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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Welcome Home. Mad Swirl musings and Love, baby love.


photo by Rosie Lindsey Photography 


Ugh it’s been so long! I’m taking a few minutes in an unusual moment of free time to catch you all up. I’m well! I took my last antibiotic this morning and I can tell you my body is back to normal, or as normal as it ever was in the first place. I am still taking advantage of the contact I had with actual medical professionals to check everything out soon. I don’t have great insurance, but I do have some so I am going to make sure and use it.

But enough of that boring shit.

Let me tell you about last night! We had our reunion reading for the Blue Note issue of Mad Swirl last night at the great Top Ten Records of Oak Cliff. It’s been 11 years since we recorded the special live performance of our work on site at the old Absinthe Lounge in the Southside on Lamar. It’s been gone now for years, but The Swirl has held on and continued to evolve and move around various venues in the Dallas area. It was a great night, and it was practically down the street from my home which made it even better.

It was really weird performing a piece that was really older than 11 years. By my estimation it has to be almost 13 years old. I would have been 33 years old. Uh..That’s a long time ago. I’d like to think I’ve evolved since then. Who knows? I pretty much still act the same.  I think I write better now. I hope I write better now.

Things were different back then. The biggest difference besides my physical appearance
(size and maybe wrinkles) is the fact that I am no longer friends with someone that I used to be very close with. I remember we would sit in the big velvet overstuffed chairs in the middle of the venue facing each other while the reading went on. Now we can’t even stand to be near each other. I’m not getting into it, because it’s boring, but it’s safe to say that if you only lose a few friends in a lifetime to stupid misunderstandings and you still have most of the ones you started out with, or met along the way and became close with then you average out. I think maybe he never really liked me anyway because I am a woman and he CLEARLY has problems in that area. I pay he is well, and that he can find happiness again. The end.

 Absinthe was a cool place. It was Dark, dank, literally underground in a long stretch of a bar that led to a stage area with lights and back drop. The chairs and sofas were velvet with a random cigarette burn here and there.  There was lots of purple, green, and black. There was always art on the walls and the whole place had this Paris coffee house poetry den feel. It was mighty cool to be there.  The crowd was always a mix of hipsters from the apartments upstairs and the wayward poets who came in off the dirty streets to spill. It was exciting. We were young, and they actually served Absinthe there. A lot of our poetry from that time revolved around the things that happened when we were all together there. For being a part of a group of people that aremore likely introverts in ‘real life’ we really let our freak flags fly. I guess that’s how it goes when you find your tribe. That’s it really. They are my tribe.

Although you can never recapture a moment like that, I feel like the collection is a great snapshot in time. Last night we came back, older and maybe a bit wiser to perform them again.  My poem was an angry pointed stab at working drone society and how we, the poets, were never ever going to be like that. I almost laughed when I read the part about cubicles because, I work in one now. Well, not really I have 3 permanent walls.. PERMANENT and I think that is different but.. ha ha. Oh well. Anyway, it felt good to play with Swirve and see my old friends. The funny thing is we still see each other all the time. There are only a few or us that kind of strayed or moved away.

The biggest surprise was seeing Desmene! She has been out of the state for a few months and we didn’t plan on seeing her but she surprised us! It was so good to hear her perform again. She has always been one of my absolute favorites. Seeing her made Rosie scream with delight! She actually screamed! We cried a little inside too, because us witches have to stay together. Rosie, Des and I. We have our moments.. and our witchy sides too. I’m really glad she is back. I‘m ready to burn some shit and drink some wine.

Last night was a great break from the monotony, lately I have been in a rut of work, eat, smoke, and sleep. I also had been sick so I wasn’t doing too much, or at least when I tried I wasn’t mentally present. Sometimes when you are sick all you think about is being sick. Or is that just me? God Bless the hypochondriac that is actually sick. Lawd.

I had my first beer in almost 2 weeks last night. I was less than stellar. Maybe I can chill a little bit longer. I am really proud of myself for doing it even as long as I did. The weekend was an odd experiment in sobriety that I wasn’t too sure about. I went to MFA for the Cohen opening.. and it was fun and all but I didn’t have a drop of alcohol and it was really WEIRD. I mean, I felt really strange and even had a bad anxiety attack for a few minutes. It’s been a while since I had one of those. Still feels like shit. Personally, I don’t recommend it.

