🥕

diary

Oh! I need to go to the bathroom she says, and sets down her baby 🥕

I’m holding a bowl full of peanut butter, and then she tells me,

Don’t you eat my carrot while I’m gone, I’m looking at you!

She side steps in lunges away to the bathroom, backwards, eyeing me,

She comes back again.

Peepee nawnaw! I’m just kidding!  I’m still watching you!

Her a bobber, bobbing away again.

Her index finger and middle are gesturing at her eyes, an inch away,

She scuttles close, her two fingers extended at me now.

 

Hmm… I’m being watched.

Advertisements

The Underwater Caretaker

Uncategorized

The ranch house needed organized. The rooms separated with bed sheets hanging pale white and cream yellow. Bugs maybe spiders, maybe roaches, maybe both crawled throughout. Creeping, strolling room to room. I arrange my sheeted square space, in a frame I drill in screws aligning a door. Red dirt hugs the floor’s trim, a firm hug. Dingy carpet to match, complete with a worn foot path from traffic. My bedroom was more a hallway than my private quarters.

It is dark outside, cool enough for you to nip. Lights shine through my window, on my sheets, on my new door. I put on a coat. A truck pulls along the west of the house. A door shuts, metal scratches, the winter caretaker putting his things into the bed of his truck. The winter caretaker was an older Mexican man. He tended the livestock, cleaned the barns, the troughs, graded the arenas, sometimes he welded. The winter caretaker had a permanent scowl on his face. Superglue on his lips. Never smiling. He may of had no teeth. Maybe he did. Season had ended, the reason he packed his truck, ready to trade out with the spring caretaker until next winter came back around.

I walk through my new door, dusty shoe boxes and romance novels stacked high as my waist, an aisle to the back porch. Cringing screens peel from the frames of the windows, the paint of the house curls into feathers. I lean against the door frame looking at the spring caretaker, an Indian man standing by a cement silo eyeing the winter caretaker as he packs his truck.

Metal clang of the tailgate, a push-up off the back. The Mexican departs, the truck crawls over the trenched driveway curving away slowly, groaning, the sun begins to rise. When was the last time I’d seen a sunrise in a silence such as this? Two women wear thick black strapped heels, the 90’s kind, and the kind of long dresses looked made of the very sheets we used to separate our rooms. Add ugly flowers. Looks of distraught on their faces, chins down. Not smiling, superglue lips.

I am standing on a wooden boat dock made of two by four planks, some crowns up, some not. It overlooks a large clear lake. Next to the dock, a cement boat ramp. Boat ramps ideally extend with a 13% slope underneath a minimum of three feet of water. Ideally four. Ideally in a place where the water depth is semi-consistent. To avoid needing to dredge. To remove sediment caused by deposition. To avoid undercuts made by the water current. To avoid the end of the ramp breaking off, a sharp drop. This boat ramp, the one I’m standing by, it is not ideal. It is a cliff, a crag, an edge I peer over. Water is gurgling in a swirl, a tornado, above a large sunken item. The winter caretaker’s truck.

I look at the women, they’d strung themselves together with a thin black rope round their waists, black like their black straps. Their faces blanched. The first and smaller of the two stuck her strapped foot into the water, and retracted, shocked at the temperature. Lifting a black loop of rope in hope I would take the last loop, the women gaze at me. I take the loop.

I dive off the dock into the water, I don’t think about how cold it is, and I swim 20 feet to the submerged truck. No one is in it. The windows are rolled down in their frames, the truck bed empty. It sits like a decoration in a fish tank. Some of my things are inside. My bow, my pack, three plastic matching suitcases, a blue shower curtain inside, printed with bubbles. Three TY beanie babies, one a puppy named Wrinkles. A machete, my green knife, my clothes, lots of them. I grab my items and swim up to the dock piling them. A returning swim for more. On my third trip the women look at me, their indexes touching their lips.

