womanness as                      


1Le Message Automatique (1933)

2(and by colors I also mean personalities, temperaments. Haven’t you felt this as a word crosses your lips?)

3Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1948, pp.387-8.

42/17, 2/21, 2/28

52/18, 2/26, 3/16

6Ernst, Max. A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil. Translated by Dorothea Tanning, George Braziller, New York, 1982, pp. 69.

7(a version of him and a version of me, filmed by another him and another her in my friend’s studio a few blocks away while I was many hundreds of miles away and him, far further.)

8Jimi Hendrix. Electric Ladyland. Reprise Records, 1968.
The thing about words is that sometimes I simply want nothing to do with them. Nothing of their meaning, nothing of their rules. Yes, words communicate but they also control and sometimes I want only their feeling state. Their texture and soft depths. Sometimes all I want is to paint rough abstraction incoherently, automatic-like1. Trance-like. But see, if words have colors2 they are only secondary colors. Their primacy will always be definition. On days like today I feel as if I can hardly stomach all these words.

But more than the words, I think it’s their adjacent narrative that fatigues me. Compounding definitions. Sometimes I don’t want to tell a story, I want only the revelations of chaos. Sometimes I don’t want to know what’s real and what’s invented, what is ocean waves and what is sunken shore. Sometimes I want the girl to become a serpent3 instead of a woman. Sometimes I want to let all time and place build upon one another like wood piled high for a bonfire and then dance around its flaming warmth. This morning I made a pot of coffee amidst the darkness and remembered vividly the hotel room where he lived those autumn months, where we were awake all night on borrowed sheets and borrowed time, dressing only to hunt for breakfast as night bloomed newly behind the curtains. The Hanged Man4. The High Priestess.5 I had a dream that I was performing again, in the costume my mother sewed, trying to memorize lines now two decades past. Ghost-speak through the dreamwaves. The one-year anniversary of his funeral, precisely. Was I dreaming his death or were we still alive together in that hallway? He looked at me across the distance of space and time and his shoulders suddenly shook with sobs. I was already older than he’d once been for me. “All my joys have alibis, and my body is covered with a hundred deep cracks.”6 Tell me, does everyone else live amongst a million versions of lived and unlived selves? And tell me further: how do you know which is which?

I moved in five years ago beneath a blood moon, a back corner studio with the blinds closed to hide the trash cans right outside. Amidst spring rains he sat in that big leather arm chair and tried to squint through the darkness behind the blinds, blinds that were once hotel curtains ten stories up. How’s the view? he laughed, pretending not to see the trash. I bought a green kitchen table just outside of Oakland and drove it home where I wrote a love story7 atop its stained surface. I moved across the country and then right back through the same door, up to the third floor with sun worship and endless rolls of film. Nothing could take root except that sunshine and my blooming tree. Year five and sliding across the hall in the midst of Scorpio season. A merman I should turn to be8 and the bedroom three ways and all my new art and too many plants and this morning I remembered, in jibberish verbatim, the prayer I wrote beneath that blood moon, the prayer I wrote when being alone felt like delicious, mystical paradise, when I couldn’t fathom the years that were to come, what it would feel like to be forced into definition instead of feeling, forced to track the lie of time through logical conclusions. I couldn’t fathom just how vast the wilderness of my own heart and how long it would swallow me whole. What I mean is that I am devoted to the words of our womanness above all else and yet sometimes I cannot bear the weight of their narrative, their terrible compounding definitions.

This morning my body was in Los Angeles and my mind was in that hotel room pulling my dress off the floor and my heart was two stories below and five years past, bent amidst the empty walls with a handful of feathers and stones and candles, praying to that bleeding moon like a crown atop the skyscape. Raw, wild, filthy, passionate art, I wrote. Raw, wild, filthy, passionate love, I wrote.

Sacredness, I wrote.

Strength, I wrote.