THE CONTENT LIBRARY

Oct 2019

Tiny Musings #1: sCiEnce ExplaiNed

Faith is like a dying star. You’ve run out of options; the Matter’s been pushed to the limit. What you’ve always thought to be your center is no longer important: the nuclear fuel before fueling your internal pressure has been exhausted. No longer externalizing your brightness, you must now collapse in on yourself and surrender to your core. Light yourself from the inside out. You are dead.

The Strange Thing About Cats: *A Detective Story

Sep 2019

sherlock silhouette above and upside down black cat below

When I moved into my 2nd floor apartment over a year ago, all 3 of my bedroom window screens had holes in them. One window, particularly, had a larger hole than the rest.

Oh, yeah, my roommate said. The cat jumped out of the window.

What? I said, incredulous, especially since we had no cat.

Turns out that the former tenant brought the neighborhood cat into the room and, for some reason, the cat freaked out and jumped out of the window.

///

On another occasion, a friend and I pulled into the driveway of her house. She was older and lived there with her senior mom. As she continued to park, I looked out of the window and then did a double take at the patio window, a good 7–8 feet up from the ground. There was a hole in the screen.

What the hell happened to the screen? I asked.

Princess jumped out of it, she said.

What? I said, incredulous.

Turns out that my friend’s mom claimed that my friend’s cat was bothering her so she put the cat on the patio, and the cat jumped out of the window.

///

I was not a little intrigued by these strange set of circumstances. Notwithstanding my own similar behavior of what appeared to be anti self-preservation practices for years, I was truly baffled. My amateur sleuthing led me to Urban Dictionary where I curiously came upon the word

JOOW (which I phonetically surmised to be identical to ‘Jew’).

JOOW, according to Urban Dictionary, is “short for ‘jumping out of window’ as a reaction of being exposed to something being highly disturbing or plain madcap. Stating after what just happened, you don’t want to live on this same world any longer.”

“But this is madcap!” I exclaimed aloud. “Don’t these cats even know that they could be committing suicide?”

And, as if. On cue, a red herring. A put-on, a sham, a trick, a ruse. Instead of continuing on the trail of “cats freaking out and jumping out of window”, I was led to “when cats are freaked out” “why are cats so insanely afraid of cucumbers?”

Behind the eight ball, I watched YouTube clip after YouTube clip of strangely cruel cat owners place obnoxiously large cucumbers behind their cats as they ate, and their cats become airborne when, unsuspecting, they turned around.

Is it any wonder these cats become hypothetically suicidal? I thought.

Then, a possible break in the case, when a dame asked a Yahoo forum, “Can Cats Commit Suicide?”

According to ‘Rosesarered’ and ‘Mommy to Princesses’, it was unlikely since, respectively,

“Animals are hard-wired for self-preservation. They are built to survive. Suicide would go against their instinct. I know that they form bonds and relationships with one another and with us. But they don’t seem to have that same self-pity complex that us humans do.”

And,

“[C]ats can feel emotions, but to commit suicide you need to have a knowledge of death and an understanding of cause and effect.”

However, in submitting my own personal evidence of my old cat continuing to attack the ankles of incoming guests despite negative reactions, I was forced to abandon this trail. There was also the matter of ‘Green Apple’ on another Yahoo forum, who outright claimed that “[cats] might jump off your balcony but not windows. No worries.”

///

After waking up at my computer several hours later, I continued my researches.

‘are cats suicidal?’ I typed.

And according to an article entitled, “Can Your Pet Commit Suicide? The Answer May Surprise You”, the answer is curious, but surprising in its own answer of inconclusivity.

It seems that in asking the question, ‘are cats suicidal?’, we must enumerate the long-documented cases of animals that have harmed themselves in reaction to stressors, such as the death of loved ones, negligence or captivity: the 1847 Scientific American piece “Death by Gazelle”, for instance, tells of a male gazelle that stood over the dead body of a female gazelle, threatening to butt on-comers, then suddenly rammed his head against the wall and fell dead beside the female. A 2014 Huffington Post story tells of King O, a cockatoo that began pulling out his feathers with his feet following the death of his owner. And in the Scottish Lowlands town of Dumbarton, locals tell of dozens of dogs that have leapt from an old stone bridge to their deaths on the rocks below over the last half-century.

Of course, such reactions to stressors can and certainly do lead to death, but according to Nicholas H. Dodman, a professor and program director at the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, animals do not know that.

“[S]uicide requires an ability to ‘ponder’”, Dodman says. “There’s a thing called abstract thought, and I don’t really know they are capable of this.”

Welp.

