who are you thinking of?
what about him?
how i lost him.
how did you lose him?
i'm not really sure anymore. it's happened so many times. i can't even be sure that the first time i lost him is really the first time. i was too young. i might have lost him several times before and not known it. or maybe the word 'lost' is not the right word. but i remember all of a sudden knowing that i didn't have him. it happened when i was 9. the accident happened when i was 9. the accident. the swimming pool. black bottomed. numberless. it was father's day and i was 9 years old and he was 400 miles away. he dove in. he hit the bottom. no numbers to tell him the depth. he dove, high-swanned and streamlined, in to the shallow end. the ground shook, they said. the ground shook. and his body when limp from the crack. from the snapped spine. and he floated there, hanging on at the rim. hanging on, keeping his head above water until the ambulance came. the ambulance and in and out of consciousness. the ambulance. and a phone call. a phone call and the news and mama left to go see him in the hospital. when she came back she had no choices. this is not something a person can hide. she sat us down on the couch and told us that the accident hurt daddy forever. the booboo is too big. it will never heal. she said the word 'quadriplegic' and told us what it meant. she said daddy will never walk again. i said god could fix him, right? she said yes god could. i asked if we could pray to god to fix daddy. she said we could pray.
we went and visited him in the hospital. there was a cage around his head bolted in to his skull. they called it a halo. i was 9 years old and i thought of angels. hope, faith, and charity. those are their names. those are the angels just for children but i asked god to give those angels to dad instead. my daddy was hurt and stuck and closed shut and trapped. the halo and his own body. trapped. and i wanted to break my neck too. they would wheel him out to the patio in his bed, in the halo, stuck, stuck on his side sometimes, they would turn his body for him, stuck, and he would smoke a cigarette with help from the nurse. i smiled and he watched us play. i was 9 and i knew to smile. i knew it was important. and don't stare. it is rude to stare. and it is rude to cry when you aren't the one who fell down. i smiled. i prayed.
my brother and i rode in the wheelchairs there in the day room. the nurses didn't mind. and i said to one of them that i wanted to break my neck too so that dad wouldn't be alone. she didn't say anything. she just smiled at me and put the towels away. she is the only person i told back then.
when we got home, i spent the next year learning how to swan dive. how to jump high and point my entire body straight down. then i started doing it with my eyes closed. i tried to hit the bottom but my instincts made my body pull up. i only managed to hit the bottom once. i hit the bottom and i scraped the side of my face all along the rough floor.
did you get in trouble?
no. i never said what i was trying to do.
was that when you started thinking about death?
when did you?
the year before.
when you were 8?
explain that to me.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.