Not A Goddamn Thing

“A useless love–a connection or affinity that doesn’t fit into the plans of anyone concerned”

There are no words to describe this type of situation which I have absolutely found myself in. And because, as anyone who has ever met me will tell you, I am an open book, I decided I’d share with the world some letters I wrote to a person who I had a useless affinity and affection for. Ill start with the very first one…

Letter 1

Valentine’s Day

You’ve sent me to do a detox bath. Here is where my thought process is:

You ask me what’s wrong as though I’m able to answer with any semblance of the normalcy that has become our groove, vibe, our communication. Like when your genius shines through something we’re working on and you ask,

“Now what are you gonna do about it?!”

Undoubtedly, unwaivering, with wit and without pause, we both know the answer is,

“Not a goddamn thing!”

But what’s wrong? As honest as I am with you about everything, this is something I MUST bury. I can’t very well tell you that when you once asked me if a member of the party bus had a “thing” for you, although I was honest when I denied such accusations, I did negate to mention that my core is very much in love with you. I can’t very well elaborate on how attracted to you I am. I can’t possibly share my longing to build a relationship with you. I can’t divulge to you that in the last four months I have not only discovered at least 17 people negotiating within me but negotiating the essence of my emotional awakening. Conversely, I’ve also had all of my fears and doubts about never finding what I want in life or seeing those things manifest, confirmed. I have found it all, every ounce of what makes my life worth fighting for and it can never be mine. There is not a one percent chance that I can focus on because you would have to see something in me that doesn’t exist. It’s hard enough to find someone who sees you and harder still to find it in someone who is available.

So what’s wrong? Can we please just leave it solely to the Dopamine and dark thoughts? I value our time and work too much. To be honest, I know what losing it all feels like, please don’t make me face it again. I won’t survive.

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The Girl Who Cried Help

I tweeted something that sparked an idea:

Here is what I came up with:

A woman stood at the height of a bridge. The world beneath her, so above. Beckoning to the townspeople below, to join her in marveling at the sights of heaven and hell. With a song in her heart, she chanted for help in painting her soul’s collage on the old and squeaky wood that somehow managed to call itself a bridge.

A peasant climbed to the spot of the song with rough leaves and an intention of preparing the wood. He joined in the melody and chanted for help in shaping his creation so that the woman’s soul could be free, staining the bridge and showing him his own soul.

Two maids answered the hymn by collecting berries and two buckets of water with the intention of hauling their tools to the center of the bridge, for which to paint the story of heaven and hell.

The man completed the task of composing the blank slate. The two maids pressed their berries and delicately created a mixture of colors for the woman to make her masterpiece.

After constructing a brush of twigs and the left over leaves the peasant used to smooth the bridge, they presented the instrument to the woman who took no notice as she sang louder and more agressively for help.

Feeling alone and abandoned, taking no notice of the three kind strangers who came to her aid, the woman saw not what they had done for her. In a rage of lonliness she condemned the bridge to hell for it bore not her soul’s purpose in the light of heaven or the shadows of hell.

Frantically grabbing remnants of the day’s work, she built a fire. As the kindling took to the breeze, the peasant and the two maids began shouting for help, fearful of the fathoms below. The woman quickly acknowledged the presence of the three townspeople as the fire roared with no intention.

Afraid she would be seen in the truth of the flames and accused of murder, she pushed the peasant and then one maid and then the second off of the burning bridge before the flames overtook her body.

Pieces of the bridge fell to the ground below with the woman’s body. Her soul, now free, was burnt into the earth, painting the baron land in ash.

The three townspeople survived the push they equally received. They survived, however their bodies were broken and their minds were tainted of good deeds. They moaned for help.

in a moment of realization, as the heavens shone down where the bridge had once stood, blocking the rays of above, the two maids helped the peasant and the peasant helped the maids. Broken but present they saw that help was in front of them. Help didn’t look like the prodigal assistance so often imagined. Help looked like themselves, like the equally battered soul staring across the way, in the light of the same pain.


