Remember getting dumped when you were 22? I had completely forgotten what it was like. To be blindsided by the utter and incomprehensible failure of the relationship that you were so wrapped up in, so invested in, so sure it was going to last for the rest of your life, that you hadn’t even considered the possibility that it could end. It inevitably did though, because 22-year-olds….and it felt like the life was kicked out of your guts and sucked from your heart. Your brain scrambled to process it, and you drank heavily to avoid that from happening, because how can one make sense of a heartbreak so raw, so unexpected, and so final. How can my brain be expected to process the fact that two Tuesdays ago America dumped me.
This is how I feel, and if this analogy has legs they are standing on the fact that America is a proverbial 22-year-old. Young and empowered by a college education filled with sex and whiskey, privilege disguised as knowledge and job prospects for a select few that make it seem like things are in good shape. An economy that from a university town looks functional, and an apartment in a newly gentrified neighborhood which makes it seem like our cities have progressed.
It’s tough to put myself back together because I really thought we had something special. Our relationship was founded on the principal that all men, and I thought women, were created equal. That these truths would be self-evident, and that together we would pursue life, liberty and happiness. I know America wanted that too. The problem, is that now I also know that in all the time that we were together, there was a part of America that didn’t see me as an equal at all, that didn’t see progress as positive, that didn’t see certain lives mattered, and that didn’t see that love is love. That hurts.
So, we have a lot of shit to sort out. America has some growing up to do. Americans have deep-seated prejudice, systemic racism, sexism and xenophobia to take responsibility for and to work through, together. That will take years of therapy, marching in the streets, drinking, strong leadership, and ideally some kind of group therapy. Call me crazy, call me a hopeless romantic, call me in general because I am not ok and I want to talk about it, but I love this country too much to let it, or it’s fundamental values get away.
“For the loser now will be later to win,” Dylan said.
Jamal slammed his car door shut. He looked down through the tinted window at the resume sitting on the seat and shook his head. He kicked his tire and regretted it as he walked heavily up the stairs to his apartment, the pounding in his head now matched by the throbbing in his toe.
He stopped at the front door to compose himself. “Tomorrow will be better,” he thought, but the bitterness lingered. He put the key into the lock and tried once again to shake the resentment that had followed him out of the interview and all the way home.
“Hi, daddy!” Dee ran to meet him at the door. The four-year-old ball of joy threw herself into his arms.
“Hi, sugar!” he said scooping her up and kissing his little girl all the way into the kitchen. “Hi, baby.” He set Dee down and wrapped his arms around his wife. She smiled warmly.
“Did you have a good day?” Cassie asked leaning into him. She had one hand flat on his lapel, the other on the stove, both of her eyes right on his, their daughter danced at their feet.
“Yeah,” he said breezily, his eyes communicating that he didn’t get the job, hers saying she was sorry. He sat down at the kitchen table and Dee climbed onto his knee. “So how was your day?” he asked, smiling into his daughter’s eyes.
“I unna get a baby,” she said proudly.
“You’re going to get a what?”
“I unna get a baby!” she said loudly. She jumped off his knee and ran back into her room to play with her dolls.
“That girl she adores at school, Sandra, her mom is pregnant. They’re all excited about the new baby.” She leaned on the doorframe of the small kitchen watching him. He took off his tie.
“I was so qualified,” he started. He unbuttoned his top two buttons, then rested his hands on his knees and let his head fall. “Cassie, the guy looked at me like I was a day laborer,” he said meeting her eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” she said somberly, “you can’t let people like that get you down.”
“I know,” he said rising to set the table, “Where’s Chris?”
“He went out,” she said turning back to the kitchen.
“He’s barely ever here,” he said taking plates out of the cabinet, “and I don’t like those friends of his. Every time I try to talk to him he gets attitude and tells me I’m not his father.”
“You’re not,” she said taking the chicken out of the oven and bumping into the silverware drawer he had left open. She closed it with her hip. “You are his big brother. Chris loves you. He just wants your respect.”
“Yeah and he’d get it if he did something respectable. Have you seen the size of the T-shirts he wears lately? They could fit Biggie Smalls.” She laughed. “I’ll try to talk to him tonight,” he said putting the broccoli on the table. “More like a big brother,” he mocked.
“He’s just a kid,” she said, “he’s mad at the world right now because it took his parents. You are all he has, be good to him.”
“Do you ever get tired of being right?” He asked. She shook her head smiling. He kissed her holding her face in his hands.
“Dee Dee,” he called, smiling. “Come to dinner.”
