Wednesday, October 29, 2008
One by one they step forward, to toss a momento into the gaping black void below, to share a funny or sad or happy story with the crowd. There are laughs, lots of tears, a melancholy energy passed back and forth between clasped hands. Slowly they start to receed, returning to their cars and their lives, silence broken only by the steady downpour. Only two figures stand side by side at the lip of the grave.
"I loved her," says the taller of the two, an unsteady hand pushed through tangled locs. "I loved her."
The other peers blankly at the hole in the ground, not saying anything, barely moving.
"I didn't know her," he says.
My daddy turns and walks away, pulling on the hat he always wears to work, walking swiftly through the rain drops without ever getting wet.
I wake up crying.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Just a little, around the edges, slightly pink, rather than the entire Red saturation that is sure to come.
Maybe you shake just a bit, your extremeties antithetic to your usual smooth movements, each fraction of your greater whole shuddering and shaking, your whole shit just disjointed.
Your breathing changes, the rhythmic steady inhalation you're used to interupted by short, choppy bursts of oxygen that actually makes sounds on their exit.
Your eyelashes are rapidly landing and taking off from their perch on your cheeks.
Your internal themometer shoots up a few degrees.
Your throat metallic, like you swallowed poison.
Your chest weighted.
You're accutely unaware of your nails digging craters in your palms.
Your hair on end.
Your limbs, tingling to move, the sensation crawling just beneath the skin.
And the Red, more prevalent now, inching it's way past your mental velvet ropes, seeping into your facimilies, washing your vision.
The roar in your ears at parade decible.
And then you hold your breath.
And you sigh.
The red goes away, to be replaced by black and white.
Cut and dry. Straight lines.
Raw uncut, straight.
You continue with your show.
You don't believe in monkeys.
Friday, October 17, 2008
On Wednesday I was able to steel myself enough to watch the third presidential debate (I wasn't drunk enough for the second one) and try to remain as calm and irrational as possible. Though a self described liberal, I tried to look at the debate as impartially as possible; to see a rookie politician with thin experience, a hopeful outlook that even I sometimes give the skepty eye to, and a terrible fumble on FISA. To see a celebrated hero who, while I don't agree with much of his politics, has great good during a 26 year career and has more than enough intelligence and insight to show for it. That is the way I tried to approach the debate. To not see Obama's discipline spill over into not attacking when he should. To not see a Republican who would candidly lie about the color of the sky if he could get his vapid VP pick to make it go down easier with a wink and a smile.
And I did.
Until they started talking about the economy.
I tried not to chuckle to myself as McCain, a man who said himself that he doesn't know much about the economy, tried to insert himself as an authority. I tried not to get irritated as he took it upon himself to tell Barack how his conversation with Joe the Plumber (no one ever say 'Joe the Plumber' again) went, and I even managed to swallow most of my anger at Obama, ever professorial, refusing to once and for all get him to just shut up. (Yes I am aware that he must, at all times, avoid coming off like the angry black man, but a nice, articulate, slightly stinging rebuttal would have even gotten my sugar back down and you KNOW black folk don't play about their sugar.)
But I simple couldn't contain myself a moment longer when John McCain called Obama a socialist.
Before I get to that, let's address the fallacy I saw at this point in Obama. Quite simply, he faltered. Where he could have been swift and concise in his denial and subsequent explanation of his plans and what they actually mean, he looked like a deer caught in headlights and painted himself a modern day Robin Hood in asserting beliefs in "spreading wealth around", thus giving substance to an otherwise incredulous idea.
Saying Barack Obama is a socialist is quite an extreme overstatement, the type of which I am thoroughly sick of in this election season from BOTH sides. It is quite obviously an attempt to paint Barack as elitist, unAmerican, and out of touch, attacks from the McCain campaign that, try as they might, have not picked up traction no matter how they present it, how many times they say it, or how badly they believe it. I will consider this the more egregious of those attempts.
Socialism is generally defined as;
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
Of course in the Republican attack machine they choose to focus on the less known, Marxist form;
in Marxist theory the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
I believe, despite being a staunch supporter of Senator Obama, that anyone who has listened to his plans with a critical ear, doesn't see a present day Communist though I am certain that's what he's being called in some less informed (read: bigoted) circles.
As someone who has studied all the claims of both candidates, as I believe every voter should do no matter what their party affiliation, I find the claim to be outrageous and indicative of the despicable McCain campaign the last few weeks (unlike some, I believe that up until his appointment of Sarah Palin, he ran a fairly, while albeit not wholly, admirable and above the board campaign. But I guess that doesn't quite rile the base like a good ol' condescending speech mocking someones life's work). Barack's proposal, while certainly not as simplistic as he tries to state it, is raising taxes 3% on those making $250,000 or more a year. (Read the whole thing here.)
