Wednesday, March 24, 2004

If You Lie With Dogs, You Wake Up With Fleas or a Baby

My head has been reeling since yesterday and this is why....

Impossible Things

I don't enjoy being single and being your sometime lover. You and I have been at this for over a year and the novelty of it all is wearing thin. Don't get me wrong amor, my stomach still feels all bubbly when I see your screen name pop up on my computer screen or when "Beautiful" by Snoop plays on my phone reminding me of a night last summer when you and I danced to that song in one of many Williamsburg hipster bars we've been to together. Like today, I was sitting at my computer sending out a Spanish language flyer for the upcoming Parent's Association meeting at my daughter's school when my cell phone rang and I smiled. I knew that you were calling to schedule a booty call or maybe even give me work translating for you at a closing.

We exchange polite greetings and engage in worthless banter for a bit. For example I ask if you are over your jetlag since you had told me via an im how you had been in Los Angeles meeting with a client. I also tell you again how sorry I am that you had a horrible time while you were there. You said Los Angeles was soulless and I made a joke about how I thought you liked your cities like your women, soulless. I'll be honest with you, I am glad you had a bad trip, not because I wish you harm, but because California has already seduced two former lovers of mine. I wasn't ready for the real reason your business trip was bad.

"It was what happened before the trip that ruined it,” you told me seriously. I expected a story about your alcoholic father back home in Connecticut.
"Remember the Argentinean girl?" You asked.

How could I not remember the Argentinean girl? I have never met her. I can't even tell you her name but I know her. I met her early on in our relationship. Many a morning after while searching for my carelessly tossed thong I met the fuzzy slippers she left underneath your bed. I met her lotions, body washes, shampoos and even tampons during my after sex showers. I still meet her when I don't see your screen name online and when your cell phone goes straight to voicemail when I call. I meet her in the absence of your presence. Once she asked you to stop sleeping with other people so you and I didn't speak for a few months. But you always come back.

"She's pregnant,"
I stayed silent on the phone for a few seconds digesting the mix of emotions I swallowed when those words escaped your mouth. I pictured you with her and I don't even know what she looks like. In my head she looks like an Argentinean stripper I used to work with. She was beautiful and arrogant with her bleached hair and her fake breasts that she would shield from certain spotlights lest the scars show. The image of you entering her is enough to make me feel nauseous. I then think of the week my period was a few days late and I nursed dreams of carrying your baby. But I only seem to get pregnant when the men want to leave me. You obviously aren't ready to leave me so I ask a stupid question,
"Is it yours?"
You tell me you are not sure since she slept with one other man that you know of in the same time period.
"So what are you going to do?" I ask. I ask what you are going to do. I don't ask what she is going to do.
You tell me that you told her it was a good idea to terminate the pregnancy. She told you she wanted to have the baby. Of course you tell her to have an abortion and of course she says she wants the baby. Every man who has gotten me pregnant has recited the same words. It's as if you all work from the same script. We, as women are compelled to defend ourselves if not the baby, if we even consider it a baby. Even if we want the abortion chances are we won't tell you that. It's sad but when a relationship is already tripping on itself a pregnancy becomes a manipulation tool.

