Crunchy Eggs excerpt by Félix Solano Vargas
Raquel Gutiérrez is re-seizing the means of intellectual production in the rich tradition of the chapbook. Her press, Econo Textual Objects, defines itself as an “experimentation within economic means for writers pursuing aesthetic adventures grounded in working class realities.” Crunchy Eggs by Félix Solano Vargas, the follow-up publication by ETO of Gutiérrez’s own Breaking Up with Los Angeles, picks up where she left off in its exploration of the sutured landscapes of late-capitalism mapped through the embodiment of fragmented identities.
Vargas pulls us into his world with the introduction of #browntranstemporal. #browntranstemporal is the world through the looking glass of brown body and trans-identity. #browntranstemporal is the time of punching the time clock on the heels of punk show. #browntranstemporal spits out university language in the shape of angry poems. #browntranstemporal is the cactus living on subtext in a representational desert. #browntranstemporal is not the theory of what came first, but why the egg gets scrambled with the shell. Experience the excerpt below:
As charcoal for the embers and wood for the fire, so its a
As a young brown kid I was instructed to never look back, but that you better watch your back. I took heed and I think that has kept me safe for now.
“Let her go!” Johnny looks over his shoulder and goes back to slapping her. She is Lydia, my mom. I walk up to him and point my neon-green superhero gun at the side of his neck. It looks one of those expensive toy water guns I always wanted. My mom could never afford to buy me one of those, she tried once, but we lost it in the big layaway pile at K-Mart on Van Buren.
Suddenly and without explanation, I am 5 ‘8, or taller than his pee-drinking-crap face. (Nothing against pee-drinking-crap faces in the queer bdsm community).
Then I say, “You let her go you fucking asshole!” He doesn’t listen to me, so I get closer to him and I whisper in his ear. “You let her go or I’m gonna splatter your ugliness all over this nice wall.”
(I was raised in a Chicano Jehovah’s Witness household in the Inland Empire so the idea of good versus evil is really stuck to my ribs. And It will probably be there my whole life, and it will save me and make me a good judge of character because people suck but things can’t just be separated into good and evil no matter how much we would like to think that they can be or should be. And I will learn about accountability and calling-in rather than calling-out and I will try to get free or sliding-fee scale community centered LGBTQ therapy sessions for myself after the summers I spent with my mother and the years I spent in the congregation. I should be fixed in six sessions, I think…)
I have suddenly grown a neatly groomed moustache in the timespan it took to say “You” to “wall”, and as I pull away from his free lobe my thick moustache brushes up against his ear, and he can feel it, and he shudders because he knows that I am a man. He lets go of her wrist and my mom is able to get out from under him. She runs behind me. I am protecting her now. I am a son protecting his mother from too much Budweiser, Johnny’s hatred of women and his machismo. In my imagination then and now I was a little buff golden brown macha kid protecting her beautiful mom. We were Thelma and Louise and I was the golden boy. The chosen one!
I float backwards as my mom walk backwards behind me, both going back to the spot I was standing in when I first yelled “Let her go!” He turns to face me, and I am now 45 years old, floating in mid-air and have been on hormone replacement therapy for five years (I think I will start injecting T when I am 40 years old). I give him a piece of not-so friendly dead end advice that I picked up from a movie I watched with my mom one morning when she was working grave yard at the warehouse in Riverside, CA that makes parts for race cars. I tell him “Looks like you got a real fucked up idea of fun. In the future when a woman is crying like that, she isn’t having any fun.” And we all know (well Chicano kids like me whose mothers would watch those Thelma & Louise* type movies after a long day working at the warehouse all night) what happened next.
She just wasn’t sure she really wanted me in the beginning. And I can relate to that feeling. Sometimes I feel that way about things too, like do I really want that jalapeño mint margarita or do I want to wait to spend $9 I don’t have until after I have at least had two PBRs. It’s sometimes after that fourth beer and second cigarette that I want to call Art and dedicate Before The Next Teardrop Falls by Freddy Fender to Lydia, my mother.
I sleep a lot and drink a lot when I am sad and lonely too. I am a lot like my mother. Except that I am a brown queer trans man living in Los Angeles and she was a working-class Chicana warehouse worker who fell in love with a guy with a beard who liked to airbrush naked pictures of women in sombreros onto heather-grey sweatshirts. I always wanted to tell him, “Hey Johnny, You know if you use a light-grey sweatshirt then people might actually be able to see the girl.”
He was good. It was just that no one could ever see his art. He doesn’t want them to. My “real dad” was an artist, too. He would send me birthday cards from Tehachapi Prison. He could draw Garfield and Odie, and those white babies from Precious Moments. On the front of each card he would write “Love, Daddy” in Old English font. I thought they were weird. I don’t even know where they are now. He only ever sent three, and he stopped sending them when I was nine. I have never met Larry James. But I would like to frame one of his cards (if I ever find them) and sell it as art on Ebay to some white queer hipster in Echo Park for $500 (cold hard cash). Take my yoke and learn nothing from me! Even as a queer trans* college educated adult, I still sometimes think things through in crazy religious terms. (That is fucked up.)