Archive for August, 2013

Who’s in the Room?

August 30, 2013 Leave a comment

A conversation I had the other day reminded me of something. Something that you don’t really consider, until it’s sitting in front of you, doing the Cha-Cha. Or the Pachanga. Whatever. It is invading your dance space.

This is a respectful dance space.

A dear friend of mine was talking about a situation. She was telling me about how she made a choice, what went into that decision, and, perhaps most importantly, what did not. Initially, there were concerns and reservations, but then something happened: she realized that screaming/nagging voices were not her own. Who, she asked, were those other people in the room (figuratively speaking) – and why were they getting a bigger say than she was?

Yes. This. Angry Winchester is ANGRY.

That made me think about all the choices I’ve made over the past year, big and small. All the things I’ve said and done, dared or not dared. I stopped to think – to really think – about what has dictated my own hand. Have there been too many people in the room? Whose voice screamed the loudest?

Points. THIS.

My friend pointed out that, sometimes, we make decision predicated on the fear of outside opinion. Our initial reaction is something like, I can’t possibly do THAT. [So-and-so] would be appalled! I’m talking about pursuing that things that make us happy, not the general rules of society. I don’t think that we should go out and commit murder, or anything untoward. Honestly, if society’s opinion is the only thing keeping you from Hannibal-ing your neighbour, we’ve got bigger problems than this post can tackle.

*hides all the Chianti*

But back to the point. How often do we NOT do something, because we’re worried about how it’ll look? How it’ll seem to the outside world? How often do we let this society-driven cowardice/fear become our reason, our excuse? How often do we listen to that internal mob of naysaying voices?

Behold: the animated angry mob!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say: too often.

To an extent, I understand that fear. I get that it isn’t easy to stand up for yourself, for what you want, because someone – somewhere – is going to get a hammer and a nail and try to crucify you for it. But you know what? Maybe that’s the shortcoming of the person ready to impale and ask questions later. Or, worse yet, not at all.

You heard the lady.

A different friend of mine, the other day, was talking about pursuing a specific dream she has. A dream that kind of came out of left field, but it’s a homerun. It’s a great idea. It’s fabulous. But you know, it’s also new and daunting. It’s unknown. But this girl? She’s chasing after it with grace and gusto. Because, as I pointed out to her, it is NEVER too late to follow your dreams/your heart/your bliss. It’s only too late when you give up and stop trying. When you stack your walls up so high that other people can’t see in – let alone get in – but you can’t see out, either.

Does this even need a caption? I think not.

The truth is that there’s no real secret to being brave, to tuning out those obnoxious voices, or squaring your shoulders for the manifestation of other people’s loud voices and small minds. It’s not something that turns up as easy or even something you settle into. Every time I do something crazy and brave? My heart still feels like it’s trying to tunnel out of my ribcage with C4 and a jackhammer. Every time I take a risk, make a phone call, or am terribly vulnerable – I still feel like I might throw up. A thousand fears rage in my brain. I count them out, like angry dragons. I look at everything I’m afraid of, breathing fire, and I acknowledge that FEAR isn’t enough to hold me back. It’s not a good enough reason. It’s not a good enough explanation for a choice.

Remember the Fear Demon from Buffy? Yes. That.

This isn’t a process that comes natural to me, or anyone really. I’m all about balance and harmony. I’m all about hugs and love, not drawn swords and squared shoulders. But if you show me something worth fighting for, there’s nothing and no one who can ever hold me back. You may look at me, and call me crazy. You may question my morals. You may wonder, exactly, what I was thinking. And maybe I wasn’t thinking in the traditional list of pros and cons way. Because some things are too important for lists. And no person should be boiled down like that.

*adjusts bow tie* (Because bow ties are cool.)

Consider how many people are in the room when you make a choice. Ask yourself if they should be there. Do you stay in a relationship, because of what others might be think if you leave? How long do you keep something of life-support, when it’s already gone? It happens a lot. We get scared about these repercussions, things that may appear as judgement, thrown at us by OTHER people.

