Who Wants to Talk American Politics? No One? Anyone? Okay, Okay, You’ve Twisted my Arm. I’ll go. – Kelly Coody

No matter how you woke up feeling today: deflated, depressed, let down, apathetic, disillusioned, or even if you’re happy with the election outcome, it’s evident that what Americans are deficient in the most these days is basic kindness. Everyday, basic outward kindness, toward your neighbor, whatever creed or religion they may be, whatever shade their skin may be, is missing in our “Land of the free, home of the brave.”

Don’t let this divide you from your neighbor. Let this bond us and make us stronger, in spite of our differences. THAT’S what’s going to make America great. I left off the word ‘again’ because I don’t know that our society has always been great…or good…but what we hear a lot of is hypocrisy. Europeans calling us all “puritanical hypocrites” when their EU is full of its own brand of hatred, racism and flaws. Other countries who tell us that we ought to be ashamed that Donald Trump was even a representative. Are they blind? If they think for one second that I, Kelly Marie Coody, singularly, have the power to overhaul America’s electoral process and turn things around, then they are just as dumb as the people they’re shouting at, calling a “typical, stupid, fat American.”

The grass is NOT always greener, my friends.

When I lived in Germany in the ’80s, you think they were nice to us? You think that German adults, who ought to fucking know better, who ought to know how to behave as adults, were nice to my 4 year-old self and my brother’s 6 year old self? NO. Instead, every opportunity they got, they pushed us, laughed at us, kicked us, accosted us on the street when they learned my mom didn’t speak German, incited riots during the day, and harassed an innocent mother with her two children. CHILDREN. If anyone thinks it’s okay for a random adult to kick, hit, and harass a four year old girl just because she’s an American, then YOU, my friend, are the problem.

Shit is bad every where.

I woke up today sad. So did my daughter. So did my husband and my son and many, many other people.

There are times where I don’t even know what to think any more – I don’t know what to believe any more. Who’s right and who’s wrong?

It seems that no matter what we do as Americans, we are looked down upon by not only the European Union, but an entire slew of other countries as well. We are a joke. It doesn’t matter who the hell our Commander in Chief is (President Elect), how intelligent we are, if I suddenly figured out how to turn myself into Sir Ian McKellen and be Gandalf the Grey (and practice expert wizardry, speak Elvish, etc, etc…), no matter how savvy, well-spoken, informed, intelligent, or how many languages we speak, it’s always, “Oh, she’s an American.” 

**Let me make an addendum: my husband is under the impression that I’m stating everyone hates America and he vehemently disagrees. Par exemple, his dad is in Paris right now and he doesn’t feel looked down upon. For clarification’s sake, I’ll spell it out for you a little more specifically: I’m speaking from personal experience living abroad as an American. Personal experience of a lifetime FULL of being surrounded by Europeans and the like at various military functions, especially when my dad was a Lieutenant Colonel and SNR and we lived in Wichita Falls. I’d never had so many foreigners tell me what was wrong with both myself and my country in my life, as they stood in my home, eating my mom’s food and drinking our drinks, taking up our valuable time, giving us backhanded compliments and insulting our paper plates, sneering at our paper napkins.  This doesn’t mean that I, in turn, dislike Europeans, or anyone, for that matter. But that’s the thing about perspective. I’m only one pair of eyes and I’m sharing my perspective with you.**

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Above is a slideshow of my family and me living in Aschaffenburg, close to Frankfurt, outside of Bavaria, Germany. Granted, we lived there in a tumultuous time – from ’85ish to ’89-’90ish – and we moved to West Germany. By the time we left, it was all Germany.

I know all of the possible ramifications of this Trump presidency. I am aware. No need to list them here.

For those of you who are standing strong behind Trump and defending his win: don’t be naive. He’s just as cold and calculating as you think Hillary was – he’s as un-American as those people who look down on you in Paris, in Oslo, in Warsaw, in….Bavaria. He is still the same man who insulted Sen. John McCain for being captured after he was forcibly ejected from his aircraft in Vietnam, a violent, last-ditch resort that no fighter pilot ever wants to be on the receiving end of. I would know – my dad was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. I have seen every side to this fucking coin – every possible 3D angle to the Rubik’s Cube.