"Besides the doctors don't think she should have the baby because of her health problems," you continue. I begin to feel bad for the Argentinean girl.
"What does she have?" I ask concerned.
You tell me about how her father got her pregnant when she was fourteen and how she had a back alley abortion that did serious damage.
"Did you say her father?" I ask, not believing what I heard or maybe I didn't want to feel sorry for her.
You tell me yes her father and continue without taking a breath telling me how she also "claims" to have had ovarian cancer and having only one ovary. “But I haven't seen any scars or medical records to substantiate that." you finish.
"Why would any woman lie about any of that?" I ask him defensively. I am feeling sorry for her.
"So what are you going to do?" I ask again because he hasn't answered my question.
"She's mad at me because I'm not happy and didn't ask her to marry me," he continues and my stomach begins to turn inside itself again at the word marry. "But I can't be by her side during this pregnancy not knowing if the baby is mine. Mala can I ask you something?"
I tell him of course he can as if at this point his asking matters. I am dazed by the information that is coming at me and I feel unable to process it all. I am confused as to why you would choose to open yourself up to me about such a thing. I am under no illusion that it is because you think that I am a wonderful trustworthy woman.
"You did it. It really wasn't that hard going through a pregnancy by yourself was it?" he finally asks. I laugh at the absurdity of your question. You were asking me to give you permission to turn your back on your pregnant lover. I was incapable of being a bitch, of lying and saying that it was a breeze and that she could handle it fine.
"It sucked. It sucks going to ob-gyn appointments alone and watching nearly everyone else's husband or partner at least pick them up. It sucks being scared and having no one to hold your hand. It sucks having no one to share the joy with. No it wasn't easy and I had the support of family and friends." I told you sounding almost angry. And I didn't have to tell you how it sucked being a single mother. My alternate suddenly won't have a flat stomach. That stomach will bear ocean ripples of stretch marks like my own. Scheduling trysts with her will become just as complicated as scheduling them with me, having to work around bedtimes and babysitting availability.

"So what are you going to do?" I ask a third time. I want to know if this means that you don't want to see me anymore. I want to know if this is the beginning of another one of your departures. I want to know if you are going to play house.

"Want to hear something surreal that happened to me today?" you ask. I think you are going to change the subject which I would be grateful for. This conversation was surreal enough for me.
"I was at the diner getting breakfast the other morning," you begin.
"Kellog's?" I interrupt to ask. I am trying to imagine you in your suit, ordering your oatmeal as you have a few morning afters with me.
The diner has a convenience store in the front.
"Yes," you continue," and this drug addict in rags comes to me. She doesn't ask me for money, she doesn't even ask me for food. She asks me to buy a package of diapers for her baby. She calls me an angel and I stop her telling her that I am no angel for buying her as many diapers as she can carry because I have decided to turn my back on my own drug addicted lover who may be carrying my baby."
Maybe you wanted me to feel sorry for you and part of me did. Part of me felt sorry for her. I felt sorry for myself but what I picked up on was your mention of the Argentinean’s substance abuse problem.
"What is she using again?" I ask. You've confused me on this topic before. As ugly and immature as I think it looks for you, a thirty-two year old attorney to sit in his living room smoking weed, I tolerate it. Once when we in bed together you told me that she, the Argentinean, had stopped talking to you over some bad cocaine you had gotten her. You later took it back saying you were just joking. I have never seen any evidence of you using anything beyond marijuana.
"This is one of this things that bugs me, the timing of it all," you begin again," A few weeks ago after walking her dog and finding a condom in it's ass,"
I interrupt you to laugh at what I think is another one of your crude jokes that you often interject into serious moments.
"I'm serious. So I after that I had a discussion with her and basically gave her an ultimatum telling her that if I see even one track mark on her arms that it is over."
"So wait a minute. You've been sleeping with her, having unprotected sex while she's shooting up heroin and at the same time you're having unprotected sex with me?" I ask. You answer in the affirmative and I shudder and begin looking for my wallet do I can pull out my health insurance card and schedule an appointment for a series of blood tests. You must have been reading my mind because you tell me that you got tested for everything just two weeks ago and that everything came out clean. I think that was supposed to make me feel better. It really didn't.
"But anyway it was soon after that ultimatum that she tells me that she's pregnant so it makes me wonder if she's doing this so that I don't abandon her." I know you won't abandon her. You confided in me once that you were in love with this woman. You haven't abandoned me, even though many times I have wished for you to. It would be easier that way. That way I could just hate you.
You continue," Sometimes after sex it seems as if she was trying to purposely grab up some of my juice to get herself pregnant."
"You think she did all this on purpose?" I ask. I am embarrassed in my own head as I think about how the very thought has crossed my mind, to climb on top of you after having sex, after you cum on my back or stomach.
“I told her to get on birth control but she says it's too expensive," you tell me.
"She can go to Planned Parenthood," I tell you, shocked at the fact that I am telling you how to get your other lover inexpensive maybe even free birth control. It all seems a little too late anyway.
"Hell because she's a drug addict people will tie her fucking tubes for free but she doesn't want to admit that she's an addict," you complain. I want to tell you about how I am opposed to such programs but the hole in my stomach swallowed up my good politics.

