In response to Shane’s “It Could Happen to You . . . “

8 05 2012

Death is hard enough.  Imagine your  significant other  dies, but you don’t have any rights, because you never got married or you never could get married.  Shane knows exactly what that means, he lived it. He  shows us what his life used to be. His happy life with his partner Tom. And what happens when it’s taken all away—even the chance to grieve  like everyone else.

Watch his 10 minute video and share it. Make this video go viral.

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I’ve said this before. We all have a 100% chance of dying. None of us knows when or where. So it’s best to be prepared for it. Just a little bit. I’m not talking about buying a cemetery plot and having your name carved into stone years before you actually make it into the ground. That creeps me out.  I’m talking about taking precautions for your family.

What if you’re still alive, but in a coma ( unable to speak or move, unaware of your surroundings), who would make medical decisions for you? Are you sure? Do you have it writing? Not something you scribbled on a McDonald’s napkin. That doesn’t count. Unless you have it in writing, your next of kin will be your voice.  They get to talk with the doctors to determine your treatment plan. How long you stay on the ventilator. Whether or not your organs get donated.  Whether or not you’ll get to live out the rest of your life as a vegetable with a feeding tube.

Those same next of  kin will be making your financial decisions while you’re in a coma or dead. They’ll get to divvy up your belongings and have an estate auction.  Whose name is on the house? The car? What about your pet?

Don’t leave your loved one alone and unprepared to fight your homophobic, insensitive and/or greedy family.  Make your wishes known today. Get it in writing with witnesses. Go to the Notary Republic. See a lawyer.  Your partner could lose their house, business or life savings because of your inability to see your own mortality.

Shane is right. It could happen to you.  It happened to me. I was only 25. Just because you’re young, does not make you immune to mortality. I was lucky. I might have been only a roommate, but at least I got to go to the funeral.

Don’t wait until marriage is legal. GLBTQ community  get your shit together.  Fight for equality, but see a lawyer!


The Chef’s Wife

22 06 2010

Subscribe to The Dirty Napkin and read my story “The Chef’s Wife.” You can also listen to it!

Dead Wives

2 03 2010

Check out my short story “Dead Wives” now published in Sex & Murder Magazine

Pyramid Song

10 01 2010

I recognized the cry–the desperate cry that hopes beyond hope that everything will be okay even though it won’t be. It switches to agony until it is replaced by lost silent eyes. And then they go home to an empty cold bed where they have to take drugs to sleep otherwise see shadows and faces in the dark window.  

 The first time you lose the person that means the most to you is the hardest. I’m not saying that you can’t get hurt again. It’s just that you’re better prepared for the next time. You expect everyone to die. And eventually they will. The difference is that you know you will survive. Because you didn’t kill yourself off the first time even though you wanted to. The worst has already happened.

You’re never the same afterward. You think that you’ll never heal. And that whole bullshit line about time heals everything is just a line. By time that amount of time has passed, you’ve already forgotten how much it really hurt that first day, the first week, the first month, the first year. Those first days drag by with a miserable pit in your stomach and nothing means as much or tastes as good. And you’re constantly counting. Time is counted in postmortem minutes of first holidays, anniversaries and birthdays spent without them. You save everything that they ever touched. An empty box of Dots candy—the ones they shouldn’t have been eating because they were diabetic. Their Wal-Mart name tag—even though they cursed that place. Size 12 slip-on shoes. You insist on wearing them even though their 3 sizes too big. You wrap yourself in their favorite blanket until it loses their scent. After a while nobody wants to listen to you talk about your dead girlfriend anymore. They say you’re obsessed.

You relive that worst week of your life everyday for the next 2 years.  I spent mine in Chicago waiting for her body to be shipped from Michigan.  The funeral was delayed because they got the death certificate wrong.  I helped pick out a coffin at a Russian sweat shop. Her aunt talked her into heaven even though she was a pagan. The preacher sent us all to hell, because he was convinced that we were hooked on Ecstasy. I think he got the wrong funeral. They straightened her afro, and painted her face. I didn’t want to remember her that way, so I refused to look. She wanted to be cremated, but she got buried instead. I still don’t know where she’s buried. She died wearing the socks that she bought me for Christmas.  

