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To My Sisters

When you dressed today, did you think about the person you set about to display?
Did you style your hair and paint your eyes, cheeks and mouth to accentuate your face?
Did you choose colors to compliment your mood?
Is there a reason you wore that low-cut blouse when you don’t like anyone looking at your breasts?
Why do you showoff your neck and arms, legs and feet? Or don’t you?
Do you hide from public display, hoping no one will see you now or ever?
No matter how you dress, somebody is going to notice you.
Be true.

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Stroking

Long ago she told him, “Do not stroke your pants in public.”

“Such a naive-style-sciatica-subtlety of the secular
in light of the frowned upon
just knocks down rum to beer.”

“Do not lap with sexy neighbors or midwives in the shower.
Fondling and forking flesh merely reduce the syllables of orgasms
to bite hard the tip of your tongue.”

“Why do you find it necessary to look ridiculous?
It is ugly to give birth to a connoisseur of his handkerchief
watching cool climate ladies in the parade topping their vodka
to local partners stroking it in the grip.
Not everything about sex should express the secrets of treasured lines.
Treasure your secrets.
Don’t knock down your rum to beer.”

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How I Became a Computer Whore

In conjunction with May being Masturbation Month, I share with you this little known fact about myself.

I discovered the computer world when I turned 9 in November of 1989. It was during my birthday that I overheard an uncle talk about his computer and the World Wide Web. Earlier that year, some science guy named Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Switzerland, invented a way for computer geeks like my uncle to share information to other computer geeks like my uncle. He was the oddball relative (think of the Big Bang TV show) who was quiet, never married, and always had a faraway look in his eyes, more so when he was at his computers or with his geeky friends. His “crew” was mostly scientists and mathematicians, and many of them went on to become celebrated for writing and developing GUI versions of the Web for emerging browsers.

At the time, I had no idea what any of this meant and I wasn’t sure what a computer really was until my uncle gave us his ’85 Commodore Amiga. It had a single 880 KB 3.5-inch disk drive and 256 KB of RAM, which meant little to me, but it made him grin and lose that faraway lost-in-space look. Happily, he wrote programs and set up math problems for me to solve. And he showed me how to write my own programs. I was probably the only fourth grader who knew how to write BASIC equations. But unlike my uncle, I didn’t see why having a computer in the den was anything to get excited about other than playing video games. For me, the computer was a curio and nothing more.

That summer I flew with my mother to Pennsylvania to visit relatives for a month. For shits and grins, a cousin and I took a two-week children’s workshop in art sponsored by a local college. Right away, our teacher was handsome and I swooned hard enough that I could not pay attention in class. Eventually, I returned to earth and he soon kindled in me an interest in art and photography, which led me to a bookstore where I nagged my mom to buy me a half-dozen art books. She made me choose two and put the rest back. While I did, I bumped into a handsome boy carrying a computer book that featured the Amiga sitting back home.

“I have that computer.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. My uncle works for a computer company. He knows all about computers.”

I’m certain it was a hormonal thing kick started by my curiosity about a handsome art teacher, but it was a real turn-on to see how much I’d impressed that boy as I bragged about my uncle. I may have had my first orgasm while I boasted that my uncle was developing a platform for hypertext.

“Ooh is right,” I thought when Bobby and I exchanged names, addresses and phone numbers. I left that bookstore with wet pants and two books about computers that would change my life forever.

Back home in California, my school was slow at jumping on my computer-crazed bandwagon, so I nagged my uncle to teach me everything he knew about computers. He didn’t, of course. I mean, after all, who wants to talk about work when they’re visiting their sister for some R and R? But I was persistent, so he hooked us to a Modem and introduced me to Usenet. From other users, I learned more about computers every day while I visited the “Big 8” worldwide newsgroups from 6pm to 8pm. It was there that I discovered alt.binaries and a world of illegally distributed commercial software, copyrighted media, and obscene material easily accessible to my preteen fingers and eyes.

Ooh is right.

I was 12 when weekends alone in the house and on the computer became my life. I wrote my own porn, introduced my fingers to my vagina (who became best friends and lovers), and entered a world of cybersex until my mother caught me and monitored all my computer activity.

I continued to write and watch porn in private and at friends’ houses, and I lived two cyber lives: the good girl who only used the computer to do homework, and the cyber vixen who, along with other girls, practiced safe sex on the Internet.

Whichever side of the issue you stand, I’m pretty sure I remained a real-life virgin much longer than if my uncle had chosen a different career.

And I know there are other women like me … and men, too … whose computers run their work and home life, and remain a masturbation tool.

So, in celebration of this special month, let me get undressed, comfortably spread on my bed, and type a certain alt.binaries address into my web browser. Then hit enter and….

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John and My Mother

He died before I was born
But still she comes to his picture
Still she comes and weeps to his songs.

She weeps to know he’s at a standstill
Her grief rises from the icy depths of our dying planet
Her tears fall from a broken sky at the threshold of her own dark doorway destination.

And still she comes to his pictures
A sugar child believing all we need is love to put El Dorado back together again
But sugar children, like dreams, dissolve in the global acid hatred raining hard down on us.

