Moss Angel


There is a kind of ending that isn't an ending. You see, the 78 men who cause pain can never win. We can win. Meteor (may she lay us waste) can "win". But the ending in which they win is no ending. It is the status quo. They control everything, including us. Well, mostly. But monsters don't need to be born from other monsters. Monsters will exist so long as there is hierarchy that divides by difference. Hierarchy that divides at all.

So for all practical purposes this is an ending. The same way "happily ever after" is an ending. "Miserably ever after." Which maybe means what we should be looking for isn't really an ending at all. Maybe it's a beginning.

This is where my head has been lately. This is what I have been thinking about for the past five minutes as I lay in bed staring at the movie I have been not watching while my girlfriend L lies next to me, packing a bong. I space out for awhile longer. The cool thing about having a trans girlfriend is that she's checked out as much as I am. She gets it. I get it. It happens, big deal.

My last few girlfriends, my ex-wife, girlfriends before that, all cis, were always frustrated about this side of me. The part that just disappeared for long periods of time. Just like my parents, teachers and bosses before them. I couldn't help it and I still can't. I still sometimes feel like someone is going to get upset when I come out of a period of dissociation: this sudden, dropping fear I'm letting someone down. But these days that fear is truly unfounded for once. Having a girlfriend who genuinely doesn't care if I have to spends some time out-of-body is...a relief.

I moved to Portland about three years ago. I like to tell people that I "ran away from home to be a transsexual," which I think has a ring of truth to it. I left a city, a job, a relationship, a lot of friendships. Whatever, it was shitty, a bunch of stuff changed. I barely remember it unless I think hard. Not to mention that, now that I have some distance from it, it's hard even remembering what it was like ~not~ being out as trans. Trans is just sort of the water I swim in. It's frustrating, but it's home.

After the movie ends I kiss L and walk into the living room to see if any of my roommates are around. Lately it's been hard to keep myself from holing up with L all day watching Netflix, so I've been trying to pop into the living room to briefly talk to someone a few times a day as an attempt to ward off that closed-up beginnings-of-panic feeling. We just moved in here a week ago, to a house of mostly trans girls who we had been friends with for awhile already. My sometimes-sweetie J is sitting in the living room reading a copy of Lucifer Princeps. I walk over next to her. "Hey there," she says, leaning her head sideways against my hip.

"Heya," I scratch my fingers in her soft hair, "How's Satan?"

"Oh she's doing marvelously. Which makes sense, given all the evil we've got around these days."

"You mean dirty-hooker-transsexual evil or nazi-president evil?"

"Well, both. But Lucy seems like she prefers us at this point. Or at least me," she says, glancing down at the stick & poke on her left wrist. I gave it to her a few nights ago on our living room couch, to symbolize J's personal connection with Lucifer. I met her months ago and we immediately connected over all the important things: magic, weird art, leftist politics, mushrooms & being trans. She is my favorite kind of weirdo: a gentle soul who totally gets everything that is going on around her and in the world in general but seems so constantly overwhelmed by it that she mostly expresses it in weird little half-joke Facebook statuses. J has been through her share of tough shit. We all have. We have a lot of battle scars already and some of those battles still aren't anywhere close to being over.

I notice a text on my phone. It says "hey sexy," which means it's from a client. I've been escorting for about six months now, but mostly that has meant ignoring these texts because, honestly, most of these people just want to waste my time. And I hate having to give a shit when it doesn't seem like it will be worth it anyway. I think I would actually love escorting if I knew every dude that sent me a "hey sexy" or a "u ok w first timers" or a "how much just to lick" text was completely serious and sitting alone in a room with a stack of an appropriate amount of bills in an envelope all ready for me. But unfortunately they usually just want to talk to me long enough to get off or long enough that I will send them nudes so then they can get off. This time I don't ignore it and I text back, "Hey there :) U looking to meet up? $100/30 min or $180/hr. Outcalls only."

J has been absorbed back in her book, but her head is still leaned on me so I give it another scratch while the response comes in. "Yeah. Let's do 30. I'm at the Rodeway Inn by the airport. Meet me in an hour?" Honestly, I'm impressed. This nice fellow actually wants to meet up.

I immediately text back "I'll meet you in 1 hr. What room #?"

Wow. An actual client. Unfortunately I have hella morning stubble and its 2pm and I am only wearing my girlfriend's oversized Grateful Dead t-shirt, an oversized Black Sabbath hoodie w spiky studs on the shoulders & tiny pink underwear. Which means it's most definitely Gettin' Pretty Time.

