[ read “Sippin’ Alligator Wine (Miami pt 1)” ]
It Needs To Be Said
Wandering thru Wynwood graffiti w/ 3-4am cafe con leche grins sun-rising over the Atlantic, the ocean I once identified w/ as an eternal part of my childhood landscape, I recorded poems, knowing I’ll be transitioning into focusing on video-poems come landing back in Tucson.
& w/ all that dope background graffiti, all those attempted-to-be-great shots, the poems I filmed here came out corrupted.
That’s not what needs to be said. In company that wandering night, under a bridge connecting Long Beach w/ Miami, the volume of sexist shit, from men of all backgrounds/classes, white, black, Mexican, doesn’t fucking matter. This shit exists everywhere, embedded in American/global systems, &-
Pause. We’re not digging into this at this second. I slipped up. I’m being impatient.
[ being ‘impatient’…? dude… come on.
think about that for one second.]
In Miami, smog & misogyny cocktailed fog over the glass of coladas + Cuban cafes + gym rat selfies + bebopping trans clubs + rapping w/ that cat slammin’ drums + the man w/ a boa ’round his neck + staggering bums plucking at Wynwood’s hipster strip, begging change & smoke.
This cocktail stretched from downtown & back. & watching, & watching, watching lips take sips, & thinking of Sid at Brendan’s, reading, walking alone (w/ a can of mace if any shadows get any fucking ideas)- & watching, & watching, &—goddamn. We need to get into this.
While I agree more men need to join the discussion by supporting those hurt, it’s important to know the differentiation between support & speaking for/over/commanding.
Miami needs to be discussed, but it’s in Kansas City these stories will accumulate into- well, what? I hope something positive- but with all the luck we’ve had, there’s always teeth gnashing for a chance to bite.
The Maid Runs Us Outta Town
Running low on cash, Sid & I borrow $$ for Greyhound tickets to Kansas City, where my homie Ezhno Martín, a poet who published a collection of poems called “#Beer,” & hassled bar patrons/tenders to take the book in-exchange for drinks.
Ezhno is a character from the first Books & Shovels tour, our Patron Saint of Kansas City introduced to us thru one of the Uptown Arts Bar open mics & one of the dopest bookstores in the country, Prospero’s.
“Last time I’m gonna tell you Jeremiah, slow down!”
“That’s not the last time you’ll say it,” I say to that weird scraggly creature moved by the pen.
The images are collaging over one another- the experiences & how they’re related. This frame is already incredibly fucking wide for the usual travelogue entries- let’s get this highway paved so we can get off at the next exit. [CHALLENGE : HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU PHRASE : “LET’S GET ON TOPIC” ? ]
It’s morning. I’m not awake yet. I’m writing from the perspective of a laughing corner watching the following events;
- Sid’s on the floor, reading in the low light
- Jeremiah’s restless in bed, kicking sheets
- The door runs open & a small face bunched up behind slightly bigger glasses open the door
- Sid’s head flicks towards the door like a meerkat, she’s fully dressed & sitting on the floor, reading, & Jeremiah jolts straight, only in his boxers, now kneeling on the bed, muscles visible cause of how lil fat is between them & skin, both of em confused at the more so confused face that immediately slams Brendan’s door
- They shrug a laugh. “Must of the been maid Brendan mentioned.” Sid resumes reading & Jeremiah burns back out
- Jeremiah’s phone rings. He stares at it blankly & almost doesn’t answer. “Get the fuck out!” Brendan says. “My dad’s calling the cops! Hide my pieces! Seriously, get the fuck out”
- Sid scrambles her bag together & Jeremiah scrambles to dress & they both scramble to hide about 1/2 the pieces (it’s a collection fit for his position: manager of a smoke shop) before dipping out into gray sleighted day pouring rain.
- We’re walking dice in our nervous heels. We’re on side streets. We hear sirens. The dice are rattling, impatient to role. Fucking confusing cookie cutters, how do we get outta here?
- “The maid called my dad. What the fuck were you guys doing? She told him you were doing unholy shit.” … “I doubt he called the cops,” he says. “He has shit he wants to keep private too. He’s not just gonna let em in. But he’s drunk, how the hell am I supposed to know?” … “Just wait for me to get outta work. We’ll get your stuff packed in my car & drop you off to the station tonight.”
- We kept walking, but not the sorta walk that triggers poems. We’re too embalmed in our nerves to exit the poem we’re in to record it.
