Friday, March 12, 2010

Following My Heart

Currently listening to: "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" by Elton John.

At the moment, I could really use a cigarette. I don't want one. I don't need one.

But, ultimately, I could really use one.

I'm not all about publishing other people's business. It's not my place. So, I'll try my best to follow my heart here and NOT get anyone else pissed off by saying too much.

I will place "you" or "him" or "he" or "she" or "her" or "it" to the side, and, instead, use the lovely pronoun, "I." Afterall, pronouns are my specialty.

I can't expect to not be helped. I can't expect to not be worried about, especially when I'm not following the best path. I'm following the only way I THINK there is. Why do I think this? Because withering away into nothingness is the way I should live? But there is nothing else for me, is there? That's the most ridiculous way to think, and I need to snap out of it.

I may think I have snapped out of it by doing this or doing that, but I HAVE NOT. They can still see it in my eyes. There is no possible way to place a forcefield around myself without ANYONE noticing.

I am not that good at this. I think I am. But I am not. I am not fine. I can't fake it. I can't be looked in the eyes by all of them and tell them that I am fine and ok and taken care of.

Seriously, who am I kidding?

I ignore pleas. I ignore the hands, thankfully regretting that it's just not me to take them. I will stay here in misery and act as if I am the happiest person alive. Or the happiest person I can be.

This is no way for me to live my life. This seems to be the ongoing theme here. Life really is NOT supposed to be this hard.

I need to stop shoving it all down into the pit of my colon and breathe. Breathe in the air of those who love me. If not, I am sure, that they will all face me at once and I will be in hell. Then I will really have a choice to make.


My mother, Becky, is a little woman. She's blond and everyone finds her pleasant and sweet. She is, usually, until she isn't.

Anyway, my mother loves to say the sayings that get the majority of the population through life. They are predictable and cliche.

Like this one: Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house.

Typical, but it's one that I try to live by and one that I push onto others. If I am to push any message (since we Christians are so well known for doing that), it is this.

There is no time or place for hypocrisy. Don't offer help if you will not accept it when someone offers it to you. Don't love and worry and not expect to be loved and be worried about in return. Life doesn't work that way.

Granted, I may be only "almost" 27, but this I know.

Cut the fucking shit out. It hurts like hell. It hurts me. It hurts everyone that loves you and cares about you.

Don't run from it. Just accept it.

This will make you a hero.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We will start with a poem...

I think I wrote this when I lived on the hill above Beaver Falls, PA. When I had a husband, and he had a lesbian for a wife.


I wonder about the time it will take for children to tell stories about rock salt that transforms into lime over red-bricked pathways to doors we no longer know how to open. It was a trip I had to take. Down blue highways of the Midwest. Into the South where people sing because that’s all they know. I needed to go to places where people sit on porches for a living. I had to see the carbon copy of my life. Different colored eyes. Different voices. To hear the voice so like mine that there was no use in recognizing it. It was time to drive. It was time to let children stare at old ladies. It was time for days to become weeks. Hours into years. To sip a bit of gin. Rock back and forth on the swing. Feel the ridges of a steering wheel. Let muggy wind into my pores.

If there’s a story in it. Maybe I’ll find it. Maybe I’ll find out about nature. Sleek pavement, potholes, dead trees growing higher. Maybe I’ll find my story traveling fifty miles over the speed limit watching grandmas shake their heads and mothers running, screaming from front doors.

Oh, how the look of God’s eyes frightens the hell out of me.

There are no names in this untold story. There couldn’t be. No characters in time. No protagonist nor antagonist nor round nor flat nor sound. Writers are too generous to themselves when they create people out of reality. Writers are really too self-involved to not put something of themselves in each character. Maybe this is just a poet’s epiphany, but every character has a characteristic of you, of him, of her, of me. Maybe not the dog, but maybe not the cat either. That is why this story must be about place. Every story must be about place. The place I never see. Writing only what I think I know. My other reality. And then I bleed.

I wanted my next book to be a political one about that fucking male-dominated Texan. Maybe I just need to write a little shit before I take a drive down the interstate. I’ll stop in Lexington, Birmingham, Little Rock, what’s left of New Orleans. Still big cities. What I need to get the fuck away from. I want to see houses without siding. Torn paint. A 90-year-old black woman wrinkled by sweat. Letting the imitation-Chinese fan rub away at her eyes. Her butt sticking to the splinters of a wooden step.

Then there are dirt roads. Dust, I think. Not quite sand. Never soil. Lots of rock.

I get thirsty on Saturdays. There’s enough tea to go around. Where has all the bourbon gone?

I’ve seen Kentucky. No blue grass. Merely tinted by sun. I went there once with a friend of mine to become one with horses at Churchhill Downs, but I thought I was to write about places I do not know. Like the inside of a Utah polygamist’s home. I was supposed to read Kerouac’s On the Road for a college class. I never got past the first chapter.

There’s nothing in middle earth they tell us. I don’t even know what my neighbors look like. Twenty feet away on both sides. I hear them whistling, fighting on the grass sidewalk outside my home.

Sequence is for the talented. Dismay is for the real. Imagination is for all the little children of the world.

