Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Family, not rulers or bottles

I drank from my sister's teat.

I arrived at my parents house, ready to celebrate Christmas 2006. But really more ready to die. I had gone on a hike a few days before and ended up covered in poison oak rashes. Oozing, pussing, terminally itchy rashes. Merry Christmas to me.
The whole family gathered around the family room table where we were playing Mexican dominoes. My cousin Brian thoughtfully offered to get me some eggnog (if I didn't move, I itched less).
My sisters wanted some too so they followed him to the kitchen. He pulled out a container of my sisters breast milk. He laughed and said it looked just like egg nog.
They came back to the table and he handed me my glass. I noticed suspiciously that all three watched me as I drank the deliciously thick and creamy, perfectly off-white nog. I asked him if he put something in my cup. He looked earnestly at me and said he didn't. I was weary but I believed him. I tasted the egg nog--it was a teensy bit off. I stole peripheral glances at my sisters, they didn't bat an eye. If something was in my cup, there was no way my 13 year old sister could keep her composure. Plus, I could always tell when Brian was lying, and he wasn't.
Still, every once in awhile (in between annihilating everyone in Mexican dominoes) I would comment on how it tasted different. I laid my last domino down and in show of victory I chugged the rest of my eggnog and slammed the glass down in triumph.
laughter erupted from my cousin and sisters.
"You just drank breast milk!"
I think I gagged involuntarily first. Then I stuck my finger down my throat. I didn't want to believe them, but I knew this time they were telling the truth. I knew I had just drank a glass full of my sisters breast milk. I was horrified, mad, disgusted. It seemed a bizaare combination of cannibalism, incest, homosexuality, and child molestation. And yet, through all of that, I could see the genius of the joke. If it wasn't played on me, it would have been brilliant. So skillfully and patiently executed.
I tried unsuccessfully to burp myself so that I could 'spit-up'. It seemed so easy 25 years ago, to vomit sweet white chunks like tiny tapioca balls on the shoulder of my mother, the only woman whose breast milk I should have ingested.
I didn't fully recover from the hideous barbarity that took place the previous night until the next morning. I realized I had slept through the night without waking up every 15 minutes to scratch the weeping and spreading rash. I looked at my hands and lifted my shirt up. My poison oak was gone. My sisters breast milk was a magic elixir of instant healing.
She always called it liquid gold and I thought she could be right.... I could farm her! It'd be simple! I'd make millions selling little bottle of it. I bet it cures all sorts of diseases! It works for opiate addicts. I'll hook her up to a machine two times a day, feed her nice whole grains, organic food, lots of water, pillows, I mean I wouldn't be running a sweatshop or anything. Boob farm. Once people realized what this breast elixir could do for adult nutrition and health, there would be no stopping the farming and exploitaion of nursing mothers.
Who would have thought an industry would ever be trail blazed by the heroine addicts? Nice work junkies. Nice work.

Friday, December 12, 2008

almost road-kill

I was driving down Sunset blvd in a brand new car pretending I was rich. It was a brand new Lincoln Navigator so I use the term "car" loosely. I guess it was more closely related to a shiny army tank. It was an environmental nightmare, but I was wearing my "think green!" T-shirt so I thought it cancelled each other out.
I was bulldozing down Sunset blvd in a brand new tank pretending I was rich. But actually I was taking the kids I tutor to tennis lessons. Turning onto Sepulveda following the parking lot of smoggy cars along the 405 with my "think green!" T-shirt slowly burning its scarlet logo into my guilty chest, I came up with a rhyming game to distract us. I would say a word and we would go around in a circle rhyming with it, no proper nouns, and no repeats. Peter was five years old so he was given a five made-up words allowance. Although Jeff hated this rule.
We were on round 4, rhyming with "cake" when I turned off of Sepulveda towards the tennis courts. Peter had just run out of his fifth made-up word so they were arguing over the word "shlake" when an enormous deer bolted out from the side of the road right in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes not knowing if this lumbering tank of a car could stop in time. It seemed to take forever to slow down. I kept thinking "I'm going to kill a deer in L.A. I am going to hit a deer in the streets of Los Angeles". The cars behind me were screeching and squealing, wrenching their cars left and right to avoid a pile up. Finally our tank halted and we slammed into the backs of our seats as this immense creature stopped right in front of the windshield. He turned his massive, handsome head. His nostrils flared, he lifted his antlers, four tiers high, gloatingly. We sat frozen, in awe of his beauty and power. This majestic beast from some mythical forest had entered our dirty, traffic ridden city and he seemed to stop time with his serene aristocracy.
He blinked once and ran straight up the hill disappearing in seconds. We rode the rest of the way in silence.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


There is a beautiful worship song that goes, "I surrender all..." C-sharp, D-sharp, A minor... and it sounds beautiful. And I like singing it because it makes me feel like a good sacrificial Christian. It lets me believe that giving your free will and everything you have worked for in your life over to a God you can't see seem easy, nice and peaceful. Almost a calming experience. But I think that the actual act of surrender is far less joyful.
When you surrender, its the last option. Its the only thing left to do after a long and difficult battle that you are losing. Its when you are in the middle of a battle, and you take inventory and you discover that you are clearly losing, with no hope and the best option, the BEST option is to give up. To give yourself up completely to the mercy of -not just an arbitrary person- but the very thing you were fighting. To wholeheartedly throw your arms up and collapse in a wet heap at the feet of your adversary and let him now become your benefactor.
To surrender all. And maybe some people can sing it gaily through bright shining faces, and good for them. But I think it's most genuinely said through gritted teeth.
I surrender. fine. I lost. I can't do this anymore. I give up. you won. I am defeated. I surrender.

