Archive for the 'family' Category

The Child

April 23, 2010

(from 2006)

She says her heart belongs to the children
but much of that is really her need
to address the child she has never
resolved inside.

Delighting over each smile, each little
coo that the crack babies make
when they’re brought to court by
the caseworker who
just.
does.
not.
get.
it.

She has a beautiful smile from rum and music
She dances.
The children are on hiatus for the weekend
She will not think of them in strange beds
in strange homes of strangers who do not love them.

She is only their voice on weekdays
in front of judges who do not know
the taste of poverty – being alone on the streets
streets filled with faceless addicts
that they call “momma.”

On the weekend, she will not tell her lover
how often she wakes with the image of a child
waking up in a locked facility
or in a foster home
without her sister
or her mother
or a bottle of milk.

Come Monday, she will delay her waking
because she not only wants to delay
the waking of the child
she will speak for in court,
but also the child
that she was.

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The Howling

April 23, 2010

Looking back on some writing from almost 10 years ago.

My second Christmas visit home after living in New York for Law School:

2000-12-23 | 12:53:09 am

i arrived safely today. safely in calvert county. funny how i don’t feel very safe in these parts though. not safe at all.
just 15 minutes ago, i was standing in the garage, having a cigarette. because that is where i have to go. everyone is sleeping and the whole place is so quiet. the only sounds i could hear were the wind and the trees rubbing against the sides of the house.

i stood over my stepfather’s worktable. i was squeezed between that and the gutted 1972 monte carlo, ready for a new paintjob because that’s where he keeps the ashtray. i had my armycoat on and my grandmother’s slippers (they were in my bedroom) and i was trying not to listen to the wind or look out the window. just trying to think about how cold it was. bitterly cold and i needed a cigarette at that time of night in the bitter cold.

but you see, there was absolutely no light coming through that window. no sounds from the street. just the reflection of me and the gutted monte carlo and the howling of countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the house.

it disturbs me. in a way that i can hardly explain. almost like how i felt when i first moved to new york.  there, i feared my environment was too big. i was scared to go outside. here, i think it is too small and i am absolutely terrified of the outside.

i’ve lost touch in a way. and it made me put my cigarette out half-way through and run up the stairs into the house. like i was a little girl afraid of the monster in the basement. you know, after the light is turned out.

i had gone out into the garage. for a cigarette. to think about this conversation i just had with my mother. before her eyes got all droopy and her body got up involuntarily to start turning out lights and locking doors and latching the dogflap and picking up my empty gin&tonic glass. i was sitting on the floor and we had been talking about our worlds and our history and she was telling me things i’m not sure i want to know.

about her father, her mother, her brothers, her ex-husband (the dead one), her other ex-husband (my father), my brother, her pain, her heart and her soul.

i think she understood me when i told her i felt torn between worlds.

i think she knows what i mean when i tell her i feel like i went to college and learned some big words and then proceeded to analyze her life and my life and THElife, like i really knew what was going on.

she doesn’t understand my urge to just quit everything in my life and go get a job where i punch in and out and get paid on friday afternoon and i have my evenings and weekends to live my life like a “normal person.”

she tells me she wants more than that and this means that couldn’t possibly be good enough for me.
and then she told me things that i’m not sure i want to know. things that explain why the two most important women in my family, the two that i’ve always depended on, have been knocked down, silenced and stifled.

and though she told me this doesn’t have to happen to me, i think that’s the thing i fear the most. the thing that terrifies me more than the howling of the countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the sides of this house and the noises coming from underneath the gutted monte carlo, and the darkness through the garage window.

i guess the “outside” that i fear has nothing to do with my physical surroundings at all.  not at all.

10 Minutes

July 17, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In about a week, the rockstar and I are invited and about to attend a heterosexual wedding.  My cousin is marrying his 5-year girlfriend and this wedding will happen in my homestate.

Said cousin and I have – well, tons of cousins.  As far as I know, I am the only one not allowed to marry.  Oddly, only one of the seven has gotten married and this cousin is the first to have a “real wedding.”  (One of us did get married and she did it w/o fanfare at the court house.) 

