Sounding

  1. At thirty, Lilah decided to return to the womb.
  2. She built a geodesic dome in the forest with a wood burning stove.
  3. She bought an old record player and a record called “Sounds of the Humpback Whale”.
  4. She played it so much, she was left alone in her womb.
  5. She thought that the record was good plant music for her zucchini garden.
  6. The ferns inside the dome also responded to the whale calls.
  7. Every month Lilah blessed her plants with blood from her own womb.
  8. Studies have shown that women on their periods have a lower voice.
  9. Lilah has a lower voice from smoking a lot of marijuana.
  10. For a while, Lilah lost her voice after a bomb explosion.
  11. Lilah’s friend Sarah had been wiring the bomb.
  12. Lilah and Sarah had been practicing wargasm.
  13. They were working to liberate the world from evil.
  14. In the ocean, the voices of blue whales have been lowering over the past forty years.
  15. Lilah wants the whales to be liberated.
  16. Lilah has not liberated anyone.
  17. When Sarah was with Lilah, she wrote communiques.
  18. Much of the whale song is too low to be heard by the human ear.
  19. Only male humpback and blue whales have ever been recorded singing.
  20. They compete for females.
  21. Some scientists believe whale males are getting deeper voices to sound more male.
  22. Lilah’s brother lost the lower half of his body and his genitals in the Vietnam War.
  23. 1967.
  24. His name was Tobias.
  25. Tobias’ and Lilah’s parents were not the kind of people to contradict a president.
  26. In the cell house, the bomb that Sarah was building exploded and part of a beam pierced Sarah’s pelvis, splitting her womb.
  27. Lilah escaped the building with a bleeding throat.
  28. When they were in college, Sarah talked to Lilah about the government appropriating their bodies, their voices.
  29. In 1967 Lilah and Sarah talked about liberation of the pussy.
  30. Only now does the president abhor violence on the fetus while promoting violence on the pussy.
  31. The male blue whale is the loudest animal in the world and can sing up to 188 decibels which is painful to the human ear.
  32. Lilah’s womb is an echo chamber.
  33. Singing below what some people can hear.
  34. Singing so loudly that eardrums burst and bleed.
  35. It wasn’t the government who didn’t listen.
  36. It was the people.
  37. The question should be, which bombs are the ones that people can hear?
  38. You cannot make anyone listen.
  39. Lilah decided to turn off the lights.
  40. Turn up the speakers to the whale song.
  41. Put more wood into the fire.
  42. Shut the door to the dome.
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Healing Center

The masseuse and the client quietly walked up the stairs in the old house until they came to the back bedroom turned treatment room. The uncovered window let in the slanted afternoon sunshine from Water St. where skateboarders and dogs went by and engines revved from the mechanic’s shop next door. It was hot enough to make a stranger think that the warm air would carry on through the evening, but locals knew that in two hours’ time the streets would be sucking up fog from the ocean with the same ferocity as the hookah bar patrons down the street.

It was the kind of place that the client, an older woman in her fifties would never have come to of her own volition. Women like this only came to a place like this when brought along by old friends that they’re too timid to say no to. She was wearing Ann Taylor palazzo pants in a misguided attempt to appear bohemian for the occasion, which only made her look more mainstream and corporatized. She radiated an earnest desire to receive serenity directly into her temples, even if her bare feet on the beige wall to wall carpeting revealed an uneasiness about being on fibers that had gone unshampooed for who knows how long. And it wasn’t just that they didn’t give patrons sanitized slides for their feet.  Nothing about the place implied “upscale” or “professional” in the slightest. There was no one going around in a uniform or wearing a name tag, no design scheme surpassing ad hoc, no one working there who was ever told not to eat left over pasta in front of a client.  Out back was the clothing optional mixed gender hot tubs, sweat lodge, and silent meditation garden. Out there people sat in a congenial soup where genitals stood in for the peas and carrots.

