Roads on Her Face #32: It Wasn’t All Bad

Things I admire about my dad (he’s still kicking around, but the man I knew is probably different from the one today, hence the past tense):

  • He didn’t give a shit about you, or me, or anyone, if it didn’t suit his fancy.
  • He was a stylin’ dude. Black snakeskin boots, shades, slicked-back hair and muscles. I might have picked him up on the side of the road, too, if he’d had his thumb out and I wasn’t his daughter.
  • No one dared to give him shit. He thought he was a hard ass, and so did everyone else. He wasn’t scared of you, your mom, or your big Russian mobster brother. He somehow managed to portray a personality larger than life, bigger than his problems, much stronger than himself and all of his 5-foot-6-inches.
  • He ruled by fear with a fist of absolute power. We can all aspire to such heights of total dictatorship.
  • No matter where we were or what we were doing, he could handle it. He could fix any engine, patch together any broken thing, talk himself into a job, or ask someone for money. His minions had complete faith in his abilities and never doubted him, except when he was drunk or in jail.
  • He didn’t need much. He could live just fine with a backpack of odds and ends and a .44 in his jeans. He taught us all how to live sparely.
  • He’s got amazing genetics. His whole family is beautiful, high cheekbones, dark hair, strong bone structure.
  • Somehow, he learned the survivalist skills of Bear Grylls and could take off into the desert for weeks living off the land. Maybe it was growing up with 14 siblings that made him closer to our caveman roots. Grabbing food when you can, working your butt off, just surviving, surrounded by the needy mouths of your pack.
  • He’s a well-educated guy without ever going to college. He read constantly, Updike and conspiracy theory and Slocum and Rolling Stone and the Bible.
  • He is somehow able to go through life without taking responsibility for any of the things he causes, genuinely believing that none of it is his fault. It must be easy to live like that. Or maybe he’s a good faker.
  • He’s a virile little shit. Like the rest of his family, he spreads his seed like wildfire and his offspring pop up in his wake as if sprung from the dirt. There is no fear that his family tree will fall in the foreseeable future.
  • People follow him as if he were a disciple. He has strong ideas expressed with such utter belief in the truth of his words that it is difficult to doubt him. He could easily convince droves to drink his Kool-aid if he wanted to.
  • He always has done what he wanted, when he wanted, and never let anything stand in the way of that. I find myself often doing things I don’t want to do these days, and then I think of him. I wonder- has he ever been happy? Has living this way made him happy? I think not. I think he would say he has never chased being happy. But then what the hell has his life been for? What are any of our lives for?
  • He loves strongly, even if that means he runs away from it. I never doubted that he loved me. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t matter and it is not enough.
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Fifty Shades of Grey- if you read those books, read this

Excellent commentary by writer Roxanne Gay on the big “Twilight for adults” kink erotica  Fifty Shades of Grey series- THIS is why I didn’t like them, THIS is the problem with these control-centered heroes of “romantic fantasy” genre books:

http://therumpus.net/2012/05/the-trouble-with-prince-charming-or-he-who-trespassed-against-us/comment-page-1/#comment-323477

Have you read any of the three books in this series? What did you think of the way BDSM was portrayed? How did you feel about the male lead, Christian Grey? What does this say about our current views on sexuality, if anything?

One-sided Love Song

I fall in love, every time I watch a musician. Male, female, it doesn’t matter. The power of songs, music, all that talent packed in to one person…sigh. I just can’t get enough. The wine helps, or the beer, those old love-instigators. This was written after listening to Gregory Alan Isakov play in an old opera house in Pinos Altos, New Mexico just a few nights ago. He’s amazing. We’re (I’m) in love.

I see you but you don’t have a clue, it’s just all of them and me and you

You’ve got to wonder at that, you’ve got to wonder at me

Letting our love lie in these songs, just in these songs.

You’re the boy in first grade with the hearts in his eyes, who cried and cried

It hurts my art, these words they hurt my art, you slay me down

Just tell me more about the moon

That full-bellied whore, she captures your attention so.

Best one-sided romance that I ever had.

Never more disconnected than when he’s next to me, he’s empty of these words I crave

They fly by him on the wings of a song, just you and me and the rest of the crowd.

I see the men hold her down, they try in vain to hold their women down

Where do these tears come from? They see us fade into you.

We’d go with you if you asked us to.

And the reverb dies, and the amp clicks off

I wave and move along to the next great song.

And now you’re just a short man, shorter than me

Delicate hands and a voice worn down by the sounds you croon to me.

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.

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.