I need to play. I need bright colors in my playtime, loud sounds, intriging rules, and a nice touch to the epidermis of my dry skin. My days are filled with being conscientious about my pantyhose, wearing white gloves to facilitate a honorable disposition, and sporting a straight and stiff back wherever you go. I just need to enjoy a good mess, like in the mud around the peripheral of a peaceful lake.
In a faraway land,
Well, not really,
Was a man of a choppy can,
By that I mean, his mouth really ran,
All the time, he narrates his every move,
And in the end, really, did he have anything to prove?
He was a minister of his red-head clan,
But poor dear, his mouth was too much to bear,
That his pupils decided to put up a ban
So that his mouth had nothing else to share.
In the light of his mornings,
He murked in the shadows of deep despair
An still, he was just as annoying in mourning
So to shut him up, his daughter showed she cared.
She got him a tree, a very special shrubbery,
That no one has ever seen or heard,
Especially in her desperation of robbery,
A stolen tree to hush him up, yes, its that absurd!
He was certainly delighted, at last,
And he was speechless from shock,
His daughters and pupils silently cheered in mass,
That their minister won’t annoy the rest of the flock.
But, the plans did not prevail,
When the minister now constantly tweets of the tree,
So, last chance, the town decides,
“We’re throwing your arse upon the sail!”
They heaved and ho’ed, both minister and tree,
Threw him on the La Pinta,
And crushed the wine bottle to the ship on the count to three.
During the many moons of Columbus’s voyage
There was a sickness that took haste.
One, five, seven, then nine,
Men died quickly within a day.
Eleven, thirteen, and the eighteenth was the minister’s fate.
However, on the arrival to the American land,
The tree, the minister’s beloved tree,
Made it safe onto the sand.
The men understood how crucial it was,
To the man who loved it like it was a beautiful lass,
So they named it the Polly McPoppin,
In form of the name chappy minister,
But just with a little more sass.
Great things occured, be assured,
During the Manifest Destiny, the tree was lured
Into the west of the native land.
“What’s this? Its surely a sight!
I want it grown, all over my acre,
And hey neighbor, have some,
It’s Irish, they make good liquor!”
Irrational thought, but surely just,
The tree grew at an exponential thrust.
Through the Louisiana Purchase and Gold Rush,
The more west Polly McPoppin went.
Until one day,
A swag with riches and teeth cased in gold,
Had a shawty that he really wanted as his ho.
He heard of Polly McPoppin, it is a rare tree,
So he compared her to the shrub in song,
“She keep it on, and poppin’”
But of course, he missed the point,
That pleasing a woman isn’t like pulling a joint.
The tree brought him a surplus of funds,
Such an inspiration was taught to his sons.
Who knew that a chappy minister way in the past,
would receive an endearment to shut up his yapp,
and sorely decay eight years under the mast,
only to have his beloved tree,
to muse a man who is paid to rap.
Thomas is in the East Coast doing who-knows-what. He was always up to something. I mean, last month for example, he decided to sell his car out of the blue. It was a nice Chevy pick-up, and with the money, he bought a cheap Honda Rebel and a thick leather jacket. The rest of the money, about a couple grand left, was used to travel across the U.S.A. He’ll never forget California.
We Californians are broke. I didn’t get accepted even into state colleges I worked so hard for. The schools are in a riot, with demands of a higher acceptance rate and boycotts due to budget cuts. I stayed for the fight; Thomas threw in the towel.
In the second grade I wanted to be a doctor. Little did I know how much effort it took to be one, so I decided to be a teacher instead. I don’t know what kind, though. I knew it was expensive to go to school, even if I went out of state. Unless I didn’t give a damn about school, I could of just sold my Honda and traveled to New York or Harlem to join a community of nomadic artists who lived off the their own grown vegetation. I realized I was waiting for reform in education while I was sitting on my hands.
So I haven’t seen Thomas in a month. He sent a letter, though he could have texted me if he still had his prepaid cell, or emailed me from a city library. As the new owner drove off with the sold Chevy, Thomas stared at it drive off into the distance. He said, “Too bad that ol’ girl won’t be having much fun. She’d be missing out.” I asked what the old Chevy would be missing out on. “Why, the L.A. traffic, of course.” He crossed his arms. “The ol’ man goin’ back to Nevada. Came here to buy her.” Thomas sighed a woeful sigh.
