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The more practiced at life you get, the better you know yourself. You know your limits. You know things to do that could make you feel better (nibbling chocolate), good (sipping whiskey), and even great (submitting and going for a run), and conversely you know how to get your panties easily twisted, freak yourself out, and how to board a quick train to Bumsville…. Right? Aka: what to avoid.
For me, I know better than to listen to frightening stories at night, or watch the news too late, or  involve myself in basically anything that is fear based or anxiety inducing. I’ll clench my jaw all night long and wake up nervous, intermittently. I need a fine buffer of sunshine coupled with a generous amount of well-lit hours to help process the shitty feelings, evening them out by when darkness falls. Like a cow with four stomachs, digestion needs its time.

Last night a wonderful terrible thing was brought to my attention. This wonderful terrible thing involves, I warn you: laughing at the expense of others while simultaneously likely losing hope for a significant portion of the American population.
I know- heavy!
This wonderful terrible thing is the stink-fruits of labor of a person from internet-land who compiled an entire tumblr site dedicated to collecting OK Cupid profiles of Juggalos. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Juggalo, you can go ahead and click on the word and take a trip to the wikipedia link that I provided because I’m fancy, or you can sit tight for my half-assed understanding while I work it out for ya.
My disclaimer before I launch into a description of this underground phenomenot is that I have never been to a Juggalo’s festival, seen the Insane Clown Posse, nor have I ever even met a Juggalo. HOWEVER I am fascinated by all walks of life and such a distinct subculture definitely merits attention. Basically a Juggalo is a dude who paints his face like a scary clown in black and white, listens to the group mentioned above primarily, is generally overweight and dismissive of a healthy life style, generally tattooed, generally white (trash), (just insert generally for the rest of what I say) poor, uneducated, and drinks a lot of Faygo- the band’s brand of soda. Apparently they spray it on their fans during concerts. A Jugalette is a lady Juggalo, also known as a Neden. At the Juggalo gatherings, an annual occurrence, many people trade in their names for their true calling of Juggalo names. For real. They have a lot of their own ((cough cough) mind control) lingo. They say “Woop Woop!” and this often causes girls to show their ninnies. “But Juggalettes ain’t no hoes.” I’m not one to judge someone one their sexual proclivities, that was just a direct quote and I loved it for some reason.

Here are a song for ya. It’s really hard to stop doing the Dougie after. Am I right? Guys?

You can see where that came from in their promo video posted below for their gathering this summer. I really recommend watching it. In spurts.

Learning of the tumblr site spiraled me off into the outer lands of information gathering in order to present a fair piece to you here. I scoured the website of ICP (Insane Clown Posse), as well as tons of splintered youtube footage to learn more of the Jugallo lifestyle and ethos.
The FBI designated Juggalos as “a loosely affiliated, hybrid gang in 2011″. Watching the videos and listening to the rhetoric I would move to say that it’s as much a gang as it could be seen as a cult following situation. After all, the two leaders of ICP are business men, appealing to an under represented drove of people in the Midwest. It promotes violence, drug use, and blatant disrespect towards woman, calling us “bitches” & “hoes” and the usual misogynistic baloney, and as far as I can see- the only positive message that it stands to offer is that they are all one family. The narrative repeated is that they are do-gooders when they are Juggalos and Jugallettes and they are all friends and fam.And it feels nice to fit into something larger. Seriously, I know this. I looked at enough videos now to where I’m no longer the same person from when I started. Eesh. There are all these other bands that have come out like little minions of them, promoting the same speak as their predecessors. Like worker ants. Little followers spreading their scary, misspelled gospel.
Anyway, it calls to the lonely who work minimum wage jobs and live in towns where there’s nothing going on.
I am now extra grateful for where I grew up.

Looking at the OKC pics made me wonder if people dumb themselves down for this. Truly. It didn’t seem cool to spell things correctly, way beyond cheeky abreves. Down with the man and educational pursuits? And it seemed cool to not give a *$^% about your appearance; teeth, weight…
Are all these people really excepted? All I need is a little face paint and a wet T-shirt to find some lovin’?? Well haaay. Maybe it’s not so bad? My yoga membership is expensive!

okcjug1

Imagine if my article helps these angels get laid. I wouldn’t be mad about that. I mean, I still want people to be happy. And use a rubber. Oh God use a rubber.

tumblr_my583wH39n1s0hfioo1_500

Read this article, enjoy it. Watch the videos! It’s a trip. Just don’t do it before bed. Our natural levels of cortisone are down at night and things hurt more.
My mistake.

http://okcupidjuggalos.tumblr.com/

p.s. Gilbert Gottfried will be among their featured comedians at this year’s  gathering.

