Category: Literary Efforts


I wasn’t ready to say goodbye

Even though everyone knew it was time

I can’t get my mind to accept it

Nobody asked me if I had anything to say

Nobody told me it was time

I still see it all so clear

I reach out and take your hand

Mom, are you okay?

I don’t think so you say

And you slip away

I’m told the tears will dry in time

But I don’t think so

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye

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It’s about 2:2o in the morning.  I got into bed 90 minutes ago and in that time, I’m not sure how many times I’ve fallen asleep and woken up.  All I know is that every time I open my eyes, I look over at the clock glowing in the darkness and I wonder how it’s possible that so little time has passed. 

I’ve resorted to turning on the TV.  Late at night, Channel 27 stops showing old episodes of Cops and starts showing infomercials.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it’ll be a good infomercial like the one for the shakeweight or one of those Songs By People You’ve Never Heard Of music collections.  Tonight, however, our infomercial is for Peter Popoff, a loud and shrill preacher who apparently can heal the sick by touching them.  Even more importantly, if you call him, you can get “free miracle spring water” along with what is described as being a “faith tool.”  I’m not sure what the tool is but apparently, if you get it, you can supernaturally cancel your financial debts.  That’s what the man claims.

Much of what Popoff says makes no sense, on either a logical or a theological level.  Popoff screams, “God wants you to be rich!” in between footage of some old woman jumping out of a wheelchair and dancing.  “Oh!  OH!”  Popoff screams, “she’s dancing!  SHE’S DANCING!  SHE’S GOING TO DO A LITTLE DANCE!”

Peter Popoff -- HEALER!

I hit mute because Popoff’s shrill voice is starting to give me a headache.  I watch as Popoff now silently yells and more people jump out of wheelchairs and toss crutches to the ground.  I notice that almost everyone in the audience is black yet Popoff is very, very white and I wonder why I feel guilty about spotting this.

Graphics flash on the screen.  “Cancel your debt!”  they announce.  Men and women — almost all of them black, almost all of them old — are now silently giving testimonials on the TV.  The closed captioning kicks in and I watch their words flash across the screen.  “I had lost everything…” scrolls across the bottom of the screen.

Suddenly, Peter Popoff and a woman I assume to be his wife are both on-screen.  Popoff is waving around a piece of paper.  I have to look away because I feel like I’m staring at the devil.

From what I’ve seen, Peter Popoff’s claim is that God wants you to be rich.  And who am I to say he’s wrong?  I’m a fallen sinner, after all.  I was raised Catholic.  I grew up wondering if I would ever be strong enough to take vows of silence, chastity, or poverty.  (And the answer turned out to be no for all three.)  Who am I to judge this ranting, scary-looking, lumbering creature who clams he can heal and who claims he can magically erase all of my problems?  Who am I to disagree with a man who buys airtime just so he can claim to be God?

Peter Popoff and friend

I’m nothing but a doubter and late night television infomercials have no use for the doubter or the skeptic.  No, infomercials are all about celebrating the fact that people will believe anything as long as it’s on TV.

It’s hard for me to believe that there was a time before I become a doubter.  This was when I could still look at a priest without wondering if he was going to be arrested on sex abuse charges.  This was when I still believed that men and women were capable of doing things out of their kindness of their heart and nothing more.  This was back when I still believed that mom and dad would be married forever and that neither of them would ever leave me behind.  This was back when I believed that happiness was something more than just an interval between pain.  In my heart, this feels like it was a very long time ago.

And back then, I so admired the men and women who chose to devote their lives to serving God.  I admired them because, unlike Peter Popoff, they served God with the knowledge that it would mean being poor and  that it would mean sacrificing everything that spoiled little girls like me took for granted.  I looked at them and I wondered how can they be so strong

And, today, I just look at them and I wonder if they were all just Peter Popoff in disguise. 

I look back up at Peter Popoff.  The closed captioning informs me that Peter is telling us that God wants us to be rich.  You cannot serve God and money, I think, that’s from the Gospel of Saint Luke.  Chapter 16, verse 13.

Enough of this.  Searching for my last faith isn’t going to help my insomnia.  I pick up the remote and lift it towards the TV, just in time to see that Peter Popoff is finished. 

Instead, Peter Popoff has been replaced with a new infomercial, this one for the Strap Perfect.  The closed captioning tell me that “Strap Perfect is the perfect solution for your bra strap problems.  Stop wrestling with stubborn bra straps…”

I point the remote at the TV and quickly turn the volume back up.

As Seen On TV

Alone in Heels (A Short Story)

As she stepped onto the crowded train, she could feel the eyes on her.  All of the male eyes and, yes, a few female eyes; they were all looking her over and passing judgment.  They were all passing their verdict on the end result of 25 years of existence.

