Brilliance

He sparkles in the darkness of night. He refracts all the light that hits him, reflecting it back at itself with a beauty we didn’t see coming. He radiates even we aren’t when looking, even when there is no one to see him. He pierces through the blackness, brilliant and bursting, like white teeth at midnight.

But who would he be in the daytime, when the sun is shining, and the world isn’t looking. Is he only beautiful in moments of stark contrast, when we least expect it? Does he burn in the night because he would shatter during the day? I wonder who he would be without the demons of his darkness. If we would notice him at all if he walked among us right at day break. Is he only a proper creature here, where it is dank and it is a prison. Do we only look at him now, because this is romantic, and without the proper lighting the mood disappears and he becomes one of us. He is resplendent in his cage of midnight. His teeth in the night gleam easy. Would he be a beast if he walked among us? Would we recoil if this weren’t a quick stop in the tour of his world? Would we welcome him with open arms in our home? Or would he blind us in the daylight, and it easier for us to keep him here, like a pet, where his brilliance is easy for us to admire and even easier for us to walk away from.

I walk towards him, hand outstretched. Not to touch him, but to be touched by him. I whisper to him that I will take him away from here if he will take me away from there. We can be wild together in a world that doesn’t want us, so long as we are wild together.

Badness

Lately, I have pressed myself with perplexing question: Is there such a thing as an objective reality? In this fever dream we call life, is reality merely a summation of a collective delusion, defined by the things that we agree upon? Reality seems to constantly change from second to second, swiftly becoming different things for different people, incessantly reshaped by new revelations of these so-called “truths.”

What can really be known. What in this life is incontrovertible. What is fact, undeniable and proven despite all the protests. Is reality intended to be a summation of all truths?

Reality cannot be a summation of all truths, because all truths are not known and cannot be known. To claim that reality delineated itself perfectly along the revelations of truth would be to deny what happens in the absence of truth: human creativity. The human mind is keen to draw up so-called truths, dressed up in the garb of truth, with no real veracity behind it. The human mind is so hell bent on claiming that reality is a summation of truths, that we knowlingly create non-truths just for the sake of continuity in our story of reality. This is why reality can never be objective, because we are too busy cleaving truth from non-truth without any real mechanism or measurement or sure fire way to weed out the non-truths.

Our reality is built on a house of cards. Our reality is built on a foundation of rock. We cannot tell the difference between what is about to collapse and what will stand tall forever. We cannot tell what anyone else is holding behind their backs: is it a hand full of wildcards? Or a fistful of brick?

What are you holding. In this reality that you construct for yourself and for others. Are you building something? Or are you breaking it down? Have you created a beautiful reality? Or are you standing on top of something that is secretly teetering? Have you orchestrated the entire collapse? Have you convinced the world that their house of cards is truly sturdy? Or can you tell an intelligent person that their rock solid foundation is in imminent danger.

And then what. How do we rebuild when all we will ever have is rocks and cards, blindly stacked up in the same way all over again.

All I know is I can turn rocks into cards and cards into rocks if you give me the right tools and matters of perspective. Teach yourself how to make the fortress of someone else’s reality crumble, and you will rule their world.

Ghosts in the Mirror

It has been months since I have seen myself, but here I am, finally removed from me and looking back in wonder. It’s not that I had forgotten who I was – it was that I didn’t know who I would be when the world was like this, and part of me didn’t want to see. I didn’t know how to see myself through this new lens of chaos, what inner world would erupt out of me as everything beyond me descended into darkness.

I had thought that in moments like this I would be valiant. It was easy for me to presuppose myself as a hero when heroics weren’t needed. But now, fraught in these moments, as depression creeps ups these walls and caves us all in – this is the moment wherein I learn who I really am when I am no longer the person that exists comfortably in the world I have always known. Now is when I become this other person, in these other circumstances, forced beyond my own sense of self in the trials of reality.

I have kept my eyes closed like a child frightened in the dark. I have been afraid of the monsters I might see when I looked at the world around me. I was afraid that I would see myself, and, I, too, would be a monster, not in some grizzled and snarling sense, but a monster like a coward clinging to the comfort of failure and defeat. I have kept my eyes closed, because I did not want to know – am I the villain guilty of apathy? Am I the one I have railed against for all this time?

