Showing posts with label anger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anger. Show all posts

05 April, 2017

Letters from Trumplandia 8: il mostro dentro di me

Now is the time of monsters. -Antonio Gramsci

Sometimes it tries to kid me/ that it's just a teddy bear /and even somehow manage to/ vanish in the air. /And that is when I must beware/ of the beast in me that everybody knows. - Nick Lowe

My daughter's mother used to tell me that my face changed whenever I lost my temper.

"It's like you turn into a different person," she would say.

We were a marriage of monsters. Of course, neither one of us realized that at the time. We were young and stupid and had no clue what love was or what we were doing. It wasn't entirely our fault, either. I grew up denying mine and she grew up trying to run away from hers. Our monsters have very different origin stories. I don't propose to talk much more about hers here, since it is her story to tell and ultimately her burden to carry. I only mention hers to point out that monsters come in all shapes and sizes and that most of them, contrary to all the folk tales, wear vaguely human faces and walk through the world completely unaware that they are, in fact, monsters.

I also want to point out that in spite of all that, we managed to somehow create the least monstrous, most talented, and beautiful daughter that any two monsters could manage during an Eastern Kentucky winter blizzard.

There was a point a few years back that I thought I had my monster under control. My tactic was to starve it out. My theory was that if I simply didn't feed certain aspects of my personality that eventually the it would starve to death. Cage it off, chain it to the wall, and starve it. I'd been at it for several years, and believed I'd nearly conquered the raging bastard.

And to be honest, I'm not really sure what happened, except maybe that little shit of an Id, that part of my brain that's always getting me into trouble, was sneaking it food while I wasn't paying attention.

Puckish little fucker, that Id. (Actually, his name is Clarence.)

I suppose it could be argued that there's a lot to be angry about. The ugly monster that is the underworldly underpinning of America has given birth to a beast and elected him President. And he is unleashing all manner of monsters on the world in his wake... as well as legitimizing the lesser monsters that heralded his arrival. He's doing what all monsters do. He's eating everything he can. The environment. The poor. The arts. The disenfranchised. The dumb ninnies that prop him up. Everything. All things. Until there is nothing left.

The unfocused and unorganized rage of the Resist 45er's is starting to fade. Socially activated liberals and frustrated progressives have fed all of their steam to the monster and are starting to settle down and talk about the next election. The short-lived union of the left is starting to fracture under the inevitable weight of hubris and the usual rounds of King of the Mountain, each of them sure that they are more right than anyone else.

Moreover, Kentucky's Little Fascista, who is also another teeny tiny monster, is trying gobble up all he can. The environment. Education. The poor. The arts. The disenfranchised. The poor dumb ninnies that prop him up. All things. Until there's even less left than was left before.

Monsters gorge themselves, rage, and destroy, and that is all they do.

So while I know there's plenty for me to point to and say "This is why," the fact is I am, after 44 years on this planet, still confused as to why I have something like this in me, anyway. If you believe the comic books and great literature of the ages -- and really, who doesn't-- all monsters have an origin. But mine is just there. It's always been there. It will always be there.

Amanda has told me as much. She knows me better than anyone and has known me for a long time. She tells me that while I'm generally not monstrous, that it's always there, just under the surface. Waiting. I try to keep it away from the people I love and I do okay with that. I'm learning that in order to do that, though, that sometimes I have to let the monster out to play.

And that, Dear Readers, will take an entire other lifetime of practice.

If you like what you're reading here, I have work for sale on my amazon author page:

18 June, 2012

Eastward-ish - Into the Sunset: Tempe, AZ

Many demolitions are actually renovations. - Rumi

There are no unsacred places; / there are only sacred places / and desecrated places. - Wendell Berry

There's what's right and there's what's right and never the twain shall meet. - Raising Arizona 

O, what's left of the flag for me?
My time back in the Valley of the Sun has reminded me of a few things. The first thing I'm re-reminded of is how nice it is to see old friends. I was able to cross paths with Kenny, who let me sleep on his floor in spite of the trauma it visited upon his cats, Koufax and Drysdale, and Scott McNulty, who let me crash on his couch for night.  I was also able to see Dan and Julie, Alan and Katherine, Colleen and Donald and John and Reese along with other regulars, from the now defunct (May it Rest In Peace!) Horse and Hound -- the bar that was my home away from home for most of the time that Arizona was the place I hung my hat.

I was also reminded of the impetus that made me leave here in December 2009-- albeit, I will admit, with some dragging of the feet. And I can best describe my reasons by highlighting the list of offenses committed on me by this loathsome, arid, devil's asshole (think Dante's Inferno, the lowest level):

  1. My first night here, I puked blood. 
  2. At one point, my feet and lower legs swelled to three times their normal size. (Think of a fucked up Popeye.)
  3. I experienced the Arizona version of Montezuma's Revenge.
  4. I was in a perpetual state of dehydration no matter how much water I drank.
  5. Being here caused me to spend more than I should have.

Now, it could be argued that I puked blood because I ingested far too much beer and not enough food. Though how that ever made a difference, I haven't a clue. I will admit that, upon returning here, it occurred to me just HOW MUCH time I spent at the bar, or drinking. I recalled the summer I perfected my margarita recipe...  well, I sort of remember. Really, with that much tequila and Triple Sec, who the fuck remembers anything? I'm lucky I wasn't arrested, naked from the waist down,  in the middle of the ASU main campus, pissing on the administration 

My visit wasn't all bad. In fact, it wasn't even mostly bad. I was also able to ride the light rail downtown and meet a dear friend, Michele L, for coffee. My eventually-to-be-ex-wife and I became friends with her and her studious husband, Richard, when Michele worked with Melissa at Child's Play Theatre in Tempe. Michele and I got along almost instantly, bonding over the Arts, literature, and penchant for being a bit long of jaw. Richard and I became friends because, like his wife, he's very smart. He also has a preternatural ability to win at the horses -- a skill that ... probably because I would have used it for evil rather than good... I haven't really acquired. (Not that it ever stopped me.) 

The Phoenix-Tempe-Mesa metroplex has a lot wrong with it, but the light rail isn't one of them. Clean and efficient, it took all of 36 minutes to get from Tempe to Central and Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix. If you're familiar with driving in the metroplex or with the I-10, you will know that's an amazing time. If you're not, take my word for it.

I left Tempe yesterday and spent last night -- somewhat at the last minute -- at my friend McNulty's closer to downtown. I have less of a connection, truth be told, to actual downtown Phoenix. I spent most of my time here on the East End. I worked at ASU's main campus. I drank at the Horse and Hound. We shopped and ate out in the East End. I went downtown once on the light rail, maybe twice, right after they unveiled it -- which was always delayed between construction delays and the protests of those short-sighted people who refuse to see the present and future importance of a working public transit system. 

I suspect that many of them have never had to rely on public transit, would not be caught dead on public transit, and (among all the men and maybe some of the women) drive gas guzzling cars because they know their penises are too small.

Though while it's been good seeing friends, I feel like I'm looking at Arizona with new eyes and seeing a host of old problems and issues that I recognized when I was here before. A 6 year old undocumented Mexican being arrested by a Maricopa County Sheriff who is more of a criminal himself. A governor who, but for scaring rich white people in Scottsdale, would probably have to go back to being a hairdresser. 

Or a Republican Vice-Presidential candidate.

I thought about living here before, and how angry I was. All the time. I don't know if it was the sun... and believe me, I do think the sun fries people's brains out here. How else do you explain the Minute Men at the border? Or the fact that Arizona insists on trying to support a hockey team?

Your guess is as good as mine, Dear Reader. Lawdy, Lawdy.

Be warned, though. Don't confuse righteous indignation with random anger. I may not have much of the latter. But as time goes on, I have more and more of the former. And I don't intend to misdirect my righteous indignation. Or sacrifice my sense of peace in the process.