Suddenly it’s 9 years later. And those 2 years that you spent together is a momentary blink– a few second yawn. And those 3 years you spent trying to find yourself back seem childish. Emery Jade happened before I started writing anything down. Before I realized that if it’s not written down somewhere, the memory will change constantly until you’ve got nothing left. It’s like the yellow blanket that she left behind–threadbare and unable to  hold in heat. And you don’t dare wash it because it will fall apart. But eventually you do wash it, and you keep it in some faraway tote in the basement instead of in your bed.

The first time I heard this song Rhiannon was driving us into Chicago for the funeral.

Pyramid Song from Amnesiac

I jumped in the river and what did I see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me
A moon full of stars and astral cards
AND All the figures I used to see
All my lovers were there with me
All my past and futures
And we all went to heaven in a little row boat
There was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt


The Nishi Monologue

21 10 2009

After not having the right word for poop, that fateful day on the bus, I learned to wait and see what words the other kids were using. Vagina was never a word that came up. Nobody talked about their vaginas. Dick was frequently referenced.  In the 5th grade, J.S. brought a condom to class and stuck it on the drinking fountain. In middle school, he showed up covered in hickies. I’m sure he knew what a vagina was.

I didn’t know what to call it until after middle school health class. We were bombarded with medical terms: STDs, condoms and VAGINA. But vagina was such an ugly word.

Before then, I knew that spot as a NISHI. Nishi sounds like a sushi roll.  Sashimi over rice delicately covered with pickled ginger with a side of wasabe and soy sauce for dipping.

When I googled Nishi, it showed up as a Japanese surname and an Indian first name. It’s Sankrit for Night.  So I googled Nishi along with Vagina and all I got was a compiled list of words for vagina from the Vagina Monologues. No history. No background. No origins.  But some other mom besides my mom used this word. I had figured it was another word Mom had made up or had been passed down from her mother– like the word she used for the cows in the field—CooBossies.

I expanded my repertoire of words from movies. In Go Fish, they are laying in circle on the floor listing all the names they know for that dark spot: Honey Pot, Bearded Clam and Love Mound. But it was Boys on the Side that had the word that stuck.

Jane: [Elaine is crying at Robin’s bedside, the nurse thinks her sniffles are relative to a cold, and tells her she could aggravate her daughter’s condition] It’s not a goddamn cold! Don’t be such a hoo-hoo.
Nurse: [apathetic] And what’s a hoo-hoo?
Elaine: [kindly] It’s a cunt, dear.
[nurse gasps]
Elaine: Now why don’t you leave us alone?

 Hoo-hoo, that’s what it is.  Only I like to spell it whowho. Maybe it should be a whatwhat.

Picking up Women at the Gas Station

17 10 2009

People freak out about meeting other people on the internet. They could be serial rapists or serial killers. I would have to say you have the same chance of meeting them on the internet as you do in real life.

Jessie was driving her shitty little Saturn. I was sitting in the back seat. A big red truck drove along side of us and honked. They were honking because they approved of our rainbow sticker. We pulled into a gas station and the truck pulled into the gas station across the street. Before we left, the red truck drove over to our side. A short little Mexican woman jumped out. Somehow Jessie arranged a date between me and this woman, Esme.

It was almost a blind date. I didn’t know her. We danced at Diversions, and I brought her home. And then she didn’t leave for 2 months. Esme lived on 16th street in an olive green house with her mother and the 8 year-old son she had when she was only 13. The kitchen walls and ceiling were brown with grease. There had been a fire. Tester noodles were crusted on the backsplash.

Her mother wore oxygen and was too fat to tie her own shoes. She couldn’t move very fast, but her voice carried and she scared me a little. I met many of her friends and family that commented on my light eyes. I only ever caught half the conversation, because it was always in Spanish. Esme drove a gold Camero with naked women silhouettes. It didn’t run very well and spent most of the time parked in her backyard. I didn’t really think anything about her not working, because I was a college student. A lot of us didn’t work or didn’t work that often. But I think she was dealing. And that was why she was on probation. Only I didn’t understand this until later.

I was 21. I believed what people told me. It only lasted 2 months, and I would have ended it sooner, but I was scared how she would react. I caught her in lies. Was it an overdose or a brain tumor or multiple personality disorder? Esme wasn’t educated enough to keep the lies believable. Instead of picking one lie, she would combine and overlap them where they didn’t make sense. I wasn’t stupid, only new to liars and manipulators.

She stole my chocolate one day. I think it was intended to be funny. But I’m serious about my chocolate. I tried to get it back, and she was rather rough about it. I realized while we wrestled on the floor that she could hurt me and wouldn’t care if she did. 

