Hammer, A Senryu

August 20, 2012

Hammer this iron,
this tongue. Oh murderous rage —
strike my scalding mold.

© paz

********

Thanks for the inspiration Le Sailor!

xxx

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Toxicology

August 3, 2012

I messaged A.F., Monkey Man’s step-sister, on Facebook yesterday. We’d been having a nice little chat back and forth. And I thought of what my new therapist Brunet Young said–about preparing to call Monkey Man’s step-mom who hadn’t called me back like she’d promised.

Well, I went ahead and asked A.F. on the last email if she’d heard anything about the toxicology reports. This was her reply:

Evidently cocaine and codeine don’t mix. Drugs are bad mmmkay? I guess he woulda stuck around longer if he wouldn’t of been so hard on his beautiful little body. Damnit.

I need a hug and kiss, thank you!

*******

Well, I got the answer I wanted. Damn it Monkey Man, I thought you’d quit that shit! Liar!

Ooooh, ok. ok. ok. Today is one of my swim days.

Breaaaaathe.

Ooooh there goes the trembling and the tears.

I need a nap.

The Abused Becomes the Abuser

********

I’ll never forget the time he pushed me so hard I fell out of my chair. His palms hit my chest like a grenade going off.

SMAAAAACK.

then

BOOOOM.

I fell straight back.

It’s a good thing I was near the ground already. That’s the thing about having OI, you can break a rib by simply sneezing, but sometimes you fall out of your wheelchair and you’re perfectly fine like a non-disabled kid might be. Though most times it’s the former and not the later that happens.

I lied there in confusion. He actually hit back this time? He actually hit me?!

After the shock wore off, I sat up from the carpet, trembling. He knew never to lay a hand on me–or rather to be exceptionally careful– because if our parents got home and found out he’d hurt me, he’d be in trouble. He broke my arms and legs on several occasions but always on accident. This was the first time he’d put physical force to my provocation. It must have been difficult to play and deal with your little Tasmanian-devil sister who has a brittle bones condition and a serious anger management problem.

****

“Aaaaaah! Motherfucker! You could have broken my bones! And my back! You could’ve snapped my back!” I yelled. I was still trembling.

“Well, how do you expect me to act when you’re so fuckin’ mean all the time?! HUH?! Always hitting and scratching me, yelling and cursing at me and throwing shit at me! HOW SHOULD I FEEL!? How do you think I feel?! You need to calm down! You treat me… I’m just… sick of it. You treat me like shit, so how do you expect ME to feel and react?”

I listened to his lecture with burrowed brows, pursed lips, flaring nostrils and a lowered head. My heart beat faster and faster with every word and I just wanted to attack. But I listened to him go on about how I’d end up an old, lonely, bitter woman if I went on like that (yes, he was saying this to a thirteen-year-old Negative P). I listened to him go on about how he was sick of my abuse and how I needed to change. On and on he went. As his voice droned over me, I began to stare down with a passive, stark look as if it didn’t faze me. As if I didn’t care.

“Are you done?” I looked up.

“No I’m not done!”

“Well, why don’t you just hit me then you fucker, push me again and you’ll see! You’re not my dad! And you’re not my mom! You’re shit!”

“See what? What the fuck P? What’s your problem? Man, I ain’t doing shit to you! I’m only trying to make you see clearly! And you’re not even listening! I’m trying to teach you something so you can learn not to act like this.”

There was a painful silence as we both stared at each other in the hallway.

“You don’t care do you?!”

I didn’t answer.

He sighed and squinted his eyes as if to search for what I held so tightly in my chest. I would not let my pain show, not even in my eyes. The tears would come later when no one could see. He stared at me with indignation until the spell in him passed. Then he stormed off to his room and I was left sitting there alone with my thoughts and overwhelming feelings.

****

I went to my room. I cried and cried and hurt myself all evening–scratching, biting and banging my head against the dresser. I had to make up an excuse for the bruises when my parents got home. They actually bought it, or so I thought. I don’t recall much of that part.

And I didn’t apologized to him until many years later, but then again, neither did he. He was only trying to do his best as an older brother, despite the futile and misguided attempt.

