Anybody ever love you that much?

from Stone: 122

Let me be in your service
like the others
mumbling predictions,
mouth dry with jealousy.
Parched tongue
thirsting, not even for the word—
for me the dry air is empty
again without you.

I’m not jealous any more
but I want you.
I carry myself like a victim
to the hangman.
I will not call you
either joy or love.
All my own blood is gone.
Something strange paces there now.

Another moment
and I will tell you:
it's not joy but torture
you give me.
I'm drawn to you
as to a crime—
to your ragged mouth,
to the soft bitten cherry.

Come back to me,
I'm frightened without you.
Never had you such power
over me as now.
Everything I desire
appears to me.
I'm not jealous any more.
I'm calling you.

Osip Mandelstam, trans. Clarence Brown and W.S. Merwin.

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You were the first mile where my

what you thought this song meant

So a fun thing that happens every month is that my baseline anxiety level amps up by a factor of about 10 either right before or right at the start of my period. TMI. I've been on the same anti-depressant for several years, and miraculously that is mostly under control, but I'm still about 5'10" of anxiety most of the time, let alone when my hormones are doing the weird thing. Last week was ~The Special Time,~ and I was really wrought up for the whole day on Wednesday.

At the beginning of June a 22 year old kid from the next county over was killed in Afghanistan, along with two other soldiers. My podunk county actually has a regional airport, because this used to be where the corporate headquarters of a Fortune 50 company was located, so they flew his body here last Wednesday to bring him home. If you've never visited a small town - maybe just a small Southern town - funeral processions are a big deal. When one goes by you in the opposite lane, you pull to the side of the road until it passes. The hearse had a big escort - our cops, firefighters, and assorted Army guys lead it through town, and all along the route, people lined up on the side of the road to pay their respects. It was sad as hell.

Anyway, my, like, boyfriend or whatever (????????) texted me that afternoon to say hello and asked how I was, and in the spirit of 2017 being the year I'm fucking honest about my feelings, I told him that I was having a pretty bad anxiety day, and about the kid and the funeral procession. He asked if he could do anything to help, and I made a joke about him ending my work day early, because I really have to work at being vulnerable and my brain was trying to eat itself. About an hour later, he texted again and asked if he could come over and see me, even though we had plans to see each other the next day. And, in a surprise to myself, I actually wanted him to come over. So he did, and I sat on my couch in my pajamas and we watched a dumb comedy and he cuddled the shit out of me. Why is he so sweet, why is this going so well, and other questions: at nine.

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You were the best mistake I ever made.

Summer Solstice

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.

Stacie Cassarino.

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All I can give you is a reputation.

it's a long night can i spend it with you

I've finally found a good MeetUp group. I signed up for that site last summer when I was going through my 28 Years Old and No Clue What to Do Crisis; the first one that I went to was at a state park about 30 minutes from my apartment, which I'd been to before. So I figured at least if things got weird, I wouldn't be anywhere totally unfamiliar and I could bail easily back to my couch. But no one else from the group showed up! I waited at the designated trailhead for 20 minutes before just going on the hike on my own, but that definitely soured me on the MeetUp experience for a while.

I've been hiking a lot more over the past year or two--it's a good way to periodically collect the sunshine vitamins and it makes me feel closer to my grandmother who passed away four years ago. When my sister and I were kids, we always spent the weekend at their house, and Saturdays they'd haul us out onto the Parkway for general running around and roadside picnicking.

Anyway, a few months ago I found a group that had regular events at places I wanted to go, including the park near my house. I took the guy I'm seeing along with me for the first one -- although I did not realize we were dating at that point, despite having met him on a dating site, because there is a reason my dad calls me Spock, and it is because I do not understand humans, their emotions, or their ways -- and had SUCH a great time. There are a couple of different "hosts" for the group events, and the lady who lead this one and the last two we went on is a tiny redheaded terminator with a robot hip. She's a total delight. That was probably the best day I'd had since my grandmother died in January.

The second one we went to was physically the hardest thing I've ever done -- about 14 miles of incline, cabling, ladders, and rock scrambling. It was also the best hike I've been on so far. So challenging, but everyone really worked together to look out for each other and point out danger spots/loose rocks, and came out of it with a "we just went through a very pretty hell together" bond. I burned 5,000+ calories and ate my weight in BBQ, fried fixins, and Corona afterward. Great day. I'm really proud of myself for having done it.

