My next tattoo, on the back of my calf…
Because what happened in Malta is that I was washed clean. I read a novel that pulled me toward a fate I’ve always felt was mine, and I looked that fate in the eye, and I asked if I even wanted it, and I decided that love isn’t. It is. Everything. And also it isn’t, not that it isn’t everything, but that it isn’t [I don’t know, I can’t finish this sentence]. Every day I breathed the sea. Every day, I wandered an island that felt entirely empty and I felt full. In Malta, I didn’t have to be anything or be anyone or make anything or think or not think. So I consumed a lot of nutella. And a lot of Murakami. And a lot of Bolaño. Writers who make me feel connected to myself after I’ve strayed too far. Where am I, the desert, where am I, the moon, where am I, where I always am, here, in books, in myself in books, in the mirror, in the sea, in paradise, The Exiles. I like that I am the only person in my life who knows what that means. I like that in Malta I was the only person in my life. Period. When I feel polluted now, I think of Malta, of walking around in a place in the most absolute solitude, coming home to the house of two strangers I lived with for 10 days, curling up on the couch and watching an awful procedural drama just because it has Mal in it and just because these strangers were comforting and their couch was comforting and not having to give a fuck about literally anything in the entire world for the first time in maybe my whole life was comforting.
I didn’t leave anything in Malta and I didn’t take Malta with me. I don’t carry it inside somewhere. My ghost doesn’t wander there without me. I went to Malta and I was washed clean and I came back to Los Angeles and I sat on my front porch and I finally got to the part where they read CT’s poem and it is the thing I am tattooing on my leg so I can walk better.
The reason I can’t explain Malta is because it’s like an x-ray.
There’s a lot of static in my head right now because of the computer screen even though I spent most of the day outside, so maybe this is actually static and heat stroke. Not real heat stroke. You know.
This isn’t a break through. This is, as my brother told my parents after he saw me last week, the most relaxed I’ve ever been. Whatever that means, but it’s true.
Everything feels like a mixed up swirling mess in my head right now, but I can zone out, I can see sitting on that couch in Sliema, I can see walking rocky sea shores, and I can matter not at all, and everything gets less mixed up.
This is all I’ll say about Malta. Because my photos of that place are on my various parts of the internet. And because it’s all there is to say.
I’m home now. In Los Angeles. In my home. Everything feels like champagne. I haven’t been here before, but I’m here now.