“It’s been months since I last wrote. I’ve lived in a state of mental slumber, leading the life of someone else. I’ve felt, very often, a vicarious happiness. I haven’t existed. I’ve been someone else. I’ve lived without thinking.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet“
I’ve been silent. Absent? Silent. I haven’t had a thing to say. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to tired, or too busy. But really, maybe I’ve been too angry. I’ve been working, at a job that uses none of my talents, except a talent for schmoozing tourists.
It’s been getting to me, this feeling that I am visibly poor, of the poor classes, that I will always be poor, and that everyone I see and talk to, can smell the poverty on me.
I know how to be poor, with a decent facsimile of not-poor manners. Unless you get too close. My teeth are bad. My nails are bad. My skin is bad. I’m shabby.
I’d like to return to blogging in a blaze of glorious righteous wit, but instead I’m grimly pushing words out between my figurative teeth. Spitting nails.
I’m half a bottle of Viognier down, which tastes like eternal springtime, like sucking the nectar from sweet clover flowers as a child in Seattle, of daisies and the neighbor man’s roses and green fig tree leaves- if it weren’t for that, I’m not sure I could write anything at all.
I’m not unlucky, I’ve been lucky as hell. I have family that loves me. I have a husband that loves me, and friends that love me. I have a job, which is more than a lot of people can say.
I believe in the degree I finished, but I can’t afford to pay my university bill to get my diploma. I can’t afford to apply for grad school.
I have a restless longing for someplace other than here, and a sinking feeling that everywhere is here. I’m curled in like a fist. I’m tired like a bit of plastic sheet lying half out of a dumpster.
I’m tired of feeling as though I made some cosmic choice to be born poor, as though I ever held a good hand to play. The only thing I’m playing into is a lie. But it’s enough to make me bite my own tail off, feeling small and weak and stupid and ugly and silent.
I’m not pleading for anyone to tell me I’m a genius. I’m just pleading for a chance to do something that makes me feel like I have a little worth.
it’s so selfish, I know. We’re all drowning, right?
All the protests in the street I’ve been waiting for are here, and I can’t stop myself, a little nasty part of myself from wanting to spit on the beautiful smooth white boys, smooth as milk glass, spouting socialist talking points in their scruffy facial hair, with their 80,000 dollar degrees from Auburn and Columbia, with their nice parents, and their nice warm houses.
Come down to where I’ve lived, hungry and smelling of fear and sawdust and dog shit. Come down, my wide open mouthed laugh will show where my jaw is partly missing because I waited so long to get my wisdom teeth removed, and the scars of acne that will never go away, and my dimpled thighs and my scarred hands.
Come down to my heavy arms, these arms of a peasant, come and hitch me to a plow, and let me be bovine, simple and peaceful, uncomplaining, unthinking.
I’ve been too bitter to write, too tautly wound to make sense of anything. I want to be pleased that there is at last some movement, but instead it’s a crazy laugh that goes skittering like a water bug, to think that now, now, hipster boys, pretty thin white boys, you’re passionate, you’re engaged. We’ve been here all the time, me and the ones who have it worse than me. Worse than I’ve ever seen, or felt, or imagined.
I’m trying. I’m trying to find something to say that isn’t invective.