This cousin however is very religious.  The rockstar and I are pleasantly surprised that we were even invited.  In fact – when I made clear to his mother (my aunt) that the rockstar (who they have all met before) would be wearing a suit, cousin made sure to call me to tell me it was “OK.”

I do hope it is.

I have to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of marriage.  A good lady (less of a friend due to distance, but very much a comrade due to how amazing she is) is getting married to her lady in DC soon.  Reading her blog, I am a bit more open to the idea.  Probably because they have chosen to do it religously and I respect that sort of thing.

I said it 8 years ago and I still like to say it today:  

I Won’t Marry. 

Unless, of course, the full federal rights of marriage apply to my union.  That’s not because I am necessarily patriotic or traditional.  (If you know me, this would make you chuckle out loud.)

It’s because my girlfriend is from another country.  Something I had not thought of 8 years ago. 

If I (we) were straight, I could solve this problem in the 10 minutes it takes to get to City Hall.  (And the money-fee it takes to apply for a “pink card.”)

What Is a “Fiancé(e)”?
A fiancé(e) is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States  where the marriage will take place.

(see:  http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2994.html)

road trip!

June 18, 2008

So the rockstar and I are gonna go south tomorrow. 

We leave sometime in the mid-morning and make it south of mason-dixon line by early afternoon.  We visit my brother, perhaps some friends if we can make it – and likely stay overnight with my momma and stepdad.

That house is sad right now because they had to put down one of their dogs.  Elvis was his name and he was a sweetheart.  He wasn’t very old, but had a cancer that was making his life unbearable.

My momma’s not taking it too well.  I did buy her something, though it’d be hardly called a mourning gift.  Honestly?  It was a box of a new sort of cereal I thought she’d like.  Call me silly or practical or what you will.  I can’t help it. 

I haven’t seen her since Easter.  The rockstar?  Since xmas.  This visit will be quick because we are on our way  – waaay south.  Like Georgia-south.  That’s about as South as the rockstar has ever been (as far as I know) and we are damn excited.

While there, we get to see REM and Modest Mouse and The National.  We are beside ourselves with this impending joy – so much, we are forgetting how much those tickets cost.

Speaking of that, we are also forgetting how much gas costs (and how much the maintenance appointment for my car costs) and we’re just taking off. 

For the rest of the summer?  It’s NYC and Long Island beaches for us.  Specifically Jacob Riis Beach and Long Beach and perhaps a jaunt to Fire Island. 

As for my mother.  I’m glad I’m going to see her.  I’m not so much looking forward to a rural household overtaken by gloom – but I’m hoping for the best.  They do have a swimming pool.

 

Weddings, Funerals and DUI Appearances

June 10, 2008

(Thanks SNORG.)

I decided to be both sarcastic and true this Father’s Day.  I sent this t-shirt to my pop.  He is a man who prior to finding Jesus, owned only one suit.  Said suit was used for weddings, funerals, and DUI appearances.  I’m not kidding.

Despite finding said savior, I’m sure he’ll find this funny and he might even wear it.   He has been known to rock the Far Side t-shirts, too.  My favorite as a lass was the shirt declaring “SAFE SEX” and featured a cartoon of a dog humping a man’s leg.  It was a summer staple in suburban Maryland.

As a child of divorced parents, I have more than just one father, of course. 

I’ve sent my stepfather DVDs of spaghetti westerns and John Wayne.  He and my mother tend to watch reruns of western TV shows every night and watch TV generally – all the time.  I figured they’d enjoy some uninterrupted gunslinging.

This year I’ve also decided to go all out and send a card to my uncle Mark, too.   As my father’s older brother, my uncle has proven to be quite the aged hippie, living with the consequences of a fabulous life in the 60s.  Gout, Hep-C, general fogginess.  As the only person over 40 in my family who didn’t seem to give a shit who I date  (and to keep wearing an earring in his left ear) – I figured it was time to recognize him.

Though presented with JESUS on numerous occasions, my uncle has yet to find Jesus and/or follow him.  As he said so eloquently to my father last summer, “I found all that enlightenment in the late 60s in San Fran.  I’m good.”

Here’s to all the men who still own only one suit:  for Weddings, Funerals and DUI Appearances.

Happy Father’s Day to all!

hey, listen to this

December 14, 2007

Each year I spend an inordinate amount of time putting together my holiday CD.

