water washes away

sitting in my car, rain smashing into the windshield
coming hugely into the narrow slit I’ve opened in the window
smoke hazing around the inside of the cabin

It is pouring (again)

giant crocodile tears wetting my sweater
I don’t dare lower the window any further not even to tap my ash
thunder competing with the din of the rain on my roof

I have eaten and smoked and am grateful for the help I had in making it through this day.
I am not alone.

the seventh day. 13th september 2017/2021

I never heard your voice again that last day, today.

By now (8:18am) you had already had a stroke, you were already being prepped for neurosurgery. I never heard your wonderful, delicious, boomy voice that day again, today. That voice, when it was being clever and kind, I could listen to for hours. The last time I heard your voice, a few hours earlier as I was leaving your bedside for some sleep, it was pure and true and you told me you loved me and I take that with me into Oblivion.

I have the words you wrote to me, I have the texting we were doing about the kitties, about your anticipated relief from the meds they gave you every day to soothe your terror, I told you that “they will, my love.” You did not tell me about the stroke. You saved me from that. You gave me the most selfless gift of not having to worry when worry wouldn’t help.

I know that the last words of mine that you saw were that I was coming to you and that I would see you when you got back. I have that unbelievably beautiful post that you put on Facebook that morning. I didn’t know then that these would be your last words. You were so concerned with last words you had a whole book of them on your side of the bed. You didn’t want to end up like Pancho Villa.¹

I know the last words of mine that you heard were from my mouth to yours, to your ear, my head on your chest, your hand in mine. I know you heard me because the doctor told me you could hear me. I told you you were safe, that you were loved, that you were okay. That everyone was working on you to help and that you were okay. That you were still going the right way and that I would see you soon. That I wasn’t going anywhere. I told you that I loved you. I told you that I loved you. I told you that I loved you.

I am posting this to you directly because I want certain people see it. I want to know (even though I won’t) that certain people are aware of what today is, that certain people are thinking about you.

Of course I won’t know. Of course I know that that part is a useless, useless exercise and one that will not bring me any joy. I know that that part is petty and small. And still I feel the need to do it. Perhaps someday I won’t. I believe your memory deserves to be cherished in a way that perhaps your life was not.

I have been learning how to exorcise from my life the things that do not serve me. I have been learning how to be more patient. I think you would be amazed. Truly. And yet I don’t do these things to amaze you, I do them because I am finding my way towards happiness, for truly the first time ever.

I know that every breath you ever took in and exhaled is still out there in the air, circling and eddying and dissipating and coming together again.

I know that the electricity that powered the supercomputer that was your brain and that faulty thing that was your heart is still reverberating out here in the ether, in here, inside me. I know that the ashes and broken bits of bone and teeth that I have on my bookshelves, in the room where I spend most of my time aren’t indicative of who you were, that even at their most concrete, these remains are the most ethereal ones.

Things are still so hard. The pain is getting easier to bear. I have people who love me who are helping to ease the weight. There are times when I feel you in the room with me, when I am transported for a moment, and it is comforting.

There is so much I have to tell you; so many things I need to say. So much I need for you to hear.

I am learning so much.
I need to tell you everything.

bisous,

glitter

¹ https://truewestmagazine.com/article/the-lie-of-villas-last-words/

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.

i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I turned 53 years old.
I spent the entire weekend with people and missing people who clearly love me and who I love so much.
I spent the weekend

I spent the weekend doing familiar birthday things,
Going to the Lyndhurst craft fair as I have done for decades
(maybe half the artists this time, different layout, timed ticketing, all due to covid restrictions)
stressing out from all of the unknowns
(known and unknown, thank you D. Rumsfeld)
wanting so much for normalcy
(but what is “normal”, anyway? I certainly don’t have a fucking clue)
feeling so much that I have to explain even though I know I don’t
It seems like all I have been doing for the past three and a half years is explaining and explaining and explaining because honestly I
don’t understand any of it.
Just when I think I do I get caught off guard and none of it makes sense again.

I suppose I’m not explaining to others so much as to myself.

I miss all of the things that we talked about, all of those things that we never did.
All of the ways we responded to each other, all of the good, all of the terrible.
The contrast, I think,
the contrast is what’s killing me now.
i do not know if I can take being loved this way.

I can say things out loud and
I can say things out loud and not worry about feeling stupid for saying them.
Being made to feel stupid for saying them.
I can say things out loud and not worry about
I can say things out loud and not worry about being instantly and immediately criticized.
I can say things out loud and not worry about who might be on my side.

I know
I know for sure
I know now that you loved me but I didn’t then. I never knew for sure. I never knew from one minute to the next.
You would rescind and retract your love like the outgoing tide.
Snatch it away from me,
away from my

craven, grasping, grubby little paws

I want to forgive you for saying these things to me.
I want to forgive you for this so much.

How can I miss you so much and still be so angry at the things you did to me?
That we did to each other.

I told your sister once that I never really had an accurate sense of your feeling for me, not that I felt I could believe anyway. That I always thought you thought I was stupid and not enough and too much all at once.
That now I can look at the last things you wrote, and know.
I can look at all the small lovelinesses you left behind.
I can look at those things and know that they are real, they are proof.
Not soon enough to be able to enjoy with you, no.

