SARA LONG
Live your Dharma!
I know a painter who had to be hospitalized due to lead poisoning from oil paints. He almost died from using cadmium red! That’s not how I am going to die, no, I am going to die in the elements, specifically with the giant Redwoods, the ones I married. I will die in a big storm, it might even be in the local paper, “Big Storm Wreaks Havoc on Locals, One Dead from Falling Redwood.” I will be squashed and dried out like an old lizard underneath a desert rock. Preserved. Then you can take my leathered corpse home and live with me and tell me things you were scared to before. Like the old man, Carl Tanzler, from Key West Florida who became obsessed with a young woman named Elena. When she died at 20 of tuberculosis his obsession deepened. He said that her spirit would come to him when he would sit by her grave and serenade her corpse with her favorite song. He also said that she told him to take her from the grave. Tanzler attached the corpse’s bones together with wire and coat hangers and filled the face with glass eyes. He replaced her decomposing skin with silk cloth soaked in wax. He put a wig on Elena as her hair fell out, dressed her remains in stockings, jewelry and gloves, and had sex with her dead body. The whole town didn’t mind, in fact they found it to be quite romantic priding themselves on taking in the rejects, outlaws and the riff-raff of society. But see, if the circumstances were more consensual, I wouldn’t mind if someone did this to me, in fact I’d request it. I have trinkets from past crushes sprinkled around my apartment and smell them sporadically to get a hit of romance when needed. The pages of that book you gave me are drenched in your sweat and incense. Once in high school I picked an old Now and Later wrapper from the trash that a crush threw away and held onto it for a year. Lockets of hair pass through my fingers like fast money trading between hopped-up bookies at a horse race. I used to be ashamed of this part of me, like I was this creepy pathetic witch who lived in her dreams and projections. But as my yoga teacher says, “Live your Dharma! Even if you do it poorly.” I am an observer and absorber, and sometimes that little obsessive creep witch.
Ancient Light
One afternoon the light was coming through my window. Usually I’m not home to see this light so it felt like a God send. The light was devastating. He was warm, glowing and made everything in my apartment feel sacred. The memory of what that moment felt like is seared into my constitution. Laying on my bed in complete silence as the burning light crept across my hips, now onto the books, oh now back onto my hand. Holding hands was a bold but wise choice. It reminded me of when we held hands on our way to buy oysters. %Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Kumamoto.& Say it right, Sara, don’t embarrass yourself in front of the seafood guy. You were so bright and funny that day. You were tapping your fingers, patiently, waiting for me to finish my painting. The painting of me in your studio. The painting of me among your precious things. Your rug. That was so hard to paint, I hope you know. The painting of the torrid light. I think that same light came to visit me the afternoon I was on my bed. Come to think of it, both times the clock read 3:05 PM. Or maybe he was an ancestor of that light. Ancient light. Ancient Eyes
The Female Search for Love
“When is the last time you got laid?” “You look good, fresh, did you get laid recently?” “Don’t you just wanna get laid?” “I would go crazy if I went more than a couple weeks without sex, I don’t know how you do it!” “What’s wrong with you!?”
I just finished bell hook’s Communion: The Female Search for Love. She says, “As women increasingly develop their awareness and consciousness and to the extent that men resist doing the same, a sociological situation will prevail where many women will in fact not be able to find men of their caliber and consciousness with whom to share their lives…Many women are finding celibacy a better alternative than being victimized in abusive relationships.”
“The best kind of sex, the sex in which there is the least amount of pretense – the most gratifying and satisfying sex – is the sex you do with the person in your life with whom you are the most open with.”
Sometimes that person is yourself.
The Bloody Orgasm
Sometimes I like to take Kratom and clean my apartment. My baby really needed a deep scrub so I downed a glass of the green and started buzzing. I was having the best time blasting jams, wiping down cabinets, and making quick little jokes to myself. I drank more and more and more to keep this feeling from ever going away…and then I got really fucked-up. I felt hyper, jittery, I was hallucinating, unsettled, nauseated and out of my mind. A little like the beginning of a bad mushroom trip. I laid on the floor, ate an old baked potato, and watched Seinfeld trying to calm down. I fell asleep after a while and woke up to Jackie Chiles preaching, “That’s totally inappropriate. It’s lewd, salacious, outrageous!”
I slipped into bed and tried to fall asleep, but you know when you fall asleep on the couch or floor and then you get into bed, it’s hard to get back to sleep. Like you already hit REM and now your body is confused. I tossed and turned for one hour, two hours, three, and almost four. Maybe a hidden Kratom glob had been released into my blood. I masturbated to relieve some of this tension and I was approaching climax when my diva cup lost its suction and the whole ounce of contained menstrual blood came gushing out. Everywhere. A bloody orgasm! I couldn’t even enjoy the aftermath of Tourette like squirms and ticks. I rushed to the bathroom to clean but I was so tired and sick from the Kratom that I could hardly wipe-up the mess. In the morning, I woke to bloody footprints all over my apartment, which is strange because I just finished the last episode of the new O.J. Simpson documentary a few days before. Maybe the real Jackie Chiles (Johnnie Cochran) came and visited me that bloody night, in my dream, and left me clues to this forever mystery. "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
First Stage Old Soul
When I was a kid my mom had one of her spiritual mentors, Jose, do a soul reading on me to see how old my soul is. There are five phases of the soul: Infant to Old. Within each phase there are 7 stages. I am First Stage Old Soul. The Infant Soul learns about physical existence, life and death, and a need for nurturing. The Baby/Child Soul learns about culture and community, a need for structure, and belonging. The Young Soul is learning free will, self-determination, and taking charge of one’s own destiny. The Mature Soul is learning co-existence, taking responsibility for relationships, and honoring differences and otherness. Lastly, the Old Soul is searching for balance and completion. The soul will focus on true self-expression and self-actualization.