Thomas is a character. He had to retake the fifth grade after the teacher discovered he couldn’t comprehend the required reading material of his grade. His fourth grade teacher thought the same, and after discussing it with my mother, that Thomas was not ready to move on to middle school. Thomas doesn’t read much, and spends most of his time watching old movies. His favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe. “She’s the bee’s knees, sis!” He said every time he watched her famous ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ scene.
Anyways, he’s oblivious to his cowboy walk and talk. Thomas is very external, he takes in everything he sees, and leaves little or no time for self-contemplation. He always wears snug faded-wash jeans, with flannel shirts and boots. Before he left, he grew a nicely-trimmed beard too. When we used to go to local restaurants, he doesn’t get carded when he orders a Flat-tire. Mom and pops didn’t care about his order since he never got into trouble, and by going to weekly Sunday Mass, they overlook his occasional drinking. He was only 18.
I couldn’t do the things Thomas could do. He could install a systematic whachamacalit into a drywall, hook a television set up by fancy wires and silly-techny stuff. He never lifted a manual. I still can’t figure out how to use Microsoft excel after completing my required computer applications class. In a sense, when Thomas left for the east coast on a cold and cloudy Tuesday morning, I felt all the sudden I had room to grow. It was a selfish thing for an older sister to feel. With Thomas gone, he lifted his foot off the hose to my potential. Little did I know that I had none after the gauze was alleviated.
I attended the local Cal State University in the following fall after my high school graduation. The Californian Universities declined me upon several factors; I may have not been involved enough in school. Really? I was the president of the Latin Alliance Club and was a Peer Counselor. Maybe my part-time job at the local market wasn’t enough in pairing with my 3.67 GPA, brushed off with a couple AP and honors classes. I didn’t see an issue, and I mailed my applications with the most arrogant confidence I have felt in my entire life. Now, my laptop is smashed in a million pieces when I threw it off my balcony after reading the letters of declination. I’m never working my butt off again.
Thomas spent his afternoons watching Cow and Chicken in the guest bedroom downstairs. He did his homework right when he got home every day, and since he took the simplest classes and never studied, life was great watching Cartoon Network. There were weeks that he had to do projects, and he always did them in the nursery, I don’t know why.
One day, I came into our family’s nursery to peek on him doing a historical timeline of one of the U.S. presidents.
“Whatcha doin?” I asked, wondering if I was welcomed.
“Hey! Come in right here, sit down like a bucket of chicken wings!” He said with the broadest smile. He was sitting on a stool, flipping through an encyclopedia. On the wooden-plank table, there was a poster board, some crayons, table, glue, pipe cleaners, and some construction paper. He looked like an adult playing preschool.
I sat on a stool next to him. I watched him flip through the book some more. “Trying to find the right president?”
“Yeah, none of them seem to be good enough for me. Them needs to be worthy of bein’ on this sheet, right here.” Thomas padded on the poster board. “They keep bein’ rotten. I like Abe the best though. He was a real free spirit. He had tolerance.”
I amused myself at the thought. “So, why don’t you choose him?”
Thomas twitched his lips. “The book won’t tell me enough about him..” Tears swelled up in his eyes, and they turned red. He sniffled and turned his face away in embarrassment.
“Thomas! Its okay honey, its okay! Here, let me bring my laptop down.” I hurried upstairs, grabbed my Dell, and came back down to the nursery. I saw some tissues crumbled up already all over the table.
“Lets work on the project together, okay?” I scratched his hard back.
Thomas wiped his tears. “Its okay, sis, I got this. I need to be strong. I can always do everything on my own. I hate it when I’m stuck, it’s the worst feeling in the world. Its like a bird inside of a house. It doesn’t belong, no ma’am, it doesn’t.” With that, he turned away from me and browsed through the websites on honest Abe. I left him alone.
I had to live at home since the market wouldn’t give me enough hours to sustain an efficient income to rent an apartment with someone else. On top of that, even if I was to get enough hours, how the hell would I find a place that would accommodate with my income? California wouldn’t be so nice enough to find an affordable place to live, no, but the Chinese food is cheap and plenty, and the bars are filled with workers who share the same woes.
