Feeding on the Space where Nothing is

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Afraid. The words didn’t register. She was angry. There was beauty in the terror. Eyes lucid drawn white back swept rolling.

What did you do?

She’s coming.

Hair like a banshee perfectly sprayed.

Heart a mirage, splayed. like a dying vulture on the floor.

Each beat a flap. Each wing a trap. Making you believe

there’s something sinister. something broken. something..

Your heart made hers up in your mind.

evil innocence draws you in. There’s nothing you have to suck dry.

What are you doing?

vampire without hunger. You. the parasite feeding on the space where nothing is.

The horror is the empty, vesseless grasp. there’s nothing

to latch onto.

escape from the cupboard

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Free. No longer constrained for use by its creators. No longer beautiful. No longer coherent. Shattered like death. Reincarnated as cuts of light. Was it ugly to begin with? Useful, it had held spaghetti with dripping Bolognesa sauce. It felt a child’s finger pushing broccoli along its ridges. It felt the frantic scrapes as a teenager wolfed a meal before thoughtlessly tossing it in the sink. It was an object, never given thought but the occasional sigh at having to rub it clean. How it had loved the feeling of warm water running down its smooth front and ridges. What part of its broken brilliance remembered these things? It watched from afar as its pieces were swept and thoughtlessly discarded. The meaning it never had didn’t matter anymore.Image result for plates

whatever we decided does the damning these days

The shears rested on the dusty bench by the door. “Why me?” she bleated as she went to the chopping block.

“You aren’t meat. Not yet anyway. Follow me.”

“ I wish I were a pig.

smarter.

You. sir, wish you were a bird.

Lighter.

But you’d look real funny flying. Humans don’t fly.”

“Yeah. Actually we do.”

“You think your sheep think they are saying something when they make all that noise up on the shearing block?” the farm hand asked.

“Yeah. Actually I do. Say something. Anything. Like you were talking to a dog and they will calm down.”

The shepherd is just (put an a in front and it changes everything) (an) overall-ed farmer with a wife and four kids. The daughters and mother chatter up a storm. (When they edit their thoughts, their minds burn the drafts in a coal furnace. Sometimes a little bit of steam comes out the corners of their eyes.)

They work-play in the rain and bake strawberry pies.

The son. prodigal. off in California somewhere.

“He’ll come back all situated. Take over the farm someday. We’re all counting on him. That’s what the girls say anyway. He’ll be back. To shepherd the sheep.. in some new-fangled red (stop.). fancy overalls and a BMW tractor.”

Just a farmer. Just the head of something that means a little bit more than that corporation out to revolutionize things. Knead the old ways in on themselves.

quietly.

like British fences suffocating the pastures,

Brutally.

like Soviet collectives, shooting a millennium of tradition in the back of the head.

“The corporation that wants to buy us out. Wants to put numbers on intangibles you can’t industrialize.

Who is the good shepherd now? a computer… Lord. Comrade. mechanized mother. bleating over the loudspeaker to lull the flock to sleep.

A flock. A flock of flying sheep. It flowed together. I started counting by the hundreds. They kept me awake with their dull, matte eyes. They kept me awake because those sheep never asked about the shears.. or what ‘freed of their burdens’ on the chopping block meant. I always tell my sheep, ‘This is just splitting hairs.’

Pete, you know as well as I do that we outsource the executions.

Corporatization does (stop.). keep us from slitting their throats by hand. The great compromise. I’ll let them pay me for the right to these dull, matte lives. (stop.).

)Breathe(,

As long as they respect my fences and stay the hell off my land.

but the sheep that streamed. through the bloodshot panorama in a sweat-drenched sober night. looked through me as if I were a carcass in the river. Something to flow around on the way to the falls. These sheep are not my own.”

Not understanding the shepherd’s rambling parable, Pete turned his back in embarrassment.

Still walking, the farmer started. The glint of the sun on a bottle in the haymow caught his eye.the needle” What he would do with the needle was superfluous. It was the thought of stumbling upon it without doing all the searching required that made his lungs push his overalls out a little bit faster and further (stop.). (breathing. like you’ve already won the race) than they had when his eyes were still straight on the fields.

Much bigger and much less than a needle, the bottle by the barn was cracked and gleaming. What would it feel like in between his teeth? a crunch, a crash. A clash between the slick ridges. Sharp explosions on the side where his tongue attaches a little more loosely than the other.

He turned and left the bottle on the ground. uncapitalized. not a period. but an empty space

un,:;?punctuated. by further contact. The wasp that crawled lazily on the inside, flew out to follow him.

To watch him with the globular trypophilic eyes.. which, much larger than its brain, sit. always unmoving.

Communication only with its own. (kind) Plotting to attack and (cannibalize?) the meandering bumblebees that live in the rafters of the barn.

A nap in the lazy oak shade. His sheep were in the pasture. The sheep that had kept him awake all night had reached the precipice and cascaded down to splash like water on the rocks.

