December 8, 2006


And in my dream you danced. You had shed your preoccupations and your apprehensions. You felt so light you thought you could fly. You spun around in circles and made yourself dizzy for the first time in years. Nothing left to say and all your cares cared for, you perfectly two-stepped around the room. I saw a new elegance in the way your jeans-clad legs moved. How come your jeans never fit right but they always fit perfectly? They are never tight around your legs, making you look like a stick figure. But now you are tall and not the skinny school boy anymore.
One sublime moment, you took two fast steps forward and a slow one back, skillfully avoiding crashing into people who were not there. The sounds of the music forming new melodies in your head you moved to your own beat. In tune with the world. The world I don't know.
Your left hand lingered purposeless in mid-air next to your shoulder. Your index finger bounced once or twice to the bass and went back to rest. For once your motions not aimed at eliciting emotions. You moved to move, from deep within you impulses flashed through your body, gently removing your soles from the ground and letting them touch back down an inch farther on the dance floor.
With a joyful smile I stood at dance floor's side and watched you. Your drink in your right hand, your eyes fixed on your feet, you were conserved in time. Your gentle twists carried in them the silence of your thoughts. I felt the weight of your burden in my hands, I held it by my side like a briefcase. It never really belonged to you anyway.
When it was handed to you remains hidden in memory. Comprised by an artist's life it disconnects from banality and the vernacular. How could it not? While it pulls me down, it makes me light inside. My soul pours into the briefcase. When I hand it back to you at the end of your dance, you will leave with my essence stored away in it, to be stolen by you to use it up as you please.
Yet now your feet are still moving ever so slowly. Your brown leather shoes traveled the world while staying in place. In your head you have been to Lebanon and San Francisco, you had to believe you were actually there, and always were your leather shoes with you. The knot you tied is coming undone as your walls unfold and you are unraveled.
Do that two-step again.
Your blue woolen sweater hides your heated skin. It slips your mind to take it off. It moves and throws new wrinkles with every twist you perform. Your motion is mirrored in a fraction of the fabric. The world reflects your movement. It's a mirror you don't look into. You don't meet my eyes as I keep watching.
Rewind. Do that two-step again. Forward and back. If ever there was serenity in the world, it was in the second you floated above the ground. Gone too soon and the tape stuck in play, perpetually as the world moves ever on, I have to see you make your way to the bar and feel your briefcase strain my arm. Come and wipe the smile off my face.
"Oh, my soul, let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look at the things you made. All things shining."

October 20, 2006

Kinney 'tude

I was walking home the other night, it was dark already, and like always I passed St. Catherine's Church. The protestant church in which I had sung Mozart's "Requiem" with the school choir, in which our school held a memorial service after 9/11 and which gave the street I lived on my entire childhood and youth its name. I've been passing that church on my way to school and university all my life. It's neither a very beautiful nor a very impressive church. Especially not since they painted parts of it yellow about a decade ago. This yellow is supposedly its original color and a lot of old buildings - castles, churches, watchtowers - are painted this yellow. Still I always felt it diminished the church's impressiveness. It hid the old stones, their ruggedness, their irregularity, their individualism.

When I approached the church that night, the doors were wide open, the warm yellow glow of church lights and candles spilled onto the cobblestones and I could see people standing inside and outside the church. Some event, I thought, a concert, a reading, a special mass. And then I went back to thinking about a scene of a TV show I had watched on DVD earlier. When I saw two nuns approaching the church, it struck me as rather amusing that the scene I was thinking about involved rather explicit gay sex between two men. It was a scene from the probably most sinful and offensive TV show ever shown, "Queer as Folk". At least sinful and offensive in their eyes. I think there isn't really anything worse (morally, crimes excluded) a person can choose to do than to live a homosexual lifestyle, in the eyes of the church. In my eyes it was one of the best scenes of television I had seen in a good long while, certainly better than most scenes in straight "soap operas" like "The O.C." or "Sex and the City". The handheld camera, the scarce lighting, the blue color filter, the unusual close-ups of body parts you don't normally see in close-ups. This was the technical side of it. But the content of the scene was just as great to me. I liked Brian and Justin, as characters, and the dynamic they had in their bumpy relationship, that never truly got defined as anything, was entertaining and moving to watch. I could sympathize with them, I could see what they saw in each other and they looked beautiful together. In the sea of straight love stories out there in the world of movies and TV, it was refreshing to see something I hadn't seen a thousand times over, a new spin on things. After a while all the stories and plot twists wear off and don't move you anymore. The first few times you still feel a stab in your heart (as a girl anyway), but that soon stops, when you've seen the story between boy and girl over and over.