* * *
“The cluuuub went crazyyyy,” Jackie sang loudly, “the way she shake that ass sho’ amaze me. Come on,” she said laughing, pulling Tasha onto the dance floor.
The music in the club was loud, the dance floor packed. The two ladies wound their hips, tossed their hair, and shook their asses for that song and many to follow. Jackie fanned herself dramatically and mouthed, “So hot.” They were sweating profusely. Jackie stepped up to the bar and made eyes at a boy and then turned to Tasha embarrassed, smiling widely. Tasha looked around the bar for a man worth making eyes at.
It had been some time since either of the two friends had gone out. Tasha had left her job just two weeks before, after being hired at a significantly better firm. She felt like she had just ended a long possessive relationship. She had been looking forward to going out since Jackie called her earlier that week. On Monday, Jackie had finally gotten the promotion that she had been promised practically two years earlier. She left her son with his grandma for the night in order to celebrate.
Six years ago Jackie and Tasha were just two freshmen at community college who had both signed up for a black appreciation class. They left class together that first day laughing about the red-eyed Rasta’s, the Malcolm X’s in training, and the granola eating white kids that made up the class. They were both ambitious, level headed, and intelligent, and had been close friends ever since. Jackie was there to remind Tasha of her dreams as she worked her way through law school at night, while slaving away for an unappreciative lawyer by day. Tasha had been there for Jackie while she worked and went to school all the way through her pregnancy, and then more than ever when Jackie found the nerve to take her baby and leave his no-good father. They were both finally happy with their lives. Tonight they celebrated that.
“Cheers,” Tasha said holding up her martini, “to us.”
“To us!” Jackie grinned tapping her glass.
The two friends laughed and drank and danced some more. Eventually the exhaustion set in and they decided to go. They stepped out of the club giggling into the cold and stumbled across the sidewalk to catch a cab.
Tasha saw a group of guys coming up fast on her right. She saw a black 9mm and time stopped. The street was eerily quiet. She could hear her heart pounding in her chest. There were no puffs of breath in the darkness before her. She saw Jackie’s frightened eyes and pulled her to the ground. Another gang crossed the street towards them. She saw their hardened faces, the one in front yelling and waving his piece in the air. Lights blurred, the noise came back loudly and abruptly, and reality settled gravely over her.
Tasha squeezing Jackie’s hand dragging her backwards across the freezing sidewalk until they were flat against the building behind them. They held each other as if it meant they could hold onto their lives. The reckless teenagers pulled guns as if they were playing with toys. “This is real,” Tasha thought, “this is life or death.” She could not believe the wasted youth displayed in front of her. Her mouth was dry but she wanted to scream. She had never felt so alive, or so powerless. Jackie’s eyes were squeezed shut, her mouth was moving, and Tasha knew she was praying.
Tasha’s eyes were wide open. She stared at the kid in front. Suddenly everything slowed down again as he looked right at her. His eyes met hers and silence surrounded her. His face changed. He looked soft. She knew he didn’t want to be there. She saw him look down at Jackie and then back up into her pleading eyes. She wanted to grab him and shake him, push him against the wall and throw his gun in the gutter. She tried to hold onto his eyes for as long as she could but she could feel time speeding up again. The silence broke.
A shot was fired and sirens cried out. Jackie shrieked, the sirens screamed louder, and Tasha threw her hands over Jackie’s head pulling it down and covered her own head with her arms. When she felt safe enough, she peeked over her arms. The hoodlums had scattered. She took her hands off her friend’s head slowly.
Both women stared wide-eyed at the body left lying in the street. The cops were taping off the area and the crowd had shifted from ducking on the floor to standing on the curb. The people watched solemnly mumbling the words “wasteful” and “useless.” Tasha wondered when things had gone so incredibly wrong.
Jackie collapsed into her lap, tears streaming down her face. Her mouth was open in a wide cry but there was no sound coming out. Tasha rubbed her back staring forward blankly. She couldn’t shake the image of the gun or the boy’s sorrowful eyes. Her breath was short, and difficult. She had been laughing innocently one second and impending death the next. Her freedom had been taken from her so invasively, momentarily. She was appalled at the display of wasted life. The women sat curled around each other on the dirty sidewalk in the winter moonlight, their lives shining in a startling new light.
* * *
Chris’s hands shook as he unlocked the door. His heart beat down into his gut, banging against the iron drum sitting in his stomach. He opened the door and his brother stood staring at him. He thought he might be sick.
“What’s wrong?” Jamal asked, fearing the answer.
“Nothing,” he said automatically.