The masseuse was also bare footed, but her feet were not unadorned. Looped over her second toes and tied around her ankles was a rust-colored crocheted type of foot embellishment, like decorative sandal tops.  They were the sort of thing that is only conceived of and sold on Etsy or at civic craft fairs. She was a sturdily formed woman in her late twenties with the tubular limbs of a Diego Rivera subject and round unblinking eyes like a Kewpie doll made adult. The piece leather string wound around the thick bun at the nape of her neck was so humble one could be left to wonder if she was the kind of person who would find Burning Man her cup of tea. The energy she gave off was more like someone who had gone to South America for a gap year and then had the realization that this so-called gap was authentic life.

It was the tacit understanding that they were meeting for a transaction, whether it be relaxation or energy alignment, that brought them together in that room on that afternoon. And their conversation most likely would have been limited to instructions by the masseuse to the client to undress while she left the room for two or three minutes, but then, while the client was still stiff on the table with the uncomfortable knowledge of her body, naked under strange sheets and hands in the less than well appointed room, the masseuse knocked over the small bottle of lavender scented oil into the crook of the client’s neck and right shoulder.

“Wow. I’m so sorry,” said the masseuse, deftly dabbing her client with a towel as though she were a dinner guest who’s spilled balsamic on a shirt front. The unrehearsed utterance revealed that she was foreign born, Eastern European or perhaps Brazilian.

“No problem,” said the woman on the table, who gave a slight upper register laugh. The massage continued for a few sitar thaat progressions, until the client stiffened shyly, bringing her fingernail just inside the tip of her nostril. “Sorry. It’s just that I…I’ve got an itch in my nose. It’s almost like fur or something. I just can’t get rid of it.”

“Oh, are you allergic to cats by any chance?” asked the masseuse, as if she was breezily chatting up a stranger on a bus.

“Well, yes, I am sort of,” said the client, straining under the pressure of having to “be chill”.

“You’ve never met Chowder? He’s like the little Buddha around here.”

The woman on the table rubbed the cartilage in her nose back and forth a few times in response, and then took a deep breath and forced all the air out of there lungs in a determined exertion to relax. The single-paned windows at her feet funneled in noise from the street that landed on her sacrum as post-it notes of anxiety between the evening thrums of the sitar. She tried to incorporate the technique of reframing. She imagined the cars passing by as gusts of wind, giant phoenixes, peaceful airborne whales, a vacuum that sucked away cellulite. And then she heard other music, and it grew louder.

“Is that a tuba?” she asked the masseuse. Hands paused on scapula.

“Did anyone give you something to eat out back?” asked the masseuse.

“No, listen, there’s a drum now.”

The masseuse removed her hands and left the music to trespass onto the woman’s spine, then turned off the sitar. Trumpets and violins shot onto the ceiling, then masses of guitars. Mexican marching band thought the woman on the table with her eyes still shut. There was a circus-like quality to it as well, but perhaps that was because the band was so clearly approaching in a linear way so that she immediately imagined them being led by a majorette of some sort, and in her mind it was the mouse from Dumbo. Were there Klezmer characteristics to the music as well? Was it just that the tuba imparted a Balkan type of sound and she was too stupid too know? Was she racist for only listening to non-tuba present mariachi music at white people Cantinas?

The band was out front of the window now, filling up the room and pushing the ceiling and walls of the old house apart at the seams and letting in more cat hair and eucalyptus leaves and exhaust fumes with every cymbal crash.  The woman on the table held her breath and pressed her pubic bone into the table until finally the band dipped into the fog behind an ambulance siren.

“I don’t know,” said the masseuse. “It’s not Cinco de Mayo or anything. The street isn’t even blocked off as far as I can see.” She turned the sitar back up. “After an interruption like that, I always think it’s best to work on the adrenals, ya?”

The woman on the table moved her lower jaw back and forth.

“Sounds good.”

“And to do that,” said the masseuse as she jiggled a wooden drawer open in the corner of the room, “I’m going to use this ruby, which will settle your emotions while keeping the balance of your color rays steady.”