 

A Good Pour

The kind of rain that made everything a deeper shade of green. A jungle catalyst.

The kind the seemed to pour right directly onto my heart and please my head just so.

On the contrary the sky had seemed nauseous, welling up and vomiting it’s contents in taunting fits and starts, but my skin- my gracious, valiant, outer layer must’ve been in it’s best filtration mood, because by the time it reached my innards- it was the most beautiful thing. Simply put. And everything glowed.

rainbow

Can I ask you some questions? Would you be so kind as to take a moment to reflect for me? It’s about you. It’s for me… well, for now. But I have ideas OF COURSE. So if you prefer, you can answer anonymously. You can even have my personal email: thelighteningcan@gmail.com and I will respect your privacy when I reiterate. Though, I don’t think you’ll be feeling too exposed when you get right down to it.
I want to know 3 things.

  1. What makes you unique?
  2. What makes you special?
  3. What makes you fortunate?

I have answered these questions with my own brain to provide a template of depth I hope to find, verses some topical answer. Answer in one part, two parts, three parts… whatever. Get loose with it!

Baby L (me)

  1. What makes you unique?

a. Often- I’ll see people that seemed deeply embroiled in a heavy make out session, all intertwined and public. Then upon further inspection it turns out that it is in fact just one, solitary obese person.
b. A new vocabulary word that I have never used before will be on the tip of my brain upon wake, awaiting its debut in my conversations perhaps.
c. I dream about water bodies in some capacity every night.

  1. What makes you special?

I care deeply for justice and work towards it in some way almost every day. I have wired my life around it.

  1. What makes you fortunate?

a. I am fortunate because I have creative, tireless brain that when on the right trajectory has the capacity to produce beeeaaauuuty! And crazy drive. I am constantly getting new, cool ideas for art on a larger scale. I’ve always been dipped in some form of self-expression.
b. Also, I have parents that have been supportive of my zany ways that differ so strongly from their approach at life. We love each other.
c. I have a beautiful house and beautiful friends.
d. I’ve been granted with an overall positive disposition.
e. I consider myself pretty self-aware and am always striving to be my best self.
f. I got rhythm for days and I ain’t afraid of no dancefloor!

So there it is. Spice it up/ break it down. I’m listening. Sock it to me (((please!!)))!

play this

Boom Trigger Lady

Her favorite name for candy was Starburst.

Her favorite name for a recycling company that she had recently taken notice of was Cloudburst.

These expulsions. They could almost bring her to her knees. Drive away the demons. These slightest of suggestions.

Those were the days where everything had meaning. Lights turning green were indicative. If a dog barked twice. For a tangerine peel to come off, maintained in one connected piece without coming undone beneath her fingers. If the penny tossed while feeding the meter turned up on tails. Everything told something.

Everyday she wore items that fit the same description. Khaki shorts, tie died shirt of some sort, gauzy white scarf. A purposeful precaution should she turn up missing, she’d be easy to describe. Her fears over-arching, ever present. That head of hers; full of responsibility. Filled with thoughts in shapes of slippery cold poles so hard to hold with a brain like greased palms. Thin veil between psychedelic induced psychosis and one perhaps slipped into her drink. So suspicious. She could be found on the beach, laying in a tangle, trying to distinguish between which kind.

Luckily there were the calming elements. It could be sourced from a passing truck with the simplest of messages. Or the cold awake wide open feel of ocean. Ocean. Ocean. It’s own sentence. Paragraph. Novel. Her biggest self. It tousled and it soothed. And snails. How she loved them. The time they took. The swirl continuum. The iridescent remnants. Did they have a destination, or did they just go for it? A model, indeed. Be more like the snail- she would breathe this into the bottom of her belly. Someone had to own the mantra. Be more like the snail. Time is on my side. Even if this was said in rushed fashion it provided a balloon’s weight of worth off her back. She had these things. Palms unneeded. It could be nice.

This woman was the first person to be recognizable in containing a purposeful aimlessness. What an achievement. Her town’s people thought she a gentle kook. All weary smiles. She knew they knew of the springboard that lay within. Of this she was sure. Unhingable at any moment sans notice.
But what are their skeletons? She wondered often.
A good question, though not everyone’s dance like hers.

A doe-eyed doctor once told her to give up the sauce. She had taken to drinking spirits because of the name implication. The potentiality of unknown company. Another soother. Absinthe was a no-go, of course. Too close. Too witchy. She knew the limits. But challenge herself she did, and lessen her mania she had, when it came to cutting back on such a vice. Good job good job, said the voices from her sidelines, despite her bag being no stranger to a buttery cognac. Remy Martin just sounded like such a protector.