I don’t really know they are capable of this as well. I also don’t know why they jump out of windows or why they are insanely afraid of cucumbers. Or how they open doors like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. But I know they do.

///

This has been the most interesting, curious case.


The Evolution and Revolution of Internet Trollz: *A Creation Story

Aug 2016

Once Upon a Time in the 1950s, a poor Danish fisherman and woodcarver named Thomas Dam couldn’t afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila, so he carved a doll from his imagination and likeness.

thomas dam working on a troll
The doll was small, timber and had long hair like Dam

It can be reasoned that young Lila loved her new doll, as her peers in their Danish town of Gjøl surely did. The dolls were a hit, and in 1958, Thomas Dam began making his dolls for people under his new company Dam Things. These Dam Dolls were so popular with tourists and department stores that, soon, Thomas Dam built a factory.

The trolls were of very high quality: they were made of sturdy rubber and had eyes of glass and hair of Icelandic sheep wool. They were a little ugly, but also cute and cuddly.

young boy troll with white hair

By 1963, 1 million dollars’ worth of Dam trolls had been brought to the United States and named Toy of the Year by the U.S. Toy Association. Copycat dolls began appearing everywhere, but because of a mistake in the copyright of the original product, the court ruled the design to be in the U.S. public domain.

Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore once told of such stories around fires in the black of night. They were then collected and re-told by Norwegian writers Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe as fairy tales. About Billy Goats Gruff and millions of hideous, centuries-old, dim-witted supernatural beings called trolls that suddenly took up residence under tech bridges and rocks. That stamped their feet and hurled garbled nonsense and feces at the heads of passersby. That appeared on bed sheets, stationary, hair accessories, jewelry and t-shirts by the end of the 1960s, and made millions exclusive of Thomas Dam’s Dam Things.

several identical treasure trolls

Dam returned to Denmark, disillusioned. He was happy to be a woodcarver, an artist; he was not a businessman. Then, almost as quickly as they had been summoned, trolls clambered back under their bridges and squeezed rocks amidst tolls of church bells and flashes of lightning and a storm of public disinterest.

They resurfaced with like vengeance in the late 1980s and the early-mid 1990s, again named Toy of the Year by the U.S. Toy Association (in 1991). Video games and cartoons appeared, as well as Trollies Radio Show Sing-A-Long, a direct-to-video VHS of trolls singing American pop hits such as “Kokomo”, “Woolly Bully” and “Doo Wah Diddy”. Action figure trolls like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Trolls and The Original Battle Trolls from Hasbro appeared in attempts to market to young boys.

angry battle troll guy with blue hair guns and ammo

By the release of the 1988 movie Child’s Play, Good Guy doll Chucky had invoked the voodoo chant, Ade due damballaGive me the power, I BEG OF YOU!, thereby completing the soul transfer from troll doll to human body. Dam Things reaped a fraction of 700 million U.S. dollars of troll sales in its inability to control the disembodied offspring of its original Good Luck Trolls. Contrary to negative connotations of myth and folklore, Thomas Dam had wished for his trolls to be kind and to make people laugh. Instead, they now said:

tweet saying retweet this you filthy old slut. I bet your vagina is disgusting.

In 2007, Dam Things sued DiC Entertainment for its failure to create and market a modern-day troll doll toy campaign under the name Trollz, and so destroying the goodwill and image of the Dam Doll.

In 2003, the Dam family was restored copyright and exclusive manufacturing rights, as well as awarded a large settlement from U.S. toy giant Russ Berrie, which, at the height of the troll craze, sold over 2,000 different troll-related products at an annual profit of approximately 300 million.

2011 saw a deal between Dam Things and DreamWorks. The U.S. animation giant secured rights to produce a film and television series about troll dolls, and later purchased the rights to the troll doll outside of Scandinavia. Trolls is a 3D computer-animated musical comedy film based solely on Dam’s Dolls and slated for release in November 2016.

“Thomas always had a dream that his trolls would star in a movie, and if we had him here today, he would be so excited — it’s the fulfillment of his dreams”, says Dam Things CEO Calle Østergaard.

As Thomas Dam aged, he introduced a grandma and grandpa troll. Though sales fluctuated in the years between the end of the first troll craze and the beginning of the second, Dam continued carving and doing the damn thing, creating over 20 different troll expressions for his original Good Luck Trolls that never left Scandinavia, where copyright laws were stricter. He died in 1989 at the age of 74. An article written about Thomas Dam shortly before his death described him as “very energetic and agile, with a wry sense of humour.”

grandpa troll with long white hair and long white beard

THE END


Reference: Mandi Keighran. “Third Time’s a Charm.” N, Norwegian, 2014.

