Comments Posted By rubyluby

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drinking

He woke up in the empty lot next to where the furniture store used to be. When he was able to calculate, which took some time, he figured he must be about 8 miles away from the last bar he recalled drinking in. The one with the rodeo cowboy neon sign. It was a strange sign for a bar in the middle of nowhere in NJ, about as far from the rodeo as you could get. He tried to get up but his legs gave out from under him, so he sat where he fell, waiting for sobriety to sneak in somehow. Why had he gone to that bar? The guy. He remembered the guy. On the highway who stopped to pick him up; who saw his thumb and wasn’t afraid that he was a serial killer or something. He asked him where he was headed. “Just into town,” he answered. He hadn’t really looked at the guy driving; eye contact was not his thing. If someone gives you a ride, eye contact can say something you’re not meaning to say. So he said nothing. Until the man asked him the weirdest question he thought he ever heard.

» Posted By rubyluby On 06.12.2017 @ 3:36 pm

ghosts

They were sitting side by side, as they always had. Only this time, it felt different. “Are you going somewhere,” he asked finally. “Why do you ask?” she replied. “Well it seems odd, the way we’re sitting here. It’s as we always have, I know. But something feels, well, there’s no other way to put it, it feels wrong.” She looked down at her hands with a sadness he had not seen in years, not since a cold day in November. The day they never talked about, but always remembered. It alarmed him; shook him. Why this look on this day, right now? He waited for an answer, but before he could press the question upon her again, she was on the ground, face down, not moving, not breathing, saying nothing. He was over her, screaming into the day for someone to come. They came. They took her. He followed. But not to where she had gone. Only to the place where they could tell her where she had gone. She was with them. The ghosts they never talked about since that cold day in November. How has she known they were coming?

» Posted By rubyluby On 05.18.2017 @ 2:37 pm

driveway

I remember this. A cold winter day, everything on the line. The marriage, the child, all of it. I got there before he did; the day was gray and so cold, I wanted to get back in my car and get warm again. The kind of cold that as soon as you open a door or walk into it you want to turn right back around. But I didn’t; I stood there, watching the breath leave me, stomping one foot then the other. Clenching and unclenching my gloved hands, looking up at the a sky dense with clouds and flecks of snow out to start something. I was parked in his driveway; this was where he’d moved after the divorce. Not much to it; a ranch right on the main highway. It needed painting; there was a sign outside that read: Peace to all who enter here. Well not for me, that’s for sure I thought. There’s never been any peace to entering any part of his life, and even less peace leaving it. Took me years to get over it the last time, which clearly I hadn’t because I was standing out here waiting for him all over again. I was early; always was when I was meeting him. I looked at my white car, parked there in a place where it didn’t belong, an innocent bystander in this whole thing. It looked like a large chunk of dirt, it was so dirty compared to the snow that was all around. Finally, here he came, slowing down at his own driveway, pulling in, stopping. I stared at his car, tried to get a better look at him in the car. My eyes adjusted and there he was. I hadn’t seen him in years. He was waving, waving, waving, almost annoyed and I couldn’t think what was wrong. I hadn’t seen him in such a long time and already he was pissed about something. Then I realized, he couldn’t get into the driveway because my car was too close to the street. His wave meant, move the car, move the car. I did
Finally he got out. And that’s when I thought: That’s what I should have done years ago. I couldn’t.

» Posted By rubyluby On 04.12.2017 @ 3:21 pm

steak

Sitting there waiting for the waiter to bring me the first steak I’ve ever had. How lucky am I? A long time ago, when we had some money, the old man called up Freddy the butcher and told him he wanted a filet mignon. The best cut he had. Along with 2 pounds of chopped meat. I brought it home and watched the old man make the steak like a pro who’d been doing it all his life. It smelled so good, I could feel the spit welling up in my mouth. I sat there and watched him eat it. Me at the table in a chair and the dog there on the floor looking up with a different kind of begging look than mine. Well, it was clear that the damned dog had a lot more experience at this sort of thing than I did. I mean, who could win that fight? Shifting her weight from side to side to make sure the old man knew she was sitting there; catching his eye once or twice, staring him straight in the eye with a look that could melt rock. Me, all I could do was sit in the chair and stare at that piece of meat. And when he had about two or three bites left, he gave one them to the dog. She didn’t even chew it really, just swallowed it whole and looked up for another one. He didn’t give it to her. When he was done, he wheeled away from the table and told me that I’d better get the hamburgers going. The boys would be home soon and they’d be hungry. The dog sniffed the floor one more time, turned and left. And I wondered, was she thinking, Fuck him, the way I was?

