Saturday, December 31, 2005

can't believe it

I don't want to believe that maybe I'm just not supposed to be in this city. Just in the time I've lived here I've known three wonderful people who've died, lost a job and lost a community, had my writing stop and start so many times I should just stop altogether, started and ended an abusive relationship and lost some of the joy that took so long for me to wake up in my body.

Now, almost to the year after splitting with Ya Vez, Cliffy says she can't handle the stress of our relationship. There's a lot of story here but I just can't say it. My belly hurts just thinking of it. The thing that sticks in my mind is her promise to never do what she did to me the first time - never run off because of fear or stress. She promised me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

working it out

I am working, full with the knowledge that, though things are stressful, I can make the Andres Montoya deadline.

Plenty happened during the Xmas holidays that was blog-worthy but the biggest presence I carried from the time Cliffy and I left the apartment and headed to San Anto to hang with her family was that there was something she wasn't telling me.

It's strange how, even four months after she said she wanted to be with me, I still carry this fear that she won't stay.

Worse, she hasn't been demonstrative lately, even giving me these lame "Me too" replies to my "I love you"s. I have never felt so depressed or alone as in her mother's home. No conversation, horrible, pensive hours of silent television watching. It's obvious her mother and that house has such a depression. I tried not to compare it to my own parent's home but, while my parents hold a lot of anger, those outward expressions also mean a lot of positive expressions.

I wanted to stay out of her mother's way. It was evident there was a jealousy or some passive expression of anger because her time with Cliffy would be compromised since I was there. I stayed clear, believe me. But Cliffy, always feeling like the dutiful daughter, stays there despite her own suppressed anger.

Maybe it's because I get more electric, more emotional when I'm writing but there was a tremendous dinosaur of an issue in that house that everyone pretended wasn't there.

The loneliness was unbearable - made worse by Cliffy's inability to show any signs of affection both because she didn't want to for her own reasons and because her family still doesn't approve. I can say left and right that I am super out about being queer and I can say I will only be around those who understand that expressive need but I can't force that on my partner's family so I mentally sewed my mouth shut.

I love Cliffy. I don't think I say it enough to her. I love her and I understand the stresses she's in both because of her past, her family and because of our situation. I just wish she'd talk.

Friday, December 23, 2005

goal : Andres Montoya prize

This is my newest goal :

Letras Latinas, the literary component of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, would like to remind you that the deadline for the second edition of the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize is just around the corner: January 6, 2006. Named after the late Chicano poet, the prize carries a $1000 cash award, a book contract with University of Notre Dame Press for a first book of poetry, and an invitation to read, with the final judge, at the University of Notre Dame. There is no entrance fee. For complete guidelines, please visit:

Yes, just two weeks away. I did have some enlightenment the other day when, after realizing I couldn't call my manuscript/potential book Iyansan (one of the Orisha Oya's other names) or pedazos de un gran tirana, I will call it conversation/es. Working title - no critiquen, okay?

It's to reflect the narrative style of some of my work as well as the fact that I've begun talking to more than just the plants in the house. (Don't ask my washing machine about the day I burned some of every part of dinner - the damn thing shakes so much it might let the secret out.)

Doctor(ing) Nina Simone

Another perfume commercial...j'adore is out with a new one featuring the incredible voice of Dr. Nina Simone as she sings "House of the Rising Sun". Their commercial was a little better in that the poor white woman in this piece is "troubled" and shown in a clouded haze. Of course she must know what it means to usurp power and deal with men in a male-dominated industry. Of course she kicked ass to become a tremendous voice despite the obstacles. Yeah.

Used to be people of color were brought out during specific holidays like Cinco de Mayo (beer sales), Black History Month (the McRib is back!), etc. Now, white-led advertising moguls are selling white-led companies on the idea of coloring their product 24/7. But, just a little color - a little goes a long way - don't add too much! You can have people of color talking with no accent and sold on the American Dream or you can have white people with music or background images specific to people of color but no way should a person of color sound like one unless they are on Law & Order and happen to have just set a nightclub on fire or are snitching on the neighbor for twenty bucks.

Damn, I'm tired of watching tv. Still feeling sick, still looking for work, still trying to write. Have to wash ten loads of laundry but there's no water because of the fire in the other side of the building last night left us all without any pressure and besides the dryer needs a replacement plug but there's no extra $15 to buy the shit to replace it. Little sleep because of making candy bags for Cliffy's workmates for holiday blessings/caloric intakes. Circles and circles of little things meant to fuck with my head. Need sleep.

One good thing: I got my ass up this morning and met a friend for coffee and a conversation about writing. Turned out really well. The conversation was so much more animated than I'd anticipated. I'd become accustomed to groups that talk more than act and this new pairing seems like it will fit me because we didn't just talk about actual pieces but about the struggle to even give time to the craft, how interwoven writing is/should be to our lives, and how our world/identities change with each piece we don't get in the way of as it's coming out.

I was on the Mamis of Color radio show a couple of days ago and the topic was Women and Creativity. We laughed about the euphemisms around wrestling some time with pen and paper/computer/needle and thread/paintbrush/whatever other tools are used in the process.
You know the phrases: "living creatively", "giving attention to ourselves, our craft", and the ever popular "expressing ourselves". We all agreed they sound very white middle-class but we are using the conqueror's language here, eh? So, we went with it.

Well, between this morning's discussion and last night lit up like daytime by the lights of four firetrucks and a police car (and the unexpected unavailability of my own washer/dryer), my head is full of images. Even if it's not apparent to the two people who might read my blog, I always try to remember one of reasons for starting this blog. Besides not going crazy, I wanted to remember my own mentors/heroes/reminders. Nina Simone is one of those incredible women who keep my stuff moving around. Now just to deal with the woman she was versus the woman who plays her on tv.

A double espresso with whipped cream (my new favorite coffee beverage) helps it all ride a little smoother now. Lord knows I was rough this morning. Someone have a shower stall and $15 bucks I could borrow?

Monday, December 19, 2005

at last ... estee lauder

I've been watching the news the last fews days at all of Bush's staff continues to state that Congress gave them the power to spy on people in America, even while everyone from senators to judges to civil rights groups are saying no such abuse was ever granted, especially when it is easy to receive permission to monitor American citizens and guests.

What irks me is that I think this issue may be too abstract for the average Bush voter. This disregard and disrespect, like so many of Bush's other tactics, will be glossed over in the name of protection. Maybe we should hear about who exactly they've been spying on. If dear Auntie in Kansas is being watched for sending a couple of bucks to the UN I'm sure people would be more upset about that than if the government were following some dark-skinned guy who preferred to take trains and buses than to be, yet again, put aside for security reasons at yet another airport.

I am starting to believe that Bush is growing senile. He may even think that Showtime's newest series, Sleeper Cell, is real. I mean, the acting is quite good and the FBI was actually smart enough to put a black man in as an undercover agent. Bush knows how liberal Hollywood is - they could be funding a true anthrax attack on some poor mall in these United States. Just in time for Christmas, a good and noble holiday celebrating Jesus' birth. And malls are perfect places for finding those highly necessary consumptive products that are placed under a tree whose roots are clearly biblical.

Worse, the commercials around all this news are about Estee Lauder's perfume, Beautiful, and utilizes Etta James' incredible song, "At Last". I just don't know how a young white woman in a wedding dress could represent this song appropriately/sensitively.

We are a nation seriously in trouble. I mean, we are running out of holidays in which to release important news around in order to ensure Americans are too busy buying things to realize just how we are being played. Congress better start adding holidays!

