Ode to 艾 and 爱 (Ode to Ai and Love)

— I’m not doing the quote full justice, and there’s much more I want to say on this but here is the story for now —
Today I went to go see Ai Wei Wei’s “Never Sorry” at the Hirshorn Museum.  It’s been over five years since I’ve seen the film. To be honest, at this point I define my life by “life before I went to China” and “life after I lived in China.” Most ex-pats who have lived there for any extended period of time might agree. The place changes you. I was curious – how would I feel about the film this time?
When I saw the movie five years ago, I went with a group of four Chinese teachers my father had dragged along with us. I respect my dad so much – for years Chinese teachers have been visiting his school and he always connected with them so beautifully – inviting them to dinners, Christmas, taking them shopping for groceries, and supporting them just as humans who needed to be seen and understood. Of course, having a bit of a radial edge, he always wanted to dig deeper into their experience. What was life in China really like? Were they a part of the Party? Were they religious? What was life like for their grandparents during Community rule?
So he took them to the film. Big mistake? Maybe. They yelled at the host leading the Q&A after the film. He was also Chinese. He originally came to the US to get his degree in engineering at CMU, but started learning about Chinese history in the 20th century, and switched his degree to nonprofit management. He had been working as a coordinator for wealthy Chinese high school students coming to the US. When I asked him afterwards what the Chinese teachers were saying to him he said, “They think Ai Wei Wei is a nobody, not important, worthy to be ignored. They are still so brainwashed by Chinese propaganda.”
When I saw the movie today, I noticed people in the theater laughed a lot at Ai’s antics. He is quite a hilarious activist, a modern day jester if you will.  There’s certainly shadow side to Ai in this context. He makes those privileged in the US feel safe in our complicity. To  feel good that we “aren’t” China. We are here, in a museum watching an activist film, for free, on a Sunday. I probably watched the film the first time in similar fashion. Amazed, fascinated, curious and in awe of the man. Knowing that “over there” people lived in repression and thankfully we had free access to art, music and culture. A dangerous dose of some American exceptionalism I was born into: the illusion of pure free expression.
My viewing of this film this time around was much more…human.
I cried much more than I laughed. I sobbed seeing schools destroyed by the Earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008, due to shoddy construction of “tofu-brick” buildings in schools in poor areas; meaning, tuition funds go to a fat salary for an official comes before the price of a student’s life in a safely constructed building. I cringed at the moments when Ai sat in the hospital photographing himself wearing a bandage on his head after being assaulted by the police. The audience laughed, but here I saw a man in pain, trapped in a cage he could not escape, no matter how humorous his approach.
When I came to Washington, DC in 2013 for an interview with Teach for China, I remember heading over to Hirschhorn afterwards, alone, to see Ai’s “According to What?” exhibit. Always was my favorite museum after all. I saw the backpacks of every student killed in the Earthquake lining the ceiling, the names of dead children lining the walls, read aloud by many different voices.
Knowing, in my heart at the time, these students and families would one day be a part of my own world. People I connected with, played music with, shared meals with, attended religious services with (Yes! religion exists in China!), talked about love and relationships with, danced with, cried with, spent the night in their humble homes with.
Today I sat shocked, at the lengths an artist must go to in order to humanize himself to the Other.

How to Get Lit

Lately I’ve been caught in
     the right way to hold your breath, how to meditate, how to stop the mind
     the right way to cleanse your liver, what to eat, when not to eat it
     when to go to bed, how cold to make your shower, what to put in the bath, what scent to wear
     how slow to dance, how to be a woman, how not to be tamed, how to be domestic
     what gave me acne, how to make it go away
     if I start smoking weed and cigarettes does that make me okay?
     i just asked the dentist if fluoride can close my third eye
     but my gums are bleeding! oh me, oh my!
     should I drink? do my armpits stink?
     is it okay to ask out a guy? or is it better to just sit around and wonder – why?
     be with the mama moon on your period or keep the IUD?
     but hey – if you get pregnant just don’t come to me!
     must I feel guilt when the Beibes comes on?
     or can I claim Despacito as my new favorite song?
     just live life by the fly, but please – don’t cry! it makes you seem weak
     you don’t want to loose your own winning streak
     drink bottled water, or don’t, just recycle the plastic
     hey look – you’re fantastic!
     do you compost? Throw your paper away?
     would you vaccinate your kids or raise them on an apple a day?
     do you ever how your gay friends have to pray?
     when so many rights are taken away?
     by those people who can split their heart into three?
     shoo away the Mormons at their doorstep but practice their own form of polygamy?
     I’m sorry to say, as I take a breath in
     I don’t really believe in original sin
     I sort of believe we are all just fine as we are
     all chasing that wish on some shooting star
     so join me perhaps in the “the Way” if you will
     because these self-punishment talks are not really real
     between vegan and kosher and old gluten free
     there’s no right way to do it
     I’m just simply
     me

Inner Writer: What Does She Need?

