Archive | Rubenfire Chronicles

Rubenfire, Uncut (The Lifted Veil)

lilithIt’s Samhain–the Pagan new year, Halloween to nonwitches–and there’s a new moon in Scorpio, the sign of death and rebirth. The veil is lifted and the dark goddesses are all around us, Lilith in full effect. For nearly a week I’ve been haunted by my highest spirit, in addition to everyone else’s. I’d complain except I know this is the universe’s not-so-subtle way of nudging me forward since I’ve been resisting all gentler hints for the last six, twelve, oh, thirty-six months. A friend reminded me this morning of the words of Chickasaw poet Linda Hogan: “Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” Tonight I feel that.

It was a quiet day–most of my Mondays are quiet, by design and default–and when I finished work I went to get my nails done. My manicurist’s name is Lisa too, and we’re the same age. She lives with no green card, three kids, and an “only half good” husband in a one-bedroom apartment. Still I see pity in her eyes as she cleans up the raw hamburger of my cuticles. “You’re strong,” she says. “You need someone nice.” She’s not wrong, though I’ve only recently admitted this. More than that, I can feel my great grandmother behind her eyes as she speaks–my grandfather, too. They’ve given up the idea of continuing their ancestral line but are still invested in healing it. Continue Reading →

NSA Brujas and Magic Pixie Dream Men

manic pixie dream fellowNot so long ago, a man I fancied very much hurt my feelings through the grave sin of casual disregard, and I found myself trying not to cry at the exact moment I’d thought I’d be slathering on lipstick. I was crumpled on my bed next to a very pretty dress laid out in anticipation of him taking it off; it was blue and green and generally of a form and function I’d known he would admire. Though I never explicitly buy an article of clothing for one man’s eyes, I’d been happy about the prospect of this dress barreling past his defenses. I should have known better. Recently I’d had a dream in which this manic pixie dream man had been idling beneath a neon sign flashing the words DISASTER THROUGH AMBIVALENCE. That’s more supertext than subtext–neither ambivalent nor ambiguous–but what can I say? Hope is the thing without feathers, or so Emily Dickinson and Woody Allen might have said had they put their heads together. (Perish the thought.) Continue Reading →

On Living Softly, and Not Carrying a Big Stick

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Thug

Growing up, “soft” was an insult. The ultimate one, actually. In my family it was an umbrella term that meant out-of-shape, clueless, indolent, addled, unvigilant, prissy, overly sensitive, entitled. You were soft if you didn’t take it in the chin. Soft if you asked for a ride when you could walk. Soft if you whined “I can’t.” Soft if you couldn’t run a mile or sported a gut. Soft if you cried when you dropped your ice cream. Definitely soft if you were a tattletale.

Every usage of the word was anathema to us, and by “us,” I am referring to my dad and therefore my little sister, my mother, my myself—my father’s subjects, in other words, to whom principles came down by edict.

Soft hands meant you lacked a work ethic, the might or tenacity to do physical labor. A soft voice meant you were namby-pamby, couldn’t assert yourself. Being soft-hearted meant you were a sucker. There was a long list of what was soft, and at the top of it were the rich people in my Greater Boston town, which literally had a “wrong side of the tracks” since the Mass Pike divided the more working-class sections from the wealthier people on the Hill. The rich girls wore rugbys and braids, had sleepover parties with cutesie PJs, whispered about their crushes. The girls in my neighborhood wore tight designer jeans and feathered hair, hung out at the corner store, had boyfriends with whom they did more than hold hands long before they hit puberty.

Though gentle, Charlie Bucket was not soft, which is why he inherited the Chocolate Factory. Harriet the Spy was not soft; all you had to do was look at her work uniform and you knew she was tough as nails. In those slippers and knitted sweaters, Mister Rogers and his braying singsong was ridiculously soft. And the Beatles, oy the Beatles. With their thin voices, those fa-la-la proclamations of love—forget it. So soft. As a matter of fact, all white music was soft, except punk rock and, of course, the Stones. With their big bass lines and bigger tongues, the Rolling Stones were hard in every sense of the word. Before I even understood what sex entailed, I groked that the Beatles were the equivalent of making love and the Stones were all about fucking. Which, by definition, was not soft. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy