Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It is better you are there and I am here.

Because of the physical smile his words create. See, you smile.

“Now tequila may be the favoured beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” Tom Robbins

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five Things

Close your eyes and imagine you've ship wrecked on a island. There are waves, sun, gawky seagulls, sand, and seaweed. Imagination or not, the ship has run up on some rocks you can't see because they're under the water and you have to swim-slash-wade through the shark infested tide to the shell infested shore. It's not pretty and at this point neither are you.

The game says you can pick five items to help you survive. "Only five", you say! Most dudes you ask will include matches, a trap, some kind of tool, etc.. There are many versions to this game and surviving on the deserted island has never been a part of mine. My imagination goes quickly to the rescue and how I'll look when that Navy ship sends a vessel of it's best looking sailors to save me from my doomed life of loneliness and sugar free coconut lattes.

My five items represent a whole different kind of survival.

The first of my five objects is a worn pair of blue jeans. They fit well, hug my booty with perfection, and are just dark enough to give that slimming affect at any angle. I can dig clams, shimmy palm trees, and jump up and down when I see a dinghy on the horizon. Whether torn, worn, or frayed, these blue jeans won't betray my Cosmopolitan ego or my need to protect my gams from crabs, bugs, or creepy volleyball heads.

Item number 2: My deep orange Pashmina. It was gift that brings out the green in my eyes. I wouldn't think of being rescued without it. The mere brightness of it's hue would signal rescuers from across the sea while also shielding my delicate skin from the glaring island sun, crabs, and the crisp starry night. This stunning orange wrap could also be used as a fishing net - if for some unsightly reason I was stranded for more than a week. Which, by the way, is the longest I've ever gone without food. Eight days tops and that's considering I have lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. You might have heard of the Lemonade Cleanse, or as I like to think of it; Preparation for Deserted Island Scenario.

Number three is very near and dear to my heart. And my lips. Cherry chap stick can be found in two out of three purse pockets, my night stand drawer, the worn blue jeans' left pocket, every room in my home, and work place. I do not go ANYWHERE without it. And that especially includes a deserted island. The sun is harsh and these lips are moist and if I were to ever meet a crab without it, he'd be sorry. Scarlett O'Hara was quoted in Gone with the Wind as saying, "As God is my witness.... If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." My personal Tara story ends with, "As God as my witness... I'll never have chapped lips again." This is not the moment in which you pass judgement, it is the moment in which you say, "Amen."

My fourth possession is a silver cherub pendant. I hardly leave home without it. It hangs around my neck in glamour, in tradition, and as a promise. It's my personal rainbow. I believe the first thing Noah did on dry land was have a rainbow tattooed on his shoulder to remind him of God's promise that he would never destroy the world again with a flood (fitting, considering I'm stranded on an island surrounded by water). My silver cherub is not a tattoo, but reminds me just the same that God will take care of me. Deserted island, vicious crabs, or not I find much comfort in God's promises.

Last, but not least, are my white strips - Five Minutes to a Brighter Smile! I could be dressed in rags, sun burned from head to toe, worn blue jeans soaked in salt water, and angry crabs hanging from each lobe, but if I maintain a smile whiter than the sun these pearly whites could signal a ship of hot sailors from 6000 miles away. "I am ready to be rescued and pose for Cover Girl!"

Just because your five items don't include ice skates for a potential root canal, a palm frawn hammock, or a human hair crab net doesn't mean you'll never be rescued. It just means you'll have much less explaining to do.

Go ahead. Figure out your five items. Everyone should think it through once. It's all about being prepared. For anything. (wink squid ink)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

i float above you unangelic
lifted from your belly


For the first time in my life true responsibility has prevented me from accomplishing something.

I used to believe that 'adding hours to the day' was something you just said to make conversation. Because, well, everyone is busy and has too much on their plate.

But what I really thought was, "If your priorities were straight, you would make sure you had time to do what you wanted.

So, in consideration and genuine effort to not be an ass, more hours in a day would be great.

OK, I'm a jerk. But so are you if you exaggerate on how busy you are. Everyone can relate, so don't talk like you don't have time for Facebook. Everyone has time for FB.

If you can't find time to work on your 1000 piece Audubon puzzle. That. I believe. And seriously, who wants to do that anyway, unless it's been raining for three straight days and the cable's out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Requiem of a Bird

I snagged a feather with the corner of my eye.

It conducted something in the fifth all the way to the ground.

When I looked to see the bird that had traveled such a distance.

The sun blotted out his disposition.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dirty and Repulsive

While balancing on his good leg he wedges his crutch between the door jam and the door. The bell rings hard with every jolt. The maneuver has been perfected, but not without intruding on morning's natural lull. Above the low vibration of grinding coffee he speaks, "Woo." "How you doin' this morning?"

In an effort to mask my disturbance I answer, "I'm good, Rodriguez, How are you?"

"Oh, I'm fine My blood sugar was low last night and I'm on my way to ther-py You tired I know you tired You work hard Can I have some water god bless you."

