Saturday, May 3, 2014

No One Wants You Anyway, Stupid.


Often, I stare at the aborted poems in my head and poke at their redness, wondering what they would have been if I pushed them out, screaming and bloody. 


But usually, I just poke at them. 


Technology today makes writing hard for me. Is my google connected to my Facebook connected to anything my coworkers/acquaintances may read?

I remember singing a crazy little song when I was a wee one:





Toe bone connected to the foot bone
Foot bone connected to the heel bone
Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
Ankle bone connected to the shin bone
Shin bone connected to the knee bone
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone

Crazy Song here


Anyway, I often feel that my google bone is connected to my blog bone, connected to my Facebook bone, connected to my now headache bone. It constricts me. I don't want the person I sit next to at a desk to know what I write. Or the person whose tables I'm bussing. Or the person I'm pouring tastings for. I don't want the people who I'm chained to by work and circumstance to look at me in a strange light, to feel badly for me, before they bumble home to watch American Idol and bitch about the working class wanting too much, as much as they have. 


I suppose it's wishful fantasy to want to live this way. But there's comfort in you, dark random reader, that I will not see you the next day and look away red-faced. That you could maybe understand me more fluidly, more easily. I know these are silly things to think, that it's possible to find a writing circle or people with whom one can easily converse with. I just don't think it's really possible for me, here and now.





Parting thoughts. 



Burnt Heart 
Scraping toast. His voice is the sound of someone scraping toast. Little bits of emotion crumbling all over the floor, and you should be cleaning it up, but GODDAMN the sound is killing you! 



 His eyes are two round eggs, cracked and leaking. Suddenly you realize you’re hungry, and lift up a knife (a knife! how did it get there?) and his cheeks are so soft and pink, two round Canadian bacons. And this is how murder starts. You didn’t mean it, really. Be American. Go back for seconds. Again and again. He’s crying now. But I’m hungry, you whisper. 



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Add Salt To The Water If You Thirst.


Friday Night


I get drunk
sort socks
taste lemon bitters
listen to traffic

flickering lights
time themselves
to syllables
in your name
who pays the electric?
No one home, no one home



Now, a review! Yes! The ply of bloggers on hard times! Reviews are the shiny little gallstones we pass off as diamonds among what we've pushed out. 


Okay. Maybe not. 


Translations, by and large, fall into the category of either success or failure.

      "The Scar" is one of the few modern translations I've read recently, and the success of this translation is like uncorking a very good vintage that could stand aging a few years - yet you find you've quaffed a whole bottle of the stuff while ruminating on it, and in the end you sit surprised with an empty bottle, missing every drop. 

    In a Grimm-like style with a dash of Aesop, these Russian (If you want to be picky, Ukrainian) writers pack quite a punch. I was looking for something off the beaten path, and this is it. The rhythm of the language is lilting, unusual. In Russian style, the Dychencko's plumb the multifaceted depths of cowardice, fear of helplessness, and impotency. But by all means, while these dark manifestos hover in the rafters always, hope flits here and there, hovering with stark humor.  

    If you're not quite into Fantasy or Sci-Fi, this novel is still heavily into Realism, with enough escapist tendencies to satisfy us nerds. A unique balance, the tale at once concise yet wrought with beauty and action. 

   And please - don't read the back cover and be put off. I mulled over this pick for weeks, simply because the description was a bit too soppy for me. I didn't want a wailing wall of soap opera for 436 pages. 

    In short, "The Scar" has enough dashes of violence, a bit of rape, starving wretches and revenge to satisfy those who need tougher stock in their reading material, while the Grimm lover will rejoice in the simplicity of a finely wrought tale with touches of lyrical genius. 






Oh, and I was nominated for a Pushcart, which was my goal before I turned 30. So now I don't have to Sylvia Plath myself. 










Saturday, May 12, 2012

Total Domination!

 Let's just jump right in, folks. Off with the pant(ies).

If you're huddling under a rock somewhere and don't know who George R.R. Martin is, then by all means,consider yourself lucky and continue your hermitage. 

Now, having picked up the second book a couple years age I had high hopes. Political intrigue, bloody battles and strategy, fantasy, all these things were promised. Packed into a tidy bundle of several hundred pages, I began.

And had to put it down. I. Couldn't. Finish. It.

As a writer and a reader, not finishing a book is repugnant. I've slogged through much crap, hoping the means justified the end. Sometimes it does. Sometimes (mostly) it doesn't. But rarely do I EVER put a book aside because it's horrible. Must be the masochist in me. 

But I threw Martin's work aside without a qualm. In fact, I recently gave it to my current hunk o' burnin' love to enjoy, since they seem to find more redeeming qualities than I can. 

Maybe it's the rape. Or the gleeful incest. 

