Sunday, June 28, 2009


She told me about being born.

I told her about huffing dust
out of a brown paper bag.
And then the rib.
Where did that come from?

I told her about feeling empty
like someone had gutted out my insides
until I was a glowing state fair display.
And for what,
grime beneath the fingernails?
A blue ribbon?

She told me about having the life
douched out of her.
Hand after hand rinsing out
her body cavity; the pushing,
the purge.

She told me real vacancy
only occurs
when you were once occupied.

She told me about holding someone
for nine months
without using her arms.

And then there was the kicking.
It felt like percussion
like Braille
like Rocky III
She told me the only true comfort and warmth
she ever felt out of her 48 years
was when 6 pounds and 2 ounces
boxed inside her.

I flipped through Genesis chapter 1.
I couldn’t find that kind of humanity in there;
That kind of honesty.

How does dust compare to a womb?
How does seven days of a fathers infatuation
to nine months of a mothers love?

I poured a glass of orange juice
into a measuring cup
and left it on the table.

The pulp was already too thick in my throat.

I just sat there

wanting to perform a reverse exorcism
on her little demon

wishing I could crawl back inside her
so she would never have to feel alone.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The City of Brotherly Gangbangs

If I were displaced into last Friday, I would find myself riding shotgun to my fathers Sunday morning granny driving. Of course, to meet my charity quota for the week, or perhaps to tag yet another item to the list of tax right-off’s, I agreed to accompany him on his lusty voyage of retrieving yet another online bought thing-a-ma-bobber. Yes, its true, the iconic nymf of eBay, seduced him by the hips of his tragic flaw: the need for excessive gadgetry… at cheap prices.

This booty call was located in the heart of Philadelphia, which after living there the past semester, I was eager to go for nostalgic purposes and the promise of cheese steaks. Upon navigating my dad and I throughout University City, the directions appeared to suggest a westward trajectory another two miles from the outskirts of the aesthetically beautiful. Ut-oh.

Sure enough, we came to our destination in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. This was not the city of brotherly love, this was the hood of brotherly gangbangs, and I found myself not wanting to get out of the car. To make things worse, the skies let out showers of bullets and went Rambo on the windshield. Right then it seemed absurd to me that we didn’t have bullet proof windows. Or umbrellas. (What do we live in, a fantasy world under a volcanic arc of pumice?) Thank you oh gracious Ghetto for welcoming us so ghastly. But where is my celebratory-bullet-proof-thermodynamic-helmet? Instead I threw up my hood and zipped the jacket all the way until I yelled at if for not covering my face. My damn countenance was compromised.

It’s moments like those that I wish I carried a weapon with me in my purse; something accessible like a teaser, or a can of mace, or an uncircumcised penis (I might as well be the one to put ‘dic’ in ‘predicament’). I would sword fight my adversaries to the genital death. And it would be glorious. Call me Mufasa, baby, cuz I’m king of the jungle! Oh wait, Mufasa gets killed by Scar fairly early in the film. Scratch that.

The exterior décor of the ghetto hails the same universally: decaying buildings with a noticeably structural slant, boarded up windows acting as storm shutters and built in security systems , a thick film of dirt covering the stucco as makeshift wallpaper, and generic condom wrappers decorating the flat of the sidewalks with a half buried syringe hiding under the debris like it’s the prize of the cracker jack box (although, I’m not sure that “cracker” is an accurate description for this part of town). That was a freakishly long sentence.

Gulp. The urban salesman approached us from his 1990’s white suburban. I glanced twice to see if anyone was in the backseat shackled or wearing furry handcuffs. He met my gaze and slid his thumb underneath his flat brimmed baseball cap while his index finger skimmed the top. Gulp.

My father and I had surveyed the premises, trying to find an entrance to his store. A tattered sign, that looked like it was made in an arts and crafts workshop for nursing mothers, hung above our drenched heads. It read “Black Caesar’s Clothing” Is this like a black Jesus thing? I was unsure of the exact meaning or reference but I shrugged if off. I’ve never believed the stereotypical white Jesus paintings anyway, so maybe there is truth to this black Caesar. Or maybe Caesar is just the name of the store owner?

