The Problem with “Natural Diversity”

Today I read this opinion piece on why diversity in books is often poorly mishandled and encountered a quite familiar mantra that has never sat right with me, and that we’re gonna discuss today. I’d love to hear your opinions and urge you to read this piece for yourself.

Before you start throwing rotten mangoes at me, let me explain. I don’t think diversity in books is WRONG. NOT AT ALL. I just think that the way some authors and readers go about it is wrong. NOW THAT THAT’S CLEARED UP, hello! Welcome to yet another discussion in which I am more rambly and […]

 

via Diversity in Books // Why We Need it But Also How it’s “Wrong” (I’m Not Crazy, I Promise) — Forever and Everly

My first instinctive reaction to this piece as a #blackgirlnerd #blackauthor #femaleauthor #contrarianPOS was “What the hell is “natural” and how do we know what “natural” is?” It is often one of those I-know-it-when-I-see-it scenarios, but the whole concept of natural v.s unnatural diversity is laughable to me.

Let me tell you a little story, recently I was on twitter and came across a woman I’d been aware of before. She’s a white nationalist mommy blogger, who hopes to use her promotion of motherhood to prevent “white genocide” and she posted an image of the countries of the world. On this map were white figures to represent population density of white people and black figures to represent population density every other ethnic/racial group in the world. The captions basically were “Do you believe in white genocide now?”. When I first saw this image I wasn’t even upset or bothered by it. All I could think was “Did you…did you honestly think most of the world is white?” and instantly my mind was flooded by examples across my 25 years that confirmed that yes, a lot of people do.

And why shouldn’t they if they’re in the western world?

This isn’t exactly a common scene

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Flipped and Switched art exhibit.

Television, books, radio shows, newscasts, newspapers, and even the toys sections of children’s stores are dominated by the imagery of white people to an excessive degree. As a kid it was a struggle to find black media in North Carolina, and even when the X-Men movie came out I spent at least a half hour going through the action figure section, filled with Rogue and Jean Grey, until my mom asked a salesperson to go in the back and see if they had any Storm figures. That was a blockbuster film and still not all of the characters were available based on the perception of what people wanted and who could buy.

HumanaeDiversity as a concept is deeply influenced by individual perceptions of the world even if they are not accurate. As a result the whole concept of “natural diversity” is buggered. What is natural diversity in a world where writers of color are told their minority characters aren’t realistic for not conforming to stereotypes, when constantly imagery exists predicated on the belief that white is universal and in high quantity. It simply does not exist.

With that said authenticity does and it isn’t limited to people of a character’s background being the only ones to write it. The above piece makes an excellent point, and I’ve seen much of the same where people struggle with including minorities of any kind into their work. While I sympathize with trying to create a character and struggling this is an excuse. What is it an excuse for? Bad writing at best and someone’s unconscious biases at worst. Why do I say this? Because I’m a person who is also black, and while that impacts my perception of the world it doesn’t not negate that I’m a person. I talk a hell of a lot about race because it impacts my life, because of the rise of nationalism, and honestly because I’m in an interracial relationship and if he can’t take me at my Angela Davis he can’t take me Marcus Garvey. But I remain a person, and I have friends who are gay. They are not just my gay friends, but my friends who are gay. They are people.

If you have problems with a character because they are not like you then you need to do research, and if that’s too hard for you then you need to just write something else. Find beta readers like your characters, email other authors for advice, and don’t get upset if someone says “How you asked that question and wrote this character is fucked up”. That is a question of authenticity, of whether the character sounds natural. If it is easier for a person to write dragons than asians…something is wrong, and I extend that to white people as well (but that’s not as big of an issue because white is used as the universal story).
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The idea of natural diversity is an admirable one, and yes I do believe it makes sense to reflect the realities of diversity in context. While I enjoyed the black victorian soldier in a recent Doctor Who episode, the unwillingness to acknowledge that he was a black victorian soldier and just make him a soldier is problematic. To me it signals avoidance, but it still was nice to see. It was a clunky aspect of that episode’s casting that did feel forced, and it felt forced because no one wanted to deal with it. When The Doctor brought black woman, Martha Jones, to meet Shakespeare she addresses it directly and part of what makes it work is…characters respond to her race. Even in being flirted with she’s treated as an exotic dark woman. It wasn’t just glossed over. That felt natural. Not every setting, character, etc. will address race, but pretending it doesn’t exist is unnatural. In fantasy settings, and Americans have trouble conceptualizing this sometimes, ethnicity matters too. Race is noted because physical differences are noted, toted, and demonized. Over that? Ethnicity. Historically we know that is natural to people. That is an issue of authenticity.

