Wednesday, June 6, 2012
I read your story this morning. It was the first thing I did following morning thanks and a shower. I'm glad I didn't read it prior to the shower. I would never have left. I was so turned on by the words and imagery. I want the heat that emanates from those curves to tighten around my torso and to make it hard for me to think. I want to dress those naked breasts with my palms and place her perked nipples between my trembling lips; circle their silhouette with my tongue. That was half a day ago and I'm still very much taken by it.
Aside from being erotic and beautiful, it described exactly how I have felt most of the time; how I continue to feel most of the time. There is something missing- there is a disconnect between myself and everything else. It's as if I know the truth, a secret told to me long before I was ever born and though now a hazy recollection, I know I know something. I just can't remember.
It's one of the few times that I have ever read something where a connection was sparked. Picture a set of hands taking hold of wires dangling underneath the steering wheel and tying them together. Tiny bursts of electricity jump and crackle. Then, a steady rumble, room-room-room-room-room-room... holds firm.
I can't yet see the road before me but at least I now know I may begin to move and as I sit here on the long vinyl seat of this 1975 pick-up truck, a verse or two, I shall write for you...
a rich man
"what piqued my interest", she asked.
isn't that what always gets us?
what gal in a white summer dress dances and twirls
steps from where i stand?
what creature, whose beauty is found
not in her strawberry colored lips but
in the little girl laugh that flowers
from inside her,
waits behind a door i've yet to open?
what chance is there that she,
who will suspend my awaken hours
and lift me onto a bed of clouds,
while humming lullabies
as she sips and sits in wait with butter cookies and lemonade?
whatever the chance, i wager it all.
the playfulness amidst polite flirtation with which you reach out,
to think perhaps the spring which blooms the blossom of possibility,
may be in you.
may i open that door… may my bet make me
a rich man…
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
We had a great time together. Minimal were the disagreements…almost to the point of nonexistence. Of two, I remember. Perhaps, those were the only eruptions. I left with him in search of a party and stayed for more parties and girls that any kid could have imagined. While playing party-boy, I convinced myself for a long period of time that I was in control of my decisions and life experiences. I eventually burned out. Physically at first, then, seven months later, my mind shut down.
Someone told me on Friday that she is who she is because of what she lived through. "During the time you were married?" I asked, paying more attention to the spreadsheet in view than to what she was sharing.
"No," she quickly answered. "To the things I lived before I turned eighteen and thought I was in love and ready to marry him."
The spreadsheet wasn't as critical anymore. I had been impressed by an unlikely source. My fingers stopped striking keys; my mind had seized its' capitalist plunder. Reclining my chair back and seeing her sit there in my office, facing the east window, observing thin strips of clouds move north, I thought about how true her words were for both of us.
I woke up one day, walked to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, jumped in the shower, looked at my morning erection, pleasured myself into relaxation, stepped out and headed into the room. I threw on some clothes, as all kids my age tend to do before we are turned into men by bosses and women wanting more then headed to the backyard. Normally I'd change, walk outside and find my cousin with a day for us to plan and enjoy. One could always find him trimming trees, raking leaves (traits learned from his father) picking up empty beer and soda cans; all residual from the night before. At times playing with Nikita, a big but feminine looking white Akita, and always laughing at the thought of all the mischief and characters we had been collecting through our dealings. Routine was to stand in the middle of the yard with our arms crossed, sometimes because of the morning chill, sometimes because it was now custom and with our legs spread two feet apart, we'd watch as the sun's climbing presence hid the night.
When I walked out towards the yard that morning, I stopped by a patio chair and saw him kneeled down, kissing Nikita and baby-talking to her. Although for a long time I wished I were intelligent enough to explain what happened, I settled for knowing I had lived this moment.
Watching my colleague look out that window, I wondered what her experiences must have been like when she was seventeen. I found my imagination flowing, like the grey blue seals that migrate during seasons, cyclically advancing with purpose and instinct towards a temporary home, flowing past her brown hair, into her mind and long corridors where memories and functions all have doors. There, before a large white door, I stood. Knocking and asking to be allowed entrance.
