Writer, Artist, Model

Writing

Bali Vow Renewal

For the past 5 years of my life, I have had somewhat of a secret… I don’t have many of those left these days, but for me my romantic relationships have always been something I have kept pretty much to those that know me personally. This was probably most evident when Courtney Halowell passed away. We had been living together for nearly a year before he passed, and when many of his friends arrived at his funeral, they were surprised to meet me, surprised to know that he had a girlfriend, surprised we lived together and shocked by the lack of romantic declarations and kissy faced photo’s we’d put on Facebook. Almost as though our relationship wasn’t legitimized because, “for a girl who markets herself as a “model” how do you not have a million photos of you and the person you love?” In fact we only had two partial photos. If you notice there are in fact very few photos of me with other people outside of large party pictures. It’s no accident.

It’s the one part of my life that I have kept just for me, for a number of reasons… my first marriage was VERY public, and very publicly messy towards the end. I always hated seeing couples argue on facebook, I felt it completely unnecessary and disrespectful. Conversely I find those private moments you have, the curled up on the couch comfort, the kisses between flipping burgers on the bbq in the yard…those are OUR moment’s, moments I’m really in, moments I’m not trying to loose to my cell phone, my social media etc.

I’m not going lie, this past year in review has had some major ups and downs, the sordid details of which I’m glad to have not posted on Facebook. A year from now I won’t have some awful argument pop up in my memory feed, “Facebook memory – that time you argued over couch color and ended up sleeping on it” If you know me in real life, you know this past year has been rough, in many, many, ways. (much worse than couch color)

So why come out now?

Well… I’ll start with some quick backstory:

5 Years ago, our marriage reception was supposed to begin at the site of literally one of the largest fires in Santa Barbara history  Deemed “The White fire” it was accidentally set ablaze by a kid who threw camp coals into a trash can, a week before our wedding. The fire burned nearly 2,000 acres before being put out on Thursday, our wedding scheduled for Saturday.

We didn’t call it off, we relocated, at a huge price, and while the smell of smoke lingered it was still no match for the hoards of mosquitoes that came off Lake Cachuma at the start of our reception, or the searing heat that melted our wedding cake, or the fight that broke out, or our close friend splitting his head open tripping over a chair, or the camp host who almost sent a guest to jail for a DUI at 3am.

Fortunately, anyone who didn’t leave early because of the heat, drank enough to forget many of these details, mostly because we ran out of drinking water.

Our DJ played the wrong song for our first dance, some romantic 17 minute long equivalent of  “Innagadadavida” which I had to stop after 4 minutes because I was absolutely roasting in my over-sized ball gown, and 90 degree weather (and did I mention… I got fat) after being a model since age 19 I finally decided to eat… everything…thought I could loose 40+lbs pre-wedding no problem… also kill the man that did my hair

My husband hates this rendition of our story by the way. He still remembers it as a magical day, where the weather was warm, and perfect, and everyone had a great time, it ended with great stories, and us being married.

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Santa Barbara Courthouse June 1, 2013

Fortunately our ceremony went beautifully, with one slight misspoken word during our vows. We wrote letters to each other, and placed them in a box with a bottle of wine to be opened “One Year” after our marriage. Our minister slipped up and said “Five years”

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To be consumed and letters read in 5 years time…

So this bottle was bought hastily at Total Wine, for probably as about as cheap as we could get away with. $35? (for us at that time was a lot)….may be vinegar by now…

Hey you have cancer!

My husband and I had always planned to renew our vows at the 5 year mark, but this last year had been tough on us, emotionally, relationship-wise, financially, in virtually every way you could think of. I have been off work for a year on disability for severe depression, and a month before our 5 year wedding anniversary I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which caught early enough is no big deal for most women, but I hadn’t had a pap since I was 16 years old. I would be checked for everything else under the sun regularly, like a normal woman should, but when it came to that word, I shy’d away. I had been through some trauma at 16 so I always associated a pap with something much more painful, so I opted out every time, which doctors didn’t press on much because most cervical cancer is slow growing, so if you miss a Pap here and there, no big deal… 16 years of opting out, and tomorrow I am opting in to surgery to remove my entire cervix, (and we will see, possibly more), along with the possibility of loosing my ability to have children, hysterectomy, chemo the whole nine yards, this is step 1 and hopefully the only and last step.

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I Do, Over…

Before finding out about the whole cancer thing, my husband and I had done a lot of soul searching, been having a rough time. I’ll leave it at that. We weren’t sure what our next step was, but when life goes from complicated, to life threatening, you begin to look at things differently. I looked at my life, the people in it, the people that stood next to me, talked to me, the people that were kind to me, that helped me and not hurt me, and although my husband and I had it rough, he was still there. Standing next to me, fighting for me, even when I didn’t want to fight for myself. The man that propped me up, my navigator when I got lost. I had gotten to a point in my life where he was the only person that could still find me, the only man who loved me enough to dive into the pit of hell and hold my hand. Walk through fire, stand strong, take an emotional beating, and get out of bed and go to work every day for what? For us, and once more he did it silently, gracefully, letting me make mistakes, never forcing me to be what I wasn’t, we would fight, and I would cry and like the fiery latin woman I am, I could be the destroyer of worlds and he would stand strong, let me finish and try and find the words to calm the storms.

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We decided to start over. A lot had happened both good and bad after 5 years, and Matt was, is still here, he never ran away when things got hard, he only fought harder, and being married to me is a difficult, if not impossible task.

I’m messy, passionate, unpredictable, and stubborn. Not only that but its a hard task to be a guy who isn’t a typical “car guy” married to a woman who has spent her whole life drenched in it. Matt is a science guy, a thinker, an engineer, a planner, a man who is passionately curious for the truth.

