Dangerous Compassions


plant predator
[An oleander looms menacingly over a smiling, fat white woman.]
Being vulnerable is worth it.  I wrote that song “beautiful,” and wasn’t sure I liked it.  Recorded it mostly to get down the tune I’d figured out, so I wouldn’t forget it, if I set is aside.

There’s another verse I left out impulsively about feeling like a rabbit.  I guess it’s now the Lost Verse.

I emailed the song’s soundcloud link to some friends.  And I felt vulnerable like–maybe this song is really stupid.  Who knows–hard to tell.  But some friends responded with such loving enthusiasm.  The song really helped them.  So I guess it’s ok.

I feel wowed at how kind people can be.  For every hater, there are so many lovers.  I feel grateful for that.

when I grow up

I had to go on an errand with Ming because it was too far for him to drive alone.  We were picking up the back wheels to my trike, from the shop, so someone else can re-drill the spokes.

“When I grow up, do you know what I want to be?” I asked Ming.

“What?” he asked.

“I’m going to be a landscaper!  And I’m going to design beautiful landscapes.  Not this crap!  Look at that!  It looks like it was designed by a Kindergartner!”

We were in the hell place of the huge chains.  The landscaping is yuck.  “Look at those plants!  It’s like, random palm plumes sticking up.  And those sad bushes some underpaid Brown guy is giving a flat top in the heat.  And then the last sad lantana that lived.  There will be no lantanas!”

“Ok,” Ming said.

“I don’t want any cheap ass, sad ass plants like that.  The conifer is pretty cool.   But those plants make no sense together!  It’s like that was designed by a pre-schooler!”

I surveyed the stragglers.  Some rosemary is nice.  But it’s the same five plants over and over.

“I can see how it has simple colors and is not looking so good.  But what would your landscaping look like?” he asked.

“Mine would look beautiful!  I would use good plants that actually make sense.  It would look like a fuckin’ botanic garden!  Without the signage.  It would look amazing.  There is no excuse for bad plants.”

We sat with the truth of my aphoristic criticism.


“Oh, are we on my favorite road?” I asked.

“Rancho?” he asked.  Rancho cuts weirdly though town, a former highway.  I love its angle and the weird industrialness, how widely things are spaced.  And it has Veganos, my favorite Mexican place.

“I love this road,” I said.  I glimpsed some more bad landscaping.  “Well, I don’t really know how to do good landscaping.  But I would figure it out.”


My ex-husband worked construction and told me how the construction workers sometimes do whatever they want, talking shit about the clueless architect.  “This won’t work,” they say, and do it in a way that works.

So maybe the reality is, my gorgeous landscaping designs would be vulnerable to practicality, and implemented differently.  But the least I could do is ban oleanders from the face of the earth, forever.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “vulnerable”

HPHC Landscaping and Beautification Rescue Project! I want to partner with you on that. HPHC standing for, darn I forget how you put it “hell place of hell chains” I think. I loved that phrase – as I find malls and strip malls alike to be places of hell. But what do you have against oleander? 😊❤️😊❤️

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