I was in middle school then. And with middle school came rejection and isolation. I was a tiny bottle of nitric acid, fuming at the edges, bubbling at the brim ready to spill and corrode anything I touched. It was a matter of time before I’d self destruct–explode or implode and consume anything around me like a black hole.

****

Shortly after, sometime that same year, I discovered the band Orgy. They had just made a remake of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and I would get all giddy when the music video came on MTV. This week I chose that song because it reflects the transition I made from being the “abused child” to becoming “the abuser”. I’m sure my mother had the same transformation after years of being devalued, beaten and watching her parents nearly kill each other with kitchen knives, furniture and broom sticks. I don’t blame her for the violent ways she dealt with me; I know she had been traumatized, was a child herself. It still doesn’t make it right though.

****

We all have a punching bag. Some of us only need a small punching bag. I needed one much, much larger than myself, especially those years–my angriest, raging years–so I chose my brother and myself. Even that wasn’t enough for the beast that lay within me. Then Eloise came to live with us and, to an extent, I made her my psychological punching bag too. I’m thankful the two of them are still my friends.

And that’s how the abused becomes the abuser I suppose. How does it feel? Like fuckin’ shit.

********

Oh, I included both versions of “Blue Monday”. The first version represents that little abused and angry, explosive and bloodied thirteen-year old mouse bordering on psychopath-to-be mouse. It will forever remind me of that time he pushed me and the many times we fought and how he would often lecture me to no avail (it was the first time he pushed me but definitely not the last). I even made my poor brother cry on numerous occasions. If only he knew how much I was hurting though… If only someone had known, had told me I wasn’t a bad kid for feeling so angry, self-loathing, sad, suicidal, empty and alone.

I sat there with my bruised head thinking, How should I feel? No one asks me that. How the fuck should I feel? Everyone tells me how I should feel but no one really asks.

********

Orgy’s remake, 1998

New Order’s original version, 1983

6.29.12

July 7, 2012

I feel the rhythm of the waves
below me releasing the core–hollow.
Pain and pleasure are purified.

The pulsating waves. My muscles tighten
and ache. My breath escapes, my toes tingle as
energy is released–rage, euphoria.
I am emptied out. I am renewed.

© paz

********

A little something I had jotted down in my notebook after swimming.

Lost Ant II

June 22, 2012

Lost Ant II (c) paz

Click the photo to enlarge.

*********


********

What?! Did you think that I was done complaining? Oh no, no, no. Please. Those two posts were only my warm-up.

****

So I look down at the book C had slipped on Mansie’s desk for me, “Slavery by Lisa Kristine“. It’s a lovely book–gorgeous photographs. But it’s pretty sad, and by now, my chest is thumping faster, faster than little thumper in Bambi, like a sub-woofer speaker in a low-rider. I mean it is THUMPING! It’s shaking my ribs all up! I had thought I’d maxed out my anxiety at C’s office, but apparently being there in that dark office by myself is only making my smallness more apparent, the darkness just amplifies and the glowing halo behind me seems out of reach.

I look at the window behind me; it’s such a sunny day. I get a text from Mansie, she asks if I can call her after 1:30 instead. At this point, I’m growing increasingly light headed, my breathing gets heavy so I’m sitting there doing my mindfulness and distress tolerance breathing exercise, the only one I’ve manage to master and I go down a little. I figure I better go pee, but the restrooms upstairs aren’t fit for a wheelchair. Sure, I can walk to the stall from my wheelchair like I have before, but I don’t want anything to make me anymore irate. Besides, I need an excuse to get out of sight.

So I’m downstairs in the lobby pacing in my chair after I find a restroom which unfortunately was locked. I’m pacing. I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly. 

I’m flushed. I’m heaving. I’m having hot flashes like a woman in menopause; I’m having cold flashes like a bikini model in an ice cold beach; I’m having flashes and shakes in a  hallelujah-I’ve-been-touched-by-Jesus-but-I’m-really-just-having-a-stroke-in-a-pentacostal-church fashion. It’s a good thing the downstairs lobby is a ghost town because if anybody takes one look, they’ll see a disheveled mouse twitching and heaving and mumbling and rolling to and fro in an electric wheelchair.