I give J's head a kiss. "Well, let me borrow that devil book when you're done with it. I think I'm gonna shower now."

"Cool! Shower well, you," J says as I drift back toward my bedroom, where L is getting stoned and staring at six second looping Japanese instagram videos of hamsters. "Look at this ham," she tells me.

"Oh my gosh, what a small soft baby!" I say, kissing in her hair.

"Do you want to shower?"

"Did you hear me tell J that?"

"Nope! I just wanted to shower."

"These are the things we do I guess," I said into her hair, punctuated by another kiss. "Also I've got a client."

"Nice," she says.

Someone once told me that the problem with showering with someone else was that generally not much actual cleaning got done. L & I prove that untrue on a daily basis. We mostly keep to task while making room for the occasional interruption of groping and moaning, making out and the occasional bit of clit sucking or ass-eating. We're always like this together. This shower is mostly functional, with only a few brief diversions, and the hot water feels good until it doesn't and then the whole bathroom is muggy and steamy and we both start getting light headed so we get out. I feel the lightheadedness pushing on me, my limbs start to feel heavy, so I dry and go in the bedroom, where I flop naked on the bed.

"Oh god," I moan to myself as I feel a familiar horrible warm tingling climbing my back. I've always called these anxiety attacks but I have no idea whether the thing that I call "anxiety attack" is anything at all like anyone else's. I look at my phone and my client hasn’t texted back with the room number. My mind wanders and the blankets near my face feel too close, the room feels too small, too lived-in, too messy. All I can think about is that I have spent nearly 20 hours a day in this bedroom since we moved in, though I guess I am totally making up that number. I feel stagnant and my life feels stagnant. I have been existing and that's it and there is nothing about my life that is in any way sustainable.

On top of that, the horrible country I live in, a country that exists because white assholes like my probably-slave-owning ancestors came and killed and cheated everyone who was here before and now we all go around acting like we deserve to live here, yes that same country, has elected an actual fascist as president and even my white skin isn't enough to help me get a fucking job or whatever other things I'm supposed to have planned out in order to exist and I don't even know if I could do a fucking job anymore anyway because half of my days end up with me just like this staring into a room that all feels too fucking close to my face and crying and panicking and I don't think any employer is going to let me be like "oh hey sorry I'm a fucking nutcase so I can't actually do any work anymore today" just like whenever this happens. Especially because any job I get I'll already have one strike against me because I'm a transsexual mess who doesn't own unripped tights and has stick & pokes all over herself including one on her fucking face, which I actually like, but won't do me any favors in the job market.

Which like, fuck the fucking job market, right? It's a whole scam against anybody who is even slightly marginalized in any way at all and I've always said that I'd rather be scamming my way to a minimal living through art and sex work than get a real job anyway. That is until I get too crazy to do sex work and art. It does seem to be getting worse every year. No doubt about that. I always want to fix things by moving to another city, and I could move, but where could I move that I wouldn't just be doing the same fucking thing, holing up and watching netflix with L and having panic attacks and maybe trying to do sex work or else like worrying that I'll never be able to afford rent and like what if I can't get on food stamps there and they probably hate trans people there anyway unless it's like Olympia or some big city where everything is too loud and close anyway.

It's not like I wish I was out partying. I hate parties. So does L. We've bonded over it. And we also both freak out at shows so live music is pretty much always not-an-option. So far the only thing that makes me feel not-horrible and like I'm dying is making art and I don't even know what the fucking point of that is. So what, I want to be some cool artist chick? I mean I guess that's what I already am and it fucking sucks because all I do is panic and cry. Basically this feeling right now is terrible and all I can think about is how much I want to punch my own stupid fucking head in but I am keeping myself from doing that. That is not productive because I have already done that a LOT of times and getting (further?) brain damage is just going to make my life harder than it is.

L walks in and sees me crying. "Aw, babe," she says as she sits down beside me and holds me in her arms. I hug her hard and stare up into her face and she wipes my tears off but the panic is settled in deep at this point so I can't stop crying. L knows this well. She's held me for hours through this. She was with me for the entirety of my 30 hour marathon panic attack that ended with me in the ER. I push my face into her towel-shoulder and let out some good hard cry-growls. I feel cold and spent and scraped out inside and more than anything I feel scared through my whole gross boy-man-girl body and into my bones.