Well, my faithful reader (because I’m almost sure there is only one) Thanks for listening and texting me and asking me to update like you do. You keep me accountable. I will be answering your question on my next post. There is a lot to say, and maybe this post gave you some of the answer as Mad Swirl has been a constant in my life for the past 15 years of my performance history. They have been my sponsors, my editors and publishers too. God Bless Johnny O and MH Clay. God Bless Mad Swirl, and God Bless being home again with friends. Yeah, it was a really great night.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Love that face


Can you get bored of your face?

Well here I am. I’ve been sick and not feeling too great. I went to the Dr. on Monday and got some antibiotics but I am still feeling bad. This is all coming from a hypochondriac that finally is actually ill. They want me to come in next week for more tests but something tells me I am going to see someone before that because I am still feeling like shit.

I managed to miss only one day of work. I have been sitting at my desk feeling like a zombie because the doc told me to cut out caffeine and that is when I realized I am really bored of my face. I also got a new phone that I can selfie myself with and yeah.. bored.

Last week was a toll. It was full of good things but near the end of it I was dragging my ass. I just can’t hang with the kids anymore. Sunday night I didn’t make it very long into Avant before going home. I noticed a few days into last week I was feeling especially emotional which happens when I am getting ill most of the time. When Kevin, my friend was staying over for a few days I think I managed to cry about 3 times while we were talking. Just exhausted I guess. The Dr says I have an infection but I think it’s more advance than we realize as I am kinda still in physical pain. All the weight loss isn’t helping me right now and in fact I managed to have a good cheat weekend while Kev was here. I don’t regret it because I was as mindful as could be about the whole thing. I had pizza, and breakfast taco and probably too many beers.. but it felt good.

Last week there was an article written about me and that has probably introduced a lot of people to the crazy that is my blog. I am not even sure why I tied myself to it. It is a better thing to remain somewhat anonymous when things like this arise, but as always I just held up my hand like Horshack. So what will come of all of this?

Image result for horshack

This is the time of year I hate the most. It isn’t anything to do with the season, it’s more about the memories tied up in this time of year. My mom’s passing, my dead cat’s bday, getting fired from my last job, all happened this time of year. When I should be preparing for decorations for Halloween and fall I am kinda just stuck in a rut. Now I’m sick and worried about my guts rotting out. It’s just a laugh riot around here.

But! I do have some exciting news. My good pal Susan is helping me put together a Halloween costume. I am really excited to have some help to do this, as I always have such great ideas but no follow thru. Mainly because it is really hard to create the stuff I have in my mind in such a short amount of time and I am usually putting things off too long. Not this time. There is a cash prize at work at stake! Also, I really want to have a good costume this year. I lost this weight and I want to enjoy the process that usually made me want to cry every year.  We are getting together this weekend to try things out. I am really excited and hope I feel better by then.

Also, the band rehearsals are going really well. We now have a guitar and percussion added to the mix, This is a separate project than YLS and we are trying to get a name together. It looks like we will be performing in October and maybe even November if we can keep up the colab work. I also have another project with Tamitha Curiel that hasn’t even begun yet. I hope we can make something happen soon if we can both get some time. I am also working on a performance for Halloween night for Bouchercon that will be hosted in Dallas this year. Next week is Mad Swirl and I will be performing a revised edition of my Blue Note poem. So yeah, busy. Now if only I could stop feeling like poop.

So who is still reading this?
I know I have secret trolls and followers. I can only hope you are one of them.
If you are reading this now then know
I’m smiling.

I promise to tell you all about Stereolab tomorrow. About how sweet Leticia is and how nice it is to meet fans of the same kind of music you love. And I should tell you how good Morrissey was and how he even got a good concert review from the Dallas Morning News which is nuts because they have always hated him. I promise to tell you how it feels to be playing with other people and how we celebrated Kevin’s bday with music and wine and fun and how much I missed him and didn’t realize it until we were up all night talking and laughing together.  I promise to tell you about how annoying my cats are but I felt bad because Moni lost her cat and she is really sad and I know I am just going to lose my mind when one of mine dies because that’s what they do and it’s really a shame.

