Monday, March 30, 2015

I Cannot Overstress the Importance of This Point

Keep Calm and Keep Herb In Your System

The Complexities of a Simple Life

Life will get complex as hell without your permission so keep to the basics of your personal integrity and well-being. Be flexible and allow change when appropriate. Laugh. Ask for help when you need: people may refuse you but all they can do is say no: they can't eat you (depends on what you asked for of course...)

Observations of Life Inside a Parallel Domicile Adjacent to Rock Bottom

Observations of Life Inside a Parallel Domicile Adjacent to Rock Bottom

1. Having a bad run of luck, fate, finances, health, depression etc doesn't mean you can't have a perfectly good day in an almost perfectly good mood
2. The people who help you when you are down and out are usually the people who can't afford to yet help support you anyway

3. Poor people share, rich people... not so much

4. Sometimes change that appears to be irreversibly destructive can be a blessing in disguise (Note: I have heard this nugget of optimism for years, though I always suspected it to be a foul rumour of little truth and great malice, but despite my hostility to it I now have the possession of some suggestive evidence in favor of  this hypothesis. Prior to this experience however I might have clawed someone's eyes out for suggesting such a foolish-sounding thing while  I wallowed in a rut of ill-fate, stress and deprivation. But now I declare there may be useful truth to this riddle.)

5. Blood family are not always the family members who will be around to catch you when you fall but family forged from choice and affinity tend to be there with fortitude everytime

6. When you are at rock bottom never turn down weed. 
Never ever ever ever refuse weed whilst enduring crisis at Rock Bottom

7. Find something to laugh about everyday. Even if you have to spend all your patience and a goodlyl amount of effort look for the funny things in life. A good laugh is worth as much as an earth-shattering orgasm and maybe more...

8. Just because bad shit is happening in your life it does not mean that you are a bad person who should feel bad forevermore: fight hard against any instinct to condemn yourself: you have to stay out of the rut of self-condemnation because a) it's wasteful of your precious store of energy b)entirely un-useful c) it will only perpetuate ripples of emotion that are full of self-recrimination, paranoia, and these are dangerous flirtations.

9. Like the first day of kindergarten you can make true friends at Rock Bottom. But at the same time remember that not everyone who helps you is your friend; not everyone who shits on you is your enemy; and if you are warm and happy in the shit keep your mouth shut and roll with it.

10. Do whatever you have to do, be it in the most selfish, self-protective manner but take care of your mind, energy-store, keep yourself as calm and comfortable as possible while in crisis. Don't let others force you into positions of further suffering or feelings of guilt, shame, or humiliation for practicing self-preservation/self-survival. Take care of yourself with every bit of love and devotion as a mother caring for a child: be your own love and your own lover. Protect YOU.

by Clarina Hernandez

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

9hr Motel Lobby Couch Musings

Art by Oscar Grafias

They'll say "How hard did you hustle? did you really dance and bustle? see, your lesson will be the victory!" 

But the journey is different for the walkers and the wicked, forsooth you did certainly contribute to your sufferings and this misfortune because you must have done something to deserve this trial, to cause you to live this as your truth. 

But if living in struggle is a captial crime then everyone of us will serve their time til the day/night comes that it be you, alone and afraid, now to crawl or stumble, to fearfully walk  that line 

They'll tell you happy platitudes and encourage you with fine chatter still you should know open hands, open hearts are few to find upon this journey and those few are the only  that matter 

It only takes one kindness to show light's love in its glorious redemption and that's the surprise that few ever mention: finding yourself peacefully back home though doubt not that most times the walk is long,lonely and bitter 

Don't Be A Strong Black Woman/Don't Survive

A Strong Black Woman is a woman who only manages to survive the more horrific encounters of life.

Don't be a Strong Black Woman.

Be a Powerful Black Woman.

Also, being rich is a big assist to Power.

Don't survive, learn to thrive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hustle. Hurts. Hard.

Hustling hard
Praying to God
that the answers you stay seeking
aren't the silence of a god
that doesn't exist or is too old to hear
while you're yelling so loud
that it even drowns out the fear 

Still In Need, Still In Hope

Still in need but haven't lost hope.

"But how did this happen" you say? How can you an employed and respectable citizen one day be at home and be homeless in a creepy little motel the next?

It's easier than you might understand. Most Americans are only one month's distance from disaster, and disaster doesn't always take the  tragic form. Maybe a check bounced and threw your monthly budget off. Maybe you don't have too much family to fall back on. Maybe you got sick - which is what happened in my case combined with few family members. 

