Gorgeous Descent

Discerning Daddy

It is hard to describe the feeling of Magic. Like love, it feels like something concrete, something physical. It has the ability to ache and to create joy, to move along your body, ripping at your soul and nourishing you: Magic is akin to love, to desire: it is the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, about who we are and who we were, who we will be.

It is the creation of an existence, of a world, of a self, built from a darkness that is waiting to devour us.

Love, though, is the intricate and aching beauty buried deep inside everything we will ever lose.

A few years ago I met a boy named Joe. Joe was 25 years younger than me, 22 years old.

There is something I should tell you, something I can’t explain, but that feels somehow part of the fabric of magic and love, part of the fabric of the creation who of I am: ever since I was 18 I’ve been having the same dream. I have it every week. And every morning, I wake up from this dream with a sense of hope and love, and the pain of loss, of having lost something so beautiful and magnificent that for a few moments I lay in bed, stunned, not sure how I will make it through the day.

I always get up. I always make it through the day. But like some strange and golden treasure buried deep, I carry the longing for something that feels impossibly gone.

The dream goes like this:

I am riding a big wheel through a vast and endless field. The sky is dark, but a silver moon aflame in a burning white light hangs full and cold in the night sky. Ahead of me is a barn. Next to the barn is a lake surrounded by a forest of giant trees.

In the lake a giant mermaid jumps from the water and into the sky, hovering there before returning to the blackness of the water: her reflection etched into the moon, imprinted inside me.

I stop my big wheel next to the barn and I walk inside. There is a staircase.

This moment is always reflective, as if I can see into my own dream, into my self, into what is coming. I have a choice: to turn and walk away, or to continue up the stairs and to the beauty and pain that awaits me.

I never choose to walk away. But I always hold it for a moment, savoring the option, savoring the idea that if I did turn away I would never know him, never see him, never lose him.

At the top of the stairs is a large room. One of the walls is missing, looking out at the lake and the forest and the moon.

A boy, maybe 18 or 19, stands in the middle of the room. I can never remember exactly what he looks like, just that overwhelming feeling of love, of need, of longing: I just know he is the most beautiful human being I have ever seen in my life and that I love him with all that I am.

He has written the words, “He falls gently through the trees,” in black.

He turns to me. “I miss you so much,” he says, and it feels like the words are tearing into me, decimating and full of a searing heat. “I miss you so much and I love you.”

And he turns, every time, he always turns in the exact same way: he always turns away from me, and he walks to the missing wall, walking on air, into the night, above the lake, until he gets to the trees, where he hovers for a moment, before falling, before fading, before being gone.

I have no way of telling you what this dream means. The absoluteness of it. The totality. Just that in those few moments I am so in awe, so enthralled, so swallowed by life and love: that in those few moments I am given a glimpse of something ineffably full of wonder.

Joe worked as a barista at a coffee shop in Echo Park. But he was an artist. He didn’t want to be Banksy, he wanted to be Basquiat, he wanted to be Herring, he wanted to be something else: something new and old: something violent.

“I want to create that one thing that no one can turn away from, that one thing that will be so beautiful and so terrifying, so personal and intimate that you will never forget it.” He laughed. “There is no such thing, of course. The idea is the thing that is beautiful, once I make it it will be nothing. That’s the thing, right? You create the most beautiful piece of art in the world, pulled from some faraway place to show the world exactly who you are, and –”

“It never does.” I say.

“Yeah,” he said. His eyes were a golden haze, his hair dark and curly, his hands long, thin, nails perfectly cut to an almost painful precision, his body lean and tall: he was stunning.
“I’m always trying to find the words to say exactly what I mean,” I tell him. We are laying in my bed in the Silverlake Hills, LA burning bright outside my windows, he is sweating, his head on my chest, I can feel his heart beating against mine. “I am always trying to describe what it is I am feeling: who I am. I feel like all I’m ever doing is screaming: This is me! Me!”

“I want…” he hesitated, and then he laughed. He smelled of carnitas and weed and…himself. He smelled impossibly like Joe. “That’s it. I want. End of sentence.”

We kissed and he fucked me, him inside me, connected to him as he held me down and fucked himself deeper into me, grounding me. He always had this amazing way of grounding me.

