Every Time I Use My Grandmas Safeway Club Card Number

Editor's Note:

A poem that reminds us that the mundane is sacred, and the unexpected can remind us of how connected we all are.

Every time I use my Grandmas Safeway club card number.

I awaken her out of the plot she sleeps in, buried deftly in oak hill.

It’s a nice trick you played on us all. Imagining us lost without you splintered off into bits while you hide beneath. Glistening in the eyes of all that you created and bouncing your name ghostly from the mouths of cashiers. How can you be there when your are here? They are calling your name as your number 408-286-**04 is depressed into the black box cornering the registers. You are breathing through my lungs I feel you seized in my windpipe as she says,

“Thank you Mr. Burns.”

You gained 12 points today, from a cliff bar and two bananas. I thought you’d like to know that clipping coupons aint a thing anymore. You just collect points like leeches on your paper trail.

I told Sherrise, Dwayne and Robert in this new group chat we got going on to help us reconnect as siblings. It’s going pretty good, you’d probably think it's strange, but annoying you was always an affectionate gesture. I tell ‘em I used your phone number at the gas station. I got 10 cents off per gallon. It made me tear up a little. Sherrise said she uses your old number all the time too. You are like a penny in our pockets. You’d be proud of her. I mean you’d probably be irritated by her, because she's so smart, she’s tough where it counts and is committed to stay on top of her shit.

          Reminds me of you.

Dwayne is making music it’s really amazing how much he can absorb from the things he cares about / holds worth for.

          Reminds me of you.

Rob is focused and caring. He’s still distracted and resilient.

          Reminds me of you.

Its fucked up how Capitalism doesn’t let you die. Your debts are inherited, you’re incentivized to never die, you are reincarnated as a receipt. I notice daily how my dead friends are still living on social media they are still generating data and holding monetary value with every annual reminder that it's their birthday. I don’t give them a poke. Their pictures don't gather dust on the internet, It’s a trip. I like touch, I like being able to turn knobs and dials and watch wrinkles accentuate my favorite features. If physicality is how you measure realness than you can't miss something that never really was anything, but an impression or a digital outline, right? As much as it freaks me out, I appreciate every time I can still use your Safeway club card. Honestly I assumed they’d realize you are dead by now. I like that they don't know.

Us people, we forget. People forget some people ever lived. When it’s your time to leave most will never know you ever existed, time is a motherfucker like that, it goes on and on and exhaustingly on. None of us make it out alive.

I used to think it glamorous to be lit a flame by my vices. To understand impermanence and live my life wasteful as sin. But it doesn’t end with a snap. I know that now. It’s no sudden halting change.




Change is painful as fuck. Rebecca Solnit says,

“The process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.”

Does dying hurt as bad as changing?

We extinguish in bursts, aging by way of little deaths. Our hopes betray us, our friends betray us, we betray ourselves and if we choose to live on we roll up into our cocoon and transform, decaying slowly in piercing moments.

People allow themselves the comfort of criticism when they can see the exit sign.

I like to think about you living through the worst of your life and looking at me one day years after your many painful transformations and knowing that I was dreamt up in one of your larval stages. You saw me, one of the many scuttling grandchildren and thought to yourself, “Shit, well that was worth it.”

The ones with the exits blocked only see what is, not what could be. Life outside of pain is a dream.

Ya know, We didn't know you like you understood us.



You wanted it that way.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.

When I use your Safeway club card I am reminded that you still exist inside of so many things. I feel you pinching the fatty part of my arm when I fuck up. I feel your rationed encouragement yank on my smile when I’m doing well.

It’s hard.

As a habitual self depreciatist I easily fall to dark fantasy when I am hurt. I have to consciously abhor, this so I will not allow situations to go without a hefty teaching opportunity. Especially as it dissipates into obscurity, which it will at some point. I see myself disappearing in real time. People begin to deny I was apart of their history, even my close friends no fault to them carefully omit me from conversation and photo. When I grabbed my receipt as “Mr.Burns” you shook me from across the planes. Thanks for keeping me in mind.

Will I grow like you between the fence and under the weeds where no one can see?

Can I be like you. Buried like a red potato. Not showing the world. Keeping all that you are.

How could I not be like you? With dreams that only seek the end of an hour and limbs that wrap around you.

These are things I think about when I use your Safeway club card. It’s a bit much isn’t it?





Related Media:
Love Got Me to Start Smoking and Love Will Keep Me From Smoking Again
A Performance Dedicated to My Brother, Phillip Watkins
Stepping Out of the Pages of My Foremothers' Violent History