In his dream, the wasp killed the shepherd. Too stupid to realize they were free, the sheep stayed on the hill eating grass for three days. The Romans fed the wolves gladiator meat in the interim. There can be a million;

;;;;;;types of lives;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

death — .

Meat is meat. They made use of the flesh that would have gone to waste on the red dirt, blood dirt. of the Colosseum floor.

This made the wolves laugh like hyenas. The whimpers of the stray dog in the corner were silent. But the shepherd felt its tremors like a blind man.

The sheep, blissfully unaware that lives with (chosen) souls were sacrificed so the wolves could dance, began to curdle the grass in their stomachs, churning them like glass. Blades, slowly cutting through their intestines to form a combustible star of white and green lacerations with yellow fluid seeping out.

We watched. waiting for the grotesque piñata to burst-Brilliant.

confetti guts and prickly sheep feathers.

But lo! so low. the shepherd — — — — — — — — — — — — — -returned.

Turning to chase the fleeing laughter. we retreated with the wolves. Looking for a safe place. Black and pure, to dance again.

“Peter. That’s the third time you done run off. We got work to do. PETA showed up here the other day. Lots of them. They tried to throw blood on us, but got the sheep instead. I wonder what kind of blood it was. Maybe fake, maybe stolen from blood drives. The crazies. I know my sheep by name.

My son. I saw him in the back. With a fur coat.. and those square sunglasses. He’s 26 this year. 27 is when things.. happen. He still looks like a child, waiting. 

I hope he decides to stay. The sheep don’t give a shit and the wolves are old with creaking bones, fur too matted to skin for a new coat. but the holy spirit, winding with the wasps, siding with the bees, laughing, ever laughing, just wants to be reborn in his Marlboro red.

When he smokes, the holy spirit jumps inside the barrel like a monkey, waiting to get shot out into the breeze to swing. Unbalanced. Wobbling free. An unhinged pendulum pivoting on the guerra familia of the (insert Latin word for whatever makes this bumblebee wasp apocalyptic tragedy. look like a slender-armed sister drowning her chubby little brother.)

I told my boy to paint the town she-devil red. Not the damned.

(by every lascivious, base, and gleaming: wasp-god, sheep-wolf, dog-bee, bitch. whatever we decided does the damning these days)

Colosseum.

Pete, my boy’s just as in-charge as I am. I’ll be gone someday. Everybody dies.. just like that bull Zeus that just keeled over. If my boy runs off again, wait for him. He’ll be back. but in the mean-time make sure the corporation doesn’t take the farm.”

Straight Wires

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The first curve.

We were drunk and curious. She kissed delicately. Probing. Her fingers were light.  After ten years of friendship, we had slept in the same bed so many times it felt natural. She was passive and touched me more with fascination than desire. A woman tastes different than I had imagined.

In the morning we both decided we were straight and analyzed our likes and dislikes. She liked my breasts, I liked the way her body moved when I ran kisses down her neck. We remain friends to this day.

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Analysis:

Friendship. Curiosity. Vulnerability. Planned to an extent with sexual jokes and innuendos about experimenting with women. First time for both parties. Alcohol lowered inhibitions.

Takeaways:

I had no clue what I was doing, but I had started to like her as more than a friend months before. In hindsight, I feel that women are able to become intimate with each other more easily than they are with men, because the barriers they  put up to protect themselves are nonexistent. If you can override the logical brain and activate the senses, cultural taboos can be overcome in a moment of passion.  Be comfortable with a friend. Make jokes about sex. Make her laugh in general. Mention, in a light and non-threatening way, curiosity about sexual experimentation, but never make it seem like you want anything with or from her. Complement her genuinely and openly. When the opportunity arises, think about the moments that you love in romantic movies where everything just comes together. Do what you would want your fantasy lover to do. Although every woman is different, she probably has similar desires.

Don’t talk or try to explain.

Do.

Medellín, Magic you Discover, Magic you Create

Miami to Medellín, Colombia, I saw Cuba below, Jamaica, then the translucent Caribbean Sea. My first view of the Colombian mainland was flat, tropical terrain. Banana plantations, swamps and small villages dotted the countryside. Colombia looked like Florida. I imagined the plane door opening to the same hot, sticky feeling that had lingered from my stay in Miami. Midwestern girls need time to get accustomed to tropical humidity.

Traveling further south, hills began to rise, terraced with fields of vegetables and grains. Soon the foothills gave way to rolling mountains. It was the same rounded peaks as the American Appalachians, but this green, endless green, was a stark contrast from the gray-blue tranquility of the Eastern United States. These jungles were a dark emerald color, like the precious stones that run through the veins of Colombian earth. From the plane, the mountain waterways would sparkle and slither, then dive back into the earth.

Soon, little towns appeared. Each with a white colonial church in the center protected by sentinel red brick shops Tropical plantations of mountain crops were on the outskirts. When the plane rose, the blinding beauty of the clouds made me close my eyes. I felt the hum of the engine, the excitement in my body and listened to my fellow passengers speaking in their slow Spanish dialect.

I opened my eyes to Medellín.

