Smells Like Sulfur

I can’t rant today, I feel too much to poet. My nieces and nephews are on my mind. But what I can do is let my art speak for me. 

As my voice, I offer an excerpt from my 2012 National Novel Writing Month novella, The Black Parade. It’s sequel, The American Manifesto, was completed during the 2014 National Novel Writing Month contest. In both, I explore the socio-economic collapse of the United States of America. Please enjoy the (very) rough draft of my chapter titled, “A New America.” Brace yourself for triggers…


“Four more years! Four more muhfuckin’ years! WOO!” The penthouse filled with the former Yale rugby star’s elation. “Send that monkey back to Newark, that stupid fuck! WOO HOO!” His crystalline blue eyes were ensnared by thick, red lines. A formidable cocktail of power drinks, prescription speed, and insomnia powered his body from one side of the room to the other, unabashedly shoving revelers and supporters aside. The results had been released four hours ago. The Wilcoxon Re-Election Team powered through the press junkets, complied with the requisite photo ops, and relayed messages of gratitude to the nation for keeping Archibald “Archie” Wilcoxon in office to continue the mission of A New America.
Andrew Huebner stopped in his charge to kiss an unsuspecting campaign volunteer on her mouth. “WOO!” He pushed her aside and continued to sprint, slacking his red, white and blue tie enough to wrap it around his head Animal House style. Nervous laughter inflated as he passed, coaxing him to unbutton his shirt and reveal his gym rat chest and arms, stopping in his tracks to wave it over his head. “That fucker is crawling back to Jersey tonight, yeah! See this? This is his white flag of defeat! WOO HOO!”
The blitzkrieged U.S. Senate intern wipes her mouth, leaning disapprovingly towards her employer. “What is he on?”
“Adrenaline,” Abelardo Contreras, Senator from the 11th District of Arizona, Andrew Huebner’s home state, replied.
“Has he been drinking?”
Abelardo Contreras shrugged.
Andrew Huebner screeched to a halt in front of his childhood friend, clasped him at each side, and pulled him to his bare chest. “We did it man, yeah! Four more years to set this fucked up country straight!”
Senator Contreras’ intern back stepped towards the kitchen to avoid another assault.
The sweaty, tanned, muscular man with jet black (dyed) hair contrasted the short, pale, balding and exhausted man he squeezed. Abelardo patted one of Andrew Huebner’s hands to request a release. “Calm it down, Andy. Yes, we won; that’s what we’re all celebrating,” Abelardo softened his voice, noticing Andy was heavily panting. “Andy, you’re at a ten. I need you at a two. Here, drink my water.” Andy clasped the bottle of water and chugged it as if shooting a fitness commercial. He slammed the emptied vessel to the ground and crushed it with his foot. “Them stupid fucks really thought they were gonna take this away from me, huh? Stupid…dickless…FUCKS!”
“Andy. Bring it down,” Abelardo pleaded.
The smell of victory was too intoxicating for him to relax. Andrew Huebner clasped his hands around his taut waist, leaned his head back and inhaled the ceiling. He closed his swollen eyelids, finally returning moisture to his overworked lenses. He dropped his head slowly, revealing a countenance of sincerity.
“You’re a good man, Abelardo. A good friend. We’re gonna start by getting S.B. 173 flying through Congress. And you,” Andrew slapped a hand down on Abelardo’s shoulder and squeezed it, Andy’s favorite intimidation tactic that always caused Abelardo grief since childhood, bringing Abelardo closer for emphasis. “You my friend will be Chairman of the committee. How ‘bout them apples?” Abelardo shook his head with consternation. “That’s the President’s decision to make, not yours.”
Andrew Huebner dropped his eyes to Abelardo Contreras’ level with incredulity. “What? That pussy? He’ll appoint who I tell him to appoint. Where is that fucker anyways?”
“You mean, where is the President-Elect Archie Wilcoxon, don’t you U.S. Attorney General Huebner? There are members of the press present. For God’s sake man, put your shirt back on.”