The man greeted us by executing a firm hand shake, or grip really. He squeezed my fingers like a stress ball in an exercise of phalange rehabilitation. Ugh, owe! “Excuse the mess”, he said as he opened a small gate that extended from the store front into a narrow alleyway. The ground looked like it was attacked by a fraternity rave; litter covered almost every square inch of cement. Do I have to go in there?

My dad and the salesman disappeared into a doorway down the alley. Not an ideal place for me to get shot. What about the Ritz Carlton off South Broad Street? They have clean floors, antibacterial soap and soft toilet paper for me to wipe my butt .Hey, and you can even wash that gun residue off your hands afterward. I walked toward the doorway, peeked in and saw a dark, steep, narrow staircase. I couldn’t hear any voices. Gulp. (Where am I getting all this saliva from anyway?)
I let out a little symphony of flatulence (One of Beethoven’s best) and walked up the stairs, cell phone video camera rolling, my bowels swimming the 100 meter butterfly in my stomach. Of course now I have to poop, badly like I used to before my swim meets. Why couldn’t I go before we left!

“Ughhahumumble ha hugh ugh fa lalalalala la la la la.” I couldn’t decode the dialogue said, just jumbled noises echoed through the walls. I knew I‘d recognize a gun shot since I had recently lived in north Philadelphia for five months. Shootings were more frequent than car back fires on Broad Street and rolls of toilet paper in my apartment.

As I reared left at the top of the stairs, an open doorway let me into a small room with slanted, laminate flooring dressed in black and white checkers. The cracks were wildly noticeable, and my feet refused to step on them for fear of falling through the floorboards to hell via septic tank. Before any more irrational fears plagued me, my father walked out of a tiny closet in the back of the room. He was holding some end of a contraption, while walking backwards. Our beloved salesman walked forward carrying the other end. The two of them struggled down the stairs but eventually made it to the car and unloaded the beast.

“Wow, you’re younger than I thought” Sales said as he shook my fathers hand and closed the trunk. He then turned to me without warning and squeezed the lactic acid out of my hand. (You know, the one exhausted and over exercised from holding my cell phone in case the police needed to be contacted). The number 911 was even pre-dialed. I just needed to hit send.
“Yeah, what a pleasure!’ I agreed “This was awesome”. (Whenever I say something is ‘awesome’ I do not mean it is actually awesome. I am merely drawing, from the sheath, the sharpest weapon I have: sarcasm).

On the ride home, I watched the traffic build on the other side of the median. I stared at the billboards and advertisements which all seemed to point me to anxiety medications and sedatives. Ok, so maybe I overreacted at what could have been a bad situation but turned out fine. My father didn’t seem to mind that he could have been swindled out of 600 bucks. Especially, since we don’t even know if the dang thing works. No, he seemed calm; telling me about his theories of autism’s many causes. He sited many references from the source of his new knowledge, The Sound of Falling Snow. I continued to stare out the window; convincing myself that, The Sound of Yellow Snow would have made a funnier title and wondering what idiot invented the sanction of steak and cheese wiz.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Adventures of Snark the Shark

