The Last Day
Woot! I made it!
(P.S. Yesterday was a piece of fiction I wote about two years ago. Just to clarify.)
Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"
My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Hey, boss? Can I talk to you for a sec?
Sure. What's up?
I've got a difficult case.
What? Someone trying to sneak into heaven again? Falsifying their good deeds?
No. She was the nicest person you could meet on earth. She belongs here.
So whats the problem?
Well, she doesn't want to be here.
What do you mean she doesn't want to be here? Everyone wants to be here. Oh, wait; she's one of those! Doesn't think she's worthy of heaven.
No, that's not it.
Oh, she's one of those. Thinks heaven's not worthy of her.
No, she isn't Martha. No, this woman is unhappy here and wants to go to hell.
Why in God's name would she...wait, she's not happy? Everyone's happy here.
And that seems to be the problem.
I'm not following.
Look, just come with me. I'll let her explain.
Leads a good life on earth, and she's not happy up here? This should be interesting.
Ok, what seems to be the problem?
I want a transfer.
You want a transfer.
Ma'am, do you know what you're asking for?
Yes. I'm not happy here, and I want a transfer.
Yes. Look, I'm completely lost here in heaven.
I like doing nice things for people. It makes them happy. It makes me happy. It makes the world a brighter place. But I can't do a lot of nice in heaven.
What do you mean you can't do anything nice here? Everything's nice here.
Yes, that's the problem! My little drop of nice gets swallowed by the ocean of contentment. It's frustrating.
I don't understand.
Let me give you an example. The other day I'm flying around heaven, and I see a stranger. I feel like doing something nice for him, so I swoop down, pluck a perfect rose out of the Garden then I flutter down in front this guy, arm extended, rose in hand, and say something like, 'You looked like you could use a rose.'
He says something back like, 'Oh. Thanks. But really, I was happy already.'
'Yes, I was.'
'Well, did I at least add to your happiness?'
'Um...no. No actually you didn't.'
'Nope. I was perfectly happy before you gave me the rose, and I'm perfectly happy now.'
'Oh. Well. Have a nice da—'
'Right. Never mind.'
So I flew off feeling dejected and useless, and I that's when I decided I needed to go were I'd be appreciated.
You are appreciated here. Heaven is your reward for living a pious life.
Some reward! I don't feel appreciated here at all. I've still got a lot to give. That didn't just go away when I died. That's who I am. I'm someone who wants to make other people happy. But this place is saturated with happiness! It's so happy it's making me un-happy.
She continued. Hell, on the other hand. Now there's a lot of potential happiness, a lot of potential niceness just waiting to happen.
She looked dreamy. Yeah, it would take a while, but I think I could do some genuine good in hell.
Are you kidding me? Do you know what it's like down there? What sort of agony you'd be in?
Well, sure, it would take a while to get used to the pain and suffering, but I would. Never underestimate the capacity and determination of the human spirit to adjust to its surroundings, no matter how dire.
Dire, she says. You're talking about hell.
What? It's not like they can kill me. I'm already dead for chrissakes! What's the worst they could do; mix up the torture? Scare me with giant spiders and flesh-eating zombies? After a few years of that, at best I'd get bored.
Ok, so you're bored in hell. Then what?
Then once I got used to things, I'd go around helping other people feel better. And it wouldn't take much to do it. A kind word, a smile, a gentle caress of the cheek. Soon I'd convince others to forget about their pain too.
You'd get them to forget about the pain of being in hell.
That's right. And we'd go around helping other poor, tormented souls.
Well what about the demons?
Yes, the demons. You know, the big, scary fellows inflicting all that torture on those poor souls. You don't think they'll just let you walk around helping people do you? What are you going to do about them?
Oh, I'll be nice to them too.
Yeah. That'll work.
You ever tried it?
Of course not!
I'm not surprised. Heaven's for slackers.
Yes! Heaven's supposed to be full of good people but no one does anything nice for anyone else around here.
So are you calling me a slacker?
Well? When was the last time you did something nice for someone?
I don't HAVE to do something nice for someone! We're in heaven!
My point exactly! It's finished up here. There's nothing to do. But the work's not done down below. It hasn't even started.