I am reminded of a story as I try to express the experience of helping those who are not capable of seeing:

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Untied

It has been brought, quite abruptly, to my attention that I indeed have a type. Me, this self proclaimed and outwardly noticeably, uniquely diverse in taste, person. My taste for telly is distinct yet spans across all genres, not unlike my taste for humans. Let’s play a game of connect the dots shall we:

  • American Horror Story
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • The Golden Girls
  • Masters of Sex
  • Wentworth
  • Black Sails
  • Breaking Bad
  • Penny Dreadful
  • Sex and the City
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Shameless
  • The Good Wife
  • The Affair
  • Grace & Frankie
  • Younger
  • Will & Grace
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Empire
  • LOST
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Bloodline
  • Roseanne
  • Togetherness
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Wonder Years
  • ER
  • Girls
  • Weeds
  • Nip/Tuck
  • The Sopranos
  • Friends

Now, what do all of these shows have in common besides being some of my favorites? Some are dramas, some are sitcoms, some are comedies, some are old, others new, some are network, some are cable and some are streaming. It’s really simple actually:

Ohana

famiglia f (plural famiglie)

  1. family
  2. household

malocchio

Italian slang for ‘the evil eye.’ Basically it has similar meaning to the stink eye, but is scarier because it is given by little Italian women who damn you for eternity for doing them harm, doing their family harm, or going against their will.

Rent SynopsisFade to a high school performing arts auditorium circa 1998-2002, where one would find a gaggle of drama geeks belting their hearts out:

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life
How about love?
Seasons of Love
Of course they were supposed to be in class somewhere, but that auditorium was home and those geeks were my family. Through bullying, loss, life, love, hope and dreams, we stayed family and I am still in contact with almost all of those Rentheads who made me thrive on theater. “Rent” was one of our favorite pieces to meddle with. The meaning behind every lyric Jonathan Larson wrote, the way in which Jonathan suddenly died before ever seeing his creation come to full term and the way it hit every nerve connected to our heartstrings, make “Rent” a very special piece to me, one which has carried it’s meaning over into my full blown adult hood, without an auditorium.


The themes of “Rent” are constants in my taste for entertainment, both on and off screen and behind the camera. I’ll examine some of my telly habits as examples, as someone pointed out that they all have strong themes of family and the meaning of family. “American Horror Story” is one of my favs of all time, and the themes of family that Ryan Murphy explores are brilliantly woven into each season whilst still maintaining the complexity of suspenseful telly:
  • Murder House: All about family and the consequences of infidelity. Constance had a deeply disturbed connection with her children, but they meant the world to her. Heartbreaking to witness when Addie is struck and killed by a vehicle and Constance fails to get her body on the property in time to ensure she would still see her.
  • Asylum: Kit constantly fought for his family, the patients had to become a family to survive and take care of each other, even Jude became Kit’s family in her downfall, he went back for her and she helped raise his children.
  • Coven: The coven is family, the coven will fight like hell for that family. The complex relationships between mothers and daughters, as masterfully portrayed in Cordelia and Fiona.
  • Freak Show: Freaks band together, kill together, to protect their home and family. The relationship between father and son is explored with Lobster Boy and the Strong Man. Pepper returns and we learn of her family abandonment issues. She becomes maternal with Ma Petite and even attempts to start her own family with Salty, despite their disabilities.
  • Hotel: All about family, the one that lost a child and their marriage is suffering, the mother who lost a child to drugs, the mother of vamps and then the family that was built between folks such as The Countess and Liz Taylor. Trapped in a Hotel, you can either build a family with those trapped with you, or…
  • My Roanoke Nightmare: A mother’s child is kidnapped, her brother is involved. The actors on a reality show, as dysfunctional as it may be, are family, bonded.
Besides all of the themes Ryan Patrick Murphy executes, the concept of a pool of actors returning each season to tell a different tale speaks to the idea of a close knit family, bonded by their experiences, and that bleeds through to all of his iterations, from “Scream Queens” to “American Crime Story.”


