fall

every year i approach fall with this feeling of a gathering damp. i can feel myself getting sadder by the day, first around the edges then closer. even when i do the things i enjoy most, even when i have stretches of weeks at a time where all is well, and it becomes apparent, usually by the end of october, that there’s nothing i can do to waylay what’s coming for me. then i spend a week, sometimes two, furious. snapping at everything i can get my jaws around because i’m just so goddamn angry that i have no control over the winter. then i pass the tipping point. and everything becomes very still. and all i can think of day in and day out, until spring comes, is how better off this earth would be with me cold underneath it. and some years not even the sun coming back does the trick. not even august out on the hardpan salt gets hot enough to burn off the fog. and then before i know it, it’s fall again.

healthy

Five months ago someone told me– gently, as politely as she possibly could, purely in the interest of helping because she wants me to get out and meet people and find a datemate– that I needed to adjust the angle of my head in a photo– one that I made the mistake of thinking made my fat look sexy– to better hide my double chin. I haven’t taken a picture of myself alone since. 

Last week another friend asked me if I’ve been sick because she hasn’t seen me in months and apparently I look like I’ve lost weight. She followed this up telling me that I looked fantastic, healthy even.

I’m not saying these things are related but I haven’t been looking at myself in the mirror. 

Then my boss changed my hours and I discovered that coffee is better than lunch. Thirty minutes isn’t enough time to eat a full meal. And lately instead of dinner I’ll drink hot chocolate with extra whiskey because that keeps me from being too anxious to sleep because I live alone, my best friend decided he hated me, and my cat died, and I’m convinced my life has no meaning.

I guess it’s supposed to be consolation that existential terror looks good on me.

my life has stood

Dear,

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. 

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