spit them out, these wasted days and wet-green nights rising up from your esophagus to greet against anyone’s will your
lovers and your sisters and your friends and your parents make them
worry for you but never too much just enough to catch a whiff of the smoldering
human brains on stone tiled floors where
cold gets in so easy feel it creeping up the carnage contaminated by the time
it grabs your feet and legs to drag you under
i’m okay, i’m okay — you’re shoveling shouting reaching out to grab hold of whatever’s in reach
creamy rose pink with green sparkles dribbles thick makes you feel
safe watching feel the grip slip this is how we
fight our wars with pink with glitter with ooze like
crying all that bile from your eyes the sticky
worms running playground drills up and down your throat
red rover, red rover, why don’t you come over?
red used to scare you always creeping in or up
more often out
that drip drip down your shaking knees that
seeping out the gashes in your stomach like a watermelon past its prime now just remember– don’t eat the seeds, you can’t afford for anything to grow inside you, and neither can the anything– that environment is uninhabitable
for living things
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
A frigid night in Lyon. I lay in the routine position: awkwardly inclined like a sausage propped against a toaster, neck strained forward, sweating into my body brace. It’s the nightly ritual: a wistful trail of martini with lime (affordable and effective!), google searches, flight scanners, sound clips and calendar dates. I haven’t travelled since I made it to France and promptly broke my spine. Mobility lurks in the distant future, and in my fervent, drunken dreams I seek vengeance for lost time: travels awaiting, work to be done, things to be lifted, reckless thrashing at concerts, less-awkward coitus.
A second martini, a third martini, a realization: I am in an optimal situation to make a bet with myself.
Buy a ticket somewhere, make yourself go. Come summer you’ll be able. Pick a place.
The place is Copenhagen, the challenge an eight-day music festival, camping on private farmland, a very eclectic setlist (see below.) I’ll have no friends, no contacts, maybe even no tent (will I even be able to carry one by then?) The ticket price isn’t bad; this month I can skip meals. I hardly eat anyway, too depressed. It’s December. The festival is in July. I am four martinis deep. I buy the ticket.
Alone on a train crammed with day-drunkards lugging cases of beer back to the plots of land they had fought to stake off a day in advance. Other festival-goers were traveling in close-knit social groups and possessed advanced technology such as human food and beer coolers. My mission: infiltrate a group. Gain its trust, gain a patch of its grass to sleep on.
Niko was chubby and slouched back in a blue folding chair. His camp, notably playing decent metal, had regurgitated itself into the staked-off walkway between blocks of tents. At first I thought he might be dead of alcohol poisoning, but he reached out to me as I passed with my pack, slurring in Danish and throwing up bullhorns. I stopped for a beer. Danes speak beautiful English and carry beer with them everywhere.
I pretended to look for a different spot to pitch my single tent, then came trotting back to Camp Niko. “Guess I have to live with you guys,” I shrugged. Didn’t give them much of a choice.
Potential expansions to this blog post included:
Planking every morning for my back, much to the amusement of other campers.
Peeing in my tent accidentally – trying to aim into a bag?
Almost tipping over an employee trailer, from the inside (employee was present.)
The time I woke up with a video on my phone of an uncircumcised penis wearing sunglasses and laughing — no recollection of this being recorded.
Names — Niko, Lasser, Chris, Christina, Bender? The one always wearing overalls with no undershirt, what was his name? Biscuit?
Spoke at length with Chelsea Wolfe and Amalie of Myrkur, nearly peed myself a second time.
Camp Red Warszawa was a camp of female punk rockers and their pleasantly drunken male cohorts. I stopped in and noticed Dunner immediately. He was nearly seven feet tall, had crappy tattoos, was wearing socks and slip-on sandals. He held a water fountain on for me while I rinsed the salt/dirt/beer/urine from my face.
I taught him how to pitch a tent properly. He had propped it up, damn city fool—what did he do? Poles inside the tent? Man, if that whole ordeal wasn’t to become a really effective metaphor. He gashed his hands open on the metal stakes, I tasted his blood in my mouth, tasted his mouth on my mouth.
Eight days. Survived.
August 5, 2015
Kristina, smexy red-haired hot-blooded sugar mama waitress wonder woman, booked us a night in a swanky hotel called The Phoenix where all of the highbrow employees didn’t even bother to hide their confounded staring — what the fuck are these muddy brokeass chicks doing in our establishment? We got stoned, delineated The Friend Zone, shared our ex-boyfriend histories start to finish and fell asleep to late-night Danish television: documentaries on hawks, strange compilations of sleeping people dressed as animals, surveillance videos of empty hallways. There are so many questions about the Danes that will never be answered.