Marrying a “car chick” without being the typical “car guy” is tricky. To tell men “you should be talking to her, she knows more about cars” that takes balls. It takes a level of commitment and trust that I could never find anywhere again ever. Talk to my wife he says, when it comes to “hotrods, motorcycles, off-road, pin-stripping, art”… and “talk to my husband” I say if you want to know about “physics, science, the universe, quantum theory, intergalactic travel” together, we got this shit covered. Passionate opposites.

We decided to go to Bali. I had always wanted to go but it was always just beyond our reach. With some help from family, we made it happen. This time I wanted to have a ceremony that represented who we were. I didn’t want to try and have the trendy “camp wedding” with mason jars on the table, and burlap. I didn’t want to do what I did before, which is what I felt like society was looking for, big cake, big dress, dance floor, dj, drinks, catering… I wanted to have a ceremony that was about two fiery people. A celebration of the fires we’d been through, and the people we were going to be, two individuals, together for life.

Say YES! to the Dress -linked – Quick Shout Out to Nordstrom (NOT SOLICITED) – This might make you cry…

Balinese Fire Ceremony

When Matt and I first re-met (we had known each other in high school but lost touch after a while) we met camping, and over the fire we talked and got re-acquainted quickly. He followed me as I drunkenly stumbled into the river for a brisk night “swim” while our friends laughed, and I watched him spin poi (flaming coals on chains) Yes that’s my husband:

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So when we talked about a vow renewal a renewal by fire seemed fitting. Camp fire, fire spinning, we are both fire signs, and our relationship has been through hell and back, and of course our first wedding fire disaster. We are fire people.

We chose The Five Elements Resort in Bali for our vow renewal because of their beautiful location and the fact that they are one of the only places in the world that preforms an ancient fire ceremony, one that was so dangerous to do it was ceased for over 350 years. Sign us up. It was the most beautiful healing experience I have ever had in my life. It is the perfect summary of the balance of love and determination that marriage takes. It is far beyond the pristine, virginal, white wedding, where everything will always work out in the end. It is hot, and messy, and sensual, it is what marriage is really like, and it ends with two people that no matter how hot the flames may grow will still be there side by side. Come what may.

Tonight we are drinking that bottle of wine we put in a box on our wedding day, before I go in for surgery tomorrow, I don’t care what it tastes like, because I will be drinking it with the man I love.

June 1st 2018 we renewed our vows, and it was perfect.

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Say YES! to the Dress – Quick Shout Out to Nordstrom (NOT SOLICITED) – This might make you cry…

Linked from “Bali Vows Blog” – read my journey here.

I told Matt to wear whatever he wanted to our ceremony. I wanted to marry the man, not the man I told to wear some matching cute outfits that fit the theme. I wanted to marry him, in what he wanted to be married in, and I wanted the same for me. 

Family helped with the trip, but when it came time for me to find a dress I was on a shoe string… I had less than $100 budgeted and not knowing  how much the next steps of surgery where going to cost, etc. I wanted to find something I loved, something that was me! I went to DTLA fashion district, where all the girls bragged about “discount dresses” even “Discount” wedding dresses are still $400-$500 at least.

The week before we left I still hadn’t found anything, I was walking through Nordstrom on the way to my car, and stopped just to dream at the clearance rack, and found exactly what I wanted! On sale for under $100. I tried it on and nice girl at the clearance rack help me with the dress and couple other less than awesome options. I heard two women in the next room ripping into one another about dresses, and this big wedding, then ripping into the nice lady who helped me, and the seamstress. I waited patiently to hop up on the fitting room stage to see my new wedding dress in its full glory, while listening to these women. $400 bridesmaid dress… a country club wedding… the limo…this dress should fit here, or there. We want a discount…we have bought thousands of dollars from Nordstroms… on and on, for seemingly no reason. Finally they left to make their purchase, I stood on the stage alone and wanted to cry, I was so happy to finally find something I could afford, it needed to be altered though… the alterations woman pinned me up quickly, and then gave me the bill for alterations, the rush fees, it was almost as much as the dress… I texted for possibly sewing help, and figured I would make it work.

I had the seamstress unpin me, and then went to check out. The women were STILL arguing on price, yelling at the extremely patient clerk, who did everything she possibly could for them. She got her manager to help and took me over to a new register quickly so she could help get me out of there. She said “what happened to the alterations?” I must have looked how I felt inside. “I can’t afford them today” I said. She looked at me and said “are you okay?” I smiled through trying not to cry and she says “rough day”. I had been dreading surgery all day, holding my mind away from this word cancer and surgery, and at that moment I was overwhelmed. “Rough few weeks, I just found out I have cancer and need surgery, and this is all I can afford”. I couldn’t help but cry and felt extremely embarrassed to be crying in the mall. She asked if I could wait a minute, and I sat in a high backed chair trying to compose myself. She came back with a seamstress and a manger. “We will make this work for you…” and she and her manager did. She pulled some Nordstrom magic and made my wedding dress into MY wedding dress to fit me in time for Bali. Not only did she make it work but she gave me a big hug on the way out.

The day I went to pick up my dress after alterations I received this note attached. That I hope EVERYONE will read, and that #Nordstrom will see and promote this woman for her amazing customer service. She is one in a million. 

