“Departing Ghosts In Your System”

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Saturday, Oct 13 and Sunday, Oct 14 I am reading this piece in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.  If you would like to attend, please email me @ veronicahaunani@gmail.com.

I am Charlottesville.

My pronouns are princess, mistress, and goddess.

Disappearing

I live in your dreams’ shadows

serving, seeking, meek and unheard

being so you may master another piece.

I watch you take your space.

I slowly dissolve

painting your beautiful tomorrows

with my disintegrating bones.

Reborn,

both light and darkness

stun.

I am

the butterfly who gives up last flight to touch down on your water’s edge.. bent knee… outstretched hand– tired of life and the feel of wind carriage.

I am a woman of three rivers and dig in the sand till I find slow streams

full of blast ash and moral detachment.

I am Charlottesville.

Depressed princess mother.

Hush lil baby, don’t say a word.

I feel the choking lump, but no tears come.

There are many ways to weep.

There are many grieving paths to addiction.

Remember when you brought me white men with rich purses in their lips to tell my story— as if no purple mouths rouged red had ever sang the blues of my new world. An earth song old to others.

You thought you could steal and sell me. I was never yours.

I am a ghost running backwards trying to slow time.

Gasping for sun among ever reaching upward brick walls and glass shadows.

I attempt to tie my tubed parkways to save myself from being population pushed out but instead am banged against the steel webs becoming cages painted black with the drying blood of another political, personal, police print.

I am Charlottesville.

Heartless mistress.

I was not well kept.

When you took away my babies leaving my arms bare and cut.

When you left me in jail for stealing bread.

When you evicted me to the street after twenty years.

When you deported me.

The constant beat on my body and soul.

I was not well kept.

My city is littered with places where he took me and made me a puppet on his finger strings. I want some new unmarked geography. Somewhere beyond the things of men and women and children and dogs and cats and picket fences and double car garages.

He took me to a concert in a red lit basement. The performer asked over and over again what did love sound like. I pushed my lips near his right ear and told him his quiet uneven breathing when he came in me was what love sounded like. Special and heavy. He just laughed. I think I made him uneasy.

I wish I could laugh away things that made me uneasy. I wish I could do a lot of things he does.

Nightly, he sang the body electric into my hot neck, and I felt nothing.

I became a tunnel for his wind winding in and out to nowhere.

He adored me until he didn’t.

And, I wrapped my legs and heart around his solar holes until I bled roses and tulips.

The trap is me.

The bars are so gilded they blind and are therefore unseen.

But, you can feel them in the dark.

They press against his chest choking out, “I love you.”

Bitter tenderness breathes child asthma in the projects

while we lie and cry about foreign places like Flint and Africa.

The trap is him.

I try not to catch his babies or laugh too loudly at his jokes.

I cannot be contented.

He cannot fill me– that is my work.

So, we return to a cluttered room with empty yellowing walls.

He sits on an unmade bed, beckoning.

His bedroom eyes are the prize yet again.

His blue blink draws another 3 AM bent hip and bit, quivered lip.

The steady, monotonous sounds of another Charlottesville rainstorm provide a new rhythm for his growing restlessness, uncertainty, and dread.

He watches the rain through the bay window of his large luxury condo close to downtown, alone. 

Across the street, the downpour travels the incline of the cupcake bakery roof and pools in the slight valleys of the unoccupied handicap spaces of the deserted parking lot. 

Behind him, his furniture, his books, his instruments, his things do not fill the space, and the emptiness echoes and subtly frames him a small man. When he vaguely senses his design induced inferiority, he grits his teeth and entertains.

Publicly, he takes great pleasure in the borrowed peace of Hatha yoga, the improvised cacophony of modern jazz, and the slow savor of heavy, crystal glasses brimming with freshly made mojitos.

Privately, he takes great pleasure in me. 

When all of his guests have begun their slow, soggy stumble homeward, he takes me out of my box and lovingly places me on the floor amidst the sticky and solid party debris. I become the calm eye center of the chaos. I am his rose of Sharon.

It fascinates him that he owns me but cannot contain me. It fascinates him that my explicit obedience subverts and obliterates him. It fascinates him that his worship of me diminishes the anxiety mounting within his narcissism.