So I must write poetry. If nothing else. A poet can sing all she likes in air meant for men to breathe. But this is not to be a feminist monologue. A-sexuality is the key to my existence and cliché runs the world.

Seven is a scary number. Even the roman numeral of it creates turmoil. The big V belittled by two, skinnier, vertical slashes. Slash one, slash two. Come get me V. For I’ve taken your children out from under your skin. Your womb embeds itself into mounds of salt.

I stop at a diner where they serve poached eggs and greasy toast. Gallons of coffee sucked by men in dirty baseball caps. A sticky, red, plastic stool with a rusted stem. Oils spread over a black oven top caked with singed pig’s fat. A young child. A boy. A girl. It looks to be something more than that. Brown hair cut just below ears, sleepies in corners of eyes, blue mesh shorts, orange juice stain on a white t-shirt. It eats a bowl of cereal and stares at its mother smoking a cigarette. I look down at my eggs over-easy, sausage patty, cup of tea. The child eats marshmallows. I wish for Captain Crunch.

I leave my plate untouched. It’s arrangement too delicate for a water-washed fork. Cautiously squeaking the stool around, I find rest for my feet on soiled tile. White beneath stains of nicotine and bacon sweat. The child looks over at me. I cannot smile. Its face has highways written all over it. Its stare like pupil-covered eyes. It raises its left hand while mother reads The Star.

The child is great with letters. The child lips the number of soggy marshmallows left it the bowl. I slam a glass door on a brick wall and sprint to my Chevy.

What are we to do when clouds move that fast when the body of a dead doe drowns in a God made puddle on the interstate. Her head submerged her body and hinde legs disgraced by hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline. Archery season brings out the dead more so than rifle season. It’s harder to shoot when a bow’s off target. It’s harder to pull that string. It’s harder to pierce the soul of earth with an arrow.

Then we mark our spot.

~A.P. Greco

Listenting to: "Kostantine" - Andrew McMahon

"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." - Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

It's not dramatic. It really isn't. To say that the end is what matters most, that is dramatic. Because the end, essentially, is death.

What you look back on at the end is what you took for granted. Then it's too fucking late.

Ok, let me stop being so dramatic and bring it down to something personal, something smaller. I have three main goals in life (and they are in no particular order): 1. Publish; 2. Teach; 3. Have a family.

I have done all three, in one way or another. I have "sorta" published. I have "sorta" teached. I have "sorta" had a famiy.

So, I'm not completely there yet. I have not published any of my finished books or chapbooks. I do not have a full-time teaching gig. I have a family, but I'm not married, am not raising a child that is, essentially, my own with my partner, and I do not own a home, and so on and so on.

There are all these end goals that I have. All of these things that, sometimes, I wish I could just snap my fingers and they all become true in an instant.

That's not how life works, and it shouldn't work that way. Here are the things that I know.

I am not a full-time teacher because I chose my writing before my "career." I am not published because I then focused on "work and money" before my craft. And, I chose the wrong people to begin relationships with in my past.

Here's what else I know, I'm GLAD I did all of these things. This is called living. I haven't wasted anytime. No one wastes their time. It's life. One day. Then the next. And then the next.

The only thing that has changed for me is that now I am completely focused on all three of my goals. And, instead of following impulse, I am following my heart. Instead of going right or left, I'm headed forward.

And guess what, I'm still going to do everything I can to enjoy every single minute of it. Even if you believe in reincarnation, we really only get one conscious chance at this gig.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This way on me.

Today is day 4 without a cigarette. I have yet to have a really intense craving. That's probably because I am not currently stressing. Or, quite possibly, smoking would mean that I have failed to control an impulse. I don't want to be controlled by something like that. Nope. Not me. Not any fucking more.

One thing that keeps going over and over in my head is something Julia said to me last week. Of course, I'm horrible at remembering anything verbatum (im?). To paraphrase, though, she said that it's going to get harder and harder to quit smoking, to quit addictions, to change habits and behaviors the older I get. She, herself, is going through issues and wishes she could go back 10 years and slap herself silly.

Instead, she gets to slap me silly (which I think she may enjoy, and, I can't lie, I like it too).

It's true, though. I'm leaving cigarettes behind me. They are part of the life I don't want to have in my late twenties. I'm going to be 27 in a little over a month. I have a family. I have cats and dogs. It's time to grow up. It's time to set aside the vices of a young adult and get on with getting on.

The thing is...

I can have fun without cigarettes. I can have fun without getting hammered every Friday and Saturday night. I can have fun without the five new pairs of skater shoes very six months.

The other day I had a blast sword fighting and kicking the soccer ball in the yard with Mas. It was a fucking blast.

I have found, for myself, that it's not so much about the distractions being distractions, but that the distractions actually turn into a way of life. A happiness I didn't know before because I was too busy puffing away at tobacco or rationalizing why I bought a three hundred dollar bike.

Do what feels right. It's harder than one might think, but it's also the easiest thing in the world to do.

And, baby, I'm with you. Right now. Forever. Hold tight. We have a long (and sometimes shitty) road ahead of us. Lean, baby. Just lean.


Friday, March 5, 2010