Wednesday, October 27, 2010


'A' reads well but is shy; her favorite book is Clifford the Small Puppy. 'J' likes dinosaurs but can't pronounce their names among other words. I haven't met 'V' yet. I am a "reading coach" for Reading Seed of Tucson, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tucson. According to Reading Seed's latest newsletter, nine elementary schools closed over the past summer in Tucson Unified. Every Tuesday I take two buses to Lilian Cavett Elementary School where 300 young ones learn the basics of reading and writing and walk through tiled halls leaking out the smell of cafeteria chicken.

The John and Vicki Click Clubhouse sits sandwiched in between two elementary school. Power hour is an hour of quiet time in the library room where kids can do their homework and get rewarded with free snacks. There are usually 30-50 kids and five adults giving attention to fake criers, doling out simple directions, pretending to enjoy chess with 3rd graders, and realizing these kids no higher than 5th grade will be smarter than him soon due to the length of the words on their vocabulary sheets and exponents in their math problems. Good luck, but I bet they won't ever know the glorious figures that is the boy-band NSync.

How could I ever, and why did I, call Tucson my home and not do anything to make it better? 

The neighborhood I live in currently reminds me too much of the one I grew up in. I want to teach kids that pre-conditions don't become aftermaths. I lived in a neighborhood where deadbeats were prevalent but I realized I didn't have to join them, nor would living in a neighborhood filled with lawyers mean I would have to prosecute. A benefit of being antisocial, among many, many, (many) others, is the time I have to myself to think, get to know myself, and what I want for myself. I don't understand how people are always seemingly at odds with their conscience, I think it's weird that I always walk slow yet I hate standing around waiting for the bus, I can't stand the egotism of Shakespeare, and above all, I hate the stylization, but not the sexualization, being forced on vampires. And I want to do all the things I want to do. Play music, have a personal library, go to Mardi Gras and Carnaval, and above all, learn all the interesting things the world has to offer. I was too big for where I lived, like a puzzle piece that doesn't fit. I keep moving like a story that continues past its book.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One Library Card To Rule Them All

I have a dishwasher here so there's no need for me to go to the laundromat. Get my work clothes clean for tomorrow and cooking supplies clean for dinner.

After a webinar on federal internship, I want to see what I can do and where I can go. The ideal place for me would be the Library of Congress. How I would walk down the 750 miles of bookshelves gazing at each passing work of literary art. Sure, I wouldn't enjoy D.C., the politicians and suits and ties, but the Library.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I've got no judgment for you

Ache With Me by Against Me

I've walked down high streets looking through windows.
I've been lost in crowds of strangers.
Searched record shops and cosmetic aisles, phone books, want ads, bus stops and libraries.
Newspaper headlines, mannequin faces, television stations, billboard advertisements.
Your voice echoes in the back of my mind.
I see your face when I close my eyes.

Do you share the same sense of defeat?
Have you realized all the things you'll never be?
Ideals turn to resentment, open minds close up with cynicism.
I've got no judgment for you.
Come on and ache with me.

Through bar rooms, caf├ęs, jail cells and court rooms.
Theaters, restaurants, graveyards and churches.
I've spent every dollar that I've ever earned.
I'll bleed my heart out, I'll give every word.
I've asked preachers, doctors and lawyers, socialites, pariahs, mothers and fathers.
You may not find all that you're after, in the end I hope it doesn't matter.

Do you share the same sense of defeat?
Have you realized all the things you'll never be?
Ideals turn to resentment, open minds close up with cynicism.
I've got no judgment for you.
Come on and ache with me.

Do you share the same sense of defeat?
Have you realized all the things you'll never be?
I've got no judgement for you.
Come on and ache with me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hemingway at a Bus Stop

She wasn't my usual acquaintance but she was interested and interesting. I wish I would have been.

“Hi, do you know what time the bus gets here?

“Oh, it's cool. The bus has a different schedule on the weekends, so I don't know either.”
The sun didn't have the patience to wait for the 17 bus but this woman and I did. She had more patience for this particular bus, I just had more time to wait for any bus I would find myself to take. Her long-sleeved over shirt and drab sweatpants seemed to coexist with nightfall but her aged face seemed forced, well befitting of the stories she told, the wisdom she had, the tumultuous battles splashed with overcomes; but not of the discoveries she still yearned for or the curiousness that brought her to this bus stop and me.

“So do you go to high school?”

She looked down, saw my school's emblem and the fighting colors of my shorts, and realized before I told her.

“Oh cool, what are you majoring in?

“Yeah, I love reading too. My favorite is Ernest Hemingway. He wrote a novel called “To Have and Have Not.” It's my favorite. And then they made a movie based on it and it had Humphrey Bogart in it.

“Yeah it is. It was made in 1944, I mean I wasn't around when it first came out, I'm not that old. But yeah anything with Humphrey is pretty old.”

I really wish the bus would get here already, I want to go home; maybe go for a swim or play basketball.

“And then a guy named Gregory Peck was in another movie based on a Hemingway novel. It was really good too.”
I wondered why she wasn't in some classroom with other studious gabs. She could be with them, talking to them.
“I've thought about going back to community or maybe online or something but my schedule's all over the place—I'm a nanny for this one family, their days are always different. I don't know how I would fit in school.

“Yeah weekend classes could work, maybe morning or night classes...I have a bunch of friends at the U of A and Pima who go everywhere and do cool things. Like one of my friends at Pima—she's Native American like me—she helped her tribe get some land in court a few weeks ago and when she told me about it I was just in awe. That was so cool.”

I hate waiting. There's a phone number on the bus stop sign.

“You're not calling that number on the sign are you? They close early on the weekend.”
Her cellphone rang quietly and a soft hello was uttered. She ambled out of listening range. Within moments, none of which saw the arrival of the bus, she returned.

“A bunch of my friends want to go to The Loft to see some classic French movie but I don't think I'm gonna go I don't have $9 to get in.”

This encounter is starting to get personal. I think I'm sweating.

“Have you heard of F. Scott Fitzgerald? I've heard a lot about him but I never read anything of his. Like “The Great Gatsby.” Some of my friends got me tickets to a play based on it but I still wanna read the book.

“I think a senior class at my high school read it too but I didn't get too far in high school.

“Really? I saw that movie, didn't know he wrote it. Benjamin Button was a really good movie though.
“Are you Japanese?”

Are you going to watch the news tonight? Do you know about the election? Are you registered to vote? Who are you voting for? Whose toupee do you think will fall off first? How much wind would it take to blow someone's wig off?

“Oh Vietnamese huh. My brother has two Japanese children, both girls, because he was in the army and y'know he was stationed in Okinawa. Beautiful city by the way.

“I hope they do, it would be a shame for anyone not to know their dad, cause I didn't.”

She scoffs. Her voice becomes somber and deeper but still audible like the roar of a launching rocket.

“It was actually pretty hard on my mom to look after me and my two brothers. And none of them had anyone to teach them how to take care of a girl—it's why they both sleep around and have babies everywhere. But y'know I tried to help out wherever I could, babysat my brothers, whatever, cooked, clean. I think that's the bus.”

Oh, finally! She got on first and we sat in different seats. The bus drive apologized roughly at every stop for being so late but never explained why or what had happened. After a few more apologies in the night, she got off at the stop before mine through the back door. I would eventually arrive home at long last.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So Much For Checklists

I'm in my new place now with the cheapest internet I could find, no furniture, and another room I have no use for.

Take a look.

I can't believe Superfriends was allowed to air. I've never found Batman so unbearable in my life, it's sad; a moment of silence for the dark knight.