“I realized nothing I write could surpass your guys’ imaginations”, the woman’s voiced boomed over the feedback from her microphone. Lisp lisp lisp. I couldn’t make out the rest of her address to the fastidiously interested audience that sat in four rows of wooden chairs. The c and s enunciations only made sshhh slushy noises in my ears. As I approached the reference desk I found out that author Megan McCafferty was the woman responsible for turning the Barnes and Noble into a quasi Seven Eleven Happy Hour.
I was pushed back behind a rather large woman with whom I could have sold valid advertising space on her ass. The mumble-jumble of onlookers trying to figure out who the hooked on phonics speaker was, pushed me even further into a corner next to a trash can. “Awesome” I thought, considering I had only gone there to see if they had any part time positions open.
And, it so happened that every Barnes and Noble worker panted at the author’s feet and licked her ankles as if they had just baptized her with old lady perfume instead of manning the help desk. Finally, after a few stragglers standing in the back parted from loss of interest, I moved foward to see the decorated brunette’s hand gestures as she talked about her obsession with Barry Manilow. Considering how I have never heard of her or her six books –including the one she read from, Perfect Fifths –I had no idea what Barry Manilow had to do with anything but sitting on a shelf with my mothers old record collections.
For some reason, the hard core fans that were not lucky enough to score a seat kept staring at me; like they could sniff out my distain, my sarcasm, my wavering fin circling around their bodies before my premeditated snark attack. Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, dundundundunduntun ROAR. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m not sure that sharks –or snarks for that matter –actually, ugh, roar. However, I deduced the possible reasons for the constant stares into the only plausible dichotomy: either I was a cold blooded corpse of uncanny beauty like most of the Brazilian Victoria’s Secret models, or I was that girl with the flamboyant pink parachute pants, a white mesh tank top showcasing two full sleeves of vampire tattoo’s and an unruly mullet with partial braids in the front that nobody can help but stare at. And I knew I wasn’t the former of the two.
After listening for a few noble seconds of tribute, I slipped through the crowds’ seams and browsed through isles of books –looking for humor to bide my time –while I waited for the dysfunction to end. Unfortunately, while I found interest in the latest installment of the A.J. Jacobs genius, an intrusive voice, like a produce price-check over the intercom “on isle three” announcement, filled the surrounding speakers with a terrible rendition of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. The Bad vibrato rang like synthetic deafening drops into my sluttish ears while the whizzing noise of a blender from the Star Bucks café whirred in the background. It was vocal terrorism servicing mass destruction through the sound waves. And I became a third of Helen Keller.
“What a lovely voice” An older gentleman hunching over his scone and seated along the outskirts of the café remarked as he shifted in his seat to face my furrowing eyebrows. My brows arched cynically, or if Chuck Klosterman were present, he might argue that my eyebrows were merely pragmatic in their burrows. I imagined them digging holes to china, in an attempt to find salted preservatives and spices as well as a cure to tone deafness. I also imagined my impoverished ass in a card board box if finding a job never worked out within the next ten years. I don’t want to be known as the homeless eyebrow furrowing, scone licking, card board wearing lady that none of the new moms let their intrigued children touch! Then I think of the time my boyfriend was leaning against a post, waiting for a train, in the Philadelphia subway station when a man walking by handed him money. Of course he rejected the money saying, “No thanks, I have a home”, but how does someone mistake him as a homelessexual? Maybe that occurrence happened prior to his haircut.

(Brief interlude for laughter)


AND Composure:

Surprisingly, that eased my tensions about the future. My focus darted back to the man who had moved on to his next victim: a teenager wearing an old high school hoodie and sucking down a five hundred calorie frapachinno. “Lovely voice, right?” The girl nodded- straw taut between her lips- gave an ambiguous thumbs up sign that said “Dude, my car broke down, can I hitch a ride in the back of your pick-up?” rather than “Yes, she sounds awesome”.
After the reading ended, I snatched up an application, tucked it under my arm, and walked out of the store with my head down; a stealthy endeavor, as if I were trying to avoid the Barnes and Noble morning after “wall of shame”. Really, I was just trying to avoid eye contact with all the high school kids that held their signed copies of Perfect Fifths. It would be as if I came in contact with a terrorist. I wouldn’t want to look into said terrorist’s eyeballs for fear of Satan leaping out of his soul, like an overzealous gymnast with a yeast infection, and grabbing me by the neck with his tentacles. (Not that Satan’s an octopus or an ingredient for vaginal discomfort, nor am I insinuating that God is like a tube of Vagisil).