Ah but when is family NOT family. I called my very old dear grandmother for help two months ago and she delivered fast and on the money. But it was terrifyingly apparent that Mother and I were in trouble for the next month's rent. My mother is suffers from chronic depression, which is a cruel disease as you may know if you ever suffered from it: inside her complicated but brilliant brain is a library of knowledge so vast and's just that her brain chemistry betrays her in a awful and tortured manner even when all is alright.

So my Nana has gotten old and my Mom is disabled BUT at least that's a little bit of income from her. From me? Well I was two months in the bed from a pain flare caused by endometriosis and myofascial pelvic syndrome. Oh and my doctors advised me to take Ibuprofen. You'll get the joke if you're a woman. 

Two months sick and you've fallen behind in ways where it seems no one can help you and you're falling down and down and down....

So what about emergency housing? What about shelters in Indianapolis?

This is an excellent question but I can't really explain to you how few resources there are in Indianapolis. Yes there are maybe ten shelters. Of those ten five only take families with children. Many others only take women with children. Only one caters to single women. The others are just full.

So you'll just have to adjust! Roll with the punches! One of my dearest friends called me twice in a one week period of time to give me what she thought was a pep talk. In the talk she told me how strong I was, how clever and educated that I could ride out the storm. Also she said, You need to let Mom do her own thing; you come back here to NYC and Mom can find something to do. And my mother has been my friend, my nurse, my rock and my heart.

This is the worst piece of advice I ever received. No. I can't leave Mom to just "find something to do". And quite frankly perhaps many folks don't realize that fifteen years of endometriosis and myofascial pelvic disorder have left me a sort of strange cripple, a disabled person who looks healthy and toned on the outside but in exceedingly exquisite pain on the inside. The pain is everyday all day.

So Mom and I watched the countdown to eviction. I went to court last week and I had never ever been to court before. I walked a few blocks to the bus stop so I could get there on time. While I was waiting a man looking a bit scruffy approached to the same stop and I felt a moment of panic: I'm no punk and no silly girl either but there are often times when it's fearful to be a woman alone. Turns out this guy was an angel from God. 

"Can I bum a cigarette," I asked, seeing one perched behind his ear.

He grimaced, "My last one" So we began talking and Terry shared his cigarette with me. As I was puffing he pulled out half a smoked blunt and shared that as well. I will never, ever be able to explain how deep my gratitude is for Terry that morning at 8:30am.  Calmed and sweetened by that blunt I entered the court room with no fear and no worry. The judge called my name and read some things at me and twice I had to ask him to repeat himself twice because I was so blazed that I couldn't hear. 

That Monday of last week, court day, was the best day I have had all year: yes, I was officially legally evicted but also I had been nudged by the Universe that life hadn't ended, that I can be in the midst of danger, disaster and downtrodden circumstance and still FEEL happy, calm, composed and joyful. 

Now if you had tried to tell me such a thing was possible two weeks ago I might have given you a beat down motivated by anger, disbelief, stress and fear.

I'm in  a strange state: I've been advised to live one day at a time but that's not easy when you have ten days til the next paycheck which is going to be short anyway from your overdrawn checking account.

It's a nightmare to be out on your own in a world with no permanent place called home. It's terrifying. But I didn't know when I woke up yesterday and went down to wait for my landlord to show up in her office to ask for an extension, some mercy, just a little more time ("I can't help you. You can't stay here. You owe us a lot of money! You can't stay here and not pay rent!" I was behind one single month and still evicted -- Again Indiana doesn't have the protective elements that are typical in NYC and Chicago) I didn't know that friends would come through and make sure we weren't out in the cold.

I am honestly afraid of being out in the cold. Worse, there seems to be hardly any social services even for the elderly and disabled as my mother is.

Our original plan was to relocate to Chicago to stay with my old, old Nana. But a family fight broke out and we were informed that I was allowed to stay ("you're ours we have a responsibility to take care of you" from the cousin I have met one time -- at my father's funeral) but my mother would not be allowed to stay, in apparent retaliation for -- what?  We don't know. Don't care either, not really. Truly, I called my Chicago relatives for help because we were so desperate that we couldn't afford to be picky but the cousins who have drawn the Iron Curtain to separate me from my Nana (I think she's dying) are people I do not know, two of the three I've met  once.

So these people who profess their love of Jesus Christ, told me how loved I was yet denied us any houseroom. And why would I go and protect my own ass and leave my mother to starve. It's so embarrassing that I almost feel like I shouldn't reveal such a petty, cruelty as this. But the shame isn't mine, but theirs.

So for now relocation is....hazy. I've got to have some cash to work with or someone willing to take in wanderers. I'm hoping that maybe we can cut some of the red tape by just showing up to a shelter in wealthy New Trier County ....? But for now we're here in this motel where the desk clerk told me extra blankets don't come with our room package.

