Lilac Wine :: a warzone towards haiku

January 11, 2014


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 10:15 pm

First you find the ends, then you find the center went one of my first rope lessons. This has proven of infinite utility.

I had the epiphany – the sort of clear, sharp epiphany I thought was left behind with teenage years – that for most of my life, I’ve sought sorts of self-destruction. This has been constant, reflexive and very deeply ingrained. They’ve been gentle, relatively safe forms like daydream and orgasm and the reflexive annihilation of thoughts and impulses. Sometimes the form has been: going away inside. At times it was a reversible alternative to suicide. Often it was a coping mechanism for the intense emotions and ideas I had no way to pursue.

Then December brought a stunningly beautiful cold spell and successful month at work, and every remaining self-destructive impulse flipped to generative. I hadn’t known how consistently I nixed myself, stopped my thoughts, held my hands down until I let these things flow. Propriety and morality kicked in and kept me from crossing inappropriate lines. I was whole and at peace. How incredible is that? Growing-up keeps surprising me with a wealth of joys that only come from experience and knowledge. No one ever tells you that – or ever told me that – when you are young. But so it is and I am happy.

Perhaps this creativity was an end, or perhaps it is the center between annihilation and feral joy. I don’t know and do not have to know yet. But there are other ends and other centers.

I found my end of the spectrum of sexual whim in San Francisco, playing with lovers who caught my eye. More precisely, I found and fetishized an extreme state of transience. I loved the glint of your eyes and the already-fading marks of suspension hemp, and didn’t care what came to-morrow. It was beautiful and I do not judge or regret it. For so many years I had experienced sexuality at the other end of the spectrum – as a victim, or a girl acquiescing to a relationship without nearly the self-awareness and confidence to seek her desires out. (This of course simplifies everything, and I experienced many moments in-between all along the way with good men/women.) But – having known both ends, I can see a center of what I want; a matrix of steady connection, always in flux, holding transient joys.

I’ve punched my fist numb in spun-up desire and held my palms to the earth grounding acknowledged want, and now I can look at my hands and see all the capability of restraint and love and labour. And I know my strength.

I’ve been the hurt girl in voluminous skirts, delicate in every way and calling for help with every non-verbal cue. I’ve been the tough boy in jeans moving through the factory. And now I can synthesize the whole damn woman, use my strengths and work through the challenges; come to the table zen and honest with something to offer and plenty of mistakes to make.

I’ve no real point except that I’ve inhabited a lot of ends, oscillated and fucked up and pondered and feel a great deal more whole and balanced; ready to get things done.


September 28, 2013


Filed under: Text — Tags: , — Lilac @ 6:00 pm

Led underground by a (statuesque & smiling) white rabbit; my favorite metaphor recurrent. It is a happy omen.

December 22, 2012


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 6:45 pm

One junior high teacher assigned us a pie chart to divide according to the prevalence of our intelligences: interpersonal, mathematical, kinaesthetic & so on. My kinaesthetic slice was a zero-degree sliver. The worlds I moved confidently in were of mathematics and language; though I was a good runner, my legs existed more or less to take me to school and the public library. Dragged into sports I would crumble in confusion, able to comprehend but not to move right.

In college, two beloved friends took me dancing in San Francisco’s gothic scene. She tried to teach me pretty, infinitely swirling hand motions which to her amusement I echoed with hopeless clumsiness. He moved with androgynous elegance through the club maze. I danced hesitantly in pinned-up skirts and black lipstick, and left my heart somewhere in the city. Later I kept dancing at the goth & bdsm clubs and found a deep peace in the kinaesthetics of it.

As I’ve flogged laughing boys and cut metal on the mill, the intuitive motions have become a source of pleasure. Learning physical skills is pretty hard for me, but once I’ve got it and can work with it great peace comes over me. I am reminded of Oliver Sacks’ Surgeon’s Life, his sensitive recounting of a skilled surgeon with Tourette’s who moved between ‘kinetic melody’ and a disorganization of tics. Of course I haven’t nearly what he has to contend with, but I can identify slightly. Always considering and hesitating, when I find threads of kinetic melody through machining or song or sadomasochism my mind quiets and focuses and I am at peace.

September 6, 2012


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 3:42 pm

I’m not able to reach the state of trust which once opened the door to oblivion. So good at silently taking in pain that it’s become second nature, I choke on months of unspoken words and restrained cries.

February 12, 2012


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 12:05 pm

Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar m’od: The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the most important thing is not to be afraid. We sang this at Jew Camp when I was 12 and it has stuck with me.

We build delicate layers of bridges, singing songs and building societies to put space between our lives and the concrete inevitability of death, a void which we are bridging for an indeterminate time. All of these bridges fall apart with a few twists; destitution and obstacle turn a little house on the prairie into a haunt for the lord of the flies. I have seen big brother Death sit with mad eyes, pale blue and cold as ice, and have been afraid. I have seen the fetishized weapons of BDSM, gun and knife, turned back to their original intent in preparation for violence. And the darkness of a blindfold has nothing on the dark of a country night, when you are alone and cold and have scraped your knees.

I miss inhabiting the casual spaces people interact within. I am trying to build them around myself again, cooking meals and lighting candles and calling friends, keeping the dark out and the wolves away.