The very desperate need to hold onto them

((craven, grasping, grubby little paws)screaming to the sky to talk to you
for you to hear me

I am trying so hard to do everything I can to be well.
I am still so
I am still so unwell but I don’t feel crushed by having to hold up every other damn thing anymore if only because I have given up on everything it seems)

I can look at the small lovelinesses that you left and see them for the huge gestures that they were. Everything is relative.

I can see the unexplored and forever unknown possibility of us becoming better to each other, to ourselves.
Knowing how difficult it was even in the very best of us
knowing I would not be this person if you were still alive
proving my progress to the memory of a dead man
wanting so much to escape your critical eye, your devastating words
and yet wanting to show you that I am okay
I am not okay.

Yesterday was my birthday.
I felt loved, and cherished, and adored, and so sad for what we never had.
If you could see how people treat me now.
If you could see how people love me now and aren’t afraid to say, to show.
I know you would, too.

think i had a psychotic episode today. (part 1)

think i had a psychotic episode today.
i don’t know for sure.
it was while i was driving.

what i do know is that the fear and terror that i felt was as bad as it has ever been
terror and fear so huge that it overtakes everything
but there was no pain
no physical pain to be afraid of
just the fear that always accompanies it
no looming precipice in front of me
nothing different about the day.
nothing.

what i do know is that approaching ten thirty this morning
while i was driving
while i was driving i was filled with overwhelming dread
i mean serious fucking dread like a tornado sky out of the clear blue.
arguing with myself over what to do
really, i mean come ON wtf
look at the complete lack of signal
how much further now? not much

i pulled over as soon as it was safe enough
hazards on, music on
into the deep we go
i had to tell someone what to do, it became clear.
i pulled over, made a short video.
said what i needed to say
that i am okay
(i do not believe that for a second FUCK no but i don’t understand what’s happening, either)
my phone pin.
my master password.
again that i am okay but i need to tell, i need to say.
in case.
so no one is sitting there with my dead hand in theirs trying to get into my phone
the way i did.
the way i had to.
i have no plans.
no ideation.
only the nearly ever-present need to fight to stay connected to the earth.

(more later, i promise. i’m fucking tired.)

nonstop. 3d october 2020

i did my job today.
i did my job well, today.
it was non stop and busy and there were too many people and now i am
.
and now i am sitting barefoot on my couch
too overwhelmed by everything to want any noise near me
the noise inside my head, also nonstop
the pain in my hip from not resting but for ten minutes, nonstop
shoulders, tense, up around my ears
hot tears fall, splashing my lenses
i can barely breathe.

I purposely posted this past the point of danger.

728p 8 september 2020

i do not want to be alive right now
i want to be not here right now
i do not want anything other than to not fucking exist right now
but i can’t write that and post it now because
everyone will freak the fuck out
so i cant post it
i cant reach out
i cant scream
i cant tell anyone
i just have to not do anything
not do anything
not do anything
just sit with this and struggle and scream inside my own head and not do anything nothing nothing nothing

nothing.
it is all i can do to sit and type
and the stench of that motherfuckers cigarillo is in my fucking apartment
and all i want to do is punch him in his fucking dumb face

nothing.
nothing i cannot do a thing
i will scream and scream and scream and not stop and i cannot stop i have to do nothing.

i know if i open my mouth i will scream and scream and not stop so i dont

nothing.

nothing.
my shoulders are tense and around my ears and tight
this empty this noise
this noise this noise this noise
.
there is no enjoy there is not any enjoy.

i need to smoke.
i need to smoke but it does not last
my plant is so thirsty she needs so much attention i cannot give her the attention the care she needs she is suffering.

i take great big gulps of air but it is not enough there is not enough air..

i am going to go smoke and maybe it will be enough
if i just smoke enough

nothing is enough
my brain is on fire and falling into a crevasse
there is no end to the fire no bottom in sight

it is a relatively quiet evening
even with the idiotic clapping of some fucking asshole for some fucking reason
even with the assault of garbage music that competes with blasting television noise
no yeti-footed neighbor upstairs
(took his black-and-tans and split)
stop with the fucking clapping for fuck’s sake already

i don’t want music
i don’t want noise
i want silence
nothing interfering

my eyes are dry, for now
core unclenched, shoulders still tight, but lower
i can think about packing a bowl now
try without becoming frustrated, fucking it up
easy to do in general, yes but nothing is easy and if that asshole doesn’t stop clapping soon

fuck i am exhausted.

7:13a 26th august, 2020

You need to stop what you’re doing and listen to what’s linked below. A love poem to New York by Roger Cohen called “I Forgive You, New York”.