Inner Writer: What Does She Need?
“Who is your inner writer and what does she need?”
So I wrote to her, and in faith, she guided me.
  – An invocation – like to a lover. Where are you? Come to me today.
  – Space – like a date, focus on your needs. Have plenty of food and water.
  – Some inspiration from anything – a music video, a conversation, that will come in and go out.
  – No fear to be vulnerable and open. I am an observing, observing your thoughts.
  – Usually no music – I like the vibes of nature or the sounds of humans or the humming of buildings. If there is music, make sure it’s instrumental or in a different language and tunes into the rhythm of your own words.
  – Relaxation into the entire body.
  – Honesty and trust.
  – A little warm up exercise…just to undo the top layer and get deeper.
  – Some spell checker, because let’s be real, grammar and spelling have never been your friend. Those traumatic moments from teachers and parents that planted perfectionism in your bones. (Blessing to the goddess of Julia Cameron for freeing me from such!)
Meeting my inner writer is like meeting a long lost lover. I can spend hours in her presence. I can laugh and cry with her. She tells me things I never knew that I knew about myself. When I discover them, I feel whole.
She is very particular and will operate only under certain conditions. However, once you have her caught for just a few moments, she will come out to play and forget about the passage of time at all.
She has all kinds of ways to remix the world. To take from the past and turn it into the future. To look at a photograph and unravel its meaning. To dig into the unknown places of history and question them. To take a real wound from love and turn it into a made up story, that makes the hurt not seem so bad after all. To write a poem that rambles on and no one understands, but she feels good every time she sees it.
She gets resentful when she is not seen. But doesn’t matter because she stays cooped up in the house a lot anyway, wearing a vintage silk robe she got a thrift sale. She imagines some dame from the early 20th-century wearing it while she smokes cigarettes off the balcony and says words like “darling” and complains about the unbearable heat in this city.
She likes coffee shops, even though she knows you shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway, bad for your hormones, at this age. Most of them nowadays are for people who need to “get stuff done” and race on with the world. When the inner writer is in a coffee shop, she imagines them like the something from Revolutionary Paris, although she doesn’t know much about the Revolution or Paris, she just lives in that notion of romance and freedom.
Maybe it’s something like the coffee shops you sat in from the French Quarter in Shanghai or Hanoi in Vietnam – in a secret alleyway, full of with small nooks and crannies for antiques to hide. The oldness about this place brings a meeting of worlds that is comforting. People came here just to sit and talk once, and come up with ideas, with nowhere to go and nowhere to be. A cup of coffee that doesn’t brag about its name, or size, or special latte combination. It’s mixed with something like condensed milk or egg white. No whipped cream on top. She could sit here forever and be the Buddha with froth overflowing from the lotus flower. The energy of this discovery brings this lasting peace that calls to meet the feet on sidewalks and in botanical gardens. Please, take me on a stroll, darling.

The end of the green line

The end of the green line
At the end of the green line, Sonia swooped Mae into her arms and carried her out of the train.
Strollers were too sleek, expensive, and took up too much space on the train. Leave those for the couples from the northern suburbs, with spacious yards and gardens. She used a back sling, like the one her grandmother used to carry her through the wheat fields. She chuckled to herself – some kind of people we are Urbanites who desire to return to something that felt pastoral. Who are we kidding? The strap pushed too hard against her collarbone. Yet a part of her preferred to carry her baby from here to there, always knowing where she was, never letting the weight of Mae leave her, as if she was still a part of her womb.
“Mama!” Mae said, chubby fingers reaching for her mother’s dangling earrings. 
“No!” Sonia scolded, craning her neck away from the baby. She held her right hand up to block the baby but in doing so, knocked Mae’s pink face mask to the ground. Mae started to laugh.
 