*But it’s the same thing, really, decorated analogies or not: There is inherent evil in authors that sing karaoke in a Barnes and Noble bookstore. There is abnormal sexuality in workers that slurp at the balls of the author’s feet. There is great discomfort in my underpants–in the shape of a wedge –from crawling on the floor in search of my car keys. Like woman, like sssssssssnake.

*Loose paraphrase/interpretation of Genesis Chapter 1

Editor’s note: Michelle is currently accepting offers for a film adaptation of Snark the Shark. Also, toy companies, feel free to contact Michelle in the future about making action figures. No animals were harmed during the making of this post.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dogmatics in Retrospect

I want something from today. But, I’m not sure what that is. I’ve spent the past month drowning in a blow up pool of unemployment: Sleeping in, drinking coffee, taking frequent naps, binge eating from boredom. Essentially everything I do when forced to attend the Americanized institution of the “Holy Baseball Game”. The only covenant I partake of there is communion with a mound of edible amenities which, never fail to make me bloat and squirm in my seat.
As I stare out my bedroom window, the overly pudgy mailman, dressed in a muscle tee and ripped cut off shorts, (I know the post office is trying to cut costs by not requiring uniforms, but God Almighty, there has got to be a better way) shovels heaps of junk into an already stuffed mailbox. I think I even saw cans of spam pushed in along with the mix. It reminds me that I haven’t eaten all day. And I am suddenly grateful.

I want something from today. But nothing comes to mind as I sip my coffee from the 101 Dalmatians mug I didn’t even know I had. Laziness does have its upside when it forces me to rummage through cupboards to see what avoided being sent to the packed WWII internment camp of my dishwasher. Coincidentally, or even ironically, the Dalmatian mug was made in Japan. “How did it dodge that one”, I think laughing as I often laugh at my own jokes. I stop when I realize I’m like my grandmother on the telephone. She always says something, laughs, and resumes to prior conversation with an ‘aye ye ye’ or an ‘Aye Dios mio’ transitional interjection. Naturally, I never know what she says; partially from her muffled Spanglish and partially from the heckling ha ha’s. So I always laugh-a-long like she’s a sing-a- long karaoke machine playing a Disney song I don’t know the words to: “Hmm hmm best of both words/mocking the ho, cause there’s no place to mow/Best of both words.” And so forth.

I want something from today. Like maybe a tan. There is NO excuse for being unemployed and white. And yet my inadequacy continually exudes itself deeper and farther into my life and seven layers of colorless pigment. Awesome, Michelle. Of course New Jersey’s precipitational diarrhea is somewhat to blame. I actually woke up this morning to its thunderous gastrointestinal ka-booms. Pooping on our land like it used a urinal because all the toilets were occupied. Slashes of lightning followed in a suit, or they prefer the term ‘gi’, and karate chopped the sky like a Bruce Lee flick. What a mess!

An unrelated thought popped back into my head while I watched the exhaust fumes whistle out of the pipe and the mail truck accelerate forward. Earlier this morning I thought a fair replacement for the word “masturbation” should be ‘unifucking’; as in, the solo-wheel cyclist, not like the mythical creature. Like I said, just a thought.

I want something from today, but I feel selfish. How could I expect something great and completely edifying to occur while my mom is lying in her hospital bed? Here, I am venting to the blog gods –which I consider my pseudo prayer for her recovery –while she’s the one that should be complaining. Not me, Lazy Suzy, whining about how I spun some mediocre slab of grilled chicken the night before instead of a refined something a la something. I waited with my mother in the emergency room along with all the local sickos: the lame, the elderly, and the coughing flu advertisement billboards that had to wear disposable masks in order to stop soliciting. This germ-hole was packed like the fictitious inn Mary and Joseph were allegedly turned away from.
“No Room, Mr. Sniffles!” I think I heard one of the nurses yell at an inquisitive sicko. The man had been waiting since 2:30 pm and it was rapidly approaching 6 pm. The man sat back down in the row of seats in front of us. He gagged a little, and sputtered out what could be either Jesus’ language or the rulebook of Candy Land in Bahasa Melayu, the official language of Malaysia. Either way it was completely distracting from my focus on the television’s distorted image of the Bachelorette. I heard Jillian say something about not having cocktail parties anymore, but I wasn’t certain if she said ever or just for the night. By the expression of the men’s faces, I assume she meant ever. I tried to figure out how she would benefit from not having cocktail parties before the rose ceremonies or how that served as a punishment for the men, but some of the details remain fuzzy. I guess I’ll have to find out next week.

