Mather Schneider's poems and stories have appeared in many places since 1994. He has 4 full length books of poetry and his first book of prose, "6 to 6" was published in September of 2020, drawn from his 15 years driving a cab in Tucson, Arizona. He now lives in Mexico, where he is barely scraping by.
Ami Xochitl-Nigeria-Rubenstein-Ferrol wakes up on her futon and rolls her head around on her Chilean duck feather pillow. She smiles at the waft of her rose-scented breath and lets out a little fart, which also has a floral aftermath. She gets out of bed and does her pee-pee, then slides on her home-crafted tie-dye shirt, uni-sex exercise knee-length shorts and five-toed running flats. In the kitchen she drinks a cup of organic blue-green tea with five drops of wild Siberian honey. She loves bees, she loves everything about bees, she’d marry a bee if she could. If only it were a different world, a better world! As she stands in the kitchen she gets choked up thinking about the bees and how they are disappearing. She once stepped on a bee and cried for 2 days over its death. The bee sting did not penetrate her pink feet, protected as they were by her five-toed running flats, but this did not ease her agony. This is absolutely true, and if you don’t believe it you can ask her life-partner, Zoroaster, or as his friends call him, The Z-Man.
Ami drives her Smart Car through her modern subdivision to the nearby park. Around the perimeter of the park is a multi-use paved path. Rather than jog or walk, she skips the 2 and a half kilometers around. She has no idea how many miles this amounts to, because years ago made a life-choice not to use miles, but kilometers instead, like they do in Tibet. As she skips along the path she always stays to the right as the yellow signs indicate, even though this staying to the right seems like a Republican conspiracy to her, and she wonders why they could not stay to the left. This especially bothers her when she sees children with mothers and how the mothers always force their children to stay to the right, which seems to smother the children’s natural creativity.
When she gets home, she showers, after asking the water’s understanding to be treated in such a way, and then gets dressed: an ankle-length hemp skirt with Celtic belt, an aurora borealis colored pull-over with real lavender petals woven into it, and Guatemalan sandals. No bra, of course. Then she fixes herself a couple of eggs that she bought from a nearby farm. At this farm, all the labor and profits are shared equally among the chickens. There is a swimming pool, playground and aerobics classes for the chickens. The chicken dwellings are air conditioned, piped with classical music and equipped with big screen televisions on which are aired films from the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday nights. Nothing from Fox news is ever allowed on these tvs because of a special filter.
After eating, she sits down to write the city another letter, because in her neighborhood they recently put in a speed bump, when in her first 10 letters she had specifically requested a speed “hump.” Stupid city.
When the letter is safely deposited in the mailbox, she looks at Facebook for a while, posts a meme that says: “Only boring people get bored.” It gets 4 likes, which pleases her. Then she notices some guy using the word “hillbilly” in a post, a guy who will remain nameless. She wonders how she could have become “friends” with such a sort, and blocks him right away. She laughs at some kitten photos, almost cries over a picture of a gorilla and some poor people in China, then laughs again at a video of a parrot dancing to “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.
She goes out to her patio and looks at her vegetable garden which she has planted in a WWII ammunitions chest that she bought on e-bay for 1,500 dollars. She has a tomato plant, cilantro and Czechoslovakian mint. She begs pardon from the tomato plant for its pain, thanks it for its selfless giving nature, then picks a tomato with an empathetic wince. In her heart she prays for all the hungry people in the world, but in a non-denominational way, of course. If she had to give a definition of her religious beliefs, if a gun was put to her head, so to speak, she would say they are probably closest to “Buddhism without the buddy system.”
She sits on her patio and thinks about the dolphins. One day the dolphins will teach us their wisdom, she thinks. Hopefully one day a dolphin will run for president and everyone will know peace.
After this she goes to the natural foods market, buys 6 items that cost 120 dollars, which she pays for from her never-ending trust fund. Only fools worry about money, she thinks. After paying she chats with the check-out guy for 5 minutes about the diesel truck parked in the parking lot and its offensive odor. Then she buys 2 ounces of wheat grass juice, makes sure everybody sees her while she drinks it, and goes back outside to her Smart car.
At home she makes a sandwich made from whole wheat corn bread, hummus, tofu-sea-bass, mango and chia seeds. She shakes on some brewer’s yeast for good measure. Before she eats it, she takes a picture of it to post on Facebook.
Then it is time for her online jewelry making class. Every piece of jewelry she makes she then selflessly gives to homeless people on 4th avenue. Sometimes she runs out of homeless people to give jewelry to, or the homeless people scuffle off as she approaches, and when this happens she just drapes her jewelry over the parking meter outside of Bisonwiches.
The jewelry class wipes her out, and she goes to the refrigerator and pours herself a quarter schooner of beer that Zoroaster hand-crafted himself. He fermented the beer from 4- leaf clovers that he picked in the community garden and flavored with chili pepper blossoms from Yachualtecoclteisl when he went to study the rare Gleeking Spider last spring.
She goes back out to the patio to enjoy her beverage, and notices the neighbors are swimming in their pool again. And, again, they are allowing their 14-year old girl to swim without a helmet. In her head she composes another letter to the city, but is too tired to write it. Instead she writes a poem with a sustainable-squid-farm squid ink pen. What the poem is about, exactly, she can’t say, because the muse speaks THROUGH her, not TO her. The muse answers to no one. The muse flies on huge white wings and does not bother with silly questions.
Above her, chem trails streak across the sky. She chokes and gags a little, sighs, then puts on her natural fiber doctor’s mask. She lifts the mask every once-in-a-while to sip her beer.
She meditates. Meditation is the practice of making your mind blank, which has always been easy for her, and is a sign that she is close to the true heart of the universe, according to her mentor and spiritual guide Swami Guey. She wishes she could speak to Swami right now, or at the very least sit in his glowing presence, but he is on a quest in Cabo San Lucas for six weeks. Swami is the kindest man she has ever known, he wouldn’t harm a living thing, not even the insects jumping in his dreadlocks, not even a Gleeking Spider if it crawled into bed with him. Of course, her life-partner Zoroaster is kind too, in fact it was Zoroaster who introduced her to Swami. But Zoroaster is busy at his job at the tattoo parlor, and afterwards he’ll have to go home and smoke his medicine.
No, today she’s all alone. Alone, alone, alone!
She looks at her toes, wiggles them, giggles at their loveliness. She thinks, only a few more weeks until her sabbatical in Amsterdam. And after that, she will go to the writer’s retreat on the shores of Lake Fruitvale. She will miss Zoroaster, to be sure, but he’s promised to wait for her. He’s also promised to water her tomatoes, and to tell them they are lovely so they don’t get depressed.
She issues a sigh of self-contentment. Then she passes out from the beer and begins to snore like a truck driver.