“Don’t smile!” Sonia commanded, slipping the loops of her facemask back around her baby’s ears. “The smog might get in.” 
I have to protect that smile. Yet she hadn’t see it in weeks. Actually, she hadn’t let Mae out of the house in over a month, since the Great Fog. And when they were in the house, Sonia still demanded that Mae keep the mask on. No faith that air purifiers, 20 yen piece of shit. Maybe her father took the mask off when he stayed with her. She shuddered at the thought of it. She shuddered to think about it. How he chose the raise the child was no business of hers, but if she could take control on how to raise Mae on her time, she would.
I have to make up for the mistakes of my past. The mask that led Mae to get the tumor in the first place. She never wondered why did I choose to move to this dreadful city? Or why did I choose to marry that man, but rather Why did I choose to even breathe in this air at all? That she could have controlled.
Five years ago, when she was in college, most doctors did not think the masks did much good.
They might have blocked 20% of particulates, like small ones that came from motorbike exhaust or small cars. Why bother? she thought, and her friends agreed. After coming from the countryside to one of the biggest cities in the nation at one of the most exciting times of the century, why cover up shiny red lipstick and straight white veneers with a piece of foam? How else would he have been attracted to me? she wondered. 
Yet the research started to catch up with the realities, and the robotics department had developed the NH-720 mask model. It was a monster of a mask, with a long tube sticking out like a hungry anteater and making a small hissing sound. News sites reported hundreds of young children having nightmares about being snatched by mask-wearers. Unlike previous models, this one was guaranteed to protect the user from 99% of particulates in the air and its ergonomic design gave the user instant air almost as clean and pure as an oxygen tank.  At first, the frightening design drew no customers, but when the WHO announced near deathly levels of smog about the descend on the city, able to kill elderly citizens and children alike in a mere instant, the device flew off the shelves. The panic saved the city billions in lung cancer and other medical care costs. How else were the citizenry going to listen? Those who used it loved it. “It’s like I’m walking in a cloud!” she remembered from an old man in a commercial, although she wasn’t so sure what a “cloud” was or what it was supposed to feel like. “It’s like the feeling you get after having sex,” her friend once told her.
The NH-720 faded in popularity with the youth, but those sensitive citizens didn’t mind, and would rather risk public scrutiny for wearing something ugly than risk their own lives.
She felt the worst when he wore it in public. On their walk back from school she remembered hearing her friends whispering – “How could she stand to be seen with that mole rat…” Although in public, they all pretended to love him and his endless sense of humor. Most of all, she missed the way he used to lean down and kiss the tip of her nose at the street corner when they wear waiting for the light to turn green.
She looked up at him, under the streetlight and raindrops.
“Why did you wear it?” she asked him. Longing brown eyes staring back.
“For her,” he’d say, holding Sonia’s belly with his warm hand. “For her future.”
They were unmarried but hopeful that a hasty elopement would throw off their relatives when the child arrived only eight months later. Two lovers, crazy mad an anxious for love, they booked tickets to a small island in the east and even bought each other platinum Peruvian rings at a foreign goods dealer. But the night before the flight she lost it, and she lost him too. A whole college romance gone in one night when he woke up and saw the blood stained sheets. He blamed her, she felt. She came back from the bathroom and saw the NH-720 laying in indentation the mattress with a note saying “Use it.” 
She didn’t leave the room for five days. Her friends brought her fresh fruit from the vendor across the street.
“It happens,” the tried to tell her. They’d all lost a child in one way or another by now – by their own choice, or by accident.
“It’s not uncommon.”
“He wasn’t one to stick around anyway.”
Even after all of that, she never questioned the quality of the air. The skies of the city began to clear up the year after she graduated. The Crystal Revolution (or so they called it) brought purity to the city when a man found that simply holding a vacuum cleaner to the sky would suck out bricks of pollution, that could then be recycled to build houses for low-income villagers who were rapidly moving to the city’s outskirts. Along with that, small changes in regulatory committees reduced emission by 50%. That year, she began to fall in love again, time with a high-society real estate mogul, who wasn’t afraid to explore their deep passions under the red moonlight on the streets. She promised to herself she’d never loose him, and five months later they wed.
Many considered rain on a wedding day an auspicious sign, but the toxic muck that began to fall out of the sky could only be considered disastrous. Whatever so-called “Crystal Revolution” that government touted for half of a year, was eroding slowly as Natural Helio sources were being tapped from the sky, relating a slow leak of Biotoxin into the air stream. The plan was quickly abandoned in favor of previous coal burning. But this time the government didn’t let anyone know, for fear of violent uprisings. The burning would be such a shock to the cities skies that climate experts were bribed to call this hazy weather not smog but “The Great Fog.”
Not everyone bought it, of course, but not everyone really seemed to care. Those who had lived through the smog-filled says could sustain another. After all, the economy had been much better. “At least we had jobs,” popular editorials would say. The wheels of the factories began to turn, with more fury than ever before, and the so-called “revolution” was forgotten in a fortnight.
Thankfully, Sonia didn’t need to work with her husband profits coming in, but she found herself bored as a childless housewife and set out to work part-time at a clothing boutique on the riverside plaza, earning her a tiny commission to freshen up her own closest. All the tight-fitting jeans would go by the wayside when she found out she was pregnant again. Her husband never knew about the first loss, but he didn’t need to. After all, it already felt like a lifetime ago, and she had moved on.
