December 16th, Year of the Vampires

Finding a place that would admit my sister, was a complicated affair. I found myself writing e-mails and placing phone calls, until late in the evening. Soon after, my exercise routine began, and went well into the early morning. By then, I was too exhausted to rest comfortably. My efforts would pay off, when I got a call from the residential manager at a sobriety house. The woman on the other end of the line was willing to accept my sister, so long as we arrived the following day.

By act of miracle, I have made it to Portland safely. Throwing pennies into fountains has finally produced positive results. I drove through a blizzard in a mental fog, created by sleeping no more than a few hours in just as many days. I do not need a church choir to sing about my idiocy. I know it well.

Sitting here, in an ordinary hotel room, looking out a window that is framed by snow, I wonder where Portland hides her charm. It is a dreadful city with a faint heartbeat. Women hide their gaze, disguised in black clothes, fearing they will be exposed as frauds who stole their air of mystery from books they half-read, and movies they fucked through. Men are loyal to IPA beer, social ineptitude, and lumberjack fashion.

My writing is interrupted by texts Avery keeps sending. I left his company only moments ago. Once inside the city proper, I picked him up, and drove to a coffee shop. For once I was glad to have sister there, since I wasn’t looking forward to spending time with him, but I had a long-promised coat to hand over, which was originally purchased for my father. It did not suit his taste, and I was unwilling to throw out something that had cost a generous amount.

Until tonight, our interactions were solely through modern technology. That is to say, we had never before met. Quickly, he proved himself to be a man who complained of everything, especially romantic matters. It was entertaining to listen as he painted himself as a perpetual victim of manipulative women. I don’t buy it, no matter the effort he puts into trying to sell it. His Moroccan market has nothing I want.

Avery is a man who isn’t easy to figure out, not because there is a myriad of interesting things to piece together, but because he is exceptionally good at playing the role of an innocent fool, while spewing venom behind a plastic smile. There is a possibility that his behavior is due to a mental deficiency. His most objectionable shortcoming, is that he happens to be Cody’s best friend.

As he sat across from me, I realized that he had substantially more in common with my sister, than he would ever have with me. He spoke with rapidity, held his enthusiasm despite a different emotion being more appropriate, and slightly slurred his speech. His life and interests would become the only subjects covered. He was discharged from something having to do with the military, due to cocaine use. Given his short stature and the way his body resembles a wooden marionette’s, I would like to believe he was an afternoon tap dancer, exclusively for the entertainment of high-ranking officers. He has a total of two children, each with a different mother. It is difficult for him to navigate through the dating scene, because he claims women have a tendency to reject a single father. I bit my tongue, as a means to silence the more probable reasons behind their brush-offs. He went on to portray his own father as a strict machine, who has never expressed love, preferring a generous distribution of seething remarks to friends and family alike. He thoroughly described the lives of those he knew, which included a comprehensive analysis on their flaws and indiscretions. On and on, he went. The only thing that stopped him, was my sister remarking on how everyone looked at her, with obvious critical judgment. She claimed that it was motivated by racism, and that those looks were the same she gave black people. At this, she used a racial epithet. I could not conceal the shock I felt, which Avery commented on. From him, I received a request to be at ease. He added that he understood my sister perfectly, because there was a marked difference between a black person and a nigger.

Afraid Juliet would attack an unsuspecting victim, I said that I was too cold to remain seated outdoors. We made our way inside, but not before he mentioned Cody, and that he is a reasonable man, and a handsome man, and a talented man. But it wasn’t always so. Had it not been for Avery‘s guidance, he would still be a bitter and aggressive parasite, offending even the blind with his poor fashion choices. Why, when they met, he found that extending the hand of friendship to such a sad case could only be looked upon as charity. And do I know that his father committed suicide? I grew uncomfortable at having someone tell me the life of another, when it was not their right. Also, I could no longer take his obsession with fathers.

Since sister had communicated with Cody on a number of occasions, she suggested we get together for dinner the following night. I protested, due to the antipathy I feel for a man I have never met. Ours had been a meaningless acquaintanceship, in which there was nothing beyond an even exchange of hateful words.

Not a moment too soon, Avery said he had to return home to care for his son. I dropped him off, with a head full of reasons to back out of plans that were formalized without my input or consent.

While writing down the evening’s events, somehow I began to communicate with Cody. Typical of a demon to appear when least expected. He asked that we meet tomorrow, and made sure to let me know that I am welcome to stay in his home. I found this offer to be kind and considerate. Two things I thought him incapable of. Already overwhelmed by an abundance of emotions, his hospitable proposal nearly brought me to tears. I wanted so much to show him that I have never been the person he thinks me to be. That I felt so alone, and I had gathered all the screaming that was trapped in my lungs, so that he could throw it out for me. That I was so tired from being pulled apart. That if he had thread to stitch me back together, I would stay still, the way he had always wanted. That I know every devil holds a jar of honey, and I would never tell anyone he gave me a spoonful. Before I could say any of that, he reproached me for seeing Avery, and demanded that I cancel group plans, as he would only see me alone. Suddenly I remembered why I hated him. I find this type of jealousy, not flattering, but an aggravating inconvenience. And because I did not give into him, he has decided to punish me by abruptly ceasing communication.

I have a bitter taste in my mouth, and arms that ache with the desire to push him into a bottomless pit, where even misery would never venture. Let him be invaded by nothingness.

December 16th, Year of the Vampires

December 12th, Year of the Vampires

On the search for a permanent comfort. A sturdy lighthouse, an indestructible beacon. I have a raft, made from things I once thought to throw out, but have since come to my senses. It is possible to recognize only what I am familiar with. Any flaw or virtue I can name, I am able to find within myself.