The problem has never been that there are all white settings. I’m from the south where in the 1990s and 200s my family was often stared at in restaurants.  Two years ago I was on vacation/research with my mother and a white woman did a fucking double take. She was tall like me, and she looked from my mom to me with utter confusion because two black women were in the nice part of down town because that usually doesn’t happen there. There are neighborhoods I know of that a white person gets stared at because they are so not common. At black BBQs I’ve been to a person’s white partner is accepted but also exceptionally rare. Majority asian, white, black, latin, etc. settings and places exist, but that isn’t an inherent problem. That is equally natural.

The problem has been that majority to all white settings have been unequivocally accepted as natural for centuries, creating a belief that white is the majority, which then feeds back into “It is natural to have majority white character settings as the relatable settings and cast”. The default is white, natural is white, in the west, to such a degree that people are uncomfortable with the modern reality of globalism as “white genocide” when what they’re experiencing is population reality. So this idea of natural v.s unnatural diversity is a big farce in the context of reality.

What is natural to write isn’t always actually natural, and the assumption that this would be the case or can be the case is one done with a lot of optimism, as the blogger of the piece reflects, or in more negative terms, as has been my experience.

Poem: Glass

Poem: Glass

Bitter memories frolic across my mindscape,
Filling it to the mid point
And then threatening to raise the tide over full,
Overflow,
Love and love’s past explode between my ears,
With fears materializing into loneliness,

But hey the glass is half full,
Loving many means loving alone,
Because no one wants a beggar,
“Alms! Alms for the poor”
And love. Don’t forget love.
No one wants.
No one wants to look through the colored glass of your soul,
And see pity.
Pity
Pity
Pathetically crawling, scratching,
Spilling everywhere over all your insides,
On
to
Them.

The Dancer’s Body

The Dancer’s Body

The Dancer’s body,

Is shaped by movement and desire,
Whether Skinny and swanlike,
Or fuller than the night’s sky and full,
Of stars,
The dancer is living movement captured,
In flesh,

The old dancer’s body,
Pinched and wrinkled like a well loved,
Muscle should be,
Never forgets its movements,
Their limbs still flow with the music,
Even as memory lapses into,
Glittering dust and atoms,

The dancer’s body,
When it is young is a hopping,
Jubilant thing,
It’s movements stronger than what any can sing,
Uncontained, svelt, large, spinning around,
Taking charge by simply being,
Round tummy or smooth,
Long or squat,
Comfortable with all movements,
Or just a few the body moves.

The body moves.

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Black men dancing, soaring like kings of the heavens.

 

For the Last Time, Not all Blacks are Christian.

Why?

Why do I need to say this again and again? It drives my agnostic spiritualist ass batty. The hardest thing about being a black writer, often on a good day, is looking for groups/blogs/meetups for other black authors. I have joined plenty of white majority workshops, but I want to also hear from people of cultural backgrounds like myself. Why? Because maybe they’ll fall in love with fantasy or know someone who wishes they had books in speculative genres that look like themselves. Also because I just want to. But time and again black writing is associated with black Christendom. Plenty of Christians will read my stuff regardless, but there’s this unspoken expectation that if you’re a black writer who doesn’t write about “urban” things then you’re a Christian and your books will have Christian themes. Black women are the single most religious group in the USA, according to Jamila Bey. of host of The Sex Politics and Religion Hour: SPAR With Jamila  Even if the book has nothing to do with religion people expect that your story will still have those themes, much like a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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“Where’s your church home?” 