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about lovingkindness! That's what they need in hell.
What they need in hell is unending suffering and torture, the bastards.
Oh, that's nice coming from an angel! Do you kiss your Lord with that mouth?
I beg your pardon!
Look, just give me my transfer. Now. I'm going to hell where true kindness is still appreciated.
Fine. You know...just...fine. Here. Here's you right of refusal for your Father's mansion, your canceled salvation, and this is your ticket to hell. Don't forget to turn in your wings, harp and halo. St. Peter will give you back whatever's left on your damage deposit. You'll need it where you're going.
Thanks. About flippin' time. Audios and God bless, jerk!
Oh, and don't let the Pearly Gates hit your ass on the way out!
Sheesh! She didn't seem very nice to me.
She's no angel, that's for sure.
If you've ever read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, you'll remember a small but crucial difference between the movie and the book, concerning The Emerald City.
In the book, Dorothy and Company were given green-tinted glasses before they were admitted to the City. Once inside, they marveled that the buildings, the people, the animals, everything was emerald.
At this point, even the youngest child reading the book was in on the secret of the Wizard's power.
Being a fiction writer is like going into the Emerald City with those green glasses on. Everything you look at is filtered through the lens of your work, turning it all the color of your choice. So you report back that yes, indeed, everything looks green in this place. It all makes sense.
Crazy people wear these glasses too. And everything they see is colored as well.
The difference between a crazy person and a writer is that the writer knows he's wearing the colored lenses; the writer is in on the gag with the wizard.
Anyway. I'll have a silly little story for you tomorrow.
I listened to an interview with Tom Waits, very
interesting and funny. Go towww.npr.org , program :
All Things Considered" , Tuesday's show. On his
new threeCD anthology, he said the Disney Co.
threatened to sue him over "Heigh Ho" from
:Snow White, they claimed he changed the lyrics,
but he did not. As he says,"It took the skip
out of their step". I downloaded the song, and
as Tom is the world's worst singer, it sounds
like a nightmare in a slave mine.
He attached the song (fallen off a Russian server, like most of his mp3s) in his email. And as much as I love Tom Waits, D.D. is dead-on with this one.* ^
But I laughed through the whole thing, as did my dad. He's picky about his singers, (though he likes The Pogues; go figure) but he appreciates a good joke.
And that's just starters.
* I had Tom's “Heigh Ho” playing on my laptop while typing this, and O requested loudly and repeatedly that I turn it off, because, “it's like listening to pain.”
^ I've since played it half a dozen times. With its goofy horns and Tom's hellish voice, and the 'clang clang clang' warning bell from a train crossing, it's really growing on me.
Most of the dishes are clean,what food wasn't distributed has been put away, and you will NOT get me near a shopping mall.
Thanksgiving was the BEST. No family, no fights. No weird vibes. No martyrs. Just friends and bliss. And food buzzes all around.
But, it was also the end of an era. Schmoop and Stucco have hied north, for good. I'm still letting it sink in.
No, I'm not letting it sink in. I'm fighting it, like Declan fights sleep. Like Jack fights waking.
I have a lot of acquaintances, a few friends, but not a lot of friends who know me. There is a difference. S & S are in the tight circle of those who know me (there are a few of you out there, and you know who you are). God knows why they want to be there, but they are, and I say thank you.
Schmoop's one of my Messy Kitchen Friends. If you don't know what that means, I can't explain it to you, not without crying.
I guess I could look at it this way. I'm losing friends who are close and close by, but I'm gaining a vacation spot.
Hmm. Nope. Still feels hollow.
I finished the last of my food shopping this evening. Pulling into Safeway's parking lot, I found a spot facing west and sat in the car watching the sunset. So did four other drivers. We sat staring out our windshields at the pink and blue fingers of something too large to comprehend. I got out of the car and walked backwards toward the store, unwilling to take my eyes off the last fantastic light. Three employees stood outside without saying a word. I tuned around and we all stared at each other with goofy looks on our faces.
Inside, a man's voice interrupted the preemptive Christmas music over the loudspeakers with this announcement:
“Attention, Safeway shoppers. If you are near the front of the store, please take a look out the windows at the beautiful Colorado sunset. If you moved here from Iowa, or California, or Texas, this is a reminder of why you are here...that's all.”