Einstein Family
I will not go through the list of all of my favorite shows, but the common thread is the fight for family and the building of families that are not necessarily related. “Sons of Anarchy” for instance, Gemma was, how to say, hell bent on protecting her family. The club was a family and that family meant everything and was worth killing for. Loyalty meant everything to SAMCRO. Will, Grace, Jack and Karen were a family through and through. “Friends” should have been called “Family.” Frankie and Grace are family through mutual betrayal. “Wentworth” and “Orange is the New Black” are very different shows about female prisons, but it is natural in a prison environment both fictional and factual, that bonds are made and loyalty to that family are of utmost importance, just ask Tony Soprano about loyalty.
As a black sheep, outsider, freak and overall lost soul, the concept of building family through experience is something I’ve always been enamored with. My blood family is tight, we are close but as an adult finding her own way, I’ve long since sought out my adult family. My roots remain but in the process of growth and experiencing as much of this world as possible before I leave it, I am not a foreigner to being free to have other families. My theater years afforded me many families of that era. Theater families are so special and yet so short lived.


It is increasingly difficult as I get older to build families because through the years the innocent trust we are all born with decays and the true irony is that the moments where you find yourself fresh out of trust and feel alone, are the moments when you need a family the most. The epiphany that writing this has manifested, is that creativity and art are the core of my families. When I find a family I can express my creativity in I become the girl in the plastic bubble and nothing else matters. My loyalty shines through regardless of what brought me and my families together. La Vie Boheme. When the bonds break within one of my artistic families however, that is the single most painful thing I can and have experienced. Those situations leave me the rawest, the most broken and they steal any sort of faith I have left in my reservoir.
Weeds 3
Perhaps my part in all of it, is that I assume the word “family” means to everyone out in the world what it means to me. Maybe I trust my pseudo families to the extent that I refuse to believe they don’t possess my vision of what loyalty should look like. For me, it truly is in the midnights and cups of coffee I share with people. It is certainly in the inches and miles I would travel for family and the inches and miles in which I grow from absorbing the ideals of others to better understand my own ideals. Not necessarily in the strife of everyday life in this fucked up world we find ourselves, but MOST importantly, it is in the laughter I share with other beings, without which, myself and a lot of them would cease to live.

What family represents for me:

No Day But Today

Jonathan Larson said it best:

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn

There is no future
There is no past
I live each moment as my last

There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret– or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today

There’s only yes
Only tonight
We must let go
To know what is right
No other course
No other way
No day but today

I can’t control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only hope
is just to be

There’s only now
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear it
No other path
No other way
No day but today

Italian Miss You

Note: Someone said some words to me today that really stuck, “Family will never be the ones asking you to leave. They are always the ones hoping you’ll stay.”

Today also happens to be my late grandfather’s birthday. Speaking strictly biologically, what with DNA and everything, not unlike Forrest and Bubba, we were of no relation. My grandpa did not ever tell me what family is, was or should be. He showed me, every single day what that word meant to him and I carry THAT with me in everything I am. His heart.

Cookies in the Bathroom

“This is how I got lost in the wild.”

cookie

Slowly, then suddenly. Not succumbing to be anyone’s goddamn monkey, gradually then quickly. The squealers hiding inside the mind, swine of descent, rapid and racing it happened, inside my human body. So disgusting. To be the motorcycle, the bucking bull, the bench on which she sets her truth on display. To be the pen, the guitar, the brush by which she feels said truth. Wandering in a metropolis within four walls, no windows, it happened. Transient in desolution, I couldn’t find a bus ticket, I had no destination, no home and no desire. Had nothing but faith in nothing.

I found a bedazzler at a garage sale, it was covered in grease and glitter. Memories not recycled, lost forever, in my loathsome, jeweled reality. It happened when I ordered gummy bears and a knife. Trauma was not my ultimate killer, but a creator with no reins. No intimacy, just bodily reflexes. Zoom in on my empty wallet, crescendo as I tie my hair to the bars of captivity. Fade to red, the lying shaded lips of those in my reach. Kiss the bartender thrice, it happened so that I could taste the Jameson and compunction. Bam.

With a wired jaw and manicured fuck you finger, it happened on a tiled light show. Where was I? Bangkok, Dubai, Melbourne, Toronto, Underland or the swamps of sadness? Was there any distinction? I might miss someone, cupid squeezed my ass in the murky rentals of truckers and thieves. Plan B involved some heavy touching, ya. As I would step out into the bright sunlight, nothing gold was visible, man that was a drag. I was an asshole. I was one of the guys. It happened vaguely then clearly. When she cums, she covers her face. I wasn’t real, I was in rehearsal. To be anybody’s baby doll, stuck in a corner, it happened animalistically.