*sigh* BUT!! I'm in bed and warm. 

I need help, advice and prayers. Definitely. Do send those along especially the prayers.

Monday, March 23, 2015


The song by Del Shannon that was the theme for Crime Story which aired after Miami Vice...

As I walk along, I wonder
A what went wrong whit our love
A love that was so strong
And as I still walk on
I think of the thing's we've done
Together, while our hearts were young
I'm a walkin' in the rain
Tears are fallin' and I feel a pain
A wishin' you were here by me
To end this misery
And I wonder, I wa wa wa wa wonder
Why a why why why why why
She ran away
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway
My run run run run runaway

Fear Factor and Leaving Home Due to the Eviction Monster...*deep breath* woosah!

Please help donate to my Eviction Fund!! Think of it as a charity ball....with out the glam!! 

Truly my Mommy who is disabled due to chronic depression and I have been struggling for awhile now. If you remember my frustrated and bitter piece from December I've been on a rocky boat in dangerous waters since November. 

I'm not losing faith. I'm meditating hard. But I am scared. I am as of 5pm today a homeless person. 

This is happening to me. 
This is happening to me.

My mother is definitely on the edge and frequently speaking of suicide at this point.

Damn, I'm gonna lose my prayer closet!! Meditation....Meditation....Good thoughts....
and panic attacks...

I'm afraid but  I am no punk. I'm trying to be hard but for all that is glitz and glam is 'hardness' really a good look?? 

Thank god for Xanax

Politrixie's Eviction Fund -- It's a Charity Gala without the Glam

But on the positive side I absolutely put my foot down on this point.... 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Of Graduate Student Welfare: the Tale of the Conflicted Academic (*the UnApologetic Remix)

Graduate Student Welfare (*the UnApologetic Remix)

Many people have identity struggles in life and the one thing about identity whatever your struggle -
sexuality race, class etc - is that it often takes a long time for a person to be self accepting, even when friends and family have long since dealt with that individual's true self. I am becoming fearfully aware that I'm very much that eternal graduate student person though I have never, ever wanted to be nor set out to BE that person. But in truth I have basically lived my entire adult life as some kind of graduate student. I have been the Ph.D candidate but even though everyone around me knew that I hated and despised my program, I could never accept this without feeling like a failure so I just went ahead and had a nervous breakdown. (If you cannot understand the wisdom behind my choice then there is no sense -- literally, no sense in explaining it to you!!) The worst part about not finishing the hateful Ph.D is that I got almost the full way to dissertation stage, rocked my proposal, was poised to do the full deal...then just totally mentally crashed.
But even without being in graduate school one doesn't necessarily stop BEING a graduate student. It takes many forms that I now see clearly with the gift on un-erring hindsight: I see myself on graduate student welfare which is, simply put, what one lives on when one's mentors find one being utterly bereft and incapable of living outside of the atmospheric conditions of non-institutional lifestyle. 

There are infinite forms of graduate student welfare, however the most illustrious - only available to the true rock stars - comes in the form of the full paid student fellowship. I have known this welfare too, and I have felt the rush of all it affords the Lucky -  in reputation, in ease of lifestyle, in glory and in the significant amount of shopping capital for my shopping addiction. 

Ah, yes, I know I miss it!

There is a certain poverty mingled with unimaginable richness that one enjoys while attached to the academic life. Yes, it means I have to sometimes hang out with dorks whom I don't like -- but who are like me -- and sometimes those people are boring as fuck, even though everybody swears they are the Shit because they've got an endowed chair or whatever. But often when you are in the top echelon of a supposedly "good" program (read: rich) then you do get to at least meet and see what the competition is made of; one day, whether you like it or not, whether you accept yourself or not, if you continue doing the things that you do for the sake of graduate student welfare, or even if you continue on your poor, broke ass own, you  will probably be one of these people in this room, through one way or another. 
But, hey!! Sometimes gatherings such as these come with free alcohol -- and the more daring types might share their weed if there are no haters in the group. So, you know...that part is kinda okay.
Just fucking accept it and get over yourself. Bottom line: can you do the damn thing? Yes. Then, fine. Now....what was it I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted (by myself).
I see myself - in very much an out of body experience way - actually living and finally understanding the applications of all manner of complicated theory that once caused me violent and endless eruptions that occur when you don't understand what the fuck you're reading and the experience fills you with rage and tears because it is certain that it will be impossible to escape its principles within graduate school, outside it or even with your circles of friendship  - until one day it all clicks!