11 January, 2011


Lou woke up with one of the cats sleeping over his head, hogging the entire pillow. He didn't have to reach up to know which one it was; it was Skeeze, the long haired hermaphrodite. The little fucker never really forgave him for moving in and taking its side of the bed. It seemed to Lou that he always started out sleeping firmly in the middle of the pillow, but by morning, he had slid – or been pushed – down almost to the edge. Two of the other cats – Fauntleroy and Scar – were sitting on Fiona's side of the bed, watching him with the unblinking eyes of scavengers. They're hoping I'm dead, he thought, so they can eat my eyes and my tongue.

Sitting up and putting his feet on the narrow strip of floor between the side of the bed and the outside wall, Lou almost stepped on two of the kittens. There were four of them. Lou hadn't bothered to learn any of their names because he was still hoping that Fiona would come to her senses and find homes for them. Seven cats in a small one bedroom apartment was six too many; but he knew better than to convince her to get rid any of the full-grown ones. She had made it very clear when he moved in that he would move out before the any of her cats would; she also made it very clear that she wasn't the kind of person to clean out the litter box or the entirely too frequent hairballs, or the puddles of semi-solid puke from her changing the food all the time, depending on how much money she had. And the fur. There was fur everywhere, on everything. Not even the food was safe from random blowing fluffs of cat hair.

It was daylight and she wasn't home yet; that surprised him less than the cat hair he found in the bottom of the coffee pot that Fiona had left on last night. She'd had a couple of friends over while he was at work – a couple of guys that had, once upon a time, been fuck buddies, and a particularly angry lesbian named Marie. Marie was angry because Fiona was still fucking men. Lou wasn't sure if he would've minded if Fiona went ahead and fucked Marie; because except for the fact that she was a very angry, very man-hating lesbian (the result, according to Fiona, of being tricked out by her father to his friends when she was very young), Marie was a beautiful woman. Nice big tits, slim waist, round hips and a heart shaped ass. If he had ever come home from his third shift gig at the sock factory and found the two of them in bed together, he wasn't sure he'd be all that pissed off. He pointed that out once to Fiona, who snarled and said “How is that any different than you coming home and find me in bed with another man?”

“I don't know,” Lou answered. “It's just different.”

“You're a pig.”

“At least I'm honest.”

He had tried hanging out with Fiona and her cabal of post-modern goth intellectuals before; they liked to sit around and drink cheap wine out of gaudy goblets and name drop philosophers and the authors of crap vampire fan fiction. Early on, Fiona had wanted him to make the attempt. She gave him books to read. Many books. But they all seemed like the same book. Pretty vicious vampires that bite instead of screw. Lots of homoerotic undertones. Lots of long wordy descriptions after the manner of Bram Stoker, lacking anything else that made them interesting. He found them unreadable and was embarrassed to be seen with them at the break room – not because he gave a damn about what any of them thought. Just because.

It was Friday, which meant he was off for the night. He'd gotten his check, pathetic as it was, and he wanted to spend some of it on himself. The bills were paid, but Fiona would want to spend on expensive cat food that would end up in puddles of puke dried into the cheap shag carpet.

The first thing he did was take a shower. Not that it did any good. No matter how many times he showered or washed his clothes, he always smelled like a walking litter box. When he was in the apartment, he didn't notice except for when the central air kicked on and moved all the dust around. Fiona was a lousy housekeeper, and Lou wasn't inclined to clean, either. She always complained about it. But did she ever pick up a rag to dust, or plug in the vacuum cleaner? Lou never complained about it. Not anymore. She used to at least straighten up before her cabal came over; now she didn't even bother to do that. Why should she when she could blame the mess on him?

The shower left him feeling refreshed, but he knew the feeling was fleeting. He didn't feel like risking having cat hair in his coffee (rinsing it out didn't do any good. He could rinse it a hundred times and he'd still end up with stray hairs floating in his cup. He opened the refrigerator. It was empty except for a six pack of expensive beer and there was a Post-It note on that read MORGAN'S MEAD. DO NOT TOUCH. Morgan was one of the former fuck buddies that Fiona spent all of her free-time with … free time that had grown exponentially since she got herself fired from her job. When Lou met her, she had been the manager of a men's formal wear store. She claimed the owner sexually harassed, tried to get her to sleep with him for a bump in pay. A bump for a bump. That was what she told him, anyway. Came home crying and everything, and Lou bought into it. He offered to go kick the guy's ass. He tried to convince her to get a lawyer.