The Mexican caretaker stands behind them, soaked. Deep grooves in the lines of his face, his hair shellacked to his forehead, water oiling off his skin. A puddle on the dock. A snake rises to strike the women next to my pile of things. My misplaced objects. The Mexican throws a knife. It plunges into the back of the small woman’s hand. She screams, clutching with her other. I grab the machete and strike down the snake, as blood pours from her wound. A puddle on the dock.

Someone fell to the bottom of that lake, drowning, pinned underwater. My hands are stacking cement blocks. There’s loud noise. I cannot remember if it is the Indian or the Mexican caretaker, maybe the women, their black hair flowing in the water upward, graceful, as I swim to the surface. Black like their straps, black like their rope. I only look one more time to see. One glance under me, and their hair is faded to white.

Poor Tuna

diary

There I was. Halfway through marrying two types of pasta in a boiling pot. The way people running out of pasta do. Glad the water is already paid for, with last month’s rent. An empty can of tuna on the counter. Not cleaned up from lunch. Why do I even buy tuna? I never cook it, but it was on sale when I grocery shopped 55 times ago. It stands stacked ten cans high in my pantry for months until I’m too poor to buy any other kind of meat. The way people running out of money do.

Poor tuna.

I’m looking for a sauce in my pantry, any sauce, any kind, I scan through the cans. The tuna now stacked two cans high. Damn. That’s a lot of tuna. And I never cook tuna. Until lately. Tuna with box mac n cheese. Tuna with can of baked beans. Tuna with an egg. One egg. Not enough eggs to be cooking two. Lucky tonight she wants spaghetti. Lucky I had a blind eye turned to a half plastic sack pumped full of breakfast sausage. Sage flavor. Expired. Four days ago. Fourteen percent sodium. Twenty-five percent fat. Thirty percent of that saturated. I won’t add salt.

Guilty conscience in the background begging to wave hi. Wanting to talk about the percentages on the Jimmy Dean package. Wanting to talk about my day nap. Maybe mention the workout tights I wear that hadn’t seen the gym. Today. Just today. I worked out this week. More than once. Guilty conscience is still waving hi.

Poor tuna.

I stocked on trash bags forever ago. Day nap has me recharged. I take out the trash and clean up the kitchen, including the empty tuna can. Spaghetti is almost done. The cat is perched on the bar top, he watched me clean. Watched me throw away the tuna can. To him it’s fancy tuna. No, no, I waved my finger at him as if he’d actually said something. “This tuna is for us.” This is our poor tuna. Not your fancy tuna.

I was tired because I didn’t drink coffee in the morning. Stupid you, says the coffee. Thinking you can function without me. Without him I’m leaving empty cans of tuna around the house. Even when I take my dog outside, there sitting on the steps to the apartment above. A can of tuna. Empty, not full. To fuel my guilty conscience. I head back inside, my home of sausage spaghetti. My home of taken out trash. My home with only two cans of tuna.

Poor tuna not fancy.

Oh Saint Valentine 

diary

At times I think of his hands on my back. His embrace, his touch alleviated my pain, calmed my blood. He warmed my heart through his to the core of mine. I melted into him, and he melted into me.

I never had as many senses as I had with him. His sweet scent, each sight through closed eyes, his sounds. A body embodied into mine, we were carved of the same piece. Two hearts were beating then, timing collided the two.

My love for him was contained in then. That now has now passed. My love for him was my sixth sense. My love for him was an extension of me.

Entry 29: Psycho

diary

Our sight is limited, is that not the actual reading between the lines? Is that not the deceit of a “benefit of a doubt”? There are no lines at all. Everything we think or feel is the fabrication of visions and perspectives. I find myself crazed because I live in the perception of my own reality. I ponder if we are supposed to live in the perception of everyone else, while at times others live in the perceptions of you.

Is that the psychotic notion? Is that an irrational thought? Is your choice to apply your passion the wrong choice, the illogical one? Do you have too much passion? Suppose you simply have a clipped wing of delusion which hinders your ability to recognize when to turn it off. Is there such a possibility that in some instances and scenarios, passion is not only not a requirement, but is absolutely useless? It is inefficient and without power? Are we not supposed to apply a hint of passion and sincerity to everything? To give the “benefit of the doubt”?

