smearing black liner over my swollen eyelids, bloated from crying. must be out of the airbnb by 12. it is 11:55. he left at 7:30 to catch his flight, climbed into bed with me before he left, hiking boots and all, wrapped his big arms around my body and kissed me deeply as if it was our last kiss ever, which it would be.
i have a problem with love — too much of it to give out. a problem with timing — mine is terrible. a problem with pain — i like it too much.
love is a really ridiculous bond. almost more physical than mental. the mind doesn’t choose who to love, the body does. the fact that i could sit at his side and listen to his rambling, all of which i find basic and relatively meaningless, contemplate his way of viewing the world and end up being disgusted, or disappointed, or just confused as to how he came to be this way — how could anyone? in conversations, feeling like i was constantly educating — giving out my knowledge and ideas like candy, most of which he accepted gladly, as he needed them — validating his existence over and over, which he told me so often nobody had ever done, while simultaneously he tore mine down.
according to enrique, i am
intelligente, lista, guapa, adventurera, diferente
dificil de entender, dificil de aguantar, rara, demasiado liberal, rápida a enfadarme, i push people, i like to get under their skin.
told him i wanted the feedback. i would listen. i did listen. i want to think about it. I want to improve. but so much of our incompatibility came from his direction and his blatant fear and intolerance for difference that it’s difficult to know how i could have done better with this one. except for the obvious: to have left him immediately, or at least after the first intolerant attack on my being. when he called me a slut, when he behaved selfishly in bed, when he kicked me out of his car on the side of the highway. i held out. in the end mother nature brought us down — my period came before his final visit and it disturbed him. he wouldn’t touch me after he realized.
i do know why i held out, but i don’t know where all the love comes from, or why i have to feel all this for people who hurt me so badly. he never meant to. he’s a good man with misogyniistic tendencies, like so many of them. nothing special. nothing unusual. i always think i’m just in it for the sex, then come to find out there’s always been more to it. much more.
i feel destroyed. everything hurts. all i want to do is cry, i sound like a goddamn country song. lord help me, save me from the images that stick. his arms and his shoulders. he put a little weight on. his eyes, green. the warmth. cargo pants and hiking boots and two grey shirts. mountain boy stranded on an island; forever conflicted, forever torn in two. i love it, i love it, i love him. i shouldn’t. there is better, there is more. jess, go and find it. jess, don’t be like this. jes come on. please. raise your standards. don’t give when you don’t receive. jes, you’re hard to handle. give credit where credit is due. listen more, listen better. stay calmer. retain control. control yourself.
this is nobody’s fault. it ended well, with love. like pulling apart a peanut butter sandwich. messy, had bread in it?
because feeling pain is still feeling, and feeling is better than nothing. living is pain, and living is also better than nothing. loving is living, and loving is pain. pain means you’re living. and so on and so forth. forever, or until you can’t anymore.
you are the
you are gone
from my skin
like a mist
or a phantom
you rose out
left some stains
the clouds are red-black
and the wind
cools me down
i haven’t felt
Erizo was what you might call sencillo if you were a Spaniard. He had a somewhat tormented spirit layered like sponge cake under a thick slice of calm. The calm was as real as the torment and either all of it or nothing showed in his eyes, given away in splinters of olive green or sandy yellow. The colors changed frequently, perhaps depending on his mood, perhaps on my perception. I wasn’t sure and it didn’t matter.
I loved him very easily. There was little to think about. He slipped his arm around me and it had always been there. I was safe and would have human projects to tinker with over the summer — break this wall down, extend this conviction, sharpen that ability. Train him to eat perfect pussy. Help him figure out what he wanted from life and rile him up to get it — then release him out to sea like a bottle with something inside it. Not a message (frankly a terrible method of communication) but something better. Something helpful. Something good.
Though of course the good came with the package. The good WAS the package and man, he was a package. He was a local boy. a pueblo boy. Small-town country upbringing just like mine. Everyone knew everyone, he once got to fuck the neighbor girl — just like me, the neighbor girl. He wore unpretending clothes, brandless shirts and glasses that didn’t flatter him. Went bald at 25 and had greys in his beard. His hands were not beautiful, but his arms were thick and wrought like iron and felt like the island around my shoulders (everyone knows paradise is just a good warm set of arms.)
He told me many things that made me laugh. He had a disdain and a bitterness for the destruction of his homeland and though I was little but a product of that destruction he did sometimes look at me as if I was a precious creature, like he had stumbled upon me in some grove and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The times that he looked at me like this were not those involving nudity or sex; they were times I was dancing or giggling to myself, times I was playing with children. Perhaps he didn’t think I was beautiful, but to him i don’t believe that it mattered. That said a lot about him.
