Monday, September 25, 2006

thank god

I got a new job, girl!

I left my resignation letter with my former bosses and feel tons better.

I'm shaking I'm so excited!

Blessings blessings blessings. I had a lot of people thinking about me, supporting me, even to the point of talking me into not quitting when I would call them to say I wanted to walk out.

Thank my Creator.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

...these are a few of my favorite things...

Ah, things are good at work.

I got an email stating I wasn't entering data (I add "correctly" to this sentence) but that I should be because a training we received a month ago never really happened and, the little we were shown by the main bruja didn't cover my reporting needs. So, of course I was adequately trained!

Top that with the memo I finally got a copy of which addresses cleavage. Bordering on sexual harassment and full of latent homosexuality, the bruja in charge suggests we approach her if we are unsure if an outfit is appropriate so that she can check us out (my emphasis).

Then my complaint about a homophobic comment was pushed off as an individual incident rather than a company issue so nothing was done because I refused to name the person who said something. Maybe because I didn't feel comfortable in a room which had the main one sitting there telling me she doesn't see the need for diversity and tolerance training for the organization when she herself is one of the perpetrators.

I've never worked with such a degree of intolerance or small-mindedness. I'm actually making it a point NOT to look for work within nonprofits anymore. I'd rather give my money (perhaps blindly) and not know that everyone inside is sticking knives in the others' backs.

All this has motivated me to move forward. I've got a lot of energy but not a lot of time for women or my writing. I feel okay tho, knowing I need to be working in a space that is intelligent before I can settle down enough to concentrate on other aspects of my life.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

sad day

Ann Richards died. Damn, she was good.

My good friend at work, Sonia, quit today by phone. Congratulations mama, even if I'll miss you. Then Miriam quit an hour later. She was the first bright face I saw each day, the one who understood.

Tyrone Garner of Lawrence v. Texas died.

Dilana lost Rockstar : Supernova.

Be who you are, and don’t be afraid.
--Tyrone Garner

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


In moving to Austin years ago, I started signing my name differently, from my whole name to just "Jo Reyes B". I started signing my name just "jo". Naming became incredibly important in Austin when working with diverse communities.

I realized yesterday that "community" means something different in San Antonio. So does "family". In a conversation with a woman I dated for a little while, she asked what I wanted (in hopes of continuing our togetherness maybe) and I told her I wanted family. She insisted she could make family with me and Tigrette but I wasn't talking about nuclear couplings. I was talking about tias and tios, people not necessarily related but who are invested in you, people you can invest in.

Occasionally someone still calls me JoAnne. It's easier for new people to call me by my preferred name than for those I knew before. But it trips me up, like it's a throwback or like my mama's calling me or something. I had one woman ask me my full name and I told her I preferred Jo. Since that conversation she's insisted on calling me JoAnne - to be different? - and it's upsetting, like someone's not seeing the me I am now, the work I've put into growing and changing.

I like the beginnings of my life here. Lord knows it's not because I'm in San Anto (even if doors are opening for me). Truly, I'm just trying for a different mindset and while I would like a partner, I don't think it's possible right now to be in a relationship more and maintain my goals. I've found very few people who can be free, open and supportive, while their partner works on what they need to accomplish.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Moment of Silence

A Moment of Silence
by Emmanual Ortiz

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you
To offer up a moment of silence
For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,
For the victims in both Afghanistan and the USAnd if I could just add one more thing,
If it's not too much to ask . . .

A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.
Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year US embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,
Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.
Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin And the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam - a people, not a war - for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war .... ssssshhhhh.. ..
Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.
Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.
An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas
25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west...100 years of silence...
For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been.
Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.
This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.

And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:
This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977.
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.
If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take itOn Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautifulpeople have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.
Take it.

But take it all...
Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing... For our dead.

*poem printed in "The Roots of Terror," a publication of Project South.