Modern skyscrapers in the center, red, tin-roof neighborhoods growing like poppies on the periphery. The mountains enclosed the city and the city sprawled to meet them.

To my surprise, the air had a 60 degree, spring-like chill. I loaded my two suitcases onto the back of a bus and began the hour-long trek down to the heart of Medellín.

My seatmate told me about his experiences living in Medellín the past four years. By the end of the ride, I had been invited to the small farm of his gay lover the following weekend. We exchanged numbers then he took me to the metro and said goodbye.

As soon as I entered the metro, locals looked at me with concern and said to be careful with my suitcases. After living here a year, I know carrying all your belongings through the center of the city and across town on the metro is not smart. That first day, it had seemed smart to save money by not taking a cab.

Safety and frugality are both things you learn quickly in this city.

When I arrived at my hotel in the Poblado neighborhood, the area looked like Chicago. I wondered why I had left the Midwest to come to a place with the largest shopping malls I had seen in my life. Armani suits, Gucci sunglasses. Addidas and Puma athletic gear. There was even a Converse shoe store.

The mysteries of the Colombian jungle were different than I had anticipated. After a year, they are still unfolding. I am currently discovering the theater scene in Medellín. I had a friend who used my voice in her poetry exhibition me Medellín’s Museum of Modern Art. I dance at Tibiri, the best salsa bar in the city with amazing regulars who dance like I can only hope to do after 10 years of practice. I learned how to identify prostitutes and I am friends with two women who rehabilitate them. In a classist society, I learned how to mingle with people that had gold spoons in their mouths as a babies and gold mines in their hands as adults. I also learned to navigate the dangerous areas with friends from the outskirts.

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I walked through mountain streams that had looked sensuously ominous from the plane. They weren’t.  They were clear and cold and fresh and beautiful. I rode a horse up the steep terrain. Taking a motorcycle up to the highest peak with the majestic, streaming views of the city had me grinning like and idiot for most of the journey.

There is more to Medellín than its legacy of the 1980’s and 90’s. It’s a living city. One that is breathing well again, a city that is growing and creating itself. There is so much more to the city than can be shown in a single post. More to the city than a years worth of exploring.

Colombia is consistently rated one of the happiest countries in the world. Perhaps it’s because of the music on every corner that people dance to on a whim. It might be the dozens of varieties of tropical fruit that keep even the displaced fed. My theory is that happiness reverberates through the city because the culture is at its heart, Dionysian. Most of the city is poor. The minimum wage is a little less that $2.00 per hour. But the people of the region, known as Paisas, live for today. Medellín still has problems, but the city has learned to address them and the inhabitants have learned to transcend them.

After a year, I am as safe as I would be in a middle class Chicago neighborhood. I’ve caught the vivacious and infections Colombian outlook on life. I plan to stay. Medellín had magic to discover, but also to create. It’s a city that every traveler should have on their bucket list.

 

Weighing Eternal Spring

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Medellín, Colombia: Perfect weather. Friendly people. The most beautiful women in the world. Murder. Legal prostitution.  Below is my bullet list of judgments, praises and comparisons. 

  • medellin-colombia-suramericaI look like a local- less likely to get robbed. 
  • I look like a local- judged by the clothes I wear. 
  • Less racist than back home. 
  • Classist, sexist, easily offended. 
  • Food-Italian restaurants all over the city. $5 meal that would cost $40 in the states. YES.
  • Local food. NO. Except for the tropical fruit and chicharrón
  • The people are consistently rated some of the happiest in the world. I think it’s because they have no expectations.
  • Machismo, dishonesty, fear and silence. plastic surgery.
  • At least the narco-trafficking moved up north
  • illegal gold-mining is more in vogue. The name Escobar is like Smith in the US.
  • No. They are not all related to Pablo.
  • Music on every corner. Dancing is like breathing. 
  • country with the most acid attacks on women in the world. Most carried out by former lovers or pimps. 
  • I’m in the city of Eternal Spring. Back home it’s -17 F today.. -27 C. 
  • No. I won’t teach you English for free. My job didn’t pay me for 3 months. I didn’t come here to be exploited. I need money for the metro.
  • I came here to open my mind.
  • Not get fucked in the ass. Metaphorically. Watch your back here or even your closest friend will rob you blind.
  • Catholic nuns are very respectable. 
  •  7 Million displaced.
  • After I have been here a year, I’m a bit racist. A lot disillusioned. 
  • The mountains, tropical fruit, music on every corner… almost make another year worth it.
  • They stopped spraying pesticides on coca plants last year. Less cancer caused by chemicals. 
  • Coca production is up 50% from 2016.
  • Medellín has been in rehab for a long time. Functional. Tourism is growing.
  • I don’t speak English to all you jackasses in this city looking for underage prostitutes and cocaine. Thanks for giving whatever country you are from a horrible name. Don’t go back to my country. They don’t want you there. Go to hell.

The great majority of the city’s population live and die by this quote:

“A lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth.”
― Gabriel García Márquez