"So what are you going to do?" I ask a fourth time because I am tired of hearing background information about the other.
"I have so much I want to say now to you but I am holding my tongue." I finally admit. “It’s barely 11:30 and I'm drinking."
You find that funny and laugh before telling me that you want to hear what I have to say. I don't remember you ever telling me that before.
“I just don't understand you. I try to keep emotional distance from you so that when something like this happens I can walk away unharmed but I care about you and you know it and it frustrates me to see you, an intelligent man engaging such risky behavior, acting like an adolescent and I don't understand how you could want all this fucking drama with a fucking drug addict and keep me in the dark and on the side. I don't understand why you always choose her over me!" I hold back my tears and wait for your reaction.
"So I was thinking that since you need work that if nine months you are still in the same situation maybe you could help the Argentinean out or maybe you guys could do a babysitting exchange."
I want to curse you out. I want to tell you "fuck you and your baby" but instead I just call you an asshole. I don't however end the call.
"Ay come on you won't even occasionally pick the kid up from physical therapy he no doubt will need because he'll be born addicted to drugs?" you continue with your sick joke.
Now I was going to end the conversation but conveniently your other line rings. You say it's the office and quickly hang up with me promising to call me back later.

With you off the phone with me I cry. I laugh at myself. I scream at myself. I pour myself another rum and ginger ale and start searching for any hidden cigarettes. I drink and smoke and of course you never call me back.

A few hours later you and I meet again the same way we met for the first time, online. For some strange reason I feel guilty for not being a better friend to you and I im you to apologize.
“When you confided in me, I reacted as your lover, not as your friend, and obviously you needed a friend." I wrote.
You apologized for opening up your "stupid mouth." Of course I told you that you had nothing to apologize for that I wanted you to confide in me, that I valued our friendship as much as I valued the incredible sex.
"Nothing has changed between us," I wrote. That statement is truer than both of us would like to admit.

During that same im conversation you write that she, the Argentinean has decided to get a procedure. As I suspected it hadn't been the office that got you off the telephone with me so quickly.
"The procedure?" I ask and you reply in the affirmative.
I think her decision and having me know about it was supposed to make both of us feel better. I can't speak for you but I still feel sick to my stomach and I still want to see you tomorrow after class.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Red Folder

The MapucheRican's red folder is the folder that is suppossed to contain official documents from the school, like the Parent Association newsletter (where they think my real last name is la Mala- ja ja) and passes for the upcoming parent-teacher conferences. Imagine my surprise when I see a paper saying " This is not from the school or from any school organization". It was a letter from a teacher in the school requesting donations of items ( like shampoo) for our "children" , the soldiers in Iraq. This pissed me off royally. Why not help rebuild the school that these soldiers helped destroy? Maybe some Iraqui kids need soap...well they probably need food and freedom more but you know hat I mean. I was so offended and angered by this request...I thought about "our children" the marines that were sent into Haiti recently, I think way back to 1898 and the soldiers that invaded Puerto Rico and never left. I think what parent's should be focusing on is getting the occupying forces out of Iraq...and so many other places around the world.

Today I hate the red folder.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Pedro Pietri- Hasta Siempre


From PR Indy Media -Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri, while flying back to New York from Tijuana in an air ambulance on March 1, has passed.