Of how I felt when the Dr couldn’t tell me what was really wrong without getting more tests run,
About how I wanted to ask Kevin to make sure and take care of C if something or when something happens to me. You know, to make sure he is ok.. because..it’s going to happen some day.  About how I don’t want to think about things if they go the other way around. About how I have been looking into life insurance because I don’t want to leave a mess when I leave everyone behind.

I get so emotional when my body reminds me that I am not immortal. I just wish I could start feeling better now, but I know I shouldn’t complain.

Come to think of it, it’s not such a bad face after all.

Monday, September 16, 2019

All the Poop You Can Scoop ( a weekend recap)


Oh my gosh. It’s been so long. I think it’s only been a week but it feels like a long time.

This weekend was jam packed. Where to begin?

Poets on X+ was Friday. VP Crowe was our feature and it was a great night in the gallery. We had a nice crowd and a few first timers on the mic which is the best feeling in the world as a host. I feel more addicted to hosting new readers than anything else.  It’s such a rush to see the first time someone just gives it a go and does it. The best part is that they usually return or continue to do more open mics and then you have a poetry junkie and it’s the best thing in the world.  It was good to see friends, hear work and have a few drinks. We had originally planned to go out to Ft Worth to see some friends after but we lingered at the MFA until most of the beers were gone and we were ready to crash. Here is a great picture my friend, Ant Colony took.


Saturday we stayed in most of the day. I managed to get some groceries and pull myself together for the evening. That day was Amy Winehouse’s bday so I listened to a lot of her work I hadn’t been able to for a long time just because it always made me sad.. but this time it felt good. I still feel sad but I guess the sting has worn off a bit and I can tolerate her again. I felt inspired by her style again so I tarted up for the reading that night. It’s been a while since I have had the energy to dress up and I missed that feeling of being polished and shined up like a brand new penny.

Edward Viduarre was the feature at Pleasant Groove. It was good to see him and his wife again.  The reading was great, the open mic was so eclectic and good and of course the hosts were the most gracious and sweet. I love the vibe there. Edward read from all of his books but I was so in love with the selections from his most recent book, Jazzhouse. I was lucky to be gifted with a copy the last time we met and I have become a real fan. It’s just so beat, and that’s what I like, you know that stuff turns me on. After the reading we rushed over to Top Ten to catch Joe Millazo, but he cancelled out due to a family emergency so we missed him. We also missed Logan Cure, who was on the bill but we arrived too late. We did run into Nadia Wolnisty and B.A. and the whole place was packed up. It was an impressive line up and a great crowd. C and I met a few musicians and convinced them they HAD to go to Avant next week. I am personally so excited to see what happens this coming Sunday. I had a dream about Dillon a few nights ago, because I think I am missing him. I will have to see him soon too. He is going to be performing on Sunday so I really can’t wait.

Yesterday was a busy day as well. We went to Ft Worth to see C’s mom and P was able to go with us. We are still hearing stories and seeing pictures from the trip because we haven’t had any extended time together since she returned. We had a good visit with mom and were glad to have my sis in law and her husband and my awesome nephew come by. He is getting so big that it makes me a little sad. Soon there won’t be any babies around.. there really aren’t any more now. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does.

After we got back from ft worth, we had rehearsal time with Zim and George. This project is completely different than YLS and I am really getting more excited. Honestly I was really nervous and anxious about this happening yesterday. I don’t really feel like I am committed enough to the music lately and generally I feel like that about everything creative in my life. This job takes a lot out of me right now. I go home and collapse most nights and don’t want to be bothered with anything. I have become kind a lazy without any responsibilities to other people, I have kind given up on my own responsibilities to myself. It’s like saying I missed dressing up. I always did that, but now I am really tired most of the time. That makes me feel kinda sad too. Anyhow, back to the rehearsal. I love the way everything seems to be melding together. I like the way the more I do it with them the more I feel like it’s a good thing. I still think what C and I are doing is completely different than anything I have heard anywhere.. and these guys want to play with us, so that feels like something.. you know? They are interested in what we do and it’s a big puzzle getting what I guess you’d call traditional instruments to play with the noises we create. I like that we are learning how to listen. I have also made more of an effort to get some spoken word done because that’s my arsenal and I should employ it instead of trying to make something happen that I obv .need more practice at. I don’t know. I do get hard on myself about it all. But when we listen to playback it all sounds really great to me.  I think we sound like a band I would pay to see. I think that is positive!

