bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 02:18am on 23/02/2009 under ,
Dear 20-year-old self-

Bleeding is overused in poetry as a metaphor for emotional pain.

Also, using the phrase "her words flayed the flesh from my genuflecting bones" automatically makes you GOTH.


Almost-27-year-old-self (who still uses bleeding as a metaphor)
bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:41pm on 21/12/2008 under , , ,
I have been doing a lot of writing on my Blackberry on subways.

I wrote a long, ranty blog the other day and then didn't post it because it felt too mean. I may like mean girls, but I'm not one.

A few days before that it was an intellectual diatribe on sexuality, which I never finished because it wasn't really funny enough to be worth the effort.

Today it was more song lyrics. I need to acquire some kind of uncomplicated musical instrument to see if they truly are songs and not poems. Perhaps the spoons?

My BB (and being underground on trains unable to instantly share my thoughts with the world) is turning me into a diarist.

I wrote a really great blog today about one of the best compliments someone ever said behind my back, but to explain it I had to tell too much of a story not my own, so you'll have to rest assured that today someone told me something someone else said and it made my heart wobble a bit.


I spent an entire night with Becca and Meow, the two of them chatting in French and then gushing about Liza Minelli. I had little to say but enjoyed listening to their conversation. In such situations I worry that I am not sparkling enough and that afterwards any new acquaintance might say, "Oh, Beth... yes, not terribly interesting, that one."

I am desperately frightened that people will judge me boring and not give me another chance.

Last night was free of such pressure, as I was surrounded by people who perform who would gladly take the spotlight and entertain me. I am so grateful for those evenings when I am not expected to be charming or funny or entertaining or ON. Evenings when I can have a glass of wine and relax.


I worked on a poster design for New Year's today. I like it. It's a bit garish, but isn't New Years a bit garish? I would like to take a class or two in graphic design so that I might actually DO this rather than fake it.

... although I have never, not once, had a class in photography and I most certainly do not feel that I fake that. So.


Brunch with Abby today and lemon pie. I'm going to be shooting the art for her new album. (Album is AMAZING, I've got an unmastered advance copy and it's blowing me away.) I'm excited, and a bit nervous. At some point we stopped being stoned kids fucking around with camera and guitar and started being Artists. You can't expect much from a reckless, flakey kid with a camera, so if she strikes gold it's a welcome surprise.

Artists are supposed to hit the mark much more often.


Everyone is getting their Christmas present late this year. Sorry, loves. Who knew it would get here so quickly?

bethofalltrades: (jill fuck you)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 01:24pm on 08/11/2007 under , ,
I glanced down and the clock said "1:23". Not as lucky as "12:34," but still enough to wish on.

"I wish that Tori and I would..."

And I stopped. I realized that the time for wishing is finished. That hurts. She really had me convinced with her mumbo jumbo "if you ask the universe for it, it will come" bullshit. Her with her video of The Secret and her Oprah Magazine and blah blah blah "give it to the universe."

I gave it to the universe. I had faith in the universe. I wasn't wrong.

The thing she neglected to mention is that I shouldn't have put my faith in her.

It is the time for new wishing to begin.

"... I wish for true--"

Click. 1:24.

"--love. Damn it."

bethofalltrades: (Default)
Day six of not speaking. At this point, it becomes a contest. Whoever breaks first loses.

I keep picking up the phone to call her, but I am not an amiable loser.

Cut because I sound like a total whackjob. And probably am. )


I am much fucking angrier than you think.
-Crave by Sarah Kane
Mood:: ambivalent
bethofalltrades: (i love you little girl)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 04:02pm on 08/10/2007 under , , , ,
They say that of all the senses, smell has the greatest ability to make us nostalgic. Musty, dying smells conjure up forgotten afternoons of playing in abandoned barns. I keep smelling "new toy" and remembering sitting in the front seat of my mom's Volkswagon Rabbit, tearing open the package of the She-Ra doll who had wings. I walked into David's theatre in P-town and all I could think about was perching in the third row at Crave rehearsals, mouth agape.

