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18 January 2020 @ 12:36 am

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This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

--Rumi, The Tavern

[ETA: Went ahead and unlocked all the fic. Have fun, kids.]
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
18 April 2015 @ 01:08 am
It has been a month. HOW HAS IT BEEN A MONTH? I legit don't know how I got here. I suppose it was just one breath after another, but man, it feels like a lot of those are missing when I think back on them.

I have read a lot of poetry in that time. A LOT. Five books worth, give or take. And I've written some. I am never going to be an amazing poet, just like I'm never going to be an amazing novelist, but the more of it I write the more right it feels to be doing it and the more I feel I need to write. I don't know, there's just something about the act of writing poetry that makes me feel like I belong in a place or to a thing finally. It's helped me try to wrangle feelings I don't think I could do in prose.

For instance, when I was in Orlando I told theemdash that I take a lot of selfies because I'm still trying to get used to my face. Her response was a totally normal 'you've had that face a long time, dude, you should probably be used to it be by now' (paraphrased, obvs). And it's true. I have had this face a long time. I am old on the internet and in real life and you'd really think that in the last thirty-two years my mental image of myself would have lined up with the reflection I see every day. And yet, I am always vaguely shocked and disappointed by the facticity of my physical being. It's not even that I'm a fat kid. I mean, I AM a fat kid and I should really do something about that. I don't feel good about it or anything. But really it's to do with the shape of my face and the way all the bits of it are arranged. I romanticize them in my head and make them way more pleasing than they actually are.

And how do I manage expectation based on a distorted image of myself, or the feedback spiral downward that it causes. Like, I clearly lust above my station all of the time. How do I convince one of those people I'm worth dating if I don't think I am?

Also, some days I just look too much like my father for comfort, but that's a WHOLE OTHER truck of issues.

When I first moved to Boston I was telling one of the then roommates about how I want to be uploaded to a computer and they asked me if I was entirely disassociative. And I mean, no? I don't think I am. In my head the computer thing has nothing to do with my physical form being a hindrance and everything to do with time being a limited resource. I feel pretty good about being a lady and the things my body can do for me. I don't not feel at home in my body. I don't want to leave it behind. I just...want to tweak it a little so that it matches who I think I am. Though, real talk, there are a lot of things I wish I cold tweak about myself to match who I think I really am in moments of extreme hubris or whatever.

Anyway, it's a feeling I scratch at regularly, trying to understand it and I think I finally got a start on getting there.
Souls glare bright in the dim glow of living,
and easily fall prey to the glass
that would cleave them in two,
seeking out affinity in another shining surface
in vanity, letting it separate the stunning interior
from the gloaming shell,
which I think is why I never find myself
sitting in the beady eyes and pouch of a mouth
of my changeling self, as she stares
clinging covetous as mist to every mirror
and window, waiting for the invention
promised us by fiction of some
shimmering beam that might unite us again,
for the practical magic of a pure, smooth surface
to become a rippling pool she can reach through
and drown me in. I love her
more than I love myself,
for her patience and her desire.
How long has she been watching me?
My whole life, surely. Thirty-two years spent
waiting for discovery to catch up with desperation
while elsewhere we fling men into a space
just as vast as the millimeter that separates
the two halves of my whole when we reach
for one another, fingers against slick, cold skin.
How do I make myself worthy of this union?
If I had the opportunity I would swap out
every piece of myself. Rebuild the ship,
make me into something fine
and deserving of interest.
Would that upset the alchemy?
Would she know me anymore?
Would she come looking?
Finally crawl through the hard way, the shards
covered with thin, white web-like fury,
disillusioned dew glistening in the anemic yellow
bathroom light, the only evidence
there was ever any version of me at all.

So yeah, poetry. Cheaper than therapy! (I should really look into that too, though.)

And because we're already talking about poetry, here's a video Richard Siken made for his poem 'Why'. It made me laugh and it made me choke up a bit and it made me say 'yes' under my breath about a hundred times.