Chris looked down at the carpet wondering how he had let it get this far. He couldn’t shake the sight of that woman’s eyes. He never wanted to hurt anyone. He wanted to go to college. She looked at him begging to be spared. She feared for her life.
“I can’t do it anymore,” he said and with the words a tear let loose down his dark cheek.
“Do what?” Jamal asked putting his arm around him and guiding him to the couch. Chris’s thoughts swirled and a lump blocked words from coming out of his mouth. He met his brother’s eyes, tears now rolling down Chris’s cheeks.
He pulled a gun out of his pants and took out the clip, his hands shaking so badly that it rattled against the table as he put it down. Jamal couldn’t believe his eyes. Cassie and Dee flew through his mind and in that instant he considered throwing his little orphaned brother out on the street.
“Chris,” he said quietly, “what did you do?”
“I don’t know,” Chris said sobbing into his hands. Jamal took a deep breath and exhaled trying to focus on anything except the Glock sitting on his coffee table. “I don’t want to die.” Chris said looking up into his brother’s scared eyes, “I want to live. I want to make you proud, to make Dad proud.”
“Chris,” Jamal said gripping his little brother’s shoulder harshly, “who gave you that?” Chris stared blankly. “Do the people who gave you that know where you live?” He shook his head no, sniffing and wiping his face on his undershirt. “OK, listen to me. I know they aren’t going to like you walking away, but you have to. You’ll get your ass kicked pretty bad.” He said still gripping his shoulder, but compassionately. “Have you seen anyone else walk away?” Chris nodded. “Did he live?” He nodded again. “Ok, then, it will be ok.”
Jamal sighed. He took his hand off Chris’s shoulder and placed his clenched fists in his lap. He wanted to throw him through the wall for bringing a gun into his home. He fought the urge to lay his brother out right there.
“I’ll walk away,” Chris said plainly.
“How could you do this?!” Jamal asked standing. He shouted quietly through clenched teeth. “You think I’m out there busting my ass, like generations of people before you, fighting for our rights as human beings, so that you can act like some ignorant fool running around like guns don’t kill people?” A vein was popping out of his forehead and his eyes were looking down hatefully at his little brother, “You think Dad got the shit kicked out of him by cops fighting for your freedom so you could hand it back to them?” Chris shook his head. “You think having that makes you free?!” Jamal asked pointing at the gun with intensity.
“No,” he said softly.
“By picking up that gun you’re throwing away your rights. You are throwing away your life. Do you want to be a statistic? You want to be the next black kid killed by a white cop? Do you want to rot away in prison!?” Jamal took a breath and lowered his voice. “Do you want to be the reason that people in the United States Senate think black abortions will reduce crime?”
“No,” he said standing, “Give me a second chance. I want to make a difference. I want to make things better.”
Jamal grabbed his brother and pulled him close. He wrapped his arms around him and breathed heavily into his shoulder.
“You know the thing about second chances,” Jamal said holding each side of his brothers face, his voice raw emotion, “you only get one.”
It was a cold clear night. The radiator smelled of burnt dust. The moon was almost full, and it shone down on them through slits in the blinds. Jamal’s eyes were closed. He held his brother tightly. Chris sobbed into his brother’s shoulder. He couldn’t shake the image of the brother left lying in the street, and how he would never get a second chance.
I wrote this story in 2007 for a Black History Month Contest at Broward College. I won, and when I showed up to receive the award, they were shocked that I was white. They hadn’t meant to pick a white person. But I hadn’t ever meant to be white. The thing about race is, no one gets to choose. We are each just people, hopefully trying to do the best with what we’ve got, maybe we get lucky, maybe we don’t. We’re all human.
I dug up this story, because I am so shocked at the behavior of Donald and of his supporters and so many American people that I know and love. I have not been able to word an essay that doesn’t make me hateful as well, and that is not what I want. This story is an appeal. Black lives matter. Women’s pussys matter. Make your vote count.
we say we don’t have seasons in miami, but we do. they are slight and they are lovely, and yesterday was our first fall day. the beach was windy and almost too cool, if not for the eager sunshine. lying on a thin blanket, my face hidden from stray drops of sea flying off the white caps through the wind, my toes hanging off the edge of the blanket digging happily in the warm, sun-baked sand, my soul reaching through the blanket and into the earth, thankful, for once, for change.
it is the best kind of beach day. it is the most serious we get around here. the reggaeton is drowned out by the waves pounding the sand and the party people picnic without overhearing. the change in the air is tangible. facing the roaring atlantic on a day like that with your eyes on the edge of the earth, and your body warmed by it, you feel grounded. it was a refreshing, glorious day that i was happy to spend with my dear friends, equally in need of a recharge.
happy fall everyone. may the cool air warm your soul.