January 14, 2012


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 10:45 pm

I arrayed candles in the Chanukah menorah; twenty years later my man lights candles upon our table. We are always seeking light and song and company. We rival gravity and scarcity to pull this warmth into ourselves, and to send our own lights into the vast night.

Six months we spent taking a bare plot of land to a semi-habitable space. The country was as dark and quiet as I’d once imagined death to be. Orion rose over the hills to guard our truck, later our tent, later our 10′ x 10′ shed. The kitten hunted lizards and learned to kill. We planted trees and installed propane, a well pump, a barn, a driveway. I worked ’til I was pouring sweat and ravenous for meat. Many days I cried with loneliness, missing the soundscape of the city. Many moments were made simply of magic, my man’s arms about me as we stood in a meadow dizzy with yellow madia and yawning wheat. Wildflowers bloomed and died in succession as summer passed; the oaks lost their crowns of jagged leaves and became witchy silhouettes before the winter sky.

I feel a caveman wonder at civilization now. Six months without an indoor water tap, most of it without electricity: now I have an apartment with dozens of outlets, all able to thread electrons through our wires, inexhaustible. The taps offer water instantaneously. In the stores nearby I can find anything. I spent the first day back gaping, giddy, reverse culture-shocked. I think I know what wealth we have now.

There have been hard times. Desperate, painful times that cut me down to nothing; I’ve written of finding oblivion in BDSM, but that is a darkness laid upon a safety, and this was a darkness laid upon nothing. I gazed into the abyss and cannot forget it. That abyss lurks now behind everything I hear and do, but I am hopeful that that haunt will recede and let me wholeheartedly re-join society. I have a new job I’m very excited about. I can buy guava nectar and take baths and coordinate blue-koi pillows with blue-coral pillows. Our new apartment is simply arranged, but it’s so much contrasted with the bare land it once was; such an intensive gathering of resources. I’ve always known that academically, but now I know it.

November 24, 2011


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 4:23 pm

It’s quiet and cold in the country. The oaks have lost their leaves and are hung with clusters of mistletoe. We share the land with howling coyotes, tiny bluebirds and deer.

The house we came here to build has been prohibited by the County, and we have no suitable alternative at present. It’s a long story, fraught with disappointment and outright lies and government extortion. Suffice it to say the land will be kept for an orchard and a sacred space, and I’m looking for employment back near San Francisco or Sacramento.

May 25, 2011


Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 11:01 pm

Little sister’s birthday presents are a silver padlock necklace and a speech1 about revolution. The necklace shines like moonlight in every mirror or dully reflective piece of glass. The speech is whispered with hypnotic fury. I always did want an elder brother.

These are the bad times. Brother’s job has faded out, through no fault of his own, while I’m working overtime. I’ve been negligent and our lease is almost up, leaving us homeless within a month. On The Upper Floor, he lectures me and I cry in shame.

Circumstances remind me of my inheritance. We go to look at land.

His necklace shines pure as stars among the spit and stomach acid slicking down my chest. I am primed for use, a pornstar gasp in our mirror.

We go to look at land. There is a place. It has just rained, and the wildflowered grasses hang with dew. Oaks stand mossy. A pair of deer, male and female, race off; beneath an oak there is a hollow padded into the grass. This is where the deer lie, says my brother. I know this is the place.

I almost back out. In 5am panic, I know this fear exposes a lack of love for the thought of living isolated in the country. Like Dan said, says my brother, fear is the opposite of love. It was a nice fantasy. He has me throw the realtor’s papers away.

We go to look at apartments; a promising complex turns out cramped and moldy. These are more of the bad times and I cry driving home, behind brother’s white truck still muddy with Yuba County dirt. Tori sings give me life, give me pain, give me my self again; smoking cloves out the window, I recognize I do not love this life enough either. I love my brother and kitty, and many things in San Francisco; but the sum of this life, treading water in little apartments and a soul-crushing job, will not be enough. I like it enough; I can do it well and earn raises but I spend all its rewards making up for its discontents; and I would tread water forever, dancing the night down, drinking the evening by, nibbling chocolate or writing haiku against the boredom of an engineering office.

We slouch in bed, researching honeybee hives, building permits, composting toilets. On our anniversary we are selling off furniture and buying a cat carrier. Holding hands in your truck.

I made an offer on the land. I hang in stasis, awaiting well water potability tests.

1Not intended as a gift

April 27, 2011

There is a light that never goes out

Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 1:42 pm

Note to self: you will not be able to do it, not as you are. You will struggle and fail. The self you’ve cherished and kept safe will not be sufficient to the challenges ahead. You will be overcome with responsibility, and rise to meet it. The dreamer will not be the same once they’ve fought to their dream. It is cruel.

The price of realizing dreams is to haul them down from heaven, stop sensationalizing everything you want, and roll up your sleeves. You will be exhausted and without the onetime sense of mystery. And you will have won.

There will be another dream. And so on. Awe is not a territory, but a borderland between the known and the unknown.

January 5, 2011

In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped

Filed under: Text — Tags: — Lilac @ 4:45 pm

Stick your finger in your throat.

When I stop mentally resisting, stop focusing on the horror of throwing up, it becomes just a way of opening to you. Pushed against the counter, gagging and fucked, everything moves in time. My fingers form a rhythm of abuse, pulling out spit and vomit without judgment; a taboo is unlearned and left by the wayside.

The tarot card I pulled for 2011 was Death. It couldn’t have been better.

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