'Why', poem and video by Richard Siken w/ music by Marianne Dissard from Marianne Dissard on Vimeo.


Poetry is serious business, you guys.
I spent a long weekend in Florida and it was all kinds of incredible. It was warm and sunny and beautiful and I got to not wear boots for five days. I read a very interesting book that theemdash shoved into my hands when I got there. (BOYSGIRLS by Katie Farris.) I got to see a whole bunch of wonderful people I'd been missing. We went to hang out in the Harry Potter parts of Universal and I took a million and one stupid pictures of my own and other faces. We celebrated myras_girls ' birthday. I had the BBQ I adore. And for the most part I just felt very settled. I spent the whole time going 'I DON'T KNOW, I'M JUST SO HAPPY.' Because I was, and simply so in a way that I'm not usually.

I did the right thing leaving Florida. I like it in Boston. I'm not even unfond of our 100" of snow. But Florida is and always will be home. I wouldn't be surprised if I decided to move back eventually. Once I'm finished purging all of the anxious possibility that had been building up in me for the last 13 years. As I was discussing with Em before I left, Florida is in my blood. It's the only possible place that could have made me. I am fond of it because of that.

And then on my planes home I read another book--The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff--and drafted five poems. It was a productive bit of travelling. It was actually a productive long weekend over all, even with all of the other stuff we were doing. I'm going to do a poem dump under a cut. Because I don't know, I like feeling like I've shared them even if no one reads them. It's probably just my vanity talking. (They have more editing coming, but they always will.)

Tree people, raven boys and girls, ghost hearts, and barracks thieves.Collapse )

I had a whole conversation with theemdash , myras_girls , brilligspoons , and sky_was_green about whether or not I'm a poet. I still don't know if I feel like I can consider myself one in good conscious yet, but I promise to read the wiki page about Imposter Syndrome and change my tumblr tag from 'kl is not a poet' to something else. You know, once I get the energy up to go in and manually alter all the links to the wider tag in the poems already posted. I promise, just because I'm not changing my mind doesn't mean I'm not listening. ♥ ♥ ♥

I don't deserve my friends, that's for sure. I don't know how I lucked into this shit, but I'm never giving them back.
Current Music: Murder By Death - Hunted
15 December 2014 @ 11:33 am
I have, in rough estimate, written about 125,000 words this year. I'm going to end the year well short of my goal of 200,000 words and not having finished the one thing I wanted to have finished this year. That said, I don't think it's a failure.

I spent much of the first half of the year frozen and freaking out about a thing I shouldn't have been freaking out about. I'm pretty sure it's not going to be published, since I haven't heard back on it. That's not the reason I shouldn't have been freaking out about it. I shouldn't have been freaking out about it because it wasn't something to freak out about. And I think my freaking out is part of why it turned out the awkward way it did. I don't know why I get so caught up in my head about my writing and what other people want and what I think I can or can't do. I'd probably be a thousand times better off if I just ignored the rest of the world and wrote what made me happy. (Captain America cyberpunk-Last Unicorn AU, HERE I COME!)

ANYWAY. July happened. I had already moved and gotten the hard part of that out of the way. I finished and submitted that thing of which we will not speak. And I submitted a poem to a magazine call. That's really where the momentum took off. I got a rejection on the poem, but they also left a note listing three other publications to submit it to who they thought might take it, which is promising and probably part of why I've had the confidence to continue pursuing poetry, most fervently here at the end of the year. Out of three poems submitted to anything ever I've had two acceptances (one published online and one published in print) and one personal rejection. That's not terrible odds.

I still don't feel like I can call myself a poet, but I also don't feel embarrassed anymore to say that I write poetry. Progress all around, really. I'm currently getting help with a chapbook of queer fairy tale poems I'm going to submit to a contest in January. I still want to finish off the Sorry About the Robots chapbook and submit/publish that.