Just as a side note Senator McCain, by your 13 houses and 9 cars standards, $250,000 might not make you "rich" as you so condescendingly kept reiterating while Senator Obama was trying to speak, but if you ask a single mother, or a recent grad struggling to pay off student loans or most people living in an urban community, $250,000 a year IS rich to them
Let's take the example of Joe
Which brings us to the real point of why that whole exchange during the debate bothered me:
Are we really THAT selfish America?
Granted, I recognize that I am not one of those ignorant bigots who believes that everyone who isn't making $250,000 a year or is accepting some form of government assistance is a lazy minority parasite, intent on living off the hard work of others. That's not to say that those people don't exist because I am not that naive nor hopeful, no matter how much I indulge Mr. Obama's frequent talk of hope. But, having had the opportunity to actually know some of those people (that is to say, rather than getting my information from talking points delivered by people who have probably never known struggle a day in their life to people who are so intent on ignorance that they don't even bother to question such a silly assertion), I recognize that this is not indicative of some vast majority of lower and middle class. Whether we like to admit it or not because of what it then implies about us, this country is not one that has an equal or level playing field for all. It is not, by the sheer nature of its history, a place where everyone is able to pull him or herself up by their own bootstraps. That is not to say that they don't try. Or even to say that they are incompetent or lazy. But there are certain factors at work that make that infinitely more difficult than, say, being born to an upper middle class family and then marrying your way into money to support your political dreams.
That all in all though is a totally different subject.
Instead I will use myself as an example.
I am young. I am college educated. I have had only 2 full years in the workforce full-time (9 if you include technically starting to work when I was 15). I have a stable job, at a well known company, I go to work everyday, I have health insurance and I have no children. I am not now, nor have I ever received any kind of government assistance of any kind (unless you count student loans, which I don't because I gotta pay that mayhem back).
At 24 years old, I am over $100,000 in debt.
Now, lest you believe that I am just utterly ridiculous in my spending, about $15,000 of that in in debt that I didn't necessarily have to take on (car note, credit cards). But in order to pursue that elusive fallacy called the American dream, I was told I needed to go to college. So I did.
And that's where it got me.
I pay my bills as much as I can on what little I make, I make arrangements for the rest. I, like just about every other recent college grad I know, have had to defer my student loan payments to the tune of an additional $15,000 in interest because I, like many of my counterparts, got screwed on my student loans. I don't have children to take care of, I don't have a home mortgage that I can default on. I thankfully have health insurance, but it is somewhat expensive for my paltry income. As it stands, I hold down 2 jobs, and I am looking for a 3rd to cover the shortfalls that I still see every month (and it should be said that I make more on my part time job than some make at full time jobs). I have been actively looking for a better paying job for more than 8 months. (Lest you question what I mean by "actively looking" I mean sending out resumes, going on interviews, utilizing the services of headhunters and recruiters.) I work damn hard to take care me and my dog. I very rarely ask my own family for money, let alone have I ever required government assistance. Partly because of my own pride but mostly because I am still finding ways to survive without needing it, and I wouldn't want to ever take away from someone who needs it to survive more than I.
That's what Joe and others like him will pay in taxes a year, a difference in $804.
$52, 682 is more than my entire annual salary, even before taxes.
I am not, outside of having the fortune and misfortune of being born a minority in this country, any of those things that so many people say they don't "want to support". I am not lazy. I am not ignorant. I don't have a household full of kids born out of wedlock. I am not on welfare. I go to work every single damn day.
Would you stand in my face and tell me that you wouldn't be willing to spend $804 more dollars and year so that I can go to graduate school, almost a necessity in this day? Would you tell me that you weren't willing to spend that so that I can get an apartment on my own one day, let alone ever buy a house? So that I could get the loan to start the performing arts school I want to open in my hometown?
On a grander scale, what we have lost in our great country isn't just accountability or work ethic. We have lost a greater sense of community. We no longer want to pay it forward and contribute to the greater good of all. There is far less a greater sense of duty not only to country but to each other than we have ever experienced. We have succumb to the belief that we accomplish our dreams on our own, through our own hard work and perseverance, forgetting the teachers that invested in us, the coaches that taught us life skills, the people who donated their time and effort to help our entrepreneurial enterprises before there was money to be paid, the customers that supported our business before we could even really call it a business. We have somehow convinced ourselves that once we accomplish our dreams, we owe nothing to anyone coming behind us and it is up to everyone else to figure out how to accomplish theirs. This loss of community is more starkly reflected in our minority communities, as many of them were already light years ahead of the decline. But we have lost a sense that all of us, no matter our color or religion or native land or tax bracket are a part of a whole picture, a big picture. We are all responsible for helping each other to the best of our abilities. We all affect each other. If you don't believe me, research how other people defaulting on their home mortgages is affecting your property values or the likelihood that your child can get a loan to pay for the astronomical cost of college.