Monday, October 13, 2008

God is a yellow lion

God is a yellow lion and he speaks in fortune cookies.

i see him in those electric billboards- the ones with burnt out bulbs on 17% of its mass. i guess he's on the regular ones too but it doesn't seem so wizard of Oz-ish that way.

and every so often i hear him in a pirate punks or a lucero song.

But more often than not it's walking up those grassy hills when he pounces out of nowhere with blood on his claws and teeth. bright shining yellow like playdough and chick fuz. radiant and stiff. and his amazon paws that knock my breath out as he jumps on my chest, the tips of his nails leaving marks on my skin. and i'm left, facing skyward with whitenoise and static. slipping in and out and still, all this time, not breathing. with a blow to my face that cracks and pops in my ear i gasp and lay limp and soiled in the grass. not afraid anymore but worn and used and broken and damaged and torn and ripped. and ripe for love. and ripe for hope.

a beach comb

The tractor spits and rattles forward. Yoked and chained with replaceable subway grids. Santa Monica's single attempt to "recycle, reuse, reduce". With slow stoutheartedness it smooths the stubborn cowlicks of sand. The beach, once defiantly tousled and windblown now resembles more a boy, with a short-sleeved collard shirt and a belt. Hair tightly greased and slicked over to one side, sitting courteously beside his sister in the car, hands folded in his lap on the way to Sunday School.

Two homeless men lay sprawled, passed out from last nights quenching of hard earned looting. Unconcerned of the world, of the beady eyed orange-ish monster looming on, fixed in his path. A freight train with steady endurance, committed to his abstruse track of broken down rocks and glass. As it approaches, whumping, clanging, cracking, the two men lay recklessly indifferent. Heedless to the unquestionable misfortune.

The tractor swerves last second and continues.
A perfectly groomed sandy beach except for two homeless men---two rocks in a zen garden.

Easter at the Crystal Cathedral

This sunday with my aunt and uncle in from florida, my family decided we should try out a new "easter experience". We drove down the I5 and pulled into a parking lot where men in pastel shirts ushered us into parking spots with the giant orange light sticks that are used when airplanes taxi. Once out of the car, we hurried to get a good place in line. My dad forgot to pick up a ticket for me, I was a little nervous that they wouldnt let me in without one, but it turns out there was no need to fret, my aunt had an extra one. The hot sun beat down on us from every angle and off of the reflections from the newly washed and mylared walls of the cathedral that we wrapped around. As the doors opened, my aunt grabbed my hand and raced to the front.

Horrified I looked to the ceiling, it was glass, the walls, glass. We were in a giant crystal ball. I mean, it made sense, it was called the Crystal Catherdral, but honestly!? No relief from the sun? This was torture for a fair skinned vampire like myself. I kept my sunglasses on and just decided to not look at the pulpit, (there was a glare there). There was a pyramid of flowers from the center of the room to the top of the stage with a beautiful flower cross hung from cables above. There were flowers upon flowers, piled up to the balcony. on the ridges, turets, banisters, everywhere there was space, there were flowers, pink, white yellow and palm trees. The cathedral was filled with the scent of lilys and hydrengas and roses. And as the pipe organ played, you could feel the vibrations all around you and at the songs climax part of the walls split open magnificently to display dancing fountains and the wind swept in and swirled the scents around. And Christ has risen. Amen. It was beautiful and I almost teared up except for the camera men on cranes that voyeristically caught every emotion on the audiences face. And then I would snap out of the moment and think, I wonder if grandma will recognize me on TV? A man who resembeld a hedgehog brought out the orchestra. He didnt look like a hedgehog in a bad way, just a hard working, driven by duty, self important looking man. A sense of purpose and perhaps a tuxedo just a smidgen too tight.

The orchestra was huge and glorious, but on the third song right in the middle, the wind swept in again, and I felt its magic, but some of the pots of flowers toppled down from the balcony, luckily not hitting anyone. There were a few "Uhhs!" from the audience but everyone turned their attention back on the music. Another gust blew in and more flowers and trees this time fell over and crashed down onto the first level. The wind was not done yet. The third time , the wind howled in, the easter liliys came crashing down onto the tympony and drum kit below the microphones waivered and tipped over, the palm trees toppled one after the other onto the pulit. The gerbes and gyeranieum petals dissapating in the air. The cross hanging from the wires swung precariously back and forth, over the congregation threatening certain death for and extra bad sinner. The music from the cellos and piano flew from the stands and danced across the stage. Some of the music got caught on the violinist bows or flew over heads, and messed up the womens hair. We were half way through the song and now no one had their music in front of them, how will they go on!? The man playing the bass drum and cymols was the last to lose his music and when he did, a spritely smile fleeted briefly across his face and he picked up the cymbols and just started banging them together like an ancient alarm system. "Catastrophe! Catasterophe! All hells broke loose! Pick a note and just play it like its the last thing you'll do!" The little hedgehog man became frantic and ran around in a panic threw his arms up "Close the doors! Close the doors!" but with the cymbols blasting and the piano clanking and clashing and the strings and brass blaring, pots smashing to the floor, the wind still bursting forth and still that heavenly smell and light from every was the stones shouting out. Jesus Christ has risen today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

i hate everything right now

i hate comming home from vacations.
i hate feeling obligated to complete strangers.
i hate car salesmen.
acutally, i hate most salesmen.
i hate debt accrued on vacation.
i hate not seeing my dog.
i hate not seeing someone i love very much.