To me the scene between Brian and Justin was sexy and touching. And not sinful or offensive in any way. But when I saw the nuns, it made me wonder this: does my open-mindedness make this life easier or harder to live? I don't have anything against homosexuality, big age differences between couples, pre-marital sex or all that other stuff religious people might take offense on. As long as people are happy with their life's choices that is. Choices. The part that's harder the more open-minded you are. The more possibilities you could accept and want, the tougher it is to make up your mind which one is really the one for you. There's more places you have to seek out if you're open to a lot. There's less things and people you turn and walk away from because you object to them, what they stand for or what they represent. Much like a tiger in the wild you explore a bigger territory than a tiger in a zoo. Don't you have to, when the world is virtually limitless to you? Why choose to stay in closed quarters if there are no boundaries reigning you in?
I have never been a religious person, I haven't been brought up with religion and after informing myself (intensely) about various ones, there is not a single religion I can get on board with. I agree with some of the lessons taught, that's for sure, I certainly live by some as well, because they make sense, but I disagree with most of the prohibitions and regulations, subjecting people, keeping them small, keeping them afraid of an intangible parent figure, condemning others who have done nothing to ever harm anyone.
So while I sometimes wish for more guidelines in this overwhelmingly diverse world, I don't envy people who follow guidelines without questioning them first or adjusting them to their own needs. And by guidelines I don't mean laws, I don't mean adjusting "legal" and "illegal" according to your own needs. I mean moral values. Of course not everybody has to accept homosexuality as normal, right, respectable or whatever, I can't demand that. But how much easier would life be if we stopped getting so worked up about some of the moral issues? No protesters are gonna turn gays straight, no condemning condoms is gonna stop sensible people from using them to protect themselves from HIV (on the contrary, condemning condoms causes a lot of problems, but that's a different story). In the end everybody just gets revved up, the protesters and the ones protested against. I say have a little more faith in God to find the right punishment if there is supposed to be one and in the meantime worry about your own business. I see a lot of untidy backyards everywhere. They need some cleaning up.

All this flashed through my mind while I watched the two nuns enter the church. Briefly I wondered about nuns going into a protestant church. Then my thoughts returned to Brian and Justin. I wondered if in real life I could get along with them. Not with the fact they are gay, I have gay friends and it's totally normal for me, but with their personalities. I decided I would have a problem with Justin's immaturity and Brian's insensitivity. But I also decided Brian was very much a person I want to be more like. He doesn't give a fuck what others think, he doesn't need anyone's approval, he makes up his own rules by which he can live. Yet he stands up for his friends, is brutally honest but means well and doesn't let little things ruffle his feathers when it's unnecessary. Living in the now and confident about who he is, he roams the streets in pursuit of happiness. Constitutional right, anyone?
He sure isn't a saint and most certainly isn't easy to love. But once you start loving him, you can never stop. Some people worship the ground he walks on, despite his flaws - being aloof, arrogant and unapologetic - because he has an aura, a presence. Being with him you don't need to justify what you do. If you feel like it, do it. It's what he does. He accepts people for their desires and needs (given they are not straight, he's a bit of a heterophobe). He hates people who hide what they truly want, who are cowards about who they are, who deny themselves joys in life because others might disapprove. He knows who he is and from that knowledge can draw conclusions about other people, he can read others extremely well. It's his self-confidence he exudes through every pore that makes people flock to him.

