Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Things that Did Happen--yes, things happen and happen, in the most comforting words of Melanie Westerberg--and that I managed to be present to them

It occurs to me that if I can get back to blogging, I will know that I have been living, even during this long stretch of time when I am underground, regrowing limbs, in limestone springs with skeletal manatees. I am more alive than i have been in years, which is to say, not ferociously tring to escape a loop, but just looking, out from under my eyelashes, quiet interest in things again, and a belief in where the touch work can take me.

Pictures to help when I am mute, remind me that I was alive. Things that happened in January and the holidays preceding it. Some days I am not not alive, but underground, flowing, wrapped in a dark purple sheet in an olive green room, seemingly sleeping. I don't want to struggle and be mangled by the hard egdes of  syntax, Sharp choppy pile of plates that takes me out of the body. Pictures gesture towards the language of fluency and sensation. And, I realize, in the moment that I was taking them, I was using the aact to help me be present, but at the same time, distance myself a bit, so as to also maintain a safer, less inward-biting presence. Especially in the family moments.

Here we are at an early, soporific  New Year's dinner. I lay down in my family as a kind of bad, though I know they think I sleep too much.

Wake up as the night goes later. New Year's Eve, almost midnight, watching Arti Glove go out onto the balcony and burn sage. He doesn't really know what it is, he's never burned sage before, but he wants to light something, to match the fireworks beyond the balcony. The small glow of intention in him is gorgeous to me. He creates too much smoke, from holding the flame to the bundle too long. We laugh. I do not leave the bed, where I am scrapbooking.

Foxy Brown. All day, every day, with her. She exudes huge smells for such a tiny body, often fetid smells. I inhale them and feel strong and new and drowsy. if I cannot stand the inside of my head, I am so close to the dog, that there is almost an escape hatch. One for alert, but patient hope and reveling in foundational stink close to the body. Green-eyed cat Remedios just reminds me that I can stay in the state of cool velvet--blank, opulent, beyond the beyond. When alert hope is too irritating.
Mom and cousin Carla try out the small, sleek couch bed that was delivered to my door. Perhaps no one but small, wiry, olive skinned ladies can comfortably sleep on it. But that is fine with me. I consider, to slowly introduce people into my portal,  but then, a 6’4 cyclist who wants to attend the yoga seminar in my town, bking all the way up the car-clogged interstate system from some other sub(real) seas-side town--he won;t fit on my couch bed. Eventually, I will rent out my bedroom and sleep on my couch bed myself, San Francisco -style, so that I can afford to...not, get back there--after the death of Thu Phan, at the Market Street crosswalk in her wheelchair where I wheeled a million times, cursing the terrible placement of the curbcut, well I may have totally fallen out of love with the SF bay Area and that is a relief. But now, there’s a million sex educator/worker/entertainer conferences in different cities I want to get to this year. Not to mention the Casa Diablo Vegan Strip Club in Portland, where now resides Val Witte:

If she could have one functional relationship/a professional stage musician vanishing/small, irrelevant items, a kind of animal, a kind/of seizure, a paradise/where the dialog is perfect [a game of correspondence, Black Radish, 2016]

It took all this time, now almost mid-February to write this blog post, to return to Val's book because I keep sawing myself up and box, doing that disappearing act somewhere between therapy, sex, and poetry.  I only love poets, I am a pseudo-poet, but I have felt cast out of their streaming for so long because I needed to learn to read as bodyworker--this, for me, being paradise of dialog.

But back to these photos, as my biggest creative endeavor these last few months was to have a peaceful, semi-sober holy season with the family.  All my energy for being an artist or poet gets subsumed by financial and familial relationships between my body and other bodies, and trying to read and speak the energy of the body as its own poetic. This is depression, I don't multitask very well, because a state of alert mutlidooings tips me quickly over into the most extreme, anxious thinking. I am beginning to feel that it won't always be this way. Just a few more months of titrating around the edges, as my somatic counselor would say. And this realization that the tradeoff for living more cheaply in this desert polyp of Pinellas County, si that i can travel, and so yes, the finding structure and uplift in looking towards visits to my other family, the friends in different cities. Really, there is no money for any of it, but the worst has already happened. i moved back to the town i am from in Florida as a being--disabled woman, sex positivity consultant--that still lacks any kind of social context, I am single, and i am isolated by my inability to drive. I feel joy! there is nothing left to fear! credit card debt can be truly meaningless. A chronic thing we live in order to be able to live our life. for this, i am privileged, and a coral-rose apartment above a teal swimming pool. A home to rest in, reserve, and direct my energy from. Always, before, the worst thing was breaking up relationships and failing to thrive in San francisco. I am glad I got that out of the way. It has taken three years to titrate that out.

