I AM GOOD I AM CHAOTIC I AM PURE [a song for Aries]

how are you feeling in ancient September

I am feeling like a truck on a wet highway

how can you

you were made in the image of god

I was not

I was made in the image of a sissy truck-driver

and Jean Dubuffet painting his cows

“with a likeness burst in the memory”

Apart from love (don’t say it)

I am ashamed of my century

For being so entertaining

But I have to smile

-Frank O’Hara, an Aries, who spent his life thinking he was a Cancer.

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I have big ambitions for this.

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Something about Aries makes me want to write concisely, in neat paragraphs (like Mary Ruefle). I want to say my piece in just a few words, convey my love in a phrase. This isn’t to say Aries are neat (they usually aren’t), but they give compact gifts.

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My friend Allison has a party every year on March 20: the Spring Equinox. Allison is a Pisces, like me. In 2015, the party was on the day of a total solar eclipse–– a powerful new moon, in the final degrees of Pisces. By the days’ end, the moon blushed into Aries. So did the sun. Spring! On this day, there was also a blizzard. I bought a bouquet of flowers at a bodega on Broadway in Bushwick. Because it was spring. I walked through the snow with my bouquet. I forgot winter. We all did. We all brought flowers to Allison’s party because it made us feel good. There was nowhere to go but up.

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You say that everything is very simple and interesting/ it makes me feel very wistful, like reading a great Russian novel does/ I am terribly bored/ sometimes it is like seeing a bad movie/other days, more often, it’s like having an acute disease of the kidney

-Frank O’Hara

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Aries are at their most powerful when they are at their most explicit.

And most urgent.

Name dropping

Singing from the gut

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Sometimes, Aries forget to listen.

It’s not that they don’t want to listen,

or that they don’t find you super fascinating. It’s just that “It’s reallllllly crazy and hard and fun to be on this journey that is life sometimes and I need to run! I need to write a song! or a poem! or make edits! I have something so say! Feelings are so beautiful! Wow! Now I need a nap, but I also need to learn! to! cook! Mangos! Tahini! Sesame seeds. Sweet & fresh! Smooth but also crunchy. Textures! Sigh. Hm?”

*

One day, I walk to the G train, high on Xanax. I am going to MoMA PS1.

It’s not quite spring, but I’m wearing a short skirt with no tights for the first time & my legs feel good. I pass the coffee shop, Marcy & Myrtle, and I notice that the logo of the store features twin rams. This makes me contemplate whether Aries,

like Gemini (the twins),

Pisces (the two fish),

or Libra (the scales),

is a sign of duality.

Looking again, I notice that the horns of the twin rams are intertwined.

Purity and Chaos.

*

Aries come in pairs. Best friends, usually. Two Aries together will depend, never co-depend, and if they do co-depend, it soon will end. Two Aries involved romantically is a disaster. With the power dynamic of sex and the ram competition, the rhythm will never settle. Two Aries can be lovers for a short time. Aries can sweep each other into the next dimension of their mutual lifetime! This is what happened between the artists Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington. Carrington was just nineteen when she ran away with Ernst, an old man (though can an Aries ever really be an old man?). It was a very brief affair which ended with Ernst in prison, and Carrington in an asylum. No surrealist exaggeration. But while they were together, they made sculptures of their guardian animals, played pranks for breakfast. Utopia.

Purity. Chaos.

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So many born in the spring are songwriters & poets.

And what is a song? Minutes that convey lifetimes.

Melodies that distill in order to expand.

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Aries are prolific. Frank O’Hara spun one million lunch poems. Greta Kline a.k.a. Frankie Cosmos (nicknamed after Frank) wrote one million songs before she turned 20.

Aries obey their inspiration

which comes in bursts. Pure bursts.

I ask: Is purity chaotic?

Or is chaos pure?

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Aries sing of water.

Aries sing of mountains.

Love feels like a cannonball into the ocean:

skin quenched in salt water,

and victorious palms in the cool air.

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Aries have nowhere to go but up.

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On “Sinister,” a song off the millionth (and second studio) release by Frankie Cosmos, Greta Kline sings, “Sometimes I get sinister/ can’t always be like Arthur.”

On “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” off the debut self-titled album by Fleet Foxes, frontman Robin Pecknold sings, “I don’t know what I’ve done/ I’m turning myself into a demon.”

These Aries confessions speak of darkness. Kline, the Aries, is sinister. Incapable of being as pure as Saint Arthur Russell. Pecknold, the Aries, turns himself into a demon. Lost wandering aimlessly.

I don’t think Greta is sinister. And I don’t think Robin is a demon.

Their songs speak of stillness. To an Aries, stillness is evil. Stillness is sinister.

Aries are effusive. They lift with their affection, and carry with their criticism. Everything is a kick in the pants. An invitation forward. Aries want to climb the mountain. And they don't want to do it alone. They'll always take you along for the ride. Aries encourage.. They want to do well and do good. They'll help you do well and good too.

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Richard tells me I’m intuitive.

Deepali tells me my aphorisms are songs.

Kelsey tells me I am a powerful star witch.

These are things I cannot tell myself.

As a Pisces, these things seem both too obvious and too aspirational.

How can I be anything?

How could I aspire to be something so pure?

How could I embody something so chaotic?

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I’m not an Aries but I think I get it sometimes when I just wanna send someone I love 1 million green heart emojis. Because what else matters?

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Originally published in moon missives: spring.