port of everywhere pt 1

// travel // 

And so i set out to a cold port city in search of him. Knowing it would benefit me to be slippery, fluid, amongst bars and the night walks, i disguised myself as best i can as a man. A fur hat, a handsome shirt with stripes, a long blue coat. My fingernails shellacked with the deepest blue polish, and rings stacked up on my long fingers. You see, i knew that blue was the openest of all colours: a channel for possibility the way a sea is before it freezes in winter. in my finest blues and in the shape of myself, i set out to look for Antero, my grandmother’s portal to God. 

i change my location settings on my ok cupid profile and am astonished (a little disappointed?) at how many profiles are written in English. i coo over the names and drink my airport coffee: Annika, Sanna, Temu, Timo. i wonder what it might be like to mouth these syllables in bed. But for now, i feel small, and unready. Vetiver on my hands. 

// travel again // 

if the cow fits, slip it my grandmother said as a bird hit the window, announcing someone’s death in Helsinki. Things like this were always happening, birds bringing news in the snap of a neck, cows unwittingly becoming idioms, people standing up from the coffee, still hot, the moment before the phone rang, announcing someone’s death in Helsinki. The cows are a metaphor for patience, for arrival, for the timeline of god, of multiple stomachs. Don’t ask me if he was in the basement when it happened; the floor opened up and the bird had its details taken from it, silenced by that false passageway.

Antero was a giant who kept valuable spells and magics in his mouth. He slept under a pile of dirt, perhaps not a grave but the heaviness of soil a kind of comfort all the same. Not unlike the weight of organs, a lover laying against. in the dance i imagine, Antero arrives onstage 

(orange warm light ) 

( a long shining coat ) 

(bare chest )

(hair tucked behind ears)

in his hand is a bird. The bird is my grandmother, or it is god, depending on the crowd or the budget of the presenter. The music is cued by the performer onstage 


(portable PA with cording to sound booth). 

Antero begins with a slow liquid arm, the arm pouring up until it becomes water

(mop on stage left, pre-set for the performer). 

The song is Show Me Love by the singer songerwriter Robyn, no relation to the bird onstage. The solo continues through a score of loose bones, a soft and floating skull, sudden stillnesses, and choreographed winks on the “1” of every chorus. Sex is implied in most of the moments, but not all. The silken jacket which is more of a cape really, is removed to reveal an invisible gender. 

the bird hand opens 

the bird opens 

the room opens 


(this is a lighting cue) 

god appears in the mouth of the bird, announcing important and valuable spells and knowledge. 

the work can be adapted for stage spaces, portals, the deep and cavernous 

space of the solar plexus, and 


a bird in the hand makes the crowd hungry for mythology. 

// isthmus, Karelia //

An isthmus is the parted mouth of land before the seal of war closes it, lips and all . Antero was born on an isthmus: the man, not the giant. And so everything he knew was narrow and subject to change at any moment. He learned to walk by placing one foot in front of the other like a tightrope walker, though the rope was his country and the danger on either side a rising sea, 0.2 cm every year. Antero could pivot at a moment’s notice: from forward to backwards, from past to present, from quiver to stardust. He knew that a perfectly timed shift (in rhythm, dimension, strongly-held opion) could drive a crowd or an encroaching Russian army wild. Antero understood choreography in this way. 

And so the swimming in language begins, head underwater to surface gasping at familiarity. Family in the bones and a tongue not nimble enough to follow its own blood. A blood dog, a blood pancake, a delicacy undertasted. The sky is clear and cool and he gets ready to arrive. He changes his location settings on ok cupid. He gets ready to drown in language. 

// learning // 

The two Finnish words he learned from his mother (Aiti) (other than that changing word, the first word) and the words for social order (Kiitos, Terve) were 


The bridge of light on the water that scorned lovers follow, 

Swimming towards the moon to die. 



Which translates to Emotions-poor, without the currency of language to describe what is filling up the heart. 

You could say there are categories of words. 