He read the inscription on the back of the watch his wife Katherine gifted him for tonight’s win. Always a winner, never a sinner. His famous catchphrase from his University of South Florida days, a Heisman trophy winning quarterback who forfeited a career in the National Football League to open his own consulting firm in Pinellas County, Florida. From the consulting firm to the state legislature. From Florida politics to national politics. His job-creating talent and All-American charm got him in the White House four years ago.
Mirroring the austerity measures the European Union exacted upon its nations in 2011, Wilcoxon was in danger of losing political favor. Sure, the middle class tanked, but with destruction comes reformation. He compared the event to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Rise from the rubble like a phoenix. Well, not really. Those who could afford to moved their investments elsewhere, starving the American financial systems. Under his presidency, three constitutional amendments were exacted. Tonight, after this election, Archie Wilcoxon knows he’s on the verge of managing a fourth invocation of Article V. The thought of losing one more state from the union ate at him. This was not supposed to happen. This was supposed to be a cake walk this time around. Get the money back. Stop milking the Federal Reserve. That gosh darn pipeline. Archie Wilcoxon paused his frantic thoughts for a quick prayer. “Dear gracious and holy Lord. Your beloved found me worthy to continue the difficult task of managing these United States, a task too great to bear without your unfaltering love and guidance. See me through the upcoming storm, help me build the ark that will sail this nation back to prosperity. In your name I humbly pray, Amen.”
Archie Wilcoxon stared at his watch deferentially. He blinked twice. It was nearly one in the morning.
Two knocks against the door raises his head. A necktie’d head pokes in. “What up, Coxie! How ya feelin’ man?”
“Come on in Andy.”
The President-Elect clasps his new watch, then reaches for his sweating glass of vodka. He looks up from his glass with weary eyes towards his attorney general, wearing a too tight “A New America” campaign shirt.
“Is the party over yet? I’m really tired Andy.”
Andrew Huebner folds his arms across his chest with mild difficulty. A wide smile draws across his face.
“I got you a present, boss.”
Archie Wilcoxon forces a smile. “You didn’t have to…”
Andy’s ice blue eyes glow.
“Flashback, Mr. President. Four years ago. Election Night. Tampa. You with me?”
“Yeap.”
“The after party at Joe Redner’s place…”
“Yeap.”
“…you had a favorite out of all his girls…”
“Yeah?”
“…she voted for you this year under the name of Leont’nae Price, but you know her as…”
The President-Elect leaned his head back. Andy swung his body towards the door, clasping the doorknob.
“You didn’t…?”
“Oh yeah I did!” the Attorney General shifts his voice into Strip Club Dee Jay. “Mr. President, performing exclusively for you, the owner and operator of Tampa Nights Cabaret…the award winning…Champagne!”
Archie Wilcoxon’s shoulders dropped. In strolled the most beautiful woman he ever knew, besides his wife, of course. Her almond shaped eyes, her bee stung lips, a sweet smile to compliment her sweet breasts. Champagne has natural, double D sized breasts. Katherine? Nothing.
She slowly stepped one high heeled foot in front of the other, rolling her round hips enough to reveal the juicy, tender ass they burden themselves to hold. Those long long legs. Katherine’s thighs seemed to thicken with every birth.
She wore a Beyonce wig this time. Champagne’s dress of the same color barely covered her crotch. Champagne stopped her pelvis in front of the President-Elect’s awestruck face.
“Congratulations on your re-election Mr. President. I want you to know I personally campaigned for you, and convinced all my dancers to vote for you.” Champagne bent at her hips, grazing her breasts against his face, softly kissing him on both cheeks. The President-Elect exhaled excitedly.
Champagne relocated his glass to the stand. She lowered her torso to the floor, widening her legs, revealing beautifully sculpted labia and a diamond pierced clitoris. She dragged her hands against each of his thighs.
“I have a present for you,” she whispered. Her hands began to decipher his belt and pants. Archie Wilcoxon began to fidget. Champagne smiled lovingly, lowering his boxers so she can get a handful of manhood. Archie felt heat grow around his neck.
“I’ll be gentle,” she assured.
“I know but…”
She applied gentle pressure to his shaft to arouse him.
“I remember last time, Mr. President. You’re safe with me.”
“I know but…”
“See? You’re getting hard. That’s a good sign.”
Beads of sweat formed against his scalp. He grasped the armrests with uncertainty, his anxiety growing as his head engorged.
Champagne kissed him. “It’s me, baby. Don’t think. Just feel.”
Her mouth encapsulated his eagerness. “Watch me. You’ll love it.”
Archie Wilcoxon fought to focus on her beautiful brown face in his lap, her reassuring eyes helping him fight the panic. For a moment, he did relax. He released his sphincter and fell into the pleasure of warm wetness against him. But his memories betrayed him. Archie is back in the shower room. Coach Bradbury is on his knees. Archie shuts his eyes. Champagne pops him out her mouth.
“No, Archie, watch me. Don’t think about…that. Watch what I’m doing.” She plunges deeper, making kissing noises at the base of his shaft.
The noises temporarily distract . Then her face contorts, and it’s him again. The wrinkle of the top of his bald head, his white hairs sticking up around the edges like cat whiskers. Moaning as he pumps Little Archie’s hips into his face. His coach had dry lips. They scratched his sensitive skin. Mom thought it was the detergent she used. Archie shudders defiantly.
“Stop! Get off me!”
Before she can comply, Archie Wilcoxon jerks his lap up, causing Champagne to scrape teeth against him. The President-Elect lets out a terrible wail, inciting the Secret Service to rush the room.
“What happened sir?”
“She…she bit me! My…she… bit me!” Archie Wilcoxon doubled onto the floor to cover his embarrassment and shame. Champagne is dragged into the hallway. “It was an accident! Ac-cid-ent! Don’t arrest me!” she pleaded. The agent’s voice carried away from his room towards the front door. “You assaulted the President of the United States, a federal offense…” Archie Wilcoxon could hear as his favorite woman in the world, besides his wife, of course, was likely being sent to the nearest correctional institution. All the powers of the presidency could not erase those damned memories. Faithful? Archie Wilcoxon didn’t have a choice. The guilt of both events washed over him.
“Mr. President, should I call the doctor?”
The President realized he was still on his hands and knees, with his security standing over him awaiting orders. Archie inspected himself, relieved to not see any breakage.
“No, Gus, I’m fine. I, uh, could use my sleeping pills.”
“They should be in the bathroom with the rest of your toiletries.”
“That’ll be all, then.”
“Good night, Mr. President. Congratulations once again, Mr. President.”