Sick in the shitty hostel: Lame efforts to get out (invent a tolerable mucus metaphor?)
Not worthy of further elaboration.
this is why I haven’t written about any of this
Dunner’s apartment took me a bit aback. I hadn’t expected a 35-year-old seven-foot Danish metalhead to be so neatly organized or so devoted to such a strict color scheme (purple and orange — how thoroughly metal of you.)
We had agreed to one (1) weekend visit. By that I mean we were both drunk in the dark in his dilapidated, bloodstained ten-person tent on Night Eight Of Roskilde and I straddled him on the twin inflatable mattress and said, “Can I come visit you when this is over? Just for a weekend,” to which he (presumably) agreed.
But the weekend after the festival, the flu set in. Everyone said it was due to over-inhalation of the piss-dust for which Roskilde Festival is particularly notorious, which might be true. I spent the one (1) weekend visit collapsed on Danish Dunner’s Danish furniture, blowing chunks in his Danish toilet, sliming up his purple Danish shag rug. When the weekend was over, he headed down south with a group of friends, a trip he’d had planned all year. I bought a bus ticket to Berlin. He left the apartment, lingered down in the stairwell blinking up at me, wrapped in a blanket in his doorway.
My entire three (3)-week stay with Dunner was to be an eternal series of us saying goodbye for the last time, once, twice, three times. I repeatedly intended to leave, but was repeatedly too ill to go. Week One I passed locked alone inside his apartment, without a spare key to leave or go buy medicine or food. When he returned he found me red-eyed in a blanket fort re-watching his downloads of The Simpsons, having subsisted on canned tuna and corn for three days. On Week Two, he made me an offer: he’d cancel his family vacation if I canceled my bus to Berlin. We started Game of Thrones. Life was free and air-conditioned and Dunner cooked a good deal of dishes involving bacon while wearing nothing but his boxer briefs. On Week 3 he drove me to the hospital, where I was curtly informed that the antibiotics I needed were impossible to acquire in Denmark. We explored the Danish countryside, the harbors, the farms, the flatness, the city — through the remains of the destroyed Youth House in Norrebrø, in and out of squats, over public structures and playgrounds and cemeteries, where the trees smelled mysteriously of semen. I limped around and he limped with me, just to make me feel better.
When I was well enough he dropped me off in Copenhagen, his eyes rimmed with tears, pressing his spare apartment key into my palm for “just in case.” He told me he loved me. I told him I was late for my bus.
Ferry, København to Berlin
August 22, 2015
Yesterday I received my Spain placement. In IBIZA.
IN MOTHERFUCKING IBIZA.
Perhaps this is some kind of sick joke from the higher powers/malignant forces of evil in the world? The exact last place I would have chosen. Nasty tourist rave-kid madhouse in summer and a total ghost town in the winter. Mallorca (the bigger island) is covered in mountains, a cycling paradise, good climbing rocks. Ibiza is covered in used condoms, discarded bikinis and probably AIDS. Do I have to get a Brazilian now? Will they even let me access the island without one? I will trade my post with someone, if possible. Otherwise… I don’t know, I’m so conflicted. Who am I to moan and groan, homeless as I am? Beggars can’t be choosers, and at this point I’m only a step away from beggar. Might as well get the visa and see where it goes from there. Going back to the US is not a viable option. It’s not what my gut is telling me to do, but my gut is also not feeling Ibiza.
More good news — French debit card has been shut down, I just got a text that my phone usage rates have gone up to 3€ a minute, my bank login info is stuck on my computer, which is still in Milan — sometimes I am a dipshitty, rookie traveler. Another white kid with a backpack. I brought too many clothes and the wrong type of shoes, gave up on my only pair of pants too early (although the thigh holes have been giving me rashes and I already failed at fixing the shorts.) I’m too grubby-looking to avoid being surveyed with considerable distaste in public but not nearly grubby enough to be taken seriously by other hobos. I feel an urgent need to somehow turn all my shit a darker color, maybe sprout a couple of natty dreads for Street Cred. Darken my sleeping bag so I can’t be found so easily at night. Urban camouflage? Dirt is not dirty enough — I mean what can I use, like actual shit?? Certainly not DYE. That costs money and requires washing services (those cost money too.) Now I need a shit phone with some breed of prepaid plan. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been and my fucking back aches like a shitty ole bitch.
Tired fatty just wants to lie down.
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.
