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.
i don’t think love ever dies, not by itself, no. I think you can kill it. rather, I think it can die, but it has to go down violently. Sometimes it can be so sudden, like a switch, an “oh!” and it’s gone, vanished. Other times it lingers, hangs on longer than is healthy. making its presence known unpleasantly. Taunting, but there is no smile, no joke, no closure. Only unease. Only anguish. Not regret, no. That’s the confusing part. As angry as I am, still As angry as I am I know that it was good Not enough to stay. Not enough to keep ignoring my own self. Not enough for who I am now. Not enough for who I have Become.
sweet man. you dearest, sweetest man. sweet and seeing my sweetness nothing hidden, not even in the beginning because friends don’t lie Friends don’t hide things from each other. I don’t want ours to be the kind of relationship where we hide things from each other. no matter what they are. there is nothing you can tell me that I will not hear. you only have to tell me. it’s all I ever ask for.
there is so much to talk about, always. so much to share, to discuss.
it is this part that I miss the most, the talking the hashing over the intricate and meandering conversation.
I love listening to the sound of your voice, your passion obvious and enchanting as we talk about everything, and nothing
it's so hard to be without you
lying in the bed, you are so much to be without…*
it is a bit north of nine am and i am driving i am driving back up to the pottery, we are firing we are firing and i am needed i am needed. i have promises to keep on my way so i do.
(i don’t remember whether the windows are open or closed;) i am trying to remember whether it was the air conditioning or the wind that made me question question whether i was hearing what i was.
(a few days ago ((five)) a few days ago i was insane insane and unable to stop it
a year (?) ago i made the decision to microdose psychedelics a couple of months ago i decided for true, and asked for help. a few days ago i began. i wept, shaking, shared my fear, and help came. i did as i was bid. i am nothing if not a good girl.
rattles in my head that empty drum filled with doubt
Everything you lose, the wisdom will find its way out
i am driving. i am listening have been listening. i am hearing more? somehow the music is filling the cabin differently, more, more separately? more. i can discern and follow discrete instruments and still pay attention to the words, and it is as if the more i am noticing this the more complex it appears while remaining fluid and whole.
i am driving home, we are done for now. i am driving and have restarted the song having remembered that i have this to write, to explore. the guitars are so ripe and juicy and it is as if i can taste them. I am heading home to Mojo. I am heading home to no one to share my day with. there is no one to see my face, to watch my eyes flash as the overwhelming love i have explodes I am balancing that thought with conversation, albeit one-sided you aren’t there to tell you aren’t there. the instant, truthful thought that makes me swallow my thought as the breath to express it escapes my lips but you were never happy for me you were never excited for me. but what if you were? in the end, especially the very end but that last year you began to see me really see me maybe the way you did when we first met. maybe for the first time in a very long time.
Every night is lonesome and is longer than before
Nothing really matters anymore
It's so hard to be without you
Used to feel so angry and now only I feel humble
Stinging from the storm inside my ribs where it thunders
Nothing left to say or really even wonder
We are like a book and every page is so torn
Nothing really matters anymore
It's so hard not to call you
So I do.
Thunder's in my bones out in the streets where I first saw you When everything was new and colorful, it's gotten darker Every day's a lesson…
The noise without no longer scares me. It’s the noise within that does, always has. But maybe hearing the separations, the pieces untangled maybe maybe that is how i untangle the noise within.
What I am about to say I don’t say lightly. I can only describe this as a completely surreal and supernatural experience. I don’t know what to do and I think I’m losing my mind. I mean I know I’m not I just don’t know how to explain it.
I am not superstitious. I am the least woo-woo person you will ever meet. Yes indeed, I sure as shit am an absolutely fucking magical creature myself, but I am not superstitious. (These things can coexist. It’s pure energy.) I don’t believe in shit like that. Spooks, ghosts, psychics. None of it. I have written here exactly how I don’t believe any of that shit.
Today, my best friend, my soul sister, Paula, and I were up in the attic at the house I’m losing, pulling out the last things that I want to take with me. Making sure there’s nothing left behind that I don’t want to one day accidentally see in a dumpster. The Governor was on (day 100? or is it 101?), his calming voice filling the blisteringly hot attic. I was feeling really good about the things that I was pulling out of boxes, things that I was setting aside to give away, things that I was setting aside to keep. I opened up the box and saw the familiar shape of a black CaseLogic CD holder. It was a big one, and there was a half size one underneath it, and a shiny purple one beneath that, with a sticker of a red corset with garters on the front. I opened up that one, it held a bunch of CDs that I used to play over the speakers in my shop. I hated listening to the radio, hated commercials. “Store Mix 11.12.2003” (some mixtape CD I’d put together, check that out later) and Soul Coughing and some Dick’s Picks and tons of others I squeed over when seeing. Knowing I would probably want to keep most of those, I picked up the big CaseLogic one to sort through. I was partway through the ancient printer drivers and font collections when I gasped. There was a CD I’ve never seen before. One that said, “Gary 🖤’s Lysa”. No case, no liner notes. Just his handwriting.