» Posted By rubyluby On 04.03.2017 @ 8:52 am

misled

You can’t blame your relatives for trying to hide things from you when you were little. I learned this after I had a child of my own. There are just some things that a child shouldn’t hear; shouldn’t know about, shouldn’t be told. What you forget is that they find out so many things all on their own; you forget how important you are to them and how curious they can be. They want to know everything; they take your emotional temperature too, all the time. A certain frown, or if you’re staring out the window because you’re trying to figure something out. Or if you lower your voice when you’re on the phone because something terrible has happened and you don’t want them to here. When I was little, there were extension phones in the house (if you had a little money) and if you were really tricky, you could pick up the phone extension to listen in to what was happening. Cell phones have made spying on your parents harder in that respect, though there are new ways, as I learned not long ago, for kids to find out things about their parents that they shouldn’t know. When they become adults, they believe they were misled or lied to. But it’s protection, that’s really what it is. That impossible thing that you can never really offer your children but spend your entire life trying to do for them.

» Posted By rubyluby On 03.03.2017 @ 3:07 pm

rooftops

From our house, you can’t see the rooftops of other houses because ours is pretty low to the ground. But one time, a friend of mine told me that when you’re really rich, you can see the tops of everyone’s houses almost in the whole world. She showed me a picture of a place that’s in New York City, a place where someone really rich lives. This person has a balcony, and if you stand there, you can look over all of New York and see everything there is to see. You see the tops of the trees and the sky, and the other buildings where people who don’t have as much money as you do live. The ones who are rich, but not as rich as you, have places near to the height of you, but not really. I was thinking how much it must bother them to be so rich, they can see all the things they do. But not rich enough to be higher up than everyone else. You think about these people and wonder what would ever make them happy. And you hope that you never become like them. If you’re lucky, you don’t. That’s what I think. But some people think that if if you’re lucky, you do. They have a lot to learn, don’t you think?

» Posted By rubyluby On 03.02.2017 @ 3:27 pm

lease

You see these commercials where they tell you, mostly if you’re old, that you’ll have a new lease on life. So I ask, Just who the fuck is the landlord that’s giving you this lease? Have you spoken directly to this person or are you just assuming that whatever you’re selling will make said landlord say, “Holy shit, that’s amazing. I’m giving her a new lease on life.” You know, I work in the bullshit business. I’ve slung some of it around myself for a real long time. Convinced people to buy things, go places, eat things, go to restaurants, drive a certain kind of car. Most of the time, I’ve believed the bullshit myself, because you can’t really write it if you don’t invest a piece of yourself in it just a little bit. Anyway, here’s a news flash: Nobody on this planet is authorized to give you a new lease on life. At least not from a product. Know what does give you what feels like a new lease on life? Love. Love of anything. Love of love, of sex, of marriage (not many people in that kind of love), of food, of your children. That’s where this lease comes from. The best one I think is love. There is nothing like it. No feeling like it at all.
That’s the lease you want. That’s the one.

» Posted By rubyluby On 12.16.2016 @ 3:33 pm

airbag

This is what I think of most politicians. Except here’s the thing. Airbags are meant to save your life and protect you from slamming into a quick death as the windshield collapses your head. They do their job; they work; they save your life; they let you move on to the next thing and the thing after that. They let you go back to your family and church; to Thanksgiving and Christmas and meals with friends and laughter and walking the dog and changing the cat’s box. They let you continue on, maybe a bit more thankful for the life you have, even though you may think it could be better or you wish you had more money or better health. Politicians do none of these things. There’s not a single one of them that cares about anything but being re-elected and getting a salary and living well. They don’t work for me your you or anyone but themselves. They’ll sell you down the river in the blink of an eye and you’re paying them to do it. They are all airbags. But really, not. Because airbags serve a purpose. Politicians serve to remind us that we asked for it. And got it, big time.