He was tall, funny, smart, charming, handsome and very confident. He always knew what to do. He always knew how to help me see, by example, that anger was cancerous and that the humble were better allies. There, that morning, in his affection towards Nikita and his body posture, something inside me told me that he wouldn't always be there and that his time with me would be abrupt. I couldn't see him at my college graduation. I couldn't see him getting married. I couldn't see us as two laughing geriatrics.
My life, everything that was yet to come became clear and between the goose-bumps and melancholy that hit at me from within I turned and walked back into the house. I sat in the living room and saw as the trees and columns that lined the walkway towards the front door began to develop shadows.
I left a few days later. I went on many trips. He died not too long after that day. I can always see when someone will no longer be in my life. I try to prevent myself from seeing it but I can't stop myself. Seeing the future isn't great nor is it a power worth possessing. It does have one upside though; it signals the coming of a storm, as all change tends to be when we are forced into it. The closing dialogue to the movie Sex, Lies and Videotape is one that, like my grandfather during winter afternoons, sits outside one of the doors of my corridors; so goes the dialogue:
Ann: I think it's gonna rain.
Graham: It is raining.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Sex is out. Sex is out. His only caveat to a question: He asks what I would do if the earth, in 24 hours, would be destroyed by extraterrestrials and so I think for an answer. The funny thing about thoughts is that there are many. The mind is like a small baby bottle full of rainbow glitter. Thoughts are glitter; so small, so many, so different… all held within the same confined space.
I suppose I could spend it searching for the one who, in true honor, I sent to live a different life. Never mind that true honor took a sledgehammer and crashed my chest in. But would I find her? Would she still be her, or would she be someone else? What if she no longer the girl with the blackest hair ever created by the angels? What if she no longer the girl whose steps were those of a ballerina? What if she no longer the princess, Tinkerbell? What if finally, in the few minutes before the atoms split into a universe of pieces, I come to understand the word: unrecognizable?
Should I return to mother's arms? Ask her to tell me one more time, her stories of a story-telling toddler? Would I tell her that tomorrow's sun would no longer be ours? Would I tell her that today's wind would be the last to touch our aging hands? Would I drive her out to El Capitan, see her dig her toes into the summer sand and watch as an ocean waved goodbye? Or would I sit, as once I did, inside her kitchen, bright and clean and with the smell of cilantro, and let her give me the nourishment she knew I needed? She knew…she always knew. Mother.
Or would I fly to Guadalajara and walk the wide walkways of the city center? Would I make my way to that small church, only seven blocks north from the Palace of Fine Arts, and sit somewhere in the middle, for one must never be presumptuous with God? Would I light a candle for my bother and see pigeon silhouettes gather outside the stained glass windows? See how their thimble-like heads bop as they walk on funny feet? Hear them converse in murmurs? Would I dare face the man on the cross whom I so often disappoint? Would I beg… and beg… and beg for his forgiveness? Would he give it to me? Would I remind him of the nights, by bus, I travelled into the bad parts of town? Where, in still the spring of my youth, I shook hands and invited them back for cookies, coffee and you. I was silly only at times. I did good God. I once did good too.
Or would I write sonnets? Sonnets that sang of Wordsworth and his grass and splendors… sonnets that told of tomorrow's children chasing butterflies on American playgrounds and eating their grilled cheese sandwiches… sonnets, whose lines linger and plead like Lorca's plays of men and love and Spain… would I be able? Would it be enough of an offering to the executioners from the sky? Would they leave without casting harm and let us figure things out? Would my words weigh like a thousand mourning mothers? Would my efforts have the playfulness to win them over like a basket full of tumbling kittens and yellow yarn? Would I be able? Would I be able?
Perhaps they would settle for a small baby bottle of rainbow glitter. Perhaps.
