About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
i am taking a writing class in nyc. these are my assignments. although it's fiction & poetry, these stories could be about you. everything comes from somewhere, right?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Final Draft of Steve

My daddy picked me up in an old, faded red pickup truck that was filled with trash and tools and cleaning supplies. He was playing local janitor at a couple of resort hotels on top of the mountain. Despite multiple warnings from his doctor, he was still smoking his cigarettes. He lit one and looked over at me riding shotgun, to see if I was judging him. “I’ve been smoking since I was 13. I’ve given up the booze. I’ve even stopped taking that damn Methadone, hardest fucker in the world to quit, but these guys here,” he said, holding up his Marlboro Reds, “these mother fuckers, I can’t and I ain’t quittin. I wish people would get off me about it.” I didn’t respond except to ask for a cigarette, needing one to calm my nerves after the flight. “Darlin, be careful smokin, this altitude is serious business.” He replied without any irony as he handed me a couple of his beloveds. “I’m serious,” he laughed.
We sat eating terrible quesadillas and fajitas at a restaurant on top of the mountain. “Oh, Lord, sweetheart. Lord, don’t get me started on your mother." I didn't mean to get him started. I had just mentioned that my mother dropped me off at the airport in Texas. "That woman. Man. She would walk into a room and not a single head in there didn’t turn. She was like that.” Steve was telling me, once again, what my mother was like. The sun was falling in through the windows, reflecting off the white snow, illuminating my daddy's face, lighting him from the inside out, highlighting his grey hair, deepening wrinkles and red lines of broken capillaries. “I’ll tell you about the first time I saw her.” I already knew about the first time he saw her. “I was running Cutter Bills. Making a thousand dollars a day, darlin, and that was in the late 70s. Your mother walked in the door and now, I gotta tell ya, she wasn’t dressed her best. She had on her sweats and that hair of hers was all over the place.”
I knew the story well. She walked in his high end Western wear boutique looking like she didn’t have a dollar to her name, looking like she couldn't afford what they were selling. No one would help her. My daddy was busy charming the ladies and the gentlemen at the bar in the store. “Honey, we would give, you know for free, our customers top of the line alcohol and let ‘em shop or let ‘em get drunk or let ‘em do both. I don’t understand people these days. I don’t understand what the hell happened to customer service. It's really a shame.”
Now, my mother was looking around his store and not being helped and my daddy noticed. He noticed her and then he recognized her. She was the wife of a well-known musician, the drummer from that goddamn band. Before he was able to go help her, she had already left.
“Your mother was out the door before I got to her. And I’ll be damned, right on to hell, if I didn’t call a meeting after that and ream the shit out my employees about judging customers. Goddamn idiots. You never know who someone is, oh Lord, especially these days. These kids buying garments that are already ripped? Damnnation, I don’t know what that’s about. What's that about?" I stayed quiet because I didn't know what that was about. "But you know, your mother, she came back." He coughed deeply. "Everyone came back to my store. A free bar brought everyone back.”
Steve's eyes kept drifting, looking past me and then at me and then past me again. They say your eyeballs stay the same size throughout your life. I kept imagining his light blue eyes sitting in the face of a younger man, a different man. A man that didn’t cough so hard all the time. A man that didn’t clean rich people’s shit out of toilets. He looked around at no one and nothing in particular, “I’m telling you, people don’t do it right these days. Where’s our water? Where’s our waiter? Damn turd.”
My mother did come back to my daddy’s store and he didn’t miss a step in his cowboy boots this time. Offered her a whiskey and she took it and they laughed and laughed as my daddy charmed her wedding ring right off her dainty, lonely finger.
My dad kept telling me his story, their story. This old man, I had never thought of my daddy as so old before, but in this unforgiving light, there was no denying it, reliving his past. I sat, fixated on the tiny red tributaries sprinkled on his face, breaking off in every which way, connecting ears and chin, eyes and lips.
He suddenly looked at me, real serious, coughed again and very softly said, “You know, I haven’t seen you in some years now. Too many years. And it’s crazy, you look like just like your mother in this light. I mean, just like her, darlin.”
And we sat for a while in the sunlight, not saying anything. My daddy looking old and me looking like my mother when my daddy knew her best.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Assignment 8 based on Graham Greene, "Two Gentle People" - 3rd Person Narrator, scene in which two people interact and don't know each other