Black agnostics and atheists have always been an unspoken hot topic, unspoken because as I was once told, “Atheism is for white folk and Asians”. Yet more and more African Americans and blacks all over the world as getting turned off by church. Black atheists have always existed and always been part of Black social movements, but their beliefs like others homosexuality or non-black spouses were downplayed for the comfort of their comrades. Yet through art it survives…

I remember being in high school and finding myself jaw dropped as I watched Raisin in the Sun, which featured an African American woman, Beneatha, who rejected Christianity as another idea that she simply couldn’t believe in. This moment changes the dynamic between her and her mother forever. Lorraine Hansbury captured the struggle between up and coming black women rejecting the traditions of her mother and the reactions to it in one pivotal slap. The matriarch doesn’t care about belief. She cares about pretending, about beating god into her “uppity” daughter who, shocked and teary eyed, relents. It isn’t just about control, but a mother who loves her daughter…and loses that daughters respect in an attempt to save her soul. That moment encapsulates so much of the black non-Christians experience. The secular beliefs of black authors writing for black people can, for no good reason, become the barrier to advancing our scholarship.

As Siviku Hutchinson said,

“As Lena’s violent rebuke of Beneatha is a caveat to all the uppity Black female atheists who’ve been rendered invisible Lena’s violent rebuke of Beneatha is a caveat to all the uppity Black female atheists who’ve been rendered invisible — both by a white secular culture that only sees atheism through the Islamophobic lens of Richard Dawkins, and a black religious culture that uses heteronormative Christian respectability politics to silence and police women. Decades after the literary slap heard around Black America, to be female, beyond belief and Black (to recast Hansberry’s iconic phrase) is still the ultimate betrayal of the race.”

To be black and voice doubt, sedition, in faith is to be a traitor or seen as abdicating a right to be a voice for black people. I’m sorry but that’s bullshit, and I’m sick of it. The assumption that all black folk are Christian has got to stop. Don’t make me awkwardly nod as you talk about god. Don’t make me coon for other black folk because they think if something isn’t overtly christian somehow its less black…

And stop thinking black authors are black Christians.

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Ellen Weinstein

I respect the church in theory. I respect all religions in theory. I just have a profound lack of respect for the institutions of religions and how they’re run. See Rev. Creflo Dollar, a con artist to black Americans everywhere as to a reason why. But there’s a particular irritation that comes with people putting another identity on to you because black atheists have been systematically erased, ignored, or rewritten throughout black history usually by those in the churches because those were where black history and interests were cultivated over the last century.

This isn’t about resenting the church or being hurt by anybody as other blacks have suggested to me. Truthfully this attitude is why these Black Christian Authors groups turn me off besides making me wonder why everything in black culture is forcibly tied to religion in 2017(which is also the problem with modern activism, where black LGBTQA+ and women refuse to step down). A lot of black culture has promoted this belief that an atheist or agnostic is broken, and just needs the right home, and is alienated from good black folk. I’m not.  That’s the nicer story than simply black folk like me aren’t black and hate being black. Even typing those words makes me feel sick.

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This is about how hurt I am by the church or someone in the church. See the tension?

Black success should not be tied only to the opinions of church folk, relationships to a church, or expectations that black people are black Christians….but they often are. The church is the place where book clubs meet, and where black authors are often invited to read. The church has always been the heart of the black community, launching careers long before Oprah or In Living Color ever got a platform. Tyler Perry would never be big if it weren’t for black churches and Oprah, his ham fisted religious ( and sexist and colorism filled) themes reinforce the traditions of the black community for better or (mostly) for worst. It is worth noting Mr. Perry is also a giant undercover nerd, who seemingly has shown no interest in truly supporting other black creators in making their visions or battling color the barrier by producing black science fiction or black fantasy. I can’t help but wonder if this is in no small part because he knows many in his audience would say it wasn’t “black” and far too many others would say it was “too black”. Why make millions when you could make billions? The chruch fuels his billions even if he doesn’t really pay it forward.

 

Also because so many non-black spaces don’t give black authors the same opportunities as whites the  church is where the most opportunity to present yourself and your work can be found…so long as you keep that Christian context. To the secular person, this feels like a total shut out…to a game of trying to hold your tongue until you earn approval. It feels like black secular writers are pushed even further towards the margins. And when we make our own spaces so often blackness comes into question, our relationship to the black community at large becomes suspect.

