Yes it has been 9 years this week, on Tuesday
when it was a Thursday that this eruption happened…
And yes I am still angry about it
because there is no karma for the doctor or anyone
who refused on a basis of: well, how is she going to pay
in fact that is how we conduct our lives and karma never had a place in it (nor does “justice”)
because that is the existence that we live in
that is life or better yet, this is how we care in this reality
but yet we get to use these marks of distinctions, yeah we get to ware it in, on our bodies
a comforting luxury which is karma, a revengeful occurrence that never happens
but yet we depend on its miraculous occurrence to be an omnipresent eye
so full with all the energy to see all the small things, and the moments before
Anyway, because “anyway” means a lot
I wrote this for you Mommy: DEEP CRY
never hanging on the horizon
because bold is an is not an example
through the mist
the beautiful dew
when everything is 3 years prior to 5 years earlier
maybe a forever which sprouts today…
It still smells like yesterday, dull with its fresh aroma
sleep still daunts
awakens even as
it is not just numbers
, found fondness
as a discovery that leaps into happening
with a vacant wonder
the want to crawl towards letters.
I would like to write a letter
not an email but a letter
saying all you never wanted to be a liability of
And Sorry would be my ending refusal
It is an example
ON LOCATION: BISCUIT!:
“oh god, bless me with secret acts of mischief, pleaseeeee: forever this, and with this stupid human. Back to you Mittens!”
“Hey Biscuit, saw you chilling, but I look soooo good at pretending that I’m not… It’s like I’m poetry!” Back to you Mick.
“Thank you Mittens and Biscuit. Yes, I am your broadcaster, Mick Murphy with The Cat Report. I am unusually orange… But, stay tune, I hear the pigs oinking up with their new single: A New Way To Walk.
Jovany runs to the window. Still shaking from the fright of her dream, she hopes the imaged of … will disappear and instead she can see, and lose herself in the imagination that everyone talks so fondly, so deeply about how the whispers are so secretly happy…
At 3:00am, she anxiously losses the covers aside, and runs to the window. Still shaking, and completely soaked in her own sweat, she peeps through the curtains wondering if the man whom she believed was following her all day was outside waiting to come and take her away.
“Babe…” Eva still half asleep, her hand aimlessly searches for Jovany’s body in the covers. “Are you ok? What’s wrong?”
“He’s out there waiting for me.” Jovany says.
Eva sits up in the dark and asks confused, “Who is waiting for you? What are you talking about?”
Remembering that she had not yet revealed anything to Eva, about the man she keeps seeing everywhere she goes Jovany reluctantly abandons her watch at the window, and slowly returns to bed.
“It’s nothing… I just had a bad dream.”
“What was it about?” Eva asks fully awake, turning on the nightstand lamp. She puts her glasses on, and sips some water.
“I kind of don’t understand it. I see my hands.” Jovany says, and then lifts her left hand in an attempt to examine it. “Then I bite off my finger and eat it.”
“No, just my index finger. What do you think it means?”
“I don’t know babe.” Eva says and flops back on the pillows. “It was just a bad dream… Go back to sleep.”
She lives in fear. Fear of the front door not being locked, even though she checked it three times and almost missed the elevator; the iron left on, losing her keys, her wallet, her phone… Being left behind… Mostly, it is a fear of being exposed. That she is not to have any of these things. She tries to be extra diligent about the life she has accomplished, because who knows when they will come and dissemble it all, she tells herself.
She has a routine.
Everyday, she says out loud, “I locked the door.” She checks her pockets numerous times for the keys, phone and wallet. She closes her eyes and goes back in time to when she unplugged the iron and put it away. The iron and the door are the most difficult, since the urge to check could never be satisfied once she’s left the apartment. She did once consider calling the Super asking him to check her front door. She revisits these moments again and again. Even if she’s late, she stops to do these little things. But the catalyst for these anxieties, the one that she is powerless against, but faces daily, the calamity that solicitously provokes these compulsions, is the day they will discover her secret. The police will be waiting to ambush her at Fun Time Toys, where she’s a Sales Associate, or late one night while she’s walking home. What would she say to her boss, or better yet what would she say to Eva?
