Questions written in bed, while listening to Julien Baker’s “Everything That Helps You Sleep”.
“Cathedral of arching ribs”
The body as cathedral
How do people pay their respects?
How do people change their behaviour when they enter? And then when they leave
How do I define my own sacred natures, are there parts of the body which are more sacred? Where is the most holy corner?
The art of the body. The stained glass window of my eyes. The walkway of my spine. The sacrament of my salvia, swallowed daily by my own mouth.
I saw Crywank last night at The Rosemount Hotel. I’ve been creating a playlist of songs which make me think/reflect on the ideas of this residency. I’ve decided to add some Crywank songs, particularly for the lyrics below;
Everything I had I seem to have lost
Everyone who loved me seems to have forgot
Everything I want seems too far away
I’ll just stay in bed for another day
So I will share my bed with phantom limbs, and live my life in tidy rooms
Surround myself with living things that don’t know how to move
Last week I had a really great Cathedral Conversation about loneliness, and what that means. What we ache for. Whether the bed is a space of loneliness or rather, a comfortable space to feel alone. During the conversation I said I feel lonelier in public spaces, in streets, in clubs. I feel more content to be alone when I am in a private place such as my bedroom.
There’s more to be written about this, but not yet. For now I am going to listen to Crywank and Death Cab For Cutie. This song has been appearing throughout my residency;
The radio alarm this morning
leaked a slow dark stain
“What does staying in bed look like to you?”
guilt, shame, lies.
softness, gentle care, consideration for yourself.
“Do you call it a sickness?”
only within myself
“this month has not been easy. that’s it. it has been hard. there is no poem in that yet.but maybe there is a poem in getting up each morning, despite a family of worries sleeping on my chest. maybe there is a poem in still being here. maybe my daily survival of myself is a poem. or the way the bruises always heal. or how no matter how many times i’m crying in a parking lot, i still know that it’s going to get better. that it has been better.
maybe my being alive is a poem. maybe writing myself into healing is more than poem-it’s a battle cry. it’s getting the shit kicked out of me by my own head and still forgiving it in the morning. it’s still seeing my hands as hands and not weapons belonging to someone else, or traitors. it’s an up-and-down process. it’s trying the best i can. it’s working with what i’ve got. it’s having a hard month, but being alive. still.”
Last month I did a piece with PICA titled Aeon, which was a queer walk based on the principles of bird flocks. One of the sentences from the piece which strongly resonated with me was, “sexuality can be site specific”.
Reading through The Diary Of A Young Girl by Adrienne Novy today I thought about how my queerness exists/doesn’t exist in different domains. Also about how I don’t exist in public domains when I am unwell. Whether that be physically unwell, run down or having a tough time with mental health.
Before Anne Frank’s diary was published,
her father removed all the entries where
Anne questioned her sexuality,
lifted away arguments with her mother from the final transcript,
claimed he did this out of respect for the dead.
– Adrienne Novy
In my own diaries (aka poems), which parts of my history have I left out in respect to the girl I was once?
Who has seen the version of me which can’t get out of bed?
I remember, before moving to the UK, having a partner and not wanting him to come over when I was sick. I think this happened with multiple partners over the years. I truly thought nobody would think as highly of me if they saw me when I was bedridden. That the sick version of me must be the private version of me. That I was neither fun or loveable when I was stuck in bed. Or when I was sad.
How can “Bedhead” disrupt the assumption that our truth is unsuitable for public consumption? Would I let a romantic partner see me bedridden these days? Why do I apologise to others when I am sad? How have I censored myself, both in my artistic work and in my social interactions with others? Can anyone know me in an honest way if I only let them see the final drafts of myself? When really, I am a stack of messy, drafted annotations written on the back of receipts.
Pictured: quotes from the poem, read it here.