25 of December
I stoop and grapple for my new pair of socks. I picked them out, you know, over Skype with Papa at Target in America when I was home alone in Mexico and drinking tea that I left in the microwave for too long on purpose. They’re all brightly woven; gaudy colors like a garden of buggy rose. Now, of course, Papa is here with us- folding crepes with Mum in the kitchen and sitting on the couch and mediating the twins’ screaming with a ‘play nice, play nice’. Christmas music that I listen to year around plays from the black radio on the counter and Papa is smoother than anything. I wish I could be that cool, but apparently smoothness doesn’t mix with hot blood. This Christmas I gave Mum a drawing of Meg Ryan with her lips pursed and I said it was a kiss from me, but we both know it was actually a kiss from Meg.
I chew on my nails. I told myself I’d quit, with the air of finality, a period mark at the end of my sentence, like a chain smoker getting off nicotine, but for some reason I never do stop. I must be too on edge about things, and I suppose boyish fingernails are my way to let off some steam. Steam like an engine: chugguh, chugguh, chugguh down a beaten path of meadows and things that appear to be still- untouched, heathen- but aren’t.
I pick at my ear that I pierced almost-myself a week ago. I took the needle up to my cramped bathroom, along with a little red lighter, an earring I assumed to be pure silver, and half a raw potato. Leaning into the mirror, I held the potato behind my shivering earlobe and without a thought I pressed the needle into my skin; mechanical-like punctuality and human-like precision. I pierced it twice myself before I went downstairs and let Mum finish it off, because, quite frankly, the needle wouldn’t go through the backside of my ear straight.I didn’t flinch, I’ve pressed needles in to my skin in a mock way enough, and besides, when I set my mind to something I do it.
Speaking of straight, I heard about a debacle with a man from some show called Duck Dynasty- yes, I think that’s it- about publicized anti-homosexual statements and lots of angry people. I’m not quite sure how I know about that, but I guess I’m good at staying in touch with things even when I’m too off-the-grid to recover. I find it all pitifully carousel: media and threateners going back and forth, when if they just stepped back and saw the ride they were on, they’d blush beet-red from embarrassment. It’s like the desegregationist movement, except there’s some drag queens involved and some great fashion and lots of people that just don’t want trouble. People preach love, acceptance, equality, and the Bible, and I don’t know what’s right or wrong but I do know I love breaking social standards because they’re so constraining anyways. Aren’t we all just humans with rights to the pursuit of happiness and the first amendment and liberty if you’re living in the United States of America? I imagine all those reporters and liars for magazines that really do a fantastic job of getting America’s attention and all those pawns that ignorance toys with each on their own little ceramic horse, strapped in with a worn out rope, as carousel music haunts and the sweaty, cigar smoking operator rolls his beady eyes.
You see, I don’t live in America, and I won’t live there for a long time. Maybe I’ll never call those fields of doldrums and purple mountains of the fiscal cliff my place of residence ever again, and I’m quite alright with that. I still have my American citizenship though, and I’m not really sure if that carries over all those “American blessings” to expats-like-us, but I do know that’s there’s some standards like the ones the USA preaches- double standards that they are- that a person is subject to no matter where they are living, what their social background is, or how they plan to go about life. Pretend it’s the cultural seam-ripping that the sex-filled psychedelic years were, my bearded Duck Dynasty friend, if it helps you come to terms with same-sex relationships. Lifestyle is constantly evolving, and we all know that in twenty more years there’s going to be another blow-up issue and social revolution to write about and make opinions on after this homosexual one is all settled.
Feliz Navidad, world. I’ve had a whirlwind of a week: the family visiting, the candlelight Christmas service in Paamul, and late nights of drawing Natalie Portman and Meg Ryan and things in a Gris Grimly fashion. I think the world is a funny place and I know I understand the why to questions I have about things I don’t do, even when I pretend I don’t. I understand the multitude of excuses why women read those tabloids, I can find a reason as to why a man might leave his home, and the United States is obese partly because information on how to eat is being withheld from the public, and mostly because people don’t know how to look and figure things out for themselves or they don’t have the desire to, which is because the school system is rigged in an industrialized, assembly-line sort of way so people learn how to achieve in the mediocrity they are culturally pushed into believing and education has really gone down the toilet because manifest destiny and the world is a dim place and everyone else likes to follow America because they’re the driving force of the world’s economy. Did you know doctors aren’t required to take a course in nutrition to get their MD? What you put into your body is what is going to affect you, yet that little fact is dreadfully overlooked by the public, pushed aside by the medical industry, and manipulatively ignored by the people who are in control of the world’s visual monopoly. For a teenager, I’m hopelessly against the grain. And sometimes I ignore grammatical mistakes like the one I just made a few sentences ago, but don’t point that out unless you’re really bothered by it because it’s my poetry.
This Christmas, there was certainly no “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, otherwise my family would probably burn to a crisp from the humidity of the Yucatan and the smoke. Besides, where the hell would we get chestnuts in Mexico? Today, at around one am, my cousins arrived back home in Huntington Beach to their birdhouse with sleek wooden stairs and two nice cars. It was the strangest feeling, to wave goodbye and run with our falling-apart beater van down the dusty, baked cobblestone street until we had to stop because the road turned to dirt and glass and dog piss and we were barefoot. My siblings and I weren’t leaving paradise, the paradise that had began to feel like a vacation with my cousins in the picture. Now that they’re gone, Playa has the ordinary stench of home to it again, even if it never left us. I recall sitting out on the veranda with Nana as she sweated and asked about the humidity. I asked her, “What humidity?” I guess when you live in something for long enough, you become part of it; adapted, camouflaged. To my nose, the beach doesn’t waft with a sewer aroma down by the mangrove. To my hazel, squinting eyes, the freshly swept dirt road across the street looks so nice and smooth, since there’s no more world-class potholes in it anymore. Lexus’ are far and few, and a sedan with a mostly good paint job cruising town is just too flashy. My skin is no longer pecked with bites from once-exotic bugs, and I’m tanned and hard and perfectly comfortable in the midday oven. This Christmas wasn’t idyllic, that’s for sure, but I don’t want my life to be picturesque. Like I once said, I’m in this for the adventure.
Blessings. It’s not about Santa. We all know he’s not in it for the gift giving anyway.