- This is how we calm into language ::
“Wait, Before the Maid Booted You, What Was Sid Doing This Whole Time Ya Were Running Around Miami?”
The room sucks up Sid & I like a black hole sore w/ apathy. [ yeah, yeah, we get it. there’s the image. what’s the message? ] It’s a wound that demands so many band-aids, you can’t pick it to heal. [ hmm… closer. ] Clothes & art & books strewn throughout the room like a doped up collage. It’s a cave. The windows are covered. Afternoon & morning & night bend. [ ahh, alright. you’re just being you, but in the next travelogue, can we get a lil more substance under the pictures? imagery + color only carry so much weight. the real blood pumps thru them. ]
Sid & I open & close our eyes slowly. The sun rises & sets. Or did it set then rise? Our sleep schedules all sorts of fucked up.
I have no idea how Brendan wanders in & out, functioning, his room more for storage than chilling.
Dear reader, thank you for reading this far. You are one of a very small group I am thankful to. & dear reader, do know I’m only peeling back as much as she’s comfortable w/ [ what do you think of my portrayals of you, Sid? te quiero querida, thank you for reading this far ].
Sid didn’t have the energy to put up w/ the Miami cliche & its selfie-capital celebrations. She feels a lot. A lot more than many poets feel even their poems.
“I’m struggling to maintain jogging,” she said, after an hour jog. “I can’t do yoga in this fucking room. There’s too much wifi.”
Throughout all this, I’ve turned to webcam modeling solo to try & make a couple bucks. I have my laptop, why noy? In the meantime, I’ve turned to awkwardly webcam modeling. Much respect to those men, woman, trans, non-binary, all the folks who can hustle that noise, cause it is exhausting, hard work that takes a toll on your sexual appetite.
Well, at least it started to with me.
[ V. IMPORTANT NOTE TO READER : I think this disclaimer is important in-regards to people’s privacy: the webcam modeling I did solo. Sid was disinterested in the prospect.
& to those that would criticize either of our decisions : very simply & eloquently put,
fuck you. ]
“Do You Need to be An Asshole to Work Slowhound?”
[ THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED SID’S HELP ]
[ HMM… ARE THESE PUBLIC PROCLAMATIONS OF RECEIVING ASSISTANCE FROM SOMEONE WHO IDENTIFIES AS A WOMAN A COP-OUT-SAFETY-NET TO COVER YOUR OWN ASS? WHAT’S YOUR INTENT? WHAT ARE YOU BRINGING TO THE TABLE?
SHOW IT. ]
It’s an appropriate departure from Miami to have one of your homie’s richer homie’s slam you around in a Mercedes after being chased outta town by a maid left crossing herself after calling your host’s drunken father slamming his way around highway mountains demanding retribution from his liver.
Brendan & his homie dropped us off to the station around 2-3am for a 6pm departure. Miami’s Greyhound is attached to the airport, & airports, w/ all their cameras & survelleince, make me more anxious than Windows 10.
Sid’s the first to clock sleep. Like a dog shaving years off its life, I guarded our bags, only closing eyes for brief periods while music dragged visceral gif thought loops across vision’s blinds.
An attendant shook me & told me “wake her up, she can’t sleep under the benches.” Sid comes up to her seat, throws a blanket over her head, & collapses into her lap.
6am cigarette. 7am cigarette. 7:15am cigarette. 12pm crawling behind a concrete pillar to coil on the ground while Sid watches the bags. 2pm attendant washing windows taps your shoulder. 4pm ticks. 5pm tocks. 6pm boarding. [so many cigarette metaphors in this]
Dammit! What was it that Sid said to piss off the ticket collector?
Oh yeah. “Dude.”
[ NEITHER OF US ARE SPEAKING FOR A WHOLE // THESE ARE EXPLORATIONS OF OUR EXPERIENCES + WHAT WE’VE SEEN, & ARE NOT MEANT TO BE ALL ENCOMPASSING OR ABSOLUTES ]
[THERE YOU GO. JUST DON’T FUCKING REPRESENT OTHERS WHO ARE CONSISTENTLY REPRESENTED THRU LACK OF REPRESENTATION BY A SYSTEM THAT DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN
[ NOTE : We’re jumping right into attendant’s outburst b/c that’s how he burst into us. ]
“I don’t give a fuck what you thought dude,” the attendant says, a big white dude w/ tight shoulders & a blonde beard clawing up his face like poorly dyed vines crawling out desert soil along a rigid terrace of ‘threatened’ flesh.
