There’s a lot going on in there.

If the heart is the ocean (the veins rivers, creeks, and waterways) and the brain is the cosmos packed in with galaxies and neurons, then the gut is the deep caverns running pathways through the earth filled with nutrients and shit. The gut is like the soil, interlaced with mycelium and nerve endings.

I carry a discomforting hurt: The pain the earth goes through. There are tsunamis in my heart. There are earthquakes in my gut.

I sit and navel gaze. I release the spots where hardness builds up. My guts are soft, strong, and wild. I make sure I ingest non-domesticated foods as often as feasible so digestion is not made lazy by sugars and highly processed foodstuffs.

The complex absorption and expelling of earthly being daily.

Is there meaning in the fact that Artemisias such as wormwood and mugwort both tonify the digestive tract & strengthen dream recall? There is certainly a lot being worked out in the gut we are not totally aware of. Likewise in dreams, we are digesting emotions & experiences via the internal actions of the subconscious.

I carry a lot of shame and guilt in my gut. It tenses up like rocks and impedes the creative rivers of will.

Real ease.

I dreamt of a city. Walking through, the atmosphere was relaxed yet festive. Carnivalesque. I walked through a park and found so many colorful feathers. Several feathers sized four feet long. “These must be my new wings scattered all about.”

I made love with a woman I just met. Boundaries dissolving like fish wrestling in the ocean. Amorphous like the vortex storms of Jupiter. Volatile and pleasingly beautiful. Folding in on one another like spirals of the starry night. We made love.

I woke up naked and attended a street action. It hardens my body. To feel the lick of fire and rage, a constant in the underbelly, trembling like fault lines.

Some days I’m free from worry. Some days my brow is furrowed.

Praise be the shit. For that is an example of the body speaking, “This, I do not need.” I’m thankful for my guts. Discerning nutrients and nourishment everyday.