I wish you got to see

photo of your author, no filter.

I wish you got to see me today
I have my new glasses
My curls; the color of the hydrangea we planted out front
and the porcelainberries that grow wild out back.
hopefully soon they will belong to someone else
someone else who will take so many closeup photos of them.

The curve of the tip of my nose
I wish you could see it.
You would kiss it.

Maybe.
Probably.
I’d like to think you would.

742a 5 july 2022

breezy, uncertain
i woke to grey light, dim
the temporary buoyancy of yesterday,
the day before
gone.
sometime in the night it left,
stole away, slunk away
embarrassed to have lifted only to leave
“i’m sorry,”
whispers on the breeze
“i’m sorry, that wasn’t for you.”

i’m sorry that wasn’t for you.

my shoulders all wound together
knit together, snicked tightly, bound.
the hand that holds my pipe tensed and clawed
the tips of my fingers white from the pressure

unclench your hand, look at your fingers.
sit up, you don’t have to get up.
sit up straight, you can stretch.
you remember most of it.
take in deep breaths of this shaded air
look up
aggressively blue sky hidden (thankfully)
mostly by the canopy
there are a lot of silvery clouds breaking up the blue

today feels very uncertain,
I feel the mania pulling my shoulders together
i will do everything that I can but there is only
so
much
available.

yesterday. 30 july 2022

salt-fired porcelain dish that reads *RAGE ON*

I have all of this proof
Physical proof of how good I am, how talented, how good, how kind.
I have emotional proof.
People say lovely things, in front of other people.
About me they say these things. Lovely things in front of other people.
It can be an entire day of people saying lovely wonderful things about me, showing how much they appreciate what I have to offer.

And all it takes is one motherfucker to bring it down.

I was already in trouble when I woke up yesterday morning.
My only goal was to get home to Mojo.
To keep that in my head to get home to him, to make sure that he was eating, that he was feeling okay.
My only goal, my far point was Mojo.
I talked to myself all through my shower to make sure that I brushed my teeth.
I brushed my teeth.

I was still not okay when I got out of the shower. I was not okay when I got dressed.
The entire drive. Not okay.
Knowing my far point.

Got where I was going. Shared that I was not okay. Shared enough fast enough to be as clear as possible.
Eyes bright and wide.
On.
I know that when I am like this
(you know how you get)
I know that when I am like this I have to protect myself at all costs because to not do so would be dangerous for everyone.

The day went. Carefully.
Shared my work to delight, to lesser delight.
To what seemed cursory, perfunctory, obligatory.
Unreal. Inauthentic.
I want people who love, truly.
I don’t want someone uncaring, not in any part of my life.

Other skills, gushed over. Lauded. Delighted in.
Shared.
shared out loud.

All day all day I had teetered on the edge, this rollercoaster poised and threatening at the very top.
LOUD VOICES CLOSE
CLOSELY
loud and close and disharmonious and unyielding
eyes slitted, accusing
Voices louder.

No.
I can’t be, there.
I excuse myself away, not far enough but out of sight
but not out of tension’s grasp.
The only thing I have left to help is disassociation because I cannot physically get far enough away.
So I go away.
Eyes burning into the computer screen
totally focused on the pen in my hand
and the rage behind it
summoning internal music to fill my skull loudly
drown out the screeching noises outside and in.
I share. Bits of what’s happening.
To exorcise it. Flush it out.

My face is a mask, deadened expression, eyes down. I comply when needed.

The only thing I can remember now is this:
“I know you get anxious when it’s loud and there’s a lot going on and and and but you can’t let that SHOW. They said you’re always angry.”

i cannot anymore.
I cannot.

I am not okay.

far from anodyne.

I need to remember this very clearly.
You are not for me.
You never really were,
much as I tried.

You are right. You are a man who doesn’t fit in.

I have to stop breaking my own heart over you.
I have to stop thinking that there is anything there.

You have built a very nice life for yourself.
I need to stop wishing that I could be part of it.

!

Remain relevant, and ready.
Always remain value-added.

I want the chance to be relevant to you.
I have shown you that I am ready, how ready.
And that last, yes. Value-added plus.

worrying, though
about the ratio.

i stay quiet.
not still, but silently humming
thrumming
focusing
focusing on the exclamation mark.
!
how many you use, and when.
and when.

the rain comes again
again i am in the car, windows cracked
i don’t particularly need the music to actually hear it
but I play it anyway
wondering if it’s raining where you are,
six hours ahead
your sky just as dark as mine, darker.

wanting to know what made you think of me
when ‽
you do think of me.

