Monday, June 18, 2007

Let's get out of this country...

"Tell me you love me. I'll live on it the rest of my life."

Simply making my vacation official.

Take care, and Happy Summer!

Love always,
~ Ash

Saturday, June 9, 2007

From Way Up Here, The Plotholes Fill

One afternoon, while driving south, I saw a black cow in the middle of the highway. I slammed on my brakes and swerved to miss it. It mooed, and galloped off on its way, completely unaffected. I caught my breath, and drove on up to the nearest driveway: a long dirt and curvy affair with a little white house to the left.

I climbed out the car, in a skirt and high heels, with a yapping dog at my feet, and an American flag all snapping in the harsh breeze. I asked the dog, Please don't bite me. And jumped from stone step to the next until I reached the glass door where the main door was open, and the lamp was on, and the TV was on, but it took a while for a woman to appear.

I told her of the cow; I know how expensive they are, and I'd hate for you to lose one, not to mention if someone were to actually hit it like I almost did.

She said she'd tell the farmer, the man in the house down the road...I thanked her, and left...down to College Town. The library on campus. On the second floor, in the alcove, I became bored with Flannery O'Conner and all the southern prose you can stomach. I went in search of less green pastures; sex, and plenty of it.

O' Henry Miller. I remember the reference in Seinfeld, and I've seen that movie, Henry and June: the first ever to be rated NC17. How delightful. I took Tropic of Capricorn back to my seat, where I draped my legs across the arms, and just-shaved knees...smooth legs rubbed together...but you can't rub your legs together, or up and under, in public. In libraries where the elevator dings, and fat girls keep walking by to use the water fountain. How I wish I had a man to lie on top of me...I keep reading. Don't sit down. Keep moving.

I just want to feel breath on my shoulder, and hands on my skin...

Down the stairs, I'm floating in a new world that's blue, and tongue in cheek, and trainofthoughtish, out of my head, into my body...all warm and flushed. Nearly sweating.

I can't swallow. I'm shaking...

Out the glass doors, I see a boy walking by. Blonde hair, and tall. I whistle. He turns around, and takes me into his arms...his t-shirt's been bleached. And he's wearing shorts. Rough legs against smooth...he looks me up and down, and asks, How long will you be in town?

Just for the afternoon.

He says he has class...climbs the stairs...and that's all this place is: glass windows and stairs and white, bleach, tile floors, air conditioners humming. And he says in one quick breath, Great to see you, be careful, I love you.

And the sight of our first kiss comes back to me as I float down the sidewalk in the ever softening breeze.

Weeks later, and I'm driving back down...seeing crosses, finding bridges; relieved that the legal troubles have ended only hours before. How strange. The two things that depressed me in April, the boy who died on Easter morning, and the cop who knocked on my door, both pulling me from my mind, and dropping me down into reality like dropping a deadman with his feet in cement down into the darkest river, at the deepest point...the tiny creatures I couldn't see gnawed at my feet for weeks until I finally swam up, and here I am, gasping for air, and dying my hair, only to re-dye it...

I wait another week, due to sickness, mine and Baby Girl's, to go out and take the enjoy a couple of offdays...then it's off to Little Chicago to buy that box of haircolor. I'm not fit to be a blonde. I don't like the attention it's garnered...younger men, more thugs, all giggling, and I'm showing too much makes me look cheap, and I feel ugly. I'm not sexy. Don't sit down...

Bot climbs onto a bottom shelf, and the person who caused my legal problems...unless I caused them, though I blame the walking by. Of all people! And this person speaks to Bot and me, and my God, this person doesn't locks have rendered me unrecognizable!

I feel embarrassed though...too much cleavage, and the older men aren't looking. And this person keeps showing up, on every other aisle. I devise a plan to escape this routine by backtracking two aisles, but there is this person again! Asking me, Do you know where I can find the Cheese Wiz?

I make a rush to the checkout. Gotta leave this place, and this hair, and the trouble I've been cleared of...the fall that was taken, and the cross on the pole, and the albatross of 'em both, I've cut free. I don't want to be reminded...

On the drive home, the sun has set, and the sky looks like someone's just put out a cigarette in a windowless room. The way the thick clouds loom...I feel something working it's way through my veins. It's bringing me down, as I button my shirt. My breast-implanted-esque chest, and all the trouble it brings. This hair. The child in the backseat. She'll have to do without me tomorrow...I need to rearrange.

