On Not Flying to Hawaii

I could be the waitress
in the airport restaurant
full of tired cigarette smoke and unseeing tourists.
I could turn into the never-noticed landscape
hanging identically in all the booths
or the customer behind the Chronicle
who has been giving advice
about stock portfolios for forty years. I could be his mortal weariness,
his discarded sports section, his smoldering ashtray.

I could be the 70-year-old woman who has never seen Hawaii,
touching her red lipstick and sprayed hair.
I could enter the linen dress
that poofs around her body like a bridesmaid,
or become her gay son
sitting opposite her, stirring another sugar
into his coffee for lack of something true to say.
I could be the reincarnated soul of the composer
of the Muzak that plays relentlessly overhead,
or the factory worker who wove this fake Oriental carpet,
or the hushed shoes of the busboy.

But I don't want to be the life of anything in this pitstop.
I want to go to Hawaii, the wet, hot
impossible place in my heart that knows just what it desires.
I want money, I want candy.
I want sweet ukelele music and birds who drop from the sky.
I want to be the volcano who lavishes
her boiling rock soup love on everyone,
and I want to be the lover
of volcanos, who loves best what burns her as it flows.

Alison Luterman



Josh Billings
There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.

I've always been a bit of a weak hearted individual. I tend to let people walk all over me, and I don't stand up for myself. It's one of the more serious flaws that I have and recognize. It's also something that I am always trying to work on. But recently I was faced with a situation that I thought would never happen. I was given the chance to come face to face again, with a man who broke my heart.

I know, I know, everyone gets their heart broken in life. It mends and we move on. This was a situation that never seemed to be resolved, no matter how how I tried to reach closure. At first, there was the confusion at why he had simply thrown me out of his life without even a goodbye, or an "I don't love you anymore". Once I got over the confusion, I accepted that I would always obsess over the unanswered "why's". I came up with many possibilities for why he made those decisions. I filed through all the lies in my head and tried to find a reason for each one. There were the ones that I knew to likely be the truth as to why he gave up on me, and then there were the more dramatic "he must have just be out of his mind.." conclusions.

It wasn't until I finally found out that he had been unfaithful to me for over a year, leading a double life as I saw it, that I learned how to hate him. And damn did I do a good job at that. I would sit and think of ways that I would like to hurt him, or ruin his current relationship by passing on the lies that I had been told. But I kept most of it to myself, and realized that he would always be "the asshole" and hopefully if kharma worked out right, would be miserable for the rest of his life.

This hatred of him brought me to a final resting point where I learned more about myself and what I wanted from my life and the people that I allowed in it. I moved on and finally became content with my life again. I started to work on myself and set goals, most that I have been able to achieve. As I moved on, that hatred started to fade into pity. Pity at what he had given up in us and pity at how he could have become such a despicable person. It scared me that I thought I could know a person so much, only to find out that I possibly didn't know them at all. I knew at this point that it would be a long time before I could call myself anything but jaded. I swore that loyalty, love, and trust had gotten me no where in life, so what was the point of any of it. I became stronger with this scorn.

Then there came a point a few months ago when I was faced with the opportunity to contact him. Instantly I felt a panic. What would I say? Would I ask the questions I had wanted to answer? But that all faded when I realized that he couldn't hurt me anymore. He had been my best friend, then my lover, and my enemy. I could come full circle.

That phone conversation was strange for me. It was comforting to know that I could talk to him, and carry on a conversation as a friend. I didn't have to feel anything anymore when I thought about him. I also learned that he had changed. Perhaps this experience had made him a different person as well. In my mind, I hope that it was the guilt that affected him. But he had evidently become a more responsible and grounded person. And strangely enough, a person I didn't know as well. That in itself, for some reason, was comforting. Maybe because it helped me to believe that the person that had made the conscience decision to hurt me, didn't exist anymore.

Recently I was faced with a moment that I never thought would really happen. He was coming to visit me. Before I knew it, I was questioning myself. Why was he coming to see me? Why was I allowing him to visit me? Did this person deserve to have that much of a place in my life any longer? And even though I felt that I didn't owe anyone an explanation, I found myself trying to explain to people. But the explanations never seemed to make sense. Why was I giving this person another chance to be a part of my life again?

When he arrived in town I was still doubtful. Would I be able to look at him and not think back to the last time I saw him, and the feelings that I had at that time? And that's when I realized that I needed to forgive him. I needed to allow him and more so, myself, the ability to say, "I forgive you." This ability to forgive Ihas changed me even further. I realized that he is not the same person that I fell in love with, that both of our lives have changed, and yes, there were reasons that we were not meant to be together. I was able to look at him as my friend. There were awkward moments when I wanted to blow it all out and ask all the questions that I deserved answers to, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to go back to those moments. It wasn't until later that it hit me. It occured to me that he was aware of the pain he had caused me, and that maybe, just maybe, he had been in pain, too. By forgiving him, I was helping us both obtain that needed closure.

Later on, I was able to ask questions and I finally heard the truth. As much as it was probably hard for him to find the words to admit to why he had made the decisions he did, I think it might have been a bit of a release for him as well. And once I heard those answers, and I was able to acknowledge these reasons, it was over. I felt relief. Relief that I didn't really ever think could have existed.