Despite the government admitting very little about the environmental changes, pregnant women still fell into the “sensitive” category and were advised to wear masks. The N-720 had a newer model, the WPX-515, which didn’t come with a long protruding nozzle, but even that was only worn by the elderly and disabled, occasionally by friends of hers when they came down with a particularly bad cough that they’d attribute to accidentally smoking too much pot at a particularly devious dance party. She would slip on her cover daily, only to take it off and stuff it in her pocket after work when she went to pick up a street-side snack. Her proclivity for red lipstick had waned, and the mask did make it easier to breathe, but she had never adopted the habit of slipping it over. With her increased appetite from the pregnancy, she found herself stuffing her mask in her purse pocket more and more.
When Mae was born, the doctor told her she had a benign tumor and had to be taken away immediately for surgery. Sonia had never imagined she’d feel such an immensity of loss again in her life. Her husband had been called away by a business emergency only days before, but quickly rushed back to the hospital. He found her too tired to weep and she collapsed in his arms.
She would have held him forever in that moment. The doctors brought the baby girl back three days later, a now seemingly healthy child who had to take a daily dose of medication in the foot to assure no new growth would appear during her infancy. Sonia almost got pleasure giving her baby the shot, hearing her cry reminder her how the little girl fought so hard. “This is so you can live,” Sonya would whisper in her ear. There was no way she would let another one leave this world on her own accord.
But another man? Perhaps. For it was only five weeks after Mae came home, that Sonia found a pair of red lacy stockings rolled up in her husband’s laundry. She certainly couldn’t fit into anything that small of a size. And there was no room in her life for him either. It was time she cut away anything she couldn’t make love her.
Divorce papers were filed, although he still wanted partial custody over the girl. Fair enough, she’d thought, yet she’d still spend sleepless night anytime Mae was out of her arms, so eventually she begged him for more supervision hours. He conceded but took away his portion of the child support along with it. Mae’s schooling would be paid for, but Sonia would have to work.
She started a job receptionist at an accounting firm, giving her normal hours and childcare during the day. Most days she felt like nothing more than an invisible pillar of sand at the office, flipping through lifeless days in front of a computer screen. When there was a lull in the paperwork, she’d search for things she’d always wanted to know about – clouds, scuba diving, the Third World War, the possibility of Alien life – until nagging client would interrupt her daydream flow.
On a particularly slow day, she found herself typing
    birth defects
Causes, symptoms, the endless pages, and scrolling. She’d even carry the search into the subway on her phone when she’d pick Mae up from daycare, and into the house at night while cooking dinner. For the next few days, she read. And when she couldn’t find what she needed (the government censored at least 80% of image content) she’d order virtual private network software that would allow her access to sites from London and Taipei. Mae, now a healthy child at home, was fine. But still, Sonia couldn’t help but wonder. “Why twice? Why me? Why did the doctors never say anything?” How unusual how her friends had said “This happens all time” and “We’ve lost one too.” What about the mothers on the street? The ones she walked by with blind, longing eyes?
“It’s not just me, is it?”
Her investigation grew deeper. She started at the childcare lobby when she went to pick up Mae after work, just casually asking another mother how her baby was, recording their long conversations on her phone, typing up notes in when she got home. Long days became sleepless nights, interviewing mothers in hospital waiting rooms and pulling out bibs at the laundromat. She had never felt so exhausted yet energized by anything in her life. The desire to know, the desire to want more. The whole time, Mae by her side, wrapped in a small bundle on her back. Protected by a mask.
She simmered down, and spent the month of sitting in the house, never leaving, and finishing her book. “The foreign press will be all over this.” This world deserves to know. “So this is how they decide to solve our population problem? More bricks in the air for better houses in the East?” She told her boss she would telework but as the days went on perhaps there was less and less for her to do and before she knew it he had put her on part-time. It didn’t matter much since she had enough saved up to feed the two of them and didn’t have to pay for Mae’s daycare. Finances were the least of her concerns right now. After all, she was sure money would pour in from foreign investors interested in her data and she’d be set for life, if not granted asylum in another place for at least two years while the commotion settled down.  
She sat down and began her first email to the Guardian:
“Five years ago, I dare not ask what the smell in the air was – but now I know. And that smell, is the desire for a massive death. The desire for money.” 
—–
A loud knock at the door awoke Sonia from her stupor as her stack of notebooks fell from her lap to the floor. Who the hell could be visiting me? She lost contact with friends, lovers, and family.  Her heart stuttered. She clutched her chest to look around for Mae, who had crawled away to the corner and was kicking at the baby mobile on the floor.
She opened the door. Longing brown eyes, with an emptiness inside.
No longer did he have the boyish charm of her college days, the scrawny legs and the wide grin and playful gait. Last she heard from her old classmates, he had entered the military and achieved some high ranking position. Now, standing in her doorway, towering over her with the eyes of a man who had touched death.
She breathed in to speak, interrupted by the sound of heavy boots pounding on the cement stairways. Eight other men in blue uniforms and black masks slipped into the doorway. He pulled on his masks on and ready to give them an order.
“What is the meaning of this?” Sonia stammered as she reached down to pick up Mae and cradle her into her chest.
“You’re under arrest.”
“For….for what?”
“Divergence from state priorities.”
He slipped Mae out of her hands with gentle and tender touch, despite the aggressive tone of his voice.
“You’ve been missing work. Your boss knows why.”
Sonia felt her entirely become limp, wanting to curl up like a fetus on the floor.
“She’ll be safe with me,” he said, as he placed the baby girl into a large yellow backpack and turned down the stairwell.
She crumbled to the floor, sobbing and holding herself; in as much pain as if she was missing a limb. The remaining officers took hold of her wrists and ankles and zip-tied them together.
After all of this, all I have researched, all that I have come to know about the plight of a mother on the city streets, what will become of me?
 