Perhaps they would settle for mother's stories of a story-telling toddler. Perhaps they would settle for some sugar cookies. Perhaps they would settle for a copy of Intimations of Immortality and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Recently, in a conversation I had with a friend regarding the early stage of a child's life, I was left wondering why those early years, two's and three's and four's…years of which I thoroughly enjoyed, have been dealt a bad hand. A stage of development now stigmatized in the culture as the terrible twos.
If you think about the amazing opportunity one has when dealing with a toddler going through that stage, I'm sure you would see it as a blessing. Think of this; at no other time in a child's life will you have a greater impact on their self-esteem, sense of being, as well as their ability to deal with the unknown and to help shape their courage.
Most of us have decided that a child wanting to climb on the counter, run outside, jump off high places, put everything in his or her mouth or never stop with the questions are somehow all bad things. It's not though. You are their first teacher.
You can become the captain of their voyage. You can show them how to jump off and still be safe or how to find an alternative passage to get from point A to point B. There will be plenty of things that will be difficult and at times frightening later in life but if in the beginning, you're always there, a few steps behind, encouraging them to taste what they have found or to teach them to smell it first, hold it in their exploring hands and to look around and find where it came from, they will know how to cope with the unknown when confronting the world that awaits them.
To a grown-up, a daisy or grasshopper or broken twig is uneventful and ordinary and bland. But to a child, things are new and full of color. Things are animated and make sounds they've never heard before. To a child who has spent the first part of his or her life in a predefined space, the awakening of the possible has begun, the crib has opened its door and the sedentary existence relates no more. A whole new world awaits and we should walk a few steps behind their awakening.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
"I have come to realize that I will not make a million dollars. I won't make a million dollars, Anthony…I just won't."
And so she began her speech as my retreat ignited. I'm sure much poured from the tininess of her mouth; her enlightened mind and grasp of life, though now I know to be poignant and thorough, then only threatening to me and my beliefs. Like the black heavy metal flashlight papá used to prove the absence of creatures in closets (marking the end of tall tales). The grasp of the cigarette between my middle and index finger only fused closer as she continued her rant.
My lower back, thin as my waist would ever be, pressed against her steel sink -painted in white and dressed with maroon cotton hand towels-, I sealed my sight on one of the pictures on her refrigerator door. She wore a black bikini and snug blue jeans. Her hair was long and curly and there was a lot of it, undoubtedly held by Aqua Net hair spray. It seems her generation helped push the economy out of that current correction through Aqua Net purchases alone. She smiled like she would be twenty-two forever. The birth of 1984 roared and so did her hunger for more. It was Morning in America then.
I think of her often now, especially during and after the Republican debates. She hated them, Republicans, with such fervor that it was easy to taunt her. All I had to do was express approval for NAFTA or Senator Dole, at the time campaigning for the presidency, and her breathing and heart rate would escalate. Uncle Jack and Uncle Patty, the O'Brien's from down the street, the Bobby's and the Joey's and the rest had changed their futures and altered their pasts through the ballot box. Carter was as responsible for the malaise as he was for the rain that year. Her Pennsylvania town had disappeared under the Morning mist.
Our votes reflect who we are not as people, nor individual voting units, but rather, they will always reflect a turning point in our lives, emanating from a fear or longing. In that respect we are all conservatives. We are all attempting to conserve a life built on that turning point. As a nation, as a collective; we are at a turning point again. We've been at one longer than I've been alive. We are all trying to conserve the American Dream. That Morning in America that spin doctors draped our hearts with is what we all want and desperately need.
The press is a circus as is often pointed out most loudly by John Stewart and the cast of The Daily Show, so to look to them for guidance or truth about which Republican candidate on that stage will conserve the nation as a Republic is like watching thirty clowns try to climb into a VW Beetle. Though entertaining a feat, the object of all climbing into that car is not happening. If she, that Pennsylvania lover, were to ask whom of the men on that stage I'd recommend to the Bobby's and O'Brien's, I'd tell her two things: One, a million dollars can’t by you the morning. Two, after the morning, comes the night.