What does it mean that Mars is suddenly watching us in the East?
Each evening I come home, I see him hovering over the trees and rooftops.
I could ask some astronomy friends.
Mars? patron of passions, fucking, force of will - what does his presence bring in the story of natal charts and constellation trajectories?
I could ask the woo-folks: what do you see? What does he tell you in your dreams? Has he always been there, or I'm finally noticing?
Or I could ask Mars himself: what brings you here on these cooling summer nights, when the curfew has been made, but we still take to the night streets?
(He took the plane North, but didn't let me know he was in town. It's no matter (That's what I tell myself))
"You're so full of joy," they tell me.
"It's right there," I tell them, "all the pain and anger. It's just right there,"
I point to the top of my throat. I swallow it down.
Once you asked, "what's on your heart?" as we walked slowly, taking the dogs out free-range, down the alley, and it all came spilling up.
It took everything I had to choke it back down, swallow it, and respond in some benign way.
I had always wanted to be asked, but had never prepared for what happened if I was.
An invitation to spill out.
These ruptures at the seams.
It's easy to mask. We get so good at it when it's expected of us.
Nature craves balance, I admitted to myself yesterday, that revelation clicking playfully into place.
I try to always and only have good days.
No bad days.
Trying to hold the pendulum swing at such an impossible arc, a frivolous endeavor.
So, I'll ask direct:
Mars, what brings you here?
All the pieces coming together, I take the moment to pull things apart. Instead of binding journals I want to mediate of paper. Instead of copy-pasting her essay into a doc and compiling the book, I want to spend time brushing over fonts. Considering hand-writing everything. I slow things down, so much they don't seem like they're moving at all.
At the cafe in Sisters with Matthew Carter, talking about paper. He wants a leather bound day-planner that will last three years. I push him towards the mixed-media Canson paper, almost comparable to watercolor pages with its thick tooth and fraying tear style. "Let's do this!" he said. He'd been on me all week about getting together and doing this work.
"Don't you like living forever in the planning stages scheming impossibly ridiculous expectations?" I texted him.
"Can you come in the morning?" he responded.
Things are sitting, unseen / unread, in binders, in files, in journals. It feels ok this way, but there is wisdom that needs to be fleshed out, put on page and bound.
But I slow things down. I want star alignment, I want validation and approval for my movements, continuous reward, like following a candy trail into the forest. Something familiar leading into the unknown?
But I know it's because I'm just scared. The actuality of my dreams is terrifying, not even the failure or disappointment, though those factor in. But actually seeing a flower transform into a fruit, because it's like love, and there's something so frightening about about that to me.
This is such an embarrassing story, but I'll tell it. I told it to Jonathan the other day, all weepy, and excusing myself for being three weeks into Wellbutrin. It wasn't that. I was just sad.
A friend and I have been soliciting dick-pics from Tinder matches. One in particular who I sent my number to who claimed he was offended by the site of dicks in porns, because they were as attractive as his. We continued a very inconsistent conversation around cunnilingus, food, vague reflections on our day, and really nothing interesting.
Ultimately, without too much exchange and without more reasoning than why not, I texted him after work for his address. Heading over the fucking googlemaps took me down every fucking unlit neighborhood and road detour until, within being within two minutes of arrival coming to a gravel hole in the earth indicating "Road Closed."
The headlights hitting the sign I could only think, "This was a joke I set-up for myself, on myself, and everyone is laughing but me."
I just went home, and cried and cried because I had gone to fast. I thought, for the moment, it was ok to cheat a bit. Cheat love a bit, and not have a connection or a thousand arrows pointing yes, and just go. I just wanted to be loved, made-out with, eat guacomole on the counter-top, talk about my day, talk about his day, fuck. Why not.
And it wouldn't let me. They wouldn't let me. Whoever they are that sits with me all day pulling the pieces apart and not together to examine yhe bigger picture. The force that takes me so long to finish anything, if I finish it at all.
Once, in the Wal Mart parking lot, I had found a mess of glossy scraps and arranged them into a photograph of a man and a woman. It was a selfie, cheek to cheek. "A bad breakup" I hypothesized, a connection that hadn't made it in the car, to the house, and into a frame on the mantle. Left as rubbish to be stirred by exhaust on hot concrete.
I don't know what to do with this box full of photographs. I printed them out. They made it home. They made it to a place where they were passed back and forth, smiled over, and set gently away for another time of sweet nostalgia.
"Stay Awhile," I had painted on the top. It's all one can really ask for, even if a relationship lasts a lifetime. It's always just "awhile."
When people come into my work celebrating a ___ year anniversary I always comment that, "once I made it three years."
Once I had been loved for awhile.
In 2013 I had a great purge. I burned everything, all the tangible memories, even stuff I had done in kindergarten. I burned everything that I didn't use on a day-to-day. I burned all the photographs and projects. Matt Ozrelic had walked by and asked if I was "going through a thing."
"It's the Year of the Snake," I had said, "it's time to let go. It's time to be lighter. Time to not be held down."
I was also borrowing a memory I had had in Olympia, Washington watching Alexis burn all her journals before moving to London. When I had protested, she countered, "there are things here just for processing. Things I need to let go. Things I don't want my mom to know if something were to happen to me and these were left."
She granted me permission to fish out her French notes from Evergreen the way Matt, years later, would fish out a little zine I wasn't proud of.
I'm not of Chinese ancestry, but I do consider the Lunar New Year and pay attention to Chinese publications that come out with omens and predictions. 2020 is the year of the Rat. In my own inappropriate appropriation of that symbol I think of rats as being pragmatic survivalists. They are considerate collectors, thoughtful, and sentimental.
This is all to say, I don't mind holding on right now.
I know it's holding me back from moving on, weighing me down, and sabotaging creativity, but letting go doesn't feel right at the moment..
Holding on is the opposite of everything I've ever done. I have no precedent or proper defense.
I'm not ready for my relationship to be bits of shiny paper strewn in a parking lot.
I don't want it to be ashes in the fireplace.
There is a community of people in the Toraja region of Sulawesi in eastern Indonesia who keep their dead close, perhaps lying in bed. The state of death of their loved ones doesn't create an absence as much as a stillness or silence. Is this how I feel? Is this what I'm doing? I do not expect in any way my past relationship to raise its head and speak to me as it once did.
But the symbolic discard of burning/burying feels as much as a useless gesture as keeping the box. In fact, it feels wrong.
Keeping the box feels right. That's all that can be said in its defense. In my defense.
In the least, if anything were to happen to me, a stranger could pick up the box intact and rightfully hypothesize, "she was loved once."