portrait of the artist’s mother.

massachusetts beach, fall 1986

hand-sifting grit rainbows
four hours
balasana (modified)

shawl over salwar over dirty over nothing

searching basmati sand for flowers
and gold pendants
like the one from Shah Rukh
it must be here somewhere

Forever.

 

*Trigger warning: This post describes an incident involving physical violence.

*

*

*

Last week I was physically attacked near my apartment. It wasn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last. I believe it was a homophobia thing.

I get homophobic comments, things thrown at me, etc., on my walks to and from meetings/events/whatever, pretty often, and I started writing them off as things happening in passing: 

Yesterday I had that great date, and then someone yelled “Faggot!” and threw their water bottle at me and then I saw Step Up: Revolution and it was 90 minutes of cinematic genius.

I convinced myself that dismissing these incidents as non-events on the way to real life would help me move on.

So…that didn’t work.

Though this last incident wasn’t nearly as physically violent as some others I’ve had, it unearthed super deep, super old physical and emotional pain for me. I’ve been walking around with a massive amount of fear:

  • that I will be attacked again at any moment
  • that I will be abandoned
  • that no one loves me
  • that I am unworthy of love
  • that my stories aren’t worth telling
  • that the Arrested Development mini-series will get cancelled

 

(Some of the fears are more rational than others.)

 

Maybe it’s time for me to stop thinking of each time I’m harmed as just a footnote on the way to my real life. Every moment is as real as the next and all that.

 

While processing my anger, I wrote this on my train ride home tonight:

 

Forever

the second between

your twinkling eyes’ turn from your friend’s smile

and the moment you scowl/ smirk/ throw my gaunt against wall

is an eternity

 

in that breath

you see me/ strong

enough to rage a threat

to your familiar safe

just by breathing

 

Resolution

Last year, Vanessa Huang sent me Martín Espada’s Imagine the Angels of Bread and Vanessa’s Dear Executioners.

I’m not a poet, but I reread Vanessa’s and Martín’s poems today and got inspired. So I wrote this non-poem. I hope you like it. If you don’t, let’s call it a draft.

Happy gregorian new year!

xo

 

Resolution

this is the year i commit acts of love
and thoughtcrimes
this is the year thoughtbombs of hope change State trust State safe State
explode in their throwers’ hands
cloud back to their makers’ hearts
wipe their bosses’ minds

this is the year i rage

this is the year i embrace
chronic illness
as beloved core me
i embrace
chronic wellness
together with, not in spite of

this is the year binaries and borders cross me
and i double-cross them

this is the year i remember
the times my body hit the pavement
were the times i bounced back

this is the year i rage

this year i safe facebook, walled (1)
risk likes and status updates face-to-face
this is the year i listen
gift presence
disclose, open

this is the year i asana
spiritheartbodymind flexed
this is the year i sex

this is the year i warm fuzzy just compassionate (2)
this year sanghas detox (3)
this year we breathe sangha (4)
because i am because we are (5)

this is the year we still
silent
clear mind
focus clear
clear strategies
create, recreate
calm amidst chaos

so this is the year movements move (6)
minds and hearts and keystones
chisel at bases of pillars (7)
hammer swift, strong, with care
this is the year we crumble the crumbling
and build and build and build anew
not with the old ways
with the old, old ways
mashed, stirred, queered
salacious
delicious

this is the year we write
because poetry is not a luxury (8)

this year we amplify
truth:
this year we amplify
with pens and mics and megaphones
outlawed? human microphone (9)
outlawed? HUMAN MICROPHONE
and baked goods block parties neighbors tea
this is the year me is we

this is the year we rage love

this is the year extract produce consume
becomes plant water bloom

this is the year hippo loves tortoise (10)
elephant befriends dog (11)
penguinboi freaks penguinboi (12)
and human peaces nature
grateful to bear witness
to impossible shattered in ten

this year prisoners
humans thoughts animals crops
uncage
this is the year we rage