But I can see myself now. Retching from the poison in the air. Still sick from this world, but not quite dying. I can see that I have been waiting for my hero, but now I know they are never coming. Instead, I am coughing willfully and wondering: now that I have gathered the strength to open my eyes, do I have the strength to get up and run?

Whatever Happened to Real Oakland?

Where did she go? I used to see her everywhere, all the time, but now we whisper her name in hushed tones when no one is looking. What happened to her? How did she die? Did she perish in the night in some burning car crash, skid marks and flames, screeching tires, drunk driving? Did she go out with a bang, in some typical wild, all night party girl fashion, choking on vomit and sequins beneath a disco ball filled with cocaine? Or has she just disappeared to LA, like so many other people, and now the only time we see her is when we’re scrolling through Instagram in pretty poised pictures geotagged somewhere far away from here. Someone told me that she had checked into rehab, and then I heard that she had checked out, and now she is entirely not the same, looking glassy eyed and hollow and drained of the energy that made her, her. Although, by other accounts she never went to rehab, and she has fully transitioned from all night party girl into twenty four hour addict, and after she lost her job she found her way into some arm pit of the Bay Area to fester with drugs and dick. I saw her post about losing her apartment on Facebook – did anyone find out where she had moved to? Or what she is doing now? When was the last time anyone saw her? When was the last time she hit the train yards, late at night, catching tags? When was the last time someone saw her on the dance floor downtown, sweaty and pretty? Remember when she used to do that ho shit all over town, and now – now I heard she’s into feminism so she doesn’t do that shit anymore. I mean, it’s also entirely possible that she just got her shit together, got a better job, and is living somewhere nice. Maybe her life is better than ever, and making money is more important than looking good on a bar stool drinking whiskey. Maybe her life is too nice for her to be bothered with the likes of us, we pleasant onlookers, who have been waiting and wondering what ever happened to her.

What is this place without her. And who can lay claim to her anyway. Are we just left here to fester in this ridiculous city, drained of its authenticity and morphed into a Disneyland for adults. Honestly, I don’t think we’re any good without her. We used to do the maniest shit together, and she made it look good. She made it fun. She made it worth doing, because without her, all this danger feels dull. It doesn’t even feel worth it. But here we are, left to our own devices, and I must admit that us on our own is really quite boring. I miss Real Oakland. But she is gone forever, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

It was good while it lasted.

Movement

So, I recently lost my apartment in West Oakland. I had been living their 6.5 years, and as I packed up my shit and got the fuck out, I realized: oh, fuck, this place has kinda defined me as a person for the past 6.5 years.

My humble apartment, aptly dubbed “Mount Everyone,” was the place where I started my former blog Fuck Feast. It was also where I ended it. I got involved in a lot of sexual mischief while living at that house. It was fun. It was dangerous. It was cool.

As I started unpacking my life in my new Berkeley abode, I saw myself, for the first time, outside of the persona that I had constructed for myself in West Oakland. Without West Oakland, who am I?

I know who I was with West Oakland. I could still call myself an artist in West Oakland. I was still active in the political scene in West Oakland. I rallied against gentrification. I wrote about trans visibility and rolled with my sex worker friends. I went out to bars, got drunk, fucked strangers. I was a fucking hustler and a troublemaker.

Now? Now I live in Berkeley, and it’s not that I left all that behind, but more that my life has been reframed in this rather bucolic setting. When I got my eviction letter, I was pissed about getting gentrified out of the neighborhood. But now I live in Berkeley, and, honestly, my life is better now. This neighborhood is great, the apartment itself is cozy. I’ve got tons of amenities, and it’s not very expensive. Sure, I got gentrified out of West Oakland, but I leveled up my entire life in the process.  I can’t bitch about gentrification because I’m not actually a victim, so…

The question just becomes: who am I when I’m not suffering. It’s an uncomfortable question for me to ask myself because 82% of my personality is based on suffering.

Me minus my pain equals a total and complete stranger. I’m not sure who I am or what I believe in if I’m not shackled to deeply personal, radical political causes. There is no excuse for my demons if I’m not in pain – after this, if I am still an asshole, it’s just because I’m a fundamentally shitty person, and that will be no one’s fault but my own.