I turn my head to get in a more comfortable position and when I turn my head the room moves around me in a way it shouldn't. Fuck. Why can't I just live in a world that sits still. The too-closeness of everything gets worse and nothing around me seems real. I don't seem real. My brain can't seem to figure out where real starts and made-up begins. L's hair is right by my face and it seems like it’s coming out of her head in a way that couldn't really happen. It looks like a computer simulation. I think that it's kind of adorable but I am immediately deeply unsettled by the fact that I feel this way. I feel pathetic and very very crazy, and it feels like the kind of crazy you don't come back from. I think about Sea-Witch. I am so close to L right now. I look up and brush back her hair. The entrance to Sea-Witch is the ear. I'm exhausted, but I go inside. She welcomes me beautifully & I thank her & say now I must sleep & so I lay down on one of her softest orange beaches & let the waves tell me how to disappear.



I am in a room. There are three doors ahead of me. They have signs on them. The sign on the first door says TASTE OF PISS. The sign on the second door says TASTE OF CUM. The sign on the third door says BOTH! BOTH! BOTH!. I almost enter TASTE OF CUM, but I stop myself. I check myself in the mirrors. There are mirrors lining the walls. I back up four steps & turn. I enter BOTH! BOTH! BOTH!. Beyond this door the walls are heavily stained. The room smells of lysol. I see two people dressed as rats dressed as angels guarding a door across the room. I say they are “guarding” but I don’t know what made me think of them as “guarding”. They do not have weapons that I can see. I walk to the middle of the room & look up at the ceiling. In the ceiling there is a grate. I begin to worry that choosing “both” was a mistake. That choosing any door at all would be a mistake. I look into the grate. It is a grate.

“Don’t worry,” says one of the rat angels. “No one is going to dump piss or cum on you without your consent.”

I relax a little bit.

“What if I want them to?” I ask them.

“I’m sure we could arrange something,” says the other rat angel.

I say a quick prayer to someone who is not meteor (may she lay us waste). Meteor has never minded us having other gods. Meteor understands her limitations. In the Book of Meteor it says “Hey look, I get it. Sometimes you want total destruction. Sometimes you want something with a little more nuance. One girl can only do so much.” The thing I pray to isn’t a thing I have a name for. It is a thing I have felt & have tried to name in different ways throughout my life. It is a thing that resists naming.

There are a few things that could happen next.

1. A flood of cum & piss from the Thing That Resists Naming could come from above, through the grate, & cover all my body.

a. The rat angels could join in.

b. The rat angels could not join in, but enjoy watching.

c. The rat angels could not join in, & feel weird about watching & start talking to each other instead, or kind of stare at the floor & feel awkward.

2. The rat angels could come over & fuck me.

3. No one fucks. What is this obsession. Just calm down everybody. I go through the next door, guided by the Thing That Resists Naming, who is not particularly fond of the fact that I have turned its resistance of naming into a name, or that I will probably acronym it later into like TTRN or TTTRN or something.

What actually happens next is some combination of the above options. What actually happens next is the realization that “next” as a concept is bound by time & linearity & as you have probably gathered by this point, We Don’t Have Much Respect for Either of These Things. But narrative dictates events happen, sometimes even in a certain order. & we have pledged to keep narrative holy. Narrative is what we crave above all things. Our minds need it in order to exist. It is how we remain capable. How we can relate to others. It is essential.

I walk over to the rat angels & they open their mouths for me to inspect them. Their mouths are gleaming white & all light seems to come from inside them. I take the 8 suns from my body & compare the light from my suns to the light from inside their mouths. Their mouths are so much brighter. These suns have gotten so old. I put 5 suns in the left mouth, I put 3 suns in the right mouth. It is the world we have come for, they tell me. Nothing can be the same again. I have the feeling that everything should be over already. I have the feeling that this world has gone on too long.

I remember a discussion I once had with a friend, back when I was living in Sea-Witch. She said “I think I am a main character in my story.” I confessed to her that I have always felt like a minor character. A character who had one small scene early on in her life & yet had somehow continued to exist, far, far away from the main character. A character who has been forced to live out a full life beyond any purpose or utility she might have. A character who was not planned out & has gotten stranger & less useful over the years & years she was never expected to live. A character who has been abandoned by the plot, & yet still progresses through time without any direction or purpose.

“Honestly, that’s a gift,” my friend replied, “because most stories are written by assholes.”