You could say one category of words is “useful” 

The other “poetic” 

But when Antero arrives in that cold port city it becomes clear that both of these categories are, in fact, useful. 

some signs at the climate march yesterday:

I dont really feel like dying rn

When I said I’d rather die than go to math class, that was a hyperbole, asshole

How Dare You (a teenager) and

How Dare We (their parent, walking beside)

dream record 1

I am in an apartment but it’s also a warehouse, a tall blank factory. I share it with 4 queer women, some of whom are dating and some of whom are breaking up and writing long poetic texts about it. Everyone is constantly in a state of getting ready; swishing in and out of our shared bathroom, changing clothes, listening to warm music. Outside the sugar factory windows a sharp drop into False Creek where, inexplicably, a pod of orcas have gathered to feed. Some of the queers, the most athletic ones, are down there, swimming and in canoes. The rest of us are worried about them, and about the intentions of both the whales and the queers. Up in the apartment, our attentions flutter between the window, folding our bodies out to see, and the hair curler that’s been left on in the bathroom.

soft light at the edge of your ribs

and a little shadow's mouth.

any room in any place blinks itself open

when you enter it: the gesture

of you so startling,

precise. i think

of your hand reaching out to touch:

glass, counter, frame, me. that

once broken finger continuously bowing, tip

to palm as if

to beckon

as if

to return you over and over

to yourself

R pondering the possibility of ghosts whose unfinished business on earth is unachieved orgasm. The potential of sex ghosts existing is simultaneously hilarious and devastating.

SF the other night over dinner: rest is not the same thing as recovery.

on the way home we listened to a lecture on supertime and now i can only live in the overlaps between one thing and another. everything else feels so harsh.

on transitions: “we know where we’re going but we don’t know how we’ll get there” - Stephanie Skura

b takes me up to the cabin and i am astonished. at the quiet and the close-to-obscenity of the mountains hurtling at an impossible angle towards the lake, the waterfall and its pools, more falling, more pools. we make fresh pasta and talk about romantic love and desire and how it is a place we choose to put our energy because it gives us a lot. we talk about the shame of this and how sleeping with or loving people you work with is, power wise, gendered away from our favour. we notice that it is so obvious and yet still hard to recognize that the feeling isn’t complicit with the action but rather the frame.

the transgression of public/private to post a selfie you took for someone to send to them. but these are often my favourite photos of myself. mid kettle boiling, mid outfit change, mid email send. it has to do with devotion, again. the transgression of public/private to write about selfies.

“The trees with their complicated limbs are still holding up the evening light as it turns red. The wooden frame of a half-built house. I wanted to say that hating yourself for hating yourself was femme, but anyone can do it.”

Hannah Black, Dark Pool Party

“Plants that are deemed invasive often come with names that point to other places: Scotch broom, Japanese knotweed, Persian hogweed, Himalayan blackberry. Their naming embroils them in nationalistic anxieties around borders and racialization that are really quite removed from the interests of plants.

Though such names paint them as encroaching foreigners, when it comes down to it, a plant’s status as a weed has nothing to do with where it is from, but rather whether it enriches or disrupts the things that are of value in a white, capitalist culture that assumes itself to be natural and native.

A plant becomes a weed when it threatens intensive farming and industrial agriculture practices.

Or, it becomes a weed when it disrupts notions of a pristine and unchanging wilderness, untouched and available for consumption/colonization.”

From Green Lines by Stacey Ho

i bite and watch my phone’s suggestion. a year ago today in Warszawa. the year unravels backward in a video: warm-lit kitchen holding what kitchens hold. three generations of survivors, plum brandy, laughter, a tomato travelled in a dishcloth from a southern town. the year unravels backward and i hold the shape of a family unmade. the year unravels backward and today i nail a trellis for grapevines to ache toward. today i hold things in my hand: severed blackberry root, my lover’s swollen forearm, the cat’s soft jaw, a book, a can of beer, a hammer. 

