Monday, May 12, 2014

Project: MANHOOD

During my journey through Motherville, I have come to that wasteland we know as adolescence. That time when a sweet little baby becomes a maniacal mess of hormones and angst. I live with two of them - a boy of 17 and a girl of 15. In about sixty days, give or take, they will become 18 and 16 respectively and at this point they are beginning to believe that they are adults. Or close enough to being adults that I should pretend that they are. Teen Boy is right in the throes of a delusional manhood fantasy. Which means that I am not drinking nearly enough vodka. Back when Teen Boy was Young Boy, he was energetic and, quite frankly, disobedient. He wasn't "bad" exactly, he just had his own mind about things. It was always hard to get him to go to bed when it was bedtime, eat when it was mealtime, and sit his ass down when it was school time. So, I should not be surprised that Teen Boy also has his own mind about things. In Teen Boy's mind, at 17 he's a man and men don't have to call when they are going to be late (or not be home at all), they don't have to turn the lights off when they leave a room or a house, and they don't have to clean anything. Ever. Another perk to manhood, according to Teen Boy is that men get to blast their music, no matter what the hour. In fact, the louder your music, the bigger your balls. I'm sure all you men are nodding in agreement right now. It isn't just the age that has Teen Boy so confused about adulthood. You see, Teen Boy has a job. Let me be clear. I am happy for Teen Boy and super proud of him for being employed. At a time when so many black teenagers are without work, he got out there and got himself a job. I know exactly how he feels every other Friday when he gets a paycheck with his name on it and exchanges it for cash - cash that belongs only to him, cash that he can spend on any foolish thing he chooses and I can't say a damn thing about it. I know because I remember. I was his age when I got my first job and nothing, NOTHING brought me more joy than buying clothes that my mother hated and when she sighed and shook her head at me I LOVED saying in my most shrill voice, "Mom! It's MY money!" Teen Boy's inconsiderate behavior (coupled with my overreaction, if I'm going to be honest) hit a crescendo last week. He went to work, didn't come home and didn't call. His cell phone was dead and he left it at some girl's house. For more than 24 hours I had NO IDEA where he was. I didn't panic at first because it wasn't unusual for him to go out for long stretches of time and just be too wrapped up in his grown man life to call or text and say, "Hey Mom, I'm at (insert the name of whatever urban urchin he's hanging with here) and I won't be home until (insert some ungodly hour here)." But when morning came and still no word, I started to worry. But I still didn't really panic because I was so well-trained by his thoughtlessness. I texted his friends. I don't know all of their names, but I do write down all of the phone numbers that I find in his cell phone, written on scraps of paper and the call lists from the landline. I texted them all saying, "This is Teen Boy's mom. He never came home. If you see him tell him to call me." I went to work and the hours kept advancing and I never got a call from him. By 10 AM, my heart was racing a bit, I couldn't concentrate and my breath kept getting caught in my throat. I went to his Facebook page and scrolled through his friends and found a new friend, a coworker of his that I knew he'd spent social time with recently. I sent her a message. She called but had not seen Teen Boy in a couple of days. I was caught between the horror that something terrible had really happened to Teen Boy or he was just being an asshole. Clinging to the hope that Teen Boy was just being an asshole, I posted a message on his Facebook page, calling him out publicly and telling him that if he couldn't find his way to make a phone call, then he needed to find another place to live. I went to lunch and pushed my food around a plastic container and complained to a couple of coworkers about my parenting woes. They were sympathetic and assured me Teen Boy was fine, just "being a boy." And by the way, that is the dumbest excuse ever. Every single time a male child does something dumb, I hear that same knee jerk response, "oh, he's just being a boy." Now, if I hit him in the back of the head with a two by four, do you think anyone would say, "oh, she's just being an overworked, stressed out, unappreciated mom"? Anyway, Teen Boy called twice while I was at lunch and he asked, "Why are you looking all over for me?" I was surprisingly calm. Well, more accurately, exhausted from worry and relieved that he was okay. Turns out, he was at my parents' home the entire time. No, I didn't call over there looking for him, and yeah, I guess I should have. But why do I have