Sitting Behind the House

Sitting behind the house, smoking my last cigar before I abandon my native country, I see the light inside burst in recurring shades of blue, but I can not hear what’s on the TV. In the smoke I see my future, my destiny, my delusions of grandeur taking form, and dissipating. Will my name be more important than my words, will the titles of the things I write remain subscript under the ego, in huge black letters across the cover? How long will I remain living, thinking that ambition is worth more creation, that unfulfilled dreams carry more value than the excuses of circumstance?

Sitting behind the house, in the one chair afforded the small area under the deck, I read poetry written in the 80’s by a man who may not be the same man now. Wracked by so many years of being a poet, an undervalued artist, who reads his books now? Who represents the audience he pours his soul to? Would he hate them if he met them? He is not a rock star, the figure that has eclipsed the poet, and bastardized his trade. Parades of women do not follow him on tour, hoping that sex will somehow bring them closer to a greatness they never plan to achieve.

Sitting behind the house, my dog lies a few feet in front of me, staring into the distance, occasionally swiping her mouth at the nearby bees, but never coming with a foot of their agile flight patterns. Why does she sit so loyally next to my chair, while I pay no attention to her pants? What does she think about? If the pictures in a dog’s mind could be transferred into words; hunger, thirst, lust, would they be poets or pop stars? Dogs feel all these things, these unspoken desires, the same way we do. The same way we can stare at a painting, hanging on the wall of a museum, the image reversed against the black wall of our unconscious, tugging desires into our minds which we can never communicate. So we move on to the next and the next, with this series of colors firing up the neurons of our brain, attempting to cajole words from our mouth like a sparkplug failing to start the engine. What are we in some instances but the slobbering animals we came from, so unable to connect these trappings of thoughts to each other?

Sitting behind the house, the mountains point to the roving bands of cumulus clouds, the winds shifting the puffy traffic of faces, and fire engines, and upside down horses around the sky, like the montage of half dreams we can’t quite remember in the morning. Forgotten dreams linger like the thoughts of dogs, like the strings of emotions we can’t place into the categories we know so well; happy, morose, anxious. I try to think of the last dream I had. I remember sleeping over my grandmother’s house, and she has become incontinent, urinating all over the floors, and she screams and falls asleep on the couch next to me. I walk to the back door and dawn has burst through the screams, and I hear police sirens, and I see a desperate man running and banging on the neighbor’s front door, and I panic, lock the sliding glass door, and the bathroom windows, and when I return frantically from the bathroom, he is impossibly there, staring at me through the back door, wearing a face with no features except violence and rage, and he points a gun at me and I wake up. What emotions do I feel? Where can I find the words to describe such a story in the wavering clouds, in the face of a dog, in the colors on the canvas, in the words of a poem?

I started my first semester of graduate school this September and things are slowly moving along. Not really news worthy is it? Something I'm worrying about at the moment, however, is what the topic of my thesis will be. I've got several ideas and some real interests for field work but my advisor is about as helpful as an ice cube in December.

One of the things I'm interested in are unlicensed cabs, where the phenomenon occurs, who uses them, who drives them, how do they fit in within the culture of the cities they operate, etc. Tiefling or Strawberryfrog (I'm afraid I can't recall which handsome Brit it was), told me they are called mini cabs in the UK. Brooksmarlin tells me they are gypsy cabs where he is in Chicago, and here in Baltimore they go by hacks. Thanks to the wonders of the interweb I have learned that other names they go by are rogue cabs, vulture cabs and jitney as well. I'm curious about this Pittsbugh term jitney, and not just because there is an August Wilson play by the same name about an unlicensed cab driver as I learned from momomom. Why is it the terms commonly used for a licensed cab have been adopted as slang for unlicensed cabs? (jitney, hacks)

I may have to generate a node from my findings if this gets any more interesting.

My questions to you, good noders, are:
    Do they occur where you live (and where is that)?
    What are they called there?
    Have you ever used one?
    and Do you know someone who operates one
    - and whom might be open to an interview if I could afford a plane/train ticket to your location?

My email address is at the bottom of my homenode if you are able to answer any of these questions.

--No, I am not trying to get you to do my 'homework' for me. I'm trying to create a map of where unlicensed cabs occur and what they are called so I can determine the scope my research could take on instead of being limited to Baltimore.

I watched her fall apart.

But first, I saw the little sadist inside her peek out. It happened somewhere between Rocky Horror and my mother calling, "checking up" on me. It happened on her basement floor.

She blamed all she could on me. She picked me apart, and did it all with a grin that made me sick. I let her. Still, a simple breath of air can make you look at someone in a whole new light.

