my life has stood

C23239FF-5C2C-45BB-A1A7-B171D620E2FC493ED844-30BB-458E-A5D1-F8DBCE7747E6Dear,

Contrary to the jokes I crack on the internet about being a double Taurus I am slow to anger and you’re not so much toeing the line as you have pole vaulted over it. I don’t want to rehash the one-sided conversation I’ve been having, I just want to point something out:

In January 2017 I had a stroke. I was bed-ridden for two months after. There’s a solid two years of that must have happened to someone else even though all the pictures are of me. Recovery was a graying string of medications that left me too weak to move.

But a friend I’d not seen since middle school brought their new spouse to play card games with me to re-teach me math and memory. A girl I’d met in a coffee shop who barely knew my name brought me flowers and books to read when the edema let up. My sorority sisters took me to plays when I could walk again and made sure I had food that suited my new dietary needs. My best friend in Denver made me call her every day to talk even when I dropped words because language itself was newly the Gordian knot I still grapple with.  

Do you remember what you did, those grueling months after I crawled my way back from my date with Death?

You didn’t write, you didn’t call.

You didn’t bother to like the tweet I made about being bored at discharge.

If you try to tell anyone you did anything at all? You’re a liar. 

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Lover & Beloved

This weekend I rewatched the first two seasons of Hannibal and, wow, y’all, have I got a lot to  say about this show. For my regular readers: I’m not a Fannibal or Hannibal blogger™, I swear. I just have problems with impulse control when I encounter a piece of media with so many complex layers and an inherent queerness. Don’t expect fancy, or even basic editing, but do expect lots and lots of feelings about history, poetry, and love.

TL;DR: Buckle up nerds, Rae’s gonna talk about Renaissance Italian romantic tropes and Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. Spoiler alert: this is incredibly gay.

Continue reading “Lover & Beloved”

the condominium

I remember a few significant things about the condominium where I was raised.

  1. Its front door faced East. The peephole made a prism that cast a rainbow dot on the wall of the stairs that led to the second story. In the early mornings this was magical to behold and I would stand there on the blue carpeted stairs for as long as my grandmother would allow me to, tracing the matte-rough white paint around that rainbow circle, peering at its colors as the sun moved over time, watching the shadows of my fingers moving over it.  
  2. The black wrought iron hand railing was magical, too, for similar reasons. The artfully twisted metal that made up its first three bars felt fantastic against my face. My grandmother always swore I would get my head stuck between them but I never did.
  3. The carpeting wasn’t always blue. Sometime earlier than I can remember it was different and when grandma spent the money to get new, royal blue plush carpet put in all over the ground floor, we were all proud and excited. All I wanted to do was touch it. I could nearly taste the color. It reminded me of Vienna sausages. I never enjoyed eating those tiny canned abominations but I liked that color blue.
  4. There was a single island of dark wood laminate breaking up the constant sea of blue carpet right where the front door was. It was so cold in winter. I liked to lay my hand half on the carpet, half on the laminate and feel the difference. Mimi (my great-grandmother, for the uninitiated) kept a rag run on it, one of those rectangular, rainbow-woven things that’s made from fabric recycled again and again and again.

Aestheticism, Evil, Homosexuality, & Hannibal

TL;DR: If Oscar Wilde ate people he would eat Geoff Klock. Support your local library instead of paying for this book.

I promised this almost two months ago and I hope you’ll all forgive me for taking so long to deliver. 

Going into Aestheticism, Evil, Homosexuality, & Hannibal: If Oscar Wilde ate people I had pretty high expectations for CUNY philosophy professor Geoff Klock. The book, had I been unable to find it at the University library, would have cost me around $90.00. That’s a huge investment for a scant 120 pages, one I was tempted to make, solely because of the implications made by the book’s title. The title implies that a marriage of aesthetic philosophy and queer theory used to analyze Brian Fuller’s Hannibal. It implies that, perhaps, a criticism of the “queer coded villain” trope might also be involved somewhere in that analysis. It implies that there will be at least some mention of the homoeroticism evident in the relationship arc between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.

Suffice it to say I didn’t waste my money on this book and I still feel cheated.

