There we were kneeling at the edge of the violet purple velvet ropes. My grandfather had died and I’d only seen him twice. Once when my family “visited” Florida and just happened to stop by his small condominum by the poolside. The second time he came to California, but we had to tell my grandmother to be out of town that weekend, as they weren’t on talking terms, something about him cheating on her when they had three small children and she hated him for life.
He had died from a heart attack, and his new wife was Catholic, and she made us kneel. The priest placed a small white wafer on my tongue and then gave each of us a small glass of wine. I chugged mine down as the wafer made my mouth dry. The wine burned down my nine-year-old throat and had to do everything in my power to not spit the dry bitter liquid all over the priest and my grandfather’s casket. I kneeled there throughout the entire ceremony with a grimace on my face, not knowing what kind of juice the priest had tried to poison me. My grandfather’s new wife was a fat dumpy character, who ate cream donuts wrapped in sticky cellopane and always had a look of distain on her piggy face. My mom choked back the wine, and looked down at me to drink mine, but by that time, I had already swallowed down the wine.
The church began to spin and grow hazy. I felt like laughing, at the priest who looked hot in his robes, at the new wife in her too tight pink suit (I thought this was a funeral…), at my step-uncle who eyes were glazed over and he kept tapping his leg so a quiet “ping-ping-ping” could be heard from his general direction, and his wife, an expressive woman that would yell and scream in your face to get her way. I wondered where all this family had come from, why they just suddenly appeared now, but the one connection to them was dead. My grandfather slept serenely in his casket, his nails all manicured and he looked like he mocked all of us, kneeling there in the church, our legs all asleep. No one was crying, just quietly chugging down their small portions of wine at communion.
Conflict with conflict.
Opposing forces, dual natures, conflict.
What is opposite of the I? I? is I the opposite of I? You would be in my perspective, so You couldn’t possible be the opposite. It would be under my perspective and therefore not opposite of I? The thing which opposes is the other self calling itself I, right?
I versus I
I against I
I mirror I
I holds up a mirror. I mirrors I. I holds up a mirror mirroring I. IIII.
II IIII II
II II II IIII II II II
ReMeMbEr WhEN wE uSeD To KiCk IT BeHiND ThE BLeAcHeRS, ALL tHAT maCkiNg AnD KiSSiNG AbOuT. I ThOuGhT YoU WeRe LeGiT, LoVE, BuT ThEn YoU ReAReD YoUr NaStY FaCE AnD I WaS LikE, EWWWW… OH NO YoU DiDn’T, AnD ChAsED YoU DoWN tHe HALLwAY. MoNeY, YoU LiKe To KiCK IT WiTh LoVe SoMEtiMeS NeaR S-WinG. YoU uSeD To BrAG AnD BrAG AbOuT HoW YoU DeAL ThIS WaY anD ThAt WaY, AnD PlAyiNg RiSkY GaMeS oF HoLd’Em.
ReMeMBER WhEN? xoxo
I thought I had a choice at the intersection of right and left. But I noticed that I could still turn right in the left turn lane. Strange, its like I still had options even after making the decision to turn left, like fate was giving me a second chance to decide, but strange enough I took a left still. I traveled down that left road until it came to dead halt, until there was no more road to travel by car. I had to get out and breath in the air of nothingness, nowhereness. The world seems to stop there, there was no more beyond the road, none that I had ever traveled at least. I donned a backpack full of emergency equipment and began to walk. The mountains were black and white diamonds and the moon was an iridescent rainbow glaze. The road was a milky marble surface where my feet would sink into and the sky was illuminated pink. The road seems endless and I was curious so I kept on going, walking along the road that I had chose since I turned left off the 405 freeway that one Saturday night in August. I could have never predicted that it would have lead me to the edge of my own consciousness and beyond, that where my mind could only imagine was the beginning of a journey i knew nothing about. was there wifi out here in this desolate desert of my imagination? Where would i fill my canteen of water? Would I have thirst out here? Do I still have my senses? It was so silent that I forgot if I could still hear and it seemed like everything was a shift of my mind, that the moment I began to think of something, the air would shift and begun a different place. I realized that I was in slight control of my environment and began to wish up fantastical backdrops for the endless road. Marshmellow bushes and figs the size of sedans. The sky dripped of tamarind juice and I had to just lick the air around me for a taste. Everything around me was sticky and sweet and soon my stomach began to ache for a normal surrounding. No sooner did I think of home did the mountains of candy become track housing and the landscape of milk and honey become suburbia. And now, I’m depressed.
