The Economic Implications of Your Sartorial Decisions in the Streets of Oakland

“You look very nice today. And I just wanted to let you know that there are still real men out here who appreciate a lady who takes care of herself.”

I smile and say, “Thanks,” because I’ve been walking around Oakland dressed like this since I started shopping for my own clothes way back when. The older gentleman who is addressing me tips his hat and with what I would generally like characterize as a pimp cane, but, let’s not stereotype the older gentleman with a cane. Maybe he just has a bad foot, and my bus is supposed to arrive in about two minutes, which means that I can engage in yet another pleasant conversation with the neighborhood regulars before I jet off to Berkeley to do whatever the fuck it is that I do in Berkeley. But he keeps on walking, which is fine by me, and who am I to not smile at an unsolicited compliment while I’m dressed like this, in this skirt, and in these heels? I grew accustomed to that kind of reaction years ago, and if you don’t have the grit or the brawn to deal with being treated like a prostitute when you risk leaving the house looking even 1% fashionable, the don’t bother. Getting hollered at is part of the social contract that women in this city have to accept, although, I have to admit that unsolicited compliments don’t even entirely bother me, so long as the implication of further interaction is not assumed within the brief conversation. Even though the occasional, “Damn, girl!” from the crackhead on the bicycle also makes me smile, but there’s something to be said for the cultural difference between an older man of color saying hello and a young, entrepreneurial gentleman who is looking at me like the fastest way from point A to the point where he can cash in on my pussy. Sure, I’m aware of the economic implications of other types of interactions, and I’m not trying to fuck with someone else’s profession (regardless of my personal opinions on the local prostitution economy), but thank you for letting me smile and walk away. We’ve all been living in this city long enough to know how to maturely deal with either kind of interaction, although, I have to say that I’ve noticed that for those of you Oakland newbies – well, you realize that moving to a city that is notorious for prostitution and then complaining about prostitution on Twitter without even doing anything to allay the real pains that prostitution inflict on mostly poor women of color…that makes you look dumb. If prostitution really bothers you, then do something about it, but screaming at some pimp on the street does nothing to validate your point. If you’re dressed like a prostitute, these things happen.

The Feminist Approach to Appropriating Violence in a Misogynistic Society

He had just hit me, and I stood there, shellshocked and dumbfounded as he stared back at me with that look at his face. That fucking look on his face as the pain throbbed across my nose and my cheeks and the blood in my brain coursing with a coarse mixture of fear and rage. But there was nothing that I could do apart from standing there, wide eyed and wild with the thought that he might not stop with the first hit. He might hit me again. And again. And again. So I cowered in fear and waited for this moment to be over. So that I could exit this moment. So I that I could be anywhere other than the right now that was forcing me down to the ground in tears, which felt exactly like getting hit all over again. I was choking. 

And eventually he left, which was good, because eventually I left him, and it wasn’t until years later when I was walking to the bus stop with my phone in my pocket and a twenty minute window in which to get to work that it happened again. I got blindsided, and he – that anonymous he, whose face I never saw – grabbed my throat from behind and choked me to the ground, where I passed out momentarily, only to wake up with that same quaking fear while he grabbed my shit and ran away. 

So my roommate drove me out to Castro Valley a while after that, and I set down a wad of cash on the counter and walked out with a Glock 19 ten days after that. Which I cradled quietly in my lap, and while the context of my rage might be unfathomable to some, there only seems to be once answer to the violence of society and my place in it: the threat of more violence. Because while I’m well aware that I’ve been taught my entire life that violence is not the answer, it turns out that someone, somewhere lied, because violence was the answer for someone at some point in time. And I can’t act like I haven’t been asked the same question to which someone else responded with violence. Although maybe I’m the sucker for sucking it up and acting like violence wasn’t a well metered response to the already institutionalized, totally intact act of violence as it is witnessed and experienced in day to day interactions.

Maybe some people would call it Stockholm Syndrome, as I sit here with this gun in my lap, but other people call it empowerment. But I’m not going to sit here, stalking my prey with the concept of my own powerlessness stopping me from doing anything about it. “Powerless” is never a word that anyone would use to describe me. Not now, with me and my gun, and not yesterday while I sat crumpled up on the floor. Because you might use yours to inflict pain on the other people in this world. How many times have they seen a man stalk with his Glock in the back of a car, prepared to randomly shoot at someone who is the victim of his victim blaming rage? But me? That’s not me, with this fully loaded clip and these fully loaded lips that smile at every stranger on the street. I’ve got nothing left to fear because I’ve become the thing that people fear most, and there’s something beautiful about that feeling.

