Lidia Yuknavitch’s Weblog

the body of the word

novel: money and vulgar marxism


Topic: Money and Vulgar Marxism

Setting: SoCal. San Diego, to be specific. OB. Sitting next to a fire on the beach. Watching the sun go down. Surfers catching the last waves. Vodka, lime, and pot. A lot. They all just spent three days in Tiajana and are just now coming down. In fact, they are a little lucky they all made it back. One puked their guts out for three days off bad heroin and tap water, one was briefly abducted by thugs and beaten up enough to pee blood, and one was, for all intents and purposes, raped, except that she got in his car on purpose hoping to feel something beside numb and pointless in her own life, and when he asked her if she’d like to simply be taken back to the border, she said, limply and self-destructively, “no, please.” But this night they are all hazed out and calm and exhausted and thrilled to be alive and sitting around a fire in OB like regular old-school hippies.

Someone has just said: “Fuck it. let’s start taking caravans of clothes down into Mexico like a few times a year…maybe medicine too.”

To which someone else replies: “Are you fucking baked? You going to be the great white Robin Hood of starving artists? You have a short memory, asshole. The last time you decided to take a trek like that south of the border you nearly got yourself incarcerated. I don’t care how cool it was you talked to an ACTUAL Zappatista. We nearly had to come rescue your ass. So don’t gimme that shit about how we’re all going to don berets and get all CHE and shit. We all have places to live. We all have enough to eat. We all have the ability—the luxury to travel. We all get to make art. Think about it. None of us have our hands cut off working in diamond mud and none of us get slaughtered and buried with pig’s guts in anonymous pits and none of us live under any kind of real threat…let’s be frank here. Oh and do I need to narrate back to you what just fucking happened to us in the LEAST DANGEROUS MEXICO of all of MEXICO? I mean there’s a fucking TROLLEY to TJ. You wanna do something with your money that matters? With your art? With your big American bleeding heart? Give up your quest to make a difference and go work in a mine or a factory or a rice paddy. Be a janitor. Clean up other people’s shit. Buncha hypocrites. The only reason you have ideas like that is because you can. You come from a position of such privilege you can think benevolent thoughts. Christ. Gimme the weed. I need to be WAY more high than this to sit with you assholes. Oh, and one more thing, braniacs. Take a look around you. We’re in motherfucking SOCAL. That’s where we are, my friends. You can’t be an American Marxist or Florence fucking nightingale sitting on a beach smoking pot in fucking SOCAL. You can just be a cartoon of yourself.”


  1. You say that like Americans in Tijuana are any less cartooned. Fuck man, it’s like SPRING BREAK — we go there to BE cartoons. Man, being a cartoon IS the luxury. You know what happens when you have to grow your own fucking lunch, but you’re too busy stepping on rakes and getting knocked the fuck out? You die, you fucking starve your ass to death! Now me, I’d step on that rake, take a little nap, smoke some weed and walk to Safeway.

    Comment by evan | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  2. Yeah, me t– Me. Oh. Oh. Shit. Oh shit. Did somebody put something in the weed?

    Comment by Debra Di Blasi | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  3. oh. yeah. um, i forgot to tell everybody. the weed is SPECIAL. last batch i snagged is laced with a CARVIVAL. pure mexican dream. who you calling illegal alien, pilgrims (stonerish laugh). seriously though. no really, seriously. i seriously think we should consider hooking up with one of the underground tunnels and turn ourselves into a hospitality and tourism resistance force. i’m just saying. i don’t think we need closed borders. i think we need ever wiley tunnels underneath the whole fucking country. i think the huddled masses need to organize.

    Comment by lidiaohlidia | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  4. I don’t know. I like cartoons. Especially those really old ones where somebody runs off the cliff but doesn’t fall as long as they don’t notice? It’s sort of deep, no shit. That’s like Communism to me. Except you have to do it on purpose.

    Comment by VP | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  5. I had this moment a few years ago…uncle and step-dad arguing. Step-dad an old Vietnam vet, uncle a photographer. My uncle’s claim to fame was that he sends this girl in Thailand money every month. Bought her a dress. Vet says what does that matter? Gives a lot of money to charity but owns a lot of cars and motorcycles. Which is kind of so…so Vet and my uncle had been playing pool earlier and my uncle lost was what it was really about. Me? Have you guys ever read the old Spider-Man comics? It’s like that. Do good where you can, don’t allow evil, do your best to live your life in the meantime. Just doing that is hard enough. That’s about the best and most honorable you can hope for, I think…

    Comment by Willie Pink | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  6. That’s what somebody from the suburbs WOULD say. You really are too much. Don’t you see how lazy that is?

    Comment by Minnie | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  7. I’m just saying goodness isn’t a party.

    Comment by Willie Pink | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  8. Am I the only one smoking this shit?

    Comment by Debra Di Blasi | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  9. pass it, punk. let’s start a tunnel. come dig a tunnel with me.

    Comment by lidiaohlidia | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  10. I’m with you, sistah. Shall we use our bare hands? DID ANYONE BRING A SHOVEL!?!

    I’m using my bare hands.

    Wow, the sand goes cold so quickly. Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it go cold?

    Comment by Debra Di Blasi | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  11. The campus president of Young Republicans speaks:

    You bitches are always looking for a way out.

    Your weed.

    Your shovels.

    Your trips in the desert.

    Come back home and fuck your husbands.

    This is still our world.

    Comment by trevor | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  12. lets shot gun a hit and shoot some birds with it. China does not need us, they will be here soon enough, China will call in our obcene national debt and we will be another jewel in their crown, and mexico will laugh at us. Fuck it, who wants noodles? Or Burritos? Or a burrito with noodles in it? Is there anymore beer?

    Comment by Caitlin | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  13. I can’t smoke. I get hives.

    Comment by Willie Pink | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  14. Was anyone bothered when John Lennon wrote the lyric “But when you talk about destruction/Don’t you know you can count me out/in”…maybe he just sang that once, but still…

    Comment by Minnie | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  15. That’s so weird, cause the center of the earth is like lava, so there’s got to be some point where it turns from hot to cold, right? Even if it’s just a little turn, it turns, just like how the sand here goes from hot to cold. The whole thing’s just going back and forth, hot to cold to hot to cold, and none of it matters. Your uncle’s dead-on that.

    Comment by VP | August 10, 2007 | Reply

  16. wait a minute. wait just a fucking god damned minute. go home and fuck our husbands? did you just say that, fishbulb? go home and fuck our husbands?

    yeah. i got a play for you. it’s called: Lysistrata.

    fuck that, motherfucker.

    Comment by lidiaohlidia | August 11, 2007 | Reply

  17. oh shit, i can’t even imagine going home. we’re never getting off this beach. wait, okay look, because: you can’t even tunnel in sand because the holes just keep refilling with more sand. look it’s refilling with sand. look it’s refilling with sand. unsatisfying. so much cold sand in my palms and they’re hurting, and the skin is so smooth.

    Comment by sgc | August 11, 2007 | Reply

  18. You can tunnel in wet sand until it gets too dry. You can tunnel in wet sand until it gets too wet. Shows what you know.

    Comment by evan | August 11, 2007 | Reply

  19. I’ll fuck your husband. shit. I’ll get you wet.You don’t even need a shovel. Just bring a bucket.

    Comment by Caitlin | August 11, 2007 | Reply

  20. Huh, when did John Reed and Louise Bryant get here?

    My hands are too cold and I’m almost sober. I’m going for a swim. If I drown, call my broker and tell him to sell. Ha ha ha ha…!

    Comment by Debra Di Blasi | August 12, 2007 | Reply

  21. Who needs us? For chrissakes. Maybe getting in that tunnel is a good first step but we’re pretty off on the second.

    Comment by Willie Pink | August 15, 2007 | Reply

  22. His face is in the newspaper. He’s running for city council. He looks over to me & says, They think I’m adult! They think I’m an adult who doesn’t smoke pot.

    We laugh infectious laughter. He gets out of the car, walks into the train station, and leaves.

    Comment by Lily | August 18, 2007 | Reply

  23. You know what’s really cool about Mexico? What I just love about that place? You can get like this great view of the underclass from your nice hotel window before you drive north out of their dreams forever.

    Comment by Lance Olsen | August 19, 2007 | Reply

  24. tell me about it, negro. and you know what i love about us? as in U.S.?

    gimme your tired, your poor, you hungry, your huddled masses…circa 2007 the message is FUCK OFF.

    a country made by immigrants closing the god damned door.

    god i hate us right now.

    i truly fucking hate us.

    does anyone have any X?

    Comment by lidiaohlidia | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  25. everyone should be spit on. At least once in their lives. They should all see the look of loathing on a face. Every one should be thrown out of an establishment, denyed service and ignored more than once. Everyone should be descriminated for being some big stupid American taking up space.
    Now someone mentioned X, i got some shrooms, lets candy flip, about time.

    Comment by Caitlin | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  26. about tunnels. i always thought enclosed, underground spaces like that were fucking creepy. i don’t care how long the tunnel is or how, like, tall the ceilings of a cave are, even if it has sick-ass stalagmites on it. it’s still creepy as hell. nobody’s listening to me..

    Comment by alyssa | August 24, 2007 | Reply

  27. i have nothing valuable to add to this conversation because i am sober as a church mouse. can’t even smoke pot. just cough until i want to puke.
    but i am all over the the shrooms.

    Comment by vince | August 26, 2007 | Reply

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