I conclude we are not.

Passion is my chaos, passion is my psycho. It is the one-sided view that isn’t measured by logical or tangible things. It is the fishing line that is repeatedly cast out and emptily reeled in again, it is nearly invisible with a tie of hope knotted on the end. Passion is not real, it is chance, it is a moment, a gaze, a thought. It is as analogous to beauty as anything. It is the eye of the beholder that measures its worth, a perception that is not your own. If your beholders reality is one without the presence of passion, your theoretical conclusion is there is none. There is nothingness, emptiness, you’re insane.

Blessed be those with the ability to understand the reasons to no meaning. Blessed be those who efficiently cap their passion. Blessed be those who cannot feel at all.


This is how it ends.

Endless haunting.

Smiling eyes.

My heart is bleached white.

Haunted by a fleeting nostalgia.

Is voodoo real time?

You wish you felt it.

The ripples flow out. Womp. Womp. Womp.

You cannot hear it, you feel it as your feet dangle into the water.

We’re wishing your mind felt as cool as your toes.

Measuring, manipulating the desired distance.

That sun is hot.

My lids lift like a power clean.

Staring off, your eye stares right back at me.

And so this is how it ends.

Entry 28: Those Are Dreams

diary

*Three Months Later*


I now find myself replacing my sadness with hobbies. “Ooooooooo, good book,” I’ll say, and force myself to binge read and enjoy pages and pages of content that may or may not be entertaining to me.

And so you know I dream of you…

So simply, just dreams, and in them we do things together. I look at your face as we exit the highway. Your right lid sticks as you roll your eyes. I see you stand melancholy as you peer in the fridge. You reach out for my hand as we walk on the gravel. I watch your brow as you squint and aim your toss as we play washers. Your tapered fingers tell stories as you sit on your soapbox. I walk up your driveway as you swing bags into the bed of your truck. You snort and scratch your beard playfully on my face. I wake up to the light and see you asleep, yet smiling. In there I linger because you love me… So simply we are friends.

Somehow you’ve resurfaced, you’ve dodged the letters and numbers and trips to Half Price Books and you’ve shown up there. You’re the DreamWorks boy looking down. A fishing rod in one hand, sitting in the clouds of my mind… And I’m waiting for you in the poofs… And still I love you, and somehow long ago you’ve admitted to feel the same about the both of us, both yourself and me. No questions, we aren’t demurely wandering anymore, your timid restraint is gone, it’s a regular day.

Then comes my neighbors’ slammed door, their keys jingle. Step, step, step, step, vibrating down the railing. My visions dissipate, a hazy fog rips them away, held captive for an instant until my rouse forgets your presence. I lay on the right of my bed, roll my chin to see its empty left side. The sheets lay cold goggling me with sad eyes. I look at the dark blades of the fan in my ceiling, womp, womp, womp. A meek effort to feel complete, I replace the scene with the blades of yours.

Forget it.

Get up and get in the shower, get ready for your day girl. Get up!

Those aren’t memories, those are dreams.

Entry 27: A Beautiful Man

diary

I love the way you love your friends. You either genuinely like to bitch or genuinely like to boast. Your concern for your friends is quite romantic. I envy them. Your friends look up to you, even the ones who have more than you do. They want your reassurance on just about everything, even if they know they’ll get your scalding first. They’re willing to deal with your quick temper, because in the end you’re a good man. You have a good head on your shoulders. You are a big bear to more people than just me you know.

I love the things that you know. The numbers, the years, the dates, the specifics you take the time to pay attention to. The history, the land, the skills of a man from another time. Your memory astounds me, your concepts build the profile of a man who can be the expert, the teacher, a role model. You set a par for others to look up to because of your willingness to progress. You have an insight that gives you a distinct perception and empathy lest you let it. Your concepts are unique Big 🐗Bear🌵✨ and you should value the permeability of them. Your ability to be agreeable.