But, honestly, when it comes down to it: why the frakkin’ hell do we really care what other people think? How is that judgement even formed? Outside opinions, like that, shouldn’t factor in. Those people aren’t in the situation. Those people don’t know what it’s like. They don’t understand the day-in and day-out of it.

You want to quit your job and move to New York? Great.

You want to call up and old boyfriend to talk? Awesome.

You want to stop being someone’s emotional whipping boy? Excellent.

Stop living your life in chains, when you’ve got the key in your hand. Stop holding yourself back, because of how it might look. Screw how it looks. Screw how people might you give epic side-eye.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that life is too short. People trip and fall down the stairs. People get sick. People get hit by cars. We try not to think about these things: the freak accidents and illnesses. But, honey, tomorrow isn’t set in stone. The next minute isn’t, either.

Life is too short to hold back. So, why are you?


Every. single. TIME.

the wind is nameless

August 29, 2013 3 comments

surely, you have heard the way
the wind tries to spit itself back out,
searching for silence
among its own broken parts:
a tongue, sharper than it has a right to be,
hands, calloused and clumsy,
a mouth that hurls itself
from whisper to scream without warning.

this is like you.
you know to fill each hour
stiff with obligations, iron the details
out of every habit, letting pain
linger like penance – but do you remember
how to open the cage,
how to unlock the door,
or, as a last resort, smash a window?

surely, you recall 
that the wind is nameless, that rivers
turn into stars if you wish hard enough,
but first, you must stop
worrying your guilt into meaning,
judgment is a fierce god,
but only if you consent to worship.

this is unlike you,
but perhaps you cannot remember
almost-summer days, or 
the way heaven is layered in a kiss,
perhaps you have been running for so long
you’d let anything chase you.

my love not the wind,
but it moves the world around
without warning; today, it began
by missing you; later, it will curl up
to sleep, but not be able to close its eyes.
It does not diminish
like so many other things. Call it
faith, though some would label it
disaster; I don’t care about the others –
they have earned no quarter
in our space.

Forget the darkness
and the way the moon wanes;
we are all sky, fingers like kerosene,
this absence will fade
like drunkenness, and tomorrow
the morning will ask:
where have you been?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

the beginning of always

August 28, 2013 2 comments

            It was familiar, almost intimate, like the echo of an old habit. The air was just shy of being warm, but still barely on this side of chilly. The pink in yellow roses reached back toward summer, but summer began to fade as the moon had.

            Some smell grab your hand and pull your backward, conjuring up a moment or moments. Resurrecting people long-dead or absent. Some scents are ghosts, howling or whispering promises in your ears. All ghosts need remembering, all the secrets need tending. Ghosts like this, they are a reminding sort.

            I was the only one around, this morning. I was the only one around, this morning. Yet carrying on the faint breeze, nothing more than a gossamer movement, was the smell of cigarette smoke. I’ve never smoked a day in my life. None of my immediately family does. The neighbours were all either still tucked in their beds or long-since at work.

            On the way to work, I smelled it again. The window was rolled partially down. I was alone on an empty street. There were no houses, no pedestrians. Just me, and that scent.

            I remembered my great uncle’s basement. The bar and the covered pool in the backyard. I remembered being picked up and swung around by my second cousin. I remembered not being able to see through the room. I remember not being able to see over the railing, looking with a child’s eyes.

            I also remembered hiding cigarettes. I remember trying to protect someone from himself, even though I didn’t really know how. Even though it wasn’t quite my place. That didn’t matter to me. If I have to get in between you and yourself, for your own good, I will. This was another lifetime ago, when I was half a different person – too afraid of everything. And yet, brave enough.

            I remembered chasing a friend down the stairs, full-speed, in an attempt to steal her cigarettes. I remembered people who quit and those who started again. I remembered a promise broken by my grandmother – one I’ve never quite been able to forgive her for.