» Posted By rubyluby On 12.14.2016 @ 3:12 pm

moonlit

August, a long time ago. There’s a window in the bedroom I share with my sister. Somehow or other, I got it. Usually, she got everything she wanted but somehow she missed out on the window. On this August night, I lay in the bed, looking up into the trees where the moon was sitting, shining. Happy. All I could think about was where he was tonight. With his new wife, not looking at the moon but making love in a dark or maybe moonlit room. It seemed to me that it was the fullest, roundest, brightest moon I had ever seen. A special gift for their wedding night. A nasty remark to me. Keep out of it, you have nothing to say about it. If he’d wanted you, he would’ve married you. Instead, he invited you to the wedding, which you were stupid enough to go to because, and here is the most pathetic part of it all, it gave you a chance to see him, even if it was only for a few minutes getting married to someone else. Are you ever as pathetic as you are when you’re 15 years old watching someone who should’ve married you get married to someone else? Can you get more pathetic than that? Yeah. You can be 40 years older, still remembering that night and knowing for sure that he hasn’t thought about it once since.

» Posted By rubyluby On 12.13.2016 @ 2:18 pm

switch

Did this one already. So let’s switch to a different one. A young man, living alone in New York City. Got a job, lost a job, got a job. Nothing to brag about, pays the rent. Wanted to be an actor, a doctor, a musician or a magician. None of them panned out. So in between this and the next thing he wants to do, he’s walking dogs. Took him a long time to get the hang of it, but this nice guy named Robert, who decided he wanted to move to Arizona and walk dogs where it’s warmer, showed the young man (Tom) the ropes and now Tom’s walking all the New York dogs that Robert used to walk. He doesn’t like dogs, but you can’t tell dog owners that because then you won’t get hired. But he’s learned to get along with them. The small ones are a pain in the ass because they bark at everything, especially real big dogs. What they lack for in size they try to make up for in bark, which doesn’t work. Pretty much the same way it doesn’t work for humans.

» Posted By rubyluby On 12.09.2016 @ 2:30 pm

crying

Been doing a lot of that lately, let me tell you. For no reason at all. I’ll be sitting there reading something stupid, can’t name it right now, when I feel the tears fill my eyes and spill over onto my cheeks. I get a tissue, wipe them up and then they’re back. No reason. But of course there’s a reason. This isn’t an allergy but yes it is an allergy. To all the bullshit that’s going on; all the hate, all the anger, the blame, the fear, the lying the constant barrage of stories that aren’t true, the dead children, the lame animals, all the things they keep scrolling across screens all over the world so we come to hate it. No. That’s no why I’m crying. I’m crying because I miss people who aren’t here any more. Over time, different people from different place. People I loved, people I knew, people I worked with who I didn’t know I was seeing for the last time until someone called and said, “Hey, did you hear about: Alan, Richie, John, Jerry, Brian. More, there’s more.” Maybe you can tell me why I’m crying.

» Posted By rubyluby On 12.02.2016 @ 3:45 pm

certified

He said he was Board Certified; said he’d been to med school, said he could do the surgery even though he hadn’t picked up a scalpel in 15 years or so. He was the only one around who knew anything about what she had or how to cure it. What she had was gangrene and what she needed was for that leg to come off. There is a simple decision to make when there is only one choice available. Make it or don’t. It makes everything crystal clear; everything. “I can’t do it if I have to be awake,” she said. He told her he had all kinds of things back at the cabin that would knock her out but good. “Maybe even for days.” As long as she didn’t feel it, she would be okay. She didn’t think about what she’d look like after that or where she’d go or what she’d do. How she’d live with one leg. Probably the same way she’d live with two. If she was really unlucky.