this year, we fight
this is the year i embrace
my wise old kindergarten fears that ache to be held rocked tender
i embrace
my self who has not been myself
i embrace
my enemies who are not my enemies
and my enemies who are

this is the year i forgive
this year we accountable community (13)
transform justice (14)
this year queer person of color with disabilities
is not a pass for cis male u.s. citizen upper middle class
this is the year i work on myself
i rest reflect forgive transform
this is the year i stitch broken heart
this is the year i reborn

this is the year i rage
the year i act
not react, act
and act up
this is the year capital desensitized
destabilized
demagnetized

this is the year i uncount mine

we decolonize, unoccupy, unwar, unbind (15)
we stabilize a people’s collection agency
and this is the year we collect
this is the year community health is currency
and this is the year we make wealth

but if liberation is a million movements toward
then it is also away from

so this is the year i leave familiar
the year i scale cliffs, ginger
tiptoe to edge of edge of edge
jump back, afraid

nudge forward, faith
push forward, faith
run forward, faith

this is the year i let go

leap
trusting
you will see me

trusting

you will catch me, hold me
trusting

this is the year we rage
together

(1) Protect yourself and loved ones: http://lifehacker.com/5843969/facebook-is-tracking-your-every-move-on-the-web-heres-how-to-stop-it

(2) Names of two meditation sanghas (communities of practice) I’m part of: Warm and Fuzzy Sangha & Hella Just and Compassionate Sangha

(3) http://eastbaymeditation.org/accessibility/fragrancefree.html

(4) http://creatingcollectiveaccess.wordpress.com/making-space-accessible-is-an-act-of-love-for-our-communities/

(5) Ubuntu. From Joanne Veal Gabbins’ write-up of Betty Press’ I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb: “…I am because we are; we are because I am. We exist in community with a multiplicity of voices, and we thrive because we share the responsibility for that community with others…”http://www.africanwisdominimageandproverb.com/ Also check out the group UBUNTU (http://iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/) in North Carolina. The first time I heard the word ubuntu was through their web site.

(6) From Maria Poblet’s movement poem (http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/ac08/m_poblet1.html), which I first heard on Wild Poppies: A Poetry Jam Across Prison Walls, a cd made in honor of the late poet and political prisoner Marilyn Buck (http://www.freedomarchives.org/wildpoppies/index.html)

(7) Refers to Andrea Smith’s article “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing”, from INCITE!’s (http://www.incite-national.org/) book Color of Violence (http://southendpress.org/2005/items/8762X). You can download the article at http://www.girlarmy.org/reader/ThreePillars.pdf

(8) Refers to Audre Lorde’s “Poetry is Not a Luxury”, from her book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

(9) Occupy Wall Street tactic: http://www.thenation.com/blog/163767/we-are-all-human-microphones-now

(10) Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLMxoD5Ce14)

(11) Terra the elephant and Bella the dog (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Au2cQGaQBc). Sadly, Bella passed away.

(12) http://emperor-penguin.com/gay-penguins.html

(13) I first heard the term “community accountability” from Community United Against Violence (http://cuav.org. Check out their strategic plan; I think it’s inspiring. You can download it at http://cuav.org/media/docs/2411_CUAV_StrategicPlan2009.pdf)

(14) I first heard the term “transformative justice” from generationFIVE (http://www.generationfive.org). More info at http://www.generationfive.org/tj.php

(15) I got some of the words and concept from my favorite poem of 2011, Vanessa Huang’s #OCCUPY CAPITALISM (http://vanessahuang.com/2011/12/11/occupy-capitalism/). I missed this last citation before I published the piece and just noticed it now (the day after). Sorry Vanessa!

PS, I’m going to Mexico.

ZOMG!

I’m finally blogging again, and trying 3 new things:

1) I edited my first short digital video (it’s crappy but hey)

2) I posted it to Youtube. I definitely didn’t know till now that Youtube is owned by Google. Frowny face.

3) I finally figured out how to embed videos to my blog.

Anywayz, here’s my video intro to this part of my blog. If you can’t view the video below, lemme know and I’ll send you the link. xo