Imagine

 

In all the poems that need
to be written, I find you,
waiting and impetuous,
your heart, like a hummingbird,
halfway glimpsed between
truth and trees –
my days are an open window,
and I invite you in, standing
invitation.

This summer, I want
to count your freckles
and imagine
a fate beyond a kiss; I want
to feel so alive
that all the stars break, I want
to be drunk on everything
my heart has no name for,
and

I want to dare
to drop everything – I want
to gather us up, feeling
much more than a quick step,
let’s go for a long run
and see where it takes us.

Imagine
desire, let out like steam –
let’s see what happens now,
in this space
I have cleared for you.

Categories: Uncategorized

My Uterus, My Monkeys: Why is There Suddenly Church in My Lady Parts?

July 3, 2014 3 comments

            I’ve been trying, for days, to write about the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling. It’s difficult to remain levelheaded, because I really cannot believe that we’re still having this discussion. I cannot believe that people are still trying to legislate uteruses. I don’t understand why a corporation seems to have more rights than I do. And I cannot comprehend the rampant misunderstanding regarding IUD and Plan B. Guys, these are no magic abortive devices that oust poor innocent babies with the proverbial bathwater. These items prevent pregnancies. That is not a debatable issue. That’s a fact. Of course, Alito seems to think that if people believe something is abortive, than the government has to accept that. And in other news, the world is flat, tooth pain is caused by tiny demons in your jaw, and the best way to get rid of a headache is to bore holes into your skull to release the evil spirits. Oh, wait, right: none of that is true.

            There are plenty of women who do not want to be mothers. That is a personal choice. But this ruling has made things highly problematic, because a corporation can now choose to deny women access to birth control that it deems against its religious beliefs. Yes, its – because this is a company, not a person. But that company seems to matter more, doesn’t it?

            As of this minute, a corporation can decide, “Hey, I don’t like this thing. It’s against my religious beliefs. DENIED.” This is circumventing a woman’s rights. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out, this ruling could hideously far-reaching. Don’t believe in vaccinations? Think epilepsy is caused by demons? Good news, then: if we continue down this path of Not Science, then you might be able to opt-out in the near future.

            Guys, we are living in a world where our politicians use the phrase “legitimate rape.” Hell, we live in a world where people commonly refer to the vulva as the vagina. Because, hi, basic anatomy isn’t a thing anymore. I think that I’ll randomly start referring to a man’s testicles as the shaft, because – hey, what not? If we’re just going to ignore science altogether, it sounds around right.

            But, seriously, guys – this “war on women” isn’t a myth. Consider, also, the recent court case seeking to abolish the buffer zone outside of clinics. The case, in Massachusetts, led to this as a result. Read that article. You need to. That is a dangerous thing, too – because anyone who two eyes and half a brain can see how confrontational and abusive anti-choice protestors can be. A woman should not need an escort to get a medical procedure done. A woman should not have to fear making her own choices, only to be harassed and bullied by people who don’t agree with them. Last summer, I attended a state fair in which a pro-life group set up a booth and harassed me, randomly, as a walked by. There were figures and models that I could’ve done without seeing. There was also no way to avoid this particular booth, if I wanted to get from Point A to Point B.

            I’m all for freedom of religion. Believe what you want to believe. Practice the faith you want to practice. But your faith doesn’t belong on my doorstep. And it certainly doesn’t belong in my uterus. You know that Polish saying – not my circus, not my monkeys? Well, my uterus, my monkeys.

            I wonder, lately, what someone like Alice Paul would’ve thought about our society, which is trying to cull women’s rights at every turn. Yes, she fought for the right to vote, but she Women still get paid a hell of lot less for our distinct lack of penises. Slut-shaming is a rampant thing. When watching tv for an hour, I see approximately 87 different commercials for drugs to treat impotence. I can’t even remember the last time I saw an ad for birth control. And until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know that a copper IUD existed – which is non-hormonal.

            Freedom of religion means that we all have the freedom to choose which religion we practice – or don’t. It doesn’t mean someone else’s religion is supposed to govern or dictate my life/choices. If that was the case, we’d have to force Quakers to dance, Muslims to eat pork, and during Lent, I suppose Catholics would be forced to eat meat on Fridays.

            I honestly don’t know where we go from here. But I do know that we, as a nation, need to stop backpedalling. 

the miracle of small things

July 1, 2014 1 comment

            There’s something so wonderfully magical about appreciating the little things in life. An unexpected whatever that fills your heart with a crazy song and unabashed joy. I am a huge fan of the small things that, like the stars, light things up. A phone call, a text message, a nickname – these things are tiny, but they’re bigger on the inside, so to speak. Unexpected little miracles.