to look for him at all? Why couldn't he just let me know? Didn't he have a duty to inform me when his plans changed? Funny thing about Teen Boy, he is super sensitive. So the Facebook thing really hurt his feelings. So he went to friend's home for two days to wear his pouty, "I'll Show Her" face. Same one he's had since he was two. He arrived home after sufficient sulking and we talked it out. He apologized for worrying me, sort of. I apologized for embarrassing him, sort of. But neither one of us is really sorry. We are locked in an inevitable battle. He wants his manhood and he thinks I am holding it hostage. So he's making a big fuss thinking he can annoy me into setting him free. Teen Boy, like all of the Teens, doesn't realize that adulthood can't be experienced with training wheels and it isn't something that can be withheld or hidden. It's a life sentence that is waiting for him like it waited for all of us. He hears rumors of late nights, lots of sex with girls, drinking and drugs, spending money on anything you want and no Mother there to scold you or take privileges or yell and scream. But most of the time adulthood is an endless struggle to keep your life held together with scotch tape and bubble gum, surviving one crisis after another, dodging debris, hoping for a day or two off so you can have a late night, sex with a girl, a drink, buy something you need and remember a Mother who used to bear the struggle for you so that you could complain about how she treated you like a baby. God, I hope he makes it. Originally written May 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day, as we know it, is bullshit. Yeah, I said it. Mother's Day is that annual 24-hour period when people think they can actually thank their mothers for "everything they do." An absolute impossibility because our kids have NO IDEA of all the shit we do (and don't do) for their benefit and amusement. No Fucking Idea. Even though I am a mother now, I don't even pretend to know everything that my mother has done for me. I have no idea of all the times she prayed me out of trouble, stopped herself from telling me the truth because I couldn't handle it, dried my tears when she really should have been crying herself. I don't even know what all she did without, so that I could have whatever. You see motherhood is at once a sisterhood and a singular experience. So Mother's Day can't really be anything but a day long illusion. It's a game where our kids pretend to appreciate that which they cannot grasp and we pretend to believe that they grasp something they could never fully appreciate. None of this is to say that kids don't love their mothers. Of course they do! And every time they kiss you on the face, or smile at you, pick dandelions and shove them under your nose, they mean it. But love can be expressed daily, and it is. Teen Boy and Teen Girl tell me they love me all the time. And I believe them. Mother's Day isn't about love. Not really. It was Julia Ward Howe who first called Americans to celebrate Mother's Day and it wasn't because she needed a day for her kids to send her roses or she had a sudden craving for breakfast in bed. The first Mother's Day Proclamation was a call to peace. That's right, it was a call to mothers to stand together against war. Read Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870 here. Mother's Day itself, at least in the United States, was born of pain. The pain of mothers who suffered through the Civil War and had to bury too many children. Because no one, not even Mary herself, plans to raise a martyr. And when your child is killed, who gives a shit about the reason or the honor that someone will attach to it. Who gives a shit about the good of the country or fighting evil or any of that. All you care about is that your baby is gone, and you couldn't do a damn thing about it. I'm sure every mother of a fallen soldier would rather have her kid instead of an American flag and a place to put flowers on Memorial Day. At some point we set that first Mother's Day aside and we've used the day to let Mom put her feet up, have a go at the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and we get her some grocery store flowers. And she appreciates the attention and having a night off from the dishes. But let's not pretend that we know her suffering. Let's not even try to thank her for all she's done because we don't really know. Just tell your mother that you love her, and know that she loves you more. Do what you can to make her life a bit easier, visit when you can, but not too much because by now she probably needs a break from your ass. And when she's gone, remember that she was your one great love and you were hers. To the Teens, my own great loves, all I can say is this: I want to see Dark Shadows. I'll buy dinner and we'll call it even. Even though it's not. Happy Mother's Day. Originally written in May 2012