I live for things like that.
I can only imagine that tonight's reaction was actually residual from Monday night's sunset. That one...God, THAT was a sunset.
The sun disappeared behind long-fingered clouds, and the light between sky and ground turned a golden pink color. The air blushed.
Fairy light. There were no shadows.
Orange clouds spread across the sky like brushed out downy feathers. The blue behind them was bright and pure as midsummer, and just as distant. Season as mirage.
Tree branches darkened first, but for the very tops of the highest trees – the blessed beautiful treetops reflected the last light like they were dusted with copper. The sun dropped below the mountains, and the sky between the clouds went bright orange while the clouds went purple. The glow around me disappeared. The sky hoarded its brightness.
Jack saw me outside. He opened the sliding door and came out to stand next to me. He looked at the sky, laughed and said, “Look at that! The sky is a mess of orange clouds.”
The dark tree branches crisscrossed the opulent sky like a back-roads map to secret apple orchards, prized pumpkin patches, wind-harvested corn fields edged in granite stone walls.
It was more than a sunset. It was the face of Autumn. With a look, it explained the holidays. Watching it, you understood Halloween and Thanksgiving.
So powerful, so archetypal, that night it had me dreaming about a sunset. In the dream I walked along a beach hand in hand with someone I could not see, and the sunset colors were so bright you could hear them, and I knew we'd always been walking there, and we always would, and it would be enough.
Anybody who has a Sitemeter has done a post on Weird Searches that Brought People to My Site.
But I have a fun little twist at the end.
winged reaching chained -jewelry -necklace -attic -ball (One could write a poem...)
rights of wifes ownen husband house (hoo-boy)
position for rectal exam (this one seems silly to ask)
lord please dont let me be miss (...issippi? Unmarried?)
first rectal exam (no comment)
Nextdoor Nancy (not your typical girl next door)
just another love letter blog (Yay! Somebody's looking for my book!)
blue angels bikers (yum yum)
grey stockings (heh)
nancy who "has converted" (to what, I have no idea)
fractalog (Yay! Another brainiac!)
"put yer hat on" (only if you want to be in the band)
MARTHA STEWART TWILIGHT PLUM CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. (someone obviously takes decorating VERY LOUDLY AND SERIOUSLY)
be careful it's gonna rain frogs (doesn't everyone's mother say this to their kids on grey mornings?)
designer office chair (wish I had one)
"Prostitution in Space" (I'm all for it!)
snow patrol funeral and bells walking (I'll add it to the poem...)
justanotherloveletter.blogspot (Woot! A fanboy!)
site:blogspot.com "pee pee dance" pee (And this BEFORE I reviewed Urinetown)
Nancy Dancehall (Another fanboy!)
how did the Jewel scarabs get its name (I want to know that too. Come back if you find out.)
pictures of amish friendship bread (Got 'em.)
shockandawe (It's a word?)
Lucky 13 Owl (Huh?)
cartoons of descartes (Go buy one from Marvin Hill)
But what if we all had meatjacks*? What are the search words that would lead someone to your head? What are the words that make your ears perk up when you hear them, words that you keep bumping into on the street? What's rattling around in your brain pan right now? Not necessarily descriptions of yourself, but some of the words you think about.
Here are some of mine:
“love and gravity”
“Dark matter speeding up gravity”
"cars from the '20s, '30's, 40's"
"never go home again"
*You know, the little gizmo popularized by William Gibson's novels, which allows a person to plug their brains directly into their computer.
Was freaking hilarious
The punchline was, “Hail Malthus!”
If you don't know who that is, follow the link, if you dare.
Combine that with peak oil, and it's like taking the red pill, Neo.
Anyway, Urinetown was not performed in a theater in Denver,
but in the hangar of a water waste treatment building.
A building often referred to as “The Gotham Building”
because of its Batman-comic-book-like architecture.
Made for a good bit of 'ha-ha, isn't that clever?'
But the acoustics were dreadful.
Missed a lot of good lines.
the lines we did catch
were sharp and cold as dirty icicles
and just as dangerous, as they hung over
a few peoples' heads.