Zim and I did some writing and drinking and smoking of my weekend pack of cigs. We polished them off and I’m actually happy that I don’t have a few stray ones around tempting me. While I was there I thought of some things I really need to commit to writing about. I made a list and vow to start chipping away at it all.

Well, Something has been bothering me a bit but I hate to mention it because it just makes me sound like I am complaining again.. but here it is. I wish more people would come and support my friend’s reading. That’s it. I think there are a lot of readings out there, but I think hers is the best. I felt really fortunate to have a good crowd form my feature, and I don’t even care that a lot of people I know who would have really enjoyed it missed it all.. I just seem to care that some people make all the effort to support some things but not others. I used to take it all so personally because things get personal out there sometimes. What I can’t understand is why it is so hard to come to a friend’s reading every once and a while. I don’t know. I can’t begin to understand and I can’t be everywhere myself anyway and I miss lots of things now. Maybe there isn’t a point here at all. Maybe I just need to get myself out more and not worry about things so much.

Wednesday I am going to see Morrissey. He was just only the most important thing in my life when I was a teenager. I am going to spend some time writing about him and the show so that update should come by the end of the week. We are also going to see Stereolab this weekend which is going to be so amazing that I can hardly wait.  Our Friend Kevin is also coming to stay at the house for a few days this week too, so we have lots to look forward to.

Oh and big news! I finally lost a few pounds. It took months but now its all starting to work for me. I feel good and am sticking with it. Maybe by Christmas I will be down another size and we can really get cooking in 2020. There are only so many things I can concentrate on right now in my life, and I am proud I have chosen self-care to be my top priority at this time.  The weather will be getting cooler soon and it will be time to commune with nature again and get some hiking in. I have missed my space at the preserve all summer long. I can’t wait to talk to the trees again.

So that’s all the poop you can scoop.  I didn’t want to write today but it ended up not hurting. I hope to drop in again in a few days.

Until then..

Monday, September 9, 2019

Life, Death and Dancing


Friday night we went over to Zim’s pad and jammed out with YLS. It was really fun hearing the way he fit in so easily with his guitar. We are all thinking about starting an off shoot project, I guess you would call it that. Something different than what we are doing now. I like this. I think it will be good to work with different people and try something new. I don’t really know how C feels about it other than he is cautious as always. I guess he has to be when he is living with someone like me. I go into things all the time without thinking it thru but I feel like this is different. I mean, if you get to a point where you don’t like it, you can just beat it, right? I don’t know… I like playing but it isn’t my end goal. I ‘m not entirely sure what that is anymore.

I am not working actively on anything right now other than getting the hang of this new job. It isn’t very hard, but I am trying to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed and stressed out, the way I always get when starting something new. I am trying to use this experience as a new way to learn and a new way to deal with work load. For the most part, things can be done at a manageable pace. My last job was so crazy I kinda was always spiraling out of control and it became the norm for me. There wasn’t really any need for that, and there certainly isn’t now.  But besides that, nothing is really going on. If I don’t find something to work on soon, something that I really like to do, I think I might slip into depression again. I thought maybe cutting stuff down would be a good break but now I feel like I really want to get into something big again, maybe some event planning or something. I don’t know. I guess I will have to think about it.

Saturday we went to Top Ten records to watch a mariachi band. It was great but I got too emotional when they played my mom’s favorite song and I had to run outside and cry for a good few minutes. When my mom passed away there was a mariachi band that played in between the different part of the services. Everytime the music started up I just broke down again and again. It was impossible for me not to cry uncontrollably when I heard the music. I just remember thinking, why didn’t we ever get mom mariachi’s when she was alive instead? I don’t remember ever ever having them for her before and it seemed like such a cruel thing to have it at her funeral. Like a really unfair gift. They got mariachi’s for my grandma a few times and I remember her sitting in her chair with a huge beautiful smile on her face waving her fingers in the air along to the music. Her eyes twinking with memories only she could know. I felt like that is the youngest I ever saw her and it made me so happy.  I hope they don’t wait until I die to give me mariachis. I promise you, I am not going to have that happen. 