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in General Grant Housing Project in Harlem, poet and playwright Pedro Pietri’s work is an expression of the struggle for Puerto Rican liberation, inspiring poets of oppressed peoples in the United States and abroad since the 1960’s. He attended public schools in New York City and was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War from 1966-68. His publications include Illusions of a Revolving Door: Plays (1992) (the first time a Nuyorican writer published his work in English on the island); The Masses are Asses (1984); Traffic Violations (1983); Lost in the Museum of Natural History (1980); Invisible Poetry (1979); and Puerto Rican Obituary (1973). His work has also been included in anthologies such as: The Prentice Hall Anthology of Latino Literature (ed. Eduardo del Rio, 2002); The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (ed. Alan Kaufman, 2000), The Latino Reader (eds. Harold Augenbraum and Margarite Fernandez Olmos, 1997), Inventing a Word: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Puerto Rican Poetry (ed. Julio Marzan, 1980), and The United States of Poetry.

Pietri was a co-founder of El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico and El Puerto Rican Embassy. Before the recent release of 11 Puerto Rican prisoners of war and political prisoners, he has been active in poetry programs dedicated to their freedom. His honors include several New York State Creative Arts in Public Service grants and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.



Pedro Pietri
Puerto Rican Obituary

They worked
They were always on time
They were never late
They never spoke back
when they were insulted
They worked
They never took days off
that were not on the calendar
They never went on strike
without permission
They worked
ten days a week
and were only paid for five
They worked
They worked
They worked
and they died
They died broke
They died owing
They died never knowing
what the front entrance
of the first national city bank looks like



Juan
Miguel
Milagros
Olga
Manuel
All died yesterday today
and will die again tomorrow
passing their bill collectors
on to the next of kin
All died
waiting for the garden of eden
to open up again
under a new management
All died
dreaming about america
waking them up in the middle of the night
screaming: Mira Mira
your name is on the winning lottery ticket
for one hundred thousand dollars
All died
hating the grocery stores
that sold them make-believe steak
and bullet-proof rice and beans
All died waiting dreaming and hating



Dead Puerto Ricans
Who never knew they were Puerto Ricans
Who never took a coffee break
from the ten commandments
to KILL KILL KILL
the landlords of their cracked skulls
and communicate with their latino souls



Juan
Miguel
Milagros
Olga
Manuel
From the nervous breakdown streets
where the mice live like millionaires
and the people do not live at all
are dead and were never alive



Juan
died waiting for his number to hit
Miguel
died waiting for the welfare check
to come and go and come again
Milagros
died waiting for her ten children
to grow up and work
so she could quit working
Olga
died waiting for a five dollar raise
Manuel
died waiting for his supervisor to drop dead
so he could get a promotion



Is a long ride
from Spanish Harlem
to long island cemetery
where they were buried
First the train
and then the bus
and the cold cuts for lunch
and the flowers
that will be stolen
when visiting hours are over
Is very expensive
Is very expensive
But they understand
Their parents understood
Is a long non-profit ride
from Spanish Harlem
to long~sland cemetery



Juan
Miguel
Milagros
Olga
Manuel
All died yesterday today
and will die again tomorrow
Dreaming
Dreaming about queens
Clean-cut lily-white neighborhood
Puerto Ricanless scene
Thirty-thousand-dollar home
The first spics on the block
Proud to belong to a community
of gringos who want them lynched
Proud to be a long distance away
from the sacred phrase: Que Pasa



These dreams
These empty dreams
from the make-believe bedrooms
their parents left them
are the after-effects
of television programs
about the ideal
white american family
with black maids
and latino janitors
who are well train
to make everyone
and their bill collectors
laugh at them
and the people they represent



Juan
died dreaming about a new car
Miguel
died dreaming about new anti-poverty programs
Milagros
died dreaming about a trip to Puerto Rico
Olga
died dreaming about real jewelry
Manuel
died dreaming about the irish sweepstakes



They all died
like a hero sandwich dies
in the garment district
at twelve o'clock in the afternoon
social security number to ashes
union dues to dust