Hyphy Is As Hyphy Does

It was 2006 on the corner of 12th and Peralta, me and my cigarettes in my bedroom while outside doing donuts in the whip and blasting E40. Everybody was beautiful back then, in the way that taking ecstasy made dressing in all over print hoodies and head to toe coordinated color themes made sense. Hop on the bus to go back to the spot, every day with an amateur DJ sitting at the back, blasting “Tell Me When to Go” from a proto-smart phone. Which was a beautiful thing because we were all young, and everybody at this party is drinking, and this party is in the back of some store at 3pm on some sullen Saturday afternoon. Hyphy was the thing that you could touch while walking down the street, but, then, one day, it up and disappeared, and now all people care about are artisan donuts and acting like the people of color who are from here don’t have a culture, like they never have, and they never will, so who cares if they kicked out of this corner of West Oakland? Just because Mac Dre is dead doesn’t mean that you and I have to thizz in peace, in fact, fuck that, Imma grab my piece and let them know that hyphy never dies.

The Oakland Social Gazette, About Two Years Ago

I had just gotten off work, which meant that it was at the very earliest 1:30 am. Which was why, in utter sobriety, I decided to jet off to some West Oakland party in an old mattress warehouse. Where it took me about twenty minutes to slurp down someone else’s pint of whiskey and go from zero to slurry as quickly as possible. As I stood in the middle of the street with a gaggle of other clearly intoxicated hipster scum, my knife in one hand, the bag of coke in the other, loudly pontificating about the age old etiquette of offering other people knife bumps, and the finesse that it takes to scoop the coke out the corner of the bag without poking a hole, I came to realize that three a.m. was reeling closer to my reality than I wanted it to. With some people peeling out, and half of the rest of them fully committed to charging headfirst into drug fuelled sunrise watching, sitting sideways on the sidewalk with the sun poking out over the horizon. Which was when I clamored up to him, clickety clack in high heels on pavement. He was my neighbor, at the time, and he was getting into his car with no one else at all, so, with the best batting of eyelashes that I could muster, I managed to say without slurring, “Are you going home?”

“Yeah, need a ride?”

“Yes, please!” I said, hopping in the other side, my skirt inevitably riding up as I jumped into the seat. Engaging in the usual platonic taxi fare of genial, drunken conversation about whatever it is that he wants to talk about right now before pulling up in front of my house.

“Can I come in?” he asks as I lean out of the car.

“No!” I say, prancing away while trying to avoid hearing him get out of the car.

“Wait, what I gave you a ride home, you’re not trying to kick it?”

“Oh. My. God. Fine. But I 100% guarantee you that we’re not going to fuck,” I say, fumbling with the keys and assuming that I can play this one off artfully enough. Which was a misguided misperception as I glide into my room and before I can put my purse down he’s already splayed, leg open, across my bed.

“What are you doing?” I ask, drunken and disgusted but still not quite drunk enough to fall for it.

He looks at me with a smug look on his face. I fidget around my room, feeling slightly confused by the amount of “what the fuck” that is coasting through my thoughts right now, still chattering away before I realize that the only remedy for this social misstep is, “Hey, wanna go back to the party?”

“No, not really,” he says.

“Well, um, Arianna says she’s there, and I’m trynna kick it, so, um, pleeeease can we go?”

He rolls his eyes and gets up, me with the slightly crestfallen feeling of knowing that I’d much rather crawl into bed and curl up, but the possibility of doing that without this particular piece of vermin taking it as a cue to take off his pants and whip out his dick is getting me down. So it’s back to the party, which we ride to in silence and where I hop back out of his car to a group of five bewildered but intoxicated looking friends who ask, “You’re back?”

“Yeah, he wouldn’t leave my house, so the only solution was to come back, so…anyone have a drink here?”

“Yeah, here you go,” someone responds, with me standing there feeling exacerbated and realizing that this is now a full on, all night commitment to feeling like shit tomorrow at 5pm when I wake up. But at least I didn’t have to fuck that one guy.

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Date Part IV

My stomach hurts. As I try to stay clever things in this conversation in this nice bar next to the Lake. My stomach’s been hurting for days now, but I try to tamp down on the sensations of achy-ness and discomfort as I sip down this beverage that is intended to dull so many things right now, but stomach still hurts. And he’s sitting there next to me, with his smile and his nice, intelligent things that he’s saying. If he knew that my stomach hurt, what would he say then? What would he have said if I had blown off this date? Would he have been sad and dismayed? Would he have called me again? I didn’t want to bank on him calling me again, because I’m aware of the value of doing things right now and not waiting for next week. So I swallowed a bunch of antacids and called a cab to this bar so I can sit here and pretend not to feel too much pain while pretending to feel like I’m interested in being here and engaging in this conversation.