We are selfish. And for the greatest country in the world to be victim of it's own hamartia is sad. My grandmother used to speak of a country built on the strength of its communities. Simple things like taking food to the house of a neighbor who recently suffered a death in the family. Calling the police if you sensed trouble. Giving what you could afford to spare to the single mother spending time working in someone else's house so that she could afford to keep her own for her and her family. Now, we stay to ourselves, soothing our souls by saying it's not our problem, that we shouldn't get involved. We have somehow not only convinced ourselves that these acts are not necessary or helpful, we have managed to delude ourselves into thinking that it is not our duty as American, as humans to help others that comprise this country.
I am not a statistic or a talking point. I am an American, trying just like most other people, to realize my full potential. There are days when I want to give up, when I think it would be easier to not go to work, to default on all my debt, to let someone else figure out what to do about it. But I never do. Because I recognize that doing so would be to the detriment of more than just myself. I am no island, and neither are you.
If $804 meant that I didn't have to watch my neighbor move his wife and three children out of their home, and sell it for 1/4 of what it was worth, I'd pay it. If it meant I could know what happened to them, that their family had somewhere to call home, I'd do it, even on my current salary. And be not deceived; $804 is a fortune to me right now.
I expect the slights in this campaign season to be many. I expect for there to be false or exaggerated claims made on both sides. No matter the talk of change, it is the ugliest part of our political landscape. Most of this I have learned to tune out.
But to call a man a Socialist, because he calls for every American to contribute to their greater community at large so that ALL can prosper, that is downright despicable.
I, much like Senator Obama, would consider it my honor to help a fellow countryman's dreams come true.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Muze, one of my favs
1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘honest weblog’
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
5. And then we pass it on!
And now I have to tell you all my business...
1. There is a blogger out there that could TOTALLY get it. If either of us were ever single and in the same neck of the woods... **fans self**
2. I technically* didn't lose my virginity the way I say I did. And no, you will NEVER hear the story.
3. I was once taught how to hot wire cars. Because I'm DOPE. lol
4. I used to help a favorite teacher grade tests. I changed the test scores of one girl in my class because I knew that if she brought home a B her abusive father would use it as an excuse to beat on her.
5. I once encouraged a friend in college to sleep with this random chick that I introduced her to while we were living in NYC even though I was pretty sure that the friend wasn't gay.
I was wrong.
Fast forward four years, she's married and living in San Francisco, and her wife looks like Dania Ramirez. (Whom I have a huge girlcrush on.) *sigh* That's what I get.
6. I fucked a really good friend of First Love on some get back shit. I can barely believe myself. The worst part; it was sooooo wack*. The catch? He doesn't know that I know he knows, lol.
7. Under different circumstances, one of Bob's friends could TOTALLY get it, lol.
8. I'm pretty sure my Daddy cheated on my stepmom. I should stop going through people's phones. I always find things I don't wanna find.
9. I sometimes take the time to read white supremacist websites. Not because I agree with their views of course, but because I think that it's important to remind myself that kinda hate exists in the world despite the liberal people I've surrounded myself with.
10. I am just now coming to the realization that I might be talented enough to have the career I want... and even still, I am mostly unsure. We'll see...
I nominate X... cuz she needs something to write about.
Joy... because I don't think she's really gonna tell you anything good. Consider this a CHALLENGE!!!! lol
Wise... cuz otherwise we might never get an update.
Veronica... cuz she's dope... and cuz I'm nosy, lol. (How on earth did we go to the same school for 4 years, know basically the same people and NOT hang out more? lol)
Mr. Jones... because he is an absolute mess. And because I know he'll have really good ones.
I can't think of anyone else to nominate. Most everyone else has already done it. And those that haven't, there is very little hope of them being forthcoming enough for this to be interesting, lol.
But if you haven't done it and you want to have at it! And let me know in the comments so I can come be all up in your business.
Now get outta here! Nosy ass niggas.
*La reserves the right to harshly judge her sexual partners based on their bedroom prowess or lack thereof and disregard them from her official "number" at will.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I was almost not gonna post about the debate. I made it through the most of the initial minutes of the debate with my blood pressure almost in tact (and you know black folks don't play about their sugar) and I had already decided that I would go ahead and do the Honest Blogger thing that I've been nominated for. And I am sure that if you read this you have a pretty clear understanding of how I feel about Sarah Plain and Tall. I was SO close to not saying anything disparaging about her on the blog (I may or may not have called her bringing Beau Biden into her criticism of Obama and Biden 'shameful, disgusting, and a putrid carcass of dying Republican strategy'). As far as her performance goes, let's be honest; just short of bursting into tears and running off stage to curl up in the fetal position in the wings, there wasn't much she could do to fuck it up. And fuck up she did not. She was every bit the likeable, folksy redneck her future son-in-law is proud to be.