 I now welcome my old enemies, can't wait to sit and talk with them (in my head/don't judge) - how could I ever have felt unsure in Foucault's presence!! ah, did I ever truly find it difficult reading the Souls of Black Folk? it's passion, the sophistication of its verse! I glory in it!
Most troubling of all I see myself here at all rock bottom in life and realize that there is only one cure for all that ails me: I must return to school. There is a sort of relief in this comprehension, a sort of recognition, with one knowing that this was eventually going to happen without truly understanding HOW or WHY.
No I have no intention at present of completing the Ph.D. That is in the past and it is best left THERE. However I do feel some interest now in the journey of the MFA. It's stupid as fuck to pursue an MFA; why the hell am I trying to impress a professor when I can actually be doing real work without the pressure of my school mates' opinions or grades and similar bullshit. What do I care whether my writing is considered authentic or derivative or...
--wait the health plan included in the MFA program is hot as hell!! Shut UP, they will PAY ME to come to their school and do what I would be doing anyway if I weren't at school and just being me?! Fuck the dumb shit (an MFA is a stupid thing) WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!?!?!?!?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Suite Metropolis

A new installment of Trixie Raconteur's Adventures...

It wasn't the Senator's afternoon for his visit which meant that Trixie was going to have to wait until Saturday for him to advance her weekly payments. It wasn't that she needed the money but it made her nervous this new arrangement where she was nearly exclusively servicing him. And the money was fantastic. It was glorious. It was heavenly even though he wasn't quite the masterful sex god that she made him believe he was.

But the point was that she was surrendering certain freedoms that made her life the adventure that it was. Not to mention the Senator was miffed with her for her power play in trying to make him hire her girl who was jobless and broke. What the fuck how was he going to fault her for trying him; hell, that shit might have worked, as they both knew.

Trixie was sitting, nude, at her window seat looking out over busy afternoon bustle of Metropolis watching Door Shaker stumble about as he cursed all the people, walking the Rittenour neighborhood streets,the people that could be seen by anyone and the ones that only Door Shaker himself could see. For exactly nine hours and forty seven minutes Rittenour's very own highly respected genius-slash- local-bum -- though no one would ever have disrespected him by calling him a bum; people only thought the term, never spoke it -- had been yelling  over and over, at the top of his strange raspy voice "Fat muthafucka!!! You a fat muthafucka!" 

"Get on way from here Fat Muthafucka!! Get on way from here!!" He pronounced his curse with power and great fortitude, John the Baptist style as a blanket condemnation and judgement on the whole of Rittenour, perhaps on the whole of Metropolis itself. 

However, at that  very moment he eyed Trixie at her window seat, two stories above the street in all her nude, brown, enticing glory and for the first time in hours since he had begun crying out his judgment and conviction on man-and-womankind he smiled a smile that transformed his scruffy nappy bearded face from a visage of entire madness to one of cheerful intelligence that belied the insane figure that he normally cut as the chief wino of Rittenour; of course if one didn't know that in a former life not so many decades prior Door Shaker had been a mathematician of great distinction, he had been short listed for the Fields Medal once upon a time.

His voice changed entirely as he tipped his invisible hat to her: "Fine morning, Lady!! You are making this a mighty fine morning!" Door Shaker bowed, offered her an invisible rose, winked and strolled away up the block. Trixie had made a friend of Door Shaker a long time ago. She was one of the few people who knew that Door Shaker, for all his fallen on hard times appearances, was no bum. Still she was sworn to secrecy: Door Shaker was a private person and he didn't want other people in Metropolis knowing his business. If they thought he was a bum the that was just fine, he'd told her. He was a bum.

Perhaps fifteen minutes passed by before she heard the angry, fierce shouts again. "Fat muthafucka! Goddammit you ain't nuthin but a fat muthafucka!!" This time however the noise was clearly blocks away. Seeing pretty Trixie the Ho at her window seat taking the morning sunshine had brought Door Shaker to his senses just so....he didn't want to be bothering the Lady, as he called her. He'd toddled, drink sodden as many blocks away from her window as he could manage in present state. 

The Lady had business to be tending to and he had no wish to disturb her.

"Fat muthafucka!! You a fat muthafucka!!"

Well, that was a good thing at least, Trixie thought. The curses were far less strident at this distance. She strolled into the kitchen for some coffee. That damned chino was taken over. Crack was one thing and meth was another but this new shit -- chino, they called it. It had become the proverbial thief in the night, sneaking in stealing away the minds of even the most high and mighty. From the brilliant to the humble. 

Chino was now at least as powerful in its way as the Senator was in his own.

"Fat muthafucka ---!!" 

Trixie had the whole day to herself. She sat down with her coffee at the window seat again to contemplate how she was spend her day.