writing from a place of privilege

Writing from a place of privilege makes thoughts less likely to trip over wooden fences and cement walls. My feet swooned and collapsed over uneventful ground, though I was quite privileged. My entire childhood was settled in a warm big home on a big wide street. The street was an avenue really and she was named Lexington. Pimping at Lexington’s end–a crinkly aged oak purported to have umbrella’d over George W. and Lafayette’s teatime. This was our park. Weekend baseballs often grappled with the onslaught of giant wormholes, while feisty games played out until streetlights lit and we were permitted to return home. I had no problem dispensing words on common days where mornings began in blue knee socks. But the weathered fences around George’s park didn’t stay put, too often splintering posts stabbed at my heart.

In my weening brown eyes, the kindnesses sloshed about in fairytales–after dispatching evil queens–never materialized. Pink gowns for slim-hipped beauties smelling of peppermint and ice did not leap off Golden Book pages. You were what they said. You were what you thought you heard. Childhood is funny that way. Unforgiving as Alcatraz and equally as grey in the right light. This is where words in warm big homes carve into pages. Small bulky diaries with delicate keys fitting the tiniest of holes to safe keep any words that might ooze out fence holes. My kid wrote deep and direly intense–you must hear my wet bleeding. We bleed out without wounds and our translucent scars are deeper. Look over the roofs inlaid with Santa’s sleighs, you might hear the tears suffocating in our stained pillows.

I did not lack anything I needed. I had bright shoes and a zither, a purple stingray bike and rollerskates. There was a radio in our car and televisions in all the important rooms. I had stuffed animals on my Grandma Patchwork bedspread and budgies in a birdcage. There were piano lessons and religious instruction and pancake Sundays with nana and papa. Pasta flowed weekly and Speed Racer made me want to drive. My high school car was white and my graduation cap was red. All items at the right time. My parents were beautiful.

So with all this, why did I feel unworthy of a glittery childhood. Walls made of tree fences surrounded my world for too long. And why today, do my words still trip while writing from a place of privilege.

Erté homage

Erté homage

 

leave it to a cartoon pig

trying to get at something
I can’t quite reach from the ground
there is no sleeping in slumber
no resting for the restless
hurriedly living to stamp personal honors on crowded individuality
some methodically hiding to avoid the same
embracing or effacing, the certain weightlessness of our heavy conclusion
this finite fact of our infinite fiction
depending on where the cord has been cut
a lifeline, a noose, a kite string
we enter
we exit

“…that’s all folks”
(leave it to a cartoon pig to shame us into reality)

Peppermint Pigs

Peppermint Pigs

 

walk away from it all

walk away from it all
we could
you and I
me and you
get the hell out
from the open cell we imprison ourselves in
on knees begging for peace
craning sore necks to fix our eyes between the bars
where we covet the sun
and allow moonglow to paint romantic prison garb across our shoulders
except it’s not passionate, it’s depressing
peace should be easy
as easy as wild blackbent thriving on a prairie
but we over-complicate it
we over-complicate love
it’s all this place needs to shine
easier than switchgrass exploding during warm season
but we can’t because we seem to enjoy the drama of ourselves
and we are thickly dramatic, aren’t we
you and I
me and you
craving eyes more often to desire than to implore
what if we woke up outside our mirrored boxes
and spent one day, sunrise to sunset, watching the grass grow
inhaling saltwater calm on sanded breeze
caressing a possibility of new growth nurtured by common good
God, we could do it
take complicated out of the equation
practice peace and love until our seeds fall from the sky
like cool rain saturating a burning planet
simple, simple harmony

or
we could just walk away from it all
you and I
me and you
ignore the dust kicking up behind our cracked heels
dry grass stalks dangling from our mouths
and fake smile ’til our lips bleed