There is a fine mess of things. Yet, what has been broken is well accounted for. The pieces are all sitting in a pile, numbered carefully.

Juliet has been living with a friend. I know little about the activities that fill her days, but it is safe to assume the worst. She stopped visiting the children some time ago, after she filled a bag with food from my cupboard, and I wrestled it out of her hands. She cried that she had not eaten in days, and that it wasn’t much which was being taken. I cannot reflect on that moment without feeling like a monster.

Until today, it had been easy to avoid her entirely. However, Angelina has been struggling with asthma. She is no longer responding to the medication that was prescribed. As I prepared to schedule an appointment with her doctor, I noticed that her medical card was missing. I had no choice but to call Juliet to inquire after it. She confirmed that it was in her possession, then asked that we meet outside of a specific grocery store, where she would hand me the card. I arrived at the chosen location, but found myself waiting in vain. With some effort, I tracked her down. What I saw, left me speechless. In just a few short weeks, sister had hit rock bottom. She struggled to form cohesive sentences. I could make out nothing but a childlike plea for help. Her tears drowned out soft whispers. I wanted to be moved, but lost patience with her long ago. Nothing recognizable remained, in both character and physical appearance. She is a bag of bones, with rotting teeth, and a weathered face. I promised to find a rehabilitation facility that would accept her. It would not be the first time. Only months ago, I drove her to a hospital to get clean. She was asked to leave on the second day, after an altercation with a security guard.

Juliet has requested that I find a transitional living home for her in Portland, Oregon. It is near enough to a maternal aunt for her to feel safe. She wants to skip over the detoxification process, and while I would normally advise against this, my desire is to be free from her. I would send her to the moon, if I could.

December 12th, Year of the Vampires

December 7th, Year of the Vampires

At the height of my doubts, I never questioned the historicity of the Christ. Perhaps I knew that it mattered not, when the message it revealed was one of absolute love. So it is that I dress myself with a religion that covers me in part. What is exposed, is not beautiful to look at, but leaves little room for denial. Will I be rewarded for this with the truth? And whose truth, when it varies from person to person, from deity to deity.

There is a slight uneasiness tying my insides in knots. It is the human in me, of which little remains. The effort to feel less has paid off, with time and dedication. It is too soon to say that this process is to my benefit, or if it is no more than a matter of suppression and convincing self-deception.

Poems about aging will be largely ignored. No one wants to grow old, despite the potential for wisdom. We are all tied to our vanity, even when beauty was absent throughout youth. Things that were never within our grasp are fully idealized. It is all missed opportunity, we say. The lies we tell to cause or feel pain, are frequently high in number. We all want substance, even when it is defined solely by sorrow.

This has been a life of sharing cigarettes with temperamental lovers. Anything I have to say about a man who has given me a difficult time, will always disclose much more about me.

In between everything I have ever done, there are pieces of me sticking through. My time has been framed, hanging pretty on someone’s wall.

December 7th, Year of the Vampires

November 18th, Year of the Vampires

I am always aware of my body. It is because I am a slave to my ethnicity. Being of Mexican descent is a defining and sizable component of my identity. It glues my limbs together. There are few parts I attempt to discard or alter, even when they are likely to destroy me.

My culture demands curves that I do not possess. I spend my nights binging on fattening foods, with little weight gain to show for it. My cupboards are emptied in a manic pursuit to change a shape that has been criticized by some men I have been attracted to, and some women who say they are only showing concern. They ask if I am struggling with anorexia, and will not ease with their line of questioning, despite giving them a thorough account on what I eat throughout the day, which surpasses three meals.

Sometimes I think I have evolved past caring what someone may think of me. Mostly, that is true. Finding myself on a journey to address what has held me back, allows for the observation that the most important opinion, in regards to anything having to do with me, will always come from my own mind. Truly, there is nothing a person can say that wears me down, the way self-abuse can.

What I seek in finding ways to conform to another’s standards, is to fit in enough to move with absolute freedom. I do not want to be a woman who is considered a living papier-mâché doll, queer from the outside in. My private world often bursts out, taking steps forward before I do. I want to be like everyone else. If that is impossible, then by appearance alone will suffice.

November 18th, Year of the Vampires

October 20th, Year of the Vampires

The fasting period is over. I came away from it with the knowledge that I am exceptionally good at starving. The wild-haired girl can do well with water, and an eternal aching.

I cannot be bothered to slow down my thoughts anymore. Call in the watchmen to police sacred grounds, after midnight. Driving past the abandoned house, neglected by man, cared for by bad weather. A piece of me is buried there, waiting to be collected. My veins pulse upward, desperate to meet passing strangers. There’s something inside me that moans, drenched in sensual longing. It is too late for regret, when the desire to live is in full bloom. The petals are painted in vivid shades of the undeniable.

It isn’t right, or good, or fair for anyone to know me better than I can. I have no business being the strange girl who entered her bedroom, never really exiting. There is no one who can stop this internal struggle. The enemy within has always had its way. Rows and rows of an aggressive battalion, speeding past weak defenses. A well-executed plan of attack by foes created through my unchallenged thoughts. But, I exist! I rise!

My softwood will have to suffice. The fractured spine can still carry a body, with minor complaints. A wasted mind can be kept together with silver binding. So you say what you have to offer is different than what the others have. Not everyone likes apples. Some prefer the complexity of a fig.

October 20th, Year of the Vampires