But I will say this...
As a woman, who may or may not take great pleasure in referring to her (brass iron) balls, and willing to put them on the table next to any man, it is positively INFURIATING to watch Palin be condescending and snarky in a way that Joe Biden could not be. I almost, almost wanted him to, well, be Joe Biden and all but send her back to Alaska to debate in the PTA she loves so much. But for her to be so damn sarcastic, and really just outright rude and low in some of her comments, and for him not to be able to say a word in retort, is enough to set women back quite a few decades.
Because I am not a delicate fucking flower. I don't need to be handled with kid gloves because I am a woman. I don't need some guy to have special coaches to teach him how to best talk to me so he won't hurt my feelings just because I have a uterus.
Because I have balls.
And Sarah Palin does not.
To that end, I was happy that Sarah Palin didn't make everyone woman with half a brain cringe as she pretended she was even remotely close to answering the questions being asked. I even laughed out loud when she winked at the camera, a childish, flirty move, the likes of which I don't think I would ever see out of any woman who wanted to be taken seriously in any arena, much less a political one. (Granted, I was laughing AT her but still...)
Oh and Sarah? Defense of your candidate isn't exclaiming, "Well Barack did it too!" If you have a rebuttal, the rebut. (Actually, for that matter, the same goes for the other 3 people on the ticket as well. Take note Biden.) If not, talk about energy some more. Or we'll pretend you just mispronounced General McKiernan (multiple times) not that you just didn't really know his name despite the flashcard tests you've been given. We'll even pretend that you are answering some semblance of the question you were asked. But please, for the love of God, if you don't have a proper rebuttal other than taunts of, "He did it too!" and running away from the big bad Biden bully on the playground, do us all a favor and treat us to one of your trademarked bewildered silences, and shut the hell up.
And Katie Couric, the happiest woman in the world, annoyed you by asking you questions she asked all the other candidates?
And as a note...
I am so in heart with Joe Biden.
Sure, he's 62, white, and very married but still. Look at this!
Do you see that smile? *swoon*
I am quite well known for my love of all people who have a difficult time being politically correct, as I sense in them a kindred spirit. And seeing as how I am physically incapable of holding my tongue, I am not parts of politically correct, and I tend to be quite long winded, don't you see how this is a perfect match? lol
If I wasn't already pretty sure that I was going to vote for Obama, his appointment of Joe Biden would have cemented it for me. I adore the fact that he isn't afraid to disagree with his boss, that he is obviously highly intelligent, and moreover, and that he is known for verbal gaffes. What more could you ask for in a VP?
Anything but lipstick.
P.S. I don't have any children, so I can't imagine what it would be like to be faced with the possibility of losing them. Moreover, I don't know what it's like to lose a baby before you even get to know them, or a spouse far before you intended to. So for all those who think that Biden faked getting choked up at the thought of almost losing his entire family, you make me absolutely sick. And you should be ashamed of yourself.
I imagine that no parent ever forgets how close they came to losing their child. And that's a hell of alot more genuine than espousing your similarities to a pitbull or a six pack.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Unless you forget to REALLY clean out your email.
Going through the myriad of folders in my multiple email homes in search of some info that will directly aid Bob and I's Thanksgiving trip this year, I happen across one folder I forgot to clear.
And there they are. The carcasses of every friendship and relationship that has since festered and died going all the way back to '03.
And despite my better judgement, I start to read.
And the more I read, the more I want to see.
Insatiable about excavating my emotional ruins, mostly.
And then there it is.
There once was a time I couldn't imagine my life with too many
people... and now I can't imagine you not in it.
"You miss me yet?"
"Very good answer."
"I always miss you when you're not by my side."
"I've never taken you for granted, or ever wanted
to be without you, I just made a promise..."
I flip through the emails, loading page after page, reminding me how far I've come. It doesn't kill me anymore, not like it once did. My day doesn't stop, but maybe my smile falters a little, for a moment.
I shake my head at back then, smile a few times, sigh a bit more. My heart doesn't leap up my throat, but at the same time I feel the coldness settle into my stomach that reminds me that it was all so... wasted.
"Tell me you love me."
I click the mouse twice for delete all. And sigh one more time.
It doesn't hurt anymore, but sometimes it still stings.