We know you, those eyes said, you are a whore.

And she knew they were right.  After all, hadn’t he just told her that to her face not more than half an hour ago?  Maybe he didn’t use the word whore.  No, that was her aunt and all the other old ones talking.  They were the only ones who used words like whore without irony.  No, this was 2011 and people only said whore if it was being delivered with a smirk. 

No, what he had said was simply this: “I love my wife.”  And when she had broken down and demanded, “What about me?”, he had coldly replied, “You know why we were together.”  It was the were that hit her.  Past tense.  He’d referred to her in past tense.  Nobody had asked her if she was ready to become a ghost; a lingering phantasm of the past.  It didn’t seem quite fair.

You know why we were together.

Oh gee, I guess I’m just dumb because I really don’t know.  Why, oh why, were we together?  Enlighten me.  Fill my pathetic little head with knowledge.  Show me the light.  Ram your wisdom deep into me.

You were a whore and you were only there to be a whore.

She glanced down at her shoes.  Black high heels.  She almost laughed out loud.  What was she thinking wearing black high heels?  How was she going to get around the city in black high heels?  How was she going to fight the suffocating, poverty-reeking denizens of the rush hour commute in black high heels? 

If this was one of those grindhouse horror flicks that she loved so much, you would be sitting out in the audience and taking bets on just how long it would take her to twist her ankle in those high heels and end up graphically gutted for the amusement of bitter virgins everywhere. 

Black high heels!  For a commute on a train?  For an afternoon in a motel room with a rock hard mattress, no cable, and no room service?  Black high heels to carry her over into the past tense.  What the Hell were you thinking, bitch?  What the Hell is wrong with you!?

 It was, she figured, the type of stupid thing that a whore did because everyone knew that whore’s just weren’t that smart.

What was it Dorothy Parker — a woman who she once imagined herself to be — had said?  You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

She clutched onto the pole dividing the car as the train lurched to a violent start.  Looking at all those people on the car, knowing they were passing judgment on her — look at her with that red hair, with that obsessively starved figure, with that short dress, with those high heels, She may claim to be an intellectual but she’s obviously just another whore! — She felt a sickening hatred rising up within her.  She hated that feeling, that bitterness, that anger.  It was a side of her personality that her constant smiles and vapid flirtations were supposed to hide.  But that hatred was there and it was never stronger than on that day.  She hated everyone on that train.  She hated everyone who prayed for her.  She hated him for thinking she was a whore.  She hated you for thinking she wasn’t.  She hated everyone she had ever seen.  She hated them for having lives to go to, for having families to love them, for having anything that brought them any sort of comfort or happiness.  She hated them for not being hurt, for not having tears forming at the sides of their eyes, for not being her.

For not being a whore.

1

Saturday night.  9:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Hello,” she says.

            “Hey,” a male voice somewhere else says.

            “Uhmm…yeah?”

            “Hey, babe, where you at?”

            “I’m…out.”

            “But you’re in the town, right?”

            “I guess.  Do I know you?”

            “So, sweetheart – you ready to do this thing?”

            “Do what?”

            “You know what.”

            “Who is this?”

            “You know who this is.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

Click

2

            Saturday night.  10:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Yes?” she says.

            “Did you do it?  Is it done?” a male voice somewhere else asks.

            “Is what done?”

            “You know what.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

            “Is it done?”

            “It is.”

            Click.

(This is one of the couple of thousand poems I’ve written about being bipolar.   Out of those thousands, this one is probably the least TMI. This one was an attempt, on my part, to explain why I decided to stop medicating myself.)

I have no more 2 a.m. demons

pushing words through my soul

No madness to create poetry

on sheet after page of escape

No more hours of contemplation or

freedom wrapped between my thighs

Nothing to purge into metaphor

And nothing left to say

My Favorite (A Poem)

Long and Luscious

Slow and slick

Growing Desire

Love and Passion

Light and flicker

You are my favorite sin

(Last night, I had a dream where I saw myself walking down a foggy street in Victorian-era London.  I eventually reached the run-down boarding house where I lived and I stepped inside and it was only as I stepped inside that I realized that in my dream, I was Mary Kelly, the final victim of Jack the Ripper, and that, by stepping into that house, I was essentially walking to my death.  Anyway, needless to say, that was enough to wake me up.

As for the historical Mary Kelly, she was a 25 year-old, redheaded, Irish Catholic, just like me.  She died on November 9th, 1888.  97 years later, I was born on November 9th, 1985.  Mary haunts me because she was so brutally murdered yet her murderer — to the best of our knowledge — was never captured and never punished.  Like far too many women who have failed to live up to the standards of her society, she wasn’t given justice and she’ll never receive it.  Instead, the man (or woman) who victimized her is a household name yet Mary Kelly remains forgotten.