I finally come down with it completely by Sunday. An infection... and all that I had at age fifteen...throwing up, begging Mom to help me. She says no, and tells me to clean it up. While I'm still throwing...I never had help, and I'll never have help, and it's always me. On my shoulders. Take care of yourself, and everyone else, and I feel like screaming as the days slip by me from my place on the couch.

I can't move. I'm banned from the bedroom...I'm tired of washing the sheets.

I watch TV. I'm motionless, in every sense...the box of haircolor still unused.

By Wednesday, I feel better. I write a two thousand dollar check, and all is well.

I go out by day of the week where I am free of Bot...and free of sickness, and rain: two things that have hindered my offdays for months now.

I have a wonderful time, and it's nice to think clearly, without pain, or worry.

At midnight, I start a novel.

I dig a hole to lie in, though, for someone who no longer wants to know me. And now I feel like I've grown six inches in my sleep. Nothing fits me. I'm tall, like Alice eating the Eat Me's. And I'll soon be crashing through the roof with shaking hands. The silence distracts me...its vicious plan.

I WILL write this novel. As sure as my hair is dyed bright red. Yesterday, with gloved make tropical fruit drip down my strands...the pinkish orange...I said I was bored with the black, and that's why I dyed it in the first place. So if nothing else, I'm definitely not bored least it's unique.

And now it's tonight; Two AM. I'm up and wired...ready to write...wringing my hands. While walking through the living room an hour ago, I heard voices outside...I turned on the porchlight, and heard a girl say, Oh S---!

I threw open the door, and saw them duck down in the driveway. I called, Who's there? They started running...I said, Hey! What the hell are you doing?

It was the Uncle's stepdaughter. The wild sixteen year old who calls back to me some flimsy excuse, and then starts running again...down to the end where a truck flies off, and then she goes running back up...all at One AM.

I don't understand.

It's too quiet in this room...the summer's only just began. Though I can't enjoy it. Too many bees are hiding alongside the road we walk...I took Bot out, despite the ever increasing amount of bees that hover about as we swat 'em away...and the other day, there were too many. I picked Bot up and started running. They buzzed in my face, and in my ears, and all around our pants started to fall. An old pair from high school, but too big, and no belt...I put her down and told her to run for home. As I pulled up my pants, the second it took, the second I was still, a bee landed on my wrist, and for the first time in my life, I was stung.

I cried and ran, and once inside, I fell to the ground as Bot begged for a car ride. I washed the sight of the sting, and reluctantly obliged. Since we didn't enjoy our walk, and only out for such a short time...I fastened her into her seat, and drove uptown, in the dark, my speech became slurred...past the church, past the ballgame, the lights overhead, and the boy that used to I sat in the bleachers to watch heart he broke, and the sounds of the game echo up as my throat gets tighter...I can't swallow...I'm sweating...under the bridge now, and through the tunnel of trees, past the train...the lightening bugs, and the animals that dare to cross in the headlights...I slam on the brakes, and Baby Girl is crying. I'm slowly deflating. Short, quick breaths...and the sting on my wrist. Am I dieing? the steam, in the heat. A delayed reaction to the sting...and to June. It took a while to sink in. I'm ready for something not be depressed. To not be in debt. To be free of the problems, and the death...and the blonde, and the bleach. And this blog I neglect. I want to spend my energy on the write it quickly. I just want to get it out of pictures in the meantime, like I did last summer. I really loved that; just doing photos instead of whole entries. The only time I can find to write them is on restless nights when I'm wired, and waiting, in the holes that I dig.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Meet Blonde Ash

If blonde is peroxide orange, then yes...Blonde. Ash Blonde...Ala James Bond!

I'm highly caffeinated and home alone. Bot's with the Others and I've already went out for a while. It started storming, so I'm in the office, in my pajamas...thought I'd get online. Though getting online for the fun of it during the daytime is slightly disorienting. But really, my house is clean, I don't need to cook, I can't go for a walk. Seems like the perfect way to spend an evening!

It's my day off...Did I mention that? I always assume the insipid details of my life are made known at some point or another, and I'd hate to repeat myself. But yes. Wednesdays are usually my off day, just as soon as I finish up work in the office...

I finished up today's work in a matter of minutes...Now I'm through for the month! Can spend all day tomorrow doing whatever I want; the only difference is, Bot will be here with me, so it'll still be business as usual, sans the actual business.

Noon. I take a bubble bath, then crawl into bed naked with a cup of coffee, and Henry Miller. We read for a while.