But still she comes
And I lie empty and cold in the pouring rain of tomorrow
Listening to the steady rise and cries of her release.

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July 31, 2007: “A Story, Chapter 1”

Current mood: relaxed; currently listening to: Liz Phair by Liz Phair.

Editor’s note #1: I wrote this many years ago, one of my several attempts at story writing while I was a teenager at a now defunct writers website in vogue when Bill Clinton was elected U.S. President. I often collaborated with other writers, all of us taking turns adding chapters to group stories. One of the writers, Steven L Campbell (a wonderful writer/artist here at WordPress) collaborated with me to get the first chapter off the ground, so he has given me permission to post his parts of the story.

Editor’s note #2: As with all fiction, any name or place resembling real people and places is purely coincidental.

It was summer in southern California. A glaring July sun and a storm over the green Pacific had turned the morning air humid. Inside the air-conditioned U-Haul truck filled with our belongings, I rode with my mother away from our hometown. My heart felt uprooted from home and severed from friends. The thought of living in a new neighborhood filled with strangers pestered me. I didn’t want to make new friends; it had taken me fifteen years to make the best of the ones I was leaving.

I complained under my breath at an intersection next to a discolored brick tavern called Joe’s Pub. The pub’s grungy windows sported neon signs that advertised a variety of beer inside. In the window closest to me, a black sign with white letters announced fifty-cent wings on Friday nights. Next to that window, a steel door opened and an old, sickly man in a greasy Army jacket stepped out. He looked at me, spat brown tobacco juice on the gray and chipped sidewalk, and grinned a toothless smile before hitching his pants closer to his chest and staggering away toward a brown-green mass of crumbling earth and shabby looking stores and houses. Many of the places had FOR SALE signs nailed on them or posted in their narrow front yards.

The ancient traffic light gave my mother permission to continue our leave. She tore across a set of bone jarring railroad tracks before she slowed to a crawl over the remaining five sets, careful not to rattle anymore dishes in the back of the U-Haul. Still, the truck dipped and swayed while we passed a defunct steel making factory on both sides of us. Broken windows revealed families of seagulls inside, and several took flight away from the old steel structure whose outer walls had been spray-painted with a flame-colored mess of names and obscenities true to California. The street art reminded me of the finger paintings I did when I was a child at Jefferson Elementary—an old and tired building that the school board was eager to discard for a new and modern building next year. I wondered if old Jefferson would meet with the same fate as the broken down factory we finally put behind us.

Clearfield was old and Clearfield was dying, and part of me wanted to stay. Clearfield had been the only home for me. My cell phone alerted me to a new goodbye message from my best friend Anna. We messaged each other the same farewells that we had already said in person. Then she was gone after a “GG” and a quick “I <3 U.”

“I love you too,” I whispered.

My heart tugged me into tears, which I turned from mother who hurried us to the interstate, then faster past beaches filled with sunbathers. I wiped away my tears and recalled pleasant times at the beach with Anna and friends. I may have smiled once or twice during the fifty-mile drive before mother left the interstate and drove through downtown Pinewood, a flat, short conglomeration of sand-colored brick and cement stores that nestled against each other like lovers, selling everything from fast food to used cars. Thrift shops and discount stores were busy with elderly shoppers wearing lots of white and khaki. Everything looked bright and new, even the potted flowers that lined both sides of the street.

We turned right and crossed a cement bridge above a wide, shallow fording called Pine Creek. On the other side, we passed giant bric-a-brac houses that looked like they had been designed by Beverly Hills architects, and cars and SUVs in large black-topped driveways that looked brighter and newer than the ones downtown. Then, outside my window, a sprawling single story brick and glass building came into view.

“My alma mater,” mother said, pointing to the tan colored high school where I would begin classes next month. She beamed and gushed how happy her life had been all those years ago, and I heard again how nervous and excited she was to be teaching there. She had campaigned long to become a teacher there, practically calling the Pinewood school board every month to update her curriculum vitae. And now, after ten years, she was living her dream.

“This is what diligence and hard work can get you,” she said to me as she pulled into the paved driveway of 197 Franklin Street. The Victorian brownstone house was smaller than the other houses in the neighborhood, but it looked miles larger than the house we had left behind.

I stared and wondered for a moment if I were dreaming.

“Welcome to our new home,” mother said, grinning at the house.

Our new home was beautiful with its stone and ivy walls and its well-trimmed hedges and manicured lawn. One could easily fall in love with the place, if they wanted to.

And that was the problem. I didn’t want to fall in love with the house, or mother’s alma mater, or even Pinewood itself. I wanted to return to Clearfield and all its dying factories and neighborhoods. Because nestled within its decay were everyone I had ever known. And none of them were here.

I, a stranger in a strange place, looked out my window and felt more alone than I had on the day my father died.

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November 10, 2009: “A Macroscopic Death (Told to the Blind)”

Faces fading like new literature, soft and pale, sink into the quicksand of poverty. Their government turned their dollars into pennies. One hundred George Washingtons won’t buy a fistfight today. But a hundred Ben Franklins can get you murdered … Franklin kicks Washington’s ass every time.