I couldn’t hear the rock n’ roll, the drums faded with every pop, every extended release. Six whole years her sticks lay dormant. Life for all it’s anguish, was mine. She put her drinks up and packed away her palette. So it happened. Pink elephants and purple lemonade dissolved from the internal playroom, allowing a tango in the flaming fallacies. Searching for that something final by the name of life, it happened on an edge, in a field and whilst engorging on noodle salad. Drifting smoothly then roughly, more silence, I was standing on a precipice, ice cold water to catch me.

Never saying die, never hearing live, it happened. Deep into that darkness I pondered, who had left cookies in the bath, keys in the fridge and make up in the garage for me to find? Who put ink on my person along with holes in my tongue and tits? Cloudy with a chance of ass. Who were these wrecked up friends of mine, spilling spaghetti on the carpet, smoking my butts and snorting my bullshit? Who was this person inside of me? It happened with humor, with the jokes and vulgarity I had built in angst, after all the boys and girls I’d been through. It happened because I was altered from compliance, dancing in darkness, running from the monsters I might’ve fucked but couldn’t recollect. Like my first outdoor picnic, I had no memory of it.

It happened as I remembered the time I spilled the cup of apple juice, the time I pretended to sleep and the time I remained motionless, praying to be turned into a bird. I could fly far, far far away in the moments I chemically allowed the wind to find my face. When I let the me that only I can see surface in a song, a word, a sketch or a thought, it breaths. I was lost in the wild trenches with a faction refuting silence. A little serving to start, then all at once,  it’s happening.

Throwback to 2007

Found whilst showering:

The recognizable pain growing inside a force field of faults and disappointments is ready to burst The noise is contorted by the demons and influences in my head No plans to bring the world to it’s knees. Trying to live,  living to try a new destination Set coordinates of an unknown location Tattooed and buried in a cannon using the words in my brain A heroine in action is not noticed for achievement Rather the heroine be noticed for the unpreventable Because she cries because she is full of passion because she forces a second look because she is imperfect Groundbreaking reinvention is damaging to the creators of mortality Knots of a nocturnal nature creep up on ideals Steadfast and heartbreaking is the realization that holds us back  Tears are for those who have no emotional doubt  Thought provoking and unreal are the dreams of thinkers Take a stand for what is lost The past is foreign the future will be history and the present is both Determination is the stepping stone to hardship Inconclusive arguments drain the mind of decisions

The empty inkling that he might see

is the source of fire in my burning fear

The phantom clock ticks me to sleep

but only for a few moments, I can’t

There’s a rapidly growing visual

I see it on the second hand

The hands, the arms that overpowered

I hear the tocks and its like a bird

mocking my insecurities

His smirk matched the stain on his jeans

His eyes were cold like my feet

His shoes were what I stared at

His hair was greasy and uncombed

I don’t want to remember

I hear his voice with the ringing of my alarm

I don’t want to get up

What if I live through the day?

Beacon

Northern symmetry of promised tides

Can you hear the freckled moans? 

My bare south heeds no repercussions

I can see the anguished song

Promises from an eastern land

She tastes the trauma’s light

Following a western lantern

Can we smell the dew of cherub’s tears?

Winged arcs pass the rear view

I sip a brew of home

Waiting for a being to see my fractured essence

Stale and cold

Alone and scolding

Awake and wandering

Baron and pondering

Coy to the harps 

I have no tuneful praise

Harmonize her rapture

In the dancing lights of chaos

The open signs are front and center

I turn the other cheek anyway

No signal of significance

Is this thing even on? 

Magic Shoes

First line of a poem:

“After the door shuts and the footsteps die…”

 

After the door shuts and the footsteps die

I beckon the night Jasmine

Fill my space with translucent armor

After the footsteps die and the claustrophobia wakes

I beg the wounded air to heal gasping compunction

Cure the melodic travesty lurking in my closet

After the claustrophobia dies and the anger comes to pass

I plead with starry blankets

Encompass my minds eye

After the anger dies and revenge sets pace

I scream at sudden momentum

Stop and smell the Jasmine

As revenge dies and my fate intercedes

I cringe at fractured vessels

Run from supine spirited apparitions

Retreat  until your footsteps expunge unwelcome company

Suck It Simon Travaglia

Time to get real y’all. No fictitious mumbo jumbo tonight. Busted out the old 712 things to write about book, and shit got real and quickly.

