Friday, March 28, 2014

Asleep


We were two zombies fraternizing in the night. We awoke for a brief moment, but it could never be because she still pretended like she was asleep. Maybe I did too, sometimes. But the thing is, when you pretend you are asleep, eventually you end up actually falling back asleep and the whole day goes by and you wake up alone and confused and wonder where the hell the day disappeared to.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Delayed Response


"She kissed me. ...But I pushed her off," you said.

I was slurping a pasta noodle into my mouth and I looked up at you when I heard it, licked my lips. This is the point. This is the moment. My heart blocked my head from all the oxygen needed to complete my thought, but this was what it was trying to get out at that moment: You have a lot on your plate right now. You have a whole life full of responsibilities and obligations, and I came in last. So, you do your thing and I'll do my thing, and maybe sometime when you're not busy we can spend the night together. 

We both know what happened instead. And it was fun, and it was sad, and it was heart-wrenching, and it was sweet, and it was fast, and it was consuming, but it... was.

Oh, and by the way: You are completely capable of handling it all by yourself, I tried to say. I see your strength, even though you don't, and I believe in you.

I put my fork down. My breath choked.

All I could say was, "No."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Horse Story

Written for a girl without a horse

I was on the phone with my grandmother.  I was thinking of when she took me with her to feed cattle around town, back when she was (as far as I was concerned) a professional cowgirl.  In reality I think she was hired by the owners of some ranch company to take care of various pastures; de-worm the cows, give them their shots, save the random horse from a mud pit…  She worked daily on their main ranch, a fifteen-minute drive south of her suburban home.  It was different from the other pastures we visited in that an innocent bystander could tell that it was a ranch; it wasn’t just a large plot of land owned by builders and filled with beef cattle for the tax breaks. 

I was thinking about all the mornings--it must have only been on weekend mornings, but it fills my memory so much it might as well have happened every day--that we woke up before dawn to make rounds to several grocery stores for their bakeries’ day-old pastries--doughnuts, breads, bagels--to throw into huge black garbage bags, hoist in the back of my grandmother’s sky blue jeep, and haul to the different pastures to breakfast what seemed like all of South Florida’s cows. A five-year old doesn’t pay attention to the road traveled or the grid in which their voyage is, but I can see the front gate of each place.  The Florida Cracker Cows must have been quite sweet in those days with the cows’ blood being nourished every day by cheese Danishes, glazed doughnuts, and pumpernickel bread.  I was always given first choice of a doughnut--Grandma let me have one treasure from our loot every morning. I always chose a Long John.

My grandmother wanted to know why I was asking about the cattle and I had no good answer.  I just remembered days of horses and cows, traveling to Okeechobee in a giant white Dueley truck attached to a giant white trailer to buy and sell cattle at a small auction house with a little diner attached to it. I wanted the adult facts to complete my childish recounts of getting corndogs at the diner counter every time we went.  Waitresses in light blue polka dotted dresses and pink ruffled aprons would take my order.  Or that could be what happened, mixed with my memory of old episodes of “Rosanne.”  The quaint antiquity of the diner stuck in the fifties, once a comforting and satisfying treat at the end of our long trip north, now seems sticky with twenty-year old grease, the charm disillusioned by facts learned through life.  The diner was gross really; dirty, and filled with ignorant, old countrified white men.  The corndog was probably… well, of unknown origin.

Then there was, of course, the horses. Each one was a different personality, just like people. Heidi was mine. My grandmother bought her for me when I was 6 years old and her original name was Kansas. The previous owner said she liked to be called “K” names, but I had just seen the movie, “Heidi,” featuring Shirley Temple, for the first time and I was having none of it. My horse would be named Heidi and that was that. Heidi was previously a barrel racing horse. That means she would be raced in the rodeo arena around 3 barrels with a rider on her in a special configuration as fast as she could. She was a small Quarter horse, plain brown with dark brown mane and tail. I dressed her in purple reins and bridle. I washed her. I rode her. I loved nothing more than to take her on trail rides. Even then I had no interest in going fast; I just liked to take things slow, observe, drink in everything around me. Heidi didn’t seem to mind this. She was very intuitive and in tune with what I wanted and where I wanted to go. She was not haughty like our Black Arabian. She was not stubborn like our golden Palomino. She was like a mother to me, and I was her wild little pony.

Caught in the throws of curious reminiscence and childhood, I felt a strange desire take hold, like oil seeping through the wall, slowly becoming more visible—a wet, black spot, enlarging, but always an amoeba, shapeless.  I asked my Grandma to keep all those poems she wrote that she showed me when I was little.

“Write for me,” I asked. 

“What do you want me to write about?” she asked 

“Everything. Start from the beginning and don’t stop.” I said.  Then we said goodbye and tears cascaded from their reservoirs.  The dam was unhinged thinking of a good life stopped short by a pretty gripping addiction on pills and vodka, and me, a child who didn't understand. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Face

If you are a woman and if you are beautiful 
And even if you're not beautiful
If you just do something beautiful
If you make that face
That beautiful face that only women can make
If you make that fucking face
That face that's made to fuck
If you look at me with those eyes
That make me want to go against my instinct
To protect you
And instead make me want to grab you
And ravage you
That face
That's what I fall in love with
Knowing your strength
And seeing your vulnerability

And that fucking face

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Damaged

I met my uncles for drinks at the local bar. Amid free vodka tonics and the usual howdya-dos to all of their friends, I watched on as the singer strummed his guitar under his beads of sweat, making me feel hot under my own leather jacket.

"He's straight," they said. "I wonder why he would choose to take a gig in a gay bar. Look at all these guys trying to get him drunk."

