A Cornered Gurl Has a New Look

ACG’s new logo. Created with Canva. Tremaine L. Loadholt

I had been meaning to switch up A Cornered Gurl’s look and feel for a few months now. I wanted something more permanent—something that spoke to who I am and what I have been experiencing of late. I am sure it’s no surprise to anyone reading. I am exhausted. Life is doing its best to sucker-punch me at every turn, but I live on. I fight on. There is still much more to be done. We are about to head into the year 2022, and we still have a raging pandemic at our heels. THERE IS STILL A PANDEMIC!!! When I look at those words, something in me crushes. My soul is in a constant state of unease. Why are we still here? How are we still here?

Several shifts in my mental state, my line of work, and my life overall led me to realize that the exploratory uses of artistic images from other incredible artists just aren’t enough for me. Sure, they all have given the site a fresh and sleek look with a great deal of appeal, but this new logo is me. It says it all. It gives you exactly who I am: “I am more than breath & bones. I am nectar in waiting.” And, it depicts an image of how I see myself these days with the woman created with digital line art. I am here—not here. I am living—not living. I am . . .

We are all struggling in some way of our own. Nothing about this situation has been easy. Loved ones are dead. Friends’ lives have been changed forever. Many of us are cabin fevered out, but it is for our own safety—our own health. But for how much longer? I am sick and tired. SICK AND TIRED! The audacity of the privileged or the ignorant or the arrogant or the people who have been “othered” a lot more because of this virus laughs heartily in our faces. We have the power to control this thing, however, we have chosen a different path.

A Cornered Gurl is my personal space in this humongous World Wide Web and if I cannot be comfortable anywhere else, I must be comfortable here. I have to be comfortable here. I am not ready to go or be anywhere else.

Peace and blessings

Inflation: Prices Are Increasing From Gas to Groceries but My Income is the Same

Pandemic surging prices are hitting my pockets and everyone else’s, too.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3WYIaJ_0b7bQUzN00
Photo by Tatiana Maramygina via Redshot

As we slowly climb out of the depths of over sixteen months of this pandemic, one cannot turn their cheek to the soaring prices. Everything from gas to groceries to plane tickets has sky-rocketed in pricing when compared to several months prior. I have noticed the steady increase just over two weeks ago, but it first struck me as insane when I went to have some additional work to my car at my mechanic’s shop and had been informed that my previous quote for a 4-tire balance of $39.99 had risen to $95.99.

Luckily for me, I had my estimate from the week before when I took my car in for an oil change with their quoted price of $39.99. I pulled out my estimate which was initialed and dated by me and handed it to the representative. She consulted with the store manager and charged me what my quote listed, regardless of their recent price hike. So, they lost over $60.00 in this case.

Many tire shops offer free balancing as part of tire packages that are purchased from them, but you’ll have to pay for it in other cases. On average, plan to spend between $15 and $75, depending on your vehicle, the tires, and the shop. — Chris Teague, The Drive

In just one week, the store manager stated the prices of the following had increased; oil changes, labor, tire balancing, and basic maintenance for one’s vehicle. I was not the only person hit with a surprise when I walked through the door — he said. Even he could not prepare himself for what occurred while he was away on vacation.

Imagine returning to the store you manage and bombarded with several recent changes, especially to the pricing of which you’ve been familiar for years and those have changed — drastically.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

When I purchased, and I counted, twenty-seven items from my community Walmart in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this past Friday, I was greeted with a price tag of $78.22. Just three weeks ago, many of the same items in my cart, save a knick-knack or two, cost me $66.58. Now, you may think an increase of just under twelve dollars isn’t much, but couple that with the steady rise in gas prices, at local eateries, in various other grocery stores, and in apartment/housing markets, and one could end up in the poor-house before an eyelash bats.

As I stated, I am not the only one affected by inflation, everyone is. Based on information reported by Emma Withrow with WNCT9 in Charlotte, The Labor Department states the current prices are the highest tallied since August 2008.

A recent rise in inflation hit everyday Americans where it hurts most, the pocketbook. Some economists are saying it’s temporary, others are saying it’s a big threat, but people everywhere are being affected regardless of how long it might last. — Emma Withrow, WNCT9, Charlotte

Farmers and those working in agriculture have been hit with heavy increases in pricing as it pertains to their specialty and they can dish out a few more cents here and there, but eventually, we will have to take on the brunt of those costs and we already have.

“When you go to increase in the cost of a dozen eggs to produce by 10, 15, 20 cents, you can pretty much eliminate the profits out of it really quickly,” Simpson explained, “We can’t take it forever. We’ll take it here for a little while. But sooner or later, it’s gonna have to trickle down to the consumer.” — Alex Simpson, Simpson’s Eggs, courtesy of WNCT9, Charlotte

Several restaurants are dealing with price hikes as well and they’re not fairing well from it — which means, we see the additional cost to us as the consumer when popping in to pick up our favorite lunch or swinging by to retrieve our family’s evening dinner.

The price index is up by 5.4 percent . . . Experts blame inflated prices on high demand due to the pandemic. They expect inflation pressures to ease with time. — Colette Stein, WXII12, Winston-Salem

How long will this last is the question? As it stands, no one is truly sure.

Getting by because I have to.

With prices increasing for everything I purchase, there’s only one thing that has not increased — my income. Recently, I lost my secondary income with a part-time editing and publishing job and I am steadily looking into replacing that supplemental funding. I have been working full time with my “main” job for three years and within this current department for eight months.

From last November up to now, there has been no change in my income at my primary job. I am hopeful this will prove well in a few more months when I am due for my yearly evaluation. But until that time, my pockets are taking a hit from this most recent inflation and I fear this will not end soon.

I am searching for a new place to live and currently have three property tours set up for next Saturday, July 31, 2021. Upon researching apartment homes/condos/townhouses for rent in Winston-Salem, NC, and a few surrounding towns/cities, I have noticed an increase within this market as well. I could only shake my head and sigh heavily.

Money really makes the world go ‘round.


Originally published via NewsBreak.

Clover

Part III: We bring the storm with us

The next morning arrived quicker than I could dream it up. Mama had been up well into the early morning hours making sure each cardboard box was taped, labeled, and stored neatly in the living room for the movers. Daddy gassed up his truck the day before yesterday, cleaned out the garage, and cooked us the perfect bbq meal last night. I can still taste that chicken — yummy. I slept so hard I couldn’t hear a single thing. I was excited about today; I am excited about today and I just want to hurry up and get on the road.

Daddy says it’ll take about two hours and thirty minutes from here in Summerville to Hopeulikit. At least we don’t have to be on the road for too long. I hate traveling long distances in Daddy’s truck. It’s dependable but it’s old and loud and is a rusty orange color — so, it’s not a looker by any form of the word. Daddy says, “It gets us where we need to go and when and that’s all that matters.”

He has a point but I’d rather be in Mama’s subtle sedan. It’s reliable, good on gas, and Mama always selects the best music stations on the radio. Daddy listens to gospel all day long and not the contemporary or modern kind, either.

No . . . not anything for Clover.

He plays the Georgia Mass Choir, Mississippi Mass Choir, The Winans, The Clark Sisters, The Anointed Pace Sisters, and the list goes on and on and on. Mama sways her head and hums to each song. Sometimes, she even gets emotional. But she has a wider range of music appreciation and that’s what I prefer most.

Daddy says we’re not making any stops so for me to eat, use the bathroom, and put my raincoat in the backseat of the truck with me. Forecast ain’t callin’ for rain but Daddy is usually spot-on when it comes to the weather — better than those fancy dolled-up weather people on the tv. They’re almost always wrong. I do as I’m told and make sure my raincoat is sitting right next to me when we leave.

Mama takes her place in the front seat, next to Daddy. She smiles. A hint of sunlight kisses her cheeks. Daddy smiles back at her. They hold hands for a brief moment. Daddy says a prayer for safe travels and we thank “the Good Lord above” for another day’s waking up — in our right minds. And before you know it, the truck’s radio is blasting Shirley Caesar’s “No Charge” and we’re off to Hopeulikit.

The loud thump-thwack sound of the truck upon ignition is common. I don’t flinch — not one move. I’ve grown so used to this thing happening that it seems second nature. Daddy asks if I’ve made myself comfortable and to him, I respond, “I sure have” and I settle in for what will be an early morning nap. I don’t remember time sailing by so quickly ever before but as soon as I open my eyes, we approached Statesboro, Georgia, and shortly after, Hopeulikit.


It is as if God above anointed my daddy to read the skies. I look up and that same pink burnt storm sky from Summerville greets us. The underbelly of the sky is the most beautiful thing — I wish I could jump straight up and touch it. Just as I was losing myself in my thoughts, the bottom falls out and I hurry to wrap myself inside my raincoat — slapping the hood on my head within seconds.

Mama lifts a huge umbrella to her chest then out to the air and presses a button for it to open. She and Daddy scatter under it before we begin to unload our items from the truck.

The movers pull up moments later. Daddy signals them to start with the bigger items then work their way down to the smaller ones. Two of the men have ponchos on while the other is soaked from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. I wonder, “will he track that mess through our new home or will Daddy advise him to hang tight while the others do what they can before the winds pick up?”

He throws up a trembling hand at Daddy and asks, “Where should we start?” Daddy doesn’t waste any time letting him know, “You can start as long as you and your crew get some plastic laid down in the main areas.”

I watch the men pull out a long roll of plastic and begin rolling from our new foyer, through the hallway, and into our living room and dining room. After that, they’re moving lightning fast, unloading boxes and furniture, and knick-knacks.

Daddy wants to help. He busies himself with the few things we loaded in the truck and I follow behind him to help. Rain is coming down like cats and dogs. I pull the hat of my raincoat tighter and tuck the curls of my hair under it.

One hour later, everything is unloaded and I stand in my new bathroom, peel the clothes from my body, and cough. Mama hears me. I know she’ll want to flood my body with Cod liver oil. Yuck!

I already don’t like Hopeulikit.


Originally published in The Weekly Knob on Medium.

Part I and Part II

The Great Has Been and The Ruined

Musical Selection: Queen|Another One Bites the Dust

An Audio Poem

Crack goes the whip and
every order or demand that
can break a camel’s back — 
thrown at us under a
noon day’s sun and just
like that, the fun . . . 
is done.

We’ve been asked to
pack our things, close
up shop, retire, put things
to bed and not wake up and
well, if you know us . . .
you know we’re not going
quietly.

Funny how money can shift
a mountain of growth
or how it can sharpen
the hardest edges especially
when the underdogs begin to
climb too high.

The Powers That Be say,
“Drag them back down,” 
and as we fall, they clap
and hoot and holler and
throw confetti in
the putrid air
juddering around their
safe spaces, laughing
at the marks we’ve made.

“It’s been a nice run,”
they’ll say. 
“You’ve done well, but
we have other plans
in mind and you’re not
in them,” and we knew
the hammer would come
down, it was only a
matter of time.
We were hanging on to
hope.

It’s hard to say goodbye
to family, to friends.
We’ve built a castle,
invited the village, and made
merry with thousands, and
now . . . that castle is
being demolished.

Here comes the wrecking ball.

These walls are being Jerichoed
right before us
and there is no time
for tears, we must gather
our pride, tuck it neatly
alongside our egos, and zip
the contents up . . .
Shut it down.

I wish there was another
way of saying and I don’t
want to go, but the great
has been and the ruined
are two different things and
I’m having trouble recognizing
which one we are.

Today is the first day
of not being angry or hurt
or sad because business
is business and when
business is business, words
do not matter.


This poem was written as a “swan song”/goodbye poem to our readers and writers at P.S. I Love You via Medium. The magazine will no longer be operative after June 30, 2021. I’ve been an editor there since last June and I’ve had so much fun doing what I love most.