Here’s what scares me the most: what if I am given every tool that I have ever thought I needed to be happy, and I still fail? What if the reason I suffer is because I don’t know how to be happy, period? And I’m stuck here, in this misery, being this miserable person, and nothing will ever change it.

Maybe it would have been easier to labor under the delusions that it is everyone else’s fault that I am like this. Acknowledging that this shit is my fault – I’ll never be ready for that.

Musings

I know I’m getting old because last night my friend told me that he wanted to set me up on a date with someone. I asked him who, and he showed me a picture. In a moment of chagrin, I had to let him know, “Actually, I already fucked that guy. Eight years ago.” Ah, yes, the life and times of hoing.

*

Are my dreams just the thoughts that my thoughts have when they think I’m not paying attention?

*

I went to a gay party for the first time in a long time last night, and suddenly I was awash with that familiar feeling of actually being comfortable among the other people at the bar. This feeling was immediately ensued by a sense of knowing that I probably don’t belong here because I’m 100% straight, after which tucked my tail between my legs and hightailed it out of there. I miss going to art parties and hanging out with the weirdos. Where have all the weirdos gone?

*

Up until two years ago, pretty much everyone I fucked lived within a five block radius of me – there were at least ten of them out here. It was my golden age of fucking. Then gentrification kicked in with a vengeance, and now I am bearing witness to the death of the neighborhood fuck buddy. Thanks a lot, white people, you really harshed my dick game.

 

Mount Everyone: A Eulogy

I got home yesterday, walked into my room, and burst into tears. I realized as I sat on my bed: this is it. The end of an era.

And what an era it has been. I lived at 3208 West Street for the past six and a half years. I moved in here when I was 24, and I fucked that shit up for the rest of my 20’s. As I sit here, on this bed, I wonder what kind of things these walls have seen. What kind of things these walls have contained, and what they will hold after I am gone. In a house that is over 100 years old, who am I in this fleeting moment of time?

I fucked so many beautiful people here. Did a lot of drugs. Partied pretty hard. I used to hostess Monday night orgies here a few summer times ago. Definitely tried to kill myself in this room. I thought that I would die here. That I would live here the rest of my life. For a moment, I thought that I would have kids and raise a family here. Friendships were both forged and broken in this house.

I could tell a lot of stories about this house, but those are all recorded on Fuck Feast, so I won’t waste your time. Oddly enough, Fuck Feast is a phenomenon that was born and died in this house. Fuck Feast is, if anything, very much of 3208 West Street. I guess that’s why I’m afraid to leave – I have been afraid to leave Fuck Feast behind, and I now I am afraid to leave this place behind, because with it I leave a piece of myself.

I wonder how I’ll be able to write without this place. Who I will become. I spent my best party years at this house. I changed as a person. And perhaps now that change is complete, and it is time for me to move on. I grit my teeth and dig my heels in – I know it is time for me to go. But I don’t want leave this place because I don’t want to leave that piece of me that will always be here, that ephemeral piece of me that blossomed and decayed in this bedroom. I want that part of me to never to die, to never go away. But it has already – I am just clinging onto a corpse.

Leaving this place is an admission of failure on an even larger level than just myself. Many of my friends have moved away – some have come back, but most are gone forever. Some friends have succumbed to their addictions, others have succumbed so far that now it’s time for rehab. This city has changed. We have changed. My home was the last thing that I had in order to cling onto those people and those memories. This was the last place where I felt like things could never change, where I could be the same person and time travel in an instant back to better years. This place is stained with my memories, and what will I remember when I’m gone? When I’m gone – is that it?

There’s no turning back. I have been packing my bags and it makes me feel wildly sad to dismantle this bedroom, which, after six years of careful hoarding and curating, is a testament to my personality as manifested through tchotchkes and other various material objects.

I am lamenting. Of course I am. There is no going back once I leave this place. After this, there is only the future and the person I will become. I don’t know if I will like the person I will become without the place, without the wildness and the lawlessness of what my life has been in West Oakland.

I was young, and I was free, in every way possible, as much as I could be. But now that has been taken away from me, and I am prisoner in this society just like everyone else.