Dispatch From The Mundane 014
Soon-to-be Innocent Fun/Let's See
am I only because I have been?”
― Etel Adnan, Night
I come to you from a morning of slow movement to Arthur Russell. I pull myself from warmth to the cold floor and a mat. Soon I’m a knot of limbs tugging and turning trying to release the tension but drawing the knot closer to center. I love Arthur Russell’s World of Echoes because it’s one of those albums about being alone with an instrument, maybe the cello is my body and maybe the room isn’t empty because there’s still sound. There’s still light. Somehow all we are people. I am with you. I am without you. I carry this because of someone. I want you. I can’t stand you.
Hell is you. Heaven is us. I always want to see Iowa when I listen to Arthur Russell. I want to see the cornfields and how the cobs rippled his loneliness, his pride. I’m sitting with my classical guitar and it’s not that I’m good or I can even play it, it’s the way the bass strings feel when the body is cradled against me. I can feel them in my heart. April calls me to read a poem on her birthday and I say to her what I’ve said many times before: I carry you in my heart. e.e. didn’t fuck up that line. Didn’t confuse or obstruct the meaning. It’s just what’s in the bag. I can’t fumble it.
I can’t fumble my heart.
This section is written to you listening to an album I can’t identify and I won’t but it’s coming out of my headphones that are in my computer. Sammie’s sorting her laundry, getting her life together and I’m writing this and she asks me small questions and I can feel myself divide the time and attention to say “yes, no, yeah, well, so” and she's sorting the clothes. I wasn’t paying attention. She tells me she’s dumping sand out of her bag and she says this new pet deodorizer slaps. I love that.
Things to consider:
Try this soup. Maafe. It’s delicious. Once known as groundnut soup. It’s one of those soups where you could slow cook it for a day or you could make it in a half hour. It’s truly delicious. I often add tofu and chickpeas to this and it’s pretty unreal. If you had some hen of the woods — God. It feels like a knitted hat. Not the kind from the store. The kind someone makes and it’s a bit uneven but it feels good. It’s so nice someone spent that kinda time. Thinking about you. Ears. Scalp.
I’m in love with Baby Keem’s “pink panties.” It makes me feel like I’m listening to Kanye’s “Drunk and Hot Girls.” It was on my get ready playlist for a long time. It makes me remember some time I spent wearing halter tops and putting my hands out window shouting shrilly “turn this up, turn this up.” Maybe yesterday.
I’m taking La Warman’s Erotic Body writing course. At some point I’m sure the newsletter will reflect this because I’m thinking about the body, about the pain, about the ways I feel boundless and how I’m always in search of liberation. I read Audre Lorde’s words on the erotic again preparing for the course and it’s nice to think about it so starkly. To think of the erotic in power and what can’t be capitalized, yoked. This thought will remain unfinished for not.
It’s after midnight and I’m listening to a poetry reading. I’m wearing a fuzzy beige sweater that makes me look like a bear and broken glasses. My mouth is tingling from Burt’s Bees lip balm and my mouth is also sour from a sip of tea earlier after I brushed my teeth. I knew it was a bad idea but I didn’t want to waste the cup. My friend Sarah Jean and her beloved friend Lucy self-published books. I also know Lucy but I like to acknowledge their union. They’re geniuses, I think. I’ll report back when I’m less tired. It’s nice to see these people. I wanted to stay home tonight but I still felt social. It was so nice to close my eyes and hear someone rolling words in their mouth like marbles in a game of cat’s cradle. I’m watching partially but every time I close my eyes I convince myself I’ve memorized all their faces.
Every single face on the zoom call.
I can’t even remember the date.
Learning to drive at the exact age of 30 means I spend a lot of time listening to albums that would’ve been on the radio when I was 16. A lot of Family Values and Warped Tour and MTV TRL’s top hits. I think of moments in cars with my friends and our favorite songs blasting is my hometown and that was the great escape. It’s the sound of dial-up and hoping my favorite song would come on the radio. I’m wandering around the mall and pretending I don’t want to go into the Hot Topic.
Years later I’m blowing out steam from fresh pupusas that I’m splitting with friends down the street from St. Stephen’s Church. I’m staring into the dark night wondering which way is to the train and which way is to the gig. I’m on the beltway listening to to Title Fight’s first album and when the song Symmetry comes on. Limbs are windmilling and I can picture my Sarah Jean coming out of the pit with a black eye yelling “oh, fuck” with big smile “this sucks.”
The only bananas left at the grocery store are evergreen.
As someone whose body truthfully runs on Dunkin and 7/11 unless I’m roleplaying as an artisanal hottie awaking in the middle of the night whispering “chemex, french press, pour over.” Today I’m roleplaying an artisanal hottie and making french press coffee while listening to Macy Gray’s cover of The Yeah, Yeahs, Yeahs’ “Maps.” No one loves Dunkin’ like I love Dunkin’. The song slaps.
Even though every week has been different, in some ways, I have found a new rhythm in this late stage chaos and I do feel okay, sometimes, I feel good. The lows feel low and the highs— I’m getting there. It’s cold out and so I’m thinking all the time about the woes and worries that sink into the spine just after Halloween and make the body heavy. I recall last winter spending a lot of time falling down on purpose. I wanted to know if I could fall. It was a trust activity between myself and gravel.
I often would finish a dance class via zoom and then spend some time trying to let go of my grip on gravity. I was falling in and out of reality.
Need a new winter coat. Want something quilted. Maybe forest green. Don’t feel thick-skinned for this winter. Once upon a time I may have been casted in a movie as “the strong one” but some days I am unsure if I would survive til the end of the horror. I get preoccupied with the best solutions to grout in tiles to unwind. I spent two hours watching a family cleaning service steam treat a disgusting carpet and the father seemed so proud to see his son explaining how they’d approach a job of this severity. I imagine how much better I would feel if I had a high powered steamer.
In my home-based recovery from a nervous breakdown, home became good and everywhere else was bad. It’s a shame that healing leaves scar tissue, keloids of memory and I can remember when staying the night at a friend’s house didn’t cause me to have a cold sweat. Even before vacations or big trips or taking the Amtrak to Baltimore, I worry if I leave this place will I falter; what if the sidewalk comes to an end and flat earth is real?
Waiting for my bananas to ripen and grow tired. I fry one of the green ones. Not too unlike a plaintain, it’s starches oozes and crust beautifully in my vegan margarine coated pan.
The bananas sit on my dining room table emerald and gleaming, even, and I wondered if they’d stay that way. The beauty of still life, horny watercolorists finding the shape of the pear and imagining the same curve of the Earth and blushing. I imagine someone trying to capture the shape of the banana, the dangle of pistols from lilies, and the hummingbird slurping nectar and feeling overwhelmed by life lessons. I’m flush. Is this the erotic body?
I sat down to write to you today to tell you that the bananas on my dining room table are now too sweet, over ripened and spotty.
alone in my room is a once defunct and maybe weekly dispatch from the mundane from a local ficus. kelly is a writer & serial hobbyist. there are two episodes of alone in my room on soundcloud. you can donate to support a hobby or buy soil here.