They knew
they were born to weep
and keep the morticians employed
as long as they pledge allegiance
to the flag that wants them destroyed
They saw their names listed
in the telephone directory of destruction
They were train to turn
the other cheek by newspapers
that mispelled mispronounced
and misunderstood their names
and celebrated when death came
and stole their final laundry ticket



They were born dead
and they died dead



Is time
to visit sister lopez again
the number one healer
and fortune card dealer
in Spanish Harlem
She can communicate
with your late relatives
for a reasonable fee
Good news is guaranteed



Rise Table Rise Table
death is not dumb and disable
Those who love you want to know
the correct number to play
Let them know this right away
Rise Table Rise Table
death is not dumb and disable
Now that your problems are over
and the world is off your shoulders
help those who you left behind
find financial peace of mind



6
Rise Table Rise Table
death is not dumb and disable
If the right number we hit
all our problems will split
and we will visit your grave
on every legal holiday
Those who love you want to know
the correct number to play
Let them know this right away
We know your spirit is able
Death is not dumb and disable
RISE TABLE RISE TABLE



Juan
Miguel
Milagros
Olga
Manuel
All died yesterday today
and will die again tomorrow
Hating fighting and stealing
broken windows from each other
Practicing a religion without a roof
The old testament
The new testament
according to the gospel
of the internal revenue
the judge and jury and executioner
protector and eternal bill collector



Secondhand shit for sale
Learn how to say Como Esta Usted
and you will make a fortune
They are dead
They are dead
and will not return from the dead
until they stop neglecting
the art of their dialogue
for broken english lessons
to impress the mister goldsteins
who keep them employed
as lavaplatos porters messenger boys
factory workers maids stock clerks
shipping clerks assistant mailroom
assistant, assisant assistant
to the assistant's assistant
assistant lavaplatos and automatic
artificial smiling doormen
for the lowest wages of the ages
and rages when you demand a raise
because is against the company policy
to promote SPICS SPICS SPICS



Juan
died hating Miguel because Miguel's
used car was in better running condition
than his used car
Miguel
died hating Milagros because Milagros
had a color television set
and he could not afford one yet
Milagros
died hating Olga because Olga
made five dollars more on the same job
Olga
died hating Manuel because Manuel
had hit the numbers more times
than she had hit the numbers
Manuel
died hating all of them
Juan
Miguel
Milagros
and Olga
because they all spoke broken english
more fluently than he did



And now they are together
in the main lobby of the void
Addicted to silence
Off limits to the wind
Confine to worm supremacy
in long island cemetery
This is the groovy hereafter
the protestant collection box
was talking so loud and proud about



Here lies Juan
Here lies Miguel
Here lies Milagros
Here lies Olga
Here lies Manuel
who died yesterday today
and will die again tomorrow
Always broke
Always owing
Never knowing
that they are beautiful people
Never knowing
the geography of their complexion



PUERTO RICO IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE
PUERTORRIQUENOS ARE A BEAUTIFUL RACE



If only they
had turned off the television
and tune into their own imaginations
If only they
had used the white supremacy bibles
for toilet paper purpose
and make their latino souls
the only religion of their race
If only they
had return to the definition of the sun
after the first mental snowstorm
on the summer of their senses
If only they
had kept their eyes open
at the funeral of their fellow employees
who came to this country to make a fortune
and were buried without underwears



Juan
Miguel
Milagros
Olga
Manuel
will right now be doing their own thing
where beautiful people sing
and dance and work together
where the wind is a stranger
to miserable weather conditions
where you do not need a dictionary
to communicate with your people
Aqui Se Habla Espanol all the time
Aqui you salute your flag first
Aqui there are no dial soap commericals
Aqui everybody smells good
Aqui tv dinners do not have a future
Aqui the men and women admire desire
and never get tired of each other
Aqui Que Paso Power is what's happening
Aqui to be called negrito
means to be called LOVE

