The psycho girlfriend revisited and the spouse is still a b****

I’m beginning to understand that facebook is not only an evil spouse but a draggy, boozy, hateful floozy that should be divorced posthaste, but my enabling ass keeps hanging on, making excuses for the egregious behavior in the hopes that she will turn herself around, see what she has turned into, make herself into a good, uplifting place

That ain’t happening

That crazy bitch is getting crazier because she is encouraged by all kinds of anonymous instigators, aided and abetted by a system that makes it impossible to weed out the hate without deleting wholesale entire pages and that just pisses me off

The system makes it hard to weed out dumb shit

I believe she has a learning disability, really

The girlfriend looks more enticing every day because her threads are in real time, happening within seconds because she knows what I like, what I crave

She gives me the news I want, not necessarily in an echo chamber because there are always drive-by haters that make it interesting

is it a bot or a troll?  Is this real news or fake?  Are there enough characters to say what I want?  Better tighten it up

She’s a great editor, the best, and I love her for that, haters and racists and apologists, all

It’s a wonderful life

There’s a lady in my neighborhood that walks around the block and waves when she sees me

I like her in a neighbor way

One night, she knocked on the door and I saw her scalp glistening under the porch light and the sweat making little streams down her face and she was carrying several sweating bags

She said in her quavery voice that her husband is a deacon at the church and they got produce and would I like a bag of carrots?  I said yes, thank you and as she handed me a bag of cold carrots, she asked hopefully if I wanted anymore because she had plenty of them

I said no thank you.  My mama taught me to never take more than I need, but she offered again, and again, I said, no, thank you.  She walked away in the darkness and I was stricken with guilt

A terrible, middle of the night guilt that wakes me up in a cold sweat

I should have taken all her bags of carrots and not allowed her cancer-stricken, frail kindness to walk all the way around the block in the dark with the sweat running down her face

The train to nowhere

I saw this sign for a subway line in Manhattan

And I remembered a time in life when I was certain that New York was a magical place, full of beautiful people, glamorous restaurants, excitement around the clock

And in my small town southern mind, I was

sure this Oz was the pinnacle of achievement but I grew up and got jaded in the ways of big cities and the myths of their magic

That subway sign reminded me of the smells of vomit and piss, the sight of a junkie drooling, his pants unzipped obscenely in a sad, not sexy way

I didn’t KNOW these things, mind you

It was another myth with just a grain of truth because the magic is still there with the reality and the woman going home after her day job is just as real with her sore legs and her choice of joints to have a cocktail and a burger that those of us in the rest of the country won’t know because we don’t have the mythology of New York in our cities, which makes us just a little jealous

 

A word about racism

Nearly every white person I know has an opinion on racism.  Depending on who you ask, you will get answers all over the map.

“Why bring that up? You’re just causing trouble!”

“This is too big a subject.”

“I’m not racist.”

“I’m not racist, but . . . ”

“I’m definitely not racist.  You are racist for bringing it up”

“We need to listen to POC and help them get through our institutional racism with us”

“Fuck you, n***** lover, we will put you in the oven, too”

“Racism is a terrible problem.  I just don’t know what I can do to combat it”

“I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”

I get it, white people.  When you’ve heard the dog whistle of welfare queen, the media alarmist gang thugs, the condescension of learned scholars espousing sincerely held fallacies, the family jokes, the anecdotes, been treated poorly, been glared at, been mocked when you’ve tried to be an ally, it can get exhausting.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to fall back on privilege and secretly gloat, because, dammit, they are ungrateful, lazy bastards anyway, taking my tax dollars to sit at home/deal drugs/eat better than me/why should I bend over backwards to accomodate them?

Or, those poor people.  They need my sympathy and my superior decision making ability to help them make the right choices in life and in politics.  I want to march with them, show solidarity with them, wear my hair like theirs, listen to their music, use their slang.

Sorry.  Pedestals are for statues, not people.  Objectifying race as inherently noble, or dehumanizing race as inferior, is the same thing.

Them.

Those people.

Those nasty, babymaking, mooching, illegal sons of bitches, except for my home boy/my lawn guy/my pool cleaner.  THEY are all right.

The keyword is THEM. And therein lies the root of the problem.