La Guardia was especially busy that Wednesday before Thanksgiving, passengers angry and yelling at airline employees, questioning their control over the weather. People were hustling to their destination gates, pulling and yanking and adjusting the luggage they opted not to check due to the absurd extra costs. Small children were behaving like drunk adults, pushing boundaries, crying for their mommies and spitting up food. The air conditioner vents were working extra hard to pump and distribute the iciest air they could sift out of their tiny frames. And there they were. Both seated in Terminal 8B, resting in back to back seats. One of her long, black strands of hair had initiated its way and woven itself into his Ralph Lauren, ivory linen shirt. The hair would stay attached until his maid would find his shirt crumpled in the corner of his closet floor two weeks later and send it to the dry cleaners.
She was uneasy, something about lifting off the stable ground without an anchor had always really bothered her. She was grateful she had used her extra miles to upgrade to first class, especially in this nightmare. She would consume their “free” alcohol until she was able to drink an anchor into existence. Her average and freckled legs, adorned in nothing but the shortest of denim cut-off shorts, were dug, self-consciously, under her body, seeking warmth. She was expending her nervous energy by twiddling her thumbs, breaking the monotony every so often to turn a page in the December issue of Elle which she endured with the most wistful eyes. She sipped her diet coke with a straw washing down leftover vomit sprinkled in her mouth. She flipped her lengthy, fine hair, sending another lone strand in his direction but alas, it glided past him, onto an empty seat. He, of course, was too busy to notice a single strand of anything, his eyes buried in his blackberry, work haunting him on this beginning of a supposed vacation.
He was sweating, miniscule drips forming throughout his slight and tidy beard, drips lining the crest of his forehead below his wavy brown hair, touched by strokes of distinguished grey. He cursed his fingers for being too large and quickly realized the mistake and cursed his blackberry keys for being too small. He tugged on his khaki pants, suctioning the air and quickly releasing it, creating a draft over his muscular, toned legs, the legs of a chronic runner. He longed for their flight to take off, when he could finally sit back as a preferred member, drink a beer and politely follow the hot, they were always hot in first class, flight attendant’s instructions to turn off all electronic devices.
“Attention passengers of flight 2214 out of La Guardia, your flight has been delayed…” Both of their heads turned toward the speaker attached to the ceiling over their seats, searching for the Wizard of Oz behind the stale voice, searching for more answers.
The noise around them began accelerating, whines and groans and papers rustling and feet stomping.
“Well, this is fucking ridiculous,” he stated sharply as he stood for a good stretch, looking right through her with his mud brown eyes.
“I don’t know. Not sure I want to fly in this,” she responded, facing him, flat footed, with her young, fresh face, oblivious to the man in front of her. The only evidence of distress was the hazel in her eyes, nestled in bloodshot tanks,
He simply grunted and granted her a once over, quickly deciding, despite her whoreish outfit, she’d probably recited John 3:16 at summer camp and accepted Jesus into her heart. A virgin, a nice, clean fuck.
The snow was falling outside the airport windows creating the illusion that they were encased between hazy white walls, like they were already flying, surrounded by white, cumulus clouds. He watched as she tossed her diet coke in a nearby bin. Her butt looked firm enough and was nicely framed in her shorts. He was willing to overlook the cellulite dirtying the back of her pale legs. She returned and sat on top of her red, monogrammed, “RLT”, Jon Hart luggage, a gift from her big sis in her sorority. He was still standing in the same place, when his blackberry, moved by its own vibrations, scooted off his seat and onto the floor, next to her sandaled and pedicured foot. She reached for the device and held it, the last vibration tingling in her hand.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Her Momma (Rough Draft)

Her momma stands
cloaked in crushed, purple velvet,
hair light, the color of a Texas tumbleweed
but the texture of satin,
eyes shimmering
a collection of electric blue, parallel rays,
entrancing the room,
lips the color of a red fiery flame
and skin smooth and radiant
like she was born out of an oyster,
like she was born a pearl.

She sings
from the dark and shaded
stage of the Alvin Opry,
spotlight like a halo,
lustrous on the child’s maker,
a song so strong
it’s lasted all these years,
a song so familiar
like a warm, childhood lullaby,
“Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to…”

The child sits tall and straight
like her momma always told her to
and she marvels at
the most beautiful woman
she ever did see.

The ground swells
as the rumbling audience rises
and gives her momma a standing O.
The child inflates with pride
and she looks around at the large crowd
and yells for all to hear,
“That’s my momma!”

She is small and corralled
by her momma’s boot kickin' and tobacco spittin' fans.
So she climbs onto her grey folding chair
and spots her upstage
indulging in the praise,
dipping her small nose to smell flowers,
and offering her flushed, tender cheek
for kisses
from men and women alike.

“Momma!” she beams.
Her voice surrenders to the heavy crowd.
She tugs on the hems of plaid, pearl snapped shirts,
skips on dusty cowboy boot after dusty cowboy boot
with her own shiny, bubble gum pink Mary Jane’s,
and pushes through a legion of legs
stuffed into wrangler jeans.

“Momma!” she cries,
when she reaches her biggest star.

Her momma looks down
to the tiny girl
whose weary face is red with might
yet filled with glee,
and waves her perfect French manicured hand...
“Go wait by the door..."