I love what seeps into your personal life, I love to feel it from you. All details of Big 🐗Bear🌵✨ spills over, unconstrained. I am biased because I only know of my personal relationship with you, but I notice those things when we’re together. You are kind, fair, and caring. With me, you take a subtle backseat, not alike a servant, but as a king with a queen in his lap. You’re always the man tipping his hat and I appreciate that about you.

I heard someone today speak of how God was perfect and because God was perfect he wanted to strive to be more godly because that gave him hope, that inspired him to change. To me… My view on God now is skewed from the regular belief. I believe my initial connection to Him is an echo of yours. The reason I say this is because your mental struggle will morph. You will pilfer through a million routes to escape the villain in yourself.

God is not what I would describe as perfect. He exhibits jealousy, wrath, anger. We are told of how He kills and takes away. Curiously He is the one who adds, and can show us paths to love and hope. God just IS. He is what He ever intended to be, and we accept it, we are encouraged to believe it. So maybe that is what signifies one being “perfect”. Everything that could encompass a being is the good and not so good things, the being of who you are.

You are not good at choosing your battles. You have trouble regulating the more volatile sides of yourself. You have trouble choosing what’s worth a fight and what isn’t. I know this because I see you fight with it and I see you struggle. Unfortunately, sometimes I see you give up. The simplicity of you is as misconceiving as a deep pool. I see you drown as you tread along the surface.

You and I both happen to think and value the same things. Yet, as we have realized through our communication, we dive differently into the pool. You compliment me because you are different, and I compliment you in the same. This awareness is proof that there is a comfort in being offbeat. You and I, them and all those, he and she, we are all different baby. Perfection is to acknowledge our faults, whatever they may be. Acknowledge the unhappiness we stumble into, the ruts we wallow in. Our suffering is endured far above the bottom. Our suffering is above us, our suffering is the willingness to change.

I know the rage you speak of. You limit your happiness by setting caps. Your efficiency can become your downfall, because your true happiness won’t come from paying off your debt, or numbing your would-be woes. Your happiness will flow from your ability to master yourself, to swim deeply into that pool.  You must release the beast in order to find its cage.

I wrote once as a note to myself: “I need you to tell me my fears aren’t real, and you need me to tell you your fears aren’t either.” I was saying that to you, because sometimes you’re my backbone. You lift me up, I stand a little taller. With you I realize I feel a little more loved. I wish I could do that for you. I wish you could do that for yourself, and I hope one day you see it.

My whole point in writing this is because it bothers me more that you don’t love yourself before I would ever worry about your love for me. Let go of your fight Big 🐗Bear🌵✨, because it’s all in your head, you’re just a little bit crazy. There’s an endless supply of great things I could choose from to love you for. I say buckle down and choose a couple for yourself, choose some now and later, and more after that. I say choose some of those and dive with it, dive deep into that pool.

 

 

Entry 26: The Hunt 

diary

I was in the passenger seat of his black truck headed west to the countryside. Red dirt crept from every crevice, from the floor mats to the textured plastic of the door handles. We silently peered through the windows as Jacksboro Highway relieved our tension, the buildings and pavement replaced with lonesome road signs and a vast stretch of green fields and trees. The external silence fueled my internal noise as I sat in thought. The mind can process thoughts up to 500 words per minute and my 500 words were muddling over how I felt about sitting there in that Dodge truck aside that silent cowboy.

I felt like there soon….  Soon there was something that was going to anger me, and I felt like that anger was going to sever the cord that had been dragging me underneath for months. I was afraid of it… But my conscious was keen on freedom.

I felt I would finally get the explanation I’d been looking for. Maybe the reason why I’d been heartbroken for so long. In a snap! I could be freed.

I think I ponder what freedom I really desired. To be free of him? Or maybe it was the freedom we would feel when we finally got away from it all.

***

I felt the waterfalls of sweat chasing my ass crack as we entered the edge of the tree line. Our guns weighing down the journey, I huffed and bent down to one knee. Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 followed suit but took it a step further, laying his head on my lap. I frowned to myself but reluctantly, relieved, rested my arm upon his chest as I surveyed the clearing.