The only answer right now is knowledge, truth-seeking, and kindness. Be nice to each other. Seek your own truths. Amass knowledge. Stand together.

In Solidarity,

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Kelly Fitzharris Coody

(I’m on the left.)

 

 

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SLM Meets Oasis – Part 3 – Liam, Noel, Kate, Jamie, Gee, Melissa Libbey!, and me.

The Writers and the Gallaghers visit….1973?!

“Aaahh!!! Wait! Am I the ginger girl?!” asked Jamie.

“Are you daft? Or have you gone completely mad?”  I answered.

Silence. Crickets.

“Jamie, what has gotten into you?” asked Kate.

“I just really, really hate Blockbuster. You’ve no idea.  Those stores give me chills – and nightmares. I can’t take it! We have to get back to 2016! And not to Texas again! No offense, Kell, nice digs, but I’ve got a lot of shit to do,” he pleaded.

I shot a puzzled look to Kate, who patted Jamie on the back solidly before turning to Gee. “What year is it, love? Would you be a dear and grab frazzled Jamie’s phone and take a gander?”

She fumbled around with it for a moment. “Not really sure…”

“Oh no!”

“We can’t have…?”

“Where are we?”

“Shag carpets!!!”

“We’re back in the Gallagher house – see?” Kate reasoned, pointing to the layout. Then she glanced to the refrigerator calendar. “1973?! Oh, this is bad. Bad, bad, bad…”

“We’re back home – thank fuck!” shouted Noel.

“Bloody hell; that’s right,” Liam agreed.

Giggling and the thwacking sound of bare feet on tile and linoleum sounded in the background.

“Sh,” Gee said, “Listen. What is that?”

“Oh no! It’s them – Liam and Noel –as kids! We’ve got to get out of here now or we’ll break the space-time continuum! All of us! Now Go!” I shouted.

“What’s she say?” asked Liam.

“Dunno. House looks the same to me,” said Noel.

“Did you see the date on the fridge, mates?” asked Jamie. Noel furrowed his pronounced brow at Jamie in reply.

“I don’t like you very much, Jaaamie,” he said, drawing out the first syllable of his name and standing close to his face.

“I don’t like you very much either!” Jamie huffed back as we all pushed and shoved our way out of the Gallagher house.

Brothers Gallagher in tow (begrudgingly), we walked over to my house. It was vacant in the ‘70s, but owned by my great aunt Lacey. I thought we would try and put things together again once we got to a safe place.

“Who are you lot, really?” asked Liam.

“We’re writers,” answered Kate.

“Writers? A band of time-traveling writers? Now that is right funny. Write for the papers? Books? Poets? Come on then, what?” Asked Noel, eyeing each one of us skeptically.

I scratched my head. Gee, Kate, and Jamie all mimicked the motion. “Well, uh, see, I own a magazine and, um, Gee, Kate, and Jamie write for it.”

“Magazine, you say? Hmph. What’s it called? How do you print your copies?”

I bit my lip and stared over to my friends who were now a puzzled trio, shrugging up their shoulders and mouthing, I don’t know!!

Damn it.

“Uhh—it’s called ‘Fifteen’ and it’s for young ladies. These are my…columnists! We print monthly.” I gulped.

Noel and Liam nodded.

Jamie and Gee glared at me.

“Why don’t you try and explain to them what ‘onine’ means and give them the definition of the internet, eh?” I whispered to them angrily.

“Oh, fuck—if we’re stuck here, we are going to be so bloody old when it really is 2016 again,” Kate groaned.

“Don’t remind me,” I groaned back. “Let’s go to my – er – my aunt Lacey’s house – and try to figure out what to do.”

“Oh my god! Liam and Noel – you’re from 1990, right?” asked Gee.

They looked at each other before looking back at Gee in silence.

“Yes, you are. Right. The point is, you have British pounds!! Because all we’ve got are Euros and those won’t do a bloody thing! We are going to need food and whatnot.”

“Haven’t got any on us, but what the fuck are you talking about? Euros?”

“Listen, Lacey’s got about a million nooks and crannies stuffed full of money – she was a major pill and booze hound, too, from what I remember.”