“Late night with de lady?” Ursula jokes, as Jovany walks into the staff room 30 minutes late for her shift.
“Hardly…” Jovany says fatigued because she never went back to sleep. Troubled by the dream and the mysterious man she kept seeing, she kept wondering at what moment the mysterious man and his forces would believe that her guard was down and she was asleep, so they can spring the invasion. As the alarm clock blinked each minute, she kept imagining that it would be now, that the front door would be broken down. In a frenzied state of bright flashlights, they would be dressed in black, armed with guns pointing directly at both her and Eva’s bodies.
“You know, they’re going to write you up for this. Um, it’s like the third time this week.”
“Yes… I know!” Jovany says slamming her locker.
“Wow, hold up… Just trying to help here, hello!”
“Sorry… I had a rough night.”
“Ha, who you telling? You look it. Walking around like you’re a zombie half the time. What is up?”
“I had this really weird dream that kind of just fucked up my night…”
“What do you mean and?”
“I have fucked up dreams every night, and I’m still here on time. And?!”
“Haha, well I just dreamt that I bit off my finger and eat it.”
“Hmm, definitely something you would dream about, Jovany!”
“Funny… you have jokes.”
“That’s all you need, guts and funnies!”
They both laugh, Jovany especially as she turns to Ursula buttoning her work shirt. At that moment, the want to share the weight of what has been troubling her became less crude and sicken by the lenses of fear, but as soon as she was ready, another co-worker walked in and disrupted the now at eased trust.
After her shift at Fun Time, the plan was to meet Eva at a theatre on 86th and West End Avenue. Like everyone, she was looking forward to the end of the work day, and she was especially reminded of how much better it was to actually exist in a city where she could travel from Inwood to Coney Island without needing a car. A city that you can find the most random of cultures mingled with a hegemonic view of what a dream means, she thought as she walked to the train and relives the moment she had with Ursula.
They were going to see a performance. Jovany was early and Eva as usual was comfortably late. So Jovany decided to walk around the neighborhood, maybe find a bookstore or a coffee shop to sit and read. She found a chain bookstore. She awkwardly went in, hyper-vigilant as the security guard looked her up and down. She nervously played with her left earlobe.
Knowing that the bookstore had a coffee bar with a seating area, Jovany headed straight there. It was packed with readers. Tense, she pretended to be cool, walking to the nearest section, Photography, casually glancing through the aisle. She thought maybe finding a corner where she could just sit and read her book would be enough, but nowhere looked appealing. She returned to the coffee bar, her face bathed in sweat. Luckily, there was an empty chair. She sat between two people perusing books.
Shaking her left leg, she uncertainly pulled her book out from her satchel. Her leg stopped as her eyes stared intensely at the book. She suddenly had an epiphany of all sorts of realistic illusions, which made her incredibly self-conscious. Looking around, Jovany thought if she now tried to leave with her book, it could possibly be mistaken for theft, and her secret exposed.
She assumed no one would believe the book was indeed hers. Quickly, as her left leg continued with its rapid shaking, she flipped the pages searching for the receipt, but to no avail. Stopping to pull on her earlobe, she then rummaged through her satchel hoping that the receipt may have slipped out. There was nothing but a wool scarf, fingerless gloves and a battered journal. Just then her right leg joined in the shaking.
She believed that even though she was dressed “properly”: a button down shirt, clean sneakers and pressed trousers, she was still in a ritzier part of town. She was still black, still showing off on her right forearm the tail end of a red dragon sleeve tattoo, still generally assumed to be a guy, still suspect, and still had a secret.
“But what about all these people, surely there’s someone here who brought their book just to read? And besides, an alarm won’t go off if I walked out with MY BOOK, right?!” Jovany said to herself trying to calm down and read in peace, but reading was impossible, as she constantly reached for her earlobes. “That may be true,” the rant went on in her head, “but I purchased the book at another branch, which means it most likely is in stock. And besides myself, there’s one other black person in the store.” She looked across to the periodical section and stared at an artsy looking gentleman thumbing through a New Yorker. She then reminded herself, “This isn’t the 1930s…. And it is New York City.”