The storyline: Sometime in the near-future, a permanent drought
forces people to give up their private toilets,
and public toilets are run by one corrupt company
Urine Good Company
that charges horrific amounts of money
to use them.
Public urination is a crime.
Private urination is a crime.
Enter one Young Unlikely Hero,
One Young Heroine, who happens to be the daughter of
Urine Good Company's president.
And Urinetown is the name of the mysterious place
where naughty piddlers are exiled.
You don't want to know about Urinetown
But you find out anyway.
And the narrator, Officer Lockstock;
I was in love.
I was scribbling notes in my head.
I seem to be
trapped in a second-rate
Lisa writing style.
I'll give it back
Every time I think I've come up with something totally absurd in my fiction, I get hit with the banana crème pie of reality:
All-singing, all-dancing eunuchs taxing
November 13, 2006 10:13am
Article from: Reuters
DANCING and singing eunuchs are knocking on doors in the Indian city of Patna in a bid to embarrass shopkeepers into paying their taxes.
The shock strategy, in which sari-clad and heavily made up eunuchs accompany officials on their rounds of crowded shopping areas in a country notorious for tax evasion and non-payment, has been declared a success.
"Some paid in cash, while others quickly wrote checks. The shock therapy, which we plan to use sparingly, was a grand success," Atul Prasad, a top official in impoverished Bihar state, of which Patna is the capital, said.
The novel tax-collection technique kicked off last week with boisterous eunuchs loudly demanding that mortified shopkeepers pay up - to the bemusement of scores of onlookers.
Taxmen pocketed 425,000 rupees ($12,484) from defaulters in a few hours.
I didn't think they still made eunuchs.
I woke up in a panic over finding a job.
Other than a design gig here and there, I've been out of the workforce for four and a half years. And those damn software companies didn't bother holding off on all their software updates until I was ready to go back. InDesign? Web design? Wha?
I may be behind on everything else, but I'm two years ahead on my worrying. I wasn't planning on going back until the boyos were in first grade. But I've found myself searching Monster late at night, and felt my stomach clenching up as I read the qualifications, the job objectives, the drier than mummy farts Corporatespeak.
I don't want to go back into a cubicle.
I'm not lazy. I never played a single game of Solitaire or web surfed. I always worked hard. But I got my ass handed to me all the same, the last time I was trapped in a cubicle.
I've freelanced for eight and a half years. Before that, I was a graphic designer in a two-person marketing department for a life insurance company. I got along great with the woman who hired me, but she grew tired of the horrid atmosphere of the place and left a few months later. She warned me first, said I might want to apply for her job (the salary was staggering) and hang on as long as I possibly could, squirreling away the pay difference.
I applied. I wore my best suit. I gave my spiel to the president. He asked if he could keep my resume. I said sure. He said he wanted to show the woman he'd already hired what a skilled assistant she'd be getting. And it was fun watching me interview.
So I became someone else's job perk.
My new boss, 'Helen', laid down the law on her first day. I would file. I would stuff envelopes. I would set up slide projectors. I would be given little in-house design projects as time off for good behavior. Any design projects I had currently going for agents were to be terminated. All material would henceforth come from corporate, damn the 7% response rate on my stuff versus their 2%.
Then 'Helen' tried to win me over with unicorn stationary.
But the real problems started not long after when I caught a 65-year-old perv cornering a 19-year-old worker in his office.
I told our HR person, a woman, 'The Eunuch' about it, at the behest of the 19-year old, 'Astarte'. I was not the only witness; 'Stacey' The Eunuch's assistant was with me. Stacey gave her testimony as well. Astarte was sent home for three days. When she came back on the fourth, they gave her $2,000 to sign away her rights to sue. And she lost her job immediately. Security escorted her out, just as they escorted out every woman fired from that office.
My job disappeared right after that. I had the option of applying for a new one they'd just created. I'd have two bosses instead of one. My duties would expand to cleaning my new boss' desk and emptying his wastebasket. No graphic design work.
And no desk.
In the morning I would sit in a chair Boss #1's office, (when I wasn't filing of course) and in the afternoon I'd sit in a chair in Boss #2's office (when I wasn't wiping his ass of course).