On the prose side it's been more about progress than completion, which I suppose is good in the long run, but it doesn't make me feel very accomplished. I had a breakthrough on Burst in the form of deciding to make it an all lady circus. I had a breakthrough on Dickhead Angels about the central conflict so that it's no longer just two dudes road tripping around the US ramping up sexual tension for no discernable reason. I wrote a fairy tale, which I should probably revisit to flesh out. I have had no breakthrough on Volunteer Vampires, which is what I told theemdash I'd send her a draft of by the end of the year. I am still going to try to rewrite the WWII AU in the BDESFN universe to send to by the end of the year so I don't owe her $50. (Because real talk, I do not have $50.) And I think a lot about Dupe City, so I want to try and get something under my feet on that one in the new year.

Which brings me to the public service announcement portion of my talk:

GetYourWordsOut: Year Seven!
Pledges & Requirements | GYWO.net

DO YOU ENJOY WRITING? DO YOU LIKE TRACKING WORD COUNTS AND BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE? THEN getyourwordsout IS THE COMMUNITY FOR YOU. Going into its seventh year, the GYWO community is stronger than ever. We're trying out new things and getting people more involved. I'm running the community Tumblr. There are regular discussions and help posts and opportunities to share what you're working on. I can absolutely say that having the community around has helped me to get more done when I was feeling stuck. I highly recommend it to all you writerly types on my list, of which there are many.

So, all that said, it's time to think forward. I don't have a plan for the new year (though I'll work one out soon enough), but I do have a wish list of sorts. It looks like this.
  • Complete Sorry About the Robots. Figure out if I can submit it or if I should self-pub it.
  • Submit a poem for possible publication at least once a month.
  • Complete a draft of Burst.
  • Complete a draft of Volunteer Vampires.
  • Make headway on Dupe City.
  • Make headway on Dickhead Angels.
  • Continue to think about the BDESFN and do absolutely nothing about it.
  • Look at fairy tale and decide if it could be a YA novel.
  • Continue to come up with ludicrous ideas for future stories.

I think I'll have my hands full in 2015 in the best possible way.

What about you? How have you done this year? What are your goals for the next? Will you be joining the fun at GYWO?
03 December 2014 @ 11:23 pm
I sat down to write a poem about the moths that kept landing on my jacket on the walk home this evening, and an hour and a half later I have a gay fairy tale instead. I don't have any idea what to do with it, and I'd still like to write that poem, but well, this is where we are now. In a world with 3,000 more words of ladies learning about what love isn't. It's one of life's toughest lessons, after all.

Comments welcome, as always, because I seriously don't know what to do with it.

The Tailor put his heart and soul into each dress he sewed her. Some of them were cages. Some of them were ropes. Some of them were sand dunes, lonely and blown. He of course did not see any of these things in his creations.Collapse )
14 November 2014 @ 11:11 am


"Right," Jojo said. Her voice turned high as she mimicked Les's hopeful prods from earlier. "There's a fire! There must be people! They'll let us get warm!"

"When was the last time you saw a fire with no people?" Les asked, trying to keep the panic out of his voice. He wriggled his hands in the ropes, trying to pull them loose.

"Oh, I don't know, volcanoes! Lightning strikes in dry forests!" She was leaning against the board they were tied to, limp and accepting of their fate.

Les was feeling more hopeful, clearly. "The sky is clear and there are no volcanoes in these woods," he hissed.

"I bet you think there are also no fire sprites anywhere in the world, AND YET!"

"You're warm aren't you?"

The sprites danced around them, touching the piles of wood and moss clumped about the clearing. Jojo and Les craned their necks to watch them spark and flare. One of the creatures flew in close to Jojo's face and ghosted a hand over the contour of the air above her cheek. "I hope they eat you first. I hope you're delicious."

"Is that any way to speak to the man who's going to save you?" he said, finally snapping his hands free.