“Yeah, dude, I don’t give a fuck what you thought. You can wait till the 10pm bus,” he said, turning to take someone else’s ticket.
“Woah, woah- what the hell?” I said, turning to him. The rolled blanket tied to my framepack slaps my side. The man’s standing over Sid, ruffling the tickets, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses square like his jaw, like his jaded Miami personality ruffling the deck outta his own self-loathing, lashing out at those he deems himself powerful enough to attack safely.
“You with her?” he said. “Thanks to her, you can both wait till the 10pm. Now get outta here or you’re outta the station.”
Sid staring at the man w/ venom. There’s no better line that encompasses her eyes. She’s staring like the teeth of a rattlesnake that’s repressing it’s desire to warn before biting.
She’s holding that growing ball of venom in her throat. It’s generating itself more & more potent as it accumulates. I want to say she swelled & lunged, sinking her teeth into his hand holding mine & every other riders’ tickets, leaving him foaming white & writhing on the loading dock cement, but Sid knows that all that will come of her releasing on him is us getting kicked outta the station w/ no refund while this dude explained to his coworkers how this hysterical chick assaulted him for no reason other than being “outta her goddamn mind!”
What had happened? Did Sid really swell w/ that much rage? Does she usually have a rattle to warn you when she’s getting pissed?
That image folded up in a sequence. I didn’t know if Sid was pissed or otherwise till we boarded the bus. I was the one w/ the bundled up fury accumulating. Not strong enough to be venom- it hadn’t clicked why he’d snapped at her.
“We’ve been here since 2am,” Sid says. “I’m sorry, I’m exhausted.”
“I’ve been here since noon, loading & unloading buses, & I don’t appreciate it when passengers go about showin’ me disrespect. Give me your ticket.” He took Sid’s ticket. “Keep her under control,” he said turning to me, “& get on the damn bus.”
Sid had confused something or another with the process of handing out tickets. [ Maybe rolled her eyes a little too noticeably. Maybe spoke in too apathetic a monotone. What a fucking rattle! ]
What the exact details of this confusion is irrelevant. Neither of us have gotten sleep outside the fumbling noises of buses pulling in & out, out & in, shuffling hands & feet & doors. We’re fucking fried.
What is relevant, what we would not pin to her appearance till further along the ride, maybe more towards Atlanta, after the second/third/fourth instance of a man lashing out at her, is that people are attacking her because she undermines current acceptable societal standards of feminine appearance.
[ The transition from ‘the realization’ to the below declarations I would like to see as one process. The below feels like speaking for, not from. Making a declaration we can’t claim to Know. Whereas, the Realization: that the ‘undermining’ of feminine standards has been a slow process. The leg hair. The clothes. The short hair. The posture still in process. That what occurred was the thought, “Men don’t aggressively ‘pander’ to me (w/ rigid expectation) like they used to. They lash out at me more. My looks are the only primary variable,” and a couple times, the thought “I’m scared, too scared, maybe scared enough to buy dresses and shave.” But that’s it. That’s the only experience I’d claim to Know. But that’s a good one, I think, to transition into ‘poems of empowerment.’ Regarding the concept of Compromising Who You Are Because Of What Others Will Think of You. And I reworded that from Don’t Ever because we also need compassion when we have done so, consciously or not. ]
Men feel a need to reign her in. Bring her under control. Hunting themselves out of feeling hunted. [<-hmm…?]
Androgynous features defying the gender binary drives the perceived stock value of male power down, & we know how Wall St hates being fucked with.
Kansas City is running up.
There’s more running up.
There’s always more mouths. More teeth.
Love & poems to :
Much love needs to be thrown towards N!’s co-manager Christopher Morgan + our short-bus-cross-country-tramping-Venice-Beach-slacker-Miami-entrepreneur Brendan + long-time N! homie & talented poet Barrett Warner for helping us w/ grocery shopping in our time of need + those New Orleans tarot readings that provided layouts to approach our surroundings with new insights we missed + the blue-haired palm reader that couldn’t stop yelling “My babies! My babies! Oh, oh, how I missed you!” + that red-headed devil fertilizing reefer madness with the sorta jubilee that the police think too ridiculous to be real + mi famalia, for their love, their support, for the open door I am indebted to.
We’re grateful for the resources/love that has been extended to us, making the journey much less difficult than it could have been otherwise.
& as the road seems to always go, it’s only going to escalate again before it drops.
Off to Kansas City we go, thank you ❤