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Stopping in the woods on a snowy evening

In 2002, I spent 14 days locked in a concrete cell. I was put in nothing more than a thin cotton shirt, and a pair of shorts with holes in the seams. The cell they called “observation” for those deemed to ill-behaved to be out and about with the other girls. I was 16 years old. It was winter in Provo Canyon Utah. The room had 7 concrete walls and a steel door with a small window, in which one could be “observed” through. There was no toilet, no shower, trips to the bathroom were supervised, and showers I gained only when I was conscious enough to respond “yes” when the attendant came by. I was given high doses of sedatives, not because I was acting out, but because I didn’t understand the rules I had just been placed under. The first days in solitary before the drugs, I ran in place, did push ups, sit ups, spent parts of the day doing math in my head, reciting poetry, singing songs, which did not go over well with staff…

The room I was in had only one other window besides the one on the steel door. It was a drafty skylight on the ceiling, 20 feet above from where I sat on the cold hard concrete floor. When the drugs they gave me kicked in, I lost the will to run in place, do push ups, sit ups… all I could do was sit, and during that time, the temperature dropped drastically.

In my haze it was all I could do to sit and stare up at the ceiling, and watch the snow begin to fall on the skylight, fall and drift, fall and drift. My body violently shivered, my lips became chapped, then I noticed my toes, my fingers, begin to turn white, then blue, then purple. I took turns shoving my hands in my mouth in an attempt to keep the feeling in them, warm them any way I could.

It was then I realized, there was nothing I could do about this feeling of cold. My body ached from days of shivering.

And so I retreated to my mind. “What is cold?” I thought. “What is feeling?” I wondered. I took deep breathes, in an attempt to calm the shivering. I focused my mind on what it was that made me shiver, and set it aside. Then I focused on toes, my hands my body, and decided, that being cold was a decision, I had made in my mind. I embraced this notion, “yes, I understand body, this is a feeling, a warning system, and right now there is nothing I can do” I refocused my attention, to my breathing, to holding my body still, to ignoring the stinging pain that shot through me. I moved each toe, I gave each digit gentle massage, while controlling what I though about pain, what I knew about cold. Until suddenly I was just there. I was in a room with my body. Cold was a thought, this is not cold enough to kill me, so I need to push out this feeling, and attend to the needs of my extremities.

I did this until I fell asleep, deep in meditation sitting up against the wall. I learned that my mind is more powerful than my body, and that after a while if you can sit with yourself, find the power within, there is no such thing as cold, there is only you, there is only ever you.

 

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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening –

Poem by Robert Frost

“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”


Wisdom’s tiny papercuts

I watch the cards fall from the sky, giving me tiny paper cuts as they fall.

They lay my future down.

The fortune teller smiles at me, the type of infinite knowing smirk the Buddha had and say’s “don’t worry child.”

You’ll survive, your tiny cuts will heal into beauty marks

Marks that others who have been cut will recognize, and you will become the people they call wise.

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A title mouth

I wish my title mouth could give you a brief description of what my life story has to say.

I wish my bruised ego showed on the purples of my face and I could show you what’s behind my sleeping eyes…those dreams I’ve been plagued with like disease.

I wish you could take that away, I wish I could take them from you…

I wish my fate was written like it is in the palm of my hand, all faded and unreadable, so I remember not to rely on that kind of thing.

All I wanted was to paint the sky, the way it looks in your eyes, all the brilliance of blue and the sadness of grey, those hues I wish to only paint away.

I want to replace the devil with a sweeter embrace.

I want to hold the world against my heart again, with its stabbing sadness and bleeding sores and I don’t care if its love infects me to have a friend…

I’ll say goodbye, if it means I get to say hello to you again.

It’s not a somber thing to loose a thing you never stood to gain.

I see the light in your darkness, and the darkness is my friend so I reach for him too, only to be lost in that cold embrace.

They call me winter, they say I make the summer sun shone brighter but my pale skin hasn’t seen the world in days.

You say you like the way my capillaries play. They gleam because I have you under my skin.

I wish you could see the space behind my eyes, the synopsis that light my way, I wish I could use their embers to carry a torch into the symphony of passage ways I see when I look at you.

Days like this pass quickly, and I unfortunately am familiar with their somber song.

It goes like this:

Everyday is the same, driving down the steady lane

Until a stranger stops you in your tracks and uses their hands to use your heart

They usher you to far off places, regions unexplored by the bravest soul

So they don’t have to die alone.

What a selfish thing to do.

They dive in the shallow end, and we dive with them, as helpless fools,

we loose our hands to destroy our fall,

And there we end, two fools in shallow water, trying to breath the blood bath we’ve created

Life’s messy, and when I swallow the taste of iron and water it fills my soul, and allows me to sleep.

It’s just a melancholy dream. A macabre and distant play that haunts my dreams shadows my face.

A drowning and a dying I don’t care to erase.

 

 

 

 


The Huntress

 She sits in silence amongst the leaves
 Her eyes are steady her breath at ease
 Her patient palms set on her bow
 Feet firmly planted, and head set low
 The huntress waits and stalks her prey
 Night after night, and into day
 Her vision grows weak, her hopes turns to sorrow
 Each day she prays for a better tomorrow

 Until all at once she sees
 The glint of something among the trees
 She steadies herself, she takes to her aim
 Within her heart there is a flame

 The deer and huntress lock in gaze
 A noble opponent in the morning haze
 The huntress sees this crown-ed buck,
 the velvet hair which hay has stuck

 Her hands are weak, her eyes they close
 and this is how the huntress goes

 Laying in a field of honeydew
 Her stomach thin and overdue
 A meal her lips shall never taste
 Her prize is lost, as is the chase

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The Justice of One Bad Banana

I was speaking with a friend last night about the idea of justice. My friend is a former police officer, with a seemingly strong sense of right and wrong. Personally I am not a fan of the idea of right and wrong. In a chaotic universe, where so many of life’s incidents happen at random, impacting individuals psychologically and physically deeply into the future with unknown effects how can we ever say anything is “right” or “wrong”.