It's so different hiking with a group of 8-10 other folks; way less stranger danger weirdness of being six miles up a mountain by myself and some 40 year old guy telling me, "Be careful out there!" while staring at my legs.

About two weeks ago, I did the stupid thing where you stand up too fast and all the blood rushes out of your head, swooned (LITERALLY SWOONED), and fell on the ankle I broke in high school, spraining the heck out of it. Scared the life out of Tripp and didn't do much for me either. It's mostly better now -- we went on a less arduous hike yesterday (with ponies! wild baby ponies!) and it held up pretty well; I'm still keeping it wrapped for most of the day, but the swelling has gone out of it, and it only feels slightly wobbly when I squat. We've been to four now and a lot of the same people show up each time, so I've started to make buddies. It's good to be around other people. I guess. To observe and record their behaviors, if nothing else.

Going to the beach in two weeks with my family. I had a good talk with my sister a couple of days ago about my relationship with her boyfriend -- they've been together over four years probably, he comes to most of our family stuff, we visit his parents at Christmas. I honestly love the guy and think of him as my brother. But around Christmas of 2015, they started fighting a lot and it seemed like they were going to break up; things would be fine for a day when they'd visit, and then they'd fight, and there would be a lot of miserable tension until they left. Hard for me to know how to deal with that, because I am 100% mean big sister when it comes to Shannon being upset, and I responded by emotionally withdrawing from my friendship with Max and being less patient with him. Which is a shitty thing that I do that I'm trying to do less of. She was really glad to hear that, because she was beginning to think I only tolerated him. I'm glad I said something, even if it took me up to my quota of talking about feelings before the year is half over.

Oh, and she introduced me to the band/singer Lord Huron, which I've been listening to almost nonstop since last week.

Dating stuff is going well. I haven't gone out with the same person for this long -- two months, which as Sara pointed out is not even that long! -- in a couple of years. I'm a friendly person, but when it comes down to it, I just don't like that many people, which is why the friends that I hang out with are ones I've had since middle school. Had the string of pleasant but unmemorable first dates before I met this one. I'm pretty reserved and I like my alone time, so I was really surprised after that stupidly hard hike where we spent all day together -- left home at 6:30am, got back at 8:30pm -- that I still wanted to check in with him before I passed out from exhaustion, and see him again the next day. It's nice. We have stuff that's "our stuff", like Trivia Night and the hiking group and the monthly used book sale. I might introduce him to my friends, which I have never done before.

But, like, WHAT IF THAT GOES WELL??? /Spock

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Against reason; against promise;

Advice from La Llorona

Each grief has its unique side.
Choose the one that appeals to you.
Go gently.
Your body needs energy to repair the amputation.
Humor phantom pain.

Your brain cells are soaked with salt;
connections fail unexpectedly and often.
Ask for help.
Accept help.

Read your grief like the daily newspaper:
headlines may have information you need.
Scream. Drop-kick the garbage can across the street.

Don’t feel guilty if you have a good time.
Don’t act as if you haven’t been hit by a Mack Truck.
Do things a little differently
but don’t make a lot of changes.
Revel in contradiction.

Talk to the person who died.
Give her a piece of your mind.

Try to touch someone at least once a day.
Approach grief with determination.
Pretend the finish line doesn’t keep receding.
Lean into the pain.
You can’t outrun it.

Deborah A. Miranda.

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We're not going to do better next time.

poem of the day

All night long I hear the sleepers toss
Between the darkened window and the wall.
The madman’s whimper and the lover’s voice,
The worker’s whisper and the sick child’s call—
Knowing them all

I’d walk a mile, maybe, hearing some cat
Crying its guts out, to throttle it by hand,
Such simple love I had. I wished I might—
Or God might—answer each call in person and
Each poor demand.

Well, I’d have been better off sleeping myself.
These fancies had some sentimental charm,
But love without direction is a cheap blanket
And even if it did no one any harm,
No one is warm.

Thomas McGrath.

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& he never forgave & he never forgot


I'm moving to Dreamwidth, I swear to god. I think I'm going to post over there, cross post here for a bit, and just have comments over there.

I'm hollyslowly.

