Monday, August 22, 2016

a cut above

Some long for romantic love,
two hearts reaching and touching.
They want a soft landing,
a relaxing of the endless search.

You and I have jagged edges.
The pieces come together at odd intervals.
Occasionally, I cut you,
or you cut me.

But it's a relief, isn't it?
To expose it all and be embraced,
even while knowing the danger?
We bleed for love.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

splatter











On the long drive
up I-44 from Tulsa
to St. Louis,
trees breathed on me,
and the sweet air
kissed my cheek.

"I could live here,"
I thought,
"in these rolling hills."
And I made
a mental note
to explore
later in life.

And when I stopped,
to get gas
and clean bug splatter
off my windshield,
I picked up a real estate book
and some rental cabin brochures,
just in case.

But I never did go back.
Yet.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

between you and me

It wouldn't have been the first time I'd had to fend off a horny bloke. I set myself up for this by agreeing to let him stay on the sofa. But he kept coming in. Finally, I went out and took his place on the sofa, hoping he'd fall asleep waiting for me.

But nope. Here he came, walking naked towards me with his average pecker waving about in front of him. I honestly thought, "Let's just get this over with so I can get some sleep." Disgusted and defeated, I led him back into the bedroom. I did what was needed to get through it as quickly as possible. Then, mercifully, he was asleep.

The next morning, I woke up to the smell of coffee. I left the lump in my bed and walked to the kitchen. My friend and I made eye contact, her face a curious question. I rolled my eyes. She laughed. Her boyfriend was making Eggs Benedict. The three of us sat, talking and eating, discussing our plans for the day. Eventually the lump joined us, looking overly pleased with himself.  He leaned in for a kiss. I held up my hand. "No," I said, not looking at him.

My friend's boyfriend got up to leave. "You need a ride?" he asked the lump. The lump looked at me. I answered, "Yes, you need a ride."

At the door, he said, "That was aMAZing."

"No," I said, "it really wasn't."

After they left, my girlfriend started laughing. "What the hell?"

Between you and me, I wanted to slap her. Part of me was so angry. But she wasn't the cause. It was anger at being coerced. I also felt like crying. I had been very nice each time I said no to him. Maybe I should have screamed at him. Would he have given up? Or would he have become violent? He was much bigger than me.

In the end, I forgave myself. It was just sex, I thought. I'll eventually forget this. But it's been 35 years. And I still remember. And it still makes me mad.

Between you and me.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

stop dark









Business as usual
A love connection continues
Here, there, it's a continental chase
I let him win
Or he lets me

Fire eats us each episode we dare
Audiences have mixed reviews
Some find us darling
Others fear one of us is harmed
Which one? Depends who's looking

Stop dark, the water's just fine
We ain't no fireflies
This here's a permanent glow
Whether you see it
Or not

We're alive


Saturday, August 6, 2016

xenization

Here is the history of my homes:

1958-1959 Durham, NC
1959-1964 Nishinomiya, Japan
1964-1968 Wellesley, MA
1968-1973 Gainesville, GA
1973-1980 Misenheimer, NC
1980-1981 Jersey City, NJ
1981-1983 Cedartown, GA & Aragon, GA
1983-1984 Misenheimer, NC
1984-1985 Thomson, GA
1985-1993 Statesboro, GA
1993-1998 Morrow, GA
1998-2002 Jonesboro, GA
2002-2004 Phoenix, AZ
2004-2006 Morris Plains, NJ
2006-2008 Phoenix, AZ
2008-2010 Memphis, TN
2010-2012 Eagleville, PA
2012-2013 Duluth, GA
2013-2015 Peoria, AZ
2015-2016 Phoenix, AZ

I have never experienced being from somewhere. I call North Carolina my home state. But I honestly have no home state. I am a nomad with no roots. I am, forever, the stranger in the street, a foreigner. I'm always hopeful that the next stop will be my last. But then the road beckons.

Friday, August 5, 2016

you have no name - choose one

I am Nomalanga, for I live in this desert.

Call me Aloysia, for I am fierce.

Know me as Sahar, for I begin anew.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

interview

It's about 45 minutes from Thomson, GA to Louisville, GA. I allowed myself a little over an hour, just in case. My Nissan pick-up wouldn't be a problem. It was fairly new. No, other drivers were the only potential obstacles. Get behind a tractor on a winding, back country road and your journey could seem like an eternity. Or a log truck. Follow a log truck and experience the duel emotions of frustration and terror. If you want to pass a log truck, you're going to have to get close. But everybody has a horror story about a log flying off the back of a truck, straight through a car windshield where it instantly decapitates someone. (PG version: Missed him by THAT MUCH.)

But on that day in 1985, I experienced no delays and arrived at my potential employer's building with more than 15 minutes to spare. This was a state job, which I had applied for by filling out a generic state application for "Human Services Technician, Senior", indicating on the application which counties I was interested in. Louisville (pronounced "lewisville", not like the beautiful city in Kentucky) was a small town in a rural no man's land. It had once been the state capital many years before, but it was now just another small, south Georgia town.