Sliding a glass of ice water across the counter I tell Rodriguez that it is 7:30am, I am not tired yet, God does bless me, and he'd better get moving if he wants to make ther-Ah-py on time.
He says, "Yes ma'am You good to me god bless you I know you tired You date black men Where's your mama That other one working today god bless you."

He leaves - forty five minutes later. Now I'm tired.

Rodriquez is a man in his late thirties who had a great job delivering furniture with an upstate business for eleven years. A moment of random, violent crime changed his life. He was robbed and crippled for $3.28. They kicked in his knee and drove away. He couldn't work. He started drinking and smoking crack.

Rodriguez lost hope.

He waves, walks a few steps, and waves again. He's smiling a wide crooked smile. His teeth are brown, and crowding his mouth. He doesn't brush them because his house does not have running water. It doesn't have electricity either. He waves and smiles and waves and smiles and thinks bad thoughts. His mind is corrupt and he'll do anything for a can of beer.

At first it was easy to give him water. He was polite and guarded. He would drink and sit quietly. Customers came and went hardly noticing he wasn't like them, but every day that passed gave rise to familiarity. I began to discover who Rodriquez was and who he had become. His ease with me brought about change. He felt more comfortable, less inhibited. HotRod was getting on my nerves. He talked constantly: stupid questions, rehearsed apologies and blessings. He was a rogue. But I was no longer naive.

I smiled at him less and less. I didn't return the friendly foolishness. The water became a chore. His very presence was agitating. His dark side repulsed me. I would avoid eye contact and turn away.

Then one day a customer commented on how beautiful Coffee to a Tea was and asked "Why in Heaven's name were we in West Greenville?" I answered the way I always do, "God led us here."

But did He really? I began to examine my situation. Did God lead me here to prove I have what it takes to make a business work - AND in the most challenging area I could find? Did He want to humble me or make me appreciate what I have? Was He involved at all? Am I actually blaming God for where I am?

Rodriquez doesn't care why I'm in West Greenville. Neither does Joseph, or Otis, or Mike, or Eddy, or Allison, Cody, Gordon, Jennifer, John, Elaine, Anthony, Stan, the artists, the business owners, the residents. They would go on with or without me.

But I wouldn't. West Greenville has changed me. When I go to bed at night, I fall asleep naming them one by one. I think of them always. I love them and want to be invested in their lives. Some of them are easy to love, while others are not. I ask God and he gives me this:

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth ...'For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He replied, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

Rodriquez still gets on my nerves. He's still dirty and repulsive. But I love him, and if I love him I will treat him as those I love. I will give him water until he bursts. I will answer his stupid questions and tolerate his lies. I will love him because I love my Savior who first loved me - dirty, repulsive, me. I am no better than the 'least of these'. Jesus didn't say to me "whatever you do for them and don't worry, it will be easy..."

He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:

'Love your neighbor (The Rod Squad) as yourself.' "

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mundane Musings are anything but mundane.

Exercise is hard enough and writing about is no picnic. Follow this guy's exercise journey through his blog. You won't be sorry.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010


She rubbed her eyes to the southern Florida sunrise
Said, "I can't see the city lights from here."

Struck art and love in Louisiana blocks from lullabies and voodoo tears

Rooted dark blue under the Carolina moon
Orange clay made everything the shade of poor

Sweet tobacco dirt between cool tough toes
Cotton bowls, green bean rows

She blinked her eyes to the southern Baptist sunrise
Said, "Jesus, make me free."

Broke tradition and bread with Yankee pride to root honey hues amongst thorny bloom

Planted her soul and family below a rainbow
Hope rocks, faith rolls

She opened her eyes to the southern Carolina sunrise
Said to the mountain, "Move."

Braced wildly against life and mediocrity in the West to sew solid love in streets caked in doom

Staked and anchored by a shoeless memory
Solely planted for purpose, joy, and hope.

With faith entangled between her fingers, she moves.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Intensity is..

Pinot 0: Intensity 1 - I'm listening through a closed door at my mother and sister discussing plans for her upcoming wedding. Well, I say discussing, but it's more like my mother raising her voice and giving my sister the "it's not all about you" speech. I wish I could say this is the first or last time I'll hear this speech, but it's used when it's needed and changed to the "it's your wedding, do what you want" speech when altruism is suggested with pure motive for future references of manipulation. "Excuse me, but I specifically recall telling you to do what you wanted because it's your wedding and the only one you'll ever have, Lord willing." "I will NOT be blamed if a strong wind blows the linen table clothes, not my idea, off the tables, when I vehemently suggested raw silk." "I WILL not be blamed for this."