Jovany still couldn’t help but think she’d be arrested for stealing, because someone saw her put a book, hers, in her satchel. She imagined the plain clothes cop standing by the staircase, with his gun clipped to his side, would stop her and she’d be escorted to a backroom, where she’d be given one phone call. She’d call Eva of course hoping to explain everything before the police exposed her secret. She’d have to tell Eva the truth. It’s then and there she would lose everything. The life that she wanted to have with Eva would vanish with just that phone call.
“Or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Since they’re thinking black guy/woman stealing a book. And nothing about my past will come up. I’d call Eva and once again her whiteness would justify and rescue the reason I am in an all white environment.”
She thought it would be like the time when they started dating. Jovany had gone to a party with Eva in Maryland. She remembers the stares and how she wondered which was it: was it because she was black, or was it because she was black, looked like a dude and was with Eva? She remembers the one drunk guy, drunk enough to reveal his true opinions. A friend of Eva’s from high school. He questioned Jovany as to whether or not the jacket she was searching through was really hers. She was looking for her lighter. If it wasn’t for Eva’s intervention, things may have ended badly.
Jovany continued to imagine the worst, and instead of being hauled to the backroom, she’d be asked to pay for the book. She checked for her wallet, for cash and her visa card. “That’s ridiculous paying twice for the same book. And the shame… Being called a thief… If I could remember where I put the fucking receipt.” She knew she kept it somewhere. “Where is it?”
Jovany was pretending to read as both legs were shaking, and once in a while she pulled at her left earlobe. She wondered if the white woman sitting next to her would ever feel suspected and think like this? “I wonder if I were white, would I still feel this way? Probably not. I wouldn’t think about race, maybe class… Maybe I’m just too paranoid. I mean, Obama is President…!
I could just leave the book on the coffee table. But I really want to read it and I’m not buying another copy. I could borrow it from the library, but I love marking off my favorite passages, phrases…” Jovany’s time was up, as she agreed to meet Eva at the theater for 7:00pm and it was now 6:50. She supposed, if she got up and left the book, she wouldn’t draw suspicion. “But it may look incriminating if I just leave it there when it was in my bag. It may appear that I thought about stealing the book and at the last moment decided not to. Ugh, well I can casually leave it on a shelf.”
Jovany got up, put her satchel over her shoulder, and she walked to the literature section to shelve her book. She told herself that it was the best thing to do, but at the same time she couldn’t believe she had succumbed to such fear.
“Maybe one day I’d look back and laugh, a very sour laugh. Who really steal books these days?” she thought.
Maybe the maybe is not maybes
An actually knowing?
Which involves a lot
a which that is distinct?
a belief which belongs with the ungamed, weak minds?
A hysterical involvement
a which game came
of none never wanting
because it is what we want to traffic as a signal
the hysterical idea of game-d: clutters of pre-supersedes
a blinding symbolic
a message that is enunciated in
into its example marks.
Does this reveal GOD’s presence?
Does this reveal god or jesus’s pain?
Even as an emancipation from you?
Does it reveal a gleaner that is
hanging in a run-on sentence
for why black death existed?
Unless, of course, the mark of the Black Death itself represents an occurrence of urgency of emergence: “we” probably already had such a “luxury,” a magic which we were (oh wait, you were) had got by… The great burden to ignore ignorance?
of incurred indifference
occurrences without a balance sheet
a longing that was never heard of
We use to call it the Devil’s work
Lags in your disaster
haunting dead bones
fully displaced as yours
Your mysterious head
is guillotined by the machine’s riot
A rattling of desperation
in hymns, in fucking tongues
In the moist unexpected
because the inside exists
even with the appeasement
safety pins cannot
be a cure for what you fear as “divine vengeance”
A damning denunciation
which never had
No one ever asked:
What do you want to do with your life?
No one ever envisioned her
beyond the thought: bearer of….
When she finally realized
that loving yourself exists
She was joyful
She did not have the thought:
No chance to see a lock of loose
hair fully grey to decide color…