The woman on the table felt the gemstone between her shoulder blades. The ruby was held, precariously, like a tiny tightrope walker, while the woman’s body, the audience, held its collective breath in an effort to keep it aloft. And then the tent lost all of it’s air and the ruby tumbled.

“You know, I did pay for a deep tissue massage, and I feel like I’ve really gotten, well, no massage yet actually.”

“Yes,” said the masseuse, “and I can definitely go in there will my elbows, no problem. And we can start the clock again.”

“That would be great.”

“But before we do, could I just say, that I think that you really just need love?”

“Excuse me?” said the woman on the table, lifting herself up to her elbows. She prepared to laugh, to throw the sheets off. She imagined herself downstairs, banging on the front desk mini gong, demanding her money back. And then the masseuse pressed a thumb into the woman’s third eye and the thought of all this became overwhelming. The corners of the room faded into India ink and her cheek was back on the pillow.

At some point the masseuse removed her hands and held them over the woman’s neck, without touching her skin. An olive pit started to form in the woman’s sternum. She watched it turn over, and just as she noticed it begin to grow, her muscles clenched and she began shaking, almost as in an epileptic fit. The masseuse held her down, pressed her cheek to the back of the woman’s head, and when she had finally finished shuddering, she whispered, “Stick out your tongue,” before releasing several droplets from a vial. “Essence of Five Flowers,” she said. “Now do three to five rounds of the hot tub followed by the cold plunge, and don’t forget to drink lots of water. Take your time getting dressed.”

When the masseuse had left the room, the client laughed at herself, there naked on the table with tear-stained cheeks and cat hair clinging to the nape of her neck. She got up and put on the her kimono. Out back, she passed her friend Nancy, dimpled buttocks splayed out over a towel on the lawn. Then, she removed her kimono and let two old men with ponytails see her entire body before she slipped into the water with them.

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Insurance Form

Graciela Insurance Group – Personal Injury Accident Witness Statement

Name: Colin Mayhew Date of Birth: Aug. 10, 1967

Tel. Number: 415-555-8677

Job Title and Place of Employment: Data Analyst, Dryclean.com

Location and Date of Accident: Highland Park Ice Rink, April 10, 2015

Please describe what you saw happen in the accident. It is only with the help of a drawer full of potent elixirs (ambergris, as well as my special blend of germander speedwell, yarrow, and purslane) that I am able to bring myself to fill out this form. But allow me to take a deep breath and start at the green bud of the tale. I had been embroiled in an emotionally draining affair wherein Kyle, another witch and formerly the summoner of the coven, had been challenging my position as high priest. Cathy, our coven’s magister, and truth be told, more tittering elf than life-force-possessing witch, proposed that the thirteen of us join her at the desert medicine practitioner’s group costume party at the ice rink, as one of the group’s shamans, Greg is her boyfriend.

Seeing as transiting Saturn was making positive aspects to my natal Venus at the time I thought it an auspicious alignment for reconciliation and in an effort to do psychic shielding, both from Kyle as well as from Lawrence, another shaman and former lover who I knew to be attending, I ingested anywhere from five to eight ounces of psilocybin mushrooms and by the time of my arrival at the rink my feelings about the entire power struggle had morphed from discreet and scattered rainbow cupcake sprinkle like thoughts into a continuous spectrum of enlightenment. I hugged Kyle when he arrived and I was inwardly assured that no one who smelled of wet clove cigarettes and toxic Chinese drywall could properly do the work of the Horned God.  The shamans had a circus theme to their costume party, but a number of them were also dressed up as rabbits and some were dressed up as both and the coven and I spent a dizzying hour or so circling the rink with majorette hares until one of them removed his plush head and pulled some peyote buttons from underneath an epaulette and gave them to all thirteen of us in a spirit of healing.

And yes, I know that you and your actuary cronies reading this may be judging in some way, that Cathy and Kyle and Dragonsong and Mistress Cassandra the rest of us combined a cleansing rite with a winter sport. I’d say to you in response that a dysfunctional coven is a far riskier prospect! Far greater injury and even death is incurred when earth energy is disrupted and bate-breeders go unchecked, I can assure you.

