Comments Posted By rubylubh

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elm

It’s not supposed to happen, but people do fall off buildings once in awhile. I saw it happen once, to a construction worker who was leaning out a window, yelling down to another construction worker standing down on the street below him. “Where did you–” were the last three words he said, then he swooshed out of the building and fell, slam into the cement sidewalk, about two feet away from the guy he was hollering down to. I don’t know that guy’s name, but he was screaming when it happened, yelling out the name of the man who fell. “Buzz, Buzz, what the fuck Buzz!!” He was on top of him in a second, putting his ear to the chest of Buzz, to the heart of Buzz, which you knew couldn’t be beating any more after what happened. It didn’t take long for about 40 people to show up, running over from all different directions as though they could help Buzz get up again, or maybe just to see what happened. Buzz looked flat in the face; there was blood on the sidewalk where he landed. He fell ten floors, it was I think. Right onto a street named after a tree. Elm. Yeah. I remember that like it just happened.

» Posted By rubylubh On 05.03.2016 @ 11:00 am

hamburger

Carroll’s Hamburgers. 1970 something. Sitting in the parking lot with Ernie, who had a big heart until he didn’t like you any more. Then, he was a mean mother who could say some pretty terrible things to you. But this was before that, long before. When we were still in love, if you could call it that, and having sex at any time in any place possible. He had a thing for Carroll’s burgers and we’d go there all the time. Sit in the car, eat the burgers, drink the Coke and talk about whatever 17 year olds talk about, it’s been a long time since I remember that. So he’s eating his hamburger and not saying much and now I start to think, Hey, something’s not right here. I ask him, “Is something wrong?” He takes another bite of his burger, makes a face and says he’s pissed off because they didn’t put enough sauce on the burger. “Is that what’s really wrong?” I ask him. He looks at me with those green eyes, looks back down at the burger, then back at me. “I want to see other people. To tell you the truth, I’m just tired of the same old pussy.” That would be me. This was what, 30 years ago. And I’m as stunned by those words now as I was then. I still have no answer. Still.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.29.2016 @ 2:09 pm

abundant

Her stories are endless; she is the Scheherazade of her neighborhood; no, of her town. On summer nights, she lights her Kent cigarettes and starts with a story about her childhood in a village somewhere in Greece. About the nights of fire and terror and huddling in the small cramped hut, hoping to survive. She talks of nights on a ship, crossing the ocean, an ocean she had never heard of or seen or smelled before. She remembers the salt air; she had never smelled salt like that; it was not the salt that her uncle sprinkled on all his food–no poured–or the salt like she tasted in ham. It smelled different; like a mystery from the sea. She recalled arguments on the ships and shouting on the docks and women crying because they had left so much of themselves in the villages they had left. She spoke of the men who grabbed at her as she made her way toward a man and woman she had never seen, but who held up a picture of her and waved her to come along with them. Her stories mixed with the cigarette smoke, floated up into the evening summer air and drifted away; but never from our hearts and minds. We were the lucky ones; we were the children who lived in the poor part of town where all the immigrants lived. But we were the rich ones; wealthy beyond words. Because we knew about the olives steeped in olive oil unlike any we had ever tasted; we knew about the flavors of Italy and the teas of the Far East; we knew about the burned villages and the lost children and the sons who never came home and the children they never had. We knew voices that spoke in broken English, but whose spirits were never broken. We knew the song of the immigrant. We knew it was a song we would and could never forget. Their stories were abundant and our souls were left more abundantly filled because of them.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.28.2016 @ 11:58 am

buddha

The master. I don’t know much about you, but I’ve heard a lot of things. For instance, that you’re calm and peaceful, kind and thoughtful, also thought-provoking. I got this from a neighbor, Mr. Dismow, who lived across the hall at our rooming house. He had a statue of you on the kitchen counter, next to the sink and the Brave Wash, a cheaper kind of detergent he said did the same job as the expensive stuff. “They’re always trying to talk you into spending more money for nothing,” he said to me one day. I was having coffee with him, even though I wasn’t supposed to have coffee or be in Mr. Dismow’s apartment. I pointed to the statue on the sink. “Who’s that,” I asked. “That is a very wise and decent human being, but not really a human being. More like God. You know Jesus? Well he probably learned everything he knew from him.”