And so yeah, I have been thinking about mom, because it seems like more people are losing loved ones as we all get older and older. There was a memorial service for a man’s wife that is such a community leader that everyone knows them both and were holding on to every ounce of hope when we found out how ill she was. Because they were artists, they didn’t have coverage and she was really sick. You do the math. It’s all so unfair these days seeing people die without a fighting chance. It happened so quick that it got me scared. If something happens ( I mean when it happens) we will be in the same boat. I just hope that when it does happen to me, I will be as lucky as she was, and be able to pass in my husband’s arms while we both sleep. I pray for something painless for us both.
I couldn’t go to the memorial. It was at the same place they had my friend, Graham’s memorial and honestly I haven’t really been back since.  I was a lot closer to Graham than I originally thought, as the days passed on I realized I really missed him. I expected to see him walking around and being his old Graham self everywhere in the neighborhood. It was just too much.  So all of these triggers got me thinking about mom, and in a sense, my father figure, Richard, who has been gone now for such a long time ( over  10 years) that I rarely give myself a chance to miss him anymore.

Here is one of his last posts on his blog, before he got sick and died.

WALKING, STROLLING ALMOST, across the Monte Vista bridge and looking down on the green overgrowth on the old Sante Fe Railroad line that may someday bring DART public transportation train service to this neighborhood, looking down and feeling the shiny, morning warmth on my breast, I thought sometimes the beauty of the universe just takes my breath away! Hopefully this is a sign I’ll continue to feel better...

So there it is. Everyone dies. I have friends that say they would rather die than live and I can’t fathom how sad a person has to be to say that. I don’t think I have ever wanted to go prematurely. I will be the one holding on for dear life. The unsinkable Opal S. That will be me one day soon, and you will have a  memorial for me at the same place they have all my friends memorials because that will be the only place my family can afford. It will be ok with me if you don’t’ go, because I get it. I just hope you know there won’t be mariachi music there.

Poets on X+ is Friday. Edward V will be in town for Saturday’s Pleasant Groove. I am preparing myself right this minute for social interaction this weekend. It will take this long to get my shit together and not talk myself out of anything. I think that is why I keep on hosting X+. It’s as if I know that if I quit that I will pretty much stop going on and stop doing things.  I have been having this thing about being in my bed as much as possible and far away from people in general. In fact this weekend was about 80% spent in or around my bed.  The last time this started I was full onset depressed. I was unemployed back then so I had no responsibilities and I was glad to stay asleep. Now I have to get up and get to work so maybe that will help. No matter how low I get, I still can plaster on the face and go thru the motions. I have lots and lots of experience pretending.

But what I really want do is dance. Maybe I can make that happen sometime this week.

Well that’s all I have for today. Time to get back to time management and thoughts about living, not dying. I’m making dinner tonight and I hope to see my daughter that is back from Peru! If I can go to they gym and kick this malaise out of my life, maybe that would help too. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Memories of The Queen

Our teenage monarchy was ruled by a queen. Her black widow lipstick and waterfall onyx hair over her left eye, wrists punched thru t-shirts to made them large and worn thin. Black leggings on thick Latina thighs with knee high boots laced tightly still race through my mind. You don’t understand, but everyone loved Valentina. Her name could leave a left a watermark on your heart if her half hidden smile didn’t.

Hey, I said its all right.. you know I won’t forget all the time I waited patiently for you..
In the frame house with wooden floors the walls were filled with gold rimmed picture frames with cardboard backing. They were the kind you would buy at the dime store to put your school portraits with crossed eyes and missing teeth and seriously bad hair in. These pictures were taken at various times of life ranging for the sickeningly sweet age of 5 or 6 to the zit riddled awkwardness of early pre-teen, to the cap and gown with fake bookshelves behind you. All three girls had their own spot on various walls. It felt like home even though you were only a visitor. It was where you‘d raid the fridge, watch the tube, sneak cigarettes in the back yard and get holy water thrown on you periodically by the mother who shook her head and begged God to bless these creatures that had taken over her daughter’s life with Mohawks, safety pins, black hair dye and music that sounded like the opening of old tombs in the graveyard. It was only later when I got older and had my own beautiful daughter that I understood the gesture of the holy water as benign. There was nothing better than having a house full of teenagers eating my food and filling the bedrooms with laughter long into the stretching fall evenings of suburbia.

