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Some Post Food Coma Musings

If there is such a thing as a Thanksgiving Grinch, that’s me. I’m a vegetarian who can’t not dwell on the heinous atrocities inflicted on the indigenous populations by the colonial settlers and this wrong-headed holiday’s literal whitewashing of history.

I find the excessive consumption of animals stuffed in animals stuffed with bread in the name of gratitude confusing at best, if not the perfect metaphor for the U.S. obsession with consumption. I don’t mind watching football with my family and friends, however, I can’t stop thinking about how it is a sport that objectifies the bodies of men of color and the lower classes who see athletics as their only way to get the “American dream” because they are educationally marginalized (I do not say this during the games though). These men also end up with debilitating brain trauma and pill-addicting chronic pain which later has shown to manifest in depression and domestic abuse. I’m not a total hater though—I am a huge fan of eating carb-heavy side dishes and dessert.

I’ll take any excuse to drink wine and hang out with family and friends. I also enjoy making construction paper turkeys

Yes, this is really in our house. Wait until next month when Young Goodman Rathbone is dressed in his winter solstice finery.

and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I even engage with the commercial side of things by slowly looking through the fat, ad-laden Thanksgiving newspaper. I have never gone out for Black Friday (and never plan to), but think it’s fun to see what toys are en vogue and if there might still be boots for sale in a couple weeks when I dare to venture near a store. All that being said, I do appreciate the whole let’s-be-grateful part. My partner is naturally disposed to this kind of positivity, but I’m less the glass is half full and more like “what the hell is in this glass and why did they put it there?!” Life has—and it has for us all in varying degrees—been tough, and this year was no exception. Even ignoring all the political strife, the fear for women’s health care and civil rights, trying to maintain basic human rights for people of color (particularly Black Americans and Latinxs), the uncertainty of health care and taxes, within about 13 and half months, I lost two of my most beloved family members, one to cancer and one to a chronic illness . My other family members have had a slew of health problems, some requiring surgeries and being home bound. So many people I know have employment issues, whether its unemployment, underemployment, or employment insecurity, and money seems to be extra tight for a lot of people this year. Despite all this though, I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, personally and professionally. I have an intelligent, funny, loving partner, both of my parents are still alive, as are my 90 and 89 year old paternal grandparents and a 100 year old step-grandmother. Though I am still deep in grief, I know that it was a privileged to have such wonderful, loving, hilarious, sweet little four-legged-fur-family with whom to share the majority of my adult life up to this point. And this year professionally, one of my writer dreams came true—my first full-length poetry collection was published. My desire to share art and bring visibility to my community is something that has always felt too egotistical to say out loud, but also something I’ve wanted and worked hard for. “Are you going to talk about it, or do it?” is a cultural attitude that has been good for me to keep in mind, however, what I’ve come to find out is that once you do it, you better damn well talk about it, or you might as well have left that writing in your diary. So, in the spirit of gratitude, here is a list of professional things that I’m thankful for this year:

1. The publication of Hands That Break & Scar (HTB&S): I love the cover, I love my press, I love the fun square shape and how it peeks out on a bookshelf, like “hey, homie, you wanna read me?”

2. The blurbs on the back from poets that I deeply admire. Writing blurbs can be time consuming and a lot to ask for and there's wonderful poets--ire'ne lara silva , Corrine Hales , & Jose Gonzalez --were very kind & generous.

3. The money the pre-sales of HTB&S raised for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. You know they’re busy & I'm proud I and my writing were even a small part of supporting the cause!

4. The lovely first review of HTB&S by Reyes Ramirez which came out in Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

5. The very nice article written by Dave Lavender in The Herald Dispatch (though I hate that reading picture in the scroll. That was from a Take Back the Night reading 3 years ago. Those readings are always really emotional and I clearly had done something weird with my hair . . .)

6. And all the readings I have gotten to do! This has been one of my favorite parts of the book coming out. I love listening to other writers reading their work and I love traveling; so if I get to do those two things and share a little of my own writing, that is a win-win. I got to read at a Halloween-themed reading which was stupid-fun, I got to read with a dear colleague and friend, and a badass artist friend who says I’m her spirit animal helped throw me a lovely book launch while launching a new art walk for the community.

Fancy perspective photo courtesy of Daniel Lewis
First Village Art Walk in Barboursville, WV

Post reading celebration!
Forrest Roth at Taylor Books in Charleston, WV
This witch was the reading/music fest/film screening MC
Yep, this awesome reading was in a barn at Firefly Farms & yes, I am wearing pig ears. You can't see my tail and my cape had broken at that stage of the evening.

I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting, but I think this is a pretty solid list and it’ll be fun to remember other people/places/events, etc. as they pop up. Feel free to leave your own professional and/or personal reasons to give thanks in the comments. I would love to see what has been a little light in your darkness. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! And remember to be thankful for the people (*cough* Migrant workers/ farm workers *cough*) who work in the slaughter houses and who pick, pack, and drive all that produce. Without them, there wouldn’t be so much delightful, U.S.-style gorging.

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Quote of the Moment

“Swearing was invented as a compromise between running away and fighting.” 

― Peter Finley Dunne



“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” 
― Charles Bukowski

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