love


crazy-cat

I am once again revisiting  the eternal struggle to wash my brain of  the boy.  To find the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The ups and downs of  this relationship have been documented in this blog for a long time.  I am not clear on why I cannot get over him. It’s been 2.5 years of continuous and alternating pain and joy.  It’s like fucking Brokeback Mountain for heterosexuals.  We’ve gone from being sorta together (boy don’t do monogomy), to being totally cut off, to being fuckbuddies, to being homemade porn stars, and now back to crazytown.  He has a new fling. A freaking 26 year old. Not that hot, but obviously she’s got something he wants for now.  I am having fucking NIGHTMARES about it all. 

While the boy is charming and funny and smart, his life is a total trainwreck.  I should be glad to let someone else deal with his drama for a while.  Would I really want him if he was mine to have? Why am I so attached? So obsessed?  There is obviously a connection there that strikes a deep and primal chord in me. The only way I can explain it is that pain and drama are so heavily ingrained in my psychological makeup, that he is the perfect fit for that very self defeating, masochistic chink in my brain.  He fills a part of me that thrives on this stuff and it makes for a very powerful addiction.  Add to that:  I just love being around him. And the sex is perhaps the best I’ve ever had. The perfect trifecta for addiction. I feel like it is going to kill me. I cannot let that happen. What the hell?  I need electro shock therapy. I need to move to another country. I can’t believe I am back here again. I guess I never really left.  Writing about it is therapy for me. In which case, I should be doing a lot more writing……..

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rat

I found this post title in my draft posts the other morning. I think my intention that late night back on July 3, was to write about my ratty who I had discovered dead at 3 a.m. when I got up to get a glass of juice.  Wonder what I thought I could write in my sleep walking state? Oh well… that shall remain a mystery. At any rate, as those 2 of you who read my drivel know, I have had two black hooded female rats for a couple of years. Delilah came first and then we decided she needed company and bought Baby. They have been delightful creatures but I have found them to be fairly high maintenance and somewhat demanding. They’re smart, so they need attention.  I am guessing since Baby died, Delilah will probably go soon since they were each other’s world. These will be the last rodents we will own. Ever. We have had white mice, hamsters, pygmy hamsters and now rats. They don’t live long and the cemetary plot is getting full.

Scout’s ashes came back in a sweet little wooden box. We put it by a photo of him and my daughter and put his purple collar over the picture frame. The loss of  Scout still looms on my psyche’s horizon. I never fully grieved his death. And now we have Willy. Crazy Willy. He’s like a giant Scout with brain damage. It all makes for some very weird feelings.  Developing affection for a new dog is not difficult for me, being an avid animal lover, but still I feel like I’m betraying Scout in some way.  It’s as if I took my emotions and stuffed them in a bag and then just tacked them onto Willy. Weird and disorienting on some level.

On other fronts, the train keeps barrelling down the crazytracks. I’ve decided to just start chasing butterflies and give up on worrying about anything.  Besides, I hear conflicting stories about the world ending or being beset by solar flaring in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar, so if I can just keep the bill collectors at bay for a few more years I should be set.

SHOREBIRD DIE-OFF

Modest Mouse. That song. “And we were dumb dumb dumber than the dirt dirt dirt on the ground.” Check.

Details are neither necessary nor advisable at this point. A self destructive streak can never be unpainted from the soul. Once placed, it remains at the core of one’s existence, manifesting in various forms. Sometimes it’s the “I can’t stop loving that man, even if he tromps my heart a million times” and sometimes it’s the “I can’t stop tromping on my own heart no matter how resolved I am to stop it.” In either case the end result is the same. Desolation. Solitude. Emptiness. It’s where I started out and where I end up consistently. The boot to the heart. Down in the dirt. Lower than before, if that can possibly be.

marty51

Damn you,  Dan Fogelberg….. that stupid grocery store/Christmas song made it impossible for me not to title this post as I have. Spilling her groceries and laughing till you cried.  Why would that be so funny? I never got that schmaltzy song at all.

This past week I ran into two old lovers. And let me say I detest the word “lover”…. totally grosses me out.  At any rate, these were friendly encounters. The first was indeed at the art museum. When we were together K. was 50 and I was 34. He was a fairly well known and respected artist. I was desperately looking to horn in on the Seattle art scene having just moved here from South Carolina (i.e. everyone assumed I was a dumb cracker, an entertaining oddity, or both) and was out to  find some validation in the hipster culture of  Belltown, one of the city’s enclaves of all that was artsy  and edgy. Having been somewhat adopted into a certain clique as the resident Southern whacko, I had already been through a cartoonist, a struggling actor, a few musicians, some poets, a few writers. Let’s just say I was starting to make a name for myself in Belltown but not for my artistic talents. K was a semi-regular in the tavern that I had adopted as my virtual living room. When he asked me to lunch I was floored. That turned out to be the longest lunch of my lifetime. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant and then back to his place where we drank tea and talked all afternoon, then moved on to dinner and sake and I ended up staying the night and then not leaving for the next 8 months or so. When K. actually fell in love with me I could never trust that he took me seriously or that he was not a little ashamed to be with me. I had a lot to learn. He took the picture above, a little blurry and worn after all these years. That’s my dog Sparky with me. Best dog ever in the history of the world.

