09 November 2007

Russy Gotted A Balloon Today

In honor of my brother’s birthday today, I’d like to share a short story I wrote for the Harriette Austin Writer’s Elements of Fiction Class through UGA:

Russy gotted a balloon today. From the doctor. It costed him nothing. He jes didn’t yell or nothing when he gotted a shot for bee stings.

I never gotted a balloon from Dr. Gee. I guess I shoulda yelled the first time he poked at me.

It’s pink, but Russy likes it still. It aint jes any ole balloon, neither. It floats. Not like the ones at Althea’s birthday parties that you gotta blow up yourself. It really floats. Russy says it’s cuzza hot air. You gotta let your breath get really hot afore you blow it up. My air never gets hot enough ‘cuz I never get ‘em ta float.
Dr. Gee must got a lotta hot air.

Russy saided he heard ‘bout this guy in Denmark who founded a note onna balloon from a kid. Denmark is far, far away.
Russy gots the bestest ideas.
He writed his name onna piece a paper. Then he writed more.
I wished I could write.
He telled me it was our address.
Russy’s the smartestest.
I asted Russy if I could hold his balloon. Jes for a minute. I’d be really careful.
But, Russy saided, “No, you’ll pop it.”
I would not.

He wanted ta climb up onna barn roof and let it go so it can fly farther’n Denmark.

The ladder wobbled and maded my tummick woozy, but I followed him anyways.
At the top, my hands wouldn’t lissen ta my brain tellin ‘em ta LET GO. They wouldn’t lissen ta Russy tellin me ta LET GO; he’d grab me and help me up. But, my hands wouldn’t do nothin. I hearded marchin in my ears and I couldn’t breathe right. Russy hadded that look on his face that telled me I had better get offa that ladder and onna that roof!
My hands hearded that and got moving.
I standed there right next ta Russy onna barn roof.
I didded it! I didn’t fall!

See? I telled you I could do it.

The pink balloon floated onna string in Russy’s hand.
“Here,” he saided, and handed me the string. “Don’t let go!”
“I won’t. I ain’t stupid, you know!”

He handed me the string!
I helded his pink balloon!
I wished he’d give it ta me ‘stead of that guy in Denmark. I bet that ole guy don’t even like pink balloons. Yellow’s my favorite color, but pink’s good – for a balloon. Not for a dress, though. When I’m growed up, I’m gonna get wedded in a yellow dress the color of lemon pudding Mom makes onna stove. She lets me stir it and I like ‘tending of a long, yellow dress. When I’m all growed I won’t gotta wear Russy’s stinkin ole clothes no more.
Russy looked for the paper he writed on. I hoped he don’t find it for a long time. I liked the way the wind blowed the balloon ‘round onna string. That's jes how my long, yellow dress'll float 'crossa floor.

His face telled me he tried ta get me ta hear afore but my brain was off floating with the balloon.
“Give it back.” His hand reached out for the string.
I helded it tight and thought I might say “No.”
I looked around. We standed on the barn roof. No place ta run. He’d catch me for sure if’n I tried. Prolly fall offa the roof - then we’d catch it from Poppa.
“Give it here!” His face telled me he was really mad now.

I tried ta hand it ta him.

I holded out my fist.

I thought he had it.

I thought he took the string. I really did.
Why would I let go if I knewed he ain’t got it?

But nobody did, and his pink balloon gotted away.
I tried ta grab the string when I sawed he ain’t got it, but I missed.
Russy’s face telled me he knewed he shouldn’ta let me hold his balloon.

I wished he’d stop lookin at me that way.
“That guy in Denmark’ll prolly get it. It’s floatin way high up,” I telled him.
“Yeah, but now he won’t know who it’s from, Stoop!” He holded the paper in his fist and shaked it at me. His face telled me he might cry, but he quick goed down the ladder.

“Don’t call me stupid. I ain’t stupid, Stupid! You’s the one what let go! I handed it ta you, Stupid.” I followed him down the ladder. I tried hard not ta cry, but I did anyways. I knowed it was all my fault. But I wished he wouldn’t lookit me that way.

Next time I go ta Dr. Gee’s I won’t yell or nothing and maybe he’ll give me a floating balloon.
If he does, I’m givin it ta Russy… even if it’s yellow.
Then maybe he won’t lookit me that way.

07 November 2007

Parts is parts...

My sister had what she considered a strange experience today. I don’t think it was so strange.

While she watched TV, a commercial displayed a beautiful girl in stiletto shoes and puffy lips. The young, barely dressed female provocatively pranced on my sister’s television, enticing males of all ages to make a private visit to the bathroom of their choice to take matters into their own hands. (I doubt if anyone knew what product she was selling.) My sister toughed it out until the end of the commercial, but after another commercial the station played the offending commercial once more.

Strangely, she felt accosted by this dehumanization of the female body – so much in fact, she almost lost her lunch. Thank God she hadn’t eaten yet.

She expressed her feelings to me in a phone call.

I told her I feel the same way when the media uses the beautiful female physique to sell merchandise. I don’t know why we, as women – or fathers and husbands for that matter – allow ourselves and other people to exploit our beauty for nothing more than “sex sells” and a woody.