And at once, they picked her up and threw her over the balcony, into the density of the smog-filled night.
—————————-
Story Inspired by the Life of:

Simone’s Diary

(***trigger warning – graphic sexual imagery)
I feel so delicately intertwined with him, like a fly caught in a spider’s web. In the web of all life, she believed, lead people together, even into entrapment and venomous harm.
 
April 7th
It’s been a week since I’ve seen you. I expected you would call me today, but it appears that you are out of town on a business trip to the coast of Southern California.
Instead, I called my cousin, Maryanne, who isn’t really my cousin but the daughter of my aunt’s first husband, who killed himself when he jumped off the side of a bridge in the 80s. We don’t talk about that.  Maryanne comes over with a J, and we sit on the front porch. I tell her I’m not going to smoke because of the interview tomorrow, but I do anyway. We start to discuss things like how miserable we are at our jobs, the weirdest sex positions we’ve done and how the pyramids in Egypt align with the stars in Orin’s Belt. I tell her a read a book by an Egyptian author recently for my translation class. As always she nodded her head and scrambled to change the subject and not focus my college education. I know she resents me because of it.
“Do you remember Aladdin?” she asked me.
“Yeah, sure, but that’s in Saudia Arabia, not Egypt…”
“Remember the time where I put your Aladdin Barbie doll next to a hamster cage, and he bit it’s nose off?”
“Yeah, Mom thought that was pretty horrific.”
“She never let me forget it.”
“Yeah.”
“And do you remember the part when Jafar traps Jasmine inside of an hourglass? At the end of the movie.” 
“When she can’t get out and she is crying for help? And then Alladin comes and breaks the glass so she can escape.”
“Yeah. You know, sometimes I felt like that.”
“Oh yeah?” When I reveal something about the how I feel to Maryanne her eyes perk up, as if she wants to know more about me to confirm that something I feel about myself she could feel too.
 
“I never told anyone this, but I used to think about sex before I fell asleep. And not the usual kind of sex. After seeing that movie, all sorts of torturous devices came inside my head. I couldn’t fall asleep without thinking about it. I used to think of a woman inside of a spider’s web, the spider’s silk slowing wrapping around her body so that a man could later have her. I never really knew what it meant I just know I used to think about it.”
“Yeah, yeah, kind of like subliminal advertising. It gets in your head and makes you think things that you don’t wanna think.”
    
