The Chicka Sisterhood

{May 24, 2008}   Eye.

The second time she was reborn, she was picked up by a cone-shaped cloud, flown fifteen miles, and deposited squarely in the center of a cattle pasture. It was a geometric, mystical experience that smelled of cow shit and dust and left her with a crude, rhombus-shaped scar on the side of her face.

But that was just the second time.

The first time she was reborn, medical machines were disconnected, and the breathing tube was taken from her throat, and she was allowed to float to the surface of some sort of anesthetic. She joked. She laughed. And then she felt bile coming from the pit of her stomach, and she screamed. She had needles poking into her veins every few hours for a few days, and then she was released back into the wild. She was a lab rat, holding a duffel bag in her lap, and being pushed in a wheelchair into the middle of downtown Cleveland. Naked and nameless.

Either way, she’s around now.

The funny thing about tornadoes is that they strip you of everything but your dignity. That is, they strip you of everything but your dignity unless you’re a trailer-park dweller in the middle of Kansas or Oklahoma or Nebraska, and then you, your dirty children and your food stamps will show up clearly on the evening news so all of Middle America can inspect the wreckage and the brunette roots sprouting from your bleached blond head. Everyone else might agonize, in private, over an impending storm, and then they lock themselves in bathrooms or closets with mattresses over their heads. And when it all passes, they might even feel a sick sort of adrenaline-laced pride from surviving.

Her? She never felt that pride the first time she was reborn. The second time, though–well, the second time always changes everyone.


They aren’t usual, nor terribly original for that matter. Most girls I meet have a route in life they’ve planned out. Whether it’s marriage, children, career, everyone seems to have a plan. That’s not my sort of plan. These are the things I want to do for the rest of my life:

Be aware of wonder. I want to walk into forests and revel in the beauty of thousands of years staring down at me from branches. I want the magnificent power of this earth to continue to take my breath away every chance it gets.

I want to read everyday of my life. It was my first love and I’d be content with it as my last.

I want to stay open to emotion. I like the fact that Polar Bears dying and countries being bombed still make me cry. It is important to me not to become jaded in the ways of the world. I am not alright with them, and I never want to be.

I want to remember that the way you treat others directly effects them. Not only just today, but potentially for the rest of their life. Be patient with children, teach them well and give them the tools they need to learn and suceed everyday.

I want my family to be in my heart always. I want to continue my most valued relationships and let them  blossom into adulthood.

I want photographs and writing to be an essential part of my being. They will tell my story when I no longer can.

I want to swim in the ocean at 3 am whenever I get the compulsion.

I want to see beauty in everyday occurences, and never let life slip through my hands.

I want to appreciate love, and not take the truth of it for granted.

I want to smile in the sunshine.

Just the short short of a long list… But it’s a list I’ve decided to keep. To remind myself that there is more to this life than today, and the decisions I make now are what will allow me to be happy then.

{April 24, 2008}   Sight

I’ve come to the conclusion that people see what they want to see. We all hate change; we all hate the idea of being left behind. And while we may know that the reason we are born is to overcome our own failings and leave this world a better place, we struggle with the concept. The truth is, the way we view the world determines the way the world shapes around us. There is no such thing as truth or illusion when talking about sight. What I see when looking at the world is different from what you see; let’s honor our differences and be kind to one another.

What do I see? A beautiful girl. Finally.

Sight, copyright CMP, 2008

{April 4, 2008}   6am

Self doubt creeps into the room in the middle of the night.

What did she mean when she said, he knows what you look like, right?

Am I so terrible looking?

And of course he knows what I look like.

Your self portraits aren’t you.

They’re me. More than anything else in the world, they’re me.

I don’t see you in them. He knows what you look like, right?

Surely the heavy-set girl can get the boy.

Surely the heavy-set girl deserves to get the boy.

Surely the heavy-set girl is a desireable partner and soulmate.

What did she mean? I look hideous. Why would I even consider this?

I don’t know. What’s the likelihood this is going to go anywhere, anyway? Now, how’s dinner for you on the 30th? It’s the only day I can do it. You can tell me about this photography… thing… hobby…

{March 29, 2008}   A Morning in the Life…

…of a neurotic with a loud conscience.

‘Sit down. Sit down I say!

‘Good. Now ask yourself why this bothers you so much. It’s very important to be able to understand and identify why the first thing you feel when you wake in the morning is a wave of some sort of inner nausea.

‘Yes, so that phone call with your boyfriend away on work hadn’t gone so well. You were waiting on that call for days weren’t you? Well that means that you are disappointed. There we go, we can identify this sick feeling as ‘disappointment’.

‘You also feel as though he was upset with you right? Because you reprimanded him for not calling earlier as you were worried about him going away for a week without definite plans for accommodation.  So your worry came across as being aggressive so you feel a little guilty because all you wanted to do was hear from him and then you feel as though you spoiled everything when you finally did hear from him. There we go, that feeling was also due to you feeling ‘guilty’.

‘What else?

‘So your guest performance with the band last night didn’t go as well as you had hoped because you couldn’t hear yourself on stage. You’re so bent on producing flawless performances and you don’t feel confident about how it went because you couldn’t actually hear properly. Well people seemed to enjoy it so stop beating yourself up about it.  You’re just disappointed about this too. Once again you are ‘disappointed’.

‘Anything else? No? Well there you go. You feel this way because you are under the influence of disappointment and guilt. So now we know what to do. You get off your bum and write a quick email to your partner and explain yourself. You were both a bit tired last night and it was hard to hear him on the phone over the music so he will understand. He’s great like that. There is no reason to feel so guilty you bloody worry wart.