This has been a lesson to me; a long lesson, but one that has made me the person that I am today. And through it all, I have made a new friend. Someone that has made me feel the best and the worst that my life has had to offer me to this point. There is strength in forgiveness, there is relief at letting go of hatred. I hope that my forgiveness has strengthened him as a person as well. And now when I think of him, I can know that I wasn't a bad judge of character in choosing him. He was just placed in my life to help make me a better person.

Why I Hate Women....

I've always been one to shy away from having women as friends.
It was in high school that I noticed that always ended up with a numerous amount of boysas friends. At the time I really didn't think about it too much. I mean, I enjoyed all the things that most girls enjoy, such as makeup, fashion, talking about boys, etc. But for some reason, I just seemed to be more at ease and comfortable with the boys. They weren't shy to talk honestly around me. It was this honesty that gave me trust in them. It was neither uncommon for a large amount of vulgar words to be used. (Perhaps this is the cause of my sailor mouth today.) The guys never turned their back on me either. They were always there talk to, hang out with, give advice to, or shoot pool and vodka. It always seemed to be the girls that you had to watch out for. It was a job trying to keep in line "who was mad at who", "who was dating who's ex-boyfriend", and "this is why you can't talk to her anymore'.

It wasn't until college, after having several female roommates that I realized one of the problems that I had with women. We hold everything in until the most inoportune moment to release it all on a hell bent tyrade of bitch. I would watch as my roommate would allow her boyfriend to consume my food without asking, as she filled five trash bags in a weekend and then let them sit in the kitchen rotting, or borrowed my clothes without asking, only to wear them in front of me. Then I would unleash one of these tyrades myself. It was then that I figured it out. The reason I was more comfortable with the guys, was because they actually told you what was on their mind. If something bothered them, they let you know. It wasn't awkward, but rather honest. And then it was over, resolved. There were no late night phone calls bitching about things to be pissed about and how SOMEDAY we would let them know what we really thought. There were also all the perks of having a guys as friends. There was always someone around the help you fix something, finish off the leftovers, tell you the truth about how fat your ass looked in a pair of jeans, or how beautiful you looked when you were still wearing pajamas from yesterday.

But now there has come a time in my life where I have reached an all new level of hatred. Up until this point I have simply avoided befriending women before I could determine their level of bitch. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of good friends who are girls that I would trust with my life. But I was cautious in befriending them. Recently though I have come across the new category of woman. Those who are threatened.

I am typically one of those people who is anything but impolite until you give me reason to be. This is completely unlike the women who I have been unlucky enough to meet in the past few weeks. I recently started working at my good friend's wine shop. During wine tastings I help with sales and basic customer service. At the past few wine tastings, I have been privledged enough to be engaged with this new type of rude woman. I have been given nasty stares, had my job degraded, doors slammed in my face, and watched as they prance by in heels without simple hello, or how are you doing. What causes this? At the age of twenty-nine are we really in competition? And if we are competing, what exactly are we competing for? Please let me know so I can prepare and strategize. And until I am told of what the competition is about, please don't look at my comfortable flip flops and think that you have "beat me" in your black leather stilettos. I'll still be able to walk tomorrow. And if my shirt has become dusty from physical work that I have engaged in, please don't point it out to me, I promise I'm aware of this and really could not give a damn. I do not point out the obvious flaws that I see in you.

I feel as though these women are trying to take me over to the dark side. They are trying to get me to enter in on the competition with them. Join in on their race to this unknown happiness. Now I'm forced to reason over whether I should keep my mouth shut and let them be who they are, or perhaps finally gain enough courage to speak up and teach her a lesson on being human.


This is the voice of my body.

She takes me for granted. Sometimes I want to give up on her. Give her a scare and make her aware of me.

She preaches about being healthy, only giving me the things I need. Taking away the toxins that make my work so much harder. The alcohol and the smoke that fills my lungs. And just when she thinks she has me tamed with green vegetables and lean meat, I retaliate on her and ask her for grease and sugar. I store it then as a reminder to her of the power that I have over her.

I have so much potential for her, things to give her, but she doesn't want to listen to me. The only time of day that I have her full attention is at night, when she rests. It's then that I talk to her, that I use her brain and her heart to tell her about all the things we could do, all the things that are waiting for us in life. She likes to listen to her heart. The poetry that he sings to her of love and loss. Reassuring and soothing her as he pumps steadily inside me. It's he that she loves, making promises to me and herself.

And then there's the children, the little dreams I hold inside of her, waiting for the right moment to release them into truth. I know their names and what they'll look like. I will help to create them, nuture them, let them grown inside of me, taking the full brunt of the pain. Only to release them into her hands to care for. Again, she will forget this.

She takes me for granted.


good weather for makin love or housecleanin. months ago i realized that dating is a middle class masochistic ritual- a pre-marriage sales pitch. since then i been straightenin up instead of gettin busy. meaning i got flowers in the vase, words flowing like milk and honey to the page, and a big empty bed that's been shook free of every knucklehead i ever convinced to be with me. in the meantime, i pass you by ignore the twinkle of familiar in your eye. i keep time, a solitary internal rhyme that's mine, mine only. -kathy ebel-