I stood over the water, watching a regal goose stalk the dead arms of branches on top of bracken. I followed the waves with my eyes which lapped up to the shore in soft surface breaths, though with my desire for action mounting, this was anything but calming. I sat on the bench reading and waiting, my impatience making barely noticeable the sound of the water’s exhalations.

Finally I was allowed upstairs, but the man was giving too many directions to my desire. First this, then that–mechanics. When what I wanted was to debauch. He held my wrists back and told my fingers not to penetrate. I couldn’t kiss him. My lips couldn’t touch him anywhere on his body, nor his mine. It was a completely sterile and useless affair–like the bare white walls of his room (decorated with little plants here and there — iridescent orchids on the windowsill), it was reminiscent of a monk’s room. Eventually my member couldn’t penetrate. My lips never touched his body.

I should have known what to expect based on his profile and his picture, because a high position in life and eyes as big as blue jewels always belie madness. We called it then, and he confessed that he was using me to get himself loose for someone later on. I was somewhat taken aback, but what I really minded was the limitations set on our experiences. Because he didn’t want to experience me per say. As well as the myriad steps it had taken to even get to bed–shower, lubricant, slow entrances–then the series of interruptions, the man stopping to check my cleanliness and the cleanliness of his sheets–no variation, just penetration.

I capitulated to each demand, which carried me further away from carnal depravity. When it was the only thing I wanted. To touch my own depravity in someone else.

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Money Problems

This morning I had to make an extra stop at the Best Buy to replace my laptop charger. After five years of use, it was already mouse gray and broken–the copper wiring knifing its way through. I was keeping the thing together with black electrical tape. Alas, the little green light failed to turn on this morning while working on a project.

After hemorrhaging eighty dollars I didn’t have, I ordered an UBER to work, because I wouldn’t have gotten there in time, and because lateness is bad for work ethic. A Jamaican woman drove up to me in a cherry red Kia Sedan outside the entrance of Best Buy. Her name was Asan, and talking with her on my way to work helped assuage the pain of having only five dollars in my account.

From the moment I stepped into her car the mood and rhythm of time became jangly, skipping beats. We moved backwards, then forwards, outside of the parking lot, and drove through the Jersey City neighborhood into Hoboken, noting the strange placement of traffic stops. Asan was as animated as her speech, her body swaying as she drove, her hands uncorking a bottle of skin cream as we stopped. She told me about her kids, how she moved to Newark from New York and never wanted to go back (like everyone else who hates New York, she complained of the crowds). Inclined to agree, I told her I couldn’t scratch my butt in New York without someone being around to watch me. All this as Mr. Vegas crooned the all too familiar refrain: heads higgghh, kill dem wit it noww.

She told me how excited she was that summer was coming and about her tummy tuck. “Do I want to spend $10,000? But then I thought to myself–if I don’t do this now I’m always going to be thinking about it later. Now’s the time.”

Certainly when life is going well, now is always the time. No one wants to be left wondering what life could have been like when you have the opportunity to make such a drastic change, and for the better. Meeting Asan was a nice reprieve from depressive thoughts.

This morning I was speeding up the blocks, hung over, trying to ignore the pounding hollowness in my skull. I hadn’t had enough water after drinking, and I didn’t have anything to eat before leaving. Though last night I had binged on so much flesh.

My face was bare and my hair blew like fat wisps in a blistering wind. Good thing I was wearing my dark green Carhartt jacket–it’s worn and weathered but it keeps me warm. It was so early though. Keeping my eyes open felt like a nuisance. And when I got home and propped open my computer to catch up on work, my mind felt like a fresh wound.

Now I’m trying to decompress from this exhaustion, and use this diary as a stay against my horrendous anxiety. Anxiety about not having a stable source of income even though I have a degree. Apparently it’s really hard to be brown AND get a job. After twelve interviews, and hearing everything from we’ve already filled the position, to we think you’re too creative, to you’re overqualified, and we can’t justify hiring you, or, you’re just not the right candidate (15 interviews!) I feel quite ready to give up.

Though I am still moving forward by working small jobs here and there. It may be possible that this movement is motivated by a deadening depression. To get away from it, I am pushing myself into the world like a blue petunia. Chugging along, only to return to the anxiety which is always threading itself through. Anxiety about not being the same as all other adults insofar as I don’t have a steady job and I don’t have my own place. I’m living with my mother now, my sister, and my mother’s obnoxious boyfriend who should not be here. I can’t even use the bathroom when I want to. I have to stand at the window like a cherub and pee in long, splattering, ungraceful arcs.

Anxiety, a lack of self esteem, an escapist nature is a very dangerous mix, dangerous because of what it makes me do. Constantly running into other mens’ arms, sex is a way to ask if I am desirable even with my foibles and failures. One day, I hope to feel more fulfilled when I can give myself everything that I need.

For a while my writing was gaining momentum from new relationships, my friends’ cats, and from the Maine landscape. City life does not stimulate my creativity. It drains and kills it. My writing is crying out for something different.

