Since I can always deny it if you read this, I'll tell you a secret. The reason why we 69 only when you're blindfolded is so that you don't see the skin tag on my asshole. It's also the reason why we do doggy only in the dark.
I wonder what I'd be like had you not smelled my daddy issues like, like a shark scents blood in the water. What kind of life I'd have if you never whispered obscenities down the phone line into my fourteen year old ears. What I'd think about love, and sex had I not given up my virginity in a one night stand so you wouldn't be disappointed. Or even if I hadn't learned from you that love, sex, and the person you're fucking are of no consequence so long as I get mine. It's no wonder that I am terrified by love and find sex to be hollow, and have an overwhelming fear of abandonment.
This is my body. 36. 33. 36. Cellulite on the backs of my thighs, a highway of broken capillaries, mapping the pot holes of cottage cheese. This is my body. Tits beginning to sag with age as the years stretch out longer with nipples scarred by youthful piercings when we all believed we were indestructible. This is my body. With a belly that is no longer flat, but mushes like soft bread; an effect of diminishing estrogen. This is my body. Criss-crossed with scars, tattoos and crows feet which whisper the secrets that I've forgotten long ago. This is my body. As I stand naked before a mirror and will myself to love it though it juxtaposes what mass media dictates. This is my body. Mine to love, hate, exploit, destroy, sanctify. This flesh and bone. This is home. This is where I live.
I saw someone’s guts today.
By that I mean the gaping hole in his belly was so large that, when he pulled the brownish-yellow iodine and blood soaked gauze away from it, I could see the pink, lumpy tubing of his lower digestive tract, slick with hot, red blood.
He and my kid brother share a name – a name once made famous by Alan Ladd in the 1950’s. Both of them are tall and whip thin; only one of them has a Southern accent – the other has all of his teeth.
He had run away from the hospital after two months of doctors cutting away his flesh. Finally he decided that going back to the streets was the better option.
“They said I got cancer. Maybe I should go back south. My grand baby was born yesterday, and I’d sure like to see him before I die.”
In his father’s tongue his name means “the heart,” a name so apt that I wondered if his parents had some notion of the kind of man he’d become. He looked like a child to me; wide dark almond eyes, and wild curly hair that sprung from his scalp like a lion’s mane, as soft as sheep’s wool. Even his hands looked like a child; tiny and chubby, decorated with delicate fingernails.
I learned he was gay, HIV+ and suffered from a rapidly deteriorating mental illness that closely resembled schizophrenia. When I first came to the shelter I would find him outside, lounging in the sun. He gave huge smiles, tight hugs, told excellent jokes, and held my hand. But as the summer began to die, I watched my friend start to fade.
The days became shorter and his catatonic episodes increased. He’d isolated himself entirely – that is until crashing and screaming was heard from his room. He emerged, drenched in in blood and disappeared into the underbelly of the local hospital.
“Why would I talk to someone who doesn’t give a fuck about me?”
His right index finger was jabbed against the corner of his mouth giving him a deeply pensive look as he described the conditions at another shelter in a soft, deep voice. The very same side held a deep indentation at the temple, as if someone had gently pinched his head like a ball of dough. In the middle of his forehead was a deep, jagged scar.
The bullet was still in there, he told me while pointing to his temple, and another in his chest. He’d been cornered by a man with a gun, trying to roll him for what little money he had. It was fight or flight situation – he fought.
“The last thing I remember thinking was that I had to make it home to my kids.”
He was the first friend I made at the shelter. A sort, stocky white guy with sleeve tattoos, a graying beard, icy blue eyes and no teeth. We played cards while he told me about he’d been arrested for selling crack in the early 2000’s, and the abandoned garage and lumber yard he slept in at night.
He told me about his current struggles with crack; how he’d crawl out of that filthy abandoned garage, smoke crack and cry about how he’d lost his way so terribly. He’d ask me to hold his money so he couldn’t score, but he’d come back and retrieve it from me the next day.
Then one day he disappeared. Eventually I found him in jail for violation of probation. Now, months later, he’s been released and I cannot find him. Earlier this week a man matching his description was killed by a freight train….the identity still hasn’t been released.
“I hate this. I fucking hate myself! I don’t want to do this shit… but i just can’t stop.”
***Italicized quotes are actual words from the guests’ mouths.***
I want you to find my hair in your bed; a rainbow of reds, pinks, browns, blues, greens, blonde and maybe even a little bit of gray. I want you to find it wrapped around the base of your cock when you take a shower, and between your ass cheeks, in your mouth when you eat lunch, scattered across your favorite clothes and clinging to your cat's tail, plastered on your shower curtain, and in thin, curling esses around the drain of your bathtub.
"Welcome home," and by 'home' I meant my pussy as you slid deeply inside of me. 'Home' because you fit perfectly, your cock anchoring me to the ground of your being where our spirits mingle with each other in the full embodiment of co-creation.