all of this, is the real-time trance that I kind of have to burn through, with a tiny diamond, to be here, in sensate happenings.

Right after my grandmother presented my mother with a cartoonshly huge drinking flask and my aunt expounded on the charms, for the bracelet. engraved with the names of nieces and nephews. I have asked them to stop referring to all things and tasks as "shit", to try the word "stuff' as other people do. This lumping into scatology, I think, is hardwired into them from caustic, hearty, practical Northern Spaniards and there Asturias  farms. They look at me patiently when I request this, a newfound pause before an eyeball, since I took myself to the psych ward over this and other smaller matters in the last couple of years.

Ash wada came to coral castle and adorned himself in my odds and ends and he points to me, his mother, and his father, cuing us for the Muppets Dunna Nunna Nunna Nunt, Manna mana! Imagine that me and his mother met when we were 16 and felt the need to hide togther, in a FL suburb, from the sun and big generalities, reading Nietzsche!

Aunt Mary Ellen and her actor friends. She and Richard took me to a pre-NYE pig roast in an old Spanish house in South, every inch of rickety floorboard creaking with the laughing, eating, weight of local stage people. I wore gold glitter shoes. I have this desire to use this blog as my improve stage, to map out a hybrid of performance and poetry made of sensation but I am always much adieu about nothing. there is always tons of further adieu, as my work seems to always be about setting the stage for was my real work might be. It is, very much, also about real physical access to the stage. I was in love with Madonna when I was 6 yrs-old. But my physical therapist told me I would never join her on stage unless I forced my limbs to flex and straighten o certain degrees. My 6 yr old self was like, Well fuck it. Interestingly, at 37, I am obsessed with lolling around on a bed with gender fluid 21 Miley Cyrus and sticking my tongue out. 

The somnolent, wholly delicious NYE dinner, in which I play the pale manatee to my other's ropey miniature pony body. but this is not troubling me in the photo and I am not even drunk!  Its  cross to bear, to have a beautiful mother, the church mouse mouse at th disability office used to say. A cross to bear, she would repeat. 

Arti. on my balcony. I have a thousand photos of him, naked around the house. I want to talk about imperfect male bodies at home--beautiful in their domestic moments. But this is not yet the blog for that.  He's taken new job now as a city bus driver, so you know, there's goes the erotic reveal. Loading disabled people on to the Tampa transit system is a radical gesture in these parts, and I am glad he is the one to do it.

Two beds in my tiny apartment, and soon, a bed on the balcony when I find a mildewy old chaise with the legs at a thrift store. It took so long to post this January blog (and I don;t just mean the last couple weeks, but the last couple years of any blogs that could have been posted) because a. I didn;t want to reveal my hideously crimped mindset, undergirded by a deep personal sense of loss, to the world and b. because I needed to merge with technology in such a way as to flow laterally, from lying on a bed or by the water onto the page. To meet my body in real time here, to achieve the kind of physical fluency as a blog dancer that I would not have as an IRL dancer. This was achieved by looking beyond the Blogger app to Google docs, an iPad propped against the sleeping dog, deciding it would not really be one step closer to the brink if I went up to composing in 48 font--but rather, dreaming into poetry, as with your eyes closed, letting the lids fall. (a major fantasy of mine is also to have sex in my sleep, to do everything in my sleep, for the way it mimics a sensation of wonder and of swimming.)


One thing that opened my throat this January, was that Nessie came! A woman whose work has been choreographed by a whole troupe of movers and musicians, the MainStage prop being a bed, her bed. Itmade my home more my home to have her come here, stitched a wound across the country to have her traverse the space and land here. We drank wine on the toilet, listened to Salvatore croon to Ciro and Arti, discovered from my father that neese'shome village and our home village back in Sicily are so very close,

ate guava pastries and encountered Ybor City chickens so that she could understand the Tampa creolization of Cubans and Italians.