I knew then that I would have to sort through them all in order to take only the ones I wanted with me. I showed Paula the CD, her eyes lit up and she smiled hugely and said “That’s cool!” My plan was to play it on the way up to the pottery, it would be my soundtrack.
(the way that I know 100% for sure that I have never seen this CD before, that I’ve never listened to it, is because when we moved into this house, he read me a poem that he had written. He was hesitant to read it to me because, as he said, it “wasn’t a very nice love poem.” It began with the words, “I love you mostly much.” And that’s all I remember of it. I don’t remember any of the rest and I have been looking for it for as long as he has been dead.)
If I had had any idea, if I had had any wisp of a thought that there would be somewhere, in this house, physical proof of how he actually felt about me? I found the copy of Shakespeare’s sonnet 145 that he typed out for me and folded into an origami envelope. I showed you that, here. I showed you. Proof.
I loaded myself into the car, heading up to the pottery. I popped the CD in and waited.
(I am the type of person to always play everything on shuffle. My brain, everything in my life is on shuffle all of the time. I am chaotic neutral, chaotic good if you must but I am chaotic. Everything is always on shuffle.)
Not this time.
My husband was nothing if not methodical, determined, deliberate. Every single thing he ever did in his entire life was deliberate, The good, the bad, and most definitely the ugly. if he made a playlist for me it was with absolute and explicit intent for it to be listened to in the order in which he created it. So listen I did.
curvy guitar fills the cabin of the car, What’s Your Name. Okay. So. They’re problematic for a host of reasons, but I did have a blacklight Skynyrd poster in my bedroom growing up, Confederate flag in the background of the poster. I didn’t even see it for what it was (I also watched The Dukes of Hazzard) I just liked the music. If I saw it now, I would torch it. I had somewhat of an urge to forward through to the next song, but I didn’t. I just listened.
More curvy guitar. Without checking, I would venture to bet that the guitar in question is a Rickenbacker. I Know A Little. Again, controversial Skynyrd, but the lyrics are starting to poke at me.
I know a little about it I know a little ’bout love And baby I can guess the rest.
Okay, still not forwarding through to rush to the end, simply listening and playing and absorbing.
(this is where the screaming starts.)
I want you to want me I need you to need me I’d love you to love me. Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying? Feeling all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying Oh didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
I was driving, heading north to the pottery, heading north to see what my new pieces would look like, pieces that I had made with partners in mind. Pieces that I had mended and had crossed fingers, eyes, and tails hoping they would stay unbroken.
My fingers dug into the steering wheel as my mouth opened in a silent scream that quickly gave way to one that filled the cabin. Tears flooded my eyes, hot and salty, smearing my glasses. I kept listening.
In this life I’ve seen everything I can see woman I’ve seen lovers flying through the air Hand in hand and I’ve seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above I’ve seen old men crying at their own grave sides And I’ve seen pigs all sitting watching picture slides But I never seen nothin’ like you Do you, do you want my love, woman Do you, do you want my face, I need it! Do you, do you want my mind, I’m saying it! Well I think you know what I’m trying to say woman I’ve seen enough of the world to know That I’ve got to get it all to get it all to grow…
Electric Light Orchestra
The thoughts that filled my head were completely untenable. I was becoming unmoored and unable to do anything but keep driving. Unable to do anything but hold that steering wheel as tightly as I could for fear of letting go. Fear of letting go of the steering wheel and what would happen if I did. Unbelieving as to what I was hearing, what was happening. I knew exactly who I wanted to tell, needed to tell, possibly the only person who could understand exactly how I was feeling, knowing that I needed to remember everything exactly as it was happening so that I could write it all down here. because while I have no explanation, no rational, logical, useful explanation, I know that it was happening and that it was happening to me and that it was happening right now.
Something that sounds like chamber music now fills the air. More ELO.
I was searching on a one-way street I was hoping for a chance to meet I was waiting for the operator on the line (She’s gone so long) What can I do? (Where could she be?) Don’t know what I’m going to do I got to get back to you You got to slow down, sweet talkin’ woman You got me runnin’, you got me searchin’ Hold on, sweet talkin’ lover It’s so sad if that’s the way it’s over I was walking, many days go by I was thinking about the lonely nights Communication breakdown all around…
At this point, there is no sound other than the music that fills the car and my own screaming. I am shaking and crying and screaming I’m driving as hard as I can to just get there. To get to safety and to the hug I desperately need.