I’m not sure how I fit in those days. I was a girl, but my budding had yet to really blossom. I was rallying around the ugly duckling story for almost 16 years and nothing ever became of that happy ending. I tried in vain to follow her cues, bought the same looking clothes, but couldn’t help that the t-shirts didn’t fall as gracefully off my chest and that the leggings hugged my dimpling fat and would roll over the mound of my stomach filled with Yoo hoo and tiny chocolate donuts. My constant struggle made me tug  She had unknowingly made every nuance of femininity follow her.   It clung to her hips and sparkled in her one visible, not covered with a waterfall of hair eye. Her hands were like bird wings ever scribbling in her secret notebooks filled with poetry and lust, when they weren’t pushing away her shock of bangs away from her face. I have to say I felt like a 2 X 4 standing next to her, but I was totally in love with every strange and charming thing she ever said and did. If I would have been older and could have seen the eyes of every person I called my friend light up when she walked in the room I could have been president of her fan club and the membership would be forever growing in numbers.

On this one particular afternoon we stood shirtless in her bedroom carefully tearing, cutting and safety pinning our t shirts to make them more acceptable. Her best stretch was when she would take her knee and shove it into the arm pit of the poor pitiful rag and pull, teeth gritting with all her might, hearing the satisfying crackle of seams splitting, causing unraveling black threads to slowly domino out of their carefully sewn rows.

My memories flash to different moments, now that I am older and can't remember the things she said to me, only the look she reserved for my dumbest moments. It was the loving way she kept me around even though I was always completely clueless. I can see her swinging wildly from the swing set at Kidsville park at night. Stumbling over the piles of rock gravel under the wooded playsets we would run up and down and hide in. Smoking a black cloves in the winter night under a streetlight. The back of her mane bobbing up and down behind the wheel of her car as I sat in the back trying hard to fit between boys on our way to Deep Ellum. Making out with her blonde curly haired boyfriend. Yelling at her sisters in the family driveway. Flirting with my boyfriend and wishing it was me she was flirting with..never being mad at her but almost always envious. 

Some people have muses that follow them for the rest of their creative life. I can't shake her and I never want to. You see, she is gone now, and it must be at least 10 years since she passed. It was 10 years or more before that we  lost touch. We grew up and took our own turns in life, far away from the places and situations that were once all we really knew about life. She grew up much faster than I, and I was left behind for the mundane life of a boring first marriage, about a gain of 100 pounds, an illness and a divorce. I was already a mom and raising a teenager when I wanted to know what had ever happened to my Gothic china girl. 

The very day I found her son on myspace was a month to the day that she had passed. Cancer. 

I met her grown son and young daughter a month after that..her boy with the same hairdo and torn t-shirt..

Yeah, I said it's all right
I won't forget
All the times I waited patiently for you
I think you'll do (just what) you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love, with almost everyone
I think that people are the greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight, my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are the greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight, my dear



f

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Nothing To Do But Write

Orignally posted on Subversive Verses 6/29/2014


Sometime I avoid writing like the plague. I don't know if this is human nature, but I kid myself into thinking I'd rather sit and stare at the blank page than fill it with something that may bring me some ease or even joy. Well, writing is hard. I don't think you should believe anyone who says it isn't. If it pours out of you like some kind of miracle, then enjoy it. I don't think anyone can expect that and not be disappointed. It does not happen like that for me, and I have tried to learn to not be too hard on myself. 

Is it a talent to be a writer, or is it sweat and toil? Is it a bit of both? When I can manipulate the quiet moments in my mind that allow me to slow down and write, I can be free. I see that my greatest obstacle is my own self. I sit at my desk and look out into the world and am hit in a million different directions of ideas, memories, fears, desires and wild living textures. How can you look around you and not be inspired by this amazing world? I cannot allow myself to give in to the noisy brain and muffle out the solitude and silence that my writing mind craves so much. Solitude is hard for me. Silence is deafening. I like to drink and smoke and laugh and be surrounded by people. Its the softness in humanity that keeps me from hitting the bottom. Why am I so afraid of the bottom when I know that is where the richness lies? Why do I keep myself from tasting the satisfying experiences that make me who I am? Embarrassment, harshness, self loathing, and other useless traits of being afraid in your own skin. Can I write these feelings away as easily as I can drink them away? I don't know. 