» Posted By rubyluby On 10.21.2016 @ 3:41 pm

worth

Every day, you must ask yourself what you are worth. This I learned from reading Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club.” She was talking about women and how we see the value of ourselves as people; how some of us are ticketed and tagged from an early age and live with that valuation for the rest of our lives. Some do. Others of us find out along the way that what we learned as young girls was not the truth; was not who we really were or what we are worth now. Amy Tan’s book had a profound meaning for me; I could picture myself as one of the women or girls in her stories, a woman with my own story of how I came to see myself, starting in my childhood and threading through my life until now. One of the great terrors of seeing yourself as worthless is that you will pass this self-loathing on to your own children. If you are a good parent and a vigilant one, you will know this early on and seek help if what you are teaching a child is harmful to the child. But if you are not so fortunate, things can take a turn that you would change for anything. In any case, you will arrive with your child at the adulthood and see your work first hand. Your prayer should be now that you will be proud of the person you helped to create.

» Posted By rubyluby On 10.05.2016 @ 7:06 am

onward

So they tell us he’s not staying at that place where we ‘put’ him. I like this word ‘put.’ As though he’s a lamp that wasn’t working in one room, so you put it in the basement because it still is possible that the thing will work. Or like when your mother tells you to stay put. Or when someone who can’t find something and won’t take responsibility for it asks you in a voice filled with anger “Where the fuck did you put it??” So this word ‘put’ has nothing going for it. And this is the word they use when you want your bipolar brother who’s got COPD and Parkinson’s and who, even if he didn’t have those other two things, would still be bipolar. No worries about that, right? As long as: he takes his meds, doesn’t get depressed anyway, doesn’t get lonely or want to die, even though these medications are ‘working.’ This guy who you’re afraid of when he goes into a psychotic tailspin that you can’t control or do anything about. This person who does so well when he’s in a nursing home that he almost looks recognizable as a human being again. That guy. This is the guy you want to ‘put’ somewhere. Well fuck that. And fuck the people who don’t know what ‘put’ means. Onward with his wayward life we go. And you can put your judgmental shit where the sun doesn’t shine, sweetheart.

» Posted By rubyluby On 09.27.2016 @ 3:17 pm

unanswered

Odd that this word should come up on the day that I decide that I’m finished with my brothers. It’s taken me a long time to realize that they will never change; that I am not the sister they want; that everything I’ve ever done for either of them has been based on a false idea. Has been based on my wanting them to love me and thinking that I could buy it with money. I couldn’t get it with my personality or soul or anything else. So I tried to buy it. For awhile, it worked. I started making good money and they’d fall on hard times and I’d give them what they needed, all of us knowing that it wasn’t borrowing. This went on for a long time until push came to shove and one of them, just the other day, took us back to those old days when he used to hit me and slap me and treat me like garbage. He went right back to that old relationship, which is after all the real relationship. My phone calls to the place went unanswered; I knew that something had happened. I’d been sold out at the last minute. It’s all good. The mirror’s been held up and I see that, as bad as I think they are, I’m not better. You can never pay for someone’s love; because, in the end, they know you’re doing it and that makes you even worse than they the person they thought you were.

» Posted By rubyluby On 09.15.2016 @ 4:32 pm

timing

Well, it’s everything. As I learned the other day down at the deli. I’m standing there waiting for a sandwich (can’t remember what kind now) when a man wearing a ski mask walks in and tells us all to get down on the floor. This is an easy thing for a lot of people, but I have a bad back and if you want me on the floor, you’re going to have to wait for it. So there I am, trying to get my ass (or some part of my anatomy) down on the floor, when this guy starts yelling at me that if I don’t get on the floor in the next 3 seconds, I’m dead. Let me tell you, he picked the perfect time to say that; don’t ask me why it set me off, but at this point, I’d had enough of doctors and bullshit and pills and trying to get back to a normal life. So I yelled back at the SOB. “Look, you motherfucker, (first time I’ve ever said that word, maybe the second) I’m getting my sore ass and aching back on this floor as fast as this body will let me, do you get that? I’ve been to a hundred doctors and taken a shitload of pills, but none of that is helping me get to where you think you need me to get right now, okay? So you want to shoot my ass, go ahead. You’re doing me a favor. What does he say to that? “I got a bad back myself.” Then he took our money and left. And it took me about half an hour to get my sorry ass up off the deli floor. How about that for timing?

