Excerpt from Recipes for the Ascension

24 Nov

I’ve been working on a new book of poems that mostly involve recipes. This is one towards the end of the book.

From Recipes for Ascension

 (At the End of the Cookbook)

I have

Nothing left to make

You need only

Ether and air

Our space elusive

To my talents

These days I forget to eat

A strange phenomenon

To a woman like me

Who makes love

In measured

Ingredients

Who makes love

At just the right

Temperature

 

I have nothing to

Offer you now–

I prefer this:

Closed eye loss

And that longing

which signals

I might be alive.

A Language Not Always Universal

22 Nov

Since I first heard this Junot Diaz quote I’ve been intrigued:

“Motherfuckers will read a book that’s 1/3 elvish, but put two sentences in Spanish and White people think we’re taking over.” – Junot Diaz

For some of us, our language is universal. For others, it’s not. Dig it. My English is not universal. My use of Spanglish—which is more or less a given for everyone in the western states is not universal. But I speak it and people respond. I write it and people respond. How would I know that at the beginning of the 21st century one might not know what an abuelo is? Or a chola? Or a Tim Burton-esque landscape? Or an E-ticket ride.  Or who X was/is.

And there are actions that to me, speak universally but perhaps not to others. Of course, in my suburban world of Whittier the grandmothers ply you with drinks even though you’re underage. It’s the 1970s after all. Of course, none of the alienated college bound Mexican kids actually speak Spanish. Of course the fat girls are just as sexual as the skinny girls (if not more so). Of course there’s white trash run amuck. I mean, has no one read their James Ellroy? Do I have to explain that reference too? The loitering of youth? The lunar landscape of suburban decay?

I don’t really think I’m being that obtuse.

How many books had I read before I’d ever been to New York? How many before I’d been to England? How many references slipped through the cracks of my befuddled West Coast mind? Did I need my subway rides explained? Did I need my classical references mapped out? Could I just take in as much as I could the first time around? Could I file away other parts for later?

I was willing to do the work to understand worlds different from my own. Sometimes I missed some things. Me in 6th grade: Wow. British people drink a lot of fucking tea. Even when they are talking animals. What’s up with that? I guess someday I’ll find out. And I did eventually. Even if I’m more of a coffee drinker. Or today’s bestsellers from young women who went to privileged colleges writing about their angst to mean something. Wow. I guess in some worlds people pay for your education and then you get to worry about what you mean to the universe instead of foraging for food (Lena Durham, I’m talking to you). But you know what? I give their worlds a fair shake even if they aren’t my worlds.

You don’t have to get my references. You don’t. You can explore. You can figure it out. But you don’t have to. But I’m not translating for you. You’re big kids now. You can do the work.

 

Strange Angels & Beautiful Snakes

15 Nov

This is a love letter to a snake from a snake.

This is a love letter to an angel from a fallen one.

As anyone who has ever been married more than a measly five years can attest to, marriage –at least those that are partnerships, wax and wane. There are times when one looks over to the other side of the king size bed and thinks thank god you can stick pillows in the middle and make a fort out of this thing so we don’t have to see each other. There are weeks when you pass in the night like ships and there are months when you start dreaming up what your life will look like beyond marriage a la Kate Chopin’s Story of an Hour.

On most days at least I remember that my husband and I are friends. Buddies in the highest sense.  As a former fag hag, I’d say at the very least he’s my favorite gay boyfriend (except that at least in the sexual aspect of it, he’s not gay). He’s almost always been able to finish my sentences and he gets nearly all of my jokes. Do you know how valuable it is to live with someone who gets all of your jokes? Worth its weight in gold, I’d say.

But you know, just how attracted are people in long term relationships?  Oh baby, baby I just love your bald spot it gets me so hot. Oh sweetie can I touch your stretch marks? Yeah, not so much. That part takes work. But that’s superficial of course. Most of the time when I get turned on it’s because of something whacky. My husband loves weird flaws, strong women, and creatives. I like survivor stories and hard luck tales. I get bored when I find out a lover has had it too easy.

