Dear Sugar…

Man, this woman writes like a motherfucker. I love her without knowing her, without caring who she is or what she looks like, I want to absorb her words into my skin and be her living billboard. Come and get it! Get the wisdom of Sugar! Her column is on therumpus.net, and below is a link to Column #91.

Advice Like a Motherfucker

This one really kicked my ass, mostly because I wanted to slap the entitled little whiner that now has to pay for her student loans. Give me a break. I don’t have half the compassion of Sugar, and I wonder if she had to take a deep breath before responding as she did. I did things on my own, too, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I had to think my way through things, I had to consider each loan I took out, I knew very well the worth of each little dollar that I spent.

Wah, oh god, my student loans are so big! I felt that way too, but I got over it and I got a job and I shut the f up. Sugar might as well have been writing my life story, and a million other people’s, right here:

I received zero funding from my parents for my undergraduate education (or from relatives of any sort, for that matter). It wasn’t that my mother and stepfather didn’t want to help me financially; it was that they couldn’t. There was never any question about whether I’d need to fend for myself financially once I was able to. I had to. So I did.

I got a job when I was 14 and the money I earned went to things like clothes, school activity fees, a junked out car, gas, car insurance, movie tickets, mascara, and so on. My parents were incredibly generous people. Everything they had they shared with my siblings and me. They housed me, they fed me, and they went to great lengths to create wonderful Christmases, but, from a very young age, if I wanted something I usually had to buy it myself. My parents were strapped. Most winters there would be a couple of months so lean that my mother would have to go to the local food bank for groceries. In the years that the program was in place, my family received blocks of cheese and bags of powdered milk from the federal government. My health insurance all through my childhood was Medicaid—coverage for kids living in poverty. I moved out of my parent’s house a month before my 18th birthday.

So grow up, whiner. Put it behind you, forget about it, move on with your life and don’t let your “adversity” define you. Take a look around you. See what life is like for the rest of us, and be thankful for what you were handed.

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Excuses, excuses

Is this it? Is this shit…all we get?

I am confounded, befuzzled, I am blowing sideways in this storm of shit

I am watching the seconds, minutes, hours of this life pass by waving

Their long, fading fingers at me, they are shaking their heads in shame

Why do you sit on your ass? Because it is here to be sat on.

Because I am not good enough, because someone is better than me.

My own fatigue begets more fatigue, and shame, and that leads the lazy.

The pressure. The PRESSURE.

Til I am blue in the face, an excuse for you, second, about why you flew out the window

After that blackbird on the telephone wire, after he saw something greener over there.

Child prodigy? More like mid-life loser, someone who is no longer

So young to be so smart. Today is Better get moving. Time’s wasting. What’s taking so long? Get off your ass. No more excuses. Tomorrow- there’s always tomorrow until there’s not.

Not this summer

The Equatorial Jungle- Rousseau 1909

One Summer Before this One
There were monkeys in the trees outside my window, in the mornings
After nights of bugs bouncing off the fan and sleeping in my mouth
No doors nor screens, but brilliant mangoes for breakfast
The blonde man-girl sang old Tina Turner songs under a blue moon
And tiny red-purple crabs gathered in droves at the edges of the shadows.
They wanted to taste my toes, feed on meaty bones.
Las Brisas smelled like yeast, like sea and grease
He took me there, on a bicycle built for one, just once
Laughing with his friends, watching me out of almond corners
Click, click, click said the crabs, and their myriad eyes shone with tears.

Sacrilege

Burning the bodies of our ancestors to fuel our excess

Sacrilege, sacrilege, sacrilege the pistons say

Punching holes in our umbrella, shitting where we breathe

Apathetic, worn down, I drive my car 100 miles without apology

Idle, and watch their souls fly ozone-ward on the black of my exhaust.

Drink my BPA-free water, eat hummus and crackers

Sit by the shore and watch the offal beautiful upon the waves.

 

My drop in the bucket, it won’t save us now

Our desert, once grassland now cracked gator skin

Lakes exposing the suicide dead and schools of fish stranded, surprised

Sucking at the mud and air in wonder as their scales dry

The hot winds of change blow strong here.