Retrospectively perhaps, but the idea of right or wrong must purely be relative, so one man’s justice could in fact just be another man’s destruction.

Maybe it’s more of a societal question, a set of standards and rules put forth by tribal vote. A group of people decide that in their community it is wrong to eat a banana. They declare that banana’s are ethically bad for the tribe, and based on their shape may drive women completely insane, thus banana’s are forbidden. It seems arbitrary to outsiders, but maybe a hundred years ago one of the first banana’s ever consumed by that tribe happened to be poisoned, bad, etc. causing the death of the head tribesman. Therefore one bad banana was declared to have ruined the whole bunch for all of time.

So it is then, lore, ethics, and superstition, that governs that tribe. Mythology develops about this poisonous deadly banana, forests of banana tree’s are burned… which happens to really piss off the tribe next door, who has developed their culture based off the consumption of these bananas, which in turn causes war. The banana has become sacred to Tribe number 2. They, for years have existed in a world where banana’s are plentiful, and now this group of banana haters has come to destroy their sacred plant.

Who then is right? Tribe 1 has built their culture and society off the belief of the “bad banana” based on hundreds of years of legend, and at one point empirical evidence that banana’s cause death.  They feel they are doing Tribe 2 a favor, destroying this poison, a poison that must have caused them all to go completely insane (obviously by consuming too many banana’s).

In the end Tribe 1 is victorious, they have wiped out the main food staple of an entire tribe causing them all either to convert to non-banana eaters, or starved the banana eaters to death. Tribe 1 is then able to continue to propagate and thrive, which they attribute ultimately to their good health and saving of all those that did not starve to non-banana eaters.

Justice has prevailed. In Tribe 1, “right” has superseded “wrong” proven by their ability to continue a rich culture, and although it may have been based on a fallacy or false premise, in a way I must agree, they are perhaps “right”. Because no matter what you believe to be right or wrong, justice is not really about the repercussions of an action, it’s about survival. Which perhaps is why the idea is so ingrained in most people’s minds. It’s primal – survive.

Be the one man in the banana hating tribe to prove that banana’s are safe to eat and you are killed as a freak of nature. Start a secret cult of banana eater’s, write essays and documents explaining the health benefits of potassium in a man’s diet, and perhaps you are all burned at the stake for heresy.

Change takes time, especially to those with deeply rooted attachments to these ideas of right and wrong.

Many men are murdered in this banana war. Generations of people feel betrayed by those that killed their loved ones over these bananas. They pass these beliefs to their children, and their children’s children, and for generations the war continues, the hate grows deeper, the land is scorched by those that seek to destroy these bananas. Each with their own idea of justice. I don’t believe in justice anymore (not in that sense at least). I believe in cause and effect. I believe that we have become so attached to our past, our history, our emotional connections, lore, mythology, and emotional pain, that truth and reason has faded. Our logic has become blinded, we can’t stop the cycle, there must be justice for someone… and all of this for what… one bad banana?

It’s simple to think about this in terms of banana’s it get’s more complex when you think of it in terms of rape, murder, pedophilia, abuse, etc. That’s when people exclaim “of course those things are wrong!” sure, retrospectively, but in a world where all you know is banana’s = death to us all, you may be able to attribute it to generations of hurt, and abuse.

Rapists, murders, abusers, at some point each of these people had become so inherently hurt by those meant to protect or help them they did either the thing they were taught to do or were neglected so badly that society failed to notice the severe decline of their mental health.

So where is justice there? Kill the murder, or lock him in jail for the rest of time. The murderer has children, who then grow up without a father, who hate the system who put their father in jail, the family is lopsided with only one parent raising many children, the children are neglected, the neglect leads to acting out, the acting out leads to jail, the jail leads to more hatred towards the system that has put them there, the lack of family attention leads to a want for kinship in fellow suffer’s who hate the system, call it a “gang”. The gang is filled with hate, hurt, loneliness, the family is poor with no access to mental help for these children. The hate builds, the desperation of poverty leads to robbery, which turns to further violence, all the “gang” knows is violence. The children grow to adults who have children of their own, who they teach this violence to, until one day, while robbing a liquor store a “gang” member is killed, he is put in jail, his children are left to begin the cycle again. Where is the justice?

In California  “$15.1 billion — was spent on the incarceration of adults and juveniles at both the county and state levels”

During that same time period mental and behavioral health programs for the state of California only added up to $77.5 million

A difference of nearly 200% more on keeping people incarcerated versus helping those in need and stopping the cycle.

Behavioral Health

 

Infrastructure funding for public safety diversion programs

$67.5 million

Expansion of children’s mental health crisis services

$10.0 million

Defined as:

Behavioral Health
Expands Public Safety Diversion Programs. The spending plan provides $67.5 million from the General Fund on a one–time basis to establish a community infrastructure grant program administered by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. The competitive grant program will distribute funds to cities and counties to increase capacity within local mental health, substance use disorder, and trauma–centered service facilities, with the intent that these expanded facilities will serve as an alternative to incarceration for individuals with behavioral health disorders. The grants will finance the acquisition or renovation of new or expanded facilities and equipment, as well as support diversion program startup or expansion costs. In addition to funding diversion services, the grant funding is intended to expand services to sex trafficking victims, domestic violence victims, and victims of other violent crimes.
Funding to Build a Continuum of Children’s Mental Health Crisis Services. The spending plan includes $30 million on a one–time basis to build a continuum of children’s mental health crisis services. The funding consists of $16 million from the General Fund—including a $6 million reappropriation—and $14 million in Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) state administration funding. The funds will establish a grant program administered by the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, to which counties will apply. The grant program will support county efforts to build a full range of children’s crisis services, including residential crisis beds that serve as an alternative to hospitalization, community–based intervention services, expanded respite care, and crisis training for families.
State Resources to Maintain Suicide Hotline Funding at Current Level. The spending plan includes $4 million in one–time MHSA state administrative funds to allow the state’s 11 crisis call centers that answer calls through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to maintain recently introduced services that were previously funded with discretionary county MHSA funds. The one–time funding is intended to temporarily address an ongoing suicide hotline funding shortfall until a permanent funding plan can be identified and selected.”