The greatest man I have ever known raised me to be a dreamer. He taught me to ask not what my country could do for me, but to strive to do good for all mankind, including questioning authority, indignity, and every day bullies. He showed me the power of my voice and the sanctity of silence. He instilled in me the toughness I would need for life’s many trials, and made certain I would be present and feel all the feels. He let me see him cry when tears were all he could muster. He dances when the music moves him, without a shred of thought to whether anyone is watching. He raised me to know my own strength and to nurture it, but to understand that love is a better weapon against any enemy. He taught me to sing when I’m scared, because the sharks can smell fear. I still whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid, and I still run to him. I’m lucky enough to have had my dad in my corner every step of the way. He is a champion of the underdog, a true humanitarian. He uses the force. He believes that good will always defeat evil, and I believe him. If that was the one gift he had given me, that would have been enough, but my life has been showered with his wisdoms and those of so many righteous wordsmiths before him. Today, I celebrate his birth with a magnitude of respect, gratitude, love and light. Shine on you crazy diamond, here’s to Chapter 63.
She closed the last plantation shutter and looked down at the room key in her hand. Pale blue, a long diamond with wide font, “Room C” in white, attached to a real key on a keyring. Just as soon as she dropped the key into the pocket of her loose fitting Levi’s her hand drew to her mouth. She bit her finger nervously.
Her eyes fell upon the car seat, and drifted to the bed, still made by someones else’s deft hands. A lone toy sat next to the TV remote. There were trucks and blocks strewn across the floor. The kitchen was clean apart from a trash bin in the sink and two pots on a chair. Within the silence she heard the magnitude of sound that his tiny hands had made with the lids.
Her finger traced the edge of the small kitchen table. She poured a glass of wine and sighed. Only four clementines left and the whole day to get through tomorrow. She knew an extra bushel had been in order.
“If I have a daughter one day,
I hope she is a million other things
I hope when her feet
Hit the ground in the morning,
The earth vibrates
Announcing her presence.
I hope she treats others
With dignity and respect.
I hope they treat her the same.
I hope she refuses to back down
When someone challenges her beliefs.
I hope she knows
The impact of hard work
And the importance of rest.
I hope she cares more
About what’s in her head
Than what’s on it.
I hope she knows how it feels
To love extraordinarily
And to be loved right back.
I hope she is passionate.
I hope she is kind.
When she meets these expectations,
Beauty will shine
From every pore in her body
And every word that falls from her lips.”
i don’t know who wrote this, but I couldn’t write it better.
She came in barefoot and looking for Barefoot wine.
I was at the counter paying for my fifth of Knob Creek.
“I want this discount,” she said to the clerk. “The one that’s good on Tuesdays.”
“But ma’am today is not Tuesday.”
“Do I look like someone who don’t know what day it is?” she asked, hand on hip, daring anyone to say yes.
I shook my head no.
“I want the discount, anyway.”
And she got it.
It has been such a very long time since I posted here with any sort of consistency. I would like to try to remedy that, and first, I thought I would shed some light as to why I’ve been busy.
Don’t call it a comeback.
Things I did today:
- I woke up at 6am with a 13-month-old child who is cutting his molars. (god help us both).
- I baked my first homemade pumpkin pie, from scratch, and the crust was slightly overdone but the pie is perfect.
- I toasted fresh pumpkin seeds.
- I made pumpkin purée for my little love. He ate all of two bites before a tantrum that ended the meal.
- I nursed my wild, curious, oh-so-swift son after he climbed to the top of his stroller and promptly tipped it over onto his face earning his first black eye.
- I ate all of the previously mentioned pumpkin seeds.
Things I did not do today:
- I did not cry.
- I did not eat the entire pie.
And for that I will call today a win.
Happy Fall! 🎃🍂🍁🌾
1. You can give yourself away entirely and still be yourself entirely.
2. Women have infinite strength and patience.
3. Hormones play a brilliant and sadistic role in the function of human females, and test the strength and patience of their partners.
4. No matter how destroyed your body feels or looks, it can restore itself.
5. Consistent lack of sleep turns the human brain into a vast land of perplexity.
6. Sugar is sometimes the problem, and sometimes the solution.
7. Song can be stronger than pain.
8. Wine and a salt bath can make all the screaming and back pain dissolve.
9. It takes less energy to forgive and breathe than to hold on to anger or pain.
10. The harder life gets, the better the rewards feel.
Here’s to 2016. Let it be full of peace and love.