            To me, cigarettes mean loss. They mean death. They are a thing you need protection from. I’ve loved people who’ve smoked. Some of them, I’ve lost. Lost for good, the permanent kind of missing that leaves you without the possibility of getting back. You make your peace with that kind of ghost. It still slips through the doors and windows, sometimes. But you look it in the eye. You acknowledge it. And then you move on.

            There are few things worse than not having that moment – than not being able to look a situation or a person in the eye. The waiting, the wondering, the cloying smoke that’s dancing in the air. Turn the corner, and there’s a reminder. Turn on the radio, and it’s there. Walk out your door, and the world stops.

            This month is a hard one. It has been for a long time. So many things gone or going. So much absence and so many questions. They settle in like a lump in the throat. You can’t swallow it away. All you can do is just get through.

            Get through it. In whatever way you can.

“Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.” ~Vladimir Nabokov

all love is a blade to the throat

August 23, 2013 Leave a comment

You can feel the wind break against things that are no longer whole. Survival comes in fits and starts, cups of coffee and half-listening to the radio. It isn’t war, this ghost of death. It is an invading country, a siege. A sterling opponent that has no match. This is everything is falling apart. Only, everything has already fallen. All the tenses are wrong. The conjugations have gotten themselves lost. You don’t say what you’re thinking.

Then, the phone rings. Then, the miracle comes – the one star you can identify without even looking. It is early, too early for coffee, but your voice finds itself. Sadness has curled into the small of your back. Absence is how you cut your teeth. The burden slows done. It does not vanish, but small sections turn into fog. Whenever the phone rings, you feel it. Confession are made. Then, promises. Each word builds a word you could barely hope for.

But nothing is easy. All thing are bloody. All love is a blade to the throat. No one holds the knife easily. It is an act of war. It is an act of peace. It is a balance. You give for what you love. You struggle to accept the way it changes you. You wait. You wait. You wait. Still, the phone rings. A name repeats. You draw a card from the deck and smile.

We do not forget those who see us through.

We do not forget those who see us.

 We do not forget.

In which your heroine gives a damn

August 18, 2013 9 comments



Here’s the thing about me: I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you do for a living. I don’t give a damn if your car costs more than a house. If you can afford to fly to Paris on a whim, good for you. But those things? They aren’t who you are. They’re not the currency that matters to me.

I want to know what makes you smile, when you think you possibly couldn’t. I want to know if you’ll get my Breakfast Club, Princess Bride, and Firefly references. I want to know if you talk in your sleep, and if you can make French toast (because I FAIL at it. I can make crème brulee, but can’t do that. Go figure).

The thing is, I don’t care if you’re different. I don’t care if you’re weird. I don’t care if you’re 24 or 52. I don’t give a damn if you drive a car that parks itself or the one you’ve had since college.

Are you kind? Can you laugh at yourself? Do you drink tequila when you’re fed up with the world? Will you smile at a stranger? Will you reach out to someone just because? Do you hold open a door for the person behind you? Will you burst into song with me, spontaneously, or laugh when I do? Can you say you’re sorry and mean it? Do you listen with everything you have? Do you show up, step up, and give a damn?

These are the things that matter. These are the things that count. I don’t care if you get the mail in your pajamas, eat pop-tarts in bed, or have two left feet. I care about who you are, not what you do. If you’re famous, awesome. You still put on pants, when you actually wear pants, the same way I do: clumsily, one leg at a time. I’m not famous. Sometimes, I will correct your grammar or talk about fricatives and the great vowel shift. I’m a total dork. I hate my nose. I make a lot of dirty jokes. And I never do anything accidentally. I’m never careless with anyone’s heart. And if I’m not chasing you, I’m not interested. I will never laugh at you in a moment of weakness. I will never judge you by your imperfections.

Although, I will tease you if you dress like Giles on Halloween.

And I’ll never let you sit by yourself. Because, fun fact: I was the kid in middle school who was unhappy. I was the kid in high school who didn’t quite fit in. It is always hard to be different, because when people don’t understand something, they revert to pitchforks and torches (mostly, figurative). And, no matter how chronologically grown up a human is, he/she has the potential to act like a very mean toddler.