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Coming Down The Mountain

Gilded tendrils

through wooden slats

summon a new

Appalachian day.

I tumble, tumble

giddy under feathery darkness

my morning dreams

launch me into flight…

So begins one of the poems I created in that beautiful cabin nestled under ancient wood. The experience of connecting with nature at a primordial level is a powerful thing. My body – how best to describe this? – absorbed unfamiliar yet friendly energies. Vibrations were exceptionally high in the hills, and my connectivity to animals seemed heightened. To explore it neurologically, I would say my pineal gland received a profound tuning.

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Goddess Mode (c2013)

My sweet would nourish sleeping in as I would roam the deck of the cabin with my morning coffee. Then I’d go to the dining room, my designated office, and churn whatever creative forces into a precious morsel of art. Silence was a gift as well as a motivator. I needed the time between sips to really think what I wanted out of life. I’m ready to approach 40, but what am I to invest in as a human being for the next 40 years?

The answers seem to pop off Chappie the laptop’s screen, as if a big DUH! Time to showcase what you can do for others, Ivonne. Time to grow into the artistic community as a director, not just a contributor. 

While in the cabin, I started to lay down the plans for a project I’m calling The Living Goddess Exhibit. Of course I’m going to represent Inanna (who could do better?) but exactly how are we going to praise her? What existing poems do I have that evoke her? What poems can I write in tribute to her? Suddenly in study mode again, I feel that excitement surge in me again, the excitement to share. I’m invested in my inner child, I’m letting her play! Gosh it feels good.

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2015 on the New River. This year, The New River encourages me to grow.

Even when we moved to the Cousin’s place, I was still in composition mode. Three large dogs make it difficult to keep expensive equipment out, but I did capture some creativity on my mobile devices. Here’s one that insisted on being written mid-sleep:

Columbia
Great leader
her torch knows no master
Balance is her charge
the Law as her guide
Love her as I do
Her power is needed
now more than ever.

So interesting that I’d reference the Law Goddess in my sleep state. This’ll be a poem worth developing, especially during election season!

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Ready to hit the stage! c2014

Look forward to two productions from me, one in November and one possibly January. If you can’t make the shows, there’s always my performances with The Second Time Arounders Marching Band during the 2017 season.

 

The Freedom to Write

I have a writer’s callous.

Very few people in the 21st century maintain a writer’s callous, the telltale indentation on your dominant hand where you normally rest a pen.  Composition after composition, frustrated hand and head viciously working together against time, all the answers having to come out of your tired phalanges. And yet, even as I type on Chappie with my tablet and my smartphone both in range, I still freewrite by hand. Zealot for abuse? Nah. Just a sign I’m still alive.

And free to write.

 

 

We do take advantage of that free-om, us Americans. We put all kinds of nonsense out in the 0s and 1s and it is protected (for the most part) by our Bill of Rights. But I know not every person with Internet access has the free-om to type their authentic opinions. We know from following international news that simply voicing an opinion can shut down a digital nation. Look at what all occurred with Twitter during the Arab Spring. Jobs and lives were lost simply by Tweeting. Tweeting!

I celebrate a personal free-om today: the ability to write what I feel, in the comfort of jim jams, folded legs on the couch. This was not my position last year. I was not allotted a journal. I was on a strict schedule. I was not allowed to leave a building for seven days. The absence of a pen and paper was much more disabling than the locked doors.

To those who write despite despair, I honor you. May you continue wielding words as weapons. 

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Operation: Falcon Crest

Three yellow butterflies fluttered before me, playfully twisting in the warm morning gust accentuating this morning’s walk. Sweat curtained my face way before hitting the mile marker; what is this?? This time last year, a decent chill to temper the swamp, but in 2015, I still have boob sweat!