I do wonder - and I know it's not the greatest analogy (pun) how many men would read that series if the gender of the victim was flipped. Would they devour those rape and pedophilia scenes as ravenously if it were, say, young boys and men raped repeatedly in the ass and brutalized? 

Now, I know if you like Martin - you may be already disagreeing with me here. That's fine. But, in a world where rape and sexual assault victims number on average 4.2 million - as I write this now statistically a woman is being brutalized. And the general population is becoming (or has) de-sensitized to it. It's entertainment or a dirty secret or both.  





And please, I know 'historically' Martin is straining to be accurate. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FANTASY WORLD AN OLD WHITE MAN IS CREATING.  

There ya go, buddy. Now isn't that hot?

      And I do agree rape and assault was/is still used today in war and a terrifying yoke around the neck of anyone with a vag. As I've grown older, I can handle seeing a rape scene in a movie theater without having to leave with my stomach heaving or walk around like a numb zombie for several hours after. And to have such a horrible experience gleefully interwoven again and again for entertainment even on fictional characters, well, seems a bit damn creepy. 

But I simply can't buy the 'I'm just trying to be historically accurate and/or honor my character's origins.' I could have. I really could have. Except for this bit from my boy Martin himself: 

"In a medieval society, there was no such thing as marital rape," said Martin. "Marital rape is a conception that just came out of the [Oregon v.] Rideout case… Even in British common-law and all that, it was thought that you cannot have rape within marriage and that's been the law for thousands of years of history. I am not endorsing it, mind you, but let me make it clear here: I am glad we have evolved to the point that we have but I am not writing about 21st-century America. I'm writing about a quasi-medieval society, which had very different standards on these issues."

Listen, I know what it sounds like he's saying. A really PC statement, right? Doesn't seem to like the headliner to a creepfest, huh?

UNTIL YOU RE-READ THE PART ABOUT RAPE NOT EXISTING OR BEING A CONCEPT UNTIL IT WAS MADE LAW. You think women really didn't think they were being raped because a bunch of privileged white dudes said, "Sorry, babe. Technically, I didn't rape ya. See the law?"


BUAHAHAHAHA. *And hysterical laughter pours forth*




Right. I'm sorry. Before the 21st century, a woman knew when she was brutalized, the very core of her sexuality assaulted and ripped open for someone's sick pleasure. Sometimes repeatedly or without punishment for the crime. You can't just have your life back after shit like that. It doesn't happen. 

For instance, just because race laws came into effect saying it was illegal to terrorize/segregate/punish those of another race, does that mean it was okay before those laws were set in? 
    It happened. People knew they were being discriminated against, just like they knew they were being raped. Just because it didn't have the legal and technical jargon wrapped around it, does that mean it didn't exist? Really?

 Nah. Didn't think so. 


Okay. Now I'm not knocking you if you like the series. Really, I bump uglies with someone who shakes their finger at me, saying that's only a small part of this great series, being a political intrigue/battle junkie like myself. 

But I do wonder, if they were raped or molested or assaulted - would they shrug as easily? Do you? It's just not a reality where men fear their sexuality being brutalized as often as women. And for those who have been and can shrug off the gratuitous scenes - kudos to you. May the future be kinder than the past. Though a small worm in my heart thinks you shouldn't be totally okay with it. 


                                 *

Anyway, now that spring is creeping through the flat boards of the house I call life, it's becoming harder to focus on writing. I mean, yeah, I work a full time and a part time job - but if you keep putting up excuses, you'll just have a long fence in between you and what you want. And my personal goal - to which I receive many eye-rolls when mentioned - is a Pushcart Nomination before thirty years of age. 

It goes like this:


The Heart of my Heart: "How's the writing goin', hon?"
Me: "Crap!" *agonized shrieking* "It's all going to shit! Oh! God!"
The Heart of my Heart: "Ah. You'll be fine. We all go through slumps."
Me: "No! You don't understand! This one feels . . . permanent. 
If I don't get a Pushcart Nom before thirty, I'm going to hang myself!"

*I may or may not be sprawled on the floor at this point*

The Heart of My Heart: "Hmm. Are you going to eat that leftover soup you made? 

Me: "You won't be laughing when I'm swing from the rafters, you pig! *dramatic moaning* I've even lost my soup-making touch! All is dross! All is dross!

*insert much rolling on floor*

Right. So, in private, I may get a bit ridiculous. But, it's just so damn fun sometimes. 


*






I serve you in a bowl of my grandmother’s
stewing in red sauce
What do you think, I ask my friends
How does it taste, really?
You could do better, they encourage.
Much better. I pick my teeth with your
elbow and ruminate.

More hot nights, I decide, returning
to the stove.