Tiny Musings #2: Magic

Jan 2020

Warlock, you do obeah

when you conjure worry for a future that does not yet exist

Anger, resentment and bitterness for a past already done so.

You jump timelines as a pagan, delusional, a witch of your own will

For God is in the present, a gift

Hot, Racist, Interracial, American Prison Love

Sep 2016

silhouette with red heart and invisible person with red heart separated by prison bars
This is us baby. Well, that’s me with the fro because I am black, and crazy hair because The Man won’t allow hair ties in prison. And that is you to the right, but we can’t see you because you are white. It’s like a metaphor for our love. Wild, imprisoned and invisible to everyone but us. XOXO W/B

They say you haven’t loved until you’ve had a child. F**k that s**t. I say that you haven’t loved until you’ve had hot, racist, interracial love in a racist ass prison system in a racist ass country.

Shout out to Stevie D., formerly of the original orange jumpsuit of South Bay Correctional Facility, you fat, white Irish mick: call me baby! If you’re back in prison because they haven’t found a medicine to cure your sociopathy yet, then f**k your commissary, n**ga! But you can still call me through Evercon and I’ll take the block off my phone!

Stevie -n- Kindra fuh-eva

Now before you get all butt hurt about my use of the word ‘mick’, actually written ‘mic’, if we’re being racist PC, please note that Stevie used to call me a porch monkey, which what? What the fuck is a monkey on a porch? And please explain how that relates to my skin color. The racist term is ‘nigger’, you paddy, get with it. It’s all 2003 and shit and you’re using racist terms from like slavery and shit, is this thing on?

Actually, he also used to say that he wished that I got AIDS, but it was when he got mad, sorta like how I used to work in that group home and that little white girl screamed “NIGGER!” as I walked by, and I turned and fixed my lips a certain way but then a white staff walked by and she yelled “NIGGER!” to him too, so I’m like oh — you — OK, you can’t, so, OK bye girl, so I was unphased. He’d also call me ‘nigger’, but it was often half-hearted, like he was all butt hurt that I didn’t feel like writing any letters that week or visiting him, but fuck you! I’m not in prison, motherfucker; I gotta work for this other real-life prison that I live in that ain’t free. I gotta pay for this toothpaste and snacks ‘n shit too bitch. F**k that s**t.

Then I’d hang up in his face and he’d call back and the prison voice would be like, this is a call from … and he’d say, pick up the phone you fucking bitch, and I would because I was in a weird place in my life at the time, and the phone company would get rich off all us trash so, really, we need this love because we’re the real victims here.

Plus, I needed him to fill out this paperwork that I had created as a 2003 Word document. He called me one day all happy that he had met with his case worker and she had deemed him a “social path”.

It’s a sociopath, you moron, I said. Now I’ve got this test I made up because I’m a psych major at a community college and I’m interested in this shit so fill it out and send it back to me. OK, he said, because he liked to take tests. He said that. I mean, I liked to take tests too, but I wouldn’t say it.

Anyway, he’d always be talking ‘bout how his mother left him in the hospital as a baby and I think that’s why he was a racist, and maybe some far-off connection to famine and potatoes. Actually, he was trash in the way of actual trash, whereas I was trash only because somebody said I was. Anyway, beauty is in the eye of the trashcan.

He was also only attracted to minority women. Like me, for example, as a black, and his son’s mother as ‘Spanish’. They’re pigs, you know, he said. F*****g pigs. They’ll do anything. You mean, like having sex with someone you think is a pig and then making a baby with them? I asked. Well, I didn’t ask that, or how he could be so racist and only date minority women because I think I subconsciously thought that it might confuse him.

And if I exposed his incongruent thinking then I would also have to account for why and how I was talking to a white Irish prison racist motherfucka as a black, and then I’d have to shank you for invalidating my world.

Actually, prison is very racist, he said. It made it worse. You stick with your kind and your kind only even if that Mexican cat got those sticky Cinna-Buns, in his commissary. But how does that describe our love? I’m all black and shit coming for these bullshit ass visits to see your white ass, and now, in retrospect, I can see why everyone looked at us funny, even the COs who found any way they could to interrupt our non-contact visit love because they hated you. Actually, everybody did: that’s why when you didn’t call for a long time, I’d lovingly caress your picture and know that you were in the hole. For some bullshit of course.