I declined their kind offer.
They asked me to stay until they could fill this charming new position. I did (stupid, stupid me) while I looked for a new job. I should have spent my time looking for a lawyer. One evening, security came for me. I was escorted to HR, told my performance was 'disappointing', and asked to sign some form. Then I had 15 minutes to get my shit and get out of there while both security and the Eunuch stood over me. I think I left half my stuff there. I was escorted all the way to my car.
Not my brightest moment.
I went freelance after that. I did well, until I had the boyos.
Even as I type this, I feel my blood pressure rise. Should I go back to school, retrain? I just don't feel confident enough to continue freelancing. But are my experiences typical of the corporate world?
How difficult is it to re-enter the 'working world' after kids? Anyone have any tips?
He is completely analytical. The first time I talked to him, he told me he admired someone who could write fiction. He told me he'd never written a story in his life.
No, not ever ever, he promised me.
He had no idea whatsoever how the process worked. I felt like I'd asked him if he liked the view and with that question I'd discovered the first blind person.
Does anyone else know someone like this?
In 1908, John McTaggart of Trinity College, Cambridge, published a paper proving that time does not actually exist.
Would someone please tell that to the shit that is growing inside me? I'm afraid it's firmly convinced that time does exist, and is using that excuse to spread in the most painful way possible. Meanwhile, I'm not looking at surgery until January, possibly February.
Emotionally, I'm feeling ok; some up days, some down. But overall, I'm in a better place than I was this time last week. My ob/gyn gave me a prescription for (insert long string of letters here, that when put together become unpronounceable in only the way medical words can)-progesterone, which is supposed to reset my clock, so to speak. I have to say it has helped with the mood swings.
I've got an appointment with my old fertility doc (who will be doing the actual cutting) for Dec. 7th -- too far away for my taste.
In the meantime, I'm looking at some massage techniques and acupuncture to try and keep this shit from spreading.
Anybody have any suggestions for pain relief? Heat helps, and Excedrin Migraine, strangely enough.
Geting my mind off the pain helps too. So anybody wanna talk about McTaggart's Proof of the Unreality of Time, and the paradox of the A-Series versus B-Series view of 'time', and that if the B-Series is the omnipotent viewpoint, that for all his omnipotence, God cannot tell time?
And more importantly, does that make him the POV in that insipid Chicago song, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”
What if you COULD tear a page, and set free the animals drawn there?
What if you could bring to life whatever is penned there?
What would happen with all the abstract words?
Like the word 'love'?
Freed from the page, would love have a shape and a color we could recognize?
Would love be a word we'd finally understand, once we felt the weight of it in our hands?
I've been turning the last four questions over and over, hell, for years now, trying to answer them in the book.
But the last few days the questions have been pressing up behind my eyes, like kids looking out the windows at the new-fallen snow.
So it's no wonder I woke up with part of a song in my head. This is what I can remember:
Words hang in the air
but they're not really there
Can love be the same way?
How can I tell you I care
when words are all I have to say?
The shape of an oak tree
A bright green wing
a garden blossoming.
Until they invent
something shiny and new
Words are all I have to say.
I think it's the idea that when a powerful love comes over you, words just aren't enough, but they're all we have.
Somewhere overhead geese are flying through the falling snow.
The house is quiet. The coffee cools.
How's your morning?
I needed to dig. I needed something to harvest.
I needed proof that I'd done SOMETHING with my summer.
The warm weather broke records. The sun on my straw hat deluded me into thinking that it was summer, that somehow the season had not passed in a blur, I'd only imagined it had.
But the garden didn't lie. The pale and broken stalks of corn, the fallen leaves, the friable earth; the garden was tired.
Looking at it, I wondered why I maintain this little patch of dirt that has no hope of actually feeding my family beyond a few summer treats. My dreams are so much bigger. But in this season they've grown friable too.
So I dug. I unearthed potatoes as big as my fist. I pulled up the last Scarlet Nantes carrots, their spicy perfume rising from dark holes. I tucked in the parsnips to sweeten over the winter. I put the bed to bed. And I felt better. Much better.
Now I'll wait until January, when the seed catalogs come. Wait until I'm stirred back out of my lethargy by promises of exotic colors and luscious tastes and vibrant green leaves and...and...and...
