THE BETWIXT AND THE BETWEEN
Isabelle Menin, Dark Happiness
We had the same vision that summer, lying in the orange glow of the orchard on the hill, smoking cigarettes and cursing our youth for the ennui that seemed less and less like a choice with each day that passed. You may have limited time was written in every sunset. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we’d wandered into someone else’s dream. The gods drank to the end of days and shards of crystal still slick with ambrosia fell from the sky in those white nights. A riot of flowers bloomed in wild profusion over the land, covering even the pyramids in a magic carpet of poppies, peonies, lilac, orchids. We were still dancing as the last full moon sank into a sea licked by fire.
1 month ago
I wrote this alone on an empty beach, my back against a tree, while the sun set on the island I’ve landed on for what seems an indefinite digression. Endless days melt into weeks in this endless spring. I didn’t expect to be spending it on this little island, with its pristine but tame forests and sleepy small-town pirate aesthetic.
Things fall into my life (and onto my lap) serendipitously these days: people, books, shoes, dogs. But none of the evolving cast of characters I’ve spent the past several months with actually knows me. I’m a different person to each of them; here today, gone tomorrow. I often find myself telling my story, or at least making an attempt. As much as I try to make sense of myself, I always stop short — wondering what brought me here and what will take me away to wherever it is I’m going. I admire the weird beauty of it all in a detached way, as if from the vantage point of a ghost trapped in my own body.
It’s a strange life, this. Adrift and unrooted as I am, it’s ironic that I spend so much of my time planting new roots, knowing I won’t be there to see them grow. The dirt under my fingernails and the stiffness in my back seem as permanent as the ache in my heart. I wander every country road crisscrossing this neck of the woods, thinking of all the adventures we could be having right now.
The thing about this life is that you never know what is (sometimes quite literally) right around the corner. It is, as someone also described me recently, an ever unfolding mystery. Books turn up in the right place at the right time. Lately: Doestoevsky’s Notes from Underground, Daniel Pinchbeck’s Breaking Open the Head, Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress, Paul Hawken’s The Magic of Findhorn; Thoreau, Sedaris, Mann, Castaneda, Palahniuk, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Despite this island’s popularity as a filming location for horror movies, the most terrifying thing I’ve come across is the edge of my own certainty; the blankness that overwhelms me when I’m face to face with my inner existential crisis. It’s a nearly constant state for me now. I thought this life would give me answers but it has only revealed the yawning chasm between who I thought I was and who I actually am, between what I thought I wanted and what I actually crave. This is when I’m supposed to work it out, find myself, realize my potential. Instead I’m confronted with a maelstrom of nagging doubts. I have talent, I’m told, but I lack ambition and the speed or relentlessness to pursue anything to its end. I exist in a hurricane of ideas, like a storm tossed galleon that has fallen off the edge of the map. I don’t know what I want this space to be anymore. I’m waiting for a sign, a definite turn one way or the other. I feel I have to cast these words to the waves, a digital message in a bottle that I can only hope reaches whoever it’s meant for.
100% PURE DOPE: to evoke that heart thudding drop when your world has narrowed to a point, then suddenly opens into a vast panorama of possibility, and you fly.
2 months ago
"Maybe the wolf is in love with the moon, and each month it cries for a love it will never touch."
3 months ago1 note
I meant to publish something about the transhumanism conference I attended two weeks ago, but it feels like a million years ago now that I’m firmly located in the middle of nowhere. The middle of nowhere being a bed so small that I have to sleep diagonally, in a musty attic in an empty house in a hundred acre wood in the shadow of the Cascades. The nearest humans are a five minute walk away, there’s only the wood stove downstairs for heat and the kitchen sink for running water, pick a tree to piss under. I can see night sky and fir branches through my window.
I feel something so intense when I’m out in the forest alone. Beauty like this makes my spine tingle and my heart fill with something I have inadequate words for, except to say that it feels like the opposite of loneliness. I’ll never forget these nights in this house by myself with moonlight pouring through the skylight. Mornings washing my face in the kitchen sink in water so cold it makes my hands ache. Or when I’m wandering the woods with one of the dogs and she comes back with a pair of elk antlers in her mouth. It’s surreal in the best way.