So I’d fold my hands on the table and not make any waves because they got the power like Snap said in 1990. Cuz I did not force myself to wake up in the middle of the day because I work nights to come all the way here to stand in line and wait for like 3 hours with this common trash and get searched and lockered and ID’ed, only to have my hour visit cut short. I don’t care if your celly Jamal murdered you in the middle of the night then sauntered into the visiting room wearing your face skin like Hannibal Lecter. I’d still call him Stevie and hold his bloody hands because I need a return on my investment. Love is complicated.

Like how the night you met me at the laundromat down the street from my apartment because we were going to have some interracial sex after I finish folding this fitted sheet, how the fuck do you do this shit? I put a butter knife under my bed just like James Caan practicing unsheathing that knife under the mattress in Misery, just in case, because you stared at me with blue eyes that were a little bit too dead for my liking. You also didn’t help me with my laundry.

You told me that you saw me but I didn’t see you the day you were arrested. I was bopping to work, listening to my music, unaware that the Jakes had you up against the wall across the street for violation, and not too far from where you grew up in the Fidelis Way projects down the street from my apartment. Actually, a little bit more further down because I lived in a nice neighborhood with the Jews. I remember I was wearing a red shirt because I could’ve been killed by a random gang member from the Bloods at any time. We lovingly spoke about it for 2 years before I left you for a regular white man. It was our story.

I worked at a Jewish agency and was walking to the office where I was a Case Manager for independently living adults, so-called the ‘Aliyah’ program because it means “elevation” or “going up” in Hebrew. Does anybody else see the irony?

I met you 2 weeks before on the bus. I was with my rather agency-infamous Rain-Man-like client Ms. Bonnie Sue who I would later find had the Little Black Sambo book under her bed. You kept staring at me, kind of unblinking, not totally unlike a sociopath, when you realized that I, as a black, couldn’t handle it anymore and asked what you were looking at. I should’ve known even then because you had a healing black eye. You asked for my number and Bonnie Sue promptly announced my phone number at the office. 555–5555, she said: she works at the Aliyah office, a-l-i-y-a-h, and I looked at her and thanked her, and she started rubbing her hands together like she normally did when she was mischievous, saying, up to no good!

You laughed.

Trick is Trash: And Other Spooky Halloween Stories

Oct 2016

trick daddy wide eyes finger to clenched gold teeth
In honor of paganism, I was actually going to go to the ole photo editor to superimpose Trick’s face on a jack-o-lantern or something, but I think this is scary enough. Photo credit: Trick Daddy Mixtape Ride Out

For those not in the know, legendary Miami rapper Trick Daddy recently horrified the black community with a rather impromptu — yet somehow right on time — attack on black women. The video was posted to Trick’s Instagram account. I’ve toiled to transcribe the 305 dialect as follows:

These Spanish and these white hoes: they just started getting finer than a motherf****r. Y’all black hoes better tighten up. I’m telling you, tighten up. Y’all doing all that extra s**t for nothing. You not achieving nothing, b***h. You get ya a*s done, ya t*****s done, and ya paying $150 to get your makeup done just to go to a motherf****n’ local club, b***h. Tighten up, hoe. These Spanish and these white hoes is getting very spiffy on y’all. They f**k around and learn how to fry chicken you hoes is useless.

Naturally, black women et al. doled out some treats of their own, ranging from questions implicating the black womanness of Trick’s own mother, to comments pondering the pleasantness of Trick’s own general appearance, to a blog post entitled, “A White or ‘Spanish’ Woman Can Have Trick Daddy”.

The “Negro” Trade

For those also not in the know, the transatlantic slave trade somehow ghoulishly morphed into something like fantasy football within the black community, best exemplified by blog posts like “A White or ‘Spanish’ Woman Can Have Trick Daddy”, and best described by (Dave) Chappelle’s Show classic sketch “The Racial Draft”, wherein members of the “Black Delegation” “put up” problematic black people for review to be eventually traded to another race. It’s not totally unlike how some Muslims disown extreme jihadist Muslims by proclaiming, “they’re not Muslim”, but since we can’t really say someone is not black (meaning brown), the black community settles for trades and outright relinquishment. Examples have included,

1. Raven-Symoné
2. Ben Carson
3. Clarence Thomas
4. Charles Barkley
5. Stacey Dash, and possibly Kanye West

Examples have also included black people who the Delegation has been willing to trade for less problematic white people.