The gorgeousness of Sabrina Dalla Valle home in Old Southeast St. Pete. The thing about Sabrina is that she fiercely traces the mystery fissures on the highest arches of classical constructs and I have felt like I have had to stand apart from this abstract inquiry, low down as I am in vulva field work. Except she takes me to hidden bayou places where  there ar bucket son oysters and scallops for cheap, the tradeoff for us both being castaways here. This year, we've burst into shared middle langauge.

Her living room, her weaving, a quest like my own, to rent our places on AirBnB so we can escape Florida when we need to and come back to the humble jungle, as she says, re-stored.

Sabrina has learned things--from working for the rib man and the Ethiopians, at the beach market and the downtown market and the Gulfport festivals--about St. Petersburg that I would've never come across, working in my latent speakeasy at the coral castle. This brought the town alive to me again as we toured Mg Roberts around and S. narrated the sites. There they are, above, peering into the windows of a house on a moist cul-de-sac. Will this be the new home for the wild Roberts' girl beasts, mg's daughters? It already has a tree house, Mg called backed to us, from the sideboard to the rotting deck where we stood. It is a sign she said. This is rh pleasure and the revitalaiaiton of spending days with poets--that things are a sign, that things reveal a mystery, that things wash clean the windows of perception. There is a gecko, another Sign, Mg called. And before I realized what rubric she was following for guidance, i said, Oh, there are those miniature lizards everywhere. which sort of dashed the singularity of the sign, but hundreds of lizards are tons of lizard tail bait for the kids to fish with and lizard jaws to be coaxed open and dangle like earrings from their lobes.

Mg and Sabrina doing at the Chattaway. Mare again, at our cheeseburger poetry reading, classing it up with her outfit. The sole lady patron of my art! Last year about this time, mare and I were at a Bloomsday event.

The Chattaway is actually an outdoor grille/music patio run by expat Brits who got stranded in the St. Pete salt marsh about a 100 years ago. 


Grandmother Aida and Chalice, her uncle and the youngest of my great-grandmother's 13 siblings. At a large family wedding that served as an extension of the holidays. If there is any reason I am here in Florida is to see the grandparents do a chacha to Michael Jackson's PYT in the banquet hall of St. Lawrence Catholic Church.

The formidable foursome--mother, uncle and aunts. All of my edges are sharpened of clipped by them. Guys shoes, close-up.

My bed, on latitude with low, concentrated light through brackish puddles at the bayfront. Eventually, I'll pose naked in those banyans for a photo shoot, though I'm pretty sure that idea has been taken by some local tantrika.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Unitarian sex ed and David Bowie devotional candle

This arrived in the midst of my OWL Training (comprehensive, accurate, sex ed for K-^)at the Mirror Lake Unitarian Church this weekend. I was sleepy, stuffed with French toast casserole and chapel coffee and so many eager adults asking the OWL facilliators questions about how not to shame a kindergarten who masturbates and what to tell and 10-year-old who asks about being genderqueer. I came home after a 12-hour workshop day and there was this package.

From some mysterious friend. There was no tag or return address, it came wrapped in the New York Times, from Flaming idols--a company that makes devotional candles for the LGBTQ community. Some mysterious someone heard me say that I have been grieving Bowie terribly, that there is a tear in the cosmos now,  an eerie parallel universe seam in which some of my life force pours up out of my body in search of him and finds him still, ever-present. And this someone knew me well enough to know why I would want an LGBTQ altar candle

What a gorgeous friend, a wise friend. Was it you?