And for a time it seemed that the force of the peyote pulled us together like droplets of oil coalescing on the top of a bowl of soup portending the imminent power of the Goddess that we as a coven were so very close to harnessing. We could all feel the power in the lines of our palms. Each crisp blade stroke against ice, each outstretched rabbit’s palm, each Talking Heads song sewed up our collective wounds, kissed our eyelids, breathed warm words onto our necks, promised us a vision of The One. It was a pure sacrament of being.

I think you should give Cathy a lot of money. I still see the moment that her eyes widened as she spun, the gripping in her neck as she fell backwards, her wrist reaching out to the ice instinctually. I hear that crack as though the ice was melting into the Arctic below and I watch as the blood freezes only to be scooped up in my mittened hands and deposited in the compost bin by the snack bar.

Did you intervene in anyway? The rink had no first aid kit, I suppose due to liability issues?  Dragonsong cleansed Cathy’s chakras while Greg and I found some cardboard in the alley outside. Mistress Cassandra had a roll of reflective bicycle tape in her bag and one of the majorettes was able to construct a technically perfect splint.

Who do you think was the responsible party?: Kyle. Kyle is responsible.

Name and Signature: Colin Mayhew  Colin Mayhew Date: 6/18/15

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The Teensy Lantern

“Miniatures, huh?” people in the office ask. “You know that they’re closing the Hobby Lobby down, right?”

“Fuck the Hobby Lobby,” I say. “Those guys are dicks.”

Sometimes people ask if the tiny lantern on my desk is a nightlight or if it’s a novelty item that’s turned on with an iPhone app. If they say ask in a nice way, I tell them it came from the office white elephant party and that just now I’m hard at work on a report.

When they leave, I place a bit of Kit Kat next to the little lantern, but behind the stapler and the small guitar, which actually IS the thing I got from the office white elephant party. The guitar plays “Purple Haze” when you press a button and has “Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy” written across it next to a graphic of a wet lipstick kiss.

I don’t go to those parties anymore. These days the little lantern burns so bright that it blocks out everything, or to be more precise, everyone beyond it.

It’s the craziest thing that brought me to the lantern. It was back when just about everyone who was trying to change the world was living on a commune and I was too. We’d just given up the search party for the guru when I decided that the best way to be shown the path was to follow my own heart center, so I ambled up and up our shared slope of Sierra into silver country.

I was sweating a lot that day, I do remember, and this was eons before everyone wore workout gear even to workout in much less yoga pants just to go to the co-op for bee pollen or what have you. And it’s hot in the July sun when you’re wearing a corduroy muumuu or a felted apron. Not sure which one it was particularly, except that it probably came from the cast off box at the commune. I never wore adult clothing back then. Not “adult” as in xxx, just clothing that might not be as practical as yoga pants. Maybe it was a pair of prairie dungarees. The point is, no matter what I was wearing, I was so hot that I had to cool down, so I ducked into the entrance of an abandoned mine.

Down through the tunnel I went,  the black air smelling like strained yerba mate and chocolate when it’s been left in the compost bin a day or two.

And then the voice of a prospecting coot said, “Dark enough in here fer yer?”

I could see all around the mine shaft then, the timber support beams and the root ends twisting out of the dirt and into the tunnel like frozen tadpoles, and my mind likes to think that I could see because he was holding the lantern then, but I can’t actually be certain that he was. What I do remember clearly is thinking that the other commune had put LSD in our well again because this guy was so minuscule. Not just pre-vitamin supplement or stunted from malnourishment, but about a fourth of a size of a normal old man. He looked like Popeye’s Pappy with one scrinchy eye, scrinched for the purpose of keeping his pipe in, and he had a beard so wiry and coated in suet and grime, you’d think Country Joe and the Fish had used it as a crash pad for a while keeping their old socks and hash inside the tangled gnarls.

