How to Disappear Completely

“I’m not here. This isn’t happening.”

Smoking a cigarette on the balcony, I see a red spider on a subtle spider web by my side. I refuse to singe the spider or the web. I let it be. The spider, the web and me, sit in the swirl of smoke, under the sway of the dried out Bird of Paradise above that has not been noticed by the spider, the web, or me…

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Kill the Other

“Each conscience seeks the death of the other.” – Hegel

In the novel, She Came to Stay, Simone de Beauvoir uses this quote of Hegel as her epigram. The female protagonist seeks the literal death of the ‘third’ in her triangular relationship as the final manifestation of the latent psychological desire. In romantic/love relationships (or maybe especially so), we seek to transcend the body of the other in order to feel the existence of our own – skin on skin, flesh against flesh. The other becomes merely an object, for our purposes, dead. Then we return to our own selves, having validated our transcendence, until the next death of the other, or the death of the next other. We only become enslaved to the other when we choose to validate our sense of self-worth based on the reaction or response of that one. Feel your body, your own erotics as individuated, rather than as dependent. Kill the other.

Tools

Tools

No one sees Janus
in January anymore
his two frozen faces –
one young, one old

Except for children
who see only
Day and Night
a Smile and a Fright

One year ending,
and another beginning,
Tra-la-la-la-la-
la-la-la-la

But we’re no longer children
We are tool after tool after tool
I’m a tool you’re a tool
We use use use

I asked you to dance
with a glance
that you once fancied
you spun once on tiptoe
with a twirl
under my finger –
a tool for you, my finger to me
And you were a tool
to make me smile not two
but a thousand different smiles
in the thousand different moments
between Day and Night
through the span of January
and you took your tool
to another tool –
a hand that stroked
your hair, not you

Janus is dead because
he has only two faces
where day begins
and night ends

“Let me go,” Mama said when it was truly her time. She said it as a statement. I ask, “Can I go now?”

Excerpt from “Love Never Ends” (Novel: The Former Things Have Passed Away)

Right after Mama died, I’d dream about her almost every night. She’d appear either half-dead or half-alive, like a human ghoul or goblin. Never completely alive because she wasn’t supposed to be. Imposing on my dreams like the main attraction.

I woke up one morning with tears in my eyes. I missed her, not because she was dead, but because in my dream, she left me. She was living in Vallejo, with Auntie Pat and was even working some new job, as a nurse. That’s what really hurt – she was establishing roots somewhere else, taking care of other people. She was happy in her new life. How could she be happy without me?

Over time, she took on a supporting role – counselor, teacher, or friend – sometimes with her own face, sometimes not. Crowding out the haunting elements of my nightmares: useless leg that can’t reach the car brake; drowning in an endless tidal wave; suffocating cats in dresser drawers.

She appeared less and less in my dreams over time and I wondered why. Like a character actor or a piece of furniture, which you only miss when suddenly removed from its rightful spot.

Mama – not a voice, not a face, not even a shadow. White streaks of rain beating down on the ground outside. Pitch dark night. Man lurking near the curtained sliding glass door by my bed. Whipping motor of a weed-eater, boots crunching grass. Call out, “He’s coming to get us!” Mama – not a voice, not a face, not even a shadow – in another room, and the rain and the man and the chainsaw sound and the fear that grips my heart –

I wake up, and I remember. I remember that she is my mother and that she is dead. Mama is still there, reminding me that I am still alive.

The Fugitive: Grieving and Forgetting

“It is the tragedy of other people that they are merely showcases for the very perishable collections of one’s own mind. For this very reason one bases upon them projects which have all the fervor of thought; but thought languishes and memory decays.” -Proust

Home

The hum of the heater
takes me to a place of warmth

Loosely wrapped
in electric blanket
feet fitted
in oversized tube socks
the hum comforts me
in a large house
full of warm
wandering bodies

The hum of the heater
takes me to a place of fear

The sound is drowned
by the slap of straps
against a body trapped
stinging hot flushed skin
while my own
feels raw and cold
as I cower
in an overlooked corner

I hear a click
The heater drones
just like the one
back home

Now home is here
and the hum soothes
in a world that contracts
in and out of fear

I swallow a swig of coffee
The hum stops
The warmth
flows down

I am here