By Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
|Do tháinig bean an leasa|
le Black & Decker
do ghearr sí anuas mo chrann.
D’fhanas im óinseach ag féachaint uirthi
faid a bhearraigh sí na brainsí
ceann ar cheann.
Do tháinig bean an leasa
le Black & Decker
do ghearr sí anuas mo chrann.
D’fhanas im óinseach ag féachaint uirthi
faid a bhearraigh sí na brainsí
ceann ar cheann.
do that thing beans and greens
leave the vacuum at the door
do get me anise more crunch please
Delfina’s husband i’m not on it
Agnes’ feather chains contribute
to Fina’s husband’s bad urethra
Le’faida ate at Barragan’s while suffering
terrible waves within the brain
Celine’s dress can at times be archetypal
do that thing you do with swing
and kiss me hard dear Lisa
put black peeper on the floor
did Gary travel from Uranus
more charisma please Ms. Shirlee
du’waana go to Sunland
i’m searching for some air and group
the disco club where walls are surreal
ok no brainer i understand
no cocktails at Sharon’s barn
I loved the balmy Monday mornings, skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast. I loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on. Some would scream and yell at invisible entities. I, a mere ignorant child, would laugh at them.
On some Tuesday mornings I might go to some classes, English and Art. Nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so I would become an internal rager. I’d scream in silence and yell very quietly, almost apologetically and like a mouse. I was my own entity.
It was around the cold season in LA when I met Taino at the Cecil. He was a friend of spare cock Amos. I suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person. A male to female.
There were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school. But, I was too high to care. The internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul, intellect and spirit. Something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else I could have ever imagined.
My city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty. My city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair, pain and prosperity. I quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help, but it never brought happiness. Not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever. I’ve always remembered the first time I hugged a puppy. Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things I sorely wanted.
During the cold season in 1986 I also began to feel something toward God. It was a cartoon I saw in The LA Times. The Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised. It appears that the astronauts had touched His face. I was high and sad and uneasy. Internally, I began to cave into myself, to think too much, to question and to doubt myself. I began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold.
On a rare occasion, I was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln. For years I thought he looked really bitching; all Emo before Emo was a thing.
Grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986. I understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish.
That year, I had my fist brush of psychological testing. My principal felt that I was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first, per se, but rather in uniting the country. My folks never got wind of the situation and if they did, they probably thought I’d grow out of it.
my way …
i loved the balmy Monday mornings skipping school and eating candy bars for breakfast i loved sitting on street corners and watch people beg and drink and carry on some would scream and yell at invisible entities i a mere ignorant child would laugh at them
on some Tuesday mornings i might go to some classes English and art nineteen eighty six was also a year of self decline and so i would become an internal rager i’d scream in silence and yell very quietly almost apologetically and like a mouse i was my own entity
it was around the cold season in LA when i met Taino at the Cecil he was a friend of spare cock Amos i suppose by today’s social and political standards Taino was a transgender person a male to female
there were discussions about the Iran-Contra affair at school but i was too high to care the internal me was asleep in a bigotry of soul intellect and spirit something in me was hurting awful bad and illicit street medication provided a wave of relief like nothing else i could have ever imagined
my city was filled with anger and deep pockets of despair and poverty my city was also filled with anger and discontent and profound pockets of despair pain and prosperity i quickly deduced that money does not necessarily hurt or help but it never brought happiness not the kind you feel when you hug a puppy or your mom sings to you or your Da stays up with you when you had fever i’ve always remembered the first time i hugged a puppy Taino and spare cock did the best they could with the other things i sorely wanted
during the cold season in 1986 i also began to feel something toward God it was a cartoon i saw in the LA Times the Challenger blew up in the heavens and it was televised it appears that the astronauts had touched His face i was high and sad and uneasy i internally i began to cave into myself to think too much to question and to doubt myself i began to imagine that God felt we were becoming too bold
on a rare occasion i was pleased to be challenged by my school principal to write a report on Abraham Lincoln for years i thought he looked really bitching all Emo before Emo was a thing
grady learned different perspectives of global political history that 1986 i understood that in some ways human nature and our own personal choices would always drive the civilization inside of us before any collective could flourish
that year i had my fist brush of psychological testing my principal felt that i was confused for being of the opinion that the Union wasn’t aiming at freeing the slaves first per se but rather in uniting the country my folks never got wind of the situation and if they did they probably thought i’d grow out of it
1989 was a period in life when all back doors of an imminent hell opened to me my loved ones were self-deceived and in their view doing well so i let them linger in their truthful lies
the Cecil was really falling apart at that point a metaphor for the characters in my life i being a bit player young addictions mushrooming everywhere with most here and there would be one character more sophisticated than the other that player was Amos
the other being my mother she fancied herself a feminist with her valley feminist friends me i wasn’t sure what i fancied but started to steal more of my folks booze and pills it felt good to be honest about my thieving it took the edge off the lies that we told about how bad ass we were in controlling our demons
Amos’s demons would wear pink hustle old has been business men for a suck that never seemed to happen they were rolled here and there after falling asleep taking their pants off on the faux zebra stripped bed
my folks never knew about my life in the city i was just a latch key mess 4.0 gpa high school back door graduate i went to college i don’t know why or even how or how i got a 4.0 shit just happened growing up i had to think faster than your common drunk or cokehead or devious spoiled beautiful caged in their superiority women who struck me as being in horrible painful relationships what was heart breaking was that in their fantasy of being happy and better than thou they were murdering their true potential with worthless crap