I’d heard some stories from Lou-Ann Krenwinckle while digging radishes on the commune about how she’d pulled her car over one time on the highway near there and a little guy with a beard had hopped out of the forest and jumped on the bumper of her van, smiled, simultaneously waiving his hand while kicking out a jaunty heel in a vaudeville type encore pose, before running back into the woods. Well, we all knew her van had an exhaust leak.

So this little coot comes up to me and maybe that sounds creepy, being in the mine alone and everything, but I just felt this peaceful energy wash over me, like when you get out of a sweat lodge and jump into a stream and then wrap yourself up in an afghan.

“Ain’t no silver down here,” the little man said, putting his pipe back into the front pocket of his gnomey Osh-Koshes. “But I can tell that’s not what brought ya down here.”

And at that moment he stretched up on tippy toes towards me and I bent down and he put his hands that looked like old potatoes sprouting eyes of hair onto my heart chakra.  “You’ve come here for a reason,” he said. “We’re alright down in this mine, but out there? Well, that there is Unicorn Country. Some of the last. You gotta protect it.”

Next thing I know I’m outta the mine and laying on some warm stones next to the river with Rusk Buckwood, or maybe it was Mama Eagle Feather, and there was the lantern, right next to me. It was little, the lantern, and looked old-fashioned and gas style. No place for batteries.

Took me a little while to figure out what to do about the Unicorns. I hitchhiked a few times to County meetings protesting new mobile home developments and logging, and when I did it, the lantern would burn bright for me at night. That was the only time it went on. When I was justice warrioring. I had to be a Unicorn hero.

But then the commune broke up. Mama Eagle Feather fell in with some bikers, and there were enough fights about running the free store that everyone just fell away until the barn was empty.

I moved back in with my mom for a while in Sacramento, borrowed some clothes, found a job with a nonprofit that was working to preserve open space. Couldn’t make the lantern turn on. I was just so busy frog-squatting it into pantyhose every morning, answering phones and ordering more toilet paper for the office.

Then, filing, I began seeing paperwork on an emergency injunction that the office had filed opposing a dam, right there by the Unicorns. I made photocopies of the paperwork and slipped them into my purse. That night the lantern glowed very bright.

I needed extra money to get outta my mom’s house, so on the weekends I’d go up to Trinity, or maybe it was Santa Cruz, and I was trimming larfers when I met Garth and Tucker and we started talking about all the poison in the water and the land and the food and then we began taking trips around, cutting lines to bulldozers, mailing bombs to logging companies, that type of thing.

And then it was time for the dam. It had been mostly built by then and Tucker had been in the army in Vietnam and he knew a lot about explosives, and while he was gathering the stuff, we burned down a few more big ass mansions that had been anal-raped into the woods. Those house are like Kool-Whip, fake, plopped down, smothering everything.

I took a sick day from my job and we headed out that night. They had one guy doing security near the front road, so easy peasy to go around back. We set the charges, and BOOM. We were back eating Cracklin Oat Bran around my mom’s table by 6:00 a.m. with my glowing little lantern as the centerpiece.

I think I’m actually going to go to this year’s office party. I picked up a piece of the dam rubble as we hightailed it outta there I’m gonna play it off like it’s a moon rock.

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Nocha

Just now at the cafe, overheard  –

“Hi, yeah, I just got this but it needs more mocha.”

“So it needs more chocolate?”

“No, mocha.”

“So it needs coffee.”

“No. It’s a mocha. What I’m saying is, it needs more of that. Whatever that is.”

“So both coffee and chocolate.”

“No! MOchA!!!”

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Church and State

Violet (talking on pretend phone) “Oh, Broccoli Obama, it’s been so long since we talked!”

****

Me: “Did the inside of the cathedral look like what you imagined?”

Hazel: “Well, I thought the inside was made of candy.”

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Small Talk and Tales of Woe

We had a babysitter on Saturday night. Violet was trying very hard to impress her. Out of the blue she said, “By the way, do you like soup?”

I’m gonna remember that one to insert into uncomfortable conversation gaps.