» Posted By rubyluby On 09.13.2016 @ 5:54 am

treasure

I think I’ve seen this one before, but not sure. I think it was in another place at another time. Can’t remember. It’s a word about something, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s about the time they came looking for it under my bed at the place I’m in now. A whole bunch of them, dressed all the same. It must’ve been a Catholic school I think because they were all dressed the same. Well they all came into my room looking for it, and I kept on asking them, What are you looking for? They said not to worry, they’d find it and I asked them if it was some kind of a treasure because if it was, I could tell them where it was. Not that I was the one who hid it there or anything, I just happened to know where it was because I watched a man come into my room very late one night and put it there. So one of the younger ones wearing the uniform said, Did the man put it under your bed or in the bathroom or–where did he put it? And I told her I had no idea what she was talking about. People are strange, don’t you think?

» Posted By rubyluby On 09.08.2016 @ 3:53 pm

middle

Somehow or other, the cat got out there in the middle of the highway near the island but not quite on it. She was pacing back and forth, wailing so loudly, you could actually hear her over the cars and the trucks and the horns. I can’t even imagine how scared she must’ve been, so little and out there with these huge machines bearing down on her. You could tell that she wasn’t going to defend herself; that she knew she couldn’t. She was hunched into herself, a fur spot on the grey highway pavement, waiting to die or for something to happen to her. Her wails were so sad, you kind of wished a truck would finish her off so she’d wouldn’t be frightened to death. So we decided, look, she’s a baby, she’s going to die if someone doesn’t help her. Terry decided he would be the one to get to the other side of the three lanes, into the small piece of highway that’s between the third lane and the divider. We told him he was crazy. There are a lot of things to die for, but not a kitten when you’re 24 years old with your whole life ahead of you. Terry didn’t see it that way. He felt like the kitten was already his and he had to save her, no matter what. Hell, he didn’t even know if it was a her. So he made a run for it. And saved the kitten. He named her Joyce (she was a her after all) after James Joyce (who wasn’t a her). And she lived with him until he died. Which was only a few months later.

» Posted By rubyluby On 08.30.2016 @ 1:47 pm

keys

They were sitting by courtyard, talking about the piano that Alice had left her granddaughter.
An old upright, nearly as ancient as Alice herself. Nothing about it was desirable; the bench had disappeared long ago under quite suspicious circumstances; none of the damper pedals worked and the shelf thing that held the sheet music fell all the time, knocking the music all over the place. The keys were made of ivory, which upset a few of the neighbors who were interested in saving elephants; they hadn’t been for a long time, but then it became a cause and ivory keys were not the thing a piano should have. So there it was, sitting in the dead old woman’s home with nowhere to go and no one to play with. Except the little girl. She knew things about the piano that no one else did. She had spent many afternoons in the old woman’s company, listening to stories about the baby grand that had never really been as grand as its name. But there were other things about it. Secrets that nobody knew about. “Alice will get the piano,” the old lady said to her. “But I’ll give you the key. I’ll tell you where on the piano it fits. What’s inside will be yours, and belong to no one else. I promise you that.” So when the old woman died, the little girl waited until they’d taken her away. She slipped the key into her dress pocket, and made her way up the stair to where the piano sat, waiting silently to tell her its most amazing secret of all.