The sound of things. Eyes being the first line of defense, only once approved would her mouth take it on.  No sense in tempting fate.
Explosions always on the horizon, lest they be unuttered and ignored.
Only a sunburst could make way.

bernal

Tell for Today

I like the stories that tell of cotton trees. With free balloons’ held temporarily in branches. Where a kid cries below because their favorite yellow floated off too far. Where the breeze smells like a feeling. And feelings trigger childhood memories and swampy geese that push through thick algae, and fat locusts that blindly buzz. Where little boys did unspeakable things to lightening bugs and little girls protested. Where the lightening bugs were a plenty. Where lightening bugs called in the dusk. Where the dusk was met by the tippiest-tips of the willow trees, tickling the new-now shade sky.

I like the stories where strangers stand pigeon toed, unaware of spectators. Where their petticoats carry a mystery-feather from someone else’s journey. Where their shoes aren’t as shiny as they imagined them to be. Where they are perfectly imperfect. Where they can be used as innocent templates to ad-lib, never knowing their role in a passerbye’s made-up-tale.

The stories where markers squeak across train cars windows and lovers names are written up and crossed out with dizzying repetition, and for-a-good-times’ are scrolled liberally. Where teens smoke angel dust between the cabooses and get hyped on the Beasties. Get hyped on tunnel wonderment. Get hyped on honeys’ hi-tops.

I like stories where people make metaphors out of toast, or the common area, time travel, violins, or maybe the color grey. Stories full of description dripping. The ones bordering tangibility. Where the writer held nothing back. Where transparency is the best; the only choice.

The stories where I am surprise-kissed in the rain, in the middle of some city park while we casually walk through.

The stories that spark late night scramble drawings. Where palms get inky and paper, promised to words. Tattooed to its’ truth.

Can I ask for your allness? Is too soon such a thing? If I died tomorrow it would be a shame. So speak please, like wild horses. Free. Like a passing condor. With white magic. Not like a stegosaurus. No. Don’t be too late.

It was one of those break ups that leaves you a bag of bones. An empty vessel of a person, where all you get to be is mash up of organs working lethargically & only because they have to, long & stretched paled skin, sad mush brain, empty tired eyes, charred flaccid  heart… The kind of sadness remediable by one thing and one thing only. One golden word: vacation.

So, Mexico, eh? $400 some odd bucks to get myself from the dreary rainy season that wrapped itself with prodding, icy fingers around and throughout the town that my ex and I shared that felt frighteningly small? Oh God- yes, please.

So a plane. And then some wayward nights spent in a few different places. Increasing fun. Throw in some new travel friends. Sprinkle some hitchhiking adventures in. Put me on a beach with my home girl in the middle of a stashy surf hub, full of sun-kissed surfer-boy babes and feed me a couple of drinks and you got yourself a real good story on ze boiler.

caracol

I shook my ass. I let my hair down. Real Julia Roberts kinda stuff. I was holding that. If I had to wear a neon sign reflecting my mind-heart-soul state- surely it would have flicker-buzzed that tricky, multi layered word: Healing. And with the all-too-common recklessness that accompanies a proper heartbreak, I got mine.

And I met Ernesto. His tall shadow across the sand taking over my memory. His flash of black curls. Big, knowing hands. Sexy swagger. Of calculated movement. Eyes open. He had game & was connected. He was street. He was bad. So good bad. He was in a gang… I did not realize what this meant. Either way he was very yummy. I liked him, though I was on vacation- don’t forget. So naturally I dispersed my time in many different ways…

And so Ben. Another local. A lone-wolf surfer. Compact body carved by the ocean. A total romantic. Dark & deep… In a rival gang. Who knew? And I thought he yummy too.

And so haay rebound. And so you go girl n’ shit. Allathat. And ride that wave until it crashes & lord watch for the shore.

My time with Ben turned out to be probably just four intense days together before he was convinced that he was in a painful kind of love with me, which I found quickly terrifying. He went off the deep end when I cut him off, the little bit of what we had. I’m not qualified to diagnose, but still maintain that homie was certifiably crazy, & I pity the woman who may very well be stuck with him somehow at this point of life. Needless to say I spent long days after avoiding him, which was no easy task, as there were only a handful of places where the nightlife action was. I just wasn’t ready to leave.