It's always so hard to crit my own work. I mean, everything takes on the slick sheen of absolute shit when stared at long enough. Is this even submittable? I'd like to not bother if it needs work. Would save me a rejection and a nameless editor hassle. If it takes five minutes to write, that means it's crap, right? Because you're supposed to adhere to to writer's ratio of time spent + agonizing, multiplied by the Nth degree. 

Ah well. I'd like to leave you with at least one happy thought today. Kinda. 

  










*Any and all grammatical/punctuation errors were made on purpose. To, er, enhance the stylistic manner of my writing. Sure. 



Saturday, March 3, 2012

ATTN: HOT ASIAN WOMEN

No, no. Not really. I just wanted to grab your attention.


     I was driving in the evening, my car limping and creaking from work. Snow had just fallen, trees lined the sidewalk like waiting brides in white. My head was cracking open like an egg from Billie Holiday, who was punching holes through my car stereo to grab at my head (yes, I could listen to her forever) and then . . . it happened.

     Perfection. I hadn't seen my twin lung, my other half in a few days. I was sad. It was snowing. My head was falling apart, my car was miming my head  . . .

BAM.

     I was happy. It takes a little sad for me to be happy.

I don't know why. I have to be a little bittersweet for it. It pours in like syrup on a plate and spreads out, out, out. The snow, the trees, driving alone, the music. I realized I was very, very content. I would see my lover soon enough, my car would make it home, I had enough food for dinner, and work was done.                   I. was. happy.

     Of course, under the bones of this emotion are tendons stretched full of ache, the giant muscle of worry pulling.






But onward and upward.

Here is a short-short that if you would be so kind, reader, to leave feedback on (all two of you!).

Written late '10, I let it set on my computer. I don't mind honest critique. My skin is 'gator thick. Oh - it is  spec fic. Not for everyone.


Cellophane
            The sun gives its last orgasm and leaks into the pond out back. I collapse into bed with cell phone in palm, waiting for it to shiver like a mouse.  I can feel my life branching off and splitting, and it swells inside my veins but makes me tired.

Arizona. Vermont. Arizona. Vermont.
Two withered beauty queens duking it out, one frosty, another parched. I go to sleep in boxers, and wake with cellophane covering my face.

            “Where do you want this one?”
            “Throw it in the trunk”

Two moving men grab my ankles and under my arms. Being carried up stairs I notice my father leaning against the wall, his impatient eyes boring cellophane. I start to whistle but stop. This is a momentous occasion, where my being is going to be hauled and pumped to life, in a state and job I do not have to choose.
            “What about the big guy?”
            “Shit, son. I told you to leave’em upstairs with the other. These ones aren’t going out today.”
            “Man, I wish I had it this fucking easy. Apply, get accepted, euth'd and prepped. These motherfuckers have everything. Middle class lethargy.”


I wonder which state has got me. The drugs kick in. My breathing slows. I like my arms, dropping away like lead. I like my feet better for not supporting me.  I like my head for not thinking. I left a note on the counter, two notes actually. Specifically tailored to either state I may live and start a career in, complete with connections.  My parent's income range is just high enough to support the Integration Process. 





That's all, folks. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You can rhyme if you want to, but it's not really allowed.

Ah, rhyming. That sweet, often sickly cousin of free verse.

Some people can get away with it. They're usually 200 years dead or Shel Silverstein.

In college, I met some people whose poetry strictly rhymed. And they were into Pokemon and Dungeons & Dragons with equal avidity.

But sometimes, man.

Sometimes. I get that lethal itch. It's like cross dressing for some men. I just HAVE TO DO IT. In secret. But a in-secret-in-public kind of way. The same way a former football player will walk into Denny's at midnight with 'Runway Red' on his lips and a girdle.




Dear grandmother
I’m that whore that you raised
yes, dear grandmother
I’m that Babylon craze

My mother’s head soaks in bleach
there are rags on the chair
we had the same blood illness
spreading our legs everywhere. 


Now that I have that out of my system, we can move on. And by moving on, I mean in a way that means I don't really move on, but perhaps you think I have. 


As usual. this week I'm dealing with the (seemingly lifelong) themes of petty jealousy and envy - those godforsaken talented, wildly successful people who create loads upon loads - ENDLESSLY. 

One of the truly great ones I can just push aside pettiness and awe for is, well, not a writer in the traditional sense. 

Billie Holiday.
Something about her music drives me mad, lonely, fiercely joyful. This is her voice at the end of her career - which is admittedly different from the start of it. But heroin will do that.




How to dance to Billie Holiday

Move your hips like they
have borne a thousand children
and none

they cry out from the bedsheets
spent

It’s okay, you say. This world is too
rough for you. I saved you. Birth control
and the Blues saved you from being born.

I’ll put you in the wash tomorrow.




How to dance to Billie Holiday at night

scrape your chest off like
you’re scrapping a plate
get it all off. All that red gunk
runs to the floor. Now, don’t you
feel lighter without it? Like a feather
on acid?