When I allow him to sample my darkness, he is purified and light. When he enters me, he encounters safe haven and the precise cut of my blade. When everything he is melts within me, he is mine. 

He is free.

He savors my intoxicating poison. He weeps remembering his first notice of sunsets and his later jaded, dismissal of her mango, red grapes, and watermelon shades. 

Overcome and writhing in ecstatic suffering, he collapses onto the trash on the floor by my side. 

Spent, satisfied, saturated.

He rests.

Awake now, he returns me to my box wiping away his tears. He gently places my box in the black corner of his sin closet.

He plays the later works of Art Pepper on his ipod and drifts from his pelvic tilts to his eye of the needle poses again promising to never leave the simplicity of his mat again.


The rain yields.

My city is where it happened. I want some new unmarked geography. Somewhere beyond the things of men and women and dogs and cats and statues and torches.

He comes to me in midnight suede. He smells of smoke and red lies.

I would love you more if you weren’t so loud with your emotions.”

I recoil from his rejection folding into my quivering rolls and mounds.

No. No. No.

I hiss yes through gritted teeth into his hot neck one last time. He grunts God.

His song is dotted, dense, devastating.


Metal snakes where trees once stood gushing darkness.

Death in quarters of streets and protesting parades.

Fatal festivals of carnality and disobedience

brushed with CNN documentaries and unjust arrest.

August comes.

Propped against a black pillar with arthritic, bent knee,

my praying manthis eats the world.

The trap is me.

The trap is me.

The trap is me.

Freedom fills my mouth.

The dogs at the heels died fifty years ago.

Now, they stand silently waiting for us to murder each other

being shot by their guns and body cams

to save money and to be watched later

with burnt pop corn and ironic grape nehi.

I guide as you pull holes from my heart with another frozen yogurt scoop pouring my iced blood into a cold brew beer garden where all the fruit is piss glistened and toxic and seductive.

Now, I am hollow chested.

Breathing deep or shallow is done.

Beating— thunderous clapping is silenced.

Heartless, I return to tin.

I am Charlottesville.

Dying goddess.

As you do not rise, remain silent, conjur with others rights, you murder me.

Green is gold

until withering bronze brown.

Death comes round here often

turning the life of spring into

summer fry.

As my edges burn

I am still tricked into glorying

the light.

I push my petals eastward

praying for another rise

sacrificing another night

to the false dream of growth.

Personal becomes cancer becomes

mutation

becomes another frenzy of unexpected

baby blooms.

You develop.

Shattered windows are replaced.

Keeping in, keeping out.

More.

Sober, we watch the crooked lines of your progress form a hammer banging our coffins’ nails. I cannot hear my screams over the maddening, metallic din. I learned not to scream and learned my resentful silences lend no telekenitic weight.

Still, I suffocate writing on the edges– a letter- a final note– pieced together by the feelings of farewell.

I miss you already as I slide through your twitching fingers and wild hair leaving memorials of sound and texture that you will discover when you are more wise, more gray, more still.

I still love you, my painful children.

I wish you less suffering and sweet days embroidered with tomato pies and breezy half moon nights.

I forgive you your youth and careless, cruel smiles.

Gliding in and out of your times was grand and miraculous.

Obsoletion determined by their vision of phallic, heightened grandeur– choking climbing metal vines clustered, wasteful fumes.

Even the rose in my hair lies. It is fake and smells chemical.

How can I be so peaceful of my end?

‘Cause I will be ressurected.

Now, revolution must come through the cracks around credit card key holes and swim champagne mendacity.

You will bring me back, every time you remember to, when you are ready to, when you begin to—

leave him, defend us, give space to, take back, say her name, love fiercely, and fuck white supremacy.

 

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A Camellia Blooms Into Struggle

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The polluted Yellow River remembers a time before time…

before her weeping implored for justice. 

As the huangjiu drips down their jowls

onto swollen bellies in celebration of her defeat…

Her tears become the Poyang now dry.

Her sighs become the winds blowing

the Quin Mountain’s feather-veined birch and oak spiraling leaves.

They want her speechless, still, and spiritless.

Despite torture, slavery, death, she will not be conquered.

She stealth speaks though her soul screeches for faith’s freedom.

Afraid her heart beats too loudly her dreams of a new liberation.

Her soft words become butterfly swords soaring and slicing.