I call my dad and tell him what just happened. I ask him for advise but he merely says, “I don’t know what to tell you. You know I don’t have an opinion in these things.” That’s his default phrase these days. I know why he says that. It’s basically a defense he’s built in after all of my “explosions” in he past. He doesn’t want to risk saying something that will trigger me, so he says nothing. I tell him I love him and head back upstairs, but not after trying the New Male Therapist and leave a message thanking her for getting me that DBT group. “I still haven’t gotten the letter though… and…” Of course, I sound quivery and like I’m getting ready to cry. So I head back upstairs before I do.

I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly. Iiiiiin two-three-four. Ooooout two-three-four. I’m rolling across shiny tile floor, I am pushing the elevator button. Elevator lights up, door opens. I am feeling anxious; I am going in. I am mindful of my surrounding. I am mindful of my actions. I am mindful of my feelings… My feelings are just feelings passing through me like leaves floating across a river… I am…

****

This is where I decide to get on WordPress and Sailor becomes my night in shinning armor, helps me see things a little more balanced, more clearly. Thank you Sailor! See, I tell myself much of what you said Sailor, but it just makes more sense seeing the way you wrote it, having it come from someone else. I guess I need too much reassurance sometimes. But it’s a good thing you said what you said.  And I’ll say it again, you guys, my mental, very mental and only-averagely-mental bloggies are like a first response team.

****

What else? Well, I take D’s picture because by the time I head back up she’s there waiting. I have a good, though rushed and anxious conversation with her and eventually head back downstairs to wait on the MetroLift.

While I’m down there, I call Mansie and we both devise a plan! It’s excellent, or the best we can think of.

Wanna know what it is?

Well… I can’t say!

mehehehe

****

I’m out in the hot sun thirty minutes and damn MetroLift is nowhere to be seen. For a split second I think I see it, but it flashes in front of me like a ghost. Only I’m the one that feels like a ghost, all the people coming in and out of the building and I’m melting into the white light.

****

Fourty minutes later I’m calling the MetroLift dispatch service for the third time and again they’re telling me the cab should be there within ten minutes.

****

I’m on the side of the road, trying to see if the cab has missed it’s turn. Nope, that’s not it. It’s just another damn SUV. By now, I’m hoping a car hits me.

****

I’m on hold with the dispatch. I saw the cab pass me by, but on the OTHER street, not on the street I’m on. “Can you tell them I’m on the Over-Fuckin-Here-Entrance not in the Over-Fuckin-There-Entrance please?” I try not to be angry. It’s not the dispatcher’s fault, but by now I’m in tears.

****

I get home and take my straps off, you know all those straps they put you in. And driver lady says, “hey, please don’t take your straps off”. I’m looking like I’m about to turn into She-Hulk but I maintain. I’m cool.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to…”

********

And today? Well, today I saw the immigration lawyer! Just one; the other was in a conference. I forgot to bring originals and all this other stuff. But, but, here it goes… I went swimming! I did eight laps in thirty minutes. I’m still having withdrawals from my third day of not watching Battlestar Galactica.

****

Oh no, this blog is becoming what I promised myself it wouldn’t become– a damn journal!

*le mouse sigh*

Read “P Gets Fired On Her Second Day of Work Part 1”

********

“So what’s your offer?” C clasps his hands.

I’m fuckin’ stumped! I mean stumped. This man really wants to hire me and doesn’t even know he can’t!

****

When I called the lawyer on Friday to ask him for advise on the internship, he reminded me that I’m not hirable. I know this dear lawyer. I just wanted to know if taking the internship would affect my process later and he went on with the sh-peel:  “You’re not authorized to work P, but *coughs* I can’t say you shouldn’t *coughs* or that I wouldn’t *coughs* in your shoes. And no, it I haven’t seen that affect negatively on the humanitarian parole or your I-130 but it may in case of deferred action. And I’ve seen work places get raided by immigration officials plenty of times. And you’re not authorized to work.”

I’d called the lawyer to ask him if filling out a W-9 (contract/independent worker) for tax purposes would affect my “humanitarian parole” proceedings, proceedings we haven’t even begun. He said they shouldn’t. He said it shouldn’t affect anything except maybe the “deferred action”. That’s when you get called in court before a judge and the judge has “discretionary decision,” so basically if he has his panties up too tight and is cranky that his wife left him or some other personal shit, he can swing his gavel and have me DEPORTED!

********

Here’s a quick rundown.