A roar of approval erupted behind me as we walked on. They cheered, high-fived, and I think I saw Jamie and Liam hug one another? Pills and booze make people THAT happy? I shook my head.

We walked on, scattered conversation making its way through our awkward gaggle, before I looked around me and saw that everything had begun to look the same. And it was getting dark.

“Shit. Must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere…” I said, furrowing my brow, hands on my hips. “Not going to lie – we are lost…we’re officially lost.”

“Anyone’s phone working? Let’s get google maps up and running!” Jamie shouted. “Ohhhh, riiiight, it’s fucking 1973 and none of that shit works. Amazing! Let’s all of us city folk spend a night out here, with these two fuck heads – ” he glanced to Liam and Noel respectively, “and catch amoebic dysentery. Sound about right to the lot of you?”

“Yeah, basically.”

“We’re fucked.”

“Totally and utterly fucked.”

“Quick! It’s an emergency! Has anyone got a flask?” I asked.

“Kell, again, this is your story. Who’s the most likely among us to have a flask?” Jamie asked me.

“Hmm…Liam!”

“Yea, I got one. Yer not gonna like it though, Ginger…” he muttered, handing it over to me reluctantly.

I took more than a generous swig from it before saying, “Don’t call me ginger.” I handed it back to him. “Now I have to pee. Excuse me.”

*

An Hour and a Half Later

*

“Swear I’ve just seen C.C. O’Hanlon back there, swear on my life,” Jamie sputtered as he joined us around our tiny makeshift campfire.

“What—really? Did you ask him for help? Is he coming?!” I asked, hope gleaming in my eyes.

“Fuck no. I’m not daft, even though you called me that earlier today, Kell. He didn’t look too happy, either. Didn’t want to talk to the man while I was takin a piss – y’get?”

“Jamie….” Kate began, sitting close to the fire, warming her hands and rubbing them together while sharing Liam’s flask with the rest of the group. “You’ve got no pants on, am I going insane or is that right?”

“Got to find a blanket somewhere. Need a nap.”

“Bloody great – Jamie’s in his underwear, sleeping under the crotch of his pants – rolling around in the leaves and shit, and I can’t get drunk no matter how much of this shit I drink,” Gee said, pointing to Jamie’s inane behavior, rolling himself over and over again, covering himself in leaves, underwear nearly glowing in the moonlight.

Just as I was about to yell at everyone, a shadowy figure emerged from the brush, holding a flashlight.

“It’s a miracle!” Noel yelled.

“Mum?” asked Liam.

As the shadowy figure moved in closer, murmurs arose from the group.

First, Kate, “Wait, oh my god! It can’t be! Is it…?”

Then, Jamie, “Melissa…? No!”

Then, Gee, “Libbey?! Impossible!”

Then, me, “Melissa Libbey?! Is it you?! Melissa Libbey!”

“Kell, I dunno if it’s her – be careful!” Kate said as I stood up to greet this shadowy person.

The shadow stepped into the glow of the campfire, and then splashed the light from her own flashlight so that it bathed her facial features in light.

“Um, yeah, hey guys. I am here. Hey!” said Melissa, her voice chipper and even. “You guys look like hell.”

“Oh, sweet Jesus! How the bloody ‘ell did you travel back in time with us?!” Jamie asked, his voice coming from underneath his pants. He still hadn’t bothered to move.

“I dunno. It’s Kelly’s story.” She scratched her head. “I think maybe I’m supposed to have been following you or watching out for you this whole time? Maybe? Ask Kelly. She knows.”

“Melissa – I’ve got so much on my bloody mind right now! I can’t think!” I shouted.

“Why…why are you speaking in that god-awful fake British accent?” she asked, crinkling up her nose.

“Shit. Well, I couldn’t go back in time to meet the Gallagher brothers unless the story was set in Manchester, Mel,” I reasoned.

“God, you all look like hell. Except for you two – the young men – the rest of you look like you’ve been in some sort of natural disaster and then bathed in dirt! Gross! They don’t have showers in the 1970s in England?” she asked.

“Kell, you can still be in Manchester for the story to happen – but you don’t have to write yourself as being British, you know.”

“English,” I corrected. She didn’t respond so I continued, “And you can’t critique my own story while you’re in it!”