I was a late bloomer. Still all eyes and ears and braces well into eighth grade. By the time I got to high school I’d at least lost the metal mouth, but my chest size and height had yet to catch up. It took the rest of those four years for me to grow into the five feet and seven inches that I stand at today. But it took freshman year of college and the late night mac and cheese with real butter and Steak and Shake runs with all kinds of animal fats that my hippie mother just never cooked for me, in order for my full size C-cups to show up. With them came all kinds of positive (read negative) attention from all sorts of boys and girls and men.
It was an interesting introspective developing an ample chest as an eighteen year old. I had spent years in a tight little athletic body, and I knew what it was like for boys to look at me. But now, there were boys and men who didn’t just look, they stared like they had x-ray vision, or hoped they might develop it if they looked hard enough. This ogling has never really stopped, and it hasn’t mattered whether I choose to wear a low-cut tank top or a turtleneck – the boobs are there, so they stare.
Then, I got pregnant. My C’s went to D’s and the stares were ever there, more than ever maybe, because now even my friends were paying attention. My belly grew and grew, and grew some more. Finally, my chest was no longer the focus of attention. I liked that. It felt good to walk through the turnpike rest stop and not just have old men and acne covered teenagers staring south of my face, but to have children and women too staring at my big round belly. There was an almost fully formed person in there! So yeah, go ahead and stare.
Then, I had the baby, and then, I made milk. My breasts reached their personal best. Bigger than before and fully functional as food for my child. It makes him grow. Which makes me so proud. It is the most useful thing my chest has ever done, and that’s only competing with getting a guys rocks off or getting me out of golfing. (I could never relearn my swing once they got in the way.)
Now, my breasts are out there for people to see. And isn’t that what they always wanted? But it isn’t in a “show us your boobs,” Mardi Gras, kind of way. Not even in an “I’m breast feeding loud and proud” kind of way. Just in a regular, “I need to feed my kid, you might see some chest slip out from behind his head or this blanket,” kind of way. And it turns out, it’s not what they always wanted. It turns out, people are offended by that.
I’m talking to you shameless oglers of breasts, the lot of you. Why is it all, show us what you got, baby, until they become breasts feeding a baby, and then you are insulted by the sight of them?
You know what, don’t answer that. My baby already has a readily formed response. So here’s that, and your fair warning. As long as I’ve had them, you’ve stared at my boobs while they have been adequately concealed. For the next year or so (God willing) they will be a lot less concealed. I feel like I’ve earned that much for all the ogling over the years and for the fact that I’m sustainably, naturally, lovingly, and selflessly feeding my child. If you don’t feel that way, again, this photo of Jack says it sufficiently.
Just to be painstakingly clear, I am not comfortable with anyone staring at me, or anyone, especially not in a non-consenting sexual capacity. In case your mother forgot to tell you, staring is rude. This is simply a comment on how staring openly at young girls is more acceptable in our society than at a mother nursing her child.
My birthday week begins today. Seven days out of 365 that I am consciously aware of my life advancing in time. It’s extra acute this year with the knowledge that roughly eight weeks from now time will move faster than I have ever experienced before.
I’ll be 32 years old this week and 32 weeks pregnant. A small delight for a person who revels in the coincidence of the numbers we find around us, such as myself. Not that I find meaning behind such numerical happenstance, but I do contend there is contentment to find in the sheer synchronicity of numbers lining up. This week points big to 32 – a number and age I had never guessed would have any large significance. And yet…there it is.
This is the first year I haven’t cared to celebrate in any grand or social way. I suppose that has something to do with the mens XL t-shirts and boxers which are my outfit of choice. And that the pregnancy hormones, apart from the tears, seem to insist I smell like the hippy I am, regarless of how hard I try to mask it. There is also this revelatory fact that it’s no longer just my life. I have this other life camping out inside me that deserves acknowledgement as well.
This brings me to a kind of consideration that leaves numbers behind. It begs for the measurement of time to disband, because this little life isn’t even here yet, and I already ache for endless time for it. And me. But we can’t, at least I can’t, even think of life without quantifying it. Will I still be here when you’re 32, little person? Will you still need me? It’ll be when I’m 64.
so happy birthday to me.
THINGS I WONDER ABOUT:
1. Are people super rude because they are miserable and they think that making perfect strangers miserable too will gratify or satisfy them momentarily? Specifically, people who are rude to those in the service industry. Does it make them feel better about themselves? Because they certainly aren’t getting better service for themselves, so who are they actually trying to make more miserable?