"Man?" She managed to look incredibly, powerfully contemptuous for someone tied to a burning pyre.
13 November 2014 @ 11:39 am


Kitty's heart raced and her fingers shook as she lifted the lid. They told stories about girls who opened things that didn't belong to them and none of those ended well. Not like her life was going to end well anyway. Highwaymen didn't typically have lengthy lifespans, but what they did have was more than worth it.

Inside, vibrating against the purple velvet interior, there was a red, slick lump of muscle that she could only assume was a heart. She'd never seen one in person, and now it was impossible to take her eyes off the thing. Rigged to it was a small golden ticker, which she had seen in pamphlets and handbills. It was the kind of life prolonging equipment that was illegal in most of the country.

"Who do you belong to?"

The heart didn't answer. She placed the lid back onto the box and looked around to make sure she was alone. Inspecting the box she saw that it had been crafted in the Royal City. The person who made the equipment wouldn't be stupid enough to make it traceable to them, but maybe she could track down the person who'd made the box itself. Someone would pay a tidy sum to keep evidence like this out of the hands of the church.

Leaving the rest of her haul behind, she slipped the box safely into her satchel and straddled her hours. Kitty kicked in her heels and whipped at the reins, urging the animal forward, back in the direction from which the heart had come.

(And then she ends up working for Jacob and Gerard somehow, because running a black market is even MORE exciting than being a highwayman. Apparently I'm just using Em's characters for whatever I want now. MOO HA HA.)
12 November 2014 @ 11:25 am


Her mother had warned her her whole life that the universe was cold and uncaring, but Meredith hadn't found it to be either. While most girls could only boast, doe eyed and frivolously giggly, of dancing all night under the stars, she had danced all night with them, engulfed. True, the universe hadn't said much, but it was incredibly warm, even the parts of it that were blacker than black where no fire burned.

It was silly, but she got the feeling that the universe was just lonely. She had assumed it was hard to be lonely when one was filled to the brim with people and places such as were collected in the books they'd made her read, but maybe mere companionship wasn't what the universe was looking for. Maybe it was looking for more. Something that could look after it while it looked after everyone else.

Even if there was a choice she would have let it take her. Once you look into the heart of a burning star nothing else feels heavy enough to hold you down.
Well, I say vote. Mainly I asked twitter, so blame them.

The prompt for today's PAD challenge was 'Timeless/Timely'. I've been on this queer fairy tale bit lately, so of course my head went to Sleeping Beauty. Specifically to Maleficent, which I still have a lot of feelings about. (Some of those are wrapped up in the way we tailor our myths to our time and some of them are wrapped up in ANGELINA, HOW ARE YOU SO PERFECT?) For the record, I do not think the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora in the movie was romantic or should be. I like that the movie spat in the face of our dominant notion that romantic relationships at all cost are the most important ones. But you know, I'm also the one writing this poem so, wooo, ladies loving ladies in myth and legend!

It's the longest one yet, so I've put it behind a cut. Also, I've recorded myself reading it, because why the hell not. I was reading it over and over as I wrote it anyway. (Comments welcome as always on either my poor writing or poor reading skills. Weee!) So, I present to you, however you want it: TimelessCollapse )
11 November 2014 @ 03:38 pm


Usually, they think he lost it in the war. He lets them keep the gruesome fantasies playing behind their well-meaning eyes, because it's not his place to take them. He's full up with his own anyway. In truth, he lost it when he was too young to fight for his country, but just old enough to start fighting for himself.

Jack and the twentieth century turned fourteen on the same day, a full six months before the war broke out abroad. The ground was hard, the lake was freezing, and man who raised him was trying in vain to claw his way back to the surface from where he'd fallen through the ice. It was the easiest thing in the world to hold him under. The cold even stopped cutting into this skin after a while.

When he finally ran for help, no one asked for questions about his limp, blue-tinged arm or how the crazy drunk had fallen through in the first place. They only wrapped him in blankets and put him to rest while the adults worked it out. They took his exhaustion for grief and in their willful ignorance taught him a lesson that would see him through into adulthood.

People who think themselves too important to look down, can trip over almost anything.