She rolled her eyes, her enviably clean, curled, shiny blonde locks falling into perfect ringlets around her collarbone.

“Okay – I’ll drop the accent, but my aunt Lacey’s house is still closeby—you coming to help us get there?”

“What the hell else am I doing in Manchester in 1973? Plus, I love Oasis. And I’ve been working six days a week – I need a fucking break!! I’m exhausted!”

“Why’s everyone keep saying the word oasis like it means something?” asked Noel.

“Oh, Noel – we’ve got a lot to talk about,” Melissa said, patting him on the shoulder.

“How are we going to get there?” asked Kate, chin in hands, face placid, words calm.

“I brought a compass. And a map,” Melissa said matter-of-factly.

“Shit, she is good,” Jamie said, “I dunno how you ran SLM without her, really.”

“What’s SLM?” asked Liam.

“Fuck. Nothing, nothing,” I said, shaking my head, glaring in Jamie’s general direction.

“Oh, and I didn’t forget about all of you – I brought a flashlight for each one of you.”

“Aww!”

“So sweet!”

“Melissa’s bloody amazing!”

“I like this one.”

“Hell yeah!”

Grumble.

The group had now grown to the seven of us, walking along, Melissa and Gee leading the way, talking shop about compasses and maps and lines and such and how we had just missed the proper turn a mile or so back.

“Knew the ginger was an American,” Liam muttered, taking another swig from his flask.

“I can hear you!” I shouted from the back.

“Don’t ca-are!” he shouted back at me.

“See? Told you. Pricks. Not even bloody famous yet and, still, they somehow manage to be absolute pricks.”

“Jamie! Shut up!” Melissa shouted back into the crowd.

“Really hope Kell was right about Lacey’s house having loads of booze and whatever else…” Kate said.

“Shit. Me too,” Noel said.

After what felt like minutes, the house was visible, finally, and only by our flashlights, as we made our way downhill.

“Nice digs!” Kate said to me, giving me a wink. “Good to be back.”

“Kate’s hair looks amazing,” Jamie whispered.

“I know—it always does,” Melissa whispered back. “Kell—one question—are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms, that sort of thing here?”

“8 total. Two living rooms. Lots of bathrooms. That good enough?”

“Yeah….can we say bitchy?” she sing-song-ed to Jamie, who let out a snort of a laugh in response.

“Worried you and Liam might have to share a bed, now?” Gee asked, evil grin on her face.

“Ugh, no! I’ve got a boyfriend, thank you.”

But she was flushing bright red.

“Okay…Lacey always had a peculiar hiding place for things. Had a bit of a knack for it…Especially with keys…hmm…” I said as I poked about the shriveling garden. I turned over stones like a madwoman, to no avail. Sweaty,  breathless and tired, I sat on the crunchy grass.

It was then that I saw it. The evil garden gnome.

“Aha!” I emerged triumphant, keys in hand.

“That garden elf looks like Gary Busey,” Gee said, giving it the stink eye.

“Christ, you’re right! It really does!” I laughed, before making the move to unlock the door and step into the known—that was now the unknown.

The door creaked.

We all clung to one another in a seven-person-hug, squinted our eyes, praying for an empty, safe house.

“’Ello?”Gee asked gently and weakly into the house.

Liam stepped to the front of the group, flashlight in each hand, and yelled, “Hey, motherfuckers!”

He turned around to us and smiled a sweet, boyish grin. “See? All clear.”

Then we all began to file in and turn on the lights.

“Nice,” Melissa mused, milling about.

“Not total crap,” said Jamie, heading straight for the kitchen in search of alcohol. “Wine! Ladies and gentlemen – er – Gallaghers, we have like a hundred fuckin bottles of wine!” He squealed.

“Whatcha into, Jamie?” asked Gee, joining him in the kitchen, all but commanding him to pour her a full glass of red.

Noel and Liam had found Lacey’s sitting room and went straight to the record player, poring over her record collection, whispering lowly and excitedly.

Melissa joined the brothers Gallagher, suggesting records here and there, turning on all of the lamps and dusting off the tabletops, placing vases where they ought to go, rearranging knick-knacks and twirling around as the Rolling stones began to play.

Meanwhile Kate and I had been able to slip away to the upstairs to freshen ourselves the hell up. We felt like death. And were also a little bit relieved to break away from the group and get a moment’s peace as we poked in around in Aunt Lacey’s knick-knacks.

I ran the hottest bath I could stand as Kate was just grateful to sit in a room filled with steam. “It’s a makeshift sauna. I’ll take it.” She sat, back flattened against the wall, closing her eyes, drifting off into the air with the steam.

Once we emerged, refreshed, from Lacey’s cozy upstairs, we found ourselves quite amused at the goings on of downstairs.

“D’ya know yer aunt Lacey was a bit of a stockpiler?” Jamie asked us as we presented ourselves, announced by us each wearing a set of Lacey’s silk pants-and-button-down pajamas. I was in pink, Kate was in blue. We were just so bloody relieved to be out of our other clothes. Filthy, time traveling, woodsy, rotten clothes.

“Lacey’s a full-on, organized hoarder, she is!” Jamie said, presenting cans upon cans of food, endless bottles of booze, and enough Quaaludes for a village.

“No shit,” I said.

“I mean, just look! I’m bloody cooking spaghetti!” Jamie said, proudly gesturing to an oversized pot full of noodles and sauce. And other things, too, probably.  I wasn’t a good cook.

“So, let’s see…” I mused. “We can have spaghetti, wine, and a couple of Quaaludes all in the same sitting?”

“Fuck yeah!” shouted Liam from the front living room.

“I quite like it here,” Gee said from the back living room, where she’d turned on the tele and was happily watching gameshows, cuddling up on the hideous velvet, flowery couch.

“I love it here!” Melissa shouted from the front, where she and Liam were doing a weird salsa-type dance to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter.’

“Come on then, Kell, let’s get in on this!” Kate said, shoving me into the room with the three of them.

We laughed as we spun each other around and giggled, singing our hearts out, our shadows bobbing beneath the prisms on the wall made by the chandelier. The smell of spaghetti was thick in the air and the wine flowed like it would never end.

“Hey, Ginger,” Liam said. “Can I call ya Pink Pajamas instead?”

“Any time,” I said with a wink.

“This might be, like, the perfect night,” Melissa said.

“YOU SHOULD TRY IT WITH A QUAALUDE!” Jamie said, wild-eyed, coming in from the kitchen.

“Gee! Get your arse in here!” Kate shouted, wine glass in hand, blue pajamas bringing out her eyes.

“Yeah!” Liam shouted. “Ass! Here!”

“Come dip your hand into the bucket of Quaaludes!” I shouted, giggling.

Gee ran in and plopped right there on top of all of us, spilling our spaghetti.

“Hey!”

“Damn it!”

“Gee!”

“I was only doing as I was told,” she said. “Let’s stay here forever!”

Kate banged her fork on her wine glass. “A toast – to – the writers. The song makers, the dreamers. But most of all, to us. Noel, you turn out to be a huge wanker in 2016; Liam, let’s be honest, you do too.  All of us are wonderful people in 2016 – truly, beautiful, spirited, talented people. Sorry boys. I got off track there for a moment. But we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s right in front of us – each other. And pills and booze. But, mostly, each other.”

“Here, here!”

“Y’know what sounds craaazy?” Jamie asked. “Quackludes.”

“Oh bugger. Give me one of those already!” Gee shouted, laughing.

“Me too!” Melissa yelled.

Liam and Noel just both raised their hands.

I stepped out of the room a moment just to wonder into the master bedroom and poke around while the Quaalude settled in my stomach.

I switched on a few lamps and tiptoed in; and then I saw it.

“Guys! Guys!” I shouted. “Come! Come see! Quick!”

All six of them, Gee, Jamie, Kate, Melissa, Liam, and Noel, piled up behind me.

“What’s it is, then?” asked Liam.

“What’s are YOU, then?” asked Jamie.

“Look, it’s a WARDROBE!” I squealed.

“Shall we?”  asked Gee.

“We shall.”

And just like that, we became overzealous children on Christmas morning and shoved and grunted our way into the wardrobe, elbowing one another and giggling as we walked through it. We walked past Lacey’s wedding gown, fur coats, and other such heavy things, before we were hurled outward and onto the cold, hard floor.

“What happened?”

“Ouch.”

“Ah, my head!”

“Liam, your foot is in my armpit!”

“Noel’s bloody hand is stuck up my sleeve.”

“Fuck.”

Then we all jumped with a start.

“Watch your mouths!” said my mum.

“Mum!” I shouted. “What? How? Why?”

“Will the seven of you be joining me for dinner?” she asked sweetly, batting her eyes.

“What happened? What year is it?” Gee asked.

“Don’t you worry. Everything’s right where you left it, girls. It’s October 4th, 2016. And it’s dinner time. I’ll bet we have quite a lively conversation! Oh, and hello, Liam and Noel. Good to see you again, Melissa, Kate, and Jamie. And, of course, lovely Gee. Come on now! It’ll be getting cold!”

We all followed her, dumbfounded.

“Are you still high as a kite, Jamie?” asked Kate.

“QUACKlude,” Jamie said.

Melissa and Gee let out hiccups.

“I want to go back to Lacey’s house,” Liam said.

“And what makes you think we can’t?” my mum asked, holding up her iPhone, which began flashing bright colors.

“Oh bugger. Here we go again,” said Gee.

The room spun, shook and rattled. And we all braced ourselves.

To be continued….

***

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***

Stay tuned for more installments on our wacky adventure time traveling with the brothers Gallagher!!!

 

 

 

 

What Makes Someone a “Real Writer” Any More Than, Well, You? – Kelly Fitzharris Coody, Editor in Chief

“Writers, by trade, tend to be more self-deprecating about their work than any other art form that exists.” 

Make no mistake, it is just as much of an art form as is painting or music. The inundation of ghost writers and self-help books topping the charts, so to speak, becoming NY Times Bestsellers, is what is killing our art form. We, the ones in the literary trenches, at SLM are here to revive it. And to spread the word that just because a person holds the title of Editor or Agent, does not give them the power to discredit your work. You don’t need a million degrees in literature or an intense session with a literary Yoda to truly “become one” with the art of writing.

I’d be lying if I said that I had the time, patience and stamina to read every single piece that crosses my path, and appreciate it for what it is, or, to even be able to see it from the writer’s perspective. Because I can’t. Hence the problem with perspective.

Shit happens. We aren’t perfect. We go through trying times and miscommunicate – but just because Melissa and I are usually quick to respond and to schedule your work, I don’t like that this is being taken advantage of by some of you. It makes me feel unappreciated and frustrated. I’m sure Melissa can agree.

From now on, the pace of things will be MUCH, MUCH SLOWER here at SLM – as I am still a full-time stay at home mom, to children who are growing up and who need parenting, who have extracurriculars, I have a husband and a marriage to sustain, and my book has just gone live in the past few weeks, giving me a lot of issues and exciting things to deal with.

Melissa is teaching FIVE (again, FIVE! Cinq! 5!!!) college classes this semester AND working a second job. She is busting her ASS trying to keep up with everything and give me a break from submissions so that I don’t go insane. I’ll be jumping back in this week, but it will be slowly.

We want to continue to love what we do here – not begrudge it or view it as a burden. It’s what we are working hard RIGHT NOW to avoid – in the future. If  we don’t take control over our own literary journal, it can swallow us up and force us to close up shop.

For now, onward and upward!

Those of you who may not know, my first book has been published and is live and available for purchase through a number of retailers. *This is not a shameless plug – I have published through a very, very small, independent press and am genuinely excited to hear your feedback on my book.*

Buy A Copy Directly From Snow Leopard Publishing!

My Author Page on Facebook

Melissa and I sort of run on fumes most days, as we are hopeless multitaskers, spinning multiple plates in the air at all times.

Happy October! I sadly looked on as all my peers shared photos of their children at various pumpkin patches across the country – and wondered when the hell it became a tradition or a mandated thing that upon crossing over into the month of October, Pumpkin Patch children photos MUST BE TAKEN! AND SHARED!!

Anyway, this month we see two themes: Dr. Jeff Toney PhD’s EPIPHANY and Paul Beckman’s It began in an elevator…

Melissa and I, a few months ago, both wrote to these themes as a workshop. I’m starting to think we should share, what do you think?

**LOOK OUT FOR OUR OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT VERY SOON FOR PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEES FOR SICK LIT MAGAZINE FOR 2017!!!***

Cheers, guys,

peace and love,

Kelly Fitzharris Coody

 

The Quiet Rebellion – a poem by GAVIN HEDAUX

What rights do we have that they cannot take?

those who say no are often burnt at the stake,


They keep us darkened and blighted, stratified and divided,

when we speak out of turn, like children we’re chided.


We voice our discord and they show their disgust,

tell us things will be better, that in them we should trust,

offer us education and wisdom that reinforce their position

all scraps from their table built on a capitalist vision.


I’d quote Howl or rant Marxist but I know it won’t matter

as we’re all marching along to that soft pitter patter

of the spit on our faces that they tell us is rain

but we all know the difference and we all feel the same.


“Why can’t you just work? Why can’t you just earn?

Come consume with us boy the world it must turn!”


But i just can’t believe that, can’t accept it’s our fate,

to be valued and weighed by how much money we make.


We’re humans in as much as we can buy our way in

and pledge our allegiance to cold cash and not kin.

And those that don’t have it, be they red white or blue?


“Well to hell with them boy, they’re them and not you,

look after yourself now, caring won’t get you far

they’d step on and over you just to get where you are.

Suck it up and earn money, buy things and be happy

invest in Christmas and Cola and then start a family.

You can buy things for them, they’ll love you for it too,

just remember it doesn’t start with a them but a you.”


But our planet is not peopled by a collection of yous,

sheep we may act like, but I think we have grander views.


The sad truth is the world functions this way,

not perfect, not happy but it still turns each day.


And as long as it turns and our families are safe

we accept what we’re doing is as good as it gets.


Whats wrong with new phones, nice houses and cars?

Trips to the movies and magazines about stars?

What harm does it do? What does it even mean?

When your life begins and ends with each new fashion scene?


And therein is the tragedy, the myth that they sell:

that we have to have comfort to function so well.


In truth, as we know, we could have so much more,

we could share wealth out equally, lose this concept of poor.


Poor is a perspective and it works for the rich

and will maintain for as long as the top tier resist,

the notion that equality is an innate human right

and not intrinsically linked with financial might.


But give it some time, give the world room to breath,

give good people time to watch and time to perceive:


And what happens behind the words and closed doors,

will undoubtedly out, be pushed to the fore.


Revolution need not be bloody or grim,

we can stand shoulder to shoulder, breed strength from within


Chain links forged of morals and steely desire,

and resistance that’s tempered with peace and not fire


To take back control of our lives, loves and destiny,

we need intelligent resistance based universal humanity.


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***Gavin Hedaux spends his time in Cornwall, England where he repeatedly tries to convince the locals that he is actually one of them despite his vague cockney twang. He likes poetry and prose of all kinds and has an irrational fear of the word yokel and the colour yellow. He tweets at: https://twitter.com/GavinHedaux ****

NOTHING LIKE AN ICY DOCTOR TO DAMPEN ONE’S SPIRITS: HILLARY UMLAND’S JOURNEY TOWARD PRODUCTIVE WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE

One Woman’s Journey Through Medical Hell: Ridiculously High Costs, Apathetic Doctors, and Capitalism Impinging on our Right to Good Health

A personal account by Hillary Umland

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At this very moment I am quickly flipping through my mental Rolodex trying to figure out what I own that I can sell for money for an out-of-state surgery that I have yet to set up with an endometriosis specialist I have yet to find, but it’s a long time coming.

Tandem bike I never ride, regular bike I never ride, CDs I never listen to, a stereo I never use… Thank you, endometriosis, you make every day a glorious joy. At the very least, you’re helping me purge my apartment of superfluous junk.

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Almost a year ago I was found riddled with Stage IV endometriosis during a laparoscopy to drain a two-and-a-half inch complex filled cyst. Since then, my life has been one doctor visit after another, and me having to repeat over and over, “No, I do not want the Lupron shot. How about you cut me open and take it out?”  

Maybe I should back up a little.

I have felt what I now know are the symptoms of endometriosis for over 20 years – the entirety of my menstruating life.

