Weekly Write: “Hypnagogia” by Mireya Vela

Hypnagogia

In 1981, I desperately want a Sea Wee doll. In the commercials, a delicate girl plays in a bubble filled bathtub while her mom kneels alongside her. I want that. I want to be in a bathtub and feel the safety of the water and the tickle of bubbles while my mermaid dolls floats in a sponge lily pad, and my mom lovingly hovers. I’m eight years old. I want my nudity to stop being the dirty thing it has become. I want to be safe.

“What would you do if you got one?” mom asks.

“I’d kiss that person and give them a big hug,” I say. This is unusual for me. I don’t like to be touched.

“Really?” she says. Her voice is creeping.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?” she says.

Her words are like a sharp grab and I feel unsteady.

“Yes,” I say.

On Christmas Eve, I open a gift with the doll in it. It’s from my father’s youngest brother whose persistent stare terrifies me. I don’t touch him or thank him. Instead, I’m overwhelmed with the feeling that I just bartered something. It feels sickening.

*

My dad’s youngest brother hates me into my twenties.

Standing on the church steps for wedding photos, I see the angry veins on his face. I’m a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding. I’m wearing a red strapless dress that makes me feel vulnerable and naked. Over the dress, I’m wearing old shame like a threadbare coat.

He’s a pastor and has just married my brother to his new bride.

I hear the photographer tell us to smile. He’s posed us while the pastor watches. The happy couple are at the center while the bridesmaids flank from above and the sides.

“Mireya,” the pastor’s voice booms over the shuffle of dresses.

“You’re up high right now. I bet you really like that,” he says, “But don’t for one second think you are better than anyone here.”

I’ve cried throughout the ceremony. It feels like I’m losing my brother. I turn to the pastor’s voice but I keep my gaze at his shoes. I imagine the robes flapping, his teeth long and perspiring—the froth forming at the corners of his mouth. I look up and he is simply glaring at me. But in my imagination, he’s trying to consume me.

*

He is arrested in 2006. To evade police he drives from his home in Sunland to his mother’s house in El Monte—next door to the house where I grew up. The newspaper headlines read “Pastor and Son Arrested on Charges of Child Molestation”.

After the arrest I realize that in his mind, I somehow twisted his lust. I was a 2 year old or a 6 year old or a 10 year old with the power to move him away from god. He’d molested the girls in his church. He’d molested the girls in our family into their teens.

*

As an adult, when I wake up from nightmares, I take quick stock of my surroundings. My biggest fear at that moment of wakeful confusion is that I will open my eyes and see the beige door to my room at my mother’s house. I look for the windows and sense the tightness of the air. It always takes me a moment to realize I’m safe. I reach for my husband. If I’m able to touch him, my alarm diffuses. If he’s not there, I listen for the sounds of his feet upstairs.

That moment, when I am stuck between awareness and the pull of the dream, I’m terrified. I wouldn’t relive my childhood for anything in the world. My creativity is born in the imagination, a space that is so much like hynagogia, it’s likely the two are married. I am working to accept this space in my mind where ideas both good and bad float like butterflies. I don’t own that space. It’s where all artists go. It’s where girls sit in bathtubs with mermaid dolls imagining safety and a mother who watches over her.

That moment between the creations of the imagination and the awakeness of reality, that’s where I’m stuck for him as well. That’s where I live. I’m not alone there. It’s also a place for pastors.

 

Mireya Vela is a recent graduate from Antioch University’s MFA writing program. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, children and animals. “Hypnagogia” is soon to be published  in “Vestiges of Courage” published by The Nasiona.

 

 

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $10.95.

Advertisements

Now Available: Shorn by Benjamin Bormann

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC is excited to announce the release of Shorn: apologies & vows, a chapbook of poetry by Benjamin Bormann.
 
