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Posts Tagged ‘trailing blood in the water’

“you still have a little piece of my heart, dearest, dearest, friend. just a little, tender, bruised and begging piece.

“keep it. it was a gift.”


|| February 13, 2005 || 1:10 am || Comments (0) ||

There is bone wrapped in string

Dangling reminders, drowning remainders

And there are forevers

That I am not privy to

I never knew what to think

Starting with the pink ribbon

And, lollygagging through time,

On up through you grinning yesterday

Pushing against the sheath of understanding

I am a burden more to myself

Detonated at a word, a scent

Left picking shards from my clumsy heart

Afraid the crystal would simply shatter

Before I could even open my mouth to sing

(Measured against now, my pre-you singing

then resembled merely an excited hum.)

More afraid the crystal bits there on the floor

-pretty and dangerous things as they are-

Will cease to glow like fire if the moon

Outside decides to up and hide away

Grief and laughter heel-toe, heel-toe

Always a puzzle two steps past solved

Seeking the okay in whatever form

Chasing deed, word: Kind or not

I stopped and I grew cold

Skin shivering with spilled breath

Cramp on my soul

Willing the recollection of your voice away

A hard thing to do, this, when

That thing echoes through my marrow

And there are forevers

That I am not privy to

I hail from a large, tight-knit family of German-Italian stock. I am proud of my family. I am proud of the far-reaching effects that we have had in our own little corners of the globe, as spread out as we in fact are. I am proud of our diversity of experience and occupation. The running not-so-untrue joke is that we have everything but a preacher in the family and sooner or later one will be brave enough to marry in.

My mom has 8 brothers and sisters, so that makes for lots of cousins. She was also close to HER cousins, so that made for lots of extended cousins. Therefore, my playmates early in life consisted mainly of first, second and third cousins, once-removed, twice-removed, removed only for maintenance, whatever….

There are those people in life who you grow particularly fond of, and in families that tendency is no different. There were five or so that I regularly found myself in the middle of, but only one of whom that I am here to share with you today.

Danny, as we called him way back forever ago, was a really handsome kid, with dark hair and mahogany eyes that could split your soul if you looked into them for too long. He was quiet, but not somber or brooding. He thought about these huge things that kids aren’t supposed to let meander around their brains. His intellectual capacity was equally matched by a rogue wit, and we often goofed on things that other kids our age (or thereabouts) simply couldn’t grasp.

A bunch of us kids would sit under the willows by the creek behind my grandmother’s house. Danny would shag the beat-up guitar that his granddaddy gave him out there, then once we all got settled, he would magically produce a harmonica from his back pocket and mock-cajole my cousin Eric into playing it. He would then demand that I sing, and we would while away the afternoons, a dozen smalltown kids harmonizing to whatever, experimenting with sound. We would also tell stories–large, elaborate tales that would take ages to finish and simple, direct ones that made you want to fall over with the matter-of-factness they rained on you.

Dan told the best stories and kept us all in tow with his words, his inflection, his demeanor, even the older ones. He had a way of just being that drew people in, a spark that shone up through his center and made people take notice. As unassuming as he was, this always amazed me.

My folks moved us away from our hometown in the Delta, as did Dan’s parents. We kept in touch, swapping stories of life as we came up through the ranks in age. Amazingly enough, we both experimented with drugs about the same time and became junkies early on. I kicked long before he did, sick of the desperation of it. He flirted with it on and off throughout his early twenties.

My hands shake as I type this. My fucking head hurts.

When he finally did the big kick, he did it right and round and thoroughly. He cleaned up, got himself a PHAT excellent jobby-job where he coincidentally met his bride. They were married in a small, beautiful ceremony that I was a grooms[wo]man in. Eighteen months later Corinne was born and he had the perfect life. When the baby was fourteen months old, Dan went for an annual physical–a requirement of his job. It was then that he was diagnosed with HIV. His doctor mercifully allowed that information to sink a bit before telling him that he not only had the virus, but was in full-blown mode as well.

NOT FAIR. Notfairnotfairnotfair, you fucks! He had fixed his life…he had swept out all the excess and nonsense. He was Good Guy Number One On A Glittering Steed.

The trumpet sounded and the walls came crashing down. Within 5 months he was utterly wasted physically, drooling and gibbering out of his rotting head. He had turned on his body at one time and it was paying him back in spades. He was an Auschwitz caricature of his former self physically; mentally he was no longer there. I would visit and tell him utterly stupid jokes and play tapes of us making music as children and then I would go home and wash the clothes I wore three times to get that impending death smell out of them. I would scald my skin in the shower and retch over and over. By the time the funeral came I couldn’t even cry.