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All Athieists

The assumption itself creates a distance, often hidden, but very real. It isn’t Christianity, but the inherent racism of assuming ones beliefs based on race.
As Jenee Desmond-Harris of The Root noted:

Your frustration is a reminder that being stereotyped doesn’t feel any better just because the offender thinks the assumption he or she is making about you is a positive one (even the most positive one possible, as Christianity likely is to many Americans). And it doesn’t make it any better when the offender is the same race, either.

It isn’t Christianity, but the inherent gate keeping creating this false divide between black and atheist/agnostic. It isn’t Christianity, but Christians who come to invite me to their writing groups expecting Christian literature or themes only to find I write about dystopian space epics, psychological thrillers, and African, Haitian, and African american influenced fantasy far more often than traditional literary black stories. I tell them what I write. Their cheeks thin, their mouth jobs, their eyes glaze to disinterest, and I see them thinking “that’s not really black, but ok” before they remember Chronicles of Narnia or something more Christian…and when I say I’m not a Christian their mouths close, they cut the conversation short, and say–to be polite– “You’re still welcome”….

So they can convert me.

And Heaven forbid I tell them about conjure or voodoo or any alternative that is available to black people to try.

I know they mean well, but seeing every other writers group of facebook be labeled simply “Black” and it’s overwhelming books, posts, and expectations be about Christianity is tiresome. It’s disheartening. It’s annoying because you know it will be just that much harder for you, and that you’ll have to justify that Christ doesn’t necessarily fit into your themes or beliefs or life. Their eyes will glaze over, and you’ll feel exhausted.

So stop assuming all colored folk are Christian in America.

That’s all I ask.

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Resources for black non-religious folk?

Christianity Ain’t For Everybody: Resources to Navigate Being Black and Non-Christian  

Living Openly Secular in Black Communities: A Resource for African Americans

Black and Not Baptist by Donald Barbera 

African American’s For Humanism

Black Non-Believers

The Black Agnostic

** A fair warning the AA Athieists and Agnostics group on Facebook is honestly massive and filled with homophobic hotep ashy misognegroes who use atheism as an excuse for their bigotry and stupidity. I do not recommend it. The foolishness of it is stifling.

 

Share & Reflect: Nina Simone’s 3 Years of Freedom

At Guernica, Katherina Grace Thomas turns a lens on the years Nina Simone spent in Liberia in the mid-1970s.

via Nina Simone’s Three Years of Freedom — Longreads

Nina Simone has been a fascination of mine for good number of years now, as has the seemingly intellectually blissful period before various elites around Africa fully and completely alienated every day Africans. It was a period where African Americans, but also blacks from all over the diaspora, fled to other worlds. Where, like so many WWII soldiers like my grandfathers, found the world to be ready to seeing them as Black Americans, Black Canandians, etc. worthy of welcome and not derision. Many didn’t so much as flee, as they abdicated. The deaths of MLK Jr. , Malcolm X, and the rise and fall of the Black Panthers caused a loss of faith. Those who spoke peace were murdered. Those who spoke self-defense and evolution of thought were destroyed by those who only hurt themselves. Entire American agencies spent years seeding doubt, using undercover agents to fuel drug habits, and killing those young leaders who’d begun to see not only racial injustice but class injustice. Nina sang to a world that only half listened, a world that decades later only shakes their head while saying that “Mississippi Goddamn” is too harsh and the rhetoric stating black lives have value is threatening and wrong. Those who sang, spoke, and wrote like Nina did never gave up…but they sure as hell abdicated, removed themselves from people who seemingly wanted nothing to do with justice. They searched, reached out, and found an audience elsewhere, an audience that could provide a racial refuge unlike any many blacks across the Americas and Europe had never known.

They believe in Africa, in the diaspora, but unlike those expats of the 1960s and 1970s they generally have no westernized royal family to show them a gilded lily of racial equality where black is as black does.

Africa’s international elites and intellectuals listened attentively…but in the end they failed to listen to their own countrymen.

This has always fascinated me as well. The factors in the many coups, revolutions, and civil wars are varied across each individual nation. However, I believe it is fair to say that the gap between those excited intellectuals at universities, the heavily western influenced elites, and the common men and women trying to earn an honest days work destroyed that utopia Nina Simone and many others called home. It wasn’t just a matter of rich versus poor, but the student versus the maid; the idealistic activist v.s the farm hand. In many ways, as an American this is playing out on Western terms in 2017, but the forces of black lives and politics across the world are unique.