I had a friend. 
This is a familiar beginning to many stories I have to tell. 

I had a friend. In some way it started good and ended terribly wrong. I was a very sensitive child (surprise) and I can remember how easily I was hurt when a friend would stop being a friend to me. At that age I suppose it is easy to move from one person to the next and we begin to learn the social structures that we are to live and work in for the rest of our miserable lives. We get hard, we get mean, or we get hurt. We manifest that pain into harshness, cruelty or totally withdraw. If you are blessed you fall somewhere in between. 

I had a friend. She was very nice to me. 

When I was in the fifth grade something changed in me. I spent half the year in a coma which had me following the social grooves without skipping a beat. I had a crew of mean girls that accepted me, zits, fat and all into their squad. I was making good grades and I was dressing in the top of 1980s fashion. I had what seemed to be the perfect line to get me where I should be. The popular kids liked me and forgotten all about the orthopedic shoes in 3rd grade and the crying fits of 4th grade. I was in. 

I had a friend, she was very nice to me and one day I broke her heart. 

Stella had big green eyes and dishwater blond hair in lazy curls that hit her shoulder. She was short and a little stout but lovable in her knitted sweaters and baggy corduroy pants. She wore black rimmed glasses and she was fantastically smart. We talked about all sorts of things and she had a bookish mom and dad. I went to her house one day and reveled in her house filled with maps, bookshelves and exotic decorations from other countries. It was a far cry from my wood panelling living room with world book encyclopedias from 1968. I adored her. I wanted to be her. 

When the mean girls started to bring me in I found out fast that I couldn't be friends with Stella. She was a nerd. She never wore blue jeans or make up and she sat in the front of class and always raised her hand. The Kingpin Meany knew we had been friends and would do mean things to Stella to see what I would do. I would watch helplessly with a cold exterior my friend being bullied and terrorized. She never made eye contact with me when they were tripping her, stealing things from her desk or calling her names. One day the meanies and I were joking around and I said I thought that Stella had started stuffing her bra.They had a good cackle over that and Kingpin told me that I should go and ask her the next time the teacher left the classroom. I felt sick to my stomach because I knew I was going to have to do it. It wasn't a suggestion, it was an order. 

This is very hard for me to write. I had a friend, she was very nice to me, she was smart and adorable and everything I wanted to be. Her parents had a nice big house with a swimming pool and her mother baked hand made cupcakes with pennies baked into the bottom of the paper muffin cups for good luck. She wore hand knitted sweaters and once gave me a knitted beret that she worked on all summer for Christmas. She laughed like an elfin queen and she had a garden of flowers in her yard with butterflies. She gave me flashlight when I spent the night and was scared of the dark. She was a good friend, and she was very nice to me. 

In front of the class, my fatness in baby blue slacks and sweater vest over button down striped shirt.
Finger pointed down on her head
Under horn rimmed eyes
quivering lips
I broke my friends heart
to the laughter of sloppy sweating boys
and scared little girls 
tittering giggles
Stella Harper
with mouth open in a dry 'O'
turning pink as 
a salmon
eyes slick and watery
as the fish's blank dead stare

Something changed in me that day. 
I woke up.

I finished that year in a general decline of grades, social standing and self esteem. I stopped hanging out with the meanies and they retaliated in full force. I didn't care anymore. I stopped wearing my preppy clothes. I got beat up a few times. I started bringing my tape recorder to school and would hang out on the top of the monkey bars listening to top 40 Casey Kasem recorded on memorex tapes. Sometimes someone would make their way up to the top and listen with me. Most of the time, I was alone. Stella's family moved that summer and I never saw her again. 

I have never forgotten how easy it is to be mean. I can be mean. I can be good. The meaner I get, the more closed off things become. The noisier my brain gets and the more I can't stop the chatter and remember these things. We are the walking scars of our past. We wear makeup and expensive clothes and cut our hair and curl our eyelashes over the scars that rest inside. Can you write yourself out of a scar? Can you make it a part of your landscape without tripping you up over and over again? I don't know what this post is about, but I feel better for writing it. Maybe that is the answer. There is nothing to do but write.
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