Pinot 1: Intensity Tied - My father, the man who can watch paint dry, is desperately trying to appease my mother whilst, preventing tears out of my sister. Not an easy job. My mother automatically assumes the worst (and to her credit the truth) and sees a coup. She's about to be defeated by pure majority. Not on her watch. Switch motive. "I was only making this suggestion, because as an Executive Chef and Caterer to Charleston's Elite, your cousin Barry knows what he's talking about. And if he's willing to cater your wedding (famous shrimp and grits included) than you're the one that's going to tell him you are not interested. (Side Note) My sister HATES shrimp. Has ALL her life. If there was one food, you could associate to her loathing, it would be shrimp - and my mother knows this. (End Side Note)

Pinot 2: Intensity 1 - I can't hear them as well now. My mother is no longer bellowing demands and guilt - she's in fact flipping intensely through a magazine plotting her next maneuver. My father is sitting quietly, as usual, as my sister gives a heartfelt plea for her sanity. It's touching really. I've since let the Pinot stoke the inner peace that lies within. Wait. My mother is speaking again.

Pinot 3: Intensity a fleeting heartbeat...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Crack Magic

You're on to me with your birdshit stains and scuffed Mary Janes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't make me regret saying cheese.
Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese.
Fromage. Gouda.
That's not my photogenic side. Turn me, twist me. Take my side.
Fill in my blank stare.. I know ____
Not your block of film, white and black.
I am your frame.
All you need is one.
The perfect one that screams at you in the dark.
"This is it."
The one.
Her breasts are too big and pull at the garment rather awkwardly.
I like it.
It's not what we're looking for, but I like it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

For hours I could stand in the corner of my kitchen, against the granite cool. I am secure and tight in my space with grape in hand and feeling rather different. My thoughts flow rapidly like the Mississippi after cold cold days. I place my hand on the counter top to brace for my next daydream. I play out future moments, sing the words to Train, and stir rice. I'll do it again tomorrow night. The future moments will change and rolls will reverse like the tide of the great Mississippi. And tomorrow it will be rice. Again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

irish car bomb


I sat there and sat there. Had another drink. Another. I waited for that feeling. That alcohol induced "I still don't give a rat's dirty follicle what you're saying, but I've moved passed caring" feeling. It didn't happen. Not soon enough. Not until I was up, and ready to go home. "Okay, thanks for an evening." "We'll have to talk about doing this again sometime...."

Here are the three doors:

Behind Door #1 -

Great guy. Great job. Great personality. Available.

Behind Door #2 -

Again guy. Great job, but been there done that. Personality. Available.

Behind Door #3 -

Unavailable. Period.

Certainly, this isn't difficult. "I'll take Door # 3"

-The sunglasses get me everytime.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whimsical Wednesday

I have this thing for gypsies. I don't know. But I like 'em. So here's a short poem about one of them and me.

I met a gypsy along my way. He said, "Hey little girl, would you like to play?"
With no hesitation or fear in my heart, I lept for great joy and jumped onto his cart.
His wagon was filled with most sparkly things, red stones, pretty scarves, magical wings.
I asked the gypsy, "If ever he flew?" The answer that followed was mostly untrue.
With a gleam in his eye he turned back to the road and steered the great wagon and its magical load.
I crept near to the wings, for they glimmered with shine. I touched them, caressed them, and wished they were mine.
I heard music, great music. Song filled my mind, I never heard the gypsy creep up from behind. The wings shook and fluttered as though they would fly, but it was too late once I heard a deep sigh.
I was pushed with a force to the edge of that floor and would have fallen right out for there wasn't a door,
But the flutters and glitter and sputters, and magic, attached to my shoulders and saved me from tragic.
I flew from the wagon, into the great sky, leaving that gypsy without a goodbye.
I flew and I flew, and I never came down, because gypsies abide in any old town.
If you're thinking I lie, just look deep in my eyes -
Not a sign that I'm tipsy when I speak of the gypsy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

my chest rises and falls out of grace
evil smears calamity in recess
my conscience is reason light, alibi tight
i gulp tempest thoughts and finger the wrong fight
my whitewash tongue sings peace and songs of freedom
scattered seed and flowing rivers wild
it is the wrong season, a misinterpreted night
i taste your tempest thoughts and point to failing sight
a salty sea swallows our right
my starry starry night deceives me

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Exude Christ and walk away from me forever.

"When I get this feeling it's hard for me..."

It sucks that I'm sad and that you don't have to deal with it. All you have to do is sign off.

If I really said what I thought, you couldn't take it.

You're so snarky, but you're fragile and I would hurt you.

And I care about that.

And that makes me want to hurt you more.

There is no such thing as a stupid question.

"What happens when it snows?" I ask.

Pennsylvania bred - Southern by the grace of God answers,

"Depending on the balance of surface temperature and latent heat of the ground, the snow may stick or it may melt on contact. This is the technical answer.

The more practical answer is: people will lose their collective minds. Bread and milk will be completely gone from grocery store shelves, Kmart will sell out of snow chains (even though they will simply stay in the box as they sit in the car trunk until grandchildren find them years from now and ask Poppy what these are), and everyone driving in front of me will cautiously proceed at 7 mph—until I change lanes. Then they’ll gun it, spin out of control, and regain traction once they spin into my lane.

This….is what happens if it snows."

*you can follow Penn boy at http://richhefty.wordpress.com/