But whose city park does big Ben stand in? Philadelphia? Tiananmen Square? DC? — Where the crackle of old flesh inside the White House grows loud above the vomiting whispers from a Chinese whorehouse fronting the CCP, UN and WTO.

Oblivious, Washington’s carved face remains proud and noble in his green erection where he stands alone in the town park I sit at. Alabaster pigeon poop covers his broad shoulders. Cell phones twitter at his feet with news that does not educate; a horror brought about by the theft of a billion gold Franklins when our infected financiers sold America at the First World War for a hero’s seat at Versailles.

Washington died the day Franklin was fitted as bridegroom for the multiple marriage of our country to the World Bank, to OPEC, to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, to the World Economic Forum, to the World Council of Churches, to the World Health Organization, for unity by assimilation for control by one government worldwide.

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July 24, 2007: “Going Home”

Less than a month ago, I was having difficulty dealing with the fact that I’d be going home and seeing my mom for the first time in almost 10 years. What were we going to talk about? Everything we ever discussed turned into a power struggle of how she was “Mom, Authority Figure” and how I should have listened to her when I was younger, that Daddy, had he not died, would have kept me in line.

Yep, I’m headstrong. Yep, I make my own decisions without consulting her. Yep, I’ve made mistakes. But damn it, I’ve made some wise choices, too, like moving to New York and finishing college and falling in love with my girlfriend.

Ooh. How was I going to tell her that I’d had sex with other women?

For that matter, would it be wise to tell her that I’d slept with a professor at college? Or that I’d become Wiccan, which flies in the face of her Catholic upbringing?

But she knew that. She reads my blog.

So, when we met at the airport, I treated her like a stranger and pretended she was someone I’d just met and wanted to know better. I asked her who she was, what music and TV shows and movies she likes, and what makes her laugh and cry. I spent the whole time asking questions and getting to know her. Before we said goodnight, I hugged her and said, “You may not approve of who I am or what I’ve done over the years, but I have never stopped loving you.”

She cried and so did I. We talked well into the night, sharing moments and feelings. And I never let her forget how much I love her. I was honest and frank, and she disapproved of some of the things I told her, but she listened without a lot of disapproving comment.

I saw her in a new light … a good light. <3

However, when walking on eggshells, you’re bound to break a few. She and I got into a long conversation about the woman I’ve become (how I perceive myself) and how I perceive how others see me. We both agreed that my family and friends (and “friends” on MySpace) perceive me as sexually promiscuous, which I have no problem with. I am promiscuous. But I practice safe promiscuity. (I cocoon myself in plastic wrap during sex and emerge as a new creature after I come.)

But seriously, my mom felt, and feels, that it’s wrong for me to have sex with other women. It goes against her Catholic eruditeness, that stifling bullheadedness that says sex can be nothing other than Male + Female. My Female + Female sex life rubs not only the grain of western religious teachings, but the very fabric of nature. Male + Female = children, born naturally. Anything else equals zero—no sum, no revenue, no natural bi-product deemed glorious in the eyes of her god.

I argued (nicely), however, that even though the joining of woman to woman is not the Male + Female = children equation, our togetherness is more than being nature’s machines and producing offspring.

“You’re talking about love,” mom said, finally understanding.

“I’m talking about a relationship that defines the very phrase: We’re in love,” I told her.

“And you’re happy?”

“Yes.”

Mom was quiet. Then: “You shouldn’t post your sexual affairs on the Web.”

Perhaps not. She fears that my posting my sexual status at MySpace and other social sites is going to prompt perverted men and women to contact me, thus risking my safety.

Furthermore, she worries that I could meet up in real life with some stranger who is a rapist, a serial killer, a member of congress. Hell, that’s everyday life outside our homes. Who knows what the next person off the street is going to do? But I’ve learned that it’s a small percentage of true-to-the-heart criminals walking the streets or spending hours on the Internet, despite all those armchair psychologists on Oprah and Murray, or the slew of suspenseful TV movies saying otherwise.

Still, I’m an anonymous Webster when it comes to dealing with strangers. I am female, which raises the risk of being accosted by a ne’er-do-well. I have blonde hair, which raises that risk even higher. But I grew up in sailor-filled San Diego before moving to that crusty hub called New York City. I know how to defend myself. And I am bisexual, which means I’ve played on both sides of the track. I can usually spot trouble heading my way long before it arrives, penis or no penis in their pants.

Still, my bisexuality causes my mom to worry how family perceives me. Or worse, they may admonish her for failing to bring me up right. To that, I say, “Tell them to mind their own business.”

“But what if your future husband finds out that you’ve had sex with other girls?” she asks.

Well, I tell her, so what? If he—and who’s to say he will be a he—is intelligent, after I tell him myself, he’ll love me for who I am, who I was, and who I’ll be as we foster an honest and meaningful relationship together.

I’m not the first to walk this road and I’ll certainly not be the last, but while I travel through life, I’ll go as an honest, happy person and not worry what someone else has labeled me.