Ask a farmer how he feels about Mexicans and he will likely tell you he would be on the street without the migrants coming over every year to do the backbreaking labor that no white person will touch.  Ask a border state about illegals and you will get the party line, but go into the factories, the ice cream plants, the chicken plants, the abbatoirs, the people that keep the nation supplied and they will tell you in whispers that illegals are the best workers they have.  Don’t believe me? Get in good with a line supervisor, take them out for a beer, and hear the truth.  The quiet truth.  The truth that racism denies vehemently.

Them.

Those people.

I have lived and worked with many differenct cultures my whole life.  From descendants of slaves to freshly immigrated Ethiopians, to Mexicans here illegally trying to scratch out enough money to send back home to their impoverished families.  What I carry every day is my white privilege and guess what?  I. know. it. That I’m gay and grew up with hideous discrimination and hate does not make me feel as if I am on a level playing field with POC. I’m still privileged.

Today, I endured a little harrassment at the store.  Not enough to make an essay about it.  Just the usual side eye and stiffening up of the white person supposedly giving me customer service.  No worries.  Been there, not calling them out.  I pick my battles judiciously at this age.

On the way out, I was pushing my cart toward the door when a young lady of color was coming down the main aisle.  We met nearly together.  I waved her on, but the look of suspicion on her face as she waved me on told me everything.  I went ahead, and turned back to her and said, oh, it’s like that.  Age before beauty.

Her face lit up and she started laughing.  Why?  At that moment, I recognized her and she accepted it.  We are  in this thing together.  Her father or grandfather, I don’t know which, just grinned.  He and I are of an age.

I was blessed with endless curiosity.  I want to know what makes people tick, who they are, why they like cupcakes instead of donuts.  The Korean confllict veteran standing behind me in line wasn’t a hero to me because he retired from the Air Force.  He was a hero because his stooped body was carrying two six-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper and I let him go ahead of me.

 

I guess my point is this.  Humanity is human.  I will not venerate a title, I will venerate a person’s humanity.  One person at a time.  I will empathize with the woman who lost her daughter to someone else’s horrible actions.  I will respect the anger and helplessness that POC feel at a given time.  I will NOT respect whataboutism.  Stay in your lane, keep your eyes on your own paper, and sweep your side of the street.

I’m reminded daily of a saying I heard a quarter of a century ago about talking to people and trying to make a point.  He said, “You can talk all day long about shit.  You can believe your own shit.  Just remember, anytime you hear, ‘yes, but’, bullshit is coming.  Guaranteed.”

We are in this together.  We. Us. All of us.  The totality of humanity.  We are not getting out alive.  Let’s make the best of it together.

 

Fever dreams

The table shines

Sunlight slants across the window

Heat glimmers up from the sidewalk bright, so bright it hurts.   She touches the table and grips the edges in a bid to hang on to the present even as the present fades to foggy remembered moving so deep and moving so strong

 the past shines as bright with a knowing of the truth that her lover’s mouth, her cocoa mouth that gleamed as bright as the sunlight with dimples creasing her smile that tasted just like salt and smoky sweet a feast of earthy delight whipping the white sheets in a tangle of twirls and laughter and moans

That the husband never knows

And the church never knows

And nobody will ever know the tenuous grip it takes to hold the table and the real when the real is in a dream, a fevered dream

Menopause Pee

After a drink or two, I have to go

I sit down

Nothing happens

My bladder has mixed up 3 am with 9 pm

Go!

Bladder says, meh-maybe I will. Maybe I won’t

Pro tip: Don’t scream at said bladder in a Racetrak restroom

Not every woman can embrace truth

Who even knows the mystery?

The Columbus Chronicles, episode 4

 

We can still smoke in the bar

a relief for the reprobates

Pretty soon the pine smell is obliterated and a

blue haze floats just above our heads

We’ve become animated, my barfly friends and me

outside the sun creeps down the west side of the street

and brightens the inside just barely

we play liar’s poker, crack peanuts so stale

the shells are rubber pellets

popcorn is fresh, though

The woman with the Lucy eyelashes and smeared lipstick

laughs out loud with a bray that donkeys envy

I see black molars and bits of popcorn falling out of her mouth

A younger guy, maybe 25. slips off his stool and staggers to

the men’s room.  We laugh and catcall at his stumbling

silently vow to make sure we don’t do the same thing

After all, it’s only 7 am and real people that do real jobs

are prancing down the sidewalk

and we aren’t there