‘As for your disappointed? Just get over it. Things won’t always go as you expect them.

‘Feel better? Good.

‘Go go have breakfast and get to work!!!!!!’

It’s hard living with myself… 😛

{March 29, 2008}   What comes of dreams

Dreams can be my worst enemy.

An inmeasurable happiness in the strangest of circumstances, falling yet landing so peacefully…

An impatient waking, every inch of my concious self pleading to drift back. It’s never the same though, each moment after that my dream is marred with nervous fingers, silent prayers to just let me stay.

Waking, finally, after the threads of sleep have unraveled, when my mind and body are brought back to actual time. I am short of breath somehow, always when I wake… as if I’ve been chasing my dream as darkness moves in.

I lie in bed with a cigarette hanging over an empty Coke can, headache beginning between my eyelids. And I can’t stand the thought of sentimental happiness and the way my heart goes all a flutter even in the most dire circumstances.

I dream of him. And though he may be in the peripheral of even my dreaming vision, and though I may be hiding behind each brick and alley way, just watching, when I wake I am sobered. The waning connection pounds through my blood, and I realize-

my dreams with him are happier than any real life I have ever owned.

I  regret leaving him. And I’ll never forget stepping on the plane, tears streaming down my flushed face, and the stewardess asking “are you sure you want to go, miss?” Half mocking, half concerned. I looked up, eyes steady though cold, and said “I’ve never been more sure of anything”. I fell to the ground then, contents spilling from every bag, and I crawled every inch to that airplane leaving coins and reciepts and my final note from him behind

“gone to the store, buying you wine. let’s get schnaukered and watch kung fu”

{March 11, 2008}   Drawing the L.

Two women are walking toward each other, forming the straight, perpendicular lines of an L.  If you looked quickly, you might think a mirror had broken somewhere on an Oklahoma horizon, and one woman had become two.  One woman had morphed into a slightly different reflection of herself.  Distorted.  Like a funhouse mirror.

This is because our lives are like carnivals.

One woman is taller than the other, lighter haired, slimmer.  The other is shorter, curvier, darker.  Both walk in long strides, high heeled, eyes up and not focused on anything in particular.  Each woman’s right foot hits the pavement below the curb at the exact same moment.  Each woman’s left foot pulls one step ahead.  Each woman hits the halfway mark of a crosswalk, and when a black car pulls up at each crosswalk, both women ignore it.  Both women reach the other side of the street at the same moment.  The cars, however, do not.

When the women reach the angle of the L, the taller woman stops and lets the shorter woman go past.  They cross each other and travel the other’s former path.  The shorter woman begins to walk more quickly now, as if traveling another’s path is more dangerous than forging your own.

As if it is.  I’ve always felt that way, myself.

{March 7, 2008}   cutting keys

Perhaps I jumped into it.

I gave him a key, and whether I convince myself it was for convienence or not,  it was because I’d never done it before. It made me feel grown up. Like a real adult in a real adult relationship. Little did I know it would turn out to be one of the more childish periods in my life.

I didn’t ask for it back. Something in me revels at the thought of him carrying it on his keychain, twisting it between his thumb and forefinger late at night. I know one day soon he’ll slip it through the metal ring, stash it in a drawer or maybe just toss it in the garbage bin. Either way it will be much harder for him to let go of than it ever should.

 Now I hear he’s dropped off the face of the planet ever since I said goodbye.

 It’s a terrible habit of mine- dating sentimental men with reckless abandon. Perhaps next time I will only hand over the keys to the lawnmower, how attached can that make a man?

{February 18, 2008}   in the middle of the night…

1:32 am. Phone rings, my mind hears the bell’s melody, and a church appears in my dreams, telling me the hour of God is here.

7:30 am. Waking, face still attached to my pillow, eyes slowly focusing, hand reaching for the phone that apparently fell asleep next to me. It was him. The church bells in my dream, signaling a savior I haven’t had faith in for years, it was him.

 Missed Call: Honey Love 1:32 am.

And everyday since, I wonder what it was his drunken mind needed during the Witching hours… Reason tells me it’s just the same as always, another crossword puzzle he can’t solve on his own. The need for a word, to recall a scene from a movie, the lyrics to a song. This was my use to him. His endless source of problem solving. Arranging his bills. Turning the oven off.  Switching lights off as he walks from room to room.  Reminding him of birthdays, or appointments, or reasons to be happy. Slapping him when he talked nonsense. Wrapping myself around him when the withdrawals hurt so bad he’d cry.

I wonder now, if she knew you called. If you were giggling together, trying to remember where the last Doors concert was held. Did she mind it that you called me to remind you? Did she sit, silently, with her breath held, tightness growing in her chest with every unanswered ring? Was it relief or pity that made her smirk when it cut to my voice on the machine?

This is my beauty: I will answer when you call (and when you become more than church bells in my head). I will sit and wonder what it is you wanted, asking myself- never you. And if, next time, your ring is not lost in sleep, I will answer- voice cracking in midnight words, and I will tell you…

The Doors final concert was in New Orleans. Jim Morrison smashed his mic on stage, and it was over.

A five letter word for a Greek market? Agora. Which means “open space”, thus the phobia.

The man who played double agent for Don Corleone? Luca Brasi, of course. He sleeps with the fishes now.

 Water bill is due the 17th.

Miss you too, Sass. Nite.

{February 4, 2008}   Notes From a Tunnel

“Often my creative life has seemed like a long tunnel, dark and damp. And sometimes I wondered whether I could live through it. But I did!”  ~ Ai Qing (1910-1996)

The Tunnel

et cetera