This morning Hazel had a breakdown over putting her toy somewhere and not remembering where that somewhere was.

I was trying to calm her down and she told me that when she was a baby a person came to her and whispered that she “could never be good, ever, ever, ever, ever again.”

I guess she just felt the need for a villainess origin story.

So basically, she’s like, ‘ I really WOULD do what you say. But the thing IS, there’s this curse, see? So there’s like, no way you can possibly expect anything out of me. Ya feel me?’

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This Is Where I Almost Convince You That I Had To Buy the $350 Eye Cream

Violet put on a Christmas sweater this morning that her grandma gave to her 2 two years ago and unsurprisingly, it looked two years too small. Both of the girls began begging me for new Christmas sweaters and I told them that after swim school we’d get WINTER sweaters (not a fan of Christmas clothing or music).

Because I needed to get the kids lunch and look for sweaters, I decided to do the unthinkable and take the kids to the mall during holiday shopping season. As we wandered up and down the endless rows of cars looking for parking I took the time to review with them what to do if they got lost in a crowd and what my first and last name was. We talked about it until I was sure that they knew to find “a grandma or mommy with children”.

“Why not a man?” asked Violet.

“Uh, because…men don’t know what they’re doing.”

Sorry men, but it’s better than the truth.

We finally parked and, yes, I gave in and I let them sit on Santa’s lap for the $25 photo package with their new WINTER sweaters, and then I bought them veggie corndogs on a stick.

On the way back to the car I let myself get suckered into the VERY expensive skincare store to test out eye cream, because after swim school and the mall and saying no to 10,000 things and enduring the food court and repeating that I did not want the Santa photo package add-on snow globe, I thought I deserved like, a free sample.

The gleaming white and gold shop was filled with bejeweled women who had stopped in after dropping a grand or two at the Apple store across the way. Their arched eyebrows looked at my girls warily as we entered and so I whispered emphatically when I told Violet and Hazel to have a seat in two swivel make-up chairs and not to move for one full minute.

I was staring at the ceiling while my undereye was being slathered with an unguent so expensive that it could have provided for an entire family in much of the world for a full year, when I heard a small cry from Hazel’s direction.

A gallon of pediatric hork, dyed pink by ketchup and Hotdog-On-A-Stick’s red lemonade, burst out from Hazel’s head, propelled by the centrifugal force of the swivel chair that Violet had been pushing with playground-level energy. And it kept coming. It nearly filled up the container in the work station that held all the Q-tips. It slid down her new winter sweater and bounced on the white marble flooring. It oozed in between the cracks of the ivory leather chair.

It didn’t take long before the smell and ensuing chaos drove out all the store’s potential customers, leaving the poor sales girls not only without holiday season commissions, but with the task of scooping up mounds of kiddie disgorgings with mini make-up removal towelettes.

And so I bought the $350 eye cream. Hey, today was a special! It came with free serum (reg. $250.00 retail price). Totally worth it.

IMG_2064

(Hazel, withered in empty store, post clean-up)

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If I Made A Twitter Account

I’m sure that this already exists, but today I feel like I should write a Twitter Acct. called “Whitegirlproblems”.

First Tweet: “Why can’t my yoga teacher stop misusing “literally”?

Second Tweet: “The case on my iPhone 6 prevents me from plugging my phone into  my car stereo”.

Third Tweet: “I can’t handle the insane amount of catalogs that come in the mail every day.”

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Tattle Tales Are Not Ruining This City

I don’t know what it is about secondary daughters that makes for tattle tales (sorry Shannon) but I am really sick of Hazel being the police commissioner for all when she is the precinct’s most disruptive citizen by far.

And I’d just like to say that techies and their shuttles aren’t ruining S.F., but this guy definitely is.

http://valleywag.gawker.com/startup-ceo-offers-1-284-slides-in-the-most-insane-powe-1619267760

I love how this guy is totally trying to promote being “self-aware” while simultaneously engaging in the least self-aware crap ever. Read the editorial comments. 

 

 

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