Fiction: Mask

A sedan pulls off the road into the parking lot of a motel near the airport. The headlights flick off and a door shuts and the trunk pops open.

A figure in a black hoodie steps into the light, takes a duffel bag out of the trunk and sets it on the pavement. The figure reaches into the trunk and pulls out another duffel bag and shuts the trunk. Grabbing both, walking north to the stairwell, they fade in and out of light.

A man with a gut in a white ribbed tank and sunglasses yells “Hey Vickie! What you get for me tonight sweetheart?” with a muffled chuckle at the end.

Shit. She skips up the metal steps and set one bag down outside the door to room 17 and unlocks the door. Yards away, she can hear approaching footsteps on the metal platform. “You’re one of a kind…” he coos.

She grabs the other bag, slips inside, kicks shut the door, drops the bags, and turns the locks.

She sits on the bed and peels black sweaty gloves off her shaking hands. She looks at her brown hands and then pulls her black hoodie over her head. She shimmies out of the black leggings and tosses them into the mound of clothes at the foot of the bed.

She touches her cheek by accident and shirks away from herself. She draws her hand away from her face and a piece flaky skin falls off her fingers. She grimaces and wipes her hands on the bed.

In the bathroom, a face the color of coffee creamer looks back at her. Red patches on her puffy cheeks started forming yesterday. The crust collecting on top of them wasn’t there this morning. The pale dry skin on her neck fades to a deep warm chocolate on her collarbone. There’s a 2×3 picture of a young girl with a big toothy grin. She rubs the shiny surface until the photo pops, pressing her tingling lips to it. There’s a half empty bottle of vodka on top of the toilet tank and she drinks it like ice water. She goes back to the bed and falls asleep.

It’s 7:00 am. Valerie shakes awake and runs her hands frantically over her face. Shes scrambles out of bed and into the bathroom and looks in the mirror, hands gripping the sink.

Melanin covers her face. Once again. She sighs. Valerie pours the vodka into the toilet and tosses the bottle in the trash. She grabs the portrait and places it in her bra.

Valerie grabs the 2 bags at the door, sets them on the bed, and unzips them both. She buries her hands into the bags of banded money, caressing them. Grabbing a stack, Valerie flicks the bills under her brown eyes, imagining all the clothes and food she can buy her, all the hugs and love she can buy her, all the time and pain she can’t buy back.

Raising Money for Poetry!!

Raising Money for Poetry!!

Here in Tucson, AZ, there is a great non-profit, Casa Libre, that supports a literary community of poets in this city. They hold donation-based readings and workshops (not donation-based) hosted by poets from Arizona and all over the United States. As a woman of color, I really appreciate that they go out of their way to welcome and include diverse poets and readers in their community so that everyone’s voice can be heard.

There are having an event called “500 Sonnets” on June 9th to raise money for their organization so we can keep having readings and paying poets.

I will be writing and reading sonnets for this event on June 9th and need sponsors to help me reach my goal of raising $100. 

You can sponsor me here. You will need to key in my name after you click “shop” and my name is “Andrea Ivy.” You can sponsor me before the event or on the day of online.

Thank you for reading and donating if you are able.

“Busy”

“Busy”

When we say we’re so “busy”, what are we really saying? Do we have a full schedule? Do we have a lot of physical tasks? Do we have a lot of mental tasks?
“Busy” is such an over-used term. When your friend asks you how you’re doing, besides “fine”, it’s probably “busy.” But where does the conversation go from there? A long rant on whats going wrong, who said what, who did what, or whatever plights you feel you’ve suffered. We’re dumping that on someone else and we’re inviting someone else to dump on us too.

Let’s say what we mean. Instead of saying we’re “busy,” let’s think critically about how we’re actually doing.

What interesting thing has happened?

What interesting thing will happen?

What are your goals?

What experiences have you had?

What activity are you doing that’s adding value to your life?

These are the types of topics we need to discuss when prompted with “how are you doing” or “what’s up?” You know what happens next? The questioner is encouraged to share as well. Now you’re really talking to each other instead of talking at each other. You’re having a meaningful conversation with another human being and instead of feeling pessimistic, you feel connected. If the questioner, isn’t as forthcoming. Ask them one of the questions above and maybe they’ll open up.

Let’s remember the definition of “busy”, as per Merriam-Webster:

1

a : engaged in action : occupied

b : being in use

2 : full of activity

3 : foolishly or intrusively active : meddling

4 : full of distracting detail

Definition 1 a

This really shouldn’t apply unless you are actually completing an activity. Instead of saying “busy”, just say what you’re doing. Example: “I’m making dinner right now.”

Definition 1 b and 2

This is used to describe objects. Not people. Example: “The telephone is busy.” or “The printer is busy.”

