Home Not Home

Kristin Lieberman

  1. I was born in 1955. Some other things that happened in 1955: Mary Louise Smith was arrested for violating Alabama bus segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama, and Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and was arrested for violating Alabama segregation laws.
  2. My parents used the word “n-----” when referring to African-Americans. Early on, I knew it was a hate word and so did they.
  3. Not that all Republicans are bigots, but all bigots I’ve known are Republicans.
  4. When I asked my siblings or cousins for help with something and they didn’t want to do it, they would tell me, “I’m not your n-----.”
  5. Later they would throw around this phrase: “I’m free, white, and over twenty-one.” By then I was going to law school on the East Coast and I didn’t engage. I asked them if they knew what they were saying. They did.
  6. I’m pretty sure they are all registered Republicans.
  7. It seemed like there was a liquor store on every block in my town. I was taken to most of them by my father. I checked out the comic books while he made his purchase. If he had twelve cents left, I scored the latest Superman comic book.
  8. My father once told me that he would have joined the John Birch Society, but he didn’t like meetings.
  9. My father was a registered Republican.
  10. My family believed that the only success in life that mattered was pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. A masculine pronoun was always assumed. A woman didn’t pull herself up by her bootstraps, because women did not wear boots.
  11. The examples I was given implied that only white men had bootstraps.
  12. Also: What if you’re too poor to own boots? What if you’re disabled? No bootstraps for you.
  13. I read a lot as a child. This led me to realize that the key to being successful was rooted in education, not in bootstraps.
  14. I never felt like the town I grew up in was home. A place cannot be home unless there is love, understanding, and support. My mother loved and supported me, but never understood me.
  15. The only place I ever really felt comfortable was the public library.
  16. I often dreamed that I was Supergirl and was able to fly away from home. In my dreams I made a home in a spectacular cave, and all of the superheroes fell in love with me. I crushed on Clark Kent.
  17. I didn’t care much for Batman. There was enough moral darkness in my universe without dealing with Batman’s baggage.
  18. After my father beat my mother senseless for the final time, my parents separated. My mother obtained a restraining order against him for domestic abuse.
  19. My father died of alcoholism when I was fifteen. The last time I saw him, I was holding hands with my boyfriend. He shouted that I was a whore and then drove away.
  20. I cried at his funeral, but not because I missed my father. I missed having a father I could look up to.
  21. I ran away to college when I was seventeen.
  22. In 1971 the voting age was lowered to eighteen from twenty-one. I registered as a Democrat when I turned eighteen, at a supermarket near my college.
  23. My first summer home from college I worked in our local doctor’s office as a receptionist. He refilled a lot of prescriptions for painkillers. He didn’t even see his probably addicted patients, he just phoned the pharmacy. One man died the night he received his last refill.
  24. My second summer home from college I worked a split shift at Denny’s, where I got into an argument with one of the regular customers who believed in absolute police power. He was a highway patrolman. That was the last summer I came home.
  25. I’ve always lived in mostly white, sometimes Republican towns. My children went to predominantly white schools. Although I liked my houses, I never felt quite comfortable in my communities.
  26. I have this disquieting feeling that I’m replicating the discomfort of my childhood, but without alcohol or Superman comics.
  27. I keep thinking I should try harder to fit in; then I think I should just move away.

                                         THE END




Nonfiction
Poetry

Lynch at Hyde
Alex Wilson


Prisoner of War
Tracy Mishkin


Solstice
Mallory Bass


Flight
Isabel Brome Gaddis


Clockwork
Lisha Ruan


If a Tree Were to Fall
Rachel Janis


Hand to hand
Rachel Janis


There, we are wordless, there
Rachel Janis


Leather and Velvet
Robert Beveridge


Near-Life Experience
Robert Beveridge


This Poem is about a Small Town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a College I Hated in Massachusetts
Ron Riekki


Firecracker
Andrea Janov


Sometimes When My Wife Comes Home She Doesn't Kiss Me
Ron Riekki


When I Was an EMT, We Never Got in Any Trouble if a Patient Died, But if You Scratched the Side of the Ambulance They Would Fire You
Ron Riekki


POST-APOCALYPTIC YOGA, ALL LEVELS
Janna Layton


The Search
Tim Kercher


Gentrification Download
Alex Wilson


The Ciudad Juarez Side of Sunrise
Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb


While Driving West on I-96, Wind Disrupts the Radio Waves
Paige Leland


Anything, Anywhere, Anytime
Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb


OUTRAGE CONTEST: To the Fourth Estate
Marianne Taylor


OUTRAGE CONTEST: For My Sister
Mirri Glasson-Darling


OUTRAGE CONTEST: My Mother Finally Tells Him Off
Sandra Inskeep-Fox


OUTRAGE CONTEST: Roe v. Wade
Alexis Beckford


OUTRAGE CONTEST: African American
Alexis Beckford


OUTRAGE CONTEST: Rebel Rebel
Sam Cross


OUTRAGE CONTEST: If I Am Guilty of Anything
Sam Cross


When Poems Sound Better in Times New Roman
Paige Leland


A Metaphor for how Trash Day Reminds Me that I’ll Never Be Alone No Matter How Hard I Try
Paige Leland


In The Dark
Alison Stone Eric Greinke


Petals and Roots
Alison Stone Eric Greinke


Fiction