A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 31, 2015 || 9:19 pm

When I was small, my paternal grandmother gifted me with a little yellow suitcase. When I left home to see the world at age eighteen, it was one of the things I left behind.

Thinking about it now, that surprises me a bit, but more on that in a minute.

littleyellowcase1

About four years back, my parents decided to sell their house and travel full time until they were too old or infirm to do so. I enthusiastically supported them in this notion, and so I went to help them sort through their things and shuck their household into different directions: Storage, thrift shop, yard sale.

I felt like a disproportionate amount went into my vehicle, but I indulged my mother, because I knew that there were certain things she didn’t necessarily want to keep but couldn’t bear to part with. I went home with several things I felt sort of ‘Meh?’ about, because my Mom is a fucking saint and has been my champion the whole of my life. What’s a little cartage in the face of her mom-heroics?

One of the things we unearthed was the little yellow suitcase that I’d so loved. Mom couldn’t bear to let it go. She could sell the piano I’d gotten for my ninth birthday and parcel out my dolls to my younger cousins, but the little yellow suitcase stayed. It eventually became a place to house certain paperwork so that it bore the title ‘useful’ and had an actual purpose. A purpose meant a reason for being kept.

small blue thing

This is me around the time that the suitcase was gifted to me. I thought that suitcase was brilliant and gorgeous. There is a layered irony now in the fact that it was given to me by my paternal grandmother, but at the time all it represented to me was promise.

A suitcase was a very adult thing to have. It was also a very individual thing to have. It meant that I was seen as a person independent of adults. It meant that my things had to share space with only my things. It meant that I could pack my own bag as I pleased, and I could set off on adventures if it suited me.

So that’s what I did.

It started with me packing the suitcase and going out into the backyard to play. Then I packed the suitcase and went to the end of the driveway. Then I packed the suitcase and went to the neighbor’s house.

Before long, I was toting that bag down the block and around the corner and to the store and to the library (on those excursions I could scarcely carry it home, because I was bringing it back full of books). Over the years I carried my suitcase to my Uncle’s bowling alley to earn a quarter doing small jobs, my Aunt’s bakery for a cream-filled donut, my cousin’s house because I wanted to pet his dog. Sometimes I ended up staying the night with various family members by virtue of the fact that I had a little yellow suitcase that was packed with a pair of pajamas and a set of clean clothes. I was very fortunate in that I was a well-loved and well-regarded child, with multiple sets of ‘parents’ by way of a large extended family.

For as strict as my parents were in many ways, my vagabond tendencies –stoked by my first suitcase– were very indulged. My saddle oxfords got worn slap out.

This early tolerance of my independent streak and my love of finding new things, of seeing new places, set a tone for my life. I’m very thankful to my Mother and Father for this.

I’m thankful, too, to Mary. She is the person who gave me the little yellow suitcase. She didn’t gift me much else in my life (of substance OR of spirit), and I grew to despise her as I crept toward adulthood. I learned a couple of years ago that Mary’s mother left her on the side of a tree-lined gravel road when she was thirteen. Mary had one thing in each hand: The hand of her ten-year-old baby sister and a suitcase. My heart has softened to her some, because I’ve come to know that what I don’t know fills galaxies; they are galaxies that are populated with hard things like want and sorrow and truth and understanding.

The understanding I have teased out of one of those galaxies is this, though: Mary gave me that suitcase, and by doing so she both opened a door inside of me that I stepped through, and she prepared me for my life.

I was a small blue thing with a little universe in a box. Glory hallelujah.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || February 23, 2015 || 10:43 pm

“When are you going to die?” Sherry asked me.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about that part.”

I’d told her about how I’d always known I wasn’t going grow old; I’d touched on the dreams.

“Why not?”
“I dunno, Sherry, it feels like blasphemy.”

I’ve never wanted to be here anyway. Dying young wouldn’t be a big deal. That doesn’t make me suicidal, though.

“Will it be soon?”
“Sherry, come on.”

My whole life I’ve experienced intense bouts of Missing. Homesick, but this confounding sort of homesickness for a place I’ve not seen with my eyes; I’ve seen it with my heart.

“No, you. YOU come on!”
“Why isn’t it enough that I told you?”

You can’t just go around telling people about stuff like this, because they think you’re mentally ill. One thing I’ve always been is crazy. One thing I’m not is mentally ill.

“You know that thing where someone tells you that they have a surprise for you and it makes you nuts? You say that you want to know everything or nothing at all. Well, I don’t know nothing at all, and that only leaves everything.”
“Sherry.”

I can’t stand when people use my own logic and belief systems to get the better of me. The fact that they can means my logic and belief systems are flawed. So are yours. So are that guy’s over there.

“This isn’t going to go away.”
“Forty-four. I think it will happen when I am forty-four. Nobody else on this planet knows that, so keep a lid on it.”

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 26, 2015 || 12:22 am

When Lucifer dropped down from Heaven
And yanked a third of it, streaming, behind him,
Babies throughout time startled in their mother’s wombs:
A sudden jolt of a kick to interrupt the outer goings-on.
I’m told this was only a smudged exclamation point
In the unfolding history of Everything That Ever Was:
Emphatic, but blurry.

My Mama once told me that the Devil turns up his ear when I pray,
So, cracking my eyes open just the slightest
(In case things in my room started shaking and
Falling apart through the middle, books leaping off of shelves)
I’d sometimes address him as an aside:
“Hey. Why you so troublesome. Is jealousy worth all your tired anger?
Satan. Do you ever put down your dukes?”