(you all understand where I’m going with this, don’t you? The completely absurd and surreal and wholly supernatural ((and when I say supernatural I mean completely inexplicable as yet)) I don’t even know what to call it)
I do believe in you And I know you believe in me And now we realize Love’s not all that it’s supposed to be.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
And knowing that you would have wanted it this way
I do believe I'm feelin' stronger everyday.
I know we really tried
Together we had love inside
So now the time has come
For both of us to live on the run.
After what you've meant to me
I can make it easily
(yeah, yeah, yeah) ((sarcasm mine))
I know that we both agree
Best thing to happen to you
The best thing that happened to me.
Feelin' stronger every day.
roaring in pain and sadness and rage and fury and WHY
Piano, then trumpet.
Saturday in the Park I think it was the Fourth of July. People dancing, people laughing A man selling ice cream Sing Italian songs Eh cumpari, ci vo sunari Can you dig it (yes I can) And I’ve been waiting such a long time.
Yes. Yes I have. I have been waiting such a long time. I’ve been waiting such a long time for this proof. (no, not proof of an afterlife, not proof of him talking to me from beyond the grave but honestly I have no idea what’s happening but this, this is proof.)
Proof of how much he felt about me. Proof of how much he loved me. Concrete physical proof. Not something bought; something made. Something he created just for me. Continue listening.
What’s new, pussycat, whoa Pussycat, pussycat, I’ve got flowers And lots of hours to spend time with you So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do Pussycat, pussycat, you’re so thrilling And I’m so willing to care for you so go and make up your big little pussycat eyes Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do.
So now my face is not pulled into a rictus of fear and unknowing and instead has this silly, slightly stoned-looking grin on it. Still listening.
Sexbomb. Just going to leave that there.
More piano. Basic drums. Dirty guitar.
It’s not in the way that you hold me It’s not in the way you say you care It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends It’s not in the way that you stayed till the end It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do Hold the line Love isn’t always on time.
do I pull the car over? Do I pull the car over because I don’t know that I can hold on any more.
It's not in the words that you told me It's not in the way you say you're mine It's not in the way that you came back to me It's not in the way that your love set me free. Hold the line. Love isn't always on time.
My brain feels like it is on fire at this point. I am trying to compose this piece that I am now writing while I am driving 65, 75, 85 miles an hour. I am overwhelmed with everything and trying to ask questions to the air because that’s all there is in here. Air and sound.
And though I know about all those men Still I don’t remember ‘Cause it was us baby, way before them And we’re still together And I meant every word I said When I said that I love you I meant That I love you forever And I’m going to keep on loving you ‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do I don’t want to sleep I just want to keep on loving you.
I love you. I love you so goddamn much and I miss you every goddamn day and WHERE ARE YOU
STILL LISTENING. (there is a slowdown on 17; I have since rolled up the windows so that I can blast the music and scream as needed)
From my heart and from my hand Why don’t people understand My intentions. Plastic tubes and pots and pans Bits and pieces and Magic from the hand We’re makin’ Magic and technology Voodoo dolls Electricity we’re makin’ Fantasy and microchips Shooting from the hip Something different we’re makin’ Pictures from a magazine Diagrams and charts Mending broken hearts and makin’ Something like a recipe…
Okay. I get it. You’re here. You’re telling me in no uncertain terms that you are here. Okay. WHAT the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION???
Drumbeats. Are you fucking kidding me.
Color me your color, baby Color me your car Color me your color, darling I know who you are Come up off your color chart I know where you’re coming from Call me, on the line Call me, call me any, any time Call me, I’ll arrive You can call me any day or any night Call me.
I spot movement on the rolled up passenger window, I look in disbelief at what’s crawling up the glass. A bee. You know, like the one that’s tattooed on my arm. Like my nickname for my husband. Bumblebee.
Call me. Okay. Not with a fucking bee in the car. I roll down the window, watch the bee hang on for dear life, pretty impressive if I’m being honest (which I am), and finally at some point, it disappears. I am unworried that it might have ended up inside the car as I don’t think it’s going to bother me. Call me. Jesus.
One way or another, I'm going to find ya.
Even though the lyrics to this song are on the creepy side truth be told, this is comfort to me. I am just going wholesale into believing that whatever is happening is happening.
I know this is long. Trust me, the hour that I took to drive was one of the longest hours I’ve ever spent.
I’m lying here on the floor where you left me I think I took too much I’m crying here, what have you done?