            I’m always on board with celebrating the small joys. They can make the difference between a terrible day and a brilliant one. It baffles me, sometimes, how often people forget (or, perhaps, overlook) the impact of little gestures. For instance, when my grandpa was still alive, I called him every Wednesday night at a specific time. We never really spoke that long, and our conversations weren’t very deep, but that made him happy. He used to, I was told, sit there with the phone in his hand in case he fell asleep. He was always waiting for my call. The conversation always started like this:

             Me: Hey, Grandpa!

            Him: Hello, Granddaughter!

             The way he said it was adorable. He was always teasing me. He had the best laugh and a wicked sense of humor. I like to think he passed those things on to me. But back to the point: it didn’t take much to affect him in a good way. That’s the same reason why I like to send people letters or small presents, randomly – and occasionally without warning. There’s so much crap in the world, sometimes, that it obscures our view – like when the sky is overcast and full of clouds, and you cannot see the stars. Yes, you know that the stars are there, but you’re still without their light. It is my belief that the little joys in life chase those clouds away. It’s so important to appreciate them when they happen.

            The truth is that I will always celebrate the little victories. I will celebrate the hell out of them. Today, I have so much to be grateful for. A whole list, really. And a whole heap of wonderful people. These aren’t things you can buy from a store. They don’t come wrapped or wearing bows. Some things, darlings, are far better than that.

             

This Is Not a Test

June 27, 2014 14 comments

 

“I realized that God gave breast cancer to women because women can handle it.”

Guys, no. There is nothing okay about this statement. And yes, it’s something I just read on Twitter this morning. And yes, the person in question HAS breast cancer. I get it. It’s scary. And it’s good to find ways to be strong about – positive things.

But I have so many problems with this statement. For one thing, God – if you believe in God – is not giving people cancer. Cancer isn’t a challenge one overcomes. It’s a disease. Not a test. Nothing about it is a test. It’s certainly not a test of will to see if a woman can handle it.

Let’s break down the language and suss out the implications. A woman gets breast cancer as a challenge, and it’s a test of strength. So, if she handles it well, she…what? Gets to live? If so, that would imply that every single woman who has died from breast cancer couldn’t handle it. And thus, they were punished.

That means the strongest person I’ve ever known (my mother) – who had more goodness and decency than 100 people – failed the test of breast cancer. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have died, right?

NO. This is not okay. This is not okay to tell every woman who has, or had, breast cancer. You don’t defeat it through righteousness. Cancer is never a test. You don’t handle cancer. You have it.

As someone who lost her mother to it, I find this view insulting and insensitive to the memories of everywhere we’ve all lost to that disease. And we all know SOMEONE, don’t we? We’ve all lost someone. We’ve all suffered.

Breast cancer is not a test. It’s a tragedy. And that’s all I have to say right now.

Categories: Uncategorized

I Miss Lloyd Dobbler (or More Reasons Why Robin Thicke Is a Creep)

June 24, 2014 5 comments

            Alright, y’all – we need to talk about Robin Thicke. His new song premiered recently, creatively titled, “Get Her Back.” I’m not going to pull any punches, here: it is an extremely pathetic attempt at guilt tripping his estranged wife, Paula Patton, into getting back together with him. Guys and girls, this is no Lloyd Dobber, holding a boom box outside of his girl’s window, playing “In Your Eyes.” This is a complete and utter fail.

            Forget the fact that “Blurred Lines” was pretty much a douchebag rape anthem, with a stupidly catchy beat that even I found myself booping along to when it explicably ALWAYS was on the damned radio. Put that aside, okay?

            Presumably, Patton and Thicke split after a photograph came out in which has hand was groping that ass of a female (model? Who knows. Doesn’t matter). This was after that disastrous bullshit of a Beetlejuice suit performance with Miley Cyrus and her inexplicable tongue/foam finger nonsense.

            Patton left Thicke quietly. Like ninja quiet. Just, “Okay, I’m done. Thanks, bye.” And looking at all the public evidence, one can hardly blame her. If there’s that much stuff that’s leaked into the public sphere, I can only imagine the stuff we aren’t privy to, the things that happened that the maddening crowd never saw.

            Now, there’s this freakin’ video (there’s a great analysis here). In it, it appears that Thicke uses text messages that he and Patton exchanged as some kind of bizarre coercion tool. Because, seriously, nothing solidifies the “Take me back” sentiment like airing your private messages to the world. Sexy, right? And not at ALL invasive, sleezy, or creepy?