After several more hours bedridden in the ER hallway I set into a panic attack, not unaided by the realization that a bout of bloody screaming might get me some information and/or a room with walls. This suspicion turned out to be true – and I received not only these things but also a young swoopy-haired boy who tilted me haphazardly around in the hospital bed, wrestled a bedpan under my naked ass and skedaddled with naught but an awkward murmur of “good day”. The next nurse that walked in asked me urgently “Qui a fait ça??” “Who did this?” but appeared unamused when I told her it was the lead singer of One Direction. She ran back out and was promptly followed by a male nurse, whose only addition was the classic English “Shit shit shit” – never trust Harry Styles types when there are bedpans involved, folks. You’ve been warned. I soon got my Elaine back and more information than anyone could ever want – namely that the L1 and L2 vertebrae of my spine were broken and that I might need back surgery. Then, as punishment for the hallway screamfest, I was taken off pain medication for three hours to reflect on my discretions in hot raw hell, where I half-died.
My shattered half-corpse and broken spirit were together transferred to a neurological hospital and remained there for six days, a constant flurry of morphine, sweat, sponge baths, catheters, really engrossing drug-induced dreams and one stupidly sexy cleaning guy named Armande (like actually), whom I consistently flirted with but faltered mostly due to catheter-based self-consciousness. You know what they say, it’s not easy to woo the cleaning guy when you’ve got a sack of hot urine dangling off your waist. I spent most of my time otherwise arguing with a particular male nurse who was always on me about not shitting enough, probably because I wasn’t shitting at all. But he vanquished me when, on The Eighth Shitless Day In A Row, as it is written, this happened.
Two nursey types pinned my sweaty shelled lobster body against the tiled bathroom wall while a third (pictured) ceremoniously injected The Mega Enema. The Mega consists of no lube, a type of plastic tampon plunger up the ass and three (3) repeated helpings of mysterious butt sauce, each providing prime graphic audio and a very curious sensation of being anally injected with mayonnaise. I remember screaming the words “What fresh hell is this,” which of course nobody understood.
I was released yesterday and will not have to undergo surgery. I will wear my corset brace (soon to be painted as battle armor) for three months, during which time I am strictly prohibited from commuting any way but on foot, including metro, tram, bus, car, bike, and even wheelchair. I can currently walk about thirty feet providing I can sleep for 20 hours immediately afterwards, and will be bed-bathed daily by a home nurse as I am forbidden to take showers.
In short: life of luxury.
Did you know that catheters really do make it impossible to know if you’re peeing? I can’t feel this shit even a little.
To the stout young nursing staff who have been charged with hauling me from stretcher to bed to stretcher to scary full-body x-ray table and back again, I have repeated one sentence more times than I can count: J’ai monté un arbre. I climbed a tree. The grammar’s okay, but people always blink a couple times in confusion. The French just don’t understand this tomfoolery like backwoods Oregonians would. Regardless of whether it’s a decidedly Oregon trait or just my own personal adrenaline fixation, it is something that I have done, do frequently and will continue to do until I am too ancient or too boring, in spite of where I am now: in a French hospital bed wearing thigh-high circulation stockings and a catheter.
Four nights ago I was in good company, rabbling about the gold-dusted cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon after midnight, when lo! thern Orgun kids didth spyieth yon climbin’ trees. I leapt on with gusto and monkeyed about in joy, swinging from branch to branch and watching the twinkling lights of the city beyond. On coming down, I swung from a branch intending to catch myself on one just below, but this here branch was weak as one particular ex-boyfriend’s bad excuses. The tree became the second thing in a month to let me down hard.
The first night here was an utter shitshow. Riding in an ambulance over cobblestones with a broken spine is not something I would particularly recommend; the pain was so blinding that I fantasized a serial killer/armed vagrant/angel of mercy would appear behind me and blast my head through with a small pistol. This seemed at the time to be the easiest, cheapest and most sensible option for everyone.
Unfortunately the medical staff did not agree, opting instead to shoot me with copious amounts of morphine and other drugs and prepare me for a full body scan, which I would wait three hours to go through. My only vision was that of the immediate ceiling before my face, which was falling into various stages of decay. One might say that the sole downfall of the socialist healthcare system lies within its decrepit graffitied hospital buildings (I asked my attendants whose throwups graced the elevator but they had no idea. I’m imagining some feisty in-patient with his bare fesses dragging a leaking catheter and marking his shattered-rib Picasso insignia with a paint can he found in a supply closet next to the rubbers.)
The other notable downside to the socialist healthcare system would most certainly be the waiting times. After my body scan I was left very close to the room it was performed in by a set of double doors for a number of hours, after which I was wheeled back up Graffiti Elevator and into a hallway running alongside patient rooms, where I was left to rot for several more Xanax-muddled hours without any notice of my condition or the whereabouts of my dear friend Elaine, though at this point I was feeling somewhat uncertain whether or not she had ever even existed to begin with.
More to come.