Sorry for cumming too quick, baby, I was swept away by the feel of your fingers sliding between my folds, and your kisses between my shoulder blades, and the whisper of your breath on my neck as you murmured you'd missed me.
The first week of classes is officially complete … and, holy shit, am I tired.
My first class with Cornel West was on Tuesday, and his presence is… stunning. He holds forth in the classroom, and like the best of Baptist preachers knows how to move his body and use his voice to draw you in, raise the energy in the room and hold that energy for three hours. He is intellectually powerful, and his spirit is Titan. Coincidentally, I met him on the street after class. I was smoking a cigarette while speaking with another student when he stopped to have a chat. I was amazed by the change in him; he was gentle, and very, very PRESENT WITH YOU IN THAT MOMENT. And I don’t mean present with you like you feel you’re under a microscope – I mean that he is THERE. The only time I’ve felt that way is a few years ago when I was running from soldiers with a group of teenage boys in one of the conflict zones I work in — we were running, and I felt totally in my body but at the same time to totally present with these boys…. we were TOGETHER.
These brief interactions with him gave me a lot of food for thought as I rode the train to my room that night. I was thinking about how so many of my seminarian friends perceive me — as the loud mouth that makes them giggle in delight. I never particularly understood that last part – why my sassy mouth would bring such glee. As the train was cutting through the city I thought about the contents of what I say – that my “loud mouth” is often a product of my frustration. You can say I have a particularly low tolerance for bullshit – and you know some shit is about to go down when I say something along the lines of, “let’s call a spade a spade,” which is always followed by me calling it how I see it.
And then it hit me; my goal in coming to this particular seminary was to “find my prophetic voice.” Prophets, as Heschel described them, are the scream in the night. Over the last year I’ve gotten less and less patient, which has caused me to become louder and louder in the classroom and elsewhere. Paralleling that, I’ve noticed that my care for offending people, pleasing them, comforting them, their judgement or their discomfort has plummeted to zero. I just don’t give a FUCK. I have no hesitation in calling someone or something out on their bullshit. I’m done.
And that’s when I realized that I’ve found my Prophetic voice. That I’ve become so deeply rooted in my own work and message, that everything else has burned away – that I can see clearly and move forward.
I was once convinced
by an ex to go with him
to a music festival.
Three days of speed metal
during the daylight hours and
techno and trance at night.
We spent two days high
on acid, laughing ourselves
silly at random shit.
When we were finally
able to fall asleep, I was
woken up hours later by
the sound of rushing
water and when I opened
my eyes I saw my purse
float by. I turned over
to find him standing at
the mouth of the tent
and pissing into it,
rather than out of it;
“Friend,” I asked in my
gentlest tone, “is this
prudent? Do you think,
maybe, this is a bad
decision?” He looked
at me, a mixture of
confusion and defiance,
and without hesitation
aimed his dick at me
and pissed between my
eyes. That day I learned
you don’t ask questions
in these situations, and
you can’t argue with
a pissed off pisser.
‘God, I hope she doesn’t shit on me.’
That was the stray thought that flitted through my mind like an alley cat as I held Calva’s head off of the tiled floor.
I was the first to see her eyes roll and her face contort into the ghoulish carnival mask that foretold of the oncoming seizure – facial muscles jerking, mouth sucking at the air like a fish out of water – but a blockade of chairs and anxious lookers-on prevented me from being swift enough to stop her head from slamming onto the cheap tile floor with a crack that echoed through the room.
It was by luck of the draw that Nancy – another Worker’s girlfriend who was an RN – was visiting at that time, and that she was the first to Calva’s side. I hovered dumbly over the both of them, never having seen someone seize before I had no idea what to do.
“Go get something to cover her bottom half,” Nancy’s voice snapped me out of my useless fretting, and gave me a task to focus on. Calva had been wearing a dress, and was now familiarizing half of the shelter with the exact shape and texture of her genitals.
“Now what?” I asked once I ended the peep show.
“There’s really nothing you can do for someone having a seizure. You just turn them on their side and let them go,” she replied with a glance to her watch.
I held Calva’s head in my hands, her course buzz cut tickling my palms as I willed my comfort into her flesh. The seconds crept into minutes as her body continued to jolt until, bit by bit, her body relaxed and her breathing became steady.
Of course that’s when the ambulance came.
The slamming of the stretcher caused Calva’s eyes to snap open, and whip wildly around the room.
“It’s ok,you’re at the shelter,” I cooed as they roughly hoisted her body on to the stretcher.
“I’m clean! I’ve been clean for years! Don’t let them put my in jail!”
“Calva… CALVA!! You’re not going to jail – you’re going to the hospital, you had a seizure.”
“Shit, that’s all? Well, let’s go!”