Each of us wrote our intents down. The intents were held by paper, by our hands, our heads, & we sat still—focusing on the inhale : exhale : inhale : release. We sat silent to try & embody what we intended to burn, what we intended to leave behind & accept.
Here, “love who you can as the world burns” was written & filmed, just outside the cement scrape of Tucson’s city limits. The hill we stood on over-looked miles of saguaro & cholla, & paled in the sun against distant cloud shadows crawling over mountains like the backsides of prayers that didn’t quite make it into the fire they were thrown to, or
maybe like the slow crawl of tears being released after centuries of damming.
A friend’s tobacco they’d grown was placed in a metal bowl. They lit it. When each individual felt they’d personally embodied their intent, they’d toss their paper into the fire. Our intents unified in the & smoke & ash.
We ate baked baked that morning, & left a small loaf for the desert
Here’s a good reminder why this body’s back in Tucson; as it’s been murky & lonely & sober (mostly) out here, living outta the car & quietly moving w. the poems to learn to go thru instead of against.
Thank you for inviting me to make space physically to ground myself, & get outta my fucking head for an afternoon ❤
& FINALNOTE before the poem; shout out to Suza Weise for helping film this piece ❤ Suza’s a dope Tucson artist & practitioner of integrative healing—dig her love & work on Patreon as she moves towards creating a podcast on vulnerability & healing
“love who you can as the world burns—“
Tucson’s Outskirts, AZ, US, 3.25.18
“WRITE THE POEM, RECORD, UPLOAD,”
This poem’s a continuation of the “Write The Poem, Record, Upload” series, a compilation of “first-drafts” recorded & performed to ground cultivating a humility that’s not self-loathing.
The series is posted + archived in a FB photo-album. Add me as a ‘friend‘ (whatever that means to you), or click ‘follow‘ (whatever that means to you) to keep up.
If you’re not down w. FB, another option is to view the series’s on-site “Table of Contents,” & follow the gathering mileage + poems via @RuntRaccoon on IG.
&, I mean, I guess you can also hit me up on all 3… ya know? Show some love to this weird kid who’s shit w. self-promotion! Thanks for the support y’all!
& much gratitude to the folks that have helped me get this far ❤
TW : This post & poem discusses suicide (including ideation, attempts, & death), addiction, & self-harm.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT HEALING FEELS LIKE, BUT IT DEFINITIVELY DOESN’T INVOLVE YOU INTRODUCING YOURSELF INTO THE SITUATION w. A TONGUE LEASHED TO DOGMATIC SYSTEMS OF VALUE
[ NOTE : at the bottom of this post are links to resources relating
to healing, prevention, & communities ]
I’ve been called selfish for attempting to kill myself.
I’ve also been shamed for forms of self-harm our culture does not consider acceptable.
I’ve been shamed as an addict, relating to a variety of drugs & alcohol—though, interestingly enough, if you create something “artsy enough,” people often excuse, entirely-overlook, or rationalize non-prescription drug use as a “normal, necessary part of the creative process & drive.”
…but if you have a hat out on the sidewalk, asking for change?
“Junky. Lazy. Fuck off.”
Though kindness does show face, & these are strong generalizations, the predatory nature of these insecure cultural hierarchies quivers when something the individual doesn’t want to acknowledge within themselves is externally clear in someone else.
“Over-doses are natural selection.”
Institutionalized standards regarding the medication of trauma creates space for people who have more societally acceptable addictions/coping mechanisms for their pain, such as television series, eating (though, pending on your body processes & gender-presentation, billboards & vultures will gauge how they shame), sex (again, pending—), cigarettes, work, intellectualizing emotions, etc/etc/etc, to distance themselves & look down upon people medicating their pain/traumas w. addictions that are not acceptable, such as heroin, meth, benzos, RCs, stolen scripts, etc/etc/etc.
“People who commit suicide only think of themselves.”
I’ve watched homies shamed for expressing a desire to die by folks they’re close to, or share on how they’ve been shamed for sharing w. others that they’ve been thinking about suicide. Search “suicide shame” on The Icarus Projects’ FB group, & you’ll find swatches of people sharing their stories in a communal space that won’t rip into you for expressing ideation / attempts / desires.
