direct from kathy jo

All of us have shit strewn our way. Who threw it first is a moot point. All the matters is how we deal with it. The miserable among us wipe the shit off but are cowards who throw it at anyone weaker and call it survival of the fittest. Others wipe it off and throw it back at the source in an eternal volley of fetid revenge and despair. Still others, most others never know that they can wipe it off because it comes at them so fast that soon they're covered with it, thinking they are nothing but shit. And then others, others are blessed by the heavy rains of angels crying overhead.

If only we all would be angels. Or kings of the rain . . .

Now how can people hate me? Because I use the word "shit?" Pretty ugly seeing it in print glaring at you, reminding you of your own profane nature, eh? But we all swear, every movie, every one over every turkey or ham, at every funeral, birthday party and bar. It's so funny, Pearl Jam fans would write things like "I wish your mother had had a f*cking abortion" while telling me what a low life I am while displaying a behavior, a cruelty based on a self-righteousness that sends shivers up my spine, shooting out of the tips of every hair on my head. Man.

Oh, hello. My name is Kathy Jo. I cuss like a sailor. I write award-winning poetry. I dropped out of high school. I graduated with honor's from Carnegie Mellon University. So no one can, um, figure me out. When they ask *will the real Kathy Jo please stand up?*, five hundred folks -- junkies, convicts, bikers, lovers, mothers, housewives, academics, poets, politicians, whores and angels rise.

But there's nothing to figure out, I put it all out there. No one can figure out why. Well, to me, writing is my way of resisting the shame, the shit thrown at me. I write about how it feels to be hit and am reminded that it is only shit. But shit stinks. Cry it away. Anyway, I *love* to write. I will be to the netpost what Montaigne was to the personal essay. This is writing and talking, closer than ever, we are seconds apart. But light years away. And it doesn't have to be like that, you know? I really believe people are cool if you get to know them. If they let you get to know them.

I don't like when people hate me but I'm not going to change to please their petty appraisals of who they think I should be to satiate their banality. And I thought Malcom's introduction was wonderful. So wonderful I feel guilty. I have a million moments of self-loathing a day. But as long as there are a million and one moments of joy, whether it comes from seeing the sun setting on the rivers of Pittsburgh while sitting in traffic on the last magic seat of the bus, or from hearing Adam Duritz singing "Anna Begins," well, his music takes me apart and puts me back together, a little more beautiful each time.

It's so excellent to have his music because it gives me a someone to write to. I don't know, but you know how you talk differently to like, let's say a big titted red-head with tattoos compared with your boss, well, when I have Adam out there, that perfect something that promises complete understanding and therefore acceptance, I write more intelligently, invest more of myself. Just thinking there's someone who's going to perfectly vibe with my tone, my words. My thoughts and desires and every teeny tiny thing.

Sure, sometimes I "brag" but the people who accuse me of that are the ones calling me illiterate and shit. So I write back and tell them about my education and they say I must be insecure. Well of course I'm insecure. I'm just not insecure about it. And I have big dreams. So fucking kill me. Man. Other people don't want to risk the big heartbreak, the big disappointment, but I will. I do. But they get on my head about Adam Duritz being too good for me when the truth is that men, even like him, never feel worthy of me. So there.

But what if Mr.Duritz thought I was out of my skull and called me a stupid whore that he hates and wishes they would make a bus big enough to run my fat ass into the ground? Well I would still love him and write about how he broke my heart and left me with eleven of his children, all with dreadlocks and little beards. Eleven little whiners singing "I feel so symbolic" all day.

So anyway, why dirty-whores? I have a strange, um, charisma. It feels like a neon kick-me sign. Well I have large tatarinskis, a muscular build, long red hair, yeah yeah yeah, I seem to seethe sexual suggestion. So it wasn't like I was ever allotted any kind of respect and paltered it for lust. I was always treated like a whore, since I was very little. And my dad treated all women like sets of jugs and pairs of legs and he was brutal to my mom.

Men just react so sexually to me because I'm boisterous and funny and um, crude, which really is the highest form of honesty in a very human way. But I really believe sex is sacred and that the highest form of creative energy is released. To me, if you make love, you surrender a piece of yourself, your energy. If you're not in love, you get nothing back. And a *piece* of you is gone forever. But it doesn't mean sex should be this poohpoohlala love making. I did try it like that with my second-to-the-last boyfriend. And it just wasn't, well, as much fun. I love to be mumbling 'you dirty fucking bastard' under my breath while in the throes of the whole nightmare. But of course the first impulse is this "oh my gosh you are so excellent i love you i love you i love you" feeling that swells into the panic I call sex.

So the anti-Jo made me feel like a whore because I wanted more, well, passionate sex. I don't want to be handled delicately in bed. Man. I don't want to be tied to the back of a car and dragged down the block as foreplay, either. Oh why did I say that? Anyway, the bastard made me feel so bad about myself. I believed him. So then I realized I wasn't really a whore, I was like a dream girlfriend to every man I ever met. But still, I never have sex. I have to be in love. And falling in love is like, well, seeing a face and being changed forever because of it. So I don't fall in love often so I never have sex but I have great hope because I fall in love fast so who knows, I could be wrangling in the ticklish kisses of a stranger I love instantly and completely even tonight..

I guess I can't endorse my own method, though. It never works. But man, when it does . . . I did meet a cute man and acted normal and asked him out but he has a dame. But he turned all red and said "thanks" real excited and couldn't believe I asked him out. God how I love him. Can't have him. The Story of jO.

Enough. Look, I have done amazing things with my life. I just want people to be honest because in doing that, you find out you're not so bad. And then you don't have to treat others badly. It's simple. Of course I do it 'cause I want people to be nice to me, too. And each other. It hurts to see how things are. So, well stay tuned.

copyright 1995 by Kathy Jo Kramer