I dress and make up, and drive into Sticksville for a trip to the Post Office, and the Dollar Store where I chat with the checkout girl. We had shop class together in high school. Though she was always sweeping the floors, or doing the lowest of the Girl Work. I did the second level of Girl Work: cutting angle iron, or sanding wood. The top level of Girl Work was welding, and only the "responsible" girls were allowed to weld...I didn't care; I didn't want to weld. Though I didn't want to cut angle iron either. I'd show up to seventh period Algebra with stained black hands, and bleeding fingers, and holes burnt in my clothes and shoes. The smell of hot metal lingering in my hair...and yes, I'm shopping alone today. Just a box of cereal for the kid who isn't with me. She's been throwing a fit for Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I leave the store, and drive south to a place I've been dieing to go back to since last week...when I was in a hurry to get my hair dyed, and buy medicine and get back home because Bot had just came down with fever...I saw a bridge I had never noticed, because I always turn left ten minutes before it...

With the storm clouds moving in, I speed to catch the sun, but sure enough, right as I drive down the steep embankment, the sky turns gray.

The bridge is huge, though, and there's still a sliver of blue from the way I came...I hop from the car, camera in hand, and start clicking...till I smell something awful, and hit something with my foot...a fishhead! I jump towards the car, and look around, and there's eight of 'em, all covered in flies.

I walk down the dock, and there's a man walking up. He's short and chubby, with a fishing pole over his shoulder, in a button down shirt and baseball cap. Scraggly mustache.

Takin' pictures of the river? he asks.

I tell him, I was trying to take pictures of that bridge, but the sun went away, and now it don't look good...

He smiles, hitches his boat and leaves.

I see a bunch of kids on the beach about a half a mile down...I sit on the dock to watch them swim, but get my ass soaking wet in the process.

I drive north, and stop at a gas station to buy lunch: a candy bar and an energy drink.

By the time I reach my road, all the blue is gone, the clouds are black, and it pours and lightning like God's mad at me. I cant see. Steam’s rising as I finish my drink.

Inside, dry, and dressed in pajamas...That's where you came in. ;)

A few more shots:

The Blue/White Sky

My Newfound Bridge

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mayday! I'm going down...

I'm semi-blonde now. I'm sick now. I should be sleeping now.

Listening to music on my headphones now. Pain in my lower back now. Need to get in the floor, and drink more water now.

I need to stop using the word now.

I'm thirsty and tired, and frustrated...

It's Memorial Day, so I guess I'll do nothing later today but sit around and think of poor dead soldiers and be depressed. And hopefully get better...

Bot was sick last week; running a high fever, and throwing up, etc.

I finally caught it Saturday night, right after she finally got rid of it.

Yesterday was hell. Trying to keep her happy while I laid on the couch...I stayed on that couch so long, I feel restless I should do something with myself. Why not write a blog entry?

Yes. I could do that...

The month of May kicked my ass. A long blurry month, where I was too busy to be anything but busy; busy times a million, to the rooftops, etc.

I can't tell you half of what I did, though, 'cause I don't rightly remember. So hence the blur. Like watching a movie so long, when it's finally over, you don't know what happened at the start, or who that guy was, or what it all means, and furthermore, you don't care. It's over, and that's all you were wanting...

I do remember writing here, a couple weeks ago, on the eve of another holiday...I couldn't sleep, and went to the sale only to be called 'stupid' a million times by my mom and sister. A couple of shallow bitches who like to bully me any chance they get. I ended up crying, and leaving at eight fifteen...driving like a zombie, I hit a bird with a thud, and it went flying to the road...Poor bird. What did it do to deserve it?

Mother's Day. I sent Bot to the Others and cleaned. That afternoon, she was back home with me, and my father came to see us. He called me stupid for being upset about being called stupid. Plus fat and lazy, etc. Always treat mother's extra special...except when people forget their daughters are mothers, and you can't talk to me that way, I'm an adult now. Not a child you can bully...all because I priced my stuff so much less than theirs. I just wanted it gone...and they always say we'll give what doesn't sale to charity, but they never do...they bag it all back up, my stuff included, and haul it back out to try and sale to poor people who need cheap used stuff, and I don't care if it's never been worn, or namebrand, and how fancy it is, I'm marking it a quarter. Everything's a quarter. Welcome to Ashley's magic table, an overturned cardboard box where baby clothes are All you can grab for ten bucks! 'cause I don't need the money anymore. I'm doing fine with money...paid off another credit card. I don't want to owe anybody nothing. I want to be free of all debt so I can concentrate on saving, and building, and living in the light of no cutoff notices, creditors calling, this is your final warning, we're terminating your account. You're ruining your chances...You're late on your loans...You missed another payment...Ash Chairiet, you're worthless! You're stupid for marking your stuff for so low: if yours is that low, no one will buy ours! And I don't care: they shouldn't mark theirs so high. So proud of all their wares, as if pariahs are begging at their knees for Tommy Hilfiger sweaters, only four dollars!, that's what every tailor-occupying, welfare recipient needs: a four dollar Tommy Hilfiger sweater from 1993.

