Thursday, 11 December 2014

stinging nettle tea



The ice on the streets these days waxes and wanes, there's the occasional croak of a crow outside, the breath of the radiator, the green spice of a eucalyptus branch laid on a table crowded with candles, books about postpunk London and Francisco Goya, tumblers of swiftly-evaporating water.  I pull my bike over on the Greenway and shake a little and fight tears a little thinking about the terrorism of police, about the currency of white skin.  A man living in Holland and I converse about New Wave footwear, I have late night solo dance parties swaying back and forth with my eyes closed, Bryan Ferry on the record player, cats staring at me from the steps of a ladder.  I suddenly switch to Continental knitting style mid-row after years of English style, a drunk stranger pounds on the hood of my car at an intersection, a pheasant dives into my windshield, I consider not driving, I inscribe sigils into pie crusts that no one will see, I go to California for three days and discuss eczema with a toddler on a bus, I converse in embarrassing German with a kindly old man, I fall in love with seasonal dioramas in the windows of expensive stores on a pedestrian mall, I make bramblewine tea for my dry throat, I think about the work I am meant to do, I watch X Files in bed and my pincha mayurasana is foiled by cats over and over again. I bake gingerbread and listen to Nick Cave, say a silent prayer of thanks for friends even though they're far away, and write lists here, when lists are all I'm capable of.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

psychic primping


The cluttered still life of my bedside table is comprised of bottles, pots and tubes of oils and balms for ever-shifting moods.  Some of them are in small amber apothecary droppers, humble essential oils from the coop down the street, and some are ridiculously (by my estimation) expensive love children begat from the rare, precise alchemy of spontaneous hedonism and credit card availability.  All of them serve their purpose, many in ways that maybe weren't intended by the manufacturers.  Salves, potions, and beauty balms have always been a part, usually overlooked, of how I soothe myself when the world is just too overstimulating.  On the train with happily nattering friends I might look standoffish in a corner wearing noise canceling headphones and furtively sniffing my wrists, but the sensual distraction is well worth it.
Everyone can recall the protective powers of the kohl used by the ancient Egyptians, which on the right days I will smudge on, or the emboldening properties of a blood-red gradient stain in the middle of pallid lips, but there are specific products that I find myself reaching for when I want to feel like the Omega (Wo-)Man. I apply them each in what I am only just now realizing is a subconscious narrative which evolved not to alter my identity, but to magnify it in the face of mundane stressors.  These are the products I use on days of nagging anxiety, overbooked obligations, or bodily fatigue, the days with entirely too little chamber music, pizza, candle light and M.R. James. 
My very first forays into aromatherapy coincided with junior high school.  My mother would pass on to me teacher-gifts she'd received for the holidays but knew she'd never get around to using.  Frequently "aromatherapy" in these products was meant to convey that they simply smelled good, but had no therapeutic value--they oozed with synthetic vanilla notes or eye-watering plumeria accords. I would in turn pawn them off on friends and to this day I don't tolerate conventional perfumes well. Scent is such a primal and tricky thing; just the right breeze passing someone on the street and I may feel my eyes fill as I remember the scent of the pillowcases at my gran's house, or tense at the memory of a terrible boss who happened to be doused in bergamot. White florals give me headache and fruity notes make me see red.  Real, heady essential oils, though, are another beast entirely. The balm that lives by my bed sends me into a blissful, languid state that I can refresh at any time of the day given its solid formulation (designed to be a portable version of the body oil).  With vetivert, sandalwood and chamomile, it's like the sleepier, gothic cousin of the herbal bath time products meant to lull you to sleep. Many days I'll wear this as a perfume rather than just huffing it before falling back on my pillow to read three pages of a book and dropping off to sleep. 
Next to the balm lives an empty Diptyque Baies* jar, which along with rings and trinkets holds a rose gold and black vegan powder brush that is simply the softest thing I've ever allowed against my face.  I do occasionally use it for makeup, but many times I find myself absently stroking it across my cheekbones and humming myself into a Bryan Ferry-caliber luxe trance.  It has powers.  I have tested it on others. Men. Who melted under its touch and began to snore.  This is a good brush.
Face masks are another essential component of anxiety management.  If they're black, all the better.  Some are mixed in a little ceramic bowl with a black and red fan brush, some come as volcanic ash and clay in sachets.  Something about their pore-obliterating jellied texture is immensely satisfying, like I've become an invulnerable pod-person. My skin is momentarily, at least, impermeable to the pollution of Outside.
Lastly, in the evenings, I usually participate in some sort of gleefully bizarre facial massage.  Actually, it makes perfect sense to me as I contemplate the energy channels and lymphatic pathways of the face and neck, but I guess it can look pretty odd to someone who doesn't routinely take to pummeling their face in front of a steamy bathroom mirror.  I melt a bit of the sticky golden balm between my hands and push, pull, prod and pulse all of the tension from my face. Elevens on the forehead, the tell of a chronic worrier? Fuck off.  Crows' feet that are threatening to emerge in my early thirties? 'Bye. This goes on until I am very pink indeed.  I have terrible skin, fragile and disobedient and tantrum-y (Brythonic) and it's like this stern procedure is so far from what I'd normally subject it to, it doesn't dare act up, it's just too afraid.  Afterwards I am warm and plumped and recharged.  I try to imagine that I am sending healing vibrations throughout my body as I do this.  I try to believe it, and the older I get, the more I do. 


*Candles and traditional perfumes will have to become a topic all its own. If you think this missive is long, don't provoke me. I can wax on and on.  But speaking of this candle in particular, how could I not love it? How could it not be transporting? Besides that divinely deco branding, this has a fragrance far greener and more mysterious than the name suggests. It smells of dark days in a ruined English garden, bitter broken canes around the shore of an ornamental pond, verdant and lush and wild.  It's a compliment to the perfume L'Ombre dans L'Eau--Shadow in the Water. Which you know I own. That name...