Walk is over and it’s time to get into General Schwarzkopf mode: we have a two-month campaign to complete. The objective – merge two houses into one!
This is monumental on both fronts. For BF, he’s taken on a commitment which will dynamically shift his lifestyle, all aspects for the better. This will be his first domestic relationship.

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Credit: comicvine

For me, it’s a tier short of a miracle. It’s been five years since my divorce. In that grief state, I started to believe I’d end up like my mother – alone, resentful, unfulfilled – so I slowly slipped into that persona. What I couldn’t emote I expressed in written word, and there was much power in releasing that…wrong persona…through art, allowing room for love. Which is why I am so thankful, ever grateful, that BF agreed to living together! And it wasn’t a negotiation, really, it was just a known. Kinda like the night I returned from Oklahoma last summer, sitting on his lap while we smoked on the balcony, he casually mentioning, “I told my friends you’re my girlfriend,” and me responding, “Yeah, I told my friends you’re my boyfriend.” This is simply the most logical, cogent trajectory. And frankly, my heart needs this.

So between my place and his, I’ll be a busy ass bee until the end of January. No time for composing or sharing art, there’s opportunity for that later. For now, I am working on a very delicate, very personal masterpiece: a home.

Send Me An Angel Revision #4 (04.01.17)

[This was performed on June 25th at Oral Fixation’s LBGT Open Mic Night hosted by Sawgrass Tiki Bar in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District. The next day, Supreme Court ruling finds same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states of the U.S.! Just sayin…]

We’re at the Center of The Universe!

The festival, that is, although the diazepam-psilocybin-cannabinoid cocktail coursing through my body makes me feel as if I’m standing, on the sun. Arms swinging, feet bee-bopping as my team travels towards the main stage, I am feeling rather…Capital!

AWOL Nation awaits but, from the corner of my eye I spy a herd of blue boxes. I stop walking to proclaim, Necesito mear!” which means, I need to pee. The foxy phalanx marches on, whilst I experience the rare joy of no line for the port-o-potties!

I exit the pee terminal, and locate the wash stand. Now this is cool; a foot pump to deliver the water, a touch-less soap dispenser, ahhhh hands-free technology! Fulfilled by this first world wonder, I then open my backpack to search for hand lotion; the bag’s darkness, mixed with intoxication, fills me with desperation. Face in the bag, frustrated by the sounds of laughter and play, I feel apprehension wrap like a steel trap.

Someone is uninvited.

You’re just digging away in that bag!” some festival-goer comments merrily. My head snakes as I hiss, “Go ahead and try me buddy, I’m fucking Wonder Woman right now!”

The jovial stranger, unperturbed, lowers his shoulders so we’re face to face. In a contented voice he says, “I want to give you something.” His hands flutter to his temple to remove blue eyeglasses, without lenses, then waves them towards me. I smile and refuse politely; in turn, he’s sweetly adamant.

I shake my head as I take him in: Ash Williams chin, wide smile, wearing a fitted ball cap to match his dark blue eyes. His body, immaculately sculpted, makes my chin drop.

Focus up, Wonder Woman!

Sweetie, I don’t want your glasses,” I insist.

He gestures towards me, “Take them!”

But I already have glasses.”

You’ll look great in them…”

But I need glasses to see,” I explain, “there’s no lenses, how am I gonna see?” I smile smugly, then squeeze my eyes shut, remembering to hydrate my contact lenses.

I flutter them back open, to see he’s wearing the saddest look of dejection! I kick myself internally; aww dammit, I did that thing again where I say something that makes sense to me, but comes off dickish to them!

Puppy eyed, tail tucked, he backsteps towards his friends. “Come here,” I sigh, widening demonic wings to encourage him back and deliver an apologetic hug, “Come, come,” I insist.

His smile beams to the moon and back. His huge arms wrap around my tiny torso…

I feel, undeniably, the purest form of authentic happiness pierce my cynical skin and invade my corroded heart. Time splinters in fractals, gravity is no more, our bodies rock in synergy. His divine embrace makes me feel…humbled.

I can’t tell you who let go first, but I can tell you it took forever.

Tears fall like cleansing waters as we pull apart, but he’s not done with me yet!

Touch hands!” he insists.

I extend my hand to flatten against his.

Now stick out your thumb,” he instructs.

I flex my thumb outwards. He does the same.

Now bring it in…”

I wrap my thumb around his hand. He does the same.

…and SQUEEEEEEZE! Hand hug!” We laugh like old friends.

But he’s not done with me yet!

Wearing the most serious of expressions, using a voice of angelic clarity, he makes a request.

You HAVE

to pay

it forward.”

So… Who wants a hand hug?

Playing With Shadows: Roser Park, St. Petersburg