By and large, however, even members of the black community from the 305 (who ride hard for Miami-Dade) moved to immediately veto Trick, apprehensive but nonetheless consoled by the remains of Miami princess (and former Trick protégé) Trina. Miami-born and long-time Trick stan Kid Fury, of the popular weekly podcast The Read with Crissle (West), for instance, couldn’t even bring himself to repeat Trick’s entire diatribe last Thursday. But, honestly, what did we expect? Just last June, Trick haunted us on Facebook Live, spitting on the camera and threatening an anonymous ghost woman that he’d pull her lace wig off and drag her raggedy ass, bitch, as an unidentified woman, seemingly unphased, used a blender in the background. In March 2009, on The Rickey Smiley Morning Show, Trick addressed public worries about his appearance by revealing that he had (Discoid) Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy organs and tissues. He then went on to explain how he had discontinued treatment due to chafing lifestyle restrictions and medication that necessitated more medication to offset side effects. In July 2014, during a VLAD TV interview, Trick alluded to medication as a Ponzi scheme while proclaiming wonderful health due to a “ghetto diet” of smoking boonk, eating a lot of booty, vodka, sucking a lot of p***y, pork and, of course, water.

Hm.

This most certainly sounds like a collection of scary, glow-in-the-dark skeletal formulas for the genre of horror. About the downward spiral of the tortured celebrity? Or the projected self-hatred of the historically oppressed? Latent misogyny from a man who has several times professed having a mother who had 11 kids by 10 different men? Or better yet, who cares? It’s obvious that Trick not only has issues, but also loves black women. Believe it or not, people say and do terrible things to people they love all the time. If anything, Trick’s whole rant struck me as a sort of hooked on phonics doppelgänger of Bill Cosby’s infamous “Pound Cake” Speech to the black community in 2004.

Tighten up, pull ya pants up

Get ya shit together ho

“You Don’t Know Nann Nigga”.

Jul 2016

That Glorious Days When I Realized I Was A Bad Fiction Writer

I don’t remember where or how old I was, just that I was symbolically on the precipice of crossing the street. And it is at this moment that this memory co-opts the day I was walking down the street with my goth Kazakh ex best friend when the red capsule called Tryptonite (sp?) that she had given me and had been getting online (?) kicked in. Somehow, I ended up partially in the street because I was on drugs, suddenly jumping up and down, screaming YES! YES! YES!

7+ years of commitment to a goal just shrugged off on a random sunny otherwise ordinary Tuesday. I could give you better memories for s**t that wasn’t even as important as this.

I’M A BAD FICTION WRITER! I suddenly thought to myself. YES! THAT’S IT! I have no idea where this thought came from. Some might say God, and you know what? fine, whatever, I don’t care; I won’t struggle as much with that anymore since my joy was what God might describe as beatific. And, honestly, I think it was going to take some deus ex machina to save me from the trajectory of my existence. I think I was starting to get off on rejections.

I had written a story for my life that wasn’t for me, and since I was a bad fiction writer, it was bad. It was a bad story. Jedi mind tricks with editors unaware of my existence; clean, crisp, pretty manila envelopes and cover letters that covered the real doo-doo inside; borderline psychosis of truly fictional greatness.

Meanwhile, the truth was that fiction writing pained me. It was awful. One story, about 23 pages, took me 10 years. I’m not even joking. Sure, it was eventually accepted, but then the editor who had accepted it was fired and the new editor rejected it. “I can’t publish this like this” was her rather rude response. My name wasn’t Kindra Baldwin or Kindra Bukowski or Kindra Hemingway or Kindra Flannery O’Connor no matter how many times I wrote it with little hearts in my Trapper Keeper. And that was OK by me because I was a reader. I had just wanted to aspire to what I admired.

That glorious 2 totally separate days, an immense burden was lifted from my shoulders. I shrugged off what I wasn’t to begin what I was. An imaginative non-fiction writer. I love it.

Jul 2016

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A Logical Conversation About God

Jan 2020

Not too long ago, after I quit my job in February 2019, I experienced something of a crisis. Ironically, it wasn’t the eventual financial ruins of my life that I saw as a crisis (for I had been there many times before), nor the impending and my first-time rental eviction looming. It was the complete lack of faith that I witnessed in almost everyone who I went to for feedback. Just to be clear, this is not a judgment, but I was astounded that in asking what I should do, almost no one previously expressing faith and belief in God mentioned God.

It seems so logical yet not, that in order to believe in God, you must believe in God.

A year or so ago on Twitter, someone I followed introduced me to an article on an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada named Gretta Vosper. It astounded me because Vosper was also an atheist. It seemed so incongruous that a minister of Church could believe in no God, despite knowing people all my life who spoke staunchly of a belief in God yet did terrible things.

Everything is so topsy-turvy. Why then should it matter that Vosper was an atheist minister? It was through her atheism, ironically, that the focus could be placed on authenticity and back on the concept of God, which is rarely discussed. Who people believe God is.