Sunday, 2 November 2014

And now the witching month




But some people can't tell where it hurts. They can't calm down. They can't ever stop howling.
This morning I was woken by my bed-mate, and two cats peered strangely up at me from the foot of the bed. I inhaled raggedly, trying to swipe away the involuntary tears that made the pillow uncomfortably clammy. "I didn't know it was a dream," I kept saying, muttering to myself and hoping the phrase would pacify that inner part of myself that was still screaming. This was a dream that broke open my heart and mind, either a cruel neurochemical gaslighting or a nauseating peek at the inaccessible territories of the brain that hold repressed traumas. Within a few seconds of wakefulness I'd already intellectually dismissed the experiences as dreaming, but an anxious pecking inside my skull didn't want me to let it go.  It wanted me to ruminate on it, to question my sanity and memories, to accept the dream as a revelation of past abuses too sickening to remember in daylight. In the minute or so--who can say? earth-time, brain-time?--before A. shook me awake, I was stifled under a blanket on the floor of my childhood bedroom, then broke free, was staring at the telephone knowing that I should call the police, but unable to stop screaming. At what had transpired. I clawed the heavy cotton hobnail blanket away from my face as I woke, in this world, not the same as the dream-duvet, but a Martha Washington coverlet I'd dyed faded black with natural indigo (I'm sure I ingested some cat hair in my mute REM-howling).  Thank you for the quote above, Margaret Atwood. 
Maybe this is what happens when you eat too much pizza directly before bedtime at the dawn of the Celtic new year. I hope it is. 


There are still a few golden leaves on the ghost-white birch trees outside the bedroom window. The hot cider and licorice, the tinny antsy notes of the Halloween films' theme ringing from a phone, the fossilized candy corn decorations of years past, are going back in hiding.  Get ready for the barren branches of November to scour your soul and bare your failures and ambitions.  You can carry one bag with you into winter--soon--so take only what is essential emotionally, mentally.  Let everything else go so you can reach the glowing windows before the snow drifts cover you over. I'll be attempting to trust the Hag to lead me someplace undiscovered, and therefore better, in this my birth month, the witching month.  Happy November. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Scorpios Unite





"Leo, which is ruled by the Sun, is often placed on the facade of a cathedral so that it is the first of the Evangelists' symbols to receive sunlight in the course of the day. Scorpio, connected with hell and the dark centre of the cosmos (according to the medieval view of the world), is correspondingly placed so that it it is the last to receive the light."

Symbols In The Sky - The Unexplained File: Cult & Occult

Monday, 9 June 2014

Call it Conceptual

I am currently loathing that there is any little trace of me, anywhere on the internet, wanting to destroy everything I have ever written, but now that we no longer burn things it just isn't as satisfying. Perhaps writing for an audience for the sake of writing every day is just not for me. I don't write because I'm a 'good' writer, I write because I enjoy it, and maybe I'm too rigid in the brain case to let people see something that's been enjoyed rather than honed.


I am currently writing this so that I don't have to get into bed. Summer is here and along with it my annual attempt at optimism, productivity.

It's hilarious, when I'm tired enough, how little I've said on this blog. Nothing at all, really. Maybe I can pare it down over the coming months to the point of Futurism. Chicken with Ball Bearings. Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

ok cupid

I will not be wearing sexy shoes. I like sexy shoes, but it's not a stylistic precedent I want to set. I will not be wearing makeup. I look quite a bit healthier in makeup, but I don't really want to be bothered. Be prepared for either a bare face or corpse paint. Oh yeah, and I also don't have hair.

If you want to go to a restaurant, make it vegan. If you want to go to a vegan club, go alone, because I hate clubs. If it's cold, I don't really want to go outside, actually. And I'm usually cold. My hands feel like Death.

I'm not really interested in gifts of jewelry, unless you happen to know a lot about Georgian memento mori rings. Or serpent motifs, I like a good serpent motif.

Please respect that, although I recognize it as a crucial topic, I'd really prefer to be asked something other than what kind of music I like as a conversation starter.

I don't think it's cool that you're thinking about raising chickens on your roof. I will probably fall asleep if you play your ukulele at me.  If I fall asleep, please make sure you cover me up.  Please respect that if I fall asleep in your presence it's an aberration that my innate hyper-vigilance usually precludes.

I don't want to discuss Game of Thrones. If you're a huge Bukowski fan, I'd rather talk about Game of Thrones. I'm not aroused by your lumberjack beard. My father has had a beard my whole life.

I like to watch 70s movies and wear sweatpants. Outside the home I prefer dresses. 90% of my shoes are boots. Don't wish aloud that I would wear colors. I like black.

I won't swan around your house wearing one of your button-down shirts and no pants. I have tattoos on my legs and I am kind of bony and I do not 'work out'. I am fastidious about grooming and having nice feet etc but that does not include pouring hot wax on my pubic area and then ripping out all the hair. It hurts.  It's unflattering.

I do not have a 'type'. You can touch my head if you ask politely but don't get all intense about it. Please appreciate the cognitive dissonance that I experience as a result of categorically hating Men and being sexually attracted to them.

I can make you great food and recite long passages from Antigone in the ancient Greek.  I will make your cat love me and we can talk about David Cronenberg while I walk on your back (I'm small). Don't call me because I hate the phone.

Have a super day!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Homo sapiens have left themselves few places and scant ways to witness other species in their own worlds, an estrangement that leaves us hungry and lonely. In this famished state, it is no wonder that when we do finally encounter wild animals, we are quite surprised by the sheer truth of them.