in the middle of hard times Hard Times hard times. good news, bad news, stressful news. curling up into a ball to cope with it.

when everything is _____, read poetry and make things.

Who rests in God's mean flattery now? Your wealth
Is but his cunning to make death more hard.
Your iron sinews take more pain in breaking.
And he has made the market for your beauty
Too poor to buy, although you die to sell.
Only that he has never heard of sleep;
And when the cats come out the rats are sly.
Here we are safe till he slinks in at dawn.

from God, by Isaac Rosenburg

trench poet, indeed!

(actually, I’m running away from home for a few days to cope with things. avoidance, what?)




for R.

it may be that this year

gives us fewer and fewer steps to surety

that we are knocked from our feet

an inch and a mile at a time

until we are

no longer standing

but swimming, floating, buoyed

by uncertainty

and no longer bound.

tomorrow we will take the bus to the shore

and pick shells from the wavering coast

dye them all the hues of the rainbow

and arrange to meet their brightness

at the edge of the page.


head like a kite


dissociation: limbs lumpy and not-right, not-right-at-all.

my date was trying to dance with me. i’d been coy the entire (very short) evening because well, i couldn’t figure out where to put myself. and then i froze, felt all weird and crazy and incomplete, like i had run up short.  where was i supposed to put my body again? a hand here, a hand there, step back, step in, FUCK.

it takes me time to trust someone with myself, to trust myself with them.

recently i have been bad at this, even if it’s someone i’ve had several to many dates with that person. i get all freeze-y, deer-in-the-headlights-y. i forget that i have agency in the whole situation.

it doesn’t always happen, but yeah. i don’t know [what to do about this]. chemical interventions like drugs, alcohol, or physical chemistry can blur some of the issue, but i don’t actually like relying on those things to make me not feel like crawling under the couch when i am talking with someone and OH GOD THEY LOOK ME IN THE EYE.

think i need to do more work on rooting myself to my body and my agency as an individual, so i will feel more comfortable in social situations, like uh…walking to the grocery store and running into someone (even a stranger) on the street, on dates, spending time with friends, etc.

oh the brain is so weird.


I’m a cipher. Before that, I was a loose cannon.
Before that, I was a zealot. I preached on the street corners.
I accosted strangers in subways to tell them I had good news for them.

from Self-Portrait, by Sue Standing



basically, just this. on repeat.

solution: yell yell yell, make make make, do do do.


i have the sketch to prove it, tho the means are inadequate. how could wax and pigment ever illustrate what you are?

you took down your hair and it fell about your your shoulders, a living mass. the light stood behind you and just for a moment, you looked like the angel Gabriel, messenger of god (god of love, god of peace, god of vengeance) built on the towering scale of cathedrals.

the light shifted and i remembered agnosticism. we fell into heat and i crouched above you (supplication, praise, release).

pattern recognition


Excerpt from here:

A client’s posttraumatic identity is predicated on “holding it all together.” Thus, she organized her life so that she was overextended and overwhelmed, proving again and again to herself how well she could hold it all together. When she was finally able to begin reorganizing this way of being, she experienced overwhelming grief and constant terror that her life would fall apart. She felt a sense of futility that threatened to paralyze her current life as it had shattered and paralyzed her life during the original trauma. Experiencing this was so painful and frightening that she clearly understood why her old way of being had been so resistant to change.

Actually my preferred pronouns are he/him, they/them, but other than that, you got it all right. <sigh>

Trigger warning for police violence, riot porn, etc. Take care of yourself! -RD

it’s been a year of radical firsts. first convergence, first proximity to chemical weapons, first arrest, first mass mobilization.

they just do it to scare you and keep you off the streets. the flash-bangs, the tear gas, the pepperspray. temporary disability (not being able to see, breathe unlaboriously, or hear) is terrifying, particularly when those symptoms are a departure from your normal.

it’s terrifying but if we remain calm and keep our wits about us, just steady ourselves and help eachother…it seems doable. we’ll get thru this, come out on the other side. i’ll see you in the streets again (like i have before), your face milky white-stained and your eyes big and red, but still smiling. there’s a war on but there’s a grim humor here, too. boner jokes and boot dances make the time pass more quickly, keep us warm, too.


the burrito brigade passes, around and around, insistently kind. “burrito? another burrito?” it is good to feel cared for. good to give care, take care.

for some people police weapons are extremely triggering, and it is for them that i most want to be here. a gentle voice, a calm hand. do you want us to walk you out of here? okay, let’s do that. what do you need? anybody thirsty?

a lot of medics like to be where the overt action is, the noisy chaos and crush. sometimes i can do that, but more often than not i can’t, and my level of training/prior trauma baggage (so easily triggerable) make it more appropriate that i keep out of the fray. i’m most interested in preventative care and/or the networking of people-places-resources (as i do in my daily life), anyways. have you eaten today? would you like some water? hey, we have hats and gloves, who needs some? how about a ride home for your shivering’n’traumatized pal? have you seen this person’s buddy? some people get addicted to the adrenaline rush of trauma medicine, but i’m more addicted to graciousness and gratitude. sometimes the receipt, but what also so much i love being able to thank other people for their goodness, their kindnesses. eating my humble pie a mouthfull at a time.

there are still confrontations, of course, tho they are often of a different sort (fewer nightsticks and longer sentences, but i still shake for days afterwards). full-body blocking the camera: you can’t take a picture of this person without their consent, and they can’t consent until they can breathe without sputtering again. “oh?” yes, thank you so much for your understanding. i smile ingratiatingly from under my bandanna (make sure your eyes wrinkle nice, i think) and reach out my hand, the photographer takes it, we make introductions. wish we were meeting under better circumstances, you can call me ____. another would-be photographer is not so gracious, but the subject of the photos hollers consent (thank you) and i bug out gladly.


“Wisdom” I view through an anarchist lens: what dismantles hierarchy and oppression, what redistributes and builds power in the hands of those with the least of it, what equalizes and empowers. There’s a lot of forgiveness in my personal understanding of ‘right action’ for doing the best one can, recognizing structural limits, and acknowledging complexity, unknowns, lack of or multiple right answers. But the definition stands on choice, that knowledge that at some point we can choose our reactions to the circumstances in which we’re placed. Courage is only one value of many. There may be a courageous act one chooses not to do for important, valid reasons. That’s ok. But its important that we acknowledge our choices.

The key thing I try to internalize is the principle that standing against oppression– yours or in solidarity with someone else– is more courageous than dangerous, brave shit that reinforces it.

so. guess i’m trying to eke out some sort of synthesis between the flash-bangs and the burritos. just decompressing, y’know?


tell me we will always be this way

mad as hell / full of fight.


oh the humanity


it is a constant work in progress.