2. When a pregnant woman has her baby, is it like that feeling of finally prying the strawberry seed from your back teeth in that place your tongue can’t reach? (but multiplied exponentially)
3. Black holes. Worm holes. Parallel universes.
4. Deja vu. What is really happening there?
5. Why did Florida get rid of emissions testing for cars?
6. Why wouldn’t a caged bird sing?
7. Who made baby girls need pink everything and baby boys need baby blue? And who institutionalized it to the point of no return?
8. Why are people more passionate about the Kardashians lives than human rights, or child labor, or polar bears, or human sex trafficking, or their own lives?
9. Did people stop wearing suits and hats because they got lazy, or did people get lazy because they stopped wearing suits and hats?
10. People. Not to be too existential on a Monday, but what are they all doing here?
If you feel like you need things to wonder about….see Interstellar. #mindfuck
In Toni Morrison’s new book, God Bless the Child, she rips the rawness from humanity like roots from the ground and plants it on the page for you to explore. I recommend it, and the extremes of empathy that come with it. What I took from it primarily, was a practice that was carried out each Saturday morning around the breakfast table. Each member of the family was made to answer two questions. 1. What have you learned that is true (and how do you know)? And 2. What problem do you have?
I like this very much. And since I have been in need of a prompt, and I don’t have enough people around my own dinner table yet to contribute to such a discussion, this one’s for you.
What have you learned that is true (and how do you know)?
Men and women are fundamentally different. I know because of the havoc that is wreaked when one of the gender’s expectations are not met. And how different those expectations can be. I’m generalizing here, or shall we say genderalizing, where the woman is more sensitive and the man is more practical, while she is thoughtful and multi-tasking, he is steady and diligent. She expects flowers and kisses, he expects dinner and Sports Center. She wants conversation about all of the aspects of both of their days, he wants a few good hours of not solving anyone’s problems. She really needs intimacy, he really needs a good night’s sleep. She’s soft, he’s rough. In the best relationships these are all the beginnings of compromises that we learn to make for each other, to complement each other. In the worst, well, we all know how that goes. Inevitably, it doesn’t matter that he’s stinky and forgetful and crass, or that she’s bitchy and demanding and emotional, what matters is finding the places where the love fits in between all of that diversity, and holding on for dear life, or love, to that.
What problem do you have?
Pregnancy. Not the baby part of it, that’s magic. The hormone bit, though, is a nightmare. It has changed me in ways I never expected, which makes coping with them all the more difficult. (I’m noting this theme of better managing my expectations.) The problem is a two-parter.
1. Extreme allergies, including but not limited to: wheat, cheese, sugar, heat, citrus, spices. (I live in Miami – those last three are borderline sick and twisted) These new allergies have tested my patience and general will to be awake and go on living my life – a baby is a miraculous consolation prize, don’t get me wrong, but nine months is an awful long time to go without a bagel and cream cheese or spaghetti and pecorino, or donuts, especially when I want to eat so many donuts and get fat and bake in the sun. This was the time I was supposed to be allowed to be fat in a bathing suit, but I can’t go out in the sun. It’s a first world problem, I get that. But that’s the world I live in, and it is a problem.
2. I am so sensitive now. Or rather, I have always been sensitive, but I used to be able to put a cork in it, take time and think about what I really felt, and then express it in an appropriate manner, like aging a fine wine. I was civilized, I think. Now, it’s like my emotions are stuck in a P. Diddy video and at the slightest injustice I’m popping bottles and spraying emotional backlash all over everyone within range, shouting, crying, uncontrollably. I can see what I’m doing as if from afar and I wonder who that psychopath is and why she can’t reel it in, but I can’t reach her to help. And I have never been a crier. I used to read fiction, endlessly, but now it all seems too sad. I write less and think so much more. I worry and brood and that’s never been me. So, trying to get to know this new me and make peace with her ways, after thirty years of trying to get used to the old me and barely getting a handle on her ways, is a problem.
Feel free to comment with help.
P.S. I’m sorry for my long lapse of no blogging, please forgive me this rambling return.
The love of my mother has no prejudice.
The love of my mother is not blind.
The love of my mother has no bounds.
The love of my mother is always kind.
The love of my mother never pauses.
The love of my mother simply searches,
for ways to make you feel better inside.
The love of my mother is relentless,
whether you are a new friend or old.
The love of my mother rings in her laughter.
The love of my mother is bold.
The love of my mother is intense,
like the Miami sun that she adores.
The love of my mother is refreshing,
like the Atlantic that to her heart calls.