First, I have to find the songs that I want and then put them together into a playlist.   I try to select songs that are new/interesting/odd that somehow come together loosely within a theme.  I’m not always happy with everything – but it somehow works out.

(yes, i get tired of hearing it over and over, but i’m excited to hear someone else playing it.)

This requires me to listen and listen and listen over and over and over to the songs – in a list – and rearrange and rearrange and rearrange that list until they have some coherent flow.

It takes forever and a day.

Then I make sure I have everyone’s address.  People move all sorts of places and I don’t always know about it.  If he/she got a CD last year, I will probably send one to him/her this year – but I have to get the right address.  And of course, over a new year, I meet/dig/de-dig various folks and they do/don’t get a cd mailed to them.  I send out messages via email and MySpace and Facebook and such to make sure.

When I have a final playlist, I make sure I have enough blank CDs and labels and cd envelopes and mailing envelopes and mailing lablels and printer ink.

Then I create the CD label which involves fitting the song list and the image or design for that year.  When I finalize that, I print out the number I need and set them aside.  Then I burn the CDs over the next few days – b/c it takes forever.

Then I sit at the table and apply the labels to the CDs and then put them in the CD envelopes.  Next, I put them in mailing envelopes which I lick closed.  I have to make sure that I have good tape to seal them next.

I print out the mailing labels and stick them on each one.  And then I go to the post office and either throw them all down for postage or just figure out how much each needs – and buy that in stamps.  If I buy the stamps, I stick stamps to each one.

Then I throw them in for mailing!

I started this in 2004.  A woman named Seren that Angela knows from NEW had sent a cd one holiday season when she had no money.  Getting music that someone had picked out – that I hadn’t known before was very exciting.  So I decided to do it that year.   It was so much fun and I think people really liked it.  So, I did it again in 2005 and again in 2006 and now – 2007 – I have 79 CDs I’m sending out.

Nikkie says I should collect donations or postage.   I hear that – but I also know that I like that I’m sending it out as a gift.  That I share some part of me – through the songs I select and ther order I put them in – and how everyone I send the CD to has to listen to those songs in that order.

My momma says I’m just like my father that way – he just didn’t have this technology when he was making mixed tapes for folks back then.  Or when he was even younger and put a record on and said, “hey, listen to this…”

She’s probably right.

finger

October 27, 2007

I turn 31 today.

I got a pretty ring from a more than pretty girl.  It is white gold and has a lovely square opal.  Too big for my ring finger-I find it fits just right on my middle.  That suits me just fine.  I will wear it with the proper angst on my middle.  The same place I wear all my other angst.

(It might be better to get it resized – that little ring had no idea what it was getting into.)

I have another opal.  It is oval and surrounded by six garnets.  Opal for me born in October and the six garnets for the day of my mother’s birth in January.  My father (at 20) bought this for her shortly after I was born in 1976.   She wore it every single day on her right hand.    Her left hand naked b/c they had to sell that little diamond for rent in 1978.

They finally divorced after 12 years.  Suddenly, that ring was mine.  My grandma had it resized to fit my ring-finger perfectly.  Every time I look at that ring, I cry inside about the meaning – the giving – the love that they no longer have.  I know, dramatic – but you should see the photos of them as young people in love.   It would actually surprise them.

I never wear that goddamn ring.

Honestly? I hadn’t thought about that ring for awhile until today.  Until my beautiful girl gave me an opal of my own.   Happy Birthday to Me (says my father…) My finger feels big inside of it, undeserving even.

I shall take better care of the finger (and the rest of me) that will wear it forever.

living way up here

August 5, 2005

I wrote this about two years ago: 

8/5/2005
Some days you have a funny feeling. It might just be hormones, so it might not matter. But it might not be and then you start to worry.

I feel a bit isolated lately. My family has been pretty distant. Outside of my brother, I haven’t talked to momma or pop in at least two weeks. This is very unusual.

Pop turns 49 on August 15 – so I imagine we’ll speak then. When I hear from my mom – she does say she misses me, but stops short of an invite.

Come to think of it – I’ve been here in New York for six years and I’ve never actually been invited to either of my parents’ homes.