Liberia and many African nations have a sort of duel identity and an image fueled by national pride ego, and a long complex relationship with the west. So many blacks in the diaspora have negative views of Africa…and yet so many also have this overwhelmingly admirable love for Africa. Both can be unreasonable. I’ve known folks, so thoroughly excited to spend time in Ghana, Uganda, and elsewhere; folks who embrace the narrative of “Modern Africa” becoming a big player on the international scene, of fashion models in African fabrics, of an intellectual elite returning and invigorating their proud homes…and upon their return that excitement is thoroughly quelled. The potential is there, they say, bubbling beneath the surface…but they walk among the tent cities of South Africa, they drive through the rich neighborhoods with their western homes before going down a neighborhood of hard working people who they just saw working in homes with closets larger than their own. They believe in Africa, in the diaspora, but unlike those expats of the 1960s and 1970s they generally have no westernized royal family to show them a gilded lily of racial equality where black is as black does.

Africa…a place of high fashion, intense business, and economic development. Where you can either find powerful self-assurance or mild disappointment. It is a land of many dreams, and harsh realities about how Pan-Africanism was more lip-service in the last 60 years than genuine practice.

Class is very real, and intellectualism has a tendency to isolate.

I wonder what it says when friends of mine were told they were “white” when their tones were chocolatey brown. Is it ethnicity or ethnicity; Nation or race; Culture or place of birth? Are Black American’s permanently displaced in the eyes of the world unless we’re talking about American hip-hop and urban cultures? I don’t have an answer.

But I do have an understanding.

The isolation of the elites in black circles is toxic. The willingness to say that farmers, maids, chauffers, and others in the working class diaspora simply have no clue about “real life” or political power resulted in intellectuals becoming blind at best and dictators at worst. Those dictators gave way to tyrants whose working class, and ethnic roots gave unreasonable yet perfectly understandable support to states that claimed to change everything yet changed nothing. Class is very real, and intellectualism has a tendency to isolate.

White liberal socialists, or really whites in general on the left, have been telling me every day that racial issues will be all but solved by the balm of class equality. If you look at the dynamics of many wealthy Africans in relation to everyday working Africans from Liberia to South Africa you’d begin to think they were right. But it wasn’t simply class, and plenty of sons rose through the ranks of the military, of intellgensia, and ultimately repeated the same actions they said the former wealthy governments did. But then again maybe it was money…but then again it’s more complicated than that.

Socialism won’t stop racism. It’s something whites don’t like to acknowledge, but even the poorest rural whites throughout American history could say “I don’t have a pot to piss in, but at least I’m not a n*gger”. Social power isn’t just about class. In Africa it came from who your people were, from your education, from your foreign friends, and yes form your class too. It came about through those with big progressive ideas never acting and only talking to each other. So when they brought in others, unfamiliar with their nations and worlds, blacks eager to feel at home for the first time ever…those expatriated souls saw those circles as the whole of Africa. Why wouldn’t they?

African Americans like Nina abdicated their role in civil rights because white America elected Nixon, said Civil Rights needed to slow down, and that blacks being fired first in factories during the economic downturn was a matter of “Last hired first fired” and had nothing to do with race when race kept them from being first hired. They’d marched, sang, spoken, wrote, talked, confronted, and persuaded…and they still wouldn’t be fully heard or even believed. They didn’t give up. They had enough, and said they’d take their dreams to Africa and plant them there. But the soil was hard when you dug too far down, filled with nutrients but the layers simply didn’t connect. But those dreams grew tall regardless and so those expats assumed the fruit would be sweet forever. Leaders didn’t have to acknowledge farmers, and farmers didn’t have the knowledge to respond wisely. Leaders in their ivory towers danced in discos, while that same leaders maid barely afforded her children’s school uniforms while wealthy westerners talked about how free their homes were. Those discos were, in the eyes of the many, filled with greed, idiots, and those who were going to change their entire way of life to impress western foreigners.

