this isn't to say I'm throwing the simpler style out the window -- I love how it looks -- I'd just like to continue being flexible with my art.

trees have many branches~

all things told? feeling pretty good.

also, I think I've cracked the 'can I ink and color like I used to?' thing, but I'm going to keep trying to make sure it isn't a fluke -- basically, using the upper shelf of my workstation as a push-bar to aggressively practice stretching every few minutes (particularly with regards to my thumb...)

praying it works. c_c

a smoke; some noodles; a playlist of doves albums on shuffle.

wow, I feel...awake.

that's...not new, but it's certainly been a while.

trying to find my way in all this.

the corridors wind labyrinthine, and my torch is growing dim.

may I find an exit soon.

an epilogue:

recently I learned he had this magnetic effect on a fair number of people I still know, and didn't realize had known him as well.

very small world we live in.

if everything else I've lived through is any indication, things will come full circle eventually.

I think it's important that I take care in my actions should that moment arrive while I'm still here.

sometimes I still want to reach out to him again

but nothing could ever come of it, even if he's thinking the same thing -- which I would have considered extremely likely, before; we often had 'psychic telephone' moments over the years -- because we are both very, very different people now

and so that pain still sits there in my heart, a dull ache like an old wound in bad weather, out of reach and disjointed from time

it's the baggage I don't know how to put down that defines me, it seems.

after this, very soon after in fact, I went on to get married to the aforementioned 'someone else' just months into knowing them

I won't go into that right now.

I will say that in the intervening years, up until the past 5 or so, we had still been in sporadic contact. ghosting only works if you don't keep going back, you see

we drifted apart in our interests, our goals, and through it all it seems as if I had grown up while he hadn't

and part of me died when I realized it all

I mentioned being tangled in torments of my own

I was trapped at the bottom of a well, with stones piled on top of me: my own religious zealotry, influenced by homophobic parents, peers that could not and would not understand me, and a dearth of friends, close or otherwise

as much as I was in love, my fear of myself won out.

I told him I was 'fixed' -- that I'd become straight, that I'd met someone else, and that I didn't want him to ever contact me again

and then I became a ghost

I still see him in other people to whom I'm attracted, sometimes overwhelmingly so

most often in the form of a kind of physical resilience; a self-aware but oddly self-spiteful cockiness; a sardonic, ego-driven attitude; a sense of humor so dark, Anish Kapoor is sitting somewhere fuming over the fact he doesn't have an exclusive license to paint with it

and I also still see the mistake I made, and I don't know how to stop seeing it

there was a boy I once loved, whom with I was so enamored I thought I would die

he was a few years older than me, already getting into college when I was still in high school

--kinda fucked up in retrospect, but I digress--

he was gorgeous, and, like me, was bisexual and tangled in torments both inward and outward, but unlike me (at the time), was a total libertine. his freedom compared to mine drew me to him like a moth to a streetlamp

he was also a narcissistic drunkard, an avatar of self-destruction.

I carry baggage; it's what I do

sometimes I carry so much I lose track of where I end and the baggage begins

it's time to start unpacking; time to put things right where they belong

this wasn't their fault. we weren't even too terribly differentiated back then; we were basically children, after a fashion; awkward children just trying to learn how to walk on our own.

no, this was an external factor

this was someone who saw me, saw what I represented, and wanted me to die. this was the cruelty of someone without.

I understand now: I'm here to pick up where I left off.

mostly feel as a puppet

purpose long-since realized, served, fulfilled, carried out, completed, finished. why am I still here?

have I been much more than a skin for the others' wine since they left me in that attic: a hole in my heart, a broken table leg where my sternum should be?

loosened.

I don't exactly know what I'm doing here.

it's been a long

long

time

since I was.

can only think in fragments of
past emotions no longer tied
to their buoys,

and merely floating in an open
ocean of neurotransmitters,

and never again brushing against their beloved home shores

my voice loses itself in the chorus.

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