Ikey, you can’t be gone

I’m in your mom’s house, in the guest room, trying to pretend like I can eventually get sleep here.  Many loving people have been in and out today, offering all the feeble words of sympathy we all do under these circumstances.  This is surreal and I swear I keep checking my phone when it lights up for another message from you, I keep taking my phone out to text you about what a fucked up day it has been. I keep replaying the last few days over and over again waiting for them to rewind and undo themselves.  Waiting for our thanksgiving trip to Nashville to come so I can meet you after tour like we planned.  We were gonna go furniture and plant shopping for your new place. We were going to be able to sleep beside each other for ten whole days, a luxury your traveling rarely afforded us.  After nearly ten years of loving you, I’ve grown so accustomed to hardly seeing you and relying on texts, calls, and Skype to sustain our turbulent, unconventional, persistent love.  We never talked much about “the others”.  Yours. Mine. We had others, most of which were attempts at getting over each other, and a few that were sincere bonds with someone who offered a relationship clean of the soil and blood long term love is guaranteed to leave behind. We only talked about them to confess that any other we truly got close to complained about being to feel my presence in your company or your hold on me.  We were going to figure it out this time, again. 
After New York in June, San Francisco in August, we had both been really excited about Nashville in November.  I was thinking about moving there.  You wanted to show me it’s charm and try to convince your mermaid to move hours from the beach. It was a task anyone could call impossible, but that was exactly us. We knew little about our love made pragmatic sense, but when we spent hours on the phone and when we finally saw each other, we knew where home was. 

Your sister came over today and quite possibly saved my life.  I reached out to who I considered your favorite women and she was the one, as expected, to actually swoop in and face this with me.  She let me tell her how much I just want to die and go with you, how much I regret having wasted so much time at war with you, listened to pages of poetry, shared stories of knowing you so long, years longer than I. You picked a good one, baby.  Your girls are going to see each other through this.
It’s still not quite real to me. Even now I write feeling like I’m just talking to you. If I speak to you aloud, our families might think I’ve lost it and have me committed to keep me safe.  I felt safe and sane beside you.  All of our time, trips, kisses, teary eyed talks, love making, fights, laughs, inside jokes, unspoken truths have always been imprinted in my cells but knowing they have come to a physical end bleeds the color from life.  I always knew there was more, always knew we could keep coming back, always knew we weren’t going to shake each other.

When I was seeing someone else earlier this year, my therapist asked me “could you ever see Ikey marry someone else?”
I almost shot out my seat and startled her with a quick, vigilant “No!” And she told me I needed to observe that response and figure us out.  Duh.  And there you were, with open arms, because your feelings were the same.

We were so crazy, bumblebee.  I love calling you that. You’d call me orchid. That night in Long beach, we got stoned and watched adaptation, we agreed you were the bee designed to pollinate the kind of orchid I was, and when you felt you had lost me, you sent me exquisite arrangements of orchids.
You can’t be gone, baby.  We’re not done yet.  In many ways we’ve only just begun.  You were a saint to put up with me in my twenties.  And you were a sinner too.

At the core of me was you, and our unshakable bond.  I really don’t know how to return to “life” after Tuesday morning.  I’m currently just a receptacle of all things You.

I talked to Mona yesterday.  She told me she was receiving messages from you. I’ve seen her give readings before and I know she is a legit medium, but I’m still someone usually skeptical, just by nature.
She told me you were very concerned for your mom, she told me you wanted her to tell me you’re sorry for leaving me here, you didn’t mean to, that you too thought you had more time. 
And then she said something that audibly shook my bones:  “He keeps saying something about a favorite pair of tennis shoes”
Mona couldn’t have guessed or predicted that.  In 2006, I searched high and low for a pair of sneakers you saw in the Haight one day and surprised you on your birthday by having them sent to you.  You were so touched and elated.  I remember having so much fun looking for them, calling every store on Melrose from Alameda with no luck, and knowing they were the only acceptable gift I could imagine at that time because you were so juiced about them.

Baby, I’m a fucking wreck.  I can’t live haunted like this.  We’re supposed to lean on each other eternally.  I’m unable to make any sense.  I’ve been split into shards and shells.  I can’t even see where all the pieces are.  This can not be real.  I finally slept a bit last night and when I woke up, for the most infinitesimal of milliseconds, everything was normal and you hadn’t slipped away.  My love and my life were nowhere near death’s clandestine, greedy grip and we were pushing along as usual.
Then as instantly as it came, it fled. Replaced with the grim, unchangeable truth that you came home from Mexico in a fucking box.
“Odio a todos los que aman, y que felices están, porque yo no puedo tener”

But I did have it, up until the abrupt end. I’ve been listening to that voicemail from that cursed night, you simply said “I love you too”.  You saw my text “Ikey, I love you”. I missed your call. But I didn’t miss my calling.  Forever your orchid, forever your Mama Bear, forever your friend, forever your family, forever Your Woman.

Hunters moon

When I say I love you
I mean it
My close lionesses feel it
Others see it for an ephemeral gleam
My life’s work is to make the ephemeral eternal
We try don’t we?
Stay up for the eclipse
It’s worth it

reflections. delusions. suicides.

once upon a sea

a butterfly landed on its surface and with its light legs stayed long enough to see itself

the mass of a manatee appeared and the insect knew its reflection was lying

“as lovely and majestic as you be, you cannot be me”

“i absolutely am. stay here long enough to see your shape become mine”

the butterfly was enraged with the manatee’s gentle words and flew away

the manatee evaporated, for lack of being beheld

and the butterfly was spat out of a tugboat’s propeller

Lions and lambs

One day I will perish and it will be beautiful.