They never seemed to meet much in the middle. They were two worlds orbiting and never meeting. Decades later I regularly see information about the sons of wealthy African leaders who travel the world leaving messes behind from assaults and incidents that embarrass their countrymen to hiding the very funds they stole from those countrymen around the world,barely touching home soil for long. Meanwhile the son of the nation is immigrated, at university, and faced with the reality of white racism in the west. He returns home dutifully, he brings back gifts. and goods for his uncle and aunties business. He eats well and is surrounded by the same vapid wealth as the former. He is wealthy. He is high class. He still loves his home. He could be a leader if he wanted…

Isolation kills black communities, and it happens no matter what. Most slave codes forbade blacks from gathering for a reason, and in modern times we have constructed our own codes. The paper bag test is the most famous, but saying something is “white” like watching Japanese anime or liking comic books is another. People who went to Howard or Morgan Universities have opinions about students who went to Aug down in NC. What is the issue here? Class? No. Not fully. Perhaps it is expectation.

Expectation that we should all understand, and that some for one reason or another cannot. Expectation that a nation of black folk will be a utopia when utopia is no place. Expectation that Africa is low, and that Africans who aren’t royalty/rich are low. Expectation that somehow being black will solve classism…or that destroying the upper classes will cease racism. Perhaps that’s what black folk remain gripped by…a hope so strong it strangles us and the insideous influence of thinking we’re all too different in a world that sees us all the same.

The Bestiary and Life of SVX99: Part One

The Bestiary and Life of SVX99: Part One

Luna. That is what they named the colony on SVX99, a robust planet known for its silver and grey flora which were the diets of equally robust fauna. Instead of insects as Earthborn knew them there were these butterfly sized birds with wings with as many colors as the human eye could see. They’d nip the pollen from the plants with snouts, tongues, beaks, or suckers of all kinds and would drop them as they went. There were actual butterflies and moths, massive, but Dr. BJ Martinez had proved they were mamlian and at the time had theorized they were simply a bird varient. There were seven legged exceptionally tall creatures with silver backs and black legs, which were somewhere between the noble elk and the adorably goofy giraffe. They had a habit of trying to eat human tints, and ate these lavender bushes that seemed to grow everywhere from the mountains to the snowyplains far down south. I’d see all of them during my stay, and I intended to see many more, but there was one I was quite fond of.

My favorite was the Dalaxia, named for its discoverers Mia Dalan and Joon Xia, it resembled a moomin type creature. It’s medium sized hippo like body had large floppy ears on the side of its head and then another set of multi-directional hippo like ears on top. There round faces had many whiskers and their swatting tails were beaver like. They were the first creatures I saw, and though I’d been instructed to stay in the camp to merely document their habits before being escorted to Luna. Perhaps it was because we were the first ship in range, or perhaps it was because we’d brought food, but within 30 minutes the Dalaxia had begun inspecting the camp. They ate a whole canister of economy sized dried green beans, two sugar filled canisters, and one baby Dalaxia befriended Captain Edgar’s dog Maxine. The baby kept making these whimpering and honking noises until poor old Maxine had to indulge it and they ran around for what seemed to poor Maxine to be hours. The old girl kept looking back at me like “Are we done yet? This youngin is making grandma tired”. The sixty of us must have looked quite comical as we handled these creatures.

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Moomin

I could not put pen to paper, or pen to tablet of course…I was too busy laughing as Dalaxians began trying to sniff each of us, and mouth our hands. The beasts were almost unnaturally gentle, and reminded me of the seals make-a-wish took me to see before my miraculous recovery. The seals had surrounded me, and seemed to sense exactly the right amount of play I could endure. One simply decided to lay on my tummy, and another tried to share its frozen fish Popsicle with me. The handlers had laughed and said I must have a way about me. I didn’t know what that meant back then. Even on SVX99 I didn’t know.

Really I didn’t know why I was there, or why I had signed up for the four year long mission. There was no tragic backstory though plenty of my friends died on Earth, but that was to be expected. My first love died too. Maybe that’s tragic. We had the same problem, chronic asthma due to a degenerate environment. Earth’s atmosphere was too thick for our lungs and laden with fumes and particulates. As a little girl a breath for me felt like swallowing both cinnamon and broken shrapnel; lungs would be filled, corked, choked, and I’d imagine new holes forming, arteries being torn asunder. My chest would expand and I’d be ravaged by pain my childlike mind could not process. At 14 I still could not, and Dylan would sit in my room with me during my attacks and we’d be lost together. It was the best of the worst time. We weren’t the strong ones, and we couldn’t adapt. Maybe that was the sad or tragic part to some, but “that’s just been how its been” as my father would say.

