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Month: November, 2014

Black Friday 2014

Well alright, wake up at 6:30am and get uncomfortable and grow, says the universe:

I volunteered to drive the shelter van this morning because the regular morning driver is having an extended holiday and it is cold and snowy. Plus, it would be Mom’s 46th birthday today and since it is what she would do, I couldn’t think of a better way to honor her. (Hyper-aware that she did this for strangers for free and I am getting paid).

So, there I am, the white woman who has her own shelter and transportation these days. Also, the woman with power to give and deny rides, or, the woman who has the power to make people late for work and have to walk in the cold and snow. The woman who got to travel and eat with family yesterday.

And then the black homeless man says some pretty racist things to the native homeless man. Fuck me and a privilege check and I don’t even know if I can audibly talk to a black man about his racism this week.

But somehow I do. And then he decides he isn’t racist, cannot be, and doesn’t stop. We don’t tolerate racism and if he was white he would already be walking. (Yes, I am thinking about this). But also, it is cold and he will be late for work if I make him walk and he has a good job and will have enough saved to get his own place next week. And also, yesterday was Thanksgiving and sometimes it is hard to be thankful when you sleep on a cold floor, especially when you work 40 hours a week. Also, I am not about to tolerate racism. Period. And also, this somehow needs to be a teaching moment, because I am pretty sure he actually doesn’t think he is being racist.

So, I started driving and we talked. And everyone got a warm ride to where they needed to be and apologies were made. Some of which were mine.

Good morning. Today is use your voice when it is shaking day.

I find that it is the quickest way to answer the questions: “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?”

The News: November 5th, 2014

Midterm Elections 2014

Midterm elections and all the media

has forgot that we are so afraid of EBOLA.

Funny that politicians, or the other

party are the only things we fear more—steal our

stare at the sick, shake our rallying to quarantine.

Forget our voice, our demand to ban all flights from Africa,

as if it were one big, black, festering infection.

What were the names of those small countries?

The G.O.P. takes the senate and we forget to tremble.

The G.O.P. didn’t take the senate, we gave it to them.

Here, one vote and another seat. For you sir.

Just like campaign funds. Now what can I do for you, sir?

Midterm elections and we forget that U.S. police are killing

black boys daily. What were their names?

Those who were in the news? I remember Scott Walker,

Mary Burke for Wisconsin. Martin? Brown? Or was it Till?

Fill up those prisons with gangbangers before the majority votes-

the legalization of (medical) marijuana, print it on a hemp ballot.

Native Americans eliminating racist mascots,

but we forgot them long ago, didn’t they disappear, like the last of the mohicans?

Midterm elections and the Democrats cannot even remember

their elected president. Obama? Never heard of him.

Forty-percent, but the odds were never in his favor.

November 4th, 2014.

Ignore all of the falling color, look forward to that white, white snow.

In the dead of winter, G.O.P. snug in the senate.

In Detroit, no water in the house.

Midterm elections, should we increase the minimum wage?

Midterm elections? And the consensus at the homeless shelter is:

“Fool, I am too busy working too much for too little to vote.”

Midterm election and we forget the warmth of Florida:

Arrest after arrest for feeding the homeless

This, after all, is a democracy, show some

voter ID, prove you’re American,

respect the majority, by vote or by contribution,

we wont tolerate socialism: pastors facing jail-time

for feeding the homeless, I almost forgot, humanity

overlooked, this midterm election.

Note: Mexico is in America, too.

I cannot stop thinking about wraps.

The kinds we get in hip coffee shops and in sandwich places.  Filled with vegetarian options.  Filled with white-washed fried chicken, tender, we only desire breasts.  Refusing to respect, or even use, the whole chicken we now grow mutated breasts that can barely cluck.  Serve it with a pickle.

Filled to fill the void of carbs we can no longer have.  Rejecting the enRICHed wheat that’s popularity began as a government subsidy, rations.  Rejection always a privilege.

It’s a trend.  It’s cool.  It’s delicious.

It’s a fucking tortilla.

But we dress them up.  Disguise: whole wheat brown, spinach green, tomato-basil red.

And mouths full of brown profiles we demand green cards, handcuffed deportation for the media–

behind the camera remain silent, pick those red, red tomatoes for not enough to buy one, we need to keep costs down, we need to fill up those alien tortillas.  Wrap it up and make it our own, because we are so fucking empty.

Order America a wrap.  She is starving, in English.

I should conclude, but now I am busy wondering what the Aztecs thought when the Spaniards came for their gold, stole their flat-bread, and started calling it a tortilla. . .

Note: Mexico is in America, too.

A different game of writing prompts: Invisible Pain

The scars. I lay here in bed, at once trying not to see and trying to make out every detail.

Wondering what other people can see.  Wondering what they think.

It has been over a decade since any have been added.

Who was that young girl?

And why did she first decide to cut into her skin?

They all said: She does it for attention.

In high school anything anyone does is for attention.

Now, aged, aging, sight changes and blurs without these lenses:

The other night, a former lover became upset with me for suggesting that maybe she was dependent on the pain medication she has been taking for months now. I was not speaking to her pain—I could hear its presence in her voice through the phone and over one-thousand miles. I was responding to a conversation in which she confided in me that she was afraid to have the pain relieved. She had lived with it so long, taken the meds so long, that her identity became one with it.

Who would she be without pain?

Though I tried to explain that I believed she was still in pain, tried to explain that pain and dependence could coexist, she became desperate to illustrate her pain to me. To prove it. She wished pain were visible, she wished there were colors that corresponded to the number and face charts the doctors used.

What color is beyond 10?

I felt: Yes, I wish pain were visible. I wish you could have seen the collage that comes after 10 each time you dismissed my emotions and demanded that I stop crying. Every time you left me alone in the depths of it, like the pain was my choice and you were opting out.

I thought: Cutting is this desire to be understood in action. Proactive. An attempt to prove pain. Redirecting the wound to what can be touched, to what can heal.

They all said: She does it for attention.

I say: Attend. Tend    her wound.


Who would any of us be without pain?


Prompt: Write an American Sentence.  Choose another group member’s American sentence.  Use this sentence to begin your piece.  Leave it through the revision process.  And then delete it.

The beautiful sentence I chose: “In the dim dusk I could still see it there, the emblem of my mistake.”