            In the video, there’s a woman who is supposed to look like Patton. She’s naked. I’ll repeat: the chick is naked. Because, hey, way to oversexualize the person you’re supposedly trying to apologize to, right? Thicke, as far as I could tell, is also naked. Or at least shirtless. I tried not to look too hard, because honestly, the very fact that he has a ‘successful’ music career pisses me off.

            As the blog I linked to points out, this entire video is an exercise in public shaming. His private pleas to Patton must not have worked, especially if his lame-ass texts in that video are actually his. So now, he’s thrust her into the court of public opinion, tried to paint himself as an apologetic victim, and dragged their private situation into the public sphere. This, plain and simple, is bullying. It’s manipulative. And it’s utter bullshit. Yes, artists write about their lives, sometimes. “Cry Me a River” comes to mind immediately. But Justin Timberlake never went on TRL (remember when that was still a thing? GOD, I AM OLD.) and sang a song called, “My Hoebag Girlfriend Cheated on Me.” That’s a wee bit too on the nose, yes? If you look at the track listing for Thicke’s new album, it’s really all about HIM. About what he wants. Not about what she wants or needs. And the album is basically shoving their relationship, and the horribly difficult situation in which they find themselves, in her face. Constantly. Because, hey, it will inevitably end up on the radio.  It’s a whole new level of humiliation.

            Imagine you’re engaged in a messy divorce. Now, imagine the other party’s warped feelings about it ON THE DAMN RADIO. No. NO. NOPE. Not cool. And not okay. This isn’t merely an artist venting his poor broken heart. This is the person in the wrong trying to gain public sympathy and shame his wife in the process. That video smarmily says, “Look, I’m sorry! See how sorry I am? Now, you have to feel bad for me, because see how sad my eyes are?”

            Honestly, I’ve never seen something so epically douchey AND hideously desperate at the same time. I don’t know where all of Thicke’s friends and family are, but maaaaybe someone should tell him that this is NOT the way to gain friends and influence people. Ever. If I were Patton, this dickbag king of the asshat parade move basically would reaffirm my decision to leave him and not speak to him. Because the maturity level, here, is befitting a five year old – except, hey, five year olds aren’t SUPPOSED to know better. Because they’re FIVE.

            Ultimately, this relationship doesn’t affect me. But the dynamics of bullying and abuse should be talked about. They should be analyzed. This isn’t art. It’s emotional propaganda. And you can argue that art IS emotional propaganda, but art itself never has an agenda. You basically make something and shove it out into the world, hoping in affects people in some way. Not necessarily a specific thing. Art shouldn’t have a thesis statement. It should just fucking be art.

            I usually like to have a good ending, but I don’t. Mostly, I’m too angry and annoyed to be clever. So, until next time, folks – same Bat time, same Bat channel. OR SOMETHING.

Categories: Uncategorized

jump off the cliff

June 22, 2014 Leave a comment

 

Sometimes, we choose the wrong words. Even when it matters most, sometimes everything comes out in a tumble of moron. There are other times where even the right words (as much as words can be right) are ineffective. You speak, but nothing changes. Perhaps you aren’t even heard. Perhaps you find yourself shouting into the void. Perhaps you are trying to move a mountain with the wind.

What happens in a moment like that, in a situation like that? Do you keep talking or do you just…give up? Me, I believe in words. I believe in the power of words for so many reasons. Communication is a vital part of any relationship. That doesn’t make it easy, but if you can’t honestly talk to someone, even when it’s difficult, the relationship will die. And not quickly.

Everyone tells you what they need, if you just pay attention. This includes non-verbal communicate, the space between words, the particular way a silence hangs in the air. The stories shaped between the lines matter a great deal; they are often composed with the things we are afraid to say. I love you. I miss you. I need you. I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time. I don’t know what to do. Any of these things can be easily tucked inside a paragraph, sneaked into a sentence.

I wonder, though, what one does when what someone says directly contradicts how that person feels? How does one reconcile should with the heart? I don’t have the answer. I don’t know that there is one. But I feel as if that space between heart and mind is a dangerous, tenuous one. It’s where we either make beautiful decisions or harmful ones. Just as the secret to compromise is giving, meeting in the middle, the secret to navigating the ground between head and heart is this: don’t let logic strangle your passion, and don’t let passion overwhelm everything. To honor the heart, you follow it. And yet, to honor the mind, you sometimes have to ignore it. That seems counterintuitive, I know. But sometimes, our rational selves are simply a tool that leads us to examine a situation. That is not what should govern a choice or a situation. Our fears should never lead us. Our fears should never define us. Too often, I think, we mistake fear for rational thinking. And fear, darlings, makes us less brave — less true to ourselves.