 

But here’s the point, if the idea of justice is about survival about what’s best for the tribe, even if it were based on something as arbitrary as banana eaters vs non banana eaters, no one in either current tribe is experiencing any kind of justice. No one is winning here. The logic and truth is still being burned at the stake in the name of archaic emotional response rather than logic.

Which brings me back to the realization of why my friend is now a former police officer, there are many reasons… but being a reasonable man I would have to assume that one of them is because he has already gathered the idea that the easiest way to stop this cycle and find true justice is to help those in need. Which might be why he is now a behavioral health psychiatrist specializing in PTSD, and trauma survivors like me.

 


Cookie monster

Dear Cooking monster, you selfish bastard…

Not only do you consume each delicious crumbling morsel to yourself, you don’t event taste it, how can you, without a nose?

I watch you, I see, you crunch them in your puppet mouth, that filthy hole.

You junkie, can’t even keep your eyes straight.

I bet the crumbs get in your fur, I bet they start to get rancid and smell after a time.

You selfish, filthy, blue oaf.

One day you will get your just desserts…

“C” is for Cunt you monster, it’s good enough to eat.

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Bear Fight

When my mind wanders and I hear an unfamiliar sound above me I begin to worry about unrealistic daydreams… like bears fighting on my roof.

Or the concern that I can’t draw a bear because I can’t conceptualize its face…

But the real worry, naturally, is it’s weight on the slates of the rooftop.

How will the planks sustain such a quarrel between two such fearsome creatures?

I worry about the gravel, the sharp stones atop the tar burying themselves between the soft skin of each tender pad. It would truly be a source of annoyance, and furthermore a sore spot ripe for infection that could possibly lead to its ultimate demise.

For it’s own sake, someone should really get those bears off the roof…

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More at: www.mscherrymartini.com

 

 

 

 


Joshua Tree Re-visited

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It had been 3 years since my first visit to Randy Polumbo‘s intricate and fascinating Rock and Glass house (affectionately known also as the “Trash House“) and I couldn’t help but breathe a deep sigh of relief, I was home.

My first visit was in February of 2014. Me and 5 friends went in on the rental thinking it would be a nice escape from the monotony of our 9-5 jobs. The photos on VRBO looked interesting, and me being an artist, did my best to sell them on the idea of going. “Cowboy tub guys!!! come on!”

We arrived after dark, and made our way down a dusty road to distant lights and followed the instructions on how to enter the house. Despite the cold outside the house was warm, pulsing with down-beat house music playing, and with the lights turned low, you could almost feel that this place had a living breathing soul.

The second we entered we were kids in a play house. There was a chandelier made of old flashlights, a ladder to climb to the loft area, a somewhat spooky “kids room”. The place oozed with character, childlike wonder, and a bit of naughty “peek-a-boo” holes that would satisfy even those that don’t consider themselves perverted, perhaps “just curious”.

One weekend wasn’t enough to satisfy any of us, we vowed to return, to once again witness the snow fall on the desert from the warmth of the indoor spa, to stoke the fire and find the secret treasures that inspired the artist in all of us.

This past March we finally returned. This time we came armed with costumes, and art supplies, with camera, and recorder to ensure that we would capture the magic and mystery that brewed from each of us inspired by this home.

I hope that one day I have the opportunity to meet Randy and thank him personally for building such a unique and beautiful space. In the meantime here are a few photos taken from our desert trip.

Cherry Martini - Model - Joshua Tree

More fun with this Rabbit mask

Cherry Martini - Model - Rabbit in your headlights

Desert rabbit

mattbook

2017 Trip to Joshua Tree

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2014 Trip to the house

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2014 Trip fun with facepaint


Lost

It’s the feeling of a dogs breath panting on your leg, hot and moist, the same feeling you get driving down a cold alleyway in a hot car. The fire of the engine gasping against your soul. Its dark driving down the alleyways and dark corridors of Los Angeles. I’m lost, again, somewhere in Highland Park, searching for an art show I can not find, somewhere deep hidden in the bowels of this city (where all really great art shows happen) I’m driving a 55 Ford, on the phone with my then boyfriend (now husband) telling him “ I don’t know where the hell I am, but I sure as hell know I’m no where near the show.” Some part of me doesn’t care, my friends can wait all night for me, because I am lost in the city of angels, in a ford as old as the streets I’m driving on, a street where the light bulbs have seen hundreds of my kind before, I am nothing new, I am a replay of an old story to these streets. I hang up the phone and listen to the engine growl as I head back on the freeway through the pale orange lights of the Figueroa tunnels where the exhaust hits a note like some echoing song. I drive so fast, I drive until the street feels empty again. Suddenly I become a pale burst of sunlight lighting the road with a dim gleam of half hearted headlights. The sound of Spanish guitar fills my mind and a mad tango begins. I dip in between lanes, brush my hair against the cars I pass, lick my lips for those quick turns and feel the delicate balance of where my heel rests ever so slightly between the floor and the pedal, the quarter of inch, that’s between me and a quarter of a mile. Then the castanets come in right as the engine begins to unwind, and with a deep breathe I am stopped at my exit. I am there. 