» Posted By rubyluby On 08.29.2016 @ 3:14 pm

collect

My thoughts are scattered all over the place. I try to find them wherever they are; they don’t show up any more. When I was younger, I used to toss of my clothes and throw them all over the place and then, something told me that I needed to put them away. I would pluck them from the floor and the furniture and everywhere, annoyed with them, as if they’d run away and jumped to wherever I found them. My thoughts are different. They really are to blame for the fact that I can’t find them or get them together. They float away ever time I grab onto them, one faster than the other. Before, I knew in my heart with the clothes that it was me who threw them all over the place; there was no one to blame but myself. But my thoughts, I don’t know how I lost them or couldn’t find them or who scattered them. Who are you? Are you reading this? Do you know where my thoughts are? What’s your name? If you told me, I wouldn’t know it. I don’t know who I am myself. When did I start writing this? What is this? Is this a computer? Thoughts, where are you? Who are you? I don’t know. I don’t think you’re ever coming back.

» Posted By rubyluby On 08.12.2016 @ 4:11 pm

structure

There’s a place where you go and they give you things to do all day long. Oil paints and knitting and things like that. These things are done at different times during the day, so that you can fill every minute with something. It’s as though you’re a bunch of water glasses and every one of them has to be filled with something every second of the day. The guess the theory is that if you’re not doing something, you’re not living a normal life, or the right life, or the life you used to. This is why you know the system is fucked to begin with. Because in your old, ordinary, real, normal life, there were minutes, hours when you didn’t have anything to do. You sat there thinking, maybe took a walk, maybe played with your dog or looked through your drawers to find something that you thought you saw there. Mindless things; no thought, just doing them. So already, when people you don’t know who smile a lot because they get paid to smile a lot, when these people come along and try to fill your day with something to do, they’re reminding you that there is nothing normal or even abnormal about the life you’re living now. Because it’s neither. It’s not normal or abnormal or any kind of degree of anything. It just plain isn’t fucking life. Structure. Fracture. Rupture.

» Posted By rubyluby On 08.10.2016 @ 3:55 pm

dating

They were then they weren’t then they were then they weren’t then they were then they weren’t. Stop me if this gets boring. Then they were. And this time, it stuck for awhile. She kept asking herself what the hell their problem was, but it was more him than her. He was the one that wanted to see other people, which is just another way of saying you want to sleep with someone else. You don’t just ‘see’ them and take them to the movies or dinner. It’s not the menu that you want to ‘see.’ It’s the whole person, in bed, and what they can do or can’t do; how they make you feel or not feel. During those times when they were apart, she’d never slept with anyone else; it felt weird, maybe she was old-fashioned or something. Or it was just that no one really interested her that way. He, on the other hand, she was sure had slept with all the women he could get in their times apart. If he had, he still had not found one that was better; just different. This made her think that the next time they broke up (it was inevitable) that she’d do the same thing.

» Posted By rubyluby On 08.05.2016 @ 1:36 pm

involved

Well, were they or weren’t they? This is the thing everyone at the office was talking about. I was one of the people in the ‘they,’ and I have to laugh now. All the speculating, the discussion, the quiet whispers and the ridiculous suppositions. It would have been simple to ask me, I would’ve given the answer right there on the spot if you did. “Yes, we’re very involved. We’re so involved, we may even wind up doing time (in separate cells of course) for how involved we are. As it turned out, let’s just say that I was smart to find him, so I should at least get the credit for that much of the whole thing. But the rest of it? All his idea. I give him full credit. He’s like an artist, he really is. I remember sitting there, in the diner, watching him sketch out the whole thing on a napkin, which he later burned with his cigarette butt in the parking lot. This was before they had cameras everywhere and you could burn something and it was really gone. Now, it’s in the CCTV and they point to it in court and the whole thing is over. But back then, that piece of paper was burned and we were on our way to making more money than either one of us ever dreamed of. He was brilliant. Oh yes. We were involved all right.