I want the chance to make you smile at me.
that glorious, sweet face.
I want the chance to spend time with you,
to know more of you.
I want the chance to mean something to you.

!!!!

i wonder what you would say

I wonder what you would say
if you met my Brian. Would you look up at him and say (head cocked like the dog on the victrola commercial)

how?
how are you so good?
why are you so good?
I see how she loves you.
Everyone does.

And he would look at you with kindness in his eyes and his voice would drop and he would say

aww sweetie because you are me.

I want you to feel the love I feel
I want you to know what this feels like because I don’t know that you ever have.
I don’t know that I have ever felt this love for you before now.
now, when it is un/complicated.

It hurts me that this is here and you are not.
That I am here,
That you are not.

thanks giving. 747a 27th november 2021

i am thankful. greatly grateful.
hugely.
for my family, with whom i did not spend the day, but who understands,
or at least is willing to take my word for it that it would only harm me to be there.
i am grateful for my friends, my lovers, my loves.
the people with whom i did spend time, both physical and emotional.
trying to be as out of my head as i could stretch
while still remaining tethered, albeit tenuously.
knowing that this feeling as all feeling always does
will pass
and that there is indeed if not light
then a less-dark path.

what do i do now 854a 17 october 2021

my voice, transcript below

I have so much to say to you so much that, um, I just
i keep thinking that

I keep wanting to

I just
I just want to share with you. I just wanna tell you I just want you to see me now. I want i really

and I don’t think you would blame me for where I am. I don’t think anymore that you would blame me for where I am. Because I

depended on you so much

i depended on you so much and
it just took everything away.

you’re
gone.

and everything you did stopped with you.

There’s no one here. To see me doing fuck all.

There’s, there’s no one.

No one to report to.

There’s no one here.

There’s Mojo. He was real happy that
I went to bed at 9:30 and fed him first and got into bed and he came right in with me. And we snuggled all night, got up around six or something for his medicine. And then went back to bed.
Had like 10 hours of sleep sort of

what the fuck am I supposed to do now? what do I do now?

I mean, if I thought there was no way before and then there was but now it’s like everything is used up. I,
i
If I spend the money I have on the car, I will have nothing else.
nothing.
I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.

Shower, head north. Make more stuff I guess.

four years/forty years

Last year I turned off Facebook memories for 2017-2018-2019 for this week beginning today. Today is the beginning of the end. Today is the beginning of the last week that Gary was alive.

So much in my life has changed in the last four years. I am not the same person who I was four years ago. I am not the same person I was forty years ago.

Forty years ago is when my bipolar disorder began to truly manifest in ways that other people could see. When my behavior became outwardly observable. Things that only I could see and feel and experience from age five were finally coming to the surface. The person that I grew into, the person that I became was by necessity, a damaged, broken, angry, fearful thing. I was shaped by my experience, by the storms inside my brain that no one could understand, but the results of which everyone could see.

The person that Gary met, she was a powerhouse. She had divorced her first and second husbands. She was taking care of her cats. She was running her own shop, she had an employee, she was working a lot. She was working out a lot. She was taking care of everything around her. She was not taking healthy self care.

She was, however, manic 24/7 and hella cute and driven.
And on fire.

She is still here, in my brain, part of The Committee. She listens mostly. Doesn’t have much to say anymore, more an observer. She sits back and nods knowingly, joint in hand, smoke curling from her lips. She is Rosie Revisited, captured in a portrait, hanging on my wall. There are times when she does speak, a forceful, if gentle “STOP IT.” I have evidence.

your author. 📷 Gary Hoffman 2002

Four years ago I was forced to stop. I became incapable of movement in any appreciable direction. The formerly driven, push-through-ahead-no-matter-how-miserable-it-makes-you person could not go any further. The “attack wife” had no fight left. I had no accountability to any other human. There was no one there for better or for worse. My life spun completely and totally out of control. I lost things, am losing things I can never get back. And yet…

I have found a new self, a calmer, more even self. I am finding the capacity for euthymia, for a happy evenness above my emotional equator. A firm-yet-squishy pleasantness that exists beyond the edges of what I smoke and carries me through the day and into my involvements with others.

I am no longer miserable.

In voicing this thought, however, there is such exquisite pain for the reality that Gary could have been helped. That perhaps he too could have finally found some measure of relief, as I have. That we just hadn’t gotten here yet in researching. That given enough time, we would have.

We didn’t have enough time. But I do.

I miss you so much.
I wish you could see me now.
I wish you could hear me now.
I wish I could talk to you.
The only thing you can do is listen.

And all I really want is to hear what you have to say.