I pull down my dress, like some wild affair has just taken place, something no one will ever find out about (until now) I re-apply my lipstick as I clack my heels passed countless other hotrods and customs parked out in front. I don’t know what else to say about that night… besides, that was the fun part.


Salty Passion – Bonneville Speedweek

The sound of revving engines keep me up late at night, the laughing, drinking, and general rowdiness would be enough to make even a hardcore biker blush, and if you want the wild west you might not have to go any farther west than Bonneville Utah.  After driving nearly 700 miles from Los Angeles to Bonneville you just might be a little farther left than the middle of nowhere, but when you watch that belly tanker be pushed off the starting line and head for 200 miles an hour blasting down the salt track, you just might remember why you came. The drive to Bonneville for me was ten hours of hitting rabbits, watching out for UFO’s on America’s loneliest highway and resisting the urge of going over the 80 mph speed limit. Driving all night can make you see things and driving to a place that looks like a different planet entirely can be a little unsettling.

The Bonneville Salt Flats, located in Northwestern Utah are 159 square miles of nothing but salt, and in the right seasons, racing. Now, this isn’t your ordinary racing, vehicles have gone in excess of 600 miles per hour on the salt of Bonneville, the “Worlds Fastest Indian” wasn’t just some movie about some old dude, it happened in real life right here in the sacred racing lands of Bonneville in the late 1950’s. There is no place else you can surf a dead sea like this place. Every August the Southern California Timing Association puts on a little something called Speed Week. That’s right folks, an entire week devoted to pure velocity. Driving on salt is like driving on snow, its also akin to being on a giant tanning bed, everyone you meet there is some shade of red. Salt is caked into everyone of my pores, every crack in every tire, and every split in every sole of every shoe. Saturday kicking off Speed Week the clouds came in, rolled in and split across the sky like some great venomous creature who had just awoken. The black clouds made for a stark contrast against the pure white salt. In the distance there was a mixture of sounds, the rumbling of thunder and the rumbling of large hilborn-injected, methanol fueled 418. The rain became a part of a larger scene, the tension began to mount that day, teams that had spent a small fortune just to race, had their livelihoods riding on whether the rain would stay or go. The day washed into late afternoon, the clouds held onto their sloppy unwanted  cargo and the racing began again. 

At the starting line you can hear hearts pound with anticipation. You can feel the adrenaline start to coarse through each racers body. Washed across their faces is a very real look of fear that there is a real possibility of death. The sweat beads up everywhere, the bright light puts a haze into everyone’s vision, most racers, publicly or to themselves, say a prayer before they make the run. The crowd holds it’s breathe each time a car is pushed off the starting line and the CB radio crackles with the timing towers report as the car careens down the salt. 150, 200, 225. These racers all share a unique dream; More people have climbed Mt. Everest than have gotten into the 200mph club. Being in the 200mph club just isn’t about going over 200mph, it’s beating the record in your class, which in some cases now borders into territory of the 250mph mark. Some machines are home built, some have taken a team of highly skilled experts years to complete. Each one regardless of who built it has an ungodly amount of hours put into it, and has been tuned to within an inch of its life. Because after all, at 200mph an inch really is a mile and it could make the difference  between victory and the painful, salty, agony of defeat, or even death. On a cloudy day the heat still pushes its way up and off the salt. In the days before racing even the Native Americans avoided this vast salty desert, the only people brave enough to settle here, were true hotrodders.For most hotrodders Bonneville is Mecca. Those who make the long drive out from wherever they have come from find comradery on the salt. Most would say those who venture into the middle of nowhere may just be a little crazy. But there is a word for people who venture off into the desert, sleep on salt, bath at truck stops, and spend their nights and days crowded around powerful machines, they are called passionate.

The passionate are those that are building and driving these cars, these eaters of the salt, these men, (and yes in rare cases women) who spend their days and nights huddled in a garage wrenching and bleeding for the car they love. They spend all year waiting to bathe at that truck stop, sleep on that salt, and venture off into the desert as fast as their car will take them. For most builders there is no contest when it comes to the feeling of skating along that salty track. That is where they find their soul. Where hundreds of spectators can bear witness to their history. Sunday morning comes slowly, the sun creeping up over the edge of the earth, it seers its way into the eyes of every rowdy biker and hotrodder, the day is new again. Sunday looses one man to the salt, forever. A grim reminder to each racer that they are battling a beast, they are putting to the test everything they and others have poured their hearts into. The culmination of a dream and a life’s work can be realized, or destroyed, and precious life itself is put on the line.  Between the nights of endless partying, spectators and recklessness, there is a purity that one can only find in the middle of nowhere. Each car is a symbol of one mans triumph, the blending of a man and machine, and there is no better place to witness it than where the sun rises early and the days refuse to die in Bonneville Utah.


Cockroach Blood

I wish for the delicate delight of ecto-skeletal fracture followed by a deep delicious silence.

Everyday I am relegated to scurry about

I’m tired of the scurry.

I’m tired of mopping up crumbs from others tossed sandwiches,ditched desserts, and slurping up sweet liquids from the bottom of the glass.

I’ve roamed these streets for so long, a beast that can never cease to exist

Even radiation, poison gas, steep falls, broken glass, only make the hairs on my gentle legs stand for mere moments.

It use to be thrilling, the other roaches and I would place bets, take chances forging on kitchen floors, bathing in filth and shit and for most of us we’d always come back unscathed.

At first we would laugh, and then after the years passed we’d become concerned.

Where and when would this end?

We became bolder still, trouncing through the finest restaurants, showing up in microwaves snacking on baked potatoes as they warmed, and still nothing.

