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Wednesday, August 24

another rant


Raised Like A Veal

So sorry if the topic of my life bores one, but one can always take a piss break or order another beer. My mother, The Beastmaster, says that I'm, and I quote, "The coldest bitch on earth"… and I don't even flinch. I smile and nod. Small fucking wonder.

She marvels at the speed and thoroughness with which I cut people out of my life—how easily I can pretend they're not even in the room. Simple mathematics: You attack me, you're out. You use me, sayonara. You hurt me, don't let the screen door hit ya where the good lawd split ya. You raise your motherfucking hand to me, you ain't even vapor trails. What's so hard to understand? My mom keeps people around to use them, to guilt-trip their brains out, to save them for future possibilities — but they don't keep her around. She just thinks she has access. Not to me, she don't.

What's so hard to understand? I was raised like a fucking veal—kept locked-up in a two-point-two-acre box, never exposed to the outside world, never allowed to be my own person, never allowed to experience life — for seventeen fucking years — and then we divorced, my "parents" and I. And I had to start all the fuck over. Just like I did when I was thirteen-and-a-half, when I found out from Ann Landers that "good" brothers didn't "teach" their little sisters those things… so sorry, again, if I grow repetitive, but since it's a mitigating factor to this storyline, suck it the fuck up. I had to find the "outside world" for myself—from ground zero. Oh, yeah, she'd "protected" me from everything the world had to offer — but she couldn't protect me from twelve years of public-school torture — the word "Slut!" still rings in the hallways of my mind — and she sure as hell didn't lift a medicated finger to protect me from the dangers within.

So, yes, I've fucked-up — a lot. Entire museums could be filled with the casualties of my life—faith, hope, trust, love… anything to do with believing in human beings. Because I did it all from scratch. I nursed on an RCA cathode-ray tube instead of a breast. I learned everything I knew about human nature from those 22-minutes-between-commercials known as SITCOMS. I learned how to play the dozens from Florence on "The Jeffersons". Go fucking figure that I'm a smart-assed bitch today.

It never fails to draw the sweetest smirk on this mouth when darling little ones — whether jailbait pretty-boys or groupies with all the proper superlatives — gaze deeply into these big blue eyes and sagely intone, "But you're so defensive…why are you so dee-fenn-sivvve???"

(Dramatic pause here, looking to the audience to get the joke, sarcastic twist to the mouth, wait a beat--)

-- ALL TOGTHER NOW — NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. THANK YOU FOR THAT NEWSFLASH, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. Look at my life — hell, I've played it all out for your voyeuristic amusement right here on stage — and say, all together again — BIG, FAT, HAIRY DUH.

In the inevitable, inimitable words of Miss Etta James, "Always keep one bullet – in the chamber." You can love, you can laugh — but drop your guard, and you're a post-script on a Dick Clark infomercial, "She met a tragic end…" If I didn't still have thighs like Herschel Walker, I might not be here to bitch today — kicked the motherfucker off — po' Etta, she hadda get stitches. But like all good bitches, women who use their power for good — she's still kickin' and still scattin' and still standing strong.

I really did grow up, fantasizing that I could have a family like "Eight Is Enough" or "Happy Days"—instead of "DELIVERANCE". Television was my whole world — it's how I learned to read before I was two, it's what gave me my first career goal — to be in advertising like Darren Stevens, because Samantha was too fucking subjugated and subservient — dumb blonde bitch gave up magic for a jug-eared gay boy like HIM?!?!?! Oh, wait — that sounds awfully familiar… (wait for it…) okay, yes, he did have those ears — if a good stiff — wind — had come up behind him, he could've taken flight and been fucking Ricky Martin in Puerto Rico — but, honestly, I had not a clue about the other — ironic, ain't it? You'd think—if he'd have come home with dick on his breath, I'd have noticed! YOU'D THINK. I don't know whether to blame the prednisone or the Vicodin, but I can't be THAT naïve, can I??? I thought I ougtgrew naïveté when I leaned that life's problems don't get solved before the last commercial break, when I got out of that brick ranch-style prison and learned that the rest of the world is as, or more, fucked-up than I am, and that, no, being "different" is not as adorable as they play it on After-School Specials.

I guess that's why I have to bite down on the inside of my cheek so hard — to keep from letting loose one of my typical witch-cackles — when wide-eyed innocents, aspiring to bitchdom — try to tear me down or bring me up short… "Why are you always so negative??? Why can't you say anything nice???" Because I'm not BI - LINGUAL ? ? ? -- Hell, I'm already bisexual and bipolar, I can't do anymore splits! Henry Miller(and several others) said, "Write what you know," — what, I'm gonna fake it so you can feel all warm and fuzzly? At moments like that, I am struck by dual ironies — again, with the bi-thing — on the one hand, there's the Sun Tzu strategist, saying, "Never give them an 'in'—don't reveal a weakness!", and on the other, there's the exhibitionist in me, always going for the laughs, because I'll never have the body to strip.