We hadn’t seen any pigs yet, maybe it was too hot. The sun stared hard at us in the west, hopefully its descent drew out what we were looking for. Hunting always called for silence, my favorite part. And in that silence we didn’t always find what we hunted, but according to Big🐗Bear🌵🌟, that’s why it’s called “hunting” and not “shooting”.

Jackson, our guide and Big🐗Bear🌵🌟’s best friend, crawled to the opposite side of the tree line to look the other direction. I immediately followed him, abandoning Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 where he laid, wanting to reassure that I came here to hunt and not to play cupcake. A cluster of pig backs stood off in the distance, wire-haired tails swishing the pestering mosquitoes. The blonde grass made them very prominent, their black rumps stuck out like sore thumbs.

When you see your prey an adrenaline switch makes you forget everything else. Whether your palms were clammy, or your socks were soaked through your boots. If your sour lemon bug spray didn’t do a damn thing to deter insect bites, if you were worried about your partner’s ulterior motive. It didn’t matter.

I pulled my gun up to my shoulder to eye my shot. Jackson grinned to my right, his face buried in the binoculars. I closed my left eye and breathed through my mouth silently, and the stillness reminded me. Where was Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 at? He was missing this.

I turned to wave him over, but he was no longer where he was. I snapped my head left to right in search. My anticipated triumph vanished immediately to slump my shoulders into a slight anxiety.

Pigs was his favorite part.

I looked through my scope again, I could see they were so close! They stood maybe 200 yards out, and dusk was rapidly arriving. Pigs, tree line, search, pigs, tree line, search.

WHERE was Big🐗Bear🌵🌟?!

I felt it was rude not to wait, and I was surprised by how defeated I felt to pause in that exciting moment. Suddenly, some branches fell quickly to the ground, then stopped midair and lifted. Up and down, up and down, quickly the branches were waving! I squinted, how absolutely absurd.

I looked back at the pigs. Just standing there! I thought. What a perfect shot. I glanced back to the branches. Are they..? Were the branches BECKONING me to come to them? I squinted again. Is that?

Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 was foolproof in camouflage. Full-body animate as a wind-sock, he used his legs, hips, and arms like giant wafters to pull me to his place. In his silent commotion he shouted silent exaggerated words.

“COME HERE!” He mouthed.

 I pointed and mouthed back,”THEY ARE RIGHT THERE!”

“NO!” He shook his head big and waved his long arms to form circles.

“COME HERE!” He demanded, pointing to where he stood. Frustrated, but with no choice than to trust him, I stealthily ran back.

Reaching his side I felt a panic, worried about the loudly snapping twigs under my boots. He rushed up so close I smelled the sweat beading down his neck. My gaze flowed over his uneven nostrils to his amber eyes and he whispered, “There’s a pig literally right there walking,” and he pointed west. Fifty yards away a pig back sashayed across the clearing. He smiled eccentrically and I absorbed his excitement as he continued.

“You’re gonna go over there, and you’re gonna shoot it.”

Entry 25: Golden Bear

diary

Sometimes he would call me “Golden Bear“. When he first called me that his eyebrows rose so high up into his hairline that I was obligated to rise mine back. Big🐗Bear🌵🌟had a knack for teaching me many things, and many were about myself.

I honestly will admit that I have something about me that is volatile. I remember when Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 told me I was violent, I was taken aback that he said it. And the moment I realized what he said I remember the thud in my chest, like a sonic boom.

I believed him.

My whole life, I have never wanted to admit to myself that I am violent, that I have a powerful rage. Something that’s been writhing in my chest since I was small, I have grown to even keep that from myself as a secret. I was astounded that someone else was aware of my secret, aware of a suppressed trait about me that I hadn’t even wanted to believe about myself. I was astounded that now because he knew that, and I knew it too, and because I trusted him, I was okay with it. Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 struggled with it too inside. And in his empathy I could believe it now. We both suffered this.