My ever-present headphones have been mostly absent of late. The silence is magical, and the sounds that punctuate it even more so. The rush of the creek, swollen from the spring rains. Robins, jays, ravens, woodpeckers, and others I don’t yet recognize.
The North Cascades is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Animals with fins, fur, feathers and scales are all at home in this dramatic and beautiful environment. Elusive mammals like the gray wolf, fisher and wolverine wander the wilderness in small numbers…Fish and amphibians lurk in the clear mountain lakes and streams. The rich forests, rocky slopes and clean waters teem with invertebrate life, such as butterflies, dragonflies, stoneflies and mayflies.
Friday night I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I would like to get drunk in these woods with you, and even though it’s impossible the thought itself made me smile. Working alone all day when the stimulating conversation is all in my head isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But I do enjoy a challenge.
playlist: IF TREES HAVE DREAMS
4 months ago2 notes
This story begins in the middle - the middle of the desert. And the end, my last days in California. Ominous clouds overhead; as above, so below. I stare down at the dusty maps clenched in my hand. A code written in blood on what looks like pages torn from old anatomy textbooks. The road sings a siren song. I am ready, I am ruthless. The only thing I believe in saying goodbye to is any semblance of normality. The only thing I’m certain about is that my life will never be predictable again. I could be anywhere a year from now. But that’s not the point. This is.
TREASURE MAP (YR HEART)
soundcloud teaser for the spotify haters
4 months ago
We’ve played a dangerous game and there’s nowhere else to go. You’re the drug, dance is the delivery. Eyes closed, I can almost see you. Don’t move.
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay
words + full mix below by alpha:
i am nothing but a complex combination of atoms, just like everything else around us. and you are nothing but energy compressing and propagating through air.
together we invented time travel, teletransportation, non-assisted flying, telepathy, psychokinesis and love. we became ether and light, created entire new worlds from our minds only, transformed moments into hours and produced films like the old french classics. as unbelievable as it sounds, we did all of this while dancing.
i know we are atoms and energy, but when we close our eyes… that’s a whole different story.
5 months ago
"Meaning is why we evolve. Meaning is us. We are meaning." — Ayoub Qanir
5 months ago
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.
— Andrew Wyeth
Once more around the sun, well into deep winter. Underneath the silence and darkness in the garden of my soul is the slow magic of dormant things waiting for the light. Buried under snowdrifts and white feather blankets with only words for companions, I wait for a voice from the heart of winter. If you’re absolutely still you can almost hear my heart beating.
Isaac Levitan, Forest in Winter
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
— Robert Frost, from ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’
6 months ago1 note
Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages. — Elalusz
I was satisfied with haiku until I met you,
jar of octopus, cuckoo’s cry, 5-7-5,
but now I want a Russian novel,
a 50-page description of you sleeping,
another 75 of what you think staring out
a window. I don’t care about the plot
although I suppose there will have to be one,
the usual separation of the lovers, turbulent
seas, danger of decommission in spite
of constant war, time in gulps and glitches
passing, squibs of threnody, a fallen nest,
speckled eggs somehow uncrushed, the sled
outracing the wolves on the steppes, the huge
glittering ball where all that matters
is a kiss at the end of a dark hall.
At dawn the officers ride back to the garrison,
one without a glove, the entire last chapter
about a necklace that couldn’t be worn
inherited by a great-niece
along with the love letters bound in silk. — Dean Young
On the brink of something and the end of nothing. Drifting on a dark sea of melancholy, caught between waiting and wanting. I wish I was a poet so I could coax visions from behind my eyelids and let them loose like butterflies in the snow, so I could unchain spirit from silence and paint in all the colors that love scattered madly inside me. I’m on the heels of ecstasy, running from the rift in my heart. I hope you’ll meet me on the other side.
If you ever ask me how many times you’ve crossed my mind, I would say once. Because you came, and never left. — Ritu Ghatourey
If you do not love me, I shall not be loved.
If I do not love you, I shall not love. — Samuel Beckett
6 months ago1 note
a fire to light the longest night of the year
sky’s on fire, smoke in my lungs
i’m your slain unicorn
made my grave in darkest forest
blood on birch bark
in my dreams we’re chasing alien sunsets
and I wake up lying in shards of glass
reaching for your hand in the dark
the click of a lighter on repeat
because darling you started a fire
and every time I see something beautiful
i burn a little more
7 months ago