I once realized that a major reason I fell in love with my husband in the first place is that he held back mystery for himself. Like a snake, he hides in the grass,  wants to be unbothered. Will not strike unless provoked. Like a snake, he has no problem shedding his skin. Going naked before the world. He was into the visual arts. He could take or leave me . He wasn’t overly cuddly and he certainly would never suffocate me with love. That wasn’t his way or mine.  How can one not fall in love with someone who accepts someone else for who they are and doesn’t try to even remotely change him or her?

I am steadfastly loyal. No, I mean it. Even if I’m mad at someone, I’m still loyal. Even if I’m treacherous, I’m loyal. Even if my eye roams, I’m still loyal. I’m the one who will sit with you in the courtroom when they find out you’re a serial killer. Why? Because I bothered to be friends with you in the first place. And anyone who disses you? Well they are dissed by me too. Not too many people understand that. He’s like that too. It’s our quality of mutual respect.

Case in point. I was at a friend’s house the other day and they’d invited someone who’d done me wrong. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. But me? In reverse? I’d never had done it. I’d have written that person off as dirt even if they’d never done anything to me. Maybe it’s the Garcia in me. We hold long grudges and forgiveness is a word at the end of our vocabulary.

Also? Peri-Meno. I come home crying nearly every day for mostly no reason at all. I’m in pain. I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. I haven’t felt this unattractive since the day before my son was born and I’d swollen up preclampsia style to three times my normal size. Check this out: this couldn’t possibly be fun to live with. Who in their right minds would co-habitate with peri-meno women? It boggles the mind. It’s not safe. I mean no one ever knows when I’ll look over at something or someone and say fuck that’s it. I hate you. I hate life. I see all your faults and through you and hate you. I hate you for who you are. Certainly, that cannot be a pleasant existence.

Since going peri-meno sometime mid-summer I’ve quit my job and quit anything that didn’t hold any meaning for me. I’ve signed on to difficult things that meant a good deal but were harder emotionally. I’m not afraid to cry anymore. I’m not afraid to live. I’m not afraid to be me.

Which of course, can be alienating. You can see everyone move away from you on the bench.  If I’m guessing correctly, I’ve lost a couple of people in the last few months who cannot tolerate the confrontation of this kind of mirror.  It makes me a slight bit sad and no doubt it will make me cry at some point but on the other hand —gleaning matches the psyche of the peri-meno mind. Shedding of falsehood. Shedding of blood. Shedding like snake skin. This snake latches on to its end and holds stead fast and all else sheds away.

All this to say that the husband is still here. All this to say –I have a new found appreciation of the man, who , without so much as asking or whispering has remained constant, stalwart, steady. He’s okay living with snakes. All this to say when he kisses me, I feel on fire. Like our venom doesn’t poison us , but makes us stronger. Rejuvenates. Like he’s some strange angel sent to me and refuses to go away.  He is here through the blood, and the gore, and the guts of living. He’s here through the snares of other people. Other jobs. Other temptations. He’s here. He’s constant. He’s infinity.

Like he’s going to see me through the madness of writing books, of parenting children, of crossing into the other side of middle life. Fuck. That’s a hard ass job. And he takes it without so much as a word of complaint. He is stronger than I am. He left early this morning on a business trip. My heart left with him. A little part of it. And I miss him with a miss I haven’t felt in a long time.

In choosing life partners, I chose infinity. I chose well. I don’t know how I did that, but I did. Mi amor? Gracias.

 

 

 

Sanguine Dreams & Nightmares

14 Nov

I am channeling those books I’ve read. The ones I gave away at the end of Women’s Studies part I. I remember reading , acknowledging, hell in that happy hippy way affirming that the moon cycle was to be honored and contemplated and that instead of working against nature the way we are taught to –instead of medicating and cutting and slicing and ignoring–that we should stop and listen to what our bodies are telling us they need and act accordingly.

Which works fine when you have no obligations to anyone but one’s self. Doesn’t work so well when one is employed, a mother, a wife, a writer.

I think about hiding out in a cave, but I miss my friends and family. I think about sheltering them from my wounded-animal-will-bite-if-approached demeanor but then at the same time I need hugs.

I think about the ways the patriarchy has to solve these problems and how to most of the waking world, these aren’t problems at all? Uterus is complaining? Just have it cut out. They use words like ‘lacerate.’ Pain? Take some drugs. Curettage and comatose we are to get through middle life.

I know I look like an idiot for wanting to find another way. For wanting to find my way back to listening to my body. For wanting to be able to walk through the fire.  I am weak right now in body and mind and spirit.