Oh no! Bush is on the television now! Start buying something to reduce the blows!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

new poem : yellow soup

yellow soup

raw chicken body
bruised at the thighs
floats in cold water
still no soup for the sick

no spoons either
the world without stainless steel
nothing shines anymore

how close the kitchen is
when you sleep in the living room
pillows far away

like puzzle pieces
we lose ourselves
our bodies in constant destruction
dead cells collect at corners
the broom cannot reach

on my knees
toothbrush and cleanser in hand
is no better

people were here before
have done this all before
and did no better

turn on the stove
at least that heat keeps the house tolerable
fingertips and toes always cold

where is that hand I once loved?
no longer resting itself on my back
no longer warming my fingers

don’t forget turmeric
coloring the soup
dying the fingernails
the meat falling from the frame
in ribbons

the soup is not enough
paint the door yellow
let everyone know
we need help

Friday, December 09, 2005

3 more years

Itt's a scary thing when my mind starts thinking about the ways just three years of bush rule will hold such a thumb over my lifetime - like trying to understand the concept of the unending universe, my mind can't wrap itself around the manifestation of those repercussions.

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

-- Julius Caesar

Monday, December 05, 2005

new poem : all the ways to die

I've been wanting to write this poem for awhile. It's been sitting in my head, patiently waiting. It comes from a couple of conversations Tigrette had with me regarding death. At one point her fascination was so strong with all the possible ways to die my mother sat me down and wondered if it was normal for a 6 year old to continue these discussions. All this time, I thought she was expressing her creativity... what do I know? She's as well adjusted as she's going to be considering the personality of the one raising her.

all the ways to die

maybe it is the three cemeteries
on the one road from one side of town to another
but she starts the conversation

there are plenty of ways to die:

you can fall off a mountain,
slip in the shower, be killed in a car accident.

there’s a chance of dying if you are flying,
if there’s a fire in your home and you are asleep.

you could be dancing and have a stroke,
or your heart could be sick and stop pumping.

you could be shot in the head
or have an operation and not wake up.

you could stop breathing or choke on dinner,
poison in the food you eat
or slip and fall on a knife while cooking.

you know, most ways to die are kind of loving.

Friday, December 02, 2005

los blancos son candela

My mother called me this morning and told me her Tia Teresa, just arrived from Cuba and visiting our family in Florida, couldn't imagine all the things our country throws away and how our hands don't handle even basic tasks anymore. Her prime example was grapes she saw at a grocery store, already washed and in individual bags. Teresa says "los blancos son candela."

global cositas

Well, the universe may have heard me...

Months ago, when Spain passed gay marriage, I wondered why countries that aren't white-dominant couldn't also do gay marriage. Seems South Africa is one step closer.

I am truly enjoying the fact that America, with all its liberties and so called freedom, has to now sit back and see, in spaces where their influence is limited, that liberation for queers will inevitably come. While I hate how the mainstream gay community has positioned itself as the next civil rights issue in America, etc., I cannot help but think of how America was one of the last to disallow slavery. In much the same way, human rights and protections for queers will mostly likely show up last in this country as well.

Continuing the global idea, while I know that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and most queers are upset at the Vatican's passive fingerpointing to gays as their major problem, I had to laugh that the Vatican itself stated that men could not enter seminaries if they have "deep-seated homosexual tendencies” or support "gay culture".

Finally some recognition! I'm amazed that the Vatican recognizes queers have a culture and that our identities are deep-seated/firmly rooted. All this time I was told I was fucking women because of my own ego, because I was perverse or because some man had done me wrong.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I don't know how to accept help.
It kills me to have to need it.

A couple of days ago I went grocery shopping and ended up having the same older man bag my groceries who did so two weeks ago.

At that time, we almost had a (very polite) fight at the cash register because I didn't expect any help and 9.75 time out of 10 HEB doesn't have any baggers, let alone enough available to walk with you to your car. But the man insisted, and looked at me so intensely, I acquiesced.

I was mad at myself for not being able to accept some help (kindness really, huh?). He was very respectful, called me Miss and asked me to have a nice day.

He did the same when I saw him earlier this week after walking me out to the van. I am still upset with whatever events or people have made me so overly closed off.