They were, indeed, filling the sweet-faced young singer with shots after almost every song. He sang covers and everyone around the bar clapped and sang along, whooped and hollered when each was done. Certainly, by the end of his set, there was no way he was not drunk. It was a wonder he wasn't slurring his lyrics.

Soon after, it was time to leave. On our way out of the bar, a man reached for my arm. "Oh, aren't you cute? Lookin' all grungyyyy and damagedddd..." It was supposed to be a compliment I think, but it kind of sounded like he was glorifying damaged people more than attempting a compliment. Uncle Louis saw this and pushed me through to the door. Once we were outside, my uncles interrogated me about what the strange man at the bar had said to me. Uncle Tony wanted to go back and punch him.

"Damaged? I'll damage him! What an asshole," he said. I tried to explain that it was fine, he was just a silly drunk guy, but it took a whole block of convincing before he let the matter go. Not until I got in my car (not drunk) and started driving home did it hit me like a ton of bricks. In the middle of a Rihanna song. Tears started welling up and all of a sudden it sounded like the bellow of a wounded beast coming out of my mouth. I cried all the way home and even sat in my car a while after. He was right. The strange drunk man was right on the fucking ball. It seems no matter where you go, you can't outrun those goddamned gay-ngels, reader. Just when you least expect it, they pop the fuck out of nowhere and let you know what's what. I closed my eyes and recalled driving in the car with my grandmother months before.

All within the span of a week, my girlfriend had dumped me, a pissy meter man had slapped me with a parking ticket, and my grandma had busted my cell phone in a pitch black hotel room on a midnight rendezvous to some candy stashed in her bag. Now I was driving with said grandma cross-country in a car with little to no AC. We were driving through Arizona, then New Mexico. I bit my nail and watched out of my peripheral my hair fly in and out of the window as I drove. My grandmother, incapable of having a pleasant thought throughout the duration of the trip, sometimes even contradicting herself in case she did, sat next to me.

"Live Oak?" We have a Live Oak back home. Probably more alive than this one!" "Presidential? Yeah, right. Like the president would travel in that RV." "Florida has some pretty parrots... Yeah, well we also have some ugly parrots."

At one point we saw a pretty girl on the side of the road obviously having car trouble. "I hope she is okay," I said. "It's pretty dangerous for a young woman to be alone on the side of a road."

"No it's not," said my grandmother.

"Um..."

"I have been stuck on the side of the road before and people have been very nice."

"That's great. But statistically, it really is dangerous for a young wom-"

"Nope. It's only true if you believe it, and I refuse to believe it."

I pulled my keys out of the ignition on and stared at them. They'd changed so much over the last decade. But where I was going, I wasn't going to be needing them, or any keys, for a long time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Untitled

The thing is, don't get involved with me in the first place. Why would you desire a weak person? I am weak, for people who break hearts are weak. Too weak and afraid to show our complete selves to anyone, to ask for what we need, to admit that we are human and have needs. The only thing I regret in this life is cheating. And not every time, just one time in particular. The last time. Because one time is all it takes to learn your lesson. After I did it, it was like I had just stabbed someone to see for myself, does it really happen? Can it really kill them? And when I pulled my hand away with the proverbial knife and saw the wound and the look of shock on her face who willingly let me plunge it into her chest as she lay there calmly accepting her fate, I realized that, yes, it really can kill them. And looking at my own deceitful hand, threw the knife away from me in disgust. I really was loved. And I really did kill her. Because I was weak. Too weak and afraid to show my complete self. To ask for what I needed. To admit that I was human and had needs. How could I not know that since our hearts were connected, that wound would mirror in my own heart and make me bleed as well? A lovers' stigmata on my chest. It is no advantage being a heartbreaker, because the only hearts we truly break are our own.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Pee Story


We were driving along an alligator-lined highway in a long, pitch black stretch without any rest stops and I had to pee really badly. For some reason, we had a really large empty soft drink cup. I guess that’s probably why I had to pee so badly. We decided to stop on the side of the road so I could pee in the large vessel because there was no way I was getting out on the side of the road to pee on a highway called Alligator Alley. We stopped and put the hazards on. I grabbed some napkins from the glove box, hopped in the back seat and took down my pants.

The release was sweet and satisfying, especially with “Careless Whisper” playing on the radio in the background.  Suddenly I noticed the cup was getting hefty and I wasn’t even close to done. I decided to dump the cup out the window and continue, but just as I was about to roll the window down I saw a bright light in the rearview mirror and felt myself become lit up from behind. My girlfriend turned around to see me pantless, in the middle seat, my face contorted in panic and shaking a cupful of urine that was now dripping onto the tissue paper I was squatting over. I had noticed a gift bag from the present my grandma had given me only hours before. I had snatched the tissue paper from the pretty pastel bag and spread them out beneath me on the back seat for extra protection. Her mouth dropped. The music was too much. “BABY!” I yelled. “Turn around!”

I had to get rid of the evidence. Thinking it was some kind of law enforcement, I quickly flung the now dripping cup of piss out the window and it left the cup in a dramatic slow-motion arch into the grass outside. I couldn’t be ticketed holding a vat of my own pee. I balled up the tissue paper, pulled up my pants, and yanked a towel I saw crumpled on the floor of the backseat and dabbed the leather dry. The gentleman stopper, who we now saw was a tow truck, shined his brights. We turned off our hazards in hopes that it would give him the message. It did. He pulled back and drove away, leaving me half full of pee and all in a flutter, with George Michael in the background pleading "Ah haa, haa."