“What’s the biggest misconception about you? Write the truth of the matter.”

The pool of self reflection is muddied by the atrocities of self fulfillment. We see what we want, negating what we are and forging ahead. It is in the truth of self that we find not only the disparaging realities of ourselves but the inadequacies we see in other people. If we are honest with our inner being we forget how to focus on the value we hold to ourselves and the bustling world around us, rather, we focus on the visceral decay, the stench by which we deprecate our existence. And that is why man created the existential crisis, the need to purge the thoughts of mortality and short comings as well as the formulas needed to proceed, without caution. If for instance, we want a certain house or a certain car or a certain lifestyle, we more often than not, forget to ask the proverbial questions relating to our character. We so quickly judge the other piles of skin walking around this planet and project disdain and I don’t think anybody really knows the root of this cyclical pattern. This, coming from a gal who does not know how to take a compliment and is very self aware, much to the dismay of loved ones. Some would call me a realist, others a cynic and many a pessimist. I don’t consider myself any of those things and all of those things because my path has justified my mode of transportation.

Misconceptions are bountiful when this old hen is brought in for questioning. Assumptions include uneducated, ghetto, oblivious and hardened to a point of no return. The translation for uneducated is unintelligent or even, as some people have so eloquently put it, “dumb as dirt.” Now, I don’t know about the intelligence of dirt, doesn’t seem like a fair comparison, granted I have been known to get stepped on from time to time. Those who have perceived me as ghetto do so based on my clothes, my ethnicity, my impoverished upbringing and some acquired street smarts which aren’t really smarts so much as they are survival instincts. Oblivious to what I don’t know, but there have been times when people will say something smart or witty and reference a period before my time and brush me off assuming I haven’t the foggiest. Hardened I may be, but do people not know what a defense mechanism is? And I’m the dumb one.

There are those who think I’m some heathenish street rat because I don’t believe in their God or hold their values or because I choose vernacular and behaviors that aren’t classy or “normal.” I say cunt on a regular basis, if I was in England or Australia, this would not be out of said norm. I listen to rap music on occasion but to fortify the ghetto facade, I rap along with no problems. I have had one night stands and I sleep with men and women, how unsavory. I smoke cigarettes, I’ve tried hard drugs and I enjoy marijuana. I’ll tell you what though, I am extraordinarily premeditated in choosing certain aspects of how I present myself. Why would someone consciously downgrade their persona? It’s really quite simple, people don’t expect much from a punk ass like me. I like to keep it that way. I don’t let people down, ever, I mean it’s pretty hard to disappoint when your measure of success is basically zero. My feelings would best be described in a line from the 90s horror film “Scream 2.” David Arquette’s character Dewey said,

How do you know that my dimwitted inexperience isn’t merely a subtle form of manipulation, used to lower people’s expectations, thereby enhancing my ability to effectively maneuver within any given situation?

This all brings me what I consider to be the biggest misconception about myself. Potential. If I had a quarter for every fucking time I heard, “You have so much potential but…” or “You have such potential if you would just…” I would be wealthy and I wouldn’t need to exude energy into anything or aim to fulfill any such potential, I could live out my days watching telly and getting high. My point is this, I have dug deep into my psyche and my inner sanctum. Potential simply isn’t something that is cohabited with the array of distinctive attributes I possess. I appreciate that people see something that isn’t there, it truly is a nice sentiment. This is not a woe is me type of rambling. This is not a fishing expedition. It is what is true for me. To me, by seeing potential and telling me that I’m not reaching it, that to me, sounds like I’m failing at yet another thing. Add it to the laundry list and pick up some detergent on your way home.  I’m not a victim of anything but the choices I have made and will make in the future. I accept that I am who and where I am because of me. My feelings would best be expressed using a line from the 90s dramatic feature “Dangerous Minds.”

No, you ain’t choosin’ to die, but you can choose to die without screaming, right? I mean you could always choose somethin’.