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.20.2016 @ 5:57 am

academic

Sometimes that’s the way things are. Once, when I was little, I heard someone say, “Well, it’s academic now.” I didn’t understand what that meant, but I did in a way. It meant that nothing could be done about it; it was going to always be that way, whatever it was. It’s a strange word that says something is done, set in stone, never changing. But when I was little, I had too much hope to think that way. I used to sit in places and hope all the time. That things would get better, that I would grow up and go wherever I wanted to; that I would maybe be a dancer or a teacher or a singer or anything that I wanted to be. There were sounds in the wind and in the waves that promised me things would change; they told me not to worry; that the world belongs to all of us, including you, little girl with big brown eyes, already afraid of things you shouldn’t be afraid of. Don’t worry. Nothing is forever; good or bad. Remember that about the bad things. Always.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.15.2016 @ 10:10 am

touchy

Touchy should never apply to freedom of speech. You should be able to say what you feel at any time, anywhere. It’s the most important freedom on the face of our planet. So if you want to call me names, or say things about me out loud that I don’t like, or criticize the government or yell out in the middle of Times Square that you hate this group or that group, go ahead and do it. Get arrested. Stand up for your right to do it. Because every great leader who has ever lived has led by his words and actions. Has stood in the middle of crowds and crowded places and said, “This is wrong. I don’t believe that this is what should happen to us.” Along the way, there were hundreds of others who said hateful things and terrible things about other groups and people. But if we had said, “No more freedom of speech” because of those people, the ones who led us to freedom would never have had the chance to do it. There would have been no King or Gandhi; they would not have been allowed to speak. So before you tell anyone that it’s wrong to say something, remember: there were many people who said the same thing to these men, and other men and women like them. The good cannot be lost because of the bad.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.14.2016 @ 8:25 am

mysterious

Here you are again, mysterious. Well, I have a story for you. About an old brown house on a quiet street, just a block from a busy corner but feeling as though it’s a million miles somewhere else. And that house, everyone on the block says, has seen better days. Cobwebs sit comfortably and as no small threat to intruders, on every window sill and in every corner of every door on the house. Pieces of the old place hang limply, occasionally complaining when the wind blows through their tired bones. The windows are mostly broken, except for the front door window, which sits staring down at the street, wondering why no one is coming. Well, no one is not exactly right. Because every Halloween, some group of kids or another thinks they’re braver than the old house and they stomp up the old walk, up the sagging steps and right onto the porch. They bang loudly on that door, and the first thing that scares them is the echo; the knock that echos into another and another. And the stillness that follows. No barking dog, no annoyed, “Just a minute,” from the other side. Nothing. And just as the trick or treaters are about to all laugh and tease one another in this small victory against fear and horror, the door swings open. He’s standing in the frame, taller than the door and more sagging than the house itself. With a face more haunted than any house has ever been.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.13.2016 @ 2:11 pm

It’s what you always have wanted to be. That woman sitting in the airport, perfectly dressed, wearing the best clothes, looking as though she’s traveled everywhere on the planet with every kind of man. Never anyone permanent; just someone to be with to look at great walls and falling walls and pink beaches and tan Europeans with too much money and not enough company. You’ve always wanted people to look at you and wonder about you; where you come from, who your type is, why you’re alone, if you’re alone and would you mind not being alone for a few hours or weeks or months. Never more than that. How fun would it be, to you the mysterious one?