Empress Mona

when she walks

she holds her womb like a scepter

crimson pages of sacred texts fall from her hips with every serpentine sway

a vortex of tentacle tresses whipping behind her

harnessing wind for the whale that is a wizard’s daily work

entire limbs, fragmented lives, loves, lovers shake from her singing skirt

they root themselves underfoot

and are immortalized in her gait

relationship rules to live by for the courageous & clueless

Disclaimer: these are not my original rules. i met someone years ago who had been doing the work of loving for twenty years longer than I have ever tried to and these are words of wisdom I digested one night we spent ecstatically talking til the wee hours of night.  Months later, he was consumed in an explicable home fire and was taken away from this world too soon.  The rules are his, the explanations are what I take from them.  Professor Andrew Goodwin, verbatim memories of our visceral exchanges are seared into my hippocampus.  Your brilliance was astronomical, your light interminable, your wit unmatched.   Your last email to me was titled ‘exit interview’.  Brujo.  I walked to your house after the fire and found tinged photos on the street like earth toned confetti celebrating the release and resurrection of your Phoenix Self.  No longer bound by bipolar vice-grips of mania, no longer groping for anyone as wild to understand you.  Not that you ever were, actually.  To know you wasn’t to love you, but to love you was definitely to know you.

1. Only Fall Asleep Together When You Really Want To

Sleep is a necessary recharging of the body and mind and magical unfoldings take place in this “non place”.  If for any reason, you are uninspired or simply uninterested in sharing that sleep with your beloved, don’t do it.  What you lose is vast compared to any obligatory pressure that one may put on themselves to maintain status quo.

2. Everyone Gets What They Want

This can be as simple or mundane as ordering take out from two different restaurants the same evening or as complicated as doing the arduous work of defining the agreed upon specific incarnations of monogamy or polyamory right down to the letter. The point is to come to an understanding each party is truly happy with so as not to become mired in swamps of resentment, or, an even uglier beast, blame. Each person takes responsibility for their contentment and never does the deceitful dance of reluctant appeasing. Sacrifice is, of course, something altogether different, and a necessity in love. But, in this present, purposeful way, sacrifice is chosen with intention and never brought up as leverage or bragging rights. Do what you want, and if what you want is to surrender, do it genuinely, gracefully, and without pride or pomp.

3. Spend One Day A Week With Your Partner Committed To Non Verbal Communication

Andrew, you wicked, wise son of a bitch.  This is definitely your best rule.  So I saved it for last.

 

I’ll never forget this conversation, in which this Rule was revealed to me.  Andrew and I were at his favorite restaurant.  We had already been acquainted for a few years but had only spent intermittent time together, typically over cocktails at the White Horse, intellectually invigorating every single fucking time…

I fell in love with his person one night when he was going on about how much he despised “Stairway to Heaven” and utterly abhorred the laudatory attention its received since its birth because it’s entirely overrated rubbish! Pants! That song is absolute pants!  (Insert strong British accent here)  Sarah, who had dated him years ago, knew I had a Led Zeppelin lyric tattoo on my rib cage and smirked knowingly, looked at me, then turned to Andrew and asked “Well, what do you think about ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ “?  Andrew, without hesitation, softened his otherwise excited tone down to the decibel of a doe soothing its fawn, relaxed his shoulders, looked at us each intently and said “Oh I think it’s their absolute greatest accomplishment ever.”  Jenelle, Sarah,and I erupt with laughter. I immediately show him the stained skin on my side, a Jacob’s ladder arrangement of those exact five words:

Since

I’ve

Been

Loving

You

That was it.  Instant mutual respect and adoration sealed for life.  Or as life would have it, the next 4 years.

Fast forward to that night I learned Rule #3.  Le Bateau Ivre, May 2013.

He had left some post its with notes about the book he was working on at the White Horse the night before, so I saved them and called the next day to tell him I had them.   “That’s the oldest writer’s trick in the book.  I’m glad you fell for it.  Meet me for dinner tonight.”  I didn’t care he was over 20yrs my senior, I just was thrilled to get to spend some time with this luminescent mind, this hilarious whip, this soul oscillating from child like to flammable.  That night we doted upon one another and couldn’t stop talking.  “God, Andrew, I love talking to you.  Do you remember that night we wrote to each other at the white horse?”  “Of course I do, I couldn’t believe this beautiful woman was entertaining the thought she might be falling in love with me.” /”How do you do that, Danielle?”  “Do what, darling?” I coyly pleaded.  “Eat so delicately and then say something so heavy”.  There was never a lull.  We discussed his son, my bipolar mother, his own battle with bipolar mania, the descent into madness, poetry, his book, the book I wanted to write, his struggle with women, my struggles with love, our incessant need to carve out a lot of personal space in love which makes us difficult to be with, and of course his rules in a relationship…

“Rule #3 is to spend one day a week without talking to each other at all.  Prepare whatever logistics involving travel, groceries, and necessities beforehand.  Turn off your phones, don’t use your computers, don’t say one word to each other for 24 hours.  Agree upon when that day is and adhere to all the rules at all costs.  Spend that time together, carve that time out for each other, without any words of any kind, I guarantee it will change the way you see each other, for the better, and typically bring you much, much closer”.

 

 

He was and remains right.  Rule #3 almost saved my marriage once.  Well, a relationship I hoped would become a marriage anyhow.  It only works if Rule #2 is in order, but, god damn it’s fun to practice

 

“You’re a Writer because You Write!”–Andrew Goodwin, tenderly remembered friend

 

No need to title

She is the most gorgeous woman I have ever loved. Her mane swells around her like the cloak of questions surrounding our conflict. We should die as freely as those follicles. We should last as long as those strands.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.