Echos of her silent cries ring from the Manchurian Plain to the Cho Oyu mountains peaks.

She treads gently but forever forward as she seeks her lost husband–

He moved too quickly and conspicuously

for them to not sweep him away like broken trash into a Shanghai gutter.

Before dawn wakes the noisy crowds of Guangdong,

she meditates alone in her dark closet hoping she will not be missed.

She watches the light below the door’s crack for shadows.

Fervent and unrelenting, she breathes in Falun Gong and out her terror.

Now, she is love.

She burns pink and white then smoky pitch.

No tea today.

The muddy Yangtze flows carrying no memory.

 

“A Real Life Nazi Fighter Finds Easter Egg In Biggest Movie of All Time: Avengers: Infinity War”

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*************SPOILER ALERT: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR**********************

Nazi fighter, Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh (see http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Woman-arrested-for-assault-and-battery-on-the-Downtown-Mall-425720844.html), and future Doctor of Astronomy Jake Turner discover the meaning of Captain America’s phone number in Avengers: Infinity War.

Here is what we uncovered…

678-136-7092”

The phone number Tony Stark has for Captain America.

The first night we saw the movie, none of us were prepared to write the number down.

Turner saw the movie again and transcribed the phone number.

We called and received several beeps then silence.

We attempted to reverse directory the number on white pages and received no matches.

We googled the area code and discovered it was one from Atlanta, Georgia where a lot of the Marvel movies are filmed.

We googled the full number and found https://www.reddit.com/r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers/comments/8fifhh/so_i_called_captain_americas_phone_number/. Here we discovered when the phone number worked, it played The Eagle’s song “Hotel California.”

We looked up Hotel California and Georgia and discovered a Hotel California in the country Georgia. Turner thought it might be an allusion to the imaginary Marvel country Sokovia. 

We took a break.

Fitzhugh googled the lyrics to “Hotel California.”

One of the lyrics is: “So I called up the Captain,”

Also, we youtubed Hotel California and the ad for Marvel Contest for Champions appeared:

spider

Also, The Eagles released the single “Hotel California” in 1977, the year of Ms. Marvel featuring Carol Danvers. Captain Danvers is the captain who receives the final transmission at the end of Infinity Wars.

So, Marvel and Disney, where is our Mercedes Benz?

Night Into Morning: A Journey

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She walks in beauty like the night, because she cannot overcome her wild fire of insomnia.

Not tonight. Tonight, her mania overwhelms her best intentions pushing her into the dirty side streets of Tampa, Florida.

The city pulses with danger. Everyone looks at her with blue eyes of an impending cruelty. Everyone looks at her with blue eyes of an impending violence.

It’s Thursday late night, Friday early morning. The moon hides. The stars hold no empathy only more burning.

She stays in the shadows although she is afraid of what she may find in the dark.

She walks, runs, crawls, then exhausted falls.

They find her passed out in the isolated 7-11 parking lot among crumpled Slurpee cups and cigarette butts.

The siren’s red mimics the discarded cups’ colors. She never escapes the mean reds.

The siren’s wail reminds her of the shrill voices screaming in her head. She never escapes their sad cacophony.

She wishes to continue sleeping– too weary, too sick to wake once more.

Her angel whispers. “Come back.”

The angel’s voice is soft, inviting, and firm. Beguiled, she turns back. She knows the angel makes no promises of a better or easier life. The invitation is just to live.

She makes the choice to live again– one more time in a long series of one more times.

Maybe the angel was an EMT, a nurse, her mother.

Maybe it was just a self-preserving dream jolting her back into consciousness.

Whatever made the call, she decides to answer.

Fluttering then opening her tired eyes and releasing her midnight memories of madness, she slowly focuses on a new rising sun.

This piece was recently published in a new anthology the women’s initiative’s “Challenge Into Change 2017 Writing Contest.” You can buy it and support mental health services at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall, 404 East Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia. (434) 295 2552. Thanks!

Trauma

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fan

Ever since childhood, I was comforted by the whir of fans until I wasn’t.

The soft, white noise was interrupted one night.

I became dirty then– a teenage wasteland.

But, I cleaned up and found a man who wants to marry me.

We are supposed to be having a lovely time visiting vineyards and old barns to hold our reception.

And, now I am haunted by this huge, unexpected fan. It is as if its spun air’s weight is burning my head and shoulders and sucking away all the oxygen.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t speak.