Some of my symptoms include abnormal, excruciatingly painful and heavy periods that can last longer than a week, sprinkled with nausea and vomiting, migraine-like headaches, and fatigue.

When I called my doctor or went in with complaints about having to miss school or life because I could not unravel myself from the pain-coil I’d become from my period, she would always say, “just take no more than the recommended does of ibuprofen or Midol and use a hot water bottle.”

Well, doctors know best, don’t they?

Endometriosis occurs when lining similar to the lining of your uterus sheds monthly is found outside of the uterus and anywhere else it latches itself to.

In my case, I have endometriosis implanted on nearly every organ in my abdomen, except for my liver. The wall around the liver is a different story. I even have some lesions on my diaphragm, which is highly uncommon and tricky to remove.

The three gynecologists I have seen have pushed the Lupron therapy on me since day one, but at 35, I am uncomfortable with spending who-knows how many months taking hormones to put me into a menopausal status, then loading me up with more drugs to combat those side effects, until I don’t feel symptoms anymore.

I would rather be cut open and have my insides ripped out, thank you.

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Stage IV: Organs being lassoed together by endometriosis. Photo http://www.womens-health-advice.com/questions/endometriosis-stages.html

I have had the pleasure of undergoing a colonoscopy at 31, after over a decade of digestive issues (which I now like to attribute to the scar tissue on my bowel and intestines from endometriosis implants), which showed nothing wrong. I’ve also had a tube shoved down my throat (upper endoscopy) to see what all of my constant liquidy sounding belches and stomach upsets were coming from in my mid-20s, only to find nothing. There’s nothing I’ve read about the implants on my diaphragm causing this, but since it is on my gallbladder, maybe that’s an issue?

The gynecologists I’ve talked to only tell me that I should see a gastroenterologist because they have no way of knowing for sure that the endometriosis is causing anything more than painful bowel movement and urination. Yes, I would love to add yet another doctor and doctor bill to my already longer than necessary roster.

My new gynecologist’s response when I asked if there was a specific diet I could try was something to the effect of “we can’t recommend anything like that, really.”

There are a host of websites, and even a book, about diets for endometriosis sufferers. What I changes I’ve made to my eating habits have been from Endometriosis Resolved.

http://teenspeak.org/2012/03/30/an-endometriosis-diet/

Cutting out a laundry list of certain types of food is to help ease some of the symptoms, like excessive cramping and digestive issues. I have to say, it’s helped me a bit. As much as it kills me, I’ve cut way back on my dairy intake, avoid gluten as much as possible, have taken off processed foods from my grocery lists, and refined sugar products are a thing of my past. I’m also cutting out soy and wheat, which has been a bit cumbersome but completely doable. I have a bit more energy and less bloating, not as many headaches or constipation. However, sometimes it works, and sometimes everything I eat makes me feel sick to my stomach. Everything but vegetable broth. “It’s all a learning process though. I’ll figure it out!” is my daily mantra.

Honestly, with endometriosis, there is no definable cause, there is no cure, there is not perfect treatment for symptoms, and there isn’t even a set list of symptoms for each type. I could have Stage IV and feel absolutely nothing, or Stage I and feel all of the symptoms x 10000. It seems to me that endometriosis does what it damn well pleases.

Doctors don’t know what to tell me other than to take the Lupron shot. When I say no, they purse their lips and say they’ll look up names of specialists for me. They can’t tell me that any digestive issues I have are a result of implantation flair ups.

They can’t tell me what to do other than exercise and now take muscle relaxers. It feels as though I’m in this alone, have to find symptom reducers alone, find specialists alone, make every single decision about where to go and who to see and what to say about all of this alone.

This becomes a tiresome process, and I let it get the best of me some days. But as soon as I get up, I am even more determined to be loud and firm about what I want and who I need to talk to about it. And as soon as I find a specialist I am comfortable with, even if the money isn’t quite there yet, I will be on the next plane to talk with them.

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***Hillary Umland is a flash fiction/short story writer and freelance editor living and working in Nebraska. She has been published in the July/August 2015 of Unbroken Journal. You can find out more about her endo-woes on howtodoonething.wordpress.com and find her on Twitter @hillaryumlaut. ***