On Writing Poetry

Having little to say is the worst thing that can happen to a writer. Sometimes you suffer long periods of silence, long periods when the words are sleeping, cradled deep in your chest. But then just as suddenly an image comes, a rare sighting like furniture rising from the sea, coming to you in little fragments, flashes, which is the worst part of this draught. You try to write what you’ve seen, try to work out its inner logic, its drama, what these appearances might actually mean but sometimes you get to it so late in the day that you’re too tired. Or the inspiration just isn’t there, filling you with that odd energy or stamina you need. When the elements won’t cohere, you ask yourself, What was there? And is it gone now?

My only gift to myself right now is to wake up. To rouse. To think in fully formed thoughts. To string them together and create a portrait of truth.

Riddle

Riddle

Salivate over my body.      Let it to float into view
like those white        children’s balloons.    Your parched throat
will remember  me        in the year        of the sheep.
Looking like one.   Believe     my meat    hasn’t been tasted
for so long & don’t          detest me for       arrhythmic wandering.
If mood switches      or if I’m a no-show         well        that’s life.

Party Life, Sexual Harassment, & Fantasy

Parties here are unrestrained, almost Hobbesian. We all are hard working students by day, but at night the mask comes off, and everyone wants to get some. All you have to do is tap someone on the shoulder to see the sex rise from them like fumes. Two nights ago people were vomiting into all the sinks and breaking glass everywhere. Creepier still was the girl with pig tails wandering around with green x’s taped to her nipples. I remember her because her eyes had a certain plasticity to them as she wandered from room to room like a somnambulist. On nights like these, no one is sleeping. Someone is always getting fucked up somewhere. Or fucked. When the rules are no longer in place, all decorum dissolves, which is particularly troubling for what is supposed to be an enlightened campus. Saturday night I had to save a girl from sexual harassment. When I wheeled her away from the boy in question, she thanked me. I headed back to the party room, and on a sudden the same guy took me up into his arms for some awkward dancing. I had to edge away. This was the same guy who left my best friend collapsed in a bathroom in a pile of her own vomit when they were supposed to be having a date. He found me later in the upstairs part of the dorm. I asked him, What do you want? He said, You know what I want. And his white arms encircled me, his soft angel hair nuzzling, his musky ape-scent invading (and probably still caught within) my nostrils. And I can’t explain what in that moment I felt when he kissed me, I can only approximate it as something between complete mental revulsion and awakened bodily desire. And I know that this is what abusers do: they use their sex to wreak havoc. The kiss was not romantic at all. It was an act of revenge for helping the girl escape. He probably wanted me to keep thinking about him, and he probably wanted to plant the illusion that he could be an option. When he was kissing me against my will, four bystanders clutched their beers and said nothing.

On this campus everyone is to be treated as a sexual plaything. No one is really himself in the eyes of others, only the fruition of a fantasy. I understand what the lonely young man must feel. All the dancing women look like spinning clothing racks of spurned wishes, and he cannot refuse the temptation to touch. Every time the weekend comes around, I always think of the creepers in the corner beckoning the girls to come dance on them, or they wait to zero in on whoever’s still left at the end of the night, so that they can drink the last of their dregs.

 

Doubts and Accomplishments

Time management is something that I’ve been having trouble with as of late. School terms are very short, merely fourteen weeks, and there is always a plethora, an abundance, of books to read and notes to learn. I want to say that these last two weeks have been complete emotional vertigo. My poems were published on Lambda Literary just a few days ago, but I’m still feeling as though I’m some kind of impostor who cannot write–who only gets lucky. This all has to do with the anxiety I have towards showing my creative work in class. The possibility of someone doubting me fills me with doubt, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel a nervous fire running through my bones, or something more akin to electricity. My thoughts are muddled, ideas are insipid and slow. When I want to create something I only have to clear my mind enough that the associations seep in, and the poem almost writes itself. Self-hypnosis videos for stage fright have been helping with this. Regardless, it seems that no matter how hard I work, I can’t express exactly what it is that I’m trying to say, until the very last moment: the night before. I can’t do this anymore, and I haven’t yet figured out a way to work that fully takes advantage of my time.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell. The interview is primarily concerned with the archetype of The Hero. Campbell says that the Hero accepts a challenge that he is big enough to face. We are all the heroes of our own stories, and I feel this idea of facing up to a challenge is very pertinent to my school situation. Choosing to go to school at Bennington has forced me to call upon Internal resources I didn’t know I had. I have had many accomplishments, yet the last stretch will require me to push even harder: whatever accomplishments I have yet to achieve won’t fall into my lap.

Two week periods of total anxiety and turmoil, then two weeks of strength and concentration. This has been a consistent cycle for me my entire time here. I’m having an upswing now, so I’m going to take advantage of everything that I can glean from it. Seasons have also been having an effect on my mood. I’m growing impatient with Winter. It had rained warm rain for a few days, but now it’s snowy and cold. We are back where we started, and I feel trapped in Earth’s outer designs.

Last thing: I found a really cool blue sweater, with a beautiful design of chickadees in a playground. I’ve been wearing it consistently as a reminder of Spring. I’m also hoping to hatch the new poem.