Now, move your feet, dear. Move.







Saturday, February 11, 2012

What I learned in preschool.

* If your child only punches three instead of the usual five children in the last 8 1/2 to 10 hours, I will tell you *insert name* has had a "GREAT DAY!"


* I have bad days too, okay? Pack your kid an extra brownie. That cheesestick just ain't doin' it for me around noon.


* This is my JOB. I'm trapped in this room for up to TEN HOURS. Help ensure your goddamn kid cleans up his mess before he leaves. Stacking rainbow blocks is not something I dream of doing on a Friday night after hours. The words "Did you clean up your mess?" are pure gold coming from your mouth.


* 90% of our impression of you fits in your child's lunch box. A heat-up Chef Boyardee and cheese doodles?  Pretty sure you're not winning Parenting Award of the year. How long does it take to make a fucking sandwich and throw in an apple? Start now. I'm timing you.


* "Well, I'm a parent and .  . ."
Yeah. I get you have kids. That's why I'm here. But thinking you're the Luke Skywalker of all parenting SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU POPPED ONE OUT does not make any argument valid. Look at my parents for chrissakes. Having children? Doesn't increase brain power.


* And most importantly. I love your child. Fucking. Love. Them.


Even when they wipe snot on me. Or smear poop all over the bathroom. I cannot stand to see your child hurt. No matter what kind of a shit they are being that day. And I hate when you don't love them as much as I do. Actually, I'll hate you. Be careful with those tiny bodies. Pick up your humiliated and sick child ON TIME when they vomit all over the class. 


Reprimand them. Love them.


Oh, and bring in extra cupcakes on their birthday. I down like, five of those in a sitting.

***************************************************************************
Quit Day.


Smoke lassoed around his head
and a small white cylinder glowed
giving me the evil eye
"You ready to quit yet?"
Not until I can't feel the burn in
my chest and sweet tingle of euphoria
Maybe, Marlboro Man, maybe next week.
You can have my father, but you can't have me.




Yes, I've been hiding a dirty little habit the last month. I've bought the e-cig to help quit. I know I can't afford to smoke, never really could. I think it's ironic - in a humiliated sort of way - that I'm spending hard earned grocery money that I need on those terrible, lightweight (and tasty) white cylinders of death.


So many of us who struggle to feed ourselves just can't stop feeding into that horrid tar cycle. I'm even quitting coffee in an effort to get me away from that beloved/hated 'Coffee and Cigarette' moment. That pure gold-and-tar stained moment when you hear the tobacco crackle, take a sip of black coffee, and let the world slide on. Because it can, without you. For this moment.


See, at one point, to afford cigarettes, I just ate less. One (or two very small) meals and the rest just went up in smoke. That is pathetic. Don't roll your eyes. I know I'm not addicted to meth, or snorting off my pocket mirror - it's not a hardcore addy. And I was so proud how long I quit this last time. A couple years. But wham-bam. Hard knocks just built up, and I toppled. I gave myself so many excuses. Only four days off a month for the last 11 months. I deserve a little break. *Insert lighter* Job I loathe, constantly feeling like a trapped rat. *Insert cigarettes* Car repairs, half my income going to student loans, no writing. *Insert repeat repeat repeat*


And these are all bullshit excuses. They're really no reason to go back. None of them.


******************************************************************************


A Restuarant Called Home.


fold open those napkins like my legs


quick and clean


please, ask for seconds


or thirds


it's a compliment to the chef


Clean up your mess before you


leave. I do so hate having to wash alone.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Trimming the hedges in paradise.

Often, when I speak or talk or write -

I garden. I trim the corners of my words. I prune my confidence and let my anxiety blossom like azaleas.
I stare over the fence. I wonder how you keep your grass so damn green. I hope you use toxic pesticides that shrivel your lungs. I look at my garden. All I see are aphids. I may hate you.

One of the worse - and best things to do in a writing slump is amp up on the reading. I've been knocking around some Bukowski, and the downside of that is, well, I've been knocking around some Bukowski.

Such fine fire-whiskey words. That bastard.

********************************

I didn't want to touch anything they ate around, off of, near. I wanted to give them all my money. I wanted to hate them more. I wondered when a wife becomes a mother, a husband a confused son. 

But most of all, I want them to die without pain, without remembering who or what they were fighting. Goddammit, there should be a prize for attaining old age. And it shouldn't be the luxury of sitting in a restaurant smelling of overheated food, overheated bodies, overheated life. 

Makes you want to smash into oblivion, go out on a comet. If I have to watch another old couple struggle into their jackets for-fucking-ever, I swear to God we'll both go down fighting. 

I'll smash glasses and cry, "Hold on! I'll get you out of here! Show me your dog and your car!"

And we'll run. We'll outrun you and your trick pony too.