There was something mean about her. She had this kitten for a while, but as soon as she saw another kitten that she liked better she threw the old kitten out. She said it was ugly.

Esme had been looking forward to going to the graduation dance with me. She had just bought a new outfit. A couple of days before the dance, I broke up with her via letter. Jessie delivered it. The next day there was a box of things on the porch, pictures of us together with her face cut out and everything I ever gave her. She requested I return everything that she ever gave to me. I didn’t. I still have my broken hematite ring, the glass fang with a bubble of mercury and some pesos from Mexico. I don’t have a single picture of her though.

 Jessie said she saw her drive by the house a few times in her red truck (really her fiancés red truck, the fiancé she had the entire time) But we moved. I didn’t see her again until Tulip Time. She acted like we were real close, called me some endearing term. I kept on walking. 

I heard about her later through the lesbian grapevine. Sylvia shook her head in amazement, “You dated Horse Hair?” “Why do you call her that?” I asked. “Because she had a fucking mullet.” Sylvia said that Horse Hair had dated her girlfriend Erica. At one point she came to D&W with a loaded gun and waved it around. And another friend of mine had dated her sometime later and got a disease. Esme might have had bad hair, but she got around.

Memories of Dating a Cougar

16 10 2009

The last time I saw Beatriz must have been over 5 years ago. When my couple of dates with her daughter, Carmen were not so remote. When I looked more like myself then with the blonde spiky hair. Beatriz asked me if I had a girlfriend or something. She remembered that I had dated Carmen. But I can’t remember how the conversation started. Or maybe Carmen had asked Beatriz to ask me. That’s when Bea’s cheeks were fuller. Before the dentures. Before her skin turned from olive to pasty grey.

Before the date with Carmen. I worked with Bea on 2nd shift at the Nursing Home—washing up residents after they dug themselves out and finger painted with their own shit. Ah, those were the days.  Bea had perfectly curled hair and dark lipstick with liner. There was something elegant about her. She was only in her 50’s then. Now she’s a great-grandma. So I can only assume that one of Carmen’s kids is the parent.

Seems like I met Carmen on Yahoo personals. At the time, I was living with Jessie and Mel. It was during my serial monogamous rebound relationships–after Joe, after my 2 day stay in Pumpkin Town. It was after Horse Hair. January, February, March 1999? No it had to be March, because I was already hired in at the hospital. Our first date was at Ponderosa. I had never eaten at Ponderosa. It was before I knew what good food was.  She brought her children. They had bright green or blue eyes. And I had to touch them otherwise give them Ojo.  That’s when I learned about the Evil Eye. If you look at a child and want to hold them and then don’t, they get sick with the Evil Eye.

Our second date was at—fuck I can’t remember the name. Now Rumor’s bar, but it was a lesbian bar then. She wanted to smoke her cigarette outside. Carmen said they wouldn’t let her smoke her “special” cigarettes inside, because they stunk too much. So we stood outside in the parking lot or maybe we were sitting in her car. It didn’t smell like a cigarette. Her “special” cigarette was of the MaryJane brand, but I didn’t really know about that then.

I think she kissed me on the cheek before she let me out of the car. Maybe I let myself out of the car. And I never saw her again until the other day. Goddamn, I would not have recognized her. Except Bea was there, and I recognized Bea. And she introduced Carmen.  She had been a hot 40 year-old Latina with her mother’s hot lips. Now she was a rough 50 year old with pockmarked skin and pajamas.  I don’t think she recognized me by face or name. I was some stranger amidst an information exchange. But what are 2 dates that I can’t clearly remember? 2 dates and a few e-mails 10 years ago doesn’t lend itself very well to tangible memory. It’s so distant and fuzzy, it might not have ever happened.

Not long after our last date, Jessie and Mel saw Carmen making out with some man in a truck. Carmen saw them see her and she ducked away. Looking back I think the whole date thing with Carmen was a set-up. I suspect she was friends with Horse Hair. They lived on the same street. Things with Horse Hair didn’t end well and there was stalking involved. Stalking that might have continued, had I not moved. Maybe Carmen had been sent as a spy. But it never amounted to anything. Maybe Horse Hair was trying to find out if I still talked about her. Which I didn’t. So there was nothing to find out.

But 10 years later I have these faint memories, and I wonder if I’m the only one who remembers or am I only confabulating. Memories fail. I see that now. Do I remember how it really happened or how I think it happened?