Most of the time I only use this information as an ego boost. But once in a while weird witchy stuff will happen to me which makes me feel something ancient and deep is looking over me. Like just now, I was painting, trying to think of a title for this big piece I’m working on. I started writing down name ideas and was about to write this one down but actually wrote something entirely different down. This new name that came from a primordial-space-land was perfect, and unfamiliar. It made the whole painting make sense and made it about something I didn’t even know it was about.
Dental Meditations
A bird just shit in my hair while I was on my way to the dentist. I feel this is a psychological test (considering the last time I went to the dentist a few weeks ago I sat in someone’s urine on the light rail.) Or maybe it’s karma, I live in the Karma House, after all. Maybe it’s karma for purposefully sitting next to a dude man-spreading all over the train. I sat next to him, fists up while muttering, “I’m gonna get this guy.” He looked at me in disgust as I squirmed and stretched out trying to assert my space while knocking knees. Maybe it was the lady upstairs saying, “yo Sara, chill the fuck out and stop wasting that precious female energy on this dud.”
Who cares why shit and piss follow me…the dentist chair has been transformed from a torture chamber to a place for meditations.
Living in the Moment of a Memory
I am so hard on my memories, I cant just let them be, I am constantly trying to change and want more from them. You told me you had once been approached by a friend to kill someone, a hit-man. In the same breath, said that you had never met a woman like me before and that I made you feel calm and safe. You kissed me and whispered “we’re just trying our best here,” into my scalp, and then picked me up, honeymoon style, and tucked me in for bed. What do I do with this memory? What do I do with this longing for more? More more! Gimme gimme! I want I want! Like Bob, in What About Bob? It has been a good exercise on how to live in the moment of a memory.
Ovulation
I was at work for the old man and went to the bathroom for the millionth time because he is so boring and if I didn’t have an interruption from oil stock updates I might die. I’m on the toilet pushing out the few drops I’ve managed to reserve for this bathroom break. I’m really taking my time here. I smell my underwear just to see how things are going. I notice I’m ovulating by the goop in my underwear. I just start playing with it – engaging with it, rolling it around in my fingers like a booger, testing its tactility. I AM FERTILE. I AM WOMAN. I guess I don’t realize how deep play time got until I sit down to “talk” with the 95 year old and notice a dollop of ovulation on the tip of my nose.
“Just a dollop of ovulation” in Julia Child's accent.
The Chariot
I’ve decided to step away from Tarot for a bit, I had to. I am gullible, a believer, a child with big eyes. Over the summer, I lived in my dreams, my projected fantasies, my daily tea leaf readings. I felt unstoppable and heroic for abandoning the mundane realities of waking life. I walked through the streets smug with a smirk on my face that read, “oh you poor mortals trudging through the shit sludge of daily life!” But that shit sludge is life. It is the various markers on how I plan my day. Without a plan for the day I have nothing. Getting excited for what you know will happen and know how you’ll feel is a real gift. I know more or less how I’ll feel when I paint. I’ll get ecstatic, insecure, anxious, guilty, optimistic and on and on. Making a plan for myself to feel these feelings is, “winning one’s own way.” The Chariot.
“The Chariot represents groundedness and the ability to accomplish tasks on the physical plane. It also traditionally symbolizes a victory of self-discipline. This control is not prohibitive and stiff, like the Emperor, but involves bringing unconscious contents to the surface of consciousness for the purpose of accomplishment. She is not the mother, but the daughter in character, 'not a goddess of procreation but of creation...the worker, the maker, and as such connected to soul, to soul-work.' You are the one who confronts monsters and turns them into allies.” -Motherpeace Tarot
Moonlight Cathexis
Yesterday I was working on a painting and just feeling blah, it wasn't exciting to me. I literally yawned every time I looked at it. I started thinking about how you were telling me Agnes Martin waits to be inspired to paint. Then I was in bed thinking of that process: of painting, waiting to be inspired, feeling frustrated with the wait (oh the wait!), trying to keep busy during the wait, and some of that "busy" is making shitty paintings that break you down and make you feel so small and insecure and like you know nothing in this world.
I was laying in bed with all these thoughts and the moonlight was coming in through the window. It was a nice moment of stillness. And all the frustration and disappointment and all highs and euphoria with painting led me right here. Where I can lay in bed bathed in moonlight and think about how the cold blue light makes the plants come alive with their shadows on the wall. And how my skin color melts into the cobalt sheets. This moment was my painting and it was in my head and that felt really nice.
Cumming/Crying
I’m at work now, for the old man, and he does this super annoying thing where if he’s talking and you’re not 100% listening, he’ll snap, “HELLO!” It’s like sorry dude, you’ve been talking about oil stocks (we’re even watching oil stocks on TV!) for two hours, my brain can’t even deal with how boring this is. When he goes on and on like this I space out. Today I thought about making out with a past emotionally unavailable crush, a color I made for this blanket I’m painting (cerulean, raw umber, and white), the idea that sometimes when you masturbate you get really sad and cry and thinking of a painting called “cumming/crying.”
I think he is catching on to my spaced-out vibe and uses desperate but effective tactics, “I think women get raped so much because men are inherently hornier than females. It’s just a fact.” Touché. But it won’t work this time old man. I’m gonna stay in my sweet lovely dreamy head for now.