Yet something in there was unwell, something shriveled and very small. He once told me laughing that once as a child he raped a sow pinned in a crate with a pole in the ass and I cried but he said he didn’t feel anything then or now. He said there had been blood.
He said there were girls he had loved but he had lost them all, said he had regrets and a heart leathered up from repeated beatings and breaks. Said he more than once dated people who didn’t love him, stayed with them for years. Said he wasn’t attractive and meant what he said. I listened to everything because the sound of his voice made me wet and weak in the knees. I wanted him to feel better but I also just wanted his cum in my mouth. Sometimes my emotions don’t run cut and dry.
Maybe he was an event more than a person, a season walking on human legs and a nonexistent male ass. I looked at him as I looked at my surroundings because he WAS my surroundings, just like the sea and the buttery flowers and the palm bushes and the pines. I looked at him and I said to myself, “Do it right this time.” In the end I think I did. I left him and I told him that I loved him as I did so, kissed him as I shook my head and smiled. Love enough and lose enough and it becomes a skill. Do not love without ability to accept loss. Test frequently. Be prepared.
the most pain i felt
through all of that
were those two nights
where you slept
in your sticky t-shirt and your
nylon shorts all clinging
to your hairy thighs and your
sweaty balls in the
you laid face down with
your head turned away and
for those two days you didn’t
with your arms wrapped
tight around your
chest and you wouldn’t
come closer to
me so I laid there
near but not too near
staring at the
i’d bother you
i’d lose you
you were already
I cried for you in the kitchen last night
before I remembered
I live alone,
just like I wanted.
in the summer you said you didn’t want to be
another one of my guys that I write about
so let me keep this brief:
you have a horse mouth (neigh!)
and horrendous taste in music
you are small
yet the biggest coward I have ever known.
I could mention your pecs (I admit
they were nice)
or the way your half-assed chimney beard just
didn’t sit right on that horsey face (though
sitting on it was just fine)
or that awful tattoo you got when you gave up
all your dignity as a person (I guess)
but all that just makes for shit poetry.
just in general
you as a man, you make for shit poetry
not because you’re short or weird-looking or because you think it’s hot to shave
your entire body
“para que se ven mejor los músculos”
but because you’re boring and you just kind of
speaking of sucking ass:
you fucking gave me hemorroids with your mouth before I left
(one last gift, he said —
I will remember you always
especially for that
Salut, all. I know it’s been a while.
Been thinking lately of how to tell you about these last two months, what I should or should not say. I could tell you about loss, which has become an all-too familiar concept; I first lost my mobility, then my parter and best friend, then my grandmother, all in the span of a month. I could tell you about the journey of quitting anti-depressants for good; or, in the medical vein, I could tell you all about commuting by ambulance, being bathed by home nurses, weekly doctor’s visits. I could tell you about the hard stuff, the long nights full of tears and paint and candle wax, the physical pain and frustration that has come from walking, sitting, sleeping, the fight to maintain a firm emotional footing throughout this incredible storm.
But these are the grimy details. They’re only slivers of the bigger picture of this autumn, a season that will forever stand out to me as one of transformation.
The loss I’ve endured here has thrown into stark definition the things that are most precious to me, the values I most firmly believe in, and more than anything, the incredible blessings that remain in my life — the crazy people, most of whom are at least as fucked up as myself; the love I’ve felt in their little care packages and postcards; the support over Skype and phone as my family processes the death of our matriarch; the thrill brought on by a gust of wind lifting my hair as I cross the bridge over the Rhône, those surges of energy that make this earthly existence such a beautiful and heartbreaking thing to behold.
My way of life is a source of confusion for some; I’ve been described as chaotic, messy, out-of-control. But the reality is that I am needlessly ambitious; I want to plunge my body into all the beauty and darkness and laughter and sadness of this world all at once. I cannot compartmentalize my experiences nor my emotions, and I accept this — I am a tempest, a raging inferno of passion and melancholy. I thrive in chaos, I love with unrelenting intensity, and for this I offer no apology.
Because I broke my spine, all of life has taken on an even higher value. I now recognize the worth of every footstep, the power in the mere ability to stand, the incomparable vivacity of flying through city streets on two wheels, of screaming sweaty in a concert hall densely packed with bodies, of inhaling lungs full of cold river wind. I have forged connections here with other human beings and recognized the resting beauty in the ones I’ve left behind. After Christmas I’ll start living without the back brace, and I will set forth on my quest to live and experience more, to push myself further and beyond my limits; I’ll thumb my way around Europe, scale mountains, have more explosive romances, swim naked in oceans, and I will do this all with the unshakable conviction that life is best spent in the corners of chaos and passion.
And yes, I will keep climbing trees.