But I have this crazy idea that this is the trial to make me stronger.

My Middle Aged Punk Band

13 Nov

My Middle Aged Punk Band

I’ve often thought that

Having a middle-aged all female punk band

Would be cool. It would be different

Than the first time around.

When I was 18 I screamed with a trio

Called the Celibate Sluts and after getting

Boyfriends and each others boyfriends

We went by Nubile Sponge

We broke up over boys and needing jobs

And food. And graduation.

We had anger on our side.

We had a patriarchy to take down.

We had armpit hair and our grandmothers’ credit cards

We had abusive boyfriends we

Didn’t tell anyone about because we were

Strong women who should know better.

 

I had no idea I would have

So much scream left in me.

I had no idea that the dominant paradigm

Would still be here

That insurance policies would baulk

At basic health care coverage.

That unqualified men could be hired over me

In the 21st century.

I thought all this shit would’ve been solved by now

And on top of this ?

The babies have been birthed

The marriages have been had

The careers have been misguided

I want to be in a middle aged all female punk band

I have scream left in me.

We will be called the Last Rotting Eggs

Or Random Facial Hair Hysteria

Or The Whore Moans

Or Men of Pause

We will want to belt songs like:

Jumping Jack Hot Flash

And Your Girlfriend is the same age as Our Daughter

And Fibroid Asteroid Belt and Bartholin Cyst Brigade

Over My Dead Ovaries

Texas Wand Probe Massacre

Cervix UnServiced

Don’t Talk You’re Stupid

I don’t want you for your mind

Not Tonight Honey, Get a Boyfriend

All Estrogened Up and No Place to Go

Midday Bloodbath Mental Pause

I know, I know you get the picture you don’t need

A road map. But maybe you do.

My middle aged all female punk band

Will tour the country.

Angry Uterine Lining will open up for us

Sweet looking 21 year old boys will

Follow us around like lap dogs

The drummer will take off with one

Of them. And never return. We’ll get

A younger drummer and then suddenly

Men our age will go to the shows.

The bass player will try

Women and discover she should

Have done that 20 years ago.

We tried to tell her at the time.

We will run out of money.

We will run out of venues that will have us.

The guitarist’s husband will wire us money

And pay a couple bills and ask

Are you sure you ladies wouldn’t

Just like a week in Cabo San Lucas instead?

But there’s still scream left in us.

There’s still the scream.

And often

Little else.

 

 

 

 

 

Words & Music Tomorrow Night in Quincy

13 Nov

I was the featured artist last month. This month it’s Hank Aldrich. I’m doing an extended version of the Me & My Mother in San Francisco during the Open Mike… 7 pm in la Quincy.  Patti’s Thunder Cafe.

My Son the Designer

10 Nov Santa Robot! Brand new design!
Santa Robot! Brand new design!

Santa Robot! Brand new design!

My son is having his first booth at a Christmas Bazaar in Greenville this Saturday! Roundhouse Council is sponsoring a Christmas Bazaar and he’ll be there with totebags, t-shirts, prints, and notecards with his now famous robots. https://www.etsy.com/shop/sierramaid is usually sold through my etsy shop (which is a little neglected right now). So if you can’t make it to Plumas National Forest and Greenville, CA this weekend. Check out his designs there on Monday. He does same day shipping. Oh and he’s 11 years old and is a filmmaker. Selling his designs helps finance his expensive film habit. He wants to work for George Lucas soon. Seriously. This is what happens when as a parent you give kids paint and paper over video games and endless hours of TV. Granted he is a film buff (hence the Buster Keaton for one), but he has a long attention span and damn it. Someone get this kid a scholarship now.

Mexican Wrestler Robot

Mexican Wrestler Robot

Diego Robot Designs

Featured in the Bill Murray Art Show in San Francisco last summer. Bill Murray as Steve Zizzou Robot

Featured in the Bill Murray Art Show in San Francisco last summer. Bill Murray as Steve Zizzou Robot

Original Robot

Original Robot

Buster Keaton Robot

Buster Keaton Robot

 

Mexican Wrestler Robot

Mexican Wrestler Robot

Zombie Robot

Zombie Robot

 

Bunny Robot

Bunny Robot

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