If I, roaming the streets in pursuit of my happiness, could manage to achieve and maintain even half of his amount of self-confidence and general attitude, I think I might find what I am looking for a little easier. I think I will make up more of my own rules, try some new things, open my mind just a bit more and see where else it leads me. Ultimately while on this earth I have to answer to myself. And I don't have to apologize to anyone for who I am or what I do.
A scene popped into my head, where Brian talks to his mother's Reverend at the bar (about being a good son and stuff like that), while Brian orders some drinks. And when the drinks arrive, he smiles at the Reverend, says "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hell", turns and walks over to Justin to kiss him. Thinking about it, I smiled, turned back towards the church and quoted this line out loud before I went on my way.

September 29, 2006

Technicolor Dreams

Isn't it curious how some sensations stay in your memory forever, how they are burned into your heart without a chance to ever be removed again? Memory is a fine invention for sure that way. Some situations, feelings, people just remain, no matter how much you twist and turn, evolve and change. There's always some memories that are vivid and tangible to you even years later. In Technicolor with Dolby surround sound and digitally remastered. And nothing that happened in your life can tarnish these memories. They are preserved in their original state, the purity they had in the moment you experienced them. People say memory tricks us. It leaves out the bad things and glosses everything over. In some cases that's true. However, I have more vivid memories of horrible experiences than of good ones. I will never forget the shame, when a boy made a very mean joke about my breasts on the schoolyard in seventh grade. How I could feel every fiber of me blushing and wanted the Earth to swallow me right there so I could cry my eyes out. And I will never be able to suppress the memory of the black devastation I felt that year after Stephen died. How I was so numb I didn't care in the least what happened to me. I will never get over the shock I felt when my mom told me my aunt had killed herself, leaving my cousin, who was just 15 like me, all alone in this world. How I instantly felt the heat of tears on my cheeks and my heart break for my cousin.
But for all the Technicolor memories of unpleasant moments, I also have a few Technicolor dreams that are so delicious, I will be able to feed on them forever. I am glad all later events didn't completely twist my recollection of the original feelings I had. That happens sometimes. There are people you once liked or even loved, but what they did to you later leaves you unable to remember how your original feeling for them felt. You always have a bitter aftertaste, you can't tell the story without resentment or disappointment in your voice.
I never used to understand how people could go on loving and defending someone if that someone treated them badly or wronged them all the time. But I think I am beginning to understand. There is people in this world I wouldn't believe you if you told me something bad about them. There is people in this world I will never stop loving and defending. All of them friends. That's right. Friends and family. None of them a lover.
The one man I have a Technicolor dream of, I claim not to have loved. We didn't know each other well enough to speak of love. We both believed love could only come with explicit knowledge of each other and we never shared that. Nor did we attempt to. There were ways in which we just knew - by instinct - what the other one needed, but we never explained ourselves to each other. We knew it wouldn't have done any good. I know when I finally do love a man, it will feel different from what I felt with him.
But one of the first nights when I got to know him, will forever be my favorite Technicolor dream of black and white people. I can see the tables arranged in that bar. I can recall the unusual music from the musicians on stage, jazz with a xylophone. I can smell the sausages and mashed potatoes on his and Graham's plate. I can hear Graham laughing at my horrible attempt at an English accent. I can let my finger run across the wooden table surface and the holes burned into it. I wish I had worn a different shirt now. Something prettier. I wish my hair wasn't all static from my wool sweater. His blue eyes sparkle in the dark while thoughts form. I swear they are dotted, they aren't just blue. His hands are so big, my face gets lost in them. I could draw an exact line where his lips touched my forehead. "You are beautiful." The urge will not go