And it’s here, at this point in this truly bonkers narrative that a bizarre screeching noise begins to come out of my speakers. The song is making me really unhappy, not in the same way that the rest of the songs made me unhappy but in a truly unhappy way. The screeching is getting worse, and I hit the off button. Just like that, the cabin is silent except for my own ragged breathing. I look around briefly to try to make sure that the bee is no longer in the car, I turn up the air conditioner, I know my face is red and puffy but I don’t care. I wait a minute or so, until I have cooled down. I turn the stereo back on, and forward to the next song.
I’m a loser And I’m not what I appear to be Of all the love I have won and have lost There is one love I should never have crossed She was a girl in a million my friend…
Shaking. Still listening.
At this point in my drive I am way up in the wilds of Ulster County where the cellular service is terrible and GPS isn’t much better. “St. Louis Blues Jam” by The Beatles comes on. It’s a soft little pleasant interlude type of thing. I tried several times to get SoundHound to figure out what it is, and I can’t. It had to wait until I was home. I am almost to the pottery at this point and I am wondering how many more songs are on this mix.
Soft acoustic guitar and the telltale sounds of a record popping in the background. Our song. Blackbird.
Tears are streaming freely down my face at this point and I am just smiling with the insanity of it all, grinning like an idiot. As I see the final landmark, a sign on the right side of the road that says “Welcome to Dwaarkill, God’s country” the song is ending. I hit my turn signal to pull up the drive and the last few notes of the song echo through the cabin, blackbirds singing the distance.
My own writing. I had to stop, and leave it for another time.
Driving to work and listening to the governor’s briefing where he assured everyone paying attention that taking the COVID-19 test was easy and that he would show us. And then he proceeded to show us just how easy it was. That there was nothing to it. He did exactly as he was told. He followed the directions and there was nothing to it.
Recalling to a friend on the phone the feeling of a neighbor’s eight-week old puppy in my arms. Taking two selfies with this sweet baby angel and not giving a single shit that the photos are not aesthetically pleasing but for that I am so motherfucking happy in them it doesn’t matter that I have like six chins and my mouth is doing something weird. And jfc what a run-on sentence.
The Peekskill sign on Route 9A when you come around the corner where it meets up with 9. I see it every single time and today, with the sun hitting it just right? Home. I am close to home.
These are the big things. A host of smaller things also, but these are the highlights. The ones that leave me stinging, wide-eyed-and-mouthed in a silent scream.
The only thing for it, as I was driving and couldn’t light up (as much as I wanted to dear gods if I could just. No.) the only thing for it automagically appeared. Dirty, filthy guitars filled my car. Fiercely echoing, I cranked it nearly to the top. Heartbroken, In Disrepair blasted from my speakers as I hit the straightaway on 9. I opened the windows, the sunroof. Flexed my calf, increased my speed.
Rosie, my red Juke, responded like a lover. Rocketing up the highway wasn’t smart. Wasn’t responsible. I didn’t give a single shit. This is what I needed.
There was no one in my way, Waze showed clear sailing. I accelerated until I hit ninety, no strain, my curls whipping in the tumult. With the music storming all around me, wind buffeting my face, the depression finally broke. I felt it physically melt in my chest. My shoulders unclenched, lowering from where they’d been, up around my ears. I let out a long, low whistle, much the same as I have heard from lovers. Release.
It’s so hard to be without you (yes it is) Lying in the bed, you are so much to be without (dear gods more than any one, still) Rattles in my head that empty drum filled with doubt (not so much doubt, anymore. No.) Everything you lose, the wisdom will find its way out (this. this. this.) Every night is lonesome and is longer than before (Not every night. And no.) Nothing really matters anymore (There are things that really, really do.)
It’s so hard to be without you Used to feel so angry and now only I feel humble (yes but the timing. not angry anymore. free.) Stinging from the storm inside my ribs where it thunders (and inside my skull) Nothing left to say or really even wonder (so much left to say! so much left to wonder, to discover.) We are like a book and every page is so torn (some can be mended. Some discarded. Some set ablaze.) Nothing really matters anymore (not in that desperate, urgent way. no.)
It’s so hard not to call you (I listen to your voicemails to me. Mine to you. You saved them.) Thunder’s in my bones out in the streets where I first saw you (the wind’s been blowing like mad) When everything was new and colorful, it’s gotten darker (richer, bolder, deeper) Every day’s a lesson, things were brighter before (every day’s a lesson, things are clearer now) Nothing really matters anymore (the things that do are still here)
It’s so hard to be without you (it will never be easy) Everyday I find another little thread of silver (all the better to color purple) Waiting for me when I wake some place on the pillow And then I see the empty space beside me and remember I feel empty, I feel tired, I feel worn (I feel good. I feel alive. I feel ready.) Nothing really matters anymore (Everything matters.)