I usually announce that I’m coming “home” and then various relatives state their availability. I’ve never really known what to expect if I didn’t announce an impending visit to Maryland.

Obviously my parents feel more than a bit awkward with my gay lover so they are not fighting for my company. This makes me feel like crap. Most times, I don’t think about it. It is easier because I don’t live close to them. At the same time, it can be difficult though.

I realize I must be craving some sort of familial acceptance. The kind that I won’t have with parents I’ve been given. This is not new. I don’t think my parents have approved of much I have done. They are probably a bit curious as to why I stayed in New York after law school. Perhaps I don’t give them enough credit.

They realize that I can avoid their gaze living way up here.

My Granny died tonight

July 23, 2003

Marie Theresa Prevost Trujillo 

A letter I wrote to folks the night my maternal grandmother died.
—————————————————————————- 

My Granny died tonight.

The eccentric one.

I know that at some time, I have probably expressed to each of you how important she was to me.

 In fact, my Granny was exceptionally special to me.  She was a woman who always supported me.  She was ever-judgmental, as was her way, but she always understood me.  She let me know early on. She made it very clear that I was supposed to accomplish something.

As a child, for example, she told me that I was not a “nerd” for reading so much (she never knew I’d come to embrace the term – though she got quite a kick out of it when I told her.)  She looked forward to every report card I brought her and she had no qualms about chastising me for any “B” grades it showed. My parents were separating off and on, and finally divorcing through most of my childhood.  I needed the boost, I’m sure.

And she boosted. She pushed me to go to college. She said, “Get that certificate!.”  Something my brother has tired of hearing, right?

Soon, she encouraged me to go on to law school – something that scared the hell out of me. [I mean seriously, only one guy who MARRIED into the family had done that!]. She told me, “if your Uncle Bud could do it, I damn well know you can.”  And I did.  She was right.  I still can’t f-ing believe it.

But really, Granny was a woman who taught me that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are – and she taught me to be that person with fierce.  She taught me to dream.  To dream and to hope and to wave my fist in the air. And goddamnit, I’ve tried.  And I’ve decided to try even harder.

My Granny was the type of person to give you her last dollar – and I’m not just saying that.  The woman paid the hospital bills for my birth because my parents could not.  And as a child, my parents were young and stupid (take that the best way possible), so she bought me clothes for school, brought me the junk food I loved, and paid for the summer camp I thought only rich kids got to enjoy.  She even let me watch the movies that my parents didn’t. [I won’t mention the titles, but if I ever had any questions about “content,” she didn’t shy away from explanation.]  Come on!  That’s the best Granny ever!

Later in her years [and mine] and on a fixed income, she sent me small checks in college.  She told me to use it for “mad money,” because, as she said, “You work for you money-I know you pay your bills.  Have a good time for once.”   Granny sent me stamps to send her letters and cards.  I did. 

Then, she even sent me the TV-advertised book to collect the State Quarters when I got to law school.  It was silly at first, but she even sent one for Donna, my roommate, whom she had never met.  Over the next few years, every time a new state quarter was released, she sent me home with two.  One for me, one for Donna.  And she’d call after I’d returned to New York and ask, “Did you give Donna hers?”  [I hope I did.  Donna?]  You know I’m not gonna let that collection lapse, right?

But back to the present:  I’ve spent the last few weekends in Maryland.  Mostly its been to spend time with Granny – her health deteriorated quickly. It was a mixture of medical problems that involved her heart and her lungs.  But I’ll be honest, I was visiting to also support my mother, who had been caring full-time for her.  I’ve been speaking with my mother two or three times a day.

I tell you -there’s something about being so close in age with your mother that I really can’t explain.  18 years. It’s a lot like growing up together. It has affected me in a profound way.

And I know I haven’t returned many of your phone calls or emails.  To some of you, I haven’t communicated much with you at all, if at all – about what is going on.  I hope that you can forgive me.

There has been lots of drama between my mother and some of her family.  I’ve made a personal goal to alleviate some of that and combined with the drama of my own life, it has been quite tumultuous.  But I’m working on it.

I hope you are all doing well and I thank you all for being my friends and my family.  I thank you for the support and love you have offered to me over the years.  And I thank you for reading my tribute to a woman who has meant so much to me.

Love,

Buffy/Maria