Sitting in the waiting room for five hours was painfully absurd. From 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm I dazzled my attention with my wit and maybe even my spit (blowing bubbles never really gets old). The boredom reminded me of adolescence as an only child. The only way to survive is exotic imagination. And when I say exotic I don’t mean naked. However, I suppose nudity defeats boredom in different ways and on different websites. If that’s your thing… or your husbands’.
When I was younger, I read frequently which gave me an avenue of adventure where my mind learned to channel, create and develop plot. In the waiting room, I exhibited the same skills as I unraveled a piece of gum, channeled it between my saliva and developed a very anticlimactic thriller. First it was a romance, then it turned into a comedy when it made pooping noises, then a mystery when it started to break off into tiny pieces and disperse throughout my mouth, then a drama when my jaw throbbed of child labor, then a horror when I thought about all the bacteria gum grabs up like a leaf blower mating with a pile of seagull droppings. It’s a relief to know my parents have spent their money well on my education.

I want something from today as retribution for the emergency room’s injustice. I’ve never seen a more pathetic bunch of professional medical providing staff members. My mother was sent to the E.R. by her doctor because of her heart’s risk for entering cardiac arrest. Somehow that was not a priority for the professional hospital providers. Note to Toms River: this is where your tax dollars are going. Or maybe just select individuals and corporations private funding. I wanted to punch a nurse in the face after she raised her voice at my exhausted mother who limped her way to the main desk to ask where she stood in the queue of waiting patients. I thought about purchasing some brass knuckles in case we ever had to return.
Attention nurses of any emergency room sect: I don’t care what kind of long shift you had or how many complaints received from the waiting room mob; the patients have suffered more and have it worse. Since when did you as “medical professionals” get to take your unhappy lives out on the sick? The sick are already ill, why add to their miserable lives? You work in a hospital and you can’t get some hormone balancing drugs? What happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

My mother recently changed her eating habits to contain low-salt items because her kidneys leaked protein throughout her body, causing massive bloating and making it difficult for her to execute simple tasks, i.e. walking. Instead of sucking the Jelly out of her usual donut, her Lupus induced Anemia created a need to satisfy her vampirical diet of human blood via IV. I joke with her that she’s the star of the up coming movie, “Blue Moon” or wait, I think its, “New Moon”. Stephanie Meyer fanatics will probably comment on my ignorance but I will gladly remind them that they are obsessed with a teen romance series written at the fifth grade level and with the same level of stylistic skill. How does the term “teeny bopper” translate into the literary world? Something to think about.

The hullabaloo of moans and complaints finally died down in the waiting room. The noise fell into a flat line hum that softly buzzed like background music. The patients waned out of the room until the majority of seats were vacant. It made the atmosphere more tolerable. It made the germs less visible.
Finally, around 10 pm, my mom was taken into a room in the e.r where she was given a blood test to determine whether or not she needed another transfusion. The results showed that her hemoglobin count was freakishly low at 6.4 instead of the normal 12. Since it was already after midnight, she needed to be admitted overnight. So I left the hospital, after 2 a.m, and walked to my car alone and dejected about my mothers worsening condition. Hoping to God, that a hospital bed opened so she could be transferred into a private room where she received her three bags of blood through the IV.

Now I realize I’ve marred the flow of this sardonic post by taking it down south like a flock of nomadic, lesbian geese during the winter ( We all know the flying "V" is for "Vagina"), for which I must apologize. And in my horror and complete self involvement, I still want something from today because I think it owes me, something. Anything.