» Posted By rubyluby On 07.11.2016 @ 3:32 pm

deity

I believe in one. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m the only human being in NYC that does.
But I feel God. Know there is God. See God’s presence in the world in good ways. Of course, I’ve also met humans who think of themselves as deities. In fact, there’s one running for president right now. We should all bow to him and accept his iron-fisted rule and his proclamations about what is right and wrong, who is good and bad. There is no rhyme or reason to this deity’s commands or pronouncements; whatever feels right at the time is apparently the bible he hands us and expects us to live by. He himself lives by none of the rules he drafts; if he did, then he wouldn’t be drafting rules in the first place. “I don’t like you. You’re toast.” That’s pretty much how this one operates. If you worship at his altar, the best you can hope for is not thanks, but another day of freedom. If you don’t, he’ll look for ways to ruin you, destroy you, put you down, curse you, ridicule your faults or create faults you don’t really have. This is more bully than deity; more gad than God. But being worshipped more each day than any real God. And therein lies the end.

» Posted By rubyluby On 06.21.2016 @ 4:00 pm

jealous

Everything about her is perfect. She sneezes perfect, blinks perfect. Her laugh is contagious, her eyes are dark and beautiful; people look into them and can’t look away. Her hair shines in the sunlight and even when the clouds cover the sun, you see how it shines in the worst light there is. When she dances, it’s like her feet aren’t touching the ground; when you’re with her, people come up to her like they can’t help themselves, they just want to talk to her. You’re like the book or the bag or whatever it is she’s carrying; they look you over for a second then look right back at her and just keep talking to her like you’re not there. She never says anything bad about anyone, so you can’t say anything bad about her. But you do. You sit across from her at the table at school at lunch and wish that you could be her for just one day. What would that be like, to be liked all the time by everybody there is, even your own parents? And you think about all the times they’ve told you in church that this is the worst feeling. To want want someone else has so much that you can’t even look at your own self at all.

» Posted By rubyluby On 06.07.2016 @ 10:57 am

magnolia

If I tripped over a magnolia, I probably wouldn’t know what it was. But if I ran into her on the subway, or outside the deli where she used to sit on the ground and eat the sandwiches she could buy when she scraped enough money together, I would know that Magnolia for sure. She had long string hair that seemed like it hadn’t been washed in years; she assured me once that it hadn’t been when she notice me staring at it, like she was some kind of creature in a zoo. “Yeah, my hair’s pretty bad, but it’s my peeing that’s a real problem.” She used to sit there with a small sign asking for money; when people got to know her better, she got rid of the sign because she felt as though she’d built enough of a following that everyone pretty much knew why she was sitting there every day in dirty old clothes, occasionally smoking a cigarette; it depended on whether or not she could get them, I guess. On the day she told me about the peeing problem, she took me by surprise; I wasn’t expecting her to talk about it. I asked her what was wrong. “They keep telling me I have kidney problems, but shit, what am I supposed to do about that?”

» Posted By rubyluby On 06.02.2016 @ 2:57 pm

chaos

Go down that street, it’s a long one; it runs from one end of town to the other. People in town who make good money don’t live on that street; it’s mostly working class people who prefer living with their own color, religion or as they put it, ‘their own kind.” Now imagine a day when talk rages up and down this street like one of the wildfires out west you read about. Only this fire is being hosed down by the cops in Newark: black people, being the fire. According to the guy that runs the deli, another guy that has a liquor store, cops, teachers, anyone on the street you meet, the chaos that’s going on just thirteen or so miles from town is worse than anything the Russians could be doing to us or the Germans or anything else. They’re rioting in the streets, looting stores, carrying away televisions and God Almighty, what if they actually come up here and start looting our stores? Nobody asks why the cops are using fire hoses to knock people down, and kicking them when they do get knocked down. Nobody wants to know how you can be this desperate; they never ask themselves what they’d do if they couldn’t get a decent education or jobs or even use the same water fountains in some part of the country we live in. Nobody asks that. But when a few of them are gathered in a store where no black person ever is in this white suburb, they watch in black and white tv as people get the shit kicked out of them and ripped into with full-blast water, all black people, and as they huddle around the TV and watch it, there is a strange silent. No running commentary, no ‘they deserve it,’ no ‘good, I hope they die.’ Just silence. And somewhere in there is some glimmer of something. It looks like shame. Is that shame? is it possible that some guilt is here? Maybe that is the beginning of change. Shame for what you are letting other people do to people who just want to be treated like human beings. Maybe chaos is where change begins.