Friday, December 11, 2015


Skelgirl did not have hands until her early 20s. Hey hands came with her knowledge of herself as autonomous sexual being who could grab the rail and pull herself up and swing herself down from city buses. She heard a philosopher say that our hands is what makes us human. Which she took a bit of offense to send she knew a lot of other skews and twisted sinews whose hands were their feet or their mouth or the blunted fingerless bones at the ends of the rest. Prehensile intelligence I can transcend the vehicle of the hand. And if one believes it's about using tools to dominate nature...well it's just as much about putting the body back into the earth, the earth back into the body, all surviving as any individual body.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bowie was my first map to shadow, eros, and beyond-gender

On Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 1:58 PM, Sabrina Dalla Valle <> wrote:
this is a lens onto our cutting edge turn of the 21st century
but be prepared...

amber v. dipietra

5:22 PM (8 minutes ago)
to Sabrina
It's funny--it feels comforting and compelling to me in a a way, perhaps in contrast to the scarier associations I have with Bowie. The fear I had, at age 6, upon seeing him in Labyrinth--that I would never approach the eros and allure he signified in that movie, and how at age 6, i could feel and want it so badly. Also, two dear gorgeous male friends with whom I shared a love of Bowie. Seeing one friend in the despair of meth addiction and the other friend, now dead to a heroin overdose. I don't know--Bowie...he's my dark prince, I'll follow him anywhere.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Restrictive treatment programs

Re-traumatize those who have been overly controlled in their lives, who use substances as a way to escape control.

The beginning of a long betrayal, but nevertheless, a betginning

Sentence that works as touch. Not a touching idea in words, but a pressure and direction through timing, ch is syntax-- actually a kind of touch. My acupuncturist at Saint Petersburg community acupuncture was a student of Bhanu's. Perhaps this is a sign that I will cease to be so lonely here.

Here is a car I saw, on the bus to the bun, in the old jungle and ragged beside-massive-highways neighborhood.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In which I am considering what to wear, in the event that I meet my future husband on the first day of rehab, tomorrow. I exaggerate. It is a three-day outpatient program, in a place named for Emily Brontë's moors, even though it is on the Gulf Coast--end it is blistering November.  The bus takes me to the bin at 7 AM. All of this would be redeemable if I were Janet Frame. 
The cat just stole my last fetid clump of brie cheese. I fear she will immediately die of pancreatitis, but I cannot get it away from her. My toes are like brittle, pigeon scaled, Vienna sausages. Only some small things can they clutch. This cat move to San Francisco and back. She once had a tube in her neck for six weeks.Cats allow us to speak to the world when our throats are closed up.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I must begin to write things here again, because I need to have somewhere where I am transparent about my process, or I talk about poetry then, or I talk to my Poetry friends, where I am not a persona that makes me a small time underground economic success – Josh or I mean, it's fairly lucrative part-time job that allows me to lie down a lot.

 "I’ve heard several young writers of color confuse conceptualism and experiment to describe the few writers of color writing in this vein and I just have to say: race is not a concept. To "
--Mg Roberts speaking about not wanting, or not being so invested in being categorized and avant-garde or experimental writer. She says this on the Friday interview series, Bhanu Kapil's blog. These women are my dear friends. To say I miss my friends is only a phrase. Is not a concept. As Disability, the body, bodywork, sex work, is not a concept. So if I avant-garde writing has to be conceptualism, that I can't to find myself as an oblong a writer either. Speech to text which is how I write these days, laying in the dark and speaking into my phone, speech to text translates avant-garde writer as oblong Rider either. My somatic counselor told me to sing, to keep singing, to work on singing. It seems the only way back in. I have moved to Florida where the idea of avant-garde writer. The idea of avant-garde writer. Does not exist. Except maybe for how Sabrina and I make it. Sabrina who is dear to MG, who washed up on this deserted island just a little while after me. Who is a poet also and has homesteaded in the southside of St. Petersburg very near me. Who know longer can live entirely in poetry either, but spend so much of her day is caring for the elderly and working at local markets. While I work in the skin trade of my own making/trying to create a culture that values consulting and counseling sans certification – – Florida is very attached to whether you have the certification or not – Ash around disability and sexuality. Sabrina and I make work, she writes but I don't. I write only invisibly into the intimate nervous system and then take banal notes in a binder just so I can remember what territory I mopped with each one of them. I limp a lot because the left ankle is destroyed but will carry me and I do very light work to save my spine and remaining eye. I don't leave the apartment very much, but when I do it is like stepping into the back of soft air. I came back to Florida to be not so worn down, to live the softest life. For my body. Which is also a desert island life. Which is a kind of the hardest work. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Real Time Archive