Many people believe that God is hellfire and brimstone, judgment and punishment. A reward and barter system. If I behave like this, I will receive that. I remember a religious family member saying several times, I don’t think I could have faith like that. She was speaking about the main character in the movie Hacksaw Ridge, but I looked at her and wondered how she could believe in God and have no faith. Like a lot of older people, she received a concept of God by rote.

It wasn’t until I began surrendering myself that I understood. Rarely is it discussed that just like any other belief, God is a concept that must work for you. A muscle that must be exercised, strained and stressed and relied upon in order for you to, well, believe that it works. It is a practice. Not just on Sunday but every minute of every second. I am not Bible-based, but the text will tell you that you must pray without ceasing.

It is very difficult to believe in God when you have never truly surrendered your will to God. To strap a shitload of dynamite to yourself and risk looking insane for what you believe in, in a belief of invisibility and uncertainty, a world of verbal religiosity but behavioral secularity. 

It is understandable in the way that a life-long atheist could begin calling on God when experiencing a heart attack, or the way a life-long religious person could remember nothing but their own will in the moment of a crisis. It is understandable in the way that you can only understand when it happens to you. Hopefully it will make sense, and it brings you peace, because that is what true belief in God is supposed to do.

Apr 2011

DEUS EX MACHINA

They walk side-by-side alongside the river. They look out across the horizon of diamond ripples then up at the sun that blinds their retinas and makes them sneeze behind reeling lids of violet polka dots.

“Oh god, bless you.” He says.

“Thank you”, she chuckles. “God bless you.”

They meet then reflect in each other’s eyes as Seraphim anew as a flock of unseen Robins “tweet” melodiously; their hands morph into silver-tipped red horseshoes; their heads balloon and float into the sky.

“We just start all over.” They agree, continuing along. “Not look back.”

But the eggs in their stomachs from breakfast suddenly hatch into molting caterpillars that become a flutter of nervous butterflies; beads of salty liquid come to a rolling boil in their hands and demagnetize them. Their heads pop into ragged pieces of rubber.

“But— ” She says.

“Yeah I know.” He says quickly.

A breeze snatches a red leaf from a passed tree and whirls up her strands like the snakes of Medusa and reverberates through his vocal cords as he picks the leaf from her hair.

“But I love you.” He says, presenting it like a flower.

She smiles, pausing, small waves of unrelenting remembrances washing across her face and forming a reptilian skin over the dark gray water. The sun hurls itself toward the horizon like a Molotov cocktail and ignites the earth.

“No, you love that stupid b— !” She blurts, and neutralizes into a pillar of salt.

Turning round, he looks into the scorched tree at the burning angel hissing and tweeting with laughter.


Ode to the WWF and WHOO! The Nature Boy Rick Flair

Aug 2016

If you ask an adult what to do with a pillow, they’ll probably say something boring like, sleep or lay down. But, man, if you ask a kid? They’ll tell you all kindsa shit: kiss it, hump it; if you’re a girl, pretend you’re pregnant; sneak out the house and put some covers on it. Put it to sleep. Pile drive and tombstone that bitch. Bounce off the ropes, jump off the couch and oh! Elbow drop!

I used to love the WWF (Prime Time Wrestling). I’d get up and manually turn the knob to channel 25? 38? Or was it 56?

Just an ol’ regular guy with Jerry Lawler and Bob Backlund. But look out! For the chicken wing! Tag team with The Bushwhackers, too country and hillbilly–Razor Ramon too tooth-picky and greasy for The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. Hit em with the 2 x 4 Hacksaw Jim Duggan! BAMBAM! Bigelow too big for the ring like Andre the Giant and Yokozuna; they’ll sit on you! Play it cool like pretty boy Brett The Hitman Hart and his bro Owen Hart, because watch out! He’s got a snake in the bag, Jake the Snake! OH yeah Macho Man Randy Savage–step into a Slim Jim brother, Hulk Hogan. Rip open your shirt! Start Native American dancing around the ring like Tatanka then soar through the air with your beads flying like The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith! It’s the Royal Rumble! Cage Match, oh! The Ultimate Warrior! Cue the bagpipes and put on your kilt for Roddy Piper! Wrestlemaniaaaaaa forevvvvvaaaaaaaaa arrgroooaaarargghgghgh!

I wasn’t so into The Undertaker, or Gold Dust. WWF Raw. Here comes Black Chyna: it’s not the same anymore. I just couldn’t get into WWE. I was growing up and pretty sore about the whole thing.

I’ve still got my memories though, and I saved the best for last. Look at this guy right here. Just look at em.