In the rows of boxes of complimentary coffees and teas here at the office, I found a lone Mango Ceylon teabag. As soon as the steaming water from the dusty watercooler hit it, the aroma of vanilla and something I can only characterize as "warmth" permeated the air.

Mango Ceylon is Kiva Han iced tea. Kiva Han. I treated that coffeeshop as my office for the better part of a year, holding meetings with actors and designers over tea. The Honors College gave me a stipend to spend a summer reading all about theatre in its loft-- well, theatre and psychology and hate crimes and life. It was a summer I spent learning, mostly about myself, that fell into a fall in which I had my meetings with an endless parade of the wonderful.

James, uncharacteristically relaxed as we watched aquaintences waiting in line for coffee. Sarahs H & P, each whiled away an hour with me talking different types of art. I first fell for Julie at a table tucked into a corner of Kiva Han and my advances were declined in the most charming and kind way there by the delightful Lizzie D. Tonya sketched me a blueprint of rape and mercy-killing as the bland blonde next to us grew more and more pale. I met Rachel for coffee there more times than I could count, chatting feminism, fat and all things intellectual, revelling. I took Julie Moreau there when she was freaked out and when a cup of tea didn't calm her we went back to my place and got stoned.

The bathroom. I knew Abby had arrived when I went into Kiva Han's bathroom and there were here lyrics on the wall-- and I hadn't written them. I loved that bathroom graffiti and I was saddened when the discourse grew nasty and someone took a sharpie and ruined all.

I close my eyes and I can see the table. My iced tea, two Sweet n Lows, lovingly prepared by the barista of XY chromosomes who always wore a skirt and usually had a bad attitude. The debris on the table-- a straw paper, two napkins soaked with the plastic glass's perspiration, an empty plate with oatmeal raisin cookie crumbs-- all arranged to best visually balance, because back then I still compulsively ordered trash. My blue Jansport backpack wedged under the table. At Kiva, you could leave your iPod on the table and go to the bathroom and no one would steal it.

I close my eyes and I see the place, with the often ridiculous art on the walls. I always secretly wanted a show at Kiva Han. I close my eyes and see a dozen people rotating in and out of the chair across from me. My office, except not, because I was no suit. I was queen, holding court.

I open my eyes and my tea is almost gone. It's in a green Rockefeller mug, not a plastic glass, and it's hot, not cold. I'm wearing slacks, not jeans, and I can't remember the last time I had a cookie. I no longer arrange debris on the tables of restaurants, unless I am very, very nervous. I haven't done theatre in a long time and I think I miss it. Friends have scattered and no one meets me at Kiva Han anymore.

I want to go to Kiva Han. I want to hold court and scribble on the bathroom wall and spend an entire afternoon getting refills on my Mango Ceylon iced tea and reading books from the library. I want to declare my love for someone over a carrot muffin. I want my art on Kiva's walls.

I am nostalgic. I blame my sense of smell.

bethofalltrades: (edna mode)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 03:31pm on 26/09/2007 under ,
I have not ridden a bike since I was 12. I can't say why, really, except that at around that time I think I outgrew all things outdoors. I turned into a computer nerd, a sometimes girly-girl who would rather watch a movie than sweat.

Day Three in P-town. I rented a bike. I called the shop to make sure they had something with coaster brakes. The guy said he might have a three-speed cruiser in the basement and I said, yes, that please.

"Do you want to take a spin around the parking lot to check the height of the seat?"

"Only if you promise not to watch me."

I definitely wobbled. It was looking like I'd just wasted $15 on an ill-conceived romantic notion. He took the seat down a bit and I wobbled off down the road in search of the trail.

First stop, the beach. It was chilly, so I didn't stay long.

Up the hills and down, surrounded by sand, brush, driftwood and trees. I started singing as loud as I could. Then crying as loud as I could. The bike had only three speeds, so when the hills got very steep, I had to get off and push it. I'd get to the crest of the hill, hop on, pedal as fast I could hoping to get enough momentum to get up the next hill. A couple of times I couldn't do it and I just breathed. And did it.