Please note: this isn’t a Serious Academic Review and I’m a bit rude in it. This is a personal blog. What you see is what you get. Continue reading “Aestheticism, Evil, Homosexuality, & Hannibal”

on writing

I’ve been trying to write all day and life keeps getting in the way and I can’t figure out why that bothers me.

My big sister tells me, sometimes, that I’m a poet. Casually lumps me in with her as if we’re in the same class doing the same things because my prose has “a visceral quality to it” that, apparently, others’ lacks. I don’t see it. I don’t get this overlap in the visceral and the abstract and in any case it doesn’t explain why I need it.

I’m not a poet, I’m just blunt. I’m blunt and afraid and doing my best to remember at all times that we are cosmically insignificant.

I don’t know why I write.

I know that any minute I’m not writing I feel like I’m dying.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’m aware of the fact that I’m dying, cell by cell, a little more each day as telomeres degrade and mutations multiply and, knowing my family history and the state of the world, if I don’t get shot for being queer, it’ll be cancer that gets me. The idea of being besieged again by my own body is my worst nightmare and so: I write.

I’m blunt and I’m afraid and I’m loud and I live a life that requires constant outward quiet. I once listened to my own uninterrupted screaming for a period of six months; I kept a placid smile on my face and answered phones at the office with perfect diction. I don’t know that this is what is meant by still waters run deep but its the closest experience I have to the metaphor. I write to get some peace and quiet.

Death doesn’t scare me. It’s not about leaving a legacy. This is just the closest I can come to reaching out and touching someone else without wanting to peel my skin off with my thumbnails. Like a grape.

morning

I had the most fantastic view of the valley this morning. How do I even begin to describe it?

Well, the first thing you need to know that the city sits surrounded almost entirely by mountains or, at least, foothills. There is no endless horizon and looking up at the great bowl of the mountains at it you feel cradled by the earth. Safe. Sheltered.

This city itself isn’t much to look at, at any time of day, looking rather like a pond of brackish water from above. The foothills make a shore of themselves, though, for this bizarre grey pool to lap at. They’re blooming right now, transformed from vast tracts of hard dirt to soft blankets of greening sage.

The foothills cut off abruptly into the western mountains which are, presently, a deep blue-green, the pine forests nearly black like ocean water, capped of course with the brightest white. The snow glows against the storm clouds roiling just beyond them, pressing forward like so many faces and palms against a pane of glass, held back by the reality of the rain shadow.

With the sunrise half started there’s a clear gradient overlay of gold that sweeps left to right across the valley and all the colors surrounding the city are twice as vivid. You could sink your teeth into them, press your hands deep under them and pull out fistfuls of hue that drain back into the world like grains of sand.

That still doesn’t quite capture it.

But I really do love it here more than anywhere else in the world and I’m determined to appreciate every last bit of this region before we finally kill it off with the rest of the planet.

r.l.b. 3/21/19

writing is hard

This isn’t going to be petty except for every way that it’s going to be petty. It’s not going to be selfish except in for every way that it’s going to be selfish. Because you keep doing and saying– or not doing and not saying– things that feel like an ending, a breakup, a quiet demolition or an implosion and I feel worse and worse for every second I don’t say something.

Continue reading “writing is hard”

this again?

My mother’s husband’s brother dies and the news comes late at night. The brother he hated, if we’re being honest, they were never close.

But it doesn’t matter because the result is the same, because it could be anything– a scratched bumper, a crooked picture, a contrary opinion, an eye roll, a burnt meal– that sets him screaming and destructive, punching walls and breaking crockery and throwing himself downstairs and into plate glass, threatening lives and violence like breathing.

Part of me hopes that this will be what kills him.

Part of me knows better.

The part of me that remembers eighteen and shaking holding a door shut with my spine while he slammed his weight into it again and again and again until the shitty particle board groaned and cracked and he murmured to me through it like a seduction that he could get into my bedroom if he really wanted, that, of course, he had only ever given me what I had asked for, that I couldn’t keep him out forever with my bruised knuckles and aching back braced and burning against that broken door–

That part of me feels sick because it knows. Because he and I are monstrously alike. Nothing anyone or anything has done to him has killed him yet and I know in my bones that neither will this. He’ll survive and so will I and, eventually, the door will break.