Inside the nondescript building, I announced myself and was seated in the lobby to wait. The secretary/receptionist looked like she was about 19 and I marveled at her loud gum smacking and chewing. She seemed unaware. At one point she caught me staring at her and startled, stopped chewing for a minute. I smiled. She smiled and went back to chewing.

Eventually, the phone on her desk buzzed and she told me to go down that hall to the conference room on your right. I gathered my purse and notebook and walked down the hall. I entered the conference room to find three people sitting at a conference table that could accommodate ten people.

Let me stop this story for a moment - only a moment - just long enough to tell you that I do not play poker, nor any other game that requires one to hide reactions. I can not do it, except in very specific situations.

How do I describe these three people without sounding like a horrible human being? I will try. I will probably fail. First let me say that six of the ten chairs were pulled away from the table and stacked in the corner. At the closest end of the table sat J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoon. You remember Wimpy? He was the fella who loved hamburgers. "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Sitting on either side of Wimpy were ladies with very modest dresses and gigantic bouffant, beehive hairdos. About a year later, I learned that the two ladies were probably members of an Apostolic Pentacostal church and, therefore, chose not to cut their hair. But I didn't know that at the time. So turning the corner to find Wimpy, flanked by these two magnificent hairdos almost did me in.

Wimpy rose to greet me and shake my hand. He introduced the two ladies. I was so flustered, I retained none of the names and titles. He then gestured to the fourth chair, which was situated at the farthest end of the table. I hiked down to that end of the room and sat in that lonely, isolated chair. I felt like I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. And then it got worse.

Wimpy picked up a piece of paper from the table (my resumé) and announced, "Well, Mizriz Jones, we have had an opportooonity to look over your ree-zoom, and I must say we were impressed with your skeels and expeerience." Candid Camera could not have written a better opening line. Given my severe lack of a poker face, I would, today, happily pay $10,000 to have a video of my face from the time I entered the room up until he spoke those words. I must have been a sight.

The interview progressed with questions that alternated between standard interview questions and "stress" questions that were popular in those days. "How would you redesign an elephant?" was one of those. (My answer: "I would take away the tusks so humans would stop slaughtering them.") All questions were asked by Wimpy. The ladies took copious notes, but otherwise did not participate in any discernible way.

I knew from the moment he asked me about my ree-zoom, that I could not possibly work there. I finished the interview and drove home. I did receive an offer, which I politely declined. They weren't ready for someone like me and I wasn't ready - yet - to sentence myself to rural Georgia.

But soon I would find myself working in Millen, Georgia. And that's an entirely different story.

Monday, August 1, 2016

pickles

She was a wide woman, blessed in the hip department. She couldn't keep a job over to the cotton mill 'cause the other ladies complained about her taking up too much space in the narrow aisles. Even her best friend, Euna Lee, turned on her ever so slightly.

"I'm sorry, Pickles," Euna Lee said sadly, "but it's embarrassing for people to try to get around you. You can't blame them."

Pickles didn't blame those other people. She did blame Euna Lee, though. A person ought to be able to count on a best friend to take up for 'em.

It all worked out for the best. Her Mama cleaned house for Mrs. Brock, wife of the assistant pastor at First Baptist. The big church at the center of Murrayville needed help in their nursery. Pickles had helped raise seven brothers and sisters, so she was called down to the big church on Wednesday to speak to the education director.

Two days later she was assisting in the 2's on Mondays through Fridays and in Infants on Sundays. Turns out her wide hips were just right for tending to babies. And although it took her a while to get used to being around fancier folks than could be found at her own tiny Pentacostal church out on River Road, she eventually felt at home at the big white church she'd only ever studied from a distance.

Euna Lee accused her of being stuck up when Pickles showed no interest in going to the dances at the VFW. But Pickles was still smarting over how easily Euna Mae had joined the other mill workers in calling for her to leave. A person ought to be able to count on a best friend to take up for 'em.

Besides, Pickles was being courted by Jimmy Davis, the maintenance man at First Baptist who had lost his wife to cancer less than a year ago. Jimmy and Pickles ate their sandwiches together nearly every day now. He was going to ask her to marry him, she felt sure. Men don't like being alone and most widowers didn't stay widowers for long. Everybody in the church said they were real cute together.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

nobody knows

The child with child carried a secret that even she did not yet know. But any seasoned male eye could see the words etched on her brow. NOT PROTECTED

There was early damage that contributed to her vulnerability. She expected more abuse and when horror visited, she greeted it with resignation, having given up hope of rescue.

Eventually, her personal armor developed, though her self-esteem did not. But she learned the right words to say to fool people into believing they were interacting with a confident, capable, forthright woman. Hers was a language of steadfast sureness, a soothing communication style.

She studied strong women and copied their posture and the proud lift of their chins. She practiced facial expressions in the bathroom mirror, imagining bits of conversation and trying on various reactions. She tested laughter to find one that conveyed a relaxed and happy existence.

Nobody was allowed too close. Distance is important when you're not protected. Partners were chosen for their unavailability. Safety first.

And nobody knew.

Nobody knows.

Friday, July 22, 2016

hardly

Watching from afar,
You marvel at her courage.
Her answer? "Hardly."