I ended up at another beach. A woman was painting from the crest of a dune. I hopped a fence and climbed up to meet her.

"Beautiful day for it," I said.

"Yep. It's important to do these things while we have this beautiful sun."

Then we both stood in silence. She mixed her paint, I took a few quick shots and then climbed back down.

Before I hopped the fence again, I was seized by the urge to make a sand angel. So I did. Then I went down to the water and used the timer on my camera to take some photos of me in different yoga poses on the beach, an occupation that was more fun than it was successful. Then back to the bike, more up and down and pushing and coasting and pedalling for my life, much easier after the rest down by the ocean.

Provincetown is that beach and that ocean. A stopping off point to take a breather. I needed this so desperately.

I biked seven miles today. I am sore, my ass may never be the same, but I am thrilled. Beth, who sits on her ass all day in front of a computer screen can bike seven miles.

bethofalltrades: (love is not all)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 03:12pm on 31/08/2007 under , ,
Ten years since my mother woke me up with the words, "We've had some sad news from France."

A shared anniversary gives way to a personal one.

I spent much of my childhood in the woods with three children who belonged to my mother's friend, Rachel. Tommy Lee was two years younger, Echo was four and Cody was eight. Echo was my compatriot. I looked at her like a little sister. She was perfectly fine with letting me dress her up and take her picture and there are many photographs of her at age 9 or 10 in old bridesmaid dresses and her mother's shoes. (Her mother put a stop to our little hobby when we started staging and photography murder scenes in the basement.)

Their father was a drunk who was in and out of jail, for varying lengths of time. He was released a few days after Diana died and, once again, Rachel took him back, even though she'd said again and again that she wouldn't.

My mother had had enough and we stopped going to see them. I don't know if I knew how final it was, but days became weeks became months became... ten years. Huh.

My mom still runs into them every now and then.

I see the time of Princess Diana's death as the end of my childhood. Three months later I would start to come out, first to myself and then to others. I can't imagine how my life with "the kids" would have continued to exist after that. I suspect I wouldn't have come out at that point in time, had my time in the woods not given way to email and chat rooms where I found other gay people to guide me.

The timing of Diana's death and my break from my youth was a coincidence, but time has welded that coincidence into solid form.

I was too aware of Diana's death, but oblivious to the other things that slipped away from me late that August.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:10pm on 18/01/2007 under ,
And now for something completely different:

Candlelight yoga, and the ageless instructor was using her body to gently help me into a stronger, longer warrior's pose. She leaned close to my ear and whispered, "You need to stop smoking."

I was shocked. "How did you know?" I whispered back, wondering how that one cigarette was affecting my lungs or my body. Could she smell it on me? Were my breaths too shallow? Did she just somehow know?

"I saw you outside this afternoon," she replied, with a Mona Lisa smile. "And you need to stop smoking."

She ran her hands along my outstretched arms and I worked a little harder to get my fingertips to the ceiling.

"Good, darling," she said as they inched skyward. "Trust your body. It will get there."

Everything in me reached upward and even my heavy heart could not resist.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
There is a constant war inside me, between the way I want to feel and the way I actually feel.

I have an acute sense of the dramatic. I'm a storyteller and I know how the story is supposed to go.

I heard a new song today and, if my life was a movie, the tears would have started running down my face as I stood there on the platform. I would have pulled out my cell phone-- because cell phones work EVERYWHERE in the movies-- and I would have called you and I would have held the phone to the earbud of my ipod and then once you heard it you would have cried. And the music would fade as I told you that I still love you and you'd say the same-- we wouldn't be together, because it's not that kind of movie, but we'd make our peace and then the music would swell as I walked up into the bright, shiny day, finally free of us.

I want to feel those things, because it's beautiful and cinematic.

I want the movie.

What I actually feel is a lot messier. It's not just anger or grief or longing. It's nothing true anymore, just lopsided echoes of things I used to feel. Or wanted to feel.