Truth of the matter is that either of the hes’ are not what or whom I think of when I think of the week & change spent in this spot. This little beach town- a town that healed me, gave me love, restored my spine, provided amazing times, helped me develop a shining (over) appreciation for tequila… I think not of that so much. I think of one night where the boomerang effect hit me smack in the face.

zapateca

It was another night music & friends & Ernesto. Another night of avoiding poor Ben. Another night with the perfect salty air enveloping me and putting me in tropical trance… The way that breeze skimmed across my skin… I found myself on a rooftop bar where people were dancing & drinking. This is where memory & accuracy begin to get muddy. I remember free flowing, generous mezcal shots. I remember feeling annoyed that I had to keep running away from someone who wanted to work out nothing workable. I remember needing a cigarette & asking some local guy if I could have one. I thoughtlessly asked him for one in Spanish but instead of responding to me saying a simple yes or no, he chose the unscripted option of inquiring aggressively in English about where I was from. When I responded, slightly taken aback- about being from the states, he got up in my face, pointing his stranger hand right up in to my nose, to say the following: “You are from the United States and you are asking ME for a cigarette?!” And then, whilst furiously shaking: “FUCK YOUUU. FUCK YOUUUUU.” And on and on and on, with this weird stupid finger in my face, fuck youing me to pieces, backing me up until I was smashed up against the side of the building, with his terrible, angry, misdirected, spittle-maker-face against mine. And I blacked out. And did I hit him? Push? Did he push me? I’m not sure because don’t give me tequila & yell at me for your hang ups. Next thing I know, I’m in the middle of the floor but getting pulled back by two or Ernesto’s boys, while others from his crew swoop in on this guy and remorselessly remove him from my sight, pushing him down the stairs, taking him out the building, far out of my sight or anything I would ever know more of.

I remember yelling because I was shocked & drunk. Yelling because I was bugged out & confused. Yelling yelling yelling in English because I’m more used to speaking English now. Who knows what was conveyed, & I was being held back by these guys, & then there is sad, crazy head Ben with his boys, in my face- from where anyway? And now would there be a rumble? Ben- telling me to calm down and trying to hug me & drunk drunk drunk me, no memory.

I know I ran. I ran I ran I did not stop until I had to because I contained breath no more. I had run to the beach, ignoring peoples warnings against going alone to at night for various unheard, far-from-convenience-reasons, but reckless & still somewhat broken, I did not care. I needed ocean solace. I ran onto the sand & I melted. I cried cried cried cried. For more than that night or the moments of shit roof. I cried out of frustration for Ben; cried for loss of my boyfriend & how the fracture was my irreparable fault; cried for fear of/for that merciless seeming roof guy who was so angry at me who was nobody to him, & how much bitterness one must carry to hate strangers. Plump drunk dehydrating tears, bent over, standing in a loosey goosey forward fold, until I felt a sudden excruciating pain grip my legs & run up the length of my body faster than lightening. Tsunami faster. I felt like I was dry brush on fire, the flames licking me, twist biting at my skin- everything terrible. Fire ants. I had chosen my melt down spot to be perfectly situated atop a hill of fire ants. Hysterical now, in retrospect. Just perfect. But holy did they hurt so unbelievably bad. With out thought or alternative I found myself bolting-same-time-stripping soon-to-be-diving into black night ocean.

By morning the bites no longer bothered me. At least my memory does not hold that. I don’t even remember how I saw Ernesto, but I know that when I did see him, did ask him about what happened to the man from the roof, his eyes serious & fast- told me never to ask about him again. Impenetrable. I remember feeling Latino 90210 town on steroids. Tired. Drama lama ding dong.

I was done. Full. I’d had enough. My heart had been restored. I’d filled in the gaps between my vitals. The blood coursing through me- purified a la beach mode, despite the maybe murder… Ready to go home.

viva mexico

Haiku Break Part 4

Crazy West coasters,

Putting Ranch on everything-

Shaming your pizzas.

 

Filled to the brim, I’m

fit and tied to team over

with proper fodder.

 

When the petals fall

on my head and in my hair,

that’s where I want them.

 

Is there a better

marriage of words than FUCKING

LOVELY? I think not.

 

party car(ty)

 

We must reclaim the

word constipation. Has

untapped potential.

 

Riding my bike brings

peace to all the right places.

What a love machine.

 

Sometimes you got it,

sometimes you don’t, but don’t fret.

Can’t all be like me.

 

Talk to me only

in minor chords. Sullen speak

goes right to my core.

 

There are no boxes

that can contain me. I’m an

irregular piece.

 

neca

 

They need a contract

making antiperspirant

mandated at gyms.

 

Somnambulant is

my new vocabulary

word. I woke up with it.

 

Just wait, icicle

Don’t pierce my heart before

I melt my own way.

 

You’re not a true friend

If I look in the mirror

to find spinach tooth.

 

Pavlovian proof-

I hunger at sitar sounds

for good Tandori.

 

One day I’ll travel

the world in the name of sweet

poetry. Just wait.

 

When it rains it pours

and your still my favorite

puddle to jump in.

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