Leave these smaller corners of the internet, & it’s not hard to find people shaming suicide + addiction…
Stop shaming people for wanting to die
Shame doesn’t help anyone heal
This poem (& post) is definitively not comprehensive, or asserting itself to be. The predacious aspects of this culture, & the systems of thought it cultivates, targets groups to varying degrees based on their identity, whether it’s race, sexual orientation, documents, religion, or any other expression of a person that doesn’t fit the billboard standards of marketed colonial-american morality.
This poem & post are post-it notes floating on a pond of experiences I can & cannot relate to. The scribbles & scratches here are attempts to take a step w. being vulnerable w. my own shit, & attempt to release some internalized experiences that someone else may benefit from.
“STOP SHAMING PEOPLE FOR WANTING TO DIE”
El Panchan, Chis, MX, 3.18.18
RESOURCES REGARDING SUICIDE & HEALING
If you any suggestions for mental health resources to include, please contact me w. “I Deserve Love” in the subject line of your email.
ON THE ROAD, NOT PUBLISHING,
& MY SYMPTOMS’ FAVORITE GHOSTS
It’s difficult to maintain any consistency w. publishing when you’re constantly on & off the road, & when off, squeezing extra hours out of sand clenched in that boss’ fist to catch enough cash to reach that next gig, repair the car, that whole, “yo, we got three days to get from Boston to San Francisco” mentality. It caught up to me. Began staking healing on mileage, on the next slow-down.
I burned out. A slump manifested.
& as that slump rose its sunrise spine over a horizon of submissions, social media scheduling, emails demanding, & all that noise that seems to be expected/associated w. “being a writer,” I began to notice how much bullshit I’d surrounded my personal process of writing with. I wouldn’t be deemed a “success” by societal standards, yet I was sweating nervous hurricanes blind to their anxiety to have a lick of that notoriety.
It’s hilarious how that mind-state still resonates. This post feels so pivotal, & important, & part of that is because I’ve been gone long enough that no one’s here to hear.
Importance cultivated in the lack of audience. Like, the performance would still be going on if no one else was there. & that can feel authentic, or sad, hilarious, all of it.
It’s funny how important this feels when there are nuclear bombs to dismantle.
“HOW DO ANY OF YOU SOCIALIZE SOBER?”
The above ^^title’s^^ a line from a poem I wrote years ago, & still lack answers that can walk a straight line, drive, or deal w. the cops—but I’m thinking that came w. the territory (minus the police) of trying to bury being uncomfortable in the literary communities I craved acceptance from & didn’t feel a part of (or able to be, or know how to be), along w. a general “let’s just intellectualize what’s rolling thru your heart &, w. logic, we’ll figure this shit out,” among other feelings of shame & self-loathing that only gained space to breathe-acknowledged when the heart was numbed safe to the pulse of mirrors staring back at you glazing them w. softer light.
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?
This 19 year-old, narcissistically dependent puddle of self-loathing begged potential stampedes of approval from others’ regarding how my “words fell together,” that they were “real enough,” that folks could, “feel it.”
Then a 20 y/o ego cranked the pressure till it cracked, smoking whatever manifested to write a word, run a press, get out of bed, have sex. It was 2015, & I’d landed in Tucson to kick a show down on 4th Ave, at Cafe Passe, w. a mixed-crew of local titans & talented writers passing thru, my entrance to the city had me feeling high enough on its own.
The folks I’d come from Florida with, my partner at the time & a childhood homie, were living out of a Mongolian Yurt, close to downtown, & a part of a growing community of dirty kids, travelers, & odd-balls coming out to make an extra buck & kick it around the gem show.
Hell, the Yurt’s owned by a poet whose words melt the paper they’re written on, & she let us host readings out of it. We escalated, in crew & range & promotions, till we ended up hosting two bonfire open mics w. eclectic sets ranging from a homie hitting his feature w. a 15 minute freestyle, to travel-punk-acoustic-soul-noise-something, veterans, activists, an eclectic mix of identities & art forms.
The core crew of that time ranged from 16 y.o. suburban virgins to 26 y.o. lieutenants. We made a strange mix, moved into a Condo, & settled into the collapse that some of us saw coming, most of us, especially my rose-tinted glasses, boiling the world w. naive trust.