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

THE NOTHING by Kimberly Kinrade

I existed once.

In form and thought.

I had a Name.

And a sensory experience of the physical world.

Until He came.

You know of whom I speak.
The god of virtual formlessness.
A lesser deity to be sure, but one gaining in strength and power by the day.
Feeding on the lives and souls of lost wanderers of cyberspace.

He rules the ethers of unreality.
We give him our form, our name, our lives.
And he converts them into the currency of his domain.

Fleshless words. Ideas of no substance. One dimensional nothings.

Caricatures of what we once were.

You flirt with him now, thinking him harmless with his glittering temptations

But you are wrong. He is not harmless.

And we all were wrong.
It is not death that is to be feared. But the Nothing.

Ceasing to be is a fate far worse than any death could ever be.

You lose yourself in the usernames and avatars He gives you.

Thinking yourself safe.

You learn to walk and talk and live in this flat world of 0’s and 1’s,
feeding on the desperation of others like yourself.
Driven by the need to be seen without eyes of flesh.

Safe sex.
Sex without touch.
Without mess.
Without disease.
But viruses pervade.
You cannot escape the illusion of the nightmare we call reality.

Our dreams cannibalize us.
Consume us as food as we feed on the sex of others.

You will see.

And you will wish you had stayed blind.

Your form will fade.

Not all at once, so as to alarm.
But slowly.
Gradually and without notice.

With each moment lost to reality, you are consumed by the Nothing.

With each photograph you send, a piece of you is sacrificed on the communal altar of demented and unsatiated desires of non-flesh.

With each black letter typed on the screen, your breath is stolen by the invoked unreal passion of another user of this drug.

You give yourself to the nameless nobodies floating in this unreality. And they take you. And they feed on you. Even as they dissipate into Nothingness themselves.

Until one day, you will have ceased to be. Not dead. Not alive. Not anything.

And you will never even know you’ve disappeared.

But I will.

I existed once.

In form and thought.

Sapphire eyes, and ruby lips. Alabaster skin. Full breasts.

You coveted me. They all did.
I was their dream lover. Their perfect form.
Their fantasy realized without time and space.

They owned me for a time.
Stripping me to nothing.
Eating my life force.
All to feed this god of the never-ending hunger.

I was your private mental porn. Until I disappeared.

But it mattered not. For every one of us that ceases, there are a hundred more to take our place.

They existed once too. Until they didn’t.

Kimberly Kinrade is a Young Adult fantasy writer and author of BITS OF YOU & PIECES OF ME, a collection of short stories, poems and essays that tell the tale of a girl in love with love who discovers the demons of a splintered heart when that love turns violent. You can read more of her work at

Friday, December 17, 2010


A girl has to have courage
To be pregnant
In the wrong place
At the wrong time.

Lives are at stake
When promises are broken.
Stones fly before
Explanations can be heard.

A boy has to have courage
To trust the word of an angel
And stand with a girl absent
A tribe's protection.

When Empire and Destiny
Mingle to bring about
An extraordinary circumstance
It takes courage
To keep it together.

And then

A baby is born
Hope is restored
Love is remembered
Life begins again.

It takes courage
To bask in the light of the world.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Lilith

An image of Himself, male and female
Two, yet one, blessed, multiplied
Lord and Lady
In love and at war.

Lord of all, refuses the Lady
Everlasting bond, broken
But love remained.
Garden of paradise
A kingdom and a prison
Lady subdued
And love is strained.

The Lady flees
Now screeching owl
Demon lover of Samael.
In the garden one remains
Waiting on another.

Ask and you shall receive
An image of Himself, male and female
Two, yet one, blessed, multiplied
Lord and a helper
And the beginning is rewritten.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It (inspired by my sister)

The act does not impress.
An ignorant display
The posturing loud, empty.
It makes swagger unnecessary.
It causes fear in the posers.
It is silent in the midst of
It moves everything
And stands completely still.
It is barely perceptible
In a slight gesture.
It appears humble
Though so obviously royal.
It can’t be written though some
Try to encase it in creeds.
It can’t be demanded nor granted
And it can’t be taken
But you can give it away.
It has no need of sympathizers
But welcomes all friends.
Its rhythm is played
But not often heard.
Those confident of it
Have never known it at all.
Those that possess it
Can lead no one to it.
Without it you can live
But it won’t be easy.
I wish I could tell you
But I barely know it myself.

Friday, March 12, 2010

You Are

You are
Dark shadow and storm
Rising in frightening form
Full of cold and fury
Bold, making gods angry
Creator and destroyer
Author of horror
Easily inspire
Loathsome desire
Stars burning
World turning
Altered state of being
Sight and seeing
Wicked beauty
For all to envy
Life and death
Divine breath.
My beginning
My ending
Heart beating
Heart rending
First love
Only love.