I suppose I’m the Judd Nelson a.k.a. John Bender in any group I find myself. What do people mean when they say you have potential? Potential for what? To do what exactly? Everybody has potential. Some people have the potential to become serial killers whilst other have the potential to make a difference in the world and then there are those who have the potential to live a mundane life with the picket fence and are content to do so. You wanna know what I think? I think when people say to someone, “you have potential” what they really mean is, “I see that you can do something that perhaps I can’t and I am glorifying this trait and putting it on a pedestal which sits out of the realm of my own reality.” If, let’s say, someone is a better driver than you, this does not mean they have the potential to be a race car driving champion. If someone has a slight artistic advantage as you see it, this does not mean have the potential to surpass the greats in history. If you like someone’s cooking better than your own, this does not me they have the potential to have a cooking show on the Food Network. I guess what I mean is that what people who say, “you have potential” fail to realize is that they are seeing a void in themselves and potential really is just putting in the practice and becoming knowledgeable due to having a desire to achieve a goal. For instance, the poor schmuck that may not necessarily have the potential to win the Indy 500, actually does, if he has the desire to do so. That nobody without a cooking show, in fact, could have a cooking show, if they have the aspiration. My feelings would best be described using a line from the 2007 Robert Rodriguez film “Planet Terror” wherein Freddy Rodriguez as Wray says:

I’m nobody. It’s the easiest thing to remember. So remember it.

I echo that with a line from the Disney underdog sports film, “The Big Green.”

We aren’t the nothings from nowhere. We’re the Alma nothings.

In summation. It’s not that I don’t have potential, it’s not that I do. It’s just that I don’t have the desire to let people down or to fail. I don’t have a strong enough protective shield. Have I kind of given up on life? No. Well, sometimes. What I have given up on for sure is the life I envisioned as a naive little outcast. I gave up the notion that I am any more deserving of a picturesque life than any other person a while ago. I have given up on fighting the good fight against the forces that know better than I. I don’t know what I want and I don’t know that I’ll be deserving of whatever that is when I figure it out. Tomorrow I may feel differently. Tonight I simply feel small and fractured. My inner sanctum is cruel but not unusual. If I’m honest with myself, I know that what lies within the rough externalized persona only comes out through the projections I display to the world and thusly is free game to be judged. The confinements of my awareness are the restrictions and limitations I enforce. I don’t over extend my own dreams further than my brain can reach for logic and plausibility.

You only see the turn. You don’t see the road ahead

Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante in “Stand and Deliver.”

 

♥ To anyone who has ever seen or vocalized having seen “potential” in me, turn that shit inward, because what you really mean is, there’s something you want to do or attain and don’t feel confident in your ability. And that’s what I see in you, not potential because I don’t know what choices you’re about to make, I see ability. Do you. ♥

 

*Note: Simon Travaglia said, “The greatest barrier to someone achieving their potential is their denial of it.”

Sazerac Afternoon

image

I acquired a new book, similar to “642 Things to Write About.”

“Select a random book from your shelf and turn to page 53. Use the first full sentence that appears on the page as the first sentence of a new story.”

I closed my eyes and randomly picked “12 Years A Slave.” Flipped to page 53 and the first full sentence was as follows:

On leaving, the New Orleans slave pen, Harry and I followed our new master through the streets

.

image

On leaving, the New Orleans slave pen, Harry and I followed our new master through the streets. Who was this Leonard LaLaurie fellow? As he kicked at our shins and spit in our general direction I looked at Harry with an assured grin. Harry looked like a bird that had been captured in the night. I knew why he sang as we were marched through the quarter.

“Corn husks green as my heart as master sews his oats. Lawd stood in the shadows instead of on the boats. Hear me Jesus over the drums that are my feet. Chase away the midnight ‘fore we are the drums he beats. Sazerac as bittersweet as the sounds of those bells. Today is the day I done died and gone to hell.” He sang with such desperation I glimpsed a woman who, for a brief moment, looked empathetically in our general direction.

image

Master LaLaurie did not have an empathetic anything about him. He mumbled something inaudibly but I didn’t dare ask him to repeat himself. Harry was oblivious to the sound of LaLaurie’s voice and as the young master’s head whipped around, I knew he was going to lash out at Harry. What I didn’t know, was that I was the one who would feel the anguish. The harsh hues of the angry sky gave LaLaurie’s face dramatic contrast and as he raised his leg with full force, raising it enough to meet Harry’s stomach, I saw the devil, and this devil didn’t look white nor did he look black. This devil looked like an amalgam of the people in the streets and those who served them.

