The sun cracked early, its yolks spilling out and thickening the sky. I awoke to crawl through the underwater blankets, to slither beneath the bedroom smells. To stumble, knock my hip against the bookcase, brush my teeth. My plastic pink toothbrush, which I bought at the Red Apple Market in a moment of defiance–yes pink is fine i can use pink–the Red Apple for which Seattle voted “Best Grocery Store Music.”
When Amanda and I get gnarly-pissed about the preponderance of sick-sugar pop music in the queer dance parties around town, there are always waxed dancefloors to be had at that shiny red apple: Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson.
In the morning I sat around a granite table, squashed basketballs of judgement against my knees, trying to contain it. Crossed, uncrossed, recrossed my legs, knocking my shins against the table.
Ate eggs florentine and exclaimed hmmm mmmm MMMM over each lemon-creamy bite. Kissed my lover. Stroked the moon of her eye, nuzzled my nose into her earth.
My friend called and I sat shuffling Tarot cards, brown candles, brown sugar air, a green fluorite crystal rolling in my palm. Reading the cards, unfolding her storyboard.
Napped under lavender, a warm blast of heat, dreamed in Mediterranean shades, curled my toes into fists, kicked off into cypress trees, splashing paint.
The women are now gathered, munching almonds, sipping herbal tea: licorice root, ginger, peppermint. Writing by candlelight, by stone, by feather and bell. Calling us home, home to right now.
This itch, this cloying dry mouth, I relinquish my need for water and say it may rest there. What lies at the bottom of the dark. Jan Clausen’s poem, “Waking at the bottom of the dark”–how she described the deepest deep of a northwest winter, how we get to experience the very bottom of the year. Without a parade of mercy, just the raw facts of it: dark defined as absence of light, which is really sort of a slanted position to begin with, like Freud and his diagnosis of penis envy. We all know from the outset what’s preferred, privileged, what’s given highest value. But I say this narrow prescription of generalized preference, it may rest there: a cancerous mole, one I watch with wonder and fascination, one I slyly coax into showing me its colors, not letting on that in so doing, it’s revealing its pendulous and precarious existence. Showing me its weaknesses. For under the radiation/radiance of my synesthesia, its weakness is uncovered.
What I mean to say is, what if light was defined as absence of dark? An ugly crispness, without shadow, false cheer, shellac and ambrosia, the myth of panacea. What if the dark pockets of worm-soil were the riches we craved, our skin longing for mud, clay beneath our breath blooming into vessels for the outpouring–the dark in which our roots can fully flex, unscorched by the sun, delicate in their curlings.
It may rest there, the dark. I will not nudge or force it into tight tubes of fluorescence. I will sit patiently, wrapped in the trunk of the tree, noting the glow of down-flowing sap, lapping up the sticky, knowing light is tricky in its lack of dense fluidity. Yes, it may rest there. Even these mythologies, winged beasts, gods with names like hammers and fists–the crystal mountain is a lie. It’s the cake of rings around my toes that give evidence of the living. The grime and muck cut with the razor roads of tears.
So this is something I’m supposed to think about. What is my ordeal? What is it that I need to face?
My power. What if I transform into a shark, my power a great white, tiger shark, hammerhead. What about biting through this cage, growing great jaws, teeth like icebergs, eschewing lettuce, what if I eat raw bloody meat onstage. What if I swim in circles around whoever’s performing. What if I express my jealousy, green and sickly bitter as it is.
Shark teeth. Rattling a sharktooth necklace. Drinking glasses of water, breathing with gills, erasing the evidence of slaughter by licking the plate clean. It would be an ordeal to admit my excellence in public–to name that I want success, slaver after it, that I’m sharpening my teeth on the bones of bad poetry, that I’m thinking of giving up carrots and apples entirely in favor of an all-meat diet. That I want to run over the detritus of my past life with someone’s Subaru.
It would be an ordeal to strip off my gentle smile and reveal the beast underneath, the monster, the bloodlust, the judge, the executioner. To admit that my letters resemble shark fins.That the shark is doing its job, hunting. A creature predatory. To admit that I want to be famous, wealthy, looked up to, immortalized. That I, even now, must interject that my life has been beset by poverty in its entirety and that this makes it okay to hunger for comfort.
That sometimes I do tire of social justice jargon. That we have to stop policing one another.
That it’s okay if success includes prestige. That it’s okay to be highly-regarded, to be thought pre-eminent, flashy, fangy, fangorn, foghorn leghorn.