I’d had to stop listening to it when it first aired; too painful. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past fifty-two years, it’s that painful things can’t be avoided forever. I’ve learned how to lean into the pain, breathe through it, adding potsmoke as often as necessary, let it untangle, unsnarl. To understand that not everything that happens is meant to be understood. That in itself has been infuriating, frustrating, obliviating. That even though I am hurt, hurting, in pain. That even though, I can’t be sure that I will ever know why. That I can’t compel the answer. That nothing I can do, no innate power of mine is enough, no existing love and care and kindness is enough, that I have to accept that I may never know. Because even if I went against my nature, blew shit up, caused a lot of unhappiness past my own, that not even that would be a sure thing. And that so many more people would get hurt for nothing.

So I can only appeal to better natures to tell me. I can only be hopeful that better natures exist and that I have not been completely misled for so long.

And if that is the case, then I really, really need to be gentle with myself. Because learning that painful a lesson is going to take a long time to absorb.

the last thing, then drop the mic. 956a 20th august, 2020

finally a spate of cooler weather of breezy
weather.
easy-breezy chicken francese
cooler
head less on fire
brain, still convoluted and badly tangled, untangling.
thoughts racing and tangled more, faster
but less
I don’t know less what?
Less rage, more anger.
Less fury, more sadness, and disappointment.
Less fire, more ice.

More clarity.

There is no
“what did I do to deserve this?” or
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this”
No.
Those thoughts begin to bubble up and are stopped at the first word.
Silenced.
No.
No. I say no.
I will not begin to embody those thoughts.
This has nothing to do with me.
Not ever again.
Nothing.
No thing.

it has gone on so long now that there is no coming back.
there is no balm,
no quiet murmured assurance,
no comforting touch that will ever, ever save me.
Save you.
Not from this.

I thought I knew you.
I suppose I do.
You know what you have lost.
I see now what I have gained.

summer is full of fire

firing of the DonnaGama wood kiln at New Prospect Pottery July 2020

summer is full of fire.

summer is full of rage and fire and heat and no.
summer is full of can’t, of won’t.
summer is hateful and vengeful and all together too much.
too much.
the rage in my brain and the rage on my skin
on my body
this heat.
it is boiling my brain,
i can feel it shrivel and pucker
it is pulling inward all my tendons, my ligaments
it is contracting my soul, dessicating it
my plant is thirsty.
the planet that is my body is cracking under the drought
i am feeding her, watering her
soaking her.
it is barely enough.
it is enough to coexist on the slightly softer edge of civility
but the near-constant TARDIS-like screaming of the emergency brake
the cacophony of heated elements in continuous collision
heating too quickly for safety
safety is nowhere to be found.
it isn’t even looked for.
not for me, no.
not for me but for another.
her safety, her (((relative))) sanity is my priority.
through her i have found salvation.
so when i see, when i observe
when i walk into a scene and e v e r y t h i n g everything is tangled
a nest of snakes and snarls because someone isn’t listening
almost at once i can see
oh gods i can see! I can see what needs be done
and i turn, slowly.
and i direct my rage, my fury funnelled
directed as a firehose would be
put the wet stuff on the red stuff
i am using my fire to put out a potential backdraft
i am raging and it is working, slowing the progress.
progress.
again, though, someone isn’t listening
someone is risking everyone else for their what, big dick move?
someone is risking everything.
no.

NO.
summer is full of fire, and don’t, and no.
it is my place to draw the line here, it is
i am one hundred per cent sure of this.
i am
for the first time in my life, backed up on this.
in every single other case
in every other single moment in my life.
every single one.
you are too much.
you are too intense.
you are.
we got this, you can stop now.
too much.
stop.

I am not too much.
I tell this man he needs to stop.
I tell this man
“you need to chill the fuck out right now and stop.”
and he looks at me, stops, hesitates.
I can see his body wanting to continue.
“you’re not listening and you need to listen.
he isn’t, but he is looking at me intently.
“who are you?” he thinks
I don’t care who the fuck you are.
I have never done this before, this woodfire but i do understand science
I do understand and so should he.

I don’t care who he is, only that he doesn’t care to listen
and so I am outrageous in my language
I am extreme.
outrageous?Rageous.
Righteously raging and definite.
I use the skill and dexterity and froth that I keep so tightly locked away
the fire that i only unleash in the bedroom
and i direct it all at this man
and he stops, deflated.
defeated.
finally.
slinking away to complain to another
(she knows i’m right, too)
((and what is this, high school? have you learned nothing.))

I don’t care that he is embarrassed
(don’t do stupid fucking shit then, asshole)
I don’t care who you are all I know is that you are dangerous.
You will not rise over me.
You will listen.
Or you will leave.

The fire has emboldened me, lent me her strength, her fury.
I listen to stories of needing the fire, of missing it.
I have understood missing Saturn;
I am understanding the fire, now.

this morning as I sat dissecting the weekend, the experience
as I sat discussing the ineptitude, the abject narcissism of one person,
the overwhelming love and support of nearly everyone else I realized
I realized my gratitude for this asshole, too
that for the first time (a weekend of firsts)
for the first time I was able to use this rage this dysphoria
this reliably unreliable tool
this weapon.
I was able to harness the power of the sun
focus it on something harmful
burn it out like a cancer.
leaving room for new, healthy growth in its place.

Fire burns; fire renews.
She is an explosion of hope.

summer is full of fire.