I don’t always pick the right words when speaking, but I always speak from a place of love. (I mean, unless you’re being a jerk. Then I’m not going to CareBear you.) I may not always be an easy person to handle. I’m often more keen on feelings than any other things. The truth is that I don’t have shallow emotions. I don’t have tenuous convictions. I’m deep. I’m a river. You might think you’ve found the bottom, but a second later, there’s nothing under your feet. I’ve got a current. There’s a pull. But if you close your eyes and lay back, there’s freedom in that. And freedom, I think, is something we all want.

Yesterday marked the start of summer. And I don’t know about you, but spring was a rough season. For me, it felt uncertain, shaky, full of hairpin turns, and rife with doubt. It made me question a lot of things. There were times that I felt alone, perhaps misunderstood. There were times that I felt an odd sense of loss, too. But I’m not dwelling on those things, now. Yesterday began a new season, and with that new season, things begin to grow.

I may say that wrong thing. I may be a complicated person. But I’m ready for the sun, loves. I’m ready for all the promises that come with summer. I’m ready for logic and fear to take a backseat. I’m ready for the promises of passion and following my heart. Nothing grows in the shadow of fear. It’s time to step out of the shadows and leave all doubt behind.

As summer begins, follow love where it leads you. Give love what it needs to grow. Offer everything you have on the hope that it may be well-received. Expect nothing, give everything. Teach everyone who crosses your path a different secret about love in whatever form you choose. And above all, trust.

“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or,”I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~Ray Bradbury

Confessions of a Book Junkie

June 19, 2014 1 comment

 

My Amazon wishlist is, almost entirely, books. If I go too long without reading, I feel strange, definitely less me in an indescribable way. Eventually, I get novel-rabid, looking for a spare moment, even five minutes in the parking lot before work, where I can read two paragraphs of Neil Gaiman’s latest whatever.

 This is my brain. This is my brain on books.

 I grew up with a love of reading. There wasn’t a childhood vacation where I didn’t run through all the books I packed two days into the trip. This always resulted in my dragging my parents to a bookstore to slake my word-thirst. I was the kid in high school English class who loved summer reading, who always read ahead, and who the school librarian knew by name. This only got worse in college, all the way through graduate school. I practically ate everything from Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters to Michelle Cliff’s Abeng. My English Literature major did nothing to stave my habit; instead, it only made me more ravenous for literary things.

 But this isn’t something non-book people understand. (Yes, they exist. They are not a myth.) My best friend is not a reader. In fact, she teases me, good-naturedly, about my book nerd ways.  I always bring a book when I stay over her house. The last time she drove in my car, she exclaimed – with mild horror – “There is a BOOK in your backseat. You have a problem.” Yes, yes, I do. I am a book junkie.

 The other day, I was telling her that a chunk of my paycheck had gone toward the purchase of books, despite the lack of space to store them and there never being enough hours in the day to actually read them. She gave me a look. You know the kind. It politely says, You’re crazy. I love you anyway, but you’re still crazy. She then asked, “But why?”

 Some people spend their money on shoes. Or purses.Or ponies. I spend mine on books. (And coffee. But that’s another story.) I tried to explain it to her, as I’ve tried to explain it to others over the years: Without books, I am less me. I read, therefore I am.

 I love books. I love the way they smell. I love the way they let me escape for a little while, getting a glimpse into lives I’ll only live adjacently, through words that leave the door open to a previously unseen kingdom. Recently, I even went so far as to buy an e-reader, despite the fact that print books are my first love, because I absolutely adore the idea of being able to instantly acquire pretty much any book my nerd heart desires.

 To me, the most horrifying episode of The Twilight Zone is “Time Enough at Last.” It’s the one where Burgess Meredith plays a man who loves to read and ends up being the last person on earth with all the time in the world. He proclaims, “Books. Books. All the books I’ll need. All the books I’ll ever want,” only to have his glasses break. He can’t read without them. That is a terrible, awful fate.

 This is what I try to explain to those who do not love books. Mostly, the explanation is met with a placating smile and a nod. I guess it’d be like someone trying to tell me why they like math, because (to me) math is the Devil – and I’m all out of Winchesters. Books, unlike math, are messy. They’ve left me grief-stricken. They’ve made me laugh. They’ve kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, with a flashlight, frantically muttering, “Just one more chapter!” like an addict.

 So, maybe there are people out there who don’t get it. They won’t understand why I spend a heap of my paycheck on ALL THE NOVELS. Or why I might keep two books on my nightstand, only to fall asleep with at least one in the bed. But I’m a book junkie. And, to quote Walt Whitman, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”

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