Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Oscar and Others

Wow. Blogging is intense. Can't really stop once you start. Or reading other people's. It kind of feels like going up to your rooftop and yelling your news into a big black megaphone that you are sure all your people can hear. It feels like a big ol' relief a lot of the time. An unbound journal.
All my roommates are out of town right now. My phone is cut off. I am broke. It's weird to be in this house all alone, and kind of scary. I cleaned up, had a session with my beloved Georgia Rose, and went for a long walk up and down Mandela Parkway, singing my head off to the workout mix I made for Angie. Then I came home and cooked a pot of pintos and some basmati rice. I was about to eat, but I really wanted some tortilla chips to go with my rice n beans. So I decided to walk up to the 99 cent store on the corner. I considered not going because it was already dark and shit has been crazy in my neighborhood lately, but it's only 2 blocks, so I went for it. I got: sour cream, chips, half & half, and pasta sauce. The woman in front of me in line was taking a really long time, flirting with the cashier until she found out he was married and then he asked to hold her baby and finally she paid and I wasn't in a hurry, so I just waited patiently. By the time I walked out of the store, I could see police lights in front of my house. I was like, oh damn, not again. As I got up to my house I asked one of the several cops what had happened and he asked if I lived here, pointing to my house. I said yes and he told me there had been a shooting. Apparently, the bullet ricocheted and only hit the guys' ear. Too fucking close for comfort, man. He was sitting on the sidewalk in front of my house, surrounded by cops. They hadn't caught the perpetrator. It was a drive-by. And I had only missed it by a couple of minutes.
I am numb, by the way, as I write this. It begins to feel like TV when this stuff happens so often. I mean, just last night I watched the video of the BART police officer shooting Oscar Grant in the back at the Fruitvale station on New Years Eve. It's just too much to take in. Too much to let be real in a bodily way. I mean, I HAVE to leave the house. I HAVE to go places. I can't be terrified all the time, so it feels like all I can do is shut down. I know that's not true though, and I am resolving to keep on putting my mind on this terror in session so I don't stay numb. But right now, I'm alone. I can't thaw out now. And it's like, who do you trust? The fucking cops are the ones who shot Oscar Grant. The fucking cops are the ones who shot the guy Meg saw killed. And then there are drive-bys. Utterly random murders. People dying. Just getting ticked the fuck off as though they were already on a list. The After-Thanksgiving-Shooting was in the middle of the day, same exact spot as this one, at night. That spot is directly out my bedroom window. That window is right above my bed. That bed is where I sleep and write and hope to one day fuck. It's where I am right now.
I took that OK Cupid "dating persona" test and was really bothered by the question that asked whether you would rather 10 people die, or die yourself. Tai Amri was laughing at me for getting so riled up, but I was like, no! fuck this shit, I don't want to know this about myself. I was gonna skip it. But then I read the next question, which was the same question, but with 10,000 people instead of 10. So I went back and answered as best I could under those artificial circumstances: me over 10 people, 10,000 over me - now I ask you, how did that math get worked out? Who formulated and executed that equation in my mind? What do we do when we don't like the answers we give, but don't want to change our answers, either? How THE FUCK do you calculate that kind of a question? On what criteria? It is just absurd from the very get-go. I want to live. And I want all of you to live. (The particulars eating away all semblance.) Oh heavy, heavy head.
It shouldn't be a question, doesn't have to be. ALL people deserve to live. Could we just say that, and then go from there? Wouldn't that be alright? But "deserving to live" is a highly interpretable statement. For me, "deserving" must demand a practical way for that living to find existence. There is too much of everything for there to be not enough. Capitalism, won't ya come down already! I'm about ready for the wealth to start getting spread around like John McCain was so afraid of. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace? Friends, I'm numbed out, but really pissed off way deep down.
I came home from Texas with a zip-locked baggie of my grandmother's "ashes". She is little calcium pieces and gravel. It looks like a bunch of stuff that came from a beach somewhere. Shells, beat to roundness on the shore. Bleached and ashen. The skin is gone. Dried and drying. A hole, closed back up. I don't know what that means. That I used to rub lotion on Gramma's dry skin, that Oscar Grant's mama used to kiss his real head. And now, rocks. Rubble. Stones. And if that kind of change is possible in one body, soft to hard, why not also for our hearts? I pray, oh god, for melting.


Institute for Pop Culture and Lesbian Birth Control said...

Powerful Michelle, I send you rose-scented balmy lip kisses that leave marks. Remember to treat yourself well. I am learning that we perform tiny rituals of selfhood or self care to keep from dissipating completely into the aching world.

I hope you know that wherever you are walking in the world, I am walking with you.

Love, love, love.

Michelle Puckett said...

thanks, annis. i take pleasure in knowing that u and i are performing our "tiny rituals of selfhood" as sisters in this world. wish u were closer. love u.

A DiPietra said...

hey you,

if you are tired of being in the house alone and feeling unsafe, you are welcome to come over and spend the night--K and I won;t be home till after 9 pm tomorrow, but that would work. or Friday night though we are going to leave the house early Saturday a.m.


Tai Amri said...

wow intense. the violence in oakland it seems is spiraling out of control. it bears the question, can it ever really be in control? and what does that control look like? definitely not like bart police. and don't forget you have more than one home. i mean, part of the reason i moved to oakland was because i'd be closer to you. that means you're also closer to me. so come on over. not that i don't like your block, but it sounds kind of hot. chill in the coolness of temascal. peace and love.

Meg said...

of course, of course. i am so on top of the news there that it seems i'm only 1/2 here sometimes. i have read this over and over and sent myself there a zillion times, wishing you could come "vacation" here! i should have left you my keys and my car, you could have stayed with little hobie and at least had peaceful nights.

keep writing. light another candle. email soon. xo

bajo said...

Little prayers over your head, spread through the bed and out the window in giant beacons of light. Nothing, Spirit, will pass through my sister's window unless she wants it too. Nothing will come to disturb the safety of this bed. Spirit, keep her safe.