I just fucking paid for another year of LJ, too. My crankiness knows no bounds.
For a revenge driven conspiracy nut

all the way home

Internet dating remains bizarre. Catching up to my previous entry, the Tinder guy was a sweetheart boat mechanic who looked too startled to argue when I said that I would pay for myself. Then there was an unpleasant guy from OkCupid who, after ascertaining that I don't play video games, said, "This will probably go right over your head, then," and explained how if you die in this game he was playing you had to go all the way back to the start. He also didn't care about Princess Leia and was a surprise kisser, though at least there was no tongue. :/ Fortunately, he lives about 90 minutes away, so we met at a city in the middle, which has a Target, which is the only place that carries the tea I'm obsessed with. So, eh.

Met another guy off OkCupid whose opening salvo was, "I like your taste in books." (Panty dropper.) We've gotten together a couple of times for drinks and walks, and we text a lot (every day since we met); I can't quite determine if he's interested in me or if he's just trying to make new friends, because he just moved to town and is going crazy from boredom. No moves have been made. In "This is a small town" news, the first time we met, my friend Sara's husband was at the bar with his family, which I found comforting -- like if this goes SUPER POORLY, at least Shawn is here for backup. When I ran into them on the Greenway yesterday, he said he clocked the guy walking me to my car and waited to make sure he came back. Good dude. We're going to go for a hike later this week, so if nothing else at least I have a hiking buddy now. A stupid cute one. Argh.

Last week, I went to an after-hours meeting of our substance abuse/recovery advocacy coalition that lasted from 5:30 to 7:30. I'm not a content expert, I just show up because I care about creating a community where folks can recover from addiction, both because of the substance abuse in my family and because I spent all of my college years self-medicating my untreated depression with alcohol. There was a discussion panel with some community members who had experience with addiction or the treatment process in our county, and one of them is a lawyer around my age I've met a couple of times. I ran into him on my walk yesterday evening and we had a nice chat; his mom is actually the owner of the bookstore where I spent all the money I made at my first job. It's always nice to meet other Democrats here, and he jokingly gave me a lot of shit, which is a quality I like in my friends, so hopefully we can hang out again sometime.

A couple of weeks ago, my aunt told Shannon and me that our uncle, who lived with our grandmother, had said that if we wanted anything of hers, we needed to get it soon, because he was going to start throwing things out. I don't know if that's actually how he phrased it or just how she heard it, because they have a contentious relationship, but it was very upsetting to both of us. I tried really hard not to dwell on it, but I was not entirely successful. Anyway, Shannon and Max came back down this weekend and we spent six hours cleaning out Grandma's bedroom. It fucking sucked. My aunt needs a hip replacement but won't be approved for one unless she can lose weight, so Shannon and I did a lot of the moving and packing. We both took some clothes and little things from her purse; Shannon took some of the art hanging in her room and I have her lifetime membership card to the National Gardening Club in my wallet now. Our junkie cousin (aunt's daughter) showed up about five hours in, after we had done all the hard shit, to claim every piece of jewelry our Grandma had.

When my maternal grandmother passed away, it took us a year to go through her jewelry. I have a ring of hers that I wear all the time, and it's important to me because I have memories of her wearing it. My paternal grandmother never wore jewelry, because she was always elbow-deep in dirt somewhere making green things grow. So I am okay with not having any of that stuff, truly, but I am so upset over the way our cousin did this. My mom commented that she was just there to go shopping. And she started fighting with her mother almost as soon as she walked in the door. God, she is exhausting. In the car on the way home, my aunt was crying and asking if "[cousin] had snatched everything [I] wanted," and all I could do was tell her not to worry about it. She knows her kid is an asshole. I say "kid"; this bitch will be 31 this year. I just hope she doesn't sell Grandma's stuff.

Prior to the shittiness of going through our Grandma's stuff, Shannon and I went to the Greenway, and I ran a fucking mile! I have not done that since high school. It was awesome. I felt awesome after doing it. I might need to get running shoes.

I knew that this weekend would suck, so last Wednesday or Thursday I asked Heather if I could take today off as a mental health day, which she had no problem with. She is a good person and a good boss; she just drives me fucking nuts on the regular. I gave myself the little gift of sleeping thirty minutes later than normal, then did some stretching and drove to the state park about half an hour from my apartment, Stone Mountain. The weather today looked like something out of a horror movie, fog and drizzly rain, and I didn't see another human soul while I was up there. I love that hike and I've done it a couple of times, but only in nice bright weather. The last time I was there, when I got to the summit I could see for miles; today it looked like this. I felt like the only person on earth. I hadn't been up there since they did a controlled burn earlier this year; a lot of the trees have scorched trunks, so parts of the trail were quite eery.

