I was reading This Dead Relationship: Foucault’s Daughter is Stuck by Quiet Riot Girl the other day and the poem she quotes at the beginning really struck a chord with me.
I carry a dead relationship around everywhere with me. It’s my hobby. How lucky to have a job that’s also my hobby, To do it all the time. A few people notice, and ask if they can help carry this thing. But, like an alcoholic scared they will hear the clink of glass in the bag,
I refuse—scared they’ll smell rottenness, Scared of something under their touch That will cave in, a skin over brown foam on a bad apple.
I cram this thing over the threshold Into the cold and speechless house, Lean against the front door for a moment to breathe in the dark, Then start the slow haul to the kitchen. Steel knives catch the moonlight on white tiles.
This dead relationship.
Or not yet dead.
Or dead and half-eaten, One eye and one flank open, like a sheep under a hedge.
Or dead but still farting like the bodies in the trenches, Exploding with their own gas. Hair and nails still growing. It has the pins and needles of returning feeling in a deadness. It is a reptile in my hand, quick and small and cool; The flip of life in a dry, cold bag of loose skin. A pressure without warmth of small claws and horn moving on my palm.
At night it slips slow but purposeful across the floor towards the bed. Next thing it’s looking out of my eyes in the morning— And in the mirror, though my eyes are not my own, My mouth shows surprise that I am still there at all.
Oh, a sickness that can make you so ill, Yet doesn’t have the decency to kill you. A mad free-fall that never hits the ground, Never knows even the relief of sudden shock; Just endless medium-rare shock, half-firm, half-bloody all the time. A long, slow learning curve. The overheating that can strip an engine badly, Strain it far worse than a racing rally. The fear that you will slow to a stop Then start a soft, thick, slow-gathering roll backwards.
I want something that is familiar but not. To feel in someone else’s pocket for a key While they lean away, laughing, their arms up, Hands in the air covered in grease or dough or paint or clay.
I have to carry it around. A weeping mother brings a baby to hospital, Late-night emergency. The tired doctor smooths the hand-made lace back from its face. He sees it was stillborn weeks ago, has been dead for weeks. He looks at her, there is no air in the room…
This dead relationship. This dead and sinking ship. Bulbs lie, unplanted, on a plate of dust. Dry and puckered pouches, only slightly mouldy; Embalmed little stomachs but with hairy, twisted fingers, Waiting for something to happen without needing to know what it is. When it happens everything else in the universe can start.
This dead relationship.
I am this thing’s twin. One of us is dead And we don’t know which, we are so close.
- Katherine Pierpoint
He was a musician, a lyricist, but he didn’t like poetry. Can you make sense of that?
The Story of Jane Doe
I went to see Jane Doe speak at Carleton University the other day. Drove down with a friend for the occasion. I was blown away. Jane Doe was raped and subsequently sued the Toronto police department for failing to protect her and discriminating against her because of her gender. If you are not familiar with her case read this (I will write about her talk and the case in general in another post, in the meantime you should definitely read this).
I was in Chapters the other day and I picked up a copy of her book The Story of Jane Doe and started to read through it to get a feel for the content of the book. The first thing I read: “Sometimes I think of him and I forget that I don’t love him anymore”.
I remember that during her talk she mentioned that the prosecutors had used her past relationship with a certain man to “prove” that she was already “damaged” before the rape ever took place. The passage I read while standing in the middle of Chapters was about this man. They share the same name… my dead relationship and hers… and I understand what she means when she says that sometimes she forgets that she no longer loves him.
I want to read that book, but I didn’t want to think about it just then so I put it back on the shelf.
Where Are You?
At first, and for a very long time, every time I opened my mail box, checked my phone or checked my email I would look for his name. It was never there. When I started blogging, I checked my stats to see if he ever read my blog. He didn’t. His city was listed once and that’s only because his ex-girlfriend was peering over his shoulder when he was reading one of my emails and she was curious to know what the link included in my signature was all about.
How do I know this? He told me. Just like he told me that he thought he was falling in love with me. Just like he told me that he didn’t believe in love anymore. Just like he told me that I wasn’t his girlfriend. Just like he told me that he almost married the aforementioned ex. Just like he told me that he should have married the one before that. Just like…
There’s honesty and then there’s using honesty like a weapon.
I Don’t Want This Dead Relationship Anymore
I saw his city in my stats today.
It could be him, it could be her, it could be a total fucking stranger for all I know.
I know this is a public blog, but it feels like an invasion of privacy.