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Monday, January 30, 2017

Cab Driver for the Apocalypse



 
Cab Driver for the Apocalypse

She’s not a big tipper.  Still, I come when she calls, pick her up all hours of the night and day; corner of Flood and Ark, under the crumbling Four Horsemen Bypass, outside a fall-out shelter with glowing cement walls.  Sometimes she looks like death warmed over: a ragged, stunning specter who holds out her next destination scrawled on a scrap of paper, ink still smoking.  Other times, her blood-red lipstick matches sharpened stilettos and a spangled dress stitched together with jewels mined from the marrow of Sodom and Gomorra. That’s when she tells me, “Keep the engine running, Luce,” in her throaty, plague-soaked whisper, swivels her legs out the door I hold open, brushes my cheek with hers.  My skin sizzles for hours afterwards, like fat over coals. 

No, it’s not about the money – really.  I like knowing she can depend on me to get her from one event to the next.  I make sure my cab is gassed up, back seat vacuumed, tinted windows closed against intrusions by paparazzi and popes.  Once I had this Archangel go all gangsta on me. Asshole tried to slit my tires with his sword! One toss of that pitchfork I keep between the front seats and he’s over in Bumfuck, Idaho getting crucified by that band of Evangelical Survivalists.  Don’t mess with my Apocalypse, you know?

Anyway, it’s been a while since any trouble like that.  Now my job is mostly trying to avoid brimstone pot holes and those zombie rats on I-666.  Jesus but those suckers are hard to scrub off, and the fleas … Between rides, I hang out at The Antichrist, sip whatever brew is on tap, watch Beast show off his latest tattoo.  For an abomination, he’s surprisingly innovative; that scene he calls “Armageddon” covers his whole chest without once repeating itself.  “Not into motifs,” he says, “got enough of that from my undergrad comp course to last a lifetime.”  The guys laugh, even if we have heard that joke before. 

When my phone rings, my day – or night – really begins.  This time it’s a text.  Just three words:   “Sixth and Trump.” 

No idea where that is, but I’ve got a helluva good GPS.  Can’t keep the Apocalypse waiting.

Deborah A. Miranda

Sunday, January 1, 2017

FIFTEEN THINGS





Fifteen Things I Knew for Sure as a Child


    1.     Everyone leaves me; people disappear; loss is normal.
2.     Nothing and nowhere is safe
3.     but somehow kind people exist and I cherish them forever.
4.     Approval of me by those with power is essential to my sense of self-worth.
5.     Love is real but I have trouble figuring out what it looks like or how to hold onto it or why it hurts so much.
6.     I must be doing something wrong; I am wrong,
7.     but I know the taste of compassion and can share it with others.
8.     I cannot protect myself except by isolation; it is not safe to let people into my world; I do not want to depend on anyone, but I do,
9.     so then my pain must be buried alive.
10. Injustice is wrong and I resist giving in to it, silently rooting for underdogs.
11. Scars are shameful reminders of my failure.
12. Never ask for help.  It reveals weakness and vulnerability.
13. God is real and I pray to Him a lot but he never answers. 
14. Anger is bad.  Bad to receive, bad to express.  Avoid anger.
15. Beauty exists; I can recognize it in many forms.  This is a gift.

Fifteen Things I Think I Know for Sure Now

    1.     First, try not to hurt anyone. 
2.     Hold each life in the light of reverence.  Including my own.
3.     When in doubt, apply compassion in the six sacred directions.  And the seventh (inward).
4.     I can’t help anyone unless I put on my own mask first.  Exceptions: actual emergencies involving my beloved, children or grandchildren.
5.     Corollary: Sacrifice mindfully.
6.     It’s important to search for what brings me joy, and practice it;
7.     this includes letting in people who bring me joy.
8.     I often operate out of fear.  Before engaging in any major action, I need to run a fear diagnostic.  Am I doing this out of love, or fear of loss?
9.     Anger is different from violence: “Anger is full of information and energy.” Thank you, Audre Lorde.
10. It’s okay to ask for help.  Choose mentors carefully, though.
11. Scars are beautiful witnesses that testify to my strength and ability to heal, if I let them.
12. Non-negotiable human responsibilities: call out injustice and violence.  Loudly, and repeatedly. Remember,
13. just because I love someone doesn’t mean they get to hurt me. 
14. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “My actions are my only true belongings.”  Change happens;
15. the Universe is a mysterious place.  I can’t know or control much of anything. Sometimes surprise is a good thing.