Drunk boys in bars love to gaze into my eyes and tell me how "vulnerable" I look to them—and I tell them they're drunk. What vulnerability there may be lies very, very deep, and, no, Junior, you cute little jailbait you, you don't have the right — and rarely have the tools — to dig that deep. If you think this "bitch" thing is just an act, just a cover, and that if you twist me just the right way, all sweet honey will come pouring out — hang around for longer than it takes to get your orgasm — and you'll see that under this "rough exterior" — is concrete and steel. I will never have "Buns Of Steel"—but I'd lay the toughness of my heart & soul against that Tae-Bo dude's abs any day. So, no, you don't have the right to cop an attitude when you wake up in my bed and expect me to kiss your ass and make you breakfast — I ain't got the time, nor the wont — to do either. I'm the same bitch I was last night, only my makeup's on the pillow case and your crotch now.

But I guess it all comes down to a moral thing, really… I was raised in a world where I was never allowed that most precious word—"NO". You don't say no to Mama, you don't say no to Daddy (when he's not passed-out in the recliner), you don't lock that bedroom door, don't do anything you can't hide in the split second between when you hear the knob turning and they pounce in on you because they know you must be doing something wrong in there. If you want PRIVACY, it must be to do something you shouldn't. It's what they MISSED that kills me — everything they THOUGHT I was doing, I wasn't — and everything I WAS doing (or was having done to me) — THEY NEVER HAD A FUCKING CLUE. That's "parenting" in my family—total control, mind, body, and spirit. You weren't born, you were owned. And not, as you all know, just by them. But then, I could never say, NO. And yet they still, in all their control-freak ignorance, missed it all. And now, perhaps too much, but I do so enjoy it—say it with me—NO!

So, yes, I do look at my freedom to speak and act as I believe to be right as a MORAL issue — freedom itself is something I've hungered for, lo these many years. And if I can ever pay my own way again, I just may get it. Oh, not freedom from fat, middle-aged, short-dick assholes — the law won't let me erase that blight — nor from the ignorance that reigns supreme, not only here in Catholic Central, but in my own family—"IT'S DIFFERENT, SO IT'S BAD—IT'S DIFFERENT—KILL IT!!!" (visions of the villagers in "Frankenstein", pitchforks, torches, you get the idea) — hell, my own sister calls me The ANTICHRIST — because she doesn't understand the concept that people who BELIEVE DIFFERENTLY FROM HER are not only allowed to exist in this country, but that WE'RE NOT EVIL. Okay, I may be about 11% evil, but that's the fun parts. But it's a scary thing to realize, when you're surrounded by knuckle-walking redneck throw-backs — that not only are they your blood kin — there's another version of them waiting for you back in the city. No matter where you go in Louisiana, there's a segregationist of one flavor or another just waiting for you around that next corner.

But again, I digress… I know so many of you think you've got me figured-out from my revealing rants, here on stage — but baby, you ain't even seen the half of it. I've only got a few minutes every week — and there's VOLUMES of shit I ain't touched-on yet… I kinda view {this poetry reading} as a weekly column, where I address the issues of the day, the issues of my life, as they happen. Stuff that would NEVER get printed, especially in this town. But you think you can capture my philosophy in a teaspoon, just wrap it all up by, "I bitch, therefore I am." That's not even the fucking point.

I bitch because I have to, I praise whenever I can — but y'all don't remember that, only the ball-busting. But one thing I learned from my life in Redneck Hell — if you don't bitch, if you just let shit slide until it's too late to fix, if you never lift a voice or a finger to change things, then you're just as responsible as the motherfuckers you would have bitched about. It's not a perfect world — (my "home town") and New Orleans both show that… and they are also perfect examples of what becomes of apathy and fear — nothing. Nothing gets better, nothing gets done. If it were not for those who were brave enough to bitch, slavery would still be fashionable. If it were not for those who were not afraid of being called bitches, women would still be possessions. If it were not for me raising this big ol' voice and getting off my big ol' ass, where would I be? Kissing ass down at the Pik'N Pak? Still being Mama's little buddy, since the bitch can't make friends of her own? Would I still be "not quite good enough", but nonetheless "accepted" by my family? Fuck that shit. I'd rather stay home with my cats any day than be a liar. If you know the truth and do not speak it, do not effect change, do not even TRY to make it better by sharing your experience, you are just as lazy, just as selfish, just as liable as "The Bad Guys".

So, hell yeah, I'm a "bitch" — I was raised to be a "housepet", the belonging of others, so that they could take credit for what few things I might do right, without ever accepting responsibility for what they'd done wrong — but no longer. If my "anger" makes you squirm in your seats, if my voice is too harsh, my humor too coarse, if my righteous rage pisses you off 'cause it's not "positive" enough, or "sweet" or "ladylike" — TOUGH FUCKING SHIT.

This is how I change the world, this is how I make a difference. And I'd wager my bitching and my fighting, my "inability" to conform against your soft-spoken subservience any day. You don't have to like my style, you don't even have to "get" what I'm trying to accomplish — most don't — but don't you once think that this milk-fed veal is gonna stay in her box in the dark ever again. It's not, I bitch, therefore I am—I bitch to make a change. And if your little "manners" can't hang with that, well, baby, suck it up and go find a tea party, 'cause the real world has no room for pussies.

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