2016 NYC Poetry Festival
The following mileage brimmed w. some hella strange gigs, that many literary folks, musicians, etc, wouldn’t even call “shows.” Our first West Coast tour lead us to kicking shoes off in Oakland streets, slugging whiskey like we could bruise the demons hiding in the bottom of the bottle, & set ourselves free from ourselves.
We failed, failed again, & hopped the BART to San Francisco where morning opened hungover in a side-walk ciphers of poems shared among people that became homies fast bc none of us knew how to kick it & get down w. that literary community, even though, comparatively, they were fucking wild.
Or maybe that’s an assumption of mine on their part. A projection of mine I’m casting onto them.
I don’t know.
MILEAGE & INTENT
There were Greyhound station songs sung to God by a humble Vegas hustlers honoring his parents, his past lovers, his children, cousins, anyone in his life that had shook hands w. St. Peter after catching bullets w. their faith when poverty lines were signed for profit.
Empty parks became stages. Freestyling w. strangers over someone beatboxing under a dead star desert sky bruised purple. Dancing on San Francisco rooftops barefoot in the rain, alone. Crashing someone’s party w. poems they…weren’t particularly expecting (but that was great practice for tomorrow’s Beast Crawl, so thank you for throwing us up in the line-up & tolerating the slurs between syllables.)
There’s a trend here. The way pains expressed. That restless feeling in your legs when the sun starts to set. Kicking rigs outta the way in abandoned Tucson warehouses to stomp circles to snapped banjo strings. Rainbow Gatherings out deep in the White Mountains playing psychedelic solos. Veracruz bed bouncing mosh pits w. only two people & no music & a whole slew of strange experiences I’d call poetic performance that was much more enticing than maintaining a steady online profile, trying to build a “following” (to where?), or any of that noise that comes up when you google “how to publish your poetry.”
I was 15 the first time I searched that. & lil baby Jeremiah took that shit serious.
What’s fueling this? Curiosity. Intent? Not entirely certain.
Maybe to strip myself a little more naked, so we both feel less alone?
Why do I want you to fell less alone? Do I have love for you?
How do I give you what I barely afford myself worth?
I lack any good answer to that.
Though, in this tangent, it needs to be acknowledged that there is a romanticization of a past that cost a lot of us more than we were aware we’d been prepped to pay.
While I’ve gained a lot, & grown, thru these experiences, there are people who never made it out of that world, those worlds, these worlds….artist or addict?
One has some words, with a website out, asking for some change.
One’s sitting by the corner, with a hat out, asking for some change.
Unsure. These feedback into each other, & can easily become more static cement than fluid expression.
WHY RE-OPEN THIS SITE?
There’s powerful emotional release in the act of being as vulnerable as you can that I cannot pretend to understand the nuances of. But that potency is what’s brought me here–to this process–of re-modeling this website, & re-releasing poems, regardless of audience or lack-there-of.
The whole writing world is strange to me. I don’t feel like a writer….or a poet….or any of those loaded words.
I just feel shit.
& language, happens to be
how those emotions are channeled,
thru both writing
After the rush
comes the grounding—thru reflection
in either performance,
( it gets murkier here…like, when are we performing? what’s considered a performance? who are we performing for? more later—in the poems )
I don’t love writing. I do it. This is coping. This is escape. A compulsive return in the present to a behavior that’s worked in the past to sort shit out….& if escape is running towards….& there’s some strange, nameless gurgle grinding up your spine w. a twisted need to expel whatever the hell this is…
I guess that means these can be acts of healing for my-selves too.
…or maybe this an early-twenties lethargic tantrum nit-picking images we use to communicate interests humans take bc that person wants attention themselves.
If it is, well, this circus is going public! & that means letting go, taking responsibility for what’s said, & riding w. what happens.
This first post’s acrobats do feel agitated. A bit on-guard. Romanticizing (therefor objectifying) the road & already building buffers to protect myself from y’all’s many faces. But,
if you stick your ears between the syllables,
under the ramble, “intent”
are having a dialogue
regarding what one means
to the other.