“I loved this collection from the title onward, and the spirituality connected me instantly. I am in metaphor heaven. I think the speaker is whispering these poems to me. I have my eyes closed and revel in the metaphor and imagery, in simple, quiet words and lines. I am spiritual and I feel some of the poems are spiritual for me. Perfect words placed in exact space. Strong syntax and enjambment. Love lines like this:
 
“The empty lung prayers
sent off when words become
foreign. The long drawn
timeline whittled
 
into a wisp, a joke, the crush
of understanding just how little
potential we were ever allowed
to show.”
 
As the theme of loneliness emerges, again, this is very applicable and connectable to any person. I ache with love for this collection. The entire collection is ready to print. Time and energy went into this to create a beautiful collection to test time to the fullest. “
 
Review by Gina Marselle

Join Benjamin Bormann for the release of the publication on April 27, 2019 from 11-12pm at the Title Wave Book Revised (2318 Wisconsin St NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110).

This is a free event.

Copies of the publication will be available for purchase and signing.

Order your copy of Shorn: apologies & vows today from Amazon or other major book distributors.

New Release: Thalassophile by Abigayle Goldstein

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC is excited to announce the release of Thalassophile: a chapbook of poetry by Abigayle Goldstein.

thalassophile, (n.) lover of the sea

With a collection as breathtaking as a calm beach side view, and as striking as a storm at sea, Abigayle Goldstein has perfected the art of this modern-era “diary/dictionary entry” style of writing. From the table of contents, which reads as an introductory poem itself, and onward through each “definition” that follows, there is an undeniable ocean’s flow in the progress of this collection. A story that paints a vivid picture: of tumultuous change, like crashing waves, and perhaps…the eventual calm, and the acceptance of the constant ebb and flow of the sea within us. This collection awakened a new love for the seas of change for me, and I hope it speaks to the thalassophile in each reader. And perhaps in reading, you will find a renewed and empowered love of self.

This beautiful collection, featuring cover art Sima Ijadi, is the first release by Goldstein.

Join Abigayle Goldstein for the release of the publication on April 27, 2019 from 11-12pm at the Title Wave Book Revised (2318 Wisconsin St NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110).

This is a free event.

Copies of the publication will be available for purchase and signing.

Order your copy of Thalassophile today from Amazon or other major book distributors.

Light as a Feather; an anthology of resilience is Now Available

Now Available from Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC

Light as a Feather:

an anthology of resilience

Available at Bookworks Albuquerque and all major book distributors.

Click here to order today from Amazon.

“This collection is a wrenchingly painful, honest, and ultimately beautiful depiction of what people with eating disorders struggle through. Part of the insidiousness of disordered eating is that it operates so definitively in secrecy. It is characterized by locked bathroom doors, midnight binges, furtively skipped meals, and deeply held shame. Shame thrives in darkness, and this book brings in light. It shines on all the pain that is so often hidden away, and in doing so is a message of resilience, healing, and hope.”

~Amanda Knoll, MA, LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)

Light as a Feather, Second Edition takes the focus on eating disorders from the mere act of survival into the courageous world of resilience. The authors within, through wit, humor, and ruthless self-reflection, pull back the curtain on what is often misunderstood, even considered too taboo to discuss outside of hushed voices. Eating disorders have long been perceived as a one trick pony. The truth is far more nuanced, spreading across biological sex, gender identity, ethnic background, race, and creed. Light as a Feather feasts its truth before you like a banquet, with prose and poetry shining across the table, delicacies ready to be plucked. Each story is a peek into an individual universe unique in its own existence.

Yes, this book is about disorders, but each writer’s experience could not be more diverse. Yet all are threaded together somehow, with a gentle and raw humanity that will ring true even with the most hesitant of readers. However, do not make the mistake of believing this carefully crafted work will pull its punches. Light as a Feather, Second Edition is violent in its lack of apology. When a group of survivors gather to share their stories, they do so with shocking brutality. In fact, they wear their own flawed humanity so keenly, you cannot help feeling your own internal urgency to unburden the truth.

Let reading Light as a Feather make you brave, as brave as the contributors found within these pages.