I could feel my insides begin to cook, but I recovered quickly.

Me and the boys would get drunk on the finest whiskey we could find, some days we’d even show up powder white after eating our way into plastic sealed cocaine.

Occasionally we’d stow away in luggage.

We’d see the ocean, and scale the walls of tall monuments, even in broad daylight it seemed we were in-consumable.

I was once attacked by a bird, and ever so briefly I had hoped that this would be my moment, before he promptly spit me out.

They tell me I am this thing, a cockroach, and that I have cockroach blood, I have the ability to survive like no other animal on earth.

They can have me, I never asked to be this thing, to live this life, so next you see me scurry, take a deep breath, and try, give me the boot, let the spray fly…

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The Long Road Home

She levitates delicately above the blue haze of her consciousness.

Taking only fleeting moments to indulge her senses in earthly pleasures.

With eyes closed time passes slowly.

Everyday blurs into the sameness that fades and drags her inevitably back to ground.

Cars hum by,

tires kiss wet asphalt,

the wind gently rustling her hair, tangling her thoughts,

sweeping with it cold that kisses across bitter chapped lips

Where does this road go?

Will everyday make it’s long procession slowly

into a quiet oblivion,

an oblivion that will turn greens to gold and wither away with the passing days

She loftily yearns for the brightly burning passions of her youth, but the memories are sharp,

jaded by the fiery sting of hard won battles, wrong turns and scars.

Time stands still.

Hours hang meaninglessly leaving wide gaps between what once was

and what will be.

It’s time to push the clock forward.

The radio repeats the same song, skipping and fading into low slow static.

The static creates a hum

that lulls her back to sleep,

back into closed-eyed levitation,

where does this road lead?


Charlie

They call it hippie, they say radical in the late 1950’s witches brew of conservatism

Victor… Charlie

All I can hear is terror.

All I can hear is fear.

Charlie can you hear me, I’m calling you.
Charlie this drinks for you…

The governments mime action, the people demand justice

The crowds march but who are the victims here?

Those that stand for what they believe in

They are gone now, wasted by the true animals

Wasted by the violence

Can you hear me Charlie,

This drinks for you.

Cherry Martini Model 1960s vintage hippie

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Jive

Mellow beats jive my soul, force my mind to shake down intent on a treaty between grinding and swaying of smooth hips, sliding hands and wet lips. We will try and keep these secrets between us and arrange to dance another day.


Stay

My mind is four blanket walls against the wind. Thoughts traps in only to ask “where the hell you been?”… I trap Jell-O shots with gaping toothy grins, swallow them whole and ask for more medicine mr. In for a penny, in for a … Good time. Call. The numbers are scrolled down the arms of lost lovers tattooed in the words “Stay” but I should go now. If I stay there will be


Musings

All I want is a life filled with Art and Passion, it’s my job to create it, and your job to either watch or destroy, either of which won’t stop me now.


The Aches

Some nights I try and recall the past. A past I have done my very best to bury deep. I have wanted so many times to encase it in concrete, to sink my past into an ocean. The only ocean I find lately is the ocean of my conscience. This abysmal empty vastness I stare at everyday, I look down deep into it and wish it had a name like “heart”, a name like “soul”, but I can’t find it. I bury it with dusk brown soil and hope the aches of it subside.  

I find silent days lately, they are filled with voices that tell me to push on. They say, “beauty will come” but I still see grey. When will the grey subside?

Perhaps I am old already. I have come to the great divide in which only talking to four blanket walls will cover me. Only those four white walls will give me peace again.

They call it institutionalized, and it seems to come and go like a wilted breeze on hot evenings. The evenings I can smell the cool air a breast on the wind, I can see it sauntering in with no real business being here. I suppose thats how my summers have always begun. Akwardly. With this mix of hot and cold, awaiting the madness of warm nights to begin again, like a numbing salve to take the winter aches away.


Devour -Cherry Martini 10/4/12

I hear the static, the loud whooshing noise televisions use to make before they completely blocked out pay per view, before the advent of the DVR, a time when you could still make out faint faces and embraces on channels you were too young to be watching. In the hall there is a strange man with a fork and knife in hand he seems to be watching me. I can feel his eyes on me. I move myself towards him, the deep blue shag carpet feels crisp between my toes and I breathe in the hot heavy smell of old spice. “What are you waiting for?” he says in a low tone, the type of tone my father use to use when I picked up dangerous objects. “What do you want?” he says. I turn slowly and head towards him. “I wait for nothing, and want for nothing”

 

I brush past him and feel the tangs of the fork catch my exposed hip slightly. The hallway becomes longer. I lose my breathe and suddenly I am gracelessly pawing for the walls. Again he approaches “What are you waiting for?” he comes in so close to my ear I dare move my face for fear of being eye to eye. “What do you want?” he repeats. I close my eyes tightly and tell myself “this is a dream, this is not reality,this man is not real” I open them again and I can see his shadow, painted and outstretched on the long white walls of the hallway. Carpet has become hard slick checkerboard. I stand, and I breathe in the now cool air. I touch the painted shadow, fork and knife still in hand, and I say “I was waiting for you,and I was wanting to be devoured”


Sanctuary

Sanctuary
Cherry Martini 5/11/12

Each night I come home, I ring the bell, and I scream out the word “SANCTUARY” I cry and shout and hope to make it true. I yearn for the softness and the silence, I yearn for something to be true about it, I yearn for truth in one word. One sad word that god only provides for safe houses, and mine is not one. The door may be locked but it will open if you forcefully desire it to do so, if your will is so strong and your mind is weak you’ll find yourself bearing false witness here. What you seek you’ll never find behind that door. I am floating, a magnetic charge attracted to the negative force that wills me near with each failing hour. “I am” are far too dangerous of words for me. “I will” are dreams for all who fail in trying, fail in doing, and fail in succeeding. A thought is knocking, waiting patiently for me to answer, but I deny it, it is the truth, and I will let it wait in the cold, it is honest and will not try to force its way through my door, it will not reach beyond my mind and escape my lips, not here, not now… if ever. I am driven to desire by madness. I am driven by pain to forcefully pursue it in the night. I stare blankly at my door, I drag my knuckles across the wood, and whisper hopefully and forever more “Sanctuary…sanctuary” Is there such a thing as peace?