I need a Social Security number to work. I do not have one nor can I obtain one. There is no magic line I can just get on. I only have an IRS number which in my case is really an “ITIN” number and it is what I was going to take a risk using for the internship because as an intern I wasn’t going to be on the “payroll” so the risk of getting raided was very low. I am as the lawyer bluntly put it, “not authorized to work”.

My parents became permanent legal residents last year. It’s a long fuckin’ story, so stay tuned! I’m currently filling the I-130 which is the “petition for family relative”. It costs $420 which isn’t too bad compared to the price of the other forms I’ll have to send in later. I’m having my mom petition me because the lawyer said moms are better in the eyes of the law or some shit like that. ha! Ay, I do love my crazy mami though. The crazy little nutcase didn’t fall far from the crazy-nut tree in this case.

Anyway, my mom is petitioning for me, but because I am an “single adult child” I am not an “immediate relative” nor priority. I am what they call B2 or B3 relative or something similar. So, my wait time is longer–7 to 9 years to be exact. Let me say that again, my wait time is SEVEN to NINE years. NINE FUCKIN YEARS!

I arrived in the U.S. in August of 1990. I’m twenty-six now. You do the math. Yeah, I sure as hell don’t want to be in my mid-to-late thirties before I can even BEGIN my career life. People with Osteogenesis Imperfecta have a shorter life expectancy, let alone all the damage I’ve already done to myself! Ok. Just blowing steam. Phew.

Chill P. Chill. Remember Sailor’s sweet words. Remember to breath. You’re getting yourself worked up.

End of quick rundown.

********

“Fourteen? Fourteen what? An hour?” he asks. I had zoned out and must have looked a bit terrified or terrifying. I was staring behind him out of the window.

I wonder if I jump from

“Uh, yes, an hour. Fourteen an hour. But that’s my minimum and since I don’t know what yall’s budget is, I’m putting it very low. Normally, I’d say seventeen dollars an hour would be my minimum. I uhhh… I think I’d be best to do this by the project. I normally charge by the project.”  I reply indefinitely. I feel like an idiot. I’m scratching my thigh under the table. I really want him to hire me, but I have no idea if what I just said was too low or too high. I suspect it was too low, way low for my level of skill, but I roll with it and pretend I knew what I was offering all along.

I’ve never been hired on salary. And I have no way of knowing if what I offered was a safe bet. Actually, I do. I’ll do a google search. Fuck, I’ve never even held a real job! I used to complain about this to my Ex-Young Therapist and she would remind me to remind myself of how much I had already accomplished despite my limitations. “Sure, you don’t have a job like so-and-so and you’re not married and have a kid like your other friend what-chu-ma-call-her. But didn’t you finish college? Aren’t you trying to work despite being held back legally? What else can we list?” And MENTALLY! I want to add. She had a point, but in the long run, I always ended up feeling like shit.

It’s moments like these where I feel very small, like baby, like a little adult baby. Hell, I’m the size of one, I can just crawl in a crib and cry. The adult baby that I am. I don’t even know what to tell a potential employer who can’t hire me anyway what I want for in a salary.

“Good. Well, like I said, I just have to figure out if we can move some funds over so you can start with the C-4 team–”

“I mean even if it’s just part time really…” I interrupt. At this point I think my nerves are noticeable. There’s that other awkward silence I created.

“So tell me more about yourself?” he asks, taking me by surprise.

“Ummm. As in what I do? What I’d like to do for your guys?” I stumble. By now I’m really mashing in those nails in my thigh.

“Yes, that too.”

I decide not to tell him that I’m a “filthy little illegal immigrant he can’t hire” anyway so why bother. I tell him about my passion for film and documentary filmmaking.  We end the discussion with our idea about the video blogs or b-logs I’d talked about with Mansie and using them as monthly educational segments. Then I tell him the reason why I’d brought in my camera today was because I’d already scheduled to take a photo of D for the brochure.

“Is D here?”

“No, I’m waiting for her. She said she’d be here in half an hour and I don’t get picked up by MetroLift until two,” I say.

He leads me into Mansie’s office and asks if I’d be alright working there while I waited for D. Then he hands me this book to look over while I wait.

“I think you’ll like her. She’s a great photojournalist. This one is about labor slavery and she’s opened a fund from the proceeds of the book. Alright, I have to go to a meeting.” He leaves me alone in the room.