R’s hands bear so clearly the mark of their work, their physical labour. sometimes their hands make me feel silly, superflous, abstract. the other morning in class I looked down at my feet: A had noticed a new callous on my right foot, and remarked that so much had happened since we’d  seen each other last. the skin multiplying itself, betraying time and work.

lately, I get to say “see you at home” to B as we part ways at rehearsal, on the street, at a coffeeshop. this delight at a promise of return (in the morning, eggs, his music from the shower, evening, outside, a smoke before we part ways to bed) is fulfilling some kind of domestic fantasy i didn’t know i could have.

to return, queerly, newly, beginning again and again. “Orientations are about how we begin, how we proceed from here.” (Ahmed)

in rehearsal today, J mentions that she has recently googled the definitions of “precise” and “specific”. she’d noticed that people were using the words interchangeably: she felt they weren’t and wanted to check. specificity implies a context - specific to what? and precision implies a reflex: the thing that is precise is precise in relation to itself. i love this. i want to precise myself and all that i do. doing it makes it so.

why is it so much easier to make something when i imagine it as a gift, a devotion, to someone I love?

a + 7

Chapter 3 

Antxro wakes as they always do, with a mouthful of light. Ready to spit. Antxro opens their mouth and sunlight pours through the space between their top and bottom teeth, the teeth 7lmend most likes to lick. 

Quiet, it’s morning now. Everything quiet except the shriek of light leaving a mouth. When the sky is lit with the sound from Antxro’s mouth, the trees lit, the pinestraw underfoot lit, 7lmend lit, Antxro’s mouth belongs to itself again. 

“Is this the place?” Antxro asks 7lmend. “Near enough” 7lmend says, and shakes off the pollen left by the demon of smallest sleeps. Antxro slept but feels the scrape of 7lmend’s sleepless night behind their left eye. Antxro wants to suck the feeling from 7lmend. Empty them out and fill them with soft mossrot and the edge of a river to soothe them. Antxro swallows and thinks of mysteries instead. “my love for you & that for me deep down in the Purple Plant the oldest dust”. “The difference between chaos and star I believe.”

 Antxro and 7lmend continue on through the town towards the shape of a god not near enough to touch. There is rain but it doesn’t fall. It hangs suspended inches above the tops of everything. Hovering. Full of itself and a hundred thousand watery stories. Everything in the town takes on the shape of a god not near enough to touch. Corners, buildings, people, stones, shadows, flower stands, monuments all begin to soften and slip into the curve of themselves. It becomes hard to see. 7lmend whistles to feel the shape of the air coming back to them. The whistle bounces off the sloughs off the shatters off the shapes. It comes back around. Antxro and 7lmend find the narrow corridors of breath and move towards them. 

Time moves through the breath of the town and everything else. 

The town breathes and the rain falls. Antxro puts out their palm and is surprised by the coolness and wetness of time against their skin. They slip their hand into 7lmend’s pocket. 7lmend’s pocket changes shape to become a glove. Antxro’s heart changes shape to become a pocket. 7lmend slips their hand into Antxro’s heart. They find the pencil, and use it to write a corridor still narrow but wide enough to walk through. Antxro and 7lmend leave the town this way. 

The rain stops. Slick. Metal. Quiver. Damp. 

At the beach, feet in the water, Antxro asked 7lmend for the names of five things that are near enough to touch. 

“ache, pencil, a cocoon like the sunlight, sorrowsong, rope” 7lmend said, and that’s when Antxro stopped waiting and began. Linden the lyrix had already begun but began again too. A lyrix is a hiccup in time, which is what makes them so beautiful. 

the furrow above my left eyebrow that makes me look serious when I am in thought. the way each of my lovers for as long as i can remember has commented on it. to be considered a serious person in the eyes of others. to consider oneself a person who takes what they do seriously but not themselves. is there a difference? does it matter?

i meet with A, who is in town, for sushi and the server tries to seat us at a table in the middle of the restaurant. we have the same feeling but she speaks it, asking to sit instead at a nearby table tucked against the wall. we need containment. we eat black cod and talk about the corner that gets turned when one goes from working on a practice to making something. “i try really hard never to turn that corner,” she says.

i go away from the city to arrive at myself. i go for a walk without my phone, eat blackberries at the side of a road (steep hill) and think about abundance and horror. I sit by the beach until it’s time to swim: i think about grandmothers. no, i think about ancestors. diving in, i almost swallow a mouthful of water in my gasp at the change in temperature. in this moment i have two simultaneous thoughts: “she opens her big mouth and worlds appear” (Hannah Black) and, less a thought than a sensation: nostalgia for a future in which we talk about how we used to swim in the ocean.