“No, no,” she sobbed, burying her head in his chest. “ I'll never be able to prove anything.”

And Lou let it go at that.

The tuxedo shop fiasco had been more than six months ago, and Fiona still hadn't found a job. According to her, she was “psychologically shaken.” He accepted that for the first month or so; after all, he had no idea what it meant to be sexually harassed, or, in the words of Marie, to be “assaulted by yet another miniscule man's disgusting member.” Lou could only assume that if Marie had ever had any experience with a man's member, it must have been a man who hadn't heard of bathing. But he couldn't argue with the fundamental logic beneath the bitch's biased words. He supposed she had the right to be biased.

He ran out of sympathy, though, when he overheard her talking about how she really got fired. Apparently she had been stealing from the till in order to buy expensive cat food and gaudy cheap wine goblets and badly written books. And the owner-- having caught her twice on hidden camera – fired her. When he confronted her the following morning, she cried again and accused Lou of being part of the “global patriarchal conspiracy to claim ownership” of her vagina. They argued, then she stormed out and didn't come back for three days. And when she did come back, she claimed it was because she was worried about what he would do to the cats.

“You're nothing but a neanderthal with a college degree,” she said.

“Morgan's Mead,” he muttered. “Fucking moron.” Does he even know the difference between beer and mead? Or does he think he's being cool? Leaving his beer in the fridge like he paid rent was worse than fucking Fiona. At that point, the dumb son of a bitch could have the malicious cunt; but he was going to be damned if he was going to let Morgan move into the goddamn refrigerator. Lou took one of bottles, opened it with a bottle opener sitting on the kitchen counter that was supposed to look like a medieval mace, and emptied it down his throat.

Fuck him, Lou thought.

29 March, 2010

Other Uses For Duct Tape

As she promenaded down the narrow Main Street sidewalk in her best outfit, Walter felt glamorous for the first time in her life.

She was sure they would stop ignoring her, now. Even though it was mid-day on a Tuesday and the center of town was deserted, Walter – who was now going by the name Wilomena (after her favorite grandmother) – knew she would make quite the impression. She was ready for anything. Stares. Glares. Insults. Screams. Threats. Bible quotes. When she put together her ensemble, perfect down to the size 10 stiletto heels, silk hose, and a bright but conservative handbag, she knew the effect she was going for. Her make-up was flawless and straight out of a fashion magazine. She tried to calm herself. Her nerves had almost gotten the better of her that morning; she almost talked herself out of it. But she’d been fantasizing about this day from the moment she started dressing in her mother’s clothes when her parents weren’t home. And if her father’s wrathful beating couldn’t stop her, there wasn’t anybody in town who could scare her either. It was her home as much as theirs, she figured. They would just have to deal with it.

Her first stop was in the Pharmacy Center, where that dried out Stacy Hauptmeyer was working the register. Wilomena had known her since elementary school; they had both been born and been matriculated through Arliss County Consolidated Schools. They both attended Briggs Straton High, where Stacy had been Prom Queen, and Wilomena – then Walter, the fat pimply kid everybody thought was a little retarded – wasn’t even allowed to dance without the entire Prom Court laughing and making fun the frilly pink shirt and baby blue bow tie and cumberbund she’d had to go all the way to Chicago to find.

Wilomena was held herself together and made sure to glide through the door: elegant and above the fracas of small town Mount Arliss. She was still a large woman. There was nothing to be done about that; she knew she was limited by her genetic heritage, so she did the best with what she had. There wasn’t a glamour queen alive who didn’t look like shit without her make-up, she knew that much. In this, she felt a kinship to beautiful women everywhere and it made her feel more beautiful.