A few weeks ago I watched the PBS documentary "Storm Over Everest," about the 1996 climbing disaster, which concluded with this quote: "The mountain doesn't care whether we're here or not. It doesn't compete with us. It isn't burdened by our hopes and dreams. Everything it means to us is only what we bring to it."

When I got back, I invited OkCupid guy to lunch and chatted with him a bit - part of my confusion is that I initiate all our get-togethers - then spent two hours at the car shop getting my brakes serviced while it monsooned outside. Came home and failed at napping, so I caught up on chores I ignored yesterday in favor of beautiful weather, then made bread. Now I'm just waiting for the damn laundry to finish so I can put sheets back on my bed and go to sleep.

Weird Internet stuffs. Complicated family stuffs. Running shoes. That's where I'm at right now.
They still bleed through.

tape deck heart

Pretty good day today. I'm slowly trudging my way out of the deep depressive funk I've been in since my grandmother died, I guess. I cleaned my apartment last week, and I stopped veering between eating like a trash compactor and not eating at all. Back to my preferred sleep schedule, exercising, and not crying in my car. Ah, life.

When I left my apartment this morning to go to the Greenway, my friendly junkie neighbor - I am making assumptions based on her dental situation, strange burns on her hands, and the way her slurred speech is an exact copy of my junkie cousin's - stuck her head out of her car and said, "You don't happen to have jumper cables, do you?" BUT I DID. Thanks, dad. I didn't know how to attach them, but she did, and fortunately a jump was all it needed, as the only other thing I could have done was what we had to do to my car a few weeks ago, which is to remove the built-up oxidation/corrosion on the battery posts that prevents it from making a strong connection. Having a string of shitty cars teaches you a lot about cars.

After the mild stalking incident a couple of years ago, I really haven't done much dating, but I usually activate an OkCupid profile for a few weeks each spring in a burst of optimism, before nuking it from orbit after awkward turtling my way through a bunch of bearded strangers. Had a first date on Wednesday with a guy I got along with quite well through text and who I had a great time talking with, but between his extreme earnestness and sending me a smiley-faced photo of himself yesterday that confirmed I never, ever want to have sex with him, I cancelled date #2 and signed up for Tinder. Have a date for drinks tomorrow afternoon, barring snow. Also considering recommitting myself to a life of celibacy, as emotions are unpleasant and I already have the cat.

Anyway, yesterday I tried to make some plans with my friends for this weekend, but they were busy doing married people stuff, like visiting mothers-in-law and helping sisters-in-law move. Last Saturday, we did an off-brand Wine and Design at Kathren's house, because she's a proper artist with an art degree, and I actually produced a credible facsimile of a barn with sunflowers. So I decided to take myself out today, including having lunch at the fancy coffee house with the delicious salad dressing and going to see Logan. When I was in college, I never thought twice about doing things like going to the movies on my own, or eating at a restaurant with a book for company, but something about the intense pressure here to be part of a group or a couple has made me extremely self-conscious about it. But I did it today, and it was lovely, and I will do it again in the future.

The book I'm struggling through is another Dan Simmons doorstopper. I read The Terror in January because I saw they're making a TV show out of it with my man Tobias Menzies in it sometime this year, and also because I have a fascination with arctic and maritime disasters. (This is an extremely specific niche interest that I occasionally trot out as an ice-breaker [ha] on dates.) The man is, it has to be said, an awful, repetitive, dry writer, but I am obsessed with his plots. I hope the one I'm reading now, The Abominable, has a resolution at least as ridiculous as The Terror.

Incidentally, if you could recommend something with a similar plot/setting but a better writer, I would be immensely grateful.

I've definitely gone off superhero movies, probably because of the supersaturation of comic book adaptations over the past several years, but I will always show up for a Wolverine movie. I'm the lowest common denominator of X-Men fans, because I don't care about the comics and all I want is to watch Hugh Jackman brutally repress feelings of anxiety, despair, self-loathing, helplessness, and rage for two hours at a time while being delightfully hairy. So, somewhat needless to say at this point, I've been looking forward to seeing Logan since I saw the trailer with Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" sometime last winter.

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