i thought i heard you, screaming in pain, deliberating shedding your feathers to fake a trail for the cat or hawk after your soul. one by one the gray, black and white feathers dropped away from your shaking body, each feather representing minutes, hours, days of your spirit, each feather will its own unique story. like that time when you were learning to fly. all your siblings jumped from the mother nest and soared and glided in the wind. you, shivering in your newly forming ashy wings, so afraid of the unknow, not having a clue what ‘flying’ meant. you heard your mother swaking in the distant and didn’t want to be pushed out of the treetop home, so you leaped and spread your wings and caught the wind. you gasped as you thought you would plumet, but you rode the gales of breeze and flapped and rose high above the tops of trees and buildings.
the little boy threw rocks at you while his mother wasn’t looking and injured your left wing. flying was history and flapping was no longer a painless act. cats began to smell your weakness and hawks preyed upon young hurt things. you would sense them tracking you, soundlessly creeping behind trees, making you paranoid, making your nervous for life, of death. the cat hissed and lunged and you let go of a feather. you’d hope that the cat would lick the feather like a popsicle, satisfiying the need to prey, but the appetite just build and began to take a form of a lion, a beast with fangs, the cat was no longer a mere cat, but a raging ravenous feline. her teeth bore and hissed as the pigeon played mind games. she wished to feed, to feast and this pathetic pigeon was desperately molting.
my tire was flat. we caught a bus back and walked the bikes back to Walmart where I could pick up new tubes and this floresant green gel that coats the inside of your tires. i picked up a black pigeon feather. i found another and another and another. every twenty feet or so i picked up beautiful bird feathers.
the pigeon desperate for life, hobbled through the grass, hiding behind a tree stump, a shrub, but the cat was relentless. eventually the cat had its feast, and i took home the seven pigeon feathers and made a mobile for my car. the sacrifice was made with the life of a pigeon, and i am honoring its bird life with this letter.
Yes, you, that line on the back of my neck from the sun this past weekend, and on the right side of my cheek, kissing it through the ride down and not on the ride back up. One day is all it takes to see that a world isn’t so far away, and things change. Sitting there in that little cafe, one that I haven’t sat in in years, swings the pengalum of time back to that year that I pranced around on a creditcard lifeline and a tiny sketchbook that I was getting to know. I didn’t realize how lucky I was then, how lucky I am now, I realize that it is a blessed thing to have the luxury to sit and think and draw. I see that we must sit there and ponder on nothing, just breathing in and out and maybe not having to have anything to say at all. A smile and a kiss on the nose, on the outer corner of the eye, the scratchy stubble of a two-days old goatee and wipe away the tears and the burrow of a brow.
the night sinks into its self, the mirror reflects mirror of a mirror of an image of myself, and I smile my biggest grin at the wall while I sit peeing in a restaurants bathroom. I like to sing in parking garages and evalavators where the acoustics echo back and forth and I just know that I am trying hard and practicing the ride up and down and back and forth, the 405 exit crenshaw blvd, biking through the traffic and the people, fighting hard against the waves, crashing and crashing and crashing again, the ever forward paddle, the ever onward march. tired. my feet are tired, and the waves keep coming, and i am no good with a board. we drive, listening to all the songs of high school and friends are throwing 90s parties to be ironic and as a humor flashback, and i think its genius. i put on the red lipstick and hike up my jean shorts with the plaid shirt tied around the waist, mini backpack on. i run into the sand and fall into the water.
are you flat, is that why you hurt so much? I know that i haven’t been caring for you, like you’ve been caring for me. I know that standing 15+ hours isn’t very thoughtful of me. I will elavate you tonight. (a’misa)