I have a lot of friends who live other places. Some I’ve met, and some I haven’t. This doesn’t mean I consider them anything less than a friend. As such, I get pissed off a lot, because people aren’t always nice to my friends. Lately, this is happening too much. I have a Momma Bear complex. You don’t screw with anyone I give a damn about. Ever. It is UNWISE. I am not a terrifying human being, generally speaking, but I take up for my people. Always. In fact, I’m 99% more likely to defend someone else than I am to defend myself. Because, another fun fact: you cannot hurt me if I don’t care – and if I care, my defenses are already down.


A difficult element of geographically challenged friendships is distance. It’s not maintaining the friendship that is ever an issue (for me). It’s the unfathomable parade of despicable humanoids who take an emotional – I can’t think of a delicate word – shit on my friends. Because: NO. Unwise. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. RUN. I’m not going to pull a Sonny and beat you with a baseball bat – but if you hurt someone I care about, I will not sit idly by. I won’t be silent. I won’t let you get away with it. “I swear, by my pretty floral bonnet, I will END you.”

Oh, Captain — my Captain…

I will verbally rip a new seam in the fabric of your existence, and you will apologize for whatever it is you did. End.of.STORY.

Over the past month, things have happened to my people that read, for all intents in purposes, like a scene out of a movie. A Lifetime movie. And NOT in a good way. It’s like the Scarecrow has escaped from Arkham AsylumAGAIN, and tainted the water with asshole, instead of a hallucinogen. Good people getting hurt, getting ignored, being left out, and being made to feel less. This turns me into Hulk-y Ali, and really – you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Sometimes, I’ll even take a page from the angel handbook…

Castiel + Molotov cocktail = YES.

The truth is, too, that I will never understand malicious behavior like that. I don’t get allowing another human being to feel that kind of donkey kick to the gut that comes along with being ostracized and alone. I will never understand mocking someone because of something they say or do, or simply are – which is out of a person’s control.

Do you like snark? And pie/cake/booze? And being silly? Excellent, darlings. Come sit by me. Let’s be weird together. Because life is too short to suffer fools and small minds. It is too short for dickbags and asshats. It is too damn short to judge and act like someone is somehow not okay, because they are not like you. (Hannibal and killer clowns notwithstanding, because: NO.)

This isn’t a lesson that adults should have to be told, and yet…

So, here’s a promise, ok? If I can help it, you’ll never sit by yourself. You’ll never wonder if our friendship is based on what you could do for me. You’ll never, ever be the only oddball. You’re never be alone. Because, darlings? I’m right here.

Perfect line is perfect. Also perfect? Mr. Firth.

this is how the pronouns change

August 16, 2013 2 comments

this a revelation
about the boy who thought
he was the hangover, only
it turned out he was the vodka,
straight up, no ice
and no excuses –
just a burn
that begs to be called brilliant.

this is a revelation
about the man who feels
like all he ever does is run, only
to find that he is running
nowhere, and his shoes
aren’t even laced –
isn’t stumbling,
falling in love isn’t either.

this is a revelation
about a man who thinks
too much and then too little,
who considers and then
forgets the conclusion,
this is how he throws
the bruises away
with a smile –
holds his temper in
like a swallowed knife,
like fire kissing glass:
this is how his heart stops
eating, how silence
begins to taste like a cigarette.

this is how he quits
drinking, stops trying to distance
himself from himself; this is how
he looks in the mirror
and finds himself missing
someone else’s face. this is how
he remembers his heart racing
whenever he saw your name 
on his phone, love
in the digital age, reminding
him that living is more 
than just a clock whittling 
the hours, more than just
obliged and obligated.