There was no way I could have blown him off, anyways. Look at him. I try not to look at him as he chews on his food and says things to which I am supposed to respond. What are we talking about right now? Oh, yeah, that’s right. We’re doing the first date, introductory dance of, “Where are you from?”

“I’m from here,” I say, already mildly irritated by the question that I have to answer every time I meet someone new. I’ll never be from anywhere different. I’ll always be from here, which is why people often respond with, “Oh, you’re a local! How rare!” That’s what he says, too, and I hate that answer, although I try to check my hatred and irritation at this conversation, because maybe I’m feeling ornery because of my stomach. Read more →

Burning Sensation

I’m feeling slightly scalded at exactly the place where I can feel his eyes looking at me. My skin might be smoking from the heat that he’s generating with his eyes alone, and I’m shriveled slightly from the sensation of his eyes on my skin. Which I think might be the chemical reaction of lust itching just out of reach and beneath my clothes as I fill my self up with the hotness of wanting and the unbearable desire to suddenly find myself naked and in his arms. But, no, that’s not where I am. Instead, I’m here, which is in the food court at the mall eating a salad while I slowly chew and try to dip into the conversation with clever remarks and without spitting my lunch all over my plate. 

Do I look pretty? I wish I had put on more make up. I wish I had prepared for this moment. I wish I had known he would show up, and, no, I’ve never met him before, but it’s turning out to be a rather unpleasant onset of love at first sight while I secretly hope that my lipstick isn’t smeared all over my face and this dress isn’t very flattering, is it? 

So I smile, and I burn, and I smolder slightly in this plastic chair on the basement level of the food court in the mall. I am wrapped up in flames from his existence as he sits there in that chair, and I wonder if he can smell the charred heart wafting from inside my chest. 

Happy International Pussy Appreciation Day

My pussy. My pussy. My golden fucking pussy.

So I stand in front of the mirror, and there it is, smiling out at me from between my legs. I smile back. At its little lips pressed together, and flesh like tongue poking out slightly.The small hairs that wind out and grow like a well manicured mustache.

“Pussy, I love you,” I whisper as I touch it gently as a sign of appreciation.

“I love you, too,” my pussy whispers back. Read more →

Demoralize Me

I just want to be held. In his arms, with his arm roped around my neck while he’s fucking me from behind. And his other hand in my hair, not gently stroking but violently grabbing and pulling my hair. So that it hurts. I want him to throat fuck me while the mascara runs down my face and all traces of the lipstick that had been smeared along my cheeks dissolves quickly with the saliva that keeps spilling from my lips. I want him to call me a slut. A whore. A cunt. Cheap. Worthless. To spit on me. To slap my ass and shove me face first into the pillow while he fucks me in the ass. Yank on my nipples and touch me and fuck me and that way I’ll know he loves me. I want him to cum on my face, and, then when everything’s all said and done, I want him to ask me, “Who’s Daddy’s little girl?” 

“I’m Daddy’s little girl.”

The Fuck Feast Guide to Whether You Should Fuck That Guy You Know You’re Not Supposed To

~because Teen Vogue isn’t breaking it down with enough realness~

Society is constantly telling us, among other things, that there are certain people that we just shouldn’t fuck. It’s rude, it’s embarrassing, it’s desperate, it’s imprudent, it’s social suicide, it’s politically catastrophic. Well, you know what? Just because you shouldn’t fuck him doesn’t mean you can’t, and because it’s someone you shouldn’t fuck, you know what that means: it’s probably fun as fuck! So, we’d like to give you a quick guide to the pro’s and con’s of fucking that guy that you just know you shouldn’t. (Warning, this is kinda gross. I know, right??)

Your Sister’s/Best Friend’s/Mom’s/Roommate’s Boyfriend (or, even better, Husband!)

They call it sloppy seconds for a reason, but let’s admit it: if you’re in your 20’s, you’re always going to be someone’s sloppy seconds. So don’t let that reason stop you. On the other hand, nothing tastes better than forbidden fruit. The only downside to fucking homegirl’s main man is that you have to be ready to completely forfeit your friendship, and, like any break up, you might find that some of your formerly mutual friends are taking sides that might slightly ostracize you. If you’re just hanging out for a one night stand, you can always rectify the situation with the whole, “Sluts before Fucks! Don’t let men come between us!” bullshit. If you’re going for a full on relationship – well, you can’t get mad when he starts fucking your other best friend. So, before you go down this path, ask yourself: is his dick worth it? I mean, homeboy better be throwing down something fierce in the bedroom. And if he’s not, then revert to the “Don’t let men come between us” bullshit. It might not work, but it also might work. Be prepared to wear the “homewrecker” mantle for a moment, you scurrilous cunt, you! Read more →