Poverty is a cruel incendiary of suffering and abuse.
Alone in a dark room, still hot in the shade, my grandmother probably laid in a rickety bed as she died sometime during the COVID-19 quarantine. Her name was Senaida. She likely died of starvation and thirst, whittled from the 90 pounds she was last September. She had fallen before and simply stayed there, on the floor, for days. When ill, she ate a little fruit, if she had it, and nothing more.
From sexual assault and driver abuse to simple, aggregating traffic nuisances, the necessity of rideshares has also come with a total lack of corporate responsibility to the communities they litter with bad drivers and dysfunctional traffic. They are the public transportation version of broken dumpsters: a necessary fixture being poorly managed and attracting pests. Uber is increasingly on the list of companies that don’t care in a time when even coffee is peddled with conscientiousness in mind.
San Francisco: the city by the bay, once home to lefty outcasts, is now swelling with tech money packing people into car-sharing services…
She had been pregnant for three hundred and eighty weeks, but there were only the four of the eleven children had survived illness. Benigna’s children had come into the world through her body and slipped through her hands. Clara Luz had died at three from milk intoxication. Pneumonia had taken away Danilo.
At least, it could be said, everything seemed to move slower in the heat. The humidity suffocated and filled the ears like cotton. Benigna had twin girls, Zoe and Rosa Marina. Rosa Marina had recently died of tuberculosis. Now Zoe’s tiny lungs were disintegrating. Lying in bed, Zoe…
There are such things as metaphysical migraines — complete with nausea. I have an unpleasant sensation churning in my stomach, catching in my throat, constricting my muscles fist-like, and creating a bitter metallic taste in my mouth. It’s meta-physiological response to New Age bullshit educated, rich people of privilege buy into. The working poor aren’t buying overpriced woo products, LuLu Lemon tights, and premium juice “cleanses”.
There is little that can make one more self reflective than the silvery white of cold things, whether fog, ice, snow, the bright winter sky, or a distant star scintillating in its potential ghostly shroud of travelling light. Starlight travels many light years to reach us. It travels so far that the star we cast our wishes upon and anchor dreams too may well be dead. But does it matter from this little blue and green marble? One light year is about 5.88 trilion miles. That is a long way to come, even as light. And it is still beautiful…
I am in the elegant Victorian sublet. The naked windows pouring yellow light into the dark winter. Usually I look in the lit windows — wondering about the people inside. Today, I am inside. The enormity of the space swallows me. The white plastic band with my name typed neatly on it is still snug over my sweater. When we are sick, shoved into the machines that usher us in and out of the world — we are reduced to a name. No one tries to remember you at the thresholds. It is architected to be impersonal. …
“1 year ago today.” This was your life.
Thank you, Hal.
Perhaps Zuckerberg missed the irony.
For those who don’t recall, Hal is the childlike, homicidal, duty-driven AI from Stanley Kubric’s existential sci-fi 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s unclear and unnecessary what Hal’s mission is and how it relates to the extraterrestrial materialization of the monolith(s). But that is what is important to Hal. His mission. His life. It’s both noble and disturbingly unchecked by kindness.
Your city is changing your mind. That is okay. It is why you should be living in an urban environment. I wondered when I first moved to New York why all these moms in Central Park had babies that didn’t look like them. (Nannies. Who knew! Not this latchkey kid.) Then I experienced men in suits almost never give me their subway seats, though the tired construction worker does. Even bustling centers like New York have some serious class issues and bigotry. But, in New York everyone takes the subway. You have proximity. And in the background of all that…
A Love Letter from Nowhere to a Star
There is a star that will not stay dead, iPTF14hls. It is a supernova that refuses to fade. Supernovae always burn out. Their light collapses, exhausted. But iPTF14hls explodes over and over again, bigger and brighter than anything known. It is a phoenix star. “There is no known theory that explains the observation.”
You are my iPTF14hls. You will not collapse, even when all my experience expects you to. My heart clenches inside the gravity, pretending it can become a neutron star. But I am small and the material of my heart…
Almost as much love as doubt.
I hear the apprehension and the worn in despair about things.
It seems sad and ironic to let the worst fear be the only reality.
It seems odd that the things you were afraid to say, needed to, waiting so long.
But apprehensions that were spectral manifest, take the form of ghoulish walls.
We tire ourselves — buttressing panic-built defenses.
What is outside those impositions now?
“You are a beautiful person,
But I have nothing left to give.”
I need nothing anymore.
Only my own flourishing.
A redwood stump that has regrown
Into gatherings of laughter and shade to share
Just outside the shambling walls
Whispering with the wind and
A dog layed down beneath me and slept
And in my small motions
I stood prouder for its cool safety.
During daylight (and sometimes lamplight) hours, Cristina works in content and playing with thoughts. She has been writing since PB&J was God.