And I'll dream big again.
I won't tell you whether that makes me happy or not, because one of the great ideas with voting in a free country is that no one has to know how you voted. Another great idea is that if you are a citizen who has registered, you are actually allowed to vote.
Let me tell you about my voting experience yesterday. Then you make the call.
There were no lines at my poling place, just as there were no lines the last time I voted.* As I walked in, a departing voter (we'll assume he voted; but maybe not) said something I didn't catch to one of the election judges (the only man, the rest were women), who responded to him in a gruff voice. One of the other judges quietly said to him, “You're being awfully strict.”
Before I could open my mouth in greeting, he pointed to a table and said. “Fill out one of those yellow cards. But before I'll let you do that, take this pen over there.” He pointed to a pen at his elbow. The other judges tittered a little. I picked up the pen and did as he asked. I brought my yellow card back over to him, along with my driver's license. He found my name in the list. I got ready to sign my name next to it.
But first, he had a problem with the address on my license. Fine; it's my old address, so I quickly produced my checkbook with my current address, just as I had the last time I voted here.
“Hmmm,” he said. “Well. The photo on the license dooooes look like you. But. I need to see your signature for comparison." (What does this have to do with my address? I wondered.)
I signed my name on a piece of paper, knowing what his reaction would be before the ink even dried.
“These signatures don't match,” he said, as if reading from a cue card.
“I promise you, it's me. Do you want to see my credit cards?”
“No. It does look like you on the driver's license. But.” He waited a full minute before delivering his verdict. I stood there turning redder and redder. Everyone in the room watched us.
“I'm going to let you vote provisionally.”
“Yeah. Here's your ballot. Fill it out, fill out this envelope, and you vote will be counted later. If there aren't any problems.”
One of the other judges led me to a table out in the wide-open, and told me to fill everything out. Then she apologized. I got out my notes with my votes and filled in the ballot. Then I filled out the envelope with my personal information. Before I finished, before I could put the private ballot into the envelope and put away my notes, two of the judges approached the table and asked if I had finished. They were polite, but I believe my voting privacy had been compromised, as one of the women looked down at my notes before I had a chance to sweep the paper back into my purse.
Is this voter harassment? You make the call.
*I have a theory for why my particular, well-to-do poling place doesn't draw in the crowds, and I wonder if it has anything to do with the way I was treated. My area is a stronghold for one of the parties, and it is only the members of the other party and independents who bother to vote. Pure speculation on my part.
Hormones. The doc said they were fine, all within parameters. But that knowledge doesn't help when you're sitting in the car, and the sun is too bright outside, and there's something running around under your skin like a mouse, eating you from the inside out, and you can't point to it, you can't catch it, and you can't help the tears and the fears, and the only thing that pulls you back together is seeing a long black car from the twenties go driving by the other direction. You close your eyes after that, and hang on to the image, turning it around and around, like it's a brand new word made solid in your hands. And the words means, 'steady now.' And the words means, 'hang on.' And the word means...
I think it means, 'hope.'
Ga. This is why I don't post everyday.
Early Saturday morning. The house is quiet.
I sit up in bed.
I hear the boyos call each other's names. They sound uncertain. They are making sure the other hasn't been stolen away by the
that is now rattling the windows. Before I can get up, they run into my bedroom
and jump into bed, shock on their faces. They cower against me, and I put my arms around them, even though I can no more protect them from the sound than I can stop it.
Shouting over the pounding that has robbed them of their dreams, that is shaking the walls of our home down to the foundation,
“Mommy! What IS IT?”
“It's a helicopter, sweetie. That's Air Force One.”
“Yes. That's Bush.”
“Mommy? I'm scared of him.”
So. What has your President done for YOU lately?
Schmoop and I went to see Shawn Colvin. Lovely, lovely show, made even better by the venue – The Gothic; a small, funky venue on Broadway in Englewood. Shawn was at her finest – sweet-voiced, funny, engaging the crowd with her songs and stories. Too bad the Village Idiot had to keep shouting “Steady On!” (at least it wasn't Freebird) or she might have sung it. No matter. She sang 'Polaroids', one of my favorites (and I had to laugh at the lately-appropriate last verse).