AIDS is ugly and fetid. I could describe it to you all day and still not really pin down the essence of it. Somebody needs to fix that shit, quick. I am NOT being glib here.

Daniel was a really great dad. I always knew he would be. Corinne sends me a school picture each year. She has a superb stepdad and her father’s eyes.

|| November 14, 2000 || 2:09 pm || Comments (0) ||

she’s got a case against me / a jury of my peers / and the rage of the righteous / screaming in her ears / i’m not dignified anymore / i can’t say i didn’t call / i say i love you / she don’t hear me anymore

and don’t give that girl a gun / i said now don’t give that girl a gun / she’s already won / she’s already won

i made a bad connection / she says i went astray / i jumped ship abandoned my post / i didn’t think i lost my way

but oh how the mighty fall / i saw her crack a smile / i don’t got a chance for redemption / she don’t believe in the miracle mile

so take the first shot baby it’ll be real clean / i’m your girl strong and mean / second shot baby it’ll be real cool / i’m your fool

i said now don’t give that girl a gun / i said now don’t give that girl a gun / (give that girl a gun) / she’s already won / she’s already won

yeah / i said hold me closer / cause something’s happening / why can’t we come together / she said “i doubt we ever will / ever will again”

i said don’t give that girl a gun / i said now don’t give that girl a gun / she’s already won / she’s already won

i said now don’t give that girl a gun / i said now don’t give that girl a gun / (give that girl a gun) / already won / she’s already won

yeah / (give that girl a gun) / yeah / (give that girl a gun) / yeah yeah / the first shot baby / it’ll be real clean / i’m your girl strong and mean / second shot baby it’ll be real cool / i’m your fool / i’m your fool / i’m your fool / don’t give that girl a gun / yeah / yeah / yeah

/// Indigo Girls, “Don’t Give That Girl A Gun”

|| November 9, 2000 || 11:39 pm || Comments (0) ||

I think I’ve reached that point / Where giving up and going on / Are both the same dead end to me / Are both the same old song

I think I’ve reached that point / Where every wish has come true / And tired disguised oblivion / Is everything I do

Please stop loving me / Please stop loving me / I am none of these things

I think I’ve reached that point / Where all the things you have to say / And hopes for something more from me / Are just games to pass the time away

Please stop loving me / Please stop loving me / I am none of these things

I think I’ve reached that point / Where every word that you write / Of every blood dark sea / And every soul black night / And every dream you dream me in / And every perfect free from sin / And burning eyes / And hearts on fire / Are just the same old song

Please stop loving me / Please stop loving me / I am none of these things / I am none of these things

I am none of these things

/// the cure, “end”

|| October 9, 2000 || 9:48 pm || Comments (0) ||

Lie back, daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s-float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up , and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

// Phillip Booth, ‘First Lesson’

I have that stupid gut-clenching, I’m-gonna-throw-up-from-the-ferocity-of-this-moment feeling. Fuck you, world. You owe me nothing, I know that…but I fucking owe you nothing either. Your chanting burns like a red-hot rock-hard fist in my brain. I am wound like one of those creepy clattering eye-rolling cymbal-crashing monkeys. I may go off in the middle of the night sometime, and you will awake fearfully, with ice-rooted hair standing up on the nape of your neck, willing itself legs to run away with.

You just don’t realize how morbidly fucking sad you make me. You don’t realize the stone facade is only hard-packed silt and I weather away some with every heavy, labored breath you cause me to drag into myself in anger. How much, damnit, how much? How much more do I have to live it and how much less responsibility can YOU take? I mourn your passing and you are still here among the living. I am sad and sorry and ashamed to admit what your departure from this particular plane will in fact mean to me. I will be relieved to have you gone. Terrible as I am, I will be relieved and happy.

|| October 5, 2000 || 12:47 am || Comments (0) ||

There are times when a person is rudely yanked out of the present by some associative smell, by something seen that triggers a memory, by something uttered from the lips of someone (said someone having had no idea that the turn of the phrase they just gave voice to would cause a minor fold in their listener’s space-time continuum). The past moment, now that the linchpin is pulled, comes banging and clanging into the present without any foreshadowed knowledge or even the slightest peep of a warning. It can be insanely overwhelming, to say the least.

This has been happening to me a whole lot lately.
That having been said, lemme tell you a fucking story, boys and girls.