“I never told anyone this either, but our godmother’s son used to touch me, while we were playing video games. I was only nine when it started. I don’t know for how long it went on. Maybe I was only seven or so, but I think nine. He was thirteen. I remember sitting there with a controller in my hand and his arms wrapped around me, feeling me. I forgave him. I remember a voice in my head saying ‘Maybe he doesn’t know what he’s doing. ‘Maybe he thinks it’s okay because someone did it to him.’ I thought my parents would be angry if they found out, so I never told them. ‘Maybe it does feel good,’ I used to think. I learned to forget about it so quickly. He used to invite me to play board games with him under the covers of his bunk bed. I remember thinking ‘Maybe if I asked my little brother to play with us, I would be safe.’ My brother shielded me. But then there was this time, I think at my dad’s work, in the childcare room at his office, and he pulled me into this rocket ship made of cardboard and pulled down his pants. All I remember was his Ninja Turtle underwear, and maybe something happened, maybe it didn’t, I don’t know…I guess I’ve blocked it out. It stopped, I think one of the teachers walked into the room or something. I remember wanting to tell my mom so badly about what was going on, but I told my best friend at school who convinced me I had to say something, so I did. My mom was shocked, but I don’t think she ever told my godmother.” I started to cry. “I know I shouldn’t feel bad right now, but I do. I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be wasting our time together telling you about this…sorry, yeah, I don’t know why I’m telling you about this.”
“You’re not wasting our time together.” Maryanne sat there pulling in a big puff of air from her the J. “I just think that it’s pretty fucked up.”
May 22nd
You asked me out and took me to my favorite art gallery where they had poetry and jazz and paintings and everything in the world that I loved, maybe, including you. We took a walk back in the cold, and you gave me a piggyback ride and I could tell you wanted to kiss me but we had to pee, so I said I had the keys to the store where I worked and where we met. Maybe my boss would be mad but she would never find out if I didn’t tell her. You kissed me and said come over, then you drove me home while the radio played a song I knew, and I ended up on your soft mattress, and I made the bed the next day after you left for work and you texted me later to say thank you. I went to work late. I think my boss was mad. But I didn’t care because I felt so happy.
June 30th
While on vacation you asked me to send pictures of the beach. I sent you a picture of a face I made out of leaves I made while talking to my father on the phone and then a picture of me wearing a mermaid’s dress made of scales. You replied hm, that’s sexy.
Today went for massage because I felt like it. I thought about how men always get tricked into a happy ending massage. After the masseuse had left I noticed the size my tits in the mirror for a bit. They used to be so firm and perky when I was in shape, but now they seem heavier and rounder. I pose in the as I imagine a pin-up model would.  I go into the bathroom and give the happy ending to myself.
July 31st
I came over hungry even though I already ate dinner and devoured some peanut butter cups you had leftover while you taught me to play chess. We watched the news, and you said wow shit is seriously messed up out there, cops killing people. I said Maybe they shouldn’t carry guns. You said Yeah, but we don’t want cops who are pussies you know. Later you ate me out on your kitchen counter-top beside the chess set.  In the morning you left for work, and I ate the rest of the peanut butter cups while I watched TV alone. You texted me to tell me you ran into the homeless lady that we fed and housed a few weeks ago outside your workplace on the other side of town. While watching TV, I learned something about those indigo children on Ancient Aliens. Then I read an entire book by Herman Hesse. It felt good to be fed by you and be given the to keys to your empty house.
August  14th
Let me tell you a little bit about the way we have sex. I don’t feel like I need a shield with you. You talk about things I use to fantasize about often, like getting spanked or choked, saying please before I came or do anything you asked me too. It scares me a bit, and I think you know it. I had a boyfriend who used to do things I never asked for but he’s in the past.  You changed your tone a bit one day and instead started saying “May I touch for my own pleasure?” and honestly I had never felt so liberated by a question. To be used for your pleasure and knowing you would be pleased by it without having to communicate that.  Knowing I could use you back too in any way I choose.
You asked me How do you feel when you watch porn? I said that I don’t. I used to I always felt kind of gross afterward. You said Yeah, me too. That’s why I don’t either anymore.
It never felt like we had a separate transition into sex. It was foreplay, all of it. I would look at your body, all of it, even the light bluish glow that surrounded you from the motion light from the house across from my window.
I had a lot of beliefs about myself that would simply disappear from my mind. 
“I’m nothing more than a sex puppet cashier from the store you frequented.”
“Sex with my ex- was better.”
“I’m only attracted to your material wealth.”
“I never really thought I was sexy until you said it.” 
You clung to me afterward. We moved to separate sides to sleep then embraced in the morning. You asked me what I dreamt about, and I always told you. Sometimes I dream about you and sometimes about you and your mother. And then I asked you what you dream about and you just said Your dreams were strange. I made your bed again after for you after you left for coffee with your friends. I sat on your porch and read a book that my mother sent me in the mail about love while I combed my hair. 
Between the things you tell me, I suppose you are seeking freedom for yourself too. I have a question for you. If you too are a seeker, who knows God’s power constantly and asks God consistently for guidance, and with whom I feel God’s love considerably, why do you still reject anything that resembles intimacy?
August 20th
After work, you said I want to take a walk with you. I took you to a log I liked in the woods. You said I can’t help but feel like something is missing between us. I said Yeah, Maybe we need to end this. I straddled the log, and then I kissed you. You said Okay, maybe we can keep trying for a little bit and see where this goes.
September 18th
Took a bath in your tub after your house cleaners let and you left and read this DH Lawrence Poem.
 
