This Great Society - Writing


Illustration: Shari-Anne Vis

Vanessa Libertad Garcia: Anguish
Illustration: Shari-Anne Vis


She outstretched her hand and admired the delicate veins protruding loudly through a crispy golden summer tan. At the tips of each defined finger, a pianist’s hands, sat long round strong nails. Tough — like the nails you hammer into wooden planks. Natural French tips. Calcium strong.

But enough of that. She stuck her hand in a black bag and pulled out that old familiar forty ounce. It would erase the memory of that raped war victim on this morning’s NPR. Sometimes temporarily. Sometimes permanently. NPR as an alarm. When the alarm went off this morning she turned to her friend and chuckled, “Another bad fucking day to be human. And a beautiful day to die. Thanks for the report, NPR!” She should be working. She’s charging them for this freelance gig. She should be working. She should be reading. She should be plotting and scheming and visualizing and dreaming and devising an angle for that . . . future of hers.

“Another ungrateful useless American sitting on the edge of a cliff,” she felt. Not thought, necessarily. She should be jogging or doing yoga. She should be applying to grants and shaking hands while wearing a grin and sharp stilettos. She should be signing up for the Peace Corps. She should be voting. She should be doing all the things that all bright young women, sick of swimming, ready to stand – are doing. The Little Mermaid in this very moment is doing more than she possibly could. Fuck the Little Mermaid. She should be reading up on the turn of events in this upcoming presidential election/The War of the Moment/the forgotten wars happening right now/Immanuel Kant/Gandhi/Deepak Chopra/Middlesex/Traci . . . She shouldn’t be reading Traci Lord’s autobiography, but she wishes she’d bought it at the Virgin Megastore that one chance she had in New York.

She should be working.

She should be playing the piano with her feet to a roar of applause at the Oscars — right now. She should buy stock. She should be loved by Catherine Deneuve and Isabella Rossellini and that one producer with the long legs and more interesting women — those writers, politicians, photographers, poets, and activists never publicized, that she never hears about, but she is sure exist.

Self-Consumed, All-Consuming, Black Hole of Appreciation. She takes a deep breath. The sun dips into the horizon, seeps into pores, and heats up her cheeks. Two round mounds stained dark red.

Another beautiful day on a Malibu cliff poised above darkening blue green waters. She presses the head of the bottle to her open lips and tips the fermented liquid into her mouth. Feeling that she should be working. On her future. Right now.

Excerpt from The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive By Vanessa Libertad Garcia

This Great Society - Contents


This Great Society - Contents