Friday, January 25, 2013



My ears still muffled with the dim static sounds left there by an overloud bar band, I curl one hand around a mug of tea and the other around a bottle of ibuprofen. I deftly avoided drinking tonight, but I didn't escape a little misery. My limbs are sore and shaky again; too many aeroplanes, too many people, too much moving, too little rest. My flesh comes up in goosebumps as I shake a couple of pills into my hand and knock them back. I don't go for the thermometer; I know what it will say.

In the darkness, I peel down to knickers and ski socks and a single sheet, trying to let the small snores of the houseguests lead me down into Morpheus's kingdom before the shivers turn to sweat.

It takes ages.


I'm standing in a narrow pool of light -- so narrow that, if I hold my arm in front of me, my fingers disappear into the thick ink of the darkness beyond. There is no movement of air; no sound; no indication of space or time or friendliness.

I hear footsteps.

Swift as a breath, a hand darts in and snags a thread from the bottom of the column of my long, tight dress, brushing my skin where the fabric fits closely to the calf. As soon as the hand appears, it disappears, the thread drawing a taut line between me and absolutely nothing.

The footsteps, and the thread, begin an orbit.

With inexorable slowness, the fabric dissolves into the darkness. When the line hits the softness at the back of my knee, it occurs to me to say something; not a word is returned. When my thigh is exposed to the hollow of my hip, I start to beg. Somehow, my hands can't stop the progress; somehow, my words sink as deeply and meaninglessly into the void as the thread that wends slowly away from my dignity. I whimper when I can feel the stage-lamp heat on my exposed lower back, on the contour of my waist meeting my lower ribs, on one shy nipple, then the other. When the thread breaks its final mooring at the hollow of my throat, I ask why.

My own face emerges from the darkness. My own hand slides into view and grasps my chin, not lovingly. Familiar eyes, tortoiseshell in the fierce light, hook deeply into mine.

“Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.”


"That you think you weren't already this vulnerable is a farce."

The figure disappears.

The shaft of light coruscates, then dies.


It hurts when you rattle my hinges. 

Please rattle my hinges.

It hurts when you push every button. 

Please push every button.

It hurts when I feel your fingers in my imagination.

Please keep stirring.

Please beg the question, over and over again: what are you afraid of, that you would open doors with such rabid compulsion but leave just this one shut?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

meet your own gaze

It's 105 degrees Fahrenheit in here; 40% humidity. There are thirty other people in this room, the mirrored walls duplicating and reduplicating us into a sweat-drenched infinity. So many bodies; so much flesh, stretched over muscle, stretched over bone, stretched over our respective mats.

When we're in the room, we're decorated anatomy. We're parts, pushing and pulling and twisting. We're soaking wet. We're miserable, and we're elevated, and we're united in that straddle.

To my left, a woman's tangle of course, black hair hangs in thick vines over the razor intensity of her gaze. Her thigh levitates over her mat like a promontory of wet volcanic rock, the baby-pink sole of her foot standing in stark contrast against its inky hardness. Another woman ventures lazily into the posture, limbs noodly and noncommittal, curls piled atop her head in a winsome, if childish, knot.  She inspects her own lissome form with eyes as green and innocuous as a toy dinosaur. She finds nothing wanting. A middle-aged man, muscles trained into magazine-cover definition, struggles valiantly against the tissues he has so painstakingly wrought. His bleached teeth grab his bottom lip as he yanks wholeheartedly on one foot. His neighbor, a twenty-something fella with twinkling eyes that sweep the room at regular intervals, is just as strong but much more pliable; a slight smile barely nudges the corner of his plush auburn beard as he placidly hefts his own body through the posture. The mountainous fake breasts of the woman behind him quiver unnervingly with her labored breathing, her spindly Asian hips seeming unequal to the task of supporting both her top and bottom halves. Next to me, a spill of thick blonde hair falls over a chiseled, sunkissed shoulder. One bead of sweat emerges from her hairline and traces down the perfect center of her face, bisecting her button nose and the china-doll bow of her lips before her tongue darts out to catch it.

Then there's me, meeting my own gaze in the mirror, flushed strawberry and standing in a salty waterfall of my own making. 

There I am.

The parts of me I like and the parts of me I hate and the flint of my determination to push through ONE MORE SECOND and my aching desire to simply lie down and breathe and my galloping mind and my stone-faced quietude and absolutely everything about me, materializing in the mirror as glossy, slick body parts, stacked carefully in alignment, moving almost imperceptibly with the tide of my breath. I am not perfect, but I am here, and I am working to the very edge of my edge.

The idiosyncratic practice of Bikram yoga, among but somehow above all its other benefits, teaches you to see yourself.

It's one of the most important lessons yoga has to teach.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

wish i may

one night in thailand
we went to the river.

we struck matches
so many matches
and lit the tiny wick-hearts
of a legion of paper lanterns
sending them skywards

each one,
a wish

the sky gamely gobbled them up
the sky claimed each one
the sky never muttered a word in response

and yet

my wishes have all come true.

i am thinking of those lanterns now

and what it means
to make a wish
what it means to pray
what it means to do magick with one's words.

if i tell you

you are beautiful
you are brilliant
you are the midday sun of endless potential
that i struggle not to squint against
you have teased me open and plucked my petals from their seating
you are as compelling as myth
yet as solid as muscle and mouth
and so

these are matches
these are lanterns

they slide up into your sky
and softly disappear.

some would say this is madness

that your silence
is not so sweet as i imagine
that your silence
is simply baffled,
and you watch my words sail by
as a target watches an arrow
zing madly into the backstop

that these tender little flames of observation
gutter in your palm
and that is why
you return them with the same silence
as a hot equatorial sky.

if this is madness,
i am mad.

i will strike these matches
and open my palms
and show you the soft insides of my wrists
as each word rises from my sharing
in this way
i will never have to roll up
and breathe deeply of the knowledge
that i did not tell you
in every way i can frame

the world is so much better that you're here.