I look at the book he’d handed me: “Slavery by Lisa Kristine”. I want to cry. These are the kind of jobs I prefer. Working with people who make an effort at changing social ills, making a fuckin’ difference in the community. Ugh.

I pick up my cell phone and text Mansie: “I got the news from C. Can I call you in ten minutes?”

Ok. So I didn’t REALLY get fired, it was more like I got “laid off” if we could even call what I had a job.

Let me go back a little.

********

I go into the office after a long morning waiting for the MetroLift to pick me up. MetroLift is a service that provides “shared rides” on cabs and small buses for people with disabilities that cause mobility impairments. Basically, I ride with a whole bunch of grannies and kids with down syndrome, no offense. I fuckin’ hate riding the MetroLift! And it’s not because of the grannies or down syndrome folks, no. It’s not even because I get strapped down like a mummy with all those icky straps that make me feel like I need to be disinfected in a lab where people work with lethal viruses like ebola.

It’s because they’re always fuckin’ late! When you “share rides” with a whole bunch of other people, taxi-style, you’re bound to have delays. That’s why I’d rather ride the regular, “fixed-route,” city bus, which I usually do. But I was ill-prepared for looking up bus routes this morning so I’d called in a MetroLift the day before (that’s what you have to do, call in the day before to schedule a ride).

I digress.

****

I go into the office at 11:00. The only reason I got there on time is because I told MetroLift to pick me up an hour and a half before my actual clock in time, though the place is only a twenty-five minute drive away and for Houston driving time, that’s not a lot. I digress again. Damn, sorry.

I go into the office and no one is there! Not even the receptionist! And no one that I know is to be found anywhere in the dark rooms, but then again, I don’t know many people; I’ve only been there once before, on Monday. I look into the office corridor but the door to get in requires a password/card swipe, so I wait in the lobby and call Mansie. Her office looks dark just like C’s. Why is no one here? The zombies! No, no, maybe they’re all out on an early lunch, yeah, an early lunch… I push off thoughts of the zombie apocalypse and wait for the ring.

She picks up the phone and we talk for a bit. It turns out she won’t be going into work today because she woke up with pink-eye which in spanish sounds like “confusion-itis” which I thought was a joke she was playing on me like, “ha, I got that confusion sickeness, are you coming in today or tomorrow because I’m confused and thought you’d be in tomorrow, so ha”.

My anxiety starts to rise. Mansie says she’ll call C, our boss because he should be in though I don’t see the lights on. She says C wants to speak with me anyway. I get out of my wheelchair, get comfy on a couch (or pretend to at least) until a guy asks me if I’ve been attended.

“I’m waiting for C,” I reply.

C comes in a few minutes later. I’ve been looking at a Ceasar Chaves painting on the wall when he comes up and kisses me on the cheek the way we latin people do when we greet. C leads me to his office and says he has “buenas y malas noticias”. So, I say, well, good news can also be bad at which we both awkwardly laugh. It’s probably one of my worst jokes yet.

****

I’m in C’s office and he starts telling me that yesterday he’d got a call from the national director over in Arizona. The national director has decided to pull the plug on the internship program.

” ‘But I just hired my intern!’ I told him. There was no arguing with him, he’d made up his mind, so I’m sorry P. I really don’t want to see you go. This is all so frustrating. I’ll tell you the good thing is, I still want you to be part of our team,” Carlos looks at me intently but by this time my heart leaps like a frog that’s about to get choked.

Fuckin’ hell! That’s just my fuckin’ luck to get fired before I even start! I bet the pretty little demons are fuckin’ high-fiving each other right now. Yeah you little fuckers, how’s that ping-pong match with the Mouse going? Very funny huh? Y’all can laugh all you want! Laugh all you want Pretty Little Demons! I’m not downing any pills over this!

****

C goes on about the C-4 team and how he could maybe possibly move some funds over to the C-4 team to hire me as an actual employee! Well, that’s fuckin great! I mean, I’m twenty-six. I’m a little old for internships anyway. This is great! Only problem is, I’m still a “filthy illegal immigrant”.

Yeah, I’m still undocumented. And all I can think is, oh fuck, now I’ll have to tell him the truth about my legal status.