The love of my mother is inspiring,
like the divinities that she knows.
The love of my mother sparkles,
through her eyes and smile, she glows.
The love of my mother will never extinguish.
Though, the love of my mother I have tried.
The love of my mother knows no limits.
The love of my mother is always on my side.
Happy Birthday Mama!!!
Thank you for teaching me how to live a life full of love.
Surprising is the sentiment that sisterhood brings
To a life once thought to be full.
It turns out that the sister-less are, after all
Without a love most pure and wonderful.
A sister-in-law, to be clearer just here,
Is an especially delightful kind.
Born from the love of the love of her life
And the blind puppy love that began mine;
Matured through the freedom to laugh and to cry
At said love, both with him and without.
But it doesn’t stop there, no one is safe
For she knows my family inside and out.
This gift and small curse she bears gracefully
Though perhaps I’ve been sort of short-sighted.
Maybe sisters aren’t always so perky and fun,
Pretty, witty, clever and open-minded.
I do know Jen though, with her warm eager eyes,
Inquisitive and mischievous smile.
She’s been the best sister I could possibly have
Invariably, through life’s greatest trials.
I hope to be as strong, sweet and patient as her,
For all of the rest of my days.
So with eternal love, humility and gratitude
I wish her the best of birthdays.
I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.
in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
do not take from me your laughter.
when your laughter enters
it opens for me all
the doors of life.
in the spring, love.
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for.
deny me bread, air,
but never your laughter
for I would die.
on waking, your mouth,
come from your dream,
gave me the taste of earth,
of the depths of your life,
and i received your kiss
from the sea that surrounds us.
Hide me in your arms
just for this night.
Let the wind rush
crowned with foam,
let it call to me and seek me
galloping in the shadow,
while I, sunk
beneath your big eyes,
just for this night
shall rest, my love.
in the night and the shadow,
with your steps will enter
perfume’s silent step
But wait for me,
keep for me your sweetness.
we shall always be, you and I,
alone upon the earth
to begin life.
with you I become again
the earth that you are:
I know again how I am born.
you came to my kisses with the fire
of an unchained meteor
you melted in my blood
all thirst ends in our embrace.
pure, with the purity we created
You were a little leaf
that trembled on my chest.
Life’s wind put you there.
offers us the sky,
but the dark earth
is our name
Bring your substance deep down to me,
let your existence cut across me
inheritance of smoke.
a surge of water with remnants of the sea
strikes the silences that wait for you
Advance in sweetness
That is why you are endless
She sat staring at the cars driving by on the busy thoroughfare in front of the café, diagnosing what makes pretty people so mean. She’d been a hostess at the theater’s café for the 52 days since it had been open, and she could write a thesis on all the theater-going Miamians that she had come to encounter. It was a complicated trifecta of events: 1. a limited number of seats serving cooked-to-order food, 2. a fixed theater time to which no one could be late, and 3. no reservations. During the blissful moments when she sat outside and enjoyed her cappuccino each night after the show started, she outlined the thesis in her head.
Part One: Bling
The more the bling the meaner the women. This is especially true the older they are or the prettier.
A pretty young woman with more diamonds than fat content is likely to tell you how bad you are at your job, how horrible the establishment – that she’s been in for about 45 seconds – is run, and how dumb you specifically are. Make her wait for some avocado toast and a glass of malbec and you’d better steer clear, she’s looking to take people down hard and dirty.
Next, are the over-seventies. The men are quiet and polite most of the time. They look at you with the sad eyes carrying a lifetime of resignation. Those eyes paired with a blinged-out bluehair, that’s a code red. Abort. Once you engage, it’s going to be a lengthy, degrading conversation that will make you want to walk into on-coming traffic.
Part Two: Bachelors
This is a grey area. You might get a nice guy who will happily settle for drinks at the bar. You might get a quiet type who evaluates the scene on his own and politely smiles as he leaves. More often than not though, they will be unable to understand why you can’t pull a table out of your back pocket for them, or a burger, or a Ferrari. The entitlement is startlingly limitless.
Part Three: Stragglers
These people knowingly show up 15-30 minutes before the show, appalled that you don’t have something they can “grab.” When handed a glass of water, one straggler once said, “Well, fit it up all the way at least, I’m thirsty for crying out loud.” Because clearly, her thirst and untimeliness, are your fault, so just be gracious, this is America.
Part four, she thinks, relishing the last sip of her cappuccino, wherein I move to Paris and am perfectly, carelessly rude right back.