Stacy the fallen prom queen (She’d fallen that very night, as a matter of fact, when she forgot all the lectures her daddy the Lutheran minister gave her and spread her legs for Billy Borgenstein, the butcher’s son and Prom King. By the time Stacy had given birth to Billy’s big-headed bastard, the only thing royal on her was the hugeness of her ass.) didn’t speak to her as she walked through the door; but Wilomena couldn’t contain her smile when she noticed Stacy’s eyes popping out of her head. Was it the heels, Wilomena wondered, or the brand name semi-couture dress that she could never have on her small salary as a check out clerk that went to Billy’s beer and his fat baby’s diapers? It didn’t matter. Wilomena walked up and down the aisles, trying to decide what to buy for herself. The item itself was irrelevant; the goal of her visit had been achieved. She stopped was in the small and pathetically stocked home repair section when she saw a roll of gray duct tape and remembered she’d ran out that morning trying to get into her ensemble. She picked the roll off the shelf and made her way back up to the counter. Stacy was talking quickly on her cell phone, and hung up before Wilomena approached the counter.

She rang up the Wilomena’s purchase in silence, intentionally NOT looking at her and scowling at the keys on the register. Wilomena could tell that Stacy wanted to say something; but it wasn’t high school anymore and Stacy wasn’t the Prom Queen. All she said was “11.75,” the price of the tape.

Wilomena paid for the tape in cash; she didn’t like to use her debit card when she dressed up because it still had her old name on it. She opened her purse and handed Stacy a 20; even when she made change, Stacy refused to look Wilomena in the eye. But Wilomena smiled anyway, graciously accepted the change, picked up her the white plastic shopping bag with her tape in it, thanked Stacy, and walked back out onto the sidewalk.

After that, she went down to Siegerson’s bar and ordered a mixed drink. At first, Mitch (the owner) didn’t want to serve her, but there wasn’t anybody else and business had been slow all winter. He didn’t say anything to Wilomena, either, though the hatred burning in his weasel-like eyes said everything that needed to be said. She finished her drink, left a small tip, and left – floating from her triumph.

Wilomena got as far as the courthouse.


She ignored it; her feet were starting to hurt from the heels, but a little pain was nothing compared to the victory she felt at that moment.

“Hey you! Faggot! Retard!” The comment was accompanied by laughter.

Wilomena walked around the corner and away from the noise. She picked up the pace, but she felt her feet started to swell up. That’s what I get, she thought, for tying out a new pair of shoes today.

She was almost to the corner a group of five men stopped her.

“Hey faggot,” one of them said. It was the same voice.

“Gentlemen,” she answered in her best husky voice. She smiled to try and hide her fear.

“We don’t like faggots here,” another one said.

“Yeah,” another said.

“Faggot!” hissed another.

“I think you have me confused with someone else,” Wilomena said, trying to walk through them.

“Walter?” the leader asked, pushing her backwards. “I always knowed you was a retard; but now yer a FAG, too?”

When they circled around her, Wilomena’s stomach jumped into her throat. She was about to reply when the first blow came from behind her and took her to her knees.

“You wanna suck our dicks, Walter? You faggot?” the leader taunted him and the others laughed. One of them kicker her in the back and other punched her on the side of her head. The leader bent down and picked up the shopping bag and looked inside. “Duct tape?” he laughed. “What does a little faggot like YOU need with duct tape?

“Maybe he tapes his dick back with it,” one of them said.

The leader smacked her in the head. “That’s fucking SICK, Walter. Is that what you do? Huh? You wanna be a girl Walter?”

“My name…” she said. “My name…”

The leader hit her again. “Let’s get him outta here,” he said. “Pick his fat ass up and get him over to my truck.” He tore the plastic wrapping off the duct tape. One of them held her hands behind her back and the leader wrapped tape around her wrists. They picked her up and dragged her behind the courthouse, where the truck was. The entire time they made fun of her weight, they tore her dress, and continued to punch and kick her. Before they tossed her into the back of the truck the leader took the roll of duct tape and wrapped her eyes and cross ways around her head. They punched her and kicked her, even as they drove out of town. They were screaming and howling like wild animals when Wilomena lost consciousness.