away, to wanna touch him, just once, then pull my fingers away like a burnt child. He touches me instead, my hands, so childishly small in his, receive a gentle kiss. Words must have been spoken, my mind is glued to the deep aura he has. I can feel myself falling into the darkness, I have no idea what's to come, I fall and miss my last train home. Right, home. I am going home tomorrow morning. A flash enters my mind briefly, but ceases, because I know I have no choice. I don't want a choice. I want him to make the choices tonight. And then left alone with him, the music coming from the stereo, I take my first breath. I tell him about my darkness as he asks. His voice drifting over the table that is too wide now. I am miles from where he is and the wind carries my words across to him. I know right there I can never reach him, but I stretch and touch his index finger. He smiles and expresses he cares, he worries, he wants to make sure I'm okay. He can't help, but he says I have to take care of myself.
Everything's warm. The bar filled with smoke and laughter. My body filled with mesmerized stillness of every fiber. The November cold outside kills the warmth and the intimacy for a while. Everything is too real out here, the light of the streetlamps too harsh. He leads my way, I don't know where to go. His leather jacket with woolen lining hangs perfectly crooked on his shoulders as he carries his bag on one and walks along. I can see him walking now. Down every street I see him walking. His jeans, the wrinkles they have, his brown leather shoes, the little speck of orange hair I can see, even though his head is lowered against the cold. I would have followed his presence to the end of the world that night. Drawn in by something that has managed to evade me until now. How naked I felt standing there in his room. With half my clothes on I had nothing more to hide. All my weapons lowered I looked at him more openly than I have ever looked at anyone ever again. He could have taken me out of this world that night. I was nothing more than a faded figure standing on open fields, waiting to be swept away by powerful winds. He reads to me from his book about the religions of the world and when I closed my eyes, I could hear his voice calling me home. His skin is so soft I believe I have fallen asleep and am dreaming of my childhood days, when the only other thing that ever felt this soft was my mother's touch when I had woken up crying in the night. There is nothing to hold on to, my hand flows down his skin unhindered. Later I call it peachy. Peachy skin so heavenly warm and soft all I want is to be wrapped up by him forever. Not a minute I spend sleeping. I listen to his breath in the night, it makes me laugh, it's so unromantically loud. His heart beats, steady and confident. My fingers hold nothing when I touch him. The shelves are empty. There's a white table. On it my clothes. None of us is home here.
His alarm raises us. Like a ghost I stare into the bathroom mirror and wonder why there are five tubes of toothpaste if only four people live here. When I return to his room, he stands in the half-light in his underwear. He looks so tall and strong to me. Nothing can knock him over, no winds will carry him away. He reaches for me and I expect him to pull me into his arms. Instead he kneels down in front of me and rests his cheek against my stomach, his arms wrapped around my waist. I can feel his heavy breath on my leg and a tear on my face. He wants to hold on. I bury my hands in his hair. The hair I played with all night. Gently I caress his face and know I cannot make this better for us. I don't want him to contain himself. But he kisses me right underneath my belly button and stands up. And I am freezing. For a long time after I am freezing. The closest I come to warm, is when we hug halfway into the subway station. My face resting against his chest behind a blue shirt. This dirty dove blue. "Turn and walk away." One wish he grants me. And he climbs back into the light, while I take the stairs down.

"It's getting so damn creepy just nursing this ghost of a chance, the fiction, the romance and the Technicolor dreams of black and white people." (MB20)

September 3, 2006

Maybe, Baby

“Maybe, Baby”

It’s the maybes.
The “may this be”.
The “may this have been”.
The “maybe it will be”.
The Mays that have been.
The Mays to come.
The maze amazes me.
Maybe I can be.
Maybe you may be.
Maybe I am a maid,
may be.
Maid of honor,
house maid,
May that be
what it has made me.
Maim me, mate.
Be made and custom-make me.

Lately it may be
that “maybe” is getting to me.
May be maiming me,
eating and unmaking me.
May that be as it may be.
I am used to man-made mazes and hazes.