K  lived in a huge loft in a decrepit old building in Pioneer Square, which was pretty much where one lived in the early 90’s if one was a serious artist. (Nearby Belltown was also acceptable, but had fewer lofts.)  It was not a legal living space but it did have a rustic full bath and he had made a cozy little kitchen in a corner where he concocted delicious Asian dinners on a tabletop gas stove. We’d walk to Uwajimaya, the Asian market,  and buy exotic ingredients for our meals, huge bottles of sake, Japanese tableware. He was very much into the Asian aesthetic and, in fact, was the lighting director for the city’s Asian art museum. At age 50, K. was in great shape but had a face that reflected a lot of living. A face with a view, to quote Mr. Byrne. Craggy yet handsome in that Willem Dafoe kind of way, with long gray hair worn in a ponytail. Usually in jeans or wide wale cords, shiny black cowboy boots and a black leather jacket. With his sparkling blue eyes and easy laugh, he was iconic to me. Still shaky and uncertain, finding my feet in this new world,  I couldn’t believe he loved me.

We spent most of our time in his loft cooking, eating, reading, doing the NY Times crossword puzzles, watching Kurosawa films and listening to music. This was heady stuff to a Southern girl who had yearned for Bohemia her whole life. We were rarely seen together in social settings. I think we went to dinner one time at his friends’ home. I was very conspicuously out of place. And I was very uncomfortable and paranoid.  The seeming secrecy of the relationship made me all the more certain that he harbored veiled shame for being with me. When I revealed our relationship to a woman who was a real player in the Belltown scene she laughed in disbelief. What the hell was he doing with me? It seemed absurd to her, almost unbelievable.  I was, after all, an anomaly. A hanger on, a mascot. Not a true member of the In Crowd.

In time, like all things, the relationship went sour. Turned out  K. had bad mommy issues and was  extremely jealous.  Mommy was a bit of a tramp when he was young, dad was shot and killed in a bar fight. Living with a somewhat loose single mom in the 50’s had taken its toll on him. Women were suspect… secret sluts. I certainly fit that mold. There was also the fact that he had a vasectomy, I wanted children and he did not. I was still young enough and wild enough that I liked to spend time in the bars with my friends from time to time.  On one occasion, K. stormed into the bar and tried to drag me out, cursing and accusing me of hooking up with another guy there, who was actually his friend and who would never mess with me. He ended up punching a telephone pole in his frustration and anger, cutting his hand badly.  I was amazed at the intensity of his jealousy.  Things came to a halt shortly thereafter but I pined away for him for quite a while. These were the days when answering machines had cassette tapes in them and you could record your message forever if you wanted. So I did. I would end up at midnight, lonely and drunk and wishing him back in my life, playing some beautifully depressing song on my stereo. I’d dial his number and just leave the receiver by the speaker so he would hear the music.  I don’t remember how long I kept at this ritual but it was definitely longer than necessary. Naturally, he never responded to any of that drama.

Eventually I found someone else and K. faded into the past. We had a few random encounters over the next years. I tried to revive the relationship at one point even after I was (unhappily) married and had my baby but he was fairly strident in his refusal to engage me on any level.  Last week I was at the downtown art museum with my daughter, now age 13, and there he was…now working as the lighting director….. que impresivo!!!  Approaching 70, he looked a little worse for the wear but not that much different.  I was surprised to see him walking his very recognizable confident walk  through the gallery where I was searching for the kid and he seemed equally surprised to see me.  Apparently  he thought I hadn’t  lived in Seattle since I left over 10 years ago for library school. Although I had spied him walking down the street from time to time over the years since I’d returned, his luck had finally run out. Here we were face to face.  I wanted to introduce him to my daughter but she was nowhere to be found.  I asked if he had ever married and no, he hadn’t. We chatted briefly and that was that.  Then I set out to find the kid, bemused and nostalgic as I wandered through the museum.

Later in the week, another ex came into the library with his wife and two adorable daughters.  I’ve run into him there several times over the past year. We were never very serious.  H. wasn’t much of a talker and I was a nervous chatterbox in his presence. Our relationship consisted of pretty much nothing other than fucking. After seeing way too many David Lynch films, I asked him to take me to the seediest hotel we could find out on Aurora Avenue (famous for street hookers) and fuck me. He willingly obliged. It was not very exciting in the end, as I was fairly distracted by the nasty condition of the room and the screaming and fighting that was going on behind the paper thin walls that surrounded us. It was definitely NOT hot.

But today, seeing him with his wife and kids, our conversations are easy. I’m not that nervous little chatterbox anymore and age has loosened him up a bit. He is still gorgeous to look at, which is what drew me to him in the first place.  I like him now. I don’t think I really did back in the day.

I could go on and on about old lovers, (again..that word…);  their numbers are legion.  Most were forgettable, some still haunt me.  And this brings me to my greatest fear. I fear I will end up strapped to a very uncomfortable mattress in some random, shabby nursing home. A babbling old lady shouting out obscenities and detailed descriptions of the sexual exploits of my youth as the orderlies change the rubber sheets on my bed.  I am resolved not to let this happen. Guns, gas, razor blades, pills and booze. They’re all there for a reason.