I used to get into trouble, because I did what I thought should come next in the film. Oh, it's been a month, it's time to extend the olive branch. I should be able to sing along to Indigo Girls' songs about friendship with you, because if Mary Louise Parker were playing me, that's what she'd do. Even if two days later I'm back to daydreaming about burning your house down because I am still so goddamn hurt. It wasn't mood swings, it was my inability to stick to the script.

They don't make movies about girls who love, get dumped, leave town, get careers and friends and then have messy feelings about the whole thing.

bethofalltrades: (a box of candy smoke in your hair)
I used to write more things down.

I remember, last night, thinking how much I wanted to be able to remember whatever it was that was happening.

I don't remember.

My memory has become a casualty of participation rather than witness. I try to reconstruct.


"I love this song," she says. I strain to hear and catch a few notes.
"What is it?"
"It's called 'Nightswimming.' By your boyfriend, Michael Stipe."
We listen for a few moments as I try to put into words what we both need to hear.
"You know," I say, "I've found that, after a while, I started to reclaim things. Things that were 'ours' were mine again."
"I can't imagine that."
"Neither could I. But one day-- you know, we used this song in Crave rehearsals. Julie's suggestion. She really liked-- likes, I suppose-- REM. But now, I can listen to REM and my first thought is, 'Wow, I can't believe that I didn't recognise Michael Stipe' and not 'Julie likes this song.'"
"I miss things being 'ours.'"
"Yeah. I think I learned not to share so many of the things I love. That way next time, I'll have less to fight to reclaim. Less new memories to make."
She leans back, searching for some appropriate response.
"I can't wait until we find people who deserve us," she says after a long moment of silence.
I smile. "I can't wait until we have money and gorgeous clothes."
"That too. I want that too."
"You know, we could just deserve each other," I offer.
We maintain our serious faces for .05 seconds before bursting into laughter. I am grateful for good friends and order us another round.


I smile at her and she curls her fingers into the shape of a gun and sharpshoots me from across the table. I love her very, very much. I think she knows, if only because I keep telling her that my home is her home. Whenever she arrives in the city and finally decides to stay.


In the cab to Brooklyn, 1AM.

KT: Beth?
Beth: Yeah?
KT: We live in New York now.

I looked out over the East River at the glitter of the lights. Some things need no reclamation.

Beth: I think so, yes. Williamsburg Bridge, please.


I had my palm read on my first trip to New York. The psychic told me I would be very happy here. I explained I was only visiting and she nodded, smiled enigmatically and tried to convince me to pay her $40 to look into her crystal ball.

bethofalltrades: (love addict)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 10:03pm on 10/08/2006 under ,
Our three cents goes in the water as the lighting cuts the slate in half
You laugh and she laughs and I laugh
Unlikely friends, likely New Yorkers
Her Southern drawl and your dirty Philly mouth
(And even I've learned how to say "yous" instead of "yinz")
She's married, you're broken and I'm digging in my purse beside the river
Because for once I know exactly what to do
She takes '91, you take 93' and I'm left to hurl 87'
"Make it something good," I tease and your face lights up
"There's only one thing," and Licoln plunges into the Hudson
She smiles and shrugs and drops hers off the pier
I wish for real love this year
Mine hits somewhere in between hers and yours and sinks
Moments later the rain comes
While you insist you can still see the rings

Find a broken necklace, five earrings, none of which match, and $1.93 in change
bethofalltrades: (love addict)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:49pm on 27/01/2006 under ,
I went to the local grocery today. I wandered the produce section, selecting apricots and peaches, turning them over in my hands, inhaling their scent, inspecting their surfaces and then replacing them with their bretheren. I was waiting.

The small boy was counting the steps from the potatoes to the tomatoes. "Uno... dos... tres... quattro.. cinco... sieta..."



"Ses. Quattro, cinco, ses."

"Oh! Muchas gracias!"

He skipped the number six, even in his own language. So he couldn't have been more than five. Everyone knows where their age falls in the hierarchy of years. I looked around for his mother, but saw no one.

"Donde esta tu mama?"


I searched my memory. I had one year of Spanish... eighth grade. Which was, I am sorry to say, quite a long time ago. Ido.



The translation suddenly hit me. Gone.

"Tu mama... ido?"