“You stupid son of a bitch! You answer me when I’m talking to you!” Master’s voice bounced off the building we were now stopped in front of and punctured the ears of all who went about their business on Royal Street. Harry hadn’t yet caught his breath when LaLaurie positioned himself behind Harry’s hunched over frame. With one swift punch between the shoulder blades, master signaled us to keep walking. The sound of Harry’s breath brought the first relief I felt of the day. It was heavy and staggered, not unlike the building master was approaching.

“Well now, let’s see if you dare ignore Madame. You’ll be begging for my fist come morning light.” LaLaurie chuckled while pointing to the building. “Welcome home.”

Harry grabbed his back and his stomach simultaneously as he made his way to the ornate door. I don’t think he knew how to read, even numbers. I didn’t let on that I, in fact, did. I stared for a moment at the numbers above the arched door. This was my new home, and all I knew of it was that it was marked by malignant owners and the numbers 1140.

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*Yes, I know the term is actually “sow your oats” however I took the liberty of using a play on words. Google Delphine LaLaurie, it will make sense.

**Sazerac is a cocktail that was invented in New Orleans in the 1830s. It consists of Absinthe, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and rye whiskey. Legend says the drink was born at Antoine Amedee Peychaud’s pharmacy on Royal Street.

Weird Application ? and my Semi-BS Answer

Describe your hometown. Describe the food, people and things to do. What was it like growing up there? 

Alb. Balloon Fiesta

Walter White and Jesse Pinkman would have you believe that Albuquerque is one thing when in reality it is a myriad of things. I grew up on a street not dissimilar from the little boxes in Agrestic. I rode my bike until the street lights came on, I frequented cultural centers and I ate good food that grandma cooked. What made Albuquerque special was the people and the food. I ate green chili with practically every meal, it is simply the way you eat in Albuquerque. The most common question one gets asked as a resident of the city is “Red or green.” This is referring to what type of chili you would like smothered on or in your food. The gracious blend between Hispanic and Native American cuisine is supremely unique to the entire state of New Mexico, not just Albuquerque. Meth however, is not rampantly on the menu, regardless of what “Breaking Bad” would have you believe. Albuquerque is similar to many cities with a booming downtown and strong night life but the uniqueness lies in the culture of the people and of the history.

 Alb. Sky

I miss the sky of Albuquerque. The blues cannot be matched, nor the crisp lines of the eggshell white clouds that tend to linger. The Sandia mountains are to the East. Interestingly, Sandia means ‘watermelon’ in Spanish and many a summer day in Albuquerque is spent gnawing at a fresh watermelon. Also interesting is my keen sense of direction I am often complimented on. It was really easy to learn in Albuquerque because the giant mountain was a marker for the East. Hiking and camping are always options in the Albuquerque and outlying areas. Skiing outside of Albuquerque is wildly popular in the snowy winters. I preferred and miss a little gem of an area known as Old Town, however. Essentially a plaza of shops and restaurants, Old Town is just that, a very old, very small town. There is a church that stands across from a park and it is something I miss admiring. Outside the shops you might find some Native American residents selling Turquoise jewelry, which is popular in New Mexico. There is a deep seeded sense of history throughout the city of Albuquerque but in Old Town that sense is condensed and beaming everywhere you look.

Outside of Albuquerque, roughly an hour outside, is the state capital city of Santa Fe. The photographer in me misses taking day trips out to Santa Fe. There are old churches, each unique with it’s own sense of personality. Of those churches, my favorite is called Loretto Chapel which houses what is known as a miraculous staircase. This staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible supports. Heralded a miracle, that stair case has made Loretto Chapel famous and my favorite photograph is one I took of my grandmother standing at the bottom of the stairs. Outside the window of Loretto Chapel is a tree with Rosaries hanging from virtually every branch.If you head out of Santa Fe, there is a church called Santuario in Chimayo New Mexico. The miracle at that church is the healing sand that miraculously gets replenished every night. I have a picture taken at the hole of dirt in which you see leaning against the wall, crutches, canes and walkers that people left behind after being healed.  There is a lot of hope and family in Albuquerque and it’s surrounding communities.

Rosary Tree

Loretto Chapel