(This is how the pronouns change,
revealing the meaning underneath.)

sometimes, it’s I love you
in a parking lot
at the worst possible moment,
said by a girl 
who was brave enough to say it
when she felt like everything
was breaking, and she couldn’t
stop shaking, because you
almost said it, couldn’t quite say it
back – this is how her absence
feels like a mistake.

This is how she becomes me.
This is how he becomes you.
This is how I wait –
it is the smallest thing.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

postcard, turned letter

August 8, 2013 2 comments

it isn’t beautiful here.
I’m not happy with the way
I’m spending my days. 
without you
feels too much like punishment
for something someone else
thinks I did.

I did nothing.
I did everything.
I suppose it doesn’t matter.

still, you don’t write.
still, I’m living 
in the abstract space
of white on white,
color in the absence
of everything.

this is not serenity,
not peace, not the rush
of the ocean or its sweet
salt promise; no,
this is longing
gone dark around the edges,
emptiness as rough
as a hangman’s noose.

this is the ringing
sound after a bomb
has fallen, ashes and aftermath,
and things I don’t understand –
what language is this?
shouldn’t I recognize something?
this is something else’s handwriting,
not mine,
not yours.

perhaps I should apologize
for being unable to judge
the small monster in my heart,
the only thing that’s kept me
from having an epiphany
on the bathroom floor,
because I believe (too much)
that this exists –
because I believe (so much)
in you.

this is not a year
ripe with self-loathing
or despair; it is not equal parts
shame and regret –
put the scale down.
this is not how we measure
failure or success, collected
in empty coffee cups
and parking lots.

I am still, despite everything
that’s happened 
and not happened. I can kiss
the negative space,
but that won’t make it disappear.
tell me, quick:
do you think I’m happy?
do you think I’ve given up
all our old pronouns,
the adjectives of love
that’s not love,
not unless you can say it out loud.

I can. I have –
and that is the only
difference. it is nearly
fifteen years later,
and I’m still wearing
my grenade heart
in your teeth.

it isn’t beautiful here,
but beauty was never
what I was after.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

one year: I know what it’s like when the stars go blue.

August 7, 2013 6 comments


I hate the term anniversary. Anniversaries are supposed to be happy – full of cake and dinners and fun. Anniversaries are a celebration. So, to call the one year milestone of my mother’s death an anniversary feels wrong. But I don’t know what else to call it. Occasion? No, it sounds like a category for a Hallmark card. Event? That sounds like someone that happens on Facebook. There really is no good, single word that I can conjure up. So, I’ll just say this: it’s been one year since my mom died.

One year. All at once, it feels like it just happened yesterday – and yet, it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Someone else’s lifetime. Someone else’s story. Except, it isn’t. It’s my life and my story, and I haven’t quite work out the plotlines, yet.

Here’s the truth, as I’ve found it. People tell you that it gets better. That time dulls things. That you hurt less or what have you. But that’s a lie. It’s a kind lie, mostly. But it’s still fake currency in the emotional world. It doesn’t really hurt less. I still miss her as if I’d just lost her. Again, there’s a strange word: lost. She’s not misplaced keys. I’m not going to stumble upon her on the way somewhere. She’s not lost. She’s gone. But gone feels wrong, too. Dismissive, I suppose. As if I’d just drank the last of the milk, and now it’s gone. But back on point: it doesn’t hurt less. It hurts differently. The best approximation is having an injury. You get surgery. Bones mend as time passes. Skin knits back together. There may, or may not, be a visible scar. By all accounts, you’re fine. And yet, when it rains or when the wind is slightly chilled, you can feel that old injury. It’s not gone. It’s not the same as it way. It’s just different.

And, honestly, so I am. That is okay. That is what it is. But it has also been hard for me to accept at times. I am not broken, but there are things that hurt now, things that didn’t hurt last year, things that I couldn’t fathom last year. And that, I suppose, is what catches the light, sunlight glancing off a mirror. For the past week, without invitation, I’ve been playing the last week of my mother’s life over and over in my head. Where was I today? What happened that day? I remember feeling a mix of emotions, of seeing and not seeing how everything was happening, of believe and not believing – the emotional paradox of those watching something unspeakable occur. For me, there was no magical thinking. There was no bargaining. There was no avoiding the truth. I stood in front of the train, knowing it would hit me.