Sunday, March 07, 2004

She's So Articulate

I have been super active in ensuring access for the non English dominant/immigrant families in my daughter's school. This means setting up a language bank so that every slip of paper sent home is available in all the languages represented and that meetings and workshops have onsite translators, not to mention ensuring kids get the services they need and that others aren't railroaded into programs they don't need just because of what they look like or what their last name is ( like they sent my kid to ESL) So the other day a school employee with who, I work closely with was telling me an I knew she didn't mean it to be fucked up but anyway she was telling me how everyone thought I was so articulate...(do people say white people are articulate? so articulate compared to what? what they expected a young latina single mom to be like?) maybe it shouldn't have annoyed me but it did...In one way what I am doing is super important...for the community, for my daughter etc but carajo I hate being the nice token woman of color who can speak well and be held up as an example. Oh and then another person in the school was like ,"oh I didn't know you were a single mom,"
They assumed that since I wasn't working a "real" full time job I must have a partner supporting me....blech...I hate being a walking public service announcement.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Feeding Time(Chichos)

For Joseph

You talked about them like they were separate from me and not attached firmly to my body. Well maybe firmly is the wrong word but that is not the point. The point is that you made them sound alive, like wild animals. You made them sound like they controlled me, had power over me. You made it seem like when I would ask for something I was only acting as a puppet for them.
"I'm hungry,"
"Aw time to feed the chichos?" This was when you would lean towards me and grab a roll from my stomach.
When we would sleep together I struggled to find a comfortable place next to you, beneath you, on top of you.
"Suck it in. Suck it in"
"Aw look at your chichos honey," This was when you would move your hand from my breast or my from my cunt and rub your hand on my stomach.
"My little Buddha"
You used to get mad at me when I didn't want to have sex with you.

"You would leave me if I got fat wouldn't you?" I asked you once.
"Well I work hard to keep myself looking good for you my younger girlfriend so I expect you to keep yourself up."
That's when I recognized my trophy status.

"He left her because she was fat" Ok you never actually said this when I told you my best friend got dumped by her boyfriend of eight years but I bet you thought it.

"You left me because you thought I was getting fat" I don't know what to believe anymore as to why you left me. First it was because you couldn't trust me. Then it was because I was too militantly Latina. Then it was because of some Mafioso shit you had gotten yourself entangled in because of your ex--girlfriend and you were going to lose your house and you had nothing to offer me. I remember a picture I saw once of your ex-girlfriend. I thought and still think she's ugly. But she's skinny, like in white girl skinny with no ass and no tits and no curves. You left me because you thought I was fat.

No other man I ever dated has done this to me and I have dated a lot of men. No other man I will date will do this to me and I will date a lot more men.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE

I feel voting is not the answer. Voting in and of itself will not bring the change that is needed but it is a weapon, it is a tool and all tools should be used to struggle.

So if you are in NY, like me, get out and vote today!

I voted early.

Monday, March 01, 2004

US Sponsors More Regime Change

I call it a coup. Kind of like when Chavez voluntarily stepped down in Venezuela, or like when Allende gave his final radio address in Chile. The US doesn't lead coups....welll not directly. They usually facilitate them though, train and arm coup leaders for examples. in the end what's the difference????

Here's a little bit of a larger article from AlterNet...I recommend it

U.S.-Sponsored Regime Change in Haiti

By Nirit Ben-Ari and Bill Weinberg, World War 3 Report
March 1, 2004

In the wee hours of March 1, US Marines landed in Haiti hours after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide reportedly succumbed to demands from an armed opposition movement that he step down and go into exile – although persistent rumors on the ground maintain he was actually arrested by US forces. As rebel troops entered the capital Port-au-Prince, the UN Security Council approved a resolution authorizing a multinational force to restore order, and French troops are also on the way.


The rebel army, cobbled together from anti-government gangs and militias and led by former army officers, has achieved its aim of Aristide's ouster. It seems the cost will be the loss of Haiti's sovereignty to foreign occupation troops – yet again.