» Posted By rubyluby On 05.18.2016 @ 3:24 pm

tale

I have one to tell you. Sit down over there, in the big chair. The smaller one, I don’t know why I keep it, no one likes sitting in it. Except for one person, who sat in it years ago. Always very straight, like he had a board in his back. Always with his legs apart, never crossed. Always with his coffee carefully balanced on his knee, the saucer sitting there perfectly, exactly the right size for the place where it sat. But this is not the tale I am going to tell you. He is in the tale; he makes up a small part of the story. So perhaps I should begin with how he came to sit in that chair that you should not sit in and when. This was about forty years ago, I think. Time is not something I think about any more. He arrived one day at the front door, peeking in the window to see if anyone was home. I was the only one that could answer the door; how he knew that I was there I couldn’t say. I made no noise or sound, but sat as quietly as I could, trying very hard to will him to leave. I was not supposed to answer the door, I was forbidden to open the door in fact to anyone that I didn’t know or recognize. He fit the bill. So I committed the first crime: I answered his knock. Which somehow I could see, he knew all along I would do.

» Posted By rubyluby On 05.17.2016 @ 3:38 pm

undone

You have a relationship that goes back 50 years. It’s not what most people would call a real relationship; just pieces of time and moments in days; looking at a menu together, walking the aisles of a book store one afternoon; a long night in a cheap room that you had wanted for a long time; not turning out the way you thought it would. Letters written to different places: a seminary, jail, a new house, then gone for a long time afterwards. But the thread always there, you being the one to bend down and pick it up, follow it to wherever it took you. No matter when it was, it did take you and you saw one another again. Different places in life, always surprised. How did we get here? How did you get here? You have a child, I have a child, here we are talking about them, me having a hamburger, you newly vegan. Times and times again; you into one marriage, then another and another, me in the same marriage, you wondering why. No matter any of it, because there was always that thread, sometimes sitting for years at a time, but always there to be picked up and followed, back to the place where we started, restarted and kept starting. But this time, when I went to pick up the thread, because I was always the one to do it, it wasn’t there. You took it away. And I came undone.

» Posted By rubyluby On 05.16.2016 @ 2:47 pm

nourish

it is the thing that every parent needs to do without asking why or questioning if it’s necessary or wondering if it does any good. It isn’t about food or the food groups or whether or not a french fry is worse than fresh leafy vegetables. It’s about what you add to this child’s mind or take away from it. Once I was on an elevator with a woman and her little girl; one of those New York women who want to teach their wealthy daughters how not to behave at an early age, because that set of people come with their own fucked up rules that only they really know about. Her little girl was talking about her life; babbling the way little ones do in a language they understand and we don’t; after all, what we say, God knows how much that sounds like babbling to them. The little girl was holding up a doll with very pink hair and said, “Pinks says it likes to be pink; pink says it’s fun to be pink.” Her mother was not pleased. “Pink doesn’t talk Chloe; pink is a color, not a person. Now put that doll in your backpack; we’re going to be late.” I wanted to say something, almost said something, was dying to say this: Is this just one aberration from how you’re teaching this kid? Or is this the way you teach her every day? Because if it’s the way you’re teaching her every day, well, you’re doing a great job of fucking up her head and taking away her imagination and creativity and playfulness and all the things she showed up on this planet with before you came along, ready to suck them right out of her. Because, you see, I happen to know that pink has lot to say. And your kid’s right, pink is very glad to be pink because it’s prettier and brighter and happier than a lot of other colors. By the way, did you ever happen to ask pink yourself how it felt? Never mind, don’t answer the question. The answer is right there. And one more thing. Pink says fuck you. You don’t know what fun is. And pink will be visiting your daughter some day again, when you’re out at one of those fundraisers where the only way anyone wears or knows pink is if everyone else is wearing or knowing it.

» Posted By rubyluby On 05.12.2016 @ 4:57 pm

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