And it did. And I’m still here. And yes, it still hurts. Sometimes, that hurt is an odd thing. It makes me stupid. It makes me raw, unexpectedly. Things come out of nowhere, bits of anger that I don’t quite understand, even though I acknowledge them. I see it all happening. I know when I’m left of my own middle. Even still, I know that the world doesn’t set and end on my sadness. It shouldn’t. It can’t.

But that also doesn’t mean I’m invincible. I’m a big believer in calling out my own weakness, and so I will tell you this: right now, I am sad. I am okay with that sadness. I have made peace with its inevitable, indeterminable existence. Sometimes, it wears my smile, half-cocked. Sometimes, it throws me in a corner. Sometimes, it leaves me bewildered. But you know what? It also does not own me. It may sneak up on me, pick the lock, and sit on the couch – but it does not own this house. It isn’t me.

Honestly, when I first sat down to write this point, I didn’t know what I’d say. Then I had too much to say. Part of me wanted to talk about my mother – who she was, what I miss, and all the little details that fill up the space of a relationship. But today is not a day meant to mark who my mother was. It’s a day to recognize her absence.

It’s been a year. Not an easy one. At times, an insane one. I have been on all ends of every spectrum. I’ve grown. I’ve laughed. I’ve loved. I’ve been broken and breaking. I’ve seen and done and followed my heart. Maybe in ways that I couldn’t before. Maybe with the perfect abandon everyone always talks about. I’m not afraid of being a fool. I’m not afraid of trying. Because I know that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. I know that it’s a gamble. I know that it’s an uncertainty that we try not to acknowledge. I’m acknowledging everything. The good. The bad. The crazy. The wild and wonky.

The past year has taught me a lot. I know what I’m capable of. I know what scares me. I know that what I’m scared of is never enough to stop me. I know what I want, without question. I’ve found things in the absence. I’ve found beauty in the shadows, and I’ve dug memories out of the silence.

If you’re me from a year ago – if you world feels like it’s been wrecked by an earthquake and Godzilla – know this: it’ll be okay. It won’t be the same. But you’ll find your way through it. Not around it. There is no shortcut. There’s no passing go. There’s just straight through the mountain. It will not get better. It will not magically be a not sad thing. It will just be different.

And that’s okay.

On Doctor Who, Storytelling, and Women

August 5, 2013 4 comments

“I like that Helen Mirren has been saying the next doctor should be a woman. I would like to go on record and say that the Queen should be played by a man.”

Steven Moffat (Youtube video here, roughly at 3:40).

First off, congrats to Peter Capaldi on his role as the 12th Doctor. By all accounts, he will do a fabulous job as Doctor Who, and he’s been in a lot of fabulous things (tv and movies) that I’ve loved. This post isn’t about Capaldi.

No, my issue is with Moffat, specifically his glib attitude toward gender roles/women. As he so aptly pointed out in that video, it has been established that the Doctor can regenerate as either sex. It is possible. It hasn’t HAPPENED, mind you. But there’s not Time Lord rule that states he must be a white male.

So, I have to take grievous issue with his quip that he’d like the Queen to be played by a man. Why? These are different situations. The Queen is based on a real live person. She isn’t a fiction. She’s very much alive and well. She is not a character that’s been made up by someone, where one could take creative license and change things around. That’s the difference between a biopic and, say, SCIENCE FICTION.

*ahem* I’m going to try not to shout, but it’s rather difficult. I think that Moffat’s rather pointed dismissal and redirection is rather infantile. The tone, and his words, are rude, bordering on abrasive. He is, presumably, aware that women not only leave the HOUSE now, but we also wear PANTS. And are, generally, awesome.

