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.
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.
You really are getting in my way, turning my natural body rhythms into sleeply, heavy-eyed mornings. I refuse to take spoonfuls of nyqil or nightcaps heavier than the usual bottle of beer with dinner. I try lying down, and without fail, my eyes refuse to close, my mind begins to work overtime, and sadly, I stress about the writing submissions that I’ve been recently attempting to take more seriously. I am beginning to truely understand Sarte now. He said that he was constantly obsessed with the idea of choosing to write or choosing to work amongst the people. Is revolution found in the page or the people, or a healthy balance of both, but alas, that can never be, it seems. Lately, I have used my delicate hours into the morning to research and gather facts and stats and places that publish amature textal pieces. It has been a more recent journey that I feel that getting my writing published by someone other than myself is necessary in the process, just so I feel as if others are affected by these words, and i am not just vainly writing for only myself (God help us all, if this is the case, though it very well might be, and if so, I will have to accept the time and place of my situation).
Insomnia, you are a dear friend of my father, who has a heavy case of restless leg syndrome. And yet, he rises each morning, so even-keel and mellow, and you might never know that he didn’t get a wink of sleep that previous night. He brews his coffee strong, and chokes down the whole glass while reading the daily paper. I haven’t inherited his will yet, and I am still a weak one, desperately crying out into the 2am air, that I might have to begin to brew a cup of kava before bedtime. [sleepless in the southbay, a’misa]
it is that time again, when the mustard-colored beetles burrow down into the soil and the termites squirm and pulsate in the interior wall cracks, when the white-haired and retired person spends the entire morning weeding the dying front lawn, when girls toss and turn, and an open window, ceiling fan and icechips is still not good enough, yes, its that time again. the tomatos in the garden like the heavy heat and droop its prickly and pungent smelling leaves low to the ground. the skin of my people’s skin teeters between snow white and a deep auburn brown. as our car drove steadily across the desert floor, the joshua trees growing out knarled and elegant, as the water bottle full of ice slowly melts, as we slowly melt. i once met a woman who loved the heat. she exclaimed, “i am alive in the heat. i love to sit in the sun, slowing baking, my skin crisping over, the heat drying me out. To be to damp, is to be soggy, mushy, weak. in the hot, i am strong.” perhaps the heat tightens the body together, the sweat soothing our skin. our smiles carving deep wrinkles in our faces, and the sun tanning them in for good. [waves hello, a’misa]
child’s nails are long and slender, sharpened at the tips with a file, claw like. it was with these nails that scraped and shoveled away at the abode clay dirt at the foot of the electrified fence. like a cat, anywhere where child’s head could fit, so could the body. after thirty minutes of digging, with sweat dripping of the brow, child sat cross legged in front of the hole. it looked swallow and the thought of digging a hole big enough to wiggle under the fence seemed like a daunting task. child stared through the chainlinked fence into the oil refinery. it smelled like sulfur and soot, and big silver vats steamed toxic vapours into the nights sky. child couldn’t believe that the city allowed people to live so close to the factory. didn’t anyone care about their health nowdays? didn’t anyone notice that air isn’t suppose to taste like grime?
child spat again on the floor and contemplated the job of digging. the night was 4am, and soon the workers would arrive to stir and boil their lungs to the early grave, to have mutanted babies, to eat a lunch of bolony and cheese. child squat with a new sense of determination. it wasn’t about what it was going to do once it was in the factory, it was getting that mattered. with dirt flying behind child like a dog digging a hole, child soon created a gap big enough to squeeze through. afraid that there would be no other way out than this, child left the hole. perhaps there were others that felt just as trapped as child soon would feel.
the night hung heavy with heat. vats the size of houses stood atop wood-burning boilers. the ladder to reach the top of the vat seemed to climb up into the sky for ages. child’s stomach got queasy with vertigo. it didn’t even want to think about falling in, no less dying in a sea of liquid fire.
child froze. a security guard’s boot crunched on the gravel, making the rounds of the property. child could see the swinging light of the flashlight. it quickly ducked behind two rusted metal containers. as the guard passed by, unaware of the intrusion of child, child noticed that the man had a growth on the side of his neck. it was flesh-colored, but bumpy and cancerous looking. if child didn’t know better, it would have assumed that the man’s neck was pregnant.
what if instead of eating we consumed the air around us, breathing in our dinners and mid-night snacks. would over-consumption be hypervenilating? i breath in air, and turn full, and exhale, and its like pooping. all day long, eat, breathe, poop. my routine in meditation is so distracting now. My stomach churns from the over-activity. It looks bloated and pregnant, and yet I am starving.
what if instead of eating we consumed brain activity. every thought around me filled me up. i could smell the mind working. my mouth waters as I watch students in studious concentration. tasty. i am unlike a zombie. i do not have a bloodlust, only a lust to consume the mental thought processes of the mind. only the trigger of consciousness, only the sweet taste of pure articulation.
what if instead of eating we consumed music. note by note, i devoured scores of classical sounds, jazz sounds, r & b rap sounds. i listen and my ear craves the savoury flavor of soul, of folk, of songs. i only satiate my hunger after listening for hours, the musical patterns like gourmet meals, EPs like fast food. I love them all.
what if instead of eating we consumed nothing. i put a bit of nothingness on my tongue, and it tasted like nothing. nothing is delicious i thought , as i heaped a big spoonful of nothing into my mouth. don’t talk with your mouth full of nothing, mother scolded. this is not a horse’s stable.
behold! my dear, i do not know, the horse, it is in the village. though i see the cold dark cherries are ready for thy picking. oh! the plump, and moist and red like lips of berry black, of lips that kiss, of lips that speak and speak, and whispher barebacks and the cool of the touch of fingertips of ladies, sweeping hands over bodies like brooms over floors, the dirt and grime under her fingernails is just your judgement’s eye. some say that love is doth thy cheer, and that swans nest near the nettles, settling down in the sand and clothing themselves with pine and pricking their downy feathers as priests chastise themselves for sinning. the road to the village is covered in tears, many have walked amongst this path. do not be weary, dear wandering soul, for the moonlight will guide you home.