Dangerous Compassions


“I’ve never seen you not put a return address before,” Ming said, holding up an envelope with stamp, address, and no return address.

“Yeah,” I said  “They don’t need to know who I am.”  When Ming and I were taking a walk, I had found an EBT card for food stamps, on the ground, and I picked it up, not sure why.  Then I didn’t know what to do with it.  There was an address on the back, and I decided to mail it to that address, in Carson City.  That’s the capital of Nevada.

“I used to never use return addresses.  Or I would do joke ones,” I told Ming.  At that post office in Berkeley, on College Ave, I was sending a zine to someone, and the postal worker made me write a return address.  I was using junk mail then, to create envelopes out of, like pizza fliers.

The postal worker seemed cranky about it, like return addresses are my duty.  I begrudgingly added my return address in blue ballpoint pen.  And ever since then I put a return address, unless I have a reason I really don’t want to.


“I would put fake return addresses a lot, before,” I told Ming.  “It was entertainment, to me.”

“It was entertainment to you!” Ming said.  He seemed amused.

“Yeah, I would make up return addresses, like…  One of my favorites was 911 Fire Ln.”  That was back when I penpalled pretty hard with a bestie when she went to LA for the summers to live with her dad.  She and I wrote letters back and forth almost every day.


We had a great ride this morning.  I rode my trike.  We found a beautiful huge dumpster in our favorite parking lot.  It had milk crates, a shopping cart, a basketball hoop, shelving, and much beautiful unidentified junk.

We also visited these containers I love.  Ming says he loves containers too!


When I was a kid, I loved Strawberry Shortcake.  Reading the wikipedia article, I learned she was created for stationery.  So was I!  In a different way.

I liked her strawberry power, how the doll smelled, even her little pink cat.  Where I come from is an agricultural land.  Strawberries grow deliciously, and there’s a strawberry festival every year.  So this shirt celebrates my past, and the green feels healing.

When I was a little kid, much of life was discomfort, compromise, powerlessness, pain, and trying really hard to figure out what was expected of me and do that.  Then violence and neglect.

Mostly, the choices I was given were not for anything I wanted.  Games I didn’t like to play, movies I didn’t want to watch, tv shows that were very poor quality!  This one toy, Strawberry Shortcake, I actually liked.  I feel happy to celebrate that!

I sewed around her mouth, in hopes the hole will not enlarge when I put the shirt in the washer.  Then I realized maybe I should just sew a new mouth on her.

The whole graphic is poorly adhered, so I’m not sure it will last long.  But the fragility helped me feel brave to cut the sleeves off, which I never did to a shirt before.  I like it better this way.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “return”

I love dumpster diving for books at the public library until they made it a policy to lock up the dumpster. It made me sad because single mothers and poor folks could no longer could get free cast away books. I wish you could send me the basketball hoop and the shelving. I have a basketball and no court in a park or school campus nearby. I wish you could send shelving because I want to rebuild my personal library again. I love Strawberry Shortcake. I used to collect scratch and sniff stickers and I prayed they would make scratch and sniff Strawberry Shortcake stickers but they never did. Between my hometown Vallejo and Napa there is a stretch of a freeway and in between there is a strawberry farm/patch owned by an Asian family. The reporter interviewed the farmer. I cut out that article from a local newspaper. Too bad I never had an opportunity to buy their strawberries at that strawberry stand/storefront. Mad love from GT Velasco

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