Definition 3

I hope this isn’t you but we’ve all been that micro-manager who needs to be “involved” in every aspect of something. This probably isn’t want you mean when you say you’re “busy.”

Definition 4

Unless you’re an overwhelming painting or disco paints, this will not apply either.
Now that you’ve read this, you’ll start realizing how much you say “busy.” I still say it so much even though its much less than I used to. It helps to think about the person you’re talking to. They’re asking me how I’m doing because they care. Let me acknowledge that care by being transparent and engaging. Let me accept that care by giving them an opportunity to acknowledge me.

Let’s avoid the one-word answers and have meaningful conversations.

Why I Title My Journal Entries

Why I Title My Journal Entries

Have you ever had something bothering you…on your mind but when you sit down to write for 5, 10, 15 minutes you don’t feel any better? You feel like it accomplished nothing? Like there is something that you are still clawing at or that is clawing at you and you still have something that needs to be fleshed out?

I used to feel like this. I’d wake up feeling some sort of general anxiety. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly but felt like it had something to do with “apples”. So, I’d took out my journal and started writing about apples but then my mind wandered off and I started writing about celery and grocery shopping. You get the point. At the end, I was still thinking about apples as if I had more to say but that was more distant. I still felt that pesky general anxiety about apples.

About two or three months ago, I decided to try something new and created a title for my journal entry. Lets call it “work”. I was only going to write about work and I was going to write every single thought and feeling I could think of about work in that session. I brain-dumped on the page(s) and once I was done, I had nothing else to say about work. My mind was unburdened. I released all of the anxieties about work out on the page and I felt so much better.

Then I did it again, with other things, like people in my life, goals, other interests, and most important other anxieties. What this did for me was turn down the dial on my anxieties and depression. I could convert more energy to the present instead of on the past or the unpredictability of the future.

I became happier, more focused, and self-aware.

Through this practice, I’ve found that there are feelings that we hide from ourselves—our subconscious’s defense mechanism. When we write without editing or filtering or judging, we allow our subconscious to release some of those feelings in a safe space so we can do something with them. What we do with them is individual to each person. What we have now is more information about what’s going on in our head, and less in our head to manage. We can free ourselves through this constraint.

If it pleases you, leave a comment below if this is something you do or have tried because of this post.

Poem: Writer’s Block

I can be a great writer

I feel it banging on the door of my skull

Trying to get down here to the tip of my pen

But goddamn when I really want it

It bars the door with a two-by-four and

All the begging won’t make ‘em come out

 

You know what brats like most?

Snacks-Like articles poems YouTube videos and podcasts

You know                           distractions

A release of self-contained pressure

Poem: Friday Night

hot and cold

chill and wavy

smiles come easier

so do tears

so does a wet wet and

wanting to hump the seat your ass is on

 

I keep telling myself I want to drink less

I keep pouring myself one more

 

it’s hard to cry when you don’t have a good excuse

life is a good excuse

alcohol is a better one

 

I don’t let it get out of hand

I have bills to pay and a responsible life to live

 

letting loose makes the ride a bit more exciting

compared to the drone of the nine-to-five

bumper-to-bumper sucky-fucky of the week

 

you know its true

so what if you get blackout drunk?

that’s what Gatorade and carbs are for

 

god, just feel it for once

let the water take you under and

feel the pulsing heart of the universe

I’ve felt it, its scary as fuck until you realize

the banging at the door is in your chest

 

it’s about you

look at yourself

who are you?

at the very least, you’re a beating heart

that’s a goddamn blessing

hug yourself and get drunk in the wave

Prose: Genie

In a bottle of tequila. Where is the happiness I asked for? Where is the confidence you promised?

 

I’m a more of a social alcoholic. It feels indulgent and excessive to get wasted alone. At least if I pass out, someone will see me, hopefully help me, so I wont die. I’ve never been that drunk. I’ve never really thought I would die from alcohol poisoning. Its fun to exaggerate like, “Ahhhh, I’m so nauseous but I can’t get anything to come up!” I learned early on in my career that you have to take care of yourself. Your friends will be too drunk to help you.

 

Stumbling out of your friend’s car and up your steps, your mouth feels like a desert and your vision shifts like its wavy horizon. You’re so hungry your stomach feels as if its shriveling into a raisin. Jacket on the couch. Keys on the counter next to the key bowl. Shoes in the hallway. Shirt on the door knob. Skirt on the bedroom floor. Then, as if by magic, two bottles of red Gatorade and a pack of Saltines sit on your nightstand. Where did they-? Who did-? You scramble for the Gatorade with dilated eyes and moan as the cracking of the plastic seal. Thank you. The red ambrosia quenches your thirst and nourishes your body.

 

Who am I? Bearer of electrolytes. Breaker of bread. I am you. I am Genie.

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