Earth's Angel

Earth’s Angel

the greatest show on earth

yesterday, I had the good fortune to be reminded of something so sweet
it permitted me almost complete peace with the world
and entire happiness with planet people
as I watched with anxious mom eyes, young men and a few women too–
my son among this intense leaping group
willingly get tossed about sprawling mats and body slammed through practiced experience
I escaped a few moments for coffee

there in a deep fluorescent hallway
away from the hearty stewing odors of an enclosed winter gym
a little blonde tyke, resplendent in cherubic pink cheeks and wild child whimsy
his laughter and stubby legged runs–
the penguin-like waddles of a boy not yet near man territory
tearing up and down the checkered oatmeal tile, he flew on socked wings
I, trying to stifle a grin
(honestly, more for the creases now carving into my retreating lip flesh)
simply could not stop smiling, beaming in fact at this whirling dervish
and then he, who lost a fierce hallway sprint to a taller little girl, in their run for the shoeless roses
proclaimed to any and all observers (a line I wish I could take credit for)
“she made her socks run faster than mine”

in this morning’s paper
an article printed on the closing (after 146 years) of, “The Greatest Show on Earth”
this media headline is incorrect, perhaps even yellow in its presentation
yesterday I watched The Greatest Show on Earth in a small high school hallway
and here–the most entertaining truth
the little socked boy’s name was
Gabriel
elephant eye:trunkand for the record, I am joyous for the animals, large and small who should never dwell beneath any big top other than sky

 

 

 

 

words are for stories

I am sorry for not following your footprints
you know how we want to blaze our own trails
I’m more like the one who hides in the wild brambles along someone else’s path
stopping to pick the gathering moss from my toes
hoping my feet will stain a lovely shade of flowerless green
so I won’t need to buy socks
(too often my happy spirit falls out my sock holes)
damn, I don’t darn well
I am sorry for not visiting your fine table at tea time
sipping is a lost art and I become dumbstruck at the sight of delicate porcelain tuele
I can cower behind a steaming Starbuck’s Venti
latte, latte, latte
blow the foam
watch me smile all day pretending I’m a writer
enumerating every reason why my work isn’t on one shelf
not one, that’s why I dunk three lattes
and seek out your footprints while no one is watching
still, there is my spirit guide
she drinks naught
eats less than sips
her curved feet are bare and beautiful
her wings are tucked around her disheveled robes
she is proud of her life
passion burns hot in her breast
the embodiment of joy in simple musing
she pulls me away from the wild things that grow on another’s path
she kisses my cheek, returns my black socks patched with green threads
then she tosses me back onto the road where I started out
allowing me no words for excuses
“words,” she whispers in her gorgeous velvet-throwback voice
are for stories
spirit-guide-weditsspirit guide sketched this past weekend while at a boisterous high school wrestling tournament

private island

on the small island where you try laying claim
breathing transports the flesh to and from the coast
you journey without compass of starlight
high spirited purpose often billowing canvas
effortlessly forward across wilding seas
spinning as she does
paths disappear in your wake
water eventually erodes the edges 
no sanctuary exists for you in these pounding crests
settling upon an abandoned shell
placing it to your wrinkled lobe
you close your eyes, inhaling the ocean

 once more seeking out the peace of those crashing island waves
first ocean

I can no longer wait for you

I’m still waiting for you
I think I’ve always been
no
I know I’ve always been
forty years past
scanning the stars glued inside my baseball cap
before each at bat, desperate not to strike out
thirty years ago
face first, hair second, brain third
hoping you’ll notice me
twenty year flashback there I am running
six miles alongside the busiest roads
why don’t you pullover and take me away
fifteen years ago
off those roads striving for inroads
sending, sending, sending
out my door, into yours
hoping something manages the mail slot
ten years recent past
what a tease
you were never really interested
I wasn’t even close was I
today
I can wait no longer wait for you
all my past tactics have failed
there is no one to find me
you were never there

I must turnaround
I must stop dreaming
no fantasy fingers will tie my work to a star
with a glittering red bow

I must float on my own
or
I will fall flat and be trampled upon
by more creative beasts
Taurean Bull
my little monster love book must now be sold and I must sell it.
“…I could burn with the splendor of the brightest fire or else I could choose time…” –Lament from Evita

a truth at ten

a truth at ten

I’m burning inside the confessional. I already know I’m lying. Always do. I hope God forgives me someday. Bread in the toaster has a better chance of not getting burned between heaven and hell. Can’t tell my truth to the wrinkled priest who is so old I hear his eyelids scratching against his pupils. He’ll never understand what I don’t. I’m hoping God gets me. God reminds me of Santa, except he’s much more fit and his eyes don’t twinkle. The priests’ eyes don’t shine either. There is nothing endearing about their silk garments or the weird mellifluous odors permeating my church. Why does it smell hot like hell. How can I tell the truth when I’m locked in a dark smelly box-like a demon trap. In blackness, where the best of me is at my worst. All the horrid things that tell me I’m going to hell. Don’t like myself in the daytime. Hate myself at night.

