here there’s a certain kind of light just at dusk
blue stacked on white stacked on pink
the bare trees reach backlit black, upward
I don’t know what to say
a tattoo is made up of hundreds of single needle pricks
we’ve been going to fast
so we sit on the dirty carpet and poke intentionally
into each other
each point is an action
I think of the one on my knee
jess you can
jess you are
in the black sky out the window
I watched the same star all the way back to Alaska
head full and heart heavy
knowing I’d forget the taste of Aden’s mouth
knowing I’d forget the clear color of the sky
what were you like as a kid?
did you get into trouble?
were you shy?
that hummingbird and elephant hearts beat
the same number of times their whole lives
and that’s what relationships are like
is it true?
we all have a finite number of chances?
I told Beautiful she was the kind of girl I’d drop anything for
no matter where or who I was with
but I didn’t kiss her in the cabin in the woods underneath a stranger’s quilts
even though I wanted to
I remember vowing to become a musician just to sing a song for her
the people we leave our back doors unlocked for
planning trips and scheduling intimacy
climbing through each other’s windows
the friends we love, the friends we fuck
the love letters we’re writing behind our eyes when we talk
over coffee, over beers
great loves and perfect moments
slipping through our fingers and up into the sky
time and chance and distance
and sometimes working, sometimes not
I want your
imaginary moon phases
I’ve never told you that I love you
I told you too soon
I tell you all the time
I don’t tell you enough
Survived a turbulent (productive) therapy session.
Appreciated the hella fat glowing moon.
Met four gorgeous and amazing queer women on the dance floor.
Did not drink.
Wore really gaudy earrings. And crimped hair.
Laughed so hard I cried.
Gained a new sense of hope.
Fell asleep while masturbating, laughing exausted, exclaiming:
I found the dykes!
What did it feel like?
It was more than physical pleasure, and different than regular penetration. I felt out of my body and I felt more in my body than I ever have before. I thought about birth, death, coming. But I didn’t even want to come, I just didn’t want it to end. The movement, the pushing, the twisting, the wetness of the lube on your hands. A version of home. I trusted you completely, but I was still a little scared. “Almost” you told me later looking at your hands.
It wasn’t our first time, but it was our first time face to face. I thought about how nice my First Time might have been if it had been with you.
Your nose ring kept falling out and you let me ride you on top. It felt amazing to hold you so close to me. Your body hard and soft at once. I was reminded of how nice it can be to fuck your friends. We kissed hard and soft. You pinned me back and pulled me back into your arms, I felt drunk. You bit my shoulder too hard, but I secretly liked the mark it left. We fucked with the lights on and I noticed scars, tattoos I hadn’t seen before. You made faces you hadn’t shown me before. Pressing up against you in the secret attic, I didn’t tell you about a forgotten crush rekindling inside me. You seemed to have enough on your plate.
In the morning you made us coffee and waffles and we talked about family and racism and cultural appropriation and cats and coming out. Outside it was dreary and drippy and dark, but I felt hopeful despite it. You made me feel sexy and respected and interesting. I walked home with music and noticed buildings and windows I hadn’t before.
On Christmas day there was bright sun above the trees outside the window of the empty bus. I watched the store fronts and people pass as I rode through parts of Portland I’d never really been through before. Hiking up my sparkly tights walking from the bus stop, I thought about holding your hand. I fantasized about you riding up on your bike as I clapped my boots down Interstate. You’d flash me that intoxicating smile and I’d think about how good you look in eyeliner. And you’d be thinking what I’m thinking: that I’m leaving today and it’s our last chance to make out. And you’d just kiss me right there and we’d laugh all the way to the party.
Trans and genderqueer folks are an irreplaceable part of our communities. Those individuals we seek to honor tonight, who have had their lives taken from them, teach us how far we are from goals of living in an environment where personal safety is not dependent on one’s gender identity. We make progress when we open our hearts and listen. Tonight we are opening our hearts. I am so thankful that we have the ability and agency to do so. In the face of these unspeakable truths, truths that must be spoken, we must do our best to understand and love one another.
My mother had a little wooden plaque that hung in kitchen windows and hallways wherever we lived that said this: Friends Become Our Chosen Family.
Some of us don’t know what family means in that Hallmark sort of way. Some of us don’t know what it means to have fathers. Some of us are distanced from our families by religion or beliefs or space or time or death or abuse.
We want so badly to comfort each other in the face of such challenges. And we do, even though sometimes we don’t know how. Sometimes we say the really bad wrong thing at the wrong time. But we know we mean well. We forgive each other and we work on our shit. Because we know the power of communication and messy love is what saves us. We loan each other spare parts to build patch-work Macgyver kinda shit out of our hearts. We know how one another really feels about the world. And when we are apart we send each other hope in the mail.
A family’s function is to promote survival. Together we are surviving. And even though we don’t always feel it all the time, we are thriving.
Sometimes my heart aches. On the highway facing the Chugachs, headed to my mother’s house. I know that just beyond that range is the road that leads South; I could keep driving. Pass the last exit at the edge of town, and when the car dies along the way I will take what I can carry. Wrap myself up, leash the dog. We’ll stow away in anything mobile and race Winter down the Alcan, all the way to Oregon. But I sit, stay. Because I know that somewhere in cyberspace there’s a ticket with my name on it. A vacation, a christmas gift to myself, to get me through ’til Spring. I know I’ll make it back there permanent some other day.
My little brother and I only see each other in passing, crossing paths doing laundry at our mother’s house. I wish we were closer. He thinks I’m a man-hater and an alcoholic. And I get it. He’s thinking of seventeen year old me: self-destructive, never home, perpetually drunk, moving out at sixteen. He felt abandoned -like he felt when our parents split up. I hate that I made him feel that way. I hope someday we can mend those lines of communication and he can forgive me for being a bad older sister and I can forgive him for writing me off.
Lastnight I was climbing the stairs of my long driveway in the dark. I heard a high-pitched squeaking from above. Looked up to see a nest in the twisted naked branches. Baby birds? My roommate says it’s impossible this time of year and told me to get a flashlight and a ladder. But I didn’t want the answer.
Today, clapping my boots on the way to the van, I spilled my coffee. Ravens were dancing on the tops of other cars, playing and laughing with their rolling, throaty calls. Those birds are so fucking big up close! I know it’s tired for girls to speak about the beauty and mysticality of birds. But I swear ravens are my spirit animal. Picking through the trash and joking and playing all day long, loud and dressed in black.
I’m just here. I’m just up here simple, boring and daydreaming all the time. And there’s nothing else to do, because we have to believe in something.