Truly, snark aside, I think that having the Doctor, eventually, regenerate as a woman is not only interesting, but it’s uncharted territory. It’s NEW. Speaking from a storytelling stance, you could do SO much. It’s a whole new palate. I’d be curious to see how the companion (or companions) is thus treated, and if they are a) male and b) as alarmingly hapless as the female companions have been on occasion (more than on occasion, truly).

I’ll be honest with you: I’m relatively new to the Doctor Who world. I’ve been slowly catching up, starting in reverse. I love the series. I want a TARDIS. I adore Matt Smith, and I am sad to see him go. (He did a lovely job of making bowties cool, damn it.) But here’s the thing: I don’t have a favorite Doctor. I have an absolute adoration for each incarnation that I’ve watched, because they’re all so…different. They’re all uniquely drawn and interestingly portrayed. I like that.

Sometimes, personally speaking, I am a traditionalist. For me, it often depends on genre. But even I have a plethora of quirks I feel like I should confess. I do not want to see a woman playing James Bond, because the James Bond character was written (books and movies) as he is. That’s not sci-fi. I cannot see a reason to change his gender/sex, especially since (let’s face it) so much of Bond resides in his capacity as it does in his masculinity/misogyny. That is to say, his penis and a martini. And I’m okay with that. I can appreciate that character for what he is. I love the movies for their fun and their explosions. The dialogue is generally amusing, and Casino Royale was damn near perfect. And Bond’s more than welcome to make me a martini anytime. *ahem*

Conversely, though, I had no trouble adoring Michael Clark Duncan as the Kingpin. He was perfect in the role, and he totally owned the hell out of the part. I don’t care that the Kingpin wasn’t initially envisioned, or drawn as being, as a black character. Duncan was simply spot-n. Reaching back even further, and into another medium, I adored Mary Martin as Peter Pan. I remember, as a kid, being momentarily confused as to why Peter Pan was a woman (I was 6), but after the initial wait, what’s going on quandary, it didn’t bother me in the least. The thing about Mary Martin playing Peter, of course, was that she wasn’t playing him as female. Peter still was seen as a male character. The practice, I suppose, is parallel to men having playing women for alllll those years in the theater. I’m not, of course, suggesting that the role of the Doctor by played by a woman, portraying a male Doctor. That would probably yield a level of farce that’s not quite right for Doctor Who, unless the role of Doctor Who is now being playing by Falstaff.

But it does beg the question of why not, in regard to the Doctor being a woman. He’s not human. He’s got two hearts. He could regenerate as anything, really. An elderly person. A teenager. A child. (Although, the implications of that would be curious. Can that even happen? I would imagine that would present all sorts of storytelling problems. The companion might end up more babysitter than equal. Although whether or not any companion has truly been allowed to be the Doctor’s equal, that’s up for debate. The only one, in my opinion, who has come close (with regard to the past three Doctors) is Rose Tyler. And yet, for all her troubles, she ends up trapped in a parallel universe, heartbroken. I did like/loathe that bit of plot evolution. The separate was well done. It gave me ALL THE FEELS. And yes, I cried buckets. Unlike, say, when the whole Amy/Rory Weeping Angels plotline devolved into a pile of goo and made me full of non-blinking fury. I really did like Clara, the Impossible Girl. I loved how her existence seemed to puzzle and rattle the Doctor, especially this scene. Except, if you think about it, she was only made “smart” by accident (The Bells of St. John) – and her entire purpose seems to have been (thus far) to save the Doctor. Literally. In a way, the last bit is positive; it seems progressive, because you’d think that saving equals being a heroine, and yet…if an entire character’s purpose is meant to rescue another, it rather seems to undermine the value of that character. As much as I adore the cheeky wit of Clara (“run, you clever boy…”), who is she? What does she want out of life? Rose, at least, was a bit lost and a bit wandering. She had a mum and people in her life. Clara has…two children she nannys for. And…what else? I have absolutely no idea.