Normally, I clap politely for the opening act, but Brandi Carlile really caught my attention. She's just signed with Colombia, and she recorded her new album with T-Bone Burnett. Not too shabby. I think she actually received a better response from the audience, which seemed half-asleep during Shawn's performance. Brandi's best song was, “Throw It All Away”:
This love branches out like an oak tree
Reach for the sky and roots to the sea
So when you're shaken down and broken
Find some peace of mind in knowing
I'd throw them all away when I'm hollow
Deep as the sea goes, all I know is
I would throw it all away...away
Like Schmoop said after her performance, “Shawn who? Who are we here to see?”
True to form, Englewood's Finest made a pointless guest appearance on our way home. Officer Shaped-Like-A-Penis pulled me over to tell me I had a tail light out.
Yeah. Where were you when my house was robbed twice? Or during the home invasion? Or when our garage was vandalized? Or when your buddy officer asked who O and I pissed off after our tv was stolen?
Issues? Me? Never!
Now we have spiders for hands.
We swing through the trees on vines of silk
Catching the other kids.
Now we have spiders for hands
We never have to wash them
They are self-cleaning.
Now we have spiders for hands
We used to endure kisses from old Aunt Doris
She doesn't come around anymore.
Now we have spiders for hands
we play in the cellar
unafraid of the dark.
Now we have spiders for hands.
We don't chew our nails
They chew us.
Now we have spiders for hands.
No more broccoli
We sip blood through our palms.
Now we have spiders for hands
And the bullies don't bother us
But sometimes I miss my hands.
So did you dress up for Halloween?
I did too. We had a Halloween party to attend, and my original idea of going as a dead dancer just didn't come together. Maybe next year. With about ten minutes to go, I pulled out a long grey dress, grey stockings, black Victorian lace-up boots, fluffed out my already generous hair, painted my face, threw my new grey shawl over my head, and went as The Ghost of Stevie Nicks' Solo Career.
You know who didn't get to dress up for Halloween? My boyos. One boy in their class doesn't celebrate Halloween, or anything else, so no costumes for anyone. The class next door was decked out, including the teacher.
See, here's where celebrating cultural diversity breaks down.
We don't want one to feel left out, to feel different (even though his parents have chosen to raise him differently) so we'll all feel left out. Solidarity. The lowest common denominator.
I'd forgotten about these things. Seriously. I don't know how; when I was a girl I ate enough of them to become an urban legend.
The bus dropped us off at school at least half an hour before they unlocked the doors. We stood freezing in the church doorway (unlocked, Mass and warmth inside, but we froze to stay cool) and pawed through the morning's ill-gotten goodies – a brown paper bag filled with candy from the forbidden convenience store across busy 20th Street.
We weren't allowed to go there by ourselves. We couldn't even be seen there alone on weekends. It didn't stop us from trying, obvious as flames in our plaid skirts and white blouses. The school secretary's office faced the street, and she knew us all by name.
Enter the parents. Specifically, G's parents.
G's last name was Montana, and it rhymed with her first. She was in our class but a year older than the rest of us, an advantage to her when puberty hit us with a sap and stole our alliances.
G's parents wanted her to fit in. She was an only child, adored as the One Who Made It Full-Term. Every frozen morning included a stop at the forbidden store. Five dollars bought G the warmth of a circle of girls, all reaching into the bag, finding the candy they'd requested the morning before.
My treat was Pop Rocks. I loved the way they sounded in my mouth; like the all words I couldn't say aloud magically turned to glass shards melting between my teeth, leaving behind a sublime and secret sweetness.
Then this morning here was a package in my hand, a treat for a pirate the night before.
What is it? they asked.
Something magical, I answered.
Open it, they begged.
I did. I placed a pinch of the sweet pink crumble on their outstretched tongues like a sacrament.
I watched their surprised smiles like a newly-discovered icon.
I pinched a bit for myself, when they weren't looking. My mouth crackled with all the words I still need to say.
Oh, and something else from childhood:
Ok, so I still do it.
Oh! AND, I'm participating in NaBloPoMo, and will have the logo up as soon as Blogger stops freaking out.