The process of formation, observed from within, is essentially a slow removing of options. Many of these options are options that most monsters have already ruled out, and their loss is not mourned. For example, once one realizes they are a monster it is clear they could never be one of the 78 men who cause pain. This feels pretty okay, because monsters do not want to cause pain because monsters do not want to cause pain to themselves because monsters do not want to cause pain to other monsters because the 78 men seem pretty shitty when seen from the perspective of a monster.

But other options begin disappearing too. They disappear one by one and it isn't so scary really, it isn't so scary until you begin to get close to the endpoint. The endpoint looks like this, and it is two options:

1. Be scared. Be always scared. Be consumed by complete unrelenting terror that seems to have no end.

2. Die.

Option one is impossible to sustain. Option two has so much in the way of actually making it happen that most monsters end up choosing option one as a default. There is a third option, but it feels impossible. Considering it feels like considering swimming your way across a whole ocean. But still it is there:

3. Fight.

The option doesn't say who or how to fight. It just says fight. We need more research. But we are all too weak and tired to research. We fall back into wishing. We fall back into prayer. May she lay us waste.



After I left Sea-Witch, I took a large leaf from the ground at my feet. I used my fingernail & berry juice & a ballpoint pen & wrote a letter to Sea-Witch, but the letter kept shifting its words around. I wrote this letter out of joy & desperation, out of a desire to connect with her whom I love. I do not know how the letter looked when it got to her. The first time I read it, it looked different than the second. The third time I read it, it was all marks on a page that held no meaning to me. This last time when I read it, just before I gave it to her after returning to Sea-Witch and/or realizing I was still inside her, it looked like this:

When we die, our coffins will be filled with wasps. Those we knew & those we loved, & those we never really knew or loved will come to our funerals & hold their own hands & when they do this their feelings will be filled with wasps. Wasps are made of ghosts, ghosts are made of angels, angels are made of disappointment, disappointment is made of fear, fear is made of control, control is made of power, power is made of ants, ants are made of dying, dying is full of wasps. It goes all the way down. It isn't sequential. Everything is connected & that sucks. It sucks because we want an enemy. It sucks because we have an enemy & he is connected to us. We do not know where to draw the line between him & us. We are full of wasps about this. I pray to meteor (may she lay us waste) & I pray to the thing that keeps me up at night when I am full of wasps (not to the wasps, but when I think of this idea, I pray to them too for good measure). I pray to myself. I pray to my friends. Help me, myself. Help me, my friends. I am all stung-up on the inside. I don't know where I begin as an enemy of my enemy. My enemy does not care where I begin. My enemy destroys those furthest from himself first. Maybe I should do the same. Maybe I should not. I'm too full of wasps & scar tissue to think about this right now. Tomorrow, maybe.

The tomorrow after I wrote this I was not able to understand this more clearly. I decided I must spend further time in prayer to others & in conversation with them (via prayer & not-prayer).I burned myself lighting a candle to pray next to. Sea-Witch told me she did not fully understand the letter, but thought it was beautiful. I told her I don't trust beauty, because my face shifts when I look at it in the mirror. It won't hold still. Sea-Witch told me that this is my secret power. "You have a lot of other powers too," she said. "This is just the only one that is a secret."



I used to have these dreams where I would be in some big supermarket or some other kind of giant store. Some lady would come up to me & make some horrible comment about how I looked, about who I was, or who I appeared to be to her. I would feel an intense rage building up inside me, & without even knowing I was doing it, I would attack her. She would fall, & very quickly I would realize that she was dead, that I had killed her. I would experience a moment of pure terror. I would become aware of people around me watching, yelling, coming after me, calling 911. I would try to run, but before I could get out of the store there were police & guns & cars surrounding it, coming inside, chasing me. Usually at some point while I was getting shot at, I would wake up.

These dreams were always filled with such strong emotions. The intense rage & desire to let it out. The extreme frustration & horror at realizing that my letting it out did nothing but harm, both to the woman who harassed me & then to me by putting myself in a dangerous situation. What the stranger did was wrong, but she was a product of her environment.

My reaction to these dreams used to be that violence wasn't the answer. That people didn't deserve to die, that the consequences, both emotional & external, were not worth it. Over time, my perspective on this has changed. Over time I have realized that I just didn't kill the right person.

Moss Angel is a cross-genre writer and book artist. Hir most recent book is Sea-Witch v.2: Girldirt Angelfog (2fast2house, 2017), the second installment in hir experimental transgender fantasy series. You can follow & support & read hir newest work at
Mark Cugini