Jesus is stuck to the roof of my dry mouth. I don’t know what to do so I giggle. A nun slaps the back of my head. Can’t stick my finger in my mouth while wearing a Communion dress that makes me feel like a roll of toilet paper. I don’t feel very pretty in this white flouncy dress. I pictured feeling like a princess. I don’t look at all like what I imagined. I’m fat. I’m ugly. I look like squeezable Charmin. I wonder if Jesus uses toilet paper. Mary is so pretty and slender and doesn’t kiss anyone. No one slapped her on the back of the head. And now Jesus is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I’m parched. I fainted last week while my class stood outside in the blazing sun reciting the rosary. I remember my sweaty thick fingers trying to count the beads.

I won’t tell the priest anything. He has no right to know what’s in my head. I don’t care if I’m supposed to tell him the truth. Closing my eyes, I practice being in the dark on my knees pretending I’m going to divulge my darkest thoughts. The old smelly priest will tell me to say thirty Hail Marys so my sins will be forgiven. I know I won’t do this either. I wonder if devils can turn their horns into wings. I’m a slice of Wonder bread in the toaster burning on both sides. There is no holy peanut butter to hide my black thoughts. I prefer Santa Clause over God. I want to kiss boys even though they don’t like me. I look like toilet paper.

Angel Cone

Angel Cone

this writing is a combination of my childhood years – Communion is received in second grade – if memory serves I’d have been 7 at the time – the confessional reoccurred throughout my Catholic school years

if I were a beer…

there is a case of beer bottles in my garage. it was a holiday gift. twelve special beers. the best of the best. is what the printed words say right there on the macho pretty box. the best of the best. more than the fantastic four or the magnificent seven–it’s the sublime twelve. I stare down at this charismatic hops box. twelve superb necks holding twelve superior brews. hell, what would I say if I were just one beer. this is twelve. twelve miraculous times someone mixed and poured perfect.

hmm. I said I was going to start this year with writing honestly. I’d have to think long and deep, as long and as deep as those amber necks reaching down to those chilly ales swallowed to warm the senses.

truth is one thing in the flesh, it’s a whole other liquid when brewed into words. let me start chugging here:

I don’t know where my words come from. this unnerves me a bit. it’s like arriving at a familiar place with no recollection of the ride. I don’t know what is going to happen most times I plan to write so I can never really plan anything longer than a short piece. I managed to pen ten manuscripts long ago when my brain was less fragmented, all fantasy blended with some sci-fi, all for the tween market. I don’t think my liquefied brain could pour adult long write. that would be a real challenge for me in my present glass state, though I’ve visited over thirty US states. I am not worldly. Other then crossing into Tijuana on foot back in the ’80s, and staring at bugs in Montreal’s Insectarium, my world travel case is sticker light. I am George Bailey-never left Bedford Falls.

It has taken me until now to learn how to lower the brewery simmer button. no more unnecessary boiling. life’s to short for bubbling over the vat.

if I were beer, I’d belong in a wine bottle. whatever the hell that means.

Fly Lord

Fly Lord

marble journal

well, here we are my friends, into another season
the season you choose inside that amazing mind you were gifted
over some earthworm who must content himself
with getting washed from his hole come spring
I do not own this thought
it is one I pass on to my children
vessels safeguarding future knowledge trapped inside present time
a new morning over coffee, I’m caught in a precious time warp
staring at me, before it gets stowed into his school backpack
a loaded composition notebook–sentinel of coagulated educational emotion
this particular marbled gem of bound cyan lines is bursting at its stitching
so bloated, it appears yanked from the Dead Sea then baked on some remote Mayan steppe
I wonder about my son’s limitless thoughts, the ones I’ve seen, the ones I never will
triggered by calculated classwork prompts
I believe I know my son as well as I know myself
my crammed journal has not been as honest as his
learned years have taught me to erase
going forward, I’d like to use the mind I’ve been gifted
and not get washed from a worm hole come spring
this year I choose the season of color
no neutral shades will hide my eyes or stifle my pens
I will be honest in my art
I will be honest in my writing

my first honest thought
this scares the crap outta me

Paper Shadow

Paper Shadow