A Dream -Cherry Martini Entry 8/20/2012

A Dream -Cherry Martini Entry 8/20/2012
Forgive this, forgive this truth in epic fear, transition in truth in sun dance peace. Where are you now sweet twisted truth. I am bitter in sadness. All I want is truth just give me some, give me this one peice of bread, our daily bread, where are you my jesus my savior or have you lost me in all this. I want and that is a word that decieves me, the difference between the want and the need. Where are you? Deception. Where are you? dead mass of wonder. Is this reality when all you can do is sin, meet where sin is not, and I can’t deny you. I say “I am not alone, we are not alone, we are not one in this strange madness” where has it all gone when we meet this sad state. You mistreat me with words and I am sainted in martyrdom. I hang my truth and madness on a cross and nail it to my heart. I see you there in the deep crimson sadness, and you drip truth, you drip it like humidity hanging on a window pane. I hear the drops tapping into my sorrow, and there is danger in this, there is danger in your truth because I dont live there, I live inside a mind that is frought with madness and you can’t live there. Please pull me out, bring your hand through the darkness and lead me out, or let me drag you with me. I want truth, ancient truth, unexplainable truth of which there can not be. Where have you gone? Please answer me through the darkness, out stretch the pain, see through it. Use your night eyes to bring me past this, please use your gray to see me past this black, for in darkness those are the only shades I see. Use your shades to bring me out into the dawn. I want dawn… but there in lies the trouble between dark and light, and the shades only blind me, so blind me now and let me never wake from this long and serene dream. For if I dream let it be where dreamers lie,and liars only know the truth.


Super Villian Victories and Loses

You better not fade into the dark. You better not put your hand in the fire and let it burn because the smoke is noxious.

You better live. You better know what it means.

He asks “Are you leaving?”

I should stay.

Those words echo in my mind, suddenly I’m in the doorway, I look into his eyes, and he stands there stoney faced and fading quickly, and asks “Where are you going?… Will you be coming back?”

And in my head I speak to myself and say “I’ve been running from something, all these years, and it’s not you.. it’s me I’m running away from, it is all the hope I have of staying with you, it is the future I’m running from, but you know all I want is to stay here with you…forever and ever, but I’m so afraid…so afraid”

I left that night. I stared into his hopeful eyes, said nothing, turned around, started up my ghia and disappeared into the night. I think I broke his heart that night. I think I heard it shatter across the floor as I closed that door.

I didn’t leave last night, I didn’t leave. I stayed and I curled back up and into his arms last night. I let the truth roll out and the tears stream down, and took a breath… I took a breath…

Everything is a vivid memory, tainted with the smoke of time. Like the smell of silk holding cigarette smoke after being up all night.

It’s hard to be the villain, but if someone has to do it I guess I am best suited for the role. I don’t own a cape, but I have many masks, and every villain needs a mask.

I’ve got the secret hide out too, so I guess this is the role I was born to play.

Everyone hates the selfish beast anyway, everyone hates to hear the hurt, everyone hates to be ignored.

So go on, and tell it all, tell it all the way you’ve heard it from a friend of a friend. How I never really loved, go on and call me a liar and a cheater and a whore.

I’ll lend you a mask in the morning and we can all just pretend together, first you find your white horse. You can be the lone ranger and I can be your sore.

All I can say is that I’m not going to take it all, anymore…

I have twisted myself into circles, and have come back again. Around and around in my mind and the infinite loop is exploding. I am imploding and the chemicals just don’t mix like they use to anymore.

I still can’t sleep, I still can’t eat, but I can hope, and that’s good enough for me…

“Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul, And sings the tune–without the words, And never stops at all” -Emily Dickinson.


Paper Notes

Paper Notes
Cherry Martini 5/22/2012

I’m writing you this story on the back of folded paper notes. Notes that came from childhood oragami scraps, tree pulp hearts and squinted swans thick with graphite. These words fall off the page from torn edges making every sentence an abbreviation of what my minds’ eye see’s. I want it to be better, I want to hold onto the things I’ve lost and am loosing everyday as I watch time slip away. I feel it all like a lump in my throat sometimes the ailment and lament of a time that slid silently through my fingers and was gone before I knew it. Everyday is slowly slipping into a memory and I can’t catch each one as carefully as I’d like. “I miss you,” I write, “I love you”, I draw the “U” into a smiley face and realize that I’m writing it to a man that is long long gone by the hands of God and taken up by the wind. I’m writing to myself, I’m jotting down letters to no one. I am desperately trying to find peace again, I am desperately trying to move myself back in time while being hurled forward into a predestined destitute uncertainty. We all stand together and alone, holding hands and shoving, pushing small daggers through the heart wondering when was the last time I’ve been there, when will it all happen again, who can I trust? When will this all stop and begin again? I’m waiting to wake up, and it’s not easy when your mind is fast asleep and you heart is tender.

So I fold this note again, tuck it deep behind a mirrored window that see’s the fold across the vastness as I stand between it and the rest of my days.