the Stark reality

I was writing about my ancestors, the ones closer to home. In other words: California, Utah, Arizona.

Then the world just stopped for a bit.

I am alternatetly mad and in awe of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I knew she wasn’t long for this world, surviving five rounds of cancer, but there were times I thought she might be immortal.

You know, like Wonder Woman.

And to die now, when the Election of End Days is in sight. I don’t know if that is a blessing or a curse.

PROS: massive funding for the Democratic party (and, yes, this is a pro for me). CONS: I have to listen to President tRump flatulate about another Supreme Court nominee who the majority of America doesn’t want to be considered before November 3.

So now I’m left wondering why/if I should talk about my progenitors, the white-privilege patriarchs with their concurrent (yes, concurrent, as in polygamous) wives and dozens of children.

For example: Daniel Scott Stark, my third great grandfather who settled San Francisco before it was actually San Francisco, i.e. Yerba Buena. And then went on to colonize parts of San Bernandino, California plus Saint Joseph, Nevada and Payson, Utah before heading into eastern Arizona.

All the while fucking babies into being, to carry on his mighty plan of colonization.

They say it’s good to be the King. I wouldn’t know.

And, seriously, I don’t care if he’s my kin…. that beard is part Ted Kaczynski, part Rasputin.

Why do I poke around with the patriarchs, when they have made no place for me as a matriarch?

It’s because between the lines there dwells a history worth learning about. A female history.

Case in point. My mother’s mother’s mother is buried next to a barbed wire fence in a miserable graveyard in a dusty part of Arizona, next to the baby who both caused and then joined her in death.

She doesn’t even have her husband next to her, since he remarried within months of her death (giving my grandma an evil stepmother who threw her out of the house when she was 17, and a unloved complex which my grandpa couldn’t entirely fix and which would follow her to the grave).

Instead, my great grandfather was buried next to his new wife (the evil stepmother) who is buried with her other, previous husband at her other elbow.

And that isn’t the part that bothers me, really. I mean, I get it. Life was brutal back then.

What bothers me the most is that the father of my great grandmother (E–) disowned her mother (L–) plus her brothers, her sisters and herself because L– decided she didn’t want to be the second, concurrent wife of her husband D– and divorced him to marry a man named J–, this time for love.

Which is why there was no one to do right by E–‘s body her when she died in the throes of labor.

And yet, I remember her. Like the “No Name Woman” by Maxine Hong Kingston.

So why am I mentioning any of this? It’s just that sometimes when I delve in my ancestry, I am reminded that I have a choice. I can choose to see my twice-divorced life as a failure, or I can choose to see it as something more.

I have two menschs that I rely on: Doctor Ruth and Justice Ruth. Here’s to all the difficult women out there, just trying to make it work for them and their babies.


hopefully you
don’t mind
if I
the sweat-soaked
of that saddle horn
which has been worn
to a dull sheen
by its proximity
to my
which I’ve
against it
on many a
long and

a lasso
your neck and
yank you
to the ground;

hold you
as I have my way
with you
you yield up
and meat.

they say
that a bull
like you
ain’t good eatin’
I beg to differ.

Hours I own all of these ideas, but none of these images.
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