Sunday February 14, 2016
Dear Mr. You
I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.
Saturday November 14, 2015
from a tweet
The oldest survivor, Maya, white braids woven around her head like a brain basket, lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. When I visit her, careful not to step on the wildflowers and cacti that line the path towards her door, she opens it before I can raise my fist to knock. “You’re here,” she says, like she knows me, like she knew that I would have a sunburned nose. “I’m here!” I say, unsure what to do besides parrot. Maya leads me into her kitchen and cracks a coconut open with a machete on her countertop. She’s plump in the most beautiful way, her arms strong and her shoulders broad. They’ve carried waves. They’ve carried change. They’ve carried children and banana leaves.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
An article in The Atlantic
I’m not sure about frogs, or tumbleweeds, or mustard. Frank says it’s because I moved around so much when I was a kid. Takes me awhile to trust people. “Ever-present ambivalence” he calls it. Did you know that Frank never graduated High School? Shocking, right? I sometimes remind myself of this to make me feel better when he’s quoting some article he read in Scientific American and I’m feeling like a schmuck. We were talking in the woods with Bailey and Viv’s dog, Harissa, and a frog jumped across our path. I shrieked. Frank said, “There it is again,” like he was a wise guy. I rolled my eyes. “Ever-present ambivalence, Julie. It’s gonna kill you.” “No, Frank,” I said, “these tree frogs are!”
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
From a tweet by Shambhala Sun
I read a short memoir about a woman with stage four breast cancer and my throat swells with fear. I resent her for reminding me of my mortality. I wonder about where I carry extra weight, if I eat too much cheese, is it dangerous to live in a city? Where does my unexpressed rage live? Is it in my breasts? My liver? I’m destined for the same fate. Sickness lies dormant inside of me and will strike when I least expect. The summer of my wedding. When I am pregnant with my first child. During the premiere of my most successful play.
A hummingbird feasts from a hydrangea, slurping up her fill until she’s drunk, flying into the morning before I can reach for my camera. I drink coffee, now cool, the bitterness sour long after the swallow.
I weave a whole narrative before I’ve finished my fried egg on toast. I hate her, this beautiful bald writer, I love her, I wish she were closer and that I might know her phone number so that I can call and thank her for this late July, early morning meditation on death.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
from a tweet
“You’re overthinking it, Cece!”
“Just do it!”
“AH! I’m scared!”
“Just jump! We’re all waiting for you!”
“But – ”
“Shit or get off the pot, honey!”
“Be quiet, DAD!”
“You can do it, Cece!”
“Ce-ce! Ce-ce! Ce-ce!”
Cece jumps, after thirty six minutes of prompting and agonizing and feeling rushed and feeling afraid. She jumps and the water’s colder than she expected. She sees a flash of the woman she never imagined she’d become. She sees strong arms and a heart unencumbered by potential betrayal, or loss, or ecstasy. When she surfaces, Felix is there and he kisses her on the cheek and says, “You did it, Cec. You actually did it. None of us thought you could, or would, we thought you could, I thought you could, but I didn’t think that you would.”