Bees and fees may be
making their way to me,
I will make do.
Wanna-bes and Seem-to-bes
ask to be my Made-for-mes.
May they be for the girls made to be
the shadow of a wanna-be.

The maybes.
It’s the maybes lately.
Left in me is a May to be.
The rest has been consumed by maybe.

Certainty may just be a malady.

August 13, 2006

Sugarcoating a Bitter Pill

Okay, so I am being philosophic again. I have that sometimes. Mainly in the morning, on the bus, going to work. What else can you really do in the morning, when you're not really awake yet, than listen to music from your mp3-player, stare out the window and let your thoughts drift? That's what I do anyway.
Today I thought about the concept of honesty.

Even though many people say they appreciate honesty, there is such a thing as being too honest. And the same people who claim they appreciate honesty aren't always the most honest people themselves.
I think it has become more of an empty phrase to say "Honesty is important".
And while it might be polite to make small talk with a person you don't really know or particularly like, I think it is dishonest to hang out with them all the time as if you did like them.
I am rarely rude to people I dislike. Mostly I just ignore them and hope they will go away. With some more resistent types that doesn't work, which leaves me no choice but to resort to more crass measures.
Yes, think I am arrogant now, whatever. You have people you don't like. Frankly, I think it is better for either of us, them and me, if I don't pretend to be liking them and later it is revealed I never did. For what does a revelation like that really do for anyone's confidence?
Granted, to be friends with me requires a certain tolerance for directness and (harsh) honesty. I put it as it is, I say what I think, I rarely sugarcoat things, I call people out on their half-assed opinions.
I believe my honesty is one of my better qualities though. If nothing else, you can rely on Phoebe to tell you what's what if you wanna know. I will answer every question as honest as I can according to the knowledge I have at the time I am asked.

So, when people say they appreciate honesty, which kind do they mean? Do they mean politeness? Or do they mean merry-making? Or honesty as long as it ain't about something personal?
If you ask someone "How do you like my new shirt/haircut/picture/short story?", do you want them to say "Not really good" or "I didn't like it" or "Merely okay" if that is what they think? Or do you want them to lie?
Do you want someone, who doesn't really like you, to be nice to you and pretend as if they liked you? Or would you rather have them show you in some way that you two can't be friends? Would you find that more hurtful than finding out after a few weeks of hanging out with them that they don't really like you?

How far is honesty supposed to go? Between friends? Family? Business partners? Associations? Strangers?

Please comment.

August 9, 2006

Quarter Life Crisis

When you are young you are cursed with youth. Not a lot of people look at it that way. Older people think of youth as a blessing, long for it, to feel young and alive again, to be allowed to do crazy and stupid and childish stuff. Young people don't appreciate their own youth.

I am not like that. I am young and I appreciate it. I know there are things I better do now or I will never be able or allowed to do them. I don't care what others think of it, I have to live with myself every day and I am trying to make that as bearable as possible.
But at the same time I find my youth to be a curse. Namely exactly in the moments when I am not being youthful, childish or irresponsible. In the moments when I talk about what I wanna do with my life, what my plans are, what I want from life, love, people. I can sound very grown-up then. Reflected some people call it. But when I say things like "I am unhappy with the way my life is going right now. I want more. Nothing up till now has went the way I wanted it to", I usually get a reaction like: "Come on, kid, you're still young. Your whole life is still in front of you. Be patient."

Reactions like that make me so raging mad, you have no idea. Just because I am young I have no right to complain about life? To want things from life? To think about life sometimes? Just because I am young I am supposed to be irresponsible and flimsy and dedicated only to having fun? What a load of BS.

As of now I will not listen to people in their 30s anymore telling me how I should appreciate my youth and stop worrying so much. Maybe you never worried enough, did that ever occur to you? Maybe the reason you are where you are and not somewhere else, somewhere better maybe, is that you never worried, thought and reflected enough.

I swear, if one more person tries to make me feel guilty for worrying about big life stuff IN SPITE of my age, I will have a screaming fit Marissa Cooper style.