(I wonder what a man would say if it were his daughter parading in front of the camera for his sexual pleasure. Surprise, Daddy! Are you proud of me now? Remember – every female is one of our daughters… or sisters… or nieces… or mothers.)

I feel the same way when females think the only things they have to offer society are two firm nipple mounds and a camel toe.

As you know, I have five daughters. It disgusts me to think they are targeted by the media to feel less than adequate if they don’t may-zure - as my mom would say - up to media’s (men’s) idea of a sexual beauty.

It disgusted me when I found a DVD full of scantly-if-at-all-clad, barely-if-adult teenagers in my Xs possession. (It still does.) His excuse – they are all just parts.

Just parts.

Just parts? Is that what we’ve allowed our female bodies to become to these socially acceptable perverts?

Just parts? When our young women are demonstrating wild girl-on-girl action and drunken show of frontal nudity to a camera so some guys can get… excited and others get rich from these barely un-children’s impulsive actions.

Just parts? When your 40+ year old partner turns his head and walks into a nearby wall because he can’t get enough of the 12-year-old-who-looks-not-a-day-younger-than-16’s breasts and tight pants? …and actually thinks that same girl wears a bikini to the beach/swimming pool for your partner’s play-zure - instead of the boy-who-sits-next-to-her-in-class she has a crush on.

Just parts? When you go to a movie and you know the director knew his vision sucks when he brings out the nipple parts. If you get a glimpse of the crotch parts – he knew he’s really in trouble… but when the long, drawn-out, don’t-catch-me-yawning shot of the woman’s OOOOhhh face, and shows nothing but the stud’s back but all of the female’s parts - you know you’ll never see this movie up for any kind of award. But you might see it in your son’s or partner’s sweaty hands at the video rental store… and that’s all that matters, huh? Sex sells. Females whore their parts out for profit… they sell their souls to pay the rent. A moment they'll tray-zure for the rest of their lives.

Just parts.

And when our parts are used up and tired out – which is the ultimate result in every case – are any of us surprised?

And, when we find the twenty-something x-beauty in the morgue too soon or out at the pub too late, unable to handle the effects of gravity and the draw of the parts of children ten years younger than her to her once captive audience, will we act surprised?

Since when is sex synonymous with a naked female – lips red with make-up ready to go down on their knees at the first command?

Some may say I’m a frigid woman who’s just jealous because my parts sag to my knees and couldn’t find my ‘G’ spot with an alphabet ruler. Others may call me uptight and wonder why I find the female body so disgusting.

I am not jealous my parts sag to my knees – it gives me something to put in my lap as I sit to ease the pain in my back.

My ‘G’ spot is somewhere between my ‘F’ and ‘H’ spots…

I don’t find the female body disgusting – but I do find the exploitation of and salivation over the female parts to be disturbing, to say the least.

If our parts are so natural and common – why use them provocatively to sell? What’s all the hullaballoo about?

They are, after all, just parts.

Everything has parts – even my hair. Does that turn you on?

03 November 2007


Today is a very spay-shel day.

My daughter’s getting married… In Turks & Caicos. I’ve never even heard of the place until I got her invite.

Wedding invitations and war - two great ways to learn geography.

So, here I sit, unable to attend and try to picture her in a dress I haven’t seen, on a beach I’ve never visited, surrounded by everyone but her family… She’s beautiful, isn’t she?

I’ve watched her grow from a little pumpkin (her first Halloween costume at the ripe old age of 2 months) to this beautiful, self-assured woman.

Some highlights, if I may…

She started walking on Mother’s day – she was 9 months old. We were at her father’s parents' house. They had a step-up kitchen… or a step-down dining room/rest of house… Diana consistently tripped off the step, so from nine months to about fifteen months her nose was a raspberry.

One time we sat in the car waiting for her father to finish his errands. She turned to me and said:
“Momma, I fluffied… Wanna smell it?”

She was 15 months old.
(Please forgive me Danna – it’s my fondest - and smelliest - memory)

At 17 months old, we visited my mother who lived in the country. Diana would, on occasion, sit in Grammie’s big, orange terra cotta pot to watch TV. I don’t know why. That day she got in, and couldn’t get out. At first it was comical. Then, it was annoying. Two hours later, it was a concern. We tried butter, oil, soap, water… you name it. We thought it was made from papier-mâché or maybe ceramic… Gramps took a chisel to it – not a dent. We ended up calling the Sheriff’s office. The dispatcher sent a deputy to help Gramps cut the pot away from Diana with a hand saw. It took over an hour and many tears. It was made of fiberglass.

All is well. She still owns the pot, I think.

There are more memories, but we don’t have twenty-three years to reminisce.

Danna – Here’s to Derek and you. May you each find that wonderful balance of maintaining your autonomy while sharing your lives together.

Let me share some words from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran:

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you into whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all your laughter, and weep, but not all your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hands of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Congratulations, Danna & Derek – I wish this day to remain with you as a beautiful memory, but I hope each day hence offers the best moments of your lives.

Give Knickerless a hug and kiss from NaMa.

I lover you,

pass the popcorn, please!