You can’t beat this shit right here. It’s the Nature Boy WHOO! That’s right! Rick Flair. Look at em. Look at this motherfucker right here.

the nature boy rick flair

I think he’s considered one of the best pro-wrestlers of all time. I don’t know much about em, and I don’t want to either. He wasn’t even my favorite wrestler of all time until I came across this picture, WHOO! Yes sir.

The bling gold of a massive championship belt resting braggadocio amidst the gaudy feathertry of white boa peacocks and a woman-like dressing gown. The dye job that rinses with just a tinge of trailer park trash yellow instead of blonde, but the chin angled just high enough to denote your peasantry and the fact that he’s still better than you.

WHOO!

I love this picture. I think I’ll have it printed. The Nature Boy WHOO! Rick Flair. It’s one of my favorite pictures ever. Back when they really crafted shit. Made illusions fun.

Brita Water Pitcher

Sep 2019

I have an existential crisis every time I have to fill my Brita water pitcher.

Maybe there’s something to having incredibly mundane tasks forever tethering us to what it means to be an awful human being with an almost vampiric never-ending life, just so we never forget. Is this humility?

Anyway, any time I have to fill the Brita up, it starts by me saying to myself,

If I have to fill this pitcher up one more time …

But then I have to, and then I say …

Where did I even get this pitcher? When? How many times have I filled this already? How old am I? Oh god, I forget again. Then sometimes, I gotta get the calculator to minus 1981 from 2019.

///

My aunt always wants to find alternatives to having to buy three 24-packs of bottled water every couple of weeks because she’s a senior who has arthritis and has to ask other people to lift them and put them away for her. And my first suggestion is always a Brita water pitcher … As if we haven’t had this same conversation 70 times when she tells me that she’s old and has arthritis so how can she lift it? but she keeps talking about how she can do none of the alternatives that she keeps talking about.

///

You know, I used to iron shirts for this really rich white guy in New York City. He lived at the MiMA on Theatre Row, one of those luxury hotel-looking places. My first job was ironing like 30 of his shirts. I’d come in and most of the time he’d never be there but the ironing board and iron would be set up for me. He paid me something like … I forget but it was pretty fair. Anyway, I completed the job and it turned into a pretty regular thing. And I grew to hate it, but I was so broke at the time and he always called me right on time when I needed money the most so I just kept doing it until I moved outta New York City altogether.

Anyway, he was a cool guy but I hated it because it felt superfluous. Like it was only ironing, but what next? Just because you have the money, will you outsource tying your shoes too? Is this how you lose your humanity? Does it all begin by this? This untethering from the basic shit we have to do every day to keep ourselves functioning and connected to ourselves, and human?

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I dropped the Brita and I almost lost my shit. The pieces went flying everywhere. A part of the handle broke and chipped off and I forced it back and washed the pitcher again like it was new. There. Was it an accident? Or was I trying to kill myself with and through the Brita pitcher? I wouldn’t do that. Because that would be absurd, right?

Jul 2016

The Time I Answered the Door to an Alleged Rape Victim

I used to live on 22nd Street in Midwood, a weird neighborhood in south-central Brooklyn in NYC. It was weird because it was New York City in the way that New York City can be: moneyed yet poor. a large mix of (caribbean) blacks, whites and orthodox jews. Beautiful Victorian houses lining lush green sidewalks and shrubs directly across the street from ugly brick buildings and bald concrete sidewalks.

I couldn’t put my finger on it but it was eerie in a kind of peaceful quiet dangerous lurking way. The closest train stop was at Newkirk Plaza off the B/Q on 16th street, 7 long blocks at night when the neighborhood got ghost and came alive with dead silence.

I had 3 roommates: one was a young girl from France. She told me that one late night when she had emerged from the subway, she called the Brooklyn Bike Patrol, a volunteer escort service of male bicyclists founded in 2011 by Jay Ruiz. But she said that when she called, a boy who had identified himself as Ruiz’s son told her that Ruiz had just suffered a heart attack. She said that she sprinted all 7 blocks home.

We lived in a house owned by a nice Bangladeshi couple. We lived off the porch of the main entryway on the 1st floor while there was a kind of sub-level unit that existed below us not visible from the front and so only accessible by the tenants in a narrow kind of alley at the side of the house, which led around to a small concrete backyard.

Of course, all of my roommates were gone one night when the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, there was a girl standing in the hallway with her shirt up and bra exposed, clenching a Burger King bag frozen in the air. She said something like, I’ve just been raped. Can I come in? Can I have something to drink? She was calm but seemed dazed. But I don’t know because I didn’t know her. Oh my goodness, I said. Yes, sure. Come in. By this time, the couple had joined their young son “Sheriff” in the hallway and also came into the house.