NEWSFLASH:  Just as I was finishing up this post, I received a notice on Facebook that another old flame, J, had sent a message and had friended me.  I haven’t seen or heard from him in at least 13 years. We lived together for several years in Charleston, SC  when I was in my late 20’s. The whole thing resulted in a visit to the loony bin for me. A rough one. Too long a story to go into at this point.

Irony is alive and well. I think it’s my middle name.

dream

She woke from her fevered sleep and looked around the room. All was dark. Still. Unfamiliar. Was she dreaming or awake? Always hard to tell in these early morning hours. Then she felt him beside her, his leg draped lightly across her thigh. For a minute there was something else,  pushing against her as she lay on her side. She pushed back with her hips and met it, inviting it to penetrate her. She could feel herself opening to it, willing it to come inside. Now… just. there.

The light changed.  She turned onto her back and opened her eyes. It was gone. He was gone.  She was alone on her tiny mattress on the floor.  The rats  in the next room scratched and gnawed  in their cage, crazy with the  futility of struggling against the wheel that had been clamped immobile for the night so she could sleep without the constant screech of metal on metal as they bounded forever to nowhere.  At the foot of the mattress the little dog’s paws trembled as he dreamed of running, chasing something he could never quite catch.

Throwing the covers off,  she crawled to the coffee table and retrieved her cell phone to check the time. 3:40 am.  It was a dream. She wanted more.  Making her way back to the mattress she settled again on her side as the dog repositioned himself under the quilt at her feet, his warm breath against her toes.  Her breath fell into rythm with his and she drifted off to sleep.

empty_on_the_inside_by_sim

Trapped in a life with myself in a roiling sea of pain. When all around me is spinning out of control, I find I have very little reserves to shore me up. I am empty, with nothing to offer to anyone but ,most disturbingly, nothing to give to my child when she is in such obvious pain. A child who has lived with parents who have behaved so badly, who are so mired in their own misery that there is little room left for her. She’s an angry child and I don’t blame her. But I am down on the ground, below the ground, and the boot is on my heart grinding the heel in and telling me “Take it bitch, you deserve it. You’ve earned it. And there’s plenty more where that comes from. Eat some dirt … there, that’s a good girl. Now throw yourself down the hole. If you can get back up I’ll kick you down again, and again, and again.”

Pain is where I live. Sorrow the altar upon which I sacrifice myself nightly. You just have to go down there sometimes and be open to it as you drag  yourself to the edge on bloody knees and look down as far as you can fathom. Looking up you might see a little speck of hope like a tiny planet billions of miles away in a dark sky. But for now you cling to the edge as the abyss keeps you mesmerized. How could it have ended up so badly? How did we come to this place of misery? Face it. Sometimes there’s just no escape.

And then you go outside and the dog is wagging his tail and his ears are flapping in the breeze and you walk. And you walk. Breathe in the cold air. Look at the dog. Breathe. See his simple glee. The boot is still there on my heart but the dog is determined to make me sing. I love that damn little dog. He’s saved me on more than one occasion. He’s onto something and it’s not just sniffing the random traces of other beings who have walked before him.  The child walks beside me, forced from her tearful rant out into the air. Her mood lifts, the dog leads us on. And as the sun goes down, we round the corner together. 

art by Simon Tsang via www.lukechueh.com/ sightings.html

zogg_1

14 years ago today at approximately 8:00 pm, after a mere two martinis were consumed at the Uptown China Restaurant bar, my lovely daughter was conceived. No, not in the bar. In my cozy Queen Anne apartment. My husband describes the scene as “having had a gun to his head”… as I forced him to abandon our natural birth control methods (trying not to be too graphic here in case the daughter reads this).  Every year on Valentine’s Day we remind her that it is the day of that momentous conception, and every year she screams in disgust about how gross the whole thing is. Believe me, I know. I was there, kid. Not to say that the end result was anything less than perfection,  but thinking about doing the deed with the ex kinda creeps me out as well. Still, her conception does indeed make Valentine’s Day, an otherwise useless day, special to me.

On other fronts, I have been reading Jonathan Lethem’s “You Don’t Love Me Yet”, which I am loving. Already. This novel is much sexier than  “Fortress of Solitude”,  the last Lethem I read.  I’m going through a phase of constant arousal lately (menopause hasn’t taken me yet!!!) and reading this book is keeping me on edge, to say the least.  From Amazon:

“Fans of Fortress and Motherless Brooklyn may find this novel’s levity too drastic a shift, but even though Lethem is having a great time here with wordplay, a motley cast, and Lucinda’s sexual meanderings, You Don’t Love Me Yet is anything but a simple entertainment. “

Rather than attempt to divulge the plot, as I am only about a third of the way through it, let me just titillate you with my own moist approval and the blurb above.  I like what Lethem is doing with his one dollar stories as well.

Pic via http://www.whatisdeepfried.com/zogg/zogg1.html which I discovered over at Lethem’s links.

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