THE DEEPEST SENSUALITY
The profoundest of all sensualities
Is the sense of truth
And the next deepest sensual experience
Is the sense of justice.
Then I tried to send you a picture of me naked in your tub, but I don’t think it went through to you.
I never read DH Lawrence before today, but he reminded me of my uncle who wrote a book about him.  When we traveled together, he would look at the advertisements in the airports and tell me which models were also porn stars. I asked him how he knew that (because I didn’t think he had the Internet) and he would say Well, I’m a man so of course, I know that.
November 11th
It’s a holiday, and I text you Do you have the day off?
     I am about the head into the woods.
     I am in the woods right now.  I said. Come chase me down.
     Let me know when you’re out of the woods. In the meantime, I’ll come try to find you.
     Okay, see you in the meantime.  I wrote. But then I changed my mind for some reason. I write I mean, see you then.
Ten minutes later I saw you pass me in your red sweatpants and we went down to the river together where we sat and watched a little boy skip stones into the water. I held you on a rock where we sat and I said I think my high school boyfriend may have emotionally and mentally abused me and you said If I ever had a kid I’ll name him Nico like the boy who was skipping stones.
December 11th
I had a dream that you put a ladder against my window and climbed in. You joined me on my bed on the floor and cuddled with me amongst my pillows. You seemed safe and cozy in my arms. You put your head in my lap and cried started to confess everything to me until you changed to topic to my mattress and said I’d like one of these too. Even in my dream, I remember thinking how That’s so like you, to change the topic to a material object like the mattress before you got real with me. And then to put everything you desired in the future tense, and never think of the having of it now.
So I just said Thanks for coming over.
January 4th
When I remind you all shadows need light, you asked me Okay, what do you mean by that. We suddenly hear two cats screaming, and we look out the window to see on a patch of grass a black cat and a white cat staring at each other waiting to see who will back down. You remind me animals never hold on their fight or flight response.
January 20th
I brought you over and said maybe we should end things and you said maybe we should just be friends without sex. You said that You’re really messed up in the head and I asked you how. You said it’s hard for you to see women as people not just sexually.  You said Your mother never said anything nice to you.
I said that reminded me of a story I heard once about a man who watched City of God and then couldn’t get the thought out of his head that he wanted to kill his wife for months so he started meditating so he could stop thinking about it.
I thought That sounds like something I heard my aunt say about my uncle and why he never slept with any of the women he worked with.
February 2nd
You held your palm to my head one morning while I verified the meaning of the soul.
“Your soul is that part you loved when no one was around, when you were free, when you did the thing you loved for hours and felt like you were lost, could never get out of it, felt like you were at peace, like your parents didn’t even exist, and you were pure.”
You said do you know what that is. I said Yes, of course, it’s writing and working with children and I can never doubt that.
You gave me a hard kiss, like the kind of kiss that says damn I love you, and then you hurriedly wrote something down in your notebook.
I got dressed. For some reason, I couldn’t find my bra. I walked out, and you said I like your bright red pants.
February 4th
On your birthday you sent a car for me. I could taste a bit of alcohol on your breath, but I liked how you weren’t sober like usual.
In the morning you asked me Why are you bothering to stay here with me? How do you not find me annoying? And you looked like you wanted to cry for the first time.
I said because I guess I care about the people in my life. And you are someone that I care about. I am there to emotionally support them.
I thought When I met you I felt my whole heart open. I draped myself living room couch unable to move and my roommate saying I’ve never seen you so happy.  I wanted to listen to voicemails to hear your voice and now I have it hear.
A month ago I decided by the end of the month I’ll stay or go. We decided to be just friends and not sleep together, but did we really decide that? Now you want to open up even more, but your mother never loved you, you never felt whole as a child. I thought What’s that all about? what the hell am I supposed to do about that? I spoke to you in a way I had never spoken to anyone. I never told you I made a promise to myself to fall in love this year and maybe that’s why I’m still here.
February 22nd
I came to your house to retrieve the bra I left and watched you do your work. I sat across from you at a safe distance and drank the water you offered me. I don’t believe we leave the things behind by accident, a part of us always wants to come back to claim more than the object itself.
I’d listen to you type away furiously. I needed to sit near you. I needed to read all you had written, some critical report you had completed yourself. Seemed to me to be more about the economic fate of some developing country with no option to opt out.
You began to massage my wrist delicately  Suddenly I knew why were hurting me. I said I need to talk to you. I need you to see more.   I asked What value am I to you? You said I don’t know.  I thought maybe I am just a whore to you. I said Look. I really like you. Look. You are hurting me. I couldn’t even look at you. I started to cry. You said nothing. I asked you What are you thinking? You said I’m thinking I’m worried I’ll run into you again at the store where we met. I said You know I don’t work there any more. You just stared at me. I said Why are you looking at me like that? You said Well, Why are you staring at me? I said I’m sorry for taking you away from your work. I thought Why the fuck am I apologizing? You said You don’t need to apologize. I thought I just want you to say you love me. You said I’m glad you were brave enough to do this. I said I need to leave now.
At the door, you stuffed your hands into your pockets so tightly that your veins were protruding and you hung your head down. You asked me Do you want a hug? I said  Yes, I do. I started to cry over your shoulder. I said Look, I know you are a good person. I thought I don’t know how you managed to be both an abuser and my healer. You said Tell me how I’m a good person. I said You think about it. I thought You know it’s not my duty to heal the depth of self-loathing you’ve had last April. Your roommate was coming in the door and I didn’t want him to see me so I left right away.
When I got outside, I folded myself in two on the stoop next to your house. I started crying. In the dark, at least ten people walked past me before a man wearing ragged clothing stumbled past.
“Yeah, the same guy just did that to me too,” he said.
He moved forward a few more feet before turning over his shoulder and looking straight at me.
“Do you think we need to go back there and tell him how we feel?”