False Escape

Morning brings a land forgotten

Wraith dreams of a salt sea millennia gone

The two-lane road stretches into sacred fog

Obscuring the forsaken desert and hinting of a clandestine coastline

Water beads on the windshield, lungs gasp at the curveball damp

Road signs peer suspicious through clouds in a sky brought low.

Yellow arms of dead brush become beachweed bent over dunes

Vertigo, as we are transplanted miles away from here

Not on the way to work. Not the same as yesterday.

The very air incites tumult, change, transmutation

Until the door closes, and the day descends sword-like.

Possessed and Bait

Possessed

Incandescent sparks against the liquid,
velvet black
Your silken, heavy smothering rope
Across my chest, bound up in tangles of my overgrown skin
The comfort making it hard to take a sip of the bitten air
You rub my foot gently
Underwater pulling me away from the stars
The steam of water slightly warmer than my skin
Obscures your blurred and reticent mouth
Are you afraid I’ll float to the brilliant sky
Taking the melting moon with me?
Unrelenting, you affect me harder.
Bait

Sweet scented honey, poisoned sickle
A trickle
Down breasts as white as milk, as dry as bone
A smile.
Hair flows like water, water flows between the hills
A moan
Let go, take a breath, feel the pulse under the skin
A thanks.
Somewhere beneath the stone
Cracks splinter outward, a shell overturns
Crab-walking toward the light
Peeling, upheaval, against the fear.
Comfort breeds a woman, a lover.
Scorn waits in the corner wanting blood.
Scales, balanced silently.
(both published in online literary magazine ginosko, 2008)

Progression of Love

At first it was a word, a sparking stroke, the incense of your hair

Now it takes more, a bottomless kiss, your hands rough on my skin

I pray that in 30 years it doesn’t take my heart, or yours.

I do not miss the lost nights alone, most of the time.

But the constant hum of daily life, of chores, of monochrome love…

It takes more, these days.

Excerpt from “Freedom From Arms”

Freedom from Arms

 

There are sixteen perfect utensils in the brushed stainless steel cylindrical utensil holder on the counter of the faded green kitchen. Two are in the dishwasher, covered with the messiest, holiest breakfast Alex has ever eaten. Egg yolks grace the spatula, and on the salad tongs rests thick bacon grease. He had made it all by hand, gently, watching her face across the peeling Formica countertop as she didn’t help him do anything. He had fed her from his fingers, marveling as her small white teeth gently avoided biting him, as her pink tongue wrapped around his index finger, as she decadently sucked the food from his skin. And he marveled that that was enough for him, that her touch lit him from the inside like a prurient Christmas tree, that his whole body responded to her slightest every move. She was not of his world. She was of the better world. The real world that he had, until now, barely glimpsed in other peoples’ lives.

 

Alex had had other women. A lot of women, really, for a slightly geeky Asian guy with soft biceps and his only deep love a hard-on for comic books. His friends were jealous, glaring at him from behind thick plate-glass goggles forced upon their feeble bodies by hours of World of Warcraft, from a place where they had never had a woman aside from the beautifully-crafted avatars of the other hidden, sluggish people blinking at their computer screens from some unknown physical distance. They were jealous, but it didn’t bother him because the women he had had meant nothing to him in the overall picture of what passed for his life. His life was a long block of text, running on to the next page, black and white, simple and nondescript. All the facts were there with no embellishments. He did not feel accomplishment for his sexual conquests, so in his mind there was nothing to be jealous of. Until Emily. Suddenly Emily. One moment he was a well-balanced single man, enjoying his life and his freedom, and in another instant he was a goner. Completely, totally given over to this little elvin queen with her dark, cropped hair that made her look as if she were wearing a crown of feathers.

 

He had picked her up mid-stride, his heart pounding as he heard the footsteps fading behind them down the alley. He knew he should be frightened, but even the thought of fear was somewhere else. Fear hid behind the realization–as his arms wrapped completely around her to meet on the nether side of her–that she felt if she were not there, or simply a part of him. Those two disparate things felt the same, and he was not surprised. He hugged her close under his chin, surreptitiously sliding his arms up and down her sides as he ran, and feeling the completeness of her, the space without her arms in it clean and whole in its absence. There was no wasted space with her. She wrapped her childlike legs around him and he watched the freedom light her face as she smiled in his arms. She panted with him as he ran, the fierce joy blazing from her in a beacon and lighting their path ahead.