"Si, si." He dismissed me with a wave of his hand, perfectly manicured nails flashing under the florescent lights. Manicured? I looked harder and saw remnants of an old, old man in the boy's face.

"What is your name?"

He looked at me blankly. "Uno... dos... tres... quattro... cinco... sieta..."


Another blank stare.

"You skipped six. Again. Ses."

"Oh! Ses! Muchas gracias!" He resumed his pacing.

"Is your mother in the store?" I was rewarded with another blank stare. His demeanor had changed. He seemed to be growing impatient. "Your mother. Is she here?"

Another wave and more counting. I decided to go wait in the frozen foods section. It was a little too chilly there and my t-shirt was thin, but I could cross my arms and hide my nipples. I needed to get away from the boy.

"Don't leave me," a voice behind me rasped. I turned, looking for the commentator, but saw only the boy.

"What did you say?"

Another blank stare. Fine. I would leave. I could wait at the pharmacy across the boulevard. I reached for my bag, the brown Chanel one with the buckles I never really liked, and found it was gone. I'd lost it and with it my pocketbook, cell phone, and iPod. A photograph of the last girl I fantisized about and a break-up letter from the last one I fucked. All the things that make life, life.

"Real loss only occurs when you lose something that you love more than yourself.”

I whirled about and found him sitting on the pile of crates next to the apples. His eyes were level with mine. They were the color of old leather, a deep, rich tone. He looked at me as though he had some sort of ancient wisdom to impart. I leaned close. Our eyes met.

"Give me my purse back, you little bastard!" I hissed. He cocked an eyebrow at me and grinned. He clicked his heels together and I realized he was wearing bright pink patent leather shoes with little purple bows.

"I want my fucking purse back!" My yelling had caught the attention of another shopper, an edging on middle-aged faggot with a sweater-vest and a younger boyfriend who was wearing eyeliner.

"Hey! Leave him alone, he's just a little kid!"

"No, he's not! He's a 35 year old midget put on this earth to DRIVE ME CRAZY!" The midget was doing a good job of pretending to be a terrified four year old, but I was not going to be fooled.

"Bitch, he doesn't even understand English!" The faggot's arm candy piped up.

"Okay, Boy George, this is between me and the little circus freak. So butt out."

Even if I couldn't find where he'd stashed my purse, I was at least going to turn him upside down and shake him until coins fell out. I advanced on him, ready to fuck up his manicure with a catfight to end the ages.

Well, of course Boy George used to wrestle in college. He had me subdued in seconds... and my aggravating little person slipped out the back, carrying my Chanel. I felt my cheek press against the cold tile, an errant onion skin embossing my cheek with its veiny texture.

I saw a scrap of paper near the crates where the phantom had been. I reached out, stretching my arm as far as it would reach. My fingers caught the edge and I drew it toward me.

He'd left me the photograph. The girl was smiling like a bandit, all teeth. Her eyes were full of the sun.

I elbowed Boy George in the stomach, got up, dusted myself off, kissed the faggot on the cheek in farewell and headed out into the sunshine. I stood on the street in front of the grocery, tucking the photograph into the back pocket of my denim skirt.

"Does missing someone mean that you need them?" He spoke behind me. I turned. His eyes were green now, green interrupted by pinpoints of light that seemed to come from within. Full of the sun.

"Yes. I think so."

"Do you miss me?"

"Every day." This answer seemed to please him.

"Who else do you miss?"

"Everyone who couldn't come with me."


"Is it?"

He giggled, all four year old again. The evil troll was nowhere to be found... of course, neither was my purse.

"Thank you," I said softly.

"Por que?"

"For leaving me with something."

"Senorita... even if I had taken the photograph, you would still have the world."

"I know. Gracias."

He shoved his hands in his pockets, trying to be an older soul. "You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home." A pause. He was super serious. "I keep clicking these damn shoes but nothing happens."

"I'm sorry. Maybe you need new shoes?"

He laughed like I'd just suggested I created the sun and the moon. He ran off down the street and I set off in the opposite direction. I can't say now which one of us was headed home.




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