In Your Eyes Now

I am in your eyes now
Fall out through some and valleys
Fall into that lost space
I am in your eyes now

Falling for formations
Motion set to pass
For I am in your eyes now

Rising sun and rising moon
Set apart and set too soon
I am in your eyes now

Too late to find a friend
One with motion, one with end
For I dream too much
And able to say as such
That I am in your eyes now

The Child

我要让孩子长成的样子

而不要我期待的样子

因为我知道孩子并不属于我

他只是经由我来到这个世界

去完成他自己的梦想和使命

I want the child to grow into the way he wants to grow into

Not what I expected

Because I know the child does not belong to me

He just came to this world through me

To complete his own dreams and missions

Four Cats

Four Cats

I. April  


The way he made her feel sober 

When she was drunk

The way he was too shy

To look into her eyes

They way they performed something 

Closer to making love than fucking

The way he’d sometimes tell her – 

“You’re incredible”

The way she’d always whisper back –

“No, we are incredible”

The way she sent shivers down his spine

Before he turned over modestly

To leave her alone on her side of the mattress 

A habit, he said, he’d learned from his fiancé 

Before she returned the ring

They way his cat would hide under the bed

Flinch at her touch when he left the room

Until she coaxed her to cuddle

Pull a moonbeam from sliced eyes

They way he said

“She’s quite found of you,”

From halfway across the room

Dressed in a robe

With one foot out he door 

II. November 

She had no idea

If he thought of her as much as

She thought of him 

After she’d forgotten what it felt like

To be revived 

So as you search for healing and completion

I wonder to myself –

Did you buy the car to drive to the mountains?

Or the plane ticket to fly to the sea?

You are a hungry bear hunting, searching, and seeking

Rather than taking the medicine that rests deep inside of me

After you drop me off at my front door

The landlord’s cat sneaks up into my room

“He wants up,” I’ll laugh. 

“No,” he’ll sigh. 

“He never knows what he wants

To go up or down

Or to even go at all.” 

III. December


Could it be possible?

Becoming awake together

Through the night 

To first be bound 

In order to know liberation 

To first be found

In order to be lost

When I remind you 

All shadows need light

When you ask me 

How it could be done

We hear suddenly 

Two cats screaming

Out the window we look

On a patch of grass

A black cat and a white cat

Staring at each other

Waiting to see who will back down

When you remind me

Animals never hold on to the fight

When you asked

If you could touch my arm

For your own pleasure 

I knew inside

It would not matter

Because I do not feel

That we are separate 

When I knew inside

It could mean that

People like us are destined to

Heal the immune system of the whole 

When the heavy sweetness

Whispered truth

From the sub-elements

Underneath your pillow

You sent me green

And I saw it in blue

Released from some

Taught string on my heart

Do you know?

My soul begs you to

Tell me to have

Some wonderful dreams 

Civilization Concept

\\\ Civilization Concept \\\

I am here in awe of my own humility
In gratitude of what remains
Holy supper, simple flame
I have known you for only so long
Yet you have been here my whole life
From boundaries of this house, not solid
I found doing nothing is doing something
Oh, oh, so much more than something
Rather, the process of becoming everything
~
The lights of autumn they bow to you
And fill your cup
But now is the time for mine to fill thine
To undercut and rewind
Ages of second-guessing
Who was the one to come, to save us all
Rather known, inside of us
Then he spoke about glory
About Hallelujah
But who are we?
We are no bodies of belonging
~
I sat, forsaking those
Given names
Weighing heavy on my heart
You know them well perhaps, after I
Left to become a local celebrity
Returned to nothing more than
flattened trash, blackened asphalt
roadkill, Saturday shopping sprees
Shreds of nothing
Why such then do I live
~
“I found my own self-worth when switching to Geiko. Namaste”
And suddenly the rage of 3 armies
from a heart so small
It is not true.
It is not true.
It is not true.
To denounce the church of a
    mighty capitalist is one thing
To leave him is another
When still need your money
   if I am
To walk on solid ground
But what then, if the ground
never invited me to remain
  if I have perhaps
always been able to float?
  Fly, even?
What then do I make of
 your eyes
     your pyramid
          your martyrs
     Now I know
You only told us that to
     Justify your
    civilization concept
Comprised of indentured servants
     and African slaves
That never agreed to build
         your holy homes
From the roots of sacred ground
Of course, the wanderer asks
  what if we had only allowed
their children to
  play?
Away from silk submerged greed
   In what light then
would we write
   our creed?
One could only hope a true beginning
I need the Atom for my Eve
A molecule to send us off
on some trusted noble steed
🐎🐍🌸🌻

Found you in the woods

I found myself lost again in
your words, in your embrace on
the rock

We watched a child splashing through the
water

Both of us, wanting to be present – but what was missing?

For me – the absence of a child between our sevles

How I wanted a part of you to fill me again –
your energy to sink into me, your breezy
cloud of healing, as my hips opened
and you declared me whole

But you never stayed you always
had to leave, somewhere better to be, I guess,
I craved to hold you again, admit you are my meant to be,
a powerful master, and held beneath you I wonder –
Why did I choose this life?

We only see the subconscious,
subtle,
We can never really be free from
a society of laws, yet you and I are divine
creation, in four
hands