I lived a drastic life of being on campus five days a week, for five hours, and then going to the market three days a week, for four hours. The rest, were in the library, or at home. I carried on a constant path of the same destinations over and over again. I lived with a hook to my back, with a line attached to a zip line to where ever I went. It was never-ending, and it was so damn hard. To be monotonous, indifferent, and lifeless, it was very drastic to live such life.
I came down for supper one day, and sat at my usual spot. It was the third Wednesday, and that meant that the day before, mother went to the farmers market for the lucky Tuesday special on duck, so she seasons it overnight for the feast the next day. She invites a couple of our cousins over, and it was enough to satiate an entire family, including Thomas’s appetite. We loved the third Wednesdays. But this time, we had take-out.
We all said Grace, and began eating when the doorbell rang. “Are we expecting another visitor?” I asked.
Mother frowned. “I don’t think so.” She got up to get the door. I sat and swirled around my chow mien on my plate.
I heard what sounded like the door being slammed against the wall. I rushed to the family room to see what was going on. Mother was leaning against the door, on the ground. She must have fallen against the door. She was extremely pale, and then I noticed two police officers standing at the doorway. They wore somber faces, and assisted my mother to the nearby couch.
“What, what the...what’s going on?” I whimpered. I rushed to my mother’s side. Her hands were so cold.
“I’m her daughter. Tell me what the hell’s going on!”
The officers looked at each other before looking into my eyes. “Your brother Thomas was announced dead last night. My sympathy for your loss, Ms. Ramerriez.”
Thomas was doing so well in Manhattan. He was all over the place, doing shows and attracting attention in Times Square. All he needed was a good hat or handkerchief for bystanders to feed their charity into, when he played his blues on his Martin. He even had those metallic finger puckers that he wore as rings. He had a great voice. He sang me a song on a day that I felt down:
“Everyday can be a wonderful day,
But far away,
A child dies.
And in order for us all to stay,
We must learn to breathe,
Mayday, my sister, its mayday,
But soul sister,
Your soul lies.
And for you to realize your fate,
You needa learn to breathe,
Breathe in paradise.
Tell a story, maybe a phrase or two,
Of how you came about to be,
Such a sweet little piece of pie.
Tell me your story,
And I’ll see what I can do,
In order to take you out of your blues.
Heyday , look up, its heyday,
I didn’t even try to move,
Any finger, because I didn’t need to.
Heyday, look around, its heyday,
You need to lift your shroud,
And smile, bastard you’re so proud,
And breathe together,
Together, we’re in unity.”
Thomas was also great with art and crafts. Goddamn, he can do anything. And fuck, its so hard, even to write an essay without his presence in the house. I can’t do anything without him, even though my die hard jealousy of my younger brother brought out the worst in me. I broke pencils with my hand alone, trying to write an essay! Because without my goddamn laptop that I threw out the fucking window and onto the fucking, mother fucking pavement of the shittest concrete made by the worst men I’ve ever met, I hope they gawk their eyes out for doing such a cocksucking bad job, I can’t find myself getting out of a black hole that got larger every day.
I crept into a little ball that evening and cried my eyes out. We couldn’t plan a proper burial because his body was too deformed and was needed to further the autopsy. At the service, our entire family came. Its then I realize that Thomas grew up without friends. I didn’t see anyone from our high school, or anyone non-related. He spent all his time bettering himself with his finely tuned talents. I thought he was as special as a human being could ever get, so perfect, that he was in the highest caliber of mankind; who deserves to spend time with Thomas? He was so incredible. I never should have left him in the nursery to work on his Abraham Lincoln project by himself. That is my biggest regret that I have.
My potential, and my security blanket, which I never thought I had until Thomas death, vanished immediately. I constantly felt naked, going to class, going to work, and going to the library. I had no muse in anything I did. Who was I, without my brother, to make me feel the contrast I was to him, a boring girl, with no extraordinaire, no flamboyant appeal? With him, I felt like nothing, without him, I felt lost.