I always did like to poke a bear, and I always dug after answers.
The way I was raised the Devil was the biggest trouble
But there were no answers that weren’t worth troubling even
Ol’ Beelzebub, because ignorance is worse (by far!) than death.
So: If I’ve not avoided challenging The Old Man himself,
Why on Earth would I not hazard to
Also question the way the Church behaves?

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || November 13, 2014 || 8:53 pm

Hey! Did you know I host a virtual ornament exchange each year? Well, I do.  It’s time for this year’s swap!

exchange14sm

If you’re new, then the basics are:
+ you can make your ornament or purchase it
+ it must have a retail value of seven to twenty dollars

If you want to get a feel for things, you can check out past shenanigans here, here, here, and herrrrre.

If I’ve suitably broken you in with a past swappy endeavor, then the song remains the same.

I’m opening up ten more slots this year because I am an intrepid soul, y’all. If you want to be included, post up a comment below (don’t forget your email address!). I’ll leave comments open until Friday the 21st, then I’ll email everyone with further details that evening.

Also: I will be sending a little bonus surprise to one swapper this year. BECAUSE FA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAA and presents are fun.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || August 15, 2014 || 12:07 am

This week has been monumental. I hope that what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri won’t be scrubbed up and put in a suit and made presentable for company. When future generations look back on the records of this, I want those records to be heartbreakingly accurate. I hope they are the solid, unbleached truth.

Everything I’m feeling is just too big to wrap up tidily in words. I can’t do it. Here are some links to some pieces that I found powerful and important, though:

Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police, Mia McKenzie
“If we were to talk about a victim’s past, we would have to talk about it in a context of oppression. But, you know what? We don’t need to talk about it at all. Because it is irrelevant to issue of their victimization.”

America Is Not For Black People, Greg Howard
“But laying all this out, explaining all the ways in which he didn’t deserve to die like a dog in the street, is in itself disgraceful. Arguing whether Brown was a good kid or not is functionally arguing over whether he specifically deserved to die, a way of acknowledging that some black men ought to be executed.”

In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson, Sarah Bessey
“Can we make space for the lament and for the grief, for the anger and the fear?”

Affected, Karen Walrond
“I’m tired of every time my little girl doesn’t try her best at school, my yelling at her invariably includes a lecture that people are looking for her to fail because she’s black and she’s a girl, and she’s way too effing brilliant of a kid to let people write her off due to her blackness and her girlness.”

Military veterans see deeply flawed response in Ferguson, Thomas Gibbons-Neff
“I would hate to call the Ferguson response a military one. Because it isn’t, it’s an aberration.”

I hope you’ll set aside the time read them. I also (continue to) hope that we’ll craft a decent future for the the next couple-three generations to abide in; that we are sowing sense enough into them that they won’t allow our generation’s shortfalls and failings to become their norm down the line.

I have this habit of calling after my people when we part ways: “Be carefree!” Being careful doesn’t get you as much good living as being carefree does, right?

It hasn’t felt right to say ‘be carefree’ this week, though, so I’ve changed it a little bit. What I’ve wished over my family and friends is what I wish over you, as well: Be well. Every last one of you just be the wellest you can manage, okay?

(If you’ve seen good writing about the events in Ferguson, feel free to link it up in the comments, point the rest of us to it.)

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 14, 2014 || 8:46 pm

Today I found out that my car is kaput. Even though I have plenty of jokes about this situation, I am vexed about it, I’m not gonna lie.

Still, though: A minute ago I caught sight of the date. It was a decade and a half ago this week that I started publishing dumb shit I think about –and things that beg my attentions and important stuff I dream for and links to good music or writing– to these here internets.

When I connected the date to its occasion, it made me think about all the ground I’ve covered (and the letters I’ve scattered across it in my wake!) between there and here. There have been some really, really bad days. I’ve had so many good ones, though, that it feels silly to spotlight the aggravation or upset. I’ve always survived, and at some point I always woke up to a different day that managed to be better than the one that sucked in a royal way.

Those days weren’t always concurrent, by the way. Still: Gratitude powers, activate.

Overall I’d have to say that this is an adequate summation of where my head’s at right now:

drop the t sm

Eye of the tiger, y’all.

 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 11, 2014 || 12:34 am

I was raised in a sphere wherein things like nosebleeds were dealt with matter-of-factly.

One time a guy told me he fell in love with me because I didn’t really bat an eye when he sprouted a nosebleed one afternoon. He was impressed that I didn’t panic and wasn’t embarrassed or grossed out. I just tended to him calmly and he was smitten, he said.

“I mean, I knew I wanted to bag you the first time I saw you,” he said, “but Nosebleed at the Mall dropped any negative odds in my book. ”

So that was one of the best and most terrible relationships of my life. I bought him a yellow shirt that day; it was the color of lemon chiffon and he’d never worn yellow before. He kept that shirt for 22 years, he told me. This was a revelation of gigantic proportions to me, coming as it was from someone so afraid of vulnerability.

He stole a snapshot of me and my then-boyfriend from my house three weeks later. He carted that around in his wallet the same amount of time, bobbing around on board ships, marching across deserts, comfortably embracing the role of stranger in a strange land.

“That’s weird,” I told him when I found out.
“I know! I cut him out of it and burned him.” He was proud of that.
“Oh, that one went up in flames, alright!” I said in response.
“One thing about you,” he said, “is that you’ve always had that quick mouth.”

It’s true. My mouth has a built-in quickness and my heart has a long memory. One or the other is always giving me trouble, I swear. Both of them have costs. Who gives a fuck about costs. They’re like nosebleeds: Transient and nothing to panic over.

Life is short, and what’s a little blood, anyway?