But it's Tommy Hilfiger, Ashley! It's Calvin Kline...says the bunch of greedy monsters who've never been on welfare, and they don't know what it's buy groceries with government checks I used to hide when my parents came over because I never told them I was on welfare. No one in my family knows.

I hid it well...those printed out checks, the free healthcare, the hospital, the delivery. All paid for.

If people need clothes for their kids, and I have a whole pile of clothes my kid has grown out of, and I can afford to buy her new clothes without the money from the old ones...then how is it stupid to sell those clothes for as little as I can without actually shouting Free?

I don't know...May flew by, and it rained a lot, and I got my hair dyed, and someone put a cross on the pole where the boy who always smiled was thrown from the car while sleep-driving, with a thud, and what did he do to deserve it? A cross made of wood, and it made the knots in my stomach re-tie.

I went to a festival, and ate a big corndog. I went shopping, and bought a fifty dollar Bogart-esque trench coat on sale for nine.

I watched a lot of The Twilight Zone. I didn't write. Didn't blog. Didn't keep up with the new blog I started for summer, and sex, and all things Henry Miller...For the new laptop, I thought I'd be here everyday, but it hasn't been the case...I was too busy. Too blurry. Getting my ass kicked. Watching TV, and feeling sorry for myself...the family who hates me, I can never seem to shake...

I walked outside today, and saw a dead bird by the steps. With a bag of trash in my hands, I leaned over to get a better look...a nondescript, brownish gray, and ants had eaten his eyes...poor bird. How strange the noise I heard only hours before in the kitchen...the thud against the tin, and what was that? I asked Baby Girl, as if she would know. I called my sister, and we talked, though we didn't mention their attack...You're wasting our time, Ash. Why are you even here?

I ask myself that...and then I go numb. I fall into the blur like giving into the current...though every time I try to climb out and dry off and rest for a while, I can't...I gave into that current, and now it's got me. It's busy, and demanding. Run errands. Buy groceries. Do your job, and don't complain. You're a robot. Don't feel...don't cry...just WORK and PROCESS. Start over the next day. Do everything yourself. Take care of a sick baby...check her temperature and freak out when it's too high, and put her in the tub with cool water, and give her more medicine, and when she refuses to take it, when she spits it out, you fall to your knees and scream on the living room rug and the last bit of your tiny black heart breaks and falls down into the cracks of the concrete of humanity, the foundation of life and all that is beating, to the basement below us, the floor of the bottom of the lowest place no man can touch, or will touch, for who wants his hands in the darkest abyss? Where little hearts break, and plummet....till they hit and splatter with a deafening thud.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And that's why people sleep

It's almost three in the morning, and I haven't slept, though not for a lack of trying. I'm supposed to be waking up in two hours to go uptown and work all morning with my mom and sister, and I don't want to, but I don't have much choice. I could say, Puck you, I'm not coming, but then they wouldn't speak to me for a month...or I could pretend to be sick...I was slightly sick yesterday. A tooth is bothering me. As much as it pains me to say it, Dr. Hottie the Dentist may be nothing more than a pretty face. He has destroyed this tooth...filled it, but it's hurting...and it has been for the past three months but I dealt with it. No need to whine about everything, Ash. You whine too much.

I'm tired. May's gotten off to a busy blur of a start. I have Jimmy to do my writerly bidding, though there hasn't been a whole lot of that...just paragraphs here, a page or two there. I keep mixing the paint, but the second I set the brush to the wall, it's too wet...never dries. All dripping to the floor, and I kneel down in some short skirt and I'm all hanging out, and pulling at my clothes, and I can't get comfortable with this computer on my having a child for the first time and you're trying to balance the paint cans...and you go for the second coat, and your wrist hits the touchpad. You long for your mouse. You try and slide the baby's mouth onto your breast, and everyone's fumbling and tripping about, slipping in the paint you spilt. I'm too tired to clean it up. Too tired to paint the wall. Too tired to sit at a desk. Too distracted to feed my child a snack before bathtime last night, and while in the tub, she says, I'm hungry, and the guilt shoots straight to my overcrowded mind and my blank heart, and my body which feels like someone's covered it in veneer. It's not breathing, this body of mine. The pores are clogged. My skin is stiff, and I can no longer bend. I can't sweat, nor can I mend when cut by toys in the floor I should have picked up, but was too busy thinking of the lack of writing...the lack of blogging, the lack of sex, the lack of longing...and wanting to win a contest I'm not good enough to win, you big ol' whiny chicken. You don't deserve a laptop for writing. And my body's so filled with water and steam, I'm at the point of bursting. On the verge of explosion. Till I learn to rest, and paint, and feed, clean, take care of everyone's needs, and still have the energy for writing, my spontaneous combustion is only a matter of time.