It was one evening when the police arrived at our door to drop off his effects. I carried it straight up to my room, making sure that mother did not see. The cardboard box said “Ramerriez, Thomas A.” written in square-like handwriting. Inside consisted of his cloths. There was a heavy-ounce and dark-washed jeans, having shiny silver denim buttons and some tears around the knees. His flannel shirt, and a white undershirt, were not sent because they were torn up into pieces during the time of his death. I kept his string-pluckers in my purse, and wore his hemp jewelry wherever I went. On the bottom of the box was a small leather-bound journal.
There were only three entries.
The first page read, “I didn’t know anything about gloves until today. A cute girl, cute as a button, said I had pretty big hands and finding gloves for me was gonna be a sure trial. So, I went to our library today and asked the lady for books on gloves. She was giving me the weird looks, like I was crazy or something. She told me to look online. ‘Google it’ she said. That was too easy of a thing to do. I looked through a lot of books to find what I needed. It was almost closing time when I learned that gloves were worn by ladies all the way back to the 13th century! Honky horns, that’s a long time of wearing gloves.”
The second page read, “My sister, Dahlia, is the best sister in the world. She can’t see it herself because she is up in the clouds about school or something. She real smart and I wish to be smart as her. I look at her math homework and sometimes I feel she be an alien or something, like there a lot of letters with numbers doing equations. But a good alien! When I feel that I need a question answered, I know I can go to her. She’s really good with finding answers on her laptop, which I hate doing. When she came into the nursery today, I wish she stayed and helped me with Honest Abe, and I feel so bad for turning her away. I regret it like a nun who forgot to pray.”
I wept profusely reading this entry. I really let myself go. If anyone has ever felt the pain that I had to experience, I hope to God that it didn’t last long.
The third page read, “I saw the cute girl again today. I don’t know nothing about asking girls to dinner. I watched some movies about boys and girls falling in love. I thought maybe to give her some flowers when I asked her. But she don’t know me well, she just knows I need big gloves for my hands! She sits next to me in class, so when it was over I went over and asked if she would have dinner with me someday. I was steaming up like a pig in a sun room in the middle of July! My heart was beating really hard, and I got real scared because it may have jumped out of my chest. She has a thing of doing that to me. Well, she said no. She said I was too nice. Goddamn, I was just bein’ myself.”
I never heard Thomas swear in my entire life. I never heard Thomas talk about another girl. There was so much to him that I never knew. I kept the journal and hid it under my mattress.
Months passed by, I lived on. I still lived dramatically under the zip line. I wore the hemp bracelets every single day of every month, only to take it off when I showered or went to bed. I got a lot of compliments on it. My coworkers took notice, and asked if I can make some for them. I had no idea how to make one, but still, they insisted. So, I went to my usual spot in the library and looked online for some how-to’s. There were ads on highly recommended books pertaining to making bracelets. They weren’t that expensive, just around the $12.99- $17.99 price-range, for a hard-back cover and a little over several hundred pages of illustrations and very detailed step by steps on doing all kinds of bracelets. The library didn’t have them, so I stopped by a local bookstore. Let me say, it was strange, to step outside my zip line, and go to a spot outside of my three major daily destinations.
I needed materials. After the bookstore, I stopped by a craft store. There, the zaniest people worked. The store was filled with laughter and people exchanging ideas. It was the modern Renaissance. When I entered, a tall associate threw me a “holla” and asked if I needed anything.
“Um. I need, uh, string...”
The associate was definitely confused. “Honey, make up your mind. We gots a million kinds of string here. String for your bags, string for your momma’s panty house, string for your embroidery click, and string for your- whatcha callit Melisssa?” she hollered to another associate standing in the other side of the store.
“Whatcha call what?” Apparently Melissa, replied,
“Girl, for what we was saying earlier, what those hippies wear?”
“Hemp cord, stupid!”
The associate laughed and faced back to me. “Hemp cord. And we also have string for your French rack o’ lamb! Just kidding, girlfriend.”
I sheepishly said that I just needed the hemp cord that Stupid and Melissa spoke of.
“Third aisle on your right,”
I got my hemp cord. At the checkout, Stupid complimented on my bracelets and asked if I was making more. “No, well, yes. These were my brothers, and I’m decided to do some on my own.”