There was a time in my life when things were really, really off-center in the whole three-squares-a-day department. Three squares a week were not even the norm. Shitty school lunches were the highlight of the day, and God help us on weekends. Dad had bailed to go chase some tail and powder his nose (“Must be a little chalk dust, punkin’…”) and generally live it up in the worst/best midlife crisis fashion. Mom worked her ass off shuffling real estate (or trying her goshdarnedest to in what was at the time a male-dominated market) literally 19 hours a day to keep the heat on in the only home we had ever known.

In the little Oklahoma town that we lived in at the time, there was no such thing as Catholic Relief and my mother was staunchly against joining the welfare rolls. We came from the deep south and there was a large stigma attached. Ma’s reasoning was that her girls may not be garbed in the height of fashion any longer, but they sure weren’t gonna be wearing the almighty cloak of poor white trash. Pride has no nutritional value, you see, so it did no good to swallow it. What was the point, after all? My job was to keep the house tidy, make sure my tomboyish sister didn’t stray too far past the now-empty barn or permanently disfigure herself in her wanderings, proof the homework and guard what little food we had from her constantly-rumbly tummy. I tell you all this not to elicit sympathy, just to give you some background that is instrumental in this particular tale. I survived to become the closet genius and Mountain Dew (proudly manufactured and distributed by Pepsico) lover that I am today.

Quick, throw on the brakes and join me in the ever-present today. I was wandering through a toy store a couple of days ago taking stock of the coming holiday season’s offerings for the young ‘uns. I cruised down the doll aisle and happened to catch sight of some hideous little Campbell’s Kids (you know, like the soup) dolls. This particular pair, adorned garishly in wedding finery, scooped me up and slammed me face-first onto memory lane. It was very, very yucky.

“How can two little dollies do such a thing?” you ask. “They are made to bring companionship and pleasure and many hours of fun play into lives (sounds like a dildo advertisement, right?) all over the free world.” Get comfy, fellas, ’cause here comes the crux of it. Ready?

Pan back to the past: One afternoon, the phone rang. Mom was –as always– at work. My sister was playing (oddly enough) quietly. I picked up the phone to hear the booming, boisterous voice of a gentleman on the other end. He rattled off the call letters to the local radio station and informed me that we were randomly chosen to participate in a promotional contest and that I was live on the air. If I could sing the Campbell’s Soup jingle, I would win TWO WHOLE CASES of Campbell’s Soups.

Oh, this was SO grand! My mind was reeling, but I got hold of my thoughts and managed to drag up the image of those delightful little Campbell’s Kids dancing in grandiose cartoon fashion and sing-songing that WONDERFUL SOUP-WINNING JINGLE! Hallelujah and shave the monkeys, I knew that damned jingle and I sang it with tentative excitement and anticipation. Upon finishing, the DJ loudly and proudly announced me victorious. I had won! We had food at long last! GOOD food and God only knew how long I could stretch two whole cases of soup betwixt the lot of us! Oh, thank you merciful heavens! I have seen the promised land and it is flowing with cream of mushroom, it is strewn with chicken noodle!

I was nearly jumping out of my skin as I dialed my mother’s work number. I was fortunate enough to catch her in the office and not out on a call. I hurriedly related the recently-transpired events to her and I could hear the smile in her voice at my enthusiasm. “Mom, mom, we have some FOOD! I won food for us!” and I started to tell her my plans for rationing and stretching our good fortune. Maybe things were starting to look up…

In the background I heard a male voice begin to sing the Campbell’s jingle. “Hey mom, who is that? Did they hear me on the radio or something?” My mother fell quiet and at that moment, in the best display of bad timing ever in the history of man, my mom’s prankster co-worker picked up the extension and began sing-songing the jingle in a little-girl falsetto.

“Hey girl, I really hadja goin’, huh?” I was stunned into silence and my gut slid down the front of my knees as I slowly settled the receiver in it’s cradle. I slumped into a chair, putting my head down on our heavy oak table. The sobs were so low and big that as I heard them, I was vaguely amazed that they were brought forth from a little-girl body. The phone rang and rang and rang and I never answered it.

Those fucking dolls. Those fucked-up grody-looking dolls. I was okay not remembering that story. Give to Toys for Tots, you fucks, and include a motherfucking ham. And don’t you DARE look into your refrigerator replete with condiments ever again and say you have nothing to eat, because you DO. You and I both know you do. Be thankful, ingrates. The world owes you not a fucking thing.

Postscript to this story….the dude who phoned to prank me was a really great fellow and had no earthly idea what a mindfuck it would be. Had he known our situation afterward, it would have broken his heart to know that he had goofed on me in that regard. Don’t hold it against him. HE SIMPLY DIDN’T KNOW.