I complain about not writing 'cause you can't paint a wall white if the wall is black. When I haven't been writing, my wall is the darkest black your well-rested mind can imagine. Meanwhile, I pull out those paint cans, and the white is just waiting...if I have been writing, then the wall has been stripped and primed, and I can live my real life without the distraction of sporadic nagging from my mental insides..."Ash, oh Ash...what about this for a title, and this for that, and characters and metaphors...better make a note, Ash. A to-do list. Blog entries. Emails. A short story. Why don't you edit? You'll never be nothing, you're a waste, and you whine...and whine...and sleep, no don't sleep! You're tired, but the insides of the insides of your mind want to write, and you'll be uptown in a few hours with people swarming about the unpainted tables covered with clothes that smell like the insides of an unpacked suitcase from a trip you took six months ago."

I need some sleep.

I need to relax.

I’m packed! Like I've been taking trips, and trips, and once I'm home, I'm gone again...a quick time to unpack...the clothes stay in and in, and there's no room for more until I finally empty everything out onto the floor...will you help me sort through it? You well-rested, smiling faces...happy families on weekends where daddies are home and mommies are resting, and all the planned-for children are lying on bunk beds well-fed.

I smell camp. So hence the bunk beds...the suitcase brought it back. Being away for a week up north, a vacation from my loud sleepless house...a week with Jesus, and Jesus fanatics. A week with singing, and praying, and cafeteria food so lousy, we ate Chips Ahoy! in our room...on bunk beds. On sleeping bags. Musty pillows. The concrete night, we stood in long lines with our eyes closed and the people on microphones would say over and over, Let Jesus in your heart, let Him in, He wants some kid locked out of the house when his parents aren't home. He sits down on the sidewalk, and he waits till they drive up from work, and his stomach is growling, and what the hell are you doing on the porch, Jesus? Why aren't you inside, in this house, in your room, all alone? You don't need anyone, don't need happy, restful don't need concrete don't even need to sleep at night, don't you know that, Jesus? You're insides are black with the lack of unpacking. Knock, you hear Him? He's starving at your door.

I can't sleep anymore...or avoid my writing. I'm not sure what the hell happened with that contest...It was the first thing I wanted in so long, and I swore I'd work my ass off to get it...really write with every word as loud and bright as it could get! But no...I backed down. I got distracted...I wanted something else.

I'm running out of steam. My paintjob is flimsy. The walls look like they've been painted with milk: all thin and watery.

Every day, I plan to set aside some time for myself, but after everything else I do, I'm exhausted by the time it's night, and the baby's in bed...and I'm in my own bed, and if I sleep till she wakes up, then it's right back into where we left off...over and over and over and over, and we never unpack, it seems. Just routine, schedule, work, chores, meals, baths, sleep. If I'm lucky, a dream.

I don't want to go tomorrow...I've been so busy, I was hoping to stay home, and rest, and spend time with my child...and then at bedtime, I'd either go to bed and wake up early and write, or stay up late and write. Then sleep in.

I'm so off balance, encased in veneer...I'm suffocating here with my unpacked mind...I fed her muffins at bedtime while I read silly stories. The delay; my head returning to its rightful place. I took my own bath, and washed my hair, put away the laundry, and crawled into bed and read to myself, and then I just laid there...a child on a bunk bed, watching the milk dry. I smell, I smell isn't black, it's white, it's black. It isn't night. It's morning. Hours until I go to work for the poor who will swarm, and Jesus he's knocking at nobody's door, because Jesus is sleeping. His people are sleeping. I got veneered with open eyes. Preserved in the state of constant waking. That moment when you don’t know where you are, or how long you’ve been gone. What did you dream? Was it real, was it sweet? Your eyes blink to focus on my tired routine.