But, really, back to the quote I mentioned in the beginning. That kind of dismissal displays a callousness that I find off-putting. I find it frustrating. While the principal is slightly different, I think that another example is warranted. Up until Star Trek: Voyager, I’m sure that there were people who scoffed at the idea of a female captain. But Captain Janeway was an excellent character. The point is – my point is – things do not change, until they do. This isn’t asking to change the framework of the show or reinvent the wheel using cheese and screwdriver. Working within the framework, a female Doctor could work. And she could be awesome. But to attempt to undermine the idea of a female Doctor by presenting a supposed counterpoint – one that isn’t really a counterpoint at all – it makes me wonder if, perhaps, Moffat isn’t simply making the Doctor Who he is capable of making. (Which I enjoy, despite the desire to sometimes chuck things at the screen. All shows have their problems. All stories. All things.) Perhaps a female Doctor will happen without Moffat at the helm. Perhaps someone else will need to handle the reins. Perhaps Moffat’s story doesn’t have room for a woman as the Doctor. Maybe that’s okay. (I’ll never say that his ATTITUDE toward the idea is okay. Never. Ever. Because NO.)

I will say this: it won’t be easy, for the woman who is cast. It won’t be easy, because it will be so different. All new ground is terrifying in that there’s no net. But really, stepping into a role like Doctor Who is always, I imagine, without a net. It’s an iconic show. It’s beloved by many, daleks notwithstanding. It’d be an odd thing, to have and not have precursors. There’s a certain level of anxiety of influence. To have a canon full of Doctor and turn it on its head. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the show is full of twists and turns, and it’s wibbly wobbly timey wimey. Nothing is ever quite what it seems. The TARDIS is a woman. An angel statue can be a monster. (Don’t blink.) And a giant flap of vapid skin can be rather hilarious/terrifying. I’ll be hearing the screech of, “MOISTURIZE ME” in my nightmares for the rest of TIME.

But before a man plays the Queen, I’ll bet that we’ll see a female Doctor. I do hope she wears a fez.

the way a soul burns

August 2, 2013 2 comments

I don’t want it to mean anything,
but it does. I’m bent over
examining every moment, fingers
trying to return the broken pieces,
they no longer have a place
(tell me, do I? I can’t remember.
I’ve forgotten how home feels).

no, I’m fine.
yes, I’m okay.
nothing’s wrong.
everything’s five-by-five.

these are the lies
easily told, while dinner burns
and a keen pain
jack knifes in the emptiness,
this is how I take the blame,
not because I want it, but it’s just
sitting there, looking at me,
eyes wide, wondering
where it belongs,
if it belongs,
and I –
I feel kindred.

yes, I’m okay.
no, I’m fine.
everything is right.
nothing’s the matter.

these are the lies
people expect, paraded out
like marionettes, dancing
to brighten up the afternoon,
it’s summer, and the days
are longer than I ever anticipated.
then, suddenly, things stop
happening. whole days
vanish like a lie
trying to protect itself,
and I’ve stopped saying things
out loud, because
all these graceless feelings
are famous for the wrong thing.

this situation is familiar, a space
where something larger
used to sit, and now I worry
that absence is a place
I’ll need to repurpose:

i miss you.
i miss you.
this is my fault.
this is my doing.
i brought the knives.

I have been faithful to beautifully shattered things.
I have honored the fight.
I have stopped breathing.
I have shown up at the wrong door
covered with defiance, laughing
at regret. I know
the way a soul burns
without expectation; I know
how to make promises
that someone else cannot keep.
I know.
I know.

I don’t want it to mean anything,
but that’s the last lie.
what I want
and what is –
these are heavy, elusive
and opposite things.

the heart has one or the other:
gravity or grace.
one is buried,
the other burying.
guess which kind of fool
i am. i am. i am.

quick, before my swallowed rage
makes a coward out of this,
out of us, out of the
absence that is unknind –
tell me that you know
how much I am asking,
tell me that you know
what I am willing to give:
the taste in my mouth is yours,
right there
on my tongue, a kiss
for the taking.

Categories: Poetry