This is not her, I told myself. It can't be. This isn't my darling... Right?

I still wonder if it was.

She Faltered. Realized what was happening. I just remember hearing, "why did i do that?"

I watched her fall apart in front of me, build herself back up as everything I detest, then shatter again to make something beautiful. This was Metamorphosis racing at full tilt down some self-destructive highway.

Nothing has such power, as memories and scars

So I held her, I held her as she cried. She doesn't cry in front of anyone. But she cried for me. That's enough.

where you've been, where you are

After I left, she got on the computer and sent me an email, apologizing for all she did, thanking me for my support, my faith... in her.

I replied. I was sweet, I told her that I loved her, not the way she was acting. I did, I didn't know why, though, and that bothered me.

I had to find some validation. Why I still loved her after she treated me this way, so I told her the first reason I thought of.

Your smile undoes me

It still does... I want you to know that.

Listen up kiddies: I have some advice for you. Don't think too hard about anything. Especially if it makes you sad or angry or confused and there's nothing you can do about it. Seriously, I don't care how right you are or how good your logic is. You will go mad. And not a pleasant, "oh here son, take these and rest for a few days" sort of insanity. No, this is true insanity; it wrecks you to the core of your soul, piece by piece, your (sic) falling apart. And when they go to fix you, it'll be the limp lukewarm puddle of soup that is your existence lying on some doctor's floor. And as he tries to fit the pieces back together, they'll have been so well-oiled by your thoughts-bitterness-lack of faith that they'll soon slip apart, sobbing of despair and that which is life...

Daddy: Animal, Mineral, Vegetable or…Coconut?


Once upon a time (again), Magdalena awoke to find herself in the park with the large ones called her Daddy and Tamar.

When the Tamar person held her, everything was okay because Tamar was soft and cuddly and smelled nice and this made Magdalena feel warm and secure and ready for adventures.

In fact, as far as Magdalena was concerned, Tamar could take her to Jupiter and she wouldn't even sniffle because she knew that she would not only know how to get there safely, but would know where all the best places to shop were on the way, where all the Dairy Queens were, and she would know the way back, too. Not only that, she would bring good snacks and fun toys to play with on the trip. Because Magdalena was such a perfect little girl, she could tell all of this just by the way Tamar smiled at her.

This time, though, it was not Tamar that was going to hold her most of the time. The only one that was going to hold her was the big one that was her Daddy. She guessed (correctly) that this was because he needed what was called ‘practice’.

This large one called Daddy was still a little bit confusing to her. She could tell he was kind of nervous. He was also shaped all, well, different than regular humans like her mom and Tamar. He was not soft in the same places Tamar was soft. He also did not have cuddly places in ANY of the right locations. To top it off, he didn’t smell like anything she had ever, ever smelled before. Well, before she had smelled HIM – “Daddy”.

Magdalena decided to let him carry her around without protest this time so she could try to figure this out. Besides, he was singing to her and he sang pretty good.

"Hmmmmm." she thought. He had four things that could be arms and/or legs, and they were kind of hairy on close inspection. He could be a really big dog, or maybe a horse, but then she remembered they didn’t walk around on their hind legs and carry babies. So he probably wasn’t an animal. Or that kind of animal, anyway.

Magdalena grabbed one his fingers and took a bite, or as much of a bite as you can take when you don't have any teeth. Nope. Doesn’t taste like dirt or a rock. So he’s probably not a mineral

Magdalena took a handful of the cloth that he was covered in and pulled, idly wondering why this large one had to wear a diaper all over his whole body (and she thought she had it bad!) …well, she didn’t know much about vegetables in general, but she didn’t think they wore whole-body diapers. So he probably wasn’t a vegetable.

Then, at that very moment, the large Daddy subject raised her up and put her face right next to his BIG BROWN ROUND HEAD and rubbed his VERY SCRATCHY CHEEK on hers – scritch! scritch! scritch!

“Of course!” exclaimed Magdalena excitedly as she pulled her face back in surprise from the bristly, spiny roundness smiling down at her.

“My Daddy is a Coconut! My Daddy is a Coconut! How exciting! I never knew coconuts could even sing! I wonder if Tamar knows she has taken up with a Scratchy Singing Coconut? Could he be fooling her? When I can talk, I’ll be sure to tell her.”

And with that mystery solved, she smiled up at her Daddy and promptly went to sleep while he sang the lullaby to her that his mom used to sing to him. She did not notice the happy tears that leaked down his cheeks as he watched his daughter sleep, trusting and content, in his arms for the first time.

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