Anyway, spending time thinking about this dream led to me jotting down the words below.)

Mary Kelly

A disengaged mind

Walking dark streets

Preying on us all

Listening for sounds

Of softly muffled cries

Hanging in the air

The dying of the light

You opened Pandora’s Box

You pulled out all I had

I lay on top of my bed

Lost in my sanctuary

The world entered my room

And stared inside of me

These bruises have lasted

now 24 some years just

below the concealment of

skin like an infection so

near eruption they fester

with your words that still

ricochet in my head and

kill my soul

leaving memories

that are like your hands

always there

but never with love



I’ve given you too much blood

Year after year

You have taken pint after pint

Those pints taking all

my iron and protein

Today I can barely walk

White dizziness cloud my eyes

My lungs burn and suffer

Cold, scarred veins sucking

not pushing and my

muscles clench in anger

I scream

awake from a waking sleep

grabbing for something

to grab onto

Trying not to hit the ground

Bleeding away the terror in my legs

Hush little girl she’ll say

It was only a dream

In the beginning I wanted you to think I was beautiful

my earrings

my diamond pendant

the sheer silk panties under

the tight weave of my dress revealing more than it hid

as the flashing warmth of my thigh

in a firm

lonely curve of disdain

brushed against you as we spoke

I wanted to hold

that soft unique quality

of a stranger’s bed after sex

just before the guilt

and the doubts creep into the shared

intimacy of false love

to live for a while in the immortal terror

of our dreams

It was a moment I wanted to savor

but you couldn’t wait

and it was over too quickly for you

With my clothes on the floor

and us against the bed

adjusting our hips

locking out everything but the sensation

With your mouth on the back of my neck

Your chest against my spine

Your breath on my right shoulder

Coming in quick bursts

as my body jerked violently trapped in your arms

So hard that it hurt

As your fingers dug into my flesh

So sharp that I hid my tears

You splashing me with your scent

through the communion of idolatory

The stale air starting to fill my lungs

And I shuddered

With you trapped inside

Shuddering in fiery rapture

My eyes closed shut

as you spread through me


And I wished that time could be forced

To give me an answer

On how to tell you

Why I am what I am

Why I am not what you think

Why I am more than just this

Why you should love me

And I wished you could say

That I am not what I know I am

 

But it was over too quickly

And the hateful satisfaction on your face told me everything

In a silent voice that spit venom

Welcome to 2011!

Traditionally, January 1st is when we break all of our new year’s resolutions.  That’s why, this year, I decided not to make any resolutions until January 1st.  Hopefully, by doing this, I’ll be able keep some of them until the 2nd or maybe the 3rd.

I also know that tradition dictates that you only make two or three New Year’s Resolutions.  However, I am a lover of excess.  So, this year I made 20.

1) I will update this blog at least every other day, even if I have absolutely nothing to say.

2) I will dance everyday.

3) I will make more of an effort to control my natural tendency to act like a spoiled brat.

4) I’m going to make more of an effort to get on a regular, daily sleep cycle instead of just waiting to pass out after three or four days.

5) I will set up a definite, concrete timeline for getting my Master’s and I’ll stick with it.

6) I will never buy tampons at 7-11 again.  And you know what else?  I’m never going to apologize for talking out loud about my period again.

7) I’m going to continue to run and exercise every day.

8 ) I’m going to finish my novel-in-progress, Mizmoon.  I should warn you that this is a carry-over resolution from last year.

9) I will either find a prisoner to correspond with or I’ll stop signing up for prison pen pal programs.

10) I will discover a previously undiscovered species of cat.  It will have long red hair and mismatched green eyes and it’ll be named after me.  It probably won’t always land on its feet either so be careful if you get a Lisa cat.  Don’t let it climb trees.

11) I’m going to stop worrying about pleasing everyone because it can’t be done.

12) I will finally get around to answering all of those questions that have piled up over on my formspring account.  I’ve got about 256 questions left to answer so this one might take a while.

13) I will be more tolerant of people who disagree with me even though they will still be wrong.

14) I will no longer be ashamed about being a victim.  Instead, I will be proud of being a survivor.

15) I will think before I spend money.

16) I will have more confidence in myself.

17) I will stop obsessing about my big, Italian nose.  Or I might just get a nose job.

18) I promise that I will try to try to stop driving too fast.

19) I will start to forgive.

20) I will allow myself to love.

Happy 2011.  Let’s make it a good one because, in case you haven’t heard, the world is ending in 2012.

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