Amos wanted to be so much like those women but she just couldn’t go through the medical change or even tell her mother back in Haiti whom she adored i was ignorant as hell when it came to identity i just loved Amos and wanted her to be happy i saw a lot sex violence addiction pain tears orgies more violence but in a way i’m grateful to Amos she did the best she could to raise me if i happened to go by the Cecil drunk or high and she was home i’d had to stay there and get lectured until i passed out
for Amos life had to go on and the hustle continued i’d pretend to sleep or if a fight broke out i sneaked into the bathroom or the murphy bed on the wall no biggie i was a pro at hiding and by that time swinging the punches too on account of my folks and their way of life in a very twisted way sword life might not always kill you
in retrospect i somewhat owe my life to Amos she taught me many things such as using protection don’t go home with anyone don’t walk the street alone “be good kid for Chris’ sake” don’t ever leave your drink alone stuff like that
on my birthday the ritual is to go spend it in downtown first a nice long walk by myself thin flip flops so that i can feel the pavement and the hot pulse emitting from the man holes i like the forest of gray monochromatic shadows strewn across alley way walls and on the sidewalks mottled by the grime and chewing gum ground into the compacted sandy mineral flesh of the streets
this year i felt bold so i walked into the Cecil the rays of stained glass fluttered upon me like crazed butterflies it was as though i could almost feel the velvet of their wings swatting me gently on my face my feet moved me down the lobby and i sat in an upholstered camel tone lounge chair even with the bustle and shallow energy of the young tourists hip kids the Cecil’s heart was heavy like a vault
flooded by memories the ghosts of my adolescence entered the stage one by one and sat in the lobby with me i became Hamlet when he saw the spirit of his father the spell was temporarily broken by an old woman asking for spare change fumbling with my pink coin purse i empty a few dimes and made an offering as i repositioned my face back up toward her she vanished only the scent of gardenias to remember her by
atop of the service desk was an incredibly tall birds of paradise bouquet in an urn kind of vase the vignette of the greens reds yellows and oranges eased my mind into taking note of someone i had all but forgotten Amos
Amos was from Cite Soleil Haiti tall slender muscular ebony angular loud graceful kind honest fearless vicious fighter when provoked transgender and broken in some parts of her spirit fragile little girl Amazon goddess bitch i had fallen in love with her strength without knowing that she was my sister in pain i was a kid she was ageless and smooth
with us there were never any serendipitous conversations about plans for the future family traditions favorite color boys t.v. or candy during my visits to her she shared that her street name was Tiffany de Mournay i shook my head and blurted she had a pretty name but at 12 i had no awareness of what all that meant to me Tiffany Amos was Amos Tiffany and i really dug them both
at other times men would call her out in the hallway laughing and banging on the door they’d yell hey spare cock Amos come out man we got some business for you i didn’t ask her what that meant although later in life i think i understood it she would say hold on sweet and go answer her door shout back in French and slam her door as she roared in laughter they all knew each other and liked to fuck around with her when Tiffany Amos got the blues they were dark violet
by 4:30 in the morning id be standing in line at the MAT with about 20 others in front of me Barbara wore pink and red when id see her every other day plus holidays if needed there was a shine to the clinic’s sea shell pink linoleum floor tiles learning to hone my ADD mind to the specks of tan and baby blue accents on the tiles id imagine that i was at the bottom of a fish tank i noticed that on Thursday mornings the floor was freshly waxed as the foot prints of my ragged American flag high top Chucks were captured on the surface it fascinated me at times but more often than not i felt shame wondering if this would be the only place id ever leave my mark the tired medical staff started the dosing at 5:30 and then you could wait a bit to see your therapist Barbara was one of the first transgender people id ever met she was really tall and with huge feet a blond wig like Charo’s nest sat atop her head Barbara’s eyes were jet black and big as prunes i loved her caramel skin and wondered about everything that might have made her decide to follow this path the little scars on her face and limbs weren’t caused by happy childhood memories like falling off your bike or whatever Barbara was obviously a warrior on days that we managed to find two empty chairs next to each other she’d tell me about the tricks she’d turn and how rent was getting crazy i was a dumb kid half my nights were spent in bushes at Pershing Square i didn’t know about life or rent and i was lucky enough to not have to turn to trickery during the holiday season i wanted to give Barbara a red lipstick that i had bought from Estee Lauder Barb was really nice to me she walked with my soul through the valley of the shadow of LA after three missed visits i found out through “one fuck” Clark another clinic patron and a one hit porn wonder i guess that’s where the “one” came from that Barbara got busted for hooking and was at County cooling off for a bit i drew hearts and skulls in the bathroom later with the fancy lipstick
Taino although you’re not here anymore the Nirvana Arms still stand tall and even though our friendship was perplexing you taught me morality and how to see the goodness in the least expected people decency is at times not where we think it might or should be
And remember Waverly she’s a lawyer now but back then she was a lost kid we all hated you for calling the authorities on her folks for neglect although it was true we were mostly just tax exemptions religious guilt rescue pregnancies and a terrific pain in the ass to them but you saw us as diamonds in a very rough and unjust place
I learned how to walk in heels layer foundation insert a tampon and fill out job applications because of you and you sat me down to explain why i shouldn’t take my life all the while inside you were already dying against your will
No one came to say goodbye to you not even me and all i could think about was how you tore me away from rapists on Werdin Place and held me tight after the cops came never judged the look of my veins and gave me compassion at levels that until this day it’s so hard to take
Once in a while i see a strawberry blond wig at the Goodwill and smile or at Walgreens the cheap acrylic nail kits you were fond of tug at my very soul at Macy’s the tropical prints you admired and honored me in choosing for you and when we got into trouble and the hoosegow loomed in our future you were always a father and when needed for love advice calling off the school vice squad or a tender non judgmental kick in the ass you were always our mother