I love that feeling of being pinned under someone, their weight heavy on my back, their cock deep inside me, the feeling, even if it’s just for a second: of being more than who I am: more than who we are.

He would kiss the back of my neck, his arms wrapping around me, his body shuddering, and whisper, “Baby, I’m going to cum. Fuck, baby, I’m going to cum!”

I would catch Joe looking at me, his eyes open as we kissed, or the few times we went to the gym together, or as I was standing: lost in my own world, I would turn and see him and he would smile: everything I’ve ever wanted was in that smile.

A few weeks before Jon died he came into my room. I was trying to write. He lay in my bed. We weren’t boyfriends anymore. So much of our lives had been destroyed by heroin and meth: the ravages of addiction. I lay down next to him, and I wrapped my arms around him.

“Baby,” he said.

I almost said to him, I’m not your baby anymore. Not because it was true. But because I was mad at him. Jon had been in a heroin relapse for months by then, he had stolen from me, lied to me, and I was angry.

But on that day, that one day, I didn’t push him away.

“Baby, did you know I love you?”

When Jon’s mother told me they had found his body, in the back of his car in a parking lot in Montebello, that Jon was dead: that Jon was now forever gone: I thought my whole world would fall apart. I thought the pain of that moment would be too hard to ever stand up from, to ever return from: I believed that my whole life would be forever defined by the incredible aching pain of that one second.

“Baby, did you know I love you?”

I don’t remember what I said to him. I’m not even sure I said anything. I think I just held him, wishing I could keep him safe, keep us safe: wishing I could protect him from what would eventually come.

The next time he came into my room and lay down in my bed I was mad at him. I told him to leave. I told him I didn’t want him in my room anymore. He looked at me. If I could erase that look, those words, from my life I would: if I could change the very moment I forgot who he was, who we were, I would.

“I understand,” he said, and he walked out.

What was I doing in that moment? What was so important? I was probably on Facebook, or watching Netflix: lost inside the insidious banalities of life.
I don’t have an ending for this. I don’t have some beautiful way to wrap it all up in hope and how amazing life is. I don’t know any of the answers.
I do know Jon loved me. And that I continue to love him. That I will love him forever. And I don’t know where Joe went, but I like to think he is working on that impossible painting: that forever beauty, even if it means he will fail. It would be an honorable failure.

Sometimes I think all we can do is fail in the most human and beautiful way possible. It is the tapestry of our failures that will elevate us: Magicians conjuring the impossible.

You can find my novel, Accidental Warlocks, at Amazon.com. I’d love if you checked it out. And thanks for being here. My witness.

Loss.

Discerning Daddy

Recently, a Facebook friend of mine told me that she missed my Facebook stories.  I told her that I would write something just for her.  That was a few days ago.  But I have felt empty lately, at a loss for words, at a loss for meaning.  Not sure what I should be saying anymore.  Not sure what is important.

And I know that is intrinsically linked to the loss of Jon.

There have been a few moments in my life that have truly changed me.  My mother getting diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, my getting sober, finding out I was HIV Positive, and now Jon’s death.  Each of these events have taken the course of my life, the direction I believed I was meant to be heading in, and radically shifted them, changed something essential that I believed about life.

Each of these events have left me feeling like I am fumbling in the dark, grasping at faith that my life will once again take on shape, will once again feel purposeful.

When I was a child my grandmother, Sadie, gave me an antique money bank.  It was a smiling clown with a red gloved hand.  You put your pennies into the red gloved hand and then pushed a lever and the hand would shove the pennies into the clown’s mouth.

For months I was terrified of this leering, hungry clown.

And then I began to talk to it.

I was a strange child.  I spent a lot of time alone.  I believed in ghosts.  I believed in demons and Magick.  Both my mother and my grandmother believed they were witches. They cast stones and read tarot and threw spells and set intention and explained our lives in deep tapestries of myth and reincarnation.

I remember imagining all the fury and dark anger I had as a child and putting it into the clown’s red gloved hand, watching as he opened his mouth wide to devour it.  He became a place to store all my deepest fears, all my dark and angry thoughts.