My life was one of millions, and only significant in my sudden recovery from both the slow cancer discovered shortly after my asthma was diagnosed as terminal. I was just a glorified documentarian really; good at drawing, describing, and with some training in both anthropology and biology. Yet it didn’t take training to figure out the Dalaxians enjoyed head pats and side tummy rubs.

I stood in the center of a ring of sniffing snorting Dalaxians, trying to make sure snot didn’t get on my face as one unceremoniously sniffed my hair.

“Aren’t you friendly?” I laughed.

“They are very curious creatures,” Captain Edgar said, giving a large old Dalaxia a solid head pat. The Dalaxia had a large scar across its front leg, rather odd sense they had no known predators and we certainly didn’t intend on becoming any. “They’ve been watching the camp and colony every time I come back.”

The Dalaxia sniffing my head suddenly dragged its long tongue up my cheek, leaving sweet sticky saliva, and I shuddered. It must have been one of the ones to eat a sugar canister. Three small babies popped up from between their mother’s legs and began sniffing my knees and hands before I could wipe off the stickiness. I suspect the big Dalaxia who’d licked me used that act to signal I was ok because the youngsters began to gently butt my thighs.

“They want you to play with them,” Captain Edgar said.

“Do they now? Do they do this with everyone?”

“No, but they do it with people who meet their exacting standards like Maxine” He pointed to his dog, barking and yapping as an adolescent Dalaxian began to head butt the other before rolling onto the ground submissively at Maxine. Maxine licked its face and the Dalaxian licked back. MAxine’s tail wagged and the Dalaxian’s did the same.

“How can they speak the same language when they’re galaxies apart in development?”

“I suppose because they’re a lot better than we are. We can barely understand our selves let alone each other,” Captain edgar suddenly pulled a handful of edamame from his vest pocket and fed the Dalaxian. “I met this fellow when he was just a young bull trying to impress the ladies. He stole a whole canister and rolled it to lady after lady. The first simply wasn’t interested-”

“The second was probably insulted,” I said,  patting the Dalaxians heads softly one after another, as though I were learning to play bongos. “No girl wants another’s bouquet. It’s like being an after thought…though personally for dinner I’d make an exception”

Part One End.

I love old descriptions of creatures and places. It’s a required taste, but its so exciting and adventurous even in the meticulous detail. I think I’ll try painting some of these scenes or at least drawing some doodles for next time. Also I love hippos…they’re great.

cute-baby-hippo

How to Love a Man.

How to Love a Man.

How to Love a Man,
I do not know,
But I know how I try,
So let me try to help you,

You love a man,
When he’s too busy to check his phone,
By reminding yourself he just fell into the zone,
That you’re just looking for,
Or to make,
A show,
And the feeling of suffocation,
Gives you a youthful rosy glow,
When he feels like it,

You love a man,
By patching up his pride,
With patience,
By keeping hope alive,
Swallow your frustration,
And wait for that pin to drop,
Because he’ll either destroy himself within,
Or pop.

You love a man,
Why?
Why do you love a man?
Because he’ll drive you mad,
Hell make your rhyming scheme turn bad,
He’ll make you need and want and more,
And always he could go out the door,
You’ll wrap each other in insecurities,
And you’ll think of hanging from a tree,
He’ll say stop,
And you’ll say go,
And then he’ll treat you like a ho,
And then you’ll like it,
Yes, you’ll see,
When he holds you close or lets you be,
You’ll want to stop and do not know,
Where the hell you’ll fucking go,
When he doesn’t treat you like a ho,
When he makes room for you,

And tries to show he likes you, loves, you
“Don’t you know?”
He’s crazy about you and you’ll go
“Love me slow,”
And, yes, he’ll do it.
Yes I know,
I’ve lived it twice,
I’ve been let go,
And you’ll like it, patience or no,
And you’ll take whatever to go with the flow,
And just so you know
That is how you love a modern man,
With your time,
With your hands,
With your mind,
With all that makes you good and kind…
And then you’ll love a man.