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.12.2016 @ 12:32 pm

bullets

They are everywhere. On every continent, in every town and village. They are flying over deserts and through jungles; across crowded streets and into restaurants, hotels, movie theaters and schools. They are ending little children’s lives and young mens lives and old women’s lives and babies lives and animals’ lives. They are ending humanity and everything humanity loves. But they will never end the world. The earth will move on, without the bullets, rebuilding itself with sunlight and water and air and everything that God or whatever you believe in gave it. Earth, beautiful Earth, will someday be free of us and our bullets. We lose.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.04.2016 @ 11:51 am

scientific

She looks at this word and it scares her. On the lab report, she sees numbers that mean nothing; all she knows is that the numbers aren’t good and the doctor is coming in to tell her why. She thinks about this word. It’s all down to labs and people looking through microscopes at slides. They see blue dots and red dots and blobs and things that look good and things that look bad. They know which ones are which. She wonders about the person who looked at her slides. Was it a man or a woman? She pretends it was a woman so she can imagine what she was wearing; a man would be boring to dress, don’t you think? So this lab person, her lab person, the one who found the thing that will make her life change forever, was wearing an orange top with a pair of brown pants. Not a good combination. Maybe she’s married; her ring is pretty, but the diamond is so small. And she’s probably wearing it because she loves the man who gave it to her. She’s a nice person, the woman in the lab coat with the orange top and the brown pants. But how can she be nice when she’s sent back your slides and they say that you have a long, hard battle ahead of you? How could she be so fucking scientific.

» Posted By rubylubh On 04.01.2016 @ 12:24 pm

lightweight

Whenever my parents fought, you could see who the champion was, right away. The old man was a master at language; he could take anything you said and twist it into something that you actually thought you said but didn’t. He made you doubt what you were saying, whether you meant it or not; made you wonder what you’d just said. No one could touch him that way. He was Ali or Marciano or one of the great fighters; his words were his gloves and you were the punching bag he practiced on. He actually seemed to enjoy it. My mother could go a few rounds with him, sometimes maybe more, but in the end, she was whipped by it. Until one day, when she threw off whatever it was that kept her from rising to the heavyweight division, and kicked his ass pretty roundly. He didn’t know what had hit him. Mom was a lightweight no more. It wasn’t so much that she’d suddenly honed her skills. It was that the old man had hit her in a place that no man ever should have. He’d hit her in that place where the love she had for her children was.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.31.2016 @ 11:51 am

accused

Summer camp. I stay in a cabin with a lot of kids who come from money. I’m here because Family Services figured this is where I should be spending some of my summer. Away from home, the old man, and the other old man, both dirty old men. So here I am, having a pretty good time, when I get accused by one of the girls in my cabin of stealing her stuff. Shirts, money, socks, a pair of loafers. Nobody stops to wonder where I would stash all the stuff; nobody bothers to try and find out who the real thief is. They just figure that since I come from a poor family, I must be the person who wanted to steal. This is what happens to people who are poor. People think they’re bad for being poor, when most of the time, it’s not their fault.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.30.2016 @ 3:27 pm

turn

When you get to the corner where the old silo is; when you see it shining in the sunlight, that old metal gleaming in the light; that place where a story was told such a long time ago; that place where a man and a woman fought so hard to keep things going that they lost one another along the way; when you get to that place where the tractors are silent, their wheels old and worn now, but still ready to go if you ask them because they were always willing; when you get to that place in the road, turn. But don’t turn without stopping for a minute or two. To imagine what their lives were like and who they loved and worried about. The people the brought into the world and the people they lost. The daughters they married off and the sons they sent to fight. Stop there for a few moments to hope their lives turned out all right; that they didn’t suffer to much; that they had as much joy as any of us hope for and want. When you get to that turn, turn your eyes to the past for just a few moments. So you can keep going, knowing that it their lives meant something. They did.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.25.2016 @ 1:36 pm

If you could only get directions like that in your life. Let’s say when you’re 20 or a little bit older, because any younger, well, other people are at the wheel for you. You don’t always like which way they’re going and you wish to hell they’d make better decisions and you could scream when you get to a place that you had nothing to do with because you weren’t driving, but. So here you are, 20 and now you’ve got the wheel. You think you’re smart; you’ve been to college, right? Not everyone can say that, but you’ve been there, learned a few things. So now you’re ready to make your own turns, do things you want. Except that every time you take one of these turns, you wind up in a pile of shit deeper than the last one you were in. Now, this isn’t everyone. So let’s say we’re just talking here about me. The one thing I never told myself when I should have, when this guy was a bastard or that guy didn’t want to be with me all the time or that job was wrong for me or this friendship was not good for me, the one thing I did not do was say, Hey, what are you doing, TURN!!!. No. Didn’t do that when I should have. But there were a couple of times when I did. And i think that if you can make even just one or two of those turns, you’re doing pretty well. Am I rambling? Well then. Hey you–TURN!!

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.24.2016 @ 3:54 pm

outsider

You don’t know what a great time you’ve missed until you’ve been an outsider looking in. It’s a pretty underrated feeling; people are always telling you that you need to be with other people to live a full, rich, exciting, wonderful life. Well, that’s pure bullshit. Now, don’t get me wrong, you do need a few other people in this life to hang with; to talk about the things you like, see movies with, hug, kiss, make love with, enjoy a glass of wine with and just see to have a good laugh. But if you’re not in Hollywood, or in the 98%, or in the top of your class at school; if the so-called popular kids look at you with relief that they’re NOT you; if you walk one way and other people walk another; if you don’t kiss management’s ass at work (which you pretty much see evidence of when you go to the office party and they glaze over when you walk into the room (asking one another “Who’s that again?”) well, listen. Give yourself a party. You’re an outsider. And in this world of strange goings-on and crazies, maybe that’s exactly the best place to be. See you there.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.23.2016 @ 2:51 pm

delivery

It came from the school in a plain white envelope, the kind you can get from just about anyone. But it came special delivery, which is why she didn’t leave it on the dining room table. If she had, she would’ve had a few more hours of the life she was always complaining about. After she opened the envelope, it was a life she would give anything to have back.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.18.2016 @ 2:04 pm

boom

I never heard the sound myself; I thought I had, but later realized I’d only imagined it. I remember how blue the sky was, and how much I didn’t want to be in New York City, driving to work, missing out on one of the last beautiful, warm days before the winter would come and steal it all away. I remember looking up through the windshield of the car, toward the sky, what little I could see of it what with all the buildings. That small piece of sky, so lovely. And then a man came on the radio and said “We interrupt this program for a special bulletin.” Then another man came on, telling us, the people who were driving to work and thinking how crappy it was that we had to work on such a beautiful day, that a plane had just flown in to one of the World Trade Center buildings. Then he had another man on the phone, someone who was right across from the building, trying to explain that a commercial jet had just flown into the World Trade Center; saying it almost as though it had been an accident; trying himself to believe that a plane, flown by a pilot who’d flown for years, that this plane on a clear and beautiful late summer day, not a cloud in the sky, had crashed into one of the tallest buildings in the world. And that was when I heard the boom in my heart, in my soul, in my life. If you were a human being, you knew right then and there that the world would change in ways that you could never imagine. Or explain. Or understand.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.17.2016 @ 2:58 pm

pan

I like Peter Pan. I liked any pan but the ones we had to cook in every night; at least, the ones I had to cook in every night. All the way from third grade until into high school, until the old man died and we all went our separate, crazy ways. Michael went to Florida for no reason anyone could understand; he didn’t know anything about Florida except that it was warm and the women barely wore any clothes. Tom split for California, with his bossy bitch girlfriend, which all I could say about was good riddance. We had another sibling; I don’t talk about her because she wound up being a traitor and a liar and she cheated on me with my boyfriend, not because she liked him, but because she thought it was cool to make herself feel better than other people. She stuck around the house until the old lady made her get a job, which she couldn’t believe because she was supposed to find someone with money who would take care of her; who needed a job, she figured. Me, I wound up going straight down, falling and falling and falling and not really getting up for a long time. The pans were gone; I wasn’t acting like a slave to the rest of the lazy bastard siblings I had to put up with. Yeah. It all panned out.

» Posted By rubylubh On 03.15.2016 @ 11:04 am

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