“That’s crazy. I have no patience for those things, they take up my whole day! I wouldn’t feel so fresh after words.” She let out a big laugh. I admit I gave in a little chuckle, too. I haven’t in months.
Stupid told me to stop by and share what I made. Sometimes, when a project is zany enough, the staff takes pictures of it and posts them on the store’s bulletin.
I went home that evening and got started right away. I decided to put away my chemistry notes for the night and just focus on something else, well, different? I took a couple minutes to flip through my new book. I was immersed by all the pictures. I was used to thick books with tiny text and diagrams. I really took it in when I caught myself slightly drooling. I picked a simply project to start off on. A lot of projects ask for beads, special scissors, pliers, razors and even lighters, but for this particular one it was just cord and tape, to hold the initial side down. Following the instructions carefully, I began to do the required twisting and tying. I was unaware of the few hours that passed when I was finished with my fifth one.
I looked at the five bracelets sitting on my desk. I smiled the broadest smile I have in months. I felt this sense of pride swelling up inside of me, and it was so unbearable, the achievement of a silly project. I felt pins and needles all over my arms and on the bottom of my feet, the excitement exploding inside of me like anything that explodes- volcanoes, C4 explosives, sea mines, sodium in a nuclear reactor, anything!
It was then that I realized my zip line was finally broken.
The next day, I gave them to my coworkers. To my surprise, they thought it was the shit. They even gave me a high five. I guess I made friends at work now.
I decided to give it a shot and show Stupid. I explained that I really didn’t know what I was doing and chose the simplest one in my jewelry book. Well, turns out that Stupid really liked it too, so I gave it to her.
“Girl, I knew you was a good one.”
She said I should kick it up a notch and try incorporating some beads. Ninth aisle was a shock; an entire aisle dedicated to all kinds of beads. Different sizes, from an eighth of an inch to beads with a three inch diameter, there were different material, such as acrylic, metal, wood, and even recycled items from plastic bottles to candy wrappers. There was just about everything, neatly categorized, arranged, and just as confusing. There was so much to take in, as it was a whole new world for me to explore. It was almost closing time when I found the beads I needed.
Melissa rang me up. “Sure looked like you had a good time in aisle nine, huh?” She noticed my smile.
“I sure did.”
I brought simple decorative accessories to start off with. Some were brass and circular. Others were expensive, made of carved stone, and I was appalled of how someone can carve a bead so small. I also got acrylic for light accents, and they were cheap to balance the budget. When I got home, I grabbed a Tupperware lid to hold some of the beads as I worked on another project, again, following the projects in the book.
My mother came into my room while I was at work one day and saw some of my projects on my desk. When I came home, she inquired about it.
“Dahlia, I never knew you did such beautiful work.” She was wearing one the bracelets I made. It was the one with the carved stone beads.
I giggled. “Thanks. You can keep it.”
My mother was delighted. She even came to me the week after for a request. “Well, I was at Janet’s house today and her daughter took notice of the bracelet. She absolutely loved it. That little girl never takes notice of sophisticated sorts of items as these, don’t you think? Well, she would like for you to make her one, dear, after I told her it was you who made it.”
I agreed to make Janet’s daughter a bracelet. She was only twelve years old, and I couldn’t’ find a project in the book that suited a twelve year old. I decided to go to the store and find something that had a little touch of juvenilia.
“We’re making a regular out of you.” The store manager commented as she saw me walk in the door.
I found some small leather charms that were designed into a flower. I took my time deciding the right charms for a twelve year old. I never felt so focused in my life. I lived drastically from a different light, and that light was always there, but I never took the time to find the blinds and open it.
The store manager gave me a one-time, special discount. “We like you here. Here you go kiddo, I’ll give you a transaction discount.” This gave me enough money left over to go to the ice cream parlor on the way home to spoil my duck dinner.
It only took me forty minutes to make the bracelet that evening. My mother took it over to Janet’s and, I had to admit, I expected a good feedback from the daughter. I felt confident that my work satisfied a twelve year old, after the love, time, and effort I put in it. She even gave me a call the next day.
“Dahlia? This is Katie,”
“Hello Katie, how are you?”
“I’m fine. I wanted to call to thank you. The bracelet you made me is really super awesome. Friends at school think I’m cool now, and they’re trying to copy-cat me.”
