Sometimes I do things that appear to be calculated and/or plotted out in some strange way. Sometimes what I end up doing isn’t at all what anyone else thinks it is—the initial idea is just an idea but I stay open for anything and everything that might go down because fuck a life with restrictions and fuck a life with fear—nor is it what I initially thought it might be.
I am at my best when I do not feel safe.
I am at my best when I scare myself.
I am at my best when my chest is an open wound and anyone can see my heart and anyone can see my yearning and anyone can whisper into the hole or leave a tiny and folded note in between the slats of tissue.
I am at my best when I am walking on hot coals.
I am not sure what triggered the need for me to do what I did on Saturday night, but I did it and now I cannot go back. I am what I am right now. I am not sure what I am to others who were in the room, but I know that I have changed, molted, seen another me inside of the me sitting still in a chair in a room full of people while my words and memories and ghosts swirled through the air and battered their way into every molecule in the space, every strand of DNA, every page of every book. Two days later now and I am finally able to piece together some things and cogency, ever-late, is emerging.
I used to be afraid of my blood. As a child I would get woozy and pass out at the sight. As I aged I learned that my blood regenerated itself, that it wasn’t leaking out never to be replenished. I learned to play with my blood a little, to taste it when it came out from a cut, when I bit into the meat of my tongue, when I fell and drove my bottom teeth through the tissue beneath my bottom lip. In my teens I used to cut myself in secret places and write on myself with my blood. I used to make cassette mixtapes full of punk rock and almost always would I leave a bloodprint on the annotated tracklist I would make to go along with it. now, at the age I am right here, I still play with my blood every day—diabetes made me a person who reads his blood like a gypsy would read tea leaves, like a witch reads arcana, like a chef looks into a dish and knows the balance of ingredients and what may or may not be missing—testing it and rubbing it into my tongue every morning, every night.
Every day is different and every day is the same and every day is full of blood.
Deprivation—sensory, in my case—is a thing I am always exploring. Saturday night at a reading I had someone I care about blindfold me in front of a room of mostly-strangers. I sat ever-still for twelve minutes as my voice and sound came roaring out of an amplifier on the floor, the bass turned all the way up and rumbling through the floorboards and up and into every person in the room, up and into myself through the legs of the chair where I sat. Palo santo smoke filled the room. I was in total darkness, still, and inside of my mind as each of my memories came rumbling from the room the movie of myself and the ghost of myself filled my mind. Six year old me. Twenty-five year old me. Broken me. Loaded me. Every me. All of me. Twelve minutes of non-movement. Twelve minutes of me not relying on my physicality to commune with the room. Twelve minutes of my unable to make eye contact to make sure what I was reading was landing, to carve out a plot in someone else’s jungle to set up camp and live. With each swell of the sound my breath would move into different pockets of my body. Hearing myself read atrocities and broken heartsongs from my past and being unable to see any kind of reaction in anyone was disturbing, disorienting.
I am at my best when I am unaware of my body.
I am at my best when I can go away, disappear into nothing.
When it was over, when the sound stopped and I allowed my body to relax the room filled up with other sounds—people clapping and breathing—and I could not make eye contact with anyone. I needed to get away. I always need a few minutes alone to reconnect to myself but this felt so much heavier, so different than anything else. I felt ashamed and alive and aware and terrified of myself post-experiment/post-confession, as if I was waiting for discipline from someone, anyone. I wanted to be punished. I wanted to be held. I wanted to be touched but untouched and I wanted to fall into someone or myself or a stairwell or to run as hard as I could for as long and as far as I could.
Two days later, and this is all I can say about it.
Two days later, and I am just now returning to my body.