As we all stood in the kitchen, I looked at the girl before realizing when I looked at the boy and pulled her shirt down. I think there were scratches. I gave her something to drink. The couple was silent. She kept saying that she didn’t know what to do. That she had been raped at the back of the house as she was getting into the house. She asked if she could use my phone to call her boyfriend because her phone was dead, and I told her sure but suggested the police. She agreed. As the minutes dragged on, she said that it was a guy who had come up behind her. She said that he told her that he had a gun.

At some point, the police and ambulance came and she left. I think that her boyfriend had called back on my phone but I don’t remember. The couple seemed rocked. The woman said that she didn’t believe the girl, that she was making trouble. The man didn’t say much but asked rhetorical questions that wouldn’t be answered to the girl’s favor. His eyes were red. He looked tired and defeated. The girl was Brazilian, and the woman suggested that the claim was a ploy to get extension on a visa that had expired. The guy just seemed like he wanted it to be all over. Their stance seemed frightened by the prospect of what this would mean in renting to future tenants in what was now a “rape” house.

I was thankful that I hadn’t taken the room. When I came to look at the house, I was given a choice between where I now lived and the room. It was big but isolated from the rest of the house. It was a mess from the German girl who had allegedly gone MIA in alleged non-payment but was still allegedly seen in the city.

All of us were up for the entire night, mostly because of the spacing of the detectives. Not too long after the police arrived, a set of 2 male detectives showed up. They were brief and serious. Hours later, a trio of female detectives showed up. They were loudly complimentary of our house, conversational, and raucously humored by the plastic scrotum hanging on a board in our kitchen.

A guy who also lived on the bottom floor asked why no one had heard anything. I said that she said that the guy had a gun. There was a theory that maybe she had been followed from the not-so-far-away and dicey area of Flatbush or Broadway Junction, where the Burger King bag was from.

I liked the couple and I liked the wife, but I knew that I would have to leave soon. I strongly disliked our one main roommate, and despite not knowing what really happened, I asked myself what the harm was in erring on the side of the girl being assaulted? Or did that depend on who you asked?

Tiny Musings #3: How to Unpack

Feb 2020

Today, I thought: 

I am afraid of people. I am afraid of their judgment and being mean to me. But then I thought,

No I am not. Because what I’m really saying is that I am afraid of their anger, and I am afraid. And if I am afraid, that, too, is the spirit of the devil, for fear is opposite to the spirit of God.

I am afraid of the spirit of the devil. 

But I took something else out, because that wasn’t it either, because I’ve never been afraid of the spirit of the devil when I had my own anger. When I, too, was in the spirit of the devil.

I put my suitcase away for the day, and grab a hanger.

I am afraid of fighting the spirit of the devil while remaining in the spirit of God, because I don’t have much experience traveling with the latter. So used, am I, to fighting weakness with the will of my own.

Hourglass Sand Timer

Mar 2020

When I look in the mirror I do not see a writer. I see … I see, an alien? Maybe when I turn out the lights, Bloody Mary, stepping out of the mirror if I’m still actin like a scared kid.

When I look in the mirror, I think of an ocean of sand, and an angry bolt of lightning that strikes it and makes glass. 

I am a story collector. When I look in the mirror, I think I am looking at sand, as I traverse the desert with my staff. I tell my stories, and when I run out of those, I tell other people’s stories. I say, can you believe …? Sometimes I omit the name if the story is folk, a parable. I look in the mirror and I don’t see a person full of stories, but I straighten my hair, wash my face, brush my teeth and wonder when I will run out of them.

When will I start repeating the same story? Like I’m old. The story looping back, closing itself, The End. I’m ecstatic anew to tell it like it’s the first time while other’s eyes imperceptibly roll back in their heads, annoyed, dead, no tired, sleeping, sleeping …

I’m awake, I’m awake, in the mirror. I close the mirror on the medicine cabinet and sit in front of my computer. I pick up a pen, lift up my shaky finger to write, and I write, I write about myself, what I see, what I see, in the mirror,

I wonder how can I write anything when nothing happened the way I remembered. I tell my storythenItellsomeoneelse’sstory, like taking the arms off a Barbie and putting it as her leg. I tell my story and someone stops me and says, that only happened in a photograph. Like picking up broken shards of glass from the frame. My shoes are heavy with sand. My mouth is dry, I cover my eyes from the flash and ask for some water. this is fine, I say, I can tell my story better like this then. It all began with Bloody Mary and how that story scared us all away from the mirror … and when I open my eyes again, my voice is gone. I am finished writing. My eyes are white.