Drifting on a warm breeze
in the sea of my mind
sails full of love songs
white clouds in sunshine
Starry eyes adorn the night
hopeful hearts will whisper
gentle movement, water lapping
golden moons shine forever
I see me. In a little black dress. I’m walking. I reach the side of the pool and I don’t hesitate to dive in.
All sorts of people are swimming in black-tie apparel. Everyone is under the water. Twirling and swirling like dancers on a ballroom floor. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to breathe. I swim past them to the deepest part of the deep end.
I wait for him. Breathless.
It’s not easy being a human, flawed and insatiable as we are. Even when we know an action will cause our own detriment, we continue to pursue or perform such activity, time and time again. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is the human condition: the thin line of insanity that we walk, hoping for change, or hoping for the same, but mostly just insane for hoping. Yet hope is what makes us most human. Hope brings us closer to one another, perhaps hope tears some of us apart, but hope is what makes the insane person, and hope is why we create art.
In The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt draws upon every fallible bit of humanity, letting us explore through a collection of characters as real as the insanity they portray, exactly what it is to be human. Taking place in Amsterdam, Park Avenue, Las Vegas and the Village, the plot follows a Renaissance painting of a little goldfinch with a chain around it’s ankle. We are pulled through this seamlessly written novel by our earlobe, knowing full well that it is simply the human condition which carries Theo along. He grows into a man through the pages, while we stay hopeful that he might just do it differently this time. It is the set of characters that Theo meets along the way, however, which have me calling this my favorite book of 2014. Boris, the Russian, and Hobie, the antique furniture connoisseur/repair man, are equally alluring in their juxtaposition of darkness and light. Why Theo treats each of them the way that he does, defines the agony that it is to be human.
Ms. Tartt has created a place that I long to visit, the way that I long to tell the me of a decade ago how to make better choices. There is no visiting Theo in Park Avenue as he mourns the death of his mother though, just as there is no way to revisit the me of the past. It is the cross we bear, the knowledge that the choice may come again, along with the wonder of whether we’ll have the strength to decide not to cross the line of insanity this time, or whether to leap right across it – again.
I recommend you read this book, because it is a shot of life. Strong and hard to swallow, but there is a sweet aftertaste and I do think you’ll feel better afterwards. As Tartt so aptly puts it, “Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair.” We are a tragic lot, us humans, but there is always hope.
Here are 12 women who didn’t. And succeeded because of their convictions.
We got in his old pick-up truck and he started the ignition. The vinyl seat was like ice beneath me, but he had lit something within me. Jack was rugged and charming, he had the swagger of an athlete from birth, and that voice, like the trucks engine, making me both nervous and excited.
He wasn’t driving away and I followed his gaze to a delivery truck on my right. It was open, unmanned, and full of beer. I raised my eyebrows daring him to say what was on his mind, but before words intruded he was out and running. I had never seen someone act so impulsively, simply crack the mold of good behavior like the thin bits of ice on the pavement beneath his boots. I had spent my high school career visualizing myself raising raucous disturbances, but was always brought out of them by a sympathetic teacher wondering if I needed a pass to the restroom or to the nurse. I never needed a pass, what I needed was a radical.
Jack’s face was bold and excited, almost terrified but completely cool as he hustled back to his truck with a twelve-pack of imports tucked under his arm. He stepped on the gas and I laughed. I inherited the laugh from my mother. As a child I’d watch it rip into the room and turn every head, scared certain that I could never live up to it. It just made Jack drive straight through the sunset pulling out all the stars.
The sister stands to the side, she sighs. Four weeks to the day since her divorce was final. Six months since she walked out the door. Her sister’s engagement doesn’t make her miss her ex-husband, not a thing could induce such emotions, but it does make her feel her aloneness.
There is a thing in this culture, a big stark white elephant in the room or the park or the engagement party, about a woman alone. She doesn’t have a date, so something must be wrong with her. Is she a lesbian? The relatives begin to ask. The complicated affairs which ended her marriage are too convoluted to share with Aunt Ida, so she asks her nephew if his daughter is of another persuasion. Because how could a pretty, smart, seemingly sane girl, be alone? She feels, and the rest of the party would be lying if they disagreed, that there is something wrong with her.
A single man is a bachelor. He’s playing the field, taking his time, finding the right choice. A single woman is waiting, idle while the universe decides when the right man should come along. As if she has nothing to do with the matter when it’s right, however, everything to do with it when it’s wrong. Some wrong choice that she made, or series of choices, that left her flawed, flippant, or scorned.
She sighs again and finishes her champagne. Fuck you Aunt Ida, she thinks, walking away. Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with alone.