As I grew older I found other ways to combat my demons. Heroin became a way for me to quiet the world, a way to take all the chaos and pain and turn into something soft and beautiful.

And for years that worked.  Until it didn’t.

Heroin became that devouring clown, monstrous and hungry: no longer just eating the darkness, but eating all of me.

I thought nothing would ever hurt me again the way I ached walking away from dope.  To this day I can feel that warm blanket wash over me, that safety, that absolution: I can taste the drip in the back of my throat, the urge to walk, slowly, throughout the City, that endless sense of possibility that would never really be realized because there was no reason: there was nothing else I needed in that fairy tale opioid landscape.

But eventually that safe and perfect beauty died, and turned into something monstrous and destructive.

I ended up homeless, I lost my car, my relationship to my family and friends became strained and full of hurt and betrayal. I was lost, fumbling in the dark.

And somewhere inside all that darkness light appeared.  It wasn’t immediate.  It took time and there was pain.  I remember lying in my room, alone, crying, the ache inside felt like it would rip me in pieces.

But it didn’t.  And the person who emerged was stronger, clearer, the shapes around me more defined than ever before.  And from those strange and new shapes I built a life that was my own.  Separate from my family’s money, separate from my past, from all the darkness and hurt, I built a life of hope.

My mother has lived with Stage IV cancer for 8 years. I have been sober for almost 7.  I have been HIV Positive for four.

I believed that finally I understood life, I understood hope and love and what it meant to be alive.

And then Jon died.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my room reading. Something in the way the light moved, something in the way the air seemed suddenly denser, full of something other, and then I smelled him.  I could feel him right there, his breath, those blue eyes, and you will call me crazy and you will never know what I am talking about until you have felt it too: but he was there with me, his lips up against mine, his hands briefly connecting to mine.

It could have been seconds or it could have been hours. It was endless.

And then it was over and I could breathe in a way I had never been able to breathe before.

And I am left with this sense that I do not know anything about life.  Once again I am changed.

The ache of Jon feels too large to comprehend, too vast to make sense out of, so I don’t try anymore.  I just let It be.  And I when I come upon it I sit there, as still as I can, my body shaking with the pain of missing him, until it is gone, and I remember that moment when out of thin air Jon came to me and kissed me.  To let me know that he was still there.  That he would always be there.

I have learned so much about love.  Through my relationship to Jon and Alex, and to my relationship now with the man I call Noah.

Someone recently asked me if I thought it was “healthy” that Alex and I continued to live together.  He insinuated that maybe I shouldn’t share with Noah my feelings about Jon, that maybe I needed to leave the past behind me.

But that is bullshit.  Alex and Jon are my family.  My love for them will never not be one of the most important things in my life.  Just because the direction of that love has changed does not mean the intensity of it has.

And my love for Noah encompasses all the love I have ever felt before him, it emerges from that love, it is because of that love.

The one thing I am sure of, the one thing I know for certain, is that love is at the core of all this.  All of life.  It is the only thing that matters.

I can be petty and sanctimonious, I can gossip and lie, I can be jealous and spiteful and unkind.  I am human.

But then I think of Jon, who died alone in his car in a parking lot in Montebello.  And how loved he was.  Whether in those final moments he knew it or not.  And while maybe in those final moments that love couldn’t save him, I think it has the opportunity to save those of us he left behind.

Jon loved me so much.  And I loved him.  And that love is something that will live forever.  It will change us.  And I think of Alex and I think of Noah.  And I think of all the men I have ever loved and I try to hold on to that.

Who we are and what we do matters.  Maybe everything we do matters.  I don’t know.  But in that darkness there is a new shape forming: something hopeful: something full of integrity and kindness.  And I want to hold on to that.

So for now I have no idea what words to say, no stories that make sense to me: I am still searching for meaning, for understanding, but I can see it, shimmering out there in the distance: the vastness and the potential, and when I lose sight of it I can close my eyes and remember that kiss with Jon, or the first time Alex and I went to dinner, all those endless walks we took, or Noah, and the quiet moments in bed just holding each other, or the long drives across America, listening to music and exploring the world together, in the way we have all come together in this life to take care of each other.

In all the love.