Believing him gave me permission to submit. A submission to accept something not as my fault, but as a fundamental aspect of me. I felt “allowed” to have an issue. I felt relieved enough the judgement disapaited, it was no longer a suffering.  That itself was empowering.

I am “Golden Bear“.

***

 I am angry, angry, ANGRY and my anger is consuming who I am. I am not myself. Everything about Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 is a poison now, a sickness.

Look how poisoned you have become. Now you are both sick, but your sicknesses are individual and apart. You cannot help his ailment, and he cannot heal yours. You have to let it go. No love should hurt this badly. You have to let go of him.

***

The other night I listened to my friend Chris go on, and on, and on about this woman.

Talking about if he ‘wrote her a letter today it would reach her by this time’ and he ‘would tell her this, this, and this’, and maybe she would call him, and he would ‘take her things here’ and maybe the time would make her ‘feel this way, maybe that’, and….

It made me smile to listen to that. I grinned to myself while he stilled in his agony.

His concern, it was comforting. That pillow of soft trust, that melting into your heart. I don’t know if that woman was aware of it, but it was real. My friend is in love with that woman, and my friend Chris ironically sounded like myself. It reassured me that it wasn’t too far-fetched.

***

It’s okay that you fell in love Rina…

It’s okay… It sucks…

(Deep breath)

I find myself asking my friends strange questions now. Does a man know when he’s in love?

One friend told me no, he told me the chance was only “maybe”. Maybe if his eyes were open. He told me that often times men were blinded and don’t see it. That they [men] can be manipulated by the dumbest of things…

***

…  I am not telling you to hold onto hope that Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 will come back to you or any soppy fairy-tale ending. Maybe you’re set on not being convinced.

I’m telling you to hold onto hope that one day someone will see it. I am telling you that everyday you are more close than far to absolving this hole in your heart. All you have to do until then Rina P is…

Well, baby. Live your life.

To you, Big🐗Bear🌵🌟loved you, you two were lovers. He noticed so many things about you you started to notice things about yourself…  And you are blessed to have experienced that, and no one [NO ONE] can take that away from you. You know what you felt, and it felt like magic 🌚🌞🔮 …

…and now life continues on.

If You’re From a Small Town

diary

I’m walking my dog in my apartment complex in a municipality city of the Dallas-Fort-Worth area. I have a little girl at home. My dog trots over the grass, in the octagonal space we pretend is our yard. She squats while I stand idling, and I think about when I was my daughter’s age.

When I was four I lived in a town of 12,000 people. Throughout school my family knew most other families in the town too. In Winfield, Kansas it was unknowingly a privilege to walk the streets at night and not feel afraid. That town was ours and I never could have comprehended anything but what happened around and in my town.

Now, when I left Winfield High School I unknowingly moved to the hood. I may be from a small town, but I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I grew up in Oak Cliff.

***

People I knew in my neighborhood were shot in the face. A crack head I used to see everyday burned down the apartment building across from mine. The bodies of 4 men were found hacked up in trash cans in the hoods I drove through to see my friends.

I noticed when the room started to fill with red. I wasn’t surprised when my friend told me about someone they saw shot. Men would follow me to my parking spots for my number. I have been told to leave a building more than once in fear that someone soon would be shot.

Helicopter lights shining in my home was a norm. I have ran from gun shots in a parking lot more times than I can count. I have choked on mace sprayed into crowds. I have met some of the most prestigious rappers from the Deep South. I dated a rapper that people in hoods all over Dallas and Houston knew of.

I’ve been pulled over by police just so they could holla at me. Police would blockade our streets and make us all stop regardless and arrest 10s of us in a night. More than a pimp or two has tried to add me to his roster.

I almost didn’t have a single friend that didn’t have someone in prison that they missed dearly. I have family members who walk amongst the homeless in Downtown Dallas. I have slept in my car without anyplace to go.

And now…

I am 75% of the way to being free from needing to worry about robbers going into my home while I walk my dog and my daughter is inside.

Be happy you are from a small town and have seen less. I am burdened with the things I know. I cannot wait to go back to a small town again. To be a “small-town person”.

If anything, be happy for that.