And the child drops her heavy head
of yellow, spiral curls and
her eyes, the irises blue as her momma's, fall
to the grimy, cement ground
and she slips through the crowd
like an unsnagged zipper
and finds the Opry doors,
so eminent and grand.
She sits with her legs folded,
right over left
letting her dress,
her very Sunday best,
paisley patterned and blue,
drape all around her
as she slouches down deep,
resting her delicate chin
on her clenched fist,
and watches the patrons single out
one by one
until there are
Except her.

And the little girl smiles
and leaps to her side.
“You did so good, momma!”
“Yeah? I didn’t look too fat up there?”
And the child slips her hand into her momma’s perfect yet clammy one,
snuggles close and deeply inhales
the prettiest perfume
and the bitterest brandy.
“No momma! You looked beautiful.
Just beautiful."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Day Emily Went to the Ocean

Emily looked around and decided she didn’t belong in that waiting room. It was small, suffocating with walls painted pink, like the color of a healthy, newborn baby. 5 metal chairs covered with rough, grey cloth were pushed together. There were two other women waiting with their children. The kids were running around, screaming like sirens. Their parents were reading magazines and must have been too engrossed in the latest, breaking story about the newest and best celebrity diet to take notice. “Yeah, getting pregnant over and over again is going to solve your diet problems,” Emily deemed to no one but herself. She was feeling more and more that her decision was a good one.
Her head hurt. She massaged her temples and tried calling Jordan again on his cell. “You’ve reached Jordan and I’m away from my…” Emily hung up and sighed. She really hoped he would show up soon. It was chilly and there were no windows in the waiting room. Outside, the sun was shining brightly. Classes were starting. Lunches were ending. Friends were chatting. Business deals were closing. But inside, Emily sat, seconds droning past. Her leg bounced up and down, down and up. Her hands were clammy.
“Emily…” The nurse called her name. She recognized it was her name but looked around to see if any of the other women moved toward the nurse. “That’s me,” Emily mumbled to the nurse. “Well then, come on honey. Time ain’t something we got a lot of round here.” The nurse was older and had worked in the clinic for 21 years. She saw girls like Emily every day.
“Riiight in here. Slide on this dressing gown. The doctor will be in shortly,” the nurse announced and left Emily to undress.
After another waiting period, the doctor came in. She was in her mid-thirties, curly black hair and she spoke with the slightest hint of a Southern belle accent. She looked like she might have been runner up in the Miss Georgia Peach Pageant. “What a goddamn peach. Working at a non-profit when she was pretty enough to have just married rich,” Emily thought. The doctor did all the necessary vital checks and had all of the necessary conversations before getting started. “You’re going to be under local anesthesia, as we discussed before. So, while you’ll be awake, you won’t feel a thing.” And the beauty queen was right. During the procedure, Emily didn’t feel a thing. But she did hear a thing. Or two. Or three…even over the soft classical music that played from the small, black radio sitting on the highest shelf. She wished they would play some loud rock and roll. Maybe even some metal. Anything to block out the noise.
Emily couldn’t stop thinking about her first childhood dog, Goliath. Goliath was hit by a car when she was 7 years old. “What’s wrong, momma?” Emily asked her mom when she got home from pre-school one day. “Honey, he died. Goliath, he died!” her mother sobbed. “ He was hit by a car and the mother fucker didn’t stop to check on him. Oh, I’m sorry. Come here, sweetheart.” Her mother continued to cry on Emily’s tiny shoulder. Unfortunately, Goliath didn’t go live with a family with a bigger back yard like her friend Brian’s dog did. They got a new dog, a couple weeks later, and named it Sushi. That’s what Emily thought about while she listened to a vacuum suck out the five week old fetus inside of her.
After the procedure, she was taken to a quiet room with a beachy theme where she was told she should wait and be comfortable. The room was decorated with light blue walls and seashell wallpaper. “A vacation room,” Emily thought. She felt woozy and liked how the room was warm, like a bath or like a summer day at the beach. Emily smiled to herself at the thought. The nurse gave her a blanket, pink and soft like cotton candy, and Emily sat in the recliner and reclined. The one other woman in the room with her was sleeping and Emily thought it for the best because she didn’t feel like talking.
When Emily first decided to have the procedure, the nurse explained to her that she had to make arrangements to get home from the clinic. “You’re not going to be able to drive yourself home. You have someone that’ll take you home?” Emily replied, “Yes, my boyfriend will do it. He’s going to bring me and stay until we’re done.” After the procedure, the nurse quietly asked Emily again, “Honey, you have someone that’s going to pick you up? Should we call a cab?” Emily looked at her, weeks of worry and anxiety finally eased by strong sedatives, “He’s coming, I swear. He always runs late. Please just let me rest a little longer.” The nurse obliged.
There was a large seashell decorating the side table. Emily picked up the shell and held it to her ear and listened to the ocean.