“Well, that’s very good, Katie. I’m happy you liked it.”
“Yeah, I do, it made me popular!”
“Well, just remember, that’s a special bracelet. Actually, if it wasn’t for Thomas-” I trailed off. A lump formed in my throat. “Just remember that to be true to yourself and never let materialism define you, okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“Katie, listen to me, honey. You’re a very special girl-”
“Don’t talk to me like I’m eight!”
“I’m sorry. What I’m trying to say is, you’re awesome, and don’t let the cool bracelet get to your head. Just…” I remembered Thomas’s last entry in his journal. “Be yourself, even though someone may think you’re too happy, or too nice. They’ll criticize you, in some way, because they’re too cooped up in their own problems.”
“Brittany, she’s in my class. She doesn’t like my laugh. I always laugh at the teachers jokes because they’re funny. So you’re saying that I should just forget about her?”
“Yeah, basically. As long as you’re not disturbing anyone in the classroom, you’re allowed to laugh at the teachers jokes. If the teacher didn’t want you to laugh, she wouldn’t be making jokes in the first place, right? And you’d just be miserable. You laugh because that’s how you are.”
“You’re so right. Dahlia, can I ask you something?”
“Can we be secret best friends?”
“Of course. You’re welcome over anytime.”
“Can you teach me to make bracelets?”
“Of course! Come over tomorrow, with your mothers permission. If you do a good job, let’s get ice cream.”
She let out the loudest squeal I ever heard. I had to take the phone away from my ear. We both said goodnight.
Thomas was a great teacher in the crafts and fun things he did. I remember once he tried to teach me how to cartwheel. Even with his tall stature, he did cartwheels perfectly and with ease.
“You got to focus on your core, sis. The Earth is always trying to get to ya. You gotta fight the Earth! Watch me!” He yelled, as he did several cartwheels perfectly in a row, before he stopped and fell down from being dizzy. He laid carelessly and comfortably on the grass in our backyard, laughing so hard his face turned red and veins were bulging from his neck and forehead.
“Oh, I drank too many dizzy potions.”
I tried doing a few. I couldn’t get my feet up in the air. I thought at the time that I was just in bad shape.
“You’re hesitating. Remember, you just need to be yourself.”
I tried again. “That’s lame advice, Thomas. Hah, be myself? How does that pertain to performing a cartwheel?”
Thomas thought for a moment. “When you’re just bein’ yourelf, you don’t hesitate. You’re free. You learn so much more easier, your potential is sky high! When you’re yourself, you’re not afraid of the outcome. You’re not afraid of someone not likin’ you for just, you know, bein’ yourself, and you can do whatever you want to do.”
After the phone call, I ran out into the middle of the street and did my first cartwheel. I did it again, and again, and again. I blew my nose in my shirt; I was shedding tears, clogging up my nose with mucus, from the true happiness that I haven’t felt in ages. I did cartwheels some more, and when my feet were flying through the air, I heard Thomas’s laugh in the background.
"I Am A Bitch."
In a bar looking like a lonely dame,
Men try play a game,
After I tell them prefer a sensual, special, and feminine touch.
“hey, that’s easy, I can show you my manly way.”
Hey, did I tell you I want to know your way?
You and your hickory get out of my dock!
I find that I like pussy, whether you get some or not.
I like it wet, I like it dry,
I find it best, when it’s mine.
I can string out your tower clock,
And make it go coo-coo,
With my charm and my hips
And my lips, and my strut, the way I fuck!
Perhaps I’ll join you,
For a night of us two,
If you can control your little vermin,
Within his little thread of sanity
I don't think so,
I'll just leave you all alone.
Thats why they have it on Mondays. People get those case of the Mondays, and eat pizza and hear jokes. Makes the world a better place.
Thats why I meditate.
It helps you find the truth, and it sets you free.
Meditation makes you become a sieve, or a funnel, and the sand just goes right through you. You cant control the sand going through you, the only thing you can control is the acceptance of being a sieve or funnel. It's the truth.
Walker, he's from NY. With not much to offer, he offered his time with me.
He was the purest person I've ever met, filled with kindness and compassion.
I swear it was one of the best times of my life.