I wake alone. Single. Sleep driven away by another night of PTSD.

(108 word count)

Photo by Yarnspinnerr

Prompt by Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers

https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/fffaw-challenge-165th/

waiting for my inlinkz activation email.

A Record Of You and Me

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among yellowing papers and cracked knick knacks,

you find where i was forgotten.

you find me still in my new plastic now dusty with a price tag of a dollar.

you take me home and break open my package slowly.

you always like to savor the good.

you remove me from my whiteness and examine my glossy obsidian.

no scratches— pure sound.

i sigh with the relief of being heard.

we are love together in the music.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sleeve/

The Giving Tree Revisited

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Stolen from our home, we forgot our tropical heat.

We thought we were so love thick rooted.

They carved their hearts on our pierced barks, and we denied the pain.

They firmly hugged us down, and we were transformed.

We were made of breakable oak instead of bendable palm.

One loud, windy day, we flew away and became a burden to lift and chip away.

Now, looking up at greater trees, they twist ankles forgetting and stepping into the hole of ghost us.

 

The Black Bird Of Happiness

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Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.” 

 Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Why should I return, Mother?”

“To be a thing of beauty, my love.”

“But they don’t appreciate beauty there. They refuse to see.”

“Even more reason for you to go back.”

She is not a common raven. She is small and glossy and cunning.

She alights onto pale, parched ground feeling somewhere between goddess and raven and woman.

She releases her night feathers, the lightness of flight, the movement between airs.

And, the earth enshrouds her in opaque, rough black cloths. They flow almost weightless as she enters our ethers.

Did ever raven sing so like a lark,
That gives sweet tidings of the sun’s uprise?”

William ShakespeareTitus Andronicus

She tilts like spring flowers toward the rising sun soaking its heat and becomes real.

A dying man visiting North Africa sees her emergence from her swirling unkindness. His eyes at the end of a long life now see her and are almost blinded by her exquisiteness. Her unblemished, tight, white skin, her tallness, her curves, her way of staring fearlessly into his mind and heart and right through him.

She needs to feed and takes his failing heart.

He takes her photo and passes away before developing his last, departing shot.

His busy, responsible daughter no longer interested in trying to get her siblings to help organize and tired of sorting through his hoarded things takes boxes and boxes of unexamined junk to the Goodwill.

 

To read this story’s conclusion, please visit my Mother’s Day project @ http://judylit.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-blackbird-of-happiness.html

A Few Remembered Pivots of My Youth

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When the Challenger became a stripe of white smoke against a clear, azure sky, I never  looked at the stars the same.

The day I asked you if my blind grandpa now gone in his coffin could finally see me, and I realized you didn’t have all the answers that there were pieces of a larger world beyond your shadows.  I don’t think I ever forgave you for blocking the light for so long.

The first pierce of sexuality, when he told me he wouldn’t let me hurt anymore.  My eyes seemed older as I stared at myself in the mirror after sneaking into his basement and bed.

I clutched my battered calculus book to my broken hearted chest, when my mother told me she was leaving my father.  A former mathlete, I became bad at numbers.  Now, everything was fractions… out of one now stood three far, far apart.

The friendship, jealousy, depression, loneliness, mania, sunshine, stolen kisses in gardens at midnight…

All of it pushed and pulled me, danced and frightened me into now.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/astonish/

Introducing A New Literary Journal and Writing Contest

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Dearest Reader.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

I am beginning a blog dedicated to my late mother entitled “Judy.” The online journal will be an anthology of different poets and short story writers dealing with the topic of “mother.”  The works should be no longer than two pages.  Eventually, I hope to print this project annually. And, the best poem of the year will receive a cash prize to be determined soon.

I ask a love donation of at least $5 for each work sent.   If you cannot donate, do not worry!

If I choose not to use your piece, I will send a specific note of explanation.

This mother’s day I will donate any money received to Charlottesville, Virginia’s Black Mama Day’s Bail Out, a project to bring Moms out of the jail and home for Mother’s Day.

Please email your work to judyliteraryjournal@gmail.com.  The blog is at http://judylit.blogspot.com.

Thank you so much for your help in this project.

For more information about how you can donate, please see https://www.gofundme.com/judylit.

Love!
Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh