I’m Jessa Marie Mendez, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Kindred Collective! Bios are so hard for me, I tend to have that “what the fuck do people want to know about me?” moment, you know? Do I go quirky, or do I write just the facts. I don’t know. I sometimes refer to myself as [sic]. I am a freelance journalist and writer; my literary heroes are Francesca Lia Block, Junot Diaz, Sylvia Plath, Mark Z. Danielewski, Neil Gaiman, Charles Baudelaire, Stephen King and many, many more. I have an awesome blog of awesomeness, aptly titled jessa is somewhat damaged. One of my stories is in the Love Magick Anthology, edited by Francesca Lia Block.
My foundation is a concrete slab with bones buried within. It has poufy hearts with initials of past lovers etched on its surface and cracks from earthquakes and other assorted natural disasters. There’s gum matted to the curb. My foundation supports many buildings, depending on where you are on the block: a massive skyscraper; a little vintage boutique with antique brooches and two dollar cigarette pants; a bakery with vegan cookies and sweet cupcakes; a library with zines and fashion magazines from all over the world and tons of books with yellowed pages and cracked spines; an abandoned factory building where artists house secret performances.
Spooky, by the way, drew a tarot card for me on New Year’s Day: The Ten of Pentacles. Apparently, this card stands for passing down family traditions. Two days after Spooky drew this card, I received a video of my father singing. My father died when I was a small child; I had no memory of his voice. (I maintain that Spooky is a witch!) I cannot post it here because it just feels too sacred. I did write a poem about it, though, and I can think of no better expression of foundation than describing the beauty of his voice.
bitter and sweet
truths emerge from the hollow of your throat
in your sweet song
i hear the cries of my sisters being born
i hear the sighs of separation
i hear every “i love you”
slashed away by a cruel hand
there